Kristina O'Donnelly's Eclectic Blog
DAYS OF TRIAL AND TRIBULATION AT A MAJOR TAMPA, FL HOSPITAL
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WE HUMANS ARE AN AMAZING SPECIES, AND ONE OF OUR GREATEST ASSETS IS OUR CAPACITY FOR ENDURING TREMENDOUS SUFFERING.
PROUD TO PRESENT TODAY'S GUEST BLOG
Morning Visit at Walter Reed
Written by Nicole Drumheller Gargus
Note for parents of minors reading this article: Please be advised there is an occurrance of some adult strong language.
As we walked through the front doors of Walter Reed Army Medical Center the first thing I noticed in a waiting room area was a massive portrait of a General. His eyes seemed to look through me. Just below the towering presence of this portrait I saw a stunningly handsome young man who looked about twenty years old in a wheelchair. He was missing one leg and one arm. His remaining arm was in a cast. His eyes met mine as we passed by. His head looked like it had just been shaved and it seemed to glisten under the dull florescent hospital lighting. My heart ached as we passed by him. I looked back and noticed an older woman sitting next to him in a chair she had her head in her hands and seemed to be asleep.
When the elevator door opened to our friend Dawn Halfaker's floor the smell of cleaning products and the shine of the off white floors filled my nose and eyes. Nathan held flowers adorned with red and yellow ribbons and I held a gift bag filled with scented lotions as we headed for Dawn's room. In front of her door Nathan took a deep breath before knocking. I saw above her name the glorious portrait of her in full dress uniform - it was her West Point graduation portrait.
Dawn greeted us with a welcoming smile. Nathan and I both hugged her before we presented her with the gifts. She was wearing sweatpants, an Army t-shirt, and sneakers. Her hair was bright fire red, her skin a light creamy color adorened with light freckles, and her eyes seemed to be a mix of green and brown. She was tall and stunningly beautiful. In spite of her good spirits, I could hear the heavy weight of inner pain as she spoke.After we sat down in her room Dawn explained the uncomfortable process she was going through in finding a prosthetic arm. Her injury was still sore and the prosthetics she had been looking into were not functional in any way. They were for appearances sake only. She said an arm would be made for her that matched her skin tone and even her freckles. After some time Nathan and Dawn talked about their Battalion's news and caught up. I looked at photos she had posted on the wall next to her bed. They were mostly images of Iraq - of Dawn posing for photos with smiling Iraqi children and a few photos of her standing on sandy hot landscapes with a rifle in hand. I felt honored to be in her presence and wanted to offer her my friendship and support.
"What is the most frustrating thing you have been dealing with since the loss of your arm?" I finally asked her.
Her radiant eyes seemed relived by this question. "The worse thing is trying to pull my hair back into a ponytail," Dawn said.
"Can I help you with your hair today?" I asked.
"Yes I would really appreciate that," Dawn said.
So I combed carefully through her long red hair and gently pulled it back into a ponytail for her.
"My Mom has been helping me so much. I'm thankful she is staying here for a while," Dawn said.
As I finished with her ponytail she thanked me and I hugged her again. I fought off tears that had been welling up in my eyes as my gaze had met Nathan's several times while I brushed her hair. Dawn turned to me and smiled after she stood up.
"I've been worried that these shrapnel burns on my face look bad," she said. Truly surprised, I noticed some redness on her light skin where she pointed.
"Honestly I did not notice anything," Nathan said
"I didn't either. It actually looks like blush," I said.
"Good I won't worry about it then. People will be staring at my missing arm more anyway when we go out today," she said.
The morning hours passed quickly. Dawn noticed the time was approaching noon.
"My Mom, Dad, Grandpa and I have lunch reservations today so we will have to go soon. But you can come back later tonight or tomorrow if you want" she said. After we were introduced to her family Nathan and I both hugged Dawn again.
As we were heading out her door I turned to hug her one more time.
"I just want to say Dawn that I admire you and am honored to know you and... Thank you for your service," I said.
"Thank you," Dawn replied. As we headed back down the hallway to the elevator door I noticed several soldiers in wheelchairs along the way. Some were missing
arms, others missing legs and one had his entire face wrapped like an ancient Egyptian mummy. My heart sank. Most of these young men were not even twenty years old.
