Gunaydin, Istanbul 2

21/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Kac tane ulke nukleer silahlar aldi? Dokuz tane. Kac tane ulke nukleer silahlar savasta kullandi? Sadece ABD. Kac tane ulke tum dunyayi imha etmeye yeter nukleer silahlar var? Iki tane: Hem ABD hem de Rusya’da birkac bin nukleer silah var. Fransa, Ingiltere ve Cin kendi bolgeleri imha etmeye yeter nukleer silahlar var, ve belki biraz otesinde. Hindistan ve Pakistan birbirlerini imha etmeye yeter nukleer silahlar var, ve onlar icin bu yeter! Sonunda Israil ve Kuzey Kore’de nukleer silahlar var, ancak da sadece kendi bolgeleri icinde vurabilir. Aslinda, tek Amerikan topraklari Kuzey Kore vurabilir – Guam. O nerede? Guam kucuk bir Guney Pasifik Adasi, nufus sadece yaklasik yuz elli bin, ve yerliler kesinlikle Amerikalilar istemiyor. Ancak Kuzey Kore o adaya vurabilir, ve Amerikan propaganda gore bu cok tehlikeli bir durum. Bu arada, hem ABD hem de Fransa Pasifik Okyanus’unda nukleer silah denemesi yapti – ve sonuc olarak cok yerliler yerinden edildi, hastalandi ve bile hayatlarini kaybetti. Ingiltere Avustralya’da ayni sey yapti ve ayni yola cikti. Kuzey Kore neden nukleer silahlar aldi? Bil bakalim: Eskiden Libya nukleer silahlar istedi, ancak on dort yil once baskan Muammer Kaddafi bu programdan vazgecti. Buyuk hata! Sadece birkac yil sonra NATO o ulkeyi imha etti ve Kaddafi olduruldu . . .

 

20/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Su anda Ingilizce ‘vandal’ kamu mallarina zarar veren kisi demek. Fakat orijinal Vandallar kim? Aslinda, nereden geldiler hic kimse bilmiyor, ancak yaklasik iki bin yil once onlar Orta Avrupa’ya yerlesti, ozellikle Silezya’da (Polonya’da). Ancak birkac yuzyil sonra Hunlar Asya’dan geldi, ve Vandallar batiya goc etti ve Romalilar ile savas yapti. Ondan sonra Vandallar ve Iranli Alanlar Galya’ya (Fransa’da) birlikte baskin yapti. Oradan Vandallar Ispanya’ya devam etti, ama bazilar Galicya’ya gitti – ve orada Sueviler (Alman bir kabile) tarafindan imha edildi. Bu arada, Vandallarin cogu Guney Ispanya’ya yerlesti Bunun icin o bolge ‘Vandalusya’ olarak bilinen (ve Musluman yonetimi altinda ‘Endulusya).’ Fakat Vizigotlar (baska bir Alman kabile) geldi, bunun icin Vandallar Kuzey Afrika’ya devam etti. Tum bunlar Orta Avrupa’sindan ayrildiktan sadece yirmi veya otuz yil sonra! Sonunda onlar Numidya’ya (Cezayir’de) yerlesti. Oradan onlar gene Romalilar ile savas yapti. Vandallar Kartaca’yi (Tunus’ta) fethetti. Bu sekilde Vandal Krallik kuruldu. Onlar cok guclu oldu, Sicilya, Sardinya, Korsika ve daha adalara aldi, ve Roma’yi saldirdi. Fakat altinci yuzyil boyunca onlar yerli Berberlere karsi birkac savas kaybetti. Ondan sonra Bizansilar Sicilya’yi aldi ve savas basladi. Bes otuz dort yilinda Vandallar teslim oldu

 

19/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Elvis Presley bir Turk adam oldu, galiba Amerika’da dogdu fakat Turk kokenli. Ayrica, onun gercek isim Elvis Presley degildi, bu sadece bir sahne ismi oldu. On dokuz yuz elliler yillarda pop muzik yeni ve cok populer oldu. Ancak pop yildizlar genellikle Afrikali-Amerikali veya Latin Amerikali oldu. Beyaz yildizlar vardi, Buddy Holly ve ‘Big Bopper,’ mesela, ama onlar kesinlikle yakisikli degildi. Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra ABD dunyanin en zengin ve guclu ulke oldu, ve imaj cok onemli bir seydi. Bunun icin ‘Elvis Presley’ yaratildi, yakisikli bir Turk delikanli. O sarkilari kim soyledi? Galiba Big Bopper. Ona buyuk bir adam oldu, sarkilari derin ve yetkili bir sesiyla soyledi – Amerikan en unlu pop yildizi icin mukemmeldi. Evet, haber gore on dokuz yuz elli dokuz yilinda Big Bopper, Buddy Holly ve Ritchie Valens bir ucak kazasinda oldu. Oyle mi? Hayir. Onlar sadece kamusal arenadan cikarildi, guzel bir Karayip adasinda yasiyordu, ve sonraki on sekiz yil boyunca Elvis icin sarkilar yazdi. Elbette Elvis ernek vatandas oldu, Vietnam Savasi boyunca askerlik yapti, ve Prescilla Beaulieu ile evlendi. Aryic, saysiz film yapti. Fakat sonunda ona orta yasa yaklasti, biraz sisman ve cirkin gorunuyordu, Amerikan imaji icin iyi degildi. O yuzden kirk yil once ona da kamusal arenadan cikarildi, ayni Karayip adasina gitti. Belki ona orada hala yasliyor – bu bilmiyorum.

 

18/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, dun Barselona’nin merkezinde bir teror saldirisi oldu, on uc hayat kaybetti (bir terorist dahil), ve yaklasik seksen kisi daha yaralandi. Teroristler Kuzey Afrikan koken oldu. Haber gore bu baska bir ISID saldiri oldu, fakat bana gore bu kesinlikle sacmalik. ISID Bati Medya’nin icadi, Orta Dogu’daki hem teroristler hem de gercek mukavemetciler var, fakat buyuk bir ‘Cihad Teror Orgutu’ yok, bu sadece propaganda, Amerikan Orta Dogu’daki savaslari hakli cikarmaya. Su anda Avrupa’daki cok Muslumanlar yasiyor, ikinci ve ucuncu kusak dahil. Onlar genellikle fakir ve mazlum, ve her gun Amerikan Orta Dogu’daki savaslari hakkinda haberini aliyor. Sonuc olarak cok radikallesme var. Fakat onlar sadece ‘yalniz kurtlar;’ buyuk bir ‘Cihad Teror Orgutu’ ajanlar degil. Elbette teror kotu bir cozum. Neden masum insanlari olduruyor? Bu cozum savas propagandaya yardim ediyor! Bu arada bugun cok uzgun hissediyorum. Istanbul’dan once Barselona’da uc yil boyunca yasiyordum. o ikinci evim oldu, ve sehrin merkezini iyi biliyorum. Dunku teror saldirisi Las Ramblas’ta oldu, uzun ve kalabalik bir bir cadde (Istiklal gibi), ve yaklasik iki yil boyunca neredeyse her pazar gunu arkadasim bulusmaya orada yurudum, her yerde sokak sanatcilar ve turistler vardi. Gecmis olsun, Barselona…

 

17/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Izmir Depremi bugun on sekiz yil onceydi ve iyi hatirliyorum. Avrupa’ya yeni geldim, Guney Ispanya’da Ingiliz amcamla kaliyordum, ve ona her gun BBC (uydu yoluyla) izledi. Yaklasik bir hafta boyunca Izmir Depremi en onemli haber oldu, her gun birkac saat canli haber vardi. Elbette biz cok uzgunduk, butun sehir harap oldu, sadece enkaz vardi, ve haber gore on binlerce hayat kaybetti. Aslinda, o zamanlarda Turkiye hakkinda hic bir sey bilmiyordum, galiba o Irak ve Iran gibi, dusundum; cok fakir ve dinsel; yaklasik ucuncu dunya statusu. Tam bir yil sonra, Agustos, iki bin yilinda, Madrid’de Ingilizce ogretmenlik kursu yaptim, ve bir egitici onceki yedi yilda Turkiye’de calisti. Neden? Merak ettim; Ispanya Turkiye’den cok daha modern ve guzel bir ulke! Fakat ona Turkiye eglendi. Cok sasirdim – cunku gercekten Turkiye hakkinda hic bir sey bilmiyordum, sadece Izmir Depremi goruntuleri hatirladim. Ispanya’da bes yilda Ingilizce ogretmen olarak calistim. Fakat orada okullar uzun yaz tatili yapar, o yuzden bu firsat farkli ulkeleri ziyaretmeye kullandim, Rusya ve Cin dahil. Sonunda iki bin bes yilinda Turkiye’ye gelmeye firsat aldim. Hala Izmir Depremi hatirladim, ancak alti yil gecti ve Turkiye’den daha kotu haber gelmedi. O yuzden buraya geldim – ve hala buradayim. Bugun Izmir Depremi gene hatirliyorum. Gecmis olsun, Turkiye.

 

16/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Son iki gun burada yetmis yil once Hindistan ve Pakistan’in bagimsizligi ve bolunmesi hakkinda yazdim. Bugun neredeyse on yil once benim Hindistan’a gezisimle bitirecegim. Ocak, iki bin sekiz yilinda bir arkadasimla Istanbul’dan Bombay’a ucak binerek gittim, yolda Sarca’da (Birlesik Arap Emirlikleri’nde) bir gece kaldik. Bombay’da da bir gece kaldik ve arkadasimin arkadasiyla tanistik. Oradan ben bir gecelik tren binerek baskente devam ettim, ama arkadaslarim Bengal’da bir dugune ucak binerek gitti. Bir hafta sonra biz Yeni Delhi’de bulustuk, ve sonra gun Tac Mahal’ini ziyaret etmeye Agra’ya devam ettik. Sonra gun Racastan’a gitmek istedik fakat trenimiz birkac saat gec oldu. Inanilmaz! O yuzden yerine arabayla devam ettik. Biraz pahali oldu, fakat ben karin agrisi ile hastaydim. Racastan’in baskentte bir gece kaldik – ve orada bir fil bindim! Jaypur’da cok yesil bir sehir ve her yerde maymunlari gorduk – otelimizin terasinda dahil! Sonra gun arabayla kucuk bir koye devam ettik (Delhi’de Jamaikali bir kizla tanistim ve ona bu koyu tavsiye etti). Evet, cok guzel ve sakin oldu. Her gun tepelerde bisiklet bindik ve tapinaklari ziyaret ettik. Otelimizdeki yemekler cok lezzetli oldu – fakat benim karin agrisi devam etti, maalesef! Bu arada, orada sacimi kena ile boyadim! Donerken hem Bombay hem de Sarca’ya gene bir gece kaldik. Ayrica, Dubai’yi ziyaret ettik, fakat ben kotu ishal oldum!

 

15/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Dun yetmis yil once Hindistan ve Pakistan’in bagimsizligi ve bolunmesi hakkinda yazdim. Bugun daha once olaylar hakkinda yazacagim. Dun ‘Ingiltere yaklasik yuzyil boyunca Hindinstan’i yonetti’ yazdim. Aslinda neredeyse iki yuzyil oldu. Birinci yuzyil boyunca Ingiliz ‘Dogu Hindistan Kumpanyasi’ her seyi kontrol etti, buna ragmen Mogol Imparator baskentte kaldi (hapis gibi). Sonunda, on sekiz yuz elli yedi yilinda Ingiltere son imparator hapse atti, ve kendi imparatorluk icin Hindistan aldi. Kral Victoria kendini Hindistan’in kralicesi ilan etti, ve bes yil sonra son Mogol imparator hapiste oldu. Ingilizler Hindistan’daki Naziler gibi davrandi, cinayet, iskence, tecavuz, falan cok siradan oldu. On sekiz yuz elli yedi yilinda buyuk ayaklanma basladi, ve Ingiltere binlerce kisi idam etti. Askerler isyancilari toplardan vurdu, ailelerinin onunde vurdu ve sunguledi. Koyler bombalandi ve yakildi, antik sehirler yagmalandi. Bu arada, Dogu Hindistan Kumpanyasi vergiler toplarken odemis odemeyenlere iskenci etti. Neredeyse yuzyil sonra Mahatma Gandi pasif direnis onculuk etti, onlar polis tarafindan dovuldu ancak devam etti. Baska yerde polis cok gostericilri oldurdu, birkac lider dahil. Ingiliz basbakan Winston Churchill ayaklanma ezmeye otuz bin asker gonderdi. Onlar binlerece kisi oldurdu, ve cok iskence ve tecavuz vardi. Bu arada Bengal’daki korkunc bir kitlik basladi, fakat Ingiltere yardim etmedi. Churchill Hintlilerden kesinlikle nefret etti, Gandi dahil…

 

14/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Hindistan ve Pakistan yetmis yil bagimsizlik kutluyor. Ayrica, onlar yetmis yil bolme aniyor, fakat bu cok kanli bir surec oldu, toplam yaklasik iki milyon hayat kaybetti. Onceden Hindistan alt kitasi neredeyse yuz yil boyunca vahsi Ingiliz yonetimi altinda oldu, fakat Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra Ingiltere zayif oldu ve bagimsizlik geldi. Maalesef, boluculer hemen ayaklanma basladi, o yuzden bolme kacinilmaz oldu. Ironik bir sekilde, Hindistan Indus Nehri‘nden isimini aldi, fakat simdi o nehir Pakistan’da bulundu. Bengal ve Pencap da boldu, ama Kasmir hala tartismali toprak. Bolumden sadece bir yil sonra, Hindu lider ve buyuk kahraman Mahatma Gandhi milliyetciler tarafindan suikaste ugradi. Hinduizm dunyanin en eski buyuk din, belki birkac bin yil once basladi – Indus Vadisi zamanlarda, hic kimse bilmiyor. Sekizinci yuzyil boyunca ilk Muslumanlar geldi ve Sint bolgesini (Pakistan’da) fethetti. Iki yuzyil sonra Afganli Muslumanlar geldi ve Pencap’e fethetti. Onlar yaklasik iki yuzyil boyunca o bolge yonetti. Sonunda Muslumanlar Delhi’ye feshetti, Hindistan’in gobeginde, ve Mogol yonetimi on dokuz yuzyilin ortasina kadar devam etti. Bu Sekilde Hindistan alt kitasi cok karmasiklasti, ve kirk alti yil once Banglades da bagimsizlik kazandi, ama sayisiz daha hayat kaybetti, maalesef.

 

13/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Camasir makinesi sorunumuz var. O yuzden Cuma gunu bakkala gittim ve onlar bir tamirci tavsiye etti. Onu aradim fakat dune kadar gelemedi. Aslinda, ona biraz erken geldi, bunun ucun biraz erken kalktim. Ona yaklasik yarim saat boyunca calisti, ondan sonra makine parcalari almaya gitti. Yaklasik bir saat sonra baska bir erkek geldi, ve ona isi bitirdi. Altmis lira odedim. Malesef, bu aksam ev arkadasim camasir makinesi kullanmaya calisti, fakat simdi o kesinlikle bozuk, su gelmiyor. O yuzden tamirci gene aradim, ancak ona pazar gunleri calismiyor, Pazartesi gunune kadar gelemez. Ne kadar kotu! Onceden camasir makinesi calisiyordu, ama o cok eski ve biraz problem vardi, ozellikle kacak su. Son birkac hafta boyunca o her zaman sizdiriyor, ondan sonra temizlemeliyiz. Aslinda ben camasir makinesi cok kullanmiyorum, bunun icin cok onemli degil, acelem yok. Fakat bazi ev arkadasim onu sik sik kullandi – bazilari neredeyse her gun. Ne yazik! Yarina kadar beklemeliyiz. Umarim bu kez tamirci iyi is yapacak, cunku onu ucuncu kez ic aramak istemiyorum. Ben sekiz yil boyunca bu dairede oturdum ve genellikle problem yok. Birkac yil once bir ev arkadasim buzdolabini kirdi ve buyuk bir fiyasko vardi, ona tamirci aradi fakat o buzdolap tamir edilemez durumdaydi. O yuzden ev arkadasim ikinci el buzdolap satin aldi – fakat o buzdolap da calismadi. Sonunda ona kucuk ama yepyeni bir buzdolap satin aldi. Ancak cok ironik oldu, cunku az sonra ona dairemezden ayrildi, ve kendi buzdolabi olan bir erkek geldi – ve biz kucuk ve yepyeni buzdolap hic kullanmadik!

 

12/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, Kenya’daki Uhuru Kenyatta tekrar secildi. Yaklasik on dokuz milyon kisi oy verdi, ve ona yuzde elli dort nokta uc oylar kazandi. Kenyatta dort yil once ilk kez icin secildi, ama daha yakindi oldu, o kez ona sadece yuzde elli nokta sifir yedi oylar kazandi. O zaman da simdiki gibi onun muhalefeti sonuc kabul etmiyor – onlar gore sahtekarlik vardi. Ancak iki bin on uc yilinda mahkeme Kenyatta’nin lehine karar verdi. Buna ragmen, cok endise var. On yil once secim catismasi boyunca yaklasik bin iki yuz hayat kaybetti ve alti yuz bin kisi yerinden edildi. Aslinda, su anda Kenya’daki baskan maksimum iki donem yonetebilir – toplam on yil. Elli bes yil once Kenya Ingiltere’den bagimsizligini aldi ve Kenyatta’nin babasi Jomo Kenyatta birinci baskan oldu. Ona on bes yil boyunca Kenya’yi yonetti (onun olumune kadar). Vahsi Ingiliz yonetimi altinda Jomo Kenyatta bir tutsak oldu, bunun icin devrimin buyuk bir kahraman olarak hatirlanir. Buna ragmen Uhuru Kenyatta’nin siyasi kariyeri yavas olarak basladi, yirmi yil once (otuz bes yasindayken) ona bir bolgesel secim kaybetti, ve bes yil sonra milli secim kaybetti. Onceden onun partisi, Kenya Afrikali Ulusal Birligi, kirk yil boyunca yonetti, ama donmek icin on bir yil bekledi. Simdi onlar gene cok populer gorunuyor .

 

11/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Durust olalim, ayirimcilik genellikle tek yol gidiyor, fakat onyargi kesinlikle iki yonlu bir durum. Memleketim hem irk ayrimciligi hem de cinsel ayrimciligi var, yerel kultur yok sayildi ve cinsiyet rolu sterotipiler devam ediyor, mesela, fakat her taraf irkcilik ve cinsellik sucundan. Simdi geriye donup baktigimda yerlilerden ve kadinlardan ne kadar onyargiyla karsilastim anliyorum. Elbette, ayni zamanda beyazlardan ve erkeklerden bol bol onyargi vardi, ve bu savunmak istemiyorum. Tam tersi. Avrupa’daki cok daha onyargiyla karsilastim. Aslinda, Ingiltere’deki iki ates arasinda kaldim: cok beyaz erkekler bana kibirli bir sekilde konustu, bu arada cok kadinlar ve siyah insanlar bana kirgin bir sekilde konustu. Bir Liberyali kadin gore beyaz insanlar Afrika hakkinda konusmamaliyiz. Tum Afrika mi? Tabii ki bu sacmalikti. Afrikalilar Avrupa hakkinda konusabilir mi? Aslinda, burada benzer durum var, bazilari gore yabancilar Turkiye hakkinda konusmamaliyiz – ancak onlar Amerika ve Avrupa hakkinda uzmanlar. Ispanya’daki daha az problemleri karsilastim, fakat bir yil Bask ulkesinde oturdum ve orada karsilama hissetmedim. Orada bagimsizlik hareketi var, ve eskiden terorizm problemi oldu. Galiba bunun icin onlar cok kapali ve kirgin gorunuyordu, yabancilari sevmiyorlardi, ve bazilari kaba oldu. Ancak ben oraya calismaya davet edildim. Burada benim icin en buyuk sorun dil, nihayet neredeyse her yerde Turkce konusabilirim, fakat uzun zaman boyunca cok zor bir sey oldu, bol bol kisi benim Turkce kabul etmedi, ve bu da onyargi oldu.Tabii ki, yurtdisindaki Turkler icin daha kotu sorunlar olabilir, somurme ve ikinci sinif statusu, mesela. Bu da mahkum ederim. Umarim bir gun ne irk ne milliyet olacak, herkes ayni olarak gorulen.

 

10/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Birkac gun once Yunan Adalar’indaki tatillerim hakkinda yazdim. Sakiz, Rodos, Sisam, Midilli, Kos, Aegina ve Girit adalara ziyaret ettim. Aslinda, iki donem vardi – ilk uc adalara iki bin alti ve iki bin sekiz yillari arasinda gittim, ve son dort tane iki bin iki bin on bir ve iki bin on bes yillari arasinda. Neden? Cunku iki bin sekiz yilinda ekonomik kriz vardi, ondan sonra eski is yerimde her sey daha zordu, tatiller icin yeter param yoktu. Sonunda is yerim degistirdim, ve aniden tatiller icin gene yeter param vardi. Ne kadar guzel! Gercekten Yunan Adalar’indaki tatillerim cok ozledim, ve cok ironik oldu, cunku Sisam hala en sevdigim ada. Orada her sey mukemmel oldu. Sakiz Ada’sini sonbahar boyunca ziyaret ettim ve hava guzel degildi, bunun icin plaja gitmedim, ve Rodos Ada’sini eski sehir gormeye sadece bir gunubirlik gezi yaptim. Fakat Sisam Ada’sini ilkbahar boyunca ziyaret ettim, hava cok guzeldi, ve o tatil cok eglendim. Aslinda, Istanbul’dan Izmir’e gecelik gemi binerek gittim, ve Izmir’den Kusadasi’ye otobus binerek devam ettim. Yolda hem Efes hem de Sulcuk’u ziyaret ettim, ancak o gun kirk derece ulasti ve sadece kisa bir sure kaldim! Ayni aksam Sisam feribotunu bindim. Orada her sabah tepelerde yurudum, her oglen sonra denizde yuzdum, her aksam lokantaya gittim. Ayrica, guzel ve ucuz bir otel buldum, ve herkes cok candan. Bu birlestirme gene bulamadim. Genellikle her ada guzeldi, fakat sadece Sisam mukemmel oldu.

 

9/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Kuzey Kore hakkinda cok haber var, ona yeni bir nukleer baslikli fuze deneme yapti. Bunun icin, propaganda gore, o kucuk bir ulke kocaman tehdit ediyor. Fakat o bolgede dort yuz tane Amerikan askeri us var. Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra ABD Korea’da savas yapti ve yaklasik iki bucuk milyon Kuzey Koreli kisi oldurdu. Amerika Kuzey Korea’yi bombaladi ve her sey kesinlikle imha etti – butun sehirler dahil. Ayrica, napalm bombasi kullanildi. O yuzden savastan sonra Kuzey Kore kendine savunma icin nukleer bomba aldi. ABD bir nukleer silahli ulkeye saldirmayacak. Tabii ki Kuzey Kore nukleer bomba kullanmak istemiyor, cunku nukleer savas herkes oldurecek. Sadece bir ulke nukleer bomba kulandi – ABD. Ikinci Dunya Savas’in sonunda Amerika Japonya’da iki tane atom bombasi dustu, bu sekilde birkac yuz bin sivil kimseyi oldurdu – ozellikle kadinlar ve cocuklar (erkekler ordudaydi). ABD gore ihtiyac vardi, atom bombasi savasi bitirdi. Ancak simdi daha iyi biliyoruz. Gercekten Avrupa Savasi zaten kazandi,Japonya yalniz oldu ve Sovyetler batidan yaklasiyordu. Japonya teslim olmaya istedi, Sovyetler ABD ile ortak bir kara istilasi istedi. Fakat Amerika Japonya icin kendine planlari vardi – ona vasal devlet istedi. Ayrica, ABD yeni bir super gulcu oldu, butun dunyaya sert bir mesaj gondermek istedi. Simdi Cin da bir super guclu, ve bu durum Dogu Asya’daki Amerikan hegemonyasini tehdit ediyor. Bu yuzden ABD o bolgede yuzlerce askeri us var; Kuzey Kore sadece bir bahane…

 

8/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bati medyasi kesinlikle kadinlari kullaniyor, ancak dusundugun gibi degil. Onlar icin fenimizm haklar ve esitlik hakkinda degil. O satilabilir degil. Onlar icin feminizm seytanlastirma ve onyargi hakkinda. O cok daha satilabilir. Sonuc olarak Bati Dunya’daki cok kadin saygisiz ve iki yuzlu sekilde dusunmeye basladi. Bu arada Bati medyasi diger sosyal konular yok saydi, yerli haklari ve irkcilik dahil. Ayrica, Bati medyasi kadinlari savasi tesvik etmeye kullaniyor, ozellikle sirin kizlar. Bu yeni bir propaganda taktigi degil. Ceyrek yuzyil once ABD Irak’a saldirmak istedi, o yuzden genc (ve sirin) bir Kuveytli kadin taniklik etti, milli televizyonda savas suclarindan konustu – “askerler bebekleri oldurdu” falan. Sonuc olarak, ABD Irak’a saldirdi. Fakat ondan sonra gercek acikta. Aslinda o kadin Kuveytli buyuk elcinin kizi oldu, New York’taki yasiyordu – Kuveyt’te degildi – ve her sey yalan oldu. Malala Yousafzai ayni sekilde kullanildi. ABD’nin insansiz hava araci savasi sayisiz sivil halki oldurdu, fakat Malala’yi kurtardigini iddia ediyor – ve o kis kendine toplumunu elestiriyor. Syria Savasi boyunca Bati medyasi Bana Alabed ayni sekilde kullanildi, bu sirin bir kis kendine hukumetini ve Rusya’yi sucladi, ve Amerika’dan yardim istedi. Ne kadar ilginc! Yedi yasinda bir kiz siyaseti cok iyi anliyor. Ancak gercekten her gun Amerikan destekli savaslar sayisiz kadinlari ve kizlari olduruyor, ve Bati “feministler” hic bir sey soylemiyor.

 

7/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Venezuela’da Hukumet-karsiti gosteriler daha ve daha siddetleniyor. Onlar sokak protestolar boyunca zaten birkac kisi oldurdu, ve Haziran ayda bir helikopter yuksek mahkemeyi saldirdi. Dun ayaklanan askerler bir asker ussu saldirdi ve silah aldi. O yuzden bu normal bir gosteri degil, bu bir silahli ayaklanmasiya donusturuyor. Bazilari gore bir hukumet darbesi olabilir. Ne kadar ilginc! Ancak bunu daha once gorduk. Ukranya’da dort yil once hukumet-karsiti gosteriler vardi. Bu garip bir sey degil. Tum dunyada gosteriler var. Fakat aniden askerler protestoya katildi, ve ‘normal’ bir gosteri silahli ayaklanmasiya donusturdu. Simdi biliyoruz – CIA bu isin arkasindaydi. Suriye’de alti yil once hukumet-karsiti gosteriler vardi. Bu Arap Bahar’in bir parcasi olarak goruldu. Fakat aniden militanlar protestoya katildi, onlar kesinlikle teror eylemleri yapti, ve aniden ‘normal’ bir gosteri silahli ayaklanmasiya donusturdu. Simdi biliyoruz – CIA bu icin arkasindaydi. Aslinda, Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan beri ABD yaklasik seksen tane dis mudahale ve gizli operasyon yapti – Venezuela’da dahil. Baska bir ornek – Iran on dokuz yuz elli uc yilinda, ‘normal’ bir gosteri silahli ayaklanmasiya donusturdu, hukumet darbesi vardi, o ulkenin ilk demokratik lideri devrildi, vahsi Sah geri dondu, ve ABD Iran’in petrol endustriye kontrol etmeye devam etti (yil on dokuz yuz yetmis dokuz’a kadar). Elbette, Venezuala baska bir benzin zengini ulke. Bunun icin simdi ABD muhtemelen Venezuela’da faaliyet gosteriyor 

 

6/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Iki yil once Girit Adasi’na gittim, ve o benim son Yunan Adalari’nda tatil oldu. Son on iki yil boyunca Yunanistan’a on kez ziyaret ettim, baskent ve sekiz tane farkli ada dahil. Ayni adaya hic gitmedim, buna ragmen hepsini begendim, fakat eger ayni adaya gitseydim, baska bir adaya gormedim, tabii ki. Neden Yunan Adalara cok begendim? Cunku cok yakinda, cok sakin, hem deniz hem de tepeler var, ve farkli kultur var – lezzetli yemek dahil. Bunun icin her sey mukemmel. Sabahlar tepelerde yurudum ve harika manzaralar gordum. Ogleden sonralar denizde yuzdum. Aksamlar lokantaya gittim, mussaka yedim, kirmizi sarap ictim ve puro ictim – cok guzeldi. Genellikle birkac gun kaldim, maksimum bir hafta. Son iki yilda neden Yunan Adalara gene gitmedim? Cunku sonunda sikilyordum. Evet, hatta Cennet sikici olabilir. Son iki kez ucak binerek gittim, ve bu biraz stresli. Yazin Ataturk Havalimani her zaman cok kalabalik, cok guvenlik var – ve bazen uzun siralar. Bu kesinlikle sevmiyorum. Elbette, cok Yunan Adalara otobus ve feribotla ulasilabilir – ve bu sekilde tercih ediyorum. Bu arada, Girit Adasi’nda tepelerde yurumedim. Ilk olarak, yakinda tepeler yoktu. Ikinci olarak, onceki yil cok saglik problemlerim vardi, yuruyus icin cok fazla sicakti. Ayrica, yuzmekten sikildim, benim icin sadece spor oldu, son bir veya iki yilda yuzmekten eglenmedim. Ne kadar ilginc! Son olarak, Girit Adasi’nda bir garson benim puro hakkinda kaba oldu, galiba cunku bir Ingiliz grubu sikayet etti. Bu yuzden orada karsilama hissetmedim . . .

 

5/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Birinci Dunya Savas boyunca askerler siperlerden cikti, kucakladi ve sigaralar paylasti. Onlar politikacilar ve buyuk sirketler savasan siradan erkekler oldu. Washington ve Londra Suudi Arabistan’a silah satiyor, cok rusvet var, bu acgozluluk ve kapitalizm bir dunyasi. Hukumet baskanlari silah ticaretinin merkezinde. Suudi Arabistan Britanya’yi tehdit etti ve Tony Blair bir sorusturmaya engelledi. Guney Afrika hukumet cok pahali silah satin aliyor, bu arada binlerce kisi onlenebilir hastaliktan olurler. ABD rakip ideolijileri imha ediyor, ozellikle sosyalizm, Condor plani yapti ve Orta Amerika’daki soykirimsal diktatorlukleri destekledi. Oligarsiler siradan insanlari eziyor, olduruyor, hapse atiyor ve baski yapiyor. Iran-Irak Savasi boyunca (Irak basladi), ABD her iki tarafa silah satti – kimyasal silah dahil. Bir milyondan fazla hayat kaybetti. Dick Cheney gore o iyi is uygulamasi oldu, onun sirketi Halliburton cok sozlesmi aldi, Afganistan’daki son on alti yil boyunca is yapiyordu, mesela. Bu arada, ABD hukumeti trilyonlar dolari yanlis yerlestirdi. ABD yanlis olarak Irak’i teroristleri yardim ve kitla imha silah gizlemek sucladi, sonrada gelen savasi boyunca bir milyondan fazla hayat kaybetti. Ukraynada, Suriye’de ve Filistin’de savaslari da cok kazancli oldu, iki bin on dort yilinda Israil iki bin sivil halki oldurdu, Amerikan silah imalatcilar icin o bir ticaret sergisi gibiydi. Amerikan ana akim medyasi kesinlikle hukumetin sozcusu. Terorle mucadele hem mantiksiz hem de surekli, bu sekilde ABD herhangi bir ulkeye girebilir. Barack Obama ve Hillary Clinton bu durum kucakladi, Pakistan’daki Obama’nin insansiz ucak programi cok sivil kimse oldurdu. ABD ve Israil Iran’a karsi savasi cok istiyor, elbette milyonlar daha hayat kaybedilecek, ama askeri-endustriyel kompleks trilyonlar dolar kazanabilir. Aslinda, Kurtce Iran icinde zaten Amerikan askerler var. Her yil Israil Amerika’dan on milyonlarca dolar aliyor, fakat varliksal tehdit gerekiyor, ancak gercekten Israil Orta Dogu silahlanma yarisi basladi ve zaten nukleer silahlar aldi. ABD ve Suudi Arabistan Suriye’de hukumet karsiti teroristleri destkledi. Seksenler onlar Afganistan’da ayni sey yapti

 

4/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Venezuela’da eski baskan Hugo Chavez alti cok sosyal kazanimlar vardi: Istidham buyume, okuryazarlik ve yasam suresi artisi, ve daha iyi konutlar. O yuzden Chavez her zaman secimleri kazandi. Venezuela cok benzin zengin bir ulke, her ihtiyaclari cevap verildi. Fakat Chavez Bolivarci bir baskan oldu, her zaman ABD ile catisti, sonun olarak yaptirimlar vardi. Onun rakipleri da cok zengin oldu, ama onlar Bolivarci bir baskan istemedi, sadece serbest ticareti istedi ve Chavez’den nefret ediyordu. Tabii ki, ABD Chavez’e karsi komplo kurdu, ve on bes yil once onu kacirmaya yardim etti (o genel istek uzerine geri dondu). Dort yil once Chavez kanserinden oldu, fakat yeni baskan Nicolas Maduro ayni sekilde devam ediyor. Maalesef, simdi o benzin zengin ulkede buyuk ekonomik kriz var. Hukumet-karsiti gosteriler duzenledi. Hem sagci liderleri hem de ABD onlara destekliyor. Ancak bu ayaklanmalar cok siddetli, gostericiler birkac kisi oldurdu, silah ve molotofkokteyiler kullaniyor, saglik klinikleri ve gida yeniden dagitma merkezleri saldiriyor. Simdi Maduro toplumsal hareketleri guclendirmeyi anayasayi yeniden yazmak istiyor. Venezuela’da kutuplasma var. Ayrica, medya kutuplasmasi var. Bu arada, Chavez’in sosyal programlari devam ediyor 

 

3/8/17

 

Gunaydin, istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, tam on alti yil once St Petersburg’daydim. Orara yaz okulda calismaya gittim ve iki ay boyunca kaldim. Aslinda, uc ay olmaliydi fakat tum bir ay boyunca vizem icin beklemeliydim. Haziran ayda isten bir gun izin aldim ve Rus Buyukelciligi’den vizem almaya Guney Ispanya’dan Madrid’e tren binerek gittim. Fakat uzun bir sira oldu, ve giremedim. Bir hafta sonra baskente dondum ve bu kez basarili oldu – ancak vizem gelmedi! Cok kizgin hissettim, tabii ki. Guney Ispanya’ya dondum ve orada bekledim. Temmuz ay kaybettim ve benim okul yaz icin kapandi. Cok sikildim ve hala vizem gelmedi. Bunun icin Temmuz sonunda karar verdim, Rus seyahat iptal ettim ve garson olarak is aramaya Guney Ispanya’ya gittim. Turizm sezonu oldu ve hemen bir firsat vardi. Fakat ayni gun haber geldi – beni Rus vizem geldi. Inanilmaz! O yuzden sonra gun otobus binerek baskent’e gene dondum, vizem aldim, ve bir gun sonra Varsova’ya ucuz bir otobus bindim. Yolda hem Guney Fransa hem de Almanya’yi gordum. Iki gun sonra Polonya’ya ulastim ve tren binerek St Petersburg’a devam etmek istedim. Ancak problem vardi, gecis vizesi gerekiyordu! Bu orada o tren gari cok tehlikeli gorunuyordu, o yuzden ucuz bir otel buldum. Sonra gun otobusle devam etmek calistim, fakat Litvanya’da ayni problem oldu. Cok endise ettim cunku ucak billet icin yeter param yoktu. Cok sukur, sonra gun Litvanya’dan Rusya’ya tren binerek devam ettim – ve hic problem yoktu. Sonra gun niyahet St Petersburg’da ulastim, masallah!

 

2/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Simdi Venezuela’da hukumet-karsiti gosteriler var. Ayrica, cok iki yuzluluk ve cok propaganda var. Elbette bu konu hakkinda zaten yazdim. Fakat Latin Amerika’da bu yeni bir durum degil. Tam tersi. Neredeyse yuz yil boyunca ABD Latin Amerika’ya karsi savasiyordu, Meksika ile baslayan (on sekizinci yuzyilda ABD o ulkenin yarisini aldi), ve Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan beri ABD sayisiz solcu hukumeti devirmeye yardim etti. Ben Condor Plani hatirliyorum, benim cocukken neredeyse butun Guney Amerika vahsi diktator altinda oldu, yaklasik altmis bin kisi olduruldu – sayisiz ogrenciler dahil. Binlerce kisi hapishanede curudu, cok cinayet, iskence ve tecavuz vardi. ABD tum bunlari destekledi. Bu yuzyil kesinlikle farkli degil, ABD hala sag kanat hukumeti destekliyor ve solca hukumetleri karsi komplo kuruyor. On bes yil once ABD-destekli askerleri Venezuela baskani Chavez’i kacirdi – ancak Chavez halk destekli geri dondu.Un uc yil once Amerikan ajanlar Haiti baskani Aristide’yi kacirdi ve Afrika’ya goturdu! Bolivya’da dokuz yil once ABD hukumet-karsiti gosteriler destekledi. Sekiz yil once ABD-destekli askerleri Honduras baskani Zelaya’ya kacirdi – ve ona hic geri donmedi. Ekvador’da yedi yil once ABD darbecileri destekledi. Paraguay’da bes yil once ABD parlamento darbesiye destekledi, ve gecen yil Brezilya’da ayni sey oldu.

 

1/8/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Tam bes yil once Guney Amerika’ya gittim, orada butun Agustos ayi kaldim. O benim ilk kez Guney Amerika’daki oldu, ve simdi Antarktik haric her kitaya gittim. Istanbul’dan Zurih’e ucak binerek gittim, ve Zurih’dan Sao Paulo’yu. Sao Paulo’dan Rio de Jenaryo’da devam ettim, fakat uc saat bekledik cunku iki genc ucaga yasadisi olarak bindi. Bir is adam cok kizgin oldu, ucakten indi cunku Sao Paulo’dan Rio de Jenaryo’yu ucakla sadece bir saat! Galiba ona otobus bindi ve bizden once Rio de Jenaryo’ya ulasti! Ben Copacabana Plaj’da kaldim, fakat pahali degildi. Ilk olarak, Rio de Jenaryo Guney Yarimkure’de, Agustos Kis aylarinda. Halbuki, her gun yirmi bes ve otuz derece arasinda oldu, benim icin mukemmel, her gun denizde yuzdum! Ikinci olarak, bir genclik hostelide kaldim, birkac kisi ayni oda paylasti. Iki tur yaptim – Kurtarici Isa’yi ziyaret ettim, ve Favela’da (gecekondu mahallesi) gece kulubu’yu gittim. Ikinci hafta otobus binerek Iguazu Selalesi’ye gittim. Yaklasik yirmi dort saat surdu, fakat ucuz cunku Iguazu Paraguay’in yaninda ve yolcularin cogu Paraguayli. Orada Arjantin’a gittim, ve sonra gun baskente devam ettim. Buenos Aires’de bir hafta kaldim, Ispanyolca pratik ettim, fakat hava guzel degildi, her gun on bes ve yirmi derece arasinda ve bazen yagmurli. Oradan vapur binerek Uruguay’ya gittim ve baskentte iki gun kaldim. Montevideo’dan Rio de Janeryo’ya geri dondum, fakat cok uzakta, bunun icin yolda Porto Alegre sehirde bir gece kaldim.

 

31/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Yaklasik on yil once New York’taki bir edebiyat web sitesi buldum, onlar hem kisa hikayeler hem de siir kabul etti, o yuzden birkac yil boyunca ben bircok hikayeler yazdim ve onlara gonderdim. Neredeyse hepsi yayinlandi. Amatordu, hic para almadim, ve galiba o web sitesi cok popular degildi. Ancak bu sekilde motivasyon aldim ve standard vardi, iki veya uc kez isim reddedildi. Bu arada, toplam neredeyse yirmi tane yayinlandi, ve devam etmeye ve kisa hikaye toplama bir kitabi yapmaya planladim, fakat birkac yil once o web sitesi kapatildi. Yine de iki veya uc yil once bir kisa hikaye toplama kitabi derlendim vi yayineviye gonderdim. Maalesef, basarisiz oldu. Gercekten ben roman yazmayi tercih ederim, ve kisa hikayelerimin yarisi eski roman projelerimden cikarildi. Universiteken bir ogretmen bana siir yazmaya istedi, fakat siir sevmiyorum. Aslinda, hic siir okumadim, benim icin ilginc degil, ne Dante ne Shakespeare begenmedim. Ayrica, genellikle kisa hikayeler okumuyorum – buna ragmen bazen cok iyi bir toplama buldum. Benim icin roman en ilginc tarz, her zaman romanlar okuyorum, hayatim boyunca yuzlerce romani okudum, klasikleri dahil, ve bu tarz ozellikle yazmak isterim. Bu arada asagida birkac kisa hikayelerim var. Birincisi on yil once yayinlandi, ama yirmi yil once yazdigim romandan cikarildi. Ayrica, bir tanesi Turkiye hakkinda . . .

 

30/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Gine baskentte tam sekiz yil once askerler bir futbol stadyum icinde yuz elli alti hukumet-karsiti gosterici oldurdu. Onlari vurdular, bicakladi ve sunguledi. Ayrica, askerler yuzden daha kadin tecavuz etti. Elbette Gineliler adalet istiyor. Gine Bati Afrika’da, nufus yaklasik on iki milyon, yaklasik yuzde seksen bes Musluman. Maalesef, yolsuzluk ve siyasal siddet siradan seyler. Neredeyse altmis yil once o Fransa’dan bagimsizligini kazandi fakat sadece birkac yil sonra Ahmed Toure’nin vahsi saltanati basladi ve yirmi alti yil boyunca devam etti. Ona altinda yaklasik elli bin siyasi tutuklu olduruldu veya ‘kayboldu.’ Bu arada iki milyon kisi ulkeden kacti. Iki bin sekiz yilinda askeri darbe oldu, ve bu sekilde Moussa ‘Dadis’ Camara iktidara geldi. Maalesef Dadis sozlerini tutmadi ve gosteriler basladi. Stadyum katliamindan sonra Dadis kafasindan vuruldu. Ona hayatta kaldi ve hala yasiyor, fakat baskan olarak devam edemedi ve secim yapildi. Ayrica, sorusturma basladi. Birlesmis Milletler da bu felaket sorusturuyor, ve birkac ay once bir tane ust duzey asker mahkum edildi. Ancak cok daha asker katildi, tabii ki, ve simdiye kadar onlar adaletten kacti. Aslinda bircok hala gorevde, bunun icin hem kurbanlar hem de taniklar icin bu tehlikeli bir islem olabilir. Onlar cok dikkatli olmali, tabii ki

 

29/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, Amerikan baskan Donald Trump sevmiyorum, fakat secim kampanyasi onu Hillary Clinton’a tercih ettim. Neden? Cunku Clinton devlet bakani olarak hem Libya’da hem de Suriye’de savasi destekledi. Secim kampanyasi boyunca Trump Suriye Savasi bitirmeye sozu verdi; Clinton Suriye Savasi kazanmaya sozu verdi. Elbette Trump secim kazandi. ABD Suriye’de teroristleri desteklemeye durdurdu, sonuc olarak o savas nihayet bitiyor, masallah! Gercekten Amerika o savas kazanamadi. Rusya, Iran ve Hizbullah Suriye’yi destekledi ve teroristleri yendi. Galiba Orta Dogu icin bu iyi haber. On bir Eylul Saldiri’dan beri ABD birkac Orta Dogu ulkesini isgal etti – Afganistan, Irak, Libya, Suriye ve Yemen dahil. Eski Amerikan komutan Wesley Clark gore ABD yedi tane Orta Dogu ulkesini isgal etmek istedi – en sonunda Iran. Eger ABD Suriye’de kazansaydi, muhtemelen Iran sonraki hedef olacak. Fakat simdi ne olacak bilmiyoruz. Trump ve Amerika nasil tapki verecek? Orta Dogu’dan cekilmeye baslayacak mi? Insallah! Zaten Amerikan savaslari birkac milyon Musluman oldurdu. Naziler birkac milyon Yahudiler oldurdu. Ayni sey degil, Amerika kesinlikle imparatorluk gibi davraniyor, bu sekilde Ingiliz Imparatorluk benziyor, ve olu sayisi yaklasik ayni. Umarim bu basarisizlik sonun baslangici olacak ve baris Orta Dogu’ya geri donecek. Zaman gosterecek . . 

 

28/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bircok ulkede yasadim, cok daha ziyaret ettim, ve neredeyse her turlu hava gordum – fakat daha once yaz boyunca hic dolu yagmur gormedim! Dun aksam is yeriye yurudum, cok nemli oldu, fakat her sey normal gorunuyordu. Sadece bir sat sonra cok ses duydum, pencereden yagmur yagdi. Ayrica, sert bir sey vardi, buyuk dolu tanesi! Cok sasirdim – onlar pencere kirilacak, dusundum! Bundan baska, aniden cok ruzgarli oldu, su ofisimize girdi! Sadece on bes veya yirmi dakika sonra her sey bitirdi, ancak disari kaos vardi, Barbaros su altinda oldu, yangin makinesiler, ambulans ve polis arabasi geldi, bol bol sirenler duydum. Elbette cok ogrenci gelmedi. Memleketim cok ruzgarli sehir ve Yeni Zelanda cok yagmur var, zaman zaman birkac boyunca yagmur devam edebilir. Tabii ki, firtina var, ve bazen dolu firtinasi – fakat dolu tanesi cok nadir ve sadece kis boyunca. Avustralya cok sicak – Kuzey Afrika gibi – ve akrabam gore zaman zaman yaz boyunca dolu firtinasi var. Bu fenomen gormedim, ama cok cukurlu bir araba gordum, ve arkadasim gore bu dolu tanesi yapti. Kis boyunca ABD’nin Orta Bolgesi’nde cok soguk – Iskandinavya gibi – bol bol kar yagmur vardi ve birkac ay boyunca her sey bembeyaz oldu. Bir gun eksi yirmi alti derece ulasti! Baska gun hortum alarmi verildi – ama hortum ulasmadi, masallah! Ayrica korkunc simsek firtinasi vardi cunku orada Pasifik ve Atlantik hava akimi karsilayor. Ispanya’da yaz boyunca genellikle sicak ve nemli hava var, sonbahar boyunca firtinalar geliyor, fakat orada hic dolu yagmur gormedim . . 

 

27/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Yeni yil kararimi verdim: icki icmeye birakmaya. Benim icin cok kolay bir sey, cunku gercekten alkol ozellikle sevmiyorum. O yuzden neden alkol ictim? Sadece iki sebep vardi – sosyallesmeye veye sikinti. Bara gittiginde, alkol icer, degil mi? Fakat su anda barlara gitmem. Barlardan sikildim. Yerine evde kalirim. Fakat bu da sikici olabilir. Birkac yil boyunca neredeyse her aksam iki veya uc kirmizi sarap kadehi ictim. Sonunda hastaydim. Sonuc olarak dusundum: Neden sarap ictim? Sarhos olmak istemiyorum. Bu sadece iyi hissetmeye bir aliskanlik oldu; ihtiyac yoktu. Neden yerine su icmiyorum? Su cok saglikli, tabii ki. O yuzden bu yaptim ve cok kolay oldu alkol kesinlikle ozlemiyorum cunku gercekten ozellikle sevmiyorum. Ayrica, ayna zamanda hizli yiyecek ve abur cubur biraktim. Bu da gereksiz. Abur Cubur lezzetli ama sadece seker, ve bu sadece birkac saniye surer. Aslinda, seker da bagimlilik bir sey, ve birkac hafta sonra tatli krizi bitirdi. Bu da sadece iyi hissetmeye bir aliskanlik oldu; ihtiyac yoktu. Sonunda, birkac ay once, puro biraktim. Neden puro ictim? Onlar guzel kokuyor, fakat gercekten onlara ozellikle sevmiyordum. Bu da sadece iyi hissetmeye bir aliskanlik oldu, ama ihtiyac yoktu. Gencken yaklasik uc yilda sigara iciyordum, ve o kesinlikle bir bagimlilik oldu, her gun tum paket ictim. Iki veya uc kez sigara birakmaya calistim ancak basarisiz oldu. Sonunda, on dokuz yasindayken farkli sehire tasindim, hem yeni is hem de yeni arkadaslar buldum, ve sigarayi biraktim.

 

26/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Kudus’deki ne oluyor? Israil polis ve askerler Filistinlilerle gene saldiriyor, bircok oldurdu, binden fazla yaraladi. Neden? Elbette cunku Israil Mescid-i Aksa’da hem metal dedektorleri hem de guvenlik kameralar koydu. Sonuc olarak buyuk gosteri duzenledi. Mescid-i Aksa Kudus’un Filistin toplumun kalbinde. Simdi onlar icin oraya gitmeye ve dua etmeye zaman calan ve zor bir sey, tabii ki onlar isleri var. Ayrica, guvenlik kamerlar kiyafetlerin icinde gorebilir, bu kesinlikle bir mahremiyetin ihlali. Israil polis ve askerler neden bu yapiyor? Onlar neden Filistin toplumun kalbinde? Elbette cunku Israil yasadisi olarak Kudus zaten somurgelestirdi. Israil’in gercek baskenti Tel Aviv degil, o kesinlikle Kudus. Dunya bunu bilmiyor, cunku medya buyuk bir yalanci. Tabii ki, Israil tum Filistin istiyor, ozellikle Kudus. Simdi Kudus’deki somugelesme sureciye tanik oluyoruz. Bu sekilde Avrupa Amerika, Afrika, Hindistan ve Avustralya’yi (vs) somurgelestirdi. Simdi Israil Kudus’ten Filistin yerlileri disari cikarmaya istiyor. Biliyorsunuz ki, bu surec sadece yaklasik yetmis yil once basladi. Osmanli yonetimi altinda Filistin cok bariscil oldu, hem Yahudi hem de Hiristiyan azinliklar vardi ancak genellikle problemler yoktu. Fakat Birinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra Ingiltere Filistin ‘kazandi’ ve Avrupali Siyonestlerine verdi. Bu sekilde her sey basladi . . 

 

25/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bu sehirde yeni gelen insanlarla tanistigimda her zaman onlara yardim etmeye istiyorum. Onlar parasi yoksa, onlar icin icecekler satin alirim, mesela. Onlar kalacak yer gerekirse, ve onlara yardim edersem, elbette yardim ederim. Ben hem comertim hem de yardimseverim. Fakat genellikle bu ne takdir edildi ne geri odendi. Tam tersine, cok defa bu ihanet edildi. Ondan sonra hic kimse bana bir bira satin almadi, ve onlar ev arkadaslar olarak genellikle tembel ve saygisiz oldu. Neden yeni gelen insanlar bu sekilde davraniyor? Galiba cunku onlar icin comertlik ve yardimseverlik zayiflik isareti. Belki cunku onlar borclu hissetmek istemiyor. Ayrica, belki onlar sadece bencil insanlar. Uzun zaman yurtdisinda yasadim, cok yabanci arkadasim vardi, ve sayisiz kez onlar icin icki satin aldim. Halbuki neredeyse hic kimse benim icin bir icki satin almadi. Birkac yil once sorunum vardi ve borclandim, Turk arkadaslarim bana yardim etti ama cogu yabanci arkadasim yardim etedi. Ne kadar ilginc! Ispanya’da benim ilk yil boyunca az param vardi, fakat bir yabanci arkadasim parasiz kaldi, bunun icin onlarin ickicekler icin odedim, boylece biz sosyallesebilirdik. Fakat biz odendikten sonra onlara hem unuttu, bana hic bir icki satin almadi. Istanbul’da on bes yil sonra yaklasik ayni sey oldu. Otlakcilar balik hafizasi var!

 

24/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Hafta sonunda roman projemi bitirdim ve yayineviye gonderdim, uc tane taslak yaptim fakat galiba en azinda bir tane daha yapmiliydim, cunku dun aksam birkac bolum yine okudum ve bazi hatalar buldum. Aslinda bu cok onemli degildi, sadece yazim hatalari oldu, hikayeye etkilenmedi. Maalesef, ben biraz sabirsiz. Yaklasik bir bucuk yilda her gun birkac saat boyunca calistim, ilk taslak alti yuzden sayfa daha oldu, ucuncu neredeyse dort yuz. Onumuzdeki gunlerde her sey gene okuyacagim ve duzeltecegim. Ondan sonra netice baslayacagim, ve sonucta bir triloji yazmaya planliyorum. Elbette bu birkac yil gerekiyor. Problem degil! Aslinda, benim icin mukemmel bir durum, cunku su anda yaza benim en sevdigim hobim. Bu arada, neredeyse hic sikilmiyorum cunku internet var. Fark etmediysen ben Facebook kullanmayi cok seviyorum. En sevdigim haber sitelerini bagladim – diger diller dahil – ve bu sekilde hem bilgili hem de diger dillere maruz kalirim.Bu cok egitimsel. Ayrica, kendime gunluk Turkce blogumu yazarim. Bu benim kucuk gazetem gibi! Ayni zamanda problem var – su dana internette ve Facebook’ta cok propaganda bize ulasiyor. Ayrica, siyasi tartismaya kabul ediyorum, fakat bazi insanlar saygisiz olabilir, ve onlar siliyorum. O sacmalik icin cok fazla yasliyim.

 

23/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Yaklasik uc bin bes yuz yil once beyaz insanlar Kafkasya’dan Guney Asya’ya goc etti. Onlar ‘Arian’ olarak bilinen, bu ‘soyluluk’ demek, ve kendine (Vedik) efsaneler getirdi. Onlar hem Iran’da hem de Hindistan’da yerlesti. Iran onlarin adi aldi. Hindistan’da zaten gelismis medeniyet oldu, Harappa medeniyet Irak’in Sumer medeniyeti ile ticaret yapti. Ancak uc bin bes yuz yil once Harappa medeniyet azaliyordu, o zamanlarda buyuk iklim degisikligi oldu. Guney Asya’nin yerli insanlar Avustralya kita yerlileri benziyordu. Galiba Arian insanlar Hindistan’a isgal etti cunku onlar her sey degisti. Guney Hindistan’da haric neredeyse herkes Arian ‘Sanskritce’ dilini konusmaya basladi, bu sekilde Hint-Avrupa dilleri ailesi yaratildi. Hintce, Urduca, Bengalce, Farsca, Kurtce ve neredeyse tum Avrupa dilleri Sanskritce’den geldi. Aslinda, dunyadaki insanlarin yarisindan fazla bir Hint-Avrupa dili konusuyor. Sanskritce’de Hindistan ‘nehir’ demek. Fakat Guney Hindistan’da Dravid dil ailesi devam ediyor, ve bu Avustralya kita yerlilerin dilleri benziyor. Galiba Arian insanlar da Hindistan’in kast sistemi yaratildi, cunku Kuzey Hindistan’in acik tenli insanlar yuksek kast var, Guney Hindistan’in Dravid-konusan esmer tenli insanlar alt kast var – ‘dokunulmaz’ dahil, tabii ki.

 

22/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef dun aksam Ege bolge’sinde deprim oldu, uc tane hayat kaybetti, bir Turk dahil. Haber gore cok kisi daha Yunan adalari’ndan bosaltildi, ozellikle Kos Ada’sindan. Eskiden her yaz mevsim ben Yunan Adalara ziyaret ettim, ancak iki yil once bundan sikildim ve biraktim. Aslinda, dort yil once Kos Ada’sini gittim ve bir hafta kaldim. O ada Bodrum’a cok yakinda, ve ilk olarak Bodrum’a gittim. Kos Adasi merak ettim, o yuzden iki veya uc hafta sonra Bodrum’a geri dondum ve feribot binerek Kos Ada’sini gittim. Guzel bir otel buldum, odam teras katinda oldu, ve cok guzel manzara vardi – hem Akdeniz’i hem de Turkiye’yi gorebilirdim. Ayrica, pahali degildi cunku iyi gorustum! Her sabah tepelerde yurudum, her ogleden sonra denizde yuzdum, her aksam lokantada oturdum – mousaka yedim, kirmizi sarap ictim ve puro ictim. O tatil cok eglendim. Bundan baska, her gun cok lezzetli donduruma yedim. Ne gunlerde o gunler! Toplam yedi tane Yunan adayi ziyaret ettim (Sakiz Adasi, Rodos Adasi, Sisam Adasi, Midilli Adasi, Kos Adasi, Aegina Adasi ve Girit Adasi), ve Rodos haric yaklasik ayni sey yaptim. Rodos sadece Marmaris’ten bir gunu birlik gezi oldu, eski sehri ziyaret ettim. Benim icin Yunan Adalari kesinlikle cennet benziyor – ve onlar cok yakinda. Sansliydim! Belki gelecekte oraya geri donecegim . . .

 

21/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. On dort yil once ABD ve Ingiltere Irak’a saldirmaya karar verdi, neredeyse butun dunya buna karsi oldu – Birlesmis Milletler dahil, ve kocaman gosteriler vardi (ben Barselona’da bir milyon kisiyle gosteriye katildim), fakat ABD ve Ingiltere dinlemedi, cok yalan soyledi ve yasadisi olarak Irak’a saldirdi. On dort yil sonra sonuclari devam edecek, bir milyondan fazla hayat kaybetti, milyonlarca hayata imha edildi, sayisiz multeciler var, ve Irak kesinlikle yikildi. Bu kesinlikle soykirim. ABD ve Ingiltere Hiristiyan ulkeler ve bir milyondan fazla Musluman oldurdu. Aslinda, son uc onluk yil boyunca onlar birkac milyon Musluman oldurdu, cunku onlar Irak felaketten hic bir sey ogrenmedi, ondan sonra onlar hem Libya’daki hem de Suriye’deki ayni sey yapti, ve sayisiz daha hayat kaybetti, sayisiz daha hayata imha edildi, sayisiz daha multeciler yaratildi ve iki tane daha ulke kesinlikle yikildi. Bu nasil mumkun olabilir? Elbette cunku ABD ve Ingiltere bol bol propaganda yapiyor. Aslinda, onlar uluslararasi medyaya kesinlikle hakim oldular ve kontrol ediyor. “Her dusman bir vahsi diktator, Rusya cok kotu, ABD ve Ingiltere ozgurluk ve demokrasi getiriyor, falan.” Ne kadar ironik! Gercekten onlar vahsi diktatorlar, onlar cok kotu ve onlar ozgurluk ve demokrasi imha ediyor. Gozlerinin aciksa, bu cok aciktir . . .

 

20/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Yeni ogretim programinda evrim yok, cihad var. Egitim Bakanligi gore cocuklar icin evrim cok fazla yuksek seviyede. Bu kabul etmiyorum. Evrim cok mantik ve basit bir konu. ayrica, o bilim ve tarihin onemli bir parcasi. Eger evrimi anlamiyorsa, nasil insanlari anlayacak? Bu arada CHP muhalefet partisi gore cihad cok kotu bir konu, o Orta Dogu’ya ‘savas ve katliam getiriyor.’ Bu da kabul etmiyorum. Osmanli donemi boyunca Orta Dogu Avrupa’dan cok daha bariscil oldu, hem Hiristiyan hem de Yahudi azinliklar Muslumanlar arasinda huzur icinde yasiyordu. Bu ‘Osmanli Barisi’ olarak bilinen. Genelde catisma noktasi Osmanli ve Pers imparatorluklari arasinda oldu, guc ve toprak hakkinda. Maalesef, Birinci Dunya Savas boyunca Ingiltere ve Fransa Orta Dogu’ya geldi ve kocaman barut ficisi yaratti. Onlar cok yalan soyledi ve kenarlik cizdi. Elbette Ingiltere hem Vahabilari hem de (Avrupali) Siyonistleri destekledi. Yuz yil sonra Orta Dogu’daki savas ve katliam devam ediyor. Son uc onluk boyunca ABD yaklasik bes milyon Musluman oldurdu, birkac ulke imha etti ve kocaman multeci krizi yaratti. Bu arada ‘cihad’ ne demek? Cihad hayatta kalmaya ve iyi bir Musluman olmaya demek. Ayrica, eger gerekirse, kuvvet kullan – mesela, eger baska bir ulke sizin ulkenizi isgal ederse. Hepsi bu. Bati propaganda hem Orta Dogu tarihi hem de terminoloji carpitiyo

 

19/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Universitede Don Kisot okuduk ve ben evrensel gercekleri aradim. Bence bu roman kendine aldatma ve kor inanc hakkindaydi. O ceyrek yuzyil once oldu, ne Ispanyol tarihi ne Musluman tarihi hakkinda biliyordum. Fakat son iki onluk boyunca cok seyahat ettim, cok okudum ve dunya hakkinda cok daha ogrendim. Kisa bir sure once ilginc Don Kisot hakkinda bir Youtube videosu izledim, ve o roman hakkinda farkli bir sekilde dusunmeye basladim. O konusma gore o roman Katolik kilisesinin bir parodisi, Don Kisot kendine aldatilmis lider, Sanco Panza korune inanc halk. Yazar Miguel de Cervantes on altinci yuzyilda dogdu, ona hem bilim adami hem de asker oldu, butun Akdeniz’i dolasti, Inebahti Deniz Savasin katildi ve yaralandi, ve Kuzey Afrika’da korsan tarafinda yakalandi. Ona onun dunyasini iyi anladi. O donemlerde Ispanya cok guclu oldu, gercek bir super devlet, Amerika’yi somurgelestirdi, bol bol altin ve gumus aldi. Halbuki ayni zamanda fakirlik ve kitlik oldu. Sonuc olarak cok hirsizlik oldu ve agir cezalar, idam dahil. Katolik kilise ekonomiyi kotu yonetti, onlar sadece kendilerine bakti. Ayrica on besinci yuzyilda ona Muslumanlar ve Yahudileri cikardi ve bu sekilde cok uzmanlik kaybetti. Sonuc olarak Ispanyol Imparatorlugu dusmeye basladi. Bu da bir evrensel gercek ve dort yuzyil sonra kesinlikle dogru kalir . . 

 

18/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bu sabah buyuk firtina oldu, simsek cakti, gok gurledi, ve bu beni uyandirdi. Simsek ve gok gorultusu normal seyler fakat bu sabah birkac saat boyunca devam etti. Biliyoruz ki iki hava cephesi carpistiginda yildirim ve gok gorultusu var. Istanbul iki deniz arasinda, o yuzden hem kuzey hem de guney hava sartlari var. Galiba bu sabah Poyraz ve Lodos Istanbul’da carpisti! Sonuc olarak sabah kalabalik saati boyunca siddetli yagmur yagdi, ve cok problem oldu. Fakat benim icin problem degil, sabahlari calismiyorum, sadece aksamlari. Bunun icin ben evdeyim, rahat ediyorum, kahve iciyorum, televizyon izliyorum ve bilgisayari kullaniyorum. Ayrica, simdi hava sicak degil, o yuzden mutluyum. Bu arada, firtininlar her zaman bana erken cocuklugumu hatirlatiyor. Dort yasindayken memleketimde korkunc bir firtina oldu, o sabah da firtinayla uyandim. Kiz kardesim yagmurda oynamaya disari gitti, ve ben ona katildim. Fakat annem bizi iceri cagirdi. Biraz sonra bir agac evimize dustu! O yuzden uvey babam geldi ve evden ayrildik. Kent merkeziye gittik ve orada korkunc bir felaket gelisiyordu, limanda bir yolcu feribotu batiyordu. yaklasik yedi yuz yolcu vardi. O gun elli bir hayat kaybetti, fakat sonraki yillarda iki tana kisi daha oldu. Bu Yeni Zelanda’nin en kotu deniz felaketi oldu ve orada insanlar hala bu konu hakkinda konusuyor .

 

17/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Cinli Nobel Odulu sahibi demokrasi eylemci Liu Xiaobo gecen hafta kanserden oldu. Ona altmis bir yasindaydi. Ona on dokuz yuz seksen dokuz yilin Tiananmen Meydani protestolar katildi, ve ordu yuzlerce gostericiye katletti. Liu Xiaobo hayatta kaldi, ancak demokratik degisme icin calismaya devam etti, bircok yazi ve dilekci yazdi, bazilari hukumete acikca alay etti, ve ona son yirmi sekiz boyunca hapishanede curudu. Xiaobo gore konusma ozgurlugu “insan haklarinin temeli, insanlarin kaynagi, ve gercegin annesi.” Ona gore “ozgurlugu konusma bir suc degil.” Aslinda ona Nobel Odulu aldiginda hapishanede oldu ve toreni giyabinda yapildi. Bu durum sadece bir kez daha once oldu, Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan once Nazi-karsi eylemci Carl von Ossietzky da Nobel Odulu aldiginda hapishanede oldu. Bir Nobel Odulu komite temsilci gore ona tedavi almadi ve Cin hukumeti onun erken olumunden kesinlikle sorumlu. Elbette, Cin hukumet gore Bati Dunyasi Xiaobo propaganda icin kullandi, ve bu muhtemelen dogru. Aslinda, ona Amerika’daki yasiyordu ve okuyordu. Buna ragmen onun mesaji dogru kalir. Olum yataginda Xiaobo medya ile konusmaya izin verilmedi. Onun karisi da medya ile konusmaya izin verilmedi. Yuksek guvenlik vardi. Huzur icinde yat, Liu Xiaobo . . .

 

16/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. On bir Eylul Saldirisi iyi hatirlayorum, o zamanda Rusya’daki bir okulda calisiyorudum – sadece iki ay boyunca. Bir ogrenci geldi ve her sey acikladi, ancak ona iyi Ingilizce konusmadi, ve ben bu haber anlamadim. ‘New York’a bombalandi mi?’ merak ettim. ‘Kim Amerika’yi bombali yapabilir?’ Sonunda isten sonra internet kafeye gittim ve her sey ogrendim. Elbette sonuc olarak ABD Afganistan’a saldirdi. Teroristler Suudi Arabistan’dan geldi ancak Amerika gore onun lideri Osama bin Laden Afganistan’da sakladi, bunun icin ABD o ulkeyi isgal etti. Tamam, simdiye kadar her sey kabul ettim. Bana gore ABD biraz agresif ve kibirli oldu, fakat neden anladim. Halbuki iki yil sonra ABD da Irak’a saldirdi? Neden? Kitle imha silahlari yoktu. O yuzden Amerika yalan soyledi, dusundum, ve sonuc olarak sayisiz kisi olecek. Ne kadar kotu! Amerika Ingiliz Imparatorlugu ve Naziler benzemek basliyordu. Biliyoruz ki Amerika bitirmedi, alti yil once hem Libya’yi hem de Suriye’yi saldirdi. Bir kere daha ona cok yalan soyledi, ve sonuc olarak sayisiz hayat kaybetti. Bu arada, hem Afganistan’daki hem de Irak’taki askeri isgal devam ediyor. Inanilmaz! Bazilarina gore On bir Eylul Saldirisi bir ‘iceriden baglantili eylem.’ Bence bu fikir sacma gibi gorunuyordu, sadece bir komplo teorisi, hic kimse o kadar deli. Ancak simdi emin degilim, son birkac yilda cok daha deli seyler gordum, ve On bir Eylul Saldirisi keslinlikle bir ‘iceriden baglantili eylem’ olabilirdi…

 

15/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bu fotograf yaklasik bir yil uc ay once cekildi, Besiktas’taki Kaset lokantada. O zamanda cok daha sosyaldim, haftada iki veye uc kez is arkadasimlar ile bara gittim. Aslinda, bu durum yaklasik iki bucuk yil once basladi ve bir yildan daha devam ediyordu. Neden? Cunku iyi arkadaslarim vardi, cok ilginc konusmalar yaptik. Iki tane Amerikan erkek vardi, her ikisi genc (bir tane sadece yirmi uc yasindaydi) ama cok bilgili oldu, ozellikle eski tarih hakkinda – antik Yunan ve Roma, mesela. Biz saatlerce konusabilirdik ve hic sikilmadik. O zamanlari cok eglendim. Ben genellikle iki tane kirmizi sarap kadehi ictim, ama o kadehler cok buyuk oldu, ondan sonra genelde biraz ickili hissettim. Ayrica, iki tane patates tavas yedim, ve ondan sonra bir puro ictim. Ne kadar guzel! Maalesef, yaklasik bir yil once her sey bitirdi, Amerikan arkadaslar yola devam etti, bir tane is yerini degistirdi, diger Turkiye’den ayrildi, Amerika’ya geri dondu. Bu arada, gecen yilin sonunda hastaydim, sonuc olarak hem alkol hem de patates tavas biraktim (arti birkac ay sonra puro da biraktim). Galiba bira hala icebilirim, ve daha saglikli yiyecek yiyebilirim, ancak su anda barlarda sikilyorum, eski arkadaslarim ozluyorum. Iyi arkadaslar bulmaya zor. Ben bekarim ama yaslaniyorum, sosyallesme daha ve daha zorlasiyor .

 

14/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Yirmi Birinci yuzyilda ne oldu? Gercek bir ‘Orwellian’ dunya var. Hukumetler medyayi kontrol ediyor, medya insanlari kontrol ediyor, ve her sey sahte – sadece buyuk bir yalan! Brezilya iyi bir ornek, orada cok yolsuzluk ve rusvet skandali var, fakat sadece solcu siyasetciler cezalandirildi, sagcilar degil. Neredeyse bir yil once solca baskan Dilma Rousseff yolsuzluk suclandi ve mahkum edildi, ve be sekilde sagci siyasetci Michel Temer iktidara geldi. Fakat bil bakalim – birkac ay once Temer da yolsuzluk suclandi! Aslinda, cok Rousseff’e karsi siyasetcilar da sorusturma altinda oldu ve tam bu sebeple onu mahkum etmeye oy verdiler. Diger bir deyisle, gercek bir darbe vardi. Evet, Temer da yolsuzluk suclandi, fakat bugun ilginc haber geldi – o sagci (ve Amerikan destekli) siyasetci sucsuz bulundu. Ne kadar ilginc! Bu arada, ayni hafta eski baskan Lula da Silva yolsuzluk icin on yila mahkum edildi. Tabii ki ‘Lula’ da solcu bir siyasetci oldu. Brezilya’da on dokuz altmis dort ve on dokuz seksen bes yillar arasinda Amerikan destekli bir diktatorluk oldu (Rousseff hapsedildi). Lula fakir bir cocuktu fakat iki bin uc yilinda ona yarim yuzyilda Brezila’nin ilk solcu baskan secildi, cok populer oldu, bazilarina gore dunyanin en populer siyasetci, ve sekiz yil boyunca devam etti. Ancak simdi hapishaneye gidiyor. Maalesef…

 

13/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet arkadaslarim, ben hala Eylul ayini dort gozle bekliyorum. Sicak hava kesinlikle sevmiyorum – ozellikle nemli hava. Terleme nefret ediyorum, cok rahatsiz hissediyorum. Ancak ben her yere yurumek tercih ederim, toplu tasima da sevmiyorun, bunun icin yaz mevsimi boyunca ben her zaman terliyorum. Derslerimden once en azinda yarim saat klimanin altinda oturum. Ayrica, derslerim boyunca klima ihtiyacim var, yirmi iki derece rahat gorunuyor, buna ragmen eger ogrenciler sikayet ederse, yirmi dort olabilir. Fakat bazi ogrenciler hala sikayet ediyor, onlar gore klima cok tehlikeli, onlar cok hasta olacak ve belki olecek! Bu durumda ben kumandayi saklaniyor. Evde ben ventilator genelde kullaniyor, ve bu sekilde rahat olabilirim, ama bilgisayarim asiri isinabilir, zaman zaman yavas ve zor olabilir. Bu yuzden eskiden yazin bilgisayarim cok daha az kullandim, yazmandan uzun bir mola verdim, ancak su anda yaz sadece baska bir mevsim, ayni sekilde devam ediyorum. Geceler da biraz zor. Tabii ki, sicaklik var, ama fena degil, benim icin en buyuk problem gurultu, yazin buyuk sehir hic uyumayan! Sonuc olarak her zaman yorgunum. Bu arada hem bocekler hem de toz var, sivrisinekler beni kesinlikle seviyor, maalesef! Ancak bu da gecer, zaman ucun gidiyor . . 

 

12/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Her olayin iki yuzu var, ve simdiki Venezuellali siyasetci durumu boyle gorunuyor. Bir yandan Amerika’dan cok kotu haber geliyor, Venezuela’daki buyuk bir ekonomik kriz var, herkes acliktan oluyor, baskan Nicolas Maduro vahsi bir diktator, medya ozgur degil, kocaman protestolar var – ama polis cok kisi oldurdu. Bu size tanidik geliyor mu? Irak, Libya, Suriye, mesela? Peki, bil bakalim: Venezuela da cok benzin zengin bir ulke; dunyanin en zengin. Ne tesaduf! Her benzin zengin ulkede vahsi bir diktator var, ve ABD “ozgurluk ve demokrasi” istili etmeli (ve cok uzun sure kaliyor). Pardon, her benzin zengin ulke degil, Suudi Arabistan ve birkac daha benzin zengin ulkede kesinlikle vahsi diktatorlar var, fakat ABD onlari istile etmiyor cunku onlar arkadaslar, birlikte calisiyor. Elbette Venezuela ve ABD arkaslar degil, birlikte calismiyor. Bu yuzden Washigton icin Maduro buyuk bir problem. Diger yandan, Venezuela’daki kesinlikle kotu ekonomik kriz var. Ayrica kesinlikle kocaman protestolar var. Acaba bu durum nasil olabilir? Tabii ki bu hukumet her seyi cok kotu yonetti, bunun icin kocaman protestolar var. Ancak hepsi bu. Maduro vahsi bir diktator degil, aclik yok, supermarketlerde yemek var, ozgur medya var, ve gercekten protestolar cok agresif ve onlar birkac kisi oldurdu. Kesin olan bir sey var, orada hic kimse bir Amerikan istilasi istemiyor . . .

 

11/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Masallah! Irak’tan harika haber geldi, ikinci en buyuk sehir Musul teroristlerden kurtuldu! Tebrikler Irak ordu, Tebrikler Amerikan koalisyon! Haber gore hepsi kahramanlar! Televizyonda askerler ve sivil halk sokaklarda dans ediyor, onlar cok mutlu, buyuk bir parti var! Evet, cok uzun bir savas oldu, evet binlerce hayat kaybetti, evet Amerikan koalisyon beyaz fosfor kullandi, evet hastaneler, okuller ve baska kamu tesislerini bombaladi, evet Musul sehir kesinlikle imha edildi, evet on dort yil once ABD benzin icin butun Irak Savasi basladi – fakat haber gore bu onemli degil; simdi her kes cok mutlu ve dans ediyor. Bu arada, gecen yil Suriye’den berbat haber geldi, ikinci en buyuk sehir Halep teroristlerden kurtuldu, ancak cok uzun bir savas oldu, binlerce hayat kaybetti ve o sehir kesinlikle imha edildi. Bunun icin, haber gore kahramanlar yoktu, Suriye hukumet ve Rus ordusu orada “soykirim” yapti. Aslinda, Amerikan haber gore onlar “kimyasal silah” kullandi, sonuc olarak ABD Suriye ordusunu bombaladi. Evet, Amerikan ordusu Suriye’ye davet edilmedi, evet ABD orada yasa disi olarak bombaliyor ve sayisiz sivil kimse oldurdu, evet Amerika Halep’teki teroristleri destkeldi, evet efsane arastirmaci gazeteci Seymour Hersch gore ne Suriye ne Rusya kimyasal silah kullandi – fakat haber gore bu onemli degil. Maalesef, bol bol propaganda var…

 

10/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Benim icin mola bitti, bugun is yeriye gidecegim. Aslinda, dun ve iki gun gecen hafta calistim ama ders vermedim, sadece konusma sinav yaptim. Fakat birkac bos gunum vardi ve roman projemin ikinci taslagini bitirdim, bu benim tek hedef oldu – ve basarili yaptim. O yuzden, mutluyum. Simdi hersey duzeltiyorum. Bu projem yaklasik bir bucuk yilda calistim ve neredeyse dort yuz sayfa var, ama galiba hafta sonunda o yayineviye gonderecegim. Olacaksa olur. Zaten devam romani planliyorum, ve belki bir triloji yazacagim. Bunun icin gelecek birkac yil cok mesgul olacagim! Benim icin iyi bir durum. Su anda yazma benin en sevdigim hobim, yolculuklar ve yuzmeden sikilyordm. Ayrica, genc degilim, para biriktirmeliyim. Son iki hafta baska bir sey yapmadim – alisveris haric. Biliyorsunuz ki yeni Tisort, ic camasiri, coraplar ve kemerler satin aldim (resmi bak), ondan sonra iki tane yeni kitap satin aldim, ve birkac gun sonra da yeni spor ayakkabisi satin aldim. Her bos gunum ogle yemegi icin Cihangir’de en sevdigim lahmacun lokantayi yuruyerek gittim, ancak son kez cok tuhaf, orada birkac grup erkekler oldu, ve onlar bana dik dik bakti, agresiv bir sekilde degildi, guneslenen kertenkeler gibiydi (sicak bir gun oldu), fakat biraz canimi siktim. Buyuk sehirde bol bol garip insanlar var . 

 

9/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Yuz yil once Osmanli yonetimi altinca, Filistin yuzde yetmis bes Musluman oldu, yuzde yirmi Hiristiyan ve sadece yuzde bes Yahudi. Ayrica, Filistin yuzde yuz Arap oldu. Evet, Arap Yahudi vardi, cunku Yahudilik bir etnik kimlik degil, o sadece bir din. Aslinda, orijinal Siyonistler Avrupa’dan geldi, kesinlikle Araplar degildi, ve onun kurucu bir ateist oldu. Onlar gore Filistin bos bir bolge, hic kimse yoktu, fakat bu kesinlikle bir yalan oldu, tabii ki. Bundan baska, onlar sadece Filistin istedi degildi; onlar da Misir, Arabistan ve Suriye istedi! Bu arada, cok Avrupali Yahudiler Siyonizme karsiydi; onlar “neden Yahudiler baska bir yere gitmeliyiz?” sordu. Fakat Birinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra Filistin Ingiliz Yonetimi altinda oldu – ve Siyonistler Filistin’e gitmeye izin aldi. Biraz sonra Filistin Yuzde on Yahudi oldu, ve Filistinli multeci krizi basladi. Daha ve daha Siyonistler Avrupa’dan geldi, ve sonunda saldiralar basladi, bunun icin Ingilizler sikiyonetim ilan etti. Ingilizler ve Siyonistler Filistin yerlilerine karsi birlikte kavga etti, yaklasik bes bin oldurdu, ve sayisiz evleri imha etti. Fakat ondan sonra Siyonistler Ingilizlere saldirdi, mesela onlar King David Otel’e patlatti – doksan bir kisi oldurdu. Sonuc olarak Ingilizler Filistin’den ayrildi ve Siyonistler etnik temizlik basladi – katliamlar, terorizm, iskence ve tecavuz dahil . . 

 

8/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. ABD secim kampanyasi boyunca Suriye Savasi bitirmek isteyenleriz Cumhuriyetci baskan adayi Democrat adaydan daha iyi secenek oldu. Neden? Cunku Donald Trump Suriye Savasi bitirmeye soz verdi. Hillary Clinton o savas kazanmak istedi, galiba sonuc olarak Ucuncu Dunya Savasi olurdu! Maalesef, Trump sozunu tutmaya uzun zaman bekledik. Bu arada ABD birkac kez hukumet birlikleriye bombaladi. Ayrica, ABD Rakka’daki binlerce sivil kimse oldurdu. Tabii ki, ABD propaganda gore onlar teroristlerle savasiyor, fakat ABD bunlari kendi yaratti, ve simdi Suriye’deki davetsiz savasiyor. Bundan baska, Amerikan medyasi Suriye’nin baskani Basar Esad hakkinda cok yalan soyledi, ozellikle kimyasal silah hakkinda. Efsanevi Amerikan arastirmaci gazeteci Seymour hersch bu yalanlari ortaya cikti, ancak Bati Dunya’nin medyasi bu haber gormezden geldi. O yuzden herkes hayal kirikligina ugradi, Trump sacede baska bir yalanci, baska bir savas kiskirticisi – endustriyel askeri kompleksin kontrollu altinda. Fakat simdi umut isigi var, Trump ve Rusya’nin baskani Vladimir Putin baris hakkinda konusuyor. Elbette Rusya Suriye’nin hukumeti destekliyor. Maalesef, Rakka icin umudum yok, galiba orada savas devam edecek, o bolge asla gibi olmayacak. Sanirim Amerikan askeri orada kalacak, ve bu sekilde Orta Dogu’daki baska bir yere edinecek . . .

 

7/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Uc yuz yetmis bes yil once Hollandali kaptan Abel Tasman Avrupa icin Yeni Zelanda’yi kesfetti. Bunun icin Avustralya ve Yeni Zelanda arasinda deniz ‘Tasman Deniz’ olarak bilinen, ve Avustralya’da ‘Tasmanya’ adli bir ada ve eyalet var. Tabii ki Yeni Zelanda’da zaten yerli Maori insanlar vardi, ve onlar o ulkeyi ‘Uzun Beyaz Bulutlu Topragi’ olarak biliyordu. Aslinda, onlar sadece yaklasik dort yuz yil daha once Yeni Zelanda’yi kesfetti. Yaklasik sekiz yuz yil oncesine kadar Yeni Zelanda’da ne insanlar ne memeliler vardi, sadece kuslar, kertenkeleler ve bocekler vardi. Bunun icin bazi kuslar ucamayan oldu, bunlar arasinda dunyanin en buyuk kus oldu, Moa kuslar uc metreye kadar buyudu! Maalesef, yaklasik alti yuz yil once onlar nesli yok oldu. Aslinda Yeni Zelanda’da iki tane buyuk ada var, Guney Pasifik Okyanus’ta, Avustralya’dan yaklasik bin bes yuz kilometre, ve yerli Maori insanlar Aborijinleri kesinlikle benzemiyorlardi. O yuzden Avrupalilar merak etti – yerli Maori insanlar nereden geldi? Birkac teori vardi – belki Pasifik Okyanus’ta kayip kitasi vardi, veya belki Polinezyalilar Guney Amerika’dan geldi, falan. Yetmis yil once bir Norvecli bilim insani Thor Hyerdahl ikincisi teori ispat etmeye Guney Amerika’dan Pasifik Adalar’da sal binerek gitti, bu ‘Kon-Tiki Sefer’ olarak bilinen. Maalesef, Hyerdahl kesinlikle yanlis oldu. Adim adim arkeologlar, antropologlar ve dilbilimciler parcalarini birlestirdi – Polinezyalilar birkac bin yil once Guney Dogu Asya’dan geldi, ve Maori insanlar yaklasik sekiz yuz yil once Tahiti Adalar’dan Yeni Zelanda’yi ulasti.

 

6/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, bu benim kiz kardesim, ancak ona Avustralya’da yasiyor, Yeni Zelanda’da degil, ve ona on dort yasindayken ilk tanistik, ve yirmi dort yil onceden beri onu gormedim. Fakat gencken bir neredeyse bir yilda Avustralya’da oturdum ve bu sekilde onu taniyordum. Simdi ona evli ve cocuklu. Aslinda, onun kocasini da tanistim, o gunlerde ona sadece bir aile dostu oldu, cok candan bir delikanli! Asagida goreceginiz uzere, kiz kardesim atlari seviyor. Ayrica, ona kopekleri cok seviyor. Cok ilginc bir sey – annem ve ablam da atlari ve kopekleri cok seviyor, ve onlar Yeni Zelanda’da yasiyor. Gencken annem bir ciftlik iscisi oldu, ve bir sure icin kopek egitim okulunun baskaniyidi. Ailemin evinde her zaman cok kopek vardi! Bu arada, ablam bir at sahip oldu, ve bir sure icin nalbant olarak calisiyordu. Ona da kopekleri seviyor, onlar icin gercek cenaze torenleri duzenliyor! Ayrica, Danimarka’da kendi yasimda bir kuzenim, ona on yedi yil once ilk defa icin tanistik, ben orada sadece bir ay kaldim, ve o zamandan beri onu gene gormedim. Tahmin et noldu! – Ona da atlari ve kopekleri cok seviyor, ve kendi ciftliginde yasiyor. O yuzden, ailemde tum kadinlar atlari ve kopekleri seviyor! Ne tesaduf! Bu arada, onu ziyaret ettigimde iki tane kucuk erkek cocuklar vardi, fakat simde onlar yetisken, bir tane cok buyuk (yaklasik iki metre) ve kendi cocugu var!

 

5/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, dun gunu alisveris yaptim. Gecen hafta alisveris yapmak istedim ama bayram oldu. Fakat surpriz geldi, benim icin bu hafta baska bir mola var. Aslinda, dun gunu alisveris planim yoktu, ancak ogle yemegi icin en sevdigim lahmacun lokantaya gittim ve aniden dusundum – “Neden olmasin?” Zamanim vardi, iyi bir firsat vardi, o yuzden Istiklal Caddesi’ye gittim (cok yakinda oldu). Orada bir mavi renkli tisort (asagi bak), iki tane atlet, on tane kulot, on tane corap ve iki tane kemer satin aldim. Cok ilginc cunku hem tisort hem de atletler XXL var ama benim icin az kucuk! Galiba onlar Guney Dogu Asya’da yapildi! Ondan sonra kitapciye gittim ve iki kitap satin aldim – Gabriel Garcia Marquez’in ‘Labirent icinde Komutan’ adli romani, Guney Amerika kurtarici Simon Bolivar hakkinda, ve Dimitra Papagianni ve Michael A. Morse’nin ‘Neandertal Insanlar Yeniden Kesfedildi’ adli arkeolojik kitabi. Soyledegim gibi, alisveris planim yoktu, ve aslinda son birkac ay boyunca kitaplari okumadim cunku su anda internette bol bol okuyorum ve akil enerjim yok. Fakat Istiklal Caddesin’de kitapciye gordum – ve kendimi engelleyemedim! Cok sansliydi, cunku orada eski is arkadasim rastladim, eskiden biz beraber isten eve yuruduk – ve Gezi Parki protestolar boyunca cok maceramiz vardi !!

 

4/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Yeni Zelanda dunyaya bir cephe sunuyor, temiz ve yesil bir ulke, sakin ve problemsiz, candan insanlar, iyi spor takimlar, harika haka dans yapiyor, falan. Maalesef bu sadece bir dis gorunus. Gercekten Yeni Zelanda ne sakin ne problemsiz, insanlar candan degil, ve onlar icin spor cok fazla onemli. Hepsi bir duman perdesi, cunku orada cok sosyal problem var, ve bu yeni bir durum degil. Mesela, bu rapor gore yuzde yirmi sekiz Yeni Zelandali cocuklar yoksulluk cekiyor, yuzde ondort materyal mesakkat cekiyor, ve yuzden on alti issiz anne baba var. Bu arada, hem konut fiyatlari hem de evsizlik artiyor, yaklasik yuzde iki insanlar evsiz, ve yaridan fazla cocuklar var. Yeni Zelanda’nin genc intihar orani gelismis dunyanin en yuksek – her zamanki gibi – ve cok gencler yetisken hapishanesine gidiyor. Yeni Zelanda’nin egitim ogretim sistemi iyi degil, zenginler ve yoksullar arasinda buyuk bir farklilik var. Yeni Zelanda “temiz ve yesil” mi? Aslinda, Yeni Zelanda’nin nesli tukenmekte olan dunyanin en yuksek, ve gencleri bu konu iyi anlamiyor; yaridan daha fazla az gencler cevre sorunlari iyi anliyor, fakat Avrupa’da genelde yuzde altmis ve yuzde seksen arasinda bu konu anliyor. Bu arada, Yeni Zelanda’nin genc dogum orani da cok yuksek, ve cok hamile kiz fazla alkol iciyor. Yeni Zelanda’nin issiz orani yuzde on dort, ancak yerli Maori insanlar icin yuzde yirmi alti! Aile ici siddet, cocuk oldurme, genel siddet sucu ve zorbalik da cok onemli sorunlar . 

 

3/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Basra Korfez bolgesinde cok ilginc bir durum var. Aniden Suudi Arabistan ve Katar arasinda buyuk bir kriz var, Suudi Arabistan gore Katar Iran’a cok fazla yakinda ve teroristler destekliyor. Ne kadar ironik! Iranli teroristler yok, fakat bol bol Vahabi teroristler var – sozde “ISIS” ve “El Kaide” dahil. Ayrica, muhtemelen Suudi Arabistan onlara destekliyor – Suriye’deki, mesela. Bu arada, Suudi Arabistan, Misir, Kuveyt ve Bahreyn Katar’a bir ultimatom verdi. Su anda Misir gene bir askeri diktatorluk, ABD kontrol altinda. Kuveyt ve Bahreyn sadece zengin ve kucuk benzin devletleri, ve Misir gibi kesinlikle ABD kontrol altinda. Buna ragmen, ABD bu durum hakkinda cok endise ediyor, baskan Donald Trump Suudi Arabistan kral ile konustu. Galiba ABD endise ediyor cunku Suriye’de bunlarin hepsi birlikte calisiyor. Aslinda, ABD, Suudi Arabistan ve Katar Suriye Savasi basladi, onlar Katar’dan Avrupa’a bir boru hatti insa etmek istedi fakat Suriye bu proje kabul etmedi. O yuzden onlar savas baslatmaya Suriye’ye teroristler gonderdi. Bunun icin, neden Suudi Arabistan ve Katar arasinda kriz var? Belki cunku onlar Suriye’de basarisiz oldu, Rusya ve Iran Hukumeti destekledi, ABD, Suudi Arabistan ve Katar o savas kazanmadi, fakat sonuc olarak yaklasik yarim milyon hayat kaybetti. 

 

2/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, dun Britanyali ve Irlandali ‘Aslanlar’ ragbi takimi Yeni Zelanda’yi yendi. Buyuk bir surpriz oldu, cunku iki bin dokuz yildan beri Yeni Zelanda kendi sahasinda kirk yedi mac oynadi – ve hic kaybetmedi. Sadece bir hafta once Yeni Zelanda Aslanlar’i yendi. Ayrica, iki tane Yeni Zelandali kulup takimi Aslanlar’i yendi, ve memleketimin takimi onlarli berabere kaldi. Gelecek hafta Yeni Zelanda ve Aslanlar dizi final oynayacaklar. Britanyali ve Irlandali Aslanlar ilginc bir tarihi var; dort tane ulke var (Ingiltere, Iskocya, Galler ve Irlanda), ve on dokuzuncu yuzyilin sonunda onlar Guney Afrika turu yapmaya basladi. Tabii ki, o zamanlarda gemi binerek gitti. Erken yirmi yuzyilinda onlar da Yeni Zelanda ve Avustralya turu yapmaya basladi. Bu sekilde onemli bir gelenek basladi. Eskiden ragbi sadece sekiz ulkede ciddi bir spor oldu, fakat otuz yil once ilk Dunya Kupasi kutlandi, ondan sonra profesyonel ragbi basladi, ve simdi Olimpik ragbi var. O yuzden bu spor cok daha popular oldu, ve simdi yuzden daha ulke ragbi oynayor (Turkiye dahil). Bazi kisi gore Britanyali ve Irlandali Aslanlar’in gunu gecti, su anda onlar icin yeter zaman yok. Fakat onlar hala cok populer, sayisiz taraftalar onlari takip ediyor, ucak biletleri satin aliyor, otelleri ve barlari dolduruyor, ve bu ekonomi icin cok iyi bir sey. O yuzden onlar devam ediyor.

 

1/7/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Temmuz ay geldi, hava cok sicak, neredeyse kirk derece, cunku Kuzey Afrika’dan sicak dalgasi geldi. Benim icin iyi bir surpriz varda, ertesi hafta is yeride baska bir mola olacak, dersler olmayacak. Cok sansliyim! Ancak yolculuk etmeyecegim. Ilk olarak, butun hafta bos olmayacak, derler yok ancak konusma sinavlari var, bunun icin iki veye uc gunu is yeriye gitmeliyim. Ayrica, biliyorsunuz ki, su anda yazin yolculuk etmem. Aslinda, son yurtdisi tatilim yaklasik iki yil once oldu, Girit Adasi’nde bir hafta kaldim, her gun denizde yuzdum, her akdam lokantada yedim, kirmizi sarap ictim, puro ictim. Fakat bir gece kaba bir garson oldu, puro “yasak” soyledi, ama o kesinlikle bir yalan, ben disarida oturuyordum, ve her aksam ayni sey yaptim. Nasil “yasaklandi?” Dusundum ve sonunda anladim, galiba bir grup sikayet etti, ve ben sadece tek adam oldu, onemli degildi. Bu kotu izlenim birakti, ve sonuc olarak Yunan Adalari icin cosku kaybettim. Halbuki, daha sebeplerim var. Son on iki yilda cok tatil yaptim, hem Yunan Adalari’ye hem de diger kitalara – Guney Amerika’ya ve Dogu Afrika’ya, mesela – ve sonunda sikilyordum. Benim icin heyecanli degildi, ama cok para harcadim, tabii ki. Genc degilim, gelecek zaman icin para biriktirmeliyim. Su anda yurtdisi tatil icin enerjim yok, en sevdigim hobi yazma – ve bu hobi evde yapabilirim!

 

30/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Dun aksam cok garip bir Yeni Zelandali belgesel film izledim. Yonetmen Vincent Ward neredeyse kirk yil once bu film yapmaya basladi. Ona ilginc bir sirri cozmek istedi, bir yerli Maori kadin (Puhi Tuhoe) ve onun sizofrenik oglu (Niki) hakkinda. Kirk yil once Puhi Tuhoe yaklasik seksen yasindaydi, ona on dokuzuncu yuzyilda dogdu, o zamanlarda Ingiltere’ye karsi savaslar devam etti. Bir gun Ingiliz askerler Puhi’nin koyune geldi, bir yerli Maori erkek korktu ve kostu, ve Ingiliz askerler onu oldu! Bu felaket Puhi’nin kucuk toplulugu perisan etti. Sonuc olarak, birkac yil sonra iki yerli Maori erkek kavga etti – ve biri olduruldu. O erkek Puhi’nin kocasi oldu. Ingiliz polis geldi ve cesedi cikardi, ancak Puhi’nin oglu Niki her seyi gordu. Evet, o zavalli cocuk kendi babasinin cesedi gordu! Biraz sonra Niki ormanda kayboldu, butun kasaba onu aradi, ve sonunda onu buldu. Fakat Niki degistirildi, ormandaki perileri gordu, ve ondan sonra onu kesinlikle farkliydi. Ingilizler bu durum anlamadi, onlar icin “periler” olmaz, Niki kesinlikle deliydi. Fakat yerli Maori halk farkli bir sekilde dusunuyor, ve onlar icin “periler” olur, Niki deli degildi. O gunden sonra Puhi hayatini Niki’ye adadi, bir kole gibi calisti, her sey oglu icin oldu. Elbette ona yaslandi ve egildi, ve sonunda oldu. Puhi gore oluler yasayanlar ile birlikte yuruyor, ve galiba ona Niki ile yurucek inandi. O gercek bir hikaye oldu, ve yerli Maori’nin yasamina ilginc bir bakis oldu . . 

 

29/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, bu hafta Kuzey Afrika’dan sicak dalgasi geldi, yaklasik otuz uc ve otuz alti derece arasinda var, ve haber gore bu hafta sonu otuz sekiz derece ulasacak! Benim icin bu cok fazla sicak – ve yaz mevsimi sadece basladi! Is yeride klima var, tabii ki, fakat ogrenciler cok zor olabilir, onlar yazlik giysi giyiyor, bazi kadinlar derin gogus dekoltesi ve mini etek, ve klima hakkinda sikayet ediyor! Elbette ben gomlek ve uzun pantolon giymeliyim ve cok rahatsiz hissediyorum. Bana gore erkekler icin bu durum kesinlikle haksiz, biz daha ozgurluk olmaliyiz, yazin kisa pantolon giyebiliriz, mesela. Babam Iskandinavya’dan, annem Kuzey Ingiltere’den, bunun icin ben sicak hava icin insa edilmedim, Istanbul benim sinirim. Aslinda, memleketim ve Istanbul ekvadordan ayni uzaklik, fakat burada hava cok daha asiri, ozellikle yaz boyunca. Memleketimde yaz boyunca genelde yirmi ve otuz derece arasinda var. Bizim icin otuzdan daha bir sicak dalgasi gibi. Bu arada, Ispanya’da bes yilda oturuyordum, o ulke ekvatordan da ayni uzaklik – ama yazin memleketim daha sicak. Memleketim Guney Pasifik okyunusunda, hem ruzgarli hem de yagmurli, ancak nadiren cok sicak. Universiteken Nebraska’da okudum, ve o eyalet ekvadordan da ayni uazklik – ama yazin memleketimden daha sicak. Gencken Sydney’de bir yilda kaldim, fakat benim icin o sehir kesinlikle cok fazla sicak oldu – Kuzey Afrika gibi!

 

28/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, Seker Bayram bitti, bugun is yeriye donmeliyiz. Fakat yaz mevsimi sadece basladi, ve bu hafta sonu cok sicak olacak, haber gore yaklasik otuz alti derece. Bayram boyunca tatile cikmadim, adalara gitmedim, denizde yuzmedim; sadece yeni romanim duzenledim. Cok yaptim, ancak henuz bitirmedim, yaklasik ceyrek yapmadim (yaklasik yuz sayfa). Bir veya iki hafta daha gerekiyor. Ayrica biliyorsunuz ki sacimi kestirdim. Halbuki, alisveris yapmadim, ne yaz giysi ne kitaplari aldim. Dun her sey yapmak istedim, ancak bayram devam etti, her yer kapandi. Ayrica, en sevdigim lokanta kapandi, bunun icin farkli bir yere gittim, ve orada cok pahaliydi. Tek lahmacun ve kucuk (otuz uc) bira icin yirmi bes lira odedim! Pazartesi gunu yerine Turk kahvaltasi aldim – iki corek, bal, kaymak, iki dilim peynir, ve biraz dilim domates ve salatalik. Hepsi bu, benim icin kucuk bir lokma gibi. Tabii ki, gene kucuk bira aldim, hava cok sicakti. Toplam – otuz dokuz lira odedim! Inanilmaz! Fakat sadece uc gun oldu, ve eger tatile ciksaydim, ayni fiyati odedim. Bu arada, Pakistanli ev arkadasim bugun Turkiye’den ayriliyor, ona sadece iki ay kaldi ama cok iyi bir ev arkadasim oldu. Yeni ev arkadasim zaten buldum, Taylandali bir kiz ve galiba ona bu aksam veye yarin gelecek. Bunun icin iyi bir mola oldu, sadece bir problem vardi; geceler cok gurultu oldu, su anda yasli bir kopek var, ve bazi geceler o cok havliyor! Pazartesi gecesi o oldurmek istedim!

 

27/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, her yerde propaganda var, ana akim medya kesinlikle cok yalan soyluyor, her zaman savaslari destekliyor. Simdi internette var ve alternatif medya kolay erisebiliriz, fakat diger tarfta simdi ozellikle Amerikan ana akim medyasi neredeyse butun dunyaya ulasabilir. Tipik bir ornek Suriye Savas. Bu kesinlikle baska bir Amerikan isgal – Afganistan, Irak ve Libya gibi. ABD Osama bin Laden’i bulmaya Afganistan’a isgal etti, degil mi? Ancak ona gore Osama bin Laden alti yil once olduruldu ve Amerikan isgali devam ediyor. ABD kitle imha silahi bulmaya Irak’i isgal etti, degil mi? Fakat hic kitle imha silahi bulunmadi – tabii ki. Butun dunya o sadece propaganda oldu, degil mi? Hayir. Butun dunya degildi. Bol bol kisi o propaganda inandi ve savaslari destekledi. Iyi hatirliyorum, bu konu hakkinda cok kisiyle tartistim. Onlar sadece medyanin yalanlar tekrarladi – “Vahsi bir diktator var! ABD ozgurluk ve demokrasi getiriyor!” falan. Elbette o kesinlikle sacma oldu. Hem Afganistan’da hem de Irak’ta cok uzun ve korkunc savaslar devam ediyor ve milyonlarca hayat kaybetti. Fakat simdi savas mudafiler nerede? Buna ragmen, bir defa daha, ABD Suriye’deki baska bir savas yapiyor, ve inanilmaz bir sekilde savas mudafiler var – “vahsi diktator var, Rusya soykirim yapiyor!” bagiriyor. Ne kadal ironik ve aptal! Bazi insanlar asla ogrenmiyor.

 

26/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Don Kisot kesinlikle cok ilginc bir kitap ve galiba dunyanin ilk klasik romani. Aslinda, yirmi bes yil once universiteken bu kitabi okuduk. Fakat ben sadece birkac ay once internette belgesel izlerken tam olarak anladim. Elbette Don Kisot alegorik bir roman, galiba Katolik Kilisesi hakkinda. Neden? Cunku yazar Miguel de Cervantes on altinci yuzyilda dogdu. O zamanlarda Ispanya’da buyuk bir ekonomik kriz vardi. Ayrica, korkunc kitlik oldu. Ne kadar ilginc! Sadece yuz yil once Amerika “kesfedildi,” sonuc olarak Ispanya bol bol altin ve gumus aldi. Ancak bu durum kotu yonetildi. Evet, yuzyil once Avrupa icin Amerika kesfedildi, ancak ayni zamanda Ispanya Muslumanlar ve Yahudiler cikardi. Gercekten yargisiz infaz yoktu. Bu Kuzey Avrupa’nin Protestan propaganda. Muslumanlar ve Yahudiler icin uc secenek vardi – donusturme, ayrilma veya infaz. Maalesef, bu sekilde Ispanya’nin entellektuel sinif imha edildi. Musluman altinda Ispanya yuzyillar boyunca Avrupa’nin en modern ulkesi oldu, uc din ve uc kultur birlikte yasiyordu, buyuk bir fikir alisverisi oldu, ve bu durum Avrupa Ronesansina yol acti. Fakat Katolik Kilisesi her seyi imha etti! Cervantes cok entellektuel bir erkek oldu, hem bilim adam hem de asker oldu, butun Akdeniz seyahat etti, Osmanlilara karsi kavga etti ve yaralandi, ve Musluman korsanlar onu yakaladi. Ona kesinlikle her seyi iyi anladi . . .

