Altaic Storytelling Quote of the Week: Let’s simply say I’m ‘from Turkey’

In a polished English accent, she began, “In my country,” but she paused, trying to reframe her sentence more academically. “You’re right,” she said instead. After giving this sign of acquiescence, sacred to all sane Oxfordites, she continued, “In my country, they grant the highest importance to the law that the height of minarets can’t exceed that of the government’s secular monuments. For this reason, in fact, they’ve built unbelievably ugly monuments to Atatürk all over Istanbul in recent years, just so they’ll overshadow the minarets of mosques that are hundreds of years old.”

Stevenson waited for the main course to arrive before emitting a short, quiet, acceptable chuckle.

Then he asked, “You’re Turkish, correct?”

“Let’s not say I’m Turkish,” Deniz said, smiling. “Let’s simply say I’m from Turkey.”

With glazed eyes, Stevenson combed the knowledge he had in his Turkey database. “Oh yes,” he said. “I believe Turkey, like Germany, is dealing with a national identity conflict. Am I mistaken?”

Deniz had discussed this with foreigners so many times that she’d memorized an overly simplified speech on the matter, which she’d titled “The Turkish Intellectual’s Problematization of Nationalism.” She recited it in a single breath, “You’re right. As a way of rejecting the nationalist strategies that appeared when the country was founded, and in reaction to the country’s destructive policies toward its various ethnic groups, Turkish intellectuals prefer to say they’re from Turkey rather than Turkish.”

(Excerpted from Banana Sounds, a translation of Ece Temelkuran’s Turkish novel, Muz Sesleri. The translation is by Deniz Perin.)

Quote of the Week: Wei Hui’s “Shanghai Baby,” Zhang Chengzhi’s “History of the Soul” and the end of an era

这个时代,正好就是我生活着并将继续生活着的时代,这个时代曾经以 《上海宝贝》的方式戏剧性地与我调情,而现在,通过《心灵史》,我将我自己治愈。尼采曾经说过瓦格纳是他的疾病,对我来说,以《上海宝贝》为代表的那种 “小资想家”就是我的疾病,我曾经如此并入高膏  —- 万幸的是,我遇到了《心灵史》这一味时代的良药。

杨庆祥 (Yang Qingxiang) writing “通向真实的世界” for 三联生活周刊 (2016.7.11) about the two books that initiated and terminated the 90s for him.

Altaic Storytelling Quote of the Week: Pu Zhiqiang and the Taboo “C” Word for Xinjiang

說新疆是中國的,就別把它當殖民地,別當征服者和掠奪者。

If Xinjiang belongs to China, then don’t treat it as a colony, don’t act like conquerors and plunderers.

(One of the Weibo messages for which China’s human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (浦志強) is now being prosecuted, charged with “inciting ethnic hatred”. Cited in China’s Case Against a Civil Rights Lawyer, in Seven Social Media Posts)

Quote of the Week: Human Rights Lawyer Pu Zhiqiang Uses Taboo “C” Word about Xinjiang

“If you say Xinjiang belongs to China, then don’t treat it as a colony,” Mr. Pu wrote in May 2014. “Don’t act as conquerors and plunderers, striking out against any and all before and after, turning them into the enemy.”

浦志强在 2014 年 5 月时曾写道,“说新疆是中国的,就别把它当殖民地说新疆是中国的,别当征服者和掠夺者,先发制人后发制人都为制人,都是把对方当敌人。”

(Tweet by Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), a human rights lawyer now facing charges of “incitement to racial hatred,” and “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble.” Cited in NYT article on May 15, 2015, Chinese Rights Lawyer Detained in 2014 Will Stand Trial)

 

Altaic Storytelling Quote of the Week: Turkish Hikâye as Performance Art

. . . every performance [of a Hikâye] is a unique social event; no aşık can expect the same performance context twice. The text of a performance can be written down or recorded. But a recording, no matter what the means used, cannot represent a three-dimensional performance that includes verbal expression, poetry, music, physical movement, and of course, the audience. Dismantling a live, complex storytelling event — a social occasion — reduces this event to a printed record, a lifeless, flat existence on paper that misrepresents the genre and can misguide folklorists.

(From Hikâye: Turkish Folk Romance as Performance Art, by Ilhan Boşgöz)

Quote of the Week (Jun 26, 2012): Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o on Mother Tongue

For to deny a child, any child, their right to mother tongue, to bring up such a child as a monolingual English speaker in a society where the majority speak African languages, to alienate that child from a public they may be called to serve, is nothing short of child abuse. (Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Kenyan author, in Speaking My Language)