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No: 100, Juillet - Temmuz - July 2018

Samedi, 24 Janvier 2015 00:10

Uğur Mumcu


Remembering Uğur Mumcu (22 August 1942 – 24 January 1993) was a Turkish investigative journalist for the leading daily Cumhuriyet. He was assassinated by a bomb placed in his car outside his home in 24 january 1993.

Samedi, 28 Février 2015 23:34

Yaşar Kemal I

R.i.P Yasar Kemal / a great person and legendary novelist gone.

Yaşar abi'yi kaybettik, çok üzgünüm. Başsağlığı diliyorum. (,283898)
Dimanche, 21 Février 2016 18:35

untitled / isimsiz [071CAR-002]

Ankara, Ankara... bahtı kara.. Hayatını kaybedenlere bassaglıgı diliyorum...
Ankara, Ankara... darkness at night. R.I.P all who lost their lives there...
Ankara, Ankara... bahtı kara.. Hayatını kaybedenlere başsağlığı diliyorum...
Ankara, Ankara... darkness at night. R.I.P all who lost their lives there...
Mardi, 08 Mars 2016 00:09

untitled / isimsiz [072CAR-002]

Happy Women’s Day!
8 Mart kutlu olsun, Yasaklanamaz!
Samedi, 04 Juin 2016 19:28

untitled / isimsiz [075CAR-001]



The German parliament has approved a resolution declaring that the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War One was a "genocide".. Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim blamed a "racist Armenian lobby" for the resolution...

Jeudi, 08 Mars 2018 07:41

untitled / isimsiz [096CAR-001]


Dünya Kadınlar, Emekçi Kadınlar Günü kutlu olsun. Kadınlar ayrımcılıga karsı omuz omuza..

Happy International Women's Day, Working. Women together shoulder-to-shoulder against racism

Vendredi, 03 Juin 2016 09:08

untitled / isimsiz [075CAR-001]


Nazım Hikmet Ran died today in 1963.. A lovely poet..

Sparrows in telegraph wires
You who do not know anything about the telegraph
You are blinded my people to see
Hope you die suffering enough

Lundi, 29 Août 2016 04:38

Vedat Türkali

Veteran Turkish author Vedat Türkali, father of two famous artists Turkish actor Deniz Türkali and poet Barıs Pirhasan, dies at 97. He is a big lost for Turkish literature and also for the left side of Turkish politics.
Dimanche, 25 Septembre 2016 19:21

Neşet Ertaş


Neşet Ertaş (1938 - 25 Eylül 2012) Ölüm yıl dönümünde kendisini saygıyla anıyoruz...

Neşet Ertaş (1938 - 25 September 2012) was a Turkish folk music singer, lyricist and virtuoso of the traditional Turkish instrument the bağlama.

Dimanche, 27 Novembre 2016 10:28

Fidel Castro


Fidel Castro (13 Ağustos 1926 - 25 Kasım 2016)

"i send the following portrait of him made by me to Fidel via Cuban ambassador in Oslo as a gratulations gift on his last bithday...

Yaptigim portresinin orjinalini kendisine son yasgunu vesilesiyle ulastirmistim" Firuz Kutal

Jeudi, 03 Juillet 2014 20:01

Kemal Sunal


Kemal Sunal (11 November 1944, Istanbul - 3 July 2000, Istanbul) was a master of comedy in the Turkish history of cinema.

Mardi, 19 Juillet 2011 09:33

Sexy in Kreuzberg

translated by can altay
Full of fantasies, I ride my bicycle. Sure you can hardly write in such a situation. Only a strong memory can help when you sit down to write. It's certainly not like riding a bicycle with a miniskirt on in summer with a secret exhibitionism in mind and a breeze from underneath. It has always enticed me to notice more men stealing glances at me when I'm riding a bike with a miniskirt on. Let's not skip over it saying it's natures way. Let's see where our fantasy will take us. It's completely like a dream to me. I know that life is a risk, even being in traffic in Turkey, let alone fantasizing on a bicycle. No need to further question that situation. Female bicycle riders don't even exist - and even women drivers are struggling to get where they want under heavy harassment. They are impowered, they combat the sexist pressures of male drivers ... May the force be with them. Perhaps the women have already found a formula to cope with the problem. I don't know, maybe in time they will even start liking it or instead, like some, turn into killers. No matter how much we console ourselves and our German acquaintances by saying that "the Turks in Turkey are far better off from those here", the realities we live in don't say so. My memories of not daring to enter traffic are long abandoned in that land of years ago. I ran away from all this and came to Berlin, Germany to ride my bicycle. I came, yet I parked in the wrong spot: Kreuzberg.