 

25/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Herkese iyi bayramlar! Evet, arkadaslarim, Ramazan bitirdi, Seker Bayram basladi ve Sali aksama kadar resmi tatil var. Hava cok sicak, tabii ki; yaz mevsimi gecen hafta basladi, ve Istanbul’da yaklasik otuz derece var – ama hala cok nemli degil, masallah! Galiba cok kisi bayram icin Antalya ve Ege’ye gitti. Fakat ben Istanbul’da kaliyorum. Benim tatilim Cuma gunu basladi cunku son iki gun is yeriye gitmedim. Cuma gunu market alisverisi yaptim, ve dun sacimi kestirdim. Biliyorsunuz ki, burada garsonlarla cok sorunum var, ve bircok defa bu konu hakkinda yazdim. Ancak diger tarafta burada berberle cok daha pozitif deneyimler yasadim. Onlar neredeyse her zaman cok kibar, dikkatli ve sabirli, ve iyi is yapar, halbuki onlar cok ucuz ve dun sadece onbes lira odedim! Ayrica, onlar her zaman Turkce konusur, ve benim icin iyi bir firsat var. (Turkce pratik yapmaya berberler ve taksiciler en iyi cunku zoraki dinleyiciler ve genellikle Ingilizce bilmiyorlar)! Aslinda, dun butun zaman (yaklasik yarim saat) onbir yasinda berber yardimci ile konstum. O cocuk Mardin’den ve futbol cok seviyordu. Onun en sevdigi takimi Besiktas oldu, en sevdigi oyuncu Ricardo Quaresma. Aslinda, o cucuk Yeni Zelanda’yi biliyordu. Cok sasirdim. Burada hic kimse Yeni Zelanda’yi bilmiyor! Ancak ona acikladi – Yeni Zelanda Rusya’daki Konfederasyon Kupasi’yi katildi, ve dun Portekiz karsi oynadi. Portekiz bes sifir kazanacak, tahmin ettim. Aslinda Portekiz dort sifir kazandi!

 

24/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Dun aksam odullu Avustralyali gazeteci John Pilger’in ‘Cin’de Gelecek Savas’ adli belgesel-film izledim. Bu film ozellikle Marsal Adalari yerliler hakkinda. Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra ABD Japonya’dan o adalar aldi ve sonraki on iki yil boyunca orada nukleer denemeler yapti. Bikini mayo ismini patlamadan aldi, adalardan degildi. ABD radyasyon deneyleri icin hayvanlar kullandi. Ayrica, yerliler donemeye cok fazla erken izin verildi, ve onlar da deneyleri icin kullanildi. Sonuc kanser, dusuk yapmalar, olu domuslar ve deformiteler oldu. Sonunda herkes baska bir adaya gitti, ve ABD yuz elli milyon dolar tazminat odemeye kabul etti – buna ragmen ona tum parari hala odemedi! ABD’nin askeri endustriyel kompleks cok trilyonlarca dolarlik sanayi, ve fuze denemeler devam ediyor. Tek fuze yaklasik yuz milyon dolar mal oluyor! Bu arada, Marsal Adalari ABD’nin Pasifik Okyanusu hegemonya icin cok onemli. Ayrica, Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan beri ABD Japon adarlinda bir askeri us surdurdu. Bu cok tartismali, yerel halk Amerikan askerler kesinlikle istemiyor. Ayrica, tecavuz olaylari oldu. Fakat o adalar Cin’den sadece birkac yuz kilometre uzakta, bu yuzden Amerika icin cok onemli. Ayrica, Filipinler’de Amerikan usleri var. Neden? Cunku ABD Cineyi sarmak istiyor. Elbette, uzun zamandan beri Cin hem Tibet hem de Tayvan ile sorunlarla oldu. Ancak bunun disinda Cin saldirgan bir ulke degil. Halbuki, simdi ona dunyanin en ikinci en buyuk ekonomisi, ve bu Amerikan hegemonyasi icin buyuk bir tehdit . .

 

23/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Iki gun once yaz mevsimi resmi olarak geldi, ve Istanbul’da son birkac gun otuz derece veya daha olacak. Benim icin bu cok fazla sicak fakat Ramazan Bayrami geliyor ve herkes tatile cikacak. Plaj ve deniz icin mukemmel hava var. Ne kadar guzel! Fakat ben tatile cikmayacagim. Sonraki bes gunum bos olacak ve bu zaman roman projemi bitirmeye kullanacagim. Bir yayinevi bu yazma icin bekliyor. O yuzden, bu mola cok sansli, galiba gelecek hafta duzenleme bitirecegim. Insallah! Fakat baska bir sey yapmayacagim – sac kesimi haric! Belki alisveris yapacagim, yazlik giysi ve yeni kitaplara ihtiyac var. Emin degilim. Sonraki uc gun kesinlikle sadece yazacagim ve rahat edecegim, ve belki Pazartesi ya da Sali gunu alisveris yapacagim. Tabii ki, biraz ev isi ve market alisverisi yapmaliyim. Bu normal bir sey. Aslinda, benim icin bugun tatil degil, cunku Cuma gunleri calismiyorum. Benim icin bu hafta sonu ve sonraki iki gun tatil olacak. Gelecek Carsamba dersim var, ve sonra gun toplanti olacak. Ondan sonra her zamanki seyler devam edecek. Istanbul’da bu benim on ucuncu yaz olacak, tam on iki yil once buraya geldim. On bir yaz boyunca her bos gunum yuzmeye gittim, ve en azinda bir yurt disi seyahati yaptim. Fakat sonunda sikilyordum ve gecen yil bu rutinlerime biraktim,

 

22/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Dun ABD’nin Suriye’yi yasadisi olarak isgal ederken “kendini savunma” iddiasi sacmaligi hakkinda yazdim, cunku simdi gercek durum besbelli – ABD Suriye’yi kesinlikle isgal etti ve bu isgal kesinlikle yasadisi (Irak’ta gibi). Bu yuzden barbar zamanlarda yasiyoruz. Amerika ve Mogallar arasinda fark yok. ABD ekonomik sebepler icin milyonlarca kisi oldurdu. Onlarin savaslari neden cok uzun (Afganistan’da on alti yil, Irak on dort yil, mesela)? Cunku endustriyel askeri kompleks icin bu durum cok karli, bu bir cok trilyon dolarlik bir sanayi. Aslinda BELKI ABD Bessar Esad’i oldurmek istemiyor (Saddam Huseyin ve Muammer Kaddafi gibi). Galiba Amerika icin simdiki durum iyi, hala bu savas alti yilda devam ediyordu, ve her zaman hukumet guclerine zafer yakina geliyor, ABD onlari saldiyiyor. Emin degilim, ama simdi herkes Amerikan yasadisi mudahalesini gorebilir. Ancak ABD da bol bol propaganda yapti, tabii ki, ve gecen yil cok kisi Rusya’yi her sey icin sucladi. Bunu iyi hatirliyorum, bazi kisi cok agresif oldu, “soykirim” hakkinda konustu. Onlar simdi neredeler? Ben neredeyse yirmi yilda uluslararasi bir toplumda yasiyordum ve cok kisi bu savaslari kesinlikle savunuyor. Sadece hukumetleri hakkinda degil. O bir efsane, maalesef.Beyaz Kasklar ve ‘Halep Oglan sadece propaganda oldu. Rusya yasal olarak Suriye’de hukumete yardim ediyor. Bu arada, Beyaz Kasklar teroristler ile calisiyor, ve ‘Halep Oglanin babasi Hukumeti destekliyor – video var.

 

21/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Kesinlikle sacma zamanlarda yasiyoruz. Suriye’de yasa disi olarak Amerikan askeri sivilleri olduruyor, beyaz fosfor kullaniyor ve hukumet guclerine saldiiyor – ve “kendini savunma” iddia ediyor. Inanilmaz! Beyaz insanlar Amerika’ya isgal etti ve yerli soykirimi yapti. Bu da “kendini savunma” miydi? Ingilizler Avustralya’da (ve cok daha ulkesinde) ayni sey yapti. Bu da “kendini savunma” miydi? Belcikalilar Kongo’da ayni sey yapti. Bu da “kendini savunma” miydi? Fransizlar Kuzey Afrika’ya isgal etti ve sayisiz sivilleri oldurdu. Bu da “kendini savunma” miydi? Japonya Cin’e isgal edine, bu da “kendine savunma” miydi? Naziler Polonya’ya isgal edince, bu da “kendini savunma” miydi? Endonezya Dogu Timor’a isgal edince, bu da “kendini savunma” miydi? Fakat aptal degiliz. Tabii ki ABD Suriye’de savas suclari yapiyor. Aslinda ABD hic bir seyi inkar etmiyor, sadece “kendini savunma” iddia ediyor. Fakat buyuk bir sorun var – ona yasal otorite yok, bunun icin ahlaki otorite yok. Gercekten, Irak’taki kesinlikle ayni durum var. ABD yasadisi isgal etti, sonuc olarak en azinda bir milyon hayat kaybetti, ve on dort yil sonra Amerikan askeri savasa devam ediyor, sivilleri olduruyor ve beyaz fosfor kullaniyor. Ayrica, ABD kesinlikle teroristlerle birlikte calisiyor. Amerika’dan daha kotu imparatorluk oldu mu? Emin degilim . . .

 

20/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Eger bir teknolojik gelisme gormeye istersem, o ucan araba. Her zaman oyle dusundum. Neden? Elbette ucan araba her yere daha kolay gidebiliriz, yol bakimi ve masraf yok olacak, ve acil hizmetler cok daha hizli calisabilir. Galiba trafik sikislikigi da bir mazi olacak. Ne kadar guzel! Bu arada, binalarin catilari park etmeye kullanillabilir. Sonuc olarak her sey degistirecek. Insanlar kesinlikle farkli bir sekilde dusunmeye baslayacak, yollar olmayacak, sadece destinasyonlar, apartmanizdan ayrilmaya yukari cikacagim, asagi degil. Bu arada, toprak dogaya geri donecegiz, her yer agaclar ve bitkiler olacak, ve herkes icin cok daha az tehlikeli olacak – cocuklar ozellikle. Halbuki, problemler kesinlikle olabilir. Istanbul’da yaklasik iki veya uc milyon arava var, degil mi? Eger iki veya uc ucan araba varsa, galiba cok gurultu olacak, ve gok yuzunu goremeyiz. Ayrica, bu trafik nasil kontrol edilebilir? Gokyuzunde trafik isiklari olmaz, tabii ki. Bir sey daha, eger bir kaza olursa, hem yolcular hem de yayalar icin cok daha tehlikeli olacak, cunku ucan araba gokten dusecek. O yuzden, ucan arabalardan once, bu sorunlar cozulmeliyiz. Aslinda, cok yazar bu konu hakkinda yazdi, Aldous Huxley dahil; ‘Cesur Yeni Dunya’ benim en sevdigim bilimkurgu romanlari arasinda. Bunu hatirla, yuz yil once ucaklar hala cok garip bir sey oldu, ve yuz yirmi yil yil once arabalar ayniydi. Bence ucan arabalar kesinlkle gelecek

 

19/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Boga guresi bir spor mu? O yasak olmali mi – tilki avi, horoz dovusu ve kopek kavgasi gibi? Neredeyse on sekiz yil once ben maraktan Guney Ispanya’daki bir boga guresi katildim. O Avrupa’daki benim ilk yazimdi, ve benim icin buyuk etkisi yoktu, fakat matodorlar kesinlikle cok yetenekli ve cesur oldu. Ayrica binicilik cok iyiydi. Ancak bir kez yeter. Yillar once Ernest Hemingway’nin ‘Ogleden Sonra Olum’ okudum. O kitap boga guresi tarihi hakkinda, Roma Imparatorlugunun arenalardan on dokuzuncu ve yirminci yuzyillarin maestrolarina (Hemingway’nin kensi zamani). On dokuzuncu yuyzil boyunca hala baska hayvanlar kullanildi – aslanlar ve filler, mesela. Hemingway gore dovus boga ve ciftlik boga arasinda buyuk bir fark var – kurt ve kopek arasinda gibi. Cok defa Bogalar aslanlari oldurdu. Eskiden en unlu matadorlar genelde cingeneler oldu, ve cok arenada hayatin kaybetti. Cingeneler yuzyillar once Hindistan’dan Avrupa’ya geldi ve cok mesakkat cekti icin. Onlar icin boga guresi nadir bir firsat teklif etti. Bu sekilde onlar Afro-Amerikali boksorlerine benziyorlardi. Bunun icin matadorlarin felaketleri cok trajik, tabii ki. Bu hafta baska bir Ispanyol matador arenada hayatin kaybetti, ona takilip dustu ve olduruldu. Ivan Fandino Bask ulkesinden geldi ve sadece otuz alti yasindaydi. Huzur icinde yat.

 

18/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Ilk olarak, Yahudiler bir irk degil. ‘Eskenazi’ Yahudiler var, onlar kuzeydogu Avrupa’dan geldi – ozellikle Almanya ve Polonya – ve onlar yetmis yil once Israil Devleti yaratti. Fakat onlar yuzyillar boyunca Avrupa’da yasiyordu, ve Avrupaliler gibi gorunuyordu. Aslinda, bir Israilli uzman gore onlar orijinal bir sekilde Kuzey Iran bolgesiden geldi ve Dogu Avrupa’ya goc etti. Ayrica, onlarin dili Yidis, ve o bir Almanca lehcesi, Ibranice benzimiyor. Elbette, Ibranice Arapca cok benziyor, her ikisi Semitik dil aisesi icinde – ve Semitik dilleri Arabistan’dan geldi. Bu arada, Sefarad Yahudiler var, ve onlar Roman Imparatorlugu zamanlar boyunca guney Avrupa’ya goc etti. Birkac yuzyil once Ispanya’da cok Sefarad Yahudiler vardi, ancak Engizisyonundan sonra cok Sefarad Yahudiler Osmanli Imparatorluguna geldi, ozellikle Selanik, ve Birinci Dunya Savastan sonra bircok Amerika’ya goc etti, daha az Israil secti. Bundan baska, ucuncu buyuk Yahudi grubu var, Mizrahiler, ve onla Orta Dogu’dan geliyor, Kuzey Afrika dahil. Aslinda, su anda Israilli Yahudilerin yarisindan fazlasi Mizrahi. Gercekten Eskenazi Yahudiler Israil’dan ayriliyor, o yuzden daha ve daha Mizrahi davet edildi. Bunun icin Yahudiler kim? Onlar sadece bir din takipciler, ve antik zamanlarda o din Iran’a ve Ispanya’ya yayildi.

 

17/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, bu fotograflar yirmi yuzyilin son uc onluk yildir cekildi. Aslinda, hepsi on yilin sonunda cekildi. Sagdan sola birinci fotograf yetmislerin sonunda memleketimde cekildi, ben sadece bir ergen oldu. Bu fotografta kucuk kardesimle ve kopegimle beraberdim. Simdi kucuk erkek kardesim kirklar yasinda, fotografci olarak calisiyor, ve kucuk kiz kardesim uc tane cocuk var – en buyuk bir ergen! Orta fotografta seksenlerin sonunda Avustralya’da cekildi, ben erken yirmiler yasindaydim. Babam Danimarkali ama erken yetmis yillardan beri Sydney’de yasiyordu, ve ben orada neredeyse bir yil boyunca kaldim. Soldaki fotograf on dokuz doksan dokuz yilinda cekildi, ben erken otuzlar oldu. Bu fotografta is arkadaslarimla beraberdim. Hatirlamaya son fotograf cok kolay cunku biz Ragbi Dunya Kupasi’ye katildik. O Avrupa’daki benim ilk yilimdi, birkac ay boyunca garson olarak Wight Ada’sinda calistim. Bu arada, dorduncu Ragbi Dunya Kupasi Galler ulkesinde duzenliyordu, sadece birkac yuz kilometre uzakta, o yuzden biz bir araba kiraladik ve Yeni Zelanda karsi Guney Afrika mac katildik. Arkadaslarim iki tane Guney Afikali erkek ve bir Avustralya’li kiz oldu. Bu arada, Guney Afrika o mac kazandi. O neredeyse on sekiz yil once oldu, ama o zamandan beri Dunya Kupasi’ye gene katilmadim…

 

16/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, daha erken bu ay “ISID” teroristler Iran’in parlamentosuna saldirdi, on iki kisi oldurdu ve cok daha yaralandi. Bu olay cok trajik, tabii ki, ama Amerikan ana akim medya hic simpati gostermedi, yerine onlar cok mutlu gorunuyor, ve onlar gore Iran bu saldiri kendi kasindi. Ne kadar kotu ve cocukca! Amerika cok savas yapyiyor ve teroristleri kesinlikle destekliyor, fakat on bir Eylul terorist saldirisindan sonra hic kimse bu sekilde konusmadi, hic kimse “Amerika bu saldiri kendi kasindi” soylemedi. Bu arada, Iran’daki olay da cok garip ve supheli, degil mi? Bu neden oldu? “ISID” kim ve ne istiyor? Onlar Irak’ta, Suriye’de ve Libya’da bulundu, ve simdi Iran’a saldirdi. Her yere ABD askeri gidiyor, “ISID” takip ediyor. Bunun icin ABD askeri “ISID”e karsi kavga etmeye kalmali. Ne kadar ilginc! ABD askeri Afganistan’da on alti yil boyunca kaldi, Irak’ta on dort yil boyunca, ve hem Libya’da hem de Suriye’de alti yil boyunca – ve dunyanin en buyuk super devleti asla kazanmaz! Yok, arkadaslarim. Bunlar “ISID”e karsi savaslar degil, bunlar kesinlikle somurgelesme. Aslinda “ISID” sadece bir isim var, Bati Dunya gore her Vahabi Cihatci “ISID.” Eskiden Bati Dunya gore onlar “El Kaide” oldu fakat o isim yipratti – cok fazla yalan soylendi. Genelde bu teroristler Suudi Arabistan’dan geliyor . . .

 

15/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bir bucuk yil once Guney Afrika’nin Cape Times gazetesi icin bir dizi makale yazdim. Cok iyi bir firsat oldu, Cape Town Guney Afrika’nin ikinci en buyuk sehridir, nufusu neredeyse dort milyon. Asagidaki makale benim en sevidim ve galiba yillardir en onemli makale yazdim. Neden? Cunku o dunya ve savaslar hakkinda buyuk resmi gosteriyor ve tum durum perspektif icine dahil etti. Amerikan mevcut savaslari gecmisin emperyal savaslari karsilastirdim ve aslinda cok benzerlikler var. Aslinda ABD Ingiliz Imparatorlugu cok benziyor, ve hic surpriz yok cunku gercekten ABD Ingiliz Imparatorlugu devraldi. Bundan baska, halkin tepkisi hakkinda yazdim, ve be da cok onemli ve basit bir sey. Avrupa imparatorluklarin korkunc suclarina geriye bakiyoruz ve “Neden?” sorariz. “Neden insanlar savaslara durdurmadi?” Ancak simdi biz kesinlikle ayni sey yapiyoruz. ABD cok savas yapiyor, milyonlarca kisi olduruyor, milyonlarca hayat daha imha etti, ve biz hic bir sey yapmiyoruz. Aslinda, cok kisi inkar ediyor, mazeretler yapiyor ve savaslara savunuyor. Bu arada, cok kisi sadece ilgisiz yok, savaslari yoksayiyor ve bu konu olumsuzluk olarak sayiyor. Fakat ayni zamanda onlar bu savaslarin yararlaniciler olabilir. Galiba yuz yil sonra insanlar bizim zamani geri bakacagiz ve “Neden” soracak. “Neden biz savaslara durdurmuduz?”

 

14/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Dun Turkiye’de on iki yilimi hakkinda yazdim. Geldigim gunu hala iyi hatirliyorum,Turkiye hakkinda hic bir sey bilmiyordum, cok merak ettim. Ancak birinci gun mutlu degildim, Ispanya ozledim, Istanbul’a alismaya biraz zaman gerekiyordu. Bu arada bu ay Avrupa’da on sekizinci yilimi kutluyorum. Evet, Haziran ay, on dokuz yuz doksan dokuz yilinda, memleketimden ayrildim ve Avrupa’ya geldim. Ilk olarak Fransa’ya uctum, ve Paris’te birkac gun harcadim, cok merkezde bir pansiyonda kaldim, Eyfel Kulesi ve askeri muzeyi ziyaret ettim, Sen Nehri gemi geziye gittim – Notre Dame Katedrali’ye gordum. Baskentten Ispanya’ya hizli tren binerek gittim, ortalama hiz yaklasik uc yuz kilometre/saat oldu, ve sadece birkac saat sonra sinire ulastik! Kuzey Ispanya’dan Guney Ispanya’ya da tren binerek gittim, ancak o tren kesinlikle hizli degildi! Yaklasik on iki saat sonra Malaga’ya ulastik – ve orada dayim ve onun karisi tanistim. Onlar Ingiliz ve daha once hic tanismadik. Dayim cok zengin oldu, Akdeniz sahilde bir villa satin aldi ve orada emekli oldu. Fakat onlar saglikli degildi ve orada sadece kisa sure kaldim. Garson olarak calismak istedim ama is bulamadim, ve sonunda Ingiltere’ye gitmeliydim. Ancak bir yil icinde Ingilizce ogretmenlik kariyerim baslamaya Ispanya’ya geri dondum.

 

13/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bildiginiz gibi bu ay on iki yil Istanbul’da kutluyorum. Evet, Haziran ay, iki bin bes yilinda yaz boyunca calismaya buraya geldim, ve on iki yil sonra hala buradayim. Aslinda, son alti yil boyunca ozellikle rahat ediyordum cunku hem iyi bir daire hem de iyi bir is yeride var, ve yazmak icin kesinlikle yeter zaman var. Bunun icin cok yazdim ve birkac roman projemi bitirdim. Simdi baska bir proje uzerinde calisiyorum, ve iyi haber geldi – Yeni Zelanda’da bir yayinevi benim el yazmasina bakmayi kabul etti. Bu cok onemi bir sey ve cunku su anda yayinevleri genelde sadece ajanlardan el yazmalari kabul etti. Fakat ben sansliyim, cunku memleketim cok kucuk ve orada yayinevleri cok fazla el yazmalari almiyor. Aslinda, son yirmi bes yil boyunca ayni yayineviye sayisiz el yazmalarim gonderdim ve hic ona hicbirini kabul etmedi! Fakat ona hala benim yazmalarim kabul ediyor. Belki potensiyelim var. Insallah! Tabii ki benim icin yazma en onemli sey. Bu yuzden Turkiye’ye geldim, Islam Dunyasi hakkinda merak ettim, daha ogrenmek istedim. Ayni sebep icin yaz boyunca calismaya hem Rusya’yi hem de Cin’e gittim, fakat orada iki ay kesinlikle yeter oldu! Bu arada, Istanbul’da son iki yil boyunca cok az degisti. Metro cok daha buyuk, ucuncu Bogaz Koprusu var, ve feribotlar farkli bir yerden gidiyor. Elbette bol bol siyasi calkanti gordum (ve cok ogrendim) – ama hala ayni lider var . . .

 

12/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. “Britanya Savasi Kazandik” iddia ederken Ingiltere toplam olarak asla buyumeyecek. Olmaz. Cunku bu iddia kesinlikle yanlis. Aslinda, bircok Ingilizler gore onlar her iki Dunya Savasi kazandi ve bu sekilde butun dunyaya ozgurluk ve demokrasi getirdi. Aslinda su anda Facebook’ta Ingiliz bir video tam bu mesaj veriyor. Elbette, bu fikir onlarin egitimden geldi, ve Amerika’daki kendi ulkeyi hakkinda ayni fikir var – ABD her iki Dunya Savasi kazandi ve bu sekilde butun dunyaya ozgurluk ve demokrasi getirdi. Ancak onlar da yanlis. Ilk olarak, Birinci Dunya Savas Avrupa’nin imparatorluklar arasinda basladi, ozellikle Almanya’nin yukselisi, Bati Avrupa ve Dogu Blogu bolme ve somurgeler hakkinda. Tabii ki, o zamanlarda Osmanli Imparatorlugu bozulmak uzere oldu, ve Avrupali gucleri Orta Dogu’yu gozluyordu. Britanya kesinlikle suclular ayasindaydi; “iyi adamlar” degildi. Sonunda ABD o savasi katildi ve Almanya bir antlasma imzaladi. Fakat o antlasma cok fazla sert oldu, Almanya’daki asiri yoksulluk vardi ve radikallesme basladi. O yuzden Ikinci Dunya Savas kacinilmaz oldu. Aslinda Almanya Ikinci Dunya Savasi neredeyse kazandi, ancak buyuk bir hata yapti – Rusya’ya isgal etmeye calisti. Kis geldi, kar geldi, ve yaklasik yirmi alti milyon Ruslara olduruldu, fakat sonunda Almanya kaybetti. Bu sekilde Almanya Ikinci Dunya Savasi kaybetti. Ingiltere ve Amerika sadece Bati Avrupa’da Naziler bitirdi. Ondan sonra ABD Avrupa’ya yardim etti, ancak ayni zamanda ona Avrupa’yi kontrol etmeye basladi. O zamandan beri ABD butun dunya kontrol etmeye calisti, ozgurluk ve demokrasi imha etti, ve onun savaslari on milyonlarca kisi oldurdu. Tum zamanda Ingiltere Amerika’ya yardim etti – ve o Britanya’nin gercek mayiyet, maalesef.

 

11/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, dun sabah ucuncu erkek yegenim geldi. William Henry en genc erkek kardesimin ikinci cocugu var. Onun birinci cocugu Oliver, iki yil once dogdu. Bunun icin en genc erkek kardesim iki tane erkek cocuk var. Onlar Ingiltere’de yasiyor. Erkek kardesim Londra’da calisiyor, ve onun karisini Ingiliz. Neredeyse dort yil once ben onlarin dugunu katilmaya Ingiltere’ye gittim. Simdi toplam yedi tane yegenim ve bir tane buyuk yegenim var. En buyuk yegenim Lara, ablamin birinci kizi, otuz yasinda var, ve gecen yil onun erkek cocugu dogdu. Te Rangi Maia Tui kismen yerli ‘Maori’ bir cocuk. Bu arada, ablamin ikinci kizi Tove yirmi yedi yasinda var. Kucuk kiz kardesim da cocuklar var, bir erkek ve iki tane kiz. O erkek, Seamus, yaklasik on alti yasinda var, iyi bir ragbi oyuncu, ve galiba benden daha buyuk! Onun kiz kardesler, Maddie ve Cierra, ilkokulu gidiyor. Fakat onlara hic tanismadim cunku onlar Yeni Zelanda’da yasiyor ve ben on sekiz yil once memleketimden ayrildim ve Avrupa’ya geldim. Ayrica, en genc erkek kardesimin cocuklara zaten gormedim. Ben sadece ablamin kizlari tanistim, ancak o zamanlarda onlar kucuk cocuklar oldu, ve simdi onlar yetiskenler. Baska bir erkek kardesim var ama ona evlenmedi ve cocuklar yok – benim gibi.

 

10/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Dun askam James Baldwin’in ‘Ben Senin Zencin Degil’ belgesel filmi izledim. Baldwin cok onemli bir Afrikali-Amerikali yazar ve eylemci oldu, Martin Luther King Jr ve Malcolm X biliyordu. Ayrica, ona bircok yilda surgunde yasadi, ozellikle Paris’teki ve Istanbul’daki. Aslinda, ona Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X ve avukat Medgar Evers hakkinda cok konustu, hepsi siyasi haklar savunucusu vardi ve hepsi kirk yasindan once suikaste ugradi. Baldwin gore Martin Luther King Jr ve Malcolm X cok farkli oldu, biri barisci bir Hiristiyan digeri agresif bir Siyah Musluman, fakat sonunda onlar uzlasti. Ancak Baldwin ne Hiristiyan ne Musluman siyasi haklari hareketleri katildi cunku dinin ayrimi kabul etmedi. Ayrica, ona Kara Panterleri katilmadi katilmadi cunku beyazlari nefret etmedi. Bu arada, Baldwin da Hollywood propaganda cok konusuyordu. Tabii ki beyaz insanlar her zaman kahraman gibi gorunuyordu, Kizilderililerin soykirimi kahramanca gosterildi. Halbuki sonunda her zenci cocuk anliyor – ‘Ben Kizilderiliyim!’ Baldwin gore Hollywood’un tarihi beyaz insanlarin kendini hakli hakkindaydi. Bunun icin beyaz Amerika buyuyemez ve hic ahlaki karine yok. Bu arada siyah devrimciler icin hic saygi yoktu, onlar her zaman seytanlastirildi ve olduruldu. Beyazlar icin sadece kendi guvenligi ve mutluluk onemli.

 

9/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Birkac yil once Kizilderililer hakkinda cok ilginc bir kitap okudum, ‘Kalbimi Vatanima Gomun.’ Aslinda, o kitap neredeyse yarim yuzyil once yazildi ancak uluslararasi unlu degildi. Benim icin o kitap neden cok ilginc? Cunku birinci kez icin ilk defa icin Kizilderili’nin perspektifi gordum. Amerikan propaganda gore Kizilderililer cok saldirgan ve cesur savascilar oldu, beyazlarla epik savaslar yapti, ancak sonunda beyazlar kazandi ve baris anlasmalar imzalandi. Fakat ‘Kalbimi Vatanima Gomun’ yazar Dee Brown gore Kizilderililer genelde savascilar yoktu, onlar beyazlardan cok korkuyordu, kacmaya calisti, ve teslim olaya istedi. Fakat beyazlar kesinlikle soykirim yapmak istedi ve hic merhamet yoktu. Yeni Zelanda’da cok farkli bir durum oldu, Maori yerliler daha savasci oldu ve Ingilizlerle iki tane uzun savas yapti, sonunda Ingilizler kazandi, baris anlasmalar imzalandi. Savaslardan once Maori nufusu birkac yuz bin oldu, ama savaslardan sonra sadece yaklasik kirk bin oldu – bazilari gore daha az. Fakat Yeni Zelanda’da da bir ‘Kalbimi Vatanima Gomun’ durum oldu. Kuzey Ada’nin bati sahillerinde Taranaki bolgesinde bir pasif Maori kabile vardi, ve onlar Ingilizlerle savas kesinlikle istemedi. Onlar Ingilizlerden kacmaya calisti ancak nihayet baska secenek yoktu. Bu ‘Parihaka’ olarak bilinen ancak hala unlu degil . .

 

8/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. ABD propaganda gore Iran Islam devrimi ozgurluk ve demokrasiye karsiydi, Musluman liderler dinlerine dayatmak istedi, kadin haklarine bitirmek istedi ve Israil’e karsi kavga etmek istiyor. Gercekten bu kesinlikle ironik. Altmis dort yil once Iran’daki demokrasi vardi, fakat baskan Muhammed Musaddik benzin endustrisini devletlestirmek istedi. O yuzden benzin endustrisini kontrol etmeye devam etmek icin ABD ve Ingiltere bir darbe duzenledi, ve ondan sonra vahsi Sah yeniden kurdu. Sonraki yirmi bes yilda ABD ve Ingiltere Iran’in benzin endustrisini kontrol etti, bu arada Sah Riza Pehlevi cok zengin oldu. Bunun icin on dokuz yetmis dokuz yilinda Iran’daki bir ‘Islam devrimi’ yoktu. Aslinda bir Amerikan kontrolune karsi devrimi oldu. Bu sekilde demokrasi ve ozgurluk adim adim geri dondu. Kadin haklarine bitirmedi, bu sadece propaganda. Devrimden once sadece zengin Iranlilar icin kadin haklarine oldu. Simdi kadinlarin yuzde altmisi universiteyi gidiyor, ve genellikle kiyafet kodu rahat. Bu arada Iran Israil’e karsi kavga etmek kesinlikle istemiyor – buna ragmen Israil da vahsi Sah Riza Pehlevi destekledi. Aslinda, Iran’daki yirmi bes bin Yahudiler yasiyor, ve Israil ile baris antlasmasi var. Iran sadece Israil’in irkci hukumeti karsi konusuyor, fakat Bati Dunyada bu bile bile yanlis anlasildi. Gercekten Iran yuz elli yil onceden beri hic savas baslamadi. Maalesef, devrimden sonra ABD destekli-Irak Iran’a saldirdi ve korkunc bir savas vardi, yaklasik bir milyon Iranlilar olduruldu. Bu arada, Amerika’nin savunma butcesi Iran’in yaklasik yetmis kat daha buyuk. Ayrica, Iran’dan hic bir terorist gelmedi.

 

7/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, her yer kahramanca hukumetler ISID’e karsi kavga ediyor, onlar iyi adamlar, ISID’e kotu teroristler – tabii ki. ABD davetsiz Suriye’yi bombaliyor, binlerce sivil kimse oldurdu, ve sadece bu yil Suriye hukumet birliklerine sekiz kez vurdu, fakat bu her zaman sans eseri ya da savunma cunku ABD sadece ISID’e karsi kavga etmek istiyor. Ayrica, simdi ISID Bati Dunya’daki her terorist saldiri icin sorumlu; kizgin azinliklar degil, bu Bati Dunya’nin Orta Dogu’daki savaslarin bir sonucu degil. Bu arada, Filipin hukumet da ISID’e karsi kavga ediyor. Yeni Filipin baskani uyusturucu karsiti harekati yuruttu, ‘gorur gormez vurmak’ kural koydu, ve cok saldirgan bir sekilde konusuyor, ama simdi ona ISID’e karsi kavga ediyor, bunun icin ona iyi adam olmali, degil mi? Ancak ben bir sorum var? ISID neden Filipinler’de ve nasil oraya nasil gitti? Ayrica, haber gore Hindistan ve Pakistan arasinda tartismali Kasmir bolgesinde ISID var! Evet, simde Hindistan Kasmir isyancilara karsi kavga etmiyor, onlar “ISID’e” karsi kavga editor. Elbette! Bunun icin Hindistan askeri iyi adamlar olamali, degil mi? Ancak ben bir sorum var? ISID neden Himalayalara yakinda bir bolgeye gitti ve nasil oraya gitti? Her yer “ISID” var! Eskiden El Kaide ayniydi, fakat su anda onlar neredeyse kayboldu ve yerine ISID var. Ne kadar ilginc!

 

6/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Kendinizi hazir – su anda kitaplar okumuyorum. Yaklasik otuz yil boyunca her zaman kitaplar okuyordum, universiteken edebiyat okudum ve o zamandan beri neredeyse her zaman kendime edebi projelerim calisiyordum. Aslinda, su anda kitaplar okumuyorum – ama hala yaziyorum ve simde bir roman projemi duzenliyorum. Fakat son bir veya iki yil boyunca neredeyse hic kitap begenmedim. Kitabeviye giderim, cok para harcarim (burada Ingiliz kitaplar biraz pahali), ve kitaplar begenmem. Ne kadar ilginc! Bu problem hakkinda cok dusundum ve nihayet sebep buldum – ben cok fazla okuyorum. Her gun internette bol bol makale okuyorum, bu yuzden kitaplar okumaya yeter zihinsel enerjim yok. Bu benim teori. Aslinda gencken okumaya eglenmedim, sadece birkac kitap okudum – Muhammed Ali’nin otobiyografisi, mesela. Sonunda bir is yeride uzun bir ogle arasi vardi – yapmaya bir sey yoktu. Bunun icin kitaplar okumaya basladim. Birinci en sevdigim yazar Wilbur Smith oldu. Ona guney Afrika’dan ve o kita hakkinda cok macera romani yazdi. Sonra birkac yil boyunca hepsi okudum ve cok ogrendim, ama bu yazar bir veya iki problem oldu – ozellikle irkcilik. O yuzden onun kitaplari vazgectim. Ikinci en sevdigim yazar Amerikan James Michener oldu. Ona tarih hakkinda romanlar yazdi. Ben cok okudum, birkac begendim, birkac begenmedim, ama ona da biraz muhafazakar. Ondan sonra annemin Charles Dickens koleksiyonu okumaya basladim, ve o kitaplar cok begendim. Bu sekilde benim edebiyat tutkum basladi . . .

 

5/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Vatikan Devleti nerede? O Roma ortasinda, tabii ki. Ben on dort yil once oraya gittim, eski Pope II Ioannes Paulus gordum. Fakat Hiristiyan lider neden Roma’da oturuyor? Cunku Hiristiyanlik Roma’daki basladi, Orta Dogu’daki degildi. Aslinda, bu din Turkiyede baslamis olabilir – Birinci Iznik Konsili toplantasinda (Bursa yakinda), uc yuz yirmi bes yilinda. Elbette, birinci Hiristiyan Roman Imparatoru I Konstantin oldu. Ona da birinci Dogu Roma (Bizans) Imparalugu’nun birinci Imparatoru (Bizans zamanlarda Istanbul ‘Konstantinopolis olarak biliniyordu), ve ona Iznik Konsili duzenledi. Galiba Roma Yunanlilar kontrol etmeye yeni bir din istedi, cunku Yunanlilar eski Roma din kesinlikle kabul etmedi. Romalilar yeni bir din nasil yaratti? Gercekten cok kolay bir sey oldu, onlar Yahudi din aldi ve gunes tanrisi ekledi. Isa Kis Gundonumu boyunca dogdu, hasta insanlari iyilestirdi, mahsulatlar arttirdi ve daha mucizeler yapti, ancak otuz yedi yasinda zirveysindeyken (zenitte) oldu. Bu hikaye kesinlikle orijinal olmayan, antik Dunya’da bircok gunes tanrilar oldu ve hepsi yaklasik ayni. Ayrica, Isa Yahudi dinin Yusuf paygamber cok benziyor. Elbette, Yahudilar Isa kabul etmiyor. Bu arada, Yahudi din da orijinal olmayan, cok hikaye antiki Misir ve Irak’tan aldi, Aslinda, Cennet, Cehennem, Seytan ve melekler eski Irak dininden geldi, ve hem Nuhun Gemisi ve bebek Musa nehir gondermek hikayeler antik Irak’tan da geldi…

 

4/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Elli yil once Israil hem Suriye hem de Misir’e saldirdi, toplam yaklasik yirmi bes bin hayat kaybetti (sadece yaklasik alti yuz Israilli), ve alti gun icinde kazandi. Sonuc olarak Israil iki kat daha buyuk oldu – Misir’den Sina Yarimadasi aldi, Suriye’den Golan Tepeleri aldi, ve Filistin’den Gazze Seride, Bati Seria ve eski Kudus aldi. Israil (ve Bati Dunya) gore bu bir ‘mucize’ oldu, Misir savas istedi ama ‘savunmasiz yakalandi,’ kucuk Israil buyuk Misir’e ‘utandirdi.’ Gercekten Misir savas istemedi, bu kesinlikle sacma, ona sadece bir yil daha once Israil ile baris imzaladi. Aslinda, o zamanlarda Israil’deki ekonomik durgunluk vardi, cok kisi Amerika’ya goc etmek istedi. O yuzden Israil’in askeri yeni bir savas planladi. Ilk olarak Israil Suriye ile bir catisma basladi ve Sam uzerinde birkac uzak ates edip dusurdu. Bu sekilde Israil Misir’in lideri Cemal Abdul Nasir icin bir tuzak kurdu. Nasir ordusunu hazirladi fakat bu sadece bir guc gosterisi oldu. Israil’e hic tehdit yoktu, ve birkac yil sonra Israilli siyasetcilar ve askeri liderler bu kabul etti. Bu arada, Birlesmis Milletler Israel’e karsi aleyhine karar verdi. Israil Misir’a Sina Yarimadasi geri verdi, ama Golan Tepeleri, Gazze Seride, eski Kudus ve Bati Seria korudu. Bunun icin Filistin ve Suriye ile sorunlari devam ediyor. Filistinliler icin bu durum ozellikle zor, ‘Naksah’ olarak bilinen. Israil etnik temizlik yapiyor ve irk ayrimi hukumet sistemi dayatti .

 

3/6/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, bir defa daha yeni ev arkadas icin ariyoruz. Ay sonunda Pakistanli ev arkadas Turkiye’den ayrilacak. Ona bir ogrenci, burada sadece iki ay kaldi, ve iyi bir ev arkadas oldu. cok sakin ve yardimsever, her hafta ev islerine yardim etti. Bunun icin ay sonunda en kucuk ve en ucuz (alti yuz lira) yatak odamiz bos olacak. Tum mobilya var, yatak takimi dahil. Bildiginiz gibi gecen ay dairemiz yeniden dekore edildi, simdi cok hersey cok guzel. Gunesli bir balkonlu salon var, ve kablosuz internet servis her zaman iyi, problem degil. Ayrica, dairemiz cok merkezde, Taksim Metro’dan sadece iki dakika, Bogazdan yaklasik on dakika.Toplam dort tane yatak odasi var. Diger ev arkadaslarim uz zaman kaldi, her ikisi yaklasik iki yil, bir Lubnanli is adam ve Izmir’den bir kadin. Ben burada neredeyse sekiz yil boyunca kaldim, kesinlikle bir hayatinim rekor. Onceki dort yil Istanbul’da yaklasik On tane farkli yerde oturdum, her birkac ay tasindim! Tam on iki yil once Turkiye’ye geldim ve ilk iki ayda Sultanahmet’te kotu bir otelde kaldim. Ondan sonra sekiz veya dokuz ayda Tunel’de rahat bir lojmanda kaldim – ama bir gece sarhosken saldirildim ve tahliye edildi! Sonraki yilda Nevizade yakininda bir daire paylastim ve cok mutluydum. Ucuncu yil Istanbul’da Harbiye’de kaldim, cok ucuz ve merkez bir yer ama begenmedim ve Taksim’e geri dondum. Sekiz yil once kisa zamanda Ortakoy’de guzel bir lojmanda kaldim, ancak aniden satildi! Bunun icin bir futbol arkadasimla buraya tasindim, buna ragmen sadece kisa bir sure icin dusundum!!

 

 

2/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bu yil Nijerya Biafra Savas’in baslamasinin ellinci yildonumu aniyor. Biafra Guney Doguda bir bolge, kirk milyondan fazla kisi var – ozellikle Igbo Hiristiyanlar. On dokuz yuz altmis yedi yilda bir askeri darbeden sonra Biafra Nijerya’dan ayrilmaya istedi. Sonraki savas boyunca milyonlarca hayat kaybetti – yaklasik iki milyon acliktan. Bu kesinlikle bir soykirim oldu, ama kim kabahatli? ABD, Ingiltere, Sovyetler Birligi, Fransa ve Israil dahil yabanci ulkeler her iki tarafa silah temin etti ve bu sekilde o savasi en azinda bir yil uzatti. Bu arada Biafra’da sayisiz kisi aciktan oldu. Aslinda, Ingiltere Nijerya’nin problemleri yaratti, cunku Ingiltere Nijerya. Onceden Musluman bir Kuzey Nijerya ve Hiristiyan bir Guney Nijerya vardi. On dokuz altmis yilinda Nijerya bagimsizlik kazandi, fakat benzin bulundu, yabanci sirketler endustri kontrol etmeye devam etti, ve hem suikastler hem de askeri darbeler vardi. Gecen yil Biafra problem geri dondu, gosteriler vardi ve Haziran ayda askerler yaklasik yuz elli kisi oldurdu. Bir ay daha once otuz tane gosterici olduruldu. Uluslararasi Af Orgutu gore Nijerya’nin hukumeti bu olaylari sorusturmadi. Ayrica, ona gore iskence var ve sayisiz gosterici tutuklu kalir. Nijeryali yazar Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie bu konu hakkinda cok unlu bir roman yazdi – ‘Sari Gunesin Yarisi’ (ve bir film versiyon var).

 

1/6/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Burada, Guney Ispanya’nin Akdeniz kiyisinda, benim ilk birkac ay Avrupa’da gecirdim. Aslinda, Guney Ispanya’da yasamak icin geldim. O tam on sekiz yil once oldu. Haziran on dokuz yuz doksan dokuz yilinda Avrupa’ya geldim! O zamanlarda dayim Guney Ispanya’da yasiyordu. Ona Ingiltere’den uzun zaman boyunca Amerika’da oturdu, orada bilgisayar teknoloji gelismek yardim etti ve cok zengin oldu, bunun icin Guney Ispanya’da emekli oldu. Orada ona guzel bir havuzlu yazlik evi satin aldi ve karisini yasaadi. Onlarla birkac ayda kaldim, ve cok guzeldi, ancak maalesef onlar saglikli degildi, deyim tekerlekli sandalyeye bagli oldu, ve teyzeyim meme kanseri oldu. Bunun icin onlar icin ben bir felaket oldu. Is bulamadim, sokakta sik sik kayboldum, ve eski araba satin aldim ama cok problem oldu. Sonunda Ingiltere’ye gitmeliydim, ve orada yaklasik bir yilda garson olarak calistim. Ondan sonra Ispanya’ya geri dondum, baskentte Ingilizce ogretmenlik kursu yapti, ve ogretmen olarak calismaya Guney Ispanya’ya geri dondum. Halbuki, Akdeniz kiyisinda degil, kucuk bir sehirde oldu, denizden uzak bir yer. Orada sadece bir yilda calistim, ve o yil hem deyim hem de teyzeyim hayat kaybetti, maalesef. Ben dort yil daha Ispanya’da kaldim, son uc yilda Barselona’da, ancak tam on iki yil once (Haziran iki bin bes) Turkiye’ye tasindim.

 

31/5/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Dun bu haber okudum ve paylastim ama tarih fark etmedim. Aslinda, Maya Angelou uc yil once oldu, Dunku makale saddece yildonumu kutladi. Onun olumunu hatirlimiyorum, ve aslinda onun kitaplarindan sadece tek okudum – ‘Kafesteki Kus Neden Sakir Bilirim;’ onun birinci otobiyografisi (alti tane daha yazdi), ve kesinlikle en unlu. Gercekten Angelou’nun hayati cok zor ve ilginc oldu.On dokuz yirmi sekiz yilinda St Louis’te dogu, ama uc yasindayken buyukannesi ile yasamaya gonderildi. Buyukanne cok dinsel ve sert bir kadin ve onu kamciladi. Yedi yasindayken Angelou annesine geri dondu, ancak annesi alkol icti ve kuluplerde dans etti. Maalesef, annesinin erkek arkadasi onu tecavuz etti. Angelou sadece sekiz yasindaydi. O erken hapse girdi – fakat sadece bir yil sonra serbest birakildi. Ayni gun, ona olduruldu. Zavalli Angelou kendini sucladi ve sonraki bes yilda konusmadi. Bunun icin annesini onu cok dovdu. Bu arada, Angelou yazmaya basladi, ozellikle siir. Sadece on yedi yasindayken Angelou dogum yapti. O evden kacti, uyusturucu kullanmaya basladi, hem striptizci hem de orospu oldu. Sonunda ona sarki kariyer basladi ve Siyasi Haklari Hareketi katildi. Bu sekilde Martin Luther King Jr ve Malcolm X tanisti ve cok onemli bir rol yapti. Angelou uc kez evlendi, ama herkes basarisiz. Ayrica, ona oglunu ihmal etti, ve o zavalli erkek cok sanssiz oldu, iki araba kazasinda ve boynunu kirildi. Angelou toplam on bes tane kitap yazdi.

 

30/5/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Eski Panama diktatoru Manuel Noriega seksen uc yasinda oldu. Bircok diktator gibi, Noriega ABD’nin arkadasindan dusmanina gitti. On dokuz yuz yetmisler ve erken seksenler ona bir ceteci ve uyusturucu kacakcisi olarak Amerikan CIA icin calisti, ve Nikaragua’ya karsi savasi yardim etti. On dokuz yuz seksen uc yilda ona Panama’nin lideri oldu ve alti yil boyunca devam etti. Ilk olarak ABD onu ovdu. Fakat Noriega cok fazla bagimsiz oldu, Panama Kanali kamulastirmak istedi, mesela. Bu konuda Noriega Misir’in Cemal Nasir benziyordu, altmis yil once Nasir Ingiliz ve Fransiz’la ayni hata yapti, Suveys Kanali kamulastirdi, ve onlara isgal etti. Elbette, on dokuz seksen dokuz ABD Panama’ya isgal etti, binlerece kisi oldurdu ve Noriega tutuklandi. Fakat bir tane haric tum suclamalar CIA icin calisirken ilgili suclari icin oldu!! Aniden Noriega Amerika’nin ‘Ayin Hitler’ oldu, bu kucuk bir ceteci ve uyusturucu dunyanin en buyuk savas suclulara nazaran. Elbette, ABD bu sekilde calisiyor – Saddam Huseyin, Muammer Kaddafi ve Bessar Esad da Amerikan eski arkadaslari, ve en kotu sey ABD’nin yardimiyla yapti. Ancak onlar ayni hata yapti, cok fazla bagimsiz oldu. Sonuc olarak, ABD Panama’daki zengin beyazlari iktidara getirdi, ve bu sekilde kanali kontrol kazandi ve o ulkeyi Amerikan isleri icin acti . .

 

29/5/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Afrika’da on tane en buyuk diller hangisi? Hadi bir bakalim. En buyuk dil Arapca, Kuzey Afrika’da yuz elli milyon kisi bu dil konusuyor. Ikinci en buyuk dil Swahili, Orta ve Dogu Afrika’da yaklasik yuz milyon kisi bu dil kullaniyor. Ucuncu en buyuk dil Amharca, yaklasik elli milyon kisi bu dil konusuyor, ozellikle Etiyopya’da, Sudan’da ve Eritrea’de. Arapca gibi, bu bir Afro-Asya bir dil ve Yemen’de da cok konusuldu. Dorduncu en buyuk dil Hausa, yaklasik otuz kisi bu dil kullaniyor, ozellikle Bati ve Kuzey Afrika’da. Bu da Afro-Asya bir dil. Besinci en buyuk dil Yoruba, Yaklasik otuz milyon kisi bu dil konusuyor, ozellikle Nijerya’da, Benin’de ve Togo’da. Bu Nijer-Kongo dil ailesinin bir dil. Altinci en buyuk dil Oromo, yaklasik yirmi bes milyon kisi bu dil konusuyor, ozellikle Etiyopya’da. Bu baska Afro-Asya bir dil. Yedinci en buyuk dil Ibo, yaklasik yirmi dort milyon kisi bu dil kullaniyor, ozellikle Nijerya’da. Bu Volta-Nijer dil ailesinin bir dil. Sekizinci en buyuk dil Kinyarwanda, yaklasik yirmi milyon kisi bu dil kullaniyor, ozellikle Uganda’da ve Ruanda’da. Bu Bantu dil ailesinin bir dil. Dokuzuncu ve onuncu en buyuk diller Zuluca ve Xhosa. Guney Afrika’da yaklasik on milyon kisi Zuluca kullaniyor ve yaklasik dokuz milyon Xhosa konusuyor. Onlar da Bantu dil ailesinin diller. Ilginc bir sekilde, Madagaskar’da Malay-Polinezyali dil konusuldu, cunku birinci insanlaar yaklasik iki bin yil once Guney Dogu Asya’dan geldi.

 

28/5/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bugun romanimin ucuncu taslagi bitirecegim. Bu proje yaklasik bir yil once basladim, Gecen sonbahar ilk taslagi bitirdim, ve yaklasik iki ay once ikinci taslagi bitirdim. Ucuncu taslagi sadece duzenlemeliyim saniyordum, ancak sonunda hersey gene yeniden yazdim. Ayrica, cok kestim. Ilk taslak yaklasik alti yuz sayfa vardi, ama simdi sadece yaklasik dort yuz. Evet, ucte bir kestim, ve hala bitirmedim. En azinda bir kere daha romanim duzenleyecegim, yarin baslayacagim, ve galiba gelecek ay bitirecegim. Ondan sonra metin yayinevine gonderecegim ve iyi sonuclanmasini umacagim. Neyse ki memleketimde iyi bir yarinevi var, deyrek yuzyildan daha onlara metinlerim onlara gonderiyordum. Onlar her zaman metinlerim bakar, buna ragmen simdiye kadar onlar hic metin kabul etmedi. Benim icin bu artik onemli degil, yazmayi egleniyorum ve bu benim hobim. Neden Avrupa’ya geldim? Daha ilham icin. Neden Turkiye’ye geldim? Daha ilham icin. Her sey yazma icin yaptim. Her gun iki veya uc saat boyunca yazarim, sabahlarda bir saat, aksamlar bir saat daha, mesela. Aslinda, bu projeden daha, baska bir roman hemen baslayacagim, zaten fikirim var. Belki bir uclu yazacagim. Eger oylese, gelecek birkac yilda mesgul olacagim

 

27/5/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, Suriye’den cok kotu haber geldi, bir kere daha Amerikan yasadisi bombasi cok sivil kimse oldurdu, bu defa yuz alti tane hayat kaybetti, kirk iki cocuk dahil. Son birkac hafta boyuna Amerikan yasadisi bombasi toplam yaklasik uc yuz otuz sivil kimse oldurdu, yaklasik yuz tane cocuk ve yuz tane kadin dahil. ABD Suriye’deki davetsiz bomaliyor, ve bu kesinlikle uluslararasi hukuka karsi. Dunku felaketten once Birles Milletler Amerika’yi sivilleri korumuyor sucladi. ABD Suriye’deki zaten cok sivil kimse oldurdu. Fakat America icin sivil kimse onemli degil. Onlar gore ISID’e karsi kavga ediyor. Gercekten ABD ISID yaratti – Suriye’de savasmak icin. Tabii ki onlar ISID’e karsi kavga etmiyor. Sadece gecen ay ABD Suriye’nin askeri bombaladi, ve gecen yil ABD onemli bir ateskes boyunca Suriye’nin askeri birkac saat boyunca bombaladi, neredeyse yuz tane oldurdu. Dunku zavalli kurbanlar guvenlik icin o yere kacti, ancak en sonunda ABD ISID’den cok daha tehlikeli oldu. Tabii ki, Amerikan ana akim medyasinda haber yok, ve bir kere daha NTV haberde hicbir sey gormedim. NTV hala Pazartesi gunun Ingiltere’de saldiri hakkinda cok haber var, orada yirmi iki hayat kaybetti. Ancak yuz alti Musluman olum hakkinda haber yok. Bana gore bunlar cok garip oncelikler gorunuyor .

 

26/5/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Medya ve eglence sektoru cok yalan soyluyor. Ayrica onlar cok sey saklaniyor. Mesela onlar kadin siddeti hakkinda neredeyse asla konusmuyor. Kadina karsi siddet cok kotu ve onemli bir konu, erkekler kadinlardan daha buyuk ve guc ve bu davranis kesinlikle cesuretsiz. Masallah su anda bu problem hakkinda daha haber var. Ancak kadin seddeti hakkinda haber henuz gelmedi. Aslinda, arastirma gore kadinlar aile ici siddetin yarisina basliyor (sik sik silah kullaniyor). Inanilmaz bir istatistik, degil me? Fakat neden inanilmaz? Cunku medya ve eglence sektoru bu haber saklaniyor. Neden? Bilmiyorum, ama Bati Dunya cok savas yapiyor, ve her zaman “kadin haklari” hakkinda konusuyor. Onlar gore Orta Dogu’daki kadin haklari yok, bunun icin Bati Dunya “kadinlarin ozgurlugu icin” Orta Dogu’yi bombalamali (benzin icin degil)! Bu sadece bir teori. Bu arada, arastirma gore anneler cocuk istismarinin cogunu yapar. Tabii ki, anneler cocuklar ile birlikte cok daha geciriyor, ama neden kadinlar icin her zaman bahaneler var, ve neden bu istatistik hakkinda haber yok? Sadece birkac gun once bir makale okudum, ve ona gore erkekler “tum cocuk istismarinin yapar.” Bu kesinlikle yanlis. Elbette, erkekler cinsel istismarinin cogunu yapar – (yaklasik yuzde doksan). Ayrica, erkekler kadinlarin kesinlikle daha siddetli – ama onlarin kurbanlar da genellikle erkekler…

 

25/5/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, dun Yeni Zelanda’nin milli ragbi takimi Ispanya’nin ‘Asturias’in Prensesi’ oduz kazandi. ‘All Blacks’ olarak bilinen cunku ‘tum siyah’ giyiyorlar, bu takim cok multikulterel ve son iki Dunya Kupasi kazandi (toplam uc tane). Aslinda, Yeni Zelanda’daki bu spor icinde hic irkci onyargi yoktu. On sekiz yuz seksen sekiz yilinda Yeni Zelanda’nin ‘Yerlileri’ ragbi takimi Ingiltere’ye gitti, uzun bir tur yapti. Fakat onlar sadece yerliler degil, birkac beyaz Yeni Zelandali oyuncu dahil oldu. Fakat bir yerli oyunca, Thomas Rangiwahia Ellison, Yeni Zelanda’nin ilk milli kaptan oldu. Sonra Ellison bir ragbi yonetici ve yazar oldu, be siyah forma dizayn etti. Fakat bir problem vardi – Yeni Zelanda’nin en buyuk rakipleri Guney Afrika oldu, ve orada irkcilik oldu. On dokuz yuz yetmis yilina kadar Yeni Zelanda’nin milli takim Guney Afrika turlari yerli oyuncalar dahil etmedi. Yavas yavas Yeni Zelandalilar bu durum reddetmeyi basliyordu, ve benim gencken kocaman gosteriler oldu. O zamanlarda cok kisi ragbi kesinlikle nefret etti. Fakat on dokuz yuz seksen yedi yilinda Yeni Zelanda ilk Dunya Kupasi kazandi. Guney Afrika davet edilmedi, ve Yeni Zelanda irkcilik sonuna kadar Guney Afrika’yi karsi gene oynamadi. Su anda Yeni Zelanda’da ragbi tekrar cok populer, hem beyaz hem de yerli oyuncular birlikte oynuyor, ve son otuz yilda demografik degisiklikler yuzunden da cok Pasifik Adali oyuncu var . .

 

 

24/5/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bir kere daha medyanin ikiyuzlulukunu gorebiliriz. Avrupa’daki bir teror saldiri var, ve cok haber var, sonraki yirmi dort saat hem televizyonda hem de internette sadece bu konu hakkinda duyuyoruz. Fakat Orta Dogu’daki neredeyse her hafta buyuk bir teror saldiri var, ve cok az haber var. Aslinda, iki hafta once ABD otuz tane sivil kimse oldurdu ve neredeyse hic haber yoktu. Sadece Suriye’deki bu ay Amerika yaklasik doksan sivil kimse oldurdu (Nisan yirmi ucuncu ve Mayis yirmi ucuncu arasinda toplam iki yuz yirmi bes sivil kimse olduruldu, otuz alti kadin ve kirk dort cocuk dahil). Bu da terorism, cunku ABD davetsiz Suriye’yi bombaluyor ve bunun icin uluslararasi hukuka aykiri. Bu kesinlikle apacik. Tabii ki Avrupalilar icin bir Avrupa’daki saldiri onemlidir, ve ABD icin Avrupa Orta Dogu’dan cok daha onemli cunku Avrupalilar beyaz Hiristiyanlar. Ancak Turk haber ayni – eger Avrupa’daki bir teror saldiri varsa, canli haber geliyor ve sonraki yirmi dort saat sadece bu konu hakkinda duyuyoruz. O yuzden, Facebook’ta cok kisi bunu konusuyor. Fakat eger ABD otuz tane Musluman’a oldururse – kadinlar ve cocuklar dahil – neredeyse hic haber geliyor ve Facebook’ta hic kimse bunu konusmuyor. Ne kadar ilginc. Ayrica, Ingiltere ve Fransa dahil Avrupali ulkeler da Orta Dogu’yi bombaliyor. Orta Dogu ne Amerika’yi ne Avrupa’yi bombalama degil . . .

 

23/5/17

 

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Ogle yemegim hakkindaki en son guncelleme: Bildigin gibi gecen yil ev sevdigim lahmacun lokantaya gitmeyi biraktim. O lokantaya yaklasik bes yilda surekli gittim fakat butun zaman bir garson kaba oldu. Sonunda biktim. Fakat baska iyi ve uygun lahmacun lokanta bulamadim, o yuzden her gun is yeride Bogaz manzarili terasta pizza yedim. Cok sakin ve guzel bir durum oldu. Maalesef, sadece bir ay sonra hastaydim, pizza biraktim. Ondan sonra kucuk ve ucuz lokanta buldum, orada tavuk, pilav ve fasulye var. O yuzden, son birkac ayda oraya gidiyorum, bir gun tavuk ve pilav yerim, sonra gun kuru fasulye. Bu pizza ve lahmacundan cok daha saglikli, buna ragmen cuma gunleri hala lahmacun lokantaya giderim. Yeni lokantada disari masalar var ve disari tercih ederim. Garsonlar candan ancak kesinlikle profesyonel degil. Bazen onlarin parmaklari yemegim icinde – ve ondan sonra onlar parmaklari emiyorlar!! Ayrica hemen hemen her kez onlar yanimdaki sigara iciyor ve telefonda konusuyor, o yuzden rahatsiz ederim. Ben Ingiltere’de bir yilda garson olarak calistim, sadece barlarda, ve bu davranis kesinlikle olmaz! Yuzyilin donumunde Ingiltere’nin Wight, Man ve Jersey adalarda kisa bir sure icin calisiyordum, ve sonunda anakaradaki kirsal bolgede – ve bu sekilde Ingiliz Ogretmenlik kursu yapmaya para biriktirdim.

 

22/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Iki bin on bes yilin Yemen darbeden beri Suudi Arabistan orada binlerce sivil kimse oldurdu. Aslinda ona kesinlikle sivil hedefleri seciyor – dugunler, cenazeler, okullar ve hastaneler, mesela. ABD bunu destekliyor ve katildi, bu arada Ingiltere ve diger Avrupali ulkeleri Suudilere silah satiyor. Bu cok karli ticaret, tabii ki. Ayrica, bu cok kanli. Yemen Orta Dogu’nun en fakir ulke ve simdi kitlik var. Suudi Arabistan Yemen hakkinda cok kizgin cunku Yemen‘deki bir darbe vardi. Ne kadar ilginc! Suudi Arabistan nasil dodgu? Elbette o bir darbe ile dogdu! Birinci Dunya Savasi boyunca Ingiltere Araplari Osmanlilara karsi destekledi, bagimsizlik soz verdi. Fakat Ingiltere cok buyuk yabanci, sadece bol ve yonet istedi, ve savastan sonra Arap Kral Huseyin bin Ali’ye ihanet etti. Baska bir kabile lideri Arap Kral olmak istedi; Abdul ibn Suud bir Vahabi oldu, hosgorusuz asiri tutucu. Huseyin ortodoks Sunni oldu ve savas boyunca Ingiltere’ye yardim etti (Suud hicbir sey yapmadi). Fakat Londra Suud’u Huseyin’e karsi destekledi! Korkunc bir ic savas cikti, ve sonunda Suud kazandi. Onun Vahabi ordusu yaklasik dort yuz bin kisi oldurdu, tutsak almadi, ve bir milyondan fazla sivil kimse kacti. Savastan sonra yeni Kral Abdul ibn Suud yaklasik kirk bin kisi idam etti, ve yaklasik uc yuz elli bin daha amputasyonlar yapildi. On dokuz yirmi iki yilda Ingiltere Suudi Arabistan’in bagimsizligini tanidi . . .

21/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bu fotograf Amasra’da bes bucuk yil once cekildi, Eski dil arkadasim ile otobus binerek uc gunluk bir Kastamonu turu yaptim, da Bolu ve Yedi Goller ziyarettik. Cok iyi zaman gecti. Gorebileceginiz uzere, ben bir puro egleniyorum. Bu aliskanlik Ispanya’da yaklasik on yedi yil once basladi, orada puro cok populer ve koku seviyordum, o yuzden puro icmeye basladim. Fakat, simdi puro birakmaliyim, maalesef. Neden? Cunku agiz enfeksiyonu aldi, son hafta biraz zor oldu, cok rahatsiz hissettim. Aslinda, benim icin bu buyuk bir problem degil, son on yedi yil boyunca birkac kez puro biraktim, bazen bir yildan sonra icin. Son kez sadece uc yil once oldu, ama yaklasik bir yil sonra gene basladi. Elbette puroyu solu alamaz, sadece tat icin iciyor, o yuzden bagimlilik yok. Belki bir yil sonra puro icmeyi gene baslayacagim, ama emin degilim. Orta yasliyim, genc degil, ve su anada her sey tehlikeli olabilir. Sadece birkac ay once cok hastaydim, sonuc olarak hem alkol hem de hizli yiyecek biraktim. Aslinda, son birkac yilda idrar enfeksiyonu aldim, ve galiba alkol bu problem yaratti, onceden duzenli ucuz alkol iciyordum. Anneannem her zaman ‘yaslaniyor hic eglenceli degil,’ dedi, ve simdi bu gorebilirim. Lezzetli yemek yasak, alkol yasak, ve simdi puro yasak. Bunun icin, ne yapabilirim?

20/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Iyi haber geldi, Isvec polis resmi olarak Wikileaks kurucu ve gazeteci Julian Assange karsi tecavuz suclamalari dusurdu. Aslinda bu dava kesinlikle sacma. Hicbir kadin onu tecavuzle suclamadi. Gercekten ona alti yil once Isvec’te iki tane kadin ile uyudu, ve prevzervatif hakkinda tartisma vardi, ancak o kadinlar bu hakkinda sikayetci olmak istemedi. Ayrica, Isvec polis da sikayetci olmak istemedi, bunun icin hicbir sey yapmadi. O yuzden kim sikayetci olmak istedi? Ingiltere sikayetci olmak istedi cunku Wikileaks Amerikan ve Ingiliz savas suclari aciga cikardi – ve onlar bol bol savas suclari yapti, tabii ki. Baski Londra’dan (ve galiba Washington’dan) geldi, ve zavalli Assange Ingilz baskentte alti yil boyunca Ekvador Elciligi’nde kaldi, bir tutuklu gibi. Ona cok endise etti, cunku eger tutuklanirsa, Amerika’ya iade edilecek. Bu arada, Ingiltere hala sikayetci olmak, tecavuz icin degil, sadece yasal seyler hakkinda. Fakat bana gore Assange hem Isvec polis hem de Ingiliz hukumeti karsi bir dava acmali – lekeleme icin. Assange Avustralyali bir adam, kirk bes yasinda var, ve kesinlikle cok cesur bir kahraman. Bati Dunya’nin ana akim medyasi cok buyuk yalanci, her zaman savas destekliyor, ve durust ve cesur gazetecilere ihtiyac var. Bu arada, daha iyi haber var, cunku bu hafta Assange’nin muhbir arkadasi Chelsea (Bradley) Manning yedi yil hapisten sonra serbest birakildi .

19/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Dogrusu, en cok teror kurbanlari Musluman, ozellikle Amerikan isgal altindaki ulkelerde. Son on yil boyunca teroristler Irak’taki otuz binden fazla kisi oldurdu, Afganistan’daki neredeyse on bes bin, ve hem Suriye’deki hem de Yemen’deki birkac bin.Tabii ki, en cok terorist da Musluman – fakat her zaman degil. Orta Afrika Cumhuriyeti’nde, mesela, Hristiyan teroristler Muslumanlar’a olduruyor. Birlesmis Milletler gore ‘soykirim’ var, ancak Bati Dunya’nin ana akim medyasi icin bu haber onemli degil. Ayrica, Myanmar’daki Budist cogunluk Musluman azinligi etnik temizliyor, Birles Milletler gore bu da ‘soykirim’ – fakat Bati Dunya’nin ana akim medyasi icin onemli degil. Bu arada, Hindistan’daki, Pakistan’daki ve Sri Lanka’daki son on yilda teroristler toplam yaklasik yirmi bes ve otuz bin arasinda kisi oldurdu. Elbette, NATO, Suudi Arabistan ve Israil da saysiz sivil kimse oldurdu. Bende bu kesinlikle terorism. ABD doksani yilindan birkac milyon Musluman’i oldurdu, Irak’taki bir milyondan fazla dahil. Fakat Bati Dunya’nin ana akim medyasi icin bu da onemli degil, ABD ‘iyi Hristiyan bombalar’ kullaniyor, sadece kotu teroristleri olduruyor. Ne kadar ironik! Gercekten, Muslumanlar teroristler degil, sadece Kurbanlar, ve Hristiyanar kurbanlar degil, fakat onun ‘demokratik’ liderleri dunyanin en buyuk teroristleri. Asla unutma…

18/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, bu hafta dekorator geldi, butun dairemiz boyadi ve bazi sey tamir etti. Benim icin en onemli benim yatak odam duvarlari kapali cunku onceden bosluk vardi ve her sey duyabilirdim. Aslinda, yatak odam yeni, sadece yirmi ay once yapildi. Bu arada, en buyuk yatak odasi farkli bir problem oldu, duvar icinde su vardi ve cok kotu kokladi. Bugun tamirci gene geldi ve devam ediyor, fakat galiba bu is neredeyse bitti. Ondan sonra butun dairemizi temizlemeliyiz cunku simdi corba gibi gorunuyor ve bol bol toz var. Ilk olarak ben ve ev arkadaslarim her seyi temizleyecegiz, ve ondan sonra temizlikci tutacagiz. Dekarator icin ev sahibi oduyor fakat temizlikci icin kendimiz odemeliyiz, tabii ki. Galiba bu is icin ihtiyac vardi ama benim icin buyuk bir uygunsuzluktu. Tamirci sadece duvarlari tamir edecek, dusundum, ama ona butun dairemizi yeniden dekore etti. Ben yeni romanim yeniden yaziyorum ve iyi ivme var. Benim icin bu cok onemli bir sey, bunun icin sadece yaringun calisarim, sabahlar bos. Fakat bu is dikkat dagitan, ve dun gunu salonu kullanamadim, butun sabah ev arkadasimin yatak odasinda kalmaliydim. Ancak salonu yeniden dekore etmeyi ihtiyac yoktu, sadece yirmi ay once yapildi. Ne kadar ilginc! Alti yil boyunca ev sahibi hic bir sey yapmadi, fakat son iki yilda butun daire iki kez yeniden dekore edildi…

17/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, Pazartesi gunu Amerika Suriye’deki yaklasik otuz sivil kimseyi daha oldurdu, bircok cocuklar dahil. Gecen ay ABD hem Suriye’deki hem de Irak’taki yuzlerce sivil kimseyi oldurdu. Fakat Bati Dunya’nin ana akim haberi icin bu felaketler onemli degildi. Yerine Bati Dunya’nin ana akim haberi daha propaganda yaratiyor. Mesela, bu hafta Pazartesi’nin felaketi hakkinda neredeyse hic bir haber yoktu, fakat yerine Suriye’deki bir “olu yakma yeri” hakkinda propaganda vardi. Tabii ki, Amerika’nin tum kurbanlari “Naziler” gibiydi. Bu kesinlikle “Irak’in kitle imha silahlari” yalan benziyor. Tabii ki, ABD Irak’i isgal etti, toplam bir milyondan daha fazla hayat kaybetti, ve on dort yil sonra o savasi devam ediyor. Bunun icin, kim Naziler gibi? ABD kesinlikle Naziler gibi – ve galiba cok daha kotu. Ancak propaganda cok guc bir sey, ve Facebook’ta (mesela) Pazartesi’nin felaketi hakkinda hic yorum gormedim, hic kimse bu haberi paylasmadi. Gecen yil Rusya ve Suriye Halep sehri teroristlerden kurtardi, maaleef sivil zayiatlar oldu, Bati Dunya’nin ana akim “Soykirim!” ciglik atti, ve bircok kisi Facebook’ta bu haber paylasti yorum yapti. Ne kadar ilginc! Ben eski gazeteciyim ve benim icin propaganda cok ilginc bir konu, o yuzden benm icin bu cok onemli bir deneyim…

16/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Dun aksam eski Kongo baskani Patrice Lumumba hakkinda bir film izledim. O film Fransizca oldu, ben biraz Fransizca anliyorum, fakat ayrica Ingilizce altyazi vardi, bunun icin problem yoktu. On dokuz altmis yilinda Lumumba Belcika’dan bagimsizliktan sonrasi ilk baskani oldu, hem demokrat hem de milliyetci. Ayrica ona tum Afrikacilik oldu. Fakat sadece bir yil sonra ona olduruldu. Bu kim yapti? Isyanci askerler. Ancak bu kim duzenledi? ABD ve Belcika. Neden? O zamanda Belcikali mudahalesi devam etti, ve Lumumba cok engele takildi. En onemli problem mineral zengin Katanga bolgesi oldu, ona Kongo’dan ayrilmaya istedi. Lumumba Birlesmis Milletler’den destek istedi, fakat o orgut yardim etmedi. Be arada Belcika kendine vatandaslarini korumaya askerlere gonderdi, buna ragmen onlar Lumumba yardim etmedi. Tam tersine, onlar Katanga’yi destekledi! Sonunda Lumumba Sovyetler Birligi’nden destek istedi. Bunun icin ABD ve Avrupa cok kizgin oldu, Lumumba’ya suikast yapmaya karar verdiler. Onlar ordu lideri Joseph Mobutu ile isbirligi yaptiler, askere darbe vardi, Lumumba yakalandi, iskence edildi ve sonunda olduruldu. Mobutu otuz iki yilda vahsi bir diktator olarak Kongo yonetti, sayisiz kisi iskence yapti ve oldurdu, ve butun zaman Amerikan ve Avrupali destek aldi – maalesef . . .

15/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, dekarator gene geldi, o dairemizde yeniden dekore ediyor, arti bazi sey tamir ediyor. Maalesef, cok yavas bir surec olacak cunku ona her gun gelmiyor. Hem Cuma gunu hem de dun gunu onu bekledik ama gelmedi. Neden bilmiyorum, ancak Cumartesi gunu geldi ve bugun gene geldi, masallah! Bu arada dairemiz corba gibi gorunuyor! Ayrica, ben romanim duzeltmeye calisiyorum, ve bu dikkatin dagitma. Tabii, bu benim secenek degildi, bu karar ev sahibi aldi, buna ragmen bir yatak odasi buyuk problem vardi – duvar icinde su var. Aslinda, bu cok ilginc cunku neredeyse alti yil boyunca ev sahibi burada hic bir sey yapmadi, fakat bu yeniden dekore iki yil icinde ikinci kez yapildi! Yaklasik yirmi ay once ayni sey yapildi, ama o kez ona yeni bir yatak odasi insa etti cunku buyuk salon vardi ve uc kisi icin bizim kirasi cok fazla pahali oldu, yeni ev arkadaslar bulamadim. O yuzden simdi dort tane kisi var, ancak yeni yatak odasi iyi degil (ben kullanirim) ve dekorator hatadan donuyor. Gercekten en buyuk problem sokaktan gurultu, cunku apartmaniz cok merkezde ve yeni yatak odasi sokagin yaninda – ve karsisindaki bir cami var, her sabah cok erken uykudan uyandim. Ayrica, insaat var ve bazen cok gece devam ediyor. Fakat galiba bu sorun hakkinda hic bir sey yapamam.

14/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Cok odullu Avustralyali yazar, gazeteci ve film yapimcisi John Pilger gore Suriye Savasi boyunca medya propaganda en yuksek seviyesine ulasti. Ayni fikirdeyim. Son on iki yilda Turkiye oturdum ve bu catisma cok yakindan takip ettim. Ayrica yaklasik on yil once Suriye’ye gttim baskentte birkac gun kaldim, Irak Savasi multeciler ile tanistim, ve ondan sonra gazete icin bir makale yazdim. Cok egitimsel bir seyahat oldu. Ilk olarak Bati medya gore Suriye’deki bir ic savas var – Arap Bahar boyunca basladi. Fakat bu fikir kesinlikle sacma. Arap Bahar gostericiler ogrenciler, ogretmenler ve feministler oldu, mesela; agir silahlarla isyancilar degildi. Gercekten isyancilar parali askerler ve cihatcilar oldu – ve hepsi teroristler. Fakat ABD onlara destekliyor, ve Bati medya gore onlar cesur kahramanlar, ozgurluk ve demokrasi istiyor, kotu diktatoru karsi kavga ediyor. Bati medya gore Suriye’nin baskani Bessar Esad kimyasal silahlar kullandi, ancak bu delillerin tersine, bagimsiz arastirma gore isyancilar bu yapti. Bu arada Rus askerleri geldi ve teroristleri karsi kavga etmeyi yardim etti. Sonunda onlar kazandi. Masallah! Fakat Bati medya gore onlar savas suclari yapti, “soykirim gibi!” Bu arada, ABD cok daha fazla sivil kimse oldurdu, ama Bati medya gore bu “Terorle Mucadele.” Ne kadar iki yuzlu! Maalesef, bol bol aptal insanlar bu propaganda inaniyor, Facebook’ta Suriye hakkinda cok sacmalik gordum.

13/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Hindistan’da yaklasik bes bin yil once dunyanin en eski medeniyetlerinden biri meydana cikti. Harappa ve Mohenjo Daro tugla binalardan olusmus ve Irakli Sumer medeniyet ile alisveris yapti. Yerliler Australoid oldu – Avustralya’nin yerlileri gibi (Aborijinler yaklasik kirk bin yil once Asya’dan Avustralya’ya ulasti). Ancak yaklasik uc bucuk bin yil once Harappa ve Mohenjo Daro kayboldu, o zamanlar kocaman seller vardi. Birkac yuzyil sonra Kafkasya’dan beyaz insanlar geldi (Iran ismini onlardan aldi). Onlar atlar bindi, yerlileri fethetti ve kole yapti. Galiba bu sekilde kast sistemi basladi – ve simdi devam ediyor, maalesef. Beyazlar kendine dil, din ve halk bilgisi getirdi. Onlarin dili Sanskrit oldu, bundan Hintce, Urduca ve Bengali geldi. Aslinda, Sanskrit icinde Indus “Nehir” demek, ve bu kelimeden Hindistan, Hindu ve daha kelimeler geldi. Bu sekilde Avrupali-Hintli dil ailesi yaratildi, ve simdi dunyada insanlarin yaridan fazla bir Avrupali-Hintli dil konusuyor. Ayrica, iki tane yeni din basladi, ilk olarak Hindu, ve yaklasik iki bucuk bin yil once Budizm takip etti (Buda’nin felsefesi gore). Bunun Caynizm bir dal oldu. Bu arada, beyazlarin halk bilgisi ‘Vedalar’ olarak bilinen, siirsel bir stil soylenmis, hem Homeros’un epikleri hem de ‘Binbir Gece Masallari’ benziyor . . .

12/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Los Angeles’deki ceyrek yuzyil once korkunc ayaklanmalar oldu. Neden? Cunku birkac polis genc bir Afrikali-Amerikali erkek vahsice saldirdi, buna ragmen hic kimse suclanmadi, inanilmaz bir sekilde mahkeme polis sucsuz bulundu. Fakat Amerika’daki bu normal bir sey, neden ayaklanmalar oldu? Cunku bu olay kameraya yakalandi! Eskiden insanlar genelde kameralar tasimiyordu, ancak son otuz yil boyunca el kamerasi cok daha populer oldu, ve simdi cep telefonlarinda kameralar var, tabii ki, o yuzden neredeyse herkes bir kamera tasiyor, ve cok daha suc kameraya yakalandi. Afrikali-Amerikalilara polis sucu yeni bir sey degil, galiba eskiden cok daha kotuydu, fakat son birkac yilda sayisiz Afrikali-Amerikalilara polis sucunu gosteren video klipleri gorduk, cunku cesur insanlar telefon kameralarini kullaniyor. On dokuz yuz doksan iki yilin Los Angeles ayaklanmalar ozellikle iyi hatirliyorum cunku o zamanda ABD’deki universitede okuyordum ve gazetecilik kursu yaptim. Maalesef, orada cok inkarcilik vardi ve hocam ve sinif arkadaslarimla tartistim. O universitede neredeyse herkes beyaz oldu, ve onlar sadece “kadin haklari” hakkinda konusmak istedi; sivil (Afrikali-Amerikali) haklari degildi. Bunun icin, Amerika hakkinda onemli bir sey ogrendim . . .

11/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbull. Evet, arkadaslarim, televizyon haberi gore Cumartesi gunu otuz bir derece ulasacak. Benim icin bu cok sicak. Memleketimde, otuz derece gerce bir sicak dalgasi ve biraz nadir. Tabii ki, simdi hem Mayis ortasinda hem de Ilkbahar ortasinda, bunun icin surpriz degil. Aslinda, on yil once Mayis sonunda kirk derece ulasti. Iyi hatirliyorum cunku o gun ben tatile ciktim. Sirkeci’den Izmir’e gemi binerek gittim, bir gecelik yolculuk oldu, yaklasik on iki saat, hem Canakkale hem de Midillia Asasi gordum. Izmir’den minibus binerek Selcuk ve Efes gittim, harabeleri gordum, fakat cok fazla sicak oldu ve sadece kisa sure kaldim. Ayni gun Kusadasi’ye devam ettim ve Sisam Adasi’ye feribot binerek gittim. Cok kosmaliydim cunku son feribot oldu ve haber merkesi yalan soyledi, onlar gore son feribot zaten cikti (galiba onlar ben orada bir otelde rezervasyon yapmak istedi). Sisam Adasi’nda guzel ve ucuz otel buldum, ama cok yorgundum ve sonra gunu uyuyakaldim. Uzgun hissettim cunku sabah kaybettim. Fakat ondan sonra her sabah tepelerde yurudum, her ogleden sonra denizde yuzdum. O tatil cok eglendim (foto bak). Maalesef, donuste kotu bir sey oldu. Yolda Izmir’de iskeleden otogara taksi binerek yedi lira oldu, ancak donuste sofor farkli bir yol gitti ve kirk lira odemeliydim. Cok kizdim! Izmir’den Istanbul’da gemi binerek geri dondum

10/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bankam cok aptal. Her zaman para yatirmak istiyorum sorun var, banka memuru gore eger o gun para yatirsaydim, faizimi kaybedecegim. Hangi gun – Pazartesi, Sali, Carsamba, Persembe, Cuma – onemli degil. Hangi tarih – birinci, ikinci, ucuncu, yirmi ucuncu, otuzuncu – da onemli degil. Her zaman ayni problem var. O zaman ben cok sanssizim cunku bu sorun en azinda bir yil once basladi, ve yaklasik hic faiz kazanmadim – cunku her zaman para yatirmaya hem yanlis gun hem yanlis tarih sectim. Ne kadar ilginc! Neden tasarruf hesabi actim? Elbette faiz kazanmaya tasarruf hesabi actim, fakat maalesef cok kotu sanssizim ve her zaman para yaptirmaya bankaya giderim faizimi kaybederim cunku yanlis gun ve yanlis tarih sectim! Herhangi diger gun, herhangi diger tarih iyi olabilir – bunu haric. O yuzden her kez ifade imzalamam lazim, faizimi kaybetmeyi kabul ediyorum. Neden baska bir gunu donmek istemiyorum? Cunku aksamlar calisirim, bankaya gitmeyi daha erken evden cikmaliyim, ve zamanimi harcama kesinlikle nefret diyorum. Ben sadece bankaya gitmek ve para yaptirmak istiyorum. Bu neden o kadar zor? Ben Yeni Zelanda’da, Avustralya’da, Amerika’da, ingiltere’de ve Ispanya’da banka hesaplari actim ve hic bir sorun yoktu . . .

9/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Cocukken ailem cok kopekler vardi. Dort, bes yasindayken iki tane sosis kopek ve bir tane Bedlington teryeri hatirliyorum. Sosis kopeklerin isimleri Tony ve Maria oldu, neden bilmiyorum, cunku sosis kopekler Almanya’dan geldi, Italya’dan degildi. Maalesef, bir aksam onlar bir kuzu oldurdu ve annem onlari. Bu arada bir gun bizim Bedlington teryeri ortadan kayboldu, aramaya annemli birlikte gittim, fakat kopek bulamadik. Sonunda bir araba durdu, ve surucu acikladi – ona kopegimizi cignedi. Cesedi gorduk, annem cok agladi. Ondan sonra kopeklerimiz yoktu, ancak birkac yil sonra annem uc tane daha kopek aldi, kendisi icin bir bulteriyer, ablam icin bir Bedlington teryeri, ve benim icin bir labrador. Benim kopegim ‘Vista’ adini verdi. Ona cok zeki, birkac sampiyonluk kazandi. Fakat daha problemler vardi. Ilk olarak, kopekler icin astim aldim. Ikinci olarak, bir cocuk kopeklerimizden korkuyordu, bir saldiri iddia etti, ve onlarin amcalar tufek ile evimize geldi. Uvey babam cok kizgin oldu, disari cikti ve birine vurdu, ve onlar kacti. Fakat annem da o bulteriyer vedri. Birkac yil sonra kucuk kiz kardesim bir kopek aldi, fakat ona barinaktan bir kopek kurtarmak istedi, ve kucuk bir melez aldi. O kucuk bir melez kopegi biraz saldirgan oldu, diger kopeklerle kavga etti, hem opossumlar hem de kediler oldurdu. Hepsi uzun zaman once oldu, tabii, fakat ondan sonra annem yeni kopekler aldi – birkac ‘kusak’ hatirliyorum!

8/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, iyi haber var, sosyalist-liberal Emmanuel Macron Fransiz secimler kazandi, ona kolay olarak asiri sag lider Marine Le Pen yendi. Macron Fransa’nin en genc baskan olacak, ona sadece otuz dokuz yasinda var. Fakat onun karisi Brigitte Marie-Claude Trogneux altmis uc yasinda var. Ne kadar ilginc! Tabii ki, cok erkek eslerinden cok daha yasli, o yuzden yeterince adil. Bravo! Macron eski bir bankaci. Iki bin on dort ve iki bin on alti yillar arasinda ekonomi bakani oldu. Gecen ay ona secimlerin birinci turunu kazandi, yuzde yirmi dort oy aldi, ve ikinci turunda Le Pen karsi neredeyse ucte iki oy aldi, rahat zafer oldu. Aslinda, Macron bagimsiz bir aday oldu, hem sol hem de sag tarafta temsil ediyor. Benim icin en onemli, Macron Avrupa yanlisi, Le Pen Avrupa karsiti oldu, galiba eger ona kazansaydi ‘Frexit’ olabilirdi ve Avrupa Birligi coktu. Ayni zamanda Macron cok vatansever, Avrupali dayanisma istiyor, fakat kuresellesme degil. Ayrica, ona sinirlari guclendirmaya istiyor, ama ayni zamanda Muslumanlara karsi ayrimcilik bitirmeye istiyor. Benim icin Macron ile sadece tek problem var – ona savunma harcamalari artmaya istiyor, ve Suriye’deki askeri mudahale destekliyor – buna ragmen Birlesmis Milletler altinda. Maalesef, bu konuda baska secenek yok, neredeyse her Bati lideri ayni fikir var, Yirmi birinci yuzyilinda somurge zihniyeti devam ediyor.

7/5/17

Gunaydin, Isanbul. Bu videoda Kanadali bagimsiz gazeteci Eva Bartlett Suriye Savasi hakkinda bircok yalan ortaya cikiyor. Mesela, ona gore Suriye’deki bir ‘ic savasi’ degil. Ben burada birkac gun once ayni fikir yazdim. Ayrica, Bartlett gore bu savas halk ayaklanmasi ile baslamadi, o baska bir yalan. Gercekten Arap Bahar boyunca CIA, Suudi Arabistan ve Katar parali askerleri Suriye’yi gonderdi, ve bu sekilde savas basladi. Aslinda, Arap Bahar’dan cok onceydi CIA Bessar Esad devirmeye planlamak basladi, ve bu yazili olarak cok desteklenmis. Yaklasik yetmis yildan beri ABD Suriye kumpas kurdu. Bati Dunya Suriye’nin Baas sosyalist hukumeti asla kabul etmedi. Israil da Esad ile problem var, cunku Suriye Filistinliler destekliyor. Bundan baska, tam elli yil once bir savastan sonra Israil Suriye’nin Golan Tepeleri ekledi. Birlesmis Milletler gore Israil yanlis. Bu arada Bartlett eski Amerikian komutan Wesley Clark’in olum listesi hakkinda konusuyor, Irak, Libya ve Suriye o listede. Bu ozgurluk ve demokrasi hakkinda degil. ABD diktatorlukleri tercih ediyor cunku demokrasiler Amerikan buyuk sirketlerin ihtiyaclarina hizmet etmiyor. Bartlett gore savastan once Suriye cok guvende bir ulke oldu, ucretsiz saglik hizmetleri ve egitim vardi. Baska bir onemli etken var: Katar Suriye’deki bir boru hatti insa etmek istiyor fakat Esad bu fikir kabul etmedi, ona bir Iranli boru hatti tercih etti. Ne kadar ilginc!

6/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bil bakalim: Gronland Adasi Kuzey Amerika’nin bir parcasi. Oldukca acik. Gronland kesinlikle Avrupa’nin bir paracasi degil. Gronland ve Kanada arasinda yirmi bes kilometre var, ama Gronland ve Avrupa arasinda birkac bin kilometre var – arti Kuzey Atlantik Okyanus! Ayrica, Gronland’in yerli insanlar Avrupa’dan gelmedi, onlar Kanada ve Siberya’dan geldi – birkac bin yil once. Avrupalilar yaklasik bin yil once Gronland’a ulasti, ve bu sekilde Kuzey Amerika’ya ulasti. Evet, Gronland bir ada, Kuzey Amerika kitada degil, ancak Haiti Adasi ayni sey. Kristof Kolomb da sadece bir adayi ulasti, ve Haiti Adasi Kuzey Amerika’dan binden daha kilometre uzakta. O yuzden, gercekten, Avrupalilar Kolomb’dan yaklasik bes yuz yil daha once Amerika’ya ulasti. Kim bu yapti? Vikingler bu yapti. Kizil Erik Norvec’ten bir hukumlu katil oldu, surgunde Izlanda’da yasadi, ancak dokuz yuz seksen bes yilinda ona Gronland’a bir sefer duzenledi. Yirmi bes gemi sefere cikti, ama sadece on dort Gronland’a ulasti. Orada Vikingler uc tane kasaba kurdu, toplam birkac bin kisi vardi. Bu arada, Erik’in oglu Leif Kanada’ya ulasti ve orada kucuk bir kasaba kurdu. Vikingler Kanada’da sadece kisa bir sure kaldi, kimse neden bilmiyor, ancak arkeologlar elli yedi yil once bu dogruladi. Bu arada, Vikingler Gronland’da yaklasik bes yuz yil kaldi, ve bin iki yuzden fazla ciftlik vardi. onlarin kaybolma da bir gizem

5/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Rahibe Teresa on dokuz yuz on yilinda Kosova’da dunyaya geldi. O zamanlarda Kosova hala Osmanli Imparalugu’nda. Fakat ona bir Hiristiyan’da, tabii ki, ve yetisken Hindistan’a gitti ve olumler icin hastaneler kurdu. Bazilarina gore onlarin hastaneler cok pis ve kotuydu. Butce cok kucuktu, az ilac vardi. Bu arada, bir odada elli veya altmis kisi vardi, hastalar kamp yataklarinda yatiyordu. Ancak Rahibe Teresa’nin hastaneler milyonlarca dolar bagis ve yardimlar topladi. Bu para ile Rahibe Teresa ne yapti? Daha iyi hastaneler kurdu mu? Hayir. Ona yerine bu para ile yeni manastir kurdu – butun dunyada, toplam bes yuz tane! Rahibe Teresa yozlasmis isadami Charles Keating’den cok para aldi. Ayrica, ona eski Amerikan baskan Ronald Reagan ile cok yakin bir arkadas oldu, ama Reagan Orta Amerika’daki sayisiz sivil kimseyi oldurdu – dort tane rahibe ve bir rahip dahil. Bundan baska, Rahibe Teresa eski Ingliz basbakan Margaret Thatcher, eski Haitili diktatoru ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier, ve daha savas suclular ile iyi arkadas oldu ve onlara destekledi. On dokuz yuz seksen dort yilin Bhopal kimyasal felaketinden sonra Rahibe Teresa sadece bir kelime soyledi: “Affet!” Ayrica, ona da kurtaj karsitligi oldu. Gercekten Rahibe Teresa Katolik ve Batili dundem ile bir siyasetci oldu, Ucuncu Dunya’nin ‘Buyuk Beyaz Umit degildi, maalesef. Ona yaklasik on yil once oldu.

4/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. bes yakindayken okula basladim ve birkac arkadas edindim. Fakat bazen en iyi arkadas ile kavga ettim. Bebekleriz gibiydik, icgudulerimize gore davrandik. Bir yil sonra farkli bir okula basladim, orada hemen yeni bir arkadas edindim. Birinci gun biz cok konustuk; eski en iyi arkadasim ile bu sekilde hic konusmadim. Alti yasindayken fikirlerim vardi, sadece icguduler degildi. Ayrica, bir sey anladim: Gercek arkadaslik cok onemli ve karsilikli fedakarlik icin ihtiyac var. Annelerimiz ve babalarimiz bu da anladi, ve her sey beraber yaptik – futbol, masa tenisi, izcilik falan. Dostlugumuz dort yilda surdu. Maalesef, biz farkli orta okullari gittik ve adim adim bizim dostlugumuz sona erdi. Aslinda, orta okuldayken en iyi arkadasim Yunanli bir gocmen, ancak beraber hic bir sey yaptmadik, evlerimiz yakin degildi, ona ne futbol ne masa tenisi oynadi, onun evine hic gitmedim. Iki yil sonra liseye basladik, ve farkli liselere gittik, bir defa daha yeni arkadalar edinmeliydim. Ilk olarak cok iyi arkadas edindim, yerli bir erkek, beraber bisiklete ve kaykaya bindik, onun evine bircok kez gittim. Ancak yavas yavas ona degisti, saygisini kaybetti, sonunda kavga ettik ve ayrildik, dostlugumuz sona erdi. Gencken cok arkadasim vardi, fakat cok kiskanclik, ve zaman zaman ben biraz agresif davrandim, sonunda bizim dostlugumuz da sona erdi. Ilginc sekilde, Istanbul’daki ilk yillarim cok benzer durum vardi, ama o zamanda gencler degildik! Bunun icin su anda genellikle yalniz tercih ederim

3/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Suriye’deki bir ic savas degil. Suriye’deki sadece baska bir yabanci isgal var. Ayrica bu kesinlikle belli. Ilk olarak iki bin on bir yildan once o genellikle sakin bir ulke. Evet, zaman zaman problem vardi, her diger ulke, ancak problemler genellikle hukumet ve Musluman Kardesler arasinda, ve kardesler bazi cok kotu sey rapti, suikast girisimi dahil. Aslinda, ben Suriye’nin hukumet savunmak istemiyorum, ancak eskiden Suriye’deki cok problem yoktu ve kesinllikle ic savas icin hic bir sebep yok Ayrica, Arap Bahar gostericilerin cogu ogrenciler oldu. Tabii ki onlar bir ic savas baslamadi; o fikir kesinlikle sacma. Fakat ABD ve onlarin arkadaslar bir firsat gordu ve isgal etmeye cihatcilar ve parali askerleri kullandi. Galiba Musluman Kardesleruyeler da katildi. Bu sekilde ABD ve onlarin arkadaslar Suriye’deki bir savas basladi. Tabii ki, Amerika zaten birkac Orta Dogu ulkeyi isgal etti – ve cok yalan soyledi. Herkes bu biliyor. Eski komutan Wesley Clark bir olum listesi gosterdi – Irak, Libya ve Suriye dahil. Fakat propaganda cok etkili bir sey, Amerikan medyasi gore Suriye’li hukumeti ve Rusya “kimyasal silah kullandi,” “soykirim yapiyor,” ve aptal insanlar her sey inaniyor ve takrarliyor. Aslinda, ABD uzun zamandan beri Suriye’yi kumpas kurdu, neredeyse yetmis yil once bir darbe duzenledi, ama Soguk Savasi boyunca Sovyetler Birligi Suriye’yi savundu. Simdi ABD tekrar deniyor

2/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Guney Irak’taki yaklasik alti ve yedi bin yil once Firat Nehir kiyisinda medeniyet basladi. Bu Sumer Medeniyet olarak bilinen, ‘Sumer’ ‘Krallarin Ulkesi’ demek ki. Yunanca o bolge Mezopoamya (iki nehir arasinda) olarak biliniyordu cunku Guney Irak Firat ve Dicle nehirler arasinda bulundu. Sumer insanlar hem ciftcilik hem de sulama yapti, ve yazma, comlek, teker ve tekne kullandi. Galiba onlarin gunluk hayati bizim gunluk hayatimiza cok benziyordu. En eski sehir Uruk oldu, buna ragmen Erida, Ur, Larsa, Isin, Adab, Kullah, Lagas Nippur ve Kish da cok eski. Onlar izolate bir dil konustu ve civi yazisi yazdi. En eski bilinen kral Etana oldu – dort bin dort yuz kirk yil once – fakat ondan sonra isgal oldu, Guney Iran’dan Elamcalar geldi, ve Suriye’den Amoriler. Sonuc olarak, sonraki krallar Akkadiyendi, ve herkes Akkad dili kullanmaya basladi. Akkad Sami bir dil, Arapca ve Ibranice gibi. Aslinda, efsane gore bir kralin bahcivan tahti ele gecirdi. Bu Kral Sargon oldu, ve onun hayat hikayesi Musa’nin hayati cok benziyordu: Bebekken nehri asagi gonderdi, kralin hizmetcileri onu buldu, falan. Gercekten dinimiz da Sumer’den geldi. Akkadli dunyanin ilk imparatorlugu oldu, daha ve daha sehir yakaladi. Fakat yaklasik dort bin iki yuz kirk yil once Iranli Gutiler Akkad’a saldirdi ve yikti .

1/5/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Sikago’daki yuz otuz bir yil once isciler protesto boyunca bir bomba atildi, birkac polis oldurdu, ve sonraki silah atesi boyunca birkac gostericiler olduruldu. Sonuc olarak dort tane anarsist idam edildi, bir tane daha hapiste intihar etti. Bu sekilde Bir Mayis Isci Bayrami basladi, Turkiye da bu tarih kutluyor. Maalesef, Istanbul’da tam kirk yil once buyuk bir felaket oldu, muhtemelen Marmara Otel’den kimse ates acti, izdihama oldu, ve en azinda otuz dort hayat kaybetti (yirmi yedi tane ezildi), ve yaklasik yuz yirmi alti tane daha yaralandi. Bugun bile suclular bulmadi, ancak bes yuz gosterici tutuklandi, yaklasik yuz tane mahkum edildi. Bazilari gore yirmi tane pusucu da tutuklandi – ancak polis kayitlarinde hic bir sey yoktu. Aslinda evimden her seyin oldugu cadde gorebilirim, o cok yakinda. Ondan sonra her May Bir gunu Taksim Meydani kaptaildi. Bu arada protestolar daha buyuk ve siddetli oldu, buna ragmen eskiden resmi tatil yoktu, on yil once is yeriye gitmem gerekiyordu, mesela. Bir gun iyi hatirliyorum, cunku ne toplu tasima ne taksi vardi, birkac kilometre yurumeliydim, hic kimse yoktu, ve her yerde biber gazi kokladim. Cok garip oldu. Neyse ki su anda resmi tatil var, ama sabah neredeyse her sey kapali ve cok az yapabiliriz. O yuzden Mayis Bir evde kalmaya uygun bir gun . .

30/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Benim gencken boyunca memleketimde buyuk bir olay oldu. Guney Afrika’nin milli ragbi takim Yeni Zelanda’ya geldi. Bu cok tartismali oldu, kocaman protestolar vardi, cunku o zamanlarda Guney Afrika’daki irkci hukumet oldu. O yuzden, Yeni Zelanda neden Guney Afrika’nin milli ragbi takim davet etti? Cunku o zamanlarda Yeni Zelanda ve Guney Afrika kesinlikle dunyanin en iyi ragbi takimlar oldu – ve dunya kupasi yoktu. Her zaman Yeni Zelanda ve Guney Afrika oynadi gercek bir dunya kupasi final gibi oldu. Aslinda, bes yil daha once onlar Guney Afrika’daki oynadi ve ev sahibi takim kazandi. O yuzden Yeni Zelanda intikam istedi, ve on dokuz yuz seksen bir yilinda onlar gene oynadi – bu kez Yeni Zelanda’daki. Fakat zor bir sey oldu. Bir mac iptal edildi cunku onceden gostericiler stadyuma girdi ve sahaya civiler atti. Fakat tur devam etti ve Yeni Zelanda birinci uluslararasi maci kazandi. Ikinci uluslararasi maci memleketimde oldu – ve kocaman protesto vardi, cunku benim sehrim baskenttir. Aslinda ablam protestoya katildi, ancak ben ne protestoya katildim ne maca gittim. Evde kaldim, iyi ve guvenli, ve hepsine televizyonda izledim. Guney Afrika ikinci uluslararasi maci kazandi, bunun icin ucuncu ve son uluslararasi cok onemli oldu. Bir defa daha kocaman protesto ve cok problem vardi, buna ragmen mac devam etti, cok zor bir mac oldu, ama sonunda Yeni Zelanda kazandi…

29/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Ispanya’daki on dokuz yuz otuzlu yillar boyunca Sagcilar ve Solcular arasinda cok gerginlik vardi. Cumhuriyetci hukumeti altinda liberal demokrasi oldu ve hem Katalonya’da hem de Bask Ulkesi’nde milliyetcilik artiyordu. Fakat toprak sahipleri mutlu degildi. Ayrica Ispanya’nin en onemli sartlari ile sorunlar oldu – monarsi, kilise ve ordu. Sivil kargasa, grevler, suikastler, anarsi ve basarisiz bir darbe oldu. Sonunda Fas’ta Komutan Francisco Franco altinda bir askeri ayaklanma basladi. Cogunluk hukumeti destekledi ama ordu milliyetcileri destekledi. Ayrica, Almanya ve Italya milliyetcileri destekledi, ve Almanya Bask Ulkesi’nde bir kasabayi bombaladi. Pablo Picasso o felaket hakkinda cok unlu bir resim yapti (Guernica). Maalesef, ne Ingiltere ne Fransa hukumeti yardim etti, buna ragmen Rusya silah gonderdi. Adim adim milliyetciler ustun geldi ve baskenti yakaladi. Bir yil sonra onlar Katalonya’yi da yakaladi, ve on dokuz otuz dokuz yilinda hukumet teslim etti. Ic savasi uc yil surdu, yaklasik yarim milyon hayat kaybetti ve neredeyse yarim milyon kisi daha Ispanya’dan kacti. Ondan sonra Franco merhamet gostermedi, yirmi sekiz bin kisi daha idam edildi veya hayat boy hapsedildi. Maalesef, ona on dokuz yetmis bes’te olumune kadar kati bir sekildi yonetti.

