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MEHMET ALİ BİRAND

mab@hurriyet.com.tr

MEHMET ALİ BİRAND > I’m afraid of neighborhood pressure during Ramadan

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The month of Ramadan is about to start and it effects can be seen even in advance.

Neighborhood pressure already started. It was not like this in past years. This year, different smells are coming to my nose. I have started asking myself, “What is happening?” Especially the beer ban in a festival at Bilgi University has upset my stomach.

To top it all, words of the head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, Professor Mehmet Görmez, when he said festivals or entertainment involving alcoholic drinks should not be organized during Ramadan immediately had its effects on some circles. The Head of the Religious Affairs Directorate has a right to make such warnings. Besides, a major portion of his speech criticized extreme and posh “iftar” banquets given. He suggested that care should be exerted about these. But, those who wanted to see it their way immediately acted and highlighted his words on alcoholic drinks.

Take a look at some publications, then you will have gooseflesh.

We are faced with a typical “neighborhood pressure.”

I’m afraid. I’m concerned that we will go through a lot of tension all through the month ahead of us.
What if those who do not fast are oppressed? What if those who drink alcohol are beaten? What if entertainment venues are raided?

Nobody will be able to come out and say, “What is it to you, pal? I will fast if I want to and not if I don’t want to.” They will be afraid and shy. They will just dodge and tell themselves “I don’t care. Why should I put myself in trouble?”

Nobody from the state and the government will raise a voice and say or want to say, “Nobody has a right to intrude into any other’s life.”

Winds of fear will blow.

Nobody should have a right to create such an atmosphere in this country.

Let the citizen decide himself what he will do and what he will not do.

Do not force people.

CHP should come around now
Head of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has formed his own staff with this congress. He is truly in command of the party. There’s nothing he would complain now.

You may like CHP or not but you cannot deny that this party is extremely vital for our democracy to function, moreover for it to survive. When viewed from that angle, the new CHP order Kılıçdaroğlu has set up will pass a historic test at Turkey’s most important process.

The coming two years before us will bring change and transformation:

A new constitution is being written.

The Kurdish issue is at its solution stage.

Presidential elections are scheduled in 2014. Erdoğan will ascent to Çankaya Presidential mansion. The prime ministry will go to another name. The order we got used to for 10 years will change.

Ak Party is entering a transformation stage. New names will replace old ones in many positions. Even though they say, “We are institutionalized. Names are not important,” an earthquake is awaiting Ak party.

We are entering such a transformation. How this will unfold, where the outcome will take us is unknown. For this reason, we need a new CHP.

After the congress, a CHP is needed that has left behind the past, domestic fights and conflicts.
This is what is expected of Kılıçdaroğlu.

July/19/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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Audrey Tautoui

7/20/2012 12:09:18 AM

yeah ahmad ali we all try to do that you can sure we do not like where we live in

Diren Sesel

7/19/2012 10:21:09 PM

another 10 years under the roof AKP could eliminate secularism one for all.. hopefully CHP can come around and stop it

Thessalonian

7/19/2012 9:33:09 PM

Yet another awesome article Mr. Birand. By the way, this anachronistic mentality which seems to be dominant in today's Turkey and which is encouraged and promoted by Islamist AKP is one of the main reasons Turks who are established in Europe, North America and or Australia would not even dream of returning to live here. And why should they want to give up their most fundamental human rights? Regards

mara mcglothin

7/19/2012 8:06:47 PM

HASAN I would like to hear your definition of "secular"? Does this group to you include people of the muslim faith who for whatever reason do not cover their heads, or observe the fast, or what else? People in Turkey to me are too judgemental when it comes to the actions of others. We all have to remember your rights end where mine begin. So now we are blaming secularist for the rise of Islam in the government?

Hasan Kutlay

7/19/2012 5:46:59 PM

The problem with seculars is that they have repressed islam in an undemocratic and authoritarian way, but they didn't challenge islam in an intellectual way. They were too shy for that to happen. Ppl are even shy to confess that they are not a believer, that they are an agnost or ateist. With such an attitude they are a bird for the cat. Seculars have themselves to blame.

TheLion ThatRoars

7/19/2012 4:58:49 PM

Ahmad Ali, well said.

Shaun Ogden

7/19/2012 3:39:05 PM

Some who do not wish to follow Ramadan may well be subjected to neighbourhood pressure and they may well change their behaviour to placate the pious. But they should heed the words of Benjamin Franklin who said, They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

mara mcglothin

7/19/2012 3:38:07 PM

It is a very sad time when you cannot practice your freedoms as you see fit. At least they are even oppressing some good muslims who would like to show off their new found gaudy wealth with elaborate iftar celebrations. People have slept too long and now, I fear that it is too late to make a stand without serious conflict.

B Medic

7/19/2012 3:36:38 PM

Why are Turks so obsessed with their neighbours? I live in Europe. In general, Europeans have their family that they care a lot about and their friends that they care a lot about too. But the neighbours are people you say hello to, talk to occasionally, but you don't interfer or have opinions on how they live their lives, unless they are your friends. Turks must learn to mind their own business.

Ahmad Ali

7/19/2012 2:45:24 PM

If you are so concerned about living in neighbourhood pressure, change your neighbourhood. Peace at home, peace in world.
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