When we returned to the entrance doors of the hospital those serious eyes of the General in that portrait met my stare once again and beneath him to my surprise remained the handsome young man in his wheelchair I noticed earlier. Nathan headed out the front door to get our car. I asked to meet him outside in a few minutes so he went on ahead of me assuming I forgot something in Dawn's room. I took a moment to walk up under the General's portrait pretending to be interested in reading about who he was.
"I can't take it anymore," I heard the older woman say to the young soldier behind me.
"Then fucking leave, Mom!" The young man's voice sounded like an explosion.
My stomach filled up with butterflies as I turned around and saw the anger in this young soldier's beautiful dark eyes. The older woman stood swaying back and forth beside her son with tears streaming down her face.
"Whether you like to hear it or not Mom no woman is going to want me this way. I'm a fucking freak!" He screamed as his voice cracked.
Those tears I had been fighting all morning were now streaming down my face. Without thinking I knelt down in front of the young soldier and looked into his hardened eyes. His mother smiled at me as she wiped tears away from her eyes.
"Look at me I'm fucking useless now," he said staring back at me.
"Stop saying things like this you're killing me," his mother said softly next to us.
"No one wants to kiss or touch a freak," the young man said calmly and quietly as
he looked down at the floor.
His handsome young face bore a straight expression, no tears fell from his eyes and what I saw there in him was raw pain and unyielding fear. "I don't know what I can do to help but I had to stop when I heard what you were saying," I said.
"Most people just walk by they don't give a fuck so what the hell do you want?" he asked as he looked up at me. My tears fell down onto my crimson colored shirt as I took in his stinging words. My mind was blank. I didn't know what to say. Suddenly I felt an intense wave of courage run through my body like a hot electric charge. I leaned into this young man and kissed him on his face. I kissed him on each cheek then stood up and stepped back. His eyes lit up as I received his big, bright smile in return.
"God bless you young woman," his mother said. "... Thank you Ma'am ..." the young soldier said shyly. We looked at each other in silence for a moment. His beautiful dark eyes and handsome oval shaped face mesmerized me. "If I were not married I would be asking you for a date," I said. He blushed.
I leaned into him again and started covering his face, nose, and ears with kisses. He started to laugh. The young soldier's mother also started laughing. "I thought no woman would want to kiss you?" I asked playfully as I kept kissing and kissing him all over his face. Covered in my red lipstick the young soldier sat in his wheelchair smiling as tears filled his eyes.
This article was originally published in Veterans Magazine, May 2007, and kindly forwarded to us for inclusion on this site by Nicole. http://www.nicolewritings.com/html/publications.html
Copyright Nicole Drumheller Gargus 2007. All rights reserved. You may not copy this article, in whole or in part, or photos, without permisssion. Please contact HOV for further details.
Dateline: United States of America, January 08, 2008
"A dose of idealism tempered with realism."Hmmm, change is the operative word of the day.
Indeed friends, indeed we need change.
But I am not yet convinced that Obama is the viable agent for it. He is charming and talks the talk, and perhaps somewhere in his files he has a marvelously prepared, step-by-step agenda about how he is going to help fix our floundering economy (the sinking stock market, the incredibly steep decline of the American dollar vs other currencies, the stupendous rate at which our jobs are outsourced to the far reaches of the globe--hey, by the way, outsourcing might soon stop, for what with the disappearance of labor unions and countless steady jobs, we'll all work for such low wages that outsourcing becomes expensive), well, to make a long story short, Obama might just have the roadmap to our deliverance, also how to get us out of Iraq without leaving a horrific civil war in our wake as the tribal heads and the Sunnis and the Shiites go on a rampage to amass power, also, surely Obama has a plan to kiss and make up with Al-Qaida and Hezbollah, also nicely convince Iran to refrain from nuking Israel or God forbid, us, also bring peace to Pakistan, prosperity to Afghanistan so they stop growing poppies and grow grain instead....
Ahhhh, be still my heart!
But yes, somewhere, indeed somewhere, there is Obama's wondrous plan to make America great again! And fix the borders and beef up the inspection of imported goods that are so easily dancing flooding our markets and poisoning us with lead and such, oh, yes if only Obama would not keep his cure-all plan such a secret from us...
I am a journalist and novelist, an American who's lived in Europe and the Middle East, I am a registered Independent, and I support Hillary Clinton. I confess that I somewhat identify with her, we are about the same age, so, call us old bats, we are Scorpios -- hey, Scorpio is the Phoenix, the bird that rises from the ashes ) --, but also, I am a once-upon-a-time starry-eyed idealist, whose naivete is now tempered with hard-nosed realism. Realism brought by hands-on experience earned through trials and tribulations by fire. At the very least, Hillary is a realist and sure has experience.
