Thursday, December 20, 2007


Today is the first day of Eid el Adha. In Turkish "Kurban Bayramı", in English "Feast of Sacrifice".

I am not sure if "sacrifice" in English (kurban in Turkish)has any relation with "sacred" as a word, but the tradition takes place nearly in all religions including Pagan beliefs. The practice can be seen all along history, whether in the form of offering offering food, or the lives of animals or people to the gods, as an act of devotion or worship. It is also described selfless good deeds for others.

Jews, Christians and Muslims all considers Abraham in high regard. Abraham’s faith tested when he was told to take his son up to the mountain and sacrifice him to God. When he laid the boy on the altar and slay him, God provided Abraham with a ram to kill in the place of his son. All three monotheistic religions agree on this.

Genesis 22:13-14 say; "Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided."

"Korban" in Hebrew ("Kurban" in Turkish) refers to any one of a variety of sacrificial offerings described and commanded in the Torah that were offered in a variety of settings by the ancient Israelites, and then by the Kohanim (the Jewish "priests" only) in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Telling the story of Abraham, Quran states; (Quran 22:37): "It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches God. It is your piety that reaches Him..."). The sacrifice is done to help the poor, and in remembrance of Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son at God's command. The sacrificial animal may be a lamb, a sheep, a goat, a camel or a cow.

"Kurban" has other meanings than it's religious concept in Turkish. "Kurban" is the "subject" of the "sacrifice". In other words; in daily life "kurban" is the "victim". Journalist Bekir Coşkun reminds it in his column today; "Kurbans of destiny..", "Kurbans of traditions...", "Kurbans of unemployment", "Kurbans of poverty..." or "sacrificing ourselves" to "patriotism", "friendship, "love" etc... He is congraculating our Feast, reminding we are all "sacrificial" beings. He is right!

How many sacrificed voluntarily for the love, interest, future of this country, for democracy, for better days? It is enough to remember the 1980 military coup. We were talking with V a few days ago, at the party of a friend. We were certainly happy to be with our friend while she was turning 50 but we were not able to let the circumstances of the country leave our minds.

I said; "Our generation lived in hurry. No generation witnessed more than us."
V replied; "Certainly; 3 coups, many military memorandums, Cold War, fall of Berlin Wall, end of USSR, several hot wars around us, globalisation, technological revolution and so on..."
I went on; "Sometimes I envy our parents' generation. They also lived what we lived, plus 2nd WW but they stayed as viewers. They neither needed to involve, nor effected other than what we made them live."
V said; "They didn't need to in the past and they don't need now. They are contented with having cable TV, but look at us, while we didn't have even normal phones in every house only 20 years ago, we learned computer after the age of 35, we are struggling to race with the technology. They are contented with the news they read or watch, but look at us, we still try to embrace the whole world, do our best to understand and fight for truths, our beliefs.May be we became victims (kurban) in every aspect of life but don't you agree it is better how we lived.."

V is right too. I looked around me. The singer, dancing people, rich food on the table, jewels on the women, beautiful faces of our friends. They are beautiful, some get rich some poor but every one of them lived what this country passed in decades. Some hardly, some easily but they all lived and can think. Although some life styles are not for us, it is good to have such friends. To enjoy all together and to worry for our country all together. To dance all together and to march for democracy all together. To work to death and sacrifice all when needed.

Possibly what I wanted to say yesterday was not easy to understand. I mean; not being able to forgive the institutions, military, state, regime's preferences of "sacrificing" it's own people to the interests of imperialism. Being "victims" (kurban), to be "sacrificed" is not easy to forget or forgive.

We are intelligent enough about the dangers, to differ the enemy and foe, to interpret any political development, to foresee the future possibilities. But there is a psychological, unseen bond on our minds. We are fine with "sacrificing volunteering" for our country but we can't accept to be "sacrificed" by our state.

I wonder if other people in different countries who lived similar experiences are having similar feelings. At least Chile tried to take Pinochet to courts till he die. There are so many accounts to settle for us. Our Pinochet, General Evren and his companions are out of question. He became a painter in his villa, opening exhibitions. This is a big social and psychological barrier for people

There were dozens of leftist groups during those open fascist regimes, which they hunted and destroyed the members, accusing with "terrorism". People didn't counted according to their ethnic identity in those groups. Yes, Turkiye's socialists always supported the right of self-determination but was/ is it only the Kurds who were/ are violated.

An error may happened at the process of elimination of feudalism and development of capitalism at the different parts of the country. The policy of nationalist persecution also helped the rise of counter nationalist winds. Attention diverted from social questions, questions of the class struggle, to national questions, questions "common" to both / all population.

Kurdish nationalism begun to take place of socialist demands. Danger of nationalism(wherever it comes from) begun to threat the country more and more. Great part of the people squeezed between their beliefs and changing Kurdish demands, realizing where it is heading to.

Big brother like to play with tribes, small nations and use them according to their interests. Kurds lived this closely in the past.

We are all witnessing how easily they can change behavior. Intelligence is coming, support to Turkish army is open, Condi's visit and language about Kirkuk is different, Barzani is in useless talks, Neçirvan Barzani's meeting with Shite leader Ayetullah Sistani is interesting about postponing the referendum, Iraq's note to Turkiye over the operation is funny, European countries' silence is clear and PKK's obvious defeat is pathetic.

This is the point where the importance of "people". This is the point why "state, military and all institutions" should be in peace with people. This is the point where radicalism, loosing the ropes of nationalism turns "freedom fighters" to "terrorists". This is the point where support can be gained or lost.

Many of us sent our sons to military service with the same words; "Promise me, you will not shot even once to our people. Otherwise I won't give you my mother's blessing!"
They asked; "What if they attack us?"
We said; "Never, if needed aim to the sky but not on people?"
Some questioned; "What if they are aiming on me?"

We stayed speechless. As the bodies of martyrs fallow one another we lost our voice. Terror's bullets was not differing ethnic origin or ideology. We fed up with the bloodshed. We fed up with groundless demands.

And the state? People can't still believe, support it either. Though there is one question I hate to ask or answer; What about the military? For a second forget how they trained by and acted on demand of US, just try to be honest at least only one thing; Did army ever break any word? To be fair, never!

They made military Put people in military Told they will go, bring back parliament...yes. Won't stay in power...yes. Guarantee the secularism...yes. Guarantee our independence...yes.

So, what is missing? Making peace with people, settling the accounts is missing. It is the problem of state. There is still the love for motherland but not enough thrust to state.

So, what is rest? Rest is "terror". It is not an old but increasing account, increasing with every bomb, every murder, every threat to people, every martyr funeral. I am not sure if such an account can ever settled. The love for motherland fires back on terrorists.

It is already hard to be sacrificed, it is already hard to be victim/ kurban. Ethnic nationalism is ethnic nationalism. There is no difference with PKK or Turkish fascist groups. Made in USA or not...

It us who send our children to military service. It is us whose children are taken to mountains. It is us who welcome dead. It is us who decide to support whom. We are the people seeing red.

Holy Feast of Sacrifice! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah!

1 comment:

Al ve oku said...

I'm reminded of Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen's bleak meditation on this event, The Song of Isaac. After recounting the story through the eyes of the victim, Cohen sings,

And you who build these altars now,
To sacrifice your children,
You must not do so anymore.
For you've never seen a vision,
And you never have been tempted,
By the devil or the Word.

I look forward to visiting your blog more often, and invite you to visit mine, Al ve Oku.