28/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Dusunebiliyor musunuz? Bin yil once Polinezyali insanlar neredeyse tum Pasifik okyanusu kesfetti. Doruk noktasi Tahiti Adalar’da ulasildi, o adalardan Polinezyalilar hem Hawai hem de Yeni Zelanda’yi kesfetti. Havaii Tahiti Adalar’dan yaklasik dort bin dort yuz kilometredir, Yeni Zelanda Tahiti Adalar’dan yaklasik dort bin kilometre. Kuzey Amerika ve Avrupa arasinda sadece yaklasik uc bin bes yuz kilometre var, ancak Avrupalilar sadece yaklasik bes yuz yil once Amerika’yi kesfetti! Aslinda, Vikingler Kanada’yi ulasti fakat orada kalmadi. Bu da yaklasik bin yil once, buna ragmen Kanada ve Gronland cok yakinda, bir yerde sadece yirmi alti kilometre arasinda var. Aslinda, Gronland Avrupali degil, o kocaman ada Kuzey Amerika kitasinin bir parca. Ayni zamanda, Gronland Izlanda’dan sadece uc yuz kilometredir, ve Izlanda ve Iskandinavya arasinda sadece bin bes yuz kilometre var. Tabii ki, Vikingler cok zeki ve yetenekli denizciler oldu – fakat Polinezyalilar cok daha buyuk mesafe kat etti. Pasifik Okyanusu’nda on binlerce ada var ve onlar hemen hemen hepsine ulasti. Aslinda, kokensel Polinzyalilar Guney Dogu Asya’dan geldi, ve inanilmaz bir sekilde oradan yaklasik iki bin yil once Madagaskar’a kesfetti – alti bin kilometre bir yolculuk!. Ayrica, muhtemelen Polinezyalilar Guney Amerika’yi ulasti cunku onlar Amerikan mahsulleri aldi – tatli patates, mesela. Onlar bunun nasil yapti? Kocaman katamaranlar insa ettiler (ortasinda bir kulubeyle cok uzun iki tekneli kanolar), gunes ve yildizlar ile gezdiler . . .

27/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, sicaklik dalgasi geldi, haber gore bu hafta sonu yuksek yirmiler derece ulasak. Ne kadar guzel! Simdi Akdeniz’den Lodos ruzgar esiyor (gecen hafta Kara Deniz’den Poyraz ruzgar esti, biraz soguk oldu). Tabii ki, Pazartesi gunu bir Mayis olacak, tatil olacak ama yapabilecegimiz hic bir sey olmayacak cunku her sey kapanacak, toplu tasima dahil. Mayis ay da Ilkbahar mevsimin ortasi, yaz mevsim yakinlasiyor. Gelecek ay boyunca nem artacak ve bu kesinlikle nefret ediyorum. Ben her yere yuruyorum, toplu tasima tercih etmiyorum, ozellikle metro ve dolmus cunku her zaman sisman adamlar yanimda oturuyor. Dogru! Neden bilmiyorum. Bir kes dolmus bindim, kucuk bir kiz yanimda oturdu, fakat bir cift geldi, o yuzden sofor herkesi disari cikardi ve yeniden duzenledi, ve yerine yanimda buyuk adam vardi! O olay birkac yil once oldu ama hala hatirliyorum ve o zamandan beri hic dolmus binmedim! Tam alti yil once is degistirdim ve cok mutluydum cunku yeni is yerime yuruyebilirim, yaklasik uc bucuk kilometre (gidis-gelis yedi kilometre), ve manzara cok guzel. Artik toplu tasima kullanmam lazim degil. Sadece bir problem var – yazin cok terliyorum, ve bu da kesinlikle nefret ediyorum!! Aslinda, futbol sezonu baska bir problem var, cunku yolda stadyum var ve zaman zaman cok taraftar geliyor . . .

26/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Venezuela’da neler oluyor emin degilim, o benzin-zengin bir ulkede cok fakirlik var. Tabii ki ABD orada birkac yaptirim uyguladi. Ayrica, Amerikan medya kesinlikle sadece hikayenin tek tarafini anlatiyor. Ona gore baskan Nicolas Maduro vahsi bir diktator var, halk onu karsi protesto ediyor, ve guvenlik gucleri birkac gosterici oldurdu. Fakat alternatif haber gore hikayenin baska bir taraf var: Evet, Maduro’yi karsi protesto var, ama ayni zamanda Maduro’yu-desteklici protesto var – ve onlar cok daha buyuk. Evet guvenlik gucleri birkac gosterici oldurdu, ancak o suclular goz altinda. Bu arada, Maduro’yi karsi gostericiler birkac Maduro’yu-desteklicileri oldurdu. Simdilik protestolar birkac hafta once cok siddetli bir sekilde basladi, bazilari gore Amerikan CIA ajanlari her sey duzenledi. Bu fikir kesinlikle mantikli, ABD on sekiz yil boyunca Bolivar cumhuriyeti devirmeye calisiyordu, iki bin iki yilinda ona bir darbe duzenledi, fakat basarisiz oldu, eski baskan Hugo Chavez geri dondu, ve Venezuela’daki Amerika’yi karsi kocaman protestolar vardi. Ayrica, ABD icin bu standart alistirma, cok daha ulkede ayni sey yapti, on dokuz elli uc’te Iran’dan gunumuzeki Suriye’ye. Evet, Venezuela uzmanim degil, oraya hic gitmedim (lakin erkek kardesim orada okudu), ancak bu konu hakkinda Amerikan medyasini guvenme!

25/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Soguk Savas iyi hatirliyorum, butun cocuklugum boyunca durum devam etti, Amerika her zaman Sovyetler Birligi her sey icin sucladi. ABD hem Dogu Asya’daki hem de Orta Amerika’daki cok savas yapti, Guney Amerika’daki vahsi diktatorleri destekledi, ve her zaman komunizm sucladi – “Kizil Terore karsi kavga ediyoruz,” dediler. O yuzden biz Sovyetler’den cok korktuk. Televizyon haber gore onlar her zaman kotu sey yapiyordu. Filmler gore ayni sey oldu – o zamanlar James Bond cok populer ve kotu adamlar genellikle Ruslardi. Ayrica, o zamanlar ne internet ne alternatif haber vardi. Gercekten Ruslara hakkinda hic bir sey bilmiyorduk. Tabii ki ABD Moskova’daki bin dokuz seksen yilin Olimpiyati boykot etti. Neden? Cunku Afganistan’daki Sovyet askerleri vardi. Neden? Cunku ABD-destekli Cihatcilar (Osama bin Laden dahil) Afganistan’in sosyalist hukumeti saldirdi. Sonuc olarak, Cihatcilar kazandi, Taliban geldi, Seriat Kanunu dayatildi. Bu arada, Sovyetler Birligi Los Angeles’teki on dokuz seksen dort yilin Olimpiyat boykot etti. Elbetti, birkac yil sonra Sovyetler Birligi coktu. Cok ironik olarak simdi Afganistan’daki Amerikan askerleri var – yaklasik on alti yil onceden beri. Maalesef, Soguk Savas bitmedi, simdi ABD cok savas yapiyor, en son Suriye, ve Rusya’yi tekrar soyluyor. Gercekten ABD ve onun arkadaslar bu savas basladi, teroristler kullandilar, ve sivil kayiplari icin Rusya’yi sucluyor . . .

24/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Tatil bitti, bugun is yeride donecegim, yeni donem basliyor. Gecen hafta okulda bir mola oldu, ama ben Carsamba ve Persembe gunleri konusma sinavlari verdim, Maalesef, Carsamba hava cok guzeldi, fakat Persembe aksam dolu firtinasi geldi ve her baska gunu biraz soguk oldu. Bunun icin evde kaldim, sadece ogle yemegi icin ciktim. Her gun Cihangir’de bir lokantada corba ve lahmacun yedim. Bu da egsersiz icin onemli, cunku baska fiziksel activite yapmadim. Cihangir evimden yaklasik bir kilometre uzakta. Iki kez eski ev arkadasim ile rastaladim, Amerikali bir kiz, ve ikinci defa ona biraz stresli oldu cunku bir adam onu takip etti – sadece az once birakti. Maalesef, kadinlar icin hayat zor olabilir!Bu arada, gecen hafta cok yazdim, cok duzenleme yaptim, cok okudum ve cok Turkce televizyon haberi izledim. Ancak dun biraz sikildim ve biraz abur cubur yedim. Bu yil cok daha saglikli yiyorum ama bu kucuk bir ziyafet oldu. En onemli olarak, roman projemli cok ilerledim, galiba o bir tane daha duzenleyecegim ve Haziran ayda her sey bitirecegim. Bu arada, bugun is yerde bahar donem basliyor ve bu da Haziran sonunda bitirecek. Bu benim yedinci yil, gecen hafta bu donum noktasi hakkinda yazdim, yeni bir rekor var!

23/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Savasin ilk kurbani her zaman gerceklik. O yuzden askeri endustriyel kompleks icin ana akim medya cok onemli. Tarafimiz her zaman iyi adamlar, dusmanlariz her zaman kotu, medya cok yalan soyluyor. Yedi yil once Yeni Zelandali askerleri Afganstan’daki iki koyu bombaladi, medya gore onlar teroristleri oldurdu. Ancak o zamandan beri adim adim gerceklik ogrendik – kurbanlar teroristleri degildi, onlar cocuklar, kadinlar ve yaslilar oldu. Yeni Zelandali askerleri bu ne yapti? Cunku bir asker olduruldu, onlar cok kizdi, bunun icin Amerikan silahlari kullandi ve iki koyu bombaladi. Bu duygusuz katliam kesinlikle bir savas sucu oldu. Yeni Zelandalilar “iyi adamlar,” o bir Hiristiyan ulke, yuzde seksen beyaz, Ingilizce konusuyor, her zaman Amerika’ya yardim ediyor. Onlarin kurbanlari Muslumanlar oldu, beyaz degil ve Ingilizce konusmadi – o yuzden “kotu adamlar.” Sonuc olarak ne sorumluluk ne ceza vardi. Yerine uzun zaman boyunca bir ortbas vardi, basbakan arastirma kabul etmedi. Aslinda, Birinci Dunya Savas boyunca Yeni Zelandali askerleri Filistin’deki yaklasik ayni sey yapti: Bir asker olduruldu, bunun icin onlar bir intikam saldirisi yapti, en yakin koye gitti ve kirk tane erkek idam etti. Maalesef, gercekten Yeni Zelanda sadece kucuk bir Ingiltere; kucuk bir ABD . .

22/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, eski arkadasimin unlu buyukbabasi bu hafta oldu, yazar John Freely doksan yasinda yasama veda etti. Huzur icinde yat. Ona Turkiye hakkinda cok kitap yazdi, ama ben sadece bir tane okudum – ‘Istanbul’u Dolasirken.’ Aslinda, onun kizi, Maureen Freely, Orhan Pamuk’un tercumani oldu. John Freely’nin erkek torunu yaklasik on bir bucuk yil once tanistim, ayni is yerinde calistik. Bir gun kar yagmur vardi, ve onu sokakta gordum, beraber bara gittik, ve ondan sonra yaklasik iki yil boyunca neredeyse her hafta sonu biz beraber barlara gittik. Ona cok zeki ve komik bir erkek, benden cok daha genc (yirmili yaslar), ve iyi Ispanyolca konustu cunku onceden orada yasiyordu. O zamanlar ben cok sosyallestirdim, cok arkadasim vardi – muzikciler dahil. O yuzden hafta sonlari cok heyecanli oldu, benim icin ‘ikinci genclik’ gibi oldu, cok eglendim! Fakat adim adim sikildim ve sonunda o yasam tarzindan vazgectim, John Freely’nin torunu ile temasini kaybettim, yaklasik dokuz yil onceden beri onu gormedim. Bu arada, ona bir Turk kiziyla evlendi, ben onlarin dugunu davet edildi ama gitmedi cunku zaten Akdeniz bolgesinde tatil plani yaptim. Yaklasik sekiz veya dokuz yil once onlar Turkiye’den ayrildi, Iskocya’ya tasindi, orada kiz bebegi sahip oldu.

21/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bu video cok ilginc ve galiba dogru. Ona gore tum savaslar bankacilar icin. Gercekten Ingiliz banklarin kontrolunden kurtulmaya, Amerikan bankacilar devrimi planladi. O da bankacilarin savasi. Ondan sonra ABD baskan Andrew Jackson ozel banklara karsi koydu ve suikast girisimi vardi. Ondan sonra Abraham Lincoln ayni sekilde devam etti, bunun icin Ingiltere ve daha Avrupali ulke Amerikan Ic Savasi boyunca Guney Konfederasyonu destekledi – fakat Rusya Kuzey’yi destekledi ve onlar kazandi, masallah! Halbuki, Lincoln suikasta ugratti, maalesef. O zamandan beri bankacilar Amerika’yi kontrol ediyordu. Ingiliz propaganda Almanya Birinci Dunya Savas’in kotu adamlari oldu. Neden? Almanya o savas baslamadi. Cunku Almanya endustriyel tehdit oldu. Savastan sonra Amerikan bankacilar Almanya yardim etti, bu sekilde ekonomic duzelme vardi. Fakat Ingiltere cok ofkelendi, basbakan Winston Churchill baska savasi istedi. Bu sekilde Almanya kesinlikle imha edildi. Fakat Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra ABD dunyanin en buyuk super devleti oldu, Ingiltere degildi, ve dolar reserve parasi oldu. Bunun icin ABD cok zengin bir ulke oldu, ancak cok savas yapti. Baskan John F Kennedy ozel banklari karsi koydu, ona da suikasta ugratti. Bu arada Amerikan devlet borcu cok artti, bunun icin ona Petrodolar plan yapti, Suudi Arabistan ve baska zengin ulkerleri guvenlik teklif etti. Ancak birkac ulke bu Petrodolar plan reddetti – Irak, Libya ve Suriye dahil…

20/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Ingiliz Imparatorlugu muhtemelen tarhteki en kotu rejim oldu. Hem Kuzey Amerika’da hem ve Avustralasy’da soykirim yapti, yerliler kesinlikle yikti, ve hala onlar azinlikler olarak yasiyor, demokrasi altinda haklarini kaybetmis. Bunun haric, galiba Ingiliz’in en kotu sucu kole ticareti oldu, Afrika’dan sefer boyunca yaklasik iki milyon Afrikali oldu. Bu arada, koleler insandisi sartlarda yasiyordu, iskence ve idam siradan seyler oldu. Irlanda’daki Ingiliz kontrolu altinda korkunc bir kitlik oldu, yaklasik bir milyon hayat kaybetti, bu arada Irlanda’nin urunler ve ciftlik hayvanlari Ingiltere’ye gitti. Cin’deki Ingiltere kocaman bir afyon ticareti kurdu, bu sekilde Cinli toplumu kesinlikle yikti, ve bu durum bombalar ile uyugulatti. Hindistan’da Ingiliz yonetimi kesinlikle Naziler banziyordu, idam, cinayet, tahrip, iskence, tecavuz ve cok daha savasin dehsetleri siradan seyler oldu. Aslinda, Ingiltere imparatorlugunu Almanya’dan korumaya Birinci Dunya Savasi baslatti, sonuc olarak milyonlarca hayat kaybetti. Savastan sonra Ingiliz Imparatorlugu ayni sekilde devam etti, Irlanda’daki, Cin’deki ve Hindistan’daki cok kotu sey yapti. Banglades’teki Ingiliz kontrolu altinda korkunc bir kitlik oldu, yaklasik uc bucuk milyon hayat kaybetti, ama Ingiltere yardim etmedi. Bu arada, Ingiltere Kuzey Afrika’yi ve Orta Dogu’yu bombaladi, on binlerce kisi oldurdu, ve kimyasal silahlar kullandi. Onlar da Filistin’i Avrupali Siyonistlerine verdi. Kenya’daki temerkuz kamplari insa etti ve on binlerece erkek, kadin ve cocuk hapse atti, idam, cinayet, tahrip, iskence ve tecavuz siradan seyler oldu.Aslinda Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra ABD Ingiltiz Imparatorlugunu yerini aldi, ancak Ingiltere ayni sekilde devam ediyor, her zaman Amerika’ya yardim ediyor. Ne kadar kotu!

19/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Ana akim medya kesinlikle askeri endustriyel kompleksinin bir parcasi. Medya’nin yalanlar olmadan savaslar imkansiz olur. Amerikan medya cok yalan soyluyor. Birinci Irak Savas’tan once bir Kuveytli kiz kongreye buyuk yalan soyledi, ona buyukelcinin kizi, ABD’deki yasiyordu, Kuveyt’te degildi, fakat ABD onun yalanlari kabul etti ve kullandi. Afganistan Savas Osama bin Laden hakkinda, degil mi? Fakat ABD askeri on alti yil sonra hala Afganistan’daki, ve medya gore Osama bin Laden birkac yil once olduruldu. Irak Savas’tan once Amerikan liderlik kitle imha silahi hakkinda kocaman yalanlar soyledi, sonuc olarak en azinda bir milyon hayat kaybetti ve on dort yil sonra o savas da devam ediyor. Libya Savas’tan once ABD liderlik Muammer Kaddafi’yi hakkinda cok yalan soyledi ve o zengin Afrikali ulkeyi da imha etti, sayisiz kisi oldurdu. Son Yirmi bes yil boyunca Amerikan savaslar milyonlarca Musluman’i oldurdu, ancak hala medya gore ABD iyi adamlar. Nasil olabilir. Bu kesinlikle sacma. Amerikan askeri Naziler’den daha kotu, Ingiliz Imparatorlugu benziyor. Fakat simdi Suriye’deki ayni durum var, ayni sey bir kez daha. ABD Bessar Esad cok yalan soyluyor ve Amerikan askeri Suriye’yi bombaliyor, cok sivil kimse oldurdu, ancak medya Amerikan savas suclari gormezden gelmiyor – sadece Esad sucluyor. Bu sekilde ABD baska bir Orta Dogu’daki ulkeyi imha ediyor, sayisiz cocuklar, kadinlar ve erkekler olduruyor, sayisiz multeci yaratiyor.

18/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Dun burada benim is yerde ve dairem hakkinda yazdim, alti yilda ayni is yerde calistim, yedi yil yedi ayda ayni evde oturdum (her ikisi yeni rekor), bunun icin hayatim cok istikrarli. Bu cok onemli. Genc degilim. Ayrica, bu sekilde cok yazabilirim ve ‘cok’ para biriktirebilirim. Su anda benim icin bunlar on onemli, yama ve para biriktirme. Zaten emeklilik hakkinda dusunuyorum (buna ragmen hala cok zaman var). Aslinda, iyi haber var cunku yeni ev arkadas buldum, genc bir Pakistanli erkek, burada univesitede okuyor. Ona bugun butun depozito odedi, ve ay sonunda tasinacak. Maalesef, ona sadece Haziran sonuna kadar kalacak, ama en azinda gecelek iki ay icin problem cozuldu. Gercekten cok sansliyim cunku diger iki ev arkadasim uzun zaman kaldi – her ikisi yaklasik iki yilda! Onceden bir kiz bir bucuk yil kaldi ve uzun zaman boyunca o bir rekor oldu, baska bir kisi bir yildan fazla kalmadi. Galiba ortalama sadece birkac ay, yazin ozellikle cok kisi sadece bir veya iki ay kalir. Son ev arkadasim sadece iki ayda kaldi. Ilk olarak ona dokuz ay soyledi, ancak ona genc bir ogrenci ve iki hafta once onun arkadaslarine evine tasindi. O yuzden, simdi rahat edebilirim cunku bu hafta is yerde mola var, sadece yarin ve Persembe calismaliyim; Cuma gunu ve hafta sonu kesinlikle bos olacak . . .

17/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bu hafta is yerde ara var, iki gun haric tatil yapacagim. Carsamba ve Persembe birkac saat boyunca konusma sinavlar yapmaliyim, ancak her baska gun bos olacacagim. Ne yapacagim? Gunesli hava var ama ogle yemegi icin haric disari cekmeyecegim, simdi yeni romanim duzenliyorum ve yeni bir ev arkadas icin ariyorum. O yuzden, bu hafta iyi bir firsat var. Aslinda, simdi tam alti yil ayni is yerde calistim. Gelecek hafta yedinci yil baslayacagim. Benim icin bu yeni bir rekor olacak! Aslinda son is yerde neredeyse alti yil calistim ve o bir rekor oldu. Fakat orada cok problem vardi, son birkac yilda mutlu degildim. Simdilik is yerde hala cok multuyum, bu hayatmin en iyi isi, hic problem yok. Ne kadar ilginc! Gencken genellikle ayni is yerde sadece birkac ayda calistim, memleketimde son is yerde uc bucuk yil gazeteci olarak calistim ve o bir rekor oldu. Ispanya’da bes yil boyunca dort farkli okulda calistim, sadece bir tane ikinci yil devam ettim. Ayrica, Ispanya’da ‘bir yil’ dokuz ay demek ki, cunku yazin uc ay ara var, genellikle yazin genellikle yurt disini ciktim, baska bir ulkede yaz okulda calistim (bu sekilde Turkiye’yi geldim). Su anda hayatim cok daha istikrarli. Isimi ve evimi her yil degistirmeye cok fazla yasliyim, Yeter enerjim yok. Aslinda, simdilik dairem yedi yil, yedi ay kaldim ve bu da bir rekor. Eskiden her yil dairem degistirdim, bazen iki veya uc kez! O zamanlar bir yil uzun zaman gibi gorunuyordu, ancak su anda cok kisa.

16/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Amerikan baskan Donald Trump Suriye’deki savasi sona ermeye sozu verdi, ancak gecen hafta ABD Suriye’yi bombaladi. Ondan sonra, sadece birkac gun once, ABD Afganistan’da kocaman bir bomba dustu. Trump Yemen’e zaten saldirdi, bircok sivil kimse oldurdu. Aslinda, Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan beri ABD neredeyse seksen dis mudahale yapti, cok savas dahil. Her baskan ayniyidi, her baskan savas yapti. Nasil olabilir? Galiba cunku gercekten baskanlar bu kararlar vermiyor. Galiba gercekten bir derin devleti bu kararlar veriyor, cunku dis siyaset devam eden bir sey olmali. ABD askeri Afganistan’da on alti yil kaldi, Irak’ta on dort yilda, Libya’da alti yilda ve Suriye’de alti yilda. Ayrica, cok daha ulkede Amerikan askeri var. Aslinda, toplam yedi yuz yetmis uc tane ABD askeri us var – altmis uc tane ulkede. Bu kesinlikle somurgecilik; Amerika kesinlikle buyuk bir imparatorluk. Gercekten ABD eski Ingiliz imparatorlugunu miras aldi, ve yaklasik ayni sey yapiyor. Bu arada Ingiltere sadik bir yardimci, ve bu sekilde o kucuk bir ulke imparatorluk olarak devam edebilir ozur yok, sorumluluk yok, sadece kibirlilik ve inkarcilik var, arti igrenc bir buyukluk kompleksi. Bu Amerikan gelecegi mi? Onlar da kibirli ve inkarci olacak mi? Onlar da bir buyukluk kompleksi edinecek mi? Umarim degil . . .

15/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, bu gunu, on dokuz yuz bes yilinda, unlu Ingiliz okyanusu gemisi Titanik Kuzey Atlantik’ta ilk seferde batti, Kanada’dan yaklasik alti yuz kilometre kocaman bir buzdagi ile carpti, yaklasik bin bes yuz hayat kaybetti, sadece yaklasik yedi yuz hayattan kalan – genellikle kadinlar ve cocuklar. Maalesef, yeter can filikalari yoktu, ve baska bir gemi bir saat yirmi dakika gelmedi. Aslinda, cok yakinda bir gemi oldu ancak onun telsizcisi isten cikti. Tabii ki, herkes bu felaket hakkinda biliyor cunku tam yirmi yil once James Cameron Titanik unlu bir Hollywood film yonetti. Isim Titanik ‘kocaman’ demek ki. Gemi batarken muzik grubu calmaya devam etti, esfaneye gore onlar gemi ile batti, cok cesur erkekler oldu. On yedi bucuk yil once Ingiltere’de birkac ay boyunca bir tatil beldesinde calisiyordum, ve neredeyse her aksam sanatcilar performans gosterdi, ozellikle eskiden unlu yasli muzisyenler. Bir aksam bir grup geldi, ve peformans boyunca onlar ilginc bir sey aciklandi, bir tanesinin ‘Titanik’ filmde grup uyesi rol yapti acikland. Bunun icin ben bir ‘Titanik’ film yildizi canli gordum! Fakat baska bir iliski olabiliar: Ben im Danimarkali akrabasi gore benim buyuk buyuk halam Titanik ile batti. Benim buyuk buyuk babam Norvec’ten Danimarka’ya geldi, ama onun erkek kardesleri Amerika’ya goc etti ve orada her ikisi oldu, bir tane vuruldu, diger at arabayla altinda. Bu arada, onun kiz kardesi Amerika’ya ulasmadi, tabii ki. Ancak emin degilim, kanit yok . . .

14/4/17

Farrokh Bulsara bir Parsi oldu, Zanzibar’da (Tanzanya) dogdu, babasi ve annesi Zerdusti oldu, Hindistan’da buyudu, ailesi ile Ingiltere’ye tasindi, ve kendini “bir fulya gibi escinsel” tanimladi. Simdi neredeyse butun dunya Farrokh Bulsara ‘Freddy Murcury’ olarak biliyor. Tam kirk yil once, on dokuz yuz yetmis yedi yilinda, onun muzik grubu cok basarili ve unlu bir album cikarti, birkac hit sarki vardi – ‘Biz Sampiyonlariz’ dahil. O benim cocukken boyunca oldu ama iyi hatirliyorum, cunku Yeni Zelanda’da Ingiliz kulturu dayatildi. Benim gencken boyunca arkadaslarim bu sarki cok begendi, partilerinde onu sik sik dinledik. Sonraki yillarda ben cok spor maclara gittim (ozellikle ragbi) ve bu sarki cok populer oldu, eger ev sahibi takim kazansaydi, bu sarki calindi. Universiteken, ABD’deki, ayniydi – orada birkac Amerikan futbol maclara gittim. Fakat bana bu durum her zaman biraz tuhaf gorunuyordu. Freddy Mercury “bir fulya gibi escinsel” oldu, ama ragbi ve Amerikan futbol oyuncular cok agresif ve maco, Bu kesinlikle uzlastiramadim. Bu sarki kelimeleri dikkatle dinle – ‘bir gul bahcesi degildi, keyifli bir gemi yolculuk degil, biz kavga etmeye devam edecegiz; kim kaybeden kimse ovecek?’ Bana gore bu kelimeler kesinlike ironik, Freddy Mercury bundan cok daha akilliydi, ve ona kesinlikle bir savasci degildi. Halbuki, bu dunyada cok savasci var, maalesef, ve bunun icin cok insanlar bu ‘Biz Sampiyonlariz’ kelime kelime hem inaniyor hem de kutluyor. Bu Bati Dunya’nin ideolojisi, maalesef. Birkac yil once ben Hurriyet Daily News (Ingilizce) gazetesi icin bircok blog yazdim, bir tane bu konu hakkinda. Asagi bak . .

13/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bu memleketimde benim eski en sevdigim plaj, ve dun orada katil balinalar goruldu! Memleketim Yeni Zelanda’nin baskenti Wellington ve merkezde sadece tek plaj var, Oriental Bay (Dogulu Koy). Gencken bir yaz mevsimi issizdim, o yuzden neredeyse her gun plaja yurudum ve her zaman butun ogleden sonra orada kaldim. Evet, o plajda cok yuzdum, ayrica cok bronzlastim. Aslinda memleketim Ekvatordan Istanbul’a ve Barselona’ya uzakligi ayni, ama deniz cok daha soguk, sadece Ocak ve Subat aylar boyunca yuzebilir, ve uzun zamanda degil, yarim saat maksimum cunku deniz hala biraz soguk. Yeni Zelanda Guney Buyuk Okyanus’ta, ona ve Antarktika arasinda hic bir sey yok, bunun icin her kis mevsimi foklar ve penguenler geliyor, zaman zaman yunuslar gorulebilir, ve nadiran balinalar – orkalar dahil. Ben hic orka gormedim ama bir kez kocaman bir balina gordum. Yunuslar birkac kez gordum (ama Istanbul’da cok daha gordum). Evet, Oriental Bay’da deniz soguk ama ayni zamanda cok sakin, cunku memlektim derin bir limani etrafinda insa edildi. Ingiliz ismini eski bir Ingiliz askeri aldi (ona Napolyan’u yendi) ancak yerli Maori adi ‘Whanganui-a-Tara’ (Zirvede Liman) cok daha guzel. Yerliler gore guney yukari, kuzey asagi, bunun icin memleketim Kuzey Adasinin ucunda var. Bu arada, Yeni Zealanda’nin (Yeni Deniz Arazi) yerli adi ‘Aotearoa’ (Uzun Beyaz Bulutun Ulkesi), belki cunku Guney Adasi’nda uzun bir karla kapli siradag var

12/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, burada benim eski is arkadasim Sean Hobbs Misir’deki bir teror saldiri hakkinda TRT rapor veriyor. Ona alti yil once Istanbul’da oturdu ve biz birkac ay boyunca ayni is yerinde calistik. Sean Amerika’dan (Milwaukee, eger dogru hatirliyorsam) ama cok iyi Turkce konusuyordu, ayrica Arapca biliyor. Ona kesinlikl zeki bir adam ve ilginc bir web sitesi var – hem gercek hem de kurgu yazdi. Birkac yil once ona Misir’e tesindi ve orada gazeteci olarak calisiyor, askeri darbe boyunca ona web sitesinde bazi gorgu tanigi hikaye yazdi. Bu hafta ona korkunc bir teror saldiri hakkinda raport verdi, Iskenderiye’de bir varosta iki tane Kipti Hiristiyan kilisesine bombalandi, maalesef neredeyse elli hayat kaybetti. Simdi Misir hala akeri dictatorluk altinda ve cok ofke var, ancak rejim gore ISID bu saldiri yapti (su anda butun dunyada ISID her sey icin sorumlu). Aslinda ben Iskendiriya’yi tam on yil once ziyaret ettim, Nisan, iki bin yedi yilinda Misir’e gittim ve baskentte bir hafta kaldim. Pirametlere ziyaret ettim, Nil’de tekne gezisi yaptim, deve bindim, oryantal dans gordum, unlu arkeoloji muzesiye ziyaret ettim, Turk Pazar’a gittim ve Iskenderiye’yi gunubirlik gezi yaptim. Iskenderiye Akdeniz’de bir sehir, bunun icin plaja gittim, ama orada ilginc bir sey bulamadim; Kahire’yi cok tercih ettim. Bu arada, simdi Lawrence Durrell’in ‘Iskenderiye Dorlusu’ adli romani okuyorum – (Ikinci Dunya Savas boyunca Misir hakkinda dort tane kisa romani birlesik)

11/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Su anda hava cok guzel, resmi olarak bahar uc hafta once basladi fakat simdi gercekten bahar gibi gorunuyor, her gun on iki ve on sekiz derece arasinda, genellikle gunesli ve aksamlar cok soguk degil. Benim icin bu hava mukemmel. Ben cok yururum, her gun yaklasik yedi kilometre, fakat terleme nedret ediyorum. Galiba ertesi ayda nem gelecek ve benim icin rahatsiz olacak. Yaz mevsimi Haziran sonunda baslayacak ve sonraki uc ay Cehennem gibi olacak – Eylul sonuna kadar. Evet, ben yaz mevsimden korkuyorum, kis mevsimi tercih ederim. Ancak bahar benim en sevdigim mevsimi. Ilkbahar boyunca biz sicak hava hos karsilayoruz, ama sonbahara kadar biz sicak havadan biktik. Halbuki Nisan ay boyunca her sey olabilir – daha soguk hava dahil. Bu benim on ikinci ilkbahar Istanbul’da ve iki kez Nisan boyunca kar yagmur oldu (alti ve sekiz yil once). Aslinda Hiristiyan Dunya sadece bu hafta sonu Paskalya kutlayacak (Pazar on altinci). Onlar gore o gun Isa olulerden yukseldi. Hiristiyan zamanlardan once Paskalya sadece baharin baslangici hakkindaydi, ve hala cocuklar icin Paskalya tavsan cikolata yumurtalar getiriyor, cunku onlar dogurganlik sembollar var. Sansin varken keyfine cikar. Mayis ay boyunca da cok degisken, hem soguk hem de sicak hava olabilir, bir yil Mayis sonunda kirk derece ulasti. Iyi hatirliyorum!

10/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Eduardo Galeano cok unlu bir Uruguayli yazar oldu, hem futbol hem de siyaset hakkinda yazdi, onun ‘Latin Amerika’nin Acik Damarlari’ adli tarih kitabi bir milyondan fazla kopya satti. Ona o kitap sadece uc ay icinde yazdi – fakat onceden dort yil boyunca arastirdi. On dokuz yetmis uc yilinda Uruguay’da askeri darbe oldu, Galeano kacti ve onun kitabi yasaklandi. Nisan on ucuncu, iki yil once, ona yetmis dort yasinda oldu. Huzur icinde yat. Ondan sonra internette ‘Latin Amerika’nin Acik Damalari’ buldum ve okudum. Kesinlikle ilginc bir kitap oldu, ben cok ogrendim. Bu arada asagidaki videoda ona savas hakkinda soyle konusuyor – “Soymaya oldururler, baris namina oldururler, tanri namina oldururler, medeniyet namina oldururler, yoksulluk namina oldururler, demokrasi namina oldurler. Onlar asla yalanlardan bikmiyor. Onlar hayali dusmanlar icat ediyor, onlar kocaman katiller. Ingiliz sair William Shakespeare “Deliler korleri yol gosteriyor” yazdi (Kral Lear), ve dort yuzyil sonra bu dogru kaliyor. Her dakika cocuklar aclik ve hastaliktan hayat kaybediyor, ve her dakika askeri endustriyel komplekse uc yuz milyon dolar harcaniyor – bir silah fabrikasi var, bir cinayet fabrikasi. ABD dahil bes tane ulke veto hakki var, ama onlar dunyanin en buyuk silah saticilari! Ne zamandan beri dunya barisi silah saticilarin elinde oldu? Ne zamandan beri kitle katilileri inaniyoruz?”

9/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, arkadaslarim, Suriye Savasi neredeyse bitti, hukumet neredeyse kazandi, isyancilar ve teroristler neredeyse kaybetti, bunun icin ABD olagandisi bir sey yapmaliydi. Galiba cok daha insan odecek ve cok daha multeci olacak. Gercekten bu savas ABD basladi, Suriye’ye isyancilar gonderdi, ve bazi isyancilar terorist oldu. Eski baskan Barack Obama bu kabul etti. Yeni baskan Donald Trump savasi bitirmeyi soz verdi – fakat yalan soyledi. Belki ona savasi bitirmek istedi, ancak baskanlar bu kararlar vermiyor, derin devlet bu kararlar veriyor, bunun icin Amerikan dis siyaset ayni. Demokrat aday Hillary Clinton da Suriye bombalamaya istedi. Simdi Bati Dunyanin yaygin basin Trump ovguler veriyor, cunku onlar her zaman savas destekliyor, onlar da derin devleti (milyarderler kulubu) icin calisiyor. Yirmi yedi yil once ABD Irak’a saldirmak istedi, bir kuveytli kiz taniklik etti, “Irakli askerler savas suclari yapti” – soyledi, ve ABD Irak’a saldirdi. Savastan sonra butun dunya ilginc bir sey ogrendi – o Kuveytli kiz buyukelcinin kizi oldu, Amerika’da yasiyordu, Kuveyt’te degildi, ve kocaman yalan soyledi. Elbette herkes George W Bush’un ‘kitle imha silahi’ yalan hakkinda biliyor, ve NATO gore Libya’nin baskani Muammer Kaddafi ‘soykirim yapmak istedi’ – o yuzden NATO o zengin Kuzey Afrikali ulkeyi bombaladi ve imha etti. Simdi Trump gore Suriye’nin baskani Bessar Esad kimyasal silah kullandi – ancak hic arastirma yoktu, galiba hava kuvveti isyancilarin kendi kimyasal silahi bombaladi. Ancak zaten ABD Suriye’yi bombaladi – uluslararasi hukuka aykiri olarak . . .

8/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bir hafta once Facebook’ta baktim ve buyuk sok oldum, Ispanya’daki en iyi arkadasim kanserdan oldu. Her gun ona hakkinda dusunuyorum, cunku ben hic fikrim yoktu, ona bana hic soylemedi – ancak simdi bazi sey anliyorum. Barselona’daki on uc ve on dort yil once biz her pazar beraber zaman gecirdik, plaj yaninda butun gun konustuk, hem Ingilizce hem de Ispanyolca, ve ne kadar kolay oldu. Gercek bir ruh esini buldum, her sey hakkinda konusabilirdik – veya neredeyse her sey, oyle gibi. Ayrica, beraber seyahat ettik. Galiba o kadindan iyi Ispanyolca ogrendim. Ayrica, ona hakkinda neredeyse her sey biliyordum, onun annesi de kanserdan oldu, ve onun babasi yaklasik on yil once oldu. O zamanlarda ona her cumartesi gunu onu ziyaret etti. Bu arada her yil ona buyuk bir yolculuk etti – Madagaskar’a, Misir’e, Hindistan’a, Guneydogu Asya’ya, mesela. Son kez onu gordum sekiz yil once oldu, Barselona birkac ayda kaldim, ve biz her hafta sonu bulustuk – eski zamanlar gibi. Ona Facebook kullandi, ama cok az ve ona uc yil onceden beri sohbet etmedik, maalesef. Ne yazik! Ben orta yasliyim, elbette bazi aile ve arkadaslarimi kaybettim, ve bu kabul ettim, genellikle pisman yoktu, ama bu kez biraz pisman var. Gercek arkadaslari bulmaya zor, onlari ihmal etme . . .

7/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, bugun uluslararasi hukuka karsi ABD tek tarafli olarak Suriye’yi saldirdi. Sasirtici gelmedi. On bes yil once, on bir Eylul terorist saldirisi’ndan sonra ABD yedi tane Orta Dogu ulkeyi saldirmaya planladi, eski Amerikan komutan Wesley Clark her sey acikladi (asagi bak), seyirci guldu, ama gercekten kesinlikle dogru, simdiye kadar ABD alti tane ulkeyi saldirdi ve sadece bir tane daha var – Iran. Suriye’deki ABD ilk olarak bir vekalet savasi basladi, bu sekilde rejimin degismesi calisti, ancak basarisiz oldu. Aslinda, Suriye hukumeti hemen hemen bu savas kazandi. O yuzden Amerika icin bir bahaneye ihtiyac vardi, onlarin teroristleri bir kimyasal silah deposu vardi, ve elbette Suriye’nin hava kuvveti o bombaladi. George W Bush’un ‘Kitle Imha Silahi’ yalanlar hatirliyor musunuz? Donald Trump da buyuk yalan soyledi, ona savasi bitirmeyi soz verdi. Bu durum sadece az daha zeki. Ancak cok kisi kandirildi, cunku cok propaganda var, bunun icin bol bol nefret ve on yargi var. Tabii ki Suudi Arabistan ve Israil cok mutlu, onlar her zaman Suriye imha etmek istedi. Ingiltere ve Fransa da cok mutlu, onlar her zama savaslar destekliyor. Fakat simdi ne olacak? Cok daha kisi olecek, cok daha kisi evsiz olacak ve cok daha multeci olacak. Bu arada, baska bir sonsuz savas olacak (Afganistan altinci yil, Irak on dort yil, Libya alti yil gibi), baska bir ABD-destekli kulkla hukumet olacak, ve Amerika baska bir Orta Dogu ulkesinin dogal kaynaklar kontrol edecek . . .

6/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Elbette simdi Suriye hakkinda cok haber var. Iki gun once hava kuvvetleri isyancilara bombalada, yaklasik altmis kisi oldurdu. Bati Dunya gore onlar kimyasal silah kullandi, Rusya gore onlar isyancilarin kendi kimyasal silah depolarini vurdu. Aslinda uc yil once yaklasik ayni sey oldu ve Pullitzer Odullu kazanan gazeteci Seymour Hersh NATO’nun arkadaslari sucladi. Soyle ya da boyle kesin olan bir sey var: bu falaket hakkinda cok haber var, televisyonda canli haber var, gazetelelerde cok baslik var, dunyanin siyasetciler bu konu hakkinda konusuyor, Facebook’ta da bu konu cok tartisma var. Anlasilabilir. Fakat sadece iki hafta once ABD hem Irak hem de Suriye’yi bombaladi, toplam yuzler sivil kimse oldurdu, ve neredeyse haber neredeyse yoktu, canli haber gelmedi, gazetelerde baslik yoktu, dunyanin siyasetciler bu konu hakkinda konusmadi ve Facebook’ta tartismalar yoktu. Bu benim gozlem – ve ben her gun cok haber izliyorum ve okuyorum. Eger bizim medyasi bu kadar onyargiliysa nasil saglikli dusuneiliriz? Bu kesinlikle beyin yikama, her zaman Amerikan perspektif aliyoruz, ve internet sadece baska bir yontemi. Bu arada, neden “isyancilar” kelime kullaniyoruz? Neden bunun yerine “teroristler” kelime kullanmiyoruz? Oldukca acik, degil mi?

5/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef Suriye’nin felaketi devam ediyor, dun isyancilara karsi bir hava saldirisi kimyasal silahlar depoyu vurdu, yaklasik altmis hayat kaybetti – on bir cocuklar dahil. Tabii ki, Bati Dunya’nin medyasi gore o bir kimsayasal saldirisi oldu, ama yanlis, Bati Dunya’nin medyasi cok yalan soyluyor – cunku ABD Suriye’deki rejimin degismesi istiyor – Afganistan gibi, Irak gibi, Libya gibi, Somali gibi ve Yemen gibi. Aslinda, Amerikan medyasi zaten ‘savas’ hakkinda konusuyor. Bu arada, iki hafta once Amerika hem Irak hem de Suriye bombaladi, yuzler sivil kimse oldurdu. O savas suclari iyi hatirliyorum, cunku her gun NTV izliyorum, ve internette hem Ingilizce Hurriyet hem de Turkce Euronews okuyorum ve neredeyse hic haber yoktu, ne kamera goruntusu ne fotograflar vardi! Mart yirmi ikinci ve yirmi ucuncu ben burada bu konu hakkinda yazdim. Cok sasirdim! Ancak bugun NTV’de, Hurriyet’te ve Euronews’de dunku felaket hakkinda cok haber var, cok kamera goruntusu ve fotograflar – ve onlar gore bu kesinlikle bir “kimyasal saldirisi” oldu. Elbette, ABD Suriye’ye davet etmedi, ancak “biz ISID ile savasiyoruz” – issia ediyor. Ne kadar ilginc! ISID kim? Suudi-destekli cihatcilar. ABD ve Suudi Arabistan cok iyi arkadaslar. Cok propaganda var, arkadaslarim. ama gercek cok basit: Amerikan Imparatorlugu baska bir rejimin degistmesi istiyor . . .

4/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef dun St Petersburg metro’da terorist saldiri oldu, on hayat kaybetti, yaklasik elli kis daha yaralandi. Zanli Kirgiz kokenli bir Rus erkek. On alti yil once ben St Petersburg’da calisiyordum, iki ay kaldim, ve her gun ayni metro hatti kullaniyordum. St Petersbrg Metro cok derin cunku o sehir batak zemin altinda insa edildi. Buyuk Petro Avrupa’ya yakinda bir baskent istedi, o yuzden yaklasik uc yuzyil once St Petersburg insa edildi. Bu arada, duraklar arasinda buyuk uzaklik var, ve trenler cok hizli gidiyor. Ayrica, o metro genellikle cok kalabalikti, binmek bir ragbi macina benziyordu! Birkac ay once Rus buyukelcisi Turkiye’de oldurulurken, bazi Amerikali kisi Facebook’ta “hak ettigini” yazdi. O zaman ABD Onbir Eylul Teror Saldirini “hak ett,” cevap verdim. Tabii ki hic kimse teror saldirini hak etti fakat onlarin iki yuzlulugu cok igrenc oldu. Gercekten, ABD Orta Dogu imha etti, yedi ulkeyi bombaladi, toplam yaklasik on milyon kisiyi oldurdu, fakat Suriye’de Rusya onlari durdurdu, bunun icin Amerikalilar kizgin ve cok Ruslardan korkma propaganda var. Aslinda bu yeni bir sey degil, Soguk Savas boyunca ABD her zaman Rusya’yi sucladi, fakat ayni zamanda America Guney Dogu Asya’yi imha etti. Bu arada dunku saldiri nedeni hala bilinmiyor, ama terorism icin gerekce olamaz . . .

3/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Son hafta Guney Amerika’dan bol bol haber
geldi, genellikle kotu haber, maalesef, ancak hepsi degildi. Kolombiya’da seller iki yuz elli dort kisiyi oldurdu, yuzler daha yaraladi ve butun koyler imha etti. Venezuela’da baskan Nicolas Maduro kendine korunmaya hukumet sistemi degistirmeye calisti fakat sonunda vazgecti. Orada acil fakirlik var ve muhalefet bir secim istiyor. Paraguay’deki benzer durum var, baskan Horacio Cartes tek-donem kural degistirmeye calisiyor, fakat ayaklanmar vardi ve bir gosterici olduruldu, o yuzden Cartes icisleri bakanci ve emniyet muduru isten kovdu. Fransiz Guyanasi’deki sosyal sorunlar hakkinda genel grev var, Brezilya’daki baskan Michel Temer’e karsi kocaman gosteriler var, gecen yil eski baskan Dilma Rousseff itham edildi ve Temer onu degistirdi, ancak cok kisi gore o bir ABD-destkli “darbe” oldu ve Temer Rousseff’ten daha yolzlasmis. Bu arada, en azinda Ekvator’daki iyi haber vardi, sosyalist Lenin Moreno secim kazandi. Muhalefet partisi yeniden sayma istiyor fakat sonuc hakkinda pek suphe yok. Moreno bir parplejik, iki bin yedi ve iki bin on uc yillar arasinda eski baskan Raffael Correa altinda yardimcisi baskan oldu. Bes yil once ona Nobel Baris odulu icin aday gosterildi. Bana gore onun secimi cok iyi haber gorunuyor

2/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bir kez daha yeni ev arkadasi ariyoruz. Dairemiz cok merkezde, Taksim metrodan sadece birkac dakika. Kucuk ve mobilyali bir yatak odasi hemen mevcut var. Kiralik alti yuz arti faturalar, ve bir aylik depozito gerekiyor. Toplam dort kisi var. Ben yedi bucuk yilda burada oturdum, Lubnanli erkek iki yilda kaldi, Turk kadin yaklasik bir bucuk kaldi, ve Fransiz delikanli sadece iki ay kaldi. Her sey cok iyiydi ancak Fransiz delikanli ayrilmaya karar verdi. Gunesli ve kucuk balkonlu salon var – ve iyi bir kablosuz internet baglantisi. Evet, ben burada uzun zaman kaldim, cok rahat ederim, Istiklal cok yakinda, metro cok yakinda, ve Kabatas cok yakinda (buna ragmen su anda feribotlar yok). Buradan yarim saat icinde Besiktas’a yurubelir ve bu neredeyse her gun yaparim. O yuzden benim icin mukemmel bir yer. Istanbul’da cok yerde oturdum. Ilk olarak sadece yaz donemi calistigi is icin geldi, Sultanahmet’te bir otelde iki ay kaldim. Ancak Istanbul cok eglendim, kalmaya karar verdim, ve Tunel’de bir lojmana tasindim. O yer begendim ama bir gece saldirildim, bunun icin arkasimin evine tanistim, cos yakat odasi vardi, ve Istiklal cok yakininda. Ondan sonra Sisli’de bir Turk kadin ile oturdum, ve birkac ay sonra bir Taksim’e beraber tasindik, orada yaklasik bir yil boyunca oturduk. Ondan sonra Habiye’de oturdum (iki farkli dairede), ondan sonra Cihangir’de, ve sonunda Ortakoy’de bir lojmanda .

1/4/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Fransa’da bu hafta Cakal Carlos ucuncu muebbet hapis cezasi aldi, bu kez cunku Paris’te kirk uc yil once ona bir alisveris merkezine bomba firlatti, iki kisi oldurdu ve bircok daha yaralandi. Carlos Venezuela dogdu, gercek adi Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (onun babasi bir komunist oldu), ve Moskova’da universitede okudu. Ancak ona universiteden kovuldu. Filistin’e gitti ve bir mukavemet orgutu katildi. Kuzey Avrupa’da on dokuz yetmislerde ona birkac teror saldiri yapti. On dokuz yetmis bes yilinda ona Viyana’daki OPEC (Petrol İhrac Eden Ulkeler Orgutu) toplasinda altmis veya yetmis rehin aldi, elli milyon dolar fidye odendi. Bu sekilde dunyaca unlu oldu (ona hakkinda bir film esinlenildi). Sonraki yirmi bes yil boyunca baska bir OPEC toplantasi yoktu. Bu arada Carlos kacti ve Paris’te on dokuz yuz seksen iki yilinda baska bir saldiri yapti. Ondan sonra ona Avrupa’dan kacti ve on iki yil boyunca Orta Dogu’daki ozgur kaldi, fakat sonunda Sudan’da on dokuz doksan dort yilinda Fransiz ajanlar onu yakalandi ve gizli olarak Fransa’ya iade etti. Carlos teror suclamalari reddetti, ona gore Israil gercek terorist oldu, ve sadece Filistin serbest birakmaya mucadele etti. Fakat uc yil sonra suclu bulundu ve birinci muebbet hapis cezasi aldi. Carlos bir Musluman oldu ve hapiste Islam hakkinda bir kitap yazdi . .

31/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. On sekiz yil once Avrupa’ya geldim, ne yapmak istedigimi hicbir firkim yoktu – bir sey haric. Ben kesinlikle farkli bir dil ogrenmek istedim. Bunun icin Malaga Universite’de bir aylik Ispanyolca giris dersi yaptim. O cok eglendim, ancak pahaliydi, tabii ki, is bulamadim, bunun icin o kurstan sonra devam etmedim. Fakat orada ilginc bir sey ogrendim: Cok kisi dil arkaslarini ariyordu. O yuzden bir dil arkadasim buldum. Birkac ay sonra hala is bulamadim, Ingiltere’ye gitmeliydim (orada garson olarak calistim). Sonunda Ispanya’ya geri dondum, Ingilizce ogretmenlik kursu yaptim, ve Ingilizce ogretmeye basladim. Birinci yilda bu cok zordu, yeni kariyerim hakkinda cok ogrenmeliyim, dil arkadaslar icin zaman yoktu. Fakat sonraki yilda okullar degistirdim ve daha bos zamanim vardi. O yuzden, birkac dil arkadas buldum – bir tane gercek bir arkadas oldu. Ucuncu yilda okullar gene degistirdim, Barselona’ya tasindim. Orada da birkac dil arkadasim buldum, fakat gercek bir arkadaslar gibi degildi, sadece kisa sura bulusuyorduk. Ancak sonraki yilda cok iyi bir dil arkadas buldum. Her pazar gunu biz birkac saat boyunca konustuk – genellikle plaj yakinda. Cok guzeldi. Bu kadin ile butun gun konusabilirdim, baska dil arkadasa ihtiyac yoktu. Ayrica, biz beraber seyahat ettik, Mont Blanc ve Tarragona’ya gezdik. Bu sekilde cok iyi Ispanyolca ogrendim. Bugun Facebook’ta kotu haber gordum, ona yaklasik elli yasinda kanserdan oldu. Hicbir fikrim yoktu. Huzur icinde yat.

30/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Elli yil boyunca saliklarimi bir hak gibi gordum, problem yoktu, sadece cocukken hafif bir astim durum oldu ama bundan buyudum. Gencken cok spor oynayordum, ozellikle takim spor ve yuzme, ayrica on alti yil boyunca spor salonu gidiyordum. Hem memleketimde hem de Ispanya’da intansif aerobik programi katildim, haftada birkac defa yaptim, ve bu sekilde formda kaldim – doktor gore cok saglikliydim. Istanbul’da intansif bir aerobik programi bulamadim, bunun icin sekiz yil boyunca her pazar aksam saha futbol oynaydim. Maalesef, cok yetenekli degilim ve genellikle ben oyuncu olarak oynamaliydim, buna ragmen sik sik saldiriya katildim, asagi yukari kostum, cunku sadece formda kalmak istedim. Ayrica, yazin her bos gunum denizde yuzmeyi Adalara gittim. Fakat elli yasindayken futbolu biraktim, ve gecen yaz Adalara gitmedim. Halbuki yerine her gun yaklasik yedi kilometre yururum, su anda benim icin bu egzersiz daha uygun. Yine de bu degisim yeter degil, bazi saglik sorunlarim vardi, cok sasirdim. Daha dikkatli olmaliyim, dinlenme da onemli, stres tehlikeli bir sey olabilir. Ayrica, yemek cok onemli, tabii ki, ve bu yil benim yeme aliskanliklarim kesinlikle degistim, su anda cok daha saglikli yemek yiyorum ve daha az alkol (haftada sadece iki veya uc bira).

29/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Madagaskar’daki yetmis yil once Fransiz yonetimiye karsi buyuk bir ayaklanma basladi. Fransiz yonetimiye on sekiz yuz doksan dort yilinda basladi, ve cok sert oldu, askerler yerlilere karsi terorizm kullandi, iskence ve tecavuz dahil, gostericilere karsi makineli tufekleri kullandi, ve mahkumlar ucaklardan atildi. Aslinda, ondan sonra Fransa Cezayir’de ayni taktikler kullandi. Nihayet Ikinci Dunya Savasi boyunca yerliler gercek bir ayaklanma planlamaya basladi, o zamanda Fransa Alman isgal altindaydi, onemli bir firsat vardi. Ayrica, Ingiltere isyancilari hem cesaretlendirdi hem de yardim etti (ona da Madagaskar kontrol etmek istedi). Fakat isyancilar buyuk bir hata yapti, askeri kampa saldirdi, yirmi iki kisi oldurdu. Fransiz cevabi cok vahsiydi, onlar yaklasik yuz bin yerlileri oldurdu (Fransa gore daha az, yerliler gore daha fazla) , cok daha kisi hapse gonderdi ve iskence edildi. Fakat Avrupa’ya cok az haber geldi. Madagaskar on dokuz altmis yilinda bagimsizlik kazandi, yedi yil sonra on dokuz kirk yedi yilin ayaklanmasi anmaya basladi. Madagaskar cok ilginc bir tarihi var, ilk insanlar yaklasik iki bin yil once Malay Takimadalari’ndan geldi, birkac yuzyil sonra Araplar geldi ve muhtemelen Afrika’dan zenciler koleler olarak getirdi. Avrupalilar (Portekizliler) sadece alti yuz yil once Madagaskar’a ulasti (Amerika’dan birkac yil sonra)!

28/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Eski bir Cin atasozu var, ‘On bin kitap okumak on bin kilometre yolculuk kadar faydali degil.’ Ben kesinlikle on bin kilometre yolculuk ettim, ancak galiba on bin kitap okumadim (birkac bin olabilir). On sekiz yil once cok sikilyordum, memleketimden ayrildim, dunya hakkinda daha ogrenmek istedim – ve kesinlikle cok daha ogrendim. Fakat sadece yolculuktan degil, kitap okumaya devam ediyordum ve tabii ki bu sekilde da cok daha ogrendim. Ayrica, yolculuklarim internetin gelisiyle catisti. O yuzden son on sekiz yilda ben hem yurtdisinda oturuyordum hem de kuresel aga erisiyordum. Ispanya’da Ispanya ve Ispanyalilar hakkinda cok ogrendim, Turkiye’de Turkiye ve Turkler hakkinda cok ogrendim. Ayni zamanda, son on iki yilda is arkadaslarimin cogu Ingiliz ve Amerikali oldu, o yuzden onlar hakkinda cok ogrendim. Elbette memleketimde bol bol Ingilizler var, ve ben Amerika’da universiteye okudum, bunun icin zaten cok biliyordum. Fakat bu farkli bir durum, arti cok ilginc bir deneyim. Basmakaliplar iyi bir sey degil, ancak kultur gercek bir sey, ve egitimle ta tanimlanan. Bu arada egitim sadece okuldan degil, o da medya ve toplumdan alinir. Maalesef, beyin yikama cok belli, onyargi, kibirlilik, darkafalilik ve inkarcilik var. Evet, simdi dunya cok daha iyi anliyorum . . .

27/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Burada benim memleketim, Wellington, Yeni Zelanda’nin baskenti, nufusu yaklasik dort yuz bin, Ekvator’dan Istanbul ile ayni uzaklik. Kucuk nufus var, evet (Trabzon gibi), ancak cografi olarak kucuk degil cunku apartmanlar yok, neredeyse herkes bahceli mustakilde oturuyor. Aslinda, bu fotograf sadece bir parca gosteriyor – merkezde. Burada sadece yaklasik yuz elli bin kisi yasiyor (Besiktas gibi). Limanin diger tarafta yaklasik yuz bin kisi daha yasiyor, Kuzey Banliyoleri’inde da yaklasik yuz bin kisi yasiyor, ve Bati Banliyoleri’nde yaklasik elli bin kisi var. Resimde ne gorunuyorsunuz? Bakalim: Alt solda meclis binasi var, ‘Arikovani’ olarak bilinen, merkezde Yeni Zelanda Bankasi var (Siyah renkli), eskiden Yeni Zelanda’nin en yuksek binasi oldu. Ortasinda kucuk ama guzel bir plaj var (yazin cok populer, tabii ki). Plajdan arkasinda buyuk tepe var, ve orada yaklasik kirk yil once orta okulu gittim. Arka planda havalimani gorebilirsiniz. Aslinda, o kucuk bir kara koprusu denizden geri aldi, ve yaklasik kirk yil once orada yasiyordum. Arkasinda Guney Pasifik Okyanusu gorebilirsiniz, orada baska bir plaj var, ben oraya cok defa gittim. Ancak ben merkezde sadece birkac yilda oturdum. Cocukken limanin diger tarafta yasiyordum ve o tercih ettim, daha sakin ve candan oldu, orada ilk okulu gittim. Gencken Bati Banliyolderi’nde yasiyordum ve orada liseye gittim, ve yetiskin olarak cok farkli yerlerde oturdum. Galiba bu yuzden memleketim hic ozlemiyorum

26/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, Ukranya tekerlekli sandalyeye bagli Rus srkici Julia Samoylova Erovizyon Sarki yarismisadan yasaklandi. Neden? Cunku ona onceden Kirim’da performans gosterdi. Tabii ki, birkac yil once Ukranya’nin ic savasi boyunca Kirim Rusya’ya geri dondu, orada insanlarin cogu etnik Ruslar var. Avrupa Yayin Birligi bu yarisma duzneliyor ve Ukranya’nin karariyla cok uzgun, Halbuki, iyi haber geldi, Samoylova Moskova’dan uyduya yarisma katilabilir. Fakat, Rusya bu secenek kabul etmedi, ona icin o bir hakaret. O yuzden, Samoylova’nin katilim durumu kesin olmayan. Gecen yil Ukranya Erovizyon kazandi ancak Moskova protesto etti, sarkici bir Kirim tatar oldu, ve Rusya gore onun sarkisi siyasal oldu. Bu altinci ikini Erovizyon olacak, Mayis ayda olacak, kirk uc ulke katilacak – Avustralya dahil (inanilmaz bir sekilde), ve yaklasik on iki bin seyirci katilacak, televizyonda milyonlar daha izleyecek. Son birkac yilda Turkiye Erovizyon katilmadi, kurallar problem var, fakat iki bin uc yilinda Turkiye’nin Sertab kazandi. Son kez, bes yil once, Can Bonomo yedinci bitirdi. Bunun icin Erovizyon biraz tartismali gorunuyor, ve benim icin onemli degil cunku memleketim Avrupa’da degil, ve biz bu yarisma hakkinda neredeyse hic bir sey bilmiyoruz. Bu arada, Julia Samoylova iyi sanslar, Insallah ona katilabilir, oyle ya da boyle . . .

25/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, dun asksam ev arkadaslarimla Taksim’de bir lokantaya gittim, Italyan manti makarnasi, peynir ve peynirli kek yedim, hem beyaz sarap hem de kirmizi sarap ictim. Iyi zaman gecti. Aslinda, dairemiz Istiklal Caddesi cok yakinda fakat su anda oraya gitmiyorum, bunun icin cok ilginc oldu. Mesela, bir ucta insaat alani var, bir ev arkadasim gore orada yeni bir cami olacak! Tamam, resimdeki insanlar kim? Sagdan sola ben, Derya ve Ahmet. Onlar dairemizde uzun zaman kaldi, Derya yaklasik bir bucuk yilda, Ahmet yaklasik iki yilda. Ben dairemizde yedi bucuk yilda kaldim, ve onlardan once sadece bir kisi bir yildan daha fazla kaldi (Izmir’den bir kadin tam bir bucuk yilda kaldi). Bunun icin cok sansilyim. Derya da Izmire’den ve ogretmen olarak calisiyor, Ahmet Lubnan’dan ve burada bir lokantada acacak. Bu arada, bir tane daha ev arkadasim var; Fazli, Fasli-Turk Fransiz genclik, dairemizde birkac ayda kaldi, ama bu aksam gelemedi. O yuzden dairemizde cok mutluyum. Birkac yil once biraz problem vardi, bazi ev arkadasim issiz oldu, disari cikmadi, ev isi yapmadi, her sey hakkinda sikayet etti. Zaman zaman cok kotu oldu, bir iki kez tasinmak hakkinda cok ciddi dusundum, diger dairelere basvurdum. Ancak sonunda karar verdim, dairem cok iyi ve sadece iyi ev arkadaslarim bulmaliyim – ve nihayet bu yaptim . . .

24/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, ABD askeri Orta Dogu’da gene cok sivil kimse oldurdu, bu defa Irak’taki, yaklasik iki yuz otuz hayat kaybetti – ozellikle kadinlar ve cocuklar. Sadece iki gun once Amerika Suriye’deki bir okul bombaladi, en azinda otuz uc kisi oldurdu, ve gecen hafta ona Suriye’deki bir camiyi bombaladi, elliden fazla kisi olduruldu. Yeni Amerikan baskan Donald Trump eski baskanlar Barack Obama ve George Bush’in izinden gidiyor, secim kampanyasi vaadilerine ragmen. Bati Dunya icin bu haber onemli degil, haber var – ama Londra’da kucuk bir saldiri cok daha onemli. Evet, dunku kurbanlarin cogu kadinlar ve cocuklar oldu, ancak Amerikan ve Ingiliz femistler icin bu haber onemli degil. Tabii ki, butun kurbanlar Muslumanlar oldu, ancak Turk medyasindaki sadece cami saldirisi haber gordum. TV’de ve gazetelerde dunku Irak saldirisi ve Suriye’de okul saldirisi hakkinda hic haber bulamadim. Bu arada, Turk medyasinda Londra’da saldirisi bol bol haber vardi. Benim icin bu durum kesinlikle inanilmaz. Gecen yil Suriyeli ve Rus askeri Halep’i teroristlerinden kurtardi, maalesef cok sivil kimse olduruldu, ve Bati Dunya’nin haber ‘soykirim’ diye bagirdi. Aslinda, cok arkadaslarim Facebook’ta ‘soykirim’ diye bagirdi. Fakat simdi onlar sessiz, cunku Bati Dunya’da insanlar hala cok irkci ve iki yuzlu, onlar egitim ve medyanin tarafindan beyin yikandi . . .

23/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, bu hafta iki tane felaket vardi, birincisi Suriye’deki, ABD bir okul bombaladi, en azinda otuz uc hayat kaybetti, sayisiz daha yaralandi; ikincisi Londra’da, teroristler dort kisi oldurdu, bircok kisi daha yaralandi. Kurbanlar huzur icinde yatsin. Ancak bir sorum var: hangi saldiri hakkinda daha haber oldu mu? Tahmin edebilirsiniz? Tabii bi Londra saldiri hakkinda cok daha haber var. Dort Avrupali otuz uc Musluman’dan daha onemli mi? Aslinda, hem Hurriyet’in Ingliz versiyonu hem de Avrupa Haber’in Turk versiyonu okurum ve Suriye saldiri hakkinda hic haber gormedim, buna ragmen Londra saldiri hakkinda bol bol haber vardi. Ayrica, her gun NTV izliyorum ve ayni sey, Londra saldiri hakkinda bol bol haber var, Suriye saldiri hakkinda hic haber yok (aslinda su anda NTV’de genellikle sadece siyasal konusmalar var). Benim icin bu inanilmaz bir durum! Bu arada, dort tane Avrupali olduruldu ve haber ‘Islam Teror!’ diye bagiriyor, ama otuz uc Musluman olduruldu ve hic kimse ‘Hristiyan Teror!’ diger bagirmiyor. O zaman, sadece Musluman teroristler olabilir mi? Tabii ki, Suriye’deki savas var, ama o savas kim basladi, ve ABD kim davet etti. Sadece bir hafta once Amerika Suriye’deki bir camiyi bombaladi, yaklasik elli hayat kaybetti. Gercekten kurbanlarin cogu kesinlikle Muslumanlar var .

22/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Buyuk Oyun kesinlikle devam ediyor. Gercekten o hic bitmedi, ve galiba uzun sure devam edecek. Buyuk Oyun ne demek? Temel olarak bu Ingiltere ve Rusya arasinda Afganistan’in kontrolu icin soguk savas oldu, erken on dokuzuncu yuzyilda basladi ve Birinci Dunya Savas’a kadar devam etti. Aslinda, Buyuk Oyun sadece Afganistan hakkinda degildi, o da Orta Asya hakkinda, Rusya’nin arka bahcesi, fakat Ingiltere’den cok uzak (buna ragmen o zamanlarda Ingiliz Imparatorlugu Hindistan’a uzandi). Bir noktada Londra Afganistan’in kontrolunu ele aldi, fakat yerli halk onlari disari cikardi (ve neredeyse hepsi oldurdu). Nihayet Moskova Orta Asya’nin kontrolunu ele aldi, Birinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra o ulkeler Sovyet Birligi’ne dahil edildi. Fakat Afganistan’in kontrolu icin devam ediyordu. Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan beri Ingiltere bir super devlet degildi, yerine ABD geldi ve Sovyet Birligi ile Buyuk Oyun’u oynamaya devam ediyordu. Yetmisler yilda Afganistan’da Moskova destekli bir sosyalist hukumeti vardi, ancak Washington istikrari bozmaya Mucahidleri kullandi. Bu sekilde Sovyet Birligi cokusu basladi ((ama kadinlar icin cok kotuydu). On bir Eylul terorist saldirisi’ndan beri ABD Afganistan’a isgal etti, ve son on alti yilda orada kaldi. Bu keslinlikle somurgecilik. O yuzden, ABD Buyuk Oyun kazaniyor, ve Ingiltere onlara yardim ediyor. Halbuki su anda Buyuk Oyun cok daha buyuk, tum Orta Dogu’ya uzandi, ve bu savaslar sonsuz gorunuyor. Maalesef .

21/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. ‘Doktor Bill Levingston’ on dokuzuncu yuzyilda Amerika’daki bir dolandirici oldu, yilan yagi ‘kanser tedavi’ olarak satti, kasabadan kasabaya gitti, ve her zaman kacak oldu. Ona karisini terk etti ve Kanada’daki iki esli olarak yasiyordu, cocuk vardi, ancak bir tecavuzden sonra gene kacti, Amerika’ya geri gondu. Evet, ona cok kotu bir adam, ancak gercek doktor degildi, ‘Bill Levingston’ onun gercek adi degildi. Onun gercek adi William Rockefeller oldu, ve onun cocuklar John D Rockefeller ve William (ogul) cok sansli oldu, onlar yeni bir endustriye katildi – benzin – ve erken yirminci yuzyilda dunyanin en zenginleri arasina oldu. Simdiye kadar kotu degildi, ancak Rockefeller ailesi bu para ile ne yapti? Oncelikle onlar Almanya’da ojeniklerini finanse etti, Afrikali ve engelli sterilize edildi. Ayrica, onlar Nazilere benzin satti, bu sekilde soykirime yardim etti. Ikinci Dunya savas’tan sonra onlarin Alman is ortaklarinin yargilandi – ancak Rockefeller ailesi degildi. Aslinda, milyarder Rothschild ailesi ve ABD siyaset Bush ailesi ayni sey yapti, bu sekilde onlar cok zenginlesti, ve cok siyasal uzmanlar gore bu aileler Amerikan derin devletini yaratti, birlikte onlar ABD’nin dis politika olusturuyor, ve kar icin savaslar basliyor, diktatorleri destekliyor, ve dunyanin dogal kaynaklar kontrol ediyor. Hedef – kuresel egemenlik . . .

20/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, Ilkbahar bugun resmi olarak basladi, ve gunesli hava var, haber gore on bes derece ulasacak – ve bu hafta yirmi derece ulasacak. Nihayet Kis mevsimi bitti. Masallah! Yarin Iranlilar ve cok daha Muslumanlar Nevruz kutlayacak, fakat Hristiyanlar Paskalyayi gelecek aya kadar kutlamayacaklar. Neden bu kadar gec bilmiyorum. Bugun kesinlikle Bahar Noktasi var. Elbette Kuzey Avrupa’da ilik hava biraz daha sonra geliyor, ama muhtemelen farkli sebep var. Aslinda, su anda Paskalya bir dini bayram, Hristiyanlar icin o ‘Isa’nin dirilisi’ hakkinda. Ancak Avrupalilar binlerce yilda bu tatil kutliyordu, belki on binlerce, cunku bu Ilkbahar’in baslangici, soguk ve karanlik gunler bitti, bebekler geliyor, yavrular geliyor, cicekler buyuyor, mahsulat yetisiyor, gunesli hava var, yeter yemek var, ve bunun icin saglik var. O yuzden Bati Dunya’da Paskalya hala tavsan, cikolata ve yumurtalar ile kutlaniyor; onlar dogurganlik sembolu, tabii ki. Ben Avrupali degilim ama memleketimde Paskalya ve Bahar Noktasi ayni sekilde kutliyoruz. Cocukken annem cikolata yumurtalar evde sakladi, ve kardeslerim ile onlara aradim. Cok heyecanli oldu, cunku ben cikolata cok seviyorum ve tum cikolata yumurtalari bulmak istedim. Benim icin bu “Paskalya” oldu. Bunun icin herkese Mutlu Nevruz ve Mutlu Paskalyalar diliyorum!!

19/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Iki gun once burada benim deneyimlerim hakkinda yazdim, ve cok deneyim elde ettim, tabii ki, ozellikle yolculuk acisindan. Aslinda, bana gore en guzel deneyimlerim arasinda benim Yunan Adalari gezileri vardi. Benim icin bu inanilmaz bir firsat, Memleketimde hemen hemen hic kimse Yunan Adalari gitmedi, bizim icin cok uzak oldu, tabii ki, ve sadece bir ruya gibi – gunesli hava, guzel plaj, sakin deniz, Yunan yemegi ve sarap, falan. Ancak ben Turkiye’den Yunan Adalari toplam yedi kez gittim, ve her kez farkli bir adayi kaldim. Ayrica, son on iki yil boyunca birkac dugun katildim, ve onlar da en guzel deneyimlerim arasinda. Bir tane haric hepsi benim eski futbol arkadaslarim icin; diger benim eski dil arkadasimin dugunu oldu. Uc tane Istanbul’da yapildi – ve cok guzeldi. Iki tane daha Turkiye’de yapildi, fakat Istanbul’da degildi. Birinci Ankara’da katildi, Atakule’nin ust kutlandi, diger Kemer’de kutlandi, sahildeki bir otelde. Her ikisi cok gercekustu deneyimler oldu. Fakat galiba benim en gercekustu deneyim iki bucuk yil once oldu, Yunan Adalari’nda bir dugun katildim! Tum malzemeler vardi – hem plaj, deniz ve Yunan kulturu, hem de arkadaslarimin dugunu, evlenme partisi ve cok heyecan. Gecen yaz Yunan Adalari gitmedim, para biriktirmek istedim ve motivasyon yoktu, ama belki bu yil gidecegim. Emin degilim. Gorecegiz . . .

18/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, bugun Halep’teki ABD bir camiyi bombaladi, yaklasik altmis sivil kimse olduruldu. Fakat cok haber degil, hic kimse Amerika’yi elestirmiyor. Eger Suriye veya Rusya bu yapsaydi, ne olacak? Tabii ki Bati Dunya’nin medyasi ‘Soykirim!’ oldu iddia edecek, Bessar Esad veya Vladimir Putin Hitler ile benzetecek. Ne kadar ilginc! Son yirmi bes yil boyunca ABD yaklasik on milyon Muslumani oldurdu ve Bati Dunya icin farketmez. Elbette cok kisi Irak Savasi hakkinda kizgin, ancak genellikle hic kimse ‘soykirim’ hakkinda konusmuyor, hic kimse George Bush Hitler ile benzetmeyecek. Fakat eger Suriye ve Rusya teroristleri karsi kavga ederken sivil halk oldurseydi, Bati Dunya hemen soykirim hakkinda konustu. Aslinda, bugunun haberi geldiginde cok kisi sosyal medyada Rusya ve Suriye sucladi. Yanlis. Amerika bu yapti. Fakat Bati Dunya cok irkci ve iki yuzlu, maalesef, ayrica onlar kesinlikle beyin yikandi. Aslinda, bugun cok kotu bir gun, Suudi Arabistan da cok sivil kimse oldurdu, Yemen’deki bir multeci gemesini bombaladi, yaklasik kirk hayat kaybetti. Son birkac yilda Suudi Arabistan Yemen’deki dugunleri, cenazeleri, okullari ve hastaneleri bombaladi, bu sekilde sayisiz sivil kimseyi oldurdu. Bunun icin bana gore Amerika ve Suudi Arabistan soykirim yapiyor, Rusya ve Suriye degil.

17/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, orta yasliyim, sayisiz deneyim elde ettim, helikoptere bindim, ambulansla hastaneye gittim, susi yedim ve Kanada ziyaret ettim, mesela. Gazetecilik kariyerim boyunca dagin tepesiye helikoptere binerek gittim, orada bir jeolog ile reportaj yaptim. Barselona’da on bucuk yil once bir denizanasi beni gozlerinde soktu, aci cektim, ambulansla hastaneye gittim. Turk Hava Yollarinda susi yedim, ve yirmi dort once Amerika’daki universitede okurken Kanada ziyaret ettim. Aslinda, cok olayli bir hayati yasadim. Antarktika haric her kitayi ziyaretim, toplam otuz bes ulke, birkac ulkede yasiyordum ve calisiyordum, hem Ispanyolca hem de Turkce ogrendim ve biraz Fransizca biliyorum. Ayrica, Piramitler, Tac Mahal, Kolezyum, Akropol, Ayasofya, Ozgurluk Heykeli, Eyfel Kulesi, Londra Kulesi, Sagrada Familia, Kislik Sarayi ve Kurtarici Isa heykeli gordum, falan. Vatikan’da Papayi da gordum. Hindistan’daki file bindim, Misir’deki Deveye bindim, memleketimde birkac kez ata bindim. Bu arada, gazetecilik kariyerim boyunca Yeni Zealanda’nin basbakan ile reportaj yaptim ve bircok spor yildiz ile da reportaj yaptim. Cocukken bir defa gelecek bir futbol yildiz ile oynadim (ona Dunya Kupasi’nda oynadi, ve sonra Bundesliga bir yildiz oldu), ve gencken memleketimde Amerikan futbolu kurdum ve ligde oynadim . .

16/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, bu gun tam kirk dokuz yil once Amerikan askerleri yaklasik bes yuz tane Vietnamli sivil kimse katletti, ve cok tecavuz ve iskence yapti. Kurbanlarin cogu cocuklar, kadinlar ve yaslilar oldu. Amerikan askerlerina karsi hic bir atis yapilmadi. Ondan sonra yaklasik tum yil boyunca buyuk bir ortbas vardi, ve bu tepeyi ulasti, baskanlar Lyndon Johnson ve Richard Nixon bu problem kabul etmedi. sonunda, on dokuz yuz altmis dokuz yilin sonunda genc arastirmaci gazeteci Seymour Hersh bu haberi patlatti. Ilginc bir sekilde Hersh neredeyse yarim yuzyil sonra calismaya devam ediyor, ve Suriya Savasi daha onemli haberi patlatti. Sonraki yilda on dort Amerikan askeri sucladi, fakat sadece bir tane mahkum edildi !! Tabii ki bu katliam sadece buzdaginin gorunen ucu. O korkunc savasi boyunca yaklasik iki milyon Vietnamli olduruldu, bes milyon daha yaralandi, ve on bir milyon daha multeci oldu. Amerika komunizm durmaya o savasi katildi, girmeye sahte bayrak Tonkin Korfezi Olay yaratti (Kuzey Vietnam torpido hakkinda buyuk yalan soyledi). Amerika’daki Vietnam Savasi karsi kocaman gosteriler oldu. Nihayet, on dokuz yuz yetmi uc yilinda ABD Vietnam Savas’tan cekildi, ancak sayisiz Vietnamli kurbanlar icin degildi. Yaklasik altmis bin Amerikan askeri Vietnam’da olduruldu. Savastan sonra ABD Vietnami telafi etmedi, yerine Amerikan kahramlar hakkinda bol bol film yapti, ve hem Kambocya’da hem de Laos’ta bombaladi . . .

15/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bu gun tam yuz yil once Rusya’nin son imparator II Nikolay istifa etti. Rusya Birinci Dunya Savasa katildi, sonuc olarak kocaman ayaklanma vardi, ve sonunda askerler grevlere katildi. Bu ‘Bolsevik Devrimi’ olarak bilinen. Yedi ay sonra Nikolay ve tum ailesi bir foto icin siralandi, ancak onlar aldatildi, yerine askerler onlara silahla vurarak oldurdu. Neden? Hadi bastan baslayalim: Otuz yil daha once, on sekiz yuz seksen yedi yilinda, bir genc erkek gazete okurken cok kotu haber ogrendi – onun agabeyi idam edildi. Ona cok kizgin oldu, tabii ki, Car’a karsi intikame yemin etti. O gencin adi Vladimir Ilyic Ilyanov oldu; ancak simdi butun dunya onu ‘Lenin’ olarak biliyor. Universiteden sonra ona Markscilara katildi be Bolsevik (Cogunluk) Partiyi kurdu. Fakat ona tutuklandi ve uc yil icin Siberya’ya gonderdi. Ondan sonra Lenin Bati Avrupa’ya gitti, Almanya’dan devrimci calismasi devam etti – ve cok caliskan bir erkek oldu. Aslinda, Almanya Lenin’e yardim etti, Rusya’yi savastan cikarmak istediler, tabii ki. Birinci Dunya Savas boyunca milyonlarca Rus askerleri olduruldu. Lenin gore eski Car Nikolay ve ailesi idam etmeliydi, boylece herkes anlar – kraliyet ailesi kesinlikle bitti ve asla donmeyecek. Ondan sonra Lenin Sovyet Cumhuriyeti kurdu ve ilk baskan oldu . . .

14/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. On dokuz yuz kirk yilinda Almanya Hollanda’yi isgal etti, sadece bes gun surdu, fakat isgal bes yil sonra devam etti. Hollanda’nin yuz kirk bin Yahudi’sinin temerkuz kamplari gonderildi, onlara gizlemeye cok girisime ragmen. Bu konu hakkinda cok unlu bir kitap var – ‘Anne Frank’in Hatira Defteri,’ mesela. Ona birkac yilda bir evinde gizlendi, ama sonunda bulundu ve temerkuz kampi gonderildi. Anne Frank on alti yasinda olduruldu, dusunuldu, ama gercekten hic kimse bilmiyor, yetmis yildan sonra bu bir gizemini kalir. Sadece Polonya’dan daha fazla Yahudiler sinirdisi edildi. Burada, Hollandalilar ozumsemeye reddetti (ogrencilerin yuzde seksen bes ozumseme belgelerini imzalamayi reddetti, mesela), ve direnis hareketi basladi. Fakat, Alman askerler yuzlerce isyanci idam etti. Alman isgal boyunca Isciler ozellikle cesur oldu ve cok grev yapti. Bunun icin Almanya gida maddeleri durdu, ve isgalin son yili boyunca kitlik vardi, yaklasik otuz bin hayat kaybetti, ozellikli yasli adamlar. Gercekten, Alman isgali altinda Hollanda coz zarar geldi. Toplam iki yuz binden daha kisi olduruldu (yarisi Yahudi), ve Hollanda’nin ekonomi imha edildi, tabii ki. Gercekten Hollanda Ikinci Dunya Savas’in en buyuk kurbanlar arasinda oldu, cok az isbirlikciler oldu, ancak sayisiz kahraman oldu.

13/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Son donemde diller hakkinda bir Youtube dizisi izliyordum. Cok ilginc bir konu. Mesela, neredeyse yuzde elli insanlar Hint-Avrupa bir dil konusur. Hint-Avrupa dilleri Kafkasya’dan geldi, hem Avrupa’ya hem de Hindistan’a yayildi. Turkmenlerden once Turkiye’de Hint-Avrupa dilleri vardi – Yunanca, Farsca ve Hitit dili dahil. Aslinda, bazi uzmanlar gore Hint-Avrupa dilleri Turkiye’den geldi – Kafkasya’dan degildi. Avrupa’da hemen hemen herkes Hint-Avrupa bir dil konusur, buna ragmen bazi istisnalar var – Macarca ve Fince Siberya’nin Ural Daglari’ndan geldi, mesela, ve Baskca bir dil izole dil, Avrupa-Hint dilleri erken tarihe aldi. Baskca Kuzey Ispanya ve Guney Bati Fransa’da konusulan. Galiba Romalilar’dan once Avrupa’nin en buyuk dil Keltce oldu, Orta Avrupa’dan geldi ve Ispanya’ya, Turkiye’ye ve Ingiltere’ye yayildi. Fakat Roma Imparatorlugu boyunca Keltce genellikle kayboldu – Ingiltere ve Kuzey Bati Fransa’da haric. Simdi Iberya’da, Fransa’da, Romanya’da ve Italya’da (tabii ki). mesela, Roman dilleri konusu. Romalilar’dan sonra Alman insanlar Ingiltere’ye gitti, ve simdi Ingilizce bir Alman dili. Muhtemelen Almanca Iskandinavya’dan geldi. Buna ragmen yaklasik bin yil once Fransa Ingiltere’ye isgal etti, ve simdi Ingilizce yaklasik yuzde yirmi Fransizca (resmi Ingilizce cok daha). Bu arada, Farsca da Avrupa-Hint bir dil, ve Iran haric hem Afganistan’da hem de Tacikistan’da konusalan. Kurtce da Farsca benzer. Cok daha sey ogrendim. Hintce ve Urduca yaklasik ayni, mesela, fakat Cince ve Japonca kesinlikle farkli. Ibranice Arapca cok benzer ama Yidce Alman bir agiz var ve Ibranice’den kesinlikle farli. Son bir sey daha: Dogu Afrika’nin Svahili Bantular bir dili, fakat cok Arapca kelime var – Svahili ‘sahil’ demek ki, mesela . .

12/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Ispanya’nin On bir Mart terorist saldirilari iyi hatirliyorum. O felaket on uc yil once oldu, ben Barselona’da oturuyordum, haber geldiginde televizyon izliyordum. Ilk olarak birkac hayat kaybetti dusundu, ve muhtemelen ETA yapti. ETA Bask Ulkesi icin bagimsizlik istiyor ve cok teror saldiri yapti. O gunlerde iki tane Uruguayli ev arkadaslarim vardi, fakat onlar her seyi boyunca uyudu! Adim adim daha haber geldi, olu sayisi cok yukseldi. Sonunda her sey bilindi. On tane bomba vardi, uc tane demiryolu istasyonu vuruldu, ve neredeyse iki yuz hayat kaybetti. Saldiganlar Fasli oldu, ve medya gore bir ‘El Kaide baglantisi’ oldu, ancak dava bu kanit bulamadi (medya bu gercegi goz arti etti). Onlar neden yapti? Galiba cunku Ispanya Irak Savasi destekledi. Aslinda, yuzde doksan Ispanyali o savasa karsi oldu, ancak baskan Joe Maria Aznar bir diktator gibi davrandi (ve sonraki secim kaybetti)! Ne kadar ironik! Ispanya’da neredeyse her kes bir savasa karsi oldu, kocaman gosteriler vardi (ben Barselona’da bir gosteriye katildim, yakalasik bir milyon kisi oldu), fakat baskan ne olursa olsun savasa gitmeye karar verdi, ve sonuc olarak bir terorist saldiri neredeyse iki yuz kisi oldurdu! Maalesef, On bir Mart, iki bin dort cok kotu ve unutulmaz bir gun oldu. Gecmis olsun, Ispanya!

11/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Neandertal insani birkac yuz bin yilda yasadi, ve Cagdas insan kadar zeki, fakat ne hayvancilik ne ciftcilik ogrendi. Ne kadar ilginc! Cagdas insani sadece yuz bin yilda yasiyorduk ve yaklasik on bin yil once hem hayvancilik hem de ciftcilik ogrendik. Ayrica, biz cok karmasik dillar kullaniyoruz, Neandertal insani sadece temel dili kullandi. Fakat Neandertal insani Cagdas insani gibi akilliydi. Onlarin magara resmiler gercek sanat oldu, mesela. Bazi uzman gore Neandertal insani Cagdas insandan daha akilliydi! O yuzden neden onlar magara adamlari kaldi? Ilginc bir teori var: Cagdas insani kurtlari evcillestirmeye basladi. Genellikle Neandertal insani kucuk hayvan avcilar oldu, balikcilar dahil. Ancak Cagdas insani buyuk hayvan avcilar oldu, kurtlar ayni avlari avladi, ve sonunda Cagdas insani ve kurtlar birlikte calismaya ogrendi. Bu sekilde Cagdas insani daha basarili ve saymakla oldu, sonuc olarak yaklasik otuz bin yil once biz Neandertal insani yok ettik.Kurtlardan sonra adim adim diger hayvanlara evcillestirdik, ve artik avlanmaya gerek yoktu. Sonunda yerlesik hayata gectik ve bu sekilde ciftcilik ogrenmeye basladik. Medeniyet bunu takip etti, ve dilimiz cok daha karmasiklastirdi. Bunun icin belki kurtlar Cagdas insani Neandertalleri yenmeye cok yardim etti . .

10/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Inanilmaz bir sekilde Ingiltere Afganistan’da ve Irak’ta savaslarinda oldurulen askerleri ve sivilleri icin bir anit yaratmak istiyor. Afganistan savasi on alti yil once basladi, Irak savasi on dort yil once, ve her ikisi devam ediyor! Aslinda, Afganistan Amerika’nin en uzun dis savasi, Irak savisi ikincidir. Ingiltere hem Afganistan’da hem de Irak’ta Amerika’ya yardim etti. Sonuc olarak milyonlarca hayat kaybetti, on milyonlarca daha hayat yok edildi. Bu arada, hem Amerikan hem de Ingiliz askerler savas suclari isledi – cinayet, iskence ve tecavuz dahil. Bu savaslar neden basladi? Cunku Onbir Eylul Saldirisi’nden sonra ABD ‘Kuresel Terorle Savasi’ acti. O zamandan beri ABD ve Ingiltere butun dunyada savaslari yapabilir. ABD gore Onbir Eylul Saldiri beyni Usame bin Ladin Afganistan’da saklaniyordu, o yuzden NATO o ulkeyi isgal etti. Fakat Amerika onu Pakistan’da oldurdugunu iddia ediyor – ve alti yil sonra Afganistan savasi devam ediyor. ABD ‘kitle imha silahlari’ hakkinda Irak’a saldirdi, o ulkenin baskani olduruldu, ancak kitle imha silahlari bulunmadi. Bu arada, neredeyse butun dunya bu savasa karsiydilar, kocaman gosteriler vardi, ve Birlesmis Milletler gore o savas kesinlikle yasadisi oldu. Galiba ABD o savaslari kazanmak istemiyor, sadece askerleri varligi kalmak istiyor, ve bu seklide butun bolgeyi kontrol ediyor. Bu bir anit hak ediyor mu?

9/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, gecen yil Birlesmis Millerler kadin meclisi gore Israil dunyanin en kotu kadin haklari ihlal eden ulke oldu. Elbette Hem Israil’in hem de Bati Dunya’nin medyasi bu bulgu kesinlikle alay etti. Aslinda, hic bir ciddi makale bulamiyorum. Israil ve Bati Dunya gore Birlesmis Milletler ‘Yahudi Dusmani.’ Ne kadar ilginc! Yetmis yil once kim Israil’i yaratti? Birlesmis Milletler, tabii ki! Israil ve Bati Dunya gore Suudi Arabistan Israil’dan cok daha kotu, mesela. Olabilir. Fakat Bati Dunya da Suudi Arabistan’i cok seviyor! Evet, ABD, Ingiltere, Israil ve Suudi Arabistan cok yakin arkadaslar, ve beraber onlar her gun kadin haklari ihlal ediyor. Aslinda, bu nasil bir iddia? Israil her gun yerli Filistinli kadinlarin haklari ihlal ediyor, ve iki bucuk yil once bombalama olarak yuzlerce kadin ve kiz oldurdu, bunun icin Birlesmis Milletler onu elestirdi. Fakat Israil sorumluluk kabul etmedi, yerine Suudi Arabistan’i sucladi, ve hic bir sey degistirmedi. Gercekten hem Israil’in hem de Bati Dunya’nin medyasi icin Birlesmis Milletler’in bulgulari cok komik bir konu. onlar icin bu problem ciddiye almadi. Suudi Arabistan haric onlar Iran, Suriye ve daha Musluman ulkeleri sucladi. Iran’da demokrasiyi kim yikti? ABD tabii ki. Bu arada, onun medyasi Suriye hakkinda bol bol yalan soyluyor . . .

8/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Su anda orta yasli ogrencim var, biz yaklasik ayni yasimiz, buna ragmen ona yasli bir adam gibi gorunuyor. Ayrica, ona icin Ingilizce kesinlikle zor. Evet, gencler icin dil ogrenme cok daha kolay – ozellikle cocuklar icin. Bunun icin bana gore ben iyi ettim. Otuzlarinda Ispanyolca ogrendim – ve o dil iyi ogrendim, her sey anliyorum. Hizli degildi, iki yilda cok az anladim, fakat siki calistim, okulda haric her yerde Ispanyolca konustum, ve sonunda Ispanyolca ogrendim. Bu arada kirklarinda Turkce ogrendim, ancak bu surec cok yavas oldu. Turkce cok farkli bir dil, ve genellikle neredeyse her yerde Ingilizce kullandim. Sadece sokaklarda (dukkanlar ve lokantalarda, mesela) Turkce kullandim. Ayrica, eskiden dil arkadaslarim vardi, lakin son uc yilda degil. Sonunda bu dil da ogrendim, fakat galiba asla rahat olmayacagim. Fransica da kirklarinda ogrendim, yaklasik bir yil boyunca Istanbul’da bir kursa gidiyordum, simdi Fransizca okuyabilirm ve biraz anliyorum, ancak nasil konusmaya ogrenmedim. Gercekten cocukken farkli bir dil ogrenmek istedim, ama firsat yoktu, memleketimde sadece Ingilizce dil kullanildi. Kendi Kendime yerli dil ogrenmeye calistim ama basarisiz oldu. Universiteken bir Almanca kursa yapmak istedim fakat fazla gec basvurdum. Nihayet seyahat ederken firsatlar geldi, ancak simdi biraz zor…

7/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, dun burada baskanligin suclamalari hakkinda yazdim, ozellikle onun Almanya “Naziler” benzetmesi. Aslinda bu kelime kesinlikle anlamini kaybetti. Su anda eger birini sevmiyorsa, ona bir “nazi” deyin. Tabii ki ona gercek bir Nazi degil, soykirim yapmiyor. Galiba birkac yuz yil sonra bu kelime hala olacak fakat nereden geldi hic kimse hatirlamaz. Su anda kaba insanlar icin “Barbar” kelime kullaniriz, ancak nereden geldi? Orijinal olarak Barbarlar Kuzey Afrika’dan geldi, Yunanca dili konusmadi, ve kendi dili “bar-bar” gibi geldi. Ayrica, su anda ceteciler icin da “Vandal” kelime kullaniriz. Nereden geldi? Orijinal olarak Vandallar Alman bir kabilesi oldu, cok savas yapti, guney Ispanya’da “(v)Endelus” bolgesi kurdu, ve sonunda Kuzey Afrika’da Bizans tarafindan yenildi. Bundan baska, su anda futbol vandallar icin “Holigan’ kelime kullaniriz. Aslinda, orijinal olarak Holiganlar bir Irlandali bir aile oldu, on dokuzuncu yuzyilda yasiyorlardi, ve mafya gibiydi – fakat belki onlar gercek bir aile degildi, sadece bir hikaye oldu – ben bilmiyorum. Bu arada, neden “Nazi” kelime hakaret olarak kullaniriz ama “Ingiliz” veya “Amerikan” degil? Sadece tek fark var: Naziler suclarini Avrupa’da isledi, Ingiliz ve Amerika Avrupa haric neredeyse her yerde suclarini islediler. Ayrica, Naziler cezalandirildi, Ingiltere ve ABD cezasiz kaldi…

6/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Baskanlik cok kizgin, degil mi? Her gun televizyonda onlar cok kizgin bir sekilde konusuyor. Simdi, Almanya’da kiziyor cunku o ulke Turkiye’nin anayasayi degistirmeye kampanyayi kabul etmiyor. Baskanlik Almanya hala “Naziler” olarak davraniyor. Ayrica, Hollanda ve Avusturya bu kampanyayi kabul etmiyor, bunun icin onlar da “Naziler” olmali, degil mi? Bu arada, baskanlik da Yunaninstan’a kiziyor cunku birkac “darbeci” oraya kacti ve Yunanistan onlara devretmedi. Bundan baska, baskinlik ABD ile kizgin cunku Amerikan bir raporunda gore gecen yilin darbe girisemden beri insan haklari sorunlari var. Ayrica baskanlik Kibris ile kizgin cunku o ulke “Baglama Gunu” kutlamak istiyor. Altmis yedi yil once Kibrist’ta halk oylamasi vardi ve yuzde doksan alti kisi Yunanistan’a bagli olmak istedi. Bu arada, baskinlik da Ermenistan ile kizgin cunku Azerbaycan ile catisma devam ediyor. Baskanlik gore Ermenistan “soykirim” yapiyor. Tabii ki baskanlik hem Suriye hem de Rusya ile kizgin, baskanlik Suriye’nin hukumeti kabul etmiyor ve degisiklik talep ediyor. Ne kadar ilginc! On iki yil once buraya geldim ve komsularla “Sifir Sorun” politikasi varda. Cok guzel bir durum, dusundum. Baskanlik sadece Israil’i kizdi. Fakat su anda her sey hemen hemen tam tersi

5/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. America eski baskan George W Bush’u iyilestirmeye cok calisiyor. Bush hakkinda bir film yapildi, Haiti depremden sonra Bush ve Bill Clinton ABD operasyonun yuzu oldu (buna ragmen ABD cok az yapti, Bush ve Clinton kesinlikle hic bir sey yapmadi), Buz Kovasi meydan okumasi boyunca Bush gorunur bir sekilde, ve simdi Bush anti-Donald Trump cogunluga katiliyor – Ellen DeGeneres TV sovunda bu konu hakkinda konustu, ve cok saka yapti. Aslinda Amerika Bush’u iyilestirmeye cok siki calisiyor. Fakat bir problem var: George W Bush kocaman bir savas suclusu, cok yalan soyledi ve Irak’a saldirdi, sonuc olarak bir milyon ve iki milyon arasinda hayat kaybetti – ve on dort yil sonra problemler devam ediyor, neredeyse her gun daha kisi olduruyor. Ayrica, bu savas butun Orta Dogu istikrarsizlastirdi, simdi daha savas var, Suriye’deki mesela. Gercekten Bush ve eski Ingiliz basbakan Tony Blair Lahey’de olmali, onlar kesinlikle Adolf Hitler ve Benito Mussolini benziyor. Fakat hepimiz biliyoruz – Amerikan ve Ingiliz siyasetciler kanunun uzerinde, ne yapmak istiyor, yapabilir. Butun Dunya Irak Savas’a karsiydi, sonuclari hakkinda uyardi. Fakat Bush dinlemedi, ona kesinlikle onem vermedi, Amerika Irak’in benzini istedi. Ne kadar kotu! Inanilmaz bir sekilde, simdi Bush populer olmak istiyor, ve Amerikan medya endustri tum yollara deniyor. Yine de biz baliklar degil, savas suclu birkac sakadan sonra unutulmadi. Biz asla unutmayacagiz

4/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Milliyetcilik ne demek? Bu kavram kesinlikle kabul etmiyorum. Ayrica, o cok yuzeysel gorunuyor. Milliyetcilik cogunluk bir hak sahipligi duygusunu gelistiriyor, fakat azinlik icin haklari kaybedildi demek ki. Somurgeci donemi boyunca Avrupa bu kavram cok kullandi, butun dunyada yeni ulkeler yaratti ve milliyetcilik tesvit etti. Sonuc olarak bir hukumet her sey kontrol ediyor, ancak hukumeti oylari gerekiyor, o yuzden cogunlugun nazini cekmeli. Tabii ki, bircok eski somurgede beyaz insanlar cogunluk var, yerli insanlar sadece azinlik. O yuzden bu sekilde irkcilik devam edebilir, ve bu durum cok guzel dusunuldu cunku “demokrasi” var. Gercekten bu dunyada hic bir sinir yok. Sinirler sadece bir kavram var, sadece bir fikir. Ayrica, sadece Birinci Dunya Savas’tan beri onemli oldu – tek yuzyilda. Onceden ulkeler ve sinirlar onemli degildi, genellikle insanlar nereye gitmek istedi gidebilirdi, pasaportlar ve vizeler yoktu. Ancak Birinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra ulkeler cok daha onemli oldu, ve uluslararasi sporlar bir fenomen haline gelmistir. Olimpiyatlar geri dondu, futbol Dunya Kupasi basladi, stadyumlara on binlerce kisi gitti, ve televizyonda milyonlarca kisi daha izledi. Bu sekilde milliyetcilik cok fazla onemli oldu. Fakat adim adim bu durum degisiyor, belki yuz yil sonra ne ulkeler ne sinirlar olacak – insallah!

3/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, benim icin bu haber surpriz olmada. Tabii ki, ben cok merkezde oturuyorum, ve bu durumun ayrilmaz bir parcasi var. Aslinda burada yedi bucuk yilda oturuyordum ve bunun haricinde cok mutluyum. Su anda iyi ev arkadaslarim var, hic problem yok, cok rahat ediyorum. Fakat su anda biraz kotu sansliyiz cunku cok yakinda kocaman bir insaat alani var ve onlar tum geceler calisiyor. Bir gece once kotu bir kabus gordum, birine tosladi ve o erken beni takip etti. Ben onu yumruk atmaya istedeim ancak gorunmez bir gucu beni durdu. Cok garip bir ruya oldu ve soluk ile aniden uyandim. Cocukkenden beri boyle bir ruya hic gormedim – ve galiba insaat gorultu icin bu ruya gordum. Evet, o saat dort ve bes arasinda, ve hala insaat gurultu devam etti. Ben saat bir bucukta yataga gittim, ve ondan sonra tekrar uyuyamadim, bunun icin butun gun cok yorgun hissettim. Televizyon izledim ve gene sadece siyasetciler vahsi bir sekilde bagiriyordu. Sonunda biraz uluslararasi haber geldi, ama ayni zamanda ezan geldi ve cok yakinda bir cami var. Sonuc olarak stresli oldum, ve bu sagliksiz bir durum. Ayrica, benim yasimda kesinlikle tehlikeli olabilir. Bankaya gittim ve bir kisi cok uzun zaman aldi, ben sabirsiz ve stresli hissetim. Ondan sonra bilgisayarda Mozart’i dinledim, ve bu iyi bir ilac oldu, ondan sonra daha rahat hissettim, masallah!