Here, you aren't that far removed from back there. I don't know how I can wander around the limits of my most private feelings amongst all these fantasy-lacking people. Perhaps I know, but I don't let it be known. It's best not to let it be known. It's the men who hide themselves, though they still seem to act more sexual to me. Then there are those who are not too explicit, who know but act as if they don't. The saddest thing for me when I had newly arrived in Germany, was no longer hearing the wolf whistles - men were no longer trying to seduce me as they had in Turkey. Was I not attractive to men here? I got depressed about it for a while, but later I understood the different mentality and the atmosphere here. Anyway I was too young back then. The men here have already adopted to the rule of "I'm not calling a beauty beautiful unless the beautiful is mine". Modernity, that's what it is. But everything has a good and a bad side ... Problems are unavoidable, but the trick is to find the easy way out. Real and passionate love is what I'm yearning for, no matter how artificial everything seems here. It's not possible to distinguish sex and sexism. The problem is not finding the right person, but that the right person comes too early.

It's partly a revenge, this text. From whom? From the veiled, headscarved, trenchcoated Turkish women who go on eating seeds when I ring and ask them to give way to my bike, and their husbands who politely give way, but bust a "fuck you" thinking I don't know Turkish. With the first opportunity I start observing them. Where are these women going? Good guess! Ê Yes, to shopping, to visit relatives, and to go cleaning at four o'clock in the morning. I get off my bicycle and jump into the metro at this ungodly hour of the morning. Here, women file into the metro like packs of rats. It's like they wear their workers' uniform on the way to work. Almost all of them are the same size, same weight, same type. The metro at this hour is filled with them. They are going to work. How can one dress so bad? I sit and imagine. Their body language is banal, so I force my fantasies. I undress them slowly. I remove their headscarves first. Then I attempt my revenge with the most sexist revolt. Half-naked in dim light, all at once, sometimes one by one. Hands at their pleasure spots, touching their own breasts. How hungry for sex they are. How nice they touch themselves. Bewildered women yearning for satisfaction replace the moulded images. They have no charm whatsoever, but this secret thing which I do excites me. What actually gives me pleasure is to be exaggerating such a "natural" thing in the metro. Their husbands are next. They are naked. Oh my god, they are already humping beneath the bedsheets. The women are afraid or ashamed of making the sounds of pleasure. They are making love secretly under the covers even with the man they've been making love to for 20 years. Legal rape in normal life. The women look tired. The women wait for it to end. The men still go on. They must be fantasizing about other women, masturbating on them. Sex is a mandatory attack; call your wife whenever you will and she'll come. Afterwards she'll clean the bath and cook. This is slavery for life, even in the bedroom. I don't understand how most of these men can banalize their women so much that it's like eat, drink and shit, while they are so hungry and full of fantasies for other women. And how do these women, not even with a single gesture make me recall that they live in Germany? And what can one expect from the children born into such banality? Of course they will, once they grow out of their houses, stereotype the women they find to be different, think that these women dress to be harassed, so why not slip the finger at them? It's not unexpected. Whatever. They should at least give way when I ring my bicycle, that would be enough for a start. I know, I know ... We can come across the same views anywhere, in any society - without the veils and headscarves or from those who wear miniskirts and make-up and attract attention even with a headscarf on. They are out of my sight for the time being.

Cooking pasta at home. The Onions are roasted, the perfect time to make the tomato paste. I take the paste out from the fridge and dip the spoon in and smell it. It's rotten and my onions are about to burn. I run to ring a neighbour's doorbell. It's a matter of Turkish nostalgia on my behalf. It's common there - this inter-neighbour exchange of urgent provisions. Anyway, the woman who opens the door is one of those I mentioned. The type who don't deign to give way, ignoring me and my bike. She looks awkwardly at my face. I, in turn, feel displaced. Look at the kind of primitivity I go through in the middle of Germany. Unwillingly she gives me the two spoons of tomato paste. I feel the need to explain: "Auntie my onions are a-burning... I noticed my paste was rotten a little bit too late..."

