Archive for Turkey

Syria On My Mind

Posted in English, Middle East, Stories and Tales with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2013-06-15 by candycactus

This blog is not about politics. Maybe it is. Listening to the news about Syria, I am thinking much about the experience there in 2007 and what is happening now, trying not to judge, just to observe. Here are some thoughts that cross my mind. When I lived some time in Damascus in 2007 many people said to me that they preferred dictatorship than what was happening in Iraque at the same time. There are many things that make one thoughtful about what is really happening. As I stated some time ago – history is a pile of stones. It depends which stones are on top, this is what you see, but there are always many underneath that you cannot see easily. There is no right history. We are presented now the facts by the media, that are writing history in the very moment, but in the future they will most probably turn out either to be fake completely (as it happened several times with wars in the region) or in context of other facts they will look differently. The “stones”, facts about Syrian reality on my mind are like a disordered pile.

  • Syria has a social landscape of extreme religious diversity – Shiites, Sunni, Druze, Allewi, etc. However, Sunni muslims are trying to get the over hand in the region. Dictatorship made sure that this diversity could flourish.
  • Turkey has a majority of Sunni muslims. Religious minorities, such as Alewi and others have been persecuted and emigrated, many of them to Europe. Turkey is a member of NATO and is ally of USA. Who has more dictatorship in this case? Whirling sufis you’ve seen in Turkey on your trip? Bullshit. There are no not underground Sufis in Turkey.
  • The number of weapons available to rebels now in Syria could not have appeared in a short time. A long time secret action was needed to make it possible, also regarding the fact that the Assad’s regime did perform a lot of control. When the revolution was happening in the Baltic states, the weapons where pencils and sticks. Weapons do not appear just out of nowhere.
  • Turkey was fighting the PKK near boarders of Syria. Weird coincidence – the war against PKK has stopped as soon as the war in Syria began.
  • Turkey is in control of water flow from Euphrates and Tigris rivers to Syria and Iraque. The Ataturk dam effected that Northern Syria suffered from lack of water with all its consequences. Same thing is happening with Tigris Ilisu dam, affecting Iraque. By the way, with huge investments from Germany and other well off countries not from the region. (There are many dams being built in the North of Turkey resulting in the loss of millenium old architecture from ancient Bagrationi ruled Georgian-Armenian Tao Klarjeti region, events happening quietly, since Turkey through clever policy made sure where turists go and where not )
  • Jonathan Cook in his bookIsrael and The Clash of Civilizations. Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East. Jonathan Cook 2008 explores the speeches of various Israeli politicians and notes that it has been since the 50’s that the goal of Israeli policy was to cause a chaos in the Arabic world. One example from the book:

“Michael Ledeen, a former Pentagon official and an ideologue of the American Enterprise Institute had given voice to this longer-term neocon ambition in 2002, before the invasion of Iraq:

“First and foremost, we must bring down the terror regimes, beginning with the Big Three: Iran, Iraq, and Syria. And then we have to come to grips with Saudi Arabia… Stability is an unworthy American mission, and misleading concept to boot. We do not want stability in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and even Saudi Arabia; we want things to change. The real issue is not whether, but how to destabilize”. p.119  Link to my earlier post 

  • In one of the short films presented from Syria about the events now (a part of this project) it was interesting to hear a following story. There were guys fighting on the street in some town in Syria, people gathered around, more and more, and then the guys suddenly started shouting “Freedom” and the crowed joined in, not thinking any more that the fight was staged in order to attract attention.

If you need to start a revolution, I think from these facts you can write a manual how to do it. Not difficult. Make sure that you isolate the country politically and economically beforehand. And put it on the dangerous country list so that nobody goes and sees it from your own country. And takes the news of today as they take it.

Accepting the permanent impermanence of things I am terribly sad that Damascus, the city of the cities will never be the same. This is how Syria looked like in 2007, have a look at some pictures here. 

PaveikslėlisA man selling fuhl in Damascus – beans sprinkled with cumin and lemon.

Lovestory in Savsat

Posted in English, Stories and Tales, Travel diary, World Bike Trip with tags , , , on 2007-07-02 by candycactus

I came back. After the four months.  In that time  – Damascus, Jerusalem, Istanbul. Now, in Batumi  waiting for the bus to fill with people. It is damn hot here now. An elder lady, dressed in pink satin shirt and a straw hat comes up to sell me a new issue of playboy. After a while, another lady dressed excentricaly sells chachiapuri.

Well, as the saying goes, one cannot enter the same river twice. The first time I entered Batumi was half year ago. After a hard trip through the Turkey, Georgia was like an island in a chasing game, where you have to jump on something above the ground in order not to be caught. At that time I did not have any notion, that jumping on an island I would engage in another game with different rules. This time I feel so much more empty. Not because the bike is not here and because all my load is one bag instead of usual five bike bags. No, I guess emotionally I just hit the bottom. The emptiness. Absolute emptiness. And if usually I swear I would like to become a complete sclerotic in order not to remember the moments that hurt with the same intensity every-time they appear on the surface of your consciousness, this time I try to scratch all the crumbs from the corners of the pockets, remembering details and spreading them over the hurting emptiness.

