Everybody Hates Us

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with the permission of  Serdar Yılgoren

 

“I am not Turkish, I am more Greek and Russian”, said a friend’s daughter, a very young girl at the beginning of her teens. “That is what I say when they ask me my origin.”

She had strong reasons behind that desire to belong elsewhere. From her rather short experience in this world, she quickly realized that nobody likes Turks a lot. My friends who have lived in Turkey all through their lives will disagree. But I, who grew up outside Turkey, felt so connected to what the little beauty had in her little confused heart. She is a Canadian, born here, grew up here, in Toronto. Her parents are Turkish immigrants, who came here not long ago, around 15 years, let me say. And she is fucking right: our passports belong to a country of origin that not many westerners like.

I can talk about the reasons behind it for pages and pages, I may even contradict some arguments smartly, but that doesnot change the fact that it hurts.

I grew up in Algeria, went to american and french schools all through my teen age years during 80’s. Almost half a century has passed over those days. And that fact remains to be god damn true: Nobody likes us. I always had to prove that I was not like the other Turks, whoever those were, I didnot even have an idea at that time. I had to confront questions relating to Armenians, Kurds, as well as the immigrant Turks of Germany, about our thousand coups d’etat, our faschist regimes at such a young age. I felt discrimination so strongly, that I did my best not to fall into the traps of racism all through my life. I didnot know where to stand: should I be proud of my country, or ashamed.

The remark of my little friend brought back all those memories. I understood her so well, what a burden that is over little shoulders.

Today, now that Turkey entered Syria, I felt the hearts of tousands of little immigrant Turks beat in my body. I felt the same ache as I saw a Kurdish origin friend’s facebook comment for example. I felt it in another Canadian friend’s facebook post.

Can I blame my childhood friends from USA for their country’s behaviour in the middle east? Or can I blame my beloved Canadian friends for belonging to a country that is the biggest arm exporter to the same area? None of us are in this mess personally. The rules of the game are cruel, as well as very stupid. We should have evolved into beings who should not be wanting any war in any part of the world after all that we have gone through, and no little girl should be feeling that way about her origins.

To me personally, I dream of a world that nobody is proud of belonging anywhere, because it is obvious that every single country, developed or third world, has millions of shameful acts in history. Noone is to blame the other for their past. Belonging to a country, being proud of it , just creates the “others”, whereas what the world desperately needs is feeling as “One” nowadays.

I hate the fact that Turkey will be attacking the Kurds, whatever reason is declared. I hate the fact that Trump pulls and pushes every country around, I hate the fact that both Kurds, Turks, even all those Islamic State terrorists are/will be dying in another war produced artificially, just to make some people rich. They are all little human beings who didnot have the priviledge to choose to become what they are now. Many are born into a suffocating hatred in the area. What does the silly rulers of the world expect?

Little brains continue to hate Syrians who were forced to leave their land. Who wants to prostitude at the age of 13, because he/she has no choice to survive? Who wants to leave behind their dignity in order to be able to live? That makes me very mad. And I feel powerless. I feel confused, even at my age.

I hate that country that I love so much.

ps: Please tell your kids that despite every force that tries to  pull us apart, we are all “one”. It will take years for them to understand it fully by their hearts. If  children die in war in far away lands, whatever group they belong to, the whole world is bound to suffer from that pain in the end. 

 

A Recipe For Beating Alf

 

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My Colours

 

I will go “home” in a few days. Also, at the same time I will be leaving “home” in a few days.

Being inbetween two homes, two places is a weird feeling.

I can’t help thinking and writing about it constantly. Actually sharing my immigrant self was the intention of my blog when I started it. But I didnot have the energy to observe myself, because I was going through an emotionally unstable period for a while. Now has come the time.

I have just started a new sort of life here very recently. Before that, I was just “present”. I have finally finished “hanging around”, and I have settled to make a living, to be part of every day life, to be more “normally” Canadian. I found a part time job, in a place called Happy Place, which I may define as circus where everyone enjoys watching their own selves. That helped me to make observations regarding myself, not selfie-wise, but more deeper observations. And as I was trying more to be part of the society, it was a time period where I felt very very much as an outsider, in a way that I had never felt before. I couldnot understand people, people couldnot understand me, I felt so weak, powerless, so odd, so weird. I never expected that, because my extravert qualities are quite competitive. But I found myself always on alert: to be careful to what I say, to what I do, to how I react. It was partly because I was in an environment that was totally “not for me”. That feeling scared the hell out of me. I felt a complete stranger even to myself. I started acting awkwardly and that made me even weirder.

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Is My Daughter a Terrorist?

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Is my daughter a terrorist?

Well, I suppose no.

She was asked this question while she was volunteering for a music festival.

She was so happy to have a priviledged post because she was one of the  most seriously working kids  at that festival. She was assigned to do the artist check-ins. I was so thankful to everything while she was telling me about it the day before…She is studying Arts Management in Uoft and she dreams of working in the music industry. And that was really a big deal to meet those musicians, to be so close to them, to be able to chat with them…

Next day she came to me and said:

-Mom I forgot to tell you something. One of the producers asked me where I was from. And when I told him I was from Turkey, he said: “So, you aren’t a terrorist, are you?”.

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My Third Year In Toronto

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This photo is from our first day in Canada

 

It has been exactly three years…

Three years that the immigration officer at the Pearson Airport has welcomed me. I remember her saying: “ Welcome to your new home.” She was so nice and embracing, which had inexplicably disturbed me a lot, and I found myself saying: “I am not sure if it will be our new home, we will just give it a try, and see whether it will be a new home. “

I felt Kerem’s, my husband’s gaze darting at me, and as soon as we moved a bit away, he said:

“Are you nuts? Why did you say that? Nobody forced us to come here, it was our choice, and plus she was so nice to us…You don’t seem to realize that there are so many people in the world who  would like to be in your place right now, would love to have that right to immigrate so easily to another country.”

I was not nuts, I was just homesick already. And also I was a bit afraid. My daughter was going to become Canadian, and we would continue our lives as same old Turks. I never had the intention of becoming Canadian at the beginning. We wanted that second nationality only for Ayse, my daughter, because we always thought you would never know what may happen back there in the middle east.

I gave Canada a try.

It has already been three years. Read more

Where Is Home?

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unless otherwise stated, all photos are by myself

I am from Turkey.

My brother became Irish long time ago.

My daughter is going to be Canadian. So will I in a few months.

My mom, my husband they still are Turkish.

And I am trying not to be drifted away with all that going on in my old home, while trying to get used to my new home. My home country is no longer familiar to me, and I am  a stranger miles away in a land where my last fifty years equal zero. This crazy old world is redefining the meaning of “home”. And I look for comfort in writing, while trying to get used to this weird situation.

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