I notice my ineffective observations. How easily they can become Germanized when it's not their dish, in spite of the fact that they are so deeply attached to their customs. One last explanation to you: all neighbours in the building I live in belong to this Turkish typology I described. That's why I'm so fed up. Left, right, back, front -Ê its filled with them. I'm depressed and so decide to take a short ride on my bike. Unlocking my bicycle at the building lot where I parked, what do I hear from one of these ladies?: "don't attach your bike here, we can't pass with our shopping carts". There is actually space available for her to pass with her cart. Ooh, I say: "Even God can't save you, may the Devil fuck all of you".
Lundi, 11 Juillet 2016 13:50

Hasan Hüseyin Kokmazgil

(Rough English and Norwegian translation of the poem follows at the end of the turkish)

Ulan öldürdüler bizi bu pezevenkler
Bir tek günümüz geçmiyor ahsız ofsuz
Bir tek günümüz geçmiyor borçsuz harçsız
Bir tek günümüz be yahu, bir tek günümüz oh diyesi
Ulan öldürdüler bizi bu pezevenkler
Yahu kimin bu topraklar
Yahu kimin bu denizler
Bu ormanlar bu tirenler bu gemiler uçaklar
Bu madenler kimin yahu?
Kıydılar alımıza morumuza bu pezevenkler 
Kıydılar yazımıza baharımıza
İşimiz gücümüz mayın taramak
İşimiz gücümüz ölü taşımak
İşimiz gücümüz umuda yatmak
Ulan öldürdüler bizi bu pezevenkler

-Hasan Hüseyin Korkmazgil-


They killed us those pimps
We do not have any single day without sorrow 
We do not have a day debt-free
do not have a single day relaxed
They killed us those pimps
Who owns this land
Who owns these seas
Those forests, these trains, ships and aircrafts
These mines who the hell their owners?
This pimps killed our colours
They killed our spring as well as our summer
Our only business is now to look for the bombs
Our only job is to move our dead people
To hope our only power
They killed us those pimps

-Hasan Hüseyin Korkmazgil-


De drepte oss disse halliker 
Vi har ikke noen enkelt dag uten sorg
Vi har ikke heller en gjeldfri dag
har ikke en eneste dag avslappet
De drepte oss disse halliker 
Hvem eier dette landet
Hvem eier disse havområdene
Disse skoger, disse tog, skip og fly
Disse gruvene, faen, hvem er deres eiere?
Dette halliker drept fargene våre
De drepte så vel som vår vår og sommer
Vår eneste virksomhet er nå å lete etter bomber
Vår eneste jobb nå er å flytte døde folk
Å håpe er vår eneste makt
De drepte oss disse halliker

-Hasan Hüseyin Korkmazgil-
remembering graphic cartoonist Turhan Selçuk (1922 – March 11, 2010)069-2n-car-kutal_firuz-abidin_dino
Mercredi, 25 Mars 2015 21:50

Consent: Not actually that complicated


A short one today as my life is currently very complicated and conspiring against my preference to spend all of my days working out what to blog. But do you know what isn’t complicated?


Vendredi, 15 Avril 2016 18:42

untitled / isimsiz [073CAR-002]

Congratulations World Art Day - April 15 - and Leonardo da Vinci's Birthday
15 Nisan Dünya Sanat günü kutlu olsun..
Mercredi, 10 Août 2016 13:55

untitled / isimsiz [077CAR-001]

