Did I say a land of lunacy? I was too sanguine

When I wrote last week "The rough guide to Turkey: A land of history, sunshine and lunacy" (Daily News, May 1), I did not know I was underestimating the Crescent and Star. Only a few days after that article appeared in this column, what became "international breaking news" informed us about the massacre in a Kurdish village. Did I say lunacy? I did, not realizing the limits it could reach in these lands.

Lunacy, in our holy country, may come in the form of bullets shot in the air and ending up in infant bodies after football victories or other merry celebrations.

It may come in the form of traffic brawls ending with five coffins and three life sentences. It once came in the news headline that read, "Motorbike crashes into train, five dead." No, that was not a typo, I checked later; there really were, mysteriously, five people on top of a scooter that had run into the train. Most recently it came in the form of a scuffle between a shop owner, his son and a street vendor over a few liras, ending up with the stabbing death of one, the injury of another and, naturally, with the third man now in jail. The sum of all that is called "culture."

After the killing of 44 people in Mardin’s now infamous Bilge village hit the headlines, everyone had his own explanation. With a little bit of more creative effort, we could have read more amusing hypotheses. I still expect the Ergenekon

prosecutors should find a link between the massacre and the shadowy Kemalist organization they have been investigating. The "liberal Islamists" too have disappointed me with their lack of creativity. As soon as the bad news broke, I instantly prepared myself to read intellectual theories linking the killings to the archaic teachings of Kemalist secularism.

Better late than never. So I am quite prepared to give some ideas. How about proposing a theory arguing that the massacre would never have taken place should the campus ban on the Islamic turban had been removed? Yes, the theory should continue that without the ban the girl Ğ whose marriage to a local man was reportedly among the motives behind the killings Ğ would have studied at a university and, therefore, not have had to marry at this most unfortunate wedding. Hence, no killings.

More conventional Islamists can always find a link between the carnage and insufficient Quranic teaching of those involved in it. We can thus safely conclude that less secular and more Islamic education could have prevented the bloodbath. There may also be theories finding a link between the killings and Turkish nationalism. If someone has not yet found any, I humbly suggest a few:

1. If the Turkish state had given the poor, peaceful Kurds a chance to enjoy their cultural rights, these poor, always peaceful Kurds would not have shot each other. 2. If the Turkish state had not conspired to have Kurds killing Kurds by arming some Kurds, this tragedy would not have happened. 3. The Kurdish suspects are only a pawn in a game in which Turkish nationalists committed the atrocities and put the blame on innocent Kurds. Would sane men kill their relatives and friends?

Unfortunately, the sad truth is hidden in the politically incorrect word "ethno-culture." We are programmed to think that generations progress, evolve and change into something "better" when we see people using the latest models of mobile phones, drive better cars and shop at fancy malls. What we often ignore is the fact that subscribing to objects of modern life can hardly modernize cultures. Too bad, (ethno) cultures are probably the stickiest thing as they always resist change, overtly or covertly.

Another theory: The village guards armed by the state could not kill en mass if their automatic rifles had not been made available to them? Oh, really? The Kurds before the village guard system never massacred each other, never subscribed to honor killings of all sorts, never resorted to violence to sort out financial or family disputes. They never priced their brides by the number of sheep, never raped women or never settled rape with taking a bride from the rapist’s family Ğ a tradition called "berdel," a bride in return for rapeÉ

Poverty as the main reason for the bloodbath? Let’s talk about facts. Bilge is probably not the poorest village on earth. There are probably hundreds of thousands of poorer settlements in the world where such killings would never take place. And both the killers and the victims were probably much wealthier than millions of other Turks and Kurds who cannot even fantasize such brutality.

Then we learned that Mardin’s governor, Hasan Duruer, argued that sending children to same-sex schools could be a remedy. With that proposal Duruer may have secured a promotion by appealing to the ears of his Islamist bosses in Ankara. But he is probably not a deep thinker on sociological problems. A better idea to prevent killings related to women could be burying girl babies six feet under as soon as they are born, or forcefully aborting the baby girl once the gender is known. Having buried our dead we can now avoid the politically incorrect diagnosis and pretend that "such terrible things do happen in the EU zone, too."
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