America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

01 May 2006

TIME Magazine Calls Orhan Pamuk a Hero and Pioneer, among 99 other "people who shaped our world"

Thanks to Erkan for posting this link to TIME magazine's list of "100 People Who Shape Our World". You will find Pamuk's name under the "Heroes and Pioneers" listing, among others such as BONO, Angelina Jolie, Bill Clinton, Paul Simon... They also give a brief explanation of why Pamuk was chosen. While I'm proud that a Turkish person is included in such a list, I have little doubt that this news is going to turn some heads in Turkey and draw another round of criticism or even protest against Pamuk's "speaking the unspeakable".
A few months ago I posed the question: Orhan Pamuk: Renegade or Pioneer? It seems we have our answer, doesn't it? However, it should be made clear to people that it isn't just the Turkish government who wanted to punish Pamuk- Many people in Turkey seethed with hatred. So in the spirit of "May is Poetry Month", here is the poem which was circulating last December. It's a full-on assault of Orhan Pamuk:

YÜZDE yüz bir pislik var ki kaninda,Soykirim icadi yapti sonunda,Türkiye'nin su en hassas aninda,Onu yalanlayan tarihe kizar,Böylesi HAÝNLER oluyor yazar.
Nerden çikti simdi durup dururken?Dört yandan ülkeyi düsman bürürken,AB'ye gün be gün hesap verirken,Hayali ölüye mezar kazar,Böylesi HAÝNLER oluyor yazar.
Kivirmayi birak, erkek ol erkek,Bir buçuk milyonu saydin mi tek tek?Üç kurus paraya satilmis KÖPEKEline bir kemik geçince azar,Böylesi HAÝNLER oluyor yazar.
Dönen dolaplari ibretle seyret,Ermeni bu kadar göstermez gayret,Kraldan daha kralci, hayret!Kafayi 'SOYKIRIMI' sözüyle bozar,Böylesi HAÝNLER oluyor yazar.
Eðer bir soykirim varsa ortada,Türklere yapildi ERZURUM, KARS'TA.Tarihi git ögren, birazcik sus da,Dogu bastan sona hep toplu mezar,Böylesi HAÝNLER oluyor yazar.
Azerbaycan’a git, gör soykirimi,Yürekler acisi Türk'ün durumu.Bir daha bilmeden yapma yorumu,Azeri kaniyla doluyken HAZAR,Böylesi HAÝNLER oluyor yazar.
Bati’nin gözünde artti degerin,Onlardan bir daha kaptin 'AFERÝN' .Küpede taktimi mi efendilerin?Midesi dolunca dili hep uzar,Böylesi HAÝNLER oluyor yazar.
Anan mi Ermeni, Baban mi senin?Ailenden var mi hiç katledilenin?Seni bu ülkede aydin edenin?Alçaklik yaptikça bulursun Pazar,-Böylesi HAÝNLER oluyor yazar.
Ekmegini yedigin bu Devlete,Seni adam sayan yüce Millete,Ihanet ederek düstün ZiLLETE!Aman dikkat et, degmesin nazar,Böylesi HAÝNLER oluyor yazar.
Bir adam olursa dogustan yamuk,Soyuna düsmandir, Düþmana pamuk,ERBABI, yakana yapiþir OMUK,Unutma, bu millet oyunu bozar,Böylesi HAÝNLER oluyor yazar.

Regardless of what this poem means to you or I, it's certain that Armenians will be fisting the air in triumph over the recognition given to their new adopted hero. You could say that they "bask in his reflected glory".
I still support Orhan's freedom to say whatever he wants, even if it is controversial. After all, in the end every lamb is hung by their own leg. A hook awaits each and every one of us.


metin said...

For one thing, I disagree with Mr. Pamuk's characterization as the Armenians' poster child. I actually believe Orhan Pamuk and his position as more beneficial for the Turkish cause than is not the case. He at least has the courage to bring out some of the issues that should have been addressed years ago and encourages the debate and discussion of some of the skeletons in our closet. Us Turks should reveal the truth as a favor to ourselves (as we owe it to us and our future generations) moreso than treating it like the unfolding of an eventual embarrasment it may end up causing us.

I hope he continues to succeed in the struggle for truth and hope other prominent Turks join him. Sooner or later he'll get the credit he deserves, possibly even a Nobel peace prize.

iArarat said...

why is it that you guys can not stomach people that have the courage to speak about what happened to the Armenians? You know full well that he is not alone, and just keep on keeping on trying to muffle your own heroes when they disagree with you. Now the news is Turkey is trying Zarakolu yet again. Why? Silly actually, ney smells of facsism and idolatry of Ataturk.

metin said...

iararat: If you pay really close attention to what 'us guys' are actually saying, you'd be amazed you might even find something to agree with. by the way, the armenian issue is not the number one thing on anyone's agenda for the time being. so patience is a virtue, someone will be right with you . . .

oh, do you want me to find some prominent armenian who believes genocide never happened and how then i am sure 'you guys' would honor him.

the issue is not about muffling heroes, the issue is about truth seeking. i, for one, happen to agree with Pamuk, but not because of sympathising with some armenians.

iArarat said...

Metin, I appreciate your conciliatory note. It pains me to see how the process of seeking out the truth has been so skewered by the successive Turkish governments that the Ministry of Education holds an essay contest on denying the experience of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, the same goes with Kurds, who btw, are not without sin when it comes to the massacres of the Armenians, and the Greeks, and the Alevis, and the Assyrians. it is all too unfortunate that these myths of the inncoence of the Turkish state has been so prolific that they seem to be straight out of J.R.R. Tolien's workbook. The article 301, the trials of Dink and the Zarakolus, the smear campaign aganst Elif Shafak and Fatma Gocek and Halil Berktay and I am not even speaking of Taner Akcam. Instead of embracing these folks as exemplary individuals who speak truth to power they are treated little more than shit. Reminds me awfully the good ole Soviet Union and the label of the enemy of the state. The Turkish etatism with its rigid state worship is giving no place for individuals like these.

On another note, who are the prominent Armenians that you speak of that I don't know, who would have denied the genocide of their people who were decimated for simply being Armenians and for no other identifying adjective. I hope that the day will come when we can get together and share the raki, but who knows if it will ever, certainly not in my days and hopefully in the days of our children.

Armenians are angry not only because of the massacres and the decimation of our culture in the past, but how we get treated in the now, how our churches are turned into shitty horse barns and karate training halls and mosques not back in the days but in the very 21-st century, I can send you pictures so you can see them too. And where are the voices inside Turkey to have them stopped. What happened to the Turkish conscience? Is it not time to see the wrongs, is it not time to right them perhaps, and for one brief second be humble putting aside the all too familiar eastern pride and arrogance. My grandparents were orphaned in Erzerum and Kars, of which Pamuk writes so eloquently, and that story is in me, in my bones and bone marrow.

And it may well be that what is ultimately denied is not as much the destruction of the Armenian culture, which is not closed from the public, but the story of those Muslim Turks who risked everything their livelihood and families and all in those ghastly days to save an Armenian soul, an orphan perhaps, and perhaps my grandparents. Think about it.

PJB said...

Only in Turkey is what Pamuk has to say about Armenia controversial.

Adrian Weston said...

Maybe it is only in Turkey that his comments on Armenia are controversial - but elsewhere they are bringing some of the subtleties of post-Ottoman history into the public for the first time. Trying to understand current politics particularly in that region is impossible without historical knowledge, but that knowledge is far from general! Pamuk is an heroic figure in literature, whether you agree with his interpretations or not...