These were the last kilometers before entering Georgia last time, in October. The road from Ardahan to Artvin is I would bet the most wonderful I have seen in Turkey and as enchanted as I was rolling down the winding road in the valley of amazing mountains coloured with November colors I realised it was time to find a shelter for the night. Since the valley road is narrow, there are almost no suitable places for a tent, so I looked around.

He came out from the yard and closed the fence after him, which looked as a dance, or a prayer, the calmness the whole process was radiating. He was wearing a suite. And a decent hat, that postmen are supposed to wear in old fashioned books.

A tent? Come in. We entered a lawn. I was expecting to go into a house full of his daughters and grandchildren. But we turned from the house. There were innumerous bee houses. And then I saw it in the end of the field. A tent. My first though was that it is his summerhouse. With the mixture of the languages I learned in Turkey on the way I asked, if he was living here. Since he spoke a dialect unfamiliar to me, I thought he did not understand my question. But during that day and the coming day I realised this phenomena of not speaking the language, but understanding so perfectly.

He indeed lived in the tent. A nomad. In winter also? Yes, in winter also. And then he would show me the enhancements on the tent he did in order to insulate it. I could hardly believe it. A soul-mate.. I thought to myself. A real nomad, detached from the pleasures or hardships of the sedentary life. He would bring the bees to the fields of Ardahan in the summer. And then his sons would sell the honey in Istanbul. He makes very good honey. He smiled at me. And he looked like some dwarf from a fairy tale sent to me just to make me believe, that there are people like him and me.

While the sun was setting beyond the mountains, the water from the river was setting on the grass and on the air. Guelverdi made some more tea. Do I want to see something else? Sure. He was connecting some kind of cables and before I realised what was really happening the was an extremely loud shot. Against thieves and robbers he said, and showed me his device. It was like a miniature bomb machine from the military fields. It is only to make a sound, he proudly turning off the gas.

In his tent there were drawers and bags neatly stacked one on the other, everything like from some hobbit like shelter. I asked about his wife. She died long time ago, he and offered me. I met so many people on the way. Every time I would become more and more tired forcing myself to be polite and excited. At a certain point you get tired, socially tired. I felt as if I hit the secret place in the game, where one does not have to play, where one can have a legitimate rest. We sat in silence and it felt exactly the right thing to do. We ate, he told me some more stories, and it felt as if I had this in my ear. I did not have to struggle to understand. It felt, as if he would tell me those stories for the one thousandth time, and I would know them by heart anyway, enjoying them as songs accompanying your movements.I pitched up my tent aside to his. The day before I was almost forced by two men to make love with them. Somehow they did not loose their reason and took my explanations about being a mother of a child and so on. They watched their porno films. I slept, but calculating in my dreams, how I would be able to open the door of the bus in case they would change their minds again. Tired, I was tired of intensity of every day would bring to me in a positive or negative form. And I slept next to the tent of Guelverdi as sound as possible for people who live their set lives, where everyday comes back as a familiar soothing refrain.

Next morning I asked him. What can I do for you? You provided me shelter. Maybe I can saith? Wash your clothes? Bring something from the town? He looked in my eyes as if we would know each other for years. Actually, if felt we never were separated. He smiled and said, can you cook for me? He was shaving, while the morning sun lazy came out of the hazy clouds. I would shout from the tent and ask, where do you have rice? And he would say, look in the box under the bed. And I would find some neat onions, some rice, and with the ceremony of the offering I would cook my best pilaf I could cook. Rice, the smell of fried onions, few tomatoes. We would exchange looks once in a while. Sometimes I would feel like his daughter
. But no, the daughters are probably less idealistic about their own fathers. No, maybe I am like his granddaughter. They are caring for their grandfathers remembering all the extensive loving care they would give to them when the busy parents would bring them for the weekend. We ate. And Guelverdi said slowly, it is very very tasty. And smiled. The midday sun came out. Time to go, my visa is ending in two days, still have mountains on the coast to go over.
I will go now, I said. I packed my bike bags and he opened the fence door to get out. We stood there, next to the road. He touched my face with his old wrinkled hand. I realised, I was not his daughter. In the last, or in the next life we were lovers. Love stories can be so short, ugh?

href=”” title=”savsat.jpg”>savsat.jpg


Posted in Lietuviškai, Middle East, Stories and Tales, Travel diary, World Bike Trip with tags , , on 2007-02-21 by candycactus

siena. sako, veluoji dvi dienas. bauda mokek. tai ne, sakau, kad tik viena. pasirodo viza buvo ne menesiui, kaip ansksciau, o trisdesimciai dienu. kadangi sausis turi 31 diena, tai tokia matematika cia gaunas. pasirinkimas, arba susimoku bauda simto liru, arba 5 metus neivaziuoju i turkija. siaip galeciau ir nevaziuot, bet paziuriu zemelapy, kad kelias pas dvyrke tik per iraka tada veda. kaip ir nebera kur dingt. arba daryt pasaulio kelione aplink pas dvirati. ble. susimokejau.