Go fishin' on a warm summer day.. / Sıcaklarda deniz kenarı havası... Deniz saatleri
This paper is Mehmet Yashin’s talk at the Fabula Conference on “Literature and Mysticism in Europe and Islam”, 20th April 2011, Ljubljana/Slovenia, Other participants: Enes Karic (Minister of Education and Culture of Bosnia-Herzegovina), Vid Snoj (Professor on philosophy at the University of Ljubljana)
The conference title states that mysticism and literature will be discussed in relation with the Islamic World and Europe. ‘Europe’ rests on a geographic categorization, whereas ‘Islam’ is based on a religious one. The notion of ‘the Islamic world,’ which is based on various continents, cultural traditions, religious institutions, and rituals, is an imaginary concept. Likewise, the notion of ‘Europe’ which has been understood in oppositional terms to ‘the Islamic World,’ and which has been assumed to have a trans-historical continuity and homogeneity, is also an imaginary concept. Probably what is meant by the notion of ‘Europe’ is ‘the Christian World.’ However with the Eurocentric worldview, Christianity has been centralized, neutralized, and naturalized, and therefore internalized. For this reason, Christianity is assumed to be beyond religions and incorporating of the entirety of secular European culture. When ‘Europe’ is considered to be ‘of one’ with Christianity and ‘the Islamic World’ with ‘that which is outside Europe,’ ‘otherness’ is created in itself. It is implied that mysticism and the subject of literature can be read through the terms of civilizational dispute between conflicting or opposite traditions. Since secularism, modernity, and Christian Europe have been turned to one single concept, now, the ‘other’ main religion is Islam in the continent that literary critics expect to find religious, pre-modern, and non-European elements in the works of contemporary authors who come from this background. If you are a Muslim background but keeps writing like all other European writers the literary establishment would detect this as if you are in alienation to your own culture due to Westernization, and not authentic enough. On the other hand, it is common to see the influences of “Old and New Testaments”, and other heretic sources in the works of Christian background European poets and writers too. It is because mythological religious narratives, mysticism, and spiritual approaches continue to inspire contemporary authors, particularly poets regardless their religious backgrounds. The problem here is not the different religious backgrounds of poets and authors, but the historical and ideological relationships with secularism and modernity. “Europe” is a secular yet a Christian entity in the perception of Eurocentric discourse, and therefore against to the so-called ‘Islamic World’.

This worldview turns the Christian Slovenes and Muslim Bosnians, who until yesterday were the single people of a common country, Yugoslavia, into people who belong to very distant cultures. Not only are countries, which have majority or sizeable Muslim populations like Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and European Russia (with Tataristan, Chechnia, Osetia, Dagistan republics and the self-declared independent state of Abkhazia) considered to be ‘outside Europe,’ but so is the mystical philosophy of Muslims of medieval Iberia, on the westernmost corner of Europe. The erasure of memory and references to the presence of Islam in Europe, which goes back to the 8th century in the westernmost part of the continent, reassures those who prefer to perceive Islam in Europe as merely an Ottoman and especially post-colonial phenomenon. With this imaginary understanding of ‘the Islamic World,’ the Islamic mysticism and literature of medieval Spain which influenced Europe for centuries is equated not with the European tradition, but with that of far away lands, such as Malaysia in southeast Asia or Nigeria in central Africa or Maldives in the Indian Ocean.

It is true that the European literary and philosophical tradition has been recently considered through the notion of ‘Judeo-Christianity.’ But it would be hard to argue that this illustrates new Europe’s openness to multiple cultures and diversity. On the contrary, this brings the question of why Islam, which is a religion of the book and originates from the “Old Testament” just like Christianity and Judaism, is not included in the European tradition even more vehemently to fore. The poems of Shmuel HaLevi or Yehuda HaLevi who was known as ‘HaNagid’ and who wrote in medieval Spain, which was under Muslim dominion never became a reference point for European literature in the era when the concept of Europe was established. The reason why the works of those medieval European authors who wrote in Hebrew and also Arabic are now being translated and published is that the notions of ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘multilingualism’ are widely accepted today. After the Jewish-Hebrew and Muslim-Arab populations and literatures were eliminated from the Catholic-Latin culture of Spain, it would do no harm to refer to them as nostalgic elements. Beside of this, Cervantes, who, according to some recent sources, was of Jewish background, but his ancestors forcefully converted to Catholicism under the terror of the Papacy, had already created “Don Quihote” as one of the founder work of Christian European culture.

