Thursday, September 4, 2008

Drifting westward. . .

One of the most beautiful things about Turkey and perhaps the whole middle east (I don't know yet) is their sense of community. It's ingraned in them from birth. I imagine a child coming into the kitchen in the late morning to their mother toiling away in the kitchen. Sweat is beading on her forehead as she rolls rice mixture tightly into grape leaves and sets one more sarma on the neat pile of cylindrical treats.

"What are those for Anne?"

"Oh, you know, for the ladies. Ha ha. You know how we love to eat while we chat."

Around 2 or 3 in the afternoon the mother will join her friends outside at a table and add her tray of delights to the table. The possible selection might include cake, some fried vegetable that you can eat with your hands, nuts, sunflower seeds, sarma ( rice filled grape leaves), and of course cay (turkish tea).

I live in a site, pronounced (see-tay). It has a gaurded entrance, three large apartment buildings inside, the parking lot, a small play structure with swings and slides, a small soccer court, a beautiful pond and fountain area surrounded by pretty flowers and bushes, and several tables and benches that are shaded. They way it is set up fosters a community feeling. All the children play together whether they like it or not. The adults know eachother. The ladies who don't work outside of the home enjoy eachother's company daily. It's satisfying to observe these people stay true to who they are. Turkey is drifting westward every minute. I hate to see it happening. This morning on my run I passed two young men who were engrossed in one of their cell phones' features. I have a cell phone and so does my husband. But I never pull it out unless it's ringing. Never. Especially if I'm walking by one of the most pleasant morning views of the city. Anyway, when Ataturk was in charge of this country he prohibited many things in order to make it a secular state. One of them was the traditional religious dress that Turkish people wore daily.

This fez was banned through the Hat Law in 1925. Shame. Since then Turkey has been consumed with a push pull relationship with the West. Turkey is full of Muslims yet Turkey wants to be part of Europe and the West. How can this happen without completely renouncing who you are? Embracing Europe means permitting everything European into your country. If I were Turkey I would say "No! No! Nooooooooo! Stop now!!!!!" My biggest fear is that if this does happen, Turkey will lose that genuine community feeling that other countries try to fabricate by creating shopping malls and such.


Cameron said...

Did you make this blog just for me? I am rooting for the west sorry Christine. Maybe half and half will work for Turkey who knows.

Sonja said...

Sounds like those ladies might like Relief Society?

I know what you mean, though. My mom says there has been a big change in Finland since they entered the EU. Not that the change wasn't bound to happen (Finland has always favored the West to Russia), but it is sad to see some of that cultural identity and uniqueness slip away.

How wonderful that you get to be there and experience that sense of community. Great post, Christine.

Taranani said...

It has been a week or two since we have seen or heard from you post a new blog soon. I am sorry I am such a punk sister I will try to be nicer.

Sunny said...

I love reading all your observations and insights about life in Turkey. Keep the great posts coming! Hope the boys are doing better with preschool

Taranani said...

Christine you better get back to your blog. You are bumming me out everyday when I check there is still no news of you.