Is she the cure-all person? No. Our situation is too complex. Our problems severe.
But she has the knowledge and experience to give it a shot. I did consider McCain. Am still considering him. He is a bonafide hero and has accomplished a lot. Though there are a few things we differ on. Mitt Romney and Huckabee and let's not forget Guliani, are all candidates with a rucksack full of experience. Also, let's not forget Bloomberg, the New Yorker, rumored that he may or may not, join the frey. I hear he has whipped New York into shape. Might this not be a good credential for a President?
But I still am hooked on Hillary.
True, I consider her a two-fer, as in Bill and Hill. Also, she sure is a tough woman, and I don't give a flying figleaf that she is not as cute as Obama.
I respect her for her mature age, her knowledge of the issues on hand, and I feel proud that after a Q & A session in New Hampshire, she had the grace to shed a few tears.
Yet, to be honest, I gotta admit she seems to be going down. I watched many a political commentary about her in the aftermath of Iowa, and all I heard was an army of pundits who are almost giddy as they race with each other to hasten her demise.
My pendulum predicts that Obama will be the next President of the United States of America.
We are in God's hands. Let's pray that Obama will walk the walk. Hope Springs Eternal in the Human Breast!
If I could run into Hillary Clinton on the street, I'd grasp her by the hand and cry: "You are a woman, let them hear you ROAR!"
Dateline: The World, December 27, 2007I am stunned.
I shouldn't be, for she had been skating fast to her death from the moment she had boarded the plane to Pakistan, back in October.
Common sense surely had warned her that there was no way in hell or on earth her opponents would let her live. She stood for everything they are sworn to destroy. A highly educated woman, a charismatic leader, with mass appeal, and adding insult to their injury, seemingly sincere. Plenty has been said about that she was party to corruption, that she lined up her own pockets while in power, and so on. And I would concur on that she might not have been innocent. I think no one at that level of power ever is, or to be fair to her, CAN. At least not fully. Those around him or her, will not allow this.
So why would she willingly place herself in the waiting, open jaws of the lion? Was she so determined to be a martyr? Or was this the inexplicable and unavoidable summons of her destiny/kismet?
Hmmm, must be the latter.
Indeed, the region's destiny and her own personal karma drove her back. It was a summons she could not disobey.
I do not doubt that her martyrdom will reverberate throughout the world. For better or worse, remains yet to be seen.
Farewell, and rest in peace in the Light, Benazir Bhutto!
Dateline: 11/16/2007 8:25:11 AM
KORINNA - AN HISTORICAL NOVEL BY KRISTINA O'DONNELLY, WINS POW! AWARD
For the third year in a row, on November 10, my BIRTHDAY (amazing coincidence) I received the wonderful news of an award for one of my novels, this time, KORINNA – DAUGHTERS OF THE FIRE, I.
Truly the timing is incredible! Perhaps this is one way my beloved late parents are sending me a birthday card from heaven.....
Of course I'd like to grasp this wondrous occasion and tell you all about KORINNA, but first, I want to tell you what the POW! Award is all about.
Caryn Day-Suarez, an author and Owner/President of POW! describes her organization thusly: "Yes, POW! is Promoting Outstanding Writers, but we do so much more. POW! is all about promoting, writers, performers, artists, photographers, anything and anyone to do with the arts. We're what's happening now! We pack the punch that sells and gets YOU known. It's all about building a rep, making money, having fun, mingling, canoodling, friendship...."
Caryn’s written three award-winning books, and an award winning screenplay (for Living Crazy Like Fly ).
You can find out more about Caryn Day-Suarez at Author's Den.
A very important aspect of the POW! Award is that while POW! is the sponsor, the judging is done by a panel of anonymous judges from the FCCJ (Florida Community College, Jacksonville), led by Dr Dana Thomas, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences. By the way Dr. Dana Thomas is an author as well.
But now, based on comments I received, I'd like to delve into what Women's Fiction entails.
Yes, KORINNA - DAUGHTERS OF THE FIRE, I, is Historical Fiction. But I entered it in the Women's Fiction category. This category is not ROMANCE, per se, although it may very well contain a love story.
