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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Truth vs Perception

I've recently received a few mails requesting help that seem to revolve around the subject of truth to a greater or lesser degree.

Truth with a Capital "T"
Truth is a passion of mine. Like "Love" and "Food", "Truth" is an important pillar of my life.

I love the Truth. It deserves the capital letter, because it should be a capital concern in all our lives.

There are no lies differing in degrees of seriousness. White lies, small lies, silly lies are definitions that I do not agree with. A lie is a lie, the intention is the same.

You do not save someone from suffering when you lie to them, you merely prolong it. If a friend has a bad habit, why lie to them about it? Simply use tact, love and understanding and help them change if they want to, but if they are happy about themselves then learn to accept them. Otherwise you may have to face the truth that the problem lies not with your friend, but with you.

I don't deal with lies. I will always prefer the truth, because it is stable.

Whatever the truth might be, I will accept it. I know how to handle someone who doesn't like me and says it courageously to my face, but I don't know how to deal with people that smile at you and then prepare to proverbially stab you in the back.

I appreciate an honest enemy more than a deceitful friend.

It is safer to stay away from such people. Just wish them well and move on, because they are really fighting themselves as they are their own worst enemy.

But if I have done something wrong, I apologise, rectify it if I can, and move on, hopefully stronger. Accepting truth makes you grow.

For what does clinging to lies do to you? You become a victim of what I call the "rocking horse syndrome" - you get nowhere.

Sometimes the worst lies are those dressed as truth.

We can fall into the argumentative trap that suggests different perceptions can create different truths - in the sense that what I see as an elephant, someone else might see as an ant.

Wrong.

We both see an elephant. We may differ on whether we like or hate the elephant or what it does to the environment. We may argue on culling and the babaric ivory trade, using "facts" and "statistics" to prove our own subjective points.

We can go into the complex arguments about our perception of reality and the truth, as categorized by the allegory of Plato's cave and mimicked in the Matrix movies.

But an elephant will always be an elephant.

Simply because it might be an elephant in the Matrix, makes it no less an elephant.

Mail from Venezuela
Joselyn Rojas from Venezuela emailed me for permission to use my "English translations as a source for Spanish translations of Tarkan lyrics" as she doesn't "want to be involved in any copyright mess".

I was truthful in my response to Joselyn. I explained she shouldn't assume I could be sure of her sincerity, because of her direct activities in what I term as the "December crisis", due to certain people being melodramatic and over-exaggerating certain issues.

Not only had Joselyn stoked the fire of a certain backlash against me, she proclaimed that it would be best if I was ignored. She also distributed my translations across the Net without asking me for permission, or crediting my name.

Now here she was emailing me and asking for help, and expressing how she "read my blog every day".

What did I do?

I helped her of course, but I also told her the truth.

I told her how she had aided people who were willing to make public comments in their Yahoo! group about me, comments which were not based on any truth.

In particular one woman that I had hitherto defended was warning people away from me.

She was making such comments as "Ali himself tells you on his blog that he can burn as well as warm".

Yes, I can burn and warm, but not because I deceive people as this woman tries to insinuate, but because I am on the side of truth and truth is like fire.

The truth can warm and burn you, it's simply a matter of which side you're are on.

If I wanted to I could have played games of deception with many people on the Web. There were times when people thought I was Tarkan and I could have continued the deception. There were times when girls confessed their feelings to me, and I could have taken advantage of the situation.

I have never done any of these things. Something which is known only too well by these contributors of lies.

And yet if you believe these women, as they rally to each other's defence, they are quick to dress up each other's lies as a "difference of opinion".

Really? For example how can there be a difference of opinion about hate mail?

Hate mail is hate mail, however you care to read it.

And I don't send hate mail.

Ask the people that slander my name and if they are honest the one thing they cannot say is I lie, that is if they can admit the truth or remember what it is.

And now when these people put out a warning about me, I simply smile.

But I smile pityingly.

There is only one thing these people write that I agree with - for certain amendments it is far, far too late.

People should think before they write, because what is read cannot be taken back.

A Letter from Greece
I received a mail from Rania, a Greek singer in Greece, asking me about the Cyprus Issue.

About the island Cyprus, I'm so confused from the history we learned here in Greek schools and what happened in reality. I don't know who to believe - Turkish Cypriot's or Greek Cypriots.

