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MEHMET ALİ BİRAND

mab@hurriyet.com.tr

MEHMET ALİ BİRAND > Now, let’s talk ourselves…

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The dreaded has happened.

We are dragging France through the mud. And this is the easier side of the job. However, the real job starts from now on. Because, whether we like it or not, the Armenians have made the world accept their genocide claims during those years when we buried our head in the sand. From now on, we cannot transform international public opinion by just publishing books, airing documentaries, cutting relations and threats to boycott their goods. This train has left the station. We cannot confront the whole world and live isolated.

There are three important steps we have to take if we want to avoid being stigmatized with genocide in 2015. Firstly, we should question the 1915 incidents without fooling ourselves. We should learn what happened, what has been experienced and take our heads out of the sand. We now have to be transparent. We should truly open up our archives and, before anybody else, we should learn what has been lived.
 
Secondly, using all judicial avenues, either a way should be found to rebut genocide claims or a new strategy should be created to re-introduce the Armenian protocols.

Thirdly, those publicity and lobby activities – and I’m not at all hopeful -- that were not able to be done for 30 years should be activated.

I have been writing the above suggestions for maybe for the 120th time, even though I know they will not be done, you will see. We will be stigmatized with genocide in 2015. We will first protest, take to the streets and afterwards, again, forget it all…
 
[HH] Yaşar Kemal and the award

Last week, I was at the ceremony where renowned novelist and writer Yaşar Kemal was decorated with the French Legion d’Honneur (Legion of Honor). He received his award from Army Gen. Jean-Louis Georgelin, grand chancellor of the French National Order of the Legion of Honor, who flew from Paris exclusively for this ceremony.

My eyes watered.

I watched the giant man with admiration as he talked to the French Ambassador Laurent Bili and Chancellor Georgelin before the ceremony. He was laughing when he explained, “Before being a novelist, I was writing petitions on the street. Those who had problems would come to me and I would write petitions for them.”

I enjoyed getting to know him better.

I remembered how we made Yaşar Kemal’s life hell when we should have been proud of him. I thought of the years when, instead of rewarding him, the state of the Republic of Turkey was shoving him around and treating him cruelly.

Yaşar Kemal was angry but never took offence. What a pity, is it not?

We lot, who do not have our share of culture, were not able to digest the fact a guy of Kurdish origin was being applauded in the international arena. While he was telling the truth, we accused him of communism and separatism. Despite this, he held his stance, remained among us with constraint and then stood up and showed us what was wrong and what was right.

His closest friends were invited. We applauded a master who was laughing aloud, enjoying a time when he can now say whatever he wants to.

It is such a privilege that we have a Yaşar Kemal.

[HH] Fatma Şahin becomes a distinct minister
When she was first appointed, I did not know of Fatma Şahin. I had doubts about what she could do as Family and Social Policies Minister. More precisely, the appointments Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) had made in the past to similar ministerial posts have left a somewhat acrid taste.

Time has gone by, however, and Fatma Şahin has shown she is different in terms of her personality, her stance and her speeches. She knows her job and, more importantly, she has self-esteem. You may not share some of her views but you will surely be influenced by her approach and wording of the topic.
I think she is the most successful among the newcomers to the last Cabinet.

December/24/2011

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