By the way, I understand that while publishers do have a category called Women's Fiction, bookstores do not, and place these novels in General Fiction area. In addition, due to being placed in this section (a practice I agree with, for this way we can appeal to readers of both genders), publishers and book sellers cannot quite analyze its sales. According to Wikipedia, Women's fiction is an umbrella term for a wide-ranging collection of literary sub-genres that are marketed to female readers, including many mainstream novels, romantic fiction, "chick-lit" and other sub genres.
Well, as I've said before, I do not see Women's Fiction as of interest to only female readers. Women's Fiction is more about the empowerment, or lack thereof, of women, delved upon in a thought-provoking story that might be placed in the past or the present. This genre reflects the female trial and tribulations throughout the ages, her rise and fall in the social strata of humanity in general, from the distant, misty past, to the Bronze Age and forward, but also, how the female's standing affects the lives of men.
Yes, truth is, while men might be from Mars and women from Venus )), we are closely interrelated, and the overall female empowerment or lack thereof deeply influences the fortunes of the men in any given society.
Let me make a simplified statement: Dumbed down women, give birth to and raise, dumbed down sons.
All right, yes, this is a simplified statement. Better said, women who, generation after generation, have been robbed of their personal and intellectual freedom, raised in a society as chattels and servants of their men, forbidden -- be it through lack of money or tolerance -- from having an education, or a skill with which they can earn the means of financial independence, who are forbidden to be in charge of their own lives/destiny, are forced to breed children who grow up to be cheap slaves and soldiers, used in service of their mass-manipulator overlords. Hmmm. Doesn't it all boil down to The User and the Usee?
KORINNA's tale is an intense tour-de-force into the history of Ancient Greece, Rome, Anatolia, but also, mirrors the plight of women in those times. Women who had no say in the running of their lives, existing only for their men until they were killed in battle. Proud of and motivated by for being named after Korinna, a 5th B.C. Greek poetess, our heroine is driven to defy a woman's traditional, unquestioningly subservient role in order to be independent, and battles to chart her own course in life.
To be continued….
Dateline November 6, 2007, USA
Yesterday, I watched with dread-filled fascination, the TV-broadcast of a press conference with President Bush and the Turkish PM, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. First thing that struck me, was President Bush's body language, or to be fair, what I read in his body-language: awkward, uncomfortable, seeming as if he were wishing he was anywhere but here ....
Today, however, rather than writing about my own feelings, I've decided to post a Washington Times editorial by Turkish journalist Tulin Daloglu.
Ms. Daloglu is a seasoned professional who writes succinctly and with a cool, calm voice.
Turkey's Unified Front
by Tulin Daloglu
November 6, 2007
By Tulin Daloglu - "I looked the man in the eye... I was able to get a sense of his soul," said after his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. As awkward as it sounded then, Mr. Bush's soul is precisely what Turkish Prime Minister must have been trying to understand at the White House yesterday.
Politicians rarely ever characterize meetings as unsuccessful. But this one could be different. Soon we will learn how responds to increasing Kurdish terrorist attacks initiated mainly from Northern Iraq. The United States's cooperation or lack thereof with on this matter will have a lasting impact for decades.
Turks genuinely suspect that American policies are targeting their country's territorial integrity. The essence of yesterday's meeting for was to test that suspicion. It was no accident that Erdogan was accompanied by Deputy Joint Chiefs of Staff Ergin Saygun, at the White House. Between the military, which serves as the guardian of Turkey's secular government, and the political rule of the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), is conveying a unified front in dealing with the Kurdish separatist threat.
Now the Turkish establishment will make a crucial assessment: deciding whether to continue to trust the United States, their NATO ally, or to test a regional effort to deal with the matter that would include and .
At the moment, Kurdish nationalists have played their hand, demanding that their gains be maximized in the face of changing dynamics in and in the region. They used the PKK as a proxy to force to negotiate the political status of Kurds in the region. As much as the Bush administration plays down the Iraqi Kurds' desire for an independent Kurdistan, "Kurdish television and newspapers are rife with incitements to unrest, often referring to Iraqi Kurdistan as 'South Kurdistan,' thereby implying that large chunks of must be 'North Kurdistan,' " wrote Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in March.
When proposal to soft-partition along ethnic and sectarian lines was accepted in the Senate, only the Iraqi Kurds seemed to welcome the idea. While such affirmations in Congress increase Turkey's suspicion about U.S. policies, there also remains the question of whether the United States can control Iraq's final destiny.