If we reach Reform and Enlightenment period, we observe some sort of consensus about Goethe as an author who is representative of European sensitivity and thought. However Goethe himself had said that he felt close to the Judeo-Muslim beliefs and that he had been influenced by pantheism. He had studied the Persian, Arabic, and Turkish literatures and believes when writing the “East-West Diwan”. He had been influenced by Hafiz and Attar as well as Rumi. He learned Persian and acquired Turkish and Arabic linguistic terms. In constructing his philosophical world, he has also been influenced by Spinoza who was a Jew who had cut his relations with Judaism. In sum, it hasn’t been sufficiently emphasized that Goethe was the creator of a masterpiece which incorporated sources from non-Christian mysticism too.

If we return to ancient times, we observed that the Greek philosophy, which is considered the base of the European tradition is related to Stoicism, and it came from the Near East just like many other sources of Greek mythology and literature. There are two early main schools of the philosophy of love, which influenced poetry. Although these schools came from the same Greek-Turkish geography and they have lots of similarities, are accepted as representatives of two different worlds: While Sappho is known as one of the founders of the European tradition, Rumi (Mevlana Celalettin Rumi) is regarded as one of the leading figures of the Islamic tradition.


It is interesting that Socrates and Plato, who believe in the immortality of the soul, have in different ways incorporated the traditions of Sappho and Rumi. Because the Lesbos school of Sappho originates from ancient Greek paganism, it hasn’t been analyzed as a distinct ‘religion of love.’ However, in her writings on beauty, love, and eroticism, Sappho had created different sacred bases for herself, primarily in Aphrodite and Eros. By placing love which originates in beauty above all other values, she had re-interpreted ancient Greek sources, including Homer. Around a century later, Socrates and Plato transmitted the structure of the Lesbos school, which had been started around poetry of Sappho, into the arena of philosophy. It must be remembered how Plato, whilst banishing poets from his ideal polity, had given a place to Sappho in the realm of the sacred and considered her the tenth muse.

Coming to the philosophy of love linking Rumi with his lover Shams: “Masnewi”, one of the main poetry books of Rumi, who was known as the ‘prophet of Eastern Rome’, was considered the holy book of the region. Without identifying with any established religion, Rumi was speaking through a voice above all religious institutions including Islam. He was emphasizing that religion is “Love” and that “Lovers” could not be tied to any orthodoxy. He had harmonized Eastern and Western mysticisms through the human affects inspired by Godly love in his works. It is only after the death of Rumi that Mevlevism would be institutionalized as ‘an Islamic sufi order.’ When Rumi was in life, one of the places which he frequented most was the Monastery of Plato which belonged to the Orthodox Christians of central Asia Minor. Rumi, who developed the notion of ‘Sun-God’ through inspiration from Shams (meaning “Sun” in Persian), turns this around. It is interesting that Plato, in whose philosophy Rumi had great interest, used to also refer to Socrates through the notions of ‘Sun-God’ or ‘the Prophet of Sun.’ Just as Plato had become the voice of Socrates after his condemnation, so did Rumi establish a mystic world around Shams after his killing, by speaking to him and on his behalf in his poetry.

In my opinion, Sappho is one of the closest personalities to Rumi among the earlier philosophers and poets. However Sappho is never mentioned among philosophers perhaps because she is a poet and because she is a woman. On the other hand, insofar as Rumi is considered a philosopher, the poetic quality of his work is not considered enough. Sappho was not a mystic in the sense that modernist understanding but since her main subject matter love is a mystery, it is possible to find out many links between her poetry and the roots of mystic philosophy. Modern times did not only create an antagonistic difference between East and West (Europe and the Islamic World), it also created a break between philosophy and poetry. However one could give many examples to the contributions of Sappho and Rumi to love-centred philosophy and heretic tendencies, and similar such approaches in literature.

Just as poets may think like philosophers, so may philosophers be created like poets. As an example for a philosopher who thought like a poet, it is possible to refer to Walter Benjamin through his writings on Baudelaire. Here, I would like to argue that poetry, given its nature, is the field of literature which is most open to mysticism or mystical philosophy of love may appear in the poetry of the most unexpected of poets like Baudelaire. I also would like to argue that there are elements in Baudelaire’s poetry, which relate him both to Sappho and Rumi, this may be because of the similarities between Sappho and Rumi.

