It is not an easy life to be a Jew in Turkey. The other day, I felt that once more while I was going to the Jewish school in Istanbul’s Ulus neighborhood. I said “felt,” because knowing is not enough. One has to actually feel how it is for children having the best times of their lives living in a school, each centimeter of which is arranged with security concerns.
As a matter of fact, we were going there on that night for something else. We were going to watch a film, a film written and acted in by a young Palestinian man.
The hall was completely full. Except for a small portion, almost all of the audience was from the Jewish-Turkish community. A brilliant, modern Turkey profile… Right next to me is the daily Milliyet writer Sami Kohen and his wife. On my left is the person who had introduced me to the Jewish community, Bensiyon Pinto…
The name of the film we were going to watch is “Peace after Marriage.”
The leading star is a Palestinian young man named Arafat. He is a sex
addict, but he cannot find a girl. His parents constantly try to marry him to a good Muslim girl. His problem though is finding a girl to sleep with. He constantly watches porn and masturbates. At the end, he seeks help to overcome his porn addiction and his life changes. A friend of his introduces him to such a girl that makes everything go upside down, because the girl is an Israeli. It immediately becomes a Muslim/Jewish incident.
However, there is nothing political involved in this.
Some of the jokes: His friend asks Arafat, “How is it to lay an Israeli girl?”
Answer: “Let me say this: A Palestinian explodes so near to an Israeli and there is no casualty for the first time in mankind’s history.”
Another joke: A friend of the Israeli girl: “Can you imagine, now, your vagina has become a part of the Middle East peace process.”
Yet another: Father says, “My son, I want to see my grandchild before I die.”
Arafat: “Dad, you learned this sentence from the Turkish soap operas you have watched, right?”
Here is another one: Mother asks, “So your child will be half Palestinian, half Israeli?” Arab friend: “Not bad, right? They would beat each other.”
Last one: Israeli girl: “This is difficult. What will the religion of the child be?”
Arafat: “No problem. He will be Muslim on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, he will be Jewish on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Then Allah can take a break on Sunday.”
The scriptwriter, director and leading star of the film Ghazi Albuliwi was born in Jordan in a Palestinian refugee camp. He and his family migrated to the U.S. when he was 2. His brother Bandar Albuliwi had met Faruk Özerten in a master’s class. When Ghazi sent this screenplay, he decided to produce it. The financial affairs were taken care of by the son of the former Foreign Minister Hikmet Çetin, Özgür Çetin and his wife Tracy.
The hall is full of Turkish Jews. A Palestinian youth is teasing Israel
and Jews; but also Palestinians.
How can two societies who have huge historic problems between them be teased like that?
In the Middle East, up until today, everybody took everything seriously. Fanatics, politicians, state terror, suicide bombs, mujahadeen, Mavi Marmara flotilla, everything, everybody was involved.
Well, the problem was not solved by hawks and fanatics. They should stand back a little and let the youth stand out. By teasing, they may soften both sides. Maybe we can solve it then.
For this reason, I really wish some people could make Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
watch this film.Ertuğrul Özkök is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published on Feb 18. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.