That is the challenge causing a rift in U.S.-Turkey relations. The trouble goes back to the first Gulf War, which created an autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region. has supported U.S. and British policies, allowing its Incirlik air base to be used for more than a decade to protect these areas from intervention by . Now Turkey's leaders feel threatened by Iraqi Kurds' experience with an autonomous region, and they worry that Turkey's Kurds under their political leadership will demand a similar area for themselves.
Yet Turks invest in Iraqi Kurdistan's economy, helping to build a functioning nation state. Although the gap is wide between Turkey's trust in its Kurdish originated citizens and its fear over the Kurdish secessionist threat, Turks generally believe that U.S. policies have pushed them into a corner. The Iraqi Kurdish leadership suspects that Turkish policies target their independence rather than the PKK — and there's some truth to that. Alas, Turkey's Kurdish political leadership have begun signaling that they want more than a functioning democracy — they want a federal, autonomous region and status as become co-partners in the constitution.
Turkey's EU accession talks mean little to the Kurds in the region. They deny admitting any constructive change in and continue parroting about the old mistakes. Kurds are convinced that under its former president, Turgut Ozal, made a strategic mistake by allowing an autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan after the first Gulf War. Since then, they believe they reached a point of no return for their ultimate dream of an independent Kurdistan.
Interestingly, they seem worried that the United States may put them down again. It is possible that Kurds have misread U.S. policy. It is also possible that Turks in general have misunderstood it as well, in thinking that the United States is targeting Turkey's territorial integrity. On the other hand, what they think could be the reality.
Whatever Mr. Bush and Mr. Erdogan say after their meeting is not important. What is important is for to figure out its next steps — and then, how the United States will react. The dance will start soon, and it will ultimately determine whether remains allied with the United States, or whether it embarks on new adventures. Kurds have played their card; now we must wait to see Turkey's next move.
Tulin Daloglu is a freelance writer.
Dateline: October 16, 2007, USA
by Kristina O'Donnelly
On October 10, a Congressional panel approved a resolution (H. RES. 106), calling the 1915 massacres of Armenians (who were a thriving Christian minority within the Ottoman Empire and then teamed up with Russia against the Ottomans) early in the last century, a 'genocide.'
Bush had warned this would damage U.S. goals in the Middle East, explaining that it would do "great harm" to ties with NATO ally Turkey, a key supporter in the Iraq war.
The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee approved the resolution 27 to 21. It now goes to the House floor, where Democratic leaders say there will be a vote by mid-November. There is a companion bill in the Senate, but both measures are strictly symbolic and do not require the president's signature.
This is a very intricate state of affairs, placing the United States of America in the position of passing judgment upon a sovereign and democratic country, Turkey, an Islamic country yet a hitherto secular democracy who is a vital ally on the war against terror, but also, has been a staunch friend of America with a long history, not the least of which was Turkey's contribution during the Korean War (1950 - 1953). Turkey sacrificed 721 of her young men in this war. Indeed 721 dead, and 2,111 wounded. From what I read, Turkey had contributed 5,455 men. The disproportionately large number of casualties suffered by the Turks is a testimony to how hard and how bravely they had fought in an extraordinarily bitter, brutal, dangerous war.
Not surprisingly, the Turks are now asking how many Armenians had performed the same sacrifice during the Korean War, for America.
And there is another question that begs an answer: What about those countless numbers of Turks and Kurds who had died in the hands of the Armenian Militia, as well as their partners, the Russians, during this yet another dark era in Anatolian history?
Fact is, this a fiery, controversial issue, redolent with the deeply suffering, weeping ghosts of the past, that ought to be discussed between the Turks, Kurds, and Armenians, without the interference of unrelated third parties. Would that they could meet around the proverbial Round Table, and apologize to each other for the mass killings committed -- during the heat of battles as well as when respective militias went on their own revenge killings -- by each group. Each and every innocent's death, regardless of his/her ethnic origin, is a tragedy and black mark upon humanity's collective soul. Justice cannot be disbursed to only one ethnic or religious group, true justice has to tower above and beyond discrimination.
May they all be allowed to rest in peace.
I believe that the below-shown Washington Times article by a young, articulate, fair-minded Turkish woman journalist is worthy of reading.
