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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Your Say

I always have my say on the blog. It's time for you to have yours again. I give responses where appropriate.

An email from Caroline Farrugia, Malta:

I'm a Maltese Law Student. First of all I'd like to tell you how much I like reading your blog. However I'd like to ask you, why have you reported with such insistence the very much misunderstood words of The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, regarding religion and violence and have not reported when the Pope has sent his best wishes to all Muslims wishing them happy celebrations marking the end of their Ramadan?

Thank you for your feedback. I truly appreciate it when people care about an issue enough to mail me.

In reply to your comments, of course there will always be a certain amount of human bias in my posts, but I do try to see the other side. However, I don't think my blog has been as hard on the Pope as you say.

My first ever mention of the Pope was in 2005, and it was in a very Christian light. As for the 2006 BBC news reports, I haven't added emotive, personal commentary in those specific posts so I'm afraid the Pope's actions speak for themselves. My own view has been in my Letters to B posts and there I have constantly defended the Pope.

The reason I didn't report "his best wishes to all Muslims" at the end of Ramadan, was because I didn't read it. However, it is a customary thing for the Pope to do this. It wasn't done out of any "special sensitivity" after the Pope's usage of a derogatory quote about Islam.

In my opinion, even "bad" Popes eventually became excellent men of God, because their position forces them to be so - like the opposite of a political seat. Where the latter corrupts, the former "de-corrupts" (if you will). I held the old Pope in high estimation and I'm sure that the office will make a very good Pope of the new one, too.

Finally, you may also find this article interesting about what the Pope said - written by Jewish atheist Uri Avnery - of course we have to keep in mind this writer's own bias, too, but it makes for interesting reading.


An email from MKDK, in Vietnam,

Your recent poem Perfect Number is awesome. It now become another most favorite of your poems, along with Digging for the Divine. And again show the beauty of your heart and greatness of your mind. You make the best of what God has created, as a human being, with all its beauty and potential...and your children will always honor your legacy...because you have understand the meaning of the word "Legacy".


An email from Avo Yermagyan, USA,


It is a pleasure to see someone blogging with heart and soul, rather than vindictiveness and spite for a change....I want to thank you for your words.


L. Harris, in Surrey, UK writes,

O wise one!

I'm making clippings of all your posts on love and food and taking the advice to heart. Thanks to your posts, me and my husband are having a better go at being friends. Do you do advice on sex problems?


Deborah, in Ireland writes,

Marry me darn it! Marry me!


Abbie-Louisa from Australia writes,

I can't tell you what your poetry means to me. I'm nineteen and hoping to read Law too, one day, I look forward to you poems so much. I love them all, some I read again and again, a few have become like a Bible to me. So much wisdom in them. I am just writing to let you know that I am saving up my money to come on a you. I have to find you and thank you in person for the way you've changed my life.

To get a mail from a beautiful girl is always flattering, but you do not need to come halfway across the world to find me. Please don't. You've already found me, every time you read my poems I'm there, too. Thank you.


An email from Victor Vicente, USA:

My name is Victor Vicente. I am a doctoral student in the U.S. currently writing my dissertation on Turkish music.

I spent a year in Turkey doing fieldwork throughout, but especially in Konya. I also went to Syria, Cyprus, and Egypt and found quite a lot there. It was only after having returned to the U.S. that I realized how important Rumi and the Mevlevi had become in the New Age movement and how they were beginning to be referred to in Turkish popular music, prompting me to write a chapter on this phenomenon in my dissertation. Unfortunately, I'm woefully under-researched, but quickly closing the gap thanks to you.

I wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your website and find it very informative. It is an invaluable wealth of information! I will be sure to cite you in my dissertation; if you don't mind, that is.

Many thanks yet again!


Sanda Vladescu, in Romania, writes:

Thank you, dear Ali!

Reading your posts on Ramadan was like I lived a whole month again, being part of the events this time, understanding, tasting the words (you have a very vivid 3D writing style, like everything it's revealed before you, just to touch it).

You were right - it's like a whole month of Christmas. Too bad that people of all religions forget about this kindness and soul bonding too soon.

If you ever ask yourself what's your purpose on Earth, if you ever question if you changed anything with your presence on this planet, just remember that you open someone's eyes. I also opened someone else's eyes: my brother asked me if I have the Koran just seeing my sudden passion for Turkey - he assumed that I should have it. The chain was born. So, you see, the world is changing - you made the difference!

Understanding sets people free. I never felt it so strong before. I can't thank you enough so I say from the bottom of my heart "God bless you!"

I've started a blog about Turkey but I neglected it because of my busy schedule. Now I feel it's my moral duty to continue, to give at least a piece of what I received.


Steven Hill, in England, writes:

I really enjoy your blog, and after reading your views on novelist Orhan Pamuk, I wanted to write to tell you my own thoughts. The hypocrisy of the French (and other Europeans), to write laws that make it a crime to even say something, while disapproving of Turkish laws that do the same reminds me of the double standard that became obvious during the whole Mohammad cartoon mess: In Europe one is forbidden from defaming certain groups, but in the name of free speech, feel free to go after this other group. Europe doesn't seem to hold true freedom of speech. People have to remember that the Turkish law that started all those cases against writers was brought in under European requirements, the only difference being that insulting the "country" was amended to "Turkishness". We need to keep in mind that the bloody wars and ethnic cleansings of every race that continent has witnessed have left Turks rightfully sensitive and intolerant of any speech that provokes ethnic tension. If only Europe was more fair and even handed, I am sure the Turks would follow. Doesn't banning headscarves and insulting a religion in cartoons in Europe seems provocative enough, without this?


P.L, from the BBC Europe Desk writes,

Your Ecevit story interested us to say the least. We have now added this line to our own obitary: "By 1974, thousands of Turkish Cypriots had sought refuge in enclaves, displaced by clashes with Greek Cypriots". I accept the point you make that Turkish Cypriots were uprooted too and it is right to remind readers of that. Our story does also mention the abortive Greek Cypriot coup, of course.

<< Do you want to read more about the Cyprus Issue?


A plug for Kevin Revolinski, in USA:

Kevin-Revolinski's book The Yoghurt Man ComethPlease recommend my book, The Yogurt Man Cometh. Part travelogue, part memoir, it is the story about my year-long adventure as an English teacher in the Turkish capital of Ankara, with all of its ups and downs and its constant surprises. My first experiences as a teacher, forays into classroom discipline, navigation of a new language, attempts at cross-cultural flirtation, explorations of timeless and surreal landscapes, acquisition of a taste for raki and success at making numerous lasting friendship - all told with an open mind and a sense of humor. An enjoyable read for anyone who has spent time in Turkey or who plans to do so; I hope my observations will resonate with those of any outsider who has come to love Turkey and Turkish culture. Thanks for your support!

<< Want to read more about Turkish culture ?

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