According to some Turkish critics, Baudelaire follows Rumi in his “Flowers of Evil” in responding to the social consequences of modernity by developing the themes of turning to one’s self through a soulful elevation and looking for an existence which is at one with the universe. Even further, some of the sayings and symbolic language used by Baudelaire match one-to-one with metaphors and concepts used by Rumi. For example, like Rumi, Baudelaire writes that “the souls of lovers are like twin mirrors” and that “there is oneness in the multiplicity of nature.” Particularly we can see this parallel in the Turkish translations of Baudelaire made by Sabahattin Eyuboglu in the 1950s.  In his poem entitled “Sun”, and even in Baudelaire’s drunkenness, one can perceive aspects similar to Rumi, such as in the following verses: “ With wine,/ poetry,/ or virtue, get drunk,/ but in any way you may.”

Poets work intuitively, not fully aware of which literary traditions or which poets before them they might be following. In giving the highest value to beauty and in opening himself to passionate values and lyricism, Baudelaire is actually a relative of Sappho. Hence he had announced in 1845, implicitly referring to Sappho, that he would be publishing a book under the Title “Les Lesbiennes”. But the book was published in 1857 under the title of “Les Fleurs du Mal”. In spite of this title change, Baudelaire’s long poem, ‘Lesbos,’ points to his influence from Sappho. According to Walter Benjamin, lyrical poetry never achieved a real success after Baudelaire. We could say that Baudelaire is the last representative of a lyrical tradition, which began with Sappho. Just like Rumi and Sappho, he is a poet of the philosophy of love. His only difference from them is that he writes under the conditions of possibility of modernity where love has been made to kneel down. And this, in Walter Benjamin’s terms, “is not love which has been obstructed, but love which has been withhold”.

Again in the quiet link between Spinoza and Rumi, the main idea is that of the unity of existence, of the soul carrying the spiritual in itself, of the unity between existence and the Godly. There is no difference between the soul and the body and the human being is nothing but the personification of God. Feeling, the emotions, encounters, sadness which threatens existence, happiness which supports existence, the intimacy and intensity of love, power, rising, and at the end, a person realizing the core of himself when he does that which is natural to himself, and beauty which emerges out of this… all of this can be found in one or another way in Rumi’s poetry. The fact that Goethe read both Rumi and Spinoza might be one point through which this complicated knot of encounters can be untied. What has mostly been argued is that Goethe could not have written the “East-West Diwan” without reading Rumi. But the fact that he was simultaneously reading Spinoza too is enough to give an understanding of the kind of orientation he was trying to create in his work. As Baudelaire introduced the narrative-lyrical prose style to poetry, Goethe for the first time used the form of letters in his short-novel “Sorrows of Young Werther,” just like Rumi’s love letters. Their merging of multi-layered writing and philosophy can be read as linked with the works of Sappho and Rumi which merge the Eastern and Western traditions.


(I have distributed some poems from Sappho and Rumi as a separate text. I re-formatted these poems with my parallel reading of their verses. You can see Sappho’s lines in italic fonts and Rumi’s lines in regular fonts. I have quoted their verses and connected them to each other freely with the hope of showing their similarities.)

The moments of encounter and experiences of love are the starting points in Sappho and Rumi’s poetry. Unlikely other poets in their times who generally wrote their poems to imaginary lovers who could never be reached, there is a real lover with flesh for Sappho and Rumi but conservative society prevented them from being united with their lovers. The poems, which were inspired from their concrete personal experiences, turned into holy sayings above time and space. Both Sappho and Rumi question the meaning of existence in these holy sayings. They don’t get caught in their time and their limited life experiences while they write about it. Although their personal experiences may be seen as not out of the ordinary, and they use common daily language and direct expressions, they both jump to the highest levels of philosophy to question the deepest subject of the existence of human beings. For this reason, Sappho has been read for 2600 years and Rumi for 800 years. Again for this reason, a poet who chases the foot prints of Sappho and Rumi could reach the whole poetry of the world. It wasn’t only Goethe and Baudelaire who continued Sappho and Rumi’s themes; many other poets, from Rilke to John Donne, and from Ikbal to Alexander Pope did as well, in their own ways.