Article published Oct. 16, 2007
By Tűlin Daloğlu
October 16, 2007
Reprinted with permission
Tulin Daloglu is a freelance writer.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she believes that "the biggest ethical challenge facing our country is the war in Iraq." Therefore, she must believe that passing a resolution declaring the mass killings of Armenians at the end of a genocide will restore America's moral authority. Rep. Tom Lantos, California Democrat, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said, "I feel that I have a tremendous opportunity as a survivor of the to bring a moral dimension to our foreign policy." The resolution passed last week by a 27-21 vote.
However, while Mr. Lantos speaks so forcefully about the resolution now, he has opposed similar measures in the past, arguing that what happened to Armenians is not technically a genocide. In fact, he argued this right up until refused to give the United States a northern front to invade in 2003. According to congressional sources, Mrs. Pelosi urged Mr. Lantos to support the resolution, or else risk his chairmanship. In addition, Mr. Lantos was seriously troubled when the Turkish government invited the newly elected leadership of the to , and by what appears to be Turkey's strengthening relationship with .
A delegation of Turkish Parliament members visiting Washington was disappointed by the vote. "What bothered me was that those [U.S. representatives] who supported the Turkish side, 21 of them said loud and clear that the events of 1915 amounted to genocide," said Gunduz Aktan, a former ambassador and member of the Turkish Parliament from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). "Despite this, because of Turkey's strategic importance, because of the national interest of the U.S., they are voting no. This was unbearable." Turks share Mr. Aktan's opinion. But they should also know who lobbies on Turkey's behalf. Former House Minority leader Richard Gephardt, hired by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to lobby for , actively worked in support of such resolutions in the past. When a last-minute intervention by President Bill Clinton stopped a similar resolution before a vote in 2000, Mr. Gephardt wrote to the then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican, to tell him that he was "committed to obtaining official U.S. government recognition of the Armenian genocide."
Although Egemen Bagis, one of Prime Minister 's chief foreign policy advisers, said that has done everything in its power to avert the resolution's passage, it also made many mistakes. Not only did the Turkish government hire Mr. Gephardt, but it also placed too much stock in the perception that Turkey's geographically strategic position would ensure such a measure's defeat.
Evidently, , and Defense did all they could to try to defeat the bill in committee. Now must face this failure — it lost the propaganda war on this issue long ago. In fact, not only did the Turkish government fail, but Turkish Americans who did not take this issue as seriously as the Armenian Americans failed as well.
Mrs. Pelosi may think that a House resolution will finally close the issue. But Turks are convinced that it will begin a new chapter and spur reparations claims. U.S. officials advise to deal with the issue as plain historical fact. That's easily said. But Turks wonder what the connection is — and why the United States has done nothing to prevent the Kurdish separatist PKK from gaining strength in northern Iraq and increasing its attacks on . They are convinced that America wants to enforce the Treaty of Sevres which would allow Kurds and Armenians to lay claim to Turkish land.
Many in the United States believe the Kurds have a legitimate right to their own state. Recently the Senate passed a resolution calling the partition of into three self-governing regions for Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. Turks are worried that such a plan will lead some of its Kurdish citizens to seek independence as well. However, Sevres did not promise Kurds an independent state; it promised "the formation of an autonomous region which would have the right to elect for complete independence one year after the formation of the autonomous area."
David McDowell, in "A Modern History of the Kurds, " explains that "[t]he terms were flawed"by the failure to demarcate Kurdistan's boundary with . This was foreseeably bound to outrage either the Kurds or the Armenians, as President Wilson's pro-Armenian proposed boundary accompanying the treaty clearly showed." Wilson set the Armenian borders to include Kurdish areas of , but he was unable to finalize them.
Turks look at their history and wonder why the president refuses to act against a Kurdish terrorist organization attacking them from northern Iraq, and why a Democratic Congress is considering an act that happened nearly 100 years ago. Ultimately, what everyone needs to do is move on — but the war in Iraq and the possibility of its breakup seem to haunt the present.
And the debate shall continue ....
6:45 AM PDT, October 6, 2007, updated at 6:48 AM PDT, October 6, 2007Dear Friends,
I've been counting the days for weeks now... counting the days to d-day, when my husband Michael and I will be embarking the plane to revisit LANDS OF THE MORNING.
Yes, the leaves of the calendar are turning faster now, whipping past one after the other, and d-day is only 4 days ahead.
I am excited. Very much so! Not only will I be reunited with my loved ones, but also, I will be running down the proverbial memory lane, reconnect with feelings, senses, and even ghosts.