2/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Birlesmis Milletler bilgi gore Suriye Savas suclari icin her tarafta suclu. Tabii ki, Bati Dunya gore bu Suriye (ve Rusya) ve isyancilar demek. Fakat bu da Amerika, Ingiltere, Fransa, Suudi Arabistan, Israil ve daha ulkeler demek. Bir onemli bir ateskes boyunca, mesela, ABD Suriyeli askerleri bombaladi, birkac saat boyunca devam etti, yaklasik seksen erkek oldurdu, ve ondana sonra “Aman! Hata yaptik!” Fakat o bir hata yoktu, o bir katliam oldu. Maalesef, Suriye Savas kesinlikle bir taseron savasi oldu. Gecen yuzyilin ortasinda ABD iki kez Suriye’nin kontrolunu ele gecirmeye calisti ama basarisiz oldu ve sonuc olarak Suriye ve Sovyetler Birligi ittifak kurdu. Ancak, su anda ABD Rusya’dan cok daha guc ve gene Suriye’nin kontrolunu ele gecirmeye calisiyor. Neden? Birkac sebep var. Ilk olarak ABD benzin ve Israil’in guvenligi icin butun Orta Dogu kontrol etmek istiyor, ikinci olarak Katar Suriye uzerinden bir boru hatti insa etmek istiyor, ucuncu olarak Israil-Suriye sinir mucadelesi var, ve dorduncu olara Suudi Arabistan Suriye’de Sunni hukumeti istiyor (simdi Alevi hukumeti var). Fakat bir defa daha ABD ve onlarin arkadaslari basarisiz oldu, sadece yuz binlerce kisi oldurdu ve milyonlarca multeci yaratti. O yuzden, simdi onlar bol bol propaganda yapiyor

1/3/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Gecen yilda Youtube’de neredeyse butun Muhtesem Yuzyil dizi izledim, yuz bolumden daha, ve sadece Hurrem Sultan’in aktrisi degistiginde durdum. Genellikle televizyon dizileri izlemiyorum, ancak benim icin Osmanli tarihi cok ilginc bir konu, ve Sultan Suleyman donemi boyunca imparatorluk zirveye ulasti. Ayrica, her bolum Turkce’de seyrettim, altyazilar kullanmadim. Hedefim Turkce pratik yapmaya ve kesinlikle yeter anladim. Simdi yeni bir Osmanli donemi hakkinda bir televizyon dizisi basliyor, ve gene merak ediyorum. Galiba gelecek yilda bu diziyi da izleyecegim. Ancak Abdulhamid donemi kesinlikle farkli oldu, Imparatorluk azaliyordu, degil mi? Affet beni, arkadaslarim, ben bir yabanciyim ve sadece ne okudugumu biliyorum, ve bu konu hakkinda sadece Bati versiyonunu okudum. Abdulhamid on sekiz yuz yetmis alti yilinda iktidara geldi ve sonra yil Rusya’yi karsi savas baslatti. Ancak Rusya kazandi ve bu sekilde Romanya, Sirbistan ve Karadag bagimsizligini kazandi. Bu arada, Ingiltere Kibris kiralamaya izin aldi, ve Sudan’in kontrolunu aldi, Ayrica, Girit Adasi Yunanistan’a donemeye istedi, buna ragmen Osmanlilar bu savas kazandi. Baska ilginc bir olay vardi – Abdulhamid Filipinler Muslumanlara “Amerika’yi direnme” soyledi. On sekiz yuz seksen sekiz yilinda Abdulhamid sinirsiz gucu ele gecirdi ve meclisi reddetti. Ondan sonra cok modernizasyon yapti. Fakat azinlik haklari sorunlar oldu, on dokuz yuz bes yilinda suikaste girisimi vardi, ve dort yil sonra Jonturkler onu devirdi. Ondan sonra anayasal kural geri dondu, Herkes cok mutluydu…

28/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Ingiltere, Britanya, Birlesik Krallik – tek ulke icin uc isim var. Ne farki var? Ilk olarak, Ingiltere ‘Anglo Ulke’ demek, Romanlilar’dan Anglo ve Sakson Alman’dan Ingiltere’ye goc etti, ve onlarin dili bugunun Ingilizce temeli oldu. Ancak on birinci yuzyil Fransizlar Ingiltere’yi isgal etti, sonuc olarak yaklasik yuzde yirmi ‘Ingilizce’ kelimeler Fransizca’dan geldi. Bu ‘Latin’ demek ki. Britanya butun adanin isimi, Ingiltere, Iskocya ve Galler dahil. On besinci yuzyilda Ingiltere ve Iskocya kraliyet evliligi ile birlesti. Bunun icin eski Romali isim yeniden kullandi – ‘Britanya.’ Aslinda, Britanya bir Kelt sozu. Antik Yunan zamanlarda bir gezgin kuzey Avrupa’ya yolculuk etti, ve hem kuzey Fransa’da hem de guney Ingiltere’de Kelt kabileler karsilasti. O insanlar mavi dovmeler giydi, kendilerini ‘Prettanike’ (boyali insanlar) olarak adlandirdi. Antik Yunanlilar bu isim kullandi, ve onlardan sonra Romanlilar ayni sey yapti. O yuzden bugun kuzey Fransa’da bir ‘Breton’ bolge var (hem de Britanya). On sekiz yuzyilin baslangicta Britanya Irlanda’yi yonetmeye basladi, ve birlikte olarak onlar ‘Birlesik Krallik’ olarak bilinen. Ancak erken yirminci yuzyilda Britanya Irlanda Cumhuriyetini kaybetti, bunun icin su anda Birlesik Krallik sadece Kuzey Irlanda’yi iceriyor; Irlanda Cumhuriyeti kesinlikle bagimsiz . . .

27/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Amerika’daki neredeyse iki yuz yil once Monroe Doktrini imzalandi, bundan sonra ABD hem Kuzey hem de Guney Amerika Avrupa’dan savunacak. Fakat yaklasik yuz yil sonra, erken on dokuzuncu yuzyilinda, Orta Amerika cok fazla bagimsiz oldu – Nikaragua dahil. O kucuk ve fakir ulke kendi kanal insa etmek istedi, mesela. O yuzden Amerika Nikaragua’ya deniz piyadeleri gonderdi. Tabii ki, Nikaragualilar Amerikan askerleri kabul etmedi ve savas basladi. ABD bombalamaya ucaklar kullandi. Bu yeni bir taktik oldu, ucaklar sadece birkac yil once icat edildi, ve hic kimse savas boyunca ucaklar kullanmadi. Tebrikler, Amerika! Bu sekilde ona sayisiz kisi oldurdu. Nikaragualilar cok sasirdi, fakat onlar cok cesur oldu, Amerika’ya karsi kendine savundu, ve sonunda devrimci lideri Augusto Sandino altinda kazandi – deniz piyadeleri kacti. Yerine ABD baska bir plan yapti, ona Nikaragua’li baskani Anastasio Samoza Garcia destekledi, ve bu sekilde ‘Samoza’ bir diktator oldu. Samoza ailesi butun endustriyi kontrol etmeye basladi, ve bin dokuz yuz otuz dort yilinda baris gorusmeleri boyunca Samoza Sandino’ya ihanet edip oldurdu. Sonra kirk yil boyunca Samoza ailesi ve ‘Sandinista’ isyncilar arasinda korkunc bir ic savasi devam etti, Samoza orduyu kontrol etti ve ABD ona destek verdi. onlar iskence ve tecavuz taktikler olarak kullandi…

26/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Satranc cok seviyorum fakat bu oyun neredeyse yirmi yildan beri oynamadim. Neden? Cunku iyi oynamaya zaman gerekiyor. Aslinda, on uc yasindaydim orta okul sampiyonluk kazandim. Kolay bir degildi, cunku ilk maci kaybettim, ondan sonra cok mac kazanmaliydim, ve sonunda finale geldim. O mac cok uzun ve zordu, iyi hatirliyorum, bitirmeyi bir dersi kacirmaliydik, ve ben kazandim. On alti yadindayken en iyi arkadasimi oynadim, “Ben okul sampiyonluk kazandim,” onu uyardim, ve ona dort hamle beni yendi! Cok utangac hissettim! On sekiz yasindayken baska bir ilginc mac oynadim. O zamanlar arkadaslarimla cok mac oynadim ve genellikle kazandim. Bir arkadasim her zaman aptal olarak oynadi, ve onu ciddiye almadim. Ancak bir kez cok fazla dikkatsiz ettim, ve onu avantaj kazandi, aniden o cok ciddiye olarak oynadi. Bu mac cok zordu, kesinlikle kaybediyordum, daha arkadaslarim izlemeye geldi cunku ben neredeyse hic kaybetmedim. Tek firsatim oldu – onun krali piyonlarinin arkasinda oldu, eger kalem tahtasinin sonu gelebilirse, kazanabilirdim. Ama ufak bir ihmital oldu, cok feda ettim, ve sasirtici bir sekilde ona planimi kesfetmedi, bu mac da kazandim, herkes kesinlikle buz kesildi – rakibim ozellikle! Birkac yil sonra gazetecilik kursu yaptim ve bir sinif arkadasim profesyonel satranc oyuncu oldu. Biz cok mac oynadik ve bir kez haric ona her zaman kazandi. Evet, bir kez o profesyonel oyuncu yendim! Ondan sonra Avustralya’ya gittim ve orada amcamla cok mac oynadim, her zaman zordu fakat ben her zaman kazandim, ve yaklasik on yedi yil once Ingiltere’de iki tane arkadasimla bircok mac oynadim, hepsi kazandim. Ancak o zamandan beri hic mac oynamadim. .

25/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Yine basliyorus, Dun aksam Guney Yarimkuresi’nde sampiyonlar ligi ragbi turnuva basladi, sonra alti ay boyunca devam edecek, toplam yuz otuz bes mac olacak. Benim memleketim, Wellington, son sampiyon oldu. Bu turnuva yirmi iki yil once basladi, ve gecen yil Wellington ilk kupa kazandi. Evet, bu Guney Yarimkure bir turnuva var, ama bir tane Tokio takimi var cunku sonra Ragbi Dunya Kupasi Japon’da olacak, bunun icin o ulke hazirlamali. Yarin Wellington Tokio‘daki ilk mac oynayacak. Yeni Zelanda’dan dort tane daha takim var, Auckland, Canterbury, Waikato ve Otago. Canterbury en basarili takimdir, yedi tane kupa kazandi. Guney Afrika’dan alti tane takim var, ancak sadece Pretoria’nin Kuzey Transvaal turnuva kazandi – ve onlar uc tane kupa kazandi. Avustralya’dan bes tane takim var, baskent Canberra iki kez sampiyonlar oldu, Sidney bir kez ve Brisbane bir kez. Melbourne ve Perth hic kupa kazanmadi. Sonunda Arjantin’deki tek takim var, Buenos Aires. Tokio gibi onlar sadece gecen yil bu turnuvayi katildi. Tokio bu turnuvanin en buyuk sehiri, nufusu yaklasik otuz sekiz milyon, Buenos Aires ikinci, nufusu on iki milyon yedi yuz bin, ve Sidney ucuncu, nufusu bes milyon. Otago bu turnuvanin en kucuk bolgesi, sadece yuz otuz bin kisi var, Waikato ikinci en kucuk, nufusu neredeyse uc yuz bin, Wellington, Canterbury ve Canberra yaklasik dort yuz bin kisi var.

24/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Suriye Savasi neden basladi? Amerikan propaganda gore o Arap Bahari ile basladi. Fakat ogrenciler ve feministler Amerikan silahlarla ve araclarla teroristlere donusmadi. Bu fikir kesinlikle sacma. O ogrenciler ve feministler kurbanlarini basini kesiyor ve diri diri yakiyor mu? Tabii ki degil. Isyancilar parali askerler ve cihatcilar oldu, Arap Bahari gostericiler degil. O yuzden, gercekten Suriye Savasi neden basladi. Birkac sebep vardi. Ilk olarak, Katar Suriye’de bir boru hatti insa etmek istedi fakat Suriye bu proje kabul etmedi. Ikinci olarak, Suudi Arabistan Iran’dan Lubnan’a ‘Sii Hilal’ imha etmek istiyor. Ucunu olarak, Suriye ve Israil arasinda Golan Tepeleri hakkinda tartisma var ve Birlesmis Milletler Suriye destekledi. Dorduncu olarak, ABD butun Orta Dogu kontrol etmek istiyor, eger ona bir demokrasi kontrol edemez, savas yapar ve ondan sonra diktator veya kukla hukumeti impoze eder. Aslinda, ABD uzun zamandan beri Suriye’yi kontrol altinda tutmaya calisiyordu. Bin dokuz yuz kirk dokuz yilinda ABD Suriye’deki bir darbe duzenlemeye yardim etti. Dort yil sonra ABD ve Ingiltere Iran’deki ayni sey yapti, ve on dokuz yuz ell yedi yilinda Suriye’deki gene calisti. Fakat bu kez onlar basarisiz oldu ve sonuc olarak Suriye Sovyet Birligi ile ittifak kurdu. Bu anlasma Soguk Savasi boyunca devam etti, ve Suriye’deki onemli bir Rus deniz ussu var. Fakat su anda Sovyet Birligi yok, elbette, ve ABD Rusya’dan cok daha guclu. Eski Amerikan komutani Wesley Clark gore ABD on bir Eylul saldirisindan sonra birkac Orta Dogu ulkeyi saldirmaya plani yapti – Afganistan, Irak, Libya ve Suriye dahil. Ancak bu defa Amerika basarisiz oldu, bunun icin ona bol bol propaganda yapiyor, Rusya’yi her sey icin sucluyor

23/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Haritalar cok yaniltici olabilir ve cografya cok yanlis fikir var – memleketim dahil. Yeni Zelanda kucuk mi? Ben oyle dusunmuyorum. Tabii ki, Yeni Zelanda cok buyuk degil, dunyada sadece yetmis altinci en buyuk ulke (Turkiye otuz yedinci), ancak Avrupa’da sadece Rusya, Fransa, Ukranya, Ispanya, Almanya ve Italya Yeni Zelanda’dan daha buyuk, ve Italya sadece birazcik. Yeni Zelanda Birlesik Krallik’tan daha buyuk. Ayrica, Yeni Zelanda kuzeyden guneya ve Turkiye dogudan batiya yaklasik ayni uzunlukta. Bu arada, Yeni Zelanda Avustralya’ya yakinda degil, Istanbul’dan Berlin’e kadar yaklasik ayni – iki bin iki yuz kilometre veya ucakla uc saat. Yeni Zelanda da cok guney gorunuyor, degil mi? Aslinda, bizim en guney sehir (Queenstown) Ekvator’dan Milano ve Montreal ayni uzaklik. Yeni Zealanda’nin Guney Adasi’nda en buyuk sehir, Christchurch, Ekvator’dan Monako ve Bukres ayni, Yeni Zelanda’nin baskenti, Wellington (benim memleketimi) Ekvator’dan Istanbul ve Barselona ayni, ve bizim en buyuk sehir, Auckland, Ekvator’dan Kas ve Las Vegas ayni. Bu arada Yeni Zelanda’nin en kuzeydeki noktasi, ve Sydney, Buenos Aires ve Cape Town, Ekvator’dan Los Angeles, Kazablanka ve Beyrut ayni uzaklik. Dunya’nin en guney sehir, Patagonya’daki Ushaia, Ekvator’dan Moskova, Kopenhag ve Edinburgh ayni.

22/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, Istanbul’da gurultunden kacis yok. Evime yakinda buyuk bir insaat alani var, insaat butun gece devam eder – her gece. Son iki gece boyunca kornaya cok basildi, neden bilmiyorum, ancak bu davranis kesinlikle mantiksiz ve kaba. Sonunda bir bayan pencereden bagirdi – cocuklar icin sikayet etti. Fakat isciler sadece guldu ve devam etti. Ben uykusu kactim – ve onsan sonra sabah namazi geldi. Cami cok yakinda, hoparlor kullanildi, ve bu da cok yuksek ses. Bana gore ihtiyac yok. Eger insanlar dindar varsa, onlar dinliyor, saat yedi’de hoparlor icin ihityac yok, herkese dindar degil, ve herkese uyandirmaya gerek yok. Ben aksamlar calisarim, yaklasik saat bir bucukta yataga giderim, saat dokuz bucukta kalkarim. Sabahlar televiyon izlerim ancak su anda ayni problem var – sik sik siyasal konusmalar var, ve siyasetciler cok gurulutu sesle bagirir. Benim izin gunum her ogle yemegi icin her zaman Cihangir’e giderim, orada iyi bir lokanta var. Fakat o lokanta bir kavsak yakinda ve suruculer her zaman kornaya basar. Genellikle ihtiyac yok, bu sadece bir iletisim tarzi, onlar sabirsiz ve sinirli, bunun icin herkesi rahatsiz eder. Bu arada, erkekler telefonlarina bagirir – lokantada dahil. Galiba onlar icin gurultu guclu demek. Belki ben sadece yaslaniyorum

21/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Su anda arkeologlar genellikle kabul eder – insanlar ve Neandertal melezledi. Fakat bu surec hem zor hem yavas oldu, genellikle basarisiz oldu, ancak zaman zaman basarili oldu. Sonuc olarak Afrikalilar haric bugunun insanlari bir parca Neandertal DNA var – yaklasik yuzde iki bucuk. Bu surec Avrasya’da oldu, ozellikle Avrupa’da, yaklasik yetmis bin ve kirk bin yil once arasinda. Sonuc olarak, Neandertal soyu tukendi. Aslinda, insanlar Neandertalleri oldurdu, biz daha uzun boylu ve daha atletik oldu, ve bizim silahlar daha buyuk. Ancak kesinlikle biraz melezleme vardi. Bu arada, bilim insanlari yeni bir teori var – insanlar Neandertal’dan birkac hastalik miras almis olabilirdi – tutun bagimlilik, depresyon ve temriye, mesela. Kalp krizi ve kan pihtisi Neandertallerle melezleme da neden olabilir. Fakat bu teori ile buyuk bir problem var – Afrikalilar Neandertallerle melezlemedi, buna ragmen onlar da tutun bagimlik, depresyon ve temriye ceker, onlar da kalp krizi ve kan pihtisi gecirir. Bu arada, Asyalilar doguya devam ediyordu ve orada Denisova ve daha ilkel insanlarla melezledi. O yuzden, bu teori paramparca gorunuyor. Aslinda, birkac yil once cok ilginc bir kitap okudum, ‘Tufek, Mikrop ve Celik.’ Yazar Jared Diamond gore insanlar ciftlik ve evcil hayvanlardan cok hastalik aldi – ineklerden kizamik ve tuberkuloz aldik, ve domuzlardan ve ordeklerden grip, mesela . . .

20/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, altmis bes yil once ABD ve Avrupa bir askeri ittifak kurdu. Neden? Cunku Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra Soguk Savasi basladi. Tabii ki, ABD Nato’yu kontrol ediyordu, Avrupa sadece emirleri izliyordu. Bati Dunya propaganda gore Nato sadece bir savunma anlasmasi. Dogru mu? Sovyetler Birligi butun Dunya’yi kontrol etmek istedi mi? Fakat kim Afrika’yi, Guney Dogu Asya’yi ve Latin Amerika’yi bombaladi? Kim yuz otuz dort ulkede toplam dokuz yuz askeri usleri var? Tabii ki Sovyetler degil. Ayrica, Sovyetler Birligi ceyrek yuzyil once gozden kayboldu. Evet, tam yirmi bes yil sonra Nato devam ediyor! Bunun icin – gercekten – Nato ne yapiyor? Hadi bu bakalim: On bir Eylul terorist saldirilardan sonra Nato Afganistan’a istila etti. Bu savas on alti yilda devam ediyordu, zaten bitirmedi, ve simdiye kadar yaklasik otuz bes bin hayat kaybetti, yarim milyon multeci var. Ondan sonra ABD ve Ingiltere Irak’a istila etti. Onlar Saddam Huseyin hakkinda cok yalan soyledi, ve haksiz savas yapti. On dort yil sonra bu durum devam ediyor, simdiye kadar en az bir milyon kisi olduruldu – ozellikle cocuklar ve kadinlar. Bu kesinlikle soykirim benziyor, degil mi? Ondan sonra Nato Muammer Kaddafi hakkinda cok yalan soyledi ve Libya’yi istila etti. Alti yil sonra bu savas devam ediyor, simdiye kadar yaklasik yirmi iki bin hayat kaybetti ve sayisiz multeci var. Ayni zamanda, Nato Suriye’deki bir vekalet savasi duzenledi, bu sekilde yarim milyon kisi daha oldurdu ve neredeyse bes milyon multeci daha yaratti…

19/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Romanimin ikinci taslagi hemen hemen bitirdim. Bu proje biraz buyuk – yaklasik bes yuz sayfa. Birinci taslak neredeyse bir yil once basladim ve birkac ay once bitirdim. Ondan sonra ikinci taslak basladim, ama gercekten her sey yeniden yazdim. Genellikle yazin yazmiyorum, tatile cikarim ve denizde yuzerim. Ancak gecen yil tatile cakmadim, denizde yuzmedim, sadece yazmaya devam etmek istedim. Ikinci taslaktan sonra her sey duzenleyecegim. Bu benim normal rutinim. Galiba yaklasik iki ay daha ihtiyaci var, ilkbaharda bitercegim. Ondan sonra romanim bir yayineviye gonderecegim ve cevap icin bekleyecegim – ve sonraki projemi planlayacagim. Bu arada is yeride yeni donem basladi. Iyi programim var, bu donem daha saatler calisacagim ve umarin biraz para biriktirecegim. Evimde da her sey cok iyi, yeni Fransiz ev arkadasim yerlestirdi, ona iyi erkek gorunuyor. Ancak ev sahibi faturalar icin kesinlikle cok fazla para aliyor. Gecen ay toplam neredeyse bes yuz lira odedik! Bunun icin daha dikkatli olmaliyiz, belki internette her sey kontrol edebiliriz. Bu arada, soguk hava devam ediyor, geceler ozellikle soguk, buna ragmen gunes var ve haber gore yarin on iki derece ulasacak. Kis mevsimi bir ay daha devam edecek, resmi olarak ilkbahar Mart sonunda baslayacak . . .

18/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. ABD dunyanin en buyuk propaganda endustrisine var. Onun yaygin medya, film ve televizyon yuz milyonlarca kisi ulasiyor – ve su anda yurt disinda yuz milyonlarca daha. Baska bir ulke bunun icin yeter para veya arzu yok.Sadece Ingiltere buna yaklasiyor. Tabii ki ona psikolojik savasi onculuk etti. Eger butun dunya isgal etmek ve hukmu altina almak istiyorsa, ve bu sekilde onlarin kaynaklar kontrol ederse ve kendi kulturu dayatmak istiyorsa, ilk olarak bu kabul etmeye halki beyin yikamalisi. O yuzden Amerika icin propaganda cok onemli, ve ona bu endustrinde kesinlikle cok para harciyor. Cocukken memleketimde her zaman kovboy filmleri izledim, beyazlar iyi adamlar oldu, Kizilderililer barbarlar. Bu kesinlikle kasitli oldu, ABD kendi tarihi yeniden yazdi ve her kese beyin yikmaya calisti. Gencken memleketimde her zaman Vietnam Savasi filmleri izledim, ayni sey oldu, Amerikan askerler iyi adamlar, Vietnamcalar barbarlar. Su anda Orta Dogu Savaslari filmleri var, ve ona da kesinlikle ayni, Amerikan askerler iyi adamlar, Muslumanlar barbarlar. Bu sekilde ABD cok nefret ogretiyor, cunku nefretle insanlar kontrol edebilir. Bu arada onun yaygin medya gore Amerika her zaman iyi sey yapiyor, Rusya her zaman kotu sey yapiyor. Maalesef, simdi sonuc gorebilirim – cok Amerikanlar ve Ingilizler Rusya’dan nefret ediyor.

17/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Haber gore Harvard Universitesi bir bilim ekibi donmus orneklerden DNA ile mamutlar soyu tukenmeden geri getirdi. Cok ilginc, degil mi? Mamutlar yaklasik dort bin bes yuz yil once soyu tukendi. Halbuki, buyuk ahlaki soru var, biz tanri’yi oynayormuyuz? Mamutler neden soyu tukendi? Galiba iki sebep vardi – insanlar ve iklim degisikligi. Cagdan insan yaklasik yetmis bin yil once Afrika’dan geldi, Avrasya’ya gitti ve sonunda hem Avustralya’ya hem de Amerika’ya ulasti. Biraz sonra, cok tur hayvanlar soyu tukendi. Ayrica, degi tur insanlar soyu tukendi – Neandertal ve Denisova, mesela. Aslinda mamutlar ve yunlu gergedenler Amerika’ya ulasti – ve onlara insanlar ve kilic disli kaplanlar takip etti. Mamutlar yunlu Asyali filleri benziyordu (Afrikali filleri daha az). Mamutlar Buzul Cagi boyunca evrim gecirdi, o zamanlarda cok daha soguk, tabii ki. Fakat son Buzul Cagi yaklasik yedi bin yil once bitirdi. O yuzden, mamutlar icin bugunun dunya uygun degil, simdi kurel isinma problem var. Tabii ki, mamutlar Siberya’da veya Kanada yasayabilir – fakat neden? Onlar sadece bizim eglence icin geri getirilecekler mi? Ondan sonra baska bir tur havan canlandiracagiz mi? Bu arada, her yil yuzlerce tur hayvan soyu tukenir. Galiba eski tur hayvanlar canlandirmadan once, bugunun tehlikedeki turler hayvandan endise etmeliyiz . .

16/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Eski Ingiliz basbkan Winston Churchill kesinlikle cok korkunc bir savas suclusu oldu. Ingiliz Imparatorlugu altinda Hindistan’da bircok kotu kitlik oldu, bir tane boyunca yaklasik dort milyon hayat kaybetter, ancak Churchill yiyecek gondermeyi reddetti. Bu kesinlikle soykirim oldu. Ayrica, Kanada yiyecek gondermek istedi, fakat Churchill izin vermedi. Ona cok irkci bir adam oldu, Hintliler’den nefret etti. Genc asker olarak ona hem Afganistan’a hem de Sudan’a gitti ve karliamlara katildi. Ona Kuzey Irlanda’da Ingiliz yonetimiye destkledi, ve Arabistan’da ona Suudi ailesine destekledi – ve bu sekilde Vahabi terorizm gelistirmeyi yardim etti. Birinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra devlet bakani olarak Churchill Irak’i bombaladi ve kimyasal silahlar kullandi. Ikinci Dunya Savas boyunca Yunanistan’da Churchil altinda Ingiliz ordu yirmi sekiz kommunist gostericiye oldurdu. Ikincia Dunya Savas’tan sonra basbakan olarak Churchill Iran’in ilk demokratik hukumeti devirmek yardim etti cunku Ingiltere o ulkenin benzin endustrisiye kontrol etmeye devam etmek istedi.Bu arada, Kenya’da Ingiliz ordu temerkuz kamplari insa etti, sayisiz kisi oldurdu, ve hem iskence yapti hem de tecavuz etti. Bu arada ona Filistin’de siyonizmi destekledi ve Guney Afrika’da irk ayrimiye destekledi

15/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Filistinli Sosyolog ve yazar Salim Tamari gore Birinci Dunya Savas boyunca altidida bir kisi olduruldu. Onun ‘Birinci Dunya Savasin Hikayeleri ve Orta Dogu’nun yaratisi’ adli yeni kitabinda. Tamari ‘Ingiliz ablukari icin kitlik ve hastalik vardi, sonuc olarak on binlerce Suriyeliler olduruldu – Almanya’dan daha, Ingiltere’den daha, Fransa’dan daha, Belcika’dan daha. Aslinda, Suriye-Lubnan-Filistin bolgesinde en kotu guzluk vardi. Bu arada, ordu tum urunleri aldi. Tamari bunu bugunun felaketi benzetiyor. Tamari o zamanlardan romanlar ve otobiyografiler okudu. Ayrica, o zamanlardan bircok kisinin gunlukler ve anilar inceledi. Tabii ki, Birinci Dunya Savas’tan once o bolge Osmanli Imparatorlugu icinde oldu, ancak savasta sonra Ingilzer ve Fransizlar kenarlik cizdi, ve bu sekilde buyuk bir barut ficisi yaratti. Sonunda Suriye Fransa’dan bagimsizlik aldi, fakat ondan sonra ABD bir darbe duzenledi. Fakat o darbe basarisiz oldu, ve ondan sonra Baas Partisi iktidara geldi, ve Suriye Sovyetlere yaklasti. Bin dokuz yuz yetmis bir yilinda Hafiz Esad baskan secildi ve neredeyse otuz yilda devam etti. Iki bin yilinda ona oldu, ve onun oglu Besar Asad baskan secildi. Suriye’de en cok kisi Sunniler, ancak yuzde on dort Sii – ve Asad ailesi Allawite (Alevi) gibi . . .

14/2.17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Alti yil once Sudan’da korkunc bir ic savasi oldu. Kuzey Sudan genellikle Musluman, Guney Sudan gennellikle Hristiyan. Baskent Hartum Kuzey Sudan’da, ancak Guney Sudan’da cok benzin var. Bunun icin ABD Guney Sudan destekledi ve onun sozcusu Hollwood yildiz George Clooney oldu. Neden Clooney? Galiba cunku Irak Savas’tan sonra Amerikan siyasetciler guven kaybetti. Bati medya gore Kuzey Sudan her sey kontrol etti ve Guney Sudan ozgurluk istedi. Sonunda ateskes vardi ve Guney Sudan bagimsizlik kazandi. Maalesef, ondan sonra Guney Sudan korkunc kabile savaslarina dustu – ozellikle Dinkalar ve Nuerler arasinda. Guney Sudan nufusunun ucte biri Dinka ve yuzde on alti Nuer. Eski Birlesmis Milletler genel sekreter Ban ki Moon gore soykirim risk var, zaten binlerce hayat kaybetti ve yaklasik uc milyon kisi yerinden var. Afrika Birligi gore hem iskence hem de tecavuz siradan – ve yamyamlik dahil. Yine de simdiye kadar Birles Milletler hic bir sey yapmadi ve Bati Dunyada bu felaket hakkinda cok az haber var. Bin sekiz yuz doksan alti ve bin dokuz yuz elli bes yillara arasinda butun Sudan Ingiliz yonetimi altinda oldu, be bu sekilde problemleri yaratti. Bagimsizliktan beri Guney Sudan baskani Salva Kiir Mayardit oldu, ona bir Dinka.

13/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, Ingiliz Imparatorlugu neredeyse butun dunyada cok kotu sey yapti, sayisiz kisi oldurdu, iskence yapti ve tecavuz yapti, cok arazi caldi ve kendi ideolojisi, dini, kulturu ve dili dayatti. Fakat Ingiltere asla sorumlu tutmadi, onlar gore Ingiltere butun dunya medenilestirdi cunku Avrupali olmayan insanlar sadece barbarlar oldu. Ne kadar ironik! Ingiliz Imparatorlugu sayisiz kisi oldurdu, iskence yapti ve tecavuz yapti – ancak onlar gore yerliler barbarlar oldu!! Evet, Ingiltere’de ne sucluluk ne utanma var, onlar hala cok kibir. Ayrica, Ingiltere hic degismedi, ona yirmi birinci yuzyilinda ayni sekilde devam ediyor, fakat su anda sadece ABD’nin yardimci olarak. Orta Dogu’da son yirmi bes yil boyunca ABD ve Ingiltere cok Musluman ulkelere saldirdi, mesala, milyonlarca kisi oldurdu – ve onlarin askerleri kesinlikle iskence ve tecavuz yapti. Bu arada, bir Amerikan arkadasim Facebook’ta bu makale paylasti, Ingiltere’nin Jamaikali kole ticareti hakkinda. Ingiltere Afrika’dan Karayiplere yaklasik on ve on bes milyon kisi yollada, ve yolda en az iki milyon hayat kaybetti. Tabii ki, kurtulanlar icin hayat cok zor oldu, idam ve iskence cok siradan oldu. Nihayet kolelik yasaklandi, masallah. Halbuki, Ingiltere koleleri hic tazmin etmedi, sadece koleler sahiplerini tazmin etti. Bu da cok ironik . . .

12/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bu yil diyetim cok degistirdim. Gercekten iki ay once cok hastaydim cunku cok fazla pizza yedim. Hatirliyormusunuz? En sevdigim lahmacun lokantasi biktim ve farkli bir yer aradim, ama iyi bir yer bulamadim, o yuzden her gun ogle yemegi icin pizza yedim. Bu cok tehlikeli, tabii ki. Ben orta yasliyim. Elbette hastaydim, mesaj aldim, ve o zamandan beri cok daha dikkatliydim. Ne degistirdim? Hadi bakalim: Ilk olarak pizza biraktim, tabii ki. Ayni zamanda kucuk bir lokanta buldum, orada daha saglikli yemek var, pilav ve kuru fasulya mesela. Ayrica, o yer pahali degil, lahmacun loktantasindan daha ucuz. Bir gun corba ve tavuklu pilav yiyorum, sonra gun corba ve kuru fasulye. Sadece on lira oduyorum. Cok sansliyim! Ayrica, evde daha az ekmek yiyorum. Fakat ton baligi, karnibahar, bruksel lahanasi ve sogan yemeye basladim. Aslinda, her sey cok lezzetli, bu yillar once yapmaliydim! Bu arada, alkol biraktim, yerine sadece su iciyorum. Sonuc olarak cok daha saglikli hissediyorum ve galiba sorunlarim bitti. Ancak devam etmeliyim, bu sadece bir rejim degil, bu yeni bir yasam tarzi. Benim yasimda diyet cok onemli. Agirlik da cok onemli, birkac kilo kaybetmeliyim, buna ragmen zayiflamak daha zor bir sey. Yemegimi degistirebilirim, ama yemekten birakmak baska bir sey . . .

11/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Pasifik adalardan cok ilginc haber geldi, Melanezyali insanlar bilinmeyen bir atadan DNA var. Antropologlar gore dort tane buyuk insan irk var – Afrikali, Avrupali, Dogu Asyali/Kizilderililer ve Guney Asyali/Avustralasyali – Melanezyali dahil. Fakat Guney Asyalilar Kafkasya’dan Avrupalilar ile melezledi (bu sekilde Hint-Avrupa dil ailesi basladi), ve Guney Dogu Asya’da onlar Dogu Asyalilar ile melezledi (bu sekilde Polinezyalilar gelisti). DNA testleri her sey dogruladi, ama simdi bu hakkinda cok daha ogreniyoruz. Bir teori gore dort buyuk irk var cunku on binlerce yil once insanlar farkli ilkel insan turleriyle melezledi. Avrupalilar yuzde iki bucuk Neandertal DNA var, mesela, ve Asyalilar yaklasik ayni miktar Denisova insani DNA var. Ancak neden Dogu Asyali ve Guney Asyali/Avustralasyali cok farkli? Simdi cevabi bulmus olabilir. Yeni haber gore Pasifik adalarda farkli bir ilkel insan tur vardi. Bu arada Afrikalilar farkli ilkel insan turleriyle melezlemedi, cunku butun bunlar Avrasya’da oldu. Halbuki, Afrika’da farkli irklar var, tabii ki. Herkes zenci degil. Kuzey Afrikalilar Orta Dogu insanlar benziyor, Madagaskar’in yerliler Guney Dogu Asya’dan geldi (inanilmaz bir sekilde) ve Polinezyalilari benziyor, ve Guney Afrika’nin yerliler San Busmen – kucuk bir izole irk.

10/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, Amerika kesinlikle bir imparatorluk. Onun askeri yuz otuz ulkede bulundu, ve dokuz yuz ABD askeri usler var (Amerika disinda). Bu surec Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra basladi. Elbette, ABD hem Birinci Dunya Savas hem de Ikinci Dunya Savas boyunca cok zenginlestirdi, ona her ikisi tarafla is yapti ve cok silah satti. Kim baskan onemli degil – Trump, Obama, Bush, farketmez – hepsi ayni, dis politika degistirmiyor. Imparatorluklar ne yapiyor? Tabii onlar diger ulkelere isgal ediyorlar, onun kaynaklar kontrol ediyorlar, ve kendi ideolojilerini dayatiyorlar. Bunun icin herkes Ingilzce konusuyor (ve aptal Amerikan televizyon programlarina izliyor). Bu arada, imparatorlugun dusmanlari seytanlastirildi ve imha edildi. O yuzden propaganda cok onemli. Simdi Amerikan haberi gore Suriye’de korkunc iskence odasi bulundu. Bundan cok supheliyim. Amerikan haberi gore hem Irak’ta hem de Libya’da da korkunc iskence odalari bulundu. Diger bir deyisle, tum dusmanlari iskeneci gibiydi. Evet, her dusmanlar Nazi gibiydi, ve ABD askeri guvenilir arkadaslar, onlar ozgurluk ve demokrasi icin kavga ediyor. Bu arada Halep’te toplu mezar bulundu, ISID kesinlikle bu yapti, ama Amerikan medya icin bu haber ilginc degil. Neden? Galiba ABD ve ISID dusmanlar degil .

9/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Onumuzdeki hafta is yerideyimde bahar donemi baslayacak. Tabii ki henuz ilkbahar degil, simdi tam orta kis ortasi, yaklasik alti hafta daha devam edecek, ve bu hafta sonu daha kar yagmur olabilir. Ancak is yerideyimde mevsimler erken gelir, ve ben baska bir donum noktasina ulastim – alti yilda ayni is yeride calisiyordum. Evet, iki bin on bir yilinda bahar mevsimi boyunca basladim. Ayrica, benim icin yeni bir rekor var. Son is yerideyimde hemen hemen alti yilda calisiyordum – ama pek degil. Bundan once uc buyuk yilda ayni is yeride hic calismadim. Gencken fabrikalar, insaat alanlari ve ambarlarda calistim, genellikle ayni is yeride sadece birkac ay kaldim, sadece bir depoda bir yildan fazla calistim, cunku iyi is arkadaslarim vardi.Yirmili yaslarimda tezgahtar olarak ayni buyuk magazada da yaklasik bir bucuk yilda calisiyordum. Fakat cok sikici oldu, bunun icin universiteye gittim. Ondan sonra gazeteci olarak calistim. Ilk isim cok kucuk bir koy oldu, isimi begendim, cok ogrendim, her konu hakkinda yazdim – ve fotograflar cektim! Ancak patronum cok kotuydu, sadece sekiz ay aldim. Ikinci isim ayni, fakat patronum cok iyiydi (ve fotograflat cekmedim). Sonunda baska bir is teklif geldi, spor gazeteci olarak calismaya baska bir kasabaya gittim – ve orada uc bucuk yilda kaldim. Ondan sonra Avrupa’ya geldim, birinci yilda garson olarak calistim, her birkac ay isim degistirdim. Ikinci yilda Ingilizce ogretmenlik kursu yaptim, ondan sonra Ispanya’da ogretmen olarak calistim, fakat orada benim rekoru sadece iki yil oldu…

8/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Fransa secimleri kim kazanacak? Tam simdi asiri sag parti aday Marine Le Pen kazanmak icin favori olmali. Baska bir sag kanat aday Francois Fillon bir finansal skandala karismis buldu. Iddiaya gore onun karisina sahte is icin on bes yil boyunca toplam altmis yuz seksen bin avro aldi. Ayrica, ona kendi cocuklarini ise yerlestirmeye siyasal parasi kullanmis. Fillon ozur diledi fakat adayliktan cekmedi. O pisliklerin kurbani oldu, soyledi. Aslinda, Fransa’da bu yasak degil, ancak cok kotu gorunuyor, ve Fillon cok guven kaybetti. Secimler Nisan ve Mayis aylari olacak. Skandaldan once Fillon kazanmak icin favori gorunuyordu, fakat simdi Le Pen ve ortayolcu Emmanuel Macron en iyisi gorunuyor. Macron baskan Francois Hollande’nin eski maliye bakani oldu. Ayrica, ona eski bir bankaci, Rothschild ailesine baglanti var, ve cok supheli gorunuyor. Baska bir ihtimal var – sol kanat parti aday Benoit Hamon. Ona Sosyalist Partisi adayligini kazanda, buyuk bir surpriz oldu. Simdi Hollande altinda Sosyalist Partsi iktidarda. Hollande bes yilda baskan oldu ama yeniden secilmek istemiyor. Bana gore Le Pen kazanacak. Ona Amerikan baskan Donald Trump benziyor, kesinlikle irkci ve kuresellesme karsiti gorunuyor (eski baskan adayi babasi Jean-Marie gibi), buna ragmen kamu oyu yoklamasi gore ona yeter destek olmayacak. Gercekten bu yaris cok acik gorunuyor

7/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Dun memleketimde Waitangi Gunu kutlandi. Waitangi Antlasmasi Ingiltere ve Yeni Zelanda’nin ‘Maori’ yerliler arasinda oldu, bin sekiz yuz kirk yilinda imzalandi, ve o ulkenin kurlusu olarak dusunuldu. Fakat bu antlasma bazi yerliler kabul etmedi. Ayrica Ingiliz versiyon ve Maori tercume kesinlikle farkliydi. Ingiliz versiyon gore Ingiltere yonetme hakki sahip olacak – Maori’nin arazisi dahil Sonuc olarak, savaslar vardi. Yaklasik kirk yil boyunca Ingiltere ve Maori arasinda devam etti. Savastan once yaklasik iki bin yuz yerliler oldu, ondan sonra sadece yaklasik on bes bin. Bu soykirim beziyor, degil mi? Ondan sonra kutlurel soykirim vardi, okulda Maori dil yasak oldu, mesela, medya ve eglence endustriler sadece Ingilizce kullandi, ve yer ismiler (sikici) Ingilizce olarak degistirdi. Bu arada yerliler hukumete karsi toplam iki binden fazla dava acildi. Ayrica, son elli yil boyunca Waitangi Antlasmasi hakkinda cok gosteriler oldu. Yeni Zelanda’nin nufusu yaklasik yuzde seksen Ingiliz, yuzde on dort Maori, buna ragmen safkan yerliler cok nadir, belki bitmis (iki tane Maori kiz yegenlerim var, ama onlarin ailesi da Avrupali ve Tahitili). Evet, memletetimde her yil Waitangi Antlasmasiye kutlamaya devam ediyor, evet, fakat bu cok tartismali, ve bu yil basbakan ve daha onemli siyasetci katilmadi.

6/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Suriye Savasi Arap Bahar’dan sonra baslamadi. Bu fikir kesinlikle propaganda ve sacma. Arap Bahar gostericileri ogrenciler ve feministler oldu, mesela. Agir silahlarla isyancilar o savas basladi, onlar Amerikan araclar ve silahlar kullandi, ve terorizm yapti. Ogrenciler ve feministler degildi, tabii ki. Ingiliz gazete Gardiyan gore Amerika ve Ingiltere Arap Bahar’dan birkac yil once Suriye’yi saldirmak icin plan yapmaya basladi. Onun kaynaklari arasinda Pulitzer odulleri kazanan gezeteci Seymour Hersh, eski ABD komutan Wesley Clark, ve eski Fransiz siyasetci Roland Dumas vardi. Neden? Pek cok nedenden dolayi. Ilk olarak, Suriye baskan Bessar Assad cok onemli bir Katar buro hatti projesi kabul etmedi, yerine bir Iran buro hatti projesi kabul etti. Ikinci olarak, Suriye ve Israil arasinda toprak anlasmazligi var (Birlesmis Milletler Suriye’ye destek verdi). Ucuncu olarak, Suudi Arabistan cok rahatsiz cunku Irak Savasi sonucunda Iran’dan Lubnan’a ‘Sii Hilal’ var. Oldukca acik! ABD kac tane rejimin degismesi yapti? Saddam Huseyin’in’Kitle imha silahi’ hatirliyor musunuz? O buyuk yalan icin en azinda bir milyon kisi olduruldu, ve o savas on dort yilda devam ediyordu, soykirim gibi. Muammer Kaddafi’nin ‘soykirim planlari’ hatirliyor musunuz? Bu da buyuk yalan, yuz binlerce hayat kaybetti, ve o savas alti yil devam ediyordu. Gercekten Amerika cok buyuk ve vahsi bir genisleyen imparatorluk

5/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Romanya’dan iyi haber geldi, Hukumet yolsuzluk yapan politikacilar korumaya kanun degisikliklere yapmak istedi, ancak bes gun boyunca kocaman gosteriler oldu, ve nihayet hukumet vazgecti. Tebrikler, Romanya! Genellikle haber kotu, ancak bu kesinlikle iyi haber. Onlar komunist zamanlardan beri en buyuk protestolar oldu. Aslinda, ben on yil once Ramazan boyunca Romanya’ya ziyaret ettim. Istanbul’dan tren binerek gittim, yirmi iki saat surdu, ve hic birsey yemedim! Ramazan icin degil; fakat Sirkeci tren istasyonuna az gec kaldim ve yemek satin almaya vakit yoktu! Ayrica, trende da hic yemek yoktu! Ne kadar kotuydu! Benim kabin arkadaslarim iki tane genc erkekler oldu, Kentucky’den, ve onlar da yemek yoktu! Halbuki, onlar bir sise viski getirdi (elbette)! Bunun icin, butun yolculuk boyunca sade viski ictik! Bukres’te yaptigi ilk sey cok yemek yedik (tren istasyonunda)! Ondan sonra bir otel aradik, fakat biraz gec oldu, ve her yer doldu! Nihayet tek iki yatakli odasi bulduk, ve o paylastik (onlar bir yatak paylasti)! Cok sasirdim – ben biraz Romence okuyabilirdim cunku Ispanyolca biliyorum ve Romence da Latin bir dili. Fakat insanlar kesinlikle anlamadim, aksan cok farkli – Rusca gibi. Bukreste sadece iki gece kaldim, Kentuckyli arkadaslarim Transilvanya’ya devam etti, ve ben Istanbul’a yalniz geri dondum . . .

4/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bu benim on sekizinci yil Avrupa’daki, hem Ispanyalilar hem de Turkler hakkinda cok ogrendim, ayrica hem Cinliler hem de Ruslar hakkinda biraz ogrendim – cunku o ulkelerde kisa bir sure icin calisiyordum. Ayni zamanda Ingilizler ve Amerikalilar hakkinda cok ogrendim. Tabii ki, onlar zaten iyi biliyordum, memleketim yuzde seksen Ingiliz ve benim annem Ingiliz oldu. Bu arada, universitede okumaya Amerika’da iki yil kaldim. Ancak son on yedi yilda Ingilizce ogretmen olarak calistim, ve ogretmenlerin cogu Ingiliz ve Amerikan. Bu sekilde cok daha sey ogrendim. Mesela, siyasal geldiginde onlar tarafini secer, futbol takimlari gibi. Eger bir takim desteklerse, ona kesinlikle yanlis yapmiyor. Fakat rakip takimi dogru bir sey yaptmiyor. Bu cok basit bir perspektif, degil mi? Tabii ki, George Bush’tan sonra neredeyse herkes yeni baskan Barack Obama kabul etti. Nihayet savaslar bitecek, dusunduk. Yanlis, Obama sozlerini tutmadi, da cok savaslar yapti – Bush gibi. Sekiz yil boyunca hic bir sey degistirmedi. Ancak onun taraftalari sessiz kaldi, sikayet etmedi, ve eger baska bir kisi sikayet etseydi, onlar cok kizgin oldu. Bu arada, Obama’nin taraftalari onu neredeyse tapti. Simdi yeni baskan var, Donald Trump, ve ona rakip takimi gibi. Obama’nin taraftalari gore Trump hic dogru sey yapmiyor, her sey kesinlikle kotu olmali. Evet, ona zaten Yemen’i bombaladi, bircok sivil kimse olduruldu, ve bu cok kotu. Ayni fikirdeyim. Fakat Obama ayni sey cok kez yapti – ve sikayetler yoktu. Ne kadar iki yuzlu! Herkes anladi mi? Siyaset bir futbol mac degil, takim zihniyet kesinlikle sacma . .

3/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Turkiye ve Iran arasinda mukayese var mi? Hadi bir bakalim: Ilk olarak, bin dokuz yuz yetmis dokuz yilinda Iran’da bir devrim oldu, dogru. Fakat o bir Islam devrimi yoktu; o bir Amerika’ya karsi devrimi oldu. Neden? Cunku yirmi alti yil boyunca ABD Iran’in petrol endustrisi kontrol etti. Bu arada, ona Iran’in vahsi diktator Muhammed Riza Sah Pehlevi’ye destekledi. Evet, fotograflar gore yetmisler yillarda kadinlar Batili kadin gibi giydi, fakat sadece zengin kadinlar, cunku o zamanlarda en cok Iranlilar fakir oldu – kesinlikle cunku Amerika o ulkenin petrol endustrisini kontrol etti. Demokrasi yoktu, siyasal baski vardi, ve cezaevlerinde cok iskence oldu. Gercekten en cok Iranlilar icin o zamanlarda cok kotuydu. Aslinda, bin dokuz yuz elli uc yilinda Iran ilk demokratik baskani secti. Onceden Ingiltere onun benzini kontrol etti, ama yeni baskan Muhammed Musaddik o endustrisini kamulastirdi. Ingiliz baskan Winston Churchill cok kizgin oldu, ABD ile konustu, ve CIA bir hukumeti darbe duzenledi. Sah Pehlevi surgunden dondu, ABD petrol endustrisini kontrolu ele aldi, ve Ingiltere sadece kucuk bir rol aldi! Bu sekilde, Amerika Iran’i da kontrol etti. Eger bir demokrasi itaatsiz ise, ABD bir diktator kuruyor. O yuzden, bu durum Turkiye’ye nasil benziyor?

2/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, arkadaslarim, Bati Dunya’da feminizm da istismar edildi, savaslari haklicikarmaya kullanildi, medya reytingleri ve satis rakamlari arttirmaya kullanildi, ve baska sosyal sorunlari gogelde birakmaya kullanildi – irkcilik ozellikle. Mesela, gecen yilin Amerikan secim boyunca bazi onemli kadinlar Hillary Clinton’a destekledi. Neden? Cunku Clinton bir bayan, rakip Donald Trump cok kadin dusmani, bunun icin onlar gore ‘feminizm icin her kadin Clinton ic oy vermeli!’ Fakat Clinton gercek bir feminist degildi, devlet bakani olarak cok savas yanlisi oldu ve bu sekilde sayisiz kadin ve kiz oldurdu. Ayrica, onun en buyuk sponsuru kim? – Suudi Arabistan! Aslinda, Clinton eski bir avukat ve kariyeri boyunca bir tecavuzcu savundu. Bu arada, onu kim destekledi? Baska bir devlet bakani Madelaine Albright, mesela. Irak Savas’tan once Amerikan yaptirimlari yaklasik yarim milyon cocuklar oldurdu, ama Albright gore bu ‘fiyat buna deger’ oldu. Gercekten Amerikalilar feminizm iyi anlimiyor, onlar sadece nefret anliyor cunku onun medya ve eglence sektorleri cok nefret satiyor. Halbuki, bu problem sadece ABD hakkinda degil. Ingiltere ayni, Avustralya ayni, ve memleketim ayni. Yeni Zelanda’da politikacilar her zaman feminizm hakkinda konusuyor, asla irkcilik hakkinda. Tabii ki, kadinlar nufusun yuzde elli iki; ama yerliler sadece yuzde on iki . . .

1/2/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Nihayet Yeni Zelanda’nin yerli dil ilk okulda ogretildi, ve simdi iki tane siyasal partiler Maori dil zorunlu istiyor. Aslinda altmisli yillara kadar yerli dil okulda yasak oldu, ve benim cocukken Maori dil ogrenmedik. Gercekten, bizim yerli halki kadar hic bir sey ogrenmedik. Egitimiz kesinlikle Ingiliz, ve herkez Ingilizce konustu. Tabii ki, televizyonda, radyoda, gazetelerde, falan, sadece Ingilizce dil vardi. Cocukken Yeni Zelanda yaklasik yuzde seksen Ingiliz oldu, ve yaklasik yuzden on dort Maori. Goc politikasi cok irkci oldu (sadece Ingiliz gocmenler kabul etti). Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra ‘Sirket Devrimi’ basladi, cok kisi kasabadan ayrildi ve buyuk sehirlere gitti; butun dunyada gibi. Buyuk sehirde is firsat vardi – rahat buro isi ozellikle. Universitler vardi, alisveris merkezleri vardi, eglence hayati vardi. Yeni Zelanda’da yerli halki da buyuk sehirlere gitti, ancak orada farkli bir dunya buldular, Maori kultur kesinlikle yoktu, her sey Ingiliz. Bu sekilde onlar kendine kulturunu unutmaya basladi – Maori dil dahil. Diger bir deyisle, kulturel soykirim oldu. Galiba otuz veya kirk yil once bizim yerli dil olume yakinda oldu, ancak seksenler yillara kulturel canlanma basladi. Zor bir sey oldu, Yeni Zelanda cok ikci bir ulke, maalesef, ve cok unutulmus oldu. Fakat adim adim onlar ilerledi, ve simdi Maori kutlur ve dil geri geldi, masallah!

31/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Burasi cok ilginc bir harita var. Uzun zaman boyunca arkeologlar insan tarihin parcalarini birlestirmeye calisti, ve gencken bu konu hakkinda cok kitap odum. Aslinda, baslangicta sadece Polinezyali tarih hakkinda ogrenmek istedim, Yeni Zelanda’nin yerlileri nereden geldi? Okulken bu konu hakkinda hic bir sey ogrenmedik. Sonunda her sey anladim, Yeni Zelanda’nin yerlileri yaklasik bin yil once Tahiti adalardan geldi, ve Polinezyali insanlar binlerce yil once Guney Dogu Asya’dan geldi. Inanilmaz bir sekilde, Madagaskarli yerliler da Guney Dogu Asya’dan geldi! Fakat oraya durmadim, cok ilginc bir konu oldu, kitaplar okumaya devam ettim. Avustralyali ve Melanezyali yerliler nereden geldi, merak ettim? Onlar da Guney Dogu Asya’dan geldi, ama cok daha once, yaklasik on binlerce yil once, ve o donemlerde Guney Dogu Asyali insanlar cok farkli – Hintliler gibi. Dogu Asyali insanlar tarihte son zamanlarda Guney Dogu Asya’ya ulasti (ve melez irk yaratti). Evet, Hintliler, Aborijinler ve Melanezyali yerliler cok benziyor, ancak birkac bin yil once beyaz insanlar Hindistan’a ulasti (galiba Kafkasya’dan), ve bu sekilde melez irk, kast sitemi ve Hint-Avrupa dil ailesi yaratti. Bu arada, Kizilderililer kesinlikle Siberya’dan geldi, buna ragmen boluk boluk geldi, yaklasik on bes bin yil once basladi ve cagdas zamanlarda devam etti. Afrikalilar cok ilginc, cunku orada sayisiz etnik gruplar var, herkes ayni degil. hem Kuzey hem de Guney Afrikali yerliler zenci degil, mesela; onceki beyaz-Arap melez,; ikincisi ‘San Busmen’ var, izolat irk grubu. Gencken butun bunlar kitaplardan ogrendim, ve o zamandan beri DNA testleri geldi ve her sey dogruladi . . .

30/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Insanlar ne kadar yuzeysel ve iki yuzlu! Yeni Amerikan baskan Donald Trump bir kac Musluman ulkelerin gocmenleri yasaklandi ve herkes cok kizgin. Fakat, Iran haric, eski baskan Barack Obama ayni ulkeleri bombaladi! Hangisi daha kotu? Gecen yil Obama saatte uc bomba dustu, veya yillik yirmi alti bin, ve sekiz yil boyunca her gun savaslar yapti. Ancak neredeyse hic kimse onem vermedi. O cok uzakti oldu, televizyon dizisi ya da filmi gibi, ve onemli degildi. Fakat simdi Trump yaklasik ayni ulkerlerden gocmenlik yasaklandi ve kocaman uluslararasi ofke var. Elbette, insanlar televizyon haberi izliyor, gazeteleri okuyor, ve bu sekilde fikir olusturuyor. Ancak, medya yalanci, maalesef, ve yaygin medya kesinlikle Trump nefret ediyor. Beni yanlis anlama – Trump sevmiyorum ve bu kanun cok kotu ve irkci. Buna ragmen, bence savaslar ve bombalar cok daha kutu, sayisiz kisi olduruyor. Aslinda, Obama da Musluman gocmenleri yasaklandi, alti ay boyunca Irak gocmenler yasak oldu, ancak ne basiklar ne protesto yoktu. O yuzden insanlar kesinlikle yuzeysel ve iki yuzlu. Eger Amerikan baskani kibarsa, dans ederse ve guzel kizlar varsa, baska ulkeleri bombardiman edebilir ve probem degil, ama eger Amerikan baskani kibar degilse, dans etmezse ve guzel kizlar yoksa, her kes onu nefret ediyor. Ozur dilerim – herkes degil. Trump secim kazandi – hatirla! Sessiz cogunluk var

29/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, gecen gece balkonumdan bir soygun gordum. Aslinda cok gec oldu, yaklasik bir bucukta, internetti kullaniyordum, cigliklar duydum. Balkona gittim ve iki kisi gordum, bir kadin ve genc bir erkek, ve erkek el catasiyla kacti. Maalesef hic bir sey yapamadim, ucuncu kattaydim, ayakkabilarim yoktu. Eger daha iyi bir telefonum olsaydim, bir video veya fotograf cekebilirdim, ancak benim telefonum cok basit. Aslinda, bizim sokakta bol bol guvenlik kamerasi var, belki her sey kaybedildi. Insallah Bu arada, cok mutsuzdum, galiba o zavalli kadin para, cep telefonu ve dah seyler kaybetti. Ona cok bagirdi ve hirsizi kovaladi, ancak ona yuksek topuklar giyiyordu ve hic sansi yoktu. Gercekten o kadin daha dikkatli olmaliydi. Burasi Istanbul, cok merkezde, ve her gun soygun var. Kurbanlarin cogu kadinlar – maalesef. O kadin yalniz oldu, cok gec oldu, el cantasi tasindi ve yuksek topuklar giyiyordu. Ona kesinlikle kolay hedef oldu. Gercekten kadinlar icin hayat zor, her zaman dikkatli olmali. Tabii ki cok nakit tasima, ve telefonu cantana koyma. Tabii ki benim icin soylemesi kolay, benim problemim yok, masallah! Ancak evde cok dikkatliyim, her zaman kapiyi kilitlerim. Bazi arkadasimin evleri soyuldu, fakat simdiye kadar ben degilim – tahtaya vur!

28/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Ever arkadaslarim, Amerikalilar neden Barack Obama secti? Cunku onlar degisim istedi ve onu degisim soz verdi – aslinda o bu konu hakkinda bir kitap yazdi. Ancak degisim gelmedi, Obama sozunu tutmadi. Buna ragmen ona her zaman cok kibar ve cekici, dans edebilir, ve guzel ailesi var, ve neredeyse hic kimse onu elestirdi. Simdi Amerikalilar Donald Trump secti. Neden? Cunku onlar hala degisim istiyor, ve Trump kesinlikle degisim getiriyor! Fakat ona ne kibar ne cekici, ve – aniden – herkes kizgin, onu cok elestiyor. Ne kadar ilginc! Insanlar cok yuzeysel! Obama yedi tane ulkeyi bombaladi ve neredeyse hic kimse onu elestirdi, ancak Trump dort tane ulkeyi bombalamaya devam ediyor, ve herkes kizgin, onu cok elestiriyor. Tabii ki bu cok iyi bir sey ve bunu tam olarak umuyordum. Sekiz yil sonra, herkes tekrar kizgin, nihayet herkes Amerikan hukumeti gene elestiriyor. Bazi kisi gore, ben ‘anti-Amerikan’ cunku o ulkenin savaslari nefret ederim, her zaman onu elestiriyorum, her zaman kizgin gorunuyorum. Fakat bil bakalim – simdi bol bol kisi Trump ve onun hukumeti elestiriyor, cok Amerikalilar dahil. O yuzden – kim ‘anti-Amerikan?!’ Aslinda, ABD dis politikaya geldiginde Obama ve Trump arasinda fark yok, Cumhuriyetci ve Demokratik partiler arasinda fark yok .

27/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Danimarka hukumeti gore Parlamento tarihi ihtilaf icin uygun bir yer degildi. Ayni fikirdeyim. Siyasetciler durust insanlar degil, hepsi sadece oy almak istiyor, bu ‘siyasal futbol’ olarak bilinen. Tabii ki bu yakisiksiz. Bana gore Bati Dunya Ermeni sorunu Turkiye’ye karsi kullaniyor. Fakat o felaket yuz yil once oldu, o zamandan beri sayisiz felaket oldu, maalesef. Ingiltere ve Fransa Afrika’da ozellikle korkunc seyler yapti, mesela, ve Israil Filistin’de etnik temizlik yapiyor. Bu arada Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra ABD Guney Dogu Asya’da, Orta Amerika’da ve Orta Dogu’da ozellikile korkunc seyler yapti, ona toplam yaklasik yirmi milyon kisi oldurdu. Bu soykirim degil mi? Neden biz ‘Vietnam Soykirim’ veya ‘Irak Soykirim’ hakkinda konusmuyoruz? Gercekten, su anda neredeyse herkes ayni fikirde var – Vietnam’da, Irak’ta ve cok daha ulkede Amerika kotu sey yapti, ama hic kimse ceza almadi, hic kimse ‘soykirim’ hakkinda konusmuyor. Amerikalilar bu konu kesinlikle kabul etmiyor. Ne kadar ilginc! Yerine onlar Turkiye yuz yil once hakkinda konusmaya tercih ediyor. Ingiltere ve Fransa ayni. Su anda neredeyse herkes anliyor – Afrika’da ve baska yerde Ingiltere ve Fransa kotu sey yapti, ama hic kimse ceza almadi, hic kimse ‘soykirim’ hakkinda konusmuyor. Sadece bizim dusmanlar ‘soykirim’ yapara, gibi gorunuyor! Fakat Bati Dunya tarihin en kotu suclari yapti – yerli halka karsi

26/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Lutfen, beni yanlis anlama, Donald Trump hayrani kesinlikle degilim. Onu Hillary Clinton’a tercih ettim cunku Clinton cok savas yanlisi, devlet bakani olarak Libya Savasi baslamak yardim etti ve Suriye Savasi devam etmek istedi, mesela. Trump Suriye Savasi bitirmek istiyor, Rusya ile birlikte calismaya tercih etti. Fakat bunun haricinde Trump cok kotu gorunuyor, Amerikan elcilik Kudus’a tasinmak istiyor, Meksikali duvar insaat etmek istiyor, Cin ile daha problem yaratmak istiyor, falan. Tabii ki, Clinton da kotu sey yapmak istedi. Trump ile en azinda herkes bu kotu oldugunu kabul eder – medya dahil. Eger Clinton secimi kazansaydi ve kotu sey yapsaydi, herkes onu savunacakti – medya ozellikle – cunku ‘onu ilk kadin baskan!’ Son baskan Barack Obama ile ayni oldu, ona cok kotu sey yapti, yedi ulkeyi bombaladi, sayisiz kisi oldurdu, ama herkes onu savunacakti – medya dahil – cunku ‘onu ilk Afrikali-Amerikali baskan’ oldu! Aslinda ABD secim boyunca ben Yesil Parti’nin Jill Stein’i destekledi, Trump degildi. ‘Trump sadece bir oyuncu,’ dusundum; ‘ona secim kazanmak istemiyor.’ Elbetti yanlis dusundum, Trump kazandi, cok sasirdim, ve zaten cok ofke var. Bana gore bu iyi bir durum, nihayet herkes ABD hukumeti kizgin. Bugun onlar kadin haklari hakkinda gosteriler yapiyor. Insallah yariin onlar Amerikan savaslari hakkinda gosteriler yapacak

25/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bu sabah Somali’den kotu haber geldi, teroristler bir otele saldirdi, en azinda on uc kisiyi oldurdu. Galiba El Sebab bu yapti. Uc yil once El Sebab sohret oldu, Kenya’daki bir alis versis merkeziye saldirdi, toplam altmis yedi hayat kaybetti. Neden? Cunku bes yil once ABD destekli Kenyali askeri Somali’ye girdi ve orada kotu sey yapti. Ayrica, sekiz yil once ABD ve Kenya Somali’nin istikrarli Musluman hukumeti devirmeye yardim etti, bu sekilde yozlasmis baskan Hasan Mahmud geldi, simdiki kriz basladi, ve gecen yil ona secim iptal etti. Ancak Somali’nin problemleri somurge donemi boyunca basladi (neredeyse her Afrika ulkesi gibi), o zamanda bol ve yonet politikasi vardi, ve Somali dort tane gruba ayrildi – Ingilizce konusan, Fransizca konusan, Italyanca konusan ve Etyopyali dil konusan. Bagimsizliktan sonra ABD destekli diktatorlugu altmisli yillardan doksanlar yillara kadar ulke yonetti, ve Etyopya ile bazi savaslari vardi. Sonuc olarak kitlik, ic savasi ve sonunda bir darbe oldu. Tabii ki, Somali Afrika Boynuzu bulunur, stratejik olarak cok onemli, ve diktatorluk boyunca bol bol Amerikan petrol sirketi orada calisiyordu. On dokuz yuz doksan uc yilinda ABD Somali’ye saldirdi, yaklasik on bin kis oldurdu – sayisiz sivil kimse dahil. Bu arada, on sekiz Amerikan askeri olduruldu, ve o zavalli erkekler unlu bir propaganda filmi yapildi – ‘Kara Sahin Dustu’

24/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bu sabah Yeni Zelandali ev arkadasim Turkey’den ayrildi, bu ogleden sonra yeni Fransiz ev arkadasim gelecek. Yen Zelandali kadin sadece iki ay kaldi, simdi Ingiltere’ye gidiyor, ondan sonra Hindistan’a ve Sri Lankya’ya. Ona iyi bir ev arkadasi oldu ama sabahlar cok erken kalkti ve bizim icin biraz zor cunku biz birkac saat daha sonra kalkariz. O yuzden, galiba bundan sonra sabahlar daha sakin olacak. Bu arada, asagi onun son gununun fotografi var. Sol tarafta ona cok ilginc bir sekilde sac tirasi yapildi – giyotin ile!! Sag tarafta onun veda partisi katilmaya on bir kisi bara gitti – fakat ona gelmedi!! Ne kadar ilginc! Buna ragmen, iyi zaman gecti. Tamam, dairemizde yeni bolum basliyor. Bu sabah su gene kesildi, sadece kisa bir sure icin, ancak son birkac ayda bol bol elelktrik ve su problemler oldu. Neden bilmiyorum. Ayrica, bazi duvarlarda baska problem var, icinde su var, boya dusuyor ve cok kotu gorunuyor. Muhtemelen soguk hava ve kalorifer bu problem sebep oldu. Boyaci geldi ve birkac yuz fiyat verdi, ve ev sahibi odemeye kabul etti. Bu arada, yakinda bir insaat alanda cok gec calisiyorlar, saat iki ve ucune katar (sabahlar), ve makineler gurultu. Birkac gun once bir kimse her bes veya on dakika kornaya basti – ve her defa ben uyandim. Ne kadar aptal! Eger memleketim ona bu yapsaydi, herkes polisi ariyor. Fakat burasi Istanbul .

23/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Galiba yeni ev arkadas buldum, Fransiz bir delikanli, ona depozito ile yarin gelecek, Insallah! Son birkac yilda iki tane Fransiz delikanli burada oturdu, birbiri ardinca, her ikisi Erasmus ogrencisi ve yaklasik dokuz ay boyunca kaldi. Bu erkek Fransa’dan ama onun ailesi hem Turk hem de Fasli. Ona Turkce ogrenmek istiyor, ve burada firsat var cunku bir tane ev arkadasim Turk kadin. Bu arada, ona Erasmus ogrencisi degil, Istanbul’da is arayacak. Gorusme sureci cok ilginc, orta yasli Ukraynali siyasal analist tanstim, uc tane Yemenli erkek geldi (sadece bir tane bos odasi bakti, tabii ki), iki tane Suriyeli erkek gorusme yaptim, ve bir tane Tanzanyali. Aslinda Yemenli ve Suriyeli erkekler cok direkt ve durust oldu, onllar “oda istemiyorum” soyledi, ancak ondan sonra Yemenli erkek Facebook’ta benimle pazarlik yapmaya calisti, daha az kira odemek istedi, fakat benim icin olmaz, benim karar degil, sadece ev sahibi kiralik degisebilir – ve ona daha az para kesinlikle kabul etmez! Bu arada, Ingiliz bir is arkadasim da bir oda ariyor, ama bu sadece dun ogrendim. Simdi Yeni Zelandali bir is arkadasim burada oturuyor, ancak yarin sabah Turkiye’den ayrilacak, Ingiltere’yi gidecek ve ondan sonra Hindistan ve Sri Lanka’ya. En sonunda ona Cin’den Ingiltere’yi bisiklet turu bitirmek isiiyor

22/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Son birkac gun Dunya Siyaseti hem iyi haber hem de kotu haber getirdi. En iyi haber kucuk bir bati Afrika ulkesinden geldi, nihayet Gambiya’nin uzun yillar hizmet veren baskani Yahya Jammeh istifa etmeye kabul etti. Aslinda, gecen ay Jammeh secim kaybetti, ancak ona devam etmek istedi, ve bazi Bati Afrika ulkeleri yeni baskan Adama Barrow desteklemeye askerler gonderdi. Jammeh yirmi iki yilda hukum surdu ve Afrika’nin son ‘Buyuk Adamlar’ arasinda oldu. Maalesef, Orta Afrika’dan daha kotu haber geldi, Kongo’nun uzun yillar hizmet veren baskani Joseph Kabila istifa etmeye kabul etmiyor. Ona on alti yilda hukum surdu, ve ABD destegine var. Tabii ki, elli bes yil once ABD Kongo’nun birinci demokratik lideri Patrice Lumumba suikast yapmaya yardim etti, ve ondan sonra uzun ve vahsi bir diktaorlugu vardi. Bu arada Amerika’daki Donald Trump yeni baskano olarak acildi, fakat kocaman protestolar vardi, ozellikle kadinlar, ve sadece Amerika’daki degildi. Merak ediyorum, son baskan Barack Obama on binlerce bomba dustu, sayisiz hayat kaybetti – kadinlar dahil, tabii ki – ve protestolar yoktu. Ne kadar ilginc! Ayni zamanda, Turkiye’de milletvekiler anayasa degisim kabul etti, muhtemelen baskanlik daha guclu olacak, galiba Tayyip Erdogan lider olarak devam edecek

21/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, aradaslarim, tam bir yil once burada benim makale hakkinda bu blog yazdim, ve simde bu konu hakkinda burada gene yazacagim. Gercekten, eger Orta Dogu’nun problemler anlamak isterseniz, terorun otesini bakmalisiniz. Neden? Cunku terorism savasi kiskirtan ulkeler icin terorizm sadece bir bahane. Aslinda o ulkeler kendileri teroristler yaratiyor ve ondan sonra “teroristleri karsi savasmaya” diger (dusman) ulkelerine giriyorlar! Ne kadar belli! Suriye Savasi iyi bir ornek oldu. O bir ic savasi degildi, bu sadece Bati propaganda, o kesinlikle bir taseron savasi, bazi ulkeler Suriye’nin baskan devirmeye teroristler vekalet olarak kullandi. Ondan sonra, ayni ulkeler izinsik olarak Suriye’ye girdi ve savas katildi. Tabii ki, onlar da cok sivil kimse oldurdu, ve onemli bir ateskes boyunca ABD Suriyeli askerler bombaladi, yaklasik seksen hayat kaybetti. Ne kadar kotu! Ayrica, ABD da izinsiz, bunun icin o kesinlikle bir savas sucu. Fakat Bati medya bu onemli haber degildi. O hukumet ve Rus askerler her sey icin sorumlu. Cok ironik, cunku onlar teroristleri karsi kavga etti – ve sonunda kazandi. Masallah! O yuzden, teroristleri unut ve kendinze soru sor: ABD askerler Suriye’de gercekten ne yapiyordu? Tabii ki onlar baska bir rejimin degismesi istedi – Irak’ta ve Libya’da gibi. Sukur ki, tek degisligi Washington’da oldu, ve yeni Amerikan baskan bu aptal savas devam etmek istemiyor . . .

20/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Son Buzul Cagi boyunca deniz seviyesi yaklasik yuz yirmi metre dustu. Neden? Cunku kocaman buzullar vardi. Bunun icin bircok kara koprusu vardi, Siberya ve Alaska arasinda mesela, bu bu durum on binlere yil boyunca devam ediyordu. Aslinda, son Buzul Cagi sadece yaklasik on bir bin yil once bitti, ve o zamanlar insanlar cok gocebe oldu, neredeyse butun dunya kesfetti. Yaklasik yirmi dort bin yil once Sibera’dan insanlar Amerika’ya ulasti. Bazi uzmanlar gore o insanlar Turkmenler gibi oldu. Fakat en azinda iki tane farkli goc vardi (ve Eskimolar kano badi badi yuruyerek cagdas zamanlara kadar devam ediyordu). Ayrica, cok hayvanlar da Amerika’ya gitti, buyuk kediler, mamutler ve yunlu gergedenler dahil (buna ragmen son ikisi nesli yok oldu). Bu arada, Amerika’dan Asya’ya cok havan geldi, kurtlar, ayilar ve atlar dail (ondan sonra atlar Amerika’da nesli yok oldu, ama Asya’da ve Afrika’da guzellesti). Aslinda, son Buzul Cagi boyunca sadece Antarktika ve Avustralya bagli degildi, ancak Endonezya alt kita gibi oldu, ve insanlar yaklasik kirk bin yil once Asya’dan Avustralya’ya badi badi yuruyerek ulasti. Uzmanlar gore o insanlar Hintliler gibi oldu. Halbuki, hayvanlar Asya’dan Avustralya’ya gidemedi, imkansizdi, ve insanlar sadece kopekler getirdi (dingo’nun atasi). Adim adim o insanlar Pasifik Adalari da kesfetti – Hawai ve Yeni Zelanda dahil, buna ragmen a zamana kadar cok Dogu Asyali insanlar Endonezya’yi ulasti, bir melez yaratti, ve Bati Pasifik’ta onlar ‘Polinezyalilar’ olarak bilinen.

19/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, dun sabah Mali ulkesinde (Kuzey Bati Afrika’da) korkunc bir katliam oldu, yaklasik kirk hayat kaybetti, ve yaklasik kirk kisi daha yaralandi. Bir canli bomba askeri ussu saldirdi. Tabii ki, Mali’nin problemleri Fransiz somurgeci donem boyunca basladi, ve ondan sonra yirmi iki yilda bir diktatorluk vardi. Sonunda seksenler boyunca kara ve kulturel haklari icin Tuareg ayaklanma basladi. Tuaregler hem yerli hem de bagimsiz insanlar, Sahra’da yasiyor – sadece Mali’de degil, ayrica Nijer’de, Libya’da, Cezayir’de ve Burkina’da – ve Kuzey Afrika’nin Berberi ile ildili, ayni dil ailesinde var. NATO’nun iki bin onbir yilin Libya istilasi bu durum cok kotulesti, cunku cok Tuareg erkek oraya gitti, sonraki ic savasi katildi, ve bu sekilde onlar hem sofistike silahlar hem de askeri egitim aldi. Ondan sonra onlar kendi ulkeleri geri dondu, o silah kullandi, ve Tuareg ayaklanma hayata dondurdu. Mali’de Fransiz askerleri var ve onlar da sasirdi. Aslinda, iki bin on iki yilda Taureg isyancilar Amadou Toure’nin hukumeti devirdi, buna ragmen eski basbakan Ibrahim Keita altinda problemler devam ediyor. Mali’nin nufusu yaklasik on bes milyon – yuzde on Tuareg. Yuzde doksan kisi Musluman, yuzde bes Hiristiyan, ve yuzde bes yerli dinler izliyor (Tuaregler dahil) .

18/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Eski Amerikan baskanlar George ‘Baba’ Bush ve George ‘Bebek’ Bush sadece Suudi Arabistan’in Bin Laden ailesiyle baglantili degil, onun basasi Precott Bush Almanya’nin Nazileri’yle is yapti. Evet, Bush ailesi da Nazilerle bir bankacilik iliskisi vardi. Ayrica, Prescott Bush (eski Amerikan senator) Nazi faaliyetlerinden kar etti. Bu Ikinci Dunya Savasi’nin ortasina kadar devam etti ve Polonya’da mahut ‘Auschwitz’ Nazi toplami kampi insa etmeyi yardim etti. Tabii ki, mahkumlar kole emegi icin kullanildi. Aslinda, simde iki tane eski Auschwitz mahkumlar Bush ailesine karsi dava acti. Amerikan Nazi savas suclari savcisi ayni fikirde var. Bunun icin Prescott Bush’un Nazilerle muameleler Bush ailesinin zenginlik yaratii. Buna ragmen, George ‘Baba’ Bush cok basrisiz bir petrolcu oldu ve uc kez Bin Laden ailesi onu iflastan kurtardi. Bu arada, Suudi Arabistan Amerikan siyaset etkilemeyi basladi. Ondan sonra Bush ve Bin Laden aileleri birlikte cok is yapiyorlardi, ve Afganistan’daki Osama bin Laden ABD’ye Sovyetlere karsi yardim etti. Evet, Bush ailesi hem Naziler hem de Bin Laden ailelerle calisti. Nazilerle kim baska calisti? Otomobil ureticisi ve Ford firmasinin kurucusu Henry Ford da Nazileri yardim etti, bu da Ikinci Dunya Savasi’nin ortasina kadar devam etti ve mahkum kole emegi kullandi. Aslinda Ford Hitler’in kahramani oldu, ve bu Mein Kampf’ta anildi. Ford Almanya’nin ‘Buyuk Hac’ ve ‘Kartal’ madalyalari kazandi.

17/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Burada Pakistanli-Ingiliz yazar Tarik Ali Miguel de Cervantes’in ‘Don Kisot’ adli klasik romani hakinda konusuyor, ve onun fikirleri cok ilginc. Ali gore gercekten Cervantes Muslumanlarin ve Yahudilerin Ispanya’dan cikarma hakkinda yaziyordu, ve Don Kisot Katolik kilisesi temsil etti. Certvantes on altinci yuzyil boyunca dogdu, Engizisyon’dan tam yuz yil sonra. Ona hem yazar hem de asker oldu, ona berber korsanlar tarafinda yakalandi, ve sonra Inebahti Deniz Muharebesi boyunca yaralandi. Cervantes gore o savas ‘Osmanli’nin yenilmezliginin sonu’ oldu. Ondan sonra, on yedinci yuzyilin baslarinda, ona ‘Don Kisot’ yazdi, o Bati Dunya’nin ilk modern romani oldu. Ancak Cervantes gore ona kendisi yazmadi. Baslangicta ona sokakta kirpinti kagit buldu, fakat yazma Arapca oldu, bunun icin ona bir Moriskolar tercume yapmaya istedi. Moriskolar Mulsumanlarin soylari oldu – fakat din degistiren, tabii ki. Ali gore Cervantes Ispanya’nin kaybolums kulturu hakkinda yaziyordu – Muslumanlik ve Yahudilik – cunku Hristiyanlik ile o kulturler bircok yuzyil boyunca Ispanya’da yasiyordu ve genistirdi. Bu Avrupa’nin Ronesansinin temeliydi. Fakat sonunda Katolik kilisesi her sey imha etti, hem Muslumanlik hem de Yahudilik Ispanya’dan cikardi, ve bu sekildi Avrupa’nin Katolik kulturu koydu

16/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bati Dunyasinda insanlar cok yuzeysel. Cok kisi su anda Amerikan baskan Barack Obama ne kadar sevdigenden hakkinda konusuyor. Ona cok cekici bir adam, guzel ailesi var, hic skandal yoktu, falan. Fakat ona yedi ulkeyi bombaladi, hem Libya hem de Suriye’yi yikti, insansiz ucak savasi yapti, Israil ve Suudi savas suclari destekledi, ve Misir diktatodorlugu destekledi. Ayrica, ona cok yalan soyledi, ne Afganistan’dan ne Irak’tan Amerikan askerleri cekildi, ve Guantanamo’daki temerkuz kampi kapatmadi. Buna ragmen, cok kisi hala Obama seviyor, belki ona sayisiz kisi oldurdu, ancak ona guzel karisi ve kizlari var, onlar iyi dans ediyorlar, ve hic kimse mukemmel degildi. Bu beni hasta ediyor! Bu arada, herkes yeni baskan Donald Trump nefret ediyor. Neden? Cunku ona kesinlikle irkci ve cinsiyetci. Bu bir savas suclusundan daha kotu mi? Ben de Trump sevmiyorum, ama bana gore Obama cok daha kotu. Aslinda, ABD’deki irkcilik buyuk bir problem, ve Obama altinda bu problem devam etti, hic bir sey degistirmedi. Fakat herkes Trump elestirmeyi tercih ediyor. Bu arada, Bati Dunyasinda cok feminist var, cunku televizyon her zaman bu konu hakkinda konusuyor, kadinlar nufusu yarisi, tabii ki. Ancak bu feministler kendi ulkelerin kadin savas kurbanlari hakkinda neredeyse asla konusmuyorlar. Aksine, genellikle onlar kendi ulkeleri savunuyorlar. Gercekten onlar da cok yuzeysel.

15/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. ABD Afganistan’a saldirdi ve simdiye kadar orada on alti yil kaldi, Irak’a saldirdi ve simdiye kadar orada on dort yil kaldi, ve Libya’ya saldirdi ve simdiye kadar orada alti yil kaldi. Uc tane cok uzun savas ve hala ufukta bir degisiklik gorunmuyor. Cok ilginc, degil mi? Amerikan savaslari nihayetsiz, somurgelik benziyorlar, bu arada sayisiz hayat kaybetti ve sayisiz sivil kimse daha yaralandi, matemli, yerinden edilmis ve travma gecirmis. Kim kazaniyor? Galiba sadece askeri endustriyel kompleks (silah saticilari) kazaniyor. Halbuki, Rusya Suriye hukumetine yardim etmeye Halep’i bombaladi, nihayet teroristler teslim oldu, ve sadece bir yil uc ay sonra Rusya Suriye’den cekildi. Cok basarili operasyon oldu. Neden ABD bunu yapamaz? Tabii ki Bati Dunya medyasi Halep hakkinda bol bol yalan soyledi, onlar gore Rusya ‘soykirim’ yapti, sayisiz sivil kimse oldurdu (ozellikle cocuklar, tabii ki), falan, ve Facebook’ta hem sahte videolar hem de sahte fotograflar koydu – ancak gercekten o videolar teroristlerin kurbanlarini gosterdi, ve bazi fotograflar Filistin’deki iki bin on dort yilin Gazze kurbanlariydi. Inanilmaz! Bu arada, bu savas cok daha multeciler yaratti, ama Birlesmis Milletler multecilere yardim etmiyor; sadece Rusya, Kizilhac ve Kizilay onlara yardim ediyor. Elbette, Amerika Birlesmis Milletleri kesinlikle kontrol ediyor, ve muhtemelen ABD Rusya’nin basari hakkinda cok kizgin . . .

14/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, arkadaslarim, galiba hukumetler medya kontrolunu gene kazanmaya sadece an meselesi. Son birkac yilda Facebookta harika bir firsat bulduk: Burada gercek haber paylasabilir. Onceden hukumetler neredeyse tum medyayi kontrol ediyordu. Amerika’daki, mesela, yaklasik yuzde doksan medya Irak saldiri destekledi, ve o saldiri devam etti. Aslinda, bazi uzmanlar gore eger Amerikan medya gercek isini yapsaydi, Irak saldiri imkansiz olurdu. Tabii ki, ABD da Suriye’yi bombalamak istedi ancak baskan Barack Obama devam etmekten vazgecti. Neden? Bilmiyorum, ama belki cunku su anda herkes Facebook’ta ozellikle internette gercek haber kolay bulabilir. Bu bir abarti degil. Eskiden herkes beyni yikanmis oldu, Bati Dunyasinda genellikle sadece kendi ulkemizin haberleri ve Amerikan haberlerii aldi, bunun icin herkes ‘ABD iyi, Rusya kotu’ dusundu, ve ‘Israil iyi, Filistin kotu,’ mesela. Fakat su anda cok kisi cok daha biligili, farkli ulkelerin haberleri bulabilir ve alternatif medyasi gorebilir. Ben eski gazeteci, ve bana gore bu firsat cok onemli, bu firsattan istifade etmeliyiz. Neden? Cunku elbette bu firsat cok surmez, sonunda hukumetler kontrolu gene kazanmaya – ve ondan sonra onlar daha da fazla kontrolu etkisi olacak.

13/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, bugun ‘Kara Cuma’ – on ucuncu, ve Bati Dunyasinda bugun kotu sansli dusunuldu. Aslinda, bir ‘Cuma On Ucuncu’ adli korku filmi dizisi var. Ben sadece birinci ‘Cuma On Ucuncu’ filmi izledim – ve cok uzun zaman once. Evet, on yedi yasindaydim, ilk arabam satin aldim (ikinci el Ford Zodyak), ve ilk kiz arkadasim sinemaya gitmek istedim. Benim icin hangi film onemli degildi, kiz arkadasim ‘Cuma On Ucuncu’ secti. Aslinda, o cikma basarisiz oldu, neden bilmiyorum ama onu gene gormedim. Ayrica, sadece birkac ay sonra ilk arabam bozuldu ve o daha asla kullanmadim. O yuzden benim icin ‘Cuma On Ucuncu’ filmi kesinlikle kotu sans gibi gorunuyordu! Halbuki, batil inancli degilgim, bana gore batil inanc cok aptal bir sey. Kara Cuma nasil kotu sansli olabilir? O sadece baska bir gun. Ayrica, Bati Dunyasinda kara kediler da kotu sansli dusunuldu, ancak nasil olabilir? Onlar sadece kucuk hayvanlar, renk onemli degil, tabii ki. Ayrica, Bati Dunyasinda merdiven altinda yurumeye da kotu sansli, bir ayna kirmaya da kotu sansli, iceride semsiye acmaya da kotu sansli, falan. Bu arada, uc numara iyi sansli dusunuldu, tavsan ayagi da iyi sansli, tahtaya vurmaya da iyi sansli, parmaklar kavusturmaya iyi sansli dusunuldu, falan. Elbette, bu fikirler da cok aptal . . .

12/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Toplam yirmi yildan daha yurt disinda yasiyordum. Gencken Avustralya’da yaklasik bir yilda yasadim, birkac yil sonra universitede okumaya Amerika’ya gittim, ve bu Avrupa’da benim on sekizinci yil. Bu arada, Turkiye’de benim on ikinci yil. Bu on iki yil boyunca Turkiye hakkinda cok ogrendim. Ayni zamanda simdi kendi kulturunum cok daha iyi anliyorum. Ancak baska bir sey var: Son on iki yil gurbetci halk arasinda yasiyordum, ve bu deneyimden daha ic yuzunu anladim. Mesela, Amerikalilar, Kanadalilar, Ingilizler, Irlandalilar, Guney Afrikalilar ve Avustralyalilar ile sosyallesiyorum ve su anda bende onlar “yabancilar” gibi degil, hepimiz ayni dil konusuyoruz, hepimiz ayni kultur paylasiyoruz. Ayrica,kulturumuz Turk kulturune kiyaslayabilirim, cunku Turk kulturu kesinlikle farkli. Gercekten gurbetci halk biraz zor olabilir, biz konusurken her zaman birbirine kesiyoruz, her kes konusmak istiyor, hic kimse dinlemek istemiyor. Bana gore Turkler cok farkli, onlar dinlemeyi tercih ediyor, daha az konusuyor. Ayrica, Turkler daha az kendine begenmis. Ingilzler ozellikle sik sik konusma egemen olmak istiyor – aksi halde onlar sikilyorlar. Amerikalilar genellikle daha acik fikirli, ancak bazen iyi egitimli Amerikalilar her konusma egemen olmak istiyor. Gercekten bizim kulturumuz biraz bencil ve cocukca .

11/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Masallah, nihayet kar bitti, yumusak ve ilik bes derece olacak, evde kalorifer kullanmiyoruz cunku son birkac bunlerden sonra bes derece guzel gibi gorunuyor! Istanbul’da yedi yildan beri en kotu kar oldu, birkac gun boyunca her yerde bembeyaz, ve sifirin altinda kaldi – Kuzey Kutub gibi. Aslinda, yedi yil once iyi hatirliyorum, cunku eski okulda tatil yoktu, ben her gun is yeriye gitmeliydim – sabahlar dahil – ve cok zurdu, tabii ki. Bu defa yeni is yerimde uc gun tatil yapildi – halbuki dun aksam is yeriye gitmeliydim. Ders vermedim, ogrenciler gelmedi, ama bugun ve yarin icin her sey hazirladim. Taksim’den Besiktas’a yuruyerek gittim, cok soguk degildi, ama hala her yerde kar vardi, spor ayakkabisi giydim ve ayaklarim cok islandi. Ondan sonra ayni sekilde evime geri dondum. Son birkac gun cok yazdim, birkac film izledim (hepsi kotu), Maxim Gorky romani okumayi hemen hemen bitirdim, ve her gun ogle yemegi icin Cihangir’e yuruyerek gittim – sadece yaklasik bir kilometre ancak biraz zor). Galiba simdi normal hayat devam edebilir, buna ragmen simdi sadece kisin birinci ayi, iki ay daha devam edecek. Aslinda, ben Istanbul’da Nisan ayinda iki kez kar gordum, bunun icin her sey kesinlikle olabilir. Bu arada haber gore ertesi hafta kar yine gelebilir. Gorecegiz .

10/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Pullitzer odul kazanan Amerikan yazar ve gazeteci Christ Hedges gore ABD hukumetin Rusya’ya karsi bilgisayar korsanligi suclamalar icin dort nedeni var: Ilk olarak, Demokratlar secilmis baskan Donald Trump kotulemek istiyor; ikinci olarak, onlar bagimsiz medya kotulemek istiyor (Wikileaks ve Edward Snowden dahil); ucuncu olarak, onlar NATO’nun Dogu Avrupa’ya genisleme hakli cikarmak istiyor, dorduncu olarak, Demokratlar kendi hatalarini saklanmak istiyor. Fakat Demokratlar kesinlikle basarisiz oldu. Onlar birkac savas yaratti, Libya, Suriye ve Yemen kesinlikle yikti, Afganistan’daki savas on altinci yil girdi, Irak’taki savas on dorduncu yil (ama Rusya Suriye’de sadece bir yil, uc ay kaldi)! Ayrica, Demokratlar hem Israil hem de Misir’a cok para verdi, buna ragmen Israil hala cok irkci ve oldurucu bir ulke, Misir vahsi bir diktatorluk. Bu arada, ABD’deki irkcilik ve silahli siddet sorunlari devam ediyor, birinci Afrikali-Amerikali baskan Barack Obama hic bir sey degistirmedi. Maalesef, Obama cesur bir baskan degildi, Buyuk sirketler hala her sey kontrol ediyor, Amerikan isci sinifi ugradi, fabrikalar yurtdisina tasindi. Evet, Demokratlar sekiz yil boyunca iktidarda oldu, halbuki bu sorunlari hakkinda hic bir sey yapmadi, ve simdi Rusya’yi sucluyor – Tabii ki!

9/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. F. Scott Fitzgerald’in ‘Benjamin Button’in Tuhaf Hikayesi’ kitabi okumadim, ve film versiyon da izlemedim, ama galiba hayatim Benjamin Button’in hikayesini benziyor. Neden? Cunku gencken hic bir sey ogrenmek istemedim, egitime karsi isyan ettim, ne kitaplari ne gazeteleri okudum, benim icin siyasal haber cok sikici bir konu old. Fakat her sey degistirdi. Birincisi okumaya basladim, sadece romanlar ve spor haber, ama adim adim daha merak ettim. Liseyi bitirdim, ve ondan sonra bol bol tarihi kitaplari okudum. Gazetecilik kursu yapmak istedim ama siyaset hakkinda yeter bilmiyordum ve kabul edilmedim. O yuzden universiteyi okumaya Amerika’ya gittim – fakat orada sadece edebiyat okudum. Memleketime geri dondum ve gazetecilik kariyerim basladi, ama resmi nitelik kazanmadim ve kucuk kasabada calistim. Nihayet cok sikildim ve on sekiz yil once Avrupa’ya geldim. Ispanya’da oturdum ve ilk birkac yilda cok mutluydum, hem Inglizce ogretmenlik hem de Ispanyolca dil ogreniyordum. Ayrica, Ispanyol tarihi ve kulturu hakkinda cok ogrendim, ve yaz okulda calismaya Rusya, Cin ziyaret ettim. Buna ragmen son yil Ispanya’da cok sikildim, o yuzden Turkiye’ye geldim. Burada cok daha ogrendim – Turkce, basit Fransizca ve gitar, mesela. Simdi evde internet var ve bu universite olarak kullaniyorum, her gun bol bol haber okurum. Ancak simdi sadece meraktan her sey ogrenmek istiyorum, kariyer icin degil, ve yetenekli bir ogrenci degilim, gitar iyi ogrenmedim ve yeni diller cok zor. Genclik boyunca her sey cok daha kolay .

8/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Solaklar hakkinda ilginc haber: Yuzde on bes insanlar solaktir, erkekler kadinlardan iki kat fazla (o zaman yuzde yirmi), solaklar daha muzikli, daha iyi duyar, ve onlar genellikle daha iyi boksorler ve bilgisayar oyunu oyuncular. Fakat bazi problemler var, ozellikle telli defterler ve islak murekkep. Sukur ki su anda dolma kalemler co nadir, cunku solaklar onlar kesinlikle bir kabus gibi oldu! Aslinda, eskiden okulda solak cocuklar sag ellerine kullanmaliydi. Ben solak ve bes yasindayken annem bana yazmaya ogretti. Ondan sonra annem cok guldu, aynaya baktik ve benim yazma mukemmel gorunuyordu. Fakat gercekten tersten yazdim, sagdan sola, her sey geriye oldu! O yuzden soldan saga yazmaya ogrenmeliydim, ve bu biraz zor oldu – hala hatirliyorum! Aslinda, ben biraz ambidekstroz, Futbol oynaren sol ayak tercih ederim, ancak boks ve kriket ve beysbola, mesela, sag ellim tercih ederim, bu arada tenis ve masa tenisi oynarken ben kesinlikle ambidekstroz, hem sag elimi hem sol elimi kullanabilirim. Ilginc bir sey oldu, yaklasik on yil once sol omuzum kirildi, birkac hafta boyunca sag elimle yazmaliydim, cok hizli ogrendim ve daha guzel yazdim – ancak rahatsiz oldu, tabii ki. Bu arada, sadece insanlar sagda veya solak degil, hayvanlar da sagda veya solak. Disi kediler genellikle sagda, mesela, ve erkek kediler genellikle solak…

7/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Galiba her kes benim ogle yemegim durumu hakkinda merak ediyor. Aslinda yeni haber var. Birkac ay once en sevdigim lahmacun lokantaya gitmeye biraktim, yeni bir yer icin aradim ama bulamadim, sonunda her gun pizza yedim. Cok aptal fikir oldu, orta yasliyim, cok fazla pizza tehlikeli olabilir. Elbette kolesterol problem basladi ve simdi cok dikkatli olmaliyim. Pizza kesinlikle biraktim, ve yerine baska bir lokanta buldum, orada daha geleneksel yemek var. Genellikle tavuk-ve-pilav ve kuru fasulye arasinda gidip geliyorum. Bu cok daha saglikli, degil mi? Ayrica, her sey cok ucuz – lahmacundan daha ucuz! Corba ve ana yemek icin toplam her zaman yaklasik on lira. Tabii ki garson ile normal problem oldu, ona benimle Ingilizce konusmak istedi, fakat nihayet ona anliyor – ben Turkce biliyorum, bunun icin Turkiye’de Turkce konusuyorum. Bu arada, evde daha az ekmek yiyorum ve daha taze sebze, ozellikle sogan ve karnibahar. Dun manava gittim ve bruksel lahanasi buldum, cok heyecanliyim cunku ona benim en sevdigim sebze!! Ayrica bakaldan konserve ton baligi satin aldim, zaman zaman evde ton balikli sandvic yerim. Simdlik da alkol biraktim, yerine sadece su iciyorum. Bu sekilde birkac ay devam etmeliyim, ve ondan sonra biraz rahat edebilirim.

6/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Cok sansliyim cunku sabahlari calismam lazim degil, ve sabahlardan nefret ederim. Demek istedim gunleri yavas yavas baslamaya tercih ederim, dus almak, kahve icmek, televizyon haber izlemek ve internet bakmak. Acelesi yok, acele kesinlikle istemiyorum. Ondan sonra yazabilirim, salim kafam var, cok rahat hissediyorum. Ogleden sonralari is yeriye giderim, ama yolda ogle yemegi yerim ve kitap okurum. Aksamlari calisarim ve evime gec giderim. Benim icin bu mukemmel bir durum. Gencken her sey cok farkli oldu. Genellikle saat sekiz’de veya dokuz’da calismaya basladim, o yuzden saat yedi’de veya sekiz’de kalktim. Ne kadar kotu! Kisin saat yedi’de hala karanlik ve disari cok soguk. Aslinda, bir bucuk yil boyunca sebze ve meyve deposa calistim, ve her Sali ve Persembe saat bes’te basladim! Daha da kotusu, Bahar mevsimi saat dort’te basladim!! Dusunebiliyor musunuz? Sali ve Persembe gunleri saat dort’te kalkim ve Bahar mevsimi boyunca saat uc’te! Tabii ki, toplu tasima hizmetleri yoktu, birkac ay boyunca is arkadasimin motorsikletin arkasina binerek gittim. Bir kez kaza yaptik, hafif yaralandik, diger kez is arkadasim trafik cezasi aldi. Sonunda ben cok ucuz ikinci el bir araba satin aldim. Birkac yil sonra liseyi bitirdim, universiteye gittim, gazeteci olarak calismaya basladim. Bu ne kadar guzeldi! Saat dokuz’a kadar ise baslamadim ( – :

5/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Soguk Savasin sonunda Amerikan baskan George (Baba) Bush Sovyet mevkidas soz verdi: ‘ABD ordusu Dogu Avrupa’ya asla gelmeyecegiz.’ Yalan! Hic vaket kaybetmeden, ABD ordusu Dogu Avrupa’ya iceri girdi. Sonunda birkac yil once Ukranya’da CIA bir darbe duzenlemeye yardim etti, Rusya yanlisi baskan devrildi, yozlasmis ama Bati yanlisi oligarsi geldi, bu sekildi is savasi basladi, sayisiz hayat kaybetti ve Kirim’deki Rus cogunlugu Rusya’ya donmeye oy verdi. Tabii ki! Ukranya Rusya’nin en buyuk (Avrupali) komsusu, nufusu yaklasik elli milyon, Kirim’deki cok onemli bir liman var ve Rusya her zaman o limani kullaniyordu. Fakat simdi Ukranya’da dusmanca ve yozlasmis bir diktator var. Rusya icin bu durum cok tehliklei. Eger Rusya Meksika’da bir darbe duzenleyecekse, ABD ne yapacak? Elbette ABD savasa girecek! Kuba Fuze Krizi hatirliyor musunuz? Bu arada, Amerika Dogu Avrupa’da genislemeye devam ediyor. Simdi ona Litvanya’da, mesela. Orada ABD ne yapiyor? Ona askeri egitim yapiyor. Neden? Ona gore Rusya’da fuzeler var. Ne kadar ilginc! Amerika’da fuzeler yok mu? Her zamanki gibi sadik kopek Ingiltere Amerika’ya yardim ediyor. Aslinda, bu NATO bir harekati. Evet, Bati Dunya cok iki yuzlu, gercekten NATO Rusya’dan cok daha savasci, ve cok Ruslardan korkma yaratiyor

4/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Gambiya’da problemler devam ediyor, eski baskan Yahya Jammeh gitmeyi reddediyor, simde onu desteklemeyi diger bolgelerden ve komsu ulkelerden bol bol isyancilar geliyor. Maalesef, ona savas istiyor gibi gorunuyor. Tam bir ay once burada bu konu hakkinda yazdim, Gambiya’da secim yapildi ve buyuk bir surpriz oldu – eski guvenlik gorevlisi Adama Barrow kazandi. Jammeh yirmi iki yil boyunca baskan oldu be ‘milyar yil’ icin devam etmeyi soz verdi. Zaten Bati Afrika Ulkeleri Ekonomik Toplulugu’nun ordusu savas icin hazirladi. Simdiye kadar Jammeh neredeyse iki bin asker alindi – ozellikle Liberya’dan, Sierra Leonne’den, Mali’dan ve Senegal’dan. Bu arada, ona da radyo hizmetleri kontrol ediyor. Cok ilginc cunku Gambiya Ingilizce konusan bir ulke, ama Sierra Leonne, Mali ve Senegal Fransizca konusan. Haber gore Jammeh da bir suikastci takim duzenledi. Ona Afrika’nin son ‘kocaman adamlar’ arasinda, ve ‘kocaman adamlar’ nadiren gitmek istiyor. Mesela, Kongo’da baskan Joseph Kabila da gitmeyi reddediyor. Bu arada, Zimbabve’de Robert Mugabe otuz yedi yil boyunca iktidarda oldu – bagimsizliktan beri – ve simdi ona neredeyse doksan uc yasinda var! Gambiya kucuk bir Bati Afrika’da ulke, nufusu sadece yaklasik iki milyon, yuzde doksan Musluman ve yuzde sekiz Hiristiyan .

3/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Masallah Suriye’de savas bitti gorunuyor. Simdi Kazakistan’da baris pazarligi var, isyancilar cekilmek istiyor, ama bana gore onlar Cehennemin dibine gidebilir. Isyancilar teroristler ile calisiyordu, rehineler aldi, insan kalkinlari kullandi. NATO, Israil ve bazi Korfez devletleri isyancilara destekledi cunku baska bir rejimin degismesi istiyordu, ve Bati Dunyasi’nda cok kisi da isyancilara destekledi cunku Rusya’dan kesinlikle nefret ediyorlar. Onlar neden Rusya’dan o kadar nefret ediyorlar? Cunku onlar kesinlikle beyni yikanmis. Hukumetleri yaygin medya kontrol ediyor ve bu sekilde halkin kafalari kontrol ediyor. Dusune biliyormusunuz? Amerikalilar ve Avrupalilar sivilleri rehin alan teror baglantili isyancilar desteliyordu! Yaygin medya propaganda ne kadar guclu! Son uc on yil boyunca Amerikan savaslari yaklasik on milyon Musluman oldurdu, ama Bati Dunyasi icin buyuk bir problem yok, onlar hala Barack Obama cok seviyor, mesela. Ancak Rusya Halep’ten kurtarmaya ve savasi bitirmeyi yardim etti, ve Bati Dunyasi’nda yaygin medyasi sadece istenmeyen hasar hakkinda konusuyor, “soykirim oldu” iddia ediyor, ve internette ve televizyonda cok sahte videolar ve fotograflar koydu (bazi Filistin’den, Halep’ten degil), ve cok kisi kesin olarak her sey inaniyor . . .

2/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bayram mevsimi bitti, simdi is yeriye donmeliyiz, normal hayat devam ediyor. Dun doktora gorunmeyi Uskudar’a gittim, ancak cok problem vardi. Birincisi Kabatas Iskele kapali, Uskudar vapur yok, su anda Besiktas’a gitmeliyiz. O yuzden, Besiktas’a yurudum ve orada Uskudar vapur bindim. Son kez Anadolu yakasina gittim haitrlamiyorum, ama galiba birkac ay once oldu. Son birkac yilda iskele yaninda bir tip merkeziye gidiyordum, ozellikle dis tedavi icin. Cok iyi, randevu icin ihtiyac yok, sadece kisa sure beklemeliyiz, ve pahali degil. Ancak dun doktor yoktu, sadece acil icin acik oldu. Aramam gerekirdi. Onemli degildi, butun gun bos oldu, bu yuzden Taksim’e geri dondum ve Cihangir’de ogle yemegi yedim. Dun aksam saglik sigortasi policesim baktim ve o gore ben Besiktas’ta bir tip merkezinde sigortasim kullanbilirim. Cok uygun, cunku neredeyse her gun Besiktas’a giderim. O yuzden bu hafta randevu verecegim. Bu arada, Yilbasi baska bir sey yapmadim, sadece televizyon haberi izledim (butun gun Reina teror saldiri hakkinda oldu, tabii ki), ve bilgisayar kullandim. Dun aksam Israil ve Filistin hakkinda cok ilginc bir video izledim. Tuhafi su ki acikmadim, aksam yemegi icin sadece iki tane muz yedim. Fakat cok iyi uyudum, ve bugun cok daha iyi hissediyorum.