The poetic imaginaries and metaphors come from nature are important for Sappho and Rumi. They both speak with the language of nature. The enthusiastic and improvised style of Rumi creates a lyrical effect similar to Sappho’s style. Even if they wrote with humour, they still kept speaking to the Gods and the Godly. They connected their subject of love to the Gods and goddesses and love itself is connected to the problematic of universal existence. They both wish to be one with God. Rumi names this as “the oneness of being” and this expresses the oneness of God and the human being within the whole universe. Sappho also highlighted that mortal humans are equivalent with the immortal gods in the eyes of lovers. Sappho and Rumi don’t have an abstract imagery of the human being. They approach humans through the image of their lovers and it is this that they equate with the gods. Sappho has written “she can’t be judged for sins that she perceives her lover like a goddess because her lover’s beauty could be compared only with goddesses.” Almost with similar words Rumi said that “his God is his lover, because he takes all the beauty like the God who represents the wholeness of the beauty of existence.” Erotic and mystic sensualities of love have interwoven for both of them. There are mystic implications in Sappho’s eroticism and similarly erotic implications in Rumi’s mysticism. Soul and body, idea and emotion, dream and reality, as well as sensual joy and holy purification can’t be separated according to their poems. It is safe to say that there is no early poets in the region they came from but Sappho and Rumi whose names were identified with holy temples, religious orders, and were given social roles between the godly world and the daily world and who would express erotic and holy love as nested in one another. This humanly and godly understanding of love also helps them both to combine the elements of materialist and metaphysical philosophical approaches in their poems. With all these particularities, they show that love is not only the key concept but also the most thorough one.

Actually, one of the most important points shared by both Sappho and Rumi is to move from love to poetry and from poetry to philosophy. Their philosophical approach foresees that existence could be comprehended with a poetic way of thinking.  They interpret the world with a kind of knowledge of love and they turn poetry to a method of epistemology. Although Rumi was involved in philosophy, he claimed that he is not a philosopher because he is interested only in love which is a matter of the heart and feelings, not intellect and logic. Similarly Sappho didn’t recognize any compass but love, and hence she was not interested in establishing an intellectual system. According to Sappho, to be attracted by beauty and love is not only the highest value but also an unavoidable reality that no-one can question. For this reason, Helen shouldn’t be called a traitor because she left her home and even her children behind for Paris and escaped to Troy together with him. Since she had no alternative in front of love and beauty, it is not enough to say that Helen’s decision was the right one, it is uncontrollable, like the beating of a heart. If we look at Rumi’s life, we can see that he actually left his ‘Allah’ and his own son for the sake of Shams’ love. He doesn’t find it odd that the lady of the house desperately wanted to make love with his handsome slave Joseph, because the desire of love and the root in beauty are not questionable, it is one of the main natural instincts of human beings. Even if this is not exactly known as what love is, deep and thorough knowledge comes from it. There is no other educational method that one can replace with the knowledge which comes from the experience of love. Intensity within love is the source of creativity and also of poetry. One of the important suggestions of Sappho and Rumi is to cut across all boundaries. For this reason, they have problems with logical arguments and intellectual categorizations. They were interested in the things which are unseen, unexplained, and unnamed, but which are felt.      

Tulip, rose, and jasmine are the flowers of Sappho and Rumi. Apple and pomegranate are their fruits, and dove their bird. They both like to talk about the sun, the sunset, moonlight, stars, and the night. They frequently dream and speak from the inside of dreams. There is no question that love and lover are key words for them, and their whole vocabulary turn around these words with expanding ordinary meaning from one aspect to another. When one compares Sappho and Rumi’s differences, such as their times, their religious beliefs, genders, and life styles, it is incredible that they have not only common poetic approaches but common forms of wording, too. They use a vocabulary which is perhaps not identical but similar, and usually the meaning of these common words were expanded and became symbolic concepts in their poetry, such as: “mirror, wine, the instrument of rubab, stall, robe, soul, feeling, take wings, flying, water, becoming transparent, emptiness, missing…” Even more the meter they use in their poetic forms shows similarities. The ‘metron’ meter which was used by Sappho was common in ancient Greek poetry, particularly in the eastern ‘eloi’ dialect, and it is almost similar with the ‘aruz’ meter that Rumi borrowed from the Persian poetic tradition. Both meters which originated from the harmony of rising and falling of open and close sounds were adopted to couplets with similar end rhymes by Sappho and Rumi.     