The whole of Greece the one half likes the Greek Cypriots and the other think that they are selfish and have complex problems. I meet some of them and I make discussions in the past about a solution for Cyprus. I can't discuss normally with these people. I fight all the time, because I say both sides have rights and both sides must make peace finally.

They look at me strange all the time with hate like I am a Turkish Cypriot ready to kill them with my knife.

I don't like this behaviour Ali. They don't want forget about the past. One woman told me, you can forget it is not your family that died in Cyprus.

I think crimes exist from both sides. I'm so unhappy with the situation there and I never talk again with Greeks or Greek Cypriots people that make me angry. I want to read the truth from another historian writer maybe from an English writer because they have nothing to hide. England tells mostly the truth. So if I can tell that, I don't trust completely the Greek history books.

If you know some names from writers can you tell me please? And tell me how is it over there? Can you travel like a tourist into both sides or is it a problem? (or danger?....)

I know you believe that English sources will be unbiased, but that is not exactly the case.

England was a guarantor power of Cyprus too, as the island gained its independence from Britain in 1960 and three years later the troubles began. However, good British commentators will write from a view less racially motivated or nationalistically driven, and from this aspect the sources they provide may certainly be more trustworthy.

I would not discard or ignore what Greeks and Greek Cypriots have said to you. Listen to them and understand them. Collaborate that with the view of the Turkish Cypriots, and then read what other moderate commentators have said. The truth will, as always, be somewhere in between.

Keep in mind when you read any source that nothing you ever read will be entirely objective. We must apply our own critical thinking and research the author and question their motives constantly.

So for example, in this respect understanding my love for the island, and keeping in mind the fact I was born here is important, too. My family have been here for over 400 hundred years. My great-great-great grandfather was sent over by the ruling Ottoman administration to be Governor of Famagusta, and we have been here ever since.

I love Cyprus for itself, for its refined beauty, its ancient history, its poetry - for its mountains that embrace me, for its seas that cleanse me - as I wrote once in a childish poem I had written years ago.

And I want it to be whole.

This is where I come from. Whatever I write will naturally be coloured by my personal history, but my character will always force me to see the truth.

Thus read what I write with that knowledge constantly in your mind.

After you have read your various sources, use your logic and reasoning to sift through all the points of view that have dressed the truth according to their tastes, and you will realise that ultimately the truth is simple.

For example read Wikipedia's article on the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus.

Wikipedia is termed as a free on-line encyclopaedia and I use it a lot to reference links from my blog, but we must remember when we read these articles, that most of them are not written by experts in that field and problems can arise.

Even though most moderators do attempt to stay neutral and label articles that are disputed, because of its open nature allowing anyone to edit their pages, I always advise reading the discussion page along with the article, too.

I agree with some of the points raised and I disagree with others in that Wikipedia article, but the ironic thing is that we have to read a whole lot of words to get to the few words of truth we are looking for.

Both Greeks and Turks were killed and the island was divided.

Yes, the truth can burn.

I travel the island from north to south freely in no danger. I have many Greek Cypriot friends.

And all I would say in reply to your Greek Cypriot friends is this: Yes, I've had family killed and you've had family killed - so what shall we do? Glare at each other across the border and bay for blood?

No. I won't do this, because I love more than I hate. And I have faith that they won't do this either, for ultimately as Cypriots we love Cyprus more than revenge, more than money, more than putting a flag on some piece of land and claiming it for this nation or the other.

At the end of the day we all shared the same island culture. My father often reminisces how he and his Greek Cypriot friends would climb into the mountains with food and monastery wine after their hunt, and sing around the fire as they cooked their catch in the open air. Yet, Cypriots of their generation ultimately allowed corrupt political policies and foreign interests to unleash Mars the God of war on the island of Venus, and there is no excuse for it.

Neighbour killed neighbour. That is also the truth.

But as we lost our way, we can find it again.

As a final thought all I can express is that people shouldn't forget the past, but they shouldn't live in it, either, because peace is the only way to heal the scars we have selfishly carved on this island of love.

Anything else I tell you will be my own perception of events and I do not want to colour your views any further.

On any subject, the way to deal with our problems is with open minds, open hearts and open dialogue, never forgetting that we are all from the same family.

Once you begin using lies and badmouthing others, all chance of reconciliation ends.

And that's the truth.

The only truth that matters.

Read more about: The Cyprus Issue | My Say | My Life >>

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