mano vezikas, kuri susitranzinau, jau matau rankom trina ziuredamas i mano sviesuji viaida. bet arabiskai kala, viza pasto zenklu pavidale smakst ir gavau. ko nesitikejau beveik, nes pagal viska ambasadoj reik gaut. bet buvau girdejus, kad ir taip galima. taip ir pigiau gaunas, nei tiesiuoju keliu. nu ka, vienur pameti, kitur laimi.

o kamera mano brangioji vis dar neveikia, bet jau iseina, kad i ja sukisau apie du simtus euru. nu, bisk padauzau, tai isijungia. yra toks dalykas, kaip point of no return. investuoji tiek, kad paskui tik nustot pasidaro kvailiau negu neinvestuot.

susikuklinimo momentas. jauciuosi kaip mokykloj pirmoke. moku pasakyti tik aciu, sukran. nors buvo anksciau bandymu mokytis arabu.

ieskau ertes hostelio. kvapai, sviesos, muilo kalnai, naminio, kurio tiek, kad zmoniu gal nera, kad tiek nupraust, bet kita vertus, cia nei daugiau nei maziau 4 mln zmoniu

ju nera, iseje. einu falafelio ieskot. halepo falafeliai yr garsenybes. randu. pinigu neima is manes, sako cia svetingumas.

erte. gyvas. nesitiki. kaip holivudo filmuose, grynai. apie praradimus ir atsiribojimus ir mirties taskus kazka veblenam. ar dugnas jau? kai pagalvoji, viskas taip reliatyvu. daiktai. mes visi kurie prie kompu sedim, nesam net vienas pasaulio procentas zmoniu. tuo tarpu trecdalis neturi geriamo vandens. uz 50 metu – du trecdaliai. cia gal kartojuos, bet vistiek galvon nelenda. ir ka tie kompai ir kameros, blia?

pabundu. toks depresono uzuomazga. reikia greit kita tiksla galvot. taip, einam plesiku ieskot.

didmiestis. zmones ziauriai mieli atrodo. vat ar cia yra skurdziu valstybiu fenomenas?

susitinkam ieskodami neto Adel. kaip tik tokio man ir reikejo. Erte raso mailus, o mes su adel apie politika. jis studentu komunistu partijos vadas cia. pasiaiskinam, kaip cia kas su iraku sirija libanu ir amerikom, jis is libano, mama armene, studijuoja cia, 33 metu, teise.

Yalan yalan

Posted in Lietuviškai, Middle East, Travel diary, World Bike Trip with tags , on 2007-02-19 by candycactus

yalan yalan, hepsi yalan, taıp vıena turkıska halk, lıaudıes daına skamba, ır reıskıa, melas, vıskas melas….

ıs vokıetıjos nusıpırkau naudota fotokamera. laukıau jos menesı antlıjoj. tada ısaıskejo, kad jı sugedus. tada nesıau taısyt. taı ıkı sıol negalıu atsıstebetı, kaıp meıstras saltu veıdu, otks vyresnıo amzıaus man makaronus kabıno, kad cıa pakeıte kazka ır kad taı kruva pınıgu kaınuoja. problema lıko ta patı, tık suplojau jam kruva pınıgu, nes tıpo pakeıte kazka. nenorejau tenaı bartıs, ka kgalı zınotı, bet dabar radau meıstra antakıjoj, taı supratau, kad tas anas zaıdzıa su korta, kad labaı rımtaı atrodo. ır tokıu budu leıdzıa sau ımtı pınıgus

ır tokıu sıtuacıju cıa kruvos buvo. galvoju, esu cıa melagıu saly. bet kıtavertus, kuo melagıu salıs skırıası nuo pasaku salıes? kodel parınuosı del melo? nes patı nemoku meluotı? jeı ı taı zıuretı, kaıp ı zaıdıma, taı gal nera taıp blogaı. jeı vısı ır pats meluojı? nezınau nezınau.

cıa turkijoj ır buvo mano pagrındınıs ısmokımas, kad yra nerealiai patikimai atrodanciu zmoniu, kurie sau leidzia gana rafinuotai tave apmaut, kai jaucıa, kad pasıtıkejımas jau neabejotınas. atvıraı ır akıplesıskaı cıa turbut nıekas nevogs. bet rafınuotaı, kad tuo momentu geraı jaustumeıs.

esu skaıcıus, kad arabu salyse kaı kurıose, jeı paklausı kelıo, tau vısad pasakys, net jeı ır nezıno, nes kaı paleısı zmogu be atsakymo? svarbiausia, kad zmogus tuo metu geraı pasıjaustu.

zmonıu yra vısur ır vısokıu. bet cıa gerıausıaı ısmokau apıe melavıma. pasıruosımas sırıjaı? 🙂