The country that dislikes books, writers and readers
Since it is the hottest topic nowadays, how about a different and more realistic approach to the novel “Madonna in a Fur Coat” gaffe? It was during an entertainment show when the host thought Sabahattin Ali’s book was about the life of pop star Madonna, triggering a storm of social media reactions.
I’m not defending the gaffe; I have to admit I laughed a lot at the jokes. However, we have to step back a little from this entertaining incident and look at the bitter facts.
It was a huge gaffe; it was extremely out of proportion. Yes, true. Also, the host of the program has become a symbolic sculpture of the society who never admits “I don’t know” when a matter one has no idea of occurs.
Yes, but look at these facts:
In which country are books on the 235th place in the list of needs? Where do those people who say “Books do not feed you” live?
In a house raid at the time of the military regime, Lenin’s books were “detained.” Where were these people born and raised?
Which fertile land’s produce is the mentality that says, “There are certain books that are more dangerous than a bomb”?
In his beautiful book “Demiryolu Hikayecileri” (Railroad Storytellers) writer Oğuz Atay has written the unforgettable sentence, “I am here dear reader, where are you?” Under the effect of which climate has he written this?
Certain surveys show that in a country where there is one coffee house for 122 people, there is one library for every 50,000 people. Oh, Gosh, I wonder which country this is?
In the list of countries where books are given as gifts to children on their birthdays, they mention a country that is constantly placed 140th among 180 countries. Do you know which one that is?
For several years, whenever there is someone moving houses, the transporter always asks, “Have you actually read all of these books?” The questioned one wants to answer him, “Some of them are reference books; some others are kept with the thought that ‘I will absolutely read them one day’ I read most of them, and I want to live to read more…” But, with an extinct sentiment, a short “No” is usually the answer with our shoulders shrugging. I know this person very well. Who is this person and where does he or she live, or any others like them, the distressed and the eccentric ones-do you know?
A bibliopole has told us a new-money has visited with the mood of “I have the money, now I need a status symbol.” He said he has made bookshelves this high and this wide built in his new home and he needs books to fill them. He wanted the back of the books look “good.” These second-hand booksellers, who cannot even sell one book most of the days- where are they?
The citizens of which country spend only six hours a year to read books?
In which country does writer Aslı Erdoğan and many more like her, who should all be cherished, are being imprisoned?
In which country are there are seven to eight books per person and half of them are text books? In which country are the wheels of politics turned with systematic ignorance?
Wiseman should be saying, “There is a country that does not like books, that does not like writers and that does not like readers.”
Which one is that country? Where is that country?