Major part of my childhood has been spent with my grandmother.
Major part of my childhood has been spent with my grandmother who was leading a simple life with minimal daily necessities born in the beginning of the twentieth century.
She had ten sons and three daughters.
She lost her husband in his forties, two daughters in their youth and one of the daughters when she gave birth her second daughter.
First, she was the child of a geography that experienced the traces of the Ottoman-Russian War of 1877-78 and was occupied for 40 years after this war, that is, until the October Revolution of 1917. It was overshadowed by the Balkan Wars and the WWI; she had witnessed the War of Independence, which led to the establishment of the Turkish Republic.
She had neighbours from many nations such as Russian, Armenian, Greek, Kurdish, Lazi, Azerbaijani, Molokan, Circassian and when she mentions these neighbours her tongue’s taste changed and her eyes sparkled with missing.
My grandmother was a woman who knew what losing was. She was far from desire for power, in harmony with nature and all creatures, who made world a better place with her productivity, a member of “great humanity” as the great poet Nazim Hikmet set the framework. She was the impersonation of the creative side of humanity as any human-being feeling the warmth of mankind, not of the destructive side. Despite the damaging unfavourable inside the patriarchal feudal relations, she added her love to her food on the table, to a goat waiting to be caressed, to us, her grandsons and granddaughters lying on her lap without any insincerity.
She focuses on the option of losing rather than winning in any struggle with nature.
She felt this when her crop she sow with great effort destroyed by flood which was her main source of food, or when her hens which she tried to breed with hope were die of because of epidemic.
She learnt how to win while burying her grandfather in one war, her uncle in another and her father in another. She learnt how to win yearning for peace, living in peace. For her reason, she was in peace in her neighbours whatever their religion or colour was, she shared their pains.
And she knew that “great humanity” was not the cause of all of the wars that happened, they happened because arm dealers, drug dealers, dominants who are intolerant to democracy and human rights who live on disorder and chaos wanted to be so.
She grew up in a culture yearning for great humanity ideal living “seventy two nations” side by side. That was her wish.
In a matriarchal culture -there was no father anyway-, she knew how to make decisions on behalf of the family, while making the environment a partner.
With my grandmother’s side, where I opened my eyes and broadened my horizon with her stories the seed was sow first for creepy crawly, then neighbours and finally for “us”. When winter time comes and snow surrounds the earth first food was left at the door for the savage animals, then food which procured by limited sources was shared with the poor. More we shared, more we got. That was not poverty we shared, it was the effort for changing the common fate. For this reason, we got richer when we share, we decrease our sorrow and increase our joy.
The more we lost our love for nature the more we generalised war. Soil, tree, bird, cat, turtle, snake… we didn’t see the reality that all creatures have to right to survive, mankind could not escape from defeating for his crime when its his turn to be slaughtered since he kept his silence while they were slaughtered.
Unfortunately the World come to dead end because of the politicians of the century. “Power” has been turned into a despotic structure. All communication means are employed for their purposes and I must say with a great sadness that literature and art are included in this attempt.
Violence is tried to be imposed on all side of life as an instrument of imperialism and globalism. Beyond individual efforts to hold life, brutal competition of capitalist countries begin to invade and usurp of all regions in the world. Acceleration of automatization for the purpose of reducing the cost has caused unemployment of not only average educated people but people of high education and skilled labour. This situation is not peculiar to one certain region in the world, but in a global scale. Unemployment, feeling of uselessness are the anxiety of a Paki, Turkish, American or Korean young individual.
Humanity should be freed from consumption frenzy. Societies which can not diminish their greediness diminish their future. They also diminish not only for their future but also all humanity’s. One should not forget that.
The sine qua non of democracies, pluralist understandings of government, are becoming increasingly dysfunctional, damaging people’s utopias about equality and freedom.
Violence is on the agenda as the diseased side of humanity in all societies where despotism and monist discourse are dominant.
In the world imperialist age, the war has turned into a cultural one. With its cinema, literature, types of toys and games, nutrition and all kinds of consumption habits, it lives the cultural state of war within the industrial siege. The human race is facing a tougher, greater test than ever before.
Unfortunately, instead of preventing this bad course, our age is being worsened by the regimes and governments that find anti-democratic ideological definitions and shape it.
Nature gives the opportunity to survive for all creatures. Man of our age has been damaging irrevocably parts of nature together with himself in the name of urbanization with streets that can not breath. Culture of living and sharing equally together with field mouse under the soil, caterpillar on a leaf, eagle soaring in the sky, pine in the forest got harmed in uncontrollable greed for consumption.
War has been turned into a cultural form not only by an aggressive mankind model but also by guns, tanks, canons, anti-aircraft weapons.
Those who en-sanguine world those who do not know what losing is. Because they do not have anything to lose in the name of humanity, virtue and beauty.
Losing is a human condition. Those who picked a war, sold weapons do not have a place in this condition. They fight for this. They have no humanity to lose.
Those who do not know how to lose, do not know how to win. Who picks a war, maintains war does not how to lose. Because they do not have the “humanity” .