Naturally, of course, I will write, write, write .... do so happily! ... not only continuing another novel in my series, but also work on the translation of my next novel to be published in Turkey.
And as an aside, write Part II of my last blog posted below, about
Recent election results in Turkey - Headscarves - Soul Search - The Horseman
While I am still pondering this second installment, just now I came across a quote by Ataturk, Founder of the modern Turkish Republic, and am stunned by its relevance to my "soul search", i.e. the part about: "... and as an American, do I, in fact, have a right to opine about Turkey and the direction the majority of her people want to march on? On the other hand, we live in a global village. “From Celtia to Anatolia” our actions influence each other’s existence in real time. Besides, Turks opine about my country, the United States of America, all the time, and criticize us aplenty."
Well, here is that quote by Ataturk:
"Humankind is a single body and each nation a part of that body. We must never say 'What does it matter to me if some part of the world is ailing?' If there is such an illness, we must concern ourselves with it as though we were having that illness." (bold-red faced emphasis mine)
Oh yes, indeed! Humankind IS a single body and each nation a part of that body... and truly we must never say 'What matters to me if some part of the world is ailing?'
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkish soldier and statesman, was born in the Ottoman city of Salonica (Selanik) on March 12, 1881, and passed away on November 10, 1938. But I can see that his thoughts and ideals are as fresh as 'every morning.'
And here is a personal quote -- about his inner-self -- by Ataturk: "There's a place in me that can really relate to being the underdog. I'm always fighting to overcome the obstacle. I can really understand what that is about."
Hmmm. Now I have a window into his soul. Ataturk was a Pisces. Pisces is also associated with the Greco-Roman god Poseidon/Neptune and sometimes also the gods Zeus/Jupiter, Morpheus, and Thor and the goddess Tyche/Fortuna. By the way, I’ve always likened Ataturk to Hector, the noble defender Troy, for unlike Achilles, who fought for glory, Hector fought to defend his parents, wife and child, and with equal fervor, his fellow citizens.
Aggh, am already upset that my visit will be too brief, no time to return to Troy in Canakkale a.k.a Gallipoli .... I wanted to talk :-))) to Hector and Andromache ....
Oh, well, next time around.
For this trip, we will spend most of our time in Bodrum, a.k.a. Halikarnassus. And here is what's awaiting me there:
Oh, joy! Slainte and Hallelujah!
Blessings to you all, Friends. Enjoy life and the company of your loved ones.
You can watch Ataturk, here:
ATATURK VIDEO -- ADDRESSING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE -- ON YOU TUBE:
7:19 AM PDT, September 16, 2007, updated at 7:40 AM PDT, September 16, 2007
It's been months since I've been struggling with my urge to "… write or not to write ..." about the Headscarf Issue in Turkey, recent election results, and the connection to
THE HORSEMAN, the lead novel of my series, Lands of the Morning.
I am particularly sensitive to the Headscarf Issue in Turkey, and I reject to justify it with the argument that covering women, often head to toe, has been a practice of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish women the world over for thousands of years. The truth is women were placed under a veil as early as the demise of the Mother-Goddess and rise of the first male-dominated religion ... when women were made property of men, first of their fathers, or in his absence, brothers, and then husband, and then their son or sons.... OK, yes, yesss, I confess, I feel paranoiac, I dread a new Man vs. Woman (woman's rights -- rights to their own bodies, minds, intellects, belief system) battle here.
My struggle as I write these words is a soul search. Should I or should I not voice my thoughts/concerns about what I see metamorphosing in Turkey (Democracy, Free Speech, and Islam - do they conflict or complement each other?), or forever hold my peace. Will my writings have a negative tone, will they seem like criticizing, add fuel to the fire, and most importantly, do I really understand what's been happening in Turkey, and as an American, do I, in fact, have a right to opine about Turkey and the direction the majority of her people want to march on? On the other hand, we live in a global village. “From Celtia to Anatolia” our actions influence each other’s existence in real time. Besides, Turks opine about my country, the United States of America, all the time, and criticize us aplenty.
Our Founding Fathers have said:
".....We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed (Italics and bold-face, mine); that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed....."
So, if the majority of the citizens of Turkey choose the rule of AKP, rewrite their Constitution while also deleting some references to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Founder of the modern Turkish Republic, build more mosques than schools, choose a President whose wife wears a headscarf (I understand a famous Western fashion designer will design her scarf), if citizens identify themselves as first a Muslim and than a Turk, and perhaps embark a path different than what Ataturk had carved for them, truly this is their business. The modern Republic of Turkey was a phoenix that proudly rose from the ashes of the 1st World War, in 1923, and ever since, her citizens had plenty of time to debate, digest, accept or reject Ataturk’s vision on their behalf.