Although the texts by Sappho have been burned in the era of early Christianity, did Rumi perhaps read some of the remains which were kept in some Orthodox monasteries in Asia Minor? It is very unlikely. What we are sure is that he read Aristotle, Plato, and other Greek sources related with ancient mythology and tragedies which are around Sappho’s poetic world. It is also documented that Rumi had close cultural relationship with the Greek Orthodox population and some of them were his followers in the region where he used to live. Rumi knew enough Greek to study Byzantine Christian texts, and he even wrote poems in the Anatolian Demothiki Greek language. He also used Greek words and verses alongside Turkish ones in his Persian language poems. Some of his poems show direct influences of ancient, Byzantine and Demothiki literatures in Greek. It is sad that there is not much comprehensive study on Rumi’s connection with Greek sources. For instance, his poem which is written on his tomb-stone in Konya was actually adopted from an anonymous Demothiki Greek folk song. This poem was almost translated in its main structure from Greek into Turkish with a similar Greek nursery rhyme and style but it was turned up side down in a clever ironic way. I should add that no scholar or literary personality in Turkey or Greece has yet realized the complex origin of this particular poem, as a matter of fact, it belongs to neither Greek-Christian nor the Turkish-Muslim poetic traditions but to both. Not only orientalist approaches but occidentalism, too, is responsible for analyzing the poetic and philosophical world of the so-called East and West, which Sappho’s and Rumi’s works are based in, as if they have no connections. Although Rumi wrote that “If someone had fallen in love/his religion can’t be Islam”, he is still introduced as ‘the Muslim thinker’ and every year Islamic sufi rituals are organized around his name in Turkey by the officials, not because of radical political Islam but simply for the sake of the tourism industry of global capitalism. Yet in one of his poems Rumi says to us, “I am not from the East, not from the West/but beyond the worlds you know”. In order to be able to understand the new worlds, contemporary literary establishments need to break away from the preconceptions of modernist, secularist, Eurocentric discourses and go “beyond”…
Vendredi, 07 Octobre 2011 14:02

cardful and truth

we were fine. believing in cardful
in birthday songs and cakes and in the one blowing the candles out
in the cheerful necessity of the happiness of being born
in chemistry, measuring and scale devices
her name is fatma, we believed in fatma immediately
in sergio leone, in electrical energy
his name is ali, why shouldn’t we?

we were fine
we were explaining the second slaps by the theory of cultural diversity
the first one was improvisational
but the third one is against the human rights
we were believing in human rights
in john locke, in john wayne
in going from somewhere to another
in coats, in cotton fields, in virginia tabacco

in the wars of alives directed by deaths
but mostly in cardful
“lili marleen is so sorrowful”
we took it, accepted it; it is so sorrowful
it was somewhere here, we were believing in it too
whatever it was, there is no doubt about our believing
in handy cameras, in compassion... in renault toros
we would  nearly worship, they stopped manufactoring fortunately

we were fine
were believing in cardful, in monogamy, in surprises
in the arrogant shrinking of the lips saying surprise
in bikini islands, and in gardener trousers
in creams, in that trotsky's a good guy somehow
in berry time, in tanpınar
in the sentence, istanbul is the capital city of the world, and in wholegrain rice

in lost brothers, in dead languages, in engineers
isn't there  a nice sound in the idea of lost brother
in jodie foster, all together
in elmalılı's interpretation, a part of us
a few us in karabaş’s tajweed

in sweating, in humidity, in madonna
country is a valuable holding, in national real estate agents
in public railways and in people's highways
in yasin books with double roses
but not in purple and white afyon flowers
again in yasin books with double roses

in the wishes of take care; see you
why would we
in fountains, in archaic world, in rome and three continents
in contracts and in social insurance
in not spitting out on ground
you can spit out to the sky
while the sons of israel are killing the daughters of israel
we were fine, we were believing in cardful
Mercredi, 19 Février 2014 19:02

television set (feb, 1964)


1964 Şubatında televizyonlarda GÖRÜNTÜ ve SES

iç/in U-T San Diego, 02.2014