How to fight Istanbul rednecks
BELGİN AKALTAN - firstname.lastname@example.org
Of course they are not jerks, only a group of people taking a selfie in Eminönü. Photo by Sıla Özçelik, from facebook.com/istanbulpeopleHa ha… You are naïve. You started reading this thinking there is a way of fighting the rednecks of Istanbul. No darlings, there is no way to fight them. They win all the time. They outnumbered you and me a long time ago… They are everywhere. They have taken the city…
Istanbul, a city of 14 million, has been occupied by these jerks and rednecks, or “maganda,” as we call them. We used to call them “kıro,” but then one day columnist Uğur Vardan from daily Radikal pointed out to us that “kıro” meant “son, boy” in Kurdish and whenever we used that word in Turkish in place of “vulgar, unmannerly,” we have been doing wrong. Up until this day we have been offending our Kurdish citizens and it was time to end this. Agreed.
Villagers – “köylü” – we also call them…
But this subculture has overtaken the city’s culture, sweeping it out of the way; the village culture has replaced city culture. I am not looking down on village culture – Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I am looking down on village culture, but not in this context. I am saying it does not fit the city. When you spit on the earth while herding your sheep in the village, nobody is concerned. But you should never ever spit on the street in the city. If you do and suggest that you are not doing anything wrong, then it causes trouble with city people who were here before you and were trying to keep their cities clean.
However, despite all this, there may be some defense mechanisms…
The first tactic is (this is effective, I have tried it many times. It shocks them and makes them speechless) to fight fire with fire. But before this, have an escape strategy. Try to choose a time and place near your destination so that you can get off quickly after the incident.
When you complain about an uncomfortable situation during public transportation, for instance, somebody being too close to you, the very loud music the minibus driver is playing, the dolmuş driver who is driving like he is about to commit a murder-suicide, too many passengers piled into the vehicle as if you were a herd, and the like, you try to say, protest or complain in the kindest way possible, but not even the driver – a jerk among the passengers tells you, “If you don’t like it here, why don’t you take a taxi.” (Beğenmiyorsan taksi tut.)
Oh, this is so hard to swallow. You don’t know if you should pity the guy, yourself, the city or everybody else; you don’t know what to say in the face of such rudeness.
Now, here is your line: Say this: “Sure I can take a taxi, but it would be much better if you go back to your village.” That kills them. (Ben taksi tutarım tabii, ama asıl sen köyüne geri dönsen daha iyi olur.)
Second tactic: The shuttle bus (servis) drivers who think they are THY pilots, who insist they will not wait for you. School buses have this written all over them: “The service [bus] does not wait for you; you wait for the service bus.”
Yeah, sure. If the driver of a company/school shuttle tells you, he won’t wait for you even if you are a minute late, tell them: “I understand. This is not a bus to transport personnel/students. You are being paid to drive the empty vehicle to the office/school. Enjoy your mission of driving around the city with a vehicle with no passengers.” (Tabii, zaten sizi boş arabayı okula/şirkete götürün diye tutmuşlar…)
OK. This comes from a jerk who happened to be a former neighbor. There was this discussion in my former, notorious compound in which I used to live. It was on its Facebook page. The site administration asked that shoes and slippers and other stuff not be left outside the doors… One jerk attacked everybody who agreed with the administration. He wrote, “Why do the shoes outside my door bother you, Belgin Hanım? Could you tell me, could you please teach me?”
I wrote back to him, “Dear Tuncay, I cannot teach you this; your parents should have taught you.” (Now, people criticized me for insulting, or having a “heavy” writing style. Where is the insult in this?)
Oh, I love writing in English; these kinds of guys cannot read me because they cannot speak English or understand that I am writing about them.
This is going to be too long, let me continue next week.