By the way, I share my fictional arch-hero Burhan Kayhanolu's (The Horseman) admiration and love for Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. A very brief look at Ataturk's vision:
Premises and Purposes of the Turkish Revolution — Kemalism
Ataturk saw his quest as the "Creation of a new Turk.”The foundation of the Republic will be culture," he declared. Adding, "Not the obsolete, anachronical and foreign cultures left over from/imposed by the imperial era, but a national culture suitable to our character and history, which will earn a rightful place for the secular Republic among the family of modern (i.e., developed) nations of the World. The purpose of our revolution is to render the people of Turkish Republic a modern and civilized society, in every and true sense of the words, in substance and in appearance."
According to Ataturk, to achieve and keep national independence and safeguard "peace at home and abroad --- Yurtta Sulh, Cihanda Sulh" is to follow the path of culture or civilization. He described his vision thusly: “Separating culture from civilization is difficult and unnecessary. So, let me tell you what I mean by ‘culture’. Culture is the sum total of all things that a nation can achieve (a) in public administration, (b) in arts and sciences, and (c) in the field of economy; namely, agriculture, commerce and industry — including land, sea and air transportation and communication. Civilization of a nation then is none other than the end product of the three components mentioned above.”
Ataturk endeavored to create the new Turk and Turkey: Positively rationalistic and scientific; Conceptually holistic — rather than reductionist; basically Western oriented and largely secular and/or laic(ist).
Why am I agonizing about what’s happening in Turkey? What business is it of mine? Well, though born in Rome, Italy, I grew up in Istanbul, Turkey, and am fond of and loyal to "Turkiye" and her gallant people. Lands of the Morning Series is the fruit of my childhood and early youth, and is a true reflection (seen from MY vantage point, that is) of the historical/religious backgrounds and socio/political realities surrounding each of my "tall tales" (what is a novelist but a teller of tall tales?), from CLARION OF MIDNIGHT, THE SCORPION CHILD, TROJAN ENCHANTMENT, ANDROMAKHE, KORINNA and others yet to be completed.
Yes, I still got several novels to complete in this series, POSEIDON UNBOUND, the prequel to TROJAN ENCHANTMENT, also am halfway through CONSTANTINOPLE, MY LOVE, a historical novel about the 1453 Fall of Constantinople, and have written the prologue to BATTLE OF THE FALCON AND THE WOLF, an Armageddon-type finale to the series.
I believe BATTLE OF THE WOLF AND THE FALCON will be the hardest to write to its finishing point. It will reflect what my eyes and heart observe brewing in my Lands of the Morning, in the near future.
Ah! I believe this blog will take several installments.... I also want to mention some of the brilliant and vibrant Turkish women I've known, women I call Daughters of Ataturk, women such as Dr. Muazzez Ilmiye Cig (this lady firebrand Sumerologist, Cuneiform-specialist is a true phenomenon! Born on June 20, 1914, she specializes in the study of the Sumerian people. In 2005, she published a book arguing that the headscarf did not originate in the Muslim world, but was worn by five thousand years ago by Sumerian priestesses who initiated young men into sex. As a result, she and her publisher were charged with "inciting hatred based on religious differences". Ç's case went to trial on November 1, 2006. She denied the charges, saying: "I am a woman of science ... I never insulted anyone.” The trial lasted less than an hour and she was acquitted. In addition to her archaeological work, Dr. Ç is a prominent advocate for secularism in Turkey.
Also, I want to write about Journalist Tulin Daloglu (former Washington correspondent for Turkey's Star TV; in the Turkish general elections of November 2002, she ran as a candidate for the Turkish Parliament from the city of Kayseri, as a front runner for the now defunct YTP (New Turkey Party)—perhaps defunct is not an accurate description, for in October 2004, the YTP merged into the CHP (the Republican People’s Party)—presently Tulin Daloglu is a freelance writer), and my good friend, the late Ayten Sandikcioglu.... not to forget the leader of the emancipation of Turkish women, Halide Edip Adivar (1884-1964), who was not only one of my favorite novelists, but a university lecturer and politician ...
To be continued ..... and the beat goes on ....