They have no aspirations, joys. They have a “winning” surrounded by rust and filth: destruction, scattering, suffering. And they have the choice of seeing their bank accounts full.
As our famous poet Metin Altiok says:
“I know a god who does not take side
Since he is afraid of losing”
Sadly, this philosopher-poet was killed in fire in Sivas Madimak Otel in 1993 which set by fundamentalists.
One of the most significant dilemmas of our day is greed for power and domination for individuals and imperialism for governments.
Literature is one of the means make things simple for us. It is the human creativity which enables to look world with an artistic-aesthetic eye. We have to believe in power of literature, art and words. It is not be forgotten that wars have always been started by dominant classes who wants to maintain their power and for their good and out of will of the common people. Unless providing freedom for the individual taking its power from love and joy of living and democracy is made sovereign on earth our human side will be diminished and we will be hurt. When this weakness grows wars shall continue.
We must know that if war is the poison of our humanity, its antidote is democracy and aesthetic-artistic richness.
The source of imperialism of mono powers especially in the Middle East and Africa is their economy strengthened by war. We must use our senses against this power trying to impose similar tactics all over the world and we establish our power coming from art.
The creator of our noble future, dear writers.
I begin my words with personal witnessing, my grandmother’s story who suffer from great loss and who sees suffering as a reality related to being human. It was a story of a person who never blesses sorrow, and who believes that she defeats it living in harmony with other human beings and all creatures.
I believe that our future is hidden inside this story.
We will breed not by dying, killing but by loving.
Those who are under the assumption that they gain profit due to canniness and legal gaps in their countries or gaps in laws of humanity should be remembered again that they will be drowned in the gaps of nature and only democratic values, environmental and humanitarian achievements can acquire nature back.
We should know that any kind of monarchy, theocracy and mono system serve for imperialism, exploitation and destruction. We have to struggle with this. Peace can be permanent only in a democratic, free, pluralist ground. Every antidemocratic government and tendency shall bring about power for war supporters and shall serve as a source for the system built by them.
I must repeat that only those who are aware of the power of nature and societies formed by free individuals believe in human virtue can establish peace.
I Will Not Write Poems For Peace
Every time I cross a boundry my words get slower:
The official forgets I am from “the bleeding place of the map”
And looks at me with the commanding eyes saying, ‘Where are you coming from and why?’
I become silent.
My passport spits up blood.
Whereas I know the bullet that killed the white pigeon in my sky.
I know which merchant’s purse the dollars shine in is
In the bank account that enlarges the swamp.
It was a cold whistle sound in the dark
Near East, Middle East, Far East . . .
It’s the day when the sea catches fire.
Boko Haram in Nigeria, ISIS in Mesopotamia.
All kind of killing machines.
My human lifetime, my nature lifetime, my sky lifetime.
If I come to an end, so do words.
Horses stop neighing, and Gypsies forget the most playful dance.
The poison grows inside of me.
Bees, honey bees sting the ones they feel uncomfortable with.
They leave their weapons where they sting.
Then they are ashamed of what they have done, and prefer to die.
Mankind, how can I say,
Makes bigger, bigger bombs.
More effective weapons, bullets, and poison so that
The stronger he gets, the deeper it sinks under his arms, the killing machine
And start watching our darkening skies and cold hair.
It was a great song in my voice.
It went away with an Afghan girl’s petrol blue eyes.
Peace was in Palestinian’s scream who stuck a smile between his lips.
Peace! It is in my Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian brothers’ stabbed looks.
Which call is this, which call whose name I have carried
From Ecuador, North and South China to the poles.
It has been left in dictionaries in the twenty-first century, too.
I will have a hand to rub salt into my friend’s wound.
I will have a voice to flow effervescently in the seas.
Like that, I will not write poems for peace anymore.
Translated by Baki Yiğit
Seven billion people live on Earth.
Seven billion hearts beat to live.
Seven billion people plant flowers, run machines, and sing songs.
They draw birds, ants, cars and trains in notebooks and papers.
And also windows, doors, houses, kitchen cabinets, olives and olive branches.
Seven billion hands, seven billion pens.
Yet it does not suffice to stop a handful of adventurous stark raving mads
From polluting the world, and bombing the creepy crawly, the ruddy-cheeked,
Towheaded and cherry-blossom-dimpled girls in Bolivia, Syria and Iraq.
How many bullets are in the world, how many machine guns, anti-aircrafts and tanks?
How many submarines, rifles and bayonets?
Do you know, my human brother, how many bases ready to launch missiles, how many nuclear bombs?
And how many poor men are there in the world, how many babies who died without getting breast milk?
How many children who were dead and buried without riding a bicycle,
Riding on a swing and reaching school age
For once, yes, for once?
And why so much bread, chocolate, rice and macaroni are produced?
So many computers, cell phones, bicycles, apples, oranges, dates and peaches?
Which bullet will hit the target consisting of buds greened with tears?
I will add up these
And it will only be registered that I drowned in a river flowing wrongly.
Translated by Baki Yiğit
Metin Turan / Opinions / Bizim Anadolu / March 29th, 2022