Posts tagged "identity"
The Men are Bigger and the Women are Louder: a Chechen Expat on Chechnya

The Men are Bigger and the Women are Louder: a Chechen Expat on Chechnya

Chechens might not be from the Czech Republic, as many believed following the horrific April 15 bombings in Boston. But there are some Chechens in Turkey. They might be far from their ravaged homeland, but Chechens in Turkey still feel the need to keep a low profile. In Istanbul, their community has faced assassinations carried...
At the Tomb of Imam Asim

At the Tomb of Imam Asim

    Mystics seem to have a penchant for seeking out remote locations. Perhaps out-of-the-way spots are more conducive to contemplation, and they add an element of enigma when chosen as a final resting place. The tomb of Imam Asim, in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Province, conforms to type. North of the oasis city of Hotan,...
Kurds without Slogans

Kurds without Slogans

The advent of spring has relit the path of the Kurdish struggle in Turkey. Activists tighten the ropes on banners strung over Newroz celebrations. But what do the slogans above mean to those dancing halay below? Young men fueled the festivities at Kazlıçeşme, a twenty-minute bus ride southwest of Istanbul’s tourist hub. On the long...
Interview with a Stone-Thrower

Interview with a Stone-Thrower

I first met him when he was a lanky 17-year-old with a shaven head, wide-set features, and a quiet voice that carried a hint of menace. He went by the name “Amed”, a pseudonym he chose as it was the Kurdish name for the city of Diyarbakır. It was 2010 and for the first time...
"An Apparatus of Mediators" - State Religion Policy in Azerbaijan

“An Apparatus of Mediators” – State Religion Policy in Azerbaijan

Throughout Azerbaijan’s two decades of post-Soviet independence, relations between the country’s secular government and independent Islamic organizations have ranged from tenuous to openly hostile. However, following a steep deterioration in relations in recent years the Aliyev regime has taken steps ostensibly to revamp relations with Islamic organizations and improve its image among Azerbaijani believers. In...
Treasure Map Time Machines

Treasure Map Time Machines

  Anyone who has traveled in rural Turkey as a foreigner has undoubtedly had the experience of being taken for a spy. Most likely, anyone who has ever expressed interest in Greek or Armenian ruins has also had the experience of being asked, first jokingly but then seriously, with the offer of a 50/50 split....
The Bukharian Jews: The Story of a Mizrahi Community

The Bukharian Jews: The Story of a Mizrahi Community

Even at first glance, Aron Aronov has a demanding presence you can’t forget. He doesn’t stand very tall and he dresses in plain dark clothing, but there is something about the way he looks at you that is captivating. His gaze drills into your eyes, and he speaks rapidly, his furrowed brows moving in tune...
Young and in Love (with God)

Young and in Love (with God)

The Orthodox Church of Georgia is attracting a post-communist generation in need of a point of reference. Nine years after the Rose Revolution, the young generation reflects the hopes and contradictions of this ancient Christian nation, torn between desire for freedom and preservation of tradition. About thirty kilometers from Tbilisi, nestled in a valley, the...
Çanakkale: Historical Memory in the Making

Çanakkale: Historical Memory in the Making

One of the most striking visuals that greets a visitor passing through the Dardanelles Strait (known in Turkish as the Çanakkle Boğazı) is this fragment of Turkish verse carved into the hillside: Dur yolcu! Bilmeden gelip bastığın, Bu toprak, bir devrin battığı yerdir. The words are a fragment from a poem by Necmettin Halil Onan. Those are...
A Mother Tongue and the Daughter Teacher

A Mother Tongue and the Daughter Teacher

In the jumpy YouTube video, tiny eleven year-old Medya Ormek, dressed in baggy green pants and a black-checked scarf stands at a podium with her microphone in hand. In front of her are nearly a million people gathered for Newroz festival, an ancient Kurdish celebration of spring refashioned into a celebration of ethnicity and rebellion....
The Word in the Ruins

The Word in the Ruins

  “Poetry is the queen of language, the sovereign of the word. […] Language has free will in it and it warms the heart with the roundness and perfection of its form.” So says Abai Qunanbaiuli, perhaps the most well-known of the nineteenth century Central Asian men of letters. This epigram is taken from his...