1/1/17

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Herkese mutlu yillar! Maalesef, zaten kotu haber geldi, Reina gece kulubunde teror saldirir oldu, yaklasik kirk hayat kaybetti, cok daha yarali var. Gorunuste iki veya uc Noel Baba kiliginda adamlar girdi ve ates acti. Ben dun aksam evde kaldim, yaklasik saat bir bucukta yataga gittim, havai fisekler duydum. Teror saldiri hakkinda hic bir sey bilmedim, ancak iyi uyumadim. Bu sabah pencereden baktim ve kar taneleri gordum, fakat simdi gunesli ve daha az soguk. Bu sekilde yil iki bin on yedi geldi. Bu benim on sekinci yil Avrupa’da ve on ikinci yil Istanbul’da. Bundan baska, bu benim sekizinci yil ayni apartmanda (yeni bir rekor), ve altinci yil ayni is yeride (yeni bir rekora yaklasiyor). Yeni yil kararim – daha saglikli yemek, kolestrol dusmek, ve stresi azaltmak. O yuzden her aksam yatmadan once internette kisa bir meditasyon programi dinliyorum – cok rahatlatici. Bu arada, romanim projesi bitirmek istiyorum, tabii ki, simdi ikinci taslagi yaziyorum, galiba iki veya uc ay sonra bitirecegim, ondan sonra hersey duzeltmeliyim. Hepsi bu. Tatil planlarim yapmiyorum, su anda parami biriktirmeyi tercih ederim. Umarim yilin sonunda saglikli olacagim, ayni apartmanda oturacagim, ayni is yeride calisacagim ve romanim bitti olacak. Insallah Turkiye’nin teror sorunu cozulecek…

31/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Yil iki bin on alti neredeyse bitti, cok olayli ve ilginc on iki ay oldu. Donald Trump Amerikan secimini kazandi, herkes cok sasirdi, ben dahil. Ingiltere AB’den ayrilmaya oy verdi, bu da cok beklenmez. Brezilya’da baskan Dilma Rousseff’e karsi bir darbe oldu, ama bu cok supheli, Wikileaks gore darbe lideri, eski baskan yardimcisi Michel Temer, bir CIA muhbir oldu ve simdi yolsuzluk ile suclandi. Tabii ki, bu yil eski Kubali devrim kahraman ve baskan Fidel Castro vefat etti. Kolombiya’da halk FARC isyancilarla barisa karsi oy verdi, ancak baskan Juan Santos calismaya devam etti ve Nobel Odulu kazandi. Filipinler Cumhuriyeti’nin yeni baskani Rodrigo Duterte uyusturucu saticilarina yok etmek istiyor! Myanmar’daki cok Musluman olduruldu, cok daha Banglades’e kacti. Yemen’deki ABD-destekli Suudi Arabistan cok sivilleri bombaladi, Amerika gene Libya’yi bombaladi, ve hem Irak’taki hem de Suriye’deki teroristleri karsi savaslari devam etti. En azinda, Suriye’deki savas hemen hemen bitti gibi gorunuyor. Bu arada, Birles Milletler nihayet Israil’in Filistin’deki yerlesimlerini yasadisi buldu, Masallah! Afrika’da cok problem vardi, Etiyopya’daki Oromo insanlar ezilmeyi devam ediyor, Kuzey Sudan’daki kabile savaslar ve soykirim devam ediyor, Nijerya’daki askerler yaklasik yuz elli Biafra isyancilara oldurdu, Orta Afrika Cumhuriyetin’de Hristiyanlar karsi Muslumanlar savasi devam ediyor, Gambiya nihayet yeni baskan secildi ama Kongo’daki baskan Joseph Kabila gitmeyi reddetti, ve Misir’deski vahsi diktatorluk devam ediyor. En azinda eski Cadli diktator Hissene Habre diktator siyasi rakipleri oldurmek icin omur boyu hapse mahkum edildi.

30/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Nihayet Suriye, Rusya ve Iran Aleppo’da teroristleri maglup etti ve o sehir ozgurlestirdi. Maalesef, teroristler bol bol rehineleri aldi, cok oldurdu, iskence yapti ve tecavuz etti. Kacinilmaz cok daha savas boyunca cok daha olduruldu, maalesef. Tabii ki Bati medya sivil olumleri icin teroristleri suclamadi, ona Suriye’yi, Rusya’yi, ve Iran’a sucladi. Neden? Cunku Bati Dunya teroristleri destekledi. Aslinda, ABD ve onlarin arkadaslari teroristleri yaratti, bu sekilde bask bir Orta Dogu rejim degismesi calisiyordu. Saddam Huseyin ve Muammer Kaddafi sonra. ABD butun Orta Dogu kontrol etmek kesinlikle istiyor, ve bu candan diktatorlar demek, demokrasi yok. Fakat bu defa ABD basarisiz oldu, cunku Rusya hukumeti yardim etti. Cok ilginc bir durum, belki bu donum noktasi olacak, Amerikan emperyalizm ve savaslar devam etmeyecek. Insallah! Bunun icin Washington cok kizgin, Rusya’yi cezalandirmak istiyor. Bu arada, Rusya, Iran ve Turkiye Syria icin planlar yapiyor. Ne kadar ilginc! On yil once Suriye normal bir ulke, ve simdi yabanci ulkeler ona icin planlar yapiyor. Tabii ki, Suriye baskan Bessar Esed kotu sey yapti, ancak Orta Dogu’da cok daha kotu liderleri var – ve ABD onlara destekliyor! O yuzden neden yabanci ulkeler Suriye icin planlar yapiyor? Sadece Suriyeliler planlar yapmali, kendi gelecek karar vermeli, aksi halde muhtemelen problemler devam edecek. Aslinda, iki yil once Suriye’deki secim oldu ve bil bakalim – Esed kolayca kazandi. Fakat Bati medya gore ona sadece birkac yil sonra devam edebilir, ondan sonra gitmeli. Diger bir deyisle Bati Dunya Suriye’de hala rejim degismesi

29/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Aslinda bu tablo kesinlikle yanlis, bunun icin aciklamama izin verin. Birinci fotograf iki bin sekiz yilinda degil, o fotograf Kemer’de iki bin yedi yilinda cekildi, oraya arkadaslarimin dugunu katilmaya gittim. Orada sadece bir hafta sonu kaldim, ama cok guzeldi, arkadaslarim ile luks otelde kaldim, sahilde yurudum ve hamama gittim. Dorduncu fotograf iki bin on bir yilinda degil, o fotograf Catalca’da iki bin dokuz yilinda cekildi, oraya arkadasimin yazlik kosk ziyaret etemeyi gittim. Aslinda ayni arkadaslarim ile oraya gittim, sadece bir ogleden sonra kaldim. Besinci fotograf iki bin on iki yilinda degil, o fotograph iki bin on bir yilinda cekildi, Amazaon ile kendi kitabimi yayinladim – ‘Dunya’nin En Candan Insanlar,’ kisa bir hiciv romani oldu, memleketim hakkinda. Bedava oldu, ancak hic reklam yapmadim, sadece birkac kitap sattim. Altinci fotograf dogru, Bodrum’da iki bin on uc yilinda cekildi, o yaz Bodrum’a iki kez gittim – ancak ikinci kez sadece Kos Ada’sina giderken. Fakat yedinci fotograf iki bin on bes yilinda degil, o fotograf Zencibar’da iki bin on dort yilinda cekildi. Zencibar Tanzanyali bir adasi yuz doksan dokuz Musluman, ama cok Turistik. Orada haftalik tatil icin gittim. Tabii ki diger fotograflat ben degil, iki bin dokuz yilinda fotograf Baba Noel, iki bin on yilinda fotograf Filistinli bayrak, ve iki bin on alti yilinda fotograf eski boks sampiyon Muhammed Ali.

28/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Noel bayraminda hic bir sey yaptim, sadece evde kaldim, rahat ettim, cok yazdim ve okudum, ve birkac siyasi video izeledim. Ozellikle Pakistanli-Ingiliz yazar ve gazeteci Tariq Ali’nin dizisi izledim. Suriye, Yemen, Libya, Irak, Turkiye, Haiti, Israil, Brezilya, Kuba ve daha ulkeleri hakkinda video izledim, ve ona her sey iyi anlatiyor, bu sekilde cok ogrendim. Mesela, Tariq Ali Israil hakkinda cok ilginc bir sey anlatti: Tarihi kayit gore Romalilar Yahudileri Israil’den cikarmadi, bu fikir kesinlikle mantiksiz. Ayrica, tarihi kayit gore Yahudileri Avrupa’ya gelmedi. O yuzden Yahudileri nereye gitti? Tariq gore onlar hic bir yere gitmedi. Fakat Islam geldi, Orta Dogu’daki neredeyse herkes Islam’a cevirdi. Bu ne demek? Muhtemelen antik Yahudilerin soylari Filistinliler! Yahudiler Avrupa’ya sekizinci ve on birinci yuzyillar arasinda geldi, bircok Hazar bolgesinden, ve onlar hem Almanya’da soykirimin ve Rusya’da katliamlarin kurbanlari oldu. Onlar Israil ile hic bir baglanti yoktu. Bu arada, Brezilya hakkinda baska ilginc sey ogrendim: Wikileaks gore simdiki baskan Michel Temer eski baskan Dilma Rousseff’in yardimcisi olarak bir CIA muhbiri oldu! Bunun iciin ABD hemen hemen kesinlikle onun Rousseff’e karsi darbe destekledi! Bir sey daha: Tariq Ali gore El Kaide yok, onlar sadece Saudi-destekli Cihatcilar. Ancak Amerikan baskan onlara bombalamaya kogreden izin icin ihtiyac yok, o yuzden ABD hukumeti gore her yerde Al Kaide var. Ne kadar ilginc! Galiba Yilbasi bayraminda daha Tariq Ali video izleyecegim. Benim icin cok iyi bir firsat.

27/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Medya propaganda ne kadar guc! Sen son yirmi bes yilda on milyon Muslumani oldurdugu icin Amerika affetiyor musun ama Aleppo’yu ozgurluklestirdigi icin Rusya’da kizgin misin? Eger oylese, sen kesinlikle propaganda ile beyin yikanmis. Sen Libya’yi imha ettigi icin Barack Obama ve Hillary Clinton affetiyor musun ama Ukranya kriz icin Vladimir Putin’e ofkelisin mi? Eger oylese, sen kesinlikle propaganda ile beyin yikanmis. Sen gecen yuzyilin en kotusu ulkeler Almanya ve Sovyet Birligi dusunuyorsun, Ingiliz Imparatorlugu ve Amerika degil? Eger oylesi, sen kesinlikle propaganda ile beyin yikanmis. Her gun herkes cok televizyon izleyor, gazeteler okuyor ve internet kullaniyor. Bu sekilde her gun cok bilgi aliyoruz, ancak bu bilgi nereden geldi, neden geldi, ve gercek mi? Onemli sorular. Cok dikkat etmeliyiz. Ayrica, medya propaganda sadece uluslararasi siyaset hakkinda degil. Sosyal propaganda var, mesela. Irkcilik, milliyetcilik ve cinsiyet ayrimi (erkek dusmanligi dahil) da medya propaganda sonuclari var. Bu sekildi kontrol altindayiz, bolunduk ve zayifladik, dikkati dagitik ve kafasi karistik. Baglilik ve nefret ogreniriz, ve bu islem cok erken basliyor, cocuklugumuzda. Yetiskinken bircogumuz her sey anliyoruz fakat hala kendimizi degistirmeyi kolay bir sey degil, bu onyargilar cok derin, tabii ki. Halbuki, eger gercekten ozgur olmak istiyor musun, bu islem icin ihtiyac var .

26/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bir defa daha yeni ev arkadas icin ariyoruz. Ertesi ay sonunda Yeni Zelandali ev arkadasim Turkiye’den birakacak, ona sadece kisa sure kaldi cunku Cin’den Ingiltere’ye bisiklete turu yapiyor. Cok cesur bir kadin! Bu arada Turk ev arkadasim kucuk yatak odasindan buyuk yatak odasindan tasinacak, o yuzden kucuk yatak odasi bos olacak. Tum mobilya var, ama tek kisilik yatak sadece. Ayrica, pencereden manzara yok, ama o yatak odasi en sessizlik ve Kis mevsimi boyunca en az soguk. Tabii ki, kalorifer var. Kiralik alti yuz arti faturalar (toplam yaklasik yedi yuz ve yedi yuz yirmi arasinda). Dairemiz Taksim’de, cok merkezde, Istiklal Caddesi ve metrodan iki dakika, Kabatas’tan on dakika. Gunesli salon ve kucuk balkon var. Toplam dort tane kisi var. Lubnanli ev arkadasim neredeyse iki yil boyunca burada kaldi. Ona genellikle Lubnan’da, ama zaman zaman burada kaliyor – simdi dahil. Turk kiz neredeyse bir bucuk yilda kaldi. Bunun icin iki tane uzun vadeli ev arkadasim var, cok iyi bir durum. Ben burada yedi yildan daha oturuyordum. Benim icin yeni bir rekor var, onceden ayni yerde dort yildan daha asla kalmadim. Tabii ki, ben burada cok rahat hissediyorum. Her sabah yazarim, ve son yedi yilda birkac roman projesi yaptim. Su anda bir tane daha duzeltiyorum.

25/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Herkese Mutlu Noeller. Evet, Aralik yirmi bes geldi, bugun Hristiyan Dunyasi Isa’nin Dogusu kutliyor, baska herkes Kis gundonumu kutliyor. Gercekten su anda pazarlama hakkinda, birkac gun once burada bu konu hakkinda yazdim, modern ‘Noel Gunu’ Amerika’da gelisti. Su anda Noel Gun’unde her kes hediye veriyor, kizartilmis yemegi yiyor ve aileleri ile kutliyor. Memleketimde Noel Gunu yaz mevsimi boyunca geliyor, hava sicak, disarida kutlayabiliriz. Babam Danimarkali oldu, o bizimle yasamadi, ancak cocukken annem her zaman Danimarkali Noel Gunu duzenledi, Aralik yirmi dorduncu kizartilmis yemegi yedik – genellikle pilic, domuz etti – ve o aksam hediyeleri actik. En buyuk erkek olarak ben hediyeleri dagittim ve kendi acmaya beklemedliydim. Benim icin farketmez oldu, cunku rolum cok eglendim, cok onemli hissettim. Annem cok lezzetli tatlilar hazirladi, ve her zaman cikolata arti baska seker vardi. Yetiskinlere icin sampanya ve beyaz sarap vardi, tabii ki. O yuzden bizim icin her sey Aralik yirmi dorduncu oldu, ve Noel Gunu sadece rahat ettik. Aralik yirmi altinci da bu bayram – Ingilizce ‘Boxing Day’ olarak bilinen cunku eskiden Noel Gun’unde herkes kiliseye gitti ve ertesi gunu hediyelerini acti. Bu arada, bugun sadece evde rahat ediyorum, benim icin yeter .

24/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bilim insanlari gore uzun omur icin genetik en onemli sey, belki yuzde otuz sorumlu. Halbuki, yemek hakkinda cok arastirma yapildi, ve muhtemelen bu da cok onemli. Galiba sebzeler etten cok daha saglikli, vejetaryenler ve az et yiyen insanlar daha uzun yasar. Kirmizi et seker hastaligi, tansiyon ve kanser icin tehlikeli olabilir, ozellikle erkekler icin, ve ozellikle orta yasli erkekler icin. Bir orta yasliyim, o yuzden daha sebzeler ve daha az et yerim. Benim icin zor bir sey degil, cunku bende kirmizi et lezzetli degil, beyaz et tercih ederim. Belki yuz yil sonra insanlar et yemeyecek, onlar icin bu fikir yamyamlik gibi gorunuyor – ve bu zamanlar cok vahsi! En azinda insanlar kirmizi et yemeyi birakmali, memeliler bizim kuzenleriz, onlar duyulu, oyuncu ve yavrularina bakarlar. Bu hayvanlar nasil yiyebiliriz? Gercekten bu cok vahsi. Elbette ben iki yuzlu, cunku kirmizi et yerim, ancak cok degil ve su anda mumkun oldugunca az. Beyaz etler baska bir sey, ozellikle balik etti, cunku bana gore balik kesinlikle beyinsiz – bitkiler gibi. Evet, onlar duygulu, o yuzden zalim yonteme kullanmamaliyiz. Ancak balik etti cok saglikli ve belki bu yemegi her zaman yeyecegiz (eger varsa). Tabii ki et tek sorun degil. En tehlikeli yemek yagli ve sekerli. Aslinda sekerli yiyecek cok yeni bir sey, sadece yuz yil once seker, cikolata kalibi, dondurma ve kola yoktu. Bu kesinlikle pazarlama ve saglik icin cok kotu . . .

23/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bu foto Aleppo propaganda icin kullanildi, ancak gercekten bu foto Aleppo’dan degil, bu foto Filistin’den geldi. Ben bu foto hatirladim cunku iki yil once Israil Gazze’yi bombaladi, iki bin kisi oldurdu, ve ben bu foto paylastim. O yuzden bu foto arastirdim, ve elbette iki bin on dort yilin baskisi Ingiliz Daily Mail gazete icinde o buldum (ASAGI BAK). Maalesef, simdi Aleppo hakkinda bol bol propaganda var. Neden? Cunku ABD ve onun arkadaslari bu savas kaybetti. Onlar rejimin degismesi istedi, Irak ve Libya gibi, fakat bu defa basarisiz oldu cunku Rusya ve Iran Suriye’nin hukumeti destekledi. ABD ve onun arkadaslari bu savas nasil kavga etti? Onlar vekiller kullandi. Ancak o vekiller isyancilar ya da teroristler? Iyi bir soru. Irak’taki “teroristler” var, Libya’daki “teroristler” var, ama Suriye’deki “isyancilar” var. Ne kadar ilginc. Sonunda o isyancilar/teroristler Suriye’nin en buyuk sehir isgal etti, sivilleri rehin aldi. Bazi raporlar gore tecavuz, iskence ve idam vardi, ama Bati haberi icin ilginc degildi. Onlar gore sivil zayiat cok daha ilginc, cunku Suriye ve Rusya isyancilari/teroristleri bombaladi, nihayet bu sekildi kazandi. Bunun icin ABD cok kizgin ve bol bol propaganda yapiyor, ve cok kisi onun yalanlar inaniyor. Inanilmaz! Irak’tan sonra ve Libya’dan sonra cok kisi hala ABD haber inaniyor. Onlar kesinlikle beyni yikanmis, galiba cok fazla Amerikan film ve televizyon dizisi izledi…

22/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Elbette, simdi sabah degil, simdi aksam, ama bugun saat iki’ye kadar eve eletrigi kesildi. Evet, butun gun bekledim, hic haber gelmedi, cok soguk odlu ve kalorifer kullanamadim – elektrik gerekiyor. Ayrica, sicak su yoktu ve dus almak istedim. Tabii ki ne televizyon ne internet kullanamadim. Bunun icin sadece roman ile calistim (bilgisayar pil var), ve Maksim Gorki bir romani okudum. Saat iki’de gitmeliydim, ancak tam o andan elektrik geri dondu! O yuzden kisa bir sicak dus aldim, ve Besiktas’a gittim. Bugun atolye katilmak istedim, genellikle Persembe gunleri yaklasik saat iki’de giderim. Kotu sansliyim. Bundan baska, yolda kocaman bir guvenlik harekati oldu, trafik yoktu, ama cok polis ve birkac kez uzerini arandim. Cok endise ettim. Belki baska bir kotu olay oldu, dusundum. Bu yil cok terorist saldiri oldu, mesela. Masallah baska bir kotu olay yoktu, bu kocaman guvenlik hareketi var cunku baskan Besiktas futbol maca gidiyor. Bunun icin Taksim ve Besiktas arasinda trafik yok ve bol bol polis var. Galiba bu aksam zor olacak, ben Taksim’e geri donmeliyim, her yerde kalabalik olabilir. Belki bara gidecegim ve daha sonra eve gidecegim. Yarin bos gunum var, buna ragmen yarin aksam bir Noel partisiye gidecegim. Cumartesi gun tek ders vermeliyim, ve Pazar gunu bayram olacak. Elbette, Pazar Noel gunu, Aralik yirmi besinci. Sonra gunu Noel Ertesi gunu, ve bu da bir bayram olacak.

21/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, arkadaslarim, Suriye istila etmeye Amerika ve onun arkadaslari teroristler kullandi. Haber gore onlar ‘isyancilar’ oldu, ancak ayni sey, onlar cok sivil kimse oldurdu. Cok teroristler yurt disindan geldi, ozellikle Irak’tan cunku ABD o Musluman ulke da imha etti. Bu arada, Suudi Arabistan Cihatci teroristleri destekliyor, onlar ‘El Kaide,’ ‘ISID,’ ‘El Nusra,’ ‘El Sam’ olarak bilinen, falan, ama gercekten sadece Suudi-destkli Cihatcilar. Ayrica, onlar ne Avrupa’da ne Amerika’da hic bir teror saldirisi yapti – bu sadece daha propaganda. ABD ve Suudi Arabistan Suriye istikrarsizlastirmaya teroristleri kullandi, onlar o ulkenin baskan devirmek istedi Kirk yil once onlar Afganistan’da ayni sey yapti, bu sekilde Taliban yaratti, ve simde ABD askeri gene Afganistan’da kavga ediyor (on bes yildan beri), ve Taliban’a karsi kavga ediyor!! Fakat bu defa farkli oldu. Suriye dusmedi. Neden? Cunku Rusya ve Iran onu destekledi. O yuzden ABD bir secim yapmaliydi: Rusya yuz yuze gelecek veya Suriye’den birakacak. Hillary Clinton Rusya yuz yuze gelecek tercih etti, bunun icin Amerikan secim boyunca ben Clinton kesinlikle desteklemedi. Donald Trump Suriye’den birakacak tercih etti (galiba). Masallah Trump kazandi, bu savas devam etmeyecek! Baska bir Afganistan-Irak-Libya olmayacak. Ucuncu Dunya Savasi olmayacak. Fakat baska bir problem vardi: teroristler nasil yenebiliriz? Rusya ve Suriye bu yapti, cok zor oldu, teroristler sivil kimse rehinler tuttu, ancak nihayet bu operasyon basarili oldu. Simdi Musul’deki (Irak’ta) Amerikan-destkli Irak askeri ayni sey yapmaya calisiyor

20/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, Bati Dunyasinda bu hafta sonu Noel kutlanacak. Her yil ayni sey anlatirim cunku benim egitimsel icgudusu. Yine basliyoruz. Aslinda, Kuzey Yarimkurede binlerce yildan beri insanlar Kis Gundonumu kutlaniyordu, en kisa gunler bitti, ondan sonra her gun daha uzun olacak, mahsulat yetistirmeye basliyor. Buna ragmen, Kis mevsimi bitmedi, tam tersi, Kis Mevsimi sadece basliyor. Iskandinavya’da efsane vardi: Her Kis Gundonumu ‘Baba Noel’ geliyor, onu ren geyikleri ile gokyuzunde ucuyor, bacalara giriyor. Tabii ki bu efsane gunes hakkinda. Ondan sonra Hristiyanlar geldi, her sey degistirdi, bayramlar din hakkinda olmaliydi. Onlar gore Noel gunu Isa’nin dogum gunu oldu, bunun icin her kes Isa kutlamaliydi, Kis Gundonumu ve Baba Noel degildi. Ayrica, ‘Bahar Noktasi Isa’nin yeniden canlanma hakkinda,’ dediler, ‘Paskalya bayrami herkes Isa kutlamali, dogurganlik ve yavrular degil.’ Bu arada, Guney Turkiye’den Yunanli bir piskopos Avrupa’ya geldi, ona herkese hediye verdi. Onun adi Nikolaos oldu, ondan sonra ‘Aziz Nikolaos,’ ve birkac Avrupali ulkede ona hala kutlaniyor. Ancak Amerika’da her sey karismis oldu, onlar gore Noel Baba ve Aziz Nikolaos ayni, galiba pazarlama icin. Tabii ki, su anda ABD’deki sadece alisveris hakkinda, ne din ne Kis Gundonumu degil…

19/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. ABD ve onun arkadaslari Afganistan’i, Irak’i ve Libya’yi saldirdi ve isgal etti, ve Suriye’ye ayni sey yapmak istediler. Simdi her kes Amerikan yalanlari hakkinda biliyor, Afganistan’i bin Laden bulmaya istila etmedi, Irak’i kitle imha silahi bulmaya istila etmedi, ve Libya’yi soykirim durmaya istila etmedi. Hepsi yalan oldu. Ancak hala cok kisi Amerikan Suriye hakkinda haberi inaniyor. Inanilmaz! Iki bin on bir yilinda ABD baskan Barack Obama ‘Assad gitmeli’ dedi. Sonra yil Devlet Bakani Hillary Clinton ayni sey soyledi, Obama isyancilara destek verdi, ABD ve Ingiltere isyancilara egitim vermeye basladi, CIA silah gonderdi. Iki bin on uc yilinda Senator John Kerry ‘Assad gitmeli’ dedi, silah gondermeye destekledi. ABD zirhli araclar gonderdi, Urdun’daki isyancilara egitim verdi. Libya’dan daha silah geldi, ABD kongresi bu destekledi, isyancilara Amerikan tanksavar fuzeler aldi. Sonra yil ABD hava saldirisi basliyor, ‘yillar surebilir’ dedi, sivil halklar olduruldu. Ingiltere’nin ozel kuvvetler savasi katildi. Gecen yil bir ABD hava saldiri elli sivil kimse oldurdu, baska ‘duzineler.’ ABD elli ton silah gonderdi. Obama karadan istila yetki verdi. Bu yil baska bir ABD hava saldiri yetmis uc sivil kimse oldurdu. Ateskes boyunca ABD Suriyeli ordusunu bombaladi, yaklasik doksan askeri hayat kaybetti. Isyancilara Avrupa’dan milyar lira silah aldi. ASAGI BAK . . .

18/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Zaman nasil da geciyor! Yeni yuzyilin baslangici akrabam tanismaya Danimarka’ya gittim, orada erkek yegenlerim tanistim, onlar kucuk cocuklar oldu, ve bu aksam haber geldi, en buyuk erkek yegenim ikinci cocuguna sahibi olacak! Evet, iki bin yilinda Ingiltere’de birkac ay boyunca garson olarak calistim. Ilkbahar mevsimde Man Adasi’nda calisiyordum, Irlanda Denizi’nde, ancak patronum (Yeni Zelandali bir bayan) cok kotuydu, ben her zaman siki calistim, ancak sonunda ona beni :dedikodu” icin kovdu! Cok ani bir olay oldu, yaza kadar devam etmek istedim, ondan sonra Ispanya’ya gidecegim, diger planim yoktu. O yuzden, feribot ve tren binerek Danimarka’ya gittim. Danimarka’ya geldigimde kuzey Danimarka’ya otobus binerek devam ettim, ve orada bir kuzenim bekliyordu. Ona bir ciftlikte oturuyordu, atlar ve baska hayvanlar vardi, ve yakinda bir orman icinde geyik vardi (onlara birkac kez gordum). Orada bir ay kaldim, akrabalarim tanistim – babaanne dahil, ve babamin memleketiye ziyaret ettim. Maalesef, babaanne cok yasli ve hasta oldu, sonra yil vefat etti. Ona Nazi isgali hatirladi. Fakat buyuk babaannem konusamadi ve Ingilizce anlamadi, kuzenim hersey tercume etmeliydi. Babamin memleketi goldeki bir adaydi, cok ilginc oldu . .

17/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Ogle yemegi sorun devam ediyor. Son birkac hafta boyunca cok pizza yedim ve sagligim icin cok kotu, tabii ki. Ayrica, orta yasliyim, bu aliskanlik cok tehlikeli olabilir. O yuzden, yeter artik. Fakat lahmacun iyi degildi, Carsamba gunu cok yagli lahmacun yedim. Bundan sonra haftada lahmacun sadece bir veya iki kere yiyecegim, ve pizza zaten biraktim. Dun pilav ve tavuk yedim, galiba o daha iyi oldu. Ayrica, corba ictim, ve bu onemli cunku corba icinde genellikle biraz sogan ve diger sebzeler var. Su anda hafta sonlari ogle yemegi icin salata ve yamurtali veya peynirli sandvic yerim. Galiba bu da daha iyi. Gercekten benim icin kolesterol cok onemli. Simdiye kadar evde neredeyse her aksam ayni sey yerim – kaynatilmis sosis, sebze ve patates. Ancak bundan sonra sogan ve taze sebze (donmus degil) da koyacagim. Sogan kis icin ozellikle saglikli. Bu arada, her gun bir tane elma ve birkac dilim tost ve bal yerim, galiba iyi. Sekerli yemegi hemen hemen biraktim – siyah cikolata haric. Baska bir degisiklik yapacagim – daha az alkol icecegim. Genellikle sabahlar kahve icerim, ogleden sonlari cay icerim, ve aksamlar kirmizi sarap icerim. Fakat bundan sonra daha az sarap icecegim, maksimum haftada bir sise. Simdiye kadar genellikle haftada uc veya dort tane sise sarap iciyordum . .

16/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef su anda Facebook’ta en etkili sey iki dakika video klipleri var. Cok kisi haber okumuyor, galiba onlar cok tembel veya cok supheci, ama Facebook’ta kisa bir video klibi izlemeye cok kolay. O yuzden, su anda cok var, ve her konu hakkinda – spor, yolculuk, kediler, falan. Ayrica, cok siyaset video klibi var, tabii ki, ozellikle propaganda icin, ve aniden genellikle haber hakkinda yazmayan insanlar cok kizgin ve duyugusal bir sekilde yaziyorlar, iki dakika video klibi paylasiyor. Aslinda, bu sekilde Suriye Savasi boyunca Beyaz Kasklar unlu var, onlar kurbanlari hakkinda cok kisa video klipleri yapiyor, haber gore onlar on binlerce kisi kurtardi, ve Nobel odulu icin aday gosterdi. Cok kisi Facebook’ta onlarin video klipleri paylasiyor, ve o klipleri her zaman Suriye ve Rusya suclar. Fakat gercekten Beyaz Kasklar kim? Ilk olaraka Amerikan bir yardim acente onlar kurdu, o yardim acente hem Venezuela’da hem de Kuba’da ayni sey yapti. Ikinci olarak, bir Ingiliz asker Beyaz Kasklari egitim verdi ve onlar kesinlikle NATO icin calisiyor. Ucuncu olarak son uc yil boyunca Beyaz Kasklar Amerikan hukumetinden yirmi uc milyon dolar aldi. Dorduncu olarak, Beyaz Kasklar kesinlikle teroristler ile isbiriligi yapiyor, ve video klipleri icinde kendi kurbanlari kullaniyor. Bir unlu fotograf icinde onlar teroristler ile poz yapiyorlar, ve o teroristler on iki yasinda bir cocugun kafasini kesti . . .

15/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Gelecek ay Barack Obama’nin sekiz yil baskanligi bitirecek. Acaba onun mirasi ne olacak? Ona ABD’nin ilk Afrikali-Amerikali baskan oldu, iki tane secim kazandi. Fakat Afrikali-Amerikali insanlar icin ne degistirdi? Son sekiz yilda polis sayisiz Afrikali-Amerikali erkekler oldurdu, ve genellikle cezasiz. Ayrica, hapishane endustriyel kompleks devam ediyor, sayisiz Afrikali-Amerikali erkekler cezaevinde. O yuzden, Obama altinda bu durum degistirmedi. Tamam, Obama’nin dis siyaset nasil oldu? Birinci secim kampanyasi boyunce Obama her zaman baris hakkinda konustu, hem Afganistan’dan hem de Irak’tan birakmak istedi. Ancak o savaslar devam ediyor – bir tane neyedeyse on bes yilda, diger neredeyse un uc yilda. Evet, Obama Irak’tan bazi askerleri cekti, ama kisa sure sonra onlar geri dondu. Bu arada Obama Guantanamo temerkuz kampi kapatmaya soz verdi, fakat bunu da yapmadi. Filistin’de hic bir sey degistirmedi, iki yil once Israil korkunc bir katliam yapti, iki bin kisi oldurdu, ama bu yil ABD Israil’e rekor bir yardim paketi gondermeye karar verdi. Bu Arada ABD ve Suudi Arabistan Yemen’i bombaliyor, binlerce sivil kimse oldurdu. Bu arada, son birkac yil boyunca Obama altinda iki tane daha savasi basladi, NATO Libya’yi imha etti ve onun lideri olduruldu. Libya icin kocaman bir felaket oldu – ve devam ediyor. Suriye’deki ABD isyancilar ve teroristler kullandi, bu sekilde korkunc bir vekalet savasi basladi, fakat bu savas kaybediyor cunku Rusya Suriye’yi yardim etti. Aslinda, Obama birkac savas basladi ancak hic savas kazanmadi. Bu durum sadece akeri endustriyel kompleks fayda saglar

14/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, cok propaganda var, ve su anda Internetten ve Facebook’tan, mesela, neredeyse butun dunya (Cin haric) Amerikan propaganda aliyor, okuyor ve izliyor. Bu yil iki tane onemli ornek vardi – ABD secimleri, ve simdi Suriye Savasi. Cok kisi Facebook’ta Amerikan (ve Avrupali ve Katarli – Al Jazeera) propaganda paylasiyor, ancak ayni ulkleler bu savas baslamak yardim etti. Suriye’deki bir ic savasi yok, orada bir vekalet savasi var. Bu bir Katar’dan Avrupa’ya petrol boru hatti hakkind. Suriye bu proje kabul etmedi, o yuzden cihatcilar geldi (seksen yillarinda Afganistan gibi). Aslinda, ABD on sekiz yil boyunca Suriye’de yaptirimlar surdu. Suriye bagimsiz bir ulke, iki yil once secimleri vardi, cok kisi oy kullandi, ve Esad kazandi. Su anda her yerde Suriyeli multeci var, Turkiye’de dahil, ama Suriye icinde alti milyon yerinden edilmis insanlar var – ve neredeyse hepsi hukumet tarafina kacti. Suriye’nin hukumeti yardim etmeye Rusya ve Iran davet etti, diger bir ulke degildi, ve kesinlikle ABD istemedi. Buna ragmen ABD ve diger ulkeler orada kavga ediyor. Birkac ay once ABD Suriyeli askerler bombaladi, neredeyse doksan genc erkekler olduruldu, ve bu sekilde teroristler onemli topraklari geri kazandi. ABD gore bir “hata” oldu, ama ABD neden Suriye’de? Bu arada, teroristler/isyancilar cok sehir imha etti – fakat Bati meyasi gore Suriye ve Rusya yapti. Yalan, onlarin gazeteciler yerde degil, yerine onlar isyancilardan haber aliyor. Ayrica, internette cok Beyaz Kasklar video var, ama onlar sadece daha isyancilar – ABD ve Ingiltere icin calisiyor, ve cok para kazaniyor. Insan Haklari Izleme Orgutu da propaganda yapiyor, onlar bir video icinde Gaza Seridinde bir Filistinli kurban kullandi (Suriyeli degil)! Simdi cok Onlar ne yapiyor? Tabii ki rejimen degismesi istiyorlar. O zaman onlar baska bir Afganistan-Irak-Libya-Somali-Yemen istiyor, yikik dokuk. ASAGI durust bir konferans var . . .

13/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Soguk hava geldi, simdi sadece iki derece, ve haber gore kar geliyor, zaten birkac ucak iptal edildi. Ne kadar ilginc! Sadece iki gun once on yedi derece ulasti ve cok gunesliydi. Fakat Istabul’da hava cok hizli degisebilir cunku iki tane kesinlikle farkli ruzgar var, Rodos’tan (Yunanistan’da) Lodos gelir, Akdeniz’den sicak hava getirir, Burgas’tan (Bulgaristan’da) Poyaz gelir, soguk hava getirir. Lodos ve Poyras Osmanlica kelimeler. Istanbul’da genellikle her yil biraz kar var, gercekten bu normal bir sey. Ben kar sevmiyorum cunku kaygan olabilir ve kaos yaratabilir. Aslinda, memleketimde kar yok, cocukken ben hic kar gormedim. Yaklasik on uc yasindayken kayak yapmaya gittim ve ilk kez icin kar gordum, cok heyecanliydim! Fakat gencken universitede okumaya Amerika’ya gittim ve orada kis boyunca cok kar vardi, uc ay boyunca hersey bembeyaz oldu, bir gun eksi yirmi alti derece ulasti! Her gun kar icinde okulu yurudum. Benim o yeter oldu, universiteden sonra daha kar gormek istemedim! Aslinda resmi olarak kis henuz baslamadi, o mevsimi gelecek hafta baslayacak, simdi hala sonbahar. O yuzden soguk hava kesinlikle gelecek, galiba onumuzdeki uc ay boyunca devam edecek, ve bu sekilde hava Mart ay sonuna kadar biterecek. Ancak, her sey mumkun

12/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, dun iki tane yeni pantolon satin aldim bir tane lacivert, diger bej. Sadece iki veya uc ay once Istiklal’da bir dukkandan iki tane pantolon satin aldim, bir tane mave, diger kirmizi, ancak kisa sure sonra problem basladi, ozellikle kirmizi pantolon kasigiyla bir problem basladi. Cok hayal kirikligina ugradim cunku o pantolonlar ucuz degildi, kalite istedim. Ne kadar ironik! Kirmizi pantolon terziye goturdum, daha para odedim, ama sadece birkac hafta sonra ayni problem var – ve simdi mave pantolonun kasigiyla bir problem basliyor. Dun ozellikle bir gun oldu cunku ders verdim ama pantalonum kasigiyla sorun oldu o yuzden cok dikkatli olmaliydim. Galiba benim problem cok yururum, her gun yaklasik yedi kilometre, ve pantolonlar icin bu iyi degil. Yeni pantolonlar Waikiki dukkandan satin aldim, genellikle Waikiki giysiyle problem yok, orada iki tane ceket ve bazi gomlekler satin aldim ve hic problem yoktu, buna ragmen onceden orada hic pantolon satin almadim. Aslinda, fiyata bakmadim ama onlar ucuz oldu. O yuzden eger problem varsa, onemli degil. Ayrica, onlar biraz daha kalin, kis icin uygun. Son pantolonlarim cok hafif oldu, yaz icin daha uygun. Bu arada, ne kadar onlar surecek bilmiyorum, ne olacaksa olur, en iyi umit edecegim ama en kotuye icin hazirladim .

11/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, dun aksam Besiktas’ta baska bir teror saldiri oldu, iki tane bomba patladi, haber gore yaklasik kirk tane yarali var, ama galiba daha kotu haber gelecek. Televizyonda canli haber var, cok ambulans gorebilirim, ve az once helikopter duydum. Dun aksam Besiktas futbol mac oldu, ben taraftalari arasinda eve yurudum. Kim yapti hala bilmiyoruz, ama muhtemelen hedef polis oldu, bombalar polis aracinda saklandi. Buna ragmen, dun aksam yeni anayasa taslagi hukumete teslim edildi. Sadece tesaduf mi? Bu da bilmiyoruz. Simdi kesin olan sadece bir sey var – bu olay turizmi icin kotu haber olacak, ve zaten Turkiye cok turizm kaybetti. Bu hafta sonu bir ev arkadasimin enistesi Lubnan’dan geldi, burada kaliyor. Ona bu patlama duydu. Aslinda, Haziran ayda Lubnanli ev arkadasim ucan binerek Istanbul’u geldi, bir ayni aksam Ataturk Havaalaninda korkunc bir teror saldiri oldu, cok kil payi kurtuldu! Maalesef Turkiye’de bu yil cok teror saldiri oldu – bu on altinci (Istanbul’da altinci). Birinci Ocak ayda Sultanahmet’te oldu, ben o patlama duydum, on uc yabanci turist olduruldu. Ilkbahar boyunca Ankara’da iki tane buyuk teror saldiri oldu, toplam altmis yedi hayat kaybetti, arti yuzlerce kisi yaralandi. Bu arada, Hurriyet Daily News gazetesinde fotograflar var. ASAGI BAK . . .

10/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Cok ilginc bir gizem var, Osama bin Laden ne oldu? Haber gore Amerikan deniz komandolari Pakistan’da onu buldu ve oldurdu. Ancak neden? Bu kesinlikle garip. Canli tutsak cok daha faydeli olurdu, yargilama olmaliydi, herkes haklari var – teroristler dahil. Ayrica, ceset yoktu. Haber gore deniz komandolari onun ceseti denize atti. O zaman, hic delil yoktu. Ne kadar aptal! Dunyanin en onemli terorist oldurdu ve delil imha etti mi?! Yok canim! Hic kimse bu kadar aptal, ozellikle yuksek egitimli askerler. O hikaye kesinlikle yanlis. Bana gore onlar Osama bin Laden ne buldu ne oldurdu. Bana gore Osama bin Laden her zaman CIA icin calisiyordu. Tabii ki, onun ailesi zengin Suudi Arabistanlilar var, American Bush ailesi ile cok is yapiyor. Yetmislerde genc Osama bin Laden Sovyet ordusunu karsi kavga etmeye Afganistan’a gitti ve orada CIA ile calisti. Orada Amerika teroristler kullandi, ve bu sekilde Sovyet ordusunu yendi – bu sekilde Afganistan’in ilerici sosyalist hukumeti imha etti – ve Taliban geldi. Cok guzel! Ondan sonra Osama bin Laden ne yapti? Haber gore ona korkunc bir terorist oldu, Eylul birinci, iki bin bir yilinda ucaklar ile Amerikan Ikiz Kulesileri saldirdi, birkac bin hayat kaybetti. O yuzden ABD Osama bin Laden bulmaya Afganistan’a saldirdi, ancak birkac yil sonra o savas devam etti ve Osama bin Laden bulanamadi. Bu arada, Amerika’daki yeni baskan geldi . . .

9/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Zaman nasil da geciyor! Aralik geldi, sonbahar neredeyse bitti, kis geliyor, hem Noel hem de Yilbasi geliyor. Evet, arkadaslarim, bu yil neredeyse bitti, sadece birkac hafta daha var. Benim icin iki bin on alti karisik ve aci tatli bir yil oldu. Nihayet memleketimin ragbi takimi Guney Yarikure Sampiyonluk kazandi. Yirmi yildan daha bu icin bekledim, ve gecen yil ozellikle cok hayal kirikligi oldu cunku benim takimi buyuk final evde oynadi ama kaybetti! Ayrica, uzun zamandan beri Olimpic ragbi icin bekledim. Aslinda, yaklasik yuz yil once Olimpic ragbi vardi ama devam etmedi, cok fazla oyuncu var (on bes), ve turnuva uzun zaman surdu. Ben gazeteciyken Olimpit ‘yediler ragbi’ icin mucadele ettim. Daha az oyuncu var ve turnuva kisa zaman surebilir. Sonunda bu yil Rio de Jenaryo’da Olimpit ragbi vardi. Ayrica, ben her zaman Fiji kazanmak istedim cunku o kucuk bir Guney Pasifik adasi cok iyi yediler ragbi takim var, ve onceden Fiji hic bir Olimpic madalya kazanmadi. Halbuki, Rio de Jenaryo’da ona altin kazandi, butun ada kutladi, ve ben cok mutluydum! Bu arada, Amerika’daki Hillary Clinton secim kaybetti, cok sasirdim, ve cok mutluyudum. Donald Trump sevmiyorum, ama Clinton kesinlikle bir savas suclusu ve butun dunya icin cok tehlikeli bir baskan olurdu. Bunun icin sansliyim hissediyorum. Buna ragmen mukemmel bir yil degildi, birkac akrabasi vefat etti, cok para biriktirmedim, tatil yapmadim, yazin adalara gitmek istemedim, Yazma icin haric, bu yil heyecanlanmadim…

8/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. On bes bucuk yil once yaz okulda calismaya Rusya’ya gittim. O zamanlarda guney Ispanya’da oturdum, ancak yazin cok sicak oldu, o yuzden soguk bir ulkeyi gitmek istedim. Internette kuzey Avrupa’da bir yaz okul icin aradim, ve sonunda St Petersburg sehirde bir okulden teklif aldim. Mukemmel gorunuyordu, cok heyecanli hissettim. Fakat neredeyse gitmedim. Neden? Vize almaya cok zordu. Iki kez isten gunlugune izin aldim, baskente tren binerek gittim. Ilk kez Rus Elcilik binasiye disinde uzun bir sira vardi, yaklasik iki saat bekledim, fakat kapiya ulasmadan hemen once Elcilik kapatildi! O yuzden ikinci kez daha erken gittim ve bu kere Elcilik iceri girdim. Ancak baska bir problem vardi – Rus okulden benim davet gelmedi. Allahallah! Iki kez baskente gittim – bosu bosuna! Guney Ispanya’ya geri dondum ve bekledim. Benim is teklif uc ay icin oldu, ama birinci ay kaybettim. Nihayet Malaga’ya gittim, orada cok plaj var, o yuzden cok turist, cok otel ve cok bar var. Galiba orada garson olarak calisabilirdim. Ancak sonra gun Rus Elcilik’ten haber geldi, Rus okulden benim davet geldi!! ‘Ne Yapacagim?’ dusundum. Sonunda karar verdim – Rusya’ya gitmek istedim. O aksam ucuncu kez icin baskent’e gittim, bu defa vize aldim, ve sonra gun ucuz bir Varsova icin otobus bindim, herkes Polonyaca oldu, iki bucuk gun surdu. Varsova’dan Rusya’ya tren binerek gitmek istedim, ancak Belarusya gecis vizesi ihtiyac vardi. O yuzden bir otelde uyudum, ve sonra gun Rusya’ya otubus binerek gitmek calistim, ancak Letonya’da ayni problem oldu. Litvanya’ya geri dondum, garde uyudum, ve sonra gun St Petersburg icin bir tren bindim. Cok endise ettim, ancak baska bir problem yoktu, masallah, ve sonra gun o sehire ulastim.

7/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, bir yil once Guney Afrika bir gazete birkac makaleyim yayinlandi. Aslinda, sasirdim, benim icin buyuk bir surpriz oldu, cunku Cape Times cok populer ve unlu bir gazete. Cape Town’un nufusu birkac milyon ve Cape Times onun en onemli gazete. Ayrica, uluslararasi taraftalar var (ben dahil). Ilk olarak gecen yilin Ragbi Dunya Kupasi hakkinda yazdim, bu konu iyi anliyorum, memleketimde gazeteci olarak calisiyordum, son birkac yilda sadece spor hakkinda yazdim, millilerimiz birebir tanidim. Ikicin ve dordunuc makeyim uluslararasi siyaset hakkinda, cunku su anda benim icin bu cok ilginc bir konu, sayisiz kitap ve makale okudum. Ikinci makaleyim bu zamanlari ve imparatorluk zamanlariyla kiyasladi, Amerika yeni bir Ingiliz Imparatorlugu gibi gorunuyor, yaklasik ayni sey yapiyor. Dorduncu makaleyim ozellikle Orta Dogu hakkinda oldu, terorizm bizim problem degil, yazdim, hukumetler bizim problem, gercekten onlar dunyanin en buyuz teroristler. Ucuncu makaleyim Yeni Zelanda’da irkcilik hakkinda yazdim, hem soykirim hem de kulturel soykirim vardi, ve ikincisi iyi hatirliyorum cunku okulken yerlilerimiz hakkinda hic bir sey ogrenmedik, ayrica televizyonda onlar hakkinda hic bir sey gormedik. Biz sadece Ingiliz (ve Amerikan) kultur ve tarih ogrendik, sadece Ingilizce konustuk. Son makaleyim diller hakkinda oldu, bugun tam bir yil once yayinlandi. Su anda beyaz insanlar diger ulkelerde Ingilizce konusmali, secenek yok, herkes Ingilizce konusmak istiyor, bunun icin beyazlar diger dilleri ogrenmeye cok zor.

6/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Unlu Amerikan aktivist, dil bilimci, filozof, mantikci, siyasi, elestirmen, tarihci ve yazar Noam Chomsky gore Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan beri her Amerikan baskan savas sucu yapti, Uluslararasi Ceza Mahkemesi’ye gitmeliydi. Dwight Eisenhower hem Iran’da hem de Guatemala’da ilk demokratik hukumeti devirdi, ve Endonezya’da gizli teror kampanyasi yapti, bu sekilde baska bir demokratic hukumet devirmeye calisti. John F Kennedy Vietnam’i saldirdi, kimyasal silahlar kullandi, bu sekilde Vietnam Savasi basladi – toplam yaklasik uc milyon hayat kaybetti. Ayrica, ona Kuba’da gizli teror kampanyasi yapti. Lyndon Johnson Vietnam Savasi devam etti ve da Kambocya ve Laos saldirdi. Ayrica ona Dominik Cumhuriyet’i saldirdi, bu sekildi demokrasi engel oldu, ve Israil’in genlesmesi destekledi. Richard Nixon konusmak hakkinda ihtiyac yok (ona istifa etti). Gerald Ford Endonezya’nin Timor istalisi ve soykirimi destekledi, Jimmy Carter da Endonezya’nin Timor istalisiye destekledi, ama silah ambargosu, bunun icin Israil ABD icin Endonezya’ya silahlar gonderdi. Inanilmaz! Tabii ki, Amerika Israil’in savas sucu desteklemek devam etti. Ronald Reagan konusmak hakkinda da ihtiyac yok (ona Dunya Mahkemesi tarafindan mahkum edildi), Chomsky sadece onun Nikaragua’da gizli teror kampanyasi bahsetti. Baba Bush Panama saldirdi ve Birinci Irak Savasi basladi, altyapiye bombaladi, ve Bill Clinton soykirimsal yaptirimlar koydu, sonuc olarak yaklasik bucuk milyon cocuk hayat kaybetti. Ayrica, Clinton Sudan’da bir ilac fabrika bombaladi, ve Israel’in genislesmesi destekledi. Bebek Bush konusmak hakkinda ihtiyac yoktu, ama ona Ikinci Irak Savasi basladi ve o ulkeyi kesinlikle imha etti. Nihayet, Barack Obama yedi ulkede savas yapti, gun be gun

5/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bu tarih uc yil once eski Guney Afrika baskan ve insan haklari eylemci Nelson Mandela doksan bes yasinda vefat etti. Ona yirmi yedi yil boyunca hapiste oldu, ondan sonra Guney Afrika’nin ilk zenci baskan secildi. Mandela on dokuz yuz on sekiz yilinda dogdu, on dokuz yuz altmis iki ve on dokuz yuz doksan arasinda hapiste oldu, on dokuz yuz doksan dort ve on dokuz yuz doksan dokuz yillari baskan oldu. Mandelanin gercek adi Rolihlahla oldu, ama okulda bir ogretmen onu ‘Nelson’ isim verdi. Sonunda butun dunya Mandela ‘Madiba’ olarak biliyordu. Onun babasi bir kabile sefi oldu fakat Nelson sadece dokuz yasindayken ona vefat etti. Mandela universitede hukuk okudu ancak ogrenciler ayaklnama katildi ve egitimini bitirmedi. Yerine ona Yohanesburg’a tasindi ve orada egitimini bitirdi. O donemlerde beyaz hukumet vardi, ama Guney Afrika yaklasik yuzde doksan siyah – ve genellikle siyah insanlar fabrikalarda veya madenlerde calisti, ya da hizmetci is yapti. On dokuz kirk dort yilinda Mandela Afrika Ulusal Kongresi partisi katildi. Guney Afrika, ABD ve Ingiltere gore onlar ‘teroristler’ oldu, ama gercekten onlar sadece herkes icin insan haklari istedi. Birkac yil sonra irk ayrimi basladi, beyaz ve siyah insanlar farkli okullara gitti, farkli spor takimlari oynada, ve irklararasi evlilik yasak oldu, mesela. Mandela ve Oliver Tambo o ulkenin ilk siyah avukatlik burosu kurdu ve yoksullar yardim etti. Mandela da bir isyanci grubu katildi, ve on dokuz yuz elli bes ve on dokuz yuz altmis bir yillari arasinda yargilanmakti oldu. Bir yil sonra uzun bir hapis cezasi basladi, ve ‘Madiba’ cok unlu bir direnisin sembolu oldu

4/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Afrika’daki buyuk bir surpriz vardi, eski guvenlik gorevlisi ve emlakci Adama Barrow Gambiya’nin secimi kazandi, ona tecrubeli baskan Yahya Jammeh yendi. Jammeh yirmi iki yil boyunca baskan oldu, bir askeri darbeden beri, ve “milyar yil daha” devam edecek istedi. Ona zaten en onemli rakip Ousainou Darboe hapse atti, ancak belki bir hata yapti cunku sonuc olarak Barrow geldi, ve Barrow Darboe’den cok daha genc. Ona yuzde kirk bes bucuk oylari kazandi, Jammeh sadece yuzde otuz yedi. Sokaklarda partiler butun gece devam etti. Jammeh Afrika’nin son diktatoru arasinda oldu, cok zengin, her zaman televizyonda konustu, ve ‘buyuculuk’ yapti. Fakat ona bir zorba degildi, altyapiyi iyilestirdi, savaslar, kitlik, veba ve terorizm yoktu, ve gecen yil nihayet kadin sunneti yasakladi. Ayrica, ona Gambiya hem Ingiliz Milletler Topluluk’tan hem de Uluslararasi Ceza Mahkemesi’nden geri cekildi ve Ingilizce resmi dil olarak kaldirdi. Yine de insan haklari ihlalleri kesinlikle vardi, cok Gambiyali multeci Avrupa’ya gitti, ve o kucuk Bati Afrika ulkenin nufusu sadece yaklasik iki milyon. Jammeh altinda yuzler kisi ‘kayboldu,’ ve cok insanlar bir dava istiyor. Ancak, bu tehlikeli olabilir, cunku askerler kim destekliyorlar – yeni baskan veya eski baskan? Simdi hic kimse bilmiyor . . .

3/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, memleketimden iyi haber geldi, gecen hafta hukumet Ngati Kahungunu Kabileyi yuz milyon Yeni Zelanda dolar (yaklasik elli milyon Amerikan dolar) odeyecek, cunku yaklasik yuz elli yil once beyaz Ingiliz askerler yerlilere saldirdi ve araziye soke soke aldi. Ayrica, hukumet ozur diledi. Ngati Kahungunu insanlar kuzeydogu Yeni Zelanda’da yasiyor, otuz yil boyunca adalet istedi, zor ve uzun bir mucadele oldu. Tabii ki, cok daha dava var, ve simdiye kadar bu Yeni Zelanda’nin besinci en buyuk yerlesimi. Yeni Zelanda’nin yerli insanlar yaklasik bin yil once Tahiti adalardan geldi. Hollandali kaptan Abel Tasman on alti yuz kirk iki yilinda ilk beyaz adam oldu. Fakat Hollanda Yeni Zelanda istemedi. Yerine Ingilizler on sekizinci yuzyilda geldi, ve on dokuzuncu yuzyilda somurgelestirmeye basladi. Ilk olarak Ingilizler kabilelere tufekler verdi, yerliler tufekler ile onun dusmanlari oldurdu, ve Ingilizler bos arazi aldi. Ondan sonra Ingilizler ve yerliler arasinda iki tane uzun savas vardi. Ingilizler gelmeden once birkac bin yuz yerli insanlar vardi, ondan sonra sadece on bes bin. Bu kesinlikle bir soykirim oldu. Ayrica, yaklasik elli yil oncesine kadar okulda yerli dil yasak oldu, herkes Ingilizce konusmaliydi. Bu arada, televizyonda yerli kultur yoktu, sadece Amerikan ve Ingilizce. Bu kesinlikle bir kulturel soykirim oldu. Okulken ben memleketimin yerlilere hakkinda hic bir sey ogrenmedim, sadece Avrupa (ve televizyondan Amerika) hakkinda ogrendim. Su anda yerli dil yasak degil, ve okullarda yerli dil ve kultur dersler var, ama cok gec geldi . . .

2/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Galiba dun herkes sasirdi, neden bu resim yapistirdim? merak ettiler. Tamam, izin ver aciklayayim. Bes yil once, iki tane ev arkadaslarim vardi, bir tane Yunanli sarisin kiz, bir tane esmer Turk kadin. Cocukken bir Amerikan televizyon dizi vardi, bir erkek iki tane kadin ile oturuyordu, bir tane sarisin, bir tane esmer. Bunun icin benim durum ayni oldu! dusundum. Gercekten ben Amerikan televizyon diziler nefret ediyorum, onlar kesinlikle aptal ve gercekce olmayan, genellikle cinsiyet hakkinda, ve cogu zaman orta sinif beyaz insanlar gosteriyor – v bu irkcilik. Fakat cocukken memleketimde sadece bir televizyon kanal oldu, ne uydu ne kablolu televizyon vardi, o yuzden biz her zaman aptal Amerikan televizyon programi izledik, baska secenek yoktu. Bu arada, o kadinlar burada uzun zaman kaldi. Esmer kadin yaklasik bir bucuk yil boyunca dairemizde oturdu, ama sonunda Alman erkek ile evlendi ve Almanya’ya tasindi. Ona burada cok mobilya birakti, cok sansli oldu, cunku onceden az mobilya vardi. Yunanli kadin dairemizde yaklasik bir yil oturdu, ancak onun Italyan erkek arkadasi geldi ve onlar kendini daire buldu. O kadin bir Yunanca ogretmen olarak calisti ve Turkce cok hizli ogrendi. Aslinda, o durum biraz ilginc oldu cunku onceden tum ev arkadaslarim burada erkekler oldu. Ancak gercekten hic bir sey desistirmedi, Amerikan bir televizyon dizisi gibi degildi, ve her sey normal olarak devam etti .

1/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Benim problem cok fazla huyluyum, ve bunun cok kisi yaralandirmak calisiyor, sonuc olarak o kisilerden uzaklastirmaliyim. Son birkac yil Istanbul’da cok eglendim, iyi zamanlar gecti, ancak sonunda bu sorun oldu, bazi arkadaslarim benim huyulumdan yaralandirmak calisti, bunun icin sonunda arkadaslarimdan uzaklastirdim. Aptal degilim, onlar zeki degildi, her sey iyi anladim ve onlar buyuk hata yapti. Eskiden basi ev arkadaslarim ayni sey yapti, burada geldi, ev isleri yapmadi, disari cikmadi ve her sey hakkinda sikayet etti. Fakat burada cok rahat bir ambiyans var, kurallar yok, ben ne mudur ne bankaci, ne temizleyici ne tamirci, bunun icin bazi ev arkadasim evden cikardim. Aptal degilim, onlar zeki degildi, her sey iyi anladim ve onlar buyuk hata yapti. Simdi iyi ev arkadaslarim var. Eskiden is yeride sorun oldu. Ben hem caliskan hem de guvenli bir isciyim, ancak bazi patronlar bu karakter yanlis anliyor, ‘burada bir enayi’ dusundu, daha fazla istedi. Aptal degilim onlar zeki degildi, her sey iyi anladim ve onlar buyuk hata yapti. Sonunda o is yerinden biraktim ve daha iyi is buldum. Belki herkes icin ayni, bu sekilde hayat yolduclugu ediyoruz. Zaman zaman herkes kendini savunmali. Tabii ki da cok pislik var, ama bu kadar pislik olma, nihayet onlar ettigini bulacak . . .

30/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, Kolombiyadaki iki gun once bir ucak kazasi oldu, yetmis bes hayat kaybetti, bir Brezilyali profesyonel futbol takim dahil. Chapecoense takim bir Guney Amerikan sampionlugu mac icin Kolombiya’ya gidiyordu. Inanilmaz bir sekilde, bes tane kurtulanlar var ve onlar simdi hastanede ameliyat altinda. Tabii ki, birkac unlu spor takimlari iceren ucak kazasi oldu. Mesela on dokuz yuz doksan uc yilinda Zambiyali milli futbol takimi olduruldu. Onlar Dunya Kupasina katilmaya Senegal’e bir mac icin gidiyordu, ve o Zambiyali takimi ozellikle yetenekli oldu, bes yil daha once Seul Olimpiyatlar boyunca yaklasik ayni oyuncular Italya’yi dort – sifir yendi. Aslinda, kazadan sonra Zambiya Dunya Kupasi icin neredeyse katildi, ancak son mac Nijerya gec golu atti (ve Dunya Kupasi’nda o Nijeryali takim hem Bulgaristan hem de Yunanistan kolay olarak yendi, ama ikinci raund mac sonradan gelen finalist Italya’yi karsi uzatma dakikalarinda kaybetti). Aslinda ben dort yil once Guney Amerika’ya gittim ve Sao Paulo havaalaninda Brezilyali profesyonel takimi ‘Corinthians’ (Korint) ile tanistim. O kulup cok unlu, ayni yilda Dunya Kulupler Kupasi kazandi, final macta Cheslea’yi bir sifir yendi. Yine de, bir tane oyuncu ile konustum, ve ona cok candan ve saygili oldu, kibirli degildi.

29/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, bu hafta Aralik ay geliyor, kis geliyor, soguk hava geliyor ve belki kar yagmur geliyor. Sincaplar kis mevsimden once ne yapar? Onlar caba sarf eder, cok cerez toplar, ve calisma odasinda hazirlar. Bende boyle bir sey yapmaliyim. Simdi kis geliyor ve sadece caba sartetmek istiyorum. Her sabah bu yilin romanim projesi uzerinde calisiyorum, Cuma gunu haric her aksam ders veriyorum. Fakat bu kis mevsimi daha calismaliyim. Dun bu konu hakkinda yazdim, ancak simdi cok dusunuyorum. Gecen cok para biriktirdim, son yil cok para biriktirmedim. Ne degisti? Aslinda bu yil hic tatil yapmadim, cok az para harcadim, ancak gecen yil Yunan adalariye gittim, o yuzden bu durum cok ironik! Ayrica, gecen yil yeni bilgisayar satin aldim, bu yil pahali bir sey satin almadim.Sadece bir sey degisti. Gecen yil hafta sonlarinda iki kat fazla calistim. Maalesef, bu yil simdiye kadar ayni firsat gelmedi. Fakat simdi firsat var, galiba bu kis boyunca daha calisacagim – eski bir program gibi – ve nihayet para biriktirmeye gene baslayacagim. Dogru, ben biraz tembel olabilir, cok esnek degilim, ve rutinler cok seviyorum – cunku bu sekilde cok daha yazarim. Yine de, herkes zaman zaman kurban etmeliyi, rahatlik bolgesinden cikmali ve gerekli seyler yapmali – sincaplar gibi . . .

28/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Bugun is yeride yeni bir donem basliyor. O gelecek yila kadar devam edecek. Gecen hafta bir mola oldu, ancak ben dort gun konusma sinav – ve bir tane normal sinav – vermeye is yeriye gittim. Birinci bos gunum hakkinda zaten bir blog yazdim, birkac gun once, kitap alisveris yaptim. Ikinci ve ucuncu bos gunlerde sadece ogle yemegi icin disari ciktim. Fakat biraz sinirli hissettim. Ilk kez bir erkek uzun ve yuksek sesle telefon konusmasi, ikinci gun bir araba surucu kafenin onunde kornaya cok basti cunku birkac saniye icin beklemelidi. Her zamanki gibi, ancak cok ofkelendim. Bu arada, bu donem birkac daha saat calisacagim, galiba, ve bende con onemli cunku bu yil cok saat calismadim, bunun icin cok para biriktirmedim. Gecen yil cok daha calistim, cok para biriktirdim; gelecek yil ayni sey yapmak istiyoum cunku finansal guvenlik cok onemli, genc degilim, su anda zaman zaman saglik sorunlar var. Aslinda, bugun kotu haber aldim, Danimarka’da bir halam vefat etti. Ona cok iyi bilmedim, ancak yaklasik on bes yil once Danimarka’ya gittim ve onun evisinde iki hafta boyunca kaldim. Ona bir sanatci, ve biraz eksantrik bir kadin oldu, buyuk bir rottweiler vardi ve halam icin o kopek bir cocuk gibi gorunuyordu. Aslinda, ona bir kiz cocuk var, benim kuzen, ve onun evisinde da iki hafta boyunca kaldim. Kuzenim iki tane erkek cocuk vardi, simdi yetiskinler…

27/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, Kuba’nin lideri Fidel Castro dun sabah doksan yasinda oldu. Elli yedi yil once ona yozlasmis hukumeti karsi devrim onculuk yapti ve esk baskan Fulgencio Batista devirdi. Onceden Kuba zengin Amerikalilar icin oyun alani gibi oldu, cok gazino vardi – ve cok mafya. Unlu yazar Ernest Hemingway orada yasiyordu ve o ulkeyi hakkinda yazdi. Castro elli bes yil boyunca Kuba’nin lideri oldu. Tabii ki, ona bir daktator oldu, secimler yoktu, ve son iki yilda onun erkek kardesi baskan oldu. Fakat Kuba’nin sosyalist hukumeti icin cok zor. Altmisli ve yetmisler yillari boyunca ABD Kuba’yi cok defa saldirdi – terorist saldirilar dahil. Kirk yil once bir yolcu ucagi ates bombalandi, yetmis uc hayat kaybetti, ve ondan sonra o teroristler ABD’deki ozgur olarak yasiyordu. Aslinda, CIA yuzlerce kere Castro suikast yapmaya calisti – fakat basarisiz oldu! Bu arada ABD Kuba’ya yaptirim uyguladi, ve bu sekilde Kuba trilyon dollar kaybetti, turizm yoktu, luks mallar yoktu, modern seyler yoktu. O yuzden Kubalilar icin son altmis yil cok zordu, hayat cok basit oldu. Yinde de Kuba’nin saglik sistemi cok iyi, bebek olumu orani cok dusuk, ve Kuba’nin doktorlar felaketten sonra diger ulkeleri yardim etti. Aslinda, on iki yil once Katrina Kasirgasi’ndan sonra Kuba Amerika’ya yardim teklif verdi, fakat Amerika o reddetti. Bu arada, Guney Afrika’nin irk ayrimi boyunca Kuba Angola’ya askerler gonderdi, ve orada Guney Afrika’nin ordusunu yendi. Eski Guney Afrikali baskan Nelson Mandela gore bu sekilde astro irk ayrimi bitmeye yardim etti. Fidel Castro huzur icinde yat . .

26/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Birles Milletler ve Insan Haklari Izleme Orgutu gore Myanmar Rohingya Muslumanlari etnik temizlik yapiyor. Myanmar’li askerler katliam yapiyorlar, erkekleri ve cocuklari olduruyorlar, kadinlar tecavuz ediyorlar, ve evleri yagmaliyorlar ve yakip kul ediyorlar. Myanmar’da yaklasik bir milyon Musluman var, ancak Budistler gore onlar sadece Banglades’ten multeciler. Muslumanlar vatandaslik reddedildi, bunun icin her sey zor – evlilik, istihdam, egitim, tasinma falan. Fakat bazi Rohingyalar Myanmar’daki nesillerden beri yasiyordu. Aslinda, Muslumanlar orada on besinci yuzyildan beri vardi. Banglades binlerce multeci kabul etti, ama sinirdeki binlerce daha bekliyor. Nobel Baris Odullu kisi, ve Myanmar’in gercekte baskan Aung San Suu Kyi Muslumanlari yardim etmedi, istikrarli hakkinda endisiyor, cunku Budistler genelde askerleri destekliyor. Mevcut kriz neden basladi? Cunku dokuz tane asker olduruldu ve hukumet Muslumanlari sucladi. Ondan sonra askerler yaklasik yuz tane Musluman oldurdu ve yuzlerce daha tutukladi. Uydu goruntusu gore on iki bin Rohingya’li evleri yanip kul oldu. Dort yil once baska bir siddet dalgasi boyunca cok Musluman hayatin kaybetti ve sonuc olarak yaklasik yuz bin yurtsuz kisi oldu. Onlarin cogu kamplarinda yasamak devam ediyor . . .

25/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Guneydogu Nieryali eyalet Biafra’da askerler yaklasik yuz elli bariscil gosterici oldurdu, ve yuzlerce daha gozaltina aldi, ve uluslararasi af orgutu (Amnesty) gore iskence var. Biafra’daki on dokuz altmis yedi ve on dokuz yetmis yillari arasinda korkunc bir soykirim oldu, yaklasik iki milyon kisi acliktan oldu, arti yaklasik yuz bin askeri hayatin kaybetti. On dokuz altmis alti yilin askeri darbeden sonra Biafra eyalet Nijerya’dan ayrilmak istedi, bu sekilde ic savasi basladi, Bati Dunya bir tarafta destekledi, Sovyet Birligi diger tarafta destekledi, bunun icin o savas devam etti ve sayisiz kisi olduruldu. Ingiliz kural altinda Kuzey Nijerya ve Guney Nijerya birlesirildi, fakat Kuzey Nijerya Musluman ve Guney Nijerya Hristiyan. Ayrica, farkli asiretler var. Ondan sonra benzin bulundu. On dokuz altmis yilinda Nijerya bagimsizlik kazandi ancak yabanci sirketler benzin endustrisi kontrol etmek devam ediyordu. Siyaset sahnesinde cok askeri darbe ve suikast oldu. Su anda baskan Muhammad Buhari cok elestrildi cunku gecen yilin sonunda askerler baska bir katliam yapti ve hic arastirma yoktu, ve binlerce kisi daha tutuklu kaliyor. Ayrica, Mayis ayda Biafra Soykirim anma toreni boyunca otuz kisi olduruldu. Bu arada Biafrali haklar lideri Nnamdi Kanu yaklasik bir yil boyunca da tutuklu kaldi. On yil once Nijeryali yazar Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Biafra Soykirim hakkinda unlu bir romani yazdi, ‘Sari Gunesin Yarisi.’

24/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, bugun bes tane yeni kitap satin aldim. Yaklasik bir yil onceden beri Nisantasi’ndaki yeni bir Pandora subesine gitmek istedim, ancak bugune kadar gitmedim, her zaman cok tembeldim, yerine Taksim’daki subesine gittim. Aslinda birkac yil once Taksim’daki hem Turkce hem de Ingilizce kitaplar subeler vardi, ancak Ingilizce sube Nisantasi’ye tasindi, ve Taksim subesinde sadece bir katta Ingilzice kitaplar var. O yuzden bugun nihayet Nisantasi’ye gittim, ve cok kolay oldu, Pandora dukkan anayoldan cok yakinda, yuruyerek sadece yaklasik yirmi dakika surdu. Bu arada, surpriz vardi, eski arkadasim orada calisiyor, ona bir Turk kadin ve bana hizmet verdi! Ben iki tane roman satin aldim, Lawrence Durrel’in ‘Iskenderiye Dortlu’ (Misir hakkinda) ve Maxim Gorky’nun ‘Ana’ (Rusya hakkinda), bir tane otogiyografi satin aldim, Edward Said’in ;Uygunsuz’ (Filistin hakkinda), ve iki tane tarih kitabi satin aldim, John Norwich’in ‘Orta Denizi’ (Akdeniz bolge hakkinda), ve Hein ve Nissen’in ‘Mezopotamya’dan Irak’a’ (Irak hakkinda). Biraz pahali oldu, toplam yaklasik iki yuz altmis odedim – her kitap icin elli liradan fazlasi. Ancak bu kitaplar yil iki bin on yedi’ye kadar mesgul edecegim. Is yeride her donemden sonra kisa bir mola var (yaklasik her on haftda), ve genellikle o donem boyunca yeni kitaplari satin alirim. Bunun icin galiba bu kitaplar Subat ayda bitirecegim . . .

23/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Neredeyse herkes icin Donald Trump’un secimi buyuk bir surpriz oldu. Neden? Bir kere, yaygin medya gore Hillary Clinton kazanacakti. Her yerde bu haber okudum, bu haber duydum. Tabii ki, yaygin medya Clinton kazanmak istedi. Bende Clinton’un secimi bir kacinilmaz sonuc. Barack Obama’dan sonra inancini kaybettim, ona her sey degistirmek soz verdi, Nobel Baris Odulu kazandi, fakat savaslar devam ediyor. Amerika’daki demokrasi cansiz, dusundum, baskan sadece bir sozcu, her zamanki ayni, hic bir sey degistirmiyor. Ayrica, Afrikali-Amerikali bir baskan sadece bir duman perdesi, dusundum. Ondan sonra, ayni sebeple kadin baskan sececek, ona Wall Street ve askeri endustriyel kompleks icin calisacak, bu arada her kes birinci kadin baskan kutlayacak. Yanlis. Ben bu durumu tam anlayamadim. Gercekten cok Amerikalilar da kizgin oldu, cok ekonomik sorun var, cok endustri kapandi ve saysiz isciler simdi issiz. Onlar gercek degisim istedi, ama Clinton sadece her zamanki seyler soz verdi. Evet, Trump hem irkci hem de cinsiyetci bir erkek, ben onu ciddiye almadim. Ancak ona gercek degisim soz verdi, bu bol bol Amerikalilar bu istedi. Aslinda, beyaz kadinlarin yuzde elli uc Trump icin oy verdi. Benim icin buyuk bir surpriz oldu. Elbette onlar sadece bir kadin baskan istemedi, onlar istihdam istedi – ve bu kesinlikle en onemlisi oldu. Maalesef, cok kisi multeciler sucliyor. Ingiltere’de ayni durum var, ve bunun icin onlar ‘Brexit’ icin oy verdiler, AB’den ayrilmak istiyor. Simdi daha iyi anliyorum.

22/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, dogru, cok propaganda var, ve insanlar cok cok aptal olabilir. Amerikan medya kac yalan soyledi? Onlar kac savas destekledi? Onlar kac lider seytanlastirdi? Yirmi bes yil once ABD hukumeti Irak’i saldirmak istedi, yayin medyanin yaklasik yuzde doksanini o savas destekledi, savas hakkinda haberlerin cogu hukumet kaynakli oldu, ve cok propaganda vardi. Mesela, bir on dort yasinda bir kiz bir Kuveytli hemsire olmak iddia etti, ona gore Irak askerleri hastaneye geldi, bebekler kulucka makinesinden tuttu ve yere atti. Fakat ondan sonra ilginc bir sey ogrenildi. O kiz bir hemsire degildi, ona buyukelcinin kizini oldu ve Amerika’da yasiyordu. Ona buyuk bir yalan soyledi, ve Amerika Irak’i saldirdi. Eylul on bir Saldiri’ndan sonra ABD Afganistan’a saldirmak istedi. Neden? Teroristler Suudi Arabistan’dan geldi. Fakat bir tane Afganistan oldu, ve Taliban onu saklandi. O yuzden ABD Afganistan’a saldirdi, ve on bes yil sonra o savasi devam ediyor – buna ragmen Osama bin Laden birkac yil once olduruldu – Pakistan’daki (haber gore). On uc yil once Amerika Irak’i gene saldirmak istedi, kitle imha silahi hakkinda konustu, ve tekrar yayin medyanin yuzde doksanini o savas destekledi, haberlerin cogu hukumet kaynakli oldu. Dunya cevresinde kocaman gosteriler oldu, fakat ayni zamanda cok kisi o savas da destekledi, ve sonunda Amerika Irak’i saldirdi. Tabii ki hic kitle imha silahi yoktu, o kesinlikle buyuk bir yalan. On uc yil sonra o savas da devam ediyor. Bes yil once Amerika Libya’yi saldirmak istedi, ona gore o ulkenin lideri kendi insanlari soykiyim yapmak istedi. O yuzden NATO Libya’yi saldirdi, ve bes yil sonra o savas devam ediyor. Simdi Amerika Suriye’yi imha etmek istiyor, ve bir defa daha cok yalan soyluyor. Ayrica, cok kisi bu yalanlar inaniyor, cunku gercekten insanlar cok cok aptal olabilir . . .

21/11.16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Is yeride baska bir donem bitti, buna ragmen gelecek hafta sonu ekstra ders olacak cunku gecen ay bir resmi tatil oldu. Bunun icin Cumartesi gunu haric dersler vermeyecegim. Ancak, benim icin tatil olmayacak – neredeyse her gun konusma sinav vermeye is yeriye gitmeliyim. Tabii ki, bu cok kolay bir sey. Gelecek hafta Kis donem baslayacak, buna ragmen Kis mevsimi bir ay sonra baslayacak – Noel gununden, her zamanki gibi. Simdi hala son bahar’in ortasi, ve son birkac gun cok gunesli oldu, soguk degildi, neredeyse yirmi derece ulasti. Bu hafta sonu dersten sonra gunesli bir yerde kitap okudum. Ayrica, her gun yaklasik yedi kilometre yururum, ve hava cok guzeldi, zaman zaman cok terledim. Bu arada evde her sey iyi. Yeni ev arkadasim yerlesti, ona Yeni Zelandali bir kadin, ayni is yeride calisiyoruz. Bu hafta Turk ev arkadasim Izmir’de kaliyor, ve Lubnanli ev arkadasim da memlektinde – neredeyse her zamanki gibi. Aslinda, gecen hafta Lubnanli ev arkadasimin erkek kardesi birkac gun boyunca burada kaldi, ancak galliba dun veya bu sabah gitti. Ben yeni romanim duzenlemeye devam ediyorum, simdiye kadar neredeyse ucte bir yaptim. Yaklasik bes yuz sayfa var, ve muhtemelen birkac ay daha gerekiyor. Galiba ilk baharda bitirecegim . . .

20/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul Maalesef, arkadaslarim, Donald Tump’un muhalifleri cok kizgin, onlar secim sonuc icin hem beyazlar hem de erkekler suclayor, cunku (onlar gore) tum beyaz insanlar irkci, tum erkekler cinsiyetci. Onlar cok korkmus, bu dunya sadece beyaz insanlar guvenli soyluyorlar. Onlar isyan etmek istiyor. Bazilar irk savasi ve cinsiyet savaslar istiyor, onlar Trump oldurmek istiyor ve onun karisi tecavuz etmek istiyor, cunku onlar gore Trump ‘Turuncu Hitler’ var ve Ikinci Dunya Savas baslayacak. Fakat Ikinci Dunya Savasi zaten oldu ve Trump Ucuncu Dunya Savas istemiyor – yerine teroristlere karsi kavga etmeye Rusya ile birlikte calismak istiyor. Onlar ‘Nasil bir realite TV yildiz baskan olabilir?’ soruyor. Gorunuste onlar bir savas suclusu tercih ediyor. Bu arada, Trump’un muhalifleri gore yeni baskan escinsel karsi ve engelilere oldurmek istiyor. Neden? Trump boyle konusmadi. Ancak onun muhalifleri daha iyi biliyor. Ayrica, bazilar gore Amerika icin secim sonuc kocaman bir felaket, demokrasi bitti (cunku cogunluk Demokratlara karsi oy verdi), ve bu durum Eylul Onbir Saldirin’den daha kotu – buna ragmen Eylul Onbir Saldiri binlerce kisi oldurudu ve sonuc olarak savaslar vardi ve yuz binlerce daha kisi olduruldu. Cok kisi Kanada’ya kacmak istiyor, digerler intiha hakkinda konusuyor. Vah vah, Trump’un muhalifleri cok uzgun. Ne yazik! Zavalli insanlar, icim kan agliyor.

19/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Burada Ingiliz siyasetci ve yazar George Galloway American secim hakkinda cok iyi bir makale yazdi. Galloway gore eger Donald Trump kampanya vaatleri tutacaksa, Orta Dogu icin cok iyi olcak, cunku Trump Rusya ile teroristleri karsi birlikte calismak istiyor. Fakat eger Trump kampanya vaatleri birakacaksa, butun dunya Amerika’yi takip etme birakmali. ABD sadece bir ulke, her diger ulke gibi. Ben sade dis siyaset hakkinda endise ediyorum. ABD kendi sinirlari icinde istedigini yapabilir, ancak dis siyaset farkli bir konu, ABD baska ulkerlere isgal edilemez. Bana gore simdi dunyanin en onemli problem Suriye, cunku orada kesinlikle bir vekalet savasi var, Rusya ve Iran Suriye’nin hukumeti destekliyor, NATO, Suudi Arabistan ve Israil isyancilari destekliyor. Bu sekilde o savas devam edecek, cok daha hayat kaybedecek ve cok daha multeci olacak. Bu kriz cozmeye ABD ve Rusya kesinlikle birlikte calismali. Cok Amerikali kisi Trump nefret ediyor, onlar gore onu cok irkci ve cinsiyetci. Ancak eger onlar Amerika’daki insan haklari hakkinda endise ediyorsa, neden Suriye’deki insan haklari hakkinda endiseli degil? Bende bu bilissel uyumsuzluk, ve kitlesel medya ve eglence sektoru beyin yikama sonucu var. Eger Galloway’nin makaleyi okumak istersiniz, ASAGI BAK .

18/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef bir yil once bugun tarihin en buyugu ragbi oyuncu Jonah Lomu sadece kirk yasinda oldu. Lomu yuz doksan alti santimetre ve yuz yirmi kilo ama yuz metre yarisi on nokta sekiz saniye icinde yapti. Ayrica, ona cok agresif ve yetenekli bir ragbi oyuncu oldu. Yirmi iki yil once Lomu sadece on dokuz yasindayken Yeni Zelanda milli takimi icin Fransa’yi karsi oynadi, fakat basarisiz oldu, ona birkac hata yapti ve Fransa kazandi. Yine de sonraki yilda Lomu Yeni Zelanda takim ile Dunya Kupasi’ye gitti, Guney Afrika’da, ve orada ona cok basarili oldu. Aslinda, butun dunya icin kocaman bir sok oldu, Lomu Avrupa’nin en iyi takimlari tek basina imha etti; semi final macta Ingiltere’yi karsi ona dort ‘try’ (gol) yapti. Fakat final macta Guney Afrika cok iyi savundu, ve uzatmalardan sonra ev sahibi ulke cok kafa kafaya mac kazandi. Sonra birkac yil boyunca Lomu diger takimlari imha etmeye devam etti, ve on yedi yil once Londra’da Dunya Kupasi’nda yari-final macta ona Fransa’yi karsi iki ‘try; yapti. Ancak Fransa ikinci yarisinda cok saskinlik yaratti ve kazandi. Ondan sonra Lomu icin cok daha kotu haber vardi, ona bobrek hastaligi gecirdi, cok ciddi durum oldu, nakli icin ihtiyac vardi. Bu sekilde Lomu’nun uluslararasi ragbi kariyer bitti, ancak ona on bes yil daha hayatta kaldi. Jonah Lomu huzur icinde yat . . .

17/11.16

Gunayadin, Istanbul. Belki gecen yil kopekler hakkinda yazdim, emin degilim, ancak bugun bu konu hakkinda (gene) yazacagim. Annem her zaman kopekler seviyordu. Dort yasindayken bir gun hatirliyorum, annemi kopegi kayboldu oldu. Beraber biz onu aradi -ama onu bulamadik. Sonunda eve donduk, ve ayni zamanda bir araba geldi. Aractan bir adam indi ve araba bagajindan annemin kopegi getirdi – cansiz oldu. Annem cok agladi. Bes yasindayken bizim iki tane sosis kopekler vardi. Maalesef, onlar bir kuzu oldurdu, ve ondan sonra o kopekler yok oldu (galiba annem onlara verdi). Birkac yil boyunca kopekler yoktu, fakat on yasindayken annem baska bir kopek aldi. Ancak bir gun o kopek bir delikanli korkuttu, ve o delikanlinin amcalar silah ile evimize geldi, annem kopegi oldurmeye istediler, fakat evey babam bir tane vurdu ve onlar kacti! Cok komik oldu! Ondan sonra annem ablam icin baska bir kopek aldi, ve sonunda benim icin ucuncu bir kopek aldi. Hangi turu secmeye izin verildim, ve ben bir Labrador sectim. Ayrica, onun isimi yarattim ‘Vista.’ Kopek yarismalarinda onu gosterdim ve bir kez birinci geldik! Cok mutluydum. Fakat annem onu egitim verdi, ve adim adim Vista annem kopegi oldu, benim degildi. On uc yadindayken baska bir kopek aldim, sahipsiz bir Alman Cobani. Her gun okuldan sonra kardeslerim ile kopekleriz dolastirdik, ve bir gun onlar bir kedi oldurdu. Ondan sonra annem benim Alman Cobanisi baska aileyi verdi…

16/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Tabii ABD Afganistan’da ve daha Orta Dogu ulkelerde savas suclari yapti, cok kanit var, videolar ve fotograflar dahil. Amerikan Askerler katliam, oldurme, iskence ve tecavuz yapti, supheye yer yok. Fakat simdiye kadar Uluslararasi Ceza Mahkemesi hic bir sey yapmadi. Neden? Cunku ABD bir uye degil, imza atmadi. Yerine ABD ozel bir kanun yaratti, “Hollanda Istilasi Kanun” olarak bilinen. Eger herhangi bir Amerikan Lahey’de yargilansaydi, ABD Hollanda’ya saldiracak. Ne kadar ilginc! Aslinda, Hollanda NATO icinde, kurucu bir uye, ve bunun icin Amerikan kontrol altinda. O yuzden “Hollanda Istilasi Kanun” icin ihtiyac yok. Bu arada, Lahey’de cok kisi yargilandi – ve neredeyse hepsi Afrikali oldu. Bunun icin birkac Afrikali ulke Uluslararasi Ceza Mahkemesi’den cekilmek istiyor – Guney Afrika, Gambiya Orta Afrika Cumhuriyeti dahil. Onlar gore Uluslararasi Ceza Mahkemesi cok irkci cunku ne Amerikan ne Bati Avrupa’nin savas suclari yargilandmadi. Dogru, ve hem ABD’deki hem de Avrupa’daki cok savas suclari var – dunyanin en kotu savas suclari dahil. Gercekten, cok Amerikan ve Bati Avrupalilar o savas suclari ovuyor. Barack Obama yedi tane ulkelere bombaladi, mesela, ama hala cok populer. Hillary Clinton Devlet Bakani olarak ona yardim etti, buna ragment cok kisi onu destekliyor. Sok oldum! Simdi Adolf Hitler nasil iktidara geldi daha iyi anliyorum.

15/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Yeni ev arkadasim geldi, orta yasli Yeni Zelandali bir kadin ve da benim yeni is arkadasim. Ona eski bir akademik, ve hem Cin’deki hem de Bahreyn’deki Ingilizce ogretmen olarak calisiyordu. Ayrica, ona bisiklet binmek cok seviyor ve bu sekilde uzun bir Iran turu yapti. Tanistigimizda cok komik cunku ben onu Avustralyali dusundum. Su anda benim icin Yeni Zelandali ve Avustralyali aksanlar kesinlikle aynen! Aslinda ona kirsal bir bolgede buyudu, ve onun aksan cok agir – zaman zaman ben onu iyi anlamiyorum! Gecen hafta birkac kisi gorustum. Birinci erkek (Hollandali) cok garip, ona benim eski ev arkadasim cikma teklif etti!! Ikinci erkek (Danimarkali) issiz oldu ve sadece baglama gitar calmak istedi!! Ucuncu erkek (Turk) cok kibar, galiba gay, ve oda istedi dedi, ona benim ikinci secenek oldu ama telefonlarima cikmadi! Her gorusma yaklasik bir saat surdu, ve bu sekilde cok zaman kaybettim, o yuzden yeni is arkadasim kabul ettim ve galiba iyi secenek yaptim. Bu arada bir sahtekarlik var, dun postaci diger ev arkadasim icin bir paket getirdi, teslim fiyat yuz on lira oldu, cok pahali dusundum, ama postaci uniformali oldu ve hesap profesyonel gorunuyordu, o yuzden aval aval odedim. Maalesef, ev arkadasim gore her sey sahte oldu. Ayrica, bugun baska postaci bir paket ile geldi – ama bu kez pakete kabul etmedim.

14/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, belki Hint-Avrupa dilleri binlerce yil once Turkiye’den geldi, ve insanlarin yarisindan fazlasi Hint-Avrupa dilleri konusuyor – fakat Turkler onlar arasinda degil. Turkce Orta Asya bolgesinden geldi, tabii ki, ve Japonca, Korece ve Mogolca ile ilgili. Hem Avrupa’daki hem de Guney Asya’da neredeyse herkes Hint-Avrupa dilleri konusuyor. Ayrica, somurgelesme icin Amerikalar’daki, Avustralyasya’daki ve Sahri Alti Afrika’daki neredeyse herkes Hint-Avrupa dilleri konusuyor. Hititler Hint-Avrupa bir dil konustu, ve hem Ermenice hem de Kurtce ayni dil ailesinde var. Binlerce yil once Guney Asya Kara Deniz bolgesinden istila edildi, ve bu seklide Hint-Avrupa dilleri Hindistan’a ve Iran’a geldi. Acik ten ve mavi goz degisim binlerce yil once da Kara Deniz bolgesinde oldu (bunun icin ABD’deki beyazlar ‘Kafkasyali’ olarak bilinen). Dunyanin on iki en buyuk dilleri arasinda, dokuz tane Hint-Avrupa var – Inglizce, Ispanyolca, Fransizca, Portekizce, Almanca, Rusca, Hintce, Bengalce ve Pencapca. Sadece uc tane Hint-Avrupa degil – Cince, Japonca ve Arapca. Urduca askeri bir dil oldu (Ordu dili demek) da Hint-Avrupali, ancak cok Turk ve Arap kelimeler var. Bu arada, Guney Amerika’nin en buyuk dili Portekizce (sadece Guyana’daki Ingilizce konusulan), Meksika kesinlikle dunyanin en buyuk Ispanyolca konusan ulkesi, ve ABD’deki yaklasik kirk milyon kisi Ispanyolca konusuyor.

13/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Simdi cok mutluyum. Neden? Cunku galiba simdi Ucuncu Dunya Savas olmayacak, cunku simdi Suriye icin umit var, cunku belki sayisiz daha sivil kimse hayat kaybetmeyecek. Zaten yeni baskan Donald Trump Suriye’deki Rusya ile ISID’e karsi calismak istiyor. Maalesef, cok kisi bu konu iyi anlimiyor. Barack Obama kesinlikle Rusya’ya karsi calisiyordu, ve gecen ay ateskes boyunca Suriye ordusunu bombaladi, otuz askeri oldurdu, ve bu sekilde teroristler yardim etti. Hillary Clinton Obama gibi devam etmek kesinlikle istedi, onun planlari cok saldirgan oldu, Suriye baskani Bessar Esad adam satmak istedi. Elbette bu fikir hem cok kibirli hem de cok tehlikeli. Zaten Clinton Libya’daki ayni sey yapti, onun lideri oldurdu ve simdi Libya’da ic savasi ve cok terorizm var Irak’taki ABD ayni sey yapti ve Clinton o savasi destekledi. Evet, bunun icin ben cok mutluyum. Galiba Suriye baska bir Irak ve Libya olmayacak, belki onun ic savasi bitirecek, ve umarim dunyanin iki super gucu teroristeleri karsi birlikte calisabilir. Insallah! Simdi Amerika’daki cok kisi – ozellikle gencler – Trump’in secimiye protesto yapiyor. Onlar gore Trump hem irkci hem de cinsiyetci. Maalesef, dogru. Ancak hangisi tercih ediyorlar – irkci ve cinsiyetci bir baskan, yada bir savas suclusu? Hangisi kotunun iyisi? Benim icin cok kolay bir soru, cunku benim icin Orta Dogu insanlar cok onemli, zaten Amerikan savaslar milyonlarca hayat kaybetti, ve bu felaket devam edilemiyor .

12/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Dun Kidemliler Gunu oldu, herkes eski askerler hatirliyor. Cocukken Birinci Dunya Savas askerler hatirliyorum, Kidemliler Gunu onlar baskentte Anit Mezara yuruyus yapti. Aslinda, cogu ‘Anzak’ askerler oldu, yuz yil once Turikiye’yi isgal etmeye calisti – ama basarisiz oldu. Okulken bu konu iyi ogrenmedik. Yeni Zelanda’da herkes gore Birinci Dunya Savas kotuluk karsi iyi hakkinda oldu, ve tabii ki Almanya kotu, Ingiltere ve Amerika (ve Yeni Zelanda) iyi. Ayrica, Ancaklar kaybetmedi cunku sonunda Ingiltere ve Amerika (ve Yeni Zelanda) Birinci Dunya Savas kazandi, ve bu sekilde ozgurluk ve demokrasi savunduk, ve butun dunyayi kurtardik! Tabii ki bu fikir kesinlikle sacmalik. Birinci Dunya Savas ozgurluk ve demokrasi hakkinda degildi, ve iyi adamlar yoktu. Birinci Dunya Savas imparatorluklar hakkinda oldu, Osmanli Imparatorlugu neredeyse bitirdi, ic devrimi oldu, ve Avrupali gucleri onun Orta Dogu somurgeleri istedi. Aslinda, Ingiltere, Fransa ve Rusya uzun zaman bekledi, zaten Osmanli Imparatorluk hakkinda birkac savas kavga ettiler, ve bu durum ‘Buyuk Oyun’ olarak bilinen oldu. Bu arada Almanya cok hizli gelisti ve yeni bir tehdit oldu. O yuzden Birinci Dunya Savas surpriz olmadi, sadece acgozlulugu hakkinda oldu ve yaklasik on yedi milyon hayat kaybetti (yirmi milyon kisi daha yaralandi). Ondan sonra Almanya cok sert yaptirim aldi, herkes radikallestirdi, ve sonunda Ikinci Dunya Savas oldu, altmis milyon hayat daha kaybetti. Masallah, Hillary Clinton Amerikan baskan olmayacak, cunku ben Ucuncu Dunya Savasi kesinlikle istemiyorum.

11/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Benim icin iki bin on alti yil cok iyi gidiyor, cok sansliyim bu yil, ve guzel surprizlerle dolu. Mesela, memleketimin takimi Guney Yarimkure’nin ragbi sampiyonlugu kazandi, final macta ona Johannesburg’dan takimi yendi. Bu sampiyonluk yaklasik yirmi yil once basladi, Yeni Zelanda’da bes profesyonel ragbi takim var, ve bu yildan once sadece benim memleketim sampiyonlugu kazanmadi. Gecen yil ona da final macta ulasti, her kes ona kazanmaya bekledi – fakat ona cok kotu oynadi ve final macta kaybetti. Ben cok hayal kirikligi hissettim. Fakat bu yil benim memleketim gene final macta ulasti ve nihayet bu kez kazandi. Bu arada, ragbi yediler (kisaltilmis versiyon) Olimpiyatlara geri dondu, son kez ragbi Olimpiyatlar’da vardi (normal versiyon) yaklasik yuz yil once oldu. Genellikle Yeni Zelanda ve Fiji ragbi yediller hakimiyet kurar. Fiji kucuk bir Guney Pasifik’ta bir ada, nufusu sadece dokuz yuz bin, ve ona bu yildan once hic Olimpiyat madalya kazanmadi. Bu yuzden, ona destekledim. Masallah, ona altin madalya kazandi, ve Fiji’deki her kes cok mutluydu, kocaman kutlama oldu. Son tahlilde, bu sadece spor, cok onemli degil. Halbuki, American secim butun dunya icin cok onemli, ve bu hafta kocaman surpriz oldu, Donald Trump kazandi. Bu konu hakkinda zaten cok yazdim, ama bende Trump kotunun iyisi . . .

10/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Ne olursa olsun umarim Amerika’daki kadin bir baskan gorecegim – fakat gercek bir feminist, Suudi bagis kabul eden ve onlarin dusmanlarina karsi savas destekleyen bir kadin degil. Kampanya boyunca cok kadin gore Hillary Clinton bir ‘feminist’ oldu, ama ona nasil bir feminist? Sadece cunku bir kadin mi? Avukat olarak ona bir tecavuzcu savundu, Devlet Bakani olarak ona savaslari destekledi ve bu sekilde kesinlikle sayisiz kadinlar ve kizlar oldurdu, ve Baskan adayi olarak ona Suudi Arabistan’dan bagis kabul eden – ve galiba o ulke dunyanin en kadin dusmanligi. Maalesef, Amerika’daki cok kisi feminism iyi anlimiyor cunku televizyon ve gazeteceler kendi cikari bu konu kullandi, onlar esitlik hakkinda konusmadi, onlar sadece nefret hakkinda konustu. Elbette, bu feminizm degil, bu sadece onyargi. Halbuki, ben Amerikan insanlar deyip gectim cunku dun onlara Clinton reddetti. Bunun icin cok Amerikalilar kesinlikle her sey iyi anliyor. Masallah! Baskan Barack Obama Afrika-Amerikalilar icin hic bir sey yapti, ve galiba Clinton kadinlar icin hic bir sey yapardi. Onlar sadece kuresellesme surecine devam etti. Yeni Baskan Donald Trump ne yapacak? Bilmiyorum, ona kesinlikle garip bir erkek. Ancak ona Obama ve Clinton’dan daha kotu olmaz. Orta Dogu icin umit var!

9/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Tebrikler, ABD, yenilmisim ve cok sasirdim! Amerika’daki demokrasi var, onlar dogru karari verdi, ve sonuc hakkinda onlara kutliyorum. Tabii ki, Trump sadece kotunun iyisi ve ben onu sevmiyorum. Gercekten, ona cok garip bir siyasetci gorunuyordu, ve ben onu ciddiye almadim. Fakat Clinton’un dis politika cok daha tehlikeli gorunuyordu, ona cok savasci bir siyasetci, zaten Devlet Bakani olarak Libya savasi destekledi ve baska kotu seyler yapti, ve kampanya boyunca ona Rusya ve Suriye hakkinda cok savasci olarak konustu. Trump ne yapacak bilmiyorum. Ben Onu iyi anlamiyorum. Sadece bir sey biliyorum – Trump Rusya ve Suriye hakkinda cok savasci olarak konusmuyor, yerine ona ISID imha etmek hakkinda konusuyor, ve Orta Dogu icin bu fikir cok daha az tehlikeli gorunuyor. Cok buyuk bir degisim icin ihtiyac var, sonsuz savaslar devam edilemiyor. Clinton askeri endustriyel kompleks icin calisti, elbette onlar sonsuz savaslardan bol bol para kazaniyor, bunun icin Baskan Donald Trump Orta Dogu icin cok iyi haber. Ayrica Hillary Clinton cok yozlasmis bir siyasetci, cok yalan soyluyor, ve rusvetler hem veriyor hem de aliyor. Bunun icin ona secim kaybetti, askeri endustriyel komplex kaybetti, Wall Street kaybetti, Suudi Arabistan kaybetti, Katar kaybetti. Israil? Emin degilim, ona her zaman kazaniyor, ve galiba ona icin secim farketmez . . .

8/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim. FBI Mudur Yardimcisi Andrew McCabe Hillary Clinton’un email skandal sorusturma acti. McCabe’nin esi yeni bir siyasetci aday olarak bir demokratik orgutten alti yuz yetmis bes bin dolar aldi. Virginia Vali Terry McAuliffe o orgut kontrol ediyor, ve ona Clintonlarin iyi arkadasi! Bu arada, Bassavci Yardimcisi Peter Kadzik ve Clinton’un Secim Kampnayasi Yoneticisi John Podesta iyi arkadaslar, onlar beraber hukuk falkutesiye gitti, ve Kadzik Monica Lewinski yargilama boyunca Podesta savundu (Podesta Lewinski iyi bir is icin rusvet vermeye calisti). Ayrica, Kadzik kacak milyarder Marc Rich savundu, Rich altmis bes suclamalara karsi oldu, elli mlyon dolar vergi kacirma dahil, ve FBI’nin ‘En Cok Aranan’ listesinde oldu, ancak sonunda Bill Clinton onu affetti. Bu arada, Rich’in esi Clintonlara yuzler bin dolar bagisladi. FBI Mudur James Comey’nin Hillary Clinton email skandal kararindan once, Bassavci Loretta Lynch ve Bill Clinton Arizona’da ayni ucaga bindi ve otuz bir dakika boyunca konustu. Galiba Lynch Baskan Hillary Clinton altinda Bassavci olarak devam edecek! Gercekten, benim icin bu email skandal cok onemli degil, benim icin Hillary Clinton’un savas suclari cok daha onemli. Bana gore ona Lahey’e gitmeli (Afrikali savas suclusu gibi), Beyaz Saray’a degil.

7/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Guney Afrika’nin baskan Jacob Zuma bitti mi? Gecen hafta Halk Koruyucu Thuli Madonsela onun Hindistan’da dogumlu zengin Gupta ailesi ile iliskisi yayinladi. Zulu kanunu altinda Zuma dort tane esi var, ve bir tane Gupta ailesi icin calisiyordu. Ayrica, Zuma toplam yirmi iki cocuk var, ve iki tane cocuk da Gupta ailesi icin calisiyor. Zuma sahtekarlik, yolsuzluk ve santaj ile suclandi. Zaten bu yil daha erken Zuma anayasa ihlal ile suclandi, ona kendini evde bir ciftlik, amfitiyatro ve havuz insa etmeye hukumeti parasi kullandi – ve geri odemedi. Belki Zuma anlasma yapabilir ve istifa edibilir, ama galiba muhalefet partileri bu durum kabul etmem. Zuma’nin Afrika Ulusal Partisi icin gelecek kotu gorunuyor. Onlar irk ayriminden beri hukum surdu (yirmi yildan daha), fakat bu yil daha erken onlar yerel secimlerde kotu gitti ve birkac onemli sehir kaybetti. Afrika Ulusal Partisi yeni fikirlere yok ve kotu duruma dustu. Galiba iki bin on dokuz yilin genel secim kazanmayacak. Onlar Kesinlikle lideri degistirmeli. Aslinda genel secimden once Zuma istifa etmeli planlaniyor, fakat muhtemelen diger adaylar (eslerinden birini dahil) destek geri kazanmayacak. Bunun icin, uc yil sonra Guney Afrika hukumet degisimi olabilir. Zuma gelince, sadece bir soru var: ona hapiste olacak mi?

6/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Birkac gun sonra Hillary Clinton ABD’nin ilk kadin baskan olacak. Adim kadar eminim. Secim kampanyasinden uzun zaman once bu biliyordum, ve bende Donald Trump gercek bir siyasetci degil, sadece bir tiyatrocu; aslinda ona Clinton yardim ediyor. Bana gore kadin baskan iyi bir sey ve cok uzun suredir gecikmis. Halbuki, gercek su ki Clinton iyi bir siyasetci degil, maalesef. Bu sadece gerceklik. Cok kisi gore Clinton baskan olacak cunku melek gibi bir bayan. Sacmalik! Ona baskan olacak cunku Trump bir Nazi gibi davaraniyor. Bundan baska ona baskan olacak cunku derin devlet (Wall Street, askeri endustriyel kompleks, falan) istiyor, ve onlar uzun zaman once karar verdi. Gercekten Clinton cok savasci bir siyasetci – Irak, Libya ve Suriye savaslari destekledi, Sudanli ici savasi boyunca Guney Sudan destekledi (onlar cocuk askerler kullandi), Israil cok seviyor (onlar sayisiz Filistinliler oldurdu), ve Honduras’daki bir darbe destekledi. Ayrica, Clinton Suudi Arabistan’dan, Katar’dan ve daha kotu ulkerlerden cok para aldi. Bu arada Suudi Arabistan Yemen bombaliyor, cok sivil kimse oldurdu, ve her yerde teroristler destekliyor. Belki feminizm icin kadin baskan iyi olacak, ama Clinton iyi bir siyasetci degil, ayrica ona bir feminist degil. Santaj kabut etme. Ona sadece kotunun iyisi . . .

5/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Dun bos gunum vardi, is yeriye gitmedim, buna ragmen biraz mesguldum. Sabah kiralik icin ev sahibi geldi, ve ben bazi problemi acikladim – mesela ne salonda ne benim yatak odasinda isinma var, ve bulasik teknesinde cok siyah renkli kuf vardi. Bu yuzden kalorifer tamirci geldi ve isinma sorunu cozdu. Ona uzun zaman kaldi, kahve icti, sigara icti, ve cok konustu (n azinda Turkce konustu, bunun icin bende pratik yapmaya iyi bir firsat vardi), ve ucuz degildi, yuz elli lira odedim. Ancak ona iyi is yapti, ve simdi butun evde isinma var. Bu cok onemli bir sey, tabii ki, cunku kis mevsimi geliyor. Biraz sonra kapici geldi, bulasik teknesinde temizledi ve bir kimyasal kullandi. Simdi kuf yok ve umarim oyle kalacak. Bu arada yeni ev arkadas icin ariyoruz ve birk erkek icin bekledim. Maalesef, ona gelmedi, bu yuzden devam edecegim. Dun sadece ogle yemegi icin ciktim, Cihangir’e yurudum ve orada corba ve lahmacun yedim, ondan sonra yuruyerek evime geri dondum. Yolda manavdan elmalar ve muzlar satin aldim, ve bakaldan buyuk sise su, tam bugday ekmek, bitter cikolata ve sise krimizi sarap satin aldim. Evde televizyon izledim, roman projesi calistim (iki taslak basladim), ve internette bol bol haber okudum, her zamanki gibi. Bugun Counterpunch (Kontra Vurus) web sitesinde ozellikle ilginc haber okudum.

4/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Tabii ki, gec kaldim, simdi yaklasik saat dort bucukta, ancak bu sabah Facebook yoktu. Neden, emin degilim. Bazi haber raporu gore teknik sorunu oldu, ama galiba bu durum cunku HDP liderleri goz altinda var. Internet problem dun aksam yaklasik geceyarisinda basladi. Baslangicta bu problem bilgisayarim veya dairemiz internet baglanti hakkinda oldu, ve sorunu cozmeye cok sey denedim. Sonunda anladim – bazi web siteleri normal olarak kullanabilirdim ama baskalari kesinlikle kullanamadim – ozellikle Facebook ve Youtube. Bunun icin Turkiye’de cok kotu bir sey oldu, dusundum. Daha once her zaman buyuk bir teror saldirisi oldu Facebook ve Youtube kullanamadik. Hem yerel hem de uluslararasi haber siteleri baktim ancak Turkiye’den onemli haber gomedim. Bu arada televizyon haber HDP tutuklama hakkinda konusmaya baslida, ve aniden her sey anladim. Bu sabah hala ne Facebook ne Youtube kullanabilirdim, sasirdim, cunku ne oldu herkes biliyordu, o yuzden neden sosyal medya bloke edildi? Aslinda, bu sabah mesguldum, cunku hem ev sahibi hem de kalorifer tamirci geldi (ne salonda ne benim yatak odasinda isinma vardi). Simdi her sey iyi, ve yaklasik iki saat once Facebook ve baska web siteleri geri dondu, her sey normale dondu.

3/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Ozurler, arkadaslarim, benim ogle yemegi sorun sonuc hakkinda size soylemeyi unuttum. Birkac hafta once bu sorun hakkinda yazdim – eskiden birkac yil boyunca ogle yemegi icin ayni lahmacun lokantaya gittim fakat sonunda kaba garsondan biktim ve farkli bir yere aramaya karar verdim. Ancak Besiktas’ta baska bir iyi lahmacun lokanta bulamadim. O yuzden farkli yemegi denedim, ama hem lezzetli hem de ucuz yemegi da bulamadim. Fakat sonunda bu problemi cozdem, simdi her gun pizza yerim. O paket servisi olarak satin alirim ve is yeride yerim, guzel bir bogaz manzarasi ile teras var, ve orada yemek yerken kitap okuyabilirim. Benim icin mukemmel bir durum, ve son birkac hafta boyunca bu sekilde ogle yemegi yedim. Ayrica fiyat ayni, sadece on iki veya on uc lira. Elbette cok fazla pizza cok sagliksiz, galiba kilo alacagim. Ancak simdilik benim ogle yemegi sorun icin cozum var. Bu arada, her sabah biraz bal ile tost yerim – arti bir elma. Her aksam kaynatilmis sosisler, sebzeler ve bir patate yerim. Ben pesirmek sevmiyorum, ama bu aksam yemegi bes dakika icinde hazirlabilirim, cok kolay bir sey. Genellikle birkac dilim ekmek da yerim. Bunun icin benim yemek aliskanligi duzenli: sabahlar tost ve elma yerim, ogle yemegi icin pizza yerim, ve aksam yemegi icin sosisler, sebzeler, bir patate ve ekmek yerim.

2/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Ingiliz Imparatorlugu cok kotu sey yapti, neredeyse heryerde ona insanlar oldurdu, ve toprak ve kaynaklar caldi. Tarihciler gore o korkunc bir imparatorluk Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra bitti. Olur, Amerika onu yerine koydu, ancak Ingiltere ve Amerika birlikte calisiyor, ve Ingiltere kesinlikle ayni sekilde devam ediyor. Aslinda, Ingiltere her zaman teroristlerle calisiyordu. Bu sekilde ona Osmanli Imparatorlugu istikrarsizlastirdi – ve Arabistan’da Vahabi problem yaratti. Ayrica, on dokuz yuz elli uc yilinda ABD ve Ingiltere Iran’in ilk demokratik hukemeti devirmeye birlikte calisti. Neden? Cunku basbakan Muhammed Musaddik petrol endustri ozellestirme yapti. O yuzden, onlar terorist gruplar duzenledi ve sahti bayrak saldirilar yapti – camileri karsi, mesela. Daha yakin zamanlarda ABD ve Ingiltere Afganistan’in sosyalist hukumeti devirmeye teroristlerle calisti, ve bu sekilde Taliban yaratti. Birkac yil once Ingiliz askerler Suriyeli teroristler egimeye basladi, ve Irak’taki, Libya’daki, Yemen’deki, Somali’deki ve Pakistan’da ayni sey yapiyor. Aslinda, Ingiltere ve Fransa Libya’daki butun ayaklanma duzenledi. Neden? Cunku baskan Muammer Kaddafi Libya’nin benzin icin daha para istedi, Amerikan ve Ingiliz askeri esaslari uzaklastirdi, ve butun Afrika icin ‘ortak para’ hakkinda konustu.

1/11/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Yeni ev arkadas icin ariyoruz. Buyuk mobilya oda mevcut, cift kisilik yatak ve bol bol dolaplar dahil. Kiralik sekiz yuz elli arti faturalar. Gunesli salon ve kucuk balkon var. Tabii ki, kalorifer ve internet var. Dairemizde cok merkezde, Taksim Meydani’ndan sadece birkac dakika. Ben burada yedi yilda kaldim – bir rekor, benim icin. Bu durum beklenmedi, buraya geldigimde sadece kisa bir sure kalmaya beklendi. Hizli bir sekilde bir daire bulmaliydi ve futbol arkadaslarim bos oda vardi – ancak kucuk ve mobilyasiz bir oda, ve heyecan duymadim. Fakat sonunda benim icin bu daire mukemmel haline geldi, odam icin yatak aldim, ve orada uc bucuk yilda kaldim. Ondan sonra daha buyuk (ve pahali) bir odaya tasindim. Gecen yil yeni yatak oda insa edildi – ve oraya tasindim. Bunun icin toplam dort tane yatak oda var, bu sekilde kiralik daha uygun ve yeni ev arkadas bulmaya daha kolay. Birinci iki veya uc yil burada guzeldi, ev arkadaslarim genellikle uzun zaman kaldi ve hepimiz anlasti. Maalesef, sonra birkac yil cok zor oldu, cok kisi burada geldi – bazilar issiz, baskalari ogrenciler – her zaman evde oturdu, butun gun ve her gun boyunca hic bir sey yapmadi, ve genellikle sadece birkac ay kaldi. Ancak simdi cok sansliyim, iki tane ev arkadasim bir yildan daha fazla kaldi ve hepimiz anlasiyor

31/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Helen Keller Amerika’da on dokuz yuz seksen yilinda dogdu, fakat bebekken hastaydi, sonuc hem kor hem sagir oldu. Buna ragmen ona yirmi dort yasindayken ona universiten mezun oldu. Ayrica, Keller kendine otobiyografisini yazdi. Cocukken ona genc bir uzman ogretmen aldi, Anne Sullivan, ve bu onemli baglanti neredeyse yarim yuzyil devam etti. Sullivan Keller birkac iletisim teknik ogretti, kor alfabesi dagil. Elbette Keller konusabilirdi, ancak sagirlik icin cok garip bir sekilde konusuyordu ve bu zorlugu asmaya yirmi dort yilda calisti. Universiteden sonra ona hem engelliler hem de kadinlar haklari icin calisti, dogum kontrol dahil, ve bir savasa hayir eylemci oldu. Maalesef Keller hic evlenmedi, bir tane onemli erkek arkadasi buldu fakat kalbi kirik bitirdi. Bu arada kurumlari kurdu ve sonunda konusmaya Amerikan kongreye gitti. Aslinda ona Sosyalist Parti katildi, ama Ikinci Dunya Savas’tan sonra Amerikan ‘Kizil Korkusu’ basladi, Keller icin zor zamanlar oldu, cok hakaret aldi. Aslinda, on dokuz yuz kirk alti ve on dokuz elli yedi yillar arasinda, Keller engelli haklari destek vermeye genis olarak yolculuk etti, otuz bes ulke ve bes tane kita ziyaret etti, ona milyonlarca insana ilham verdi. Ondan sonra onun otobiyografisini hakkinda bir film yapildi. On dokuz yuz altmis sekiz yilinda Keller seksen yedi yasinda oldu. Son birkac yil boyunca cok hastaydi, ve bol bol uluslararasi oduller aldi.

30/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Yarin Ekim otuz birinci geliyor, ve Hristiyan dunya icin ozel bir bayrami olacak. ‘Cadilar Bayrami’ olarak Turkce bilinen, bu bayrami oluler hatirlamak icin. Galiba Cadilar Bayami Irlanda’dan geldi, fakat o Amerika’da ozellikle populer ve tabii ki cok ticarete dokulmus – Noel ve Paskalya bayramlari gibi. Cocuklar ‘seker mi saka mi’ oynayor, ve eger onlara seker vermezsen, onlar sana kotu bir sey yapar. Ayrica, kiyafet balosular var, herkes bir canavar gibi giyiyor. Bu arada, evde cok kisi mum isiginda kabaklar dekorasyon yapar. Birkac yil once Istanbul’da iki tane Turk arkadasim ile bir Cadilar Bayrami partisiye gittim, ve bir arkadasim cok sasirdi cunku yuzler kisi vardi ve neredeyse hepsi yabanci oldu! Ona nasil biliyordu ben bilmiyorum, cunku cok kisi maske giyidi, ama cok komik oldu! Bu arada, universiteken ben Amerika’daki Cadilar Bayrami kutladim, ve gercekten ‘seker mi saka mi’ cocuklar geldi. Fakat ‘seker mi saka mi, kiyafet balosular ve mum isiginda kabaklar’ Amerikan fikirler. Eski zamanlarda Hristiyanlar Cadilar Bayrami el koydu (Noel ve Paskalya bayramlari gibi), ve geleneksel olarak uc gun boyunca herkes Hristiyan sehitleri hatirliyordu. Bazi Hristiyanlar Cadilar Bayrami boyunca et yemedi – galiba bunun icin su anda herkes kabak ve seker ile o kutlamaya kullaniyor.

29/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, dunyamizda hala cok irkcilik var, ve hic bir yerde bu daha besbelli Uluslararasi Ceza Mahkemesi’nden. Iki bin iki yilinda Hague sehirde, Hollanda’da, kurdu, o otuz iki kisi suclu buldu, neredeyse hepsi Afrikali. Bu arada, NATO cok savas yapiyor, birkac ulkeyi imha etti ve milyonlarca kisi oldurdu – ama hic kimse suclu bulmadi. Aslinda, NATO savas suclari icin hic kimse yargilandi. Neden? Oldukca acik – NATO ulkeleri beyaz cogunluk var. Bunun icin uc tane Afrikali ulke Uluslararasi Ceza Mahkemesi’nden birakti – Guney Afrika, Burundi ve Gambiya. Aslinda, simdiki Uluslararasi Ceza Mahkemesi’nin savcisi eski Gambiya’nin bakani, fakat Gambiya gore o orgut bir “beyaz mahkeme,” mesela Chilcot Raporu ragmen Lahey eski Ingiliz basbakan Tony Blair hakkinda hic bir sey yapmadi. Tabii ki Amerikan siyasetciler hakkinda Lahey da hic bir sey yapmadi. Eski Amerikan baskan yardimcisi Dick Cheney kesinlikle askeri endustriyel kompleks icin calisiyor ve bu sekilde cok zenginlesti. Bu arada, eski devlet bakani Hillary Clinton bagis karsilginda savaslar destekledi, ve simdi American baskan olacak. Ne kadar ilginc! Eger bir Afrikali siyasetci savas sucu yaparsa, Uluslararasi Ceza Mahkemesi’ye gidiyor, fakat eger bir Amerikan siyasetci savas sucu yaparsa, ona cok zengin olabilir ve sonra baskan olacak! Bu arada, Mali, Kongo, Orta Afrika Cumhuriyeti, Sudan, Kenya ve Uganda Uluslararasi Ceza Mahkemesi’nden da birakabilir. Uganda’nin baskan gore Lahey sadece Afrika hedef almaya bir arac .

28/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Tatil tekrar geldi, ben tekrar hastayim. Galiba ben mide virusu var, son iki gun boyunca hic bir sey yemedim – ve hala ac degilim. Ayrica, dun cok az enerjim vardi, bunun icin cok zor bir gun oldu, sabah emniyete gitmeliydim, aksam bir ders verdim. Belki mide virusu degil, belki gida zehirlenmesi aldim, gercekten bilmiyorum. Fakat son birkac hafta boyunca hava cok dalgalandi, bugun sadece on bir derece var, ve kesinlikle cok hastalik var. En azinda bugun ve yarin rahat edebilirim. Benim icin Cuma gunleri her zaman bos, ve yarin resmi bayram olacak. Son bayram Kurban oldu, ve o zamanda tekrar hastaydim, gogus enfeksiyonu aldim, o yuzden yolculuk etmedim, maalesef. Birkac ay boyunca ben Kurban Bayram icin bekledim, cunku uzun bir mola vardi, Yunan adalariye gitmek istedim. Ancak bayram geldi, ben hastaydim! Ben sansliyim, cunku calismak gerekmez zamanlar hastalaniyorum, veya ben sanssiz, cunku tatil zamanlar her zaman hastalaniyorum? Tabii ki sagligim ile cok dikkatli olmaliyim. Benim problem sogukluk hissetmiyorum – ve aniden hastalaniyorum. Gencken neredeyse asla hastaydim, galiba cunku cok spor yaptim. Fakat simdi genc degilim, cok spor yapmiyorum – yurume haric. Bugun biraz daha iyi hissediyorum, ama hala enerjim yok, hatta yazma zor.

27/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Hillary Clinton gelecek Amerikan baskan olacak. Ayrica ona ABD’nin ilk kadin baskani olacak. zamani gelmisti! Barack Obama’dan once her baskan beyaz erkek oldu. O yuzden Obama destekledim, buna ragmen ona sozlerini tutmadi, yerine cok savasi yapti, birkac eski, birkac yeni. Bunun icin her sey anladim. Amerikan lider bir baskan degil, ona sadece bir sozcu. George W Bush’un zamanlari bu anlamaya basladim, cunku ona kesinlikle aptal ve ham bir erkek, ve Obama her sey dogruladi. Amerikan demokrasi oldu, huzur icinde yat. Su anda buyuk sirketler, CIA ve askeri endustriyel kompleks her sey kontrol eder, ve onlar kesinlikle savaslar istiyor cunku savaslar cok karli. O yuzden onlar birkac yil once karar verdi, Hillary Clinton bizim sonra baskan olacak. Fakat nasil olabilir? Ona bir savas suclusu, devlet bakani olarak Libya imha etti ve cok daha kotu sey yapti. Herkes Clinton nefret ediyor! Sadece bir ihtimal: Cok igrenc bir muhalif yaratilmali. Bunun icin onlar bir realite TV oyuncu bulundu, isim Donald Trump, ve ona gercek bir Nazi gibi davrandi. Elbette, en cok kisi Clinton tercih etti. Ne kadar zeki, degil mi? Ancak Trump baskan olmak istemedi, ona bir is adam ve sadece kendini profilini yukseltmek istedi. Galiba secimden sonra ona kendine TV programi olacak. Bu sekilde Amerika nihayet bir kadin baskan sececek. Fakat bu kesinlikle demokratik bir karar degil, ve Clinton gercek bir feminist degil. Tam tersi durum var, Suudi Arabistan Clinton’un en buyuk bagisci, ve Clinton’un kararlar zaten sayisiz kisi oldurdu – cok kadinlar ve kizlar dahil. Eminim daha savaslar geliyor, maalesef

26/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, Madagaskar’daki uc yil boyunca kuraklik devam ediyordu, yaklasik bir milyon kisi aclik cekiyor, yuzde doksan kisi yoksulluk sinirinin altinda, ve cocuklarin yarisi eksik beslenmis. Cok cocuk okula gitmiyor, yerine yiyecek aramaya yardim ediyor. Cok anne cocuklarini kirmizi kaktus bitki besleniyor, fakat bu kabizlik getiriyor. Hamile kadinlar, yeni anneler ve kucuk cocuklar ozellikle risk altinda. UNICEF en azinda yuz kirk milyon dolar gerekiyor. Uzmanlar gore eskiden kuraklik on yilda bir kere geldi, fakat su anda kuresel isinma var ve kuraklik on yilda iki kere geliyor. Madagaskar’in siyasal durumu iyi degil, birkac yil once hukumeti karsi protesto boyunca polis ates acti ve otuz kisi oldurdu. Ondan sonra bir darbe oldu, fakat problemler devam etti ve yaptirimlar vardi. Yeni baskan sozlerini tutumadi ve suclama ile karsilasti. Dunyanin dorduncu en buyuk adasi Madagaskar ilginc bir tarihi var. Ilk insanlar yaklasik iki bin yil once Guney Dogu Asya’dan geldi. Onlar Polinezyalilar gibi insanlar ve ayni dil ailesi icinde. Yaklasik bin uc yuz yil once Araplar geldi v galiba onlar Afrika’dan zenci insanlar getirdi. Bugun Madagaskar’in nufusu yaklasik yirmi iki milyon, en cok Malgaslar Afrikali-Yerli melez var, ve hala yerli dil kullaniyor. Avrupalilar sadece alti yuz yil once geldi, birincisi Portekizliler, ancak on yedinci yuzyil boyunca Fransizlar orada ticareti basladi ve on dokuzuncu yuzyilin sonunda isgal etti. On dokuz yuz altmis yilinda Madagaskar bagimsizlik kazandi, fakat on uc yil daha once kocaman ayaklanma vardi, yaklasik doksan bin hayat kaybetti – neredeyse hepsi yerliler.

25/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, Meksika’dan ilginc haber geldi, Zapatista yerli haklari grubu iki bin on sekiz yilin secimler girecek, onlar bir yerli kadin aday belirlecek. Simdiye kadar Zapatistalar secimleri reddetti, yerliler icin kendi karinni tahin hakki tercih etti. Aslinda Meksika Latin Amerika’nin en buyuk nufusu var (ve dunyanin on birinci en buyuk), yaklasik yuz yirmi bes milyon, ve yuzden doksan yerli kan var (yuzde otuz daha cok yerli kan). Fakat yuzde altmis ‘Metis’ (Melez) kelime tercih eder, sadece yuzde yedi ‘Yerli’ kelime tercih eder. Benim icin cok tuhaf, cunku memleketimde yerli kan ile herkes ‘Yerli.’ Ayrica, ABD’deki Afrikali kan ile herkes ‘Afrikali-Amerikali.’ Fakat ABD’de Meksikalilar ‘Hispanik’ veya ‘Latino’ olarak bilinen cunku onlar kendilerini ‘Amerika Yerlisi’ kelime kullanmiyor. Bu arada, Zapatistalar yerli ve kapitalisti karsi bir grubu, on dokuz doksan dort yilinda kuruldu cunku cok hukumet baski ve zulum vardi, ve son yirmi iki yil boyunca hukumeti karsi savunma bir savasi kavga ediyordu. Onlar ismini (tam adi ‘Zapatista Ulusal Kurtulus Ordusu)’ devrimci kahraman Emilio Zapata’dan aldin, Zapata bir koylu oldu, yuz yil once acgozlu toprak sahipleriye karsi on yil-savas kavga etti ve sonunda yozlasmis hukumeti devirdi. Maalesef, birkac yil sonra ona ihanet ve suikast edildi.

24/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Ucuncu Dunya Savasi geliyor mu? American Yesiller Partisi lider Jill Stein gore yeni baskan Hillary Clinton Rusya ile savas istiyor. Ayni fikirdeyim. Insanlar yetmis yil boyuna Ucuncu Dunya Savasi hakkinda konusuyordu, ama ona gelmedi, bunun icin su anda bu fikir saka gibi bir sey. Ancak simdi baska Dunya Savasi cok yakin gorunuyor. Clinton cok agresif bir kadin, devlet bakani olarak Libya’yi imha etti ve daha kotu sey yapti, ve ona Suudi Arabistan’dan, Israil’dan ve Ukrayna’dan cok para aldi. Bu arada, Clinton Suriye’de ucusa yasak bolge istiyor, baskan Bessar Esad devirmeye istiyor. Bu arada Suriye ve Rusya ISID teroristleri karsi kavga ediyor, fakat birkac NATO uyesi ulkeler hukumeti karsiti isyancilara yardim ediyor. ABD davetsiz olarak Suriye’yi bombaliyor, ve gecen ay “kazara” olarak seksen Suriyeli askeri oldurdu; sonuc teroristler onemli bolge geri kazandi. Gercekten o bir “kaza” degildi. Aptal degiliz! ABD teroristleri hem yaratti hem de yardim ediyor. O yuzden Rusya Amerika’yi tehdit etti, baska sefere ona ates edecek. Ayrica, Suriye Turkiye’yi tehdit etti. Bu arada Ingiliz siyasetci Rusya hakkinda cok saldirgan konusuyorlar, bol bol ithamda bulunuyor. Tabii ki bu cok tehlikeli bir durum. Ancak Amerika icin savas trilyon dolar bir endustri, cok onemli, ve Clinton kesinlikle askeri endustriyel compleks hizmet verecek. Donald Trump sacmalik bundan dikkatini dagitmaya duzenledi. Galiba Bati Dunya icin Orta Dogu’daki bir Dunya Savas problem olmayacak – eger o ne Amerika’ya ne Avrupa’ya ulasacaksa . . .

23/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Demokratik Kongo Cumhuriyeti baskan Joseph Kabila istifa etmeye reddetmiyor, yerine Aralik secim iki yil sonra ertelemek istiyor. O yuzden protesto oldu ve gecen ay elli uc kisi olduruldu, yuz kirk uc daha yaralandi (cocuklar dahil), ve yuzler hapsedildi. Kongo askeri ve polis cok agresif ve son iki yilda yaklasik alti yuz tane insan haklari ihlalleri akli yatti. Aslinda Kabila iki bin bir yilinda iktidara geldi, babasin suikastten sonra. Dort yil daha once Laurent Kabila eski diktator Mobutu devirdi ve bu sekilde iktidara geldi. Fakat sonra alti yil boyunca korkunc bir ic savasi oldu, yaklasik alti milyon hayat kaybetti – yarisi cocuklar – ve yuz binler kadin tecavuz edildi. Tecavuz toplum imha etmeye bir taktik oldu, ve hala her yil on binlerce kurban var. Ruanda ve Uganda bu savasi katildi. Joseph Kabila bu kriz cozmedi, yerine ona o buyuk Orta Afrika’da ulke (nufusu yetmis milyon) bir diktatorluk ve polis devleti olarak yonetiyor. Fakat ona (onun babasi ve Mobutu gibi) Bati Dunya ile calisiyor, ve Kongo’da cok mineral var – altin, elmas, kalay, bakir, kobalt ve volfram dahil. O yuzden Bati hukumetler ve maden sirketleri onu destekliyor. Ruanda ve Uganda da cok kisi oldurdu, ozellikle Hutu multeciler, ve onlar da Kongo’nun mineralleri yagmaliyor. ABD onlar destekliyor, silah ve egitim veriyor, ve Ruanda Amerika’dan cok yardim parasi aliyor. Somurge zamanlar boyunca Belcika Kongo’da milyonlarca insan oldurdu. On dokuz yuz altmis yilinda Kongo bagimsizlik kazandi ve Patrice Lumumba ilk demokratik basbakan olarak secildi. Fakat ona mineral endustri kamulastirmak istedi, ve ABD cok kizgin oldu. O yuzden Lumumba Sovyetler Birligi ile calismak istedi. Bunun icin ABD ve Belcika-destekli isyancilar onu suikast yapti. Ondan sonra Mobutu otuz iki yil boyunca vahsi bir diktator olarak Kongo yonetti, ve hem ABD hem de Ingiltere ile calisiyordu.

22/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Maalesef, Orta Afrika Cumhuriyeti’nde siddet devam ediyor, sadece iki hafta once bir multeci kampisinde saldirildi, otuz hayat kaybetti, yaklasik alti tane daha yaralandi. Bati medya gore saldirganlar Seleka Muslumanlar oldu. Fakat Birlesmis Milletler gore Orta Afrika Cumhuriyeti’nde Hristiyanlar soykirim yapiyor. Bati medya icin bu konu daha az onemli, haber gelmiyor. Binlerce Muslumanlar olduruldu, yuz binlerce daha yerinden edildi, ve simdi Orta Afrika Cumhuriyeti’nde neredeyse hic bir cami var. Orta Afrika Cumhuriyeti eski bir Fransiz somurge var, sadece bes milyon kisi var, yuzde elli Hristiyan, yuzde yirmi bes animist, ve sadece yuzde on bes Musluman. Uc yil once Muslumanlar bir darbe yapti cunku eski baskan Bozize cok yozlasmis oldu. On yil daha once Bozize da bir askeri darbe yapti, ve bu sekilde iktidara geldi. On dokuz yuz altmis yilinda Orta Afrika Cumhuriyeti bagimsizlik kazandi, ancak sadece bes yil sonra Fransiz-destekli bir askeri darbe oldu cunk demokratik basbakan Dacko komunist Cin ile calisiyordu. Yeni basbakan Bokassa kendisini ‘kral’ ilan etti, ve on dort yil boyunca ahlaksiz bir diktatorluk yonetti. Nihayet Fransa bikti ve bir devirme duzenledi. Ondan sonra cok savas ve diktatorluk vardi. Bu yil secim oldu ve Bozize’nin eski basbakan Touagera kazandi, ama simdiye kadar ona Orta Afrika Cumhuriyeti’nin problemler cozmedi.

21/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Iki ay once alisveris yaptim ve burada her sey acikladim. kisa pantalon, iki gomlek, spor ayakkabi, kemer ve dort tane kitap satin aldim. Gomlekler ve spor ayakkabi cok iyi fakat pantalonlar iyi degildi, zaten problem var ve bugun tamirci gitmeliyim. Biraz hayal kirikligi hissediyorum cunku o pantalonlar ucuz degildi, bu kere kalite istedim ve daha para harcadim. Ne kadar ironik! Kemer kullaniyorum ancak gercekten o benim icin cok fazla kucuk ve ekstra delik yaptim. Benden kaynaklanan bir hataydi cunku onceden denemedim. Bu arada simdiye kadar iki tane kitap okudum ve maalesef iyi degildi. Tespih Agacinin Golgesinde cok profesyonel bir roman fakat ayni zamanda cok bos, karakterler ilginc degil, galiba Harper Lee o yazmadi. Laila Lalami’nin Fasli’nin Hikayesi da biraz sikici. Ilginc bir fakir – yaklasik bes yuz yil once bir Musluman Guney Amerika’ya gitti ve her sey acikladi – ama sadece kurgu ve cok olayli degil. Bu hafta ucuncu kitabi basladim, Noam Chomsky’nin ‘Kim Dunyayi Yonetiyor?’ Bu uluslararasi siyaset hakkinda ve son bolum eski Israili basbakan Simon Peres hakkinda oldu (gecen ay ona oldu). Otuz bir yil once Peres altinda Israil Tunus bombaladi, yetmis bes kisi oldurdu. Neden? Cunku Kibris’ta uc tane Israillilar olduruldu. Neden? Cunku Israil askeri Akdeniz’de cok savas sucu yapti. Elbetti ABD Israil’i destekledi, fakat Birlesmis Milletler gore Israil Tunus’ta kocaman savas sucu yapti. Ayni yilda Israil guney Lubnan’da isgal etti. Bu arada, ABD, Suudi Arabistan ve Ingiltere bir cami bombaladi, seksen hayat kaybetti (cogunlukla kadinlar ve kizlar), ve yuzler daha kisi yaralandi, fakat onlarin hedefi kacti. Tabii ki, Peres dokuz yil sonra Nobel Baris Odulu kazandi. Bu nasil bir dunya?!

20/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. On alti yil once Guney Ispanya’da Ingilizce ogretmenlik kariyerim basladi. O benim ikinci yil Avrupa’da ve cok multuydum cunku birinci yilda Ingiltere’de garson olarak calistim ve cok sikici oldu. Guney Ispanya’da cok ogrendim, hem ogretmenlik hem de Ispanya hakkinda – Ispanyolca dil dahil. Ancak yazin uc ay mola vardi, ve Guney Ispanya cok sicak oldu, tabii ki. Bu yuzden yaz okulda calismaya Rusya’ya gittim. Ondan sonra Guney Ispanya’ya geri donmedim. Patronum beni istedi, fakat zaman zaman ona biraz kaba oldu ve onun daveti kabul etmedim. Yerine Kuzey Ispanya’ya gittim, Bilbao sehirde is teklifi aldim, ama ben geldigimde sorun vardi, o is almadim. Cok endise ettim cunku sadece az param vardi. En azinda o okul benim ucak bileti icin parasine geri verdi. Internet kafeyi gittim, ve hemen baska bir is teklifi gordum. Ayrica, o cok yakinda oldu – Bask Bolgesi’nin baskenti Vitoria’da. O is aldim, ve sonra gunu cok merkezde bir daireyi tasindim (iki kisi ile paylastim). Ne kadar kolay! Elbette cok mutluydum. Maalesef, orada cabuk biktim. Vitoria cok kucuk bir sehir, yaklasik uc yuz bin kisi var, ve genellikle arkadasca degil. Aslinda, onlar gore Bask Bolgesi Ispanya parcasi degil, kesinlikle farkli dil ve kultur var, ve cok kisi bagimsizlik istiyor. Gecen yuzyilda Ispanya’da kirk yil diktatorluk vardi – yil on dokuz yetmis altiya kadar – ve o zamanlar Bask dil ve kultur yasak oldu. O yuzden terorism basladi, yuzler hayat kaybetti. Bence bask insanlar cok kirgin gorunuyordu ve istenmeyen hissettim. Bunun icin yazin gene tasindim, bu kere Barselona’ya…

19/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Gercekten ABD bir savas suclusu sececek, Orta Doguda daha savas olacak, cok daha Muslumanlar olecek, ve Kuzey Amerikalilar ve Avrupalilar kesinlikle umurumda degil. Onlar aptal degil, onlar Hillary Clinton bir savas suclusu var iyi biliyor – fakat umurumda degil. Onlar icin Orta Dogu sadece bir televizyon dizi film gibi, gercek bir yer degil. Onlar icin sekiz milyon hayat kaybetti sadece bir numera, Muslumanlar gercek insanlar degil. Belki Avrupalilar biraz daha gercekci cunku simdi orada cok savas multeci var. Ayrica, Fransa’da ozellikle birkac korkunc teror saldirisi oldu. Fakat Amerikalilar icin bu cok uzak ve onemli degil. Onlar Donald Trump’un cinsiyet skandallar hakkinda konusmaya tercih ediyor, onlar icin bu cok daha rahat ve kolay bir konu, cunku her gun Amerikan televizyon bu konu faydalaniyor. Neredeyse yirmi yil boyunca ben uluslararasi toplumda yasiyordum, ve bu iyi biliyorum. Hem ABD baskan Barack Obama hem de baskan adayi Hillary Clinton savas suclusu, Libya’ya ve daha ulkelere bombaladi, Suudi Arabistan ve Israil destekliyor, ve hatta ISID yardim etti. Cok Amerikan insanlar bu iyi biliyor – ama hala onlar destekliyor ve ovuyor. Onlar milyonlarca olu insanlar umurumda degil! Benim icin bu cok tuhaf bir durum. Simdi Nazi Almanya ve nasil Adolf Hitler iktidara geldi daha iyi anliyorum

18/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Asagidaki benim Danimarkali amcam Bjarne ve halam Vibeke, ama onlar Danimarka’da yasamiyor, yaklasik elli yil once onlar Yeni Zelanda’ya goc etti, ve ondan birkac yil sonra Avustralya’ya gitti. Onlar yaklasik yirmi bes yil boyunca Sydney’de yasiyordu, fakat yaklasik yirmi bes yil once Brisbane sehir yakinda bir adasinda emlak satin aldi ve yeni ev insa etti. Aslinda, ben yeni ev insa etmeye yardim ettim. Avustralya’ya dort kez gittim, ilk kez icin tam otuz yil once ve Sydney’de neredeyse bir yilda kaldim – birkac hafta amcam ve halam ile. Hem on dokuz yuz doksan iki ve on dokuz yuz doksan uc yillarinda onlara ziyaret ettim ve birkac hafta kaldim. Son kez biz Sydney’den Brisbane sehire yolculuk ettik, neredeyse bin kilometre, ve yari yolda Macquarie Liman’da gece kaldik. Aslinda babam orada yasiyor ve ben onun evinde kaldim. Sonra gunu Brisbane sehire devam ettik. Amcam ve halam iki cocuga var – bir kiz ve bir erkek. Kiz kuzenim benden bir yil daha yasli, Danimarka’da dogdu, erkek kuzenim benden bir yil daha az yasli, Yeni Zelanda’da dogdu. O zamanlar erkek kuzenim Brisbane sehirde oturuyordu ve onun evinde bir gece kaldik. Sonra gunu adalara gittik, denizde yunuslari gorduk cunku Brisbane subtropikal. Aslinda, kis mevsimi oldu, ancak her gun yaklasik yirmi alti derece ulasti ve bol bol sivrisinekleri vardi. Orada bir haftada cadirda kaldim, ve her gun amcam ile calistim. Ondan sonra Brisbane Havalimaniye gittim ve Yeni Zelanda’ya geri dondum. Sadece bir kez daha Avustralya’ya gittim, on yedi yil once, fakat o kez amcam ve halam ziyaret etmedim, yerine bir haftalik tatil icin Melbourne’ye gittim.

17/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. George Orwell ile ilgili zamanlar kesinlikle goruyoruz. Ingiliz yazar devlet kontrolu hakkinda yazdi, ve su anda devletler kesinlikle her sey kontrol ediyor – ozellikle medya, ve bu sekilde herkes beynini yikayor. Bati medya gore Suriye ve Rusya cok kotu cunku Halep’te ISID karsi kavga ediyor ve cok sivil kimse olduruldu. Fakat simdi Amerika ve Irak Musul’da ISID karsi kavga ediyor, tabii ki cok sivil kimse olecek, ve Bati medya gore onlar ‘kahramanlar.’ Ne kadar iki yuzlu! Bu arada, her kes Amerikan baskan adayi Donald Trump’in cinsiyet skandalilar hakkinda konusuyor, ancak Wikileaks gore Demokratik adayi Hillary Clinton ISID’e silah satti! Hangisi daha kotu? Ayrica, bir kadin gore kendi cinsiyet skandali gercek degildi, New York Times bu hikaye yaratti. En azinda iki daha kadinin hikayeleri yanlis gorunuyor. Ancak Bati medyadan bu haber gelmiyor, onlar kesinlikle devlet kontrolu altinda. Bu arada, bu ay Yemen’de Suudi Arabistan bir cenaze bombaladi, en azinda yuz kirk sivil kimse olduruldu, yaklasik bes yuz daha yaralandi. Bati medyadan sadece az haber geldi, ve simdiye kadar Birlesmis Milletler hic bir sey yapmadi, buna ragmen o kesinlikle kocaman ve korkunc bir devlet teroru oldu. Tabii ki Amerika Suudi Arabistan’a o silah satti, Hillary Clinton gene suca dahil. Aslinda, Barack Obama kizgin kelimeler soyledi, ancak ABD Suudi Arabistan ile birlikte calismaya devam ediyor ve bu hafta ona da zavalli Yemen’i bombaladi. Fakat herkes Trump hakkinda hala konusuyor . . .

16/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, gecen hafta Birlesmis Milletler onemli bir karar verdi, Kudus’te Israil ne Haremi Serif ne Bati Duvar ozel hakki var. Onlar gore Israil orada bir isgal gucu ve onun askeri Mescid-Aksa’da cok fazla saldirgan davraniyor. Cin ve Rusya dahil yirmi alti ulke bu karar destekledi, sadece ABD, Ingiltere, Almanya, Hollanda, Litvanya ve Estonya karsi oy kullandi. Israil cok kizgin oldu, ona gore onun sitelere baglanti ‘reddedildi,’ bunun icin ona UNESCO ile calismaya devam etmeyecek. Bu arada, Cuma gunu Birlesmis Milletler Guvenlik Konseyi Israil’in yasadisi yerlesim gelisme hakkinda bir olaganustu toplantisi yapti. Israil hukumeti cok kararli ve buyuk bir sistemi var, sadece son alti yil boyuna on bir bin yeni yasadisi yerlesim insa edildi, ve simdi toplam yarim milyondan daha yerlesimci Filistinli karada yasiyor. Bu kesinlikle somurgelestirme, tabii ki. Ayrica, FIFA baski altinda cunku alti tane Israil futbol kulubu Filistinli karada var. Insan Haklari Isleme orgutu bir dilekce duzenledi, ve zaten yaklasik yuz elli bin imza var. O yuzden su anda Filistin icin iyi haber var, ancak galiba ABD veto hakki kullanacak ve her sey bosa cikaracak, cunku ona her zaman Israil destekliyor, sadece birkac hafta once baskan Barack Obama Israil otuz sekiz milyar dolar ‘yardim’ soz verdi – yeni bir rekor oldu – ve gelecek baskan Hillary Clinton da cok cok Israili hayrani, maalesef . . .

15/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, arkadaslarim, maalesef kadin sunneti hala buyuk bir problem, butun dunyada yaklasik iki yuz milyon kurbanlar var. Galiba cinsel davranis kontrol etmeye hem sunnet hem de kadin sunneti antik Misir’deki basladi, yaklasik iki bin yil once. O zamanlarda Sahraalti Afrika’dan kole ticareti da basladi. Bu arada Roma Imparatorlugunda kadin sunneti yapildi, arti antik Rusya’da. Su anda Bati Dunyada cok insan gore kadin sunneti bir Musluman problem var, ancak o Islami dinden birkac yuzyil once basladi! Aslinda bazi Hristiyan-cogunluklu ulkelerde kadin sunneti var – Etiopya, Eritrea, Kenya, Uganda ve Tanzanya, mesela. Bundan baska, Kamerun’un en buyuk din Hristiyanlik var ve orada da kadin sunneti var. Tabii ki, cok Musluman ulkede kadin sunneti yasaktir. Endonezya, Malezya, Irak ve Yemen haric, bu problem sadece Orta Afrika’da devam ediyor, Sahra’dan altinda, Kizil Deniz ve Atlantik Okyanusu arasinda. Bazi ulkeler Ucuncu Dunya dahil, tabii ki, ve orada kadin sunneti cok tehlikeli, zaman zaman olumcul, maalesef. Yil on dokuz yuz seksen bes Isvec ve Ingiltere kadin sunneti yasakladi. ABD on iki yil sonra takip etti. Gecen yil eski Nijerya baskan Goodluck Jonathan da kadin sunneti yasakladi. Toplam yirmi alti Afrikali ve Orta Dogu ulkelerde kadin sunneti yasaktir – ve butun dunyada otuz uc daha ulkelerde. Insallah az sonra o her yerde yasak olacak.

14/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Birkac ay once dunyanin en yeni ulkesi Guney Sudan besinci yildonumu kutladi. Onceden guney ve kuzey Sudan arasinda korkunc bir ic savasi oldu. ABD Guney Sudan icin bagimsizlik destekledi, cunku orada benzin var. Bunun icin ona George Clooney kullandi, galiba cunku Irak Savasi icin (ozellikle) Amerikan siyasetcilerin guveni kaybetti. Aslinda devlet bakani Hillary Clinton da Afrika’ya gitti ve Guney Sudan destekledi. ABD gore Kuzey Sudan Arap, Musluman ve despotik, Guney Sudan Zenci, Hristiyan ve demokratik. Halbuki, Guney Sudan cocuk askerler kullandi ve ABD bu yasakliyor. O yuzden Amerika nasil Guney Sudan destekliyor? Cunku Clinton bir feragat teslim etti, ve devlet bakani olarak ona baskan Barack Obama tavsiye etti. Sonuc – baska bir basarisiz devlet, ekonomi serbest dusus, baskan Salva Kiir Mayardit’in Dinkalar kabile ve eski yardimci Riek Machar’in Nuerler arasinda korkunc bir ic savasi var, binlerce hayat kaybetti, cok kisi diri diri yakti, tecavuz ve kastrasyon yaygin, aclik da yaygin, ve her iki taraf cocuk askerler kullaniyor. Birlesmis Milletler neredeyse hic bir sey yapmadi, uluslararasi medya icin bu konu cok ilginc degil. Bu arada, Clinton baskan olmak istiyor, ve hic kimse bu konu hakkinda konusmuyor, herkes icin Donald Trump’in aptal skandallari cok daha ilginc .

13/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, yeni bir ‘Gunaydin Istanbul’ blog sayfa baslamaliyim cunku eski sayfam kesinlikle dolu. O blog sayfa yaklasik iki yil once basladim, her sabah yaklasik iki yuz kelime yazdim, ve simde toplam yuz kirk bin, uc yuz kelime var – veya yaklasik uc yuz elli sayfa. Uc yuz elli sayfa bir roman gibi, ve ben Turkce yaptim! Bu sekilde buyuk projeleri yazarim, her gun sadece birkac yuz kelime yazmaliyim – fakat her gun lazim ol – ve alti ay veya bir yil sonra kalin bir kitap var. Su anda benim son roman projesi duzeltiyorum, o biraz hizli yazdim, yedi veya sekiz ay icinde neredeyse alti yuz sayfa yazdim, diger bir deyisle her gun iki veya uc sayfa. Evet, benim icin cok hizli. Tam zamanli bir yazar degilim, Cuma haric her gun is yeriye gitmeliyim. Fakat son bes yilda cok sansliydim cunku sabahlarim neredeyse her zaman bos, o yuzden bir rutin yerlestim, hiz kazandim ve birkac roman dahil cok proje yaptim. Ne kadar guzel! Sadece bu durum istiyorum. Insallah devam edebilirim. Aslinda bu yil tatil yapmadim, son bayram boyunca hastaydim, ama benim icin onemli degildi, su anda evde kalmaya ve yazmaya tercih ederim. Bu arada, bos gunlerim evde kaldim ve yazdim. Onceden her yaz boyunca bos gunlerim genellikle yurumeye ve yuzmeye adalara gidiyordum, ancak su anda evde kalmaya ve yazmaya tercih ederim.

12/10/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Antik Dunyada ne oldu kim bilir? Cocukken herkes gore Kristoff Kolomb Amerika kesfetti, Marco Polo Cin’de ilk Avrupali oldu ve Polinezyalilar ‘kayip kita’dan’ geldi. Tabii ki, simdi cok daha anlayoruz. Insanlar on binlerce yil once Sibirya’dan Alaska’ya ulasti ve bu sekilde Amerika kesfetti. Ayrica, Kolomb Amerika’da ilk Avrupali degildi, neredeyse altmis yil once arkeologlar Vikingler Kanada’ya ulasti dogruladi, ancak uzun zaman boyunca bu ihmal edildi. Aslinda, Vikingler efsaneleri her zaman bu hikaye anlatti, fakat bu daha ihmal edildi. Bundan baska, daha imkanlar var, ‘Mormon’ Hristiyanlar gore iki bin yil once Yahudiler Amerika’ya gitti, ve bir Irlandali esfane gore Kolomb’dan once bir Irlandali rahip Amerika’ya ulasti. Bu arada Polinezyalilar butun Buyuk Okyanusu kesfetti ve belki Guney Amerika’ya ulasti cunku onlarin yiyecek Guney Amerikali bitkileri dahil – tatli patates, mesela. Tabii ki, Polinezyalilar ‘kayip kita’dan’ gelmedi, onlar binlerce yil once Guney Dogu Asya’dan geldi. Aslinda, Madagaskar’da ilk insanlar da Guney Dogu Asya’dan geldi. Ne kadar ilginc! Muhtemelen Marco Polo Cin’de ilk Avrupali degildi, Ondan once bazi Avrupali rahipler oraya gitti ve calisti. Kim birinci oldu, ve ne kadar sure once, baska bir soru var. Sadece bir sey biliyoruz – kokensel olarak herkes Afrika’dan geldi.

7/12/16

Gunaydin, Istanbul. Evet, bir yil once Guney Afrika bir gazete birkac makaleyim yayinlandi. Aslinda, sasirdim, benim icin buyuk bir surpriz oldu, cunku Cape Times cok populer ve unlu bir gazete. Cape Town’un nufusu birkac milyon ve Cape Times onun en onemli gazete. Ayrica, uluslararasi taraftalar var (ben dahil). Ilk olarak gecen yilin Ragbi Dunya Kupasi hakkinda yazdim, bu konu iyi anliyorum, memleketimde gazeteci olarak calisiyordum, son birkac yilda sadece spor hakkinda yazdim, millilerimiz birebir tanidim. Ikicin ve dordunuc makeyim uluslararasi siyaset hakkinda, cunku su anda benim icin bu cok ilginc bir konu, sayisiz kitap ve makale okudum. Ikinci makaleyim bu zamanlari ve imparatorluk zamanlariyla kiyasladi, Amerika yeni bir Ingiliz Imparatorlugu gibi gorunuyor, yaklasik ayni sey yapiyor. Dorduncu makaleyim ozellikle Orta Dogu hakkinda oldu, terorizm bizim problem degil, yazdim, hukumetler bizim problem, gercekten onlar dunyanin en buyuz teroristler. Ucuncu makaleyim Yeni Zelanda’da irkcilik hakkinda yazdim, hem soykirim hem de kulturel soykirim vardi, ve ikincisi iyi hatirliyorum cunku okulken yerlilerimiz hakkinda hic bir sey ogrenmedik, ayrica televizyonda onlar hakkinda hic bir sey gormedik. Biz sadece Ingiliz (ve Amerikan) kultur ve tarih ogrendik, sadece Ingilizce konustuk. Son makaleyim diller hakkinda oldu, bugun tam bir yil once yayinlandi. Su anda beyaz insanlar diger ulkelerde Ingilizce konusmali, secenek yok, herkes Ingilizce konusmak istiyor, bunun icin beyazlar diger dilleri ogrenmeye cok zor. ASAGI BAK . . .

My short stories

Robot Mode by Quentin Poulsen

(published in the Winter 2007 edition of Ken Again http://kenagain.freeservers.com/

Four trolleys burst out of the aisles at the same time and made a run for the fast lane. The guy in the orange sweater got cut off by the middle-aged woman, who in turn collided with the thin, sour-faced woman, leaving the elderly lady to come through on the outside and nose her trolley in front.
They all of them had more than ten items in their trolleys, but since there was no one else waiting, I served the old woman. She was not in a hurry any more, however. Firstly, she paid by cheque, the most time-consuming method available and practically obsolete in the age of debit cards and eftpos and what have you. Then, with a twinkle in her eye, she asked me to bag the groceries for her.
A decade or so back, early in my career as a checkout operator, we’d had assistants do the bagging for us. But they had disappeared during the company’s ‘streamlining’ process, which had been hyped as some revolutionary method of making the supermarket run more efficiently, when all it had done was double our workload so that it took twice as long to serve everybody.
Having done the bagging as requested, I turned next to the middle-aged woman, who had come in second and piled her items onto the conveyor belt. Even as I served her, an overweight fellow of similar vintage rushed hastily up and added an armful of groceries to hers.
The customers behind said nothing, as if it were not happening; as though everyone were behaving in a perfectly civilised manner. But when I scanned the items and hit a snag with the bar codes, they grew increasingly fidgety and took to tutting and huffing and rolling their eyes.
The sour-faced woman was up next, followed by the man in the orange sweater. By this time the queue had lengthened considerably and I went into robot mode. I did not even look at the people’s faces; just greeted them as ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam,’ scanned their items, accepted their payment and bid them good day.
A pack of cigarettes dropped onto the belt in front of me, as if from the ceiling. Extending my vision I perceived the stiff, charcoal grey fibres of a business suit.
“Hello, Sir. How are you today?”
“How do you think I am?! I’ve spent half the morning waiting in this queue for a pack a bluddy fags!”
I had no reply to offer, just scanned the cigarettes and took the coins he tossed down.
“Aren’t you going to put them in a bag for me?” the next customer exclaimed.
I ignored her, already serving the customer after, robot mode.
She snatched up a plastic bag and started filling it herself. “Well I never! You people ought to take some pride in your work.”
Suzy, naturally, was late back from lunch. She came out with the usual line about it being only a few minutes and why did I always get so worked up about a few minutes, and I told her it was almost ten minutes out of my break and that was a big deal to me. She laughed and said my watch was fast, then began serving the next customer before I had chance to respond.
I went into the tea room to eat my sandwiches. Dougal was standing behind Tom, sucking on a bottle of cola.
“You gotta get with the times,” he was saying. “The Paleolithic age is over.”
Tom paused as he brought a triangle of pizza to his mouth. “Know what you are, Dougal – A fuzzy-haired, four-eyed, bow-legged parrot.”
“Well, thank you for that intellectual observation,” Dougal giggled, beaming around at the girls. “It is easy to see how you have risen to the lofty rank of floor supervisor.”
“More’n you’ll ever be,” Tom scoffed over his shoulder, then wolfed down the pizza.
“Oh!” Dougal feigned surprise. “That’s odd, Thomas, ‘Cause I’m going on the journalism course next year.”
“Said that last year! An’ don’t start thinking you’re better than the rest of us either.”
Dougal bounced along to the end of the table, the customary idiotic smile in place. “Feeling a little inadequate, are we?” He beamed at the girls again, as if expecting applause.
I finished my tea and went out to get a haircut. It took about twenty minutes to find a place where you didn’t need an appointment. And then it was one of those trendy hair studios where the people were too cool to talk to you; just charged you about five times as much as you were expecting to pay then sent you out the door with one of their personalised business cards. They gave me such an effeminate haircut I spent the rest of the lunch hour walking around in the rain trying to get rid of it. A short, bearded guy in a queue at a Fast Cash machine saw me go by several times and laughed his stupid-looking head off. I felt a sudden urge to go over and kick his teeth in for him. But I didn’t, of course.
The staff had a field-day over my ridiculous hairdo, which the elements had only made more bizarre. Even the manager emerged from his office to see what all the fuss was about, and he practically laughed himself into tears when he saw, his pallid bald spot visible among the fiery wreath of orange hair as he doubled over in mirth. It seemed an eternity until six o’clock.
The gym was across the other side of town and I had to walk along the main streets, in the middle of rush hour, the gale blowing the rain directly into my face.
Walking those streets was an art-form, if you wanted to stay out of trouble. First of all, it was vitally important not to stray onto the right-hand side of the footpath, or else people would slam right into you for being on the wrong side. If you wanted to get in or out of a store you had to wait for a break and duck across the footpath as quickly as possible, apologising profusely to anyone who might have been forced to check their stride. It paid to be careful about catching anyone’s eye as well, because they might take it as a challenge and slam into you. And there were guys who would get all snarly-faced and threaten to smash your face in for you. It was not a good idea to avoid looking at people altogether, however, and especially not to look down into your bag or at a newspaper or anything, because then they might cross the footpath and slam into you just to show you how careless you were being. It was also worth bearing in mind that a lot of people objected to being overtaken, and especially to anyone walking too quickly, so it was safest to stay at the same pace as the general flow.
Those were the basic rules, but when it rained you had little chance even if you’d mastered them, and on the way to the gym I was slammed into by several people and forced to apologise to one of the snarly-faces. I had a mind to slam into one of them back, but I didn’t want to end up in a fight or anything.
I got to the gym half an hour before my class and decided to kill time on the punching bag. It was in a corner of the weights room near the cycling and rowing machines. I wasn’t much interested in boxing but I enjoyed slamming my fists into the big hard bag sometimes. It gave me a sense of satisfaction or relief or something and made me feel good.
I’d been at it for a few minutes when there came a weird, high-pitched giggling from behind me. Glancing around, I came face to face with an obese, heavily-tattooed fellow with bushy hair. He elbowed the guy beside him, a similar specimen in appearance, who wasn’t smiling.
“Ooh, wotta ya reckon, Koro?”.
“Duzn’t know what he’s doing, bro,'” the other replied, and the high-pitched giggling startled me again.
So I gave up on the bag and headed for the aerobics studio. As I passed through reception a stocky guy emerged from behind the counter and cut me off. He had a shaved head, dense black moustache and copious tattoos.
“I’s watching you on the punching bag, bro,'” he said, shaking his bald head gravely. “You got no technique, eh.”
With that he swung up onto the counter and sat there, probably to avoid neck-ache from looking up at me. I figured him for a weights instructor or something, so smiled politely back.
“Well, I’m not planning to take on Tyson just yet.”
He blinked seriously, looking slightly down at me now. “Yeah, but your legs were all over the place, bro.’ I’s watching you.”
“Oh.” I nodded, like I cared less. “So, you’re a boxing coach?”
He broke into a toothless chuckle, seemingly flattered by the idea. “No, no. Not me, cuz. I just wanted to tell you dat. You got no technique.”
I kept the smile on and continued through to the aerobics studio, robot mode.
Timmy-Jay took the first class, blitz aerobics, involving a lot of sprinting on the spot, high kicks and suchlike. He was attired in basic black this evening, his skin-tight leotard rolled up around the thighs. His receding dark curls had been bleached ginger since Thursday’s class, and there was now a stud in his right eyebrow to go with the ones in his nose and nether lip.
All the regulars had their spots and I had mine next to the wall just a few paces from the door. It wouldn’t have been appropriate for a beanpole like me to progress into the middle and block everyone else’s view, and neither did I feel inclined to go down the back where it was always so crowded with cool people.
Being sort of a beanpole, I tended to resemble something like a giant stick insect when it came to high knees. Timmy-Jay would be barking, “Getcha knees up! hup! hup! hup!” and mine would be practically hitting me in the chest. I could see in the mirror how ridiculous I looked. And Timmy-Jay liked to mimic me sometimes, with comical exaggeration. It would make everyone grin, so he’d do it again.
He put us through about a million press-ups and by the end of it my arms were trembling violently with the effort. I didn’t realise what was going on until I heard the laughter, then looked up to see I was the only one still doing them
“Whoa! He da man!” Timmy-Jay announced, feigning an American accent.
I peered sheepishly around at the grinning faces. Timmy-Jay rolled his eyes and licked his lips theatrically.
“Oh, yeah, folks! He da man!”
Tracy came in toward the end of the class and took her customary spot right in front of me. Her hair was bleached sort of yellow and she was impossibly tanned for winter. She began to prance about, a pear-shaped body in a g-string leotard, her buttocks so prominent I could make out the dimples. Once or twice she glanced over her shoulder and caught my eye. I decided it was time to send her a message and moved across to the other side, not caring that I totally incensed somebody by encroaching on their territory. When Tracy looked over her shoulder again and saw nobody there, her eyes searched around until she found me, then her expression changed instantly to hatred.
Her class was next, low-impact aerobics. I always stuck around for that because blitz got me so pumped up I wanted to keep going another hour, and I wasn’t much for doing weights or riding the cycle machines or anything.
This particular evening, however, Tracy threw a lot of changes into the routines, so that those of us who came regularly found ourselves cavorting off in all directions. Some of the others looked fairly irritated about it too.
“So, ladies, how is everything?” Tracy got chatting, addressing all but three of us in the class. “Some racy outfits out there tonight! No wonder we’ve got a couple of guys lurking about, eh.”
She glanced directly across at me from the stage, looking slightly downward now. “Know what I hate?” she went on, like this would be upper-most in our thoughts at that very moment. “The gawky beanpole type. They look so ridiculous – especially in shorts!”
Everyone grinned, a few of the girls laughed out loud, and Tracy stood up there on the stage with a self-satisfied smirk, a pear-shaped instructor in a g-string leotard, sucking her Gatorade, as if expecting applause.
Neither Anne nor Bev were home that evening. Probably they were staying over at their boyfriends’ places. They tended to do that when they weren’t fighting with them. Nonetheless, it gave me a very strange feeling when I woke up next morning to find I was still alone in the house, as though everyone had disappeared over the edge of the world and left me on my own.
The phone had been ringing incessantly, though I had not bothered to answer it because the phone was never for me. But now I was beginning to think there might be some emergency, as it had been ringing non-stop since before dawn.
Next time it rang, about ten seconds after I had this thought, I picked up the receiver.
“I’m calling about the house.”
“House?”
“The house for sale, in the paper.”
“House for sale?”
He said the telephone number and it was ours.
It occurred to me that, if our house were being sold, they would use the owner’s number, not ours, since we were only renting.
There was a pause, then the voice replied, “Sez to ask for Burt.”
“Burt? He doesn’t live here. Look, give me your number and I’ll have him call you.”
Before leaving for work I’d filled a page of the message pad with the contact details of people who had called about the house.
And the telephone was still ringing when I returned home that evening. After filling another two pages of the pad, I decided the next call would be the last before I took it off the hook.
“Been any calls about the house?” It was a metallic version of Burt’s voice on the line.
“About five million.”
“Yeah? Choice! Take any messages?”
“Three pages full. Why didn’t you use your own number?”
“Look, I don’t have a residential line, okay, and not many people have a mobile. If I advertise with a mobile number the charge might put people off calling.”
I wondered what kind of people were in the market to buy a house but weren’t prepared to call a mobile phone because of the charge.
“Are you going to be here this evening? If not, I’m taking the phone off the hook. I haven’t had any peace since I got home.”
I was startled by a metallic version of Anne’s voice. “Don’t you dare take that phone off the hook. The company will put a buzzer through it and charge us for it.”
I doubted they would do that, and what would they charge anyway? Fifty cents?
“Okay, I won’t take it off the hook.”
As soon as she hung up I took it off the hook.
I watched the evening movie on television. It was a remake of an old classic but turned out to be a disappointment. The actors were poorly casted, I thought. They just went for pretty-boys these days, whereas those old film guys had had a lot more character. They’d made more of an impression on me, those old film actors.
Then it was the ad’s break, and some depraved lunatic was screaming at me with a big, greedy-looking grin all over his face, when I heard the front door slam. Rapid footsteps advanced up the hall and Anne flounced into the room, followed a moment later by Burt.
“I thought I told you not to take the phone off the hook,” she seethed down at me.
Burt marched across and replaced the receiver. “You might a cost me a sale, mate. A hundred grand we’re talkin.'”
I shrugged to show my indifference over a hundred thousand dollars. What did he expect me to do – drop to my knees and grovel for forgiveness?
“There’s three pages of numbers for you to call,” I said.
That shut him up for a while. He went over and started examining the numbers, as if they would tell him anything before he called them.
“Yuv had it off ever since we rang,” Anne went on. “We tried calling every fifteen minutes.”
“That was just me busy taking messages,” I said halfheartedly. They had seen the receiver lying on the table.
She shook her head slowly and tutted like a schoolteacher when you got the answer wrong. “You might a cost Burt a hundred grand.”
I had completely lost interest in the film by then and went to bed. Besides, I was tired from having been woken up so early that morning. But I found I was too angry to sleep. I just lay there in the dark, blinking at the cracks of electric light around the door, wondering how it could be that people treated me like fungi then made me out to be the villain.
Next morning, the red digits on my alarm clock showing 6:52, I heard the phone ringing, a piercing drill in the quiet predawn. Then it stopped. And the next time it rang only a couple of times. Anne must have been home answering it. I sandwiched my head in my pillow and tried to sleep.
But there was no way to keep that noise out, and half an hour later I climbed out of bed. Wandering through to the living room, I was surprised to find not the plump features of Anne, but the bird-like frame of Bev at the telephone, holding the receiver with one hand and writing on the message pad with the other.
“That thing’s gunna ring all day,” I warned her.
It rang before she had chance to answer, and I waited while she took another message.
“Burt’s using us as his personal secretaries,” I continued. “He should be here to take the calls.”
“Look,” said Bev, “I’ve got my own problems, okay. I don’t need this right now.”
I stared at her for a moment, dumbfounded by her answer. She had spoken as though the whole thing were my fault. The phone rang again and I slumped down on the couch while she answered it, chuckling wryly to myself; a manic chuckle, even in my own ears.
Then Bev disappeared into the shower and I had to take the calls. The first one was a woman and she simply asked for Burt, without a ‘hello’ or a ‘please’ or anything.
“Sorry, Burt doesn’t live here; just uses the number,” I replied a little curtly.
I expected her to leave a message but she just hung up without another word.
That evening I was home by myself again. I put the phone right beside me on the couch so I would have time to replace the receiver if Anne and Burt came back. But when I heard the door slam around ten o’clock and their footsteps advancing up the hallway, I somehow knew I was in trouble again.
“What’s the matter?” I asked, and immediately regretted doing so. It sounded so ‘guilty.’
“What’s the matter?!” Burt glowered fiercely, coming and standing over me. He was a short, stocky guy, remarkably ugly up close. “My mother called here this morning and you were rude to her. That’s what’s the matter!”
“And Bev was up before seven answering your calls!” I snapped back.
“We’re talking about my mother, mate!”
His self-righteous indignation was such I couldn’t suppress a slight chuckle, and for an instant he looked as though he were going to thump me. I could see the veins in his eyes and the pores in his pallid skin. His cologne smelt like campsite kerosene. He hovered over me like that, twisting his shoulders from side to side, like he were Tyson limbering up for the fight. Probably he expected me to drop to my knees and grovel for mercy or something.
Anne popped her plump head out from behind him. “You’re a really inconsiderate person, you know that.”.
It was all I could do to contain my rage. I wanted to shout at the pair of them. ‘Inconsiderate?! Me?! Who’s been answering your calls for the past two days?!’ But I didn’t, of course. Anne might have evicted me.
“He’s a rude bastard,” Burt snarled, stalking back over to the message pad.
When they had gone again, leaving me there with a constantly ringing phone, I took it off the hook and waited for the movie to come on. There were more of the insane adverts but I ignored them, turning my mind to other things, robot mode.

 

Gregory

Published in http://kenagain.freeservers.com/PROSE.HTML

This thin, bald, bespectacled guy answered the door. He was wearing a charcoal grey suit, though it was Sunday. He might have been to church. But who apart from Pacific Islanders went to church? Perhaps he was going to a funeral. But he did not appear sad. Maybe it was a wedding. Would he be interviewing the day he was going to a wedding?

At first I picked him for an old guy; perhaps early forties. Looking closer, however, as his small hand slid through mine, I realised he was probably nearer my own age. The baldness, the serious look in his eyes even when he smiled, and, mostly, the charcoal suit, made him seem older.

Gregory showed me around the place, which took about thirty seconds. The flat was tiny. But it was well-furnished and had all the modern conveniences, even a microwave. I had never been in a place with a microwave before. After a year at Bruce’s, where we had not even had a television set, it seemed like more of a luxury than I deserved. I fully expected to be rejected once again.

The spare room was next to the lounge and had a sliding door. Obviously that wasn’t going to keep out much noise. There was just space to walk between the narrow bed and the two large tallboys against the opposite wall.

So I was none too bothered when Gregory handed me the now familiar ‘I’ll call you’ line. I had received it at every place I’d visited so far, and not one of them had called.

I understood why and tried not to take it too personally. People had always told me I was a strange sort and a bad conversationalist. Too often my opinions conflicted with theirs, and you had to be careful about that sort of thing. I’d lost count of the number of people who had stopped talking to me because I’d disagreed with them on some matter or another. It was one of the flaws in my personality.

I had to ask people to call me at work. We did not have a phone at Bruce’s, and I did not want him to know I was looking for another place anyway. It would be pretty embarrassing to tell him I was moving out then not be able to find a place. The boys would have a field day.

And not being able to find a place was beginning to seem like a very real prospect. I had to tell them to call me at the supermarket, where I worked on check-out, and then a subtle change would come into their eyes, like a neon ‘vacancy’ sign switching off.

Gregory, in fact, asked no questions. Neither did he seem much interested in anything I said. He hardly stopped talking from the moment he opened the door and introduced himself until the moment he told me he would call me and closed it again.

It was Thursday when the assistant manager summonsed me from check-out to take the call. He scowled across at me with his fiery red eyebrows, like an angry lobster, as though I had just broken some sacred ethical code. He could go to hell. It was the first call I’d taken in over two years.

Dougal was in the tea room with some of the high school girls. They were getting ready to take over for the evening shift. Dougal had fuzzy black hair, thick-rimmed glasses and a seemingly permanent idiotic smile. He bounced along when he walked, his arms flapping at his sides, which added to the overall muppet effect of his appearance. At twenty-six he was the oldest guy on checkout after me, and had been telling us for the past three years that this was only a temporary station for him until he gained a place on the polytechnic journalism course. He fell in behind me as I approached the telephone and began scratching himself under the armpits. The girls laughed away and the idiotic grin on Dougal’s face grew so wide he looked more like a muppet than ever.

“Keep it down,” I remonstrated with the girls. “This could be important.”

Dougal’s eyes bulged behind the glasses. “Gosh, an important call. Could it be from Jane?”

The girls laughed again and Dougal could not resist continuing his performance.

I suspected the call must be from one of the places I had looked at, difficult as that was to believe. Nobody else would be calling me at work. I tried to imagine which of the places would be polite enough to call me up to reject me .

“Greg-o-ree speaking,” said a flat, disinterested voice. “When do you intend to move in?”

It took me a moment to comprehend what I was hearing, and another to figure it out. Gregory had waited four days before calling me. No doubt he had been unable to get anyone else for the room, it being so puny and lacking a proper door to keep the noise out. I wasn’t too keen myself. But no one else was going to accept me and I was desperate to get out of Bruce’s.

Rick moved me in with his new Hilux. He was always prepared to help me out, even if I did have to listen to his big-brother lectures in return. I didn’t have many things and might have carried them on the bus except for the mattress. I would have felt ridiculous hauling a mattress around on public transport. Rick, naturally, approved of my departure from Bruce’s. He had always considered my friends a bunch of losers. He seemed to hit it off with Gregory too. They stood there in the kitchen talking quietly together while I wrestled my mattress through the house to the bedroom. Then Rick had to get back to inspect the plans for his new house. He and Barbara were going to live in Seatoun Heights, overlooking the harbour.

No sooner was I settled in my new room than Gregory called me through to the kitchen. He was seated at the small table in the corner by the fridge, an empty vase and a bowl of plastic fruit beside him. He gestured for me to sit down opposite him. It seemed important.

“It’s two weeks’ in advance plus two weeks’ bond.”

“No problem,” I said, taking out my wallet and piling the cash on the table.

Gregory swept up the notes and carefully counted them, one by one. “I’ll also need thirty dollars for food.”

I placed three more notes on the table, and he counted them as well, though anyone could see there were three blue notes there.

“That’s for the basics,” he said. “If you want things like coffee or biscuits, obviously you buy those yourself.”

He twisted around to look up at the calendar on the wall behind him. “Right, wot nights will you be cooking?”

I gazed stupidly back at him. “Cooking?”

He blinked at me through his spectacles. “Yes, you’ll be cooking three nights, I’ll be cooking three nights, and Saturday’s we’ll provide for ourselves. I often go out for dinner on Saturday evenings, and no doubt you’ll have your own plans.”

I had difficulty drawing my next breath. The idea of cooking for this guy every other night held all the appeal of a prison sentence. But I had to tell him something – until I could find a way out of it. “I can cook Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays, I s’pose…”

Gregory shook his head slowly. “No, it’s got to be alternate nights. Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, for instance.”

I stared in disbelief at him, sitting across the table from me in his charcoal grey suit. “I’ve got rugby practise on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

“Then make it Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.”

“I work late on Fridays.”

He blinked at me some more. “So give up one of your practise nights.”

“But that won’t work,” I appealed to him, sounding like some desperate leper even in my own ears. “It’ll be both practises and I’ll lose my place in the team.”

His expression did not change, as though all this meant nothing to him and the only thing of consequence in his life was that I cooked on the specific nights he wanted me to cook on. “Well, you’ll just have to decide wot’s more important to you, won’t you? I’ve never had anyone here who wasn’t prepared to cook before.”

I wondered in a moment of bitterness just how many people he had had there before, and what the average term of their stays had been. I couldn’t see myself lasting very long, and this was only the first day. But I needed the place, at least until I had chance to find somewhere else. I couldn’t go crawling back to Bruce’s now. The boys would have a field day.

My mind raced. “I s’pose I could put something on before practises, then dish it up as soon as I get back.” He was frowning, so I quickly added, “I’ll have it on the table by eight or so.”

Gregory massaged his narrow jaw a while. “Well, so long as it is on the table by eight. No later.”

I took a deep breath and slumped back in my chair. I had meant closer to eight-thirty. Practise didn’t finish till eight so I was going to have to leave around twenty minutes early. I would not be able to keep that up for very long. But at least I had gained a temporary reprieve. I hated to think how Rick would have carried on had I been forced to call him the same day he had moved me in to ask him to move me back out again.

Gregory, having settled the life and death issue of cooking nights to his satisfaction, then set about explaining the rules of the house to me. They were numerous and mostly trivial. He was still droning on when a light tap at the door interrupted him. It was an old woman seeking donations for the Crippled Children’s Society. I had my wallet open and was approaching the door when Gregory apologised to her and closed it in her face. He had just taken half a month’s wages off me and was refusing to make a donation.

That evening I was sprawled out on the leather couch when Gregory entered the living room and asked me to remove my feet from the coffee table. He sat down right next to me and used the remote control to switch on the television. It was all a bit strange, if you asked me, and him wearing his suit and drinking coffee at twenty-to-nine.

I was not a fan of television either. Most of it seemed like it was designed for mentally-handicapped toddlers. But it would have been rude to get up and leave the moment Gregory sat down. So I stayed and watched it with him. He flicked back and forth between the two public stations and the tacky private one, before settling on a movie, ‘Last of the Mohicans.’ That lasted about twenty minutes, at which point he declared it ‘typical American rubbish’ and switched channels again. Now we were watching ‘COPS’ and some old white officer was being congratulated for shooting a black youth as he fled down an alley. There were slow motion replays of the guy being killed, like a football game. Gregory decided that was ‘more American rubbish’ and switched channels again. So now we had the local version of Candid Camera on and some overweight aerobics instructor was baring his buttocks to a class full of women; a chorus of mechanical, screechy laughter in the background. Gregory chuckled too and put the remote control down.
Then he got talking about his career. He babbled on about that for quite a time, but he might have been speaking Greek for all the sense it made to me. Next he explained how he was dealing in shares for himself nowadays as well as on behalf of his clients. He even tried to talk me into investing some money, and it required a considerable effort on my part to persuade him I was not interested. Next he enlightened me with his plans to go into property development. There was a “cool fortune” to be made in that, he reckoned, gazing at me with bulging bespectacled eyes. It was all I could do to prevent myself from yawning into his face.

When Gregory went into the kitchen to make another coffee, I seized the opportunity and escaped to my bedroom. He returned a few minutes later and turned the television up. I could hear it through my sliding door just as clearly as if I had still been sitting on the couch beside him. He flicked through the channels again and finally settled on the movie he had earlier denounced as ‘American rubbish.’ This presented me with a dilemma. I was actually interested in the movie, but I didn’t want to listen to Gregory, and what I discovered was this: If I stood right by the wall with my door open a fraction, I could see all of the television screen apart from the bottom left corner which was obscured by Gregory’s head. So after that I watched television from inside my room, peering out through the gap between the wall and the sliding door, and I didn’t have to listen to Gregory talking.

Coach was not accustomed to me running off twenty minutes before the end of practises, and he roundly abused me every time. But it was mostly warm-downs, and I kept my place in the team regardless. Probably it was too late in the season to disrupt things by changing players.

The boys, naturally, had their fun. They were exceedingly witty, nicknaming me ‘The Nanny,’ and even presenting me with a frilly pink apron after one match. I suppose I couldn’t blame them. I had become a pretty easy target, what, with this business of cooking for Gregory. They never said anything about me moving out of Bruce’s though.

It started raining one night so Coach sent us into the gym lest we chew up the field. A game of touch was organised and I scored a couple of easy ones inside Pigsy. He was only suited for scrummaging, with that big beer belly of his. If you beat him once he would feign disinterest in the entire affair and call out ”bring the ball back when you’re finished” each time you glided by him, like you were just being being downright childish or something. As tighthead prop he, naturally, regarded himself as the epicentre of the team. So I liked to give him a cheeky wink along the way.

I was going by Pigsy for the third time when an electric current shot through my knee and my leg went out from under me. I gazed up at the timber ceiling as the faces began to gather at the perimeters of my vision. They gawked down at me, saying nothing, like I was at the bottom of a well and they were looking into it. And it seemed to me, in my dazed state, that what I saw in their eyes was not concern but something closer to triumph. Only Coach’s face appeared genuinely perturbed when it joined the circle of starers.
“Haven’t done your bluddy knee in, have ya?” he asked in his gruffest tone.

“I’ll be okay,” I assured him through clenched teeth. The pain had hold of my knee like some demon bull terrier.

Coach turned to Wheels. “Go an’ fetch Mat. He’ll be out on the main ground with the seniors.”

It seemed an eternity before Wheels returned with the physio straddling along behind him. Even Pigsy looked like a titan next to Wee Mat. The boys were chuckling into their sleeves at the sight of him, a chubby green elfin in a soaking wet tracksuit.

“Wotcha done to yourself there, son?” he enquired, squatting down beside me.

I pointed to my outstretched leg. “Just wrenched me knee. I’ll be right in a jiff.”
He made a prolonged examination, entailing much painful prodding and bending of the knee, before agreeing with my assessment. From his bulky sports bag he produced a tube of ointment.
“It’ll ease the pain,” he told me, massaging a little into my knee. “But you’re finished for the season, sorry to tell ya.”

It took me a moment to comprehend what he was saying. I was out for the last five games! I was so disappointed I neglected to thank him as he straddled back out, an elfin with his bulky sports bag, and the guys pointing at his back and chuckling among themselves.

My despair turned to alarm when I realised it was seven-thirty. It would take me half an hour to get home on this leg. I’d be lucky to have dinner on the table by quarter-past-eight.

I was close with my estimation too. By the time I got back it was already eight, Gregory’s dinner deadline. He was sitting at the small kitchen table in his charcoal grey suit (perhaps he had a collection of them), the electric light shining on his spectacles and frowning forehead.

“Wrenched me knee,” I explained sheepishly. “Got home as quick as I could.”

Gregory removed his spectacles and laid them on the table beside the bowl of plastic fruit. A lime-green apple tumbled out and he smartly replaced it. The irritation was in his eyes but failed to prepare me for what was to come.

“Look, this isn’t working out,” he said flatly. “I don’t ask much, but if you can’t make an effort to comply with the few simple rules that I do set down, then you’ll need to find another place.”

In that moment, as I stood there on my aching knee, having hobbled home through the rain at maximum speed just to serve him his dinner, I had a very strong impulse to pummel his narrow bland face in. But stronger than this was my growing sense of desperation. I had not got around to looking for anywhere else yet, and going back to Bruce’s held about as much appeal as hauling my mattress out to the city dump and taking up lodgings there. I had to be able to reason with this guy.

“My season’s over anyway. It’s not gunna happen again.”

Gregory replaced his glasses and rose from his chair, shaking his head with finality. “No, it’s not just the cooking. There are other issues besides. The way you disappear into your room every night, for instance. It’s insulting.”

“You should a said something. I’ll watch television with you this evening, if you like.” It sounded pathetic even in my own ears. But I was desperate.

The head kept shaking, and for an instant I felt the way I had in the gym as my teammates had gazed down at me. Gregory turned away, as though I no longer existed, and went through to the living room.

“My decision is final,” he said over his shoulder. “I’ll give you a week to find another place.”

I hobbled after him. I wasn’t about to grovel anymore. He wasn’t going to change his mind. Though I still had to contain my anger, for I needed that week, I was prepared to be a little less pathetic now that it had come to this. “Well, I’ll need my bond back before I go.”

Gregory sat down on his leather couch and shuffled through a few sheets of paper on the coffee table. “You’ll get your money the day you leave. Don’t worry yourself too much about that. We’ll settle your bills first though.”

I took them from him and immediately noticed they were dated the month before I had moved in. It figured. The bills for the current month couldn’t have possibly arrived yet.

”Oh!” He feigned surprise when I pointed this out to him, as though a guy who practically had dollar signs in his eyes didn’t know what month’s bills he was looking at. “In that case I’ll have to hold onto your bond till this month’s bills arrive.”

Perhaps it was the light on the lenses of his spectacles, but he seemed to be gloating as he looked up at me. The urge to pummel his bland little face in was very strong in me then. I wondered how long it would be before someone actually did, for it could only have been a matter of time. But, as for me, I needed that week. I made up my mind I would have it all out with him the final day, and if he didn’t come up with my money then, I’d punch his teeth out, smash his spectacles and take his microwave or something.
Meanwhile, I had to find somewhere else to live.

 

Turkish Taksi

(http://kenagain.freeservers.com/PROSE.HTML )

I slid gratefully into the warm interior of the taxi and pulled the door closed with a muffled clump. It had taken ten minutes to flag one down. Normally they came in swarms, cutting each other off to get to you first. But on rainy days the tables were turned, and when it rained during Ramadan, you might be lucky to get one at all.

“Merhaba,” I greeted the driver. “Taksim, lutfen. Karmashik Sokak.”

The driver nodded in assent. He seemed a respectable sort, middle-aged with streaks of silver in his hair and crows-feet forming at his eyes. He was attired in a chequered sports jacket and dark green polo-neck. I relaxed a little in my seat. You never knew what you were going to get with these taxis. I had been fortunate with the vehicle too, a late-model Renault with smooth suspension and a barely audible engine. Hot air swirled around my damp legs as we waited at the traffic lights.

“So, my friend,” the driver smiled at me, “Where are you from?”

“Denmark,” I told him. “But it’s okay. I can speak English.”

The driver was visibly put out, having no doubt anticipated ‘America’ or ‘Britain’ as the response, and having some oft-used follow-up at the ready.

I stared out the window at the blurred forms of the office blocks. Suit-clad figures hurried back and forth. A cream Mercedes with tinted windows moved up beside us, tires swishing over the wet tar-seal.

“Earopean Onion, yes?” he enquired gruffly, finding his feet again. “And what do you think about Turkey entering to EU?”

“Why not?” I replied diplomatically.

He leaned toward me, smiling with his wizened eyes. “Turkish people very friendly, yes?”

Before I had chance to answer, the lights changed and, amid an orchestra of blaring horns, the Renault surged forth, dodging through the lanes, cutting off rivals and sending tardy pedestrians scrambling for cover. Eventually we emerged from the pack and raced along at breakneck speed. I glanced anxiously at the driver and tightened my seat-belt.

“Very friendly, yes?” he picked up where he had left off a few minutes before. “It is our culture. Hospitality – very important.”

He lit a cigarette as we swerved around a bend. Even at this velocity we were overtaken by a dolmush, the big yellow taxi-van rounding the curve like a Ferrari. Another intersection and the lights changed from amber to red as we sped through it. The driver flashed his headlights at the encroaching cross-traffic, and they duly made way for him. That was something, I thought. Most places I knew they would have blasted their horns in anger. Here at least they all seemed to work together.

“You like cigarette?”

I declined the pack he thrust beneath my nose. The cab was already full enough of smoke, and I would have preferred him to concentrate on the driving. Even as he tucked the cigarettes back inside his chequered jacket he was forced to brake for an old woman in a shawl and headscarf. She was halfway across the road, a veritable mound of cloth with a cane, and showed no sign of hurrying to get out of his way.

Approaching Taksim the traffic got heavier and the rain fell harder. The driver worked his horn like it were a part of the machinery that made his vehicle run.

“Baaah! Taksim!” he exclaimed, throwing his arms up in the air. “Every time problem!”

I gazed ahead in silence as his ranting grew more vehement. A bus had got caught in the intersection and was impeding our progress, though the lights were green. The driver switched back to Turkish, possibly to avoid offending me, though more likely because he lacked a sufficient repertoire of English swear words for the purpose. Either way, his entire manner had become decidedly intimidating.

He threw himself about in his seat, peering out each of the windows in turn, a trapped animal in search of an escape route. Then abruptly he began to back the Renault up, and before I had time to protest we were hurtling down some narrow, bumpy side-street, forcing startled pedestrians to leap onto the sidewalk.

“No, no, no…” I muttered under my breath.

A Turkish taxi driver’s detour invariably takes twice as long as the orthodox route, even allowing for the traffic. But it keeps the meter ticking over at a rate more to his liking, and my fare was about to be doubled.

On this occasion, however, we were in for further difficulty. The alternative road the driver had sought was cordoned off for reconstruction. A little beyond the orange cones was the bizarre spectacle of a beefy police officer screaming at the top of his lungs into the open window of another taxi which had evidently progressed too far, knocking one of the cones over. So fearsome was the cop’s demeanour I half-expected the taxi driver to get out and rumble with him, knowing how ill-tempered some of these drivers were themselves. But the cop had a gun in his holster and the law on his side, and the driver did not emerge from his cab as the tongue-lashing continued.

My driver, meanwhile, backed up again and resumed ranting. “Taksim! Taksim! Her kes Taksim’e gidiyor!”

I understood enough to know he was angry with me for wanting to go to Taksim. Ludicrous as that was, I kept quiet. Arguing the point would have antagonised him more.

We drove around the side-streets for a while, the driver pausing from his tirade only to light another cigarette. He reached a crescendo when we turned a corner and found ourselves behind a hand-drawn junk-cart. It was several minutes before he was able to negotiate his way past it.

When finally we emerged back onto the main road we had been on earlier, we were a mere two blocks on, but with an extra three-and-a-half lira on the meter. A crowded bus which had been behind us was now waiting at an intersection a hundred metres or so ahead. Once through that, I observed, it would be into free-flowing traffic. I shook my head in disbelief.

But worse was to come. The driver now decided this predicament was not to his liking either and began to back up again.

“No! Hayir!” I shouted. “Just stay on this road.”

“Allahallah!” he growled, and continued reversing. “Taksim! Taksim! Her zaman chok trafik!”

“Hayir! Stay on this road or let me out now.” I gripped the door handle to ensure he understood my intentions.

At this he slammed on the brakes and thrust out his hand. “Eight lira!” he demanded, though the meter showed 7:10.

“I’m not paying. You haven’t taken me where I want to go.”

His dark eyes bulged menacingly. “Polis!”

It was almost comical. Having broken at least half a dozen traffic rules on the journey thus far, he was now threatening ME with the law.

“Oh, Polis?” I scoffed.

He glowered back at me with the self-righteous indignation of a head-mistress. “Polis!” he thundered, as though expecting the word to reduce me to a quivering mound of jelly.

“Yes! Police!” I nodded animatedly. “Chok iyi. Take me to polis.”

Seeing that he had no intention of doing so, I opened the door to get out. In the process I was dealt a heavy blow to the back, right between the shoulder blades. I spun around and swore at him in Danish. Though even in my anger I felt a twinge of apprehension as his own door clicked open. He was a burly fellow and evidently volatile. I had no intention of backing down, when I was in the right, but neither did I fancy the prospect of it coming to blows. It was to my relief, therefore, that he appeared to think better of it, slammed his door closed again, and roared off down the side-street.

I stood there on the crowded sidewalk shaking, and not just from the cold. The rain poured down with increased intensity. The noise of the traffic was a river swishing slowly by. The rancid exhaust fumes formed visible clouds in the frigid air. There was not a vacant taxi in sight.

Then it seemed I was in luck. An occupied taxi had stopped up ahead to unload its passengers. I hurried over and waited beside it while they paid the driver and got out.

“Taksim,” I said, clambering into the back seat. “Karmashik Sokak, lutfen.”

The driver’s eyes fixed me in the rear vision mirror. “Hayir, Taksim’e deyil,” he said, shaking his head gravely. “Chok trafik. Prob-lem.”

My heart sank as I observed the finality in his tone. Was I going to get to Taksim at all? I climbed back out and blinked disconsolately around in the rain. What to do? Take a bus? That would only get me to Taksim Square, half the remaining distance. But it would get me through the worst of the traffic, and I ought then to be able to complete the journey by taxi.

The first bus that came along was so packed I thought I’d have no chance of getting on. But in the event I was able to gain the boarding steps, and there I remained when the door hissed closed behind me. Twenty minutes later I stepped gingerly out at Taksim Square. Even in this weather the place was a hive of activity; crowds swarming in and out of the metro in their raincoats and shapkas, a veritable sea of umbrellas progressing up and down Istiklal, blue-uniformed policemen milling about their armoured trucks and patrol cars, shoe-shiners huddling beneath the overhanging roofs of the flower stalls. And amid the teeming traffic it was not difficult to locate a vacant taxi, albeit an old Toyota with various dings and scrapes on its panels.

I got in beside the driver, a bent old man with white whiskers and a crescent of white hair around his bald pate. He looked too frail to be working these chaotic streets, and should have been enjoying his retirement somewhere on the Mediterranean coast, I thought. Only the tips of his nicotine-stained fingers protruded from the sleeves of the tattered coat he wore. Drowsy Turkish folk music crackled out of the radio.

“Iyi gunlar. Karmashik Sokak, lutfen.”

He squinted at me with watery brown eyes in that expression of acquiescence peculiar to the Turks. Then, with startling alacrity, he swerved out into the traffic and put his foot to the floor. It was at this point I discovered my seat-belt did not work.

“No prob-lem. No prob-lem,” he assured me with a toothless smile.

I stared back at him in horror. “Yes problem! Istanbul traffic crazy. Seat-belt very important.”

He waved his hand dismissively. “Amerikalimisiniz?”

“Hayir. Danimarkaliyim.”

“Danimarkali?” He raised his eyebrows in interest, then proceeded to ask me in Turkish the same questions his predecessor had asked me in English. Did I think Turkey would join the EU? Did I agree that Turkish people were very friendly?

The motor droned, the chassis shook and vibrated ceaselessly. Every bump seemed like a speed bar, every pothole a crater. The old driver refused to put the wipers on automatic, preferring instead to flick the switch himself every now and then, so that we spent more time peering through a rain-blurred windscreen than we did through a clear one.

Before I realised it we had passed my turn-off. I explained this to the driver with some irritation, and demanded he turn around at the next opportunity. But that did not occur for another half-a-kilometre or so.

Rather than driving back along the main road, however, the driver took us directly into the myriad of side-streets. He seemed to know what he was doing, so I left him to it as we bumped and rattled along the little alleyways. Then the driver stopped the car and stared wildly at me.

“Nerede?”

“You’re asking ME where? You’re the taxi driver! Don’t you have a map?”

He gave an exaggerated shrug to show he did not understand me, and my best efforts to communicate with him in Turkish were greeted by the same gesture.

Another car swung into the alley and the old man was forced to back up to let it pass. Before it did so, he wound down his window and engaged its driver in discussion.

“Karmashik, Karmashik,” he repeated several times while they spoke.

The middle-aged, mustachioed occupant of the other vehicle scratched his chin thoughtfully and babbled in a tone which was not entirely reassuring. The upshot was that we continued down the alley we were on, then turned left into a street literally swarming with cats. One of the ground-floor apartments was evidently the back of a fish market, for two middleaged men were gutting fish in the doorway and tossing the scraps to the mangy felines.

Another block on and the driver turned right, at which point we found ourselves on the edge of a busy market place, and no amount of animated horn-blasting on the part of the driver would open a path through the throng. But two things served to cheer me; firstly, the rain had eased considerably, and secondly, one of the minarets of the Green Mosque was visible beyond the buildings up ahead. I had my bearings and could walk it from here in ten minutes. When I told the driver my intentions he demanded the fare.

“I’m not paying. You haven’t taken me where I wanted to go.”

“Four lira and eighty-five,” he repeated, this time in English. The frightened rabbit look in his watery eyes had given way to dogged resolution. Next thing he was shouting at me and thumping his dashboard. But I figured I was safe this time and would not be assaulted as I made my escape from the taxi.

No sooner had I got out than I was confronted by a broad-shouldered youth in a heavy black overcoat.

“Hey, Yabanci,” he said, stepping into my path. “Why don’t you pay my friend here?”

It irked to be addressed as a foreigner by this stranger and I told him to mind his own business.

He calmly reached inside his overcoat and, with a vague smile, produced a ‘Polis’ badge. “Pay!” he barked into my face, and pointed to the driver.

It tested the limits of my self-control to refrain from arguing with this fresh-faced cop, perhaps half my age. But, of course, I did as he ordered.

“Here,” I snapped at the driver, handing him a twenty lira bill.

He glanced at the green note and shook his head firmly. “Bozuk para ver.”

“You can’t change a twenty?!” I stared at him in disbelief. “I don’t have anything smaller.”

The cop gestured at the market stalls. “They will break it for you.”

So there I was, running around the crowded bazaar in the light rain, endeavouring to get a twenty lira note changed for a taxi driver who had not taken me where I wanted to go. An adolescent boy of Kurdish appearance worked busily at his shoe-shine stand. An old woman in a head-scarf hobbled about begging for coins. An overweight man stood on a stool in a shopping cart fixing the electric sign above his store as the masses bustled by.

Then the Call to Prayer burst out of the minarets of the nearby mosque in sonorous, warbling Arabic.

 

Gregory

Published in http://kenagain.freeservers.com/PROSE.HTML

This thin, bald, bespectacled guy answered the door. He was wearing a charcoal grey suit, though it was Sunday. He might have been to church. But who apart from Pacific Islanders went to church? Perhaps he was going to a funeral. But he did not appear sad. Maybe it was a wedding. Would he be interviewing the day he was going to a wedding?

At first I picked him for an old guy; perhaps early forties. Looking closer, however, as his small hand slid through mine, I realised he was probably nearer my own age. The baldness, the serious look in his eyes even when he smiled, and, mostly, the charcoal suit, made him seem older.

Gregory showed me around the place, which took about thirty seconds. The flat was tiny. But it was well-furnished and had all the modern conveniences, even a microwave. I had never been in a place with a microwave before. After a year at Bruce’s, where we had not even had a television set, it seemed like more of a luxury than I deserved. I fully expected to be rejected once again.

The spare room was next to the lounge and had a sliding door. Obviously that wasn’t going to keep out much noise. There was just space to walk between the narrow bed and the two large tallboys against the opposite wall.

So I was none too bothered when Gregory handed me the now familiar ‘I’ll call you’ line. I had received it at every place I’d visited so far, and not one of them had called.

I understood why and tried not to take it too personally. People had always told me I was a strange sort and a bad conversationalist. Too often my opinions conflicted with theirs, and you had to be careful about that sort of thing. I’d lost count of the number of people who had stopped talking to me because I’d disagreed with them on some matter or another. It was one of the flaws in my personality.

I had to ask people to call me at work. We did not have a phone at Bruce’s, and I did not want him to know I was looking for another place anyway. It would be pretty embarrassing to tell him I was moving out then not be able to find a place. The boys would have a field day.

And not being able to find a place was beginning to seem like a very real prospect. I had to tell them to call me at the supermarket, where I worked on check-out, and then a subtle change would come into their eyes, like a neon ‘vacancy’ sign switching off.

Gregory, in fact, asked no questions. Neither did he seem much interested in anything I said. He hardly stopped talking from the moment he opened the door and introduced himself until the moment he told me he would call me and closed it again.

It was Thursday when the assistant manager summonsed me from check-out to take the call. He scowled across at me with his fiery red eyebrows, like an angry lobster, as though I had just broken some sacred ethical code. He could go to hell. It was the first call I’d taken in over two years.

Dougal was in the tea room with some of the high school girls. They were getting ready to take over for the evening shift. Dougal had fuzzy black hair, thick-rimmed glasses and a seemingly permanent idiotic smile. He bounced along when he walked, his arms flapping at his sides, which added to the overall muppet effect of his appearance. At twenty-six he was the oldest guy on checkout after me, and had been telling us for the past three years that this was only a temporary station for him until he gained a place on the polytechnic journalism course. He fell in behind me as I approached the telephone and began scratching himself under the armpits. The girls laughed away and the idiotic grin on Dougal’s face grew so wide he looked more like a muppet than ever.

“Keep it down,” I remonstrated with the girls. “This could be important.”

Dougal’s eyes bulged behind the glasses. “Gosh, an important call. Could it be from Jane?”

The girls laughed again and Dougal could not resist continuing his performance.

I suspected the call must be from one of the places I had looked at, difficult as that was to believe. Nobody else would be calling me at work. I tried to imagine which of the places would be polite enough to call me up to reject me .

“Greg-o-ree speaking,” said a flat, disinterested voice. “When do you intend to move in?”

It took me a moment to comprehend what I was hearing, and another to figure it out. Gregory had waited four days before calling me. No doubt he had been unable to get anyone else for the room, it being so puny and lacking a proper door to keep the noise out. I wasn’t too keen myself. But no one else was going to accept me and I was desperate to get out of Bruce’s.

Rick moved me in with his new Hilux. He was always prepared to help me out, even if I did have to listen to his big-brother lectures in return. I didn’t have many things and might have carried them on the bus except for the mattress. I would have felt ridiculous hauling a mattress around on public transport. Rick, naturally, approved of my departure from Bruce’s. He had always considered my friends a bunch of losers. He seemed to hit it off with Gregory too. They stood there in the kitchen talking quietly together while I wrestled my mattress through the house to the bedroom. Then Rick had to get back to inspect the plans for his new house. He and Barbara were going to live in Seatoun Heights, overlooking the harbour.

No sooner was I settled in my new room than Gregory called me through to the kitchen. He was seated at the small table in the corner by the fridge, an empty vase and a bowl of plastic fruit beside him. He gestured for me to sit down opposite him. It seemed important.

“It’s two weeks’ in advance plus two weeks’ bond.”

“No problem,” I said, taking out my wallet and piling the cash on the table.

Gregory swept up the notes and carefully counted them, one by one. “I’ll also need thirty dollars for food.”

I placed three more notes on the table, and he counted them as well, though anyone could see there were three blue notes there.

“That’s for the basics,” he said. “If you want things like coffee or biscuits, obviously you buy those yourself.”

He twisted around to look up at the calendar on the wall behind him. “Right, wot nights will you be cooking?”

I gazed stupidly back at him. “Cooking?”

He blinked at me through his spectacles. “Yes, you’ll be cooking three nights, I’ll be cooking three nights, and Saturday’s we’ll provide for ourselves. I often go out for dinner on Saturday evenings, and no doubt you’ll have your own plans.”

I had difficulty drawing my next breath. The idea of cooking for this guy every other night held all the appeal of a prison sentence. But I had to tell him something – until I could find a way out of it. “I can cook Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays, I s’pose…”

Gregory shook his head slowly. “No, it’s got to be alternate nights. Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, for instance.”

I stared in disbelief at him, sitting across the table from me in his charcoal grey suit. “I’ve got rugby practise on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

“Then make it Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.”

“I work late on Fridays.”

He blinked at me some more. “So give up one of your practise nights.”

“But that won’t work,” I appealed to him, sounding like some desperate leper even in my own ears. “It’ll be both practises and I’ll lose my place in the team.”

His expression did not change, as though all this meant nothing to him and the only thing of consequence in his life was that I cooked on the specific nights he wanted me to cook on. “Well, you’ll just have to decide wot’s more important to you, won’t you? I’ve never had anyone here who wasn’t prepared to cook before.”

I wondered in a moment of bitterness just how many people he had had there before, and what the average term of their stays had been. I couldn’t see myself lasting very long, and this was only the first day. But I needed the place, at least until I had chance to find somewhere else. I couldn’t go crawling back to Bruce’s now. The boys would have a field day.

My mind raced. “I s’pose I could put something on before practises, then dish it up as soon as I get back.” He was frowning, so I quickly added, “I’ll have it on the table by eight or so.”

Gregory massaged his narrow jaw a while. “Well, so long as it is on the table by eight. No later.”

I took a deep breath and slumped back in my chair. I had meant closer to eight-thirty. Practise didn’t finish till eight so I was going to have to leave around twenty minutes early. I would not be able to keep that up for very long. But at least I had gained a temporary reprieve. I hated to think how Rick would have carried on had I been forced to call him the same day he had moved me in to ask him to move me back out again.

Gregory, having settled the life and death issue of cooking nights to his satisfaction, then set about explaining the rules of the house to me. They were numerous and mostly trivial. He was still droning on when a light tap at the door interrupted him. It was an old woman seeking donations for the Crippled Children’s Society. I had my wallet open and was approaching the door when Gregory apologised to her and closed it in her face. He had just taken half a month’s wages off me and was refusing to make a donation.

That evening I was sprawled out on the leather couch when Gregory entered the living room and asked me to remove my feet from the coffee table. He sat down right next to me and used the remote control to switch on the television. It was all a bit strange, if you asked me, and him wearing his suit and drinking coffee at twenty-to-nine.

I was not a fan of television either. Most of it seemed like it was designed for mentally-handicapped toddlers. But it would have been rude to get up and leave the moment Gregory sat down. So I stayed and watched it with him. He flicked back and forth between the two public stations and the tacky private one, before settling on a movie, ‘Last of the Mohicans.’ That lasted about twenty minutes, at which point he declared it ‘typical American rubbish’ and switched channels again. Now we were watching ‘COPS’ and some old white officer was being congratulated for shooting a black youth as he fled down an alley. There were slow motion replays of the guy being killed, like a football game. Gregory decided that was ‘more American rubbish’ and switched channels again. So now we had the local version of Candid Camera on and some overweight aerobics instructor was baring his buttocks to a class full of women; a chorus of mechanical, screechy laughter in the background. Gregory chuckled too and put the remote control down.
Then he got talking about his career. He babbled on about that for quite a time, but he might have been speaking Greek for all the sense it made to me. Next he explained how he was dealing in shares for himself nowadays as well as on behalf of his clients. He even tried to talk me into investing some money, and it required a considerable effort on my part to persuade him I was not interested. Next he enlightened me with his plans to go into property development. There was a “cool fortune” to be made in that, he reckoned, gazing at me with bulging bespectacled eyes. It was all I could do to prevent myself from yawning into his face.

When Gregory went into the kitchen to make another coffee, I seized the opportunity and escaped to my bedroom. He returned a few minutes later and turned the television up. I could hear it through my sliding door just as clearly as if I had still been sitting on the couch beside him. He flicked through the channels again and finally settled on the movie he had earlier denounced as ‘American rubbish.’ This presented me with a dilemma. I was actually interested in the movie, but I didn’t want to listen to Gregory, and what I discovered was this: If I stood right by the wall with my door open a fraction, I could see all of the television screen apart from the bottom left corner which was obscured by Gregory’s head. So after that I watched television from inside my room, peering out through the gap between the wall and the sliding door, and I didn’t have to listen to Gregory talking.

Coach was not accustomed to me running off twenty minutes before the end of practises, and he roundly abused me every time. But it was mostly warm-downs, and I kept my place in the team regardless. Probably it was too late in the season to disrupt things by changing players.

The boys, naturally, had their fun. They were exceedingly witty, nicknaming me ‘The Nanny,’ and even presenting me with a frilly pink apron after one match. I suppose I couldn’t blame them. I had become a pretty easy target, what, with this business of cooking for Gregory. They never said anything about me moving out of Bruce’s though.

It started raining one night so Coach sent us into the gym lest we chew up the field. A game of touch was organised and I scored a couple of easy ones inside Pigsy. He was only suited for scrummaging, with that big beer belly of his. If you beat him once he would feign disinterest in the entire affair and call out ”bring the ball back when you’re finished” each time you glided by him, like you were just being being downright childish or something. As tighthead prop he, naturally, regarded himself as the epicentre of the team. So I liked to give him a cheeky wink along the way.

I was going by Pigsy for the third time when an electric current shot through my knee and my leg went out from under me. I gazed up at the timber ceiling as the faces began to gather at the perimeters of my vision. They gawked down at me, saying nothing, like I was at the bottom of a well and they were looking into it. And it seemed to me, in my dazed state, that what I saw in their eyes was not concern but something closer to triumph. Only Coach’s face appeared genuinely perturbed when it joined the circle of starers.
“Haven’t done your bluddy knee in, have ya?” he asked in his gruffest tone.

“I’ll be okay,” I assured him through clenched teeth. The pain had hold of my knee like some demon bull terrier.

Coach turned to Wheels. “Go an’ fetch Mat. He’ll be out on the main ground with the seniors.”

It seemed an eternity before Wheels returned with the physio straddling along behind him. Even Pigsy looked like a titan next to Wee Mat. The boys were chuckling into their sleeves at the sight of him, a chubby green elfin in a soaking wet tracksuit.

“Wotcha done to yourself there, son?” he enquired, squatting down beside me.

I pointed to my outstretched leg. “Just wrenched me knee. I’ll be right in a jiff.”
He made a prolonged examination, entailing much painful prodding and bending of the knee, before agreeing with my assessment. From his bulky sports bag he produced a tube of ointment.
“It’ll ease the pain,” he told me, massaging a little into my knee. “But you’re finished for the season, sorry to tell ya.”

It took me a moment to comprehend what he was saying. I was out for the last five games! I was so disappointed I neglected to thank him as he straddled back out, an elfin with his bulky sports bag, and the guys pointing at his back and chuckling among themselves.

My despair turned to alarm when I realised it was seven-thirty. It would take me half an hour to get home on this leg. I’d be lucky to have dinner on the table by quarter-past-eight.

I was close with my estimation too. By the time I got back it was already eight, Gregory’s dinner deadline. He was sitting at the small kitchen table in his charcoal grey suit (perhaps he had a collection of them), the electric light shining on his spectacles and frowning forehead.

“Wrenched me knee,” I explained sheepishly. “Got home as quick as I could.”

Gregory removed his spectacles and laid them on the table beside the bowl of plastic fruit. A lime-green apple tumbled out and he smartly replaced it. The irritation was in his eyes but failed to prepare me for what was to come.

“Look, this isn’t working out,” he said flatly. “I don’t ask much, but if you can’t make an effort to comply with the few simple rules that I do set down, then you’ll need to find another place.”

In that moment, as I stood there on my aching knee, having hobbled home through the rain at maximum speed just to serve him his dinner, I had a very strong impulse to pummel his narrow bland face in. But stronger than this was my growing sense of desperation. I had not got around to looking for anywhere else yet, and going back to Bruce’s held about as much appeal as hauling my mattress out to the city dump and taking up lodgings there. I had to be able to reason with this guy.

“My season’s over anyway. It’s not gunna happen again.”

Gregory replaced his glasses and rose from his chair, shaking his head with finality. “No, it’s not just the cooking. There are other issues besides. The way you disappear into your room every night, for instance. It’s insulting.”

“You should a said something. I’ll watch television with you this evening, if you like.” It sounded pathetic even in my own ears. But I was desperate.

The head kept shaking, and for an instant I felt the way I had in the gym as my teammates had gazed down at me. Gregory turned away, as though I no longer existed, and went through to the living room.

“My decision is final,” he said over his shoulder. “I’ll give you a week to find another place.”

I hobbled after him. I wasn’t about to grovel anymore. He wasn’t going to change his mind. Though I still had to contain my anger, for I needed that week, I was prepared to be a little less pathetic now that it had come to this. “Well, I’ll need my bond back before I go.”

Gregory sat down on his leather couch and shuffled through a few sheets of paper on the coffee table. “You’ll get your money the day you leave. Don’t worry yourself too much about that. We’ll settle your bills first though.”

I took them from him and immediately noticed they were dated the month before I had moved in. It figured. The bills for the current month couldn’t have possibly arrived yet.

”Oh!” He feigned surprise when I pointed this out to him, as though a guy who practically had dollar signs in his eyes didn’t know what month’s bills he was looking at. “In that case I’ll have to hold onto your bond till this month’s bills arrive.”

Perhaps it was the light on the lenses of his spectacles, but he seemed to be gloating as he looked up at me. The urge to pummel his bland little face in was very strong in me then. I wondered how long it would be before someone actually did, for it could only have been a matter of time. But, as for me, I needed that week. I made up my mind I would have it all out with him the final day, and if he didn’t come up with my money then, I’d punch his teeth out, smash his spectacles and take his microwave or something.
Meanwhile, I had to find somewhere else to live.

 

Mr McDougal’s History Lesson

i

Outside the assembly hall we paused to do up our ties. Inside we needed a moment for our vision to adjust; that musty darkness, rank with the odor of dry timber and mildew, slowly giving way to shadowy forms, faint colours and details. Row upon row of crewcut heads, tanned and freckled faces, gray uniforms and cardinal ties. The hall hummed with chatter and partly restrained laughter.

“Lancaster! McKay! Ya homos!” We greeted the boys we knew.

“Johnson! Davis! Ya fags!” They grinned back from their seats.

The hall abruptly fell silent as the headmaster entered, came clumping down the narrow aisle among us, stepped up onto the wooden stage. All stood to attention. A tall, barrel-chested man, Mr Henderson, he wore a gray suit and the cardinal St James College tie, while around the back of his pink cannon ball head ran a crescent of stark white hair. From behind the square-framed glasses blue eyes peered down at us, and in a low, sonorous tone we were instructed to be seated again.

“It is always a pleasure to greet new pupils, and to welcome pupils back for the new school year. We have spent much time and energy these past two months preparing for what is certain to be a stimulating and rewarding year, here at St James College . . . “

The same speech as the year before, and the one before that. To begin with we remained attentive, then slowly grew fidgety, wisecracks were whispered, titters smothered behind hands, seats lightly kicked – though drawing no response from the occupants. By the end of it we were struggling to contain ourselves at all.

Back to our feet the sonorous tone bid us, to sing the national anthem. Not once but many times we bellowed out those words, and those of us who could not remember them by heart were able to do so by the end of it. Next we were coached through a few renditions of the headmaster’s favourite: ‘Yellow Submarine” – a more cheerful tüne, at least, despite its senseless lyrics. Over those verses we stumbled, but when it came to the chorus we shouted in unison:

“We all live in a yellow submarine!
Yellow submarine! Yellow submarine!
We all live in a yellow submarine!
Yellow submarine! Yellow submarine!”

From the assembly hall we trooped back to the Churchill Block, taking care not to stray from the concrete pathways, for hard shoes on the cricket fields was punishable by detention, and nobody wanted to stay behind after school to pick up rubbish.

First lesson of the day, English with Edmunds. A frail, waxy fellow with a wild crop of fair hair and a red mustache, old Edmunds, he put us to task on ‘Othello,’ and it was almost a different language, what, with all that ‘thee-ing’ and ‘thou’ing’ and words you normally only saw in the Bible.

“Sir, what’s ‘bumbast?”

“Same as ‘bombast,’ Matthew. To act importantly. To show off.”

“Sir, what’s a ‘Moor?'”

“The Moors were from Africa, Jonathan. They invaded Europe in Medieval times.”

“Were they black, Sir?”

Mr Edmunds paused to consider this. “More of a brownish hue, I should imagine,” And a few of the boys tittered.

Throughout the lesson we peppered him with questions, for it was easier than trying to figure out anything for ourselves, and the play was excrutiatingly boring.

History with DcDougal followed, further down the corridor. He had a face like an old bulldog, McDougal, and liked to write on the blackboard a lot, making it squelch with his quick sharp strokes. White clouds of chalk dust swirled in the air around him, while upon the wall beside the blackboard hung a map of Europe. Using the yardstick, Mr McDougal prodded at places on it.

“Aye, the turrible Tarks!” He rapped the yardstick against the lower right corner of the map. “The scourge o’ Yurrup for more ‘an five centuries. Some turrible things they did too. Generation upon generation o’ Christian Yurrupeans lived in fear o’ the turrible Tarks.”

At the images he conjured we shuddered. Christian throats slit by the bloodthirsty Ottomans in the streets of Constantinople. What dire misfortune had delivered them into Turkish hands in the first place? I wondered. Had I been a Christian in those times, I would have stayed as far away from the Ottoman Empire as I could get.

“Awesome!”

Raising his bulldog head, Mr McDougal peered toward the back of the room, and those of us at the front looked around too. Sitting at the back, rocking on the hind legs of his chair, was a bushy-haired boy, a caramel face among the rosy ovals behind us. At the attention he grinned broadly.

“And who do ye think you’re addressing, laddy?” Mr McDougal barked.

“I reckon they were awesome. They conquered half a Europe.”

Behind the steel-rimmed spectacles the teacher’s eyes bulged, so that he looked set to attack at any moment. “Wot’s your name, laddy?”

“Hori.”

Audible titters filled the classroom. But the bushy-haired boy at the back of the room just kept grinning.

“’Hori – SIR!’” snapped Mr McDougal. “And as for your ‘awesome’ Tarks, they soon became the ‘Sick Man o’ Yurrup,’ as we shall see. T’was only a question o’ time before we finished ’em off. Aye, and that glorious event duly occurred, as ye all should know, when Great Britain emerged victorious at the conclusion o’ the Farst World War.”

“Oh, me dum’ Hori!” said the bushy-haired boy, and now everyone laughed.

There was even a spark of amusement in old McDougal’s eyes as he responded. “Aye, that ye are, laddy. That ye are.”

ii

The Chinese army had reached the hedge at the back of the section, and each time one of them came through and made a run for the fortress we mowed him down. Sometimes they came in waves, but we mowed them down relentlessly, jaws clenched in grim determination, like heroes in the war movies. I could almost see them writhing in the dirt beneath us, blood spurting from their wounds. Then Lancaster’s mother brought chocolate biscuits and glasses of cola out to us.

Lancaster’s uncle had given him a book for Christmas, a glossy hardback with hundreds of pages. Through those pages we flicked: Hazy black and white photos from the Second World War – grinning Nazis, skeletal Jews, glowering Japs, untold corpses – and some of those people had died in unthinkably horrible ways. In fascination we stared. The dark side of human nature. Thank God we had never had to experience a ‘real’ war ourselves, and how righteous we felt that our nation had fought against such evil – and prevailed.

“Even Hitler admired the British,” crowed Lancaster, exposing a mouth full of chocolate. “He admired ‘em ‘cuz the British an’ the Germans are basically the same.”

I nodded pensively, registering the fact that, although we were not actually British ourselves, our parents were. Both of my grandfathers had served Great Britain in the Second World War.

When Lancaster’s mother called him in for dinner, I rode my bike home. Mum was in the living room, watching the ‘Chris Washington Show.’ She held a glass of red wine in one hand, while a cigarette burned between the fingers of the other.
“There’s sausages and mash on the stove,” she informed me, without removing her eyes from the screen. “Just heat ’em up a little.”

“I was at Simon Lancaster’s. His dad built a fortress in their back yard.”

“That’s nice.”

“It’s awesome! Wish I had a fortress like that.”

From a bottle on the coffee table she refilled her glass. Another hour or so and her speech would become slurred. Another hour after that and she’d be asleep in her armchair, mouth open, the TV flickering away in front of her. By that time I would be safely in my bedroom.

“There’s a kid in History called ‘Hori.'” I chuckled. “Said the Turks were ‘awesome’ an’ just about gave the teacher a heart attack!”

“’Hori?’”

“He’s a Mowri.”

“Not daft, am I? Course ‘e’s a Mowri with a name like that. Take my advice and stay away from that lot, son. Nothing but trouble. Now do shoosh-up. I wunna watch my drop a culture.”

The familiar brick buildings of Manchester had appeared on the screen, accompanied by the eerie strains of trumpet music, a cat curling up to sleep on one of the tile roofs. Buxom Becky was behind the bar as always, chatting with Ken and Elsie while she poured the beer. They were all getting on. I vaguely recalled the days when Ken still lived with his parents and Elsie was still attractive. Retreating to the kitchen, I turned on the oven to heat up my sausages and mash.

iii

At twelve I found Hori in the locker bay, knowing he would come to put his books away, as all the boys did at the end of class.

“Going for lunch?”

“It’s lunch time, cuz.” He giggled back at me.

“I mean . . . ‘where’ ya going for lunch?” I hastily added.

“Cross the road for a pie.”

“Yeh . . . me too.”
I imagined Lancaster, Smithy and Winchester waiting for me at the bike sheds, wondering where I was. But they wouldn’t wait long, of course, and it was of little concern to me right then anyway. My only intention was to befriend Hori.

Outside the school gates he paused to light a cigarette. “Know why they call this place ‘Poneke?'” he asked as I came up beside him.

“Course. It’s Mowri for ‘Port Nicholson.'”

“Nah, cuz. ‘Port Nicholson’ is English for ‘Poneke.'” The caramel face grinned broadly; teeth flashing white in the sunlight. “Y’know, it’s real name ain’t ‘Poneke’ at all. It’s ‘Whanganui a Tara.’”

“What’s that mean?”

“Means ‘Harbour at Peak,’ cuz. Me ol’ man tol’ me. For us the south was up an’ the north was down, so this harbour was the peak a the North Island.”

“Why did they change it?”

His eyebrows narrowed and the smile faded. “The British came, cuz. Don’t know much about history, do ya?”

With that he flicked his cigarette away and led me across the road to the dairy.

iv

From the back of the class the perspective was different. You took in the whole room, not just the teacher looming above you. All those crewcut heads, sandy-haired, blonde, brunette, a couple of them coppery-ginger. Pale necks, gray backs, patches of sweat between the narrow sets of shoulders. The teacher seemed smaller, less imposing, yet the bulldog face barked, the rampant chalk squelched, the white haze swirled in the air, and the yardstick rapped against the map of Europe on the wall.

“In sixteen eighty-three Black Mustafa marched his army to the gates o’ Vienna, but this was to be the last Muslim onslaught on Christian Yurrup. While the Tarks were fighting the Habsbargs, the Poles crossed the Danube and lined ’emselves up for a downhill assault. Aye, an’ the outcome was a rout. The Tatars fled, the Hungarians followed, and most o’ the Tarks went with ’em. Ten tho’sand were killed on the field o’ battle and a farther seven tho’sand perished when a bridge o’ boats collapsed beneath ’em. A glorious victory for Christian Yurrup it was, putting an end to the Tarks as an invading farce and indeed they were never to retarn.”

“Aye, the turrible Tarks!” the caramel face growled beside me.

Hearing that accent coming out of his mouth, I chuckled aloud. His teeth caught the light, while in the amber eyes there was a mischievious spark – something akin to defiance. A green tiki glinted between the undone top buttons of his shirt.

“Turrible!” I agreed, but failed to roll the ‘r,’ so it didn’t come out so well.

The teacher appeared to have heard, for he turned to face us at that moment, bespectacled eyes roamed the classroom as if seeking out the agent. They did not come to rest upon me, however, but upon Hori.

“Something to say, laddy?”

“It was the end a the terrible Turks, Sir,” I interjected hastily. “Christian Europe was safe at last.”

“But the world wasn’t safe from Christian Yurrup.” added Hori.

All heads turned to stare. For a moment there was complete silence. The teacher’s normally pallid features had turned a dark shade of crimson.

“Wot’s that, laddy?! You with the unbuttoned shirt again! Got a problem with Christian Yurrup, ‘ave ye? And who do ye think dragged you into the civilized world in the farst place? Who do ye think gave ye your freedom. Aye, if it hadn’t been for us you’d all be speaking Garman right now!”

“But we’re speakin’ English, ain’t we?”

“And wot language would ye like to be speaking, laddy – Chinese?!”

Audible titters around the room brought a gleam of triumph to the teacher’s eye. But Hori was no longer smiling.

“Why should I be speakin’ English?”

Mr McDougal lowered his head, so that his eyes were mere inches from Hori’s. “So far as I’m concerned, laddy, you Mowries ought a go back to where ye came from.”

Up sprang Hori from his desk, the chair clattering onto the floor behind him. “Go shove ya haggis up ya kilt!” he snapped, and stormed out of the classroom.

“Aye, and good riddance to bad rubbish!” the teacher declared, slamming the door after him.

 

Gladstone’s Jewellers

‘Gladstones Jewelers,’ read the sign on the window. The sales assistant raised his eyebrows as I entered, evidently surprised. But he was busy with other customers, and I browsed the shelves and display cabinets while I waited. In the copious mirrors I could see him keeping an eye on me. Slender, waxy, prematurely bald, a wisp of a mustache beneath his stub nose. No sooner had the other customers left the store than he came darting out from behind the counter toward me.

“May I help you?” He clasped his hands in front of him, as if in prayer.

The sales assistant wore a pinstriped suit with a lavender tie. I felt awfully scruffy in my sweater and jeans.

“I’m looking for an ID bracelet for me girlfriend.”

“I see. Well, perhaps you would like to have a look at these.”

He glided across to a display cabinet near the back of the store. The bracelets were all nestled on small velvet stands. Men’s and women’s, silver and gold, some of them encrusted with jewels. My gaze came to rest upon a slender gold bracelet. I pictured it on Hine’s wrist. She would look like a princess! I could afford it too, now that I was a working man, though the price was about the limit of what I had planned to spend: fifteen dollars. And there was still the engraving to be done.

“I’ll take that one.”

The assistant’s eyebrows jumped but he otherwise betrayed no emotion. “The Bambini? It’s an exquisite piece. Fourteen karat gold.”

“Wow! An’ only fifteen bucks.”

He blinked at me a few times. “One thousand, five hundred, actually.”

For a moment I was too dazed to respond. Those zeros were dollars? Who in hell had one thousand, five hundred dollars to spend on a bracelet?

The sales assistant gestured with an open hand toward the other end of the display cabinet, where he had been standing all along. “How about these?”

“What do they cost?” I inquired gingerly.

“It depends which one you want. The prices vary, starting from around twelve dollars.”

“Twelve dollars? I’ll take one!” It no longer concerned me what it looked like. At least, after all, I could afford something.

In fact, the one he drew out wasn’t so bad. Exchange the russet colouring for gold and it differed little from the fifteen hundred dollar Bambini. The engraving cost fifty cents a letter. Two dollars more to have Hine’s name put on it.

The sales assistant winked as he handed me the package. “No charge for the gift-wrapping.”

“Hey thanks!” I wasn’t sure if he had taken a liking to me, or just felt sorry for me.

On the way back to the games parlour I paused outside a men’s clothing store. There were black bomber jackets in the window, like the ones all the kids in town wore. Nylon on the outside, imitation sheepskin on the inside. ’39-99,’ the price-tags read. I’d soon be able to afford one of those too, now I was working at the factory.

Crossing the road at Courtenay Place, I found myself surrounded by a group of youths, and my alarm rose as I observed the hostility in their eyes. They were all Polynesian, mostly bigger than me and presumably older. Among them was a girl. She might have been attractive were it not for her chipped teeth and a string of green dots running down the side of her face, like moldy tears. It was she who snatched the gift-wrapped package out of my hand.

“Ooh, a present! How kind!” she intoned theatrically, and her companions chuckled down at me.

I was too afraid to protest as she töre the wrapping off. The youths had formed a tight circle around me. They all wore the standard black jackets and jeans.

“Hine?” the girl exclaimed. “I’ll hafta get that taken off.”

“I bought it for me girlfriend,” I said as forcefully as I dared. The idea of her having Hine’s name removed from the bracelet appalled me. I was almost angry enough to snatch it back—though not quite, of course; not with all those Polynesian guys standing around me.

“Givvus ya money!” she demanded, and the circle closed tighter.

Reaching into my back pocket I drew the brown envelope out. There was barely thirty dollars left inside, and I hadn’t even given my mother the rent yet. My despair was complete as she grabbed it out of my hand.

“Give it back.”

The circle opened and I saw Hori standing there, grinning as if it were all a big joke. And behind him was Hemi, showing no expression at all.

“This fullah’s me mate,” Hori told them. “Give ‘e’s stuff back, eh.”

To my astonishment—and great relief—the girl did as he had asked, returning not only my pay but also the bracelet and torn wrapping paper as well. Meanwhile the others began to disperse, still chuckling as they sauntered off.

“We were just kidding!” The girl laughed at me. “You should a stood up for ya-self, fullah.”

Hori offered me a cigarette. “They always pull that shit, cuz. But she’s right. You hang roun’ this place, you better toughen up.”

“He was pathetic!” Hemi growled, nostrils flaring in contempt. “He just gave ‘em everything!”

I was too ashamed to reply. They were harsh words, but they were also true. I might have got work in the factory, but that still didn’t make me a man.

 

Barbed Wire Tour

i

Beneath the overcast sky a helicopter droned back and forth. Nelson Street was cordoned off and the cops were diverting traffic. Now we heard them, many voices chanting, like an approaching army. They came into view, marching past the intersection ahead, hundreds of them, perhaps thousands, all in hooded raincoats, some with motorbike helmets, holding banners and signs aloft.

“One, two, three, four! We don’t want this racist tour!”

Hori trotted forward to join them, and I followed. The cops stood by in their navy coats, porcelain faces beneath white helmets, fibreglass shields in front of them, batons at their sides. They were the law, the establishment, and they were the enemy.

“Aye, an’ good to see you lads taking part too!” A fleshy, middle-aged face peered out of a raincoat hood at us, like some ghostly monk from a horror movie.

I was instantly transported back to a classroom at high school, to a squelching blackboard and clouds of white chalk dust. It was old McDougal from History. “Hello, Sir,” I said, like I were his student again.

Hori said nothing, and it seemed a little rude. Yet undoubtedly I was the one who had reacted foolishly. McDougal might have been on this protest march, but he was still the old Jock who had said the Maori ought to go back to where they came from; the same old Jock who had got Hori expelled.

The helicopter swooped low, right over Nelson Street, rotor blades clattering like machine gun fire. Upon its side featured the initials of the national TV station. They were filming us.

“Perhaps we’ll get on TV.” I nudged Hori with my elbow.

“Let’s go get some beer.” He scowled. “Game kicks off in an hour.”

Twenty minutes later we were back at the flat, glasses of beer in hand, watching the pre-match hype on TV. The South Africans were here for the first time since sixty-five. It was the equivalent of the ‘world championship.’

Anne entered the room with plates of spaghetti on toast. “Oh, you’re not watching the rugby, are you? We’re s’posed to be against that.”

“’We?’” Hori gazed up at her.

“We joined a protest march today,” I chipped in proudly.

Anne burst into laughter. “You joined a protest march an’ now you’re back here to watch the game on telly? You guys are unbelievable!”

Hori scowled at me. “You’re not helping, cuz. Look, thuz half an hour til kick-off. We can be down the pub in fifteen an’ watch it there.”

So that’s what we did: wolfed down the spaghetti and toast, pulled our jackets back on, and headed out again; the sound of Anne’s laughter ringing in our ears.

The back bar of the Station Tavern was crowded with Polynesian railway workers. But no one was playing pool or darts that day, and even the juke box was silent. For all eyes were on the big colour TV at the front of the bar.

From among the multitudes in front of us, a face turned and caught my eye. They were the bearded features of Joe, and beside him stood George and Zak, the three of them at a table near the front. He grinned and gestured for us to join them.

“Surprised all these guys aren’t against the tour,” I told him, gazing around at the railway workers in their faded dungarees and heavy work boots.

“We’re all against it, bro.’ But the ‘Boks are here anyway an’ thuz nothing we can do about it, so might as well enjoy the rugby, eh.”

For an hour and a half we stood transfixed, watching the beefy men in black doing battle with the beefy men in green upon that muddy pitch, the packed stadium roaring the home-side on.

Mercifully New Zealand held on. We had won the first test and needed only take one of the remaining two.

ii

Friday night, pay in our pockets, the week was done. We were hanging out again. This was everything I needed: Friends, money, a sense of belonging.

Gazing over at the bar, I saw through the smoky haze a group of men standing around a table. They were robust, a little intimidating, and most of them were Polynesian. The one looking back at me, however, was tall and fair. Twelve months’ labouring on the construction site had transformed me into a powerfully built young man.

Through the doors behind us came a group of young men, all of them in black leather jackets with ‘Warriors’ patches on their backs. Among them was Hemi, dreadlocked and tattooed. Swaggering up to our table, he helped himself to my glass of beer and one of my cigarettes.

“Swarming with cops out deh!” he growled.

“Course, bro,'” said Hori. “It’s the anti-tour demonstrations. ‘Boks are playing here tomorrow.”

“I know dat.” Hemi leered across the table at me. “How ’bout you, honky? Why aren’t you out deh?”

“Me an’ Hori joined in a protest march before the first test,” I replied.

“For about three minutes!” Hori giggled.

I scowled back at him. “You’re not helping, mate.”

Hemi’s features remained hostile, eyes fixed on me. “An’ tomorrah? You gunna be out deh protesting, or you gunna be inside the stadium watching?”

“How ’bout you?”

“Nunna your business. I’m asking you.”

“We’re all against it, mate. But the ‘Boks are here anyway an’ thuz nothing we can do about it. So might as well enjoy the rugby, eh.”

“No Maori gov’ment would a permitted this tour.”

“All the more reason to go out an’ protest. I’m not the enemy.”

“Who are you to judge us?”

“It’s just my opinion.”

Hemi exhaled a long stream of smoke directly into my face. Hori began trying to calm his brother down, for it was apparent Hemi was becoming agitated.

“How ’bout I tell me bro’s your ‘opinion.’ What a ya fink would happen den?”

“Leave ya mates out of it,” said Hori. “This is between you an’ ‘im.”

I glanced incredulously at him. He’d made it sound like Hemi and I were headed for a fight, something which had not fully occurred to me till then.

“That’s right,” Joe added. “Take it out into the carpark, guys.”

The solitary light bulb at the back of the pub provided no more than a dim orange glow. In the cold and darkness we were surrounded like a pair of prize-fighters. The Black Warriors had come out with us, together with a few curious onlookers who’d caught wind of what was going on.

Hemi charged straight at me. Probably he’d expected to drive me back. Instead I drove him back, gripping his arms like they were the handle-bars of a wheel barrow full of cement mix. My own strength surprised me, and clearly Hemi had no answer to it. Forcing him up against one car after another, I hauled him around the yard then all the way back to the rear entrance of the pub again. To this point I’d not thrown a single punch, nor harmed him in any way, and I was already beginning to tire. Finally he stumbled and went down beneath me. I dropped on top of him and pinned him to the ground. He was at my mercy. But I was completely out of breath, and had no desire to pummel my fists into his face anyway – not in front of his brother; and certainly not in front of his Black Power mates. Ironically it was one of the latter who came to my rescue, driving a steel-toe boot into the side of my skull. In reality, it didn’t hurt a great deal, but I rolled off Hemi and clutched my head as if in mortal agony.

“Hey, it was a fair fight!”

Peering out through my arms, I saw that Joe, George and Zak had confronted the gang members, not so much squaring up to them as appealing to their sense of fair play. Hori, meanwhile, helped his brother up. And there, to my considerable relief, it all ended. Hemi did not come at me again, and I observed that he was panting even more heavily than I was. The hostility had left his features entirely. Undoubtedly he must have been discouraged by his own ineptitude.

We ventured out into the streets to see what was going on. Traffic teemed by. Trolley buses queued at the Courtenay Place shelters, silhouetted beneath the street lights. A mechanical voice reached us from the direction of Pigeon Park. We wandered over to have a look. Some kind of demonstration but no cops around, just a bunch of people with banners and protest signs. I had thought they were men, what, with their coats, trousers and boots, their cropped hair and rugged faces. Upon closer inspection, however, I could see I was mistaken. ‘Women Against Rugby!’ one of the banners read.

“Women are fufty-two per cent a the population an’ we are opposed to this tour,” the mechanical voice droned. “Racism is a male issue . . . ”

“Not a Maori among ’em.” Hori giggled.

“Think it’s funny, do ya?” one of the protestors bellow at him. She moved toward us, brandishing her protest sign.

“I’ll laugh if I wunna. It’s a free world.” Hori started to walk away.

“That’s right! You’re all cowards. I’ll take you on, mate. Any time ya like!”

I hastened after him. “Come on, Hori. Gotta stand up for ya-self, mate.”

“I ain’t gunna fight no woman, cuz. Forget ’em. The guys are halfway down the street.”

From behind us we heard that hateful snarl once more: “Any time, mate! I’ll knee ya in the balls. That’s all it takes to drop a man!”

At Manners Mall we turned down a dark alley to the Jubilee Bar. An angry din of tuneless music greeted us at the entrance. Freaky people, these. Dyed hair, spiked up, mohicans, shaved bald. They wanted to be different, yet they all ended up looking kind of the same, what, with their leather jackets and tapered jeans, their combat boots, dog chains, silver studs and safety pins.

The guys actually got into a discussion with the weirdoes at the bar beside them. I struggled to make sense of anything until there was a break between angry songs.

” . . . a lot of other countries we shouldn’t be playing sport with either,” one of them was saying. “Look at the Yanks, supplying South Africa with weapons to use against their own bluddy people!”

“That’s right,” added his companion, an Englishman. “An’ then you got the French. Testing their bombs in the South Pacific. That’s our bloody back yard! But nobody complained when their rugby team came ‘ere!”

“Know what?” said the other. “If this series means so much to everybody that they’re out there fighting in the streets about it, I hope we bluddy-well lose.”

I gazed at him in disbelief. Being against the tour was one thing. Hoping your own country would lose defied comprehension. Why, it was akin to treason, changing your religion, or homosexuality or something. These weirdoes, with their spiked up hair and leather jackets, now appeared like aliens from some far off galaxy to me.

The punks took their drinks and walked away. The back of the Englishman’s jacket featured a picture of the prime minister’s face – complete with a Hitler mustache. Freaks they may have been, but at least they had a sense of humour.

Finishing our own drinks, we headed back out, soon finding ourselves on Victoria Street, walking alking toward the Arizona Bar.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young strummed out of the stereo system, a more agreeable sound, by far, than the din we had encountered at the Jubilee.

Heads turned, bearded faces glanced up, staring eyes followed us. Comments were grunted. Somebody howled like a monkey. A doubtful-looking barmaid served us our jugs without speaking. We took a table at the back, by the exit.

“Who let the boonga in?” an older guy called out. He was bald and sported a handle-bar mustache, more grey than red.

“Let me-self in, mate,” Zak called back.

The middle-aged bikie continued to grin. “Nah, I mean, who let you into the country?”

Everyone within earshot erupted in laughter.

“The Big Guy in the sky,” said Zak. “I’s born ‘ere.”

“Or the Prince a Darkness below!” the bikie intoned, and his companions laughed again.

What went through Zak’s mind, I wondered, when he had to put up with nonsense like that? It must have rankled. Then again, the guys would’ve expected this – surely. So why had they chosen to come here? They all looked cheerful enough; all except Hori, whose amber eyes scowled around the bar. It was an expression I recalled from our high school days.

Up rose one of the bikies and sauntered across the room toward us, holding his beer in one hand. He was very tall, his cheekbones prominent, his mustache dense, and upon his head he wore a Stars and Stripes bandana.

“Wotcha staring at, boy?”

Hori stood up to confront him. “Dunnoh. Left me book a zoo creatures at home.”

Even as we laughed, the bikie reached out with his beer and began emptying its contents onto Hori’s head. Before he could complete the act, however, Hori tackled him around the midriff and drove him across the bar, back into his own table, causing a couple of chicks to scramble aside shrieking.

“We might hafta help out,” I muttered to Joe.

“Nah, bro.’ We’ll just sit ‘ere an’ let ’em show us how stupid they are.”

I looked back at him in surprise. Was it possible that, in spite of his robust frame and copious tattoos, Joe was actually a coward?

In fact, the bikies merely formed a circle around the pair and began cheering them on. The middle-aged guy with the handle-bar mustache yelled encouragement, laughing boisterously all the while.

Hori managed to pin his opponent and looked set to unleash a flurry of blows. But with the circle of bikies pressing closer, he evidently thought better of it and got off him. Thus it all ground to a halt, and the giant with the Stars and Stripes bandana was soon back in his seat, a roll of toilet paper under his nose.

We finished our beers and slipped quietly out through the rear exit.

iii

Eventually we saw them, the masses at the bottom of the hill, a wall of cops in white helmets and navy coats in front of them. TV cameras and news crews circled around behind. The helicopters clattered overhead. The mechanical voice rambled through a bullhorn.

“One, two, three, four! We don’t want this racist tour!”

“Move! Move!” the cops barked back.

They were pushing us away from the gates. Batons swung. Angry shouts. One woman came away with blood pouring down the side of her face and paraded in front of the TV cameras.

“This was a peaceful demonstration, an’ look what the bast’ds a done to me!”

Another baton charge, more bloodied faces and angry shouts. We were no longer moving toward the parliament gates but in the opposite direction. The mechanical voice now began instructing us to march to the police station and continue the protest there. Across Lambton Quay we swarmed, the cops following close behind, the TV cameras and newspaper photographers on every side.

“Shame! Shame! Shame!” the chant went up as we approached the police station.

More cops ahead of us, and these ones had dogs – fearsome beasts that strained on their leashes and snarled, lips curled up to expose their fangs. We were surrounded at this point, though the mechanical voice beseeched us stay calm. It was a legal demonstration. We had a right to be there. The helicopters continued to clatter around in the overcast sky, the dogs continued to snarl in front of us, the cops continued to close in. We stumbled and collided, waves of momentuum taking us this way and that. It was all I could do just to stay on my feet. Somehow we emerged at the front, finding ourselves face to face with the cops, the dogs right there too, barking furiously as their handlers held them back. It was an impossible situation. The cops were forcing us back with their fibreglass shields, and our comrades were pushing us forward from behind. For certain the cops were bigger and stronger than us – and well-equipped, too, with their batons and shields, and the dogs they had at their sides. I didn’t want to be there if they launched another baton charge.

Some unfortunate lost his balance and careered into the cops. They immediately laid into him, chopping him down with their long batons. Anne went to his aid but a fibreglass shield sent her reeling onto the road. Now Hori spraing forth, stabbing at the cops with the picket of a protest sign. One of the cops cried out and backed away smartly, holding his face in his hands. The others, meanwhile, turned their attention to Hori, dragging him down among them, and as the blows went in the guy who had lost his balance in the first place managed to scramble away.

I charged at the police, a fibreglass shield slammed into me, and then I was on the ground beside Anne, staring up at the dark blue wall in front of us. I lept up and charged again, and again the cops sent me sprawling back onto the road. This time I could only sit there in a daze, pondering my impotence.

“They’ve arrested Hori!”

Anne got back to her feet, and I stood up beside her, both of us peering into the ranks of police ahead. There was a glimpse of Hori’s bright green helmet bobbing along among them. He was being led toward the police station itself.

“Shame! Shame! Shame!”

I charged once more, and this time, to my own surprise, I cut right through. The fibreglass wall simply opened in front of me. And then I knew why. The cops wrestled me down, pulled my arms up behind my back and snapped on the handcuffs. I’d been arrested too!

“Shame! Shame! Shame!”

The long corridors were as familiar to me as if I’d been there the previous day, and how depressing it was to be back there! I was supposed to have left that part of my life behind; the mixed-up youth who didn’t know how to behave himself. But here I was, back in this awful place, and I felt terrible. Downstairs for mugshots and fingerprinting they led me. At least they took the handcuffs off, though they also relieved me of my wallet, watch, jacket and shoes; along with the bike helmet Joe had loaned me.

Next I was taken to a holding cell, and when they opened the door I immediately spied Hori, seated upon the wooden bench inside, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees so that I could not see his face clearly.

“The bast’ds!” He raised his head slowly after the door pounded closed. Thick blood covered his nostrils and lips.

“Hell, mate, reckon they broke ya nose!”

“Never mind that, cuz.” Hori scowled back at me. “We’re stuck in ‘ere. How we gunna see the game now?!”

 

Antonio’s

With our bottles of Lion beer we prowled across to an empty table by the dance floor. It was a good spot, offering a prime view of the chicks on display. And it was like they’d all just stepped out of the beauty parlour, what, with their hair-dos, their make-up, their glitzy attire, their high-heels. They’d gone to an awful lot of trouble.

One caught my eye and I smiled at her in what I hoped was a friendly sort of way. She gave me a look as though I’d just vomited in front of her or something, then turned to her friend. They both seemed very irritated.

“How ‘bout those two?” said Bruce, gesturing with a nod toward a nearby table. “They’re on their own. Look friendly enough.”

“Nah, out a my class,” I grumbled.

“Don’t be a wimp! Go talk to ‘em.”

It didn’t feel right, but I got up and strolled over there anyway. I had nothing to lose, of course; nothing except my pride.

“Would you like to dance?” I inquired, smiling in what I hoped was an unthreatening sort of way.

They shook their heads. “This isn’t a good song.”

That was something; they’d blamed the song. They hadn’t told me to get lost.

“Mind if I join ya?” I lowered myself into the empty seat opposite them.

They shrugged their shoulders. Not exactly encouraging, but they still hadn’t told me to get lost. And it got better. They actually talked.

“Come ‘ere often?” I asked.

“No.”

“Really? We come ‘ere every Saturday.”

“Every Saturday?”

“After rugby.”

“So . . . what line a work are you in?”

“I’m a check-out operator.”

“In a supermarket, ya mean?”

“Been there over a year.”

Next thing they were pulling on their jackets in front of me. “Look, no offence, but we’re not really in the mood.” And with that they rose up from their seats and walked away, leaving their half-finished drinks on the table.

I gazed after them in astonishment. Just as I’d been gaining confidence! It was a few minutes before I could bring myself to return to the guys.

Bruce guffawed into my face. “Stupid to tell ‘em ya work in a supermarket, mate.”

“Why? Least I got a steady job. Plenny a people are out a work, y’know.”

“Should a told ‘em you were a lawyer or something,” Stumpy said. “That’s what I always do. Say you’re on an important case an’ ya can’t tell ‘em any details. Works like a charm.”

Bruce nodded in accord. “Make up some bullshit story to impress ‘em, mate. By the time they find out the truth, it won’t matter anyway.”

Trev had spied three chicks dancing together. Stumpy and I got up and followed him over there, and we all began strutting about near them, catching their eye and smiling in what we hoped was a friendly sort of way. They gave us a look like we’d just vomited in front of them or something, and promptly moved to the other side of the dance-floor.

This I accepted with a degree of resignation. Trev and Stumpy weren’t too flash on the dance-floor, truth be known, and they weren’t the best-looking pair of guys you’d ever see either.

“What a disaster,” I groaned to Bruce, slumping down in my seat. “We can’t get within spittin’ distance a these chicks.”

He guffawed into my face. “Reckon that’s lucky fa you. eh!”.

Stumpy returned to the table a moment later, looking far from discouraged. “Checkum out, mate!”

I followed his gaze to the table beside ours, where the two chicks I’d scared away had been sitting, and where now two more had replaced them. They were all dolled-up, smoking cigarettes, sipping cocktails. No beauties, these, but everything about them told me we didn’t stand a chance.

“C’mon, Stumpy. They’re way out of our class,” I said.

Bruce leaned away from me, his eyebrows forming a ‘V.’ “Ya do like girls, don’t ya, mate?”

“Course I do.”

The frown eased into a gap-toothed grin. “Then you’re chickenin’ out?”

So what else could I do but get reluctantly to my feet again and set myself up for another rejection?

“’Scuse me,” Stumpy asked, both of us smiling in what we hoped was an unthreatening sort of way. “Would you like to dance?”

One said something, more to her friend than to us, though I couldn’t hear above the din of the music anyway.

“Sorry. Was that a ‘yes’ or a ‘no?’”

The one who’d spoken rose up from her chair and almost pecked me in the face. “Fuck off!”

I was back beside Bruce before my mind began functioning again, feeling more like a failure of a human being than ever. And it didn’t help either, that he guffawed his stupid-looking head off at me for about the next fifteen minutes.

 

Rebecca

i

How difficult it had been to find a place when I was the one looking, yet how difficult now to find someone who wanted to move in with me! I couldn’t help thinking it was just ‘me’ that people didn’t want to live with. By the end of the second weekend I would’ve accepted just about anyone, but no one showed any interest.

I was in the process of calling the newspaper again when Alan’s head poked out of its bedroom and actually spoke to me.

“Someone called about the room. I told ‘er to come roun’ at eight. Name’s Rebecca.”

That head, which I’d only seen a few times since it had moved in the month before, then disappeared back into its bedroom. I got the impression Alan was a little excited about this Rebecca coming around at eight, though I couldn’t see why. Even if she did move in, he’d probably never meet her.

Sure enough, there came a knock on the door just before eight, and upon answering it I was astounded to find myself confronted by two smiling young women, the pair of them fairly dolled-up for the occasion. As I breathed in the sweet fragrance of their perfume, a series of thoughts occurred to me in rapid succession: Whichever one of the two she was, she would never move in. If she did move in, she would already have a boyfriend. If she didn’t already have a boyfriend, she would never be interested in me.

The blonde, it turned out, was Rebecca. As we sat drinking coffee in the living room she explained she’d only recently arrived in the city and would like to move in right away, if that was alright. It was a few awkward seconds before I could get my mouth into motion.

“So . . . yull be moving in then?”

“Well, if it’s okay with you. I mean, this is so much nicer than any a the other places we looked at. Some a them were rully grotty.”

“Course – “ I paused to clear my throat. “Course it’s alright. I’ll get you the spare keys an’ ya can move in straight away.”

The following day I spent the entire evening on the couch secretly gazing at her, while she sat in the armchair watching TV. It wasn’t that she was super attractive or anything. Only the women on TV and movies ever were. She was a little overweight and bore the early signs of a double chin. But she seemed like a goddess to me.

“It’s gunna be so nice to have someone roun’ here to talk to,” I blurted out. “Alan’s always in his room.”

Rebecca gave my a look like I’d just vomited in front of her or something. I realised I’d probably sounded a little pathetic, carrying on like that to someone who’d just moved in. Of course, it was true about Alan, but there were some things best left unsaid, and I never seemed to know which ones until I’d already blurted them out and it was too late to take them back.

ii

I was giddy with excitment as I sprinted up the driveway after work next day. The thought of spending another evening with Rebecca, and of the indefinite procession of such evenings to come, somehow seemed way too good for the likes of me.

Deeming it best not to appear too eager, I went into the kitchen to make coffee first. I could hear the muffled burble of the TV through the wall, so I knew she was in the living room, since Alan never watched it.

As I was making the coffee, however, I became conscious of two voices distinct from the TV. One was Rebecca’s; the other a man’s voice which I couldn’t recognise. My spirits plummeted at the thought of a guy being in there with her; undoubtedly the boyfriend. I’d known from the start it was too good to be true. She was way out of my class.

For a few minutes I stood at the doorway listening, desperately hoping for something to be said that would tell me it was a mere friend, or perhaps a door-to-door salesman – anything but a boyfriend – and slowly I began to detect something vaguely familiar about the male voice. Poking my head around the corner I was intrigued to find Alan sitting in one of the armchairs.

My relief at it not being the boyfriend was tempered by the fact it was ‘him.’ Why had he suddenly come out of hibernation? I was even a little offended. But mostly I was jealous. The delight of Rebecca’s company was no longer exclusively mine, it appeared.

Alan gave me this chummy greeting when I walked in with my coffee, like we were best mates or something. I knew he was only trying to show Rebecca wha a super-friendly guy he was. I stared down at his big false-looking smile and resolved to tell Rebecca what an unsociable bastard he really was the moment he returned to his bedroom.

They had pulled the armchairs closer to the TV, and a little closer together as well, I noticed, so that I was left sort of excluded on the couch behind them. And they were discussing what was on the news, though it meant nothing to me, since I never watched it. And I could hardly have felt more inadequate, sitting back there on the couch, not knowing what in hell they were going on about.

“God, America’s a sick society,” Rebecca said to Alan.

“Everybody’s got a gun there, y’know,” he naturally concurred. “Can’t walk down the street without being shot at.”

“You been there, Alan?” I asked. “I mean, you must a been there an’ had people shooting at you while you were walking down the street.”

I’d tried to make it sound like a sincere question, but they both ignored me and continued gazing at the TV.

“They’re all idiots!” Rebecca scoffed. “Did you see ‘em during the Olympics. So patriotic. It was sickening.”

I lept to my feet and began goose-stepping around the room, thrusting my right arm out in front of me. “Heil America!”

Rebecca frowned curiously at me as I reigned in my limbs and returned to the couch. “What on earth’s got into him?”

Alan shook his head and replied in a murmur: “Lost his marbles, I’d say.”

She seemed satisfied with that explanation, so I didn’t bother offering one of my own. Actually, I wasn’t sure mine would have been any different. But suddenly I felt too depressed to care. There were two distinct entities in the room now – Them and Me. Them sitting in their armchairs together. Me the insignificant clown in the background.

iii

I knew it was hopeless, but I did it anyway. I wrote a love poem and slipped it under her door. I didn’t even want to think about the consequences. Much as I tried, I could not picture myself with a woman like her. I wasn’t sure I could picture myself with anyone at all. Whenever I thought of my future, I saw myself alone. Sometimes I imagined if I met the woman of my dreams, she would die.

Rebecca didn’t say anything about the poem when next I saw her, and the lack of any kind of expression on her face might have led me to suspect she hadn’t found it at all. But when Alan twisted his head around and smirked over his shoulder at me, I knew she had read it – and either told him about it or shown him.

So I sat there on the couch, contemplating all this with a mixture of anxiety, humiliation and despair. One emotion rolled into another, over and over, while I bided my time for more than an hour. At last Rebecca got up from her armchair. The ad’s were on and a suave young couple were sipping coffee on the patio. She collected the empty mugs from between the chairs, along with the empty wrapper and tray from the chocolate biscuits they had shared in front of me, and went through to the kitchen. I stood up and followed, and as I did Alan glanced over his shoulder at me again.

I shut the kitchen door behind us. “Did ya like my poem?”

“It was cute,” she said, without looking up while she made the coffee.

I didn’t like the sound of that too much. ‘Cute’ meant you weren’t being taken seriously. I stared down at the coffee jar and thought of the suave young couple on the patio. Yes, they could have been Rececca and Alan – but never me. I was way out of my class.

Rebecca opened her mouth to say something, but at that moment Alan came through the door behind me. He moved in between us and looked first at her, then at me.

“She’s not interested, okay.”

I could see he thought he was a genuine super hero for telling me that, as though I were some crazed stalker who refused to take no for an answer.

“This is between me an’ Rebecca! Now get out a the kitchen before I throw you out!”

He took a step backward when I said that. A skinny guy of average height; he was the type who’d probably never been in a fight in his life. I hovered menacingly over him, raising my arms, seizing the advantage. Now Rebecca would see who the ‘real’ man around this place was.

“Oh, don’t be so childish!” she scolded me.

I lowered my arms to my side in shame, and the hostility returned to Alan’s features as he saw that the threat was gone.

“You’re nothing but a thug!” he sneered into my face, rising up onto the balls of his feet to do so. “A check-out operator in a supermarket! What kind a future can you offer anyone, eh? Ya can’t even hold normal conversations with people!”

I glanced across at Rebecca, hoping she might dismiss all this as so much nonsense; perhaps even scold him, the way she had scolded me. But her eyes remained fixed on the electric jug, which was now coming to the boil. Her double-chin was prominent when she looked down like that, though it made no difference to me. I turned back to Alan, seeing him up close for the first time, his receding hairline, the pale blue eyes and narrow chin.

“This is nunna ya business,” I told him forcefully.

“Actually it is,” Rebecca said quietly.

“I was the one who found your pathetic li’l poem!” Alan snickered into my ear.

I remained paralyzed on the spot for a moment, not wanting to comprehend what I was hearing.

Rebecca poured the coffee and the pair of them returned to the living room, steaming mugs of coffee in their hands.

For at least twenty minutes afterward I stayed in the kitchen, gazing through the window at the raw timber fence separating our property from the neighbours.’ I didn’t want to take my pain and humiliation back into the living room where its source lay. Nor did I want to take it down into the solitude of my bedroom. It were as though I were floating somewhere on the perimeter of the universe, rejected and alone, not good enough for this world, a weirdo who was incapable of holding normal conversations with people, who wrote “pathetic li’l poems.” My despair was intense.

 

Flies

i

The cars in my price range invariably had a lot of mileage on them and were at least ten years old. Some of them were full of rust, dents and dings. I was very surprised, therefore, when we came across a shiny red station wagon, just a few years old, with less than forty thousand kilometres on the clock. It was perfect for me. Larry laughed at me for wanting to buy a Lada, though I didn’t see why. Even the dealer said it was a real steal. It’s only previous owner had been a little old lady who’d hardly driven it at all; just used it for shopping. It was tidy inside, fairly roomy – and even had a radio-cassette player. I was already picturing myself in the driver’s seat with a beautiful girl beside me. This car was going to change my life!

A few days after I bought it the clutch dropped out and I had to take it in for repairs. I called the dealer to see if that was covered by the warranty, but he merely laughed down the line at me as if the notion were ridiculous.

“Not for that car, son. It’s only a cheap li’l Lada.”

My immediate problem was the work function I was supposed to be attending that evening. It was at some country lodge way out of town. And that’s all I concerned myself with right then. I didn’t want to think about the bigger problem – how long it was going to take, nor how much it was going to cost, to have the clutch repaired on my new Lada.

“Tell you wot,” Larry beamed, “I’ll come with ya, eh. I’m not doing anything tonight.”

So we drove out there in his V8 Charger, British rock’n’roll blasting out of the big speakers all the way.

I’d insisted on being punctual and we were the first there. Larry proceeded to occupy himself chatting up the barmaid, which seemed to amuse her, more than anything. But you could tell she wasn’t interested. Whenever she went out back for some reason or another, he’d turn to me with a big frenzied grin on his face and growl something like: ‘Cor, mate, see those knockers? She’s a goddess!” All I could do was smile sheepishly back at him, thoroughly embarrassed by his antics.

When the others began to arrive Larry gave up on the barmaid and turned his attention instead to the check-out girls. They, too, just laughed it off the way the barmaid had done.

It didn’t take him long to get drunk either, and my biggest concern as the function continued was how I would be getting home that night. I watched with a mixture of amusement and apprehension as his antics became progressively more obsene. At one point I looked over at the dance-floor to find him prancing about in the middle wearing nothing but his socks and underpants.

“My God!” shrieked one of the women. “Who brought him here?!”

Just then I overheard the branch manager talkng to her husband about getting a move on. I slipped over and asked them for a ride back into town.

ii

During the ad’s ¬break before kick-off I hurried through to the kitchen for another cup of coffee. Larry came in while I was pouring it, wearing dark blue overalls and green gardening gloves.

“Mind giving us a hand with the gard’ning,” he said, taking the orange juice out of the fridge and drinking straight from the jug.

“Eh? The game’s about to start, Larry. I’ll come out soon as it’s finished.”

He scowled back at me. “That’ll be a cuppla hours, won’t it? Be getting dark by then.”

“It’ll be over by four-thirty,” I assured him. “I’ll come out straight after.”

He seemed to scowl right through me then, like he felt betrayed. “Look, I’m not gunna do it all meself. Last chap ‘ere never did a thing and I don’t wunna get lumbered with the lot again.”

“Oh, come on, Larry,” I forced a chuckle. “I do me share. Just this morning I mopped the floor.”

He glanced down at the chequered titles, where he’d left a trail of large muddy boot-prints. “Oh, sorry ’bout ‘at!” He guffawed into my face.

“I did the bathroom too,” I added, and, feeling I’d justified myself, continued on into the living room.

But how could I enjoy the game when I knew he was out there toiling away in the garden, and that he had asked for my help and I’d refused? He’d helped me out when I’d been looking to buy a car, afterall.

Larry didn’t say much when I joined him in the garden; just showed me what he wanted done. I was to pull out all the weeds that ran around the edge of the back yard, then do the same in the front garden.

“Hell, it’ll take weeks,” I moaned.

“Best get started right away then.” He beamed at me.

Wandering over to the garden shed, Larry returned with a hoe, a spade and a pair of green gardening gloves like his own, all of which he handed to me.

An hour or so later I stood up stiffly from my work, my lower back aching, my palms and the sides of my fingers stinging with watery calluses despite the gloves, the back of my neck burnt from the sun. I decided I’d take a break to see what the score was and grab a glass of orange juice while I was at it.

Approaching the front door I noticed Larry over on the front lawn, sitting on a beer crate, a can of the beverage in his hand. He was chatting loudly with the neighbour, who was seated on his doorstep about ten metres away.

The grin froze on his face when he realised I was there. Then he chuckled boisterously, as though it were all a big joke and you had to love him for being such a rascal.

I glanced across at the neighbour. He looked like some ancient Indian chief, sitting there with his leathery, tanned face and long white hair.

“G’day, Fred!” I called.

He murmured without looking at me, the way he always did. I got the impression he didn’t like me much, old Fred; not that he knew me at all.

The All Blacks were ahead when I switched the TV back on, and there were only about fifteen minutes to go. Australia were hard on attack, however, and a converted try would give them the lead. Suddenly, weirdly, I found myself hoping they would score. I was actually cheering against the All Blacks! Hell, I’d become a ‘traitor!’

When the Wallaby halfback burst clean through to score between the goal-posts, I impulsively leapt up and punched a fist into the air. “Yesss!” And that sounded very strange in my own ears.

Iii

Even for spring there seemed an extraordinarhy abundance of flies around; large black buzzing flies that got into your face and pestered you when you were eating. Larry and I cooked for each other twice a week and on his cooking nights he would leave my meal out on the kitchen bench, so that when I arrived home from work I’d find all these big black flies crawling over it. I kept asking him to cover it but he’d just guffaw into my face and say, ‘Crikey, mate, they won’t eat much!’ as if it were his own original joke. Yet when I cooked he’d always complain if he found so much as the tiniest shred of potato skin in his mashed potato.

“Ain’t seen ol’ Fred about for a while,” Larry observed one evening.

“Maybe he went on holiday.”

“No, ‘e would a told me.” He blinked pensively at the TV screen.

Later that night there came a sharp knock at the door. Larry went to answer it and returned with Simon, the fresh-faced beanpole of a local constable.

“When did it ‘appen?” he asked as they sat down.

“Not sure. Two or three weeks ago, maybe more. I’ve seen a few bodies in my time, mate, but this was not a pretty sight at all. Maggots all over ‘im!”

A big black fly buzzed into my face as I listened, and I waved it away irritably.

“Don’t think ‘e ‘ad any family ’round ‘ere,” said Larry.

“No, reckon he didn’t. Might a lain there for ever had the postie not noticed his mail piling up in the box.”

Larry began to chuckle. “Funny thing was, last time I saw ‘im ‘e’d just ‘ad ‘is ‘air cut! Bit like Samson, eh. Loses ‘is ‘air ‘n’ snuffs it!”

Simon laughed with him. “Poor ol’ Fred!”

I couldn’t see much humour in it myself. I was just thinking about how many flies there’d been around lately.

 

The Supernatural Matador

All I knew as I climbed into my Lada was that I wanted to get far away, to escape it all, and with this vehicle I had the means to do so. I drove through the town, on past the supermarket where I spent most of my waking life, observing the manager’s green Rover parked out front as usual, and I knew that I did not want to go back there. A little further along I saw a rusty Anglia bump to a halt in front of the Black Warriors fortress. A puny skinhead leapt out and spray-painted a swastika on the concrete wall, then scrambled back into the Anglia, which was already speeding away before he could properly close the door. I supposed that puny skinhead had to find a way to feel big about himself.

The lights turned red as I approached the state highway intersection, and an old pink van with a green peace sign on the side pulled up in the lane beside me. The driver sported a blond ponytail and ginger beard and was smoking a roll-your-own. He caught my eye, so I gave him a casual wave, just to be friendly. His response was a clenched fist and menacing gesture; his nose screwed up; his mouth forming a snarl of crooked, nicotine-stained teeth. Mercifully the lights changed and a moment later I was out on the state highway, far away from the guy.

People might have knocked my Lada but little did they know. I could get her up over a hundred-and-ten if I kept my foot flat long enough. That’s what I was doing too, though the engine screamed. It was my anger, of course. I couldn’t stop having all these angry thoughts. I was thinking about progress and it seemed to me that society was going in entirely the opposite direction. The more people had, the less they needed each other, the more selfish they became, and fear and greed were coming back to the surface. If there were a god, surely it would eradicate us from this planet just as we might eradicate some destructive pest from our environs. I could see that. I really could. And if the eradication of our species made sense to me, then surely I was as messed up as everybody said I was.

A rugged section of highway forced me to slow down. One lane was blocked off by orange cones and a big ‘road works’ sign. The workers weren’t there on a Sunday, but the cones and the sign remained. I found myself thinking about all the road-works that must have been going on right then, and all the planning that was involved for each and every one of them, and I couldn’t help but wonder how we managed to keep it all together; this incredibly complex world we had created. Surely it could only be a matter of time before it all just fell apart.

The road-works went all the way through the passing lane, and by the time we emerged from it I was at the tail end of a very long queue, all of us stuck behind some absolute bastard who was crawling along at about sixty. People like that ought to have been kept off the roads, if you asked me. Usually they were old people, too frightened to go any faster in case they had an accident.

When at last we came to another passing lane a big articulated truck swerved out to overtake the front car and used up the entire passing lane to do it. It was another three or four kilometres before we came to the next passing lane. Most of the cars got free of the slow-motion driver then, but before I had chance the signs came up warning the passing lane was about to end. The car behind me flashed its headlights when I failed to overtake, but hell, I didn’t want to cause an accident or anything.

Soon after we were on a long straight and, though there was no passing lane, it was obviously safe to overtake. The car behind me shot by first, but I had the Lada up to its maximum one hundred and ten and reckoned I’d pass smoothly enough. Once I drew level with the slow bastard, I didn’t seem to be making any more progress, however. I checked the speedometer and the needle was still there, vibrating wildly over the ‘110.’ Yet I couldn’t complete the manouvre. Then a car loomed up on the horizon and swiftly approached, flashing its headlights at me as it did. I was slightly ahead of the other vehicle by then and decided to risk it. A cold sweat broke on my forehead as I cut in front, half-expecting to clip it, wondering if the next instant might find me flying through the windscreen. Mercifully it didn’t, but the other car was right there in my rear-vision mirror with its headlights on full beam, and that’s where it remained, two blazing headlights in the middle of the afternoon.

After a while the gap between our cars opened, gradually at first, then suddenly the other vehicle became a mere spec in the distance, as though the driver had decided the game was over. Even as I was observing this there came a blue flash up ahead, and next thing a white police car swung out from behind a cluster of bushes.

I drove very conservatively after getting that speeding ticket. I didn’t care less that it was going to cost me a hundred dollars. It was more the humiliation; the sheer humiliation of the slow-motion driver going past at about sixty again, laughing his stupid-looking head off at me.

At the next town there was an intersection where you could continue going north or take the other road west toward the coast. I found myself pulling away from the general flow of traffic and heading west. I still didn’t know where I was going, only that I had to keep going. What the hell, it was my life, my car, my money that paid for the petrol. Why shouldn’t I just drive off into nowhere if that’s what I wanted to do?

No sooner was I out of the town and back onto the open road than a big black Falcon came out of a driveway and just moved in front of me. I mean, I was already up to eighty or so, and this guy just cruised out doing about twenty. He didn’t even make an attempt to speed up or anything. I gave him a blast on the horn, impulsively, and knew right away what a mistake that was. A tattooed arm came out of the driver’s window and stuck its middle finger in the air. So I ended up trapped behind the guy doing about seventy in a one hundred kilometre per hour zone. There were regular dips and bends in the road, and no opportunity to overtake arose until about five kilometres on. Wouldn’t you believe it though, this bastard refused to get out of the passing lane, and when I moved into the slow lane the big Falcon rumbled noisily and sped off ahead.

Not long after that we came up behind a double-trailer sheep truck, which kept us at about sixty until the next passing lane. Of course, the bastard in front of me drew level with the front trailer and stayed there until the signs came up warning the passing lane was about to end. Only then did he motor past it.

“To hell with the signs,” I muttered angrily to myself. Where had the rules ever got me? But as I started to accelerate the truck swerved into the fast lane to prevent me overtaking.

I supposed it would have been reckless to pass then. It was just that the Falcon had got me so mad. This truck driver was quite the bastard too. There were a few places further along where he could have moved over a little to let me pass. But he didn’t, and I had to follow that dusty, stinking sheep truck all the way to the next town.

It pulled into a service station and at last I was free. I needed petrol myself but had no intention of stopping there. You never knew how people were going to react these days. The truck driver might pull out a crowbar and smash it over my skull or something. You heard about those kinds of things on the news. It was a fair distance to the next service station as well, and I fretted those last few kilometres as the fuel gauge dipped below empty. The Lada kept droning along regardless, and somehow I made it, much to my relief.

By nightfall I was out on the coast, driving along a narrow shingle road. I hadn’t seen another vehicle since the last town an hour or so earlier, where I’d filled the tank for the second time that day. I didn’t have enough money on me to fill it again. Even if the thought of returning to the town had appealed to me now, I couldn’t have gone back. But it didn’t. I had a sense that time was liquid and I was already looking back on my life as I lived it. And nothing mattered anyway, because I’d never existed at all.

At first it was peaceful, being alone on the road like this, with no people around to drive me insane. But peaceful was too easy. Memories conspired against it. How they’d all laugh if they could see me now, fleeing in my Lada. They were all up there in the darkness of the sky, sort of pecking down at me with contempt, triumphant because they had driven me to this.

Two yellow dots appeared in the distance and the hostile faces kept pecking down at me. I was selfish, rude, an inconsiderate bastard. I was a weirdo who rammed his views down people’s throats. . . ‘ The dots became yellow circles, racing toward me, and I was racing toward them, my foot hard on the accelerator. The silver rim of the horizon was the finish line and I was almost there.

The faces kept pecking down at me savagely, two yellow circles blazed. The sky was a star-spangled banner, waving me on toward the finish line. The flagman screamed hoarsely at me; a supernatural matador in a horror movie, then with a blast like a rifle shot the whole world spun abruptly over and an unbelievable force ripped through my body. The stars and stripes were in flames all around me. The used car salesman was giving me the ridiculous notion-chuckle because the warranty wasn’t going to be covering this one. But what did I care? I’d arrived at the finish line and the challenge was gone.

My Cape Times (South Africa) articles

8/12/15

 

REMOVE THE MYTH OF ORGANISED TERRORISM

 

IF YOU want to understand what’s really going on in the Middle East, start by removing the myth of organised terrorism.

As British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the House of Commons shortly before his death in 2005: “There is no terrorist group called al-Qaeda. The country behind this propaganda is the US.” “Al-Qaeda” is likely no more than a name applied to any violent attack on Westerners carried out by radicalised Muslims anywhere.

The self-styled Islamic State (IS), meanwhile, bears all the hallmarks of a false flag operation. Their weapons and vehicles are American, their uniforms belong in a martial arts movie and Hollywood studios couldn’t have done a more professional job of their videos. Even if we accept the standard narrative, what purpose would terrorist attacks on foreign soil serve? The powder keg was created when Britain and France drew up the Middle East’s borders after World War I.

This was done irrespective of ethnic and religious boundaries. The major divide runs between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

The latter are the majority in only a few countries, notably Iran and Iraq. Syria has a Sunni majority but its leadership is Alawite, a minority sect closer to Shia. This is the basis of the conflict there.

Another fault line runs through the region in terms of secular government and religion.

The US is inclined to back theocracies and dictatorships over democratic governments. In the 1980s, for example, the US backed the Mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan, helping to bring down a progressive socialist government and create the Taliban. The US returned following the 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers. Only, this time they were fighting the Taliban, who they accused of harbouring terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. Fourteen years later, the US and the Taliban are still there in spite of the fact that Bin Laden was apparently killed in 2011.

Meanwhile, work is about to begin on a pipeline which will transport gas out of Central Asia to the Indian Ocean – via Afghanistan; which has been on the agenda ever since the break-up of the USSR. The US also tends to side with its Sunni allies against the Shia countries.

The US supported Iraq’s Sunni minority leadership in its vicious eight-year war on Iran in the 1980s. This followed the 1979 Revolution in Iran, which removed the Shah and ended US control. In 1953 the CIA orchestrated the overthrow of Iran’s first democratic government after it nationalised the oil industry. But in 1991, when Saddam Hussein tore up the post-World War I borders to “reclaim” Kuwait, US invaded Iraq. The second invasion 12 years later was based on false intelligence and has led to an estimated one million deaths. This conflict has also yet to reach its conclusion, even though Hussein was hanged nine years ago. A similar fate awaited Colonel Muammar Gaddafi who, during a 42-year-reign as Libya’s leader, had transformed the country into one of the most prosperous on the continent. But he eventually ran foul of the US, his country was invaded, Gaddafi was savagely murdered, and the turmoil has divided Libya and spread to Mali.

Syria does not have the vast oil reserves of Iraq and Libya. But, like Afghanistan, it offers a direct route for a lucrative gas pipeline. President Bassar al-Assad, one of the few Middle East leaders remaining outside US control, has refused to authorise such a project. The US and its allies have created a proxy war in Syria by arming and training anti-government rebels and continuing to do so even when it became apparent some had turned to terrorism. IS, mythical or otherwise, thus served as the pretext for direct military intervention. But efforts to remove Assad have been foiled by Russia which has so far bombed both the rebels and terrorists with far greater efficiency than the Nato cabal combined.

Aside from those wishing to see Sunni majority rule in Syria, Israel has a border dispute with Damascus over the Golan Heights. A large amount of oil has recently been discovered in the area. The Jewish state’s security is paramount to the US. It does not appear to be of much concern that Israel is carrying out periodic massacres of its native Palestinian population. US support for Israel, and its manipulation of religious and political divisions to further its imperial designs, are the basis of these conflicts.

 

3/12/15

 

LANGUAGES BRING OUT THE WORST IN PEOPLE by Quentin Poulsen

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Nelson Mandela presumably intended this in the figurative sense, for such was the manner in which he approached his role as South Africa’s first black president. It ought also to be true from a literal perspective, though this is not always the case anymore.

My first experience in a non-English speaking environment was in Paris, where my ‘Parles vouz Anglais?” tended to be met with a blunt “Non!” or “A leetle, a leetle” – followed by almost fluent English.

The French, in particular, get a bad rap when it comes to languages. In fact, I have come to realise they have the right attitude. It would be arrogant and misguided to expect everyone to speak English wherever one traveled. Moreover, it would detract from the adventure and cultural benefits involved.

During my brief stay in Paris I picked up a few useful phrases which remain with me to this day. I am grateful, too, that in Spain I had no choice but to learn the language, so that after five years in that country I had reached an efficient level – as had been my objective from the outset. In this manner I gained a deeper understanding of Spanish society and culture.

As English speakers we have long been derided for our failure to learn other languages. But step outside Western Europe today and as often as not the reverse is the case. We are actually expected to speak English now, and will be derided if we don’t.

Due largely to American domination of international business and entertainment, English has become the new ‘Lingua Franca.’ Everybody almost everywhere really wants to learn it, and they may even become offended if denied their opportunity to practice.

I supposed my experience in other parts of the world would be similar to those in Spain and France. If anything, I had assumed it would be even more necessary to learn the vernacular in a region beyond the EU borders. How mistaken I was.

My first fumbling attempts to speak a local language in the Middle East were invariably responded to in English, as often as not of a rudimentary nature itself. Perhaps they were only trying to be helpful. But as a result my speaking improved at a faster rate than my listening comprehension, which was very slow to develop.

It reached the point where I was able to make fairly complicated sentences yet still received replies in English.  Entire conversations were held in which I spoke nothing but the local language and the locals spoke nothing but English.

Vestiges of the bargaining culture remain in this region. A battle of the wills lies just beneath the surface in many aspects of day to day life. Nothing is conceded without a struggle. I needed to develop a strategy.

I tried telling people I was German, but after encountering a few German-speaking locals, who blew my cover, I changed this to Danish (the mother tongue of my father, though I know only a few words).

Few believed me, however, and my persistence with the local language now tended to be met with a brooding silence and suspicious frown. Sign language and gestures were used, calculators held up to show prices, while some merely continued in English – only louder, as though my problem were hearing. Anything, it seemed, but actually speak their own language.

On one occasion a security guard bellowed a nationalist slogan at me – in English – because I had spoken to him in the local vernacular.

Slowly, painstakingly, I have progressed in spite of it all, and at every step another dimension to this bizarre enigma has presented itself.

Though actually more common in underdeveloped countries, multilingualism may be regarded as an academic quality in first world nations, where it is generally acquired through higher education. For this reason, no doubt, many are keen to show off their linguistic skills – however basic.

But if they are showing off, it is more than likely they will assume you are doing the same, regardless of your reasons for learning another language. This may also apply to English speakers themselves, of course. Jealousy brings out the worst in people, and languages have a tendency to bring out the jealousy.

 

22/11/15

THE IGNORANCE OF THE DUMBED DOWN by Quentin Poulsen

First allow me to apologise. As a youth I supported my country’s sporting ties with South Africa during the Apartheid era. Of course, I never supported Apartheid itself. But as I once told my Ghanaian friend, an exchange student employed at the factory I worked in, I would have supported these ties equally had the black and white roles been reversed. For this he thanked me, explaining he had come to New Zealand to meet ignorant people.

Yes I was ignorant, though not only about Apartheid and the importance of boycotts to bring about change. I was also ignorant about my own country. During my schooling I learnt not one thing about its native people, not one thing about their history and culture, not one word of their language.

I was unaware, for example, that the native population had been reduced by about half soon after the arrival of Europeans. Some estimates put the figure much higher. This was the result of war and disease, mostly, and provides a mirror image of ethnic cleansing in other European colonies, such as North America, where it has come to be regarded as genocide.

Not so in New Zealand. Maori academic Keri Opai was accused of ‘trivializing the Holocaust’ in 2012 for drawing a comparison between the plight of the Jews in Nazi Germany and that of the indigenous people during the colonisation of New Zealand. Former Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia had sparked a similar outcry in 2000 by also using the term ‘Holocaust.’

Instead it has become fashionable for the term ‘genocide’ to be be applied to the actions of the native people themselves. But the extent of carnage during the inter-tribal Musket Wars and Chatham Islands massacre owed to the acquisition of modern weapons. And this was entirely strategical, as the British proceeded to settle lands thus made ’empty.’

What does appear certain is a cultural genocide followed and continued through most of the 20th century, with Maori values largely ignored by mainstream media. State television was unrivalled in New Zealand for three decades, from the early 1960s until the end of the 1980s – by which time the average New Zealander was watching more than twenty hours of television per week. Not until the 1980s, when a five minute Maori news segment was introduced, was there any significant native language content.  Meanwhile, speaking Maori had been banned in schools until the mid-1970s, while in 1984 a telephone operator was demoted for her use of the Maori greeting ‘Kia ora.’

Of course, the great post-War migration to the cities had already created a decline in the use of the native language. English was the language of schools and the work place, as well as the media. The Maori had no choice but to adapt to European society, and by the 1980s fewer than 20% were considered to be fluent in their own language. Thus they became alienated from their own culture, and not surprisingly they have remained rooted to the bottom of the socio-economic scale. Maori today comprise 15% of New Zealand’s population yet account for more than half its male prisoners and more than 60% of its female prisoners.

The media and education institutions effectively buried indigenous culture. New Zealanders were ‘dumbed down’ to the same extent as North Americans and Australians on natives issues. They received the same cowboy movies, the same television dramas dominated by sophisticated whites and the same reality crime shows dominated by non-white villains. And there have been the same diversions – sports, celebrity gossip and male-bashing that has nothing to do with feminism.

This was the society I grew up in; a denialist culture obsessed with its own image but which had failed to come to terms with its past. Therein lay the problem. An air of insincerity, or selective morality, accompanied the whole anti-Springbok tour movement, for those pointing their fingers elsewhere were quite contentedly inhabiting a nation with its own unresolved issues. It was this which grated with my juvenile sensitivies,

We may well recall the unprecedented demonstrations against South Africa’s 1981 rugby tour of New Zealand, but will we also remember the packed stadiums and the multitudes watching the games on state television? New Zealand was divided down the middle, the media played both sides of the issue, and clearly there were as many people in favour of the tour as there were against it.

Although the controversy had made me cognizant of the Apartheid issue in the early 1980s, I knew nothing of the genocide being carried out on the much closer island of Timor at the very same time, and neither was I aware of the Lebanon War nor the Sabra and Shatila massacre of Palestinian refugees. Meanwhile, New Zealand played FIFA World Cup qualifiers against both Indonesia and Israel without a murmur of protest.

 

17/11/15

 

The Age of Barbarity by Quentin Poulsen

When we look back on the horrors of the past, the genocide of native peoples, the quashing of culture, the colonisation of stolen land, there is a tendancy to attribute such crimes to the ignorance, blind obedience and incapacity of the general populace. In this way we disconnect and render ourselves immune from any real sense of guilt and responsibility. We live in more ‘civilized’ times, we assure ourselves. The age of barbarity is behind us.

But is there really any difference between the crimes of the past and those of today? Multitudes have perished as the result of wars in the Middle East, for example. Countless more have been wounded, displaced, bereaved of loved ones and otherwise traumatised. The American occupation of Afghanistan is the longest foreign war in US history. Conflicts resulting from the invasion of Iraq have endured almost as long. That invasion, in violation of the United Nations Security Council and opposed by most of the world, was proved to be based on a falsity – even before it began.

Is the US not, therefore, behaving in much the same way as the white settlers did following their arrival in the Americas? But still we look on impassively, just as our forebears did two and three centuries ago. This is not the result of ignorance and blind obedience, for all the information is available to us, and if we are incapacitated it is only because we have failed to make a stand.

America’s involvement in the Vietnam war during the sixties and seventies led to one of the biggest anti-war movements in history. Multitudes took part in demonstrations all across the nation, regularly clashing with police. Celebrities got involved, politicians got involved, and finally even the veterans themselves got involved. Why no such reaction to the United States’ actions in the Middle East today? Is it only because the draft has göne, and that far fewer Americans are returning home in body-bags? Or is it simply that the West has become desensitised? Could it be that such conflicts now appear as little more than reality TV shows, brought to us almost daily by the news channels, invariably with our own government’s slant on the issue?

Does Israel’s ongoing colonisation of Palestine not provide a mirror image of the ethnic cleansing which occurred in North America two and three centuries ago? Yet the United States sends Israel billions of dollars in ‘aid’ each year; a substantial portion of which is used for the purchase of weapons. Is the US not, therefore, knowingly and deliberately repeating its crimes against its own native population?

It has taken Americans several generations to come to terms with their past. How many generations more before they come to terms with the present? Probably, only when the last living witness has returned to molecular form, and all possible gain has been extracted by the perpetrator, will society as a whole ever be ready to come to terms with its crimes. By then it will be too late, of course, and those looking back from the future will undoubtedly dismiss it as the result of ignorance, blind obedience and the incapacity of the general populace. They will regard it as having occurred in an age less civilised; an age of barbarity.

America’s junior partner in the ‘Coalition of the Killing’ has never really been held accountable for its many crimes in the past, and for this reason, no doubt, Britain has gone on behaving in much the same way.

The ‘Great War’ was not a battle for ‘freedom and democracy.’ It was the culmination of the European scramble for colonies during the decline of the Ottoman Empire, and in this respect Britain was very much to the fore. It led directly to an even greater catastrophe two decades later, just as soon as a new generation of sacrificial lambs had been raised for the fighting. But the scramble for colonies has continued unabated.

So how is Britain’s involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq any different to its actions of a century ago – except that it now rides along on America’s coat-tails?  Is Britain not, therefore, knowingly and deliberately repeating its crimes of the imperial age?

And still no bad guys?  We all know the villains of the Nazi regime. Many have been convicted and punished, as have various black African leaders and figures from the Yugoslav Wars. How many Britons have been brought to trial for their crimes? Who has been made accountable for the genocides in Australia and New Zealand, the massacres in India and North Africa, and the concentration camps in South Africa and Kenya?

Some will assure you they know all this, that they learnt it at school – presumably due to the liberal nature of their society and its education system. But they will do so with an air of superiority which is itself a relic of the imperial age. And they may do so with a defensive edge to their tone; warning that, while they themselves are cognizant of such matters, it would be impermissable for others to claim any insight. And they may tell you, also, that it was all due to the ignorance, the blind obedience and the incapacity of the general populace; that these are more civilized times, and the age of barbarity is behind us.

 

7/11/2015

 

DEMOGRAPHIC SHIFT LEADS TO ALL BLACKS’ SUPREMACY

New Zealand’s success in professional rugby owes in large part to its Pacific Island influence, though this is the result not of poaching but of a substantial change in demographics over the past several decades.

Tens of thousands of Samoans and Tongans took advantage of more relaxed immigration policies from the 1960s onward to seek a better life in New Zealand. In rugby terms this came to fruition in the late-80s and early-90s, forming a happy intersection with the advent of the World Cup and the professional age.

The Kiwi rugby landscape had presented a somewhat different view in the amateur era. The Maori influence had been significant from the outset, with Thomas Rangiwahia Ellison captaining New Zealand’s first official rugby team to Australia in 1893, and George Nepia playing every game on the ‘Invincible’ All Blacks’ unbeaten 32-match tour of the Northern Hemisphere in the mid-1920s to earn his place among the game’s ‘immortals.’

Indeed, the sport has been credited with contributing to the integration of native and ‘Pakeha’ (white) New Zealanders. But there were seldom more than a few Maori players in All Blacks teams.

Meanwhile, the All Blacks’ winning average was significantly lower than it has been in the professional era, at about 66%, and it was South Africa, in particular, which posed a problem for the New Zealanders.

The Springboks were unbeaten in a series throughout the entire first half of the twentieth century and maintained superior head-to-head records against allcomers – including the All Blacks.

They won a series in New Zealand in 1937, Danie Craven’s revolutionary dive-passing at halfback catching the Kiwis by surprise, then whitewashed the touring All Blacks 4-0 in 1949, prop Okey Geffin, a former WWII POW, proving the difference with his boot. New Zealand were not to avenge the former ignominy until the professional age, and have yet to redress the latter.

Although the All Blacks won the final series of the amateur era between the two nations in 1981, played in New Zealand, they were somewhat fortunate to do so; Allan Hewson landing the match-winning penalty in stoppage time of the decider, thus bringing to an end one of the most dramatic and controversial contests in sporting history.

Just a few years later a ‘rebel’ team of New Zealanders toured South Africa after a court injunction had prevented the official side from doing so. The ‘Cavaliers’ were well-beaten, not because one or two of their best players had declined to join them, but because they simply had no answer to the brilliance of Naas Botha, Danie Gerber and Carel du Plessis in the Springbok backline.

It is a salient point, for the New Zealand game had long been forward-oriented, evolving in the typically wet and muddy conditions of the nation’s winters. There were a few game-breakers, of course; notably Bryan Williams – one of the first Samoans to play for New Zealand – Stu Wilson and John Kirwan. But by and large the standard was mediocre in comparison to the Springboks,’ and no match either for the dazzling genius of Australia’s David Campese.

South Africa, meanwhile, had posed a problem for New Zealand in more ways than one. Not until the 1970s were non-white players eligible to tour the Republic. George Nepia, among others, was therefore excluded from the All Blacks’ 1928 squad, and neither were Maori players considered in 1949 or 1960.

This affront, combined with the game’s steadfast adherence to the amateur regulations, led to increasing numbers of Polynesians turning to the 13-man code, particularly in the metropolitan centres of Auckland and Wellington. A virtual non-factor prior to the 1980s, rugby league was to emerge as a fierce rival to the ‘national sport’ by the end of that decade. Indeed, league’s poaching raids on rugby union began to decimate the parent code and were undoubtedly a key factor in its belated transition to professionalism in the mid-1990s.

In fact, the amateur ethos had already begun to slip in various parts of the rugby union-playing world, and by the late 1980s it would be realistic to suggest many players were getting ‘looked after.’ Thus the term “Shamateur” entered the sport’s vernacular. Coupled with the increasing isolation of South Africa, this appeared to stem the flow to league somehwat (though not the poaching), and the 15-man game’s popularity received a huge shot in the arm when New Zealand romped to victory at the inaugural World Cup in 1987.

Among the heroes of that World Cup-winning All Blacks squad was Samoan flanker Michael Niko Jones, who scored New Zealand’s first try at the tournament and also touched down in the final. Bruising centre Joe Stanley was another in the team of Samoan extraction.

Just two years later the All Blacks selected a burly Samoan youth by the name of Va’aiga Lealuga Tuigamala. ‘Inga the Winger’ ran his hulking 110kg frame up and down the flanks for New Zealand, pulverising everything in his path on the way to scoring 61 points in 39 games.

The dye was cast: Pacific Islanders began popping up in All Blacks teams with increasing regularity, notably in the back row and outside backs – thereby not only allaying the Kiwis’ shortcomings in the latter department but transforming it into a decisive advantage. No player demonstrated this in more spectacular fashion than giant winger Jonah Lomu, of Tongan extraction, who took the 1995 World Cup by storm as a mere 20-year-old.

The All Blacks were beaten by a determined home-team in the final that year, but have since turned the tables on the Springboks entirely, winning 34 matches to 12 over the past two decades to lead the all-time series 52-33. They have improved their overall winning average to 76% (85% in the pro era) with superior head-to-head records against all opposition.

Today almost a third of the All Blacks’ 31-man squad is of Pacific Island origin, though all but three of them are New Zealand born and raised. That’s not to say poaching of Pacific Island rugby talent is not an issue. By all accounts it does go on, especially at schoolboys level. But it is no longer a significant factor at international level, and far more New Zealand-born players are actually turning out for island teams these days than the other way around.

Ends

Native Culture a Casualty of Urbanization

Today more than half the world’s people live in major cities. In industrialized nations the figure is generally much higher, between 70 and 90%. The mechanization of farming and other rural-based industries has resulted in mass migration to the metropolitan centers over the past few generations, as families and individuals have pursued the increasing opportunities for education and employment, along with a more comfortable and attractive existence,

One side-effect of this has been the loss of traditional culture and identity. Those who live in the major cities are no longer adhering to the values of any particular nation or ethnicity. Rather they have been absorbed into a uniform ‘global culture’ which transcends borders, oceans and continents and is homogenous to metropolitan centers all over the planet. The lifestyles of citizens in Johannesburg, New York, Istanbul and Paris have more in common than they do with those of the people in the provinces of their own respective nations.

And probably the biggest casualty has been native culture. Even after the colonial invasions, the genocide and the land-theft, some vestiges of the indigenous way of life remained. Initially the newcomers lived side-by-side with the communities they had conquered, observing them in their natural habitat, trading with them and learning something of their languages. If nothing else, they at least understood them.

But with the exodus to the cities they left all that behind. In the ‘global culture’ of the metropolis they would learn about the US and Europe and begin to adopt their values. Schools would provide them with a European education; while the entertainment industry would brainwash them to think and behave like Americans. Native culture was by and large ignored, and thereby swiftly forgotten. And Neither was any of this an accident on the part of the powers-that-be.

An alternative image of the indigenous community was presented. Native peoples, less inclined toward the Euro-American lifestyle of the cities, tended to be slower to join the exodus, and would arrive belatedly like foreigners in their own country – no longer masters of their own habitat, but a strange, maladjusted minority – the drinker and the smoker, the cheater and the wife-beater, the gangster and the thief. These became the traits of the stereotypical urban native; conveyed ad infinitum by the media and entertainment industries.

This cultural genocide continued even as the former colonies were starting to acknowledge the crimes of the past (a scenario which invariably occurs only once all those responsible are dead and out of the way). In this manner native culture was buried by the urbanization process, and eventually the natives themselves began to forget their own heritage, so that a conscious effort has been required in order to revive it,

Twin Islands

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B010KQAVTI/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_PrpKvb1NY9WV5

­­­­Twin Islands

by Quentin Poulsen

Part One

Bob gazed at the long wooden table before covering it with the embroidered cloth. That table had been made from trees, he thought; which trees had grown in the forest. And the cloth he was covering it with was woven from fiber; which fiber had been part of a plant. But why did this occur to him now?  He had eaten at that same table for as long as he could remember.

The silverware in place, Bob took his usual seat, opposite his brother and adjacent to his father, who occupied one end of the dining room table. His mother would occupy the other, once she had served up the food. It had always been that way. But it would not be so again for some time to come. And on this occasion they had guests; Uncle Oscar and Aunt Rachel to Bob’s left; Uncle Roger and Aunt Helen to the right of his brother.

Bob’s mother had instructed him to use the best silverware, and even the TV in the corner was off for a change. He ran his thumb along the serrated blade of a knife and gazed at his own reflection. The words ‘Stainless Steel’ were etched into one side. Was there any such thing as ‘real’ silverware? He wondered.

His brother they referred to as ‘Roj,’ to avoid confusion with his uncle, while he himself was known as ‘Bob,’ to avoid confusion with his father, Robert Schuster Senior. There had always been Roberts on his father’s side of the family, going back generations. But the fact his brother shared the same name as his uncle was pure coincidence. They were, at least, spared the additional complication of Aunt Helen being named after her mother, for Bob’s sole surviving grandparent had suffered a stroke that year and was no longer able to leave the nursing home.

Bob watched his father carve the turkey, placing the bird on the platter breast-side up, steadying it with the two-pronged fork, cutting downward with quick, firm strokes. The meat came away in tender slices; the flesh of a bird which, just a few days before, had run about on a farm. The wine was poured, a Californian dry white, and his father made the first toast.

“Another member of the Schuster household on the conveyer belt to success – with the best education money can buy: To my eldest, Robert Schuster Junior!”

They all knocked glasses together, smiling kindly, eyes glistening with pleasure. ‘Here’s to you, Bob…’ ‘To yir education…’ ‘To yir future career, son…’ ‘Here’s to yir success…’

“Be a good ambassador fir yir country,” Uncle Oscar told him, a porcelain gleam to his smile. “Don’t get caught up in any a that rebelry or revelry now. You got the family honor to uphold.”

“Study hard, dear, an’ don’t break any rules,” Aunt Rachel added. “This is a stepping stone to yir future career.”

Uncle Roger’s corpulent features beamed across the table. “And which career are ya plannin’ to go into, young feller?”

“Oh, Roger!” his wife remonstrated. “Don’t you remember?”

“Media Management  and Middle Eastern History,” replied Bob. “I wanna be a TV journalist.”

“Sounds like an adventure.” His uncle’s balding head nodded.

“Good salary to be made thir, Bobby,” Oscar pointed out. “You’ll need to work yir way up to one a them prime networks, a course.”

“That won’t be a problem,” Robert Schuster Senior assured him. “The boy’s bright as beans. He can be anythin’ he wants to be, so long as he sets his mind to it.”

Aunt Rachel’s eyes appeared magnified behind the red-rimmed spectacles. Her hair was dyed auburn, cheeks shining with make-up, she was as colorful as a cartoon character. And the rosy scent of her perfume pervaded the air. “Maybe he’ll go into politics someday,” she suggested. “Jest like his gran’paw, God rest his soul.”

“Another fine family tradition thir,” Oscar agreed. “Senator in the state legislature, an’ his cousin Josh was governor.”

“An’ both as corrupt as hell!” Uncle Roger chortled through a mouthful of roast potato. “Wasn’t ol’ Earl impeached or somethin?'”

Large eyes rolled behind the red-rimmed glasses. “He was acquitted on all charges. They never proved a thing.”

“Maybe so, but he had to leave office. Fled the state too.”

“What medication are you on, Roger!? He retired of his own free will and live’ peacefully in Florida for the rest of ‘is days.”

Uncle Oscar wagged a fork at his brother-in-law. “Now, you know what they say. Never speak ill a the dead.”

Bob’s attention was drawn to a subtle change in his paternal uncle’s hair, about level with the top of his ears. It became straighter, shinier too.  For a moment he was unable to remove his eyes. “I’m not sure politics is fir me. Least, I’d rather write about it than be involved in it.”

Uncle Roger nodded again. “Good fir you, Bobster! An’ how ’bout yir brother? What are you gonna become,’ young feller?”

Roj shrugged as he chewed his food, right cheek bulging. “Maybe I’ll be a stand-up comedian or somethin.'”

This was greeted with chuckles of surprise. Spectacles glinted beneath the electric lights, porcelain teeth gleamed, make-up shone, dyed hair glistened.

“Why in God’s name would you wanna be a stand-up comedian?” Oscar asked.

“Jest made y’all laugh, didn’t I?”

“Only ‘cos yir idea’s ridiculous!”

Roj piled more turkey onto his plate. “All the best comedians are fat. Look at John Candy.”

“Now that’s not true, son. Seinfield ain’t fat.”

“Ain’t funny neither.”

“Funniest man alive! Don’t argue. Besides, you ain’t fat like John Candy. Yir jest heavy-boned.”

“Chip off the ol’ block!” Robert Schuster Senior patted his youngest on the head. “Offensive lineman on the high school team, jest like I was. Gonna be a doctortoo. Don’t listen to any a this fool’s talk. He’ll grow out of it.”

They all chuckled again – all except Roj himself, who was too busy stuffing more food into his mouth.

The plates were no sooner cleared than Bob’s mother emerged from the kitchen with the apple pie, clutching the sides of the oven dish with a pair of white gloves. He gazed at the pie as she laid it on the table before them; the steaming pastry and fragments of apples protruding. Those apples had once been a growing, breathing part of the environment, he thought. The butter and milk had come from a cow; the eggs from a chicken.

“That’s what I call a fine American dinner!” Uncle Roger crowed. “You gone to an awful lotta trouble fir us, Julie.”

“Oh, it was nothin,'” she replied, though she’d spent the whole afternoon preparing it.

Following dessert, they all progressed through to the living room and sat in front of the big TV. The men drank beer; the women coffee or wine – Aunt Helen’s red, while Uncle Oscar and Aunt Rachel lit cigarettes and proceeded to fill the room up with smoke. On one wall hung the Stars and Stripes beside a framed portrait of the president; on another photographs of the boys: Bob with the various medals he’d won at state swimming meets; Roj in his navy blue football uniform. Above the TV hung a figure of Jesus on a cross, silver pewter on polished wood.

The wide, flat screen flickered to life with an image of wavy hair, bushy sideburns, a stiff white collar and copious jewelry. The shoulders shook, the hips gyrated. ‘Vivaaaa, Las Vegas! Vivaaaa, Las Vegas . . . !’

“Ya know, this movie grossed over two billion,” Uncle Oscar pointed out. “One in ten Americans saw it in the first few weeks alone.”

“It’s sure to sweep the awards,” said Aunt Rachel beside him. “Can’t wait till nex’ Sunday. The awards are always a highlight a the year!”

Uncle Roger’s bald head shook slowly. “Naw, this guy’s no good. Don’t look like Elvis; don’t sing like ‘im neither. Not sure what all the fuss is about.”

“Kind a tough to play ‘the King,’ Roger,” Bob’s mother suggested. “I mean, nobody sang like Elvis.”

“You know, I doubt he even sang all those songs himself. He certainly never wrote any of ’em.”

“Who claimed he was a song-writer?” Bob’s father inquired. “Elvis inspired millions, jest the same. This movie’s a tribute to a genuine American hero.”

“You ought a feel proud, Roger!” Aunt Rachel chided him.

“S’pose y’all believe he was a regular GI, too.”

Uncle Oscar winced at him, stubbing out his cigarette in a glass ashtray. “What medication are you on, Roger? Everyone knows Elvis served in the army. It was all over the news. You sayin’ the TV an’ papers were ‘lyin” to us?”

They all laughed at him then, and Aunt Rachel added: “You’ll see, Roger. It’ll sweep the awards.”

Bob’s eyes wandered to the photos on the wall, the flag and the silver figure of Jesus. From there his attention was drawn to a jagged crack in the skirting board above them. He hadn’t noticed it before. What would happen if it got bigger? he wondered. Might the whole ceiling just cave in?

“More violence in the Middle East,” a gorgeous news presenter announced, smiling radiantly out of the screen.

“Yir boy keepin’ safe over thir?” Bob’s father inquired.

“Eric’s jest fine,” Uncle Oscar assured them. “Stationed up north. This is all goin’ on in the south, roun’ the capital. We spoke to him Tuesday by phone.”

“Wish Paw could a lived to see it. Would a made ‘im proud to see yir boy servin’ over thir.”

“Yir boys goin’ in for military service?”

“Hell, no!” Roj shook his head. “TV sceen’s close enough fir me. I don’t wanna end up in a wheelchair like Gran’paw.”

“Yir gran’paw fought fir ‘yir’ freedom,” Aunt Rachel chided him. “Don’t ya wanna do yir duty too – like a good American?”

Uncle Oscar concurred. “Y’ought a be proud, Roj. Yir gran’paw was a genuine American hero.” He transferred his frown to Bob. “An’ how ’bout you, son? Not afraid, are ya?”

“Of what? We’re jest bombin’ ’em from the sky.”

“The kid’s right,” said Uncle Roger, seated in the armchair on the far side of the room. “What in hell are our troops doin’ over thir anyhow?”

“Defendin’ our freedom,” Uncle Oscar shot back. “Thir’s a tyrant over thir that’s gotta be got rid of. TV, papers, all say the same thing. America could be threatened.”

Aunt Helen scoffed. “You men are such warmongers! If it were left to us women, thir wouldn’t be no wars.”

“Ain’t that the truth!” Bob’s mother crowed, refilling the wine glasses. “All the same, God bless America fir keepin’ us safe.'”

“God bless America!” They all raised their glasses to the toast.

As Bob’s mother knocked glasses with her sister, a splash of the red liquid escaped and landed on the carpet. The mark it made on the cream-colored fabric resembled the shape of a dragon. But his mother merely smiled as she fetched a cloth and detergent from the kitchen; radiant as the news presenter on TV; and proceeded to rub away until the stain was reduced to the faintest pink tinge. Though still it remained, Bob observed; more like some winged parasite than a dragon now.

The commercials continued; rugged men and beer; the very brand they were drinking; sexy women and sports cars. Bob breathed in the smoke and watched Uncle Oscar adjusting the top his hair. His father cracked open another can.

It was approaching midnight when the guests got up to leave. Hugs and handshakes were exchanged as they all wished Bob the best. He was relieved to see them go. The excitement had given him a headache, and he needed to get a good night’s sleep, for his journey would begin the following day.

“Best take some a those painkillers ya maw uses,” his father advised him.

“Those are fir migraines,” she pointed out. “You think he ought a be usin’ ’em?”

“I’m a doctor, honey. Remember?”

“You’re an ‘oncologist,’ dear.”

“Trained in medicine all the same. Now, the boy’s got a headache an’ those things’ll get rid of it fir sure.”

“It’s bad,” Bob groaned, rubbing his temples. “Maybe I jest need a lie down.'”

“How many cans you have? Two? Three?”

“Two. And a glass a wine at dinner.”

“Take a couple of ’em pills,” his father insisted. “Won’t do ya any harm.”

Bob went through to the bathroom and located his mother’s migraine pills in a corner of the medicine cabinet. They were long and rubbery, and had a faint, tangy taste when he swallowed them. The headache continued to hammer away for ten or fifteen minutes as he lay on his bed, then slowly; mercifully, it began to recede. Images floated through his mind: a red, white and blue flag, a navy football uniform, a silver Jesus on a wooden cross, a jagged crack in the skirting board, a dragon-shaped stain on the carpet, the radiantly smiling presenter, bombs falling on the screen . . .

‘Another member of the Schuster household on the conveyer belt to success.’ He recalled his father’s words, as clearly as though they’d just been spoken again. ‘Study hard an’ don’t break any rules.’ His mother’s. ‘Sounds like an adventure.’ One of his uncle’s. ‘Good salary to be made thir.’ The other’s. ‘Maybe he’ll go into politics’ . . . ‘Another fine family tradition’ . . . ‘An’ both of ’em corrupt as hell’ . . . ‘What medication are you on?’ . . . ‘More violence in the Middle East’ . . . ‘Wish Paw could a lived to see it’ . . . ‘He fought for ‘yir’ freedom’ . . . ‘Yir gran’paw was a genuine American hero’ . . . ‘What medication are you on?’ . . . ‘Not afraid, are ya?’ . . . God bless America!’ . . . ‘God bless America! . . . ‘God bless America!’ . . .

Part Two

I

Waving farewell to his family, he joined the long queue at security check. It was the third line he’d waited in that morning; the slowest being at check-in, which had taken fully half an hour. And he would soon be required to queue up again, this time at passport control.

The officers went about their job more vigorously than on previous occasions, emptying his luggage onto a metal bench after it had passed through the scanner. His half-empty bottle of suntan lotion was tossed into a trash bin, as was his tube of toothpaste. ‘No liquids on board.’ The officers shook their heads and scowled. Things were getting tighter, of course; what, with terrorism on the news almost every day. The world was changing.

Down the long passage he continued, riding the moving walkway past the duty free stores, the fast food outlets and the coffeehouse chains. He’d had two large cups of sugary frappe already, while waiting with his family in the main foyer.

‘Gate 22.’ He sat down with the others. Some he recognized from the queues: the stocky guy in the red ‘Bulls’ T-shirt; the bespectacled fellow in the business suit; the overweight woman with the crying baby. It were as though he’d spent half the day with these people, progressing like livestock from one pen to another.

At twenty-past-twelve boarding commenced, right on schedule, and once more he found himself waiting in line. The young woman in the sky-blue uniform glanced at his ticket, smiled brightly and waved him through. He followed the other passengers down the loading bridge and into the cramped interior of the plane. Bob was truly on his way now.

His place was near the back on the left-hand-side, next to the window as requested. The seat beside him was soon occupied by the balding fellow in the business suit . He didn’t seem too interested in talking. In fact, he appeared decidedly nervous – increasingly so as the seatbelt signs chimed on and the plane began to roll across the tarmac.

The hostesses in their sky-blue uniforms demonstrated the safety procedures, smiling brightly, while an airy female voice gave instructions over the speaker system. Then the engines roared to life and the plane hurtled down the runway, building speed with startling resolve. Bob’s neighbor gripped the arms of his seat, eyes closed tight; a veritable specter in a gray suit and cardinal tie.

Now the plane left the ground and rose up swiftly. Bob gazed out the window in fascination as the view unfolded below. How different things looked from the air! Green and red roofs, cars moving along the roadways; those same roadways he had travelled along with his family just a few hours before; schools, parks and sports fields, then the entire suburb became visible.

The aircraft was wheeling around, making a turn for the left, so that Bob found himself staring straight down at the terrain below for a minute or two. He almost feared he might drop out of his seat, facing downward like that, gazing directly through the window. It was the plane’s own velocity that held him in place, of course.

Before long the sea loomed up beneath them, stark blue and white flecked, here and there the miniscule forms of sailing vessels. The plane continued its ascent, into the whiteness, and then they were through the clouds, with nothing to see outside but the puffy shapes below and the pale blue sky all around.

The clouds, when viewed from above, were perfectly flat, like a vast, sprawling duvet. It was a vision of heaven as he’d always imagined it – minus God and His angels, of course. Bob pictured himself wandering around down there. Naturally the clouds wouldn’t hold him. And, even if they would, he’d either freeze to death or suffocate for lack of oxygen within minutes.

The hostesses came by with the refreshments trolley, and the fellow in the suit ordered a whisky. Bob noticed the perspiration on his neck and jowls. He himself requested a cola. It came in a plastic cup with ice. A few gulps and it was gone; a sweet, sugary liquid that moistened his throat and cooled his belly – if only for a moment.

“So what takes you to Yenug?” his neighbor inquired, peering intensely at him, eyes magnified by the thick lenses of his spectacles.

Bob’s head spun. Where was the plane going? And why ‘was’ he going there? For an instant he could not recall. But then there came a break in the clouds, and everything was clear. “I’m goin’ a college.”

“Good luck with that, my friend. You know about the war, I assume . . . ”

Bob’s mind went blank again. “No, I ‘don’t’ know about any war. Is it serious?”

“Well, it’s nothin’ new, a course. They been at it since independence a century ago!”

This Bob could only contemplate in wonder. Why hadn’t anyone told him before? Were they really sending him into a ‘war zone?’ “How ’bout you?”

“Strictly business. In an’ out, quick as I can.”

Just then the plane began to jump around, buffeted by strong winds. The seatbelt signs chimed on, the hostesses retreated down the aisle with their trolley, and somewhere further back a baby started crying.

The balding fellow clutched his seat and closed his eyes, and when the plane dipped suddenly he actually let out a whimper. “The pilot knows what he’s doing. Nothing to worry about. The pilot knows what he’s doing.”

Another sudden dip, then the captain’s voice came over the speaker system, calmly advising they had encountered ‘heavy turbulence’ and were ‘looking for a way out of the wind current.’

For the next few minutes the only sound among the passengers was that of the baby crying; like the pitiful bleating of a lamb.  It were as if the infant had arrived in this world with some innate knowledge of all that was wrong with it, thought Bob, surprised at his own sense of gloom.

A few minutes later they were flying smoothly again, the seatbelt signs off, the hostesses rolling their trolley back down the aisle.

Bob’s neighbor ordered another whisky, before plugging in his earphones. “If you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll watch the movie.”

“Sure.” Bob turned back to the window, reflecting as he did that not once had the fellow glanced outside.

An hour or so into the flight he got up to use the toilet. A tall, crew-cut guy was already waiting. He grinned down at Bob with boyish enthusiasm, his teeth large and horse-like.  Around his neck he wore a silver necklace – thick as a dog-chain.

“First time to Yenug?”

“Yeh. You?”

“Third – sorta. I been stationed thir with the peacekeepin’ mission for the past year, but I get to go home every few months.”

“Yir a soldier?”

“Sure am.” The guy kept grinning, chewing his gum. “Seen active combat a couple a times, too. Yes, sir! Done my duty an’ won me a medal. Man, we sure took ’em son-of-a-bitches out!”

“Which ‘son-of-a-bitches?'”

“Zuks, a course! You got any idea what’s goin’ on thir?”

Bob felt the trepidation again. “Not really. Jest that thir’s a war or somethin.'”

Horsey teeth chuckled down. It seemed everyone was laughing at him that day. How could it be that he’d never heard about any of this before?

The toilet door popped open and a middle-aged woman emerged. The soldier paused a moment before entering, silver necklace sparkling in the light, the strong scent of mint on his breath.

“Listen, man, Yenug’s a cool place: fine people, wunnerful food. But stay away from them Zuks. Thir pure evil. They ain’t even human.”

When he returned to his place, Bob discovered his neighbor had fallen asleep; head tilted to one side, eyes closed, mouth wide open. He still had the earphones plugged in and the movie was continuing, while behind them the baby was crying; if not so loudly as before. Bob had no choice but to wake him, of course, shaking him gently by the shoulder. The fellow came to with a start, gazing around in confusion. But his expression slowly returned to normal he realized where he was.

Another hour and they were descending through the clouds, and the first thing Bob saw when they emerged from the whiteness was the densely forested terrain of Yenug Island. The other passengers chattered excitedly, though the infant, at least, had gone quiet.

“Hallelujah!” his neighbor cried. “Looks like we survived this one, huh. Thank God!”

II

Another long queue at passport control. It seemed one or two other flights had come in just before them, and there were merely a couple of officers on duty. Bob found himself toward the back of slowest line – with no minor amount of queue-jumping going on up ahead. On several occasions arguments broke out, and one dispute actually came to blows before the security guards intervened.

It was hot and stuffy inside the terminal; not a pleasant place to be at all. The walls were bare cement – except for the giant portrait of an elderly man in a yellow baseball cap above the main exit. Yellow caps were in vogue, Bob observed, gazing at the people around him.

Only when he was within a few places of the front did two more officers arrive to assist their comrades. A beefy fellow took his documents without word or expression, flicked through his passport, scanned it on his computer screen and scrutinized the data that came up, before finally looking over his visa.

“Yir a student? What are you gonna study?”

Bob’s mind went blank. What ‘was’ he going to study? A sense of panic rose up within him. What was happening to his brain on this trip that he kept on forgetting things?!

The officer glanced up from the visa and fixed a cold stare on him. “Don’t you know what yir gonna study?”

All Bob could do was shake his head slowly. “I’m sorry. I don’t remember.”

The man was instantly on his feet, informing his comrade on the other side of the booth that he had encountered a ‘problem.’ And with that he stepped out and closed the door – drawing expressions of annoyance from those waiting behind Bob, who were now required to join one of the other queues.

“Come with me,” he said, and Bob dutifully followed.

Like a common criminal he was led away, around the corner and through a door marked ‘Police.’ Bob racked his brains. He wasn’t doing anything wrong. His student visa had been arranged months in advance. Was it his fault he couldn’t recall what subject he was going to be taking?

A middle-aged officer sat at a desk with sandwiches and coffee, a burly sort like his colleague, with a fleshy face and heavy frame. He was clearly irked by the interruption, frowning across at Bob as the situation was explained to him.

“Where are you gonna study?” he inquired.

Another pang of alarm. But, wait, Bob thought; he knew the answer to that. Suddenly it was all coming back to him. “University a Yenug.”

The middle-aged officer got up and approached the counter. “Which campus?”

“Crupsy. It’s the main campus. I’m takin’ Media Management an’ . . . Island History.”

The fellow examined the documents his companion had given him. “Why didn’t you tell us that in the first place? Who’s yir contact?”

“‘Contact?'”

“Student Liaison Officer? College Secretary? You must a been in contact with ‘somebody?'”

“No, I don’t think so. Not that I remember.”

A large fist crashed down on the counter. “Don’t mess us around, boy! We can send you back on the next plane, ya know!”

Bob dug desperately into his pockets. He might have a telephone number or address or something on him. Indeed, his fingers soon located a card. With relief he pulled it out and looked at the name.

“Professor Yelmi Hannah,” he read aloud. “Head of Faculty, Media Management, University of Yenug.”

The officer snatched it off him. “Okay. We’ll be callin’ her to check out yir story.”

Bob was taken to another room by the fellow who had brought him here. Containing nothing more than a few wooden benches, it was undoubtedly a holding cell. As though to confirm this, the officer gave him a rough shove in the back before slamming the door shut behind him.

‘Welcome to Yenug!’ he thought bitterly. What had happened to all the ‘fine people’ the horse-toothed soldier had told him about?

The minutes ticked by. Ten . . . fifteen . . . twenty . . . Why was it taking them so long? Perhaps this Professor Hannah hadn’t been able to help them after all.

Another twenty minutes, and Bob realized he wasn’t going to be making the train south that afternoon. He’d already bought his ticket online and could only hope he’d be able to exchange it. And that, of course, was provided they allowed him to enter the country at all – an increasingly uncertain prospect as he sat there waiting.

Fully an hour passed before they came and got him. Professor Hannah had confirmed his story. His passport and visa were returned to him. Bob was free to go.

The humidity engulfed him as he stepped outside the terminal, drawing the sweat from every pore in his body. The two hour flight sought had brought him to the edge of the subtropics. A shuttle service operated between the airport and the center. It took around thirty minutes, and deposited him right in the heart of the capital, just a few blocks from the train station.

Bob was immediately struck by a sweet, sickly fragrance that hung in the clammy air. It was the aroma of bananas. And once again he noticed the prevalence of yellow baseball caps. Almost everybody was wearing one. Many also carried giant paper cups, these too yellow, digging into them with long plastic spoons. As for the people themselves, they were invariably overweight – like the officers he’d dealt with at the airport. Some were veritable mountains of flesh, waddling along like giant battery hens in yellow baseball caps.

At the train station he tried to exchange his ticket, only to be told by the chubby-faced vendor that this would not be possible. No smile, no apology, nor even the slightest expression of sympathy. She appeared more machine than human; a chubby-faced robot blinking out through the lenses of her spectacles. In addition, she brusquely pointed out, there were no more departures south that day. Bob was not only going to have to buy another ticket, he was going to have to wait till morning – which meant checking into a hotel for the night. He cursed his ill-fortune – but at least he’d made it into the country, he reflected.

Outside he waved down a taxi and asked the driver to take him to the nearest cheap hotel. Next thing he knew they were speeding along a freeway, clearly heading away from the center. He should have seen it coming! He was a foreigner, and the driver was duly taking him for a ride.

“Hey! I wanna hotel in the cenner – not the other side of the island!”

The driver assumed a wounded expression. “But thir all five stars in the cenner. You said you wanted a ‘cheap’ hotel.”

“Well, take me back anyway. I gotta get a train in the mornin.’ I don’t wanna be stuck out in the suburbs.”

The driver begrudgingly did so, and ten minutes later they were cruising past the train station again, with already twenty Yenug pounds on the meter. Seven or eight bucks wasted, Bob calculated.

A few blocks on they stopped in front of a hotel. It had three gold stars across the front. “If you don’t like it, I’ll take you to another,” the driver assured him.

Bob glanced at the meter. Approaching twenty-two pounds. “No, it’s okay,” he said, and gave him the fare.

Slinging his backpack over one shoulder, he entered through the automatic sliding doors and crossed the polished floor to the reception desk. It was staffed by two young women in yellow uniforms, their corpulent features glistening with make-up. Ninety pounds a night. About forty bucks. No, that was more than he was prepared to pay.

“Is thir any place cheaper nearby? One or two stars, fir instance?”

The two women glanced at each other. “Thir’s a hostel on the next street,” one drawled. “Perhaps that would interest you.”

“It would!” he replied gratefully.

The taxi was still waiting outside. The driver even honked as he walked past. The guy had to be kidding! Bob thought. Quite apart from the fact he’d already been ripped off, the hostel was just a short walk away – apparently.

Indeed, he found it without difficulty; on the ground floor of an old, decrepit building with rusty iron grills in front of the windows. Twenty pounds a night, explained the overweight fellow who opened the door. The room itself was scarcely big enough for the single bed and wardrobe that were its only furnishings. But it would do for the night, Bob decided. He was in the center, after all – just a few blocks from the train station.

After changing into shorts and a T-shirt, he headed back out for a stroll around the city. The heat was suffocating, the sun continued to beat down. Overweight people went by with their yellow caps and giant paper cups – the contents of which Bob was soon to discover: On almost every street corner were ‘Banana Sundae’ stands.

He purchased one out of curiosity. Ice-cream and bananas. Nothing extraordinary about that. Other than providing a little relief from the oppressive humidity, he could see no particular reason for its overwhelming popularity. But those stands were everywhere; the cries of the vendors ubiquitous.

A long, palm-lined boulevard eventually brought him to the seaside. It was a crowded beach with bars and restaurants down on the sand. One-piece bathing suits appeared the fashion for women; baggy shorts and Aloha shirts for men; while the ever-present baseball caps were universal. The overall impression was one of double chins, flabby stomachs and cellulite thighs. Bob had never felt thinner.

A group of burly young men sidled up to him, yellow paper cups in hand. “Where you from, brother?”

“The Mainland,” he heard himself say, though why he’d told them that, he wasn’t sure.

The men nonetheless smiled, as if pleased at his reply. “We like Mainlanders. You help us fight the Zuks. Soon we’ll finish ’em all!”

Bob recalled his conversation with the horse-toothed soldier on the plane. “You guys in the army?”

They all exchanged glances and chuckled. “Yeh, sure we are, brother. An’ we love killin’ Zuks! Chop thir heads off an’ watch ’em die!”

Their grins were an image of broken yellow teeth. The one who had spoken bore a scar on his neck, pink and diagonal. At least two others had scars on their faces. Bob began to walk away.

But the burly youths followed. “Hey, Incabay, where you goin?'”

He walked faster, ignoring the question. Then one grabbed his arm.

“We’re talkin’ to you, Incabay!”

“Who’s ‘Incabay?'” He pulled his arm free. “That’s not my name.”

They merely laughed at him. “Where you goin,’ Incabay? Where you stayin?’ Grand Park? Ocean View?”

“Course not. I’m a student. I’m stayin’ in a hostel.”

Their grins became snarls; scar-faced snarls of broken nicotine-stained teeth. “Yir from the Mainland. Yir parents must be rich.”

At that moment there was a break in the traffic, and Bob tore through it like a fullback splitting the line. Across the road and up onto the boulevard he fled, running for all he was worth.

The young men gave chase, but they had no chance of catching him, of course – not with their heavy frames – and soon gave up.

The remainder of the evening Bob spent locked in his tiny room at the hostel, unwilling to venture out again – not even for dinner.  They weren’t ‘fine people’ at all. They were completely insane! Besides which, he wasn’t hungry. The enormous banana sundae had completely filled him up.

III

Bob found himself seated next to a kid of about thirteen or fourteen. Half an hour or so into the journey, the fellow produced a hand-held video device and began playing chess.

“Hey, how ’bout a game?” Bob suggested. “I won a tournament at high school once.” Privately he resolved to take it easy on the youngster.

“Sure.” The kid shrugged his shoulders and re-set the program for two.

Bob advanced his queen’s pawn. “You from the south?”

“I’m from Yezuk Island.”

“‘Yezuk Island?'”

“That’s right. And you?”

“Mainlander,” Bob answered distractedly. “Say, isn’t it a little dangerous for you guys on Yenug? I heard thir was a war or somethin.'”

“Not a war, exactly. They attack our island sometimes.”

“Why?”

Another shrug of the shoulders. “It’s been that way since the Independence War.”

The kid’s eyes were dark as coal. They induced an image of smoldering ruins in Bob’s mind; an image he’d seen on TV, perhaps. Meanwhile, the youngster was proving a more difficult proposition on the board than anticipated, and Bob spent a good few minutes contemplating his next move.  Time to bring out one of his knights. “But yir returning from the capital, right? Did you feel safe thir?”

“Sure. My grandma lives in Yenug. I put on a yellow cap and nobody knows I’m a Zuk.”

‘Zuk.’ The soldier on the plane had used that word, Bob recalled, and so too had the youths who’d chased him. “They called me ‘Inca-bay’ in the capital. Any idea what it means?”

The kid chuckled. “‘Foreigner. It’s from the old language. They don’t speak it much here, but we still use it on Yezuk.”

“But yir fluent in Mainlander.” Bob found himself wondering at his own choice of words.

His neighbor seemed to understand, regardless. “We learn it at school. It’s our second language.”

With that the kid drove his queen down the board and put him in checkmate. Bob was stunned. This was not what he’d expected. He’d completely underestimated his young opponent. Though he wasn’t sure whether he’d done so because of his age – or because he was a Zuk.

Arriving early in the afternoon, Bob’s first mission was to locate the ferry terminal. He was in luck, for his companion was headed in that direction too. The boats to Yezuk left from the same port and the youngster knew the way. They parted in front of the terminal itself, the kid smiling up at him with his coal-black eyes as they shook hands, and only after he’d disappeared into the crowd did Bob realize that, after all those hours, together he’d neglected to ask his name.

The fare was two Yenugian pounds. Bob purchased his ticket from a vending machine, passed through the turnstiles and went aboard. The upper deck was crowded, but he didn’t mind standing, having spent half the day sitting in a train. And he managed to find a spot near the railing, from where he could admire the view. A breeze wafted in from the nearby sea, providing welcome relief from the afternoon swelter.

The people around him were generally obese. They wore yellow caps and spooned banana sundae out of giant cups. No different from the capital. At both ends of the island they looked and behaved alike. He only hoped he wouldn’t encounter any more unpleasant characters, like the youths who’d chased him off the beach the previous day.

“Hey, Incabay! Where you from?”

Spinning around, he found himself confronted only by a white-bearded old man. The fellow barely came up to his shoulder. “The Mainland.”

“Thought so. What brings you to Rihesh?”

“I’m gonna study at the University.”

Nicotine-stained teeth grinned up at him. “You know, I served with a lotta Mainlanders in the war. Fine brave men, they were.”

“The Independence War?”

“‘The Independence War? Pah!’ That was nearly a century ago!” The old man broke into a rasping cackle. “And we were fightin’ ‘against’ the Mainland that time. No, no. First Inter-Island War. Blitzed ’em in six weeks.”

“Blitzed who?”

The nicotine grin gave way to an expression of confusion. “The Zuks, a course. Didn’t they teach you nothin’ at school?”

“I don’t remember.” Bob shrugged in apology. “But what were the Mainlanders doin’ in the war?'”

“Helpin’ us fight the enemy, of course. You need to read up on this, son. Those Zuks are pure evil. They attacked our villages an’ chopped our people’s heads off. They had to be punished, ya know – an’ punish ’em we did!”

Bob couldn’t bring himself to give the old-timer the praise he so obviously sought. He was thinking about the kid on the train who’d showed him to the ferry terminal.

“I’ll tell you somethin’ else,” the fellow went on, wagging a gnarled finger in front of his face. “Thir’ll be another war before long. Those Zuks can’t be trusted. They formed an alliance with Ugod, ya know. That could be dangerous. That could be ‘very’ dangerous!”

In mild amazement Bob blinked down at the white-bearded features – now fraught and trembling with rage. Was he dealing with a lunatic here? And where in hell was ‘Ugod?’ He made his way across to the starboard side of the deck and found another place to stand. The ship’s fog horn sounded, sending a warning to some minor vessel in its path.

Ahead lay a view of whitewashed houses scattered about the lower slopes of the dusty green and brown hills. A few tall buildings were visible closer to the river bank, where cars and other vehicles moved along some unseen road. The burning sun shimmered across the turquoise water, forcing him to squint. Gulls hovered and swooped on the air currents. They were already close to the opposite shore, for the river was less than a mile wide. Bob quivered with both excitement and anxiety.

IV

Rihesh was about half the size of the capital but a great deal more vibrant. Music and laughter emanated from the bars, groups of people stood about talking, while gas-guzzling four-wheel-drives rumbled up and down the main thoroughfares. It was hotter too – baking hot – so that Bob found himself wondering how he was going to survive at college here. Yellow baseball caps, baggy T-shirts and nylon shorts were evidently in vogue – almost like uniform.

Along the crowded main street he observed an abundance of flags draped from the buildings, bright yellow with a lime-green crescent in the middle. On closer inspection he discovered the crescent to be the image of a banana. Presumably these were the national colors. He’d seen the same flag in the capital – only here it was an obsession. Dripping with sweat, he stopped at one of the stands to buy an ice-cream sundae; his second in as many days.

“Everybody’s eatin’ this stuff!” he said to the vendor, a whale of a man with a coffee-colored complexion. “Why’s it so popular?”

The fellow chuckled. “This was the beloved food of our founding father. That’s why.”

“‘Founding father?'”

Extending a flabby arm, the vendor pointed up the street. “Papa Yenug, a course. See ‘im – in fronna the Yenug TV Plaza . . .”

Bob noticed only a towering structure with a giant screen flickering on top. It was clearly the tallest building around. But the vendor was not pointing at the screen. He was indicating something down below. And then Bob saw it: a rotund figure on a platform, glinting in the sunlight, a cane in one hand, what appeared to be a book in the other, and the unmistakable peak of a baseball cap jutting out of its forehead. “That’s the founding father?”

The fleshy features closed up into a frown. “You stupid or somethin?’ Course it is! Most famous statue in the city.”

Bob feigned embarrassment and thanked the vendor for his help. The ‘most famous statue in the city,’ beneath what appeared to be its tallest building. This was precisely the landmark he needed to arrange a pick-up from the university.

Drawing closer, he was able to make out the images on the giant screen. A military parade in the capital, soldiers in dark green uniform marching in perfect unison – like a well-oiled machine. Then came an ad’s break: ‘Yenugale,’ ‘Island Jeans,’ the latest four-wheel-drive, and banana ice-cream sundaes – just like the one he was eating. By the time he reached the plaza the military parade had returned; swinging arms and legs, jaws clenched in concentration, eyes staring straight ahead – entirely devoid of expression.

There was a phone booth nearby. Bob took out the card he had earlier produced at airport security: ‘Professor Yelmi Hannah, Head of Faculty, Communications, University of Yenug.’ He deposited a coin and dialled the number, then introduced himself to the female voice that answered.

“Ah, yes, Bob, we’ve been expectin’ yir call. What happened at the airport? They seemed very suspicious of you.”

“I had a memory lapse; couldn’t remember a thing. Will someone be comin’ to pick me up?”

“Well, that would be Coach Semja. I informed him of yir predicament. But unfortunately he’s unavailable till tomorrow.”

“I understand. Should I make my way to the campus by bus or taxi?”

“A taxi would cost you a fortune. And thir are no buses, I’m afraid. Best book a hotel for the night and wait for Coach Semja to collect you in the mornin.'”

Bob had passed by a hotel two or three blocks earlier. He promptly returned, only to be told it was full. They directed him to another, but they had no rooms either. Was there a hostel nearby? Not that they knew of. Cheap rooms in Rihesh were normally to be found in bars. There was one right on the corner.

He went directly over there and, indeed, they did have rooms, upstairs on the second floor. The middle-aged manageress, overweight and parading abundant cleavage, showed him to the rooms herself. As cramped and basic as the one he’d stayed in the previous day, they were actually five pounds more. But for a single night this would do.

Peeling off his sweat-soaked clothes, Bob collapsed onto the bed and breathed in deeply. Since coming awake at seven that morning, he’d spent the entire day travelling – the last few hours mostly on foot, a heavy backpack on his shoulders, the sun scorching down.

It was dark when he awoke. The small window overlooking the street revealed only the lights of the buildings opposite. Bob glanced at his watch and saw it had just gone nine. He’d slept almost four hours. And his stomach groaned with hunger.

There was no need to venture out in search of a restaurant. They served food in the bar. Sitting down at one of the tables, he ordered a hamburger and fries, along with a beer. The place was spacious and half-empty, though nonetheless filled with smoke. Up on the various wall-mounted TV sets a football match was showing; one team in yellow, the other in green.

“Twelve points up headed into the final quarter,” the fellow at the next table crowed, noting his interest. “We’re on a nine game streak against ‘em suckers.”

“Who’s the other team?”

“Tabi Island, a course! Guess you ain’t from around here. You don’t wear no hat.”

Bob studied the fellow a moment. The weathered face was deeply lined and surrounded by a wreath of disheveled, grey curls, which extended from the yellow cap he wore to the bushy whiskers covering his jowls. “Mainlander,” he replied.

“Well, take my advice, ‘Mainlander,’ and get yirself a hat. Or everyone’s gonna see dat yir a foreigner.”

“That a problem?”

“It could be. Don’t pay to be different here. I should know.”

“Yir a foreigner too?”

The fellow drained the contents of his bottle and got to his feet. Only this proved no easy task, for he almost toppled over in the process. Bob assumed the guy was drunk, but when he proceeded to lift a crutch off the seat, then hobble out from behind the table, it became apparent what the real problem was.

“Worse ‘an dat. I’m a yardam freak!” Clumping forward on his single leg, he lowered himself into the chair opposite Bob and indicated the stump where his other leg should have been. “Lost it in the war.”

“How does that make you a ‘freak?'”

“‘Cause I only got one leg. Dat’s why!” The man cackled toothlessly.

Bob winced as the foul odor of his breath. “But you were wounded in the war – servin’ yir country. Surely that makes you a hero.”

The shaggy head shook in wonder. “Dat what you fink? Folks are gonna admire me for it? Why, you Mainlanders hardly know yir born!”

The manageress came up behind him, carrying the burger and fries on a tray. Though old enough to have been Bob’s mother, she was still a good-looking woman; what, with her dolled-up features, porcelain teeth and the obscenely low-cut top. “Mamsy  tellin’ you about what a big hero he was in the war?” she asked airily, chewing her gum. “Chargin’ the enemy in the heat a battle an’ all . . . ?”

The fellow cackled wickedly. “Ain’t got to dat – yet! Now get me another beer, will ya?”

“Don’t believe a word of it,” she warned Bob. “He lost that leg to frostbite while tryin’ a desert.”

“Dat ain’t true!” Mamsy remonstrated. “I got separated from my unit.”

“Too bad the army didn’t see it like that when they ‘discharged’ you!” The manageress laughed as she walked away.

Bob felt a little sorry for the guy. “That was a bit harsh.”

“Ah, she’s jest bitter ’cause ‘er husband left her.” Mamsy gave him a sly grin. “But she was right about my leg. I got lost up in the Yezuk Mountains, an’ by the time they found me it had turned black, right up to the knee. Dey had to amputate. So now I’m a one-legged freak. Can’t work, can’t vote, can’t marry.”

“Plenny a jobs you could do. An’ why can’t you vote or marry?”

“It’s the ‘law.’ Dat’s why. You got a lot to learn, Mainlander. I’m a yardam freak! Law says so.”

“An’ a convicted deserter into the bargain!” the manageress scoffed, having arrived with the two bottles of beer.

Bob read the label: ‘Yenugale,’ the same brand they were advertising on TV. But for the moment the game was on – and the yellow team had just scored.

“It’s gonna be ten straight!” the shaggy head crowed. “We’re jest too yardam good fir ‘em!”

“You must be proud.” Bob raised his bottle of Yenugale.

The game was followed by an interminable series of ad’s, then the news came on. Another skirmish on the Yezuk coast, the gorgeous presenter began, smiling brightly. Yenugian troops had come under fire from local resistance. Three ‘heroes’ and nine ‘killers’ had perished.

“Yardam’ Zuks!” Mamsy bellowed, thumping his fist down on the table. “Thir all killers! Wish I could go back an’ fight ’em again!”

Similar cries rang out around the bar, as jubilation over the football team’s win gave way to anger at the news. Wincing again at the odors of foul breath and cigarette smoke, Bob paid his bill and slipped quietly back upstairs to his room.

V

Squinting out into the hallway, Bob required a moment to realize who he was looking at. The manageress stood there in a night dress, appearing at least a decade older than she had the previous day, for she wore no make-up at this hour, her hair was untied, and the porcelain flash of her teeth was the only bright quality to her features.

“Coach Semja’s waitin’ downstairs. Wish you’d warned me he was comin’ so early.”

Bob checked his watch in the gloom. Quarter-past-seven. He’d hardly expected this himself. He quickly dressed, grabbed up his luggage and hurried down there.

A barrel-chested figure awaited him at the front door. He wore a bright yellow tracksuit; the words ‘YENUG FOOTBALL’ emblazoned across the front. The coach introduced himself and relieved him of his bags.

“Congratulations on the game last night,” said Bob. “I watched the last quarter in the bar.”

The coach chuckled modestly. “Well, you know yir in trouble when you can’t beat those chumps!”

After fitting the luggage into the rear compartment of his four-wheel-drive – also bright yellow, Coach Semja climbed up into the driver’s seat and told Bob to get in the other side. While they drove, he inquired about his trip down from the Mainland and the trouble at the airport.

“Well, we got a real nice place for ya back on campus. Actually, it’s not right ‘on’ campus. The Cemeks got a spare room in thir home jest a short distance away.”

“I’m stayin’ with a family?”

The coach gave him a wink. “Thank yir folks, son. Yir paw’s an ol’ friend a mine, ya know.”

Bob had no recollection of that. He wasn’t sure he wanted to be staying with a family either, away from all the other kids in the dorms. “No, don’t believe he ever mentioned it.”

“We shared a dorm in our senior year. Long time ago now.”

“Guess my folks don’t want me havin’ too much fun!” Bob chuckled.

“Well, the Cemeks are good people. And they got two boys ‘roun’ yir age. You’ll get along jest fine.”

Soon they were out of the city, among the farms and rolling hills of the countryside. Nothing but shades of green and brown as far as the eye could see. The morning sun shone directly ahead of them, its heat increasing with intensity by the minute.

They stopped in a small village, where Coach Semja purchased two banana sundaes, handing one to Bob, and a family-sized bottle of ‘Yenugade.’

“The boys love this stuff. Here, give it a try.”

Taking the weighty bottle from him, Bob unscrewed the cap and raised it to his lips. Too sugary, too fizzy, too cold – with only the faintest taste of lemon. “Not bad!”

Half an hour later they were cruising along the leafy streets of Crupsy: ‘Population 8,000, Home of the Yenug University Campus and the Bombers Football Team’ – according to a road-sign welcoming them into the town.

The houses were old timber two-story affairs, with wide lawns, colorful gardens and cabbage trees all around. Vehicles were parked out front, four-wheel-drives prominent, while yellow flags featured abundantly, just as they had in Rihesh. Coach Semja stopped the car in front of a house with a black dog tied up outside. The wiry terrier yapped incessantly at their approach, bouncing around on the end of its chain so that it threatened to hang itself.

“Feisty mutt!” the coach chuckled, making a wide arc around it.

“Oh, don’t worry about him – he’s harmless,” a voice called out.

Bob looked beyond the dog to see that a grossly overweight woman had emerged from the front door of the house. She wore a light grey tracksuit and fluffy pink slippers.

“Crazy mutt wouldn’t bite ya ‘less I told him to,” she assured them, patting him on the head. “Always loyal to his master. That’s why I love him!”

The dog twisted its back in pleasure, licking her face, the stunted tail wagging in a blur.

Coach Semja introduced Bob to Anicom Cemek. She straightened up again to shake his hand.

“So yir the son a the coach’s ol’ college buddy! I’ve heard a lot about ya!” She swivelled her enormous frame toward Semja. “Come on in and have some breakfast. I’ll put the cawfee on.”

Inside the odor of that beverage was already conspicuous, a warm earthy aroma that was by no means unpleasant to the senses. On the living room wall hung a framed portrait of the founding father – ‘Papa Yenug,’ as the ice-cream sundae vendor had referred to him. In addition to this were numerous photographs of clean-cut, chubby-faced men in military uniform, some black and white, others faint and grainy – obviously dating back a few decades.

Sitting down on the couch, they partook of the coffee that Anicom brought. The morning news was on TV – more about the skirmish on Yezuk. But she turned the volume down and indicated the photographs on the wall.

“My folks and Sinden’s; brothers, fathers, grandfathers, cousins and uncles – even a great uncle or two. All did thir duty. All served thir country like loyal citizens. An’ some a them never came back, Yar rest thir souls.”

She proceeded to point out which, and in Bob’s eyes their clean-cut, chubby features now took on a more tragic air.

“An’ here’s Sinden himself,” she continued, drawing their attention to a fellow directly beneath the founding father. “My, how handsome he was!”

She and Semja talked about Sinden for a while, sharing their memories and breaking into laughter at regular intervals. Meanwhile, the TV showed another military parade in the capital: soldiers in dark green uniform, marching along in perfect unison, like a well-oiled machine.

The breakfast was huge – eggs, hash browns, bacon and beans on toast, followed by waffles with fruit and cream toppings. Only at this point did the boys emerge from their room upstairs; a pair of crew-cut teenagers in baggy T-shirts and nylon shorts that reached their knees. Aside from their clothing, however, they appeared to have little in common. Tyram, fair-haired and tubby, gripped Bob’s hand firmly. Nitty was darker and frail; his grasp a conversely limp offering – which he withdrew a little too quickly, making no eye-contact at all.

Having devoured their breakfast, with vast quantities of ‘Yenugade,’ the boys announced they were heading to the park for some football. Though he’d yet to unpack his things, Bob invited himself along. It sounded like more fun than listening to Anicom and Coach Semja’s reminiscences.

He followed them around to the back of the house where two vehicles were parked in the shade of the trees; one a black four-wheel-drive, the other a two-door sports car, metallic blue. Approaching the latter, Tyram opened the driver’s door and slid in.

“Not a bad birthday present, huh?” He grinned broadly.

“Not bad at all!” Bob agreed with more than a touch of envy. “Are we drivin’ to the park in this?”

“You ain’t. I am!”

Nitty got in the back, leaving Bob the passenger seat. He felt strange lowering himself into it, a little ridiculous even, after the morning’s long ride, sitting high up off the ground in the coach’s four-wheel-drive. And that feeling quickly gave way to alarm as Tyram put his foot down and sent them roaring out of the driveway, skidding across the gravel.

“Hey, take it easy!”

“Ain’t scared, are ya?” Tyram laughed raucously. “Don’t worry. I know how to handle this baby.”

“I’m sure you do. But thir’s no emergency, man. We’re jest goin’ to the park.”

Tyram’s response was to change up gears and press his foot down even further.

“Woo hoo!” Nitty cheered from the back, hair dancing wildly in the wind.

“Woo hoo!” his brother echoed. “Enjoyin’ the ride, Bobby? This is what life’s about, ain’t it?!”

“Oh, sure!” Bob buckled up his seatbelt.

Against all odds, they made it to the park without incident. It had only been a five minute drive – and this despite the three squealing laps of a roundabout Tyram had performed at breakneck speed along the way. Bob wondered why they hadn’t just walked.

“How’s yir arm?” Tyram asked as they strolled out onto the pitch.

“Not so great. Mostly played lineback at school.”

“Oh, yeh? Well, I’ll start at quarterback then. Nitty can go out for the catch.”

Bob headed downfield and waited. On the first play Nitty came racing toward him, then angled out toward the sideline. But the throw was slightly behind him and he failed to take it in.

They tried again, the throw was better, and Nitty would’ve caught it had Bob not got a hand in the way, knocking the youngster over in the process.

“Yarzass!” Tyram yelled. “You gotta fight fir that ball, man!”

Bob rubbed his hand as he watched Nitty trudge back toward his brother, head lowered. The nose of the ball had stung the insides of his knuckles. The pitch was hard and dusty, the morning warm and almost silent.

On their third attempt Nitty hooked around for an easy pass from close range. Bob could’ve hit him as he took it, likely causing a fumble, but decided to let him have this one.

“At-a-boy!” Tyram cheered as Nitty scrambled away. “Okay, Bob, yir turn at quarterback.” He tossed him the ball. “I’ll go out for the catch. Let’s see that arm a yir’s!”

They played for another half hour or so, by which time they were drenched with sweat and panting from the exertion. Eleven o’clock and the heat was oppressive.

There was, inevitably enough, a banana sundae stand just down the road. Bob didn’t partake, having already eaten one with the coach that morning. He got a bottle of water from a nearby store instead. The brothers bought cans of ice-cold Yenugade.

Nitty had perked up noticeably. He wasn’t to have known Bob had been taking it easy on him, and his confidence had grown with every play.

“You’re quick,” Bob told him. “You could go places in this game.”

“I ain’t so interested in football.” The kid shook his head. “Tyram’s the athlete in the family.”

“He’s afraid a gettin’ smashed!” the older brother chuckled.

“Goes fir me too!” Bob laughed. “Where you play?”

“Tackle, mostly. Sometimes tight end. Coach Semja says thir’ll be a spot for me when I start college nex’ year.”

“I watched ‘em on TV last night. Good team!”

“Best in the league!” Tyram grinned, and shoveled another spoonful of ice-cream into his mouth.

Semja was gone by the time they got back to the house, while Anicom was in the kitchen, now preparing lunch. Before eating, the family went outside and knelt down on the front lawn, faces raised to the sky, where the sun blazed at its zenith.

“Great fire that created us,

Great fire that gave us life,

Yar, ruler of the universe,

Take us back when we die . . . ”

For several minutes they continued, eyes squinting upward, voices chanting in unison. Then the three of them returned inside and Anicom served up the lunch.

“You didn’t join us, Bob?” Nitty remarked.

“It ain’t my religion,” he apologised.

Anicom smiled in sympathy. “We understand, Bob. Yir not a Yenugian. But you won’t be taken back when you die, you know. Not if you don’t make the ‘Midday Oath’ while yir alive.”

Bob pecked away at his food. He really wasn’t hungry; not after the giant breakfast they’d shared, and the banana sundae he’d eaten with Coach Semja before that.

The afternoon he spent putting his things away, before taking a long nap. The bed was considerably wider than the last two he’d slept on; the ceiling fan an added luxury. When he opened his eyes again it was approaching five.

The boys were watching motor sport in the living room. There had just been an “awesome smash-up,” they explained. One of the drivers was being air-lifted to hospital.

“If thir’s one thing beats football, it’s this!” declared Tyram, clutching the remote control, eyes fixed on the screen. “Wish we had a track in this yardam town!”

The ad’s came on, ‘Yenugale’ and ‘Island Jeans.’ Bob’s eyes wandered from the chubby faces on screen to those in the pictures on the wall, and from there to a crack in the skirting board above them. What would happen if the crack got bigger?

They were still watching the race when a voice boomed out from the direction of the front doorway, deep and authoratative. Sinden Cemek appeared a moment later, barely recognizable from the picture on the wall. All that remained of his hair were clipped grey tufts behind his ears, while he now wore glasses, and the jowls were decidedly flabbier. A tall man, his body sloped outward to the point of his hips, which seemed impossibly wide, and the hand that engulfed Bob’s was big and soft.

Following a roast dinner, the bananas and ice-cream came out again. Didn’t they ever get tired of this stuff? Bob wondered, politely declining when Anicom offered him a serving.

“Food a the Founding Father!” Sinden cried, as though aggrieved. “Papa Yenug ate it after every meal – three times a day!”

“Once a day’s plenny for me, thanks all the same.”

“No wonder yir so skinny!”

Bob laughed in surprise. “Never been called that before!”

“Ah you’ll fill out, boy. Jest like Nitty here –  skinny as a toothpick! But he’ll fill out later.”

“I weren’t skinny at sixteen,” Tyram pointed out.

“Well, yir Uncle Dyco sure was,” Sinden told him. “Yardam stick-insect when he was young!”

Nitty blushed as his father guffawed, almost as if the comment had been made about him, rather than the uncle.

The government was ordering a military response to the skirmish on Yezuk when they returned to the living room. A ‘punitive strike’ against Ugod was also under consideration, the gorgeous presenter added, smiling brightly.

Now President Naksab appeared on the screen, towering over the reporters who had gathered around him with their cameras and microphones. He must have been eight feet tall, Bob observed in amazement.

“Vengeance shall be ours!” The president raised a clenched fist. “The killers of Yenugian heroes shall be brought to justice! No mercy shall be shown to those who harbor our enemies! Good shall prevail over evil!”

“Yardam’ right!” Sinden thundered from his armchair, remote control in hand.

VI

Framed portraits lined the walls, gazing sternly down, Papa Yenug’s most prominent. The others were all in the university blazer – bright yellow where the photos were color: former administrators and alumni.  As for the hordes ahead, they were, with few exceptions, attired in yellow caps, baggy T-shirts and nylon shorts. Bob felt almost alien, following them down the long corridor in his normal-sized T-shirt, his denim knickerbockers, and without a cap on his head.

Room sixteen. The door was open, a few kids entering even as he approached. He stared at them curiously, for these were his future classmates. What kind of people might they turn out to be? Bob would learn soon enough, of course.

A hulking figure cut him off at the doorway, chuckling over his shoulder as he entered ahead of him, then made a B-line for the corner, where sat an attractive young woman, blonde and uniquely slim.

The teacher was a bespectacled, bearded, portly fellow.  Behind him the white-board was flanked by the founding father’s portrait and a yellow national flag – with its pale green banana at the center. After brief introductions, Professor Schardir proceeded to outline the syllabus and the books they would be using. He then distributed copies of the ‘Yenug Times;’ an image of flames and destruction on its front page.  ‘Killers Attack Yenug Troops,’ the headline roared. ‘Three Heroes Murdered.’

“Why are they taught to hate us?” the blonde shook her head sadly.

“‘Cause we’re free,” responded the hulk. “Zuks despise freedom!”

“The Cult a Karpot’s pure evil. Human sacrifices an’ all!” someone else commented.

“What can you expect from a people who worship the soil?”

Bob stared around at them. “They make human sacrifices?”

This was greeted by a chorus of titters, and even the teacher appeared amused as he peered down at Bob from the front of the room.

“Yes, Bob, they do. I guess they don’t teach you much about these islands on the Mainland.”

“Not that I recall, Professor Schardir.”

The humour left the teacher’s eyes. “Human sacrifices continue on Yezuk even to this day, among other vile practices.” He brandished the newspaper above his head. “So, what’s to be done? Is a military response justified?”

“Absolutely!” declared the hulk. “Wipe ’em off the face a the planet!”

This brought cheers from around the room.

“Shouldn’t we be talkin’ about the way this thing’s bein’ covered?” came a voice from the back of the room. “I mean, thir only tellin’ one side a the story.”

All heads turned to the speaker; a dumpy, bespectacled fellow with dark shaggy hair and a goatee.

It was the teacher himself who replied. “They murdered three of our Heroes, Darb. How else is it to be covered?”

“That’s stupid!”  the hulk put in. “Yardam Zuks need a be dealt with once an’ for all. That’s what matters here.”

Darb threw up his arms. “Bombin’ ‘em’s what got this whole thing started in the first place, Kram. It won’t solve anythin.’”

“Oh, so we jest let ’em kill our heroes?”

“What were our ‘heroes’ doin’ on Yezuk in the first place?”

“Fightin’ the yardam killers, a course!”

Professor Schardir stepped in at this point. “Try readin’ the papers, Darb. We know you don’t agree with everythin’ they say, but that’s the only way to get an insight.”

“Tell you what,” snarled the hulk. “I aim to kill as many Zuks as I can when I do my tour a duty.”

Some of the boys grunted in accord. A few of the girls smirked their approval – among them the attractive blonde. She had dark eyes; dark as coal. During the introductions Bob had learnt her name -‘Eluji.’ His eyes wandered to the portrait beside the whiteboard, its yellow cap and fleshy features. Indeed, his first lesson, and he’d learnt many things.

The hulk who had cut him off at the beginning of the class now approached him in the locker bay afterward; a few of his companions behind him.

“Where’s yir hat, Incabay? Got somethin’ against the Founding Father?”

“Sorry. Didn’t know it was mandatory.”

“It ain’t. But it’s a sign a respect, all the same. Papa Yenug saved us, ya know. He freed us from Mainland rule. Guess ‘you’ might a preferred it the way it was before. . .”

“Tell me where to buy a hat. I’ll get one this afternoon.” Bob knew the guy was only making spor of him, and that his acquiesence was playing right into his hands. The spark of amusement was already evident in the eyes of the hulk’s companions.

“Ain’t no law about wearin’ a hat, dude!” came a voice from the crowd of onlookers, and only then did Bob notice Darb among them.

“Already told ‘im so,” Kram sneered back. “An’ why are ‘you’ wearin’ one, anyhow? You ain’t no patriot. We all heard ya speakin’ up fir the Killers.”

“’Cause I choose to.”

The hulk stepped forward and swiped it off his head. “Well, maybe I jest ‘choose’ to take it off ya!” And his companions guffawed in delight.

Darb made no effort to retrieve it. “That’s theft, dude.”

Kram chewed his gum and grinned. “You see, Darbo, you gotta learn to fight back in this world, or folks are gonna do nasty things to ya.”

“I’m not gonna fight anyone. I’ll jest report it to the president’s office.”

A muscular arm flew out and seized Darb by the collar, knocking his glasses to the floor. “I don’t see no witnesses,” he said, peering around at his companions.  “Who’s gonna believe ya, Darbo, if thir ain’t no witnesses? I’ll jest deny it, see.” With that he cracked Darb’s head against one of the metal locker doors.

Bob picked up Darb’s glasses and attempted to hand them back. “Come on. What’s the point a this, huh?”

Darb was promptly released as Kram now turned his attention to Bob, grabbing him by the T-shirt. “I’m teachin’ the Zuk-lover a lesson, that’s what, Incabay. That’s the way we do things here.”

Beyond the large frame in front of him, Bob detected a pair of dark eyes watching, a short distance down the corridor. Yes, it was her. Impulsively he knocked away the arm holding him, an act which clearly surprised all present – not least Kram himself. He braced himself for a pummelling as the hulk recovered and hovered menacingly over him.

Once more the muscular arm flew out, only this time it came down on Bob’s head – roughly depositing Darb’s baseball cap there. “Got yirself a hat, Incabay. Congratulations!” And his companions guffawed again.

Following Darb out of the locker bay, Bob handed his cap back. Turned out they were both headed for the West Block.

“Thanks for steppin’ in back thir,” Darb said. “Not many folks’d stand up to Kram.”

“Well, he should pick on someone his own size.”

“He jest likes showin’ off. All that talk in the classroom, about wipin’ out the Zuks . . .”

“I figured he was out to impress that chick – Eluji.” Bob cocked an eyebrow. “Real looker!”

“Stay right away from her, dude.”

“Why? She hooked up with Kram or somethin?’”

“Lotta flirtin’ goin’ on last term. Who knows what happened in the summer?”

They came to a closed door, heavy timber with a dense glass pane. Wrestling it open, Bob stepped outside into the sticky heat. The West Block was on the other side of a dusty, sun-baked field, at the end of a concrete pathway. Other students were walking in that direction, all in their yellow caps and baggy attire. Bob and Darb fell in behind them.

Professor Hannah conducted her lesson from behind a large desk, the yellow flag and Papa Yenug portrait flanking the white-board behind her. She was middle-aged, grey-haired, bespectacled and decidedly elephantine. She inquired about his journey down from the Mainland and the trouble at the airport.

“Well, we’re so glad to have you here. An outsider’s perspective is jest what these kids need. Yenug is a very insular island, I’m afraid.”

“I got that in my first class.” He nodded. “But there was one brave guy, spoke out against all the others  . . . ”

“Darb Reemy?” The corpulent features smiled knowingly. “Well, he’s a li’l different, you see. “Darb’s not from this island. He was born on Ugod. But keep that to yirself.”

‘Ugod.’ Bob recalled the name. He’d heard it firstly from the old man on the ferry, then once again on the previous night’s news – when the gorgeous presenter had talked of a ‘punitive strike.’

“No doubt you were discussin’ the conflict on Yezuk . . . “ Professor Hannah continued. “Be careful what you say on that topic, Bob.  An outsider’s perspective is one thing, but best avoid upsettin’ folks here when it comes to war an’ politics.”

Bob chuckled. “I’m here to study Media Management and Island History, Professor Hannah!”

She smiled up at him again, an almost pleasing expression in her eyes – or so it seemed, behind the lenses of her spectacles. “I’m well aware a that, Bob. Jest be careful all the same.”

VII

Trebor snatched Lardy’s cap off him and threw it into the washing machine, guffawing wildly. Lardy attempted to snatch Trebor’s cap and do the same, but he was too short and squat, and when he tried jumping Trebor merely stepped out of his range.

“Hot dang, Trebor! What am I gonna do now? Big Nats sees me without no cap he’ll fire me fir sure!”

By this time Bob had a cap of his own, bought during the lunch-break from the campus clothes and stationery store. He offered it to Lardy, telling him he could wear it till his own was dry.

“You do that fir me, Bobby?” Lardy gaped in amazement.

“Sure. Nats ain’t gonna fire nobody for not wearin’ a cap.”

“Gee, Bobby, I ain’t so sure about that. He gets real mad sometimes.”

Meanwhile, Lardy’s own cap had emerged from the other side of the machine, sopping wet. Trebor picked it up and inspected it, eyes bulging with mirth. “‘Bout time it had a clean, huh! Tell you what, Lardy, I’ll dry it for ya too!” With that he tossed it into the other machine.

Just then Big Nats ducked through the doorway. “Where’s yir cap, Bob?”

“Lardy got it!” Trebor grinned, his chin jutting out.

A look of genuine alarm entered Lardy’s eyes. “That ain’t so! This here’s my own hat, ain’t it, Bobby?”

“He tellin’ the truth, Bob?” Nats frowned down.

Again Trebor cut him off. “Lardy’s lyin!’ He’s wearin’ Bobby’s brand new cap.”

Bob didn’t know what to say. But the towering canteen manager read into his silence.

“Give it back,” he said quietly, and Lardy duly obliged, head lowered in shame. “Now, where’s yir own hat?”

“Dunnoh. Must a forgot it.”

“‘Forgot it?!'” Big Nats’s voice rose sharply. “What a ya mean, ‘forgot it?!’ Get on home now and fetch it, and don’t show up here without yir cap again!”

“Sorry, sorry, sorry,” Lardy stammered, and scrambled out the doorway.

“And you boys get back to work!” Nats thundered, turning from Trebor to Bob.

For the next few minutes Bob was too dumfounded to think straight. Nobody had spoken to him like that for a long time; not since his first years at high school. And why hadn’t Lardy simply told Nats the truth? Let Trebor suffer the consequences for his own behavior. Instead Lardy was on his way home to retrieve a hat that wasn’t even there. Bob could only conclude he feared his lantern-jawed workmate as much as he feared the towering canteen manager.

In fact, Lardy soon reappeared, just seconds after Nats had gone back to his office. Probably he’d been hiding just around the corner. Trebor, who’d kept grinning throughout the entire affair, now handed the cap back to him. It was still damp and crumpled, but Lardy put it on anyway.

They got to eat early, while the hungry hordes queued up outside the glass doors. Bob had the lasagne and vegetables, followed by pumpkin pie.

“Big Nats’s quite the sereant major, huh!”

“I ain’t afraid a him.” Trebor grinned. “Not like ol’ Lardy here!”

“Ain’t afraid neither,” Lardy insisted. “But he’s the boss. What he says goes. Boss knows best. Boss pays the wages. Gotta do what the big boss says.”

The lantern jaw grinned. “Naw, Lardy. Yir jest afraid!”

Bob was still eating his pumpkin pie when the doors swung open and the kids swarmed in. He hastened through to the kitchen, where he’d been instructed to help out on the serving line. A plump young woman tossed him an apron, dark blue.

“You take care a the veggies, I’ll do the meat,” she said. “Name’s Adokat. You must be Bob.”

Tying on his apron, he surveyed the trays before him – French fries, lima beans, carrots and broccoli. In the event, only the fries proved popular, and Adokat was kept about three times as busy beside him, scooping out the lasagne, chicken pieces and meatballs as the kids teemed by. But after a hectic half hour or so, things began to settle down.

“So, I hear yir an Incabay?” she said.

Bob nodded again. And for the first time he took a proper look at her. Tubby, pale as dough and covered in acne, she was certainly no beauty, though she seemed friendly enough; smiling as she chewed her gum.

“Me an’ all,” Adokat went on, lowering her voice. “I was born on Tabi. But keep that to yirself. Folks here call me a ‘Ladai.’”

“That bad?”

“Naw, jest an ol’ word for ‘Islander.’ But thir Islanders too!” Her laughed betrayed a hint of scorn. “Nothin’ but a lotta name-callin.’ Most folks can’t tell the difference anyhow. You’d be surprised how many Incabays thir are here.”

“But these islands are practically at war.”

“That’s a complicated business. Goes back to colonial times. The Mainland totally messed things up for us.”

“I never heard anything about this!”

“Course you didn’t, Bobby!” She smiled, then hushed him into silence as a couple of stragglers came through. “So, you were workin’ out in the dishwashin’ room earlier, huh.”

“It you could call it ‘workin.’” He chuckled in reply. “Pair a real characters our thir, ain’t they?!”

“Well, be careful a Trebor. He’s a bit crazy.” She tapped the side of her head. “They say his paw used to beat up on his maw. He got psychological issues.”

“Seems a bit of a bully himself. Tossed Lardy’s cap into the machine – then let ‘im take the rap when Nats asked where it was!”

“That ain’t nothin.’ Trebor’s done a lot worse. But Nats won’t fire ‘im ’cause he’s a hard worker. And you know he pays those boys peanuts.”

“Too bad. Poor ol’ Lardy’s scared a both of ’em – Nats ‘and’ Trebor.”

Adokat lowered her eyes, carefully wiping a blotch of lasagna off her apron. “Lardy’s a nice feller, but he got issues too. His maw treated her kids real bad, and he ain’t got no paw.”

Another pair of stragglers came through, but they only wanted chicken. The lima beans, carrots and broccoli were still largely untouched in front of him. They’d all be thrown out afterward, he supposed.

“So, I hear yir stayin’ with the Cemeks off campus,” Adokat said.

“You heard right.”

The smile returned as she chewed her gum. “Anicom’s an ol’ friend a mine. I used to babysit the boys sometimes, when they were li’l.”

“Nice kids.”

“Not so sure about that! Tyram gave me hell. The younger one was better. But you know they ain’t really brothers. Nitty’s an adopted cousin. His folks were wiped out in a car smash.”

Bob recalled how Nitty had blushed the night before, when Siden had talked about his ‘uncle.’ Now it all made sense.

“And you wanna know something else?” Adokat went on. “Nitty’s maw was an Incabay too; born on Yezuk. But keep that to yirself”

VIII

The lights of the corner store were on, and as he crossed the empty street Bob was able to make out the form of someone inside, through the open doorway. It was the slender figure of a young woman, she wore a light grey track suit and yellow cap, and her hair was blonde. His heart skipped a beat. Yes, it was her! In spite of the warning Darb had given him, he’d already developed an attraction to her.

“Out fir a run, Eluji?”

She looked around in surprise, then her dark eyes twinkled in amusement. “Been at the gym. How ’bout you, Bob?”

“Football practise.”

She raised her eyebrows. “Oh, yir on the team?”

“Line backer.”

“Got yirself a hat, too, I see. Now ya look like a Yenugian!”

Bob laughed with her. “After that run-in with Kram in the locker bay, I thought it might be wise!”

Eluji feigned a look of confusion. “Well, he’s a li’l psycho. But keep that to yirself.” Paying for her bottle of Yenugade, she started past him. “Gotta hurry. ‘The Islanders’ is on in fifteen minutes.”

Bob watched her leave, desperate for something to say that would make her pause a moment longer.  But he could think of nothing; just watched her walk out the door, a slender figure in a light grey track suit.

As he continued along the empty street the sound of an engine came into earshot, then an orange beam illuminated the tar seal surface beside him. Looking around, Bob saw only a pair of glaring headlights coming toward him, and even as they bore into his eyes a car horn blasted. The vehicle flew by, the squeal of brakes followed, and next thing it was backing up the road; a two-door sports car with its roof down.

“Hey, Bob! Jump in!”

Not wanting to offend the kid, he climbed in beside him. “Thanks. But take it easy.”

“Ain’t scared, are ya?”

“Course I ain’t. But what’s the hurry?”

“‘What’s the hurry?’ ‘The Islanders’ is on at nine,’ that’s what.”

Fastening his seatbelt, Bob noted that this was the second time he’d heard ‘The Islanders’ mentioned in the space of barely a few minutes – and he had no idea what it was.

“‘The Islanders’ is awesome!” Tyram explained, chubby features grinning. “All about Yenugians. You wanna understand our way a life, Bob, you gotta see it.”

“So it’s a Tv Show?”

“Most popular show in Yenug. That’s why ya don’t see nobody on the streets right now. They’re all at home – waitin’ fir ‘The Islanders.’“

It was fortunate they were, thought Bob, the way Tyram was driving. And much too quickly for comfort they were back at the house, sliding into the gravel driveway.

“Jest in time, boys! ‘The Islanders’ is about to start,” Anicom greeted them as they entered the living room. She was on the sofa beside Nitty.

“Now, everybody quiet,” Sinden boomed from his armchair; a can of Yenugale in one hand, the remote control in the other. “No talkin’ durin’ the show. You know the rules.”

Bob was sure they did, and deduced, therefore, that the comment had actually been directed at him. It gave him an awkward feeling as he took a seat across the room.

‘Nabruk’ had a problem. Her companions believed her fiance was cheating on her. Not only that, they suspected he might be a Yezuk spy. Poor, simple-minded ‘Nabruk!’ She was too trusting and refused to accept any of this, even as the evidence mounted.

Bob’s attention wandered to the photos on the wall. He tried to remember which of those clean-cut soldiers had ‘not returned,’ but his memory failed him. Then his eyes found the crack in the skirting board beneath the ceiling. What was it the old man on the ferry had told him? ‘There’ll be another war before long. Those Zuks can’t be trusted.’ His thoughts were interrupted by loud voices. The ad’s had come on: ‘Yenugade’ in a super-size bottle!’ Bob got up and slipped out of the room.

“Hey, ain’t ya gonna watch the rest a the show?” Tyram called after him.

“Got homework to do.”

“Yeah, me an’ all. But ya gotta see ‘The Islanders,’ man. Everybody watches it.”

Anicom came to Bob’s aid. “Now, now, Tyram. If Bob ain’t interested in our culture, that’s his affair.”

Continuing through to his bedroom, Bob took the text books out of his backpack. Among them was a large volume on ‘Twin Islands History.’ He’d bought it that morning for his History class. He skimmed over the introduction: ‘four principal islands . . . Yenug the largest . . . shared language in pre-colonial times . . . various dialects spoken . . . Ladai the official language of Yezuk and Ugod . . . replaced by Mainlander on Yenug and Tabi . . . Civilization had begun two centuries ago . . . rebellion in the previous century . . . War of Independence ended in treaty . . . principal islands granted freedom . . . discovery of undersea gas fields . . . conflict among the islands . . . First Inter-Island War . . .

‘First Inter-Island War.’ Bob paused at the words, recalling once again the old man on the ferry. ‘They attacked our villages and chopped our people’s heads off,’ the fellow had told him. ‘They had to be punished – and punish ’em we did!’

IX

Bob was not required to suit up. Instead he hung out on the sideline with the rest of the players, keeping the water bottles full. The heat was stifling that afternoon; the reek of linement oil sharp in the dusty air. The main stand behind him was a sea of yellow; the stand opposite mostly burgundy. Many of the fans had their faces painted up, like tribal warriors. At both ends of the stadium the customary stalls sold banana sundaes, hotdogs, Yenugade and Yenugale.

The flags flew high, the school band played the anthems, the cheerleaders came out to perform. And there she was among them – Eluji – forming human letters, shaking her pompoms, high-kicking with the others. Bob experienced both a sense of exhilaration at her presence and a pang of jealousy that he would not be out on the pitch himself that afternoon.

The ball sailed downfield, the Bombers’ kick-returner took it in, a yellow wedge formed in front of him, a burgundy player broke through but the kick-returner fended him off, another tried, then another, but the kick-returner just kept running – and then he was clear, raising his middle finger to the burgundy stand as he headed for the endzone, the home-crowd roaring him on.

The quarterback threw for the extra points but a defender’s arm knocked the ball down. Ugod’s first field-goal sailed between the goal-posts several minutes later, then midway through the quarter they added another. The yellow stand fell silent. And soon it was the burgundy fans’ turn to celebrate, with a third field-goal putting their team in front.

The offense came back out, the yellow running back scythed through a wall of burgundy defenders for a first down. The quarterback threw, the receiver took the ball in the air, but it bounced free as he was tackled and wound up in the arms of another defender. ‘Turn-over!’ announced the umpire, and the burgundy stand cheered. The defense cursed their team-mates as they marched onto the pitch; Kram himself slamming his shoulder into the receiver who’d coughed up the ball, almost knocking him over.

A gritty drive from the halfway line brought the Bombers’ offense to within ten yards of the Ugod line shortly before the interval. Two plays later the yellow halfback streaked across in the corner. The main stand went wild. They had a three-point lead, and when the kicker sent the ball soaring between the goal-posts it was extended to four: ’13 – 9’ read the big scoreboard, and so it remained at the break.

The players headed for the locker rooms, eyeblacked features frowning in concentration, their hair as wet as if they were just out of the shower. The fans poured down from the stands and headed for the food and drinks stalls. Some descended onto the pitch itself and began tossing their own footballs around, in immitation of the performance they’d just witnessed.

Bob noticed one of the cheerleaders sitting by herself in the front row of the main stand, drinking a bottle of Yenugade. His heart skipped a beat. Yes, it was her, sitting right there behind him!

“Sure is hot!” he said, strolling over to her.

“At least ninety. Must be hard on the players.”

“They ain’t doin’ so well. Defense is holdin’ up though.”

“Kram’s awesome!” she crowed, dark eyes contrasting with her permed blonde hair. “Best line back in the league, they say.”

Bob’s envy was surpassed only by his confusion. Hadn’t she denounced the square-jawed hulk just the other evening, when they’d met in the store? Now she was praising him. Of course, he was obliged to agree. Kram’s mean alright!”

The crunch of boots on gravel told them the players were returning, and when Bob glanced around he found himself looking directly into the defensive captain’ eyes. Even from that distance, he recognised the hostility.

Eluji flashed a smile Kram’s way before heading back to her team, leaving Bob to ponder if he weren’t simply being used. She’d just called him ‘awesome,’ afterall; ‘Best line back in the league.’ How could he, a mere freshman, hope to compete with that?

Early in the third quarter the Bombers’ quarterback skipped back from the line of scrimmage and let fly with a thirty yard throw to the endzone. A yellow player had got in behind the secondary and was there to take it, sending the home-crowd into raptures. The kicker again propelled the ball between the goal-posts, and the scoreboard read ’20 – 9.’

Early in the next series the Ugod quarterback unleashed a long-range throw of his own, but his receivers could find no way through the yellow defense and the ball landed harmlessly on the turf among them. He turned now to the big fullback, who had proved effective in getting them into field goal range. On this occasion they didn’t look for the three points, however. Again and again the burgundy runner ploughed into the line of scrimmage, edging his team forward a few yards at a time. Only a frantic goal-line stand kept him out, and when Kram’s giant frame collided with the fullback’s on fourth down, stopping him in his tracks, the roar from the main stand was deafening.

Back they came in the fourth quarter. The burgundy offense advanced to within ten yards of the Yenug line. The big fullback drew a swarm of yellow defenders before any of them realized he didn’t have the ball. The quarterback had flicked a lateral pass out to the stocky halfback, and that one wrestled his way across near the sideline, through the tackle of the isolated corner back. The visiting fans’ came to life, their jubilation was checked only slightly when the attempt to run the two point conversion in was stopped just short. ’20 – 15’ the scoreboard read with seven minutes to play.

“You boys kick some ass out thir!” Semja bellowed at his offense as they returned to the field. “Can’t lose to these bums!”

“Keep hold a the yardam ball!” Kram screamed hoarsely, trudging off the pitch. “No mistakes now. Jest wind that yardam clock down!”

“A field goal’ll put us out a range,” one of the guys beside Bob observed. “All we need’s a field goal.”

“Naw, it ain’t,” said another. “They could still catch us with a tee-dee an’ two-point conversion.”

“Well, that ain’t likely!”

But the offense couldn’t get out of their own half and punted away possession. Ugod took over deep inside their own half and went straight to the burly fullback. There wasn’t much time left though. If they failed to score on this drive, they weren’t likely to get another chance. The Bombers’ defense threw themselves into the tackles with gusto. Bob felt the sweat on his own back as he watched them. How they must be suffering inside those helmets and shoulder-pads!

The burgundy offense continued to advance, a few yards at a time. The cheering from the main stand grew desperate, while across the pitch the visiting fans were becoming more vocal.

“Come on, boys! Kick some ass!’ Coach Semja barked. ‘Can’t lose to these bums!’

Players on the sidelines hollered, the cheerleaders chanted. It was going down to the wire. Two minutes left and the visitors were twenty yards out. It was a relentless drive that would determine the outcome of the game – and everyone in the stadium knew it. The fullback took the ball and battled through the line of scrimmage again. Kram was there to meet him. Once more the two big frames collided. Only this time the fullback’s head was lower, and it was Kram who was driven back, the dust rising around him as he thudded into the turf. Even on the sidelines they heard his grunt of anguish.

‘First and goal,’ the umpire announced, and the burgundy crowd went into a frenzy.

“Quite a finish, huh!” cried one of the guys beside Bob.

“Who cares? Long as we win!”

“Ain’t that the truth!”

“Can’t lose to these bums!”

There was a problem on the pitch, however. The game hadn’t re-started and the medical staff were out there. Somebody was down – and Bob soon saw who it was. Kram clutched his left shoulder as they assisted him off, square-jaw clenched in pain, his eyes like those of a tormented beast behind the bars of his facemask. The yellow defense re-grouped for what should prove the final stand of the game. Confusion before the snap, one of the ends broke early, and the umpires’ flags flew onto the turf.

“Offsides. Half the distance to the goal-line,” came the verdict, to the further delight of the visiting fans.

“Yardam! They lost it!” somebody nearby cursed. “Kram goes off and suddenly they dunnoh what in hell thir doin!'”

“Kick some ass, boys!” Coach Semja kept yelling, his face a snarl, so that he seemed almost unrecognizable to Bob from the man who’d driven him up from Rihesh a week before.

The fullback busted through on the very next play, right where Kram would’ve been had he still been out there. The opposite stand erupted; everyone leaping about with their arms in the air. The sea of yellow was stunned into silence. There was no time for a comeback, and even as the visitors attempted the two-point conversion the home-fans were leaving the stadium, their melted face-paint now giving them the appearance of tragic clowns.

X

“Guys, this is good news,” said Narles. “Kram out injured and the defense messin’ up. Could be places up fir grabs.”

“We’d a won fir sure if Kram had stayed on!” Rasco cursed from the front passenger seat.

“They scored in the third quarter, didn’t they? Sucked our whole defense in.”

Rasco’s angular features peered around at them, an eyebrow cocked in skeptical amusement. “They ain’t gonna be callin’ up a couple a freshmen like you boys! Slenno’s the only one here with a chance.”

“Jest concentrate on the alumni game,” Slenno advised them as he drove. “Have a good game thir, who knows what may happen?”

They were driving through the busy streets of Rihesh. Thus Bob had returned to the city precisely a week after his first visit. The crowds and the music were as familiar as if the previous occasion had been the day before, as were the four-wheel-drives rumbling up and down the main thoroughfares.

The Yenug TV Plaza went by; giant screen flickering at the top; the corpulent figure of the founding father rotating on its platform down below – cap on head, book in one hand, cane in the other. A few blocks on they passed the bar where Bob had spent the night. He could see the small window he’d gazed out of that evening. It seemed like only yerterday, yet how much had happened since then. One week later here he was, driving by with his football buddies.

They came to a packed terrace bar. Shouts and laughter filled the air, and when Slenno parked right out front Bob was able to recognise some of the players – all in their yellow caps and ‘Yenug Football’ T-shirts, eating and drinking, more than a few of them smoking.

“Hey, Slenno got new wheels!”

“Where’d ya steal those from, dude?”

Slenno chuckled at them as he climbed out. “Traded in the ol’ buggy. You guys gave me so much hell!”

“Well, good fir you, Slenno! Looks a whole lot better.”

Room was made for them at one of the tables. Body odor, burning tobacco and a sweet herbal essence blended in the air. An abundance of small glasses containing a syrupy yellow liquid covered the table.

“Try it?” one of the players encouraged him.

“What is it?”

“You dunnoh?” The fellow grinned around at the others. “Why, that thir’s the drink a the founding father, Bobby!”

“Gotta have some, dude. Everybody drinks it on this island.”

“Okay, okay!” Bob raised his hands in acquiesence.

“How ‘bout a round,” the first fellow suggested, and they all drained their glasses.

There was a burst of laughter at the table behind them. Bob looked around to see one of the senior players sitting there with a white plastic toilet seat around his neck; his companions all guffawing at him.

“What’s that all about?” he inquired.

“‘Blooper’ award,” Narles explained. “That thir’s Namander. Replaced Kram on the final play and let in the game-losin’ touchdown.”

Another burst of laugher from the senior players. “Sure, Namander! Blame the line!'”

A black four-wheel-drive came rumbling down the street, horn honking, headlights glaring. It bumped to a halt across the road from the bar, and four large men got out; one with his arm in a sling.

“Hey, it’s Kram!” someone exclaimed. “How’s that arm a yirs, buddy?”

“Still thir. Good to see y’all gave Namander the Blooper. He earned it!

Namander chuckled with the others. “Thanks, cap’n!”

“So what’s the prognosis?” one of the senior players asked. “Gonna be okay fir nex’ week?”

“Course I am.” The square jaw grinned. “Jest a strain is all.”

The drinks arrived at Bob’s table, and a toast was made as they raised their glasses. “To Papa Yenug – who saved our nation! “

To Papa Yenug!” The others echoed, knocking their glasses together.

Bob sipped the fruity spirit with his companions – banana liqueur, sweet and syruppy. The alcohol left a burning sensation in his chest that was not unpleasant. The others turned their heads and gazed upward, a hint of suprise entering their cheerful expressions.  Kram had appeared at the end of the table, a bottle of Yenugale in his free hand.

“I’ll drink to that, boys! But what I’d like to know is, why’s the Incabay drinkin’ to our founding father?”

Bob forced a smile. “Jest showin’ respect.”

“Take it easy, Kram. Bobby’s on the football team. He’s one of us,” Slenno backed him up.

“Not so sure about that,” Kram growled, and slurped his beer. “I heard he don’t make the ‘Midday Oath’ neither.”

“Ain’t his religion. You know he’s a Mainlander.”

“Yeah, I know that. So why’s he drinkin’ to our founding father?”

Bob realized he had to speak up for himself. Leaving it to Slenno appeared wimpish. Besides which, the hulk had his arm in a sling. Surely he wasn’t going to start a fight – not on ‘that’ evening, anyhow. “I’ll drink to whoever I want,” Bob told him, getting to his feet. “An’ I’ll pray to whoever I want, too. You got that, Kram?”

The bar fell silent. Everybody turned to look, faces frozen in amazement. A freshman – standing up to the captain of defense!

Kram appeared momentarily taken aback himself, before blinking away his surprise. “Brave now, ain’t ya, Incabay? Think I can’t take you with one arm, huh?”

He took a step forward, brandishing the empty bottle, but before he could reach Bob Slenno got between them.

“Come on, man. What’s yir beef with Bob? He’s one of us. We need him on the jay-vee squad.”

“He’s a yardam Incabay; that’s what. He ain’t ‘one of us.’ Never will be!” Kram continued to glower at Bob for a few seconds, the bottle in his hand, but made no further attempt to come at him.

With relief Bob watched him swagger away. A fight with Kram right then was the last thing he needed. There was nothing to be gained from taking on a guy with his arm in a sling, anyway, while defeat could’ve only spelt humiliation. Better to take a licking under normal circumstances. And quite likely, he acknowledged, that day would have to come.

They downed another round of liqueurs, then went inside as the cold set in. The place was crowded and full of smoke. With no place to sit they simply stood at the bar, drinking beer and talking among themselves. Bob gazed around at the wall-mounted TV screens. The Yenug military was preparing to strike. “The killers must be punished,” a grim-faced, silver-haired general was saying. “We cannot ignore these attacks on our heroes any longer.”

Some of the guys got talking with a group of young women in the corner. Bob watched them all break into laughter. Evidently it was going well.

“Hey, Bobby.” Rasco nudged him. “Let’s go join in.”

“You go ahead. I’ve had a few too many to talk sense to anyone.” Bob indicated his bottle (in fact, only the second he’d purchased).

“We ain’t goin’ over thir to ‘talk sense. We’re goin’ over thir to ‘score!’ You ain’t hitched-up or nothin,’ are ya?”

“Might be.”

Rasco cocked an eyebrow. “Well, you sure kept that quiet.” And with that he plodded over to the corner by himself.

Bob could hardly believe his own mouth. Why had he said that? It was Eluji in his thoughts, of course, but they were hardly ‘hitched-up’ – and likely never would be. He was a freshman, and a Mainlander to boot; a ‘yardam Incabay,’ as the defensive captain had put it. The young women in the corner weren’t likely to be interested in him either.

The silver-haired general glowered down from the multiple TV screens. “Colateral damage is unavoidable! If these killers choose to hide among women and children, there will inevitably be civilian casualties. But the end shall justify the means. Good shall overcome evil!” He raised a clenched fist in conclusion.

The bar closed at two. Most of the guys were headed for a club, and the chicks in the corner were going with them. Bob decided to stick with Slenno, however, who was going back to Crupsy. They were joined by Narles and a bulky tackle by the name of Fegof.  There were still plenty of people out in the streets, drinking and partying, though not the crowds there had been earlier in the evening. Once again they drove by the bar Bob had stayed in the previous week.

“Looks like a fight!” declared Narles.

Bob was beside Fegof on the driver’s side of the car, and probably had the worst view of any of them. At first he could make out only a tangle of silhouettes, but as the car went by he saw through the rear window a figure on the pavement; the others gathered around kicking him. Slenno applied the brakes and they all climbed out into the chilly night air; Narles and Fegof immediately charging toward the group. Bob intended to follow, but Slenno caught hold of his arm.

“Nothin’ you can do. Don’t get involved.”

Bob glanced around in confusion. “We gotta break up the fight, man?”

With that he pulled his arm free and started toward the skirmish again. Though what he saw then totally confounded him. Narles and Fegof had actually joined in the kicking, driving their feet into the poor wretch on the ground, of whom only a pink scalp and wreath of dishevelled grey hair were visible. Bob needed a moment to comprehend what he was witnessing. And then he noticed something else – a metal crutch, lying in the gutter.

“Hey, I know this guy!” he appealed. “Lettim alone!”

“He’s a yardam freak! Can’t you see?”

“Yeah, look at him, man. He’s only got one leg!”

“He lost it in the war!” Bob told them. “He was servin’ his country.”

“So what? He’s still a yardam freak!”

“Why are you defendin’ ‘im? How come you don’t hate ‘im too?”

At that moment the victim glanced up himself, a toothless grin on his bloodied features as his eyes found Bob’s. “Dat’s right, Mainlander. Jest like I told ya. I’m a yardam freak. I deserve it!” He began to laugh; a rasping cackle that gave way to coughs and groans as another round of kicks went in.

“Don’t be squeamish now, Bobby,” Narles called over his shoulder. “Like the freak said, he ‘deserves’ this.”

Slenno caught hold of Bob’s arm again. “Let ’em have thir fun, man. It’s the Yenugian way.”

XI

“Guess Namander ain’t comin’ back, huh,” said Narles.

“Shoulder fractured in two places,” Rasco replied from the front passenger seat. “Really put his body on the line!”

“Well, no loss. Slenno should a been Kram’s back-up in the first place.”

“You guys did a good job today,” Slenno assured them as he drove. “Stopped the Alumni’s runnin’ game dead. Keep it up, you’ll be gettin’ a call from Coach Semja pretty soon!”

“We sure as hell did!” Narles crowed, exchanging high-fives with Rasco. “Second half they went to thir receivers every time!”

Bob gazed at the scenery outside, the hills and trees flashing by in the evening gloom, a little too fast for comfort on this narrow country road. He was thinking about Namander – the guy who’d been humiliated a week earlier for failing to stop the game-losing touchdown, now out for the season with a fractured shoulder, and all anyone could talk about was who was going to replace him.

It was fully dark by the time they reached the coast. The orange glow of a fire was visible down on the beach as they climbed out into the cool night air. A chilly breeze blew, the waves heaved in and out; rows of frothy white surf rippling in the moonlight.  Bob gazed up at the stars; a multitude of galaxies glittering in the sky above them. It was all a little surreal.

As they made their way down the slope, a voice called out from the fire: “Hey, it’s Rasco and Narles! Let the games begin!”

There were about a dozen of them, burly shadows moving about in front of the flames, cans and bottles of beer in hand.

“Who’s he?” one of them asked, eyes fixed on Bob.

“Mainlander,” Slenno replied. “Ain’t joined yet.”

“This party’s exclusive to Wolves, boys,” said another.

“Bobby’s on the football team, alright?”

The two fellows who’d spoken glanced at each other. “He gonna snatch the sand?”

“Course he is. He’s one of us.”

They continued to stare, so that Bob felt compelled to add, “Yeh, sure I am.” Though he had no idea what they were talking about.

At this the pair grinned, and one of them handed him a bottle of Yenugale. “Welcome to the Wolves, Bobby!”

They all stood about drinking, some smoking, others toasting sausages over the flames. More people kept arriving, so that by ten there were at least thirty of them there, gathered around the fire. A crewcut mammoth by the name of Jumacho then raised his arms to address them all. He wore a silky, yellow and green striped suit, and from his neck dangled a cluster of gold and silver chains – all featuring a figure of the sun at the base.

“Time to get wet, gentlemen!” he announced, and everyone cheered raucously.

Rasco and Narles removed their clothes, beneath which they wore swim shorts, then pulled on black rubber wetsuits. Jumacho himself provided each with a small, resealable plastic bag, such as those used by scientists to collect samples – or detectives to collect evidence.

“Now, y’all know the rules,” he said. “Get across to Yezuk, snatch a handful of sand, and bring it back to us in these bags.”

“We know,” they assured him, zipping up their wetsuits.

The mammoth saluted them and stood aside. “Good luck, gentlemen!”

As Rasco and Narles strode down to the shore, looking strangely amphibian in their black rubber suits and flippers, Bob gazed across at the lights of Yezuk in the distance.

“How far is it?” he asked Slenno. “Looks like five or six miles!”

“To the nearest town, maybe. Coast is only half that distance. And at low tide thir’s a sandbank that juts out to within a mile or so a here.

“A mile ain’t far.”

“No,” Slenno agreed. “An’ thir’s rocks in between, if you can find ‘em. Tricky part’s avoidin’ the patrol boats. They come by every hour or so – both sides.”

“What happens if they catch you?”

“Well, you get caught by yir own side, they put you in jail.”

“And the other side?”

“Same thing.” Slenno grimaced as he swigged his beer. “But try to escape, they’ll jest shoot ya.”

“Hell!”

“Yep. Happened once, many years ago. One of our boys shot dead in the water by the yardam Zuks!”

Bob gazed after his two companions as they waded into the sea. Were they going to make it back at all? He wondered. “How long does it take?”

“Did mine in two hours’ flat. Got the ‘Wolf Brand’ ‘an all!” Slenno lifted up his T-shirt to display the crimson scar on his chest. Most of the players had one; a brand in the shape of the beast.

“Must be agony!”

“Not if yir drunk enough!” Slenno laughed.

Bob registered that this, also, was something he was going to have to do in the future. He took a long swig of beer and winced as the icy liquid spiralled down into his belly. They all carried on drinking, smoking and eating barbecued sausages. Some placed bets on who would return first – Rasco or Narles. One fellow wagered they wouldn’t return at all, much to the disgust of his companions.

“Anybody ever drowned?” Bob asked.

Slenno looked pensive. “Thir’s a few that never came back.”

“Hell.”

The first hour passed. The wind picked up,  blowing much cooler now. They’d seen the patrol boats go by already – on both sides. And now the lights of the Yezuk vessel came into view again.

“Say, what a ya make a that?” Slenno got to his feet, peering out to sea. “They came back early.”

Bob stood up beside him. “You think they spotted ’em?”

“I dunnoh, man. Somethin’s goin’ on though.”

A few of the guys went down to the shore to get a better view, Jumacho among them. Slenno and Bob followed, leaving the warmth of the fire behind them.

“She’s circling round!” someone pointed out. “Highly irregular, I’d say.”

Even as he spoke the ship’s searchlight, a mere pinprick in the distance, flashed directly into their eyes. Bob felt the first genuine pangs of alarm. They were definitely looking for something.

By now everyone was down at the water’s edge; all staring out at the Yezuk patrol boat. Profanities were uttered, speculations expounded; facial expression locked in concentration. And each and every one of them stumbled back a pace or two when the first shot was heard; a far-off crack like thunder – though no flash of lightning followed. Another blast; then another.

The patrol boat remained there with its searchlight rotating. Meanwhile, the Yenug vessel reappeared – only this time it remained stationary after drawing level with its counterpart. Obviously they were in communication. Then the clatter of rotor blades came into earshot, and a chopper appeared over the Yezuk coast; its spotlight shining down on the water.

The guys retreated to the fire. Another hour went by, making it more than two since the swimmers had set off. It was past midnight. The chopper had gone, the boats had returned to their regular patrols, but still no sign of Rasco and Narles. How Bob wished he could leave; just go home and sleep in his comfortable bed – though he dared not suggest it, of course.

“What a ya think?” he asked Slenno.

“They ain’t comin’ back. Least, not tonight. If they weren’t shot or caught by the Zuks, they’ll be hidin’ somewhere on the other side.”

“So how long do we wait?”

Slenno frowned at the question. “We’ll wait till dawn, if we have to. Ain’t you worried about these guys?”

“Course I am! But the patrol boats must a seen our fire on the beach. They’ll put two and two together.”

“Let ’em come, Bobby. You run with the Wolves, you better show some loyalty.”

He could have reminded Slenno that he’d been invited along – with no clue what it was all about, nor that he might end up having to spend the whole night out on the beach like this; perhaps even get arrested. But, no, that wouldn’t have helped.  There were some things best left unsaid.

He was drifting to sleep in front of the fire when a voice cried out beside him. “Hey! What’s that in the water? Think I saw somethin!'” And everybody hastened down to the shore again.

“Yeh, one of ’em’s back!” Jumacho yelled. “Looks like Narles!”

“It’s him alright!” Slenno called back, charging into the waves.

Loud cheers rang out as a few others followed. Narles was back! Rasco was surely close behind. Everything was going to be okay!

But all faded into silence again when Slenno waded out, a lifeless form in a black rubber wetsuit in his arms. Yes, it was Narles, his features languid and grey, a rip in the material behind his left shoulder – from which pink drops of watery blood still oozed.

Three more hours they waited for Rasco, till the sky began to pale and the drone of small fishing vessels could be heard. Then Jumacho told them all to go home. There was nothing more they could do. Only then did everyone pack up their things and leave.

XII

The whir and thud of missiles striking, again and again. He could hear them through the door. But hadn’t Nitty told him he was going upstairs to do his homework? That didn’t sound like homework to Bob. “Hey,” he called, knocking lightly. “Can I come in?”

At first there was no answer, so he knocked again, a little more firmly.

“I’m in the middle of a game,” came the muffled reply.

“No problem. I’ll wait till yir finished.”

There was a crack like wood breaking, then the whirs and thuds abruptly ceased. A moment later the door opened a fraction and Nitty’s frail dark features frowned out. “What a ya want?”

Bob blinked a couple of times, taken aback. The boys had become more aloof over the last week or so, but this was the first time either of them had been openly rude to him. “Wanna go up to the park an’ toss the ball aroun?’”

Nitty lowered his head and half-turned away. “Tyram ain’t home. How would we get thir?”

“We’d walk!” Bob chuckled. “It’s only fifteen minutes.”

“Twenny,” the youngster corrected him. “Forty thir an’ back.

“So what’s the problem? It’s a nice day out.”

Nitty was back at his computer by this time, so that Bob had to enter the room to keep the conversation going. He found himself on the opposite side of a narrow unmade bed from the youngster. There was another bed across the room, also unmade.  The curtains were closed and the walls covered in posters of football stars and racing drivers.

“It’s been a while since we tossed the ball aroun,’” he added.

“Well, like I told ya, I ain’t so interested in football.” Nitty pressed his keyboard and the whir and thud of missiles striking resumed.

“Okay.” Bob shrugged. “Guess I’ll hafta wait till Tyram gets home.”

“He’s out with his girlfriend. Won’t be home till late.”

Bob’s eyes came to rest on the curtains across the room, pulled together to prevent so much as a glimmer of sunlight entering. “You seem very sure about that, Nitty. . .”

At this the youngster slapped the joy-stick and turned to face him. “Look, Bob, we’re family – Maw, Paw, Tyram an’ me. An’ you ain’t meant to be part of it!”

Recalling what Adokat had told him, Bob merely nodded. “I understand.”

Nitty’s expression softened a little. “It ain’t that we don’t like ya. It’s jest that things ain’t the way they used to be no more. Maybe it’d be better if you found somewhere else to stay.”

“Already thought a that, Nitty.” Bob patted him on the shoulder. “Now, I’ll let ya get back to yir, er, ‘homework.’”

The kid winced and shut the computer down. “Yeh, I’m tired a that’ game anyhow.”

Returning downstairs to the living room, Bob slumped into the couch. Indeed, it had already crossed his mind to talk to coach Semja about moving into the dorms. It wasn’t working out here with the Cemeks. That was plain to see.

The muffled grating of a chair being moved around reminded him Nitty was up there, just a few meters above him, with that impenetrable strip of cement and plaster separating them, as solid as a prison wall.

Using the remote control he flicked on the news channel. Perhaps there would be a story about a missing student . . . found alive . . . washed up on the beach. But, no, still nothing.  The gorgeous presenter spoke only about the crisis with Yezuk. Images followed of the carnage on that island; dusty corpses lying among rubble; children, women and men. ‘Three Heroes and twenty-to-thirty Killers’ was the official body count.

The silver-haired general was then shown congratulating his soldiers. “The enemy has felt the might of Yenugian wrath today!” he declared.

Next on screen was the president himself, towering above the reporters in front of him. “We shall prevail in this righteous struggle! We shall avenge the killers of our heroes!” he roared, prompting rapturous cheers and applause.

Bob stared at the wall as he sat there alone. ‘We need a teach these yardam killers a lesson!’ Sinden’s voice came back to him. His eyes wandered to the photos; those chubby crewcut faces staring blankly out of their frames. They seemed to have faded somehow? Which of them had not returned? He could not recall.

The familiar rumble of the four-wheel-drive engine startled him. And the dog’s excited yapping confirmed it: Anicom and Sinden were home. Switching the TV off, Bob slipped quietly into his bedroom.

XIII

Trebor plucked a utensil out of the drying machine and held it in front of Lardy’s face. “Fork burger!”

In response Lardy lifted out a plate and brandished it before Trebor. “Dish burger!” At this they both guffawed.

A light wooden board was the next item Trebor raised. “Tray burger!” And their laughter became hysterical.

Grinning wickedly, eyes bulging with mirth, they continued their game until one example of practically every type of object in that rack had been described as a ‘burger.’ Bob couldn’t help but chuckle along with them.

“Know what I want?” said Lardy. “I wanna ‘girl burger!'”

“Naw, ya don’t,” Trebor told him. “You’d hafta spit out all ‘er hair and teeth!”

“Maybe so. But I already got one anyhow!”

“You ain’t got no girl, Lardy. Yir dreamin!'”

“An’ yir jest jealous – ’cause you ain’t got one!”

Even as they horsed around like that, Bob experienced a profound sense of pity for the pair. How were a couple of buffoons like them ever going to find girlfriends? His thoughts then drifted to Eluji, for it was her image in his mind’s eye. He’d watched her across the room in Professor Schardir’s class that morning, as he always did, observing her in such a way that she would not notice. And he suspected she’d been watching him the same way. But they talked only when circumstance brought them together outside the classroom – which wasn’t often.

“Hey, Bobby, you goin’ to the Stonin’ a the Killers on Sunday?'”

“Huh?” He gazed at them for a moment, trying to comprehend what Lardy had just asked him. “What in hell’s that?'”

“Stonin’ a the Killers parade in Rihesh. Everyone’s goin.'”

“I’ll be thir!” Trebor added gleefully. “Right in the front row. Gonna teach ’em yardam killers a lesson!”

Bob laughed at them; a regular pair of lunatics. “The ‘Stonin’ a the Killers parade?’ So what happens: They drag the captured rebels through town and everyone gets to hurl rocks at ’em?”

“That’s right.” Lardy grinned. “That’s ‘exactly’ what happens.”

Bob kept chuckling. “You guys are completely nuts!” And there was a manic edge to his own laughter then.

They ate their dinner together while the kids were queuing up outside. Bob had the chicken roast – then banana sundae for dessert.

“Yir becomin’ a Yenugian, Bobby!” Lardy congratulated him.

“Puttin’ on weight, too!” Trebor guffawed. “Pretty soon you’ll look like us!”

Bob stopped eating. They were right, of course. If he kept this up he was going to be a human blimp by the time he finished his studies here. Pulling his yellow cap back on, he went through to the serving line, where Adokat was already at her station. She did the meat and he did the veges, and when the kids teemed through she was, as always, kept about three times as busy as him.

By quarter-to-seven the bulk had come through and they were down to the stragglers. Bob readied his spoons to serve what he supposed was one of the last – only to realise it was Lardy.

“Hey, Bobby, this here’s my sweetheart!”

Lardy slipped an arm around Adokat’s ample waist – and scarcely could Bob believe his eyes when she failed to remove it.

“Now, hush up,” she said. “Don’t go tellin’ everybody in the yardam place! And don’t call me yir ‘girl burger’ no more neither. I heard ya braggin’ to Trebor out thir.”

The arm around the waist became a hug. “So when ya gonna marry me?”

“Aw, Lardy, you know that ain’t possible. Would if I could, but it jest ain’t allowed.”

“I know.” Lardy pecked her on the cheek. “But maybe they’ll change the law some day.”

Bob was on the point of asking what law they were talking about, when their expressions suddenly froze over; bulging eyes fixed on the entrance.

“Yardammit, Lardy!” Big Nats’s voice boomed from the other side. “Ain’t I told ya not to come in here durin’ servin’ hours?”

“Sorry, sorry, sorry!” Lardy hastened back out.

“Get on back to the wash’ room, ya li’l rodent! Trebor’s doin’ all the work out thir, while yir in here makin’ a yardam pest a yirself!”

The canteen manager ducked through the entrance and hovered over Adokat. “And you ought a know better, lettin’ that yardam ‘reject’ put his arms roun’ ya.”

“He was jest bein’ friendly. And he ain’t no ‘reject’ neither.”

“Oh – yes – he – is! So don’t go leadin’ him on. You know it can’t go nowhere.”

At that moment Bob’s watch beeped. Seven o’clock; his shift was done. Time to head to football practice. Upon arrival at the pitch he was informed he’d be starting at middle linebacker for the JVs in their next game. No surprise there, but with Narles and Rasco gone, he could hardly get excited about the news. Nonetheless, here was his opportunity to get fully involved in a game and press his claims for a place in the senior team.

Coach Semja offered him a ride home after practice. Normally, Bob would’ve rather walked. It was a pleasant evening, the house wasn’t far, and the stroll always helped him wind down after the day’s exertions. Besides which (and more importantly) there was always the chance he might run into Eluji again. But he needed to talk to Semja himself, and if the coach was offering him a ride home, he undoubtedly wanted to talk too.

“Hey, Bob, you know Vaddi Monhaff, Professor a Classical Drama over in the West Block?”

“Don’t think so.”

“Well, he knows you. Least, he knows ‘about’ you.” Semja chewed his gum slowly. “Says he’s got a spare room over at his place. You might be more comfortable thir ”

Bob realized the Cemeks must have ‘asked’ the coach to find him another place. This both irked and shamed him. Undoubtedly the boys had said something to their folks. “Okay. I got class over in the West Block tomorrow. I’ll go talk with ‘im.”

A serious look came into the coach’s eye. “I’d advise you to do so, Bob. It’ll be best for all concerned.”

They drove a couple of blocks in silence, the roads empty, the squares of windows glowing behind the trees. Tiny bugs kept flying into the windscreen, disintegrating on impact and leaving a smear. Bob understood it all. The Cemeks didn’t want him there any more. He only hoped the whole town wouldn’t get to hear about it.

“Say, Semja, is thir a law against rejects marryin’ on Yenug?'”

“Dam’ straight,” the coach replied, chewing his gum. “You wouldn’t want ’em breedin’ anyway, would ya – multiplying thir kind all over the island? Even if thir kids were normal, how they gonna look after ’em?”

“That’s absurd! What if they married someone who ‘wasn’t’ a reject?”

Semja stopped chewing and gave him that serious look again. “Don’t ever call our laws ‘absurd,’ son. You’ll get yirself into trouble that way. Now, you talkin’ about Adokat and that reject who works out back?”

“You know about ’em?”

“It’s a small town, Bob. Everybody knows everythin.’ And that girl ain’t exactly normal either. She ain’t a reject – as such, but thir’s somethin’ mighty peculiar about a woman who carries on with one.”

Bob gazed at the carnage on the windscreen and forced a chuckle. “Know what they told me today, those guys out in the washing room? Thir’s gonna be some kind a parade in Rihesh this Sunday, where everyone gets to hurl rocks at the captured rebels.”

Semja parked the car in front of the Cemeks’ house. “That’s right, Bob. ‘Stonin’ a the Killers.’ I’ll be takin’ the family along, fir sure.”

XIV

Darb pulled up on his motor scooter and handed Bob a helmet. “Climb aboard!”

“This thing safe?”

“Depends who’s drivin!'”

“How long’s it gonna take?”

“An hour an’ a half.”

Fastening his helmet, Bob climbed on the back. It was going to be a long ride – and they’d have to return that evening as well.

Many cars passed them along the way, and some of the occupants Bob recognised – students from the university, headed into Rihesh for the ‘Stoning of the Killers,’ just like themselves.

It was a cool morning, the trees were losing their color and a carpet of golden-brown leaves covered the ground, though the fields and foliage were a richer shade of green than before, now that the dry months were over. The fresh air blew into their faces; carrying a hint of the chilly weather to come.

They arrived in Rihesh shortly before noon, and the sound of marching band music soon came into earshot – brass drums, cymbals and trumpets, clashing and piping in methodical unison.

Their first glimpse of the parade came via the giant screen atop the Yenug TV Tower. The crowds had gathered along the banks of the river; a bright yellow sea of waving flags and baseball caps. Parking the scooter in a side-street, they continued on foot.

“Strange I never heard of this,” Bob exclaimed, eyeing the multitudes. “Surely it’s against international law.”

“Course it is,” Darb told him. “But the Mainland press ignores it – and yir government always supports us. That’s how we get away with murder.”

They joined a queue at one of the banana sundae stands. The hotdog and yellow candy floss vendors were out in force, as were those peddling flags, balloons, T-shirts and Yenugade.

“So why do you come if yir against it?” Bob asked as they ate.

Darb glanced around anxiously. “Keep it down, Bob. Someone might overhear. Questionin’ the way things are done here can be a very dangerous passtime. Y’oughta know that by now.”

“I do. But nobody’s listenin’ to us.”

“It’s necessary to see this, whether yir for it or against it. We’re students. We’re here to learn. An’ one day this knowledge may be useful.” Darb took another scoop of ice-cream. “That’s why I invited you.”

“Hey, guys! Where’s yir flags?!” a familiar voice called out from behind them.

Spinning around, Bob found himself confronted by the radiant features of Eluji, standing there with a yellow flag in her hand.

“We jest arrived!” Darb protested.

“Been here long enough to buy banana sundaes.”

“We got our priorities.”

Eluji turned her gaze on Bob. “First time at the parade, ‘Mainlander?’ You must be excited!”

“Fit to explode.”

“Well, get yirselves some rocks. They’ll be comin’ along the quay any minute now.”

“You gonna take part in the stonin?'”

“Course,” she said. “Don’t you guys hate ’em too?”

Just then a hulking figure emerged from the crowd and leered down at them. “If it ain’t the Zuk-lovers! They’ll be cryin’ while the Killers are dyin!'” With that Kram put his arm around Eluji’s shoulders and led her away.

Bob tossed his empty tub in the trash. He’d intended to ask Darb something, but now it was forgotten. The girl he’d been dreaming of was walking away with a moron. Not only that: She’d revealed herself as a barbarian. His hopes had been dashed in more ways than one. They continued on in silence, observing the masses around them. Yellow sweaters were in fashion, nylon shorts had given way to ‘Island’ jeans. The baseball caps remained, of course, bright yellow like the flags they were waving on this day of vengeful celebration. Like a city of giant canaries, thought Bob, all gorging themselves on hotdogs, sundaes and yellow candy floss.

Another familiar face in the crowd; chubby, anemic, riddled with acne. Yes, it was Adokat, from the canteen serving line. In almost the same instant Bob recognized the two figures behind her – one fair-haired and dumpy, the other robust and lantern-jawed: Lardy and Trebor from the dish-washing room.

He was about to approach them when a helicopter droned across the cloudy sky and a defeaning roar rose up. Then the multitudes began to part, and out of their midst came the spinning blue lights of police vehicles: motorcycles followed by four-wheel-drives, armoured vans then more motorcycles.

“Where they goin?'” Bob asked.

“The stadium. That’s where the stonin’ takes place.”

The crowd fell in behind and pursued the convoy along the quay, all cheering and waving their flags. Bob and Darb were swept along with them. It would’ve been impossible to resist. For ten or fifteen minutes they continued, along the west bank of the river, until the sea itself became visible in the distance. The helicopter made a low swoop behind them, rotor blades clattering loudly, and only then was Bob able to read the initials on its side: ‘YTV’ – Yenug Television.

Then up ahead he saw the stadium; a giant, concrete bowl of archaic construction; its walls as rough and foreboding as a medievel citadel. A gate opened and the police vehicles passed through them, disappearing into the bowels of that colossal structure. The flag-waving hordes followed, pouring in through the innumerable entrances. The tickets were twenty pounds.

Once inside Bob saw that the pitch itself was dry and brown, surrounded by a salmon-coloured running track. Long wooden bench seats ran around the steep and rickety stands – though the vast majority of those who’d packed inside remained on their feet, gazing expectantly down at the dusty arena.

Again the crowd erupted, and it took Bob a moment to figure out why. But then he saw what it was that had excited them. At first glance he’d believed he was looking at some species of giant bird. In fact, it was a man, and from head to toe he was covered in feathers.

“Killer! Killer!” the crowd began to chant. “Killer! Killer!”

A shower of stones flew from the stands behind the captive – many finding their target – so that he sought refuge from them out on the pitch. At this bizarre spectacle, a wave of raucous laughter rolled around the stadium; a man in feathers scrambling onto the field below, flinching and hopping as the rocks struck him.

“Killer! Killer!”

He was driven further and further across the pitch, until he came within range of the stands on the other side. And only then did the hordes around Bob and Darb begin to unleash their own ammunition. The bird-like figure scrambled back and forth, left and right, ducking and stumbling. He did so vain. There was no escape, and inevitably he went down. For a moment or two he writhed about on the turf, then his body fell lifeless.

Two men in helmets and protective suits ran out, seized a foot each, and dragged the limp body away as fast as they could; leaving a dark streak of blood and feathers on the turf behind them, as though there had been a slaughter of chickens. Into Bob’s mind that streak etched itself, and there it would remain for some considerable time to come.

Another deafening roar. Another man pushed out onto the running track, covered in feathers. Another blizzard of stones thrown from the opposite stands.

“Killer! Killer!”

Bob felt his stomach heave. The stadium was rank with the odor of humanity; the air stale and clammy. He was on the point of vomiting.

“Let’s get out a here,” he said to Darb.

“Seen enough?”

“Ain’t ‘you?'”

“More than enough. But I wanted you to see this for yirself, Bob. Some day you’ll be able to tell folks about it back on the Mainland; tell ’em what’s really goin’ on here.”

“I ought a call home tomorrow.”

“Wouldn’t do that.” Darb caught his eye. “Never know who might be listenin’ in.”

“Yir kiddin,’ right?”

His companion’s head shook slowly. “Best keep yir thoughts to yirself till you get off this island, my friend.”

Bob took a final glance down at the pitch. Same thing all over again; the bird-like figure trying in vain to avoid the countless missiles. Cameras flashed all around the stadium, while television crews filmed the whole thing from the safety of the front rows.

“Killer! Killer!” the crowd chanted – and somewhere nearby Bob heard a voice he thought he recognised.

Looking around, he soon located its source. Several rows above them stood the blimp-like figures of Anicom and Sinden; their bespectacled features shining in ecstasy as they hurled their stones. And it was the former who shrieked loudest; her voice which had got his attention. Bob ducked through the nearest exit before they had chance to see him.

XV

How beautiful the city appeared from the sea, with all its shining lights; the office blocks, hotels, and shopping malls, traffic moving along the coastal roads, boats crossing the river. Only a few days before he had witnessed that horror inside the stadium, but now it seemed like no more than a bad dream. Gazing down at the glossy black water, he felt a momentary impulse to dive in, even though he knew it would be freezing cold.

They were back in Rihesh. Bob stood on deck with his jacket zipped up, viewing the city from this angle for the first time. Over on the west side he could already make out the Yenug TV Plaza with its flickering screen at the top, soaring high above all the other buildings, a perfectly symmetrical column of light.

“Welcome home!” Reshif grinned through his beard beside him.

“Splendid view!” Bob replied, knocking bottles with him. “But it’ll never be home to me.”

“Don’t say that. You did us proud today.”

“Sure did, Bobster!” Roly beamed from the other side. “How many sacks you get?”

Bob raised his hands in protest. “It’s junior varsity, guys! No big deal.”

“It’s a big deal to us,” Reshif told him. “It’s a big deal to the folks a Yenug. Yir representin’ this island when ya pull on that yellow jersey.”

“Ease up, Reshy,” said Roly. “Bobster was on fire today. Don’t matter if he considers Yenug his home or not.” He slapped Bob on the back. “Another game like that, you’ll be gettin’ a call from Coach Semja pretty soon!”

Bob recalled Slenno saying the exact same thing the night they’d driven to the coast, with Rasco and Narles. It sent a shiver down his spine. “Don’t imagine I’ll be called up in my freshman year, Roly. Thanks all the same.”

“Well, jest keep doin’ yir best,” said Reshif, raising his beer. “Who knows what may happen?”

They all knocked bottles together, toasting their success for the umpteenth time since leaving Ugod.

By the time they got back to Crupsy Bob was feeling the effects of the alcohol. They’d been drinking all evening. And the party was set to continue in the dorms.

“Gotta come along, Bobster. You were the star!”

He offered no objection. It had been a good day, the team had won, everyone was happy. Some of the guys’ girlfriends came over, and with them came other chicks. Bob was on the sofa in Roly’s living room when Eluji walked in, the tanned hue of her limbs assentuated by the pale green dress she wore.

“Hey, Bob. Heard you had a great game!”

“I did okay.” He nodded groggily. “But it were only the Ugod jay-vees.”

“Oh, yir bein’ modest. Everyone’s talkin’ about you.”

With that she sat down beside him, so close their shoulders came together. The sensation sent a current of indescribable pleasure through him. Nonetheless, Bob remained on his guard. This was the woman he’d seen with Kram at the ‘Stoning of the Killers’ parade; the woman who’d gone there to participate in the slaughter. He had to resist her; he had to deny his own emotions.

She seemed to understand, her expression turning serious. “You know, Bob, I really don’t like Kram at all. And I didn’t want to go to that stupid parade with ‘im either. But I didn’t know how to tell ‘im.”

“So you guys ain’t actually ‘together?'”

“It was jest a date. We didn’t even kiss.'” The smile returned to her features, and how gorgeous she was, with her smooth complexion and dark brown eyes.

“Not even once?” He raised an eyebrow.

“No. Kram tried – naturally. But I didn’t let ‘im.”

“Well,” said Bob, swigging his beer. “On that account, I can’t blame him!”

Their lips were together before he knew what was happening. And so, at last, he was kissing Eluji, the girl of his dreams – and she was kissing him back. Her passion surprised him; even unnerved him a little, causing him to break off before she was ready.

“Wow!” he gasped, and to make amends immediately kissed her again.

The party went on around them. A few faces glanced down and grinned, Roly’s among them. But for the most part no one seemed to notice. They were hardly the only couple kissing at the party, of course.

At one point Bob looked up to see Reshif peering in through the open doorway. No expression was visible on his fleshy, bearded features, yet Bob was vaguely troubled by the inquiring look in his eye.

XVI

She emerged from the dorm in a sky blue dress, fur-lined jacket and customary yellow cap. Her make-up glistened beneath the street light, like a model on TV. So mesmerized was Bob by the spectacle he neglected to get out and open the door.

“Seen a ghost?” She gave him a teasing smile.

“More like an angel.”

Eluji climbed in beside him, and they kissed for the first time since the party. Again Bob experienced a profound sense of amazement. Could this really be happening? His dream become real? He started the engine and drove out of the car park.

“So, is this yir car?” She looked surprised.

“Slenno’s. Loaned it to me for the evening.”

Eluji played around with the radio until she found a station that suited her. Electronic music, fast and repetitive – more appropriate for the dance-floor than a drive into the city. Bob gazed at the bugs flying into the windscreen, drawn to their fate by the bright glow of the headlights. The seat was a little unomfortable. He adjusted it to the point he was almost paralell with the steering wheel, though still it didn’t quite feel right.

Forty-five minutes later they were in Rihesh, cruising along the main streets, gazing through the windows at the crowded sidewalks; overweight people in jeans and jackets and yellow baseball caps. It was past ten, though the streets remained bright as day beneath the myriad lights of the buildings. A lengthy queue had already formed outside the cinema.

“Think we’ll get in at all?” Bob asked.

“Don’t worry,” Eluji assured him. “Our tickets are reserved. All we gotta do is pick ‘em up.”

They had to wait half an hour just to do that. Bob went and bought sundaes and Yenugade while Eluji held their place in the line. By the time they got in it was ten minutes past the scheduled start of the movie. The ad’s were still running, however – and they continued to do so for another ten or fifteen minutes more. Bob realized he wasn’t going to be getting home till about three that night, and he had class in the morning.  But what the hell? – He checked himself. He was out with the most gorgeous girl on campus!

The cinema was completely dark, except for that great, shining screen in front of them, sucking all their attention in. The speakers boomed to life with sonorous rock music, then faded into silence again. As Bob scraped the last of his ice-cream out of its paper cup, the title of the film appeared: ‘Heroes and Killers;’ the same image he’d seen on the posters out in the lobby.

A group of soldiers in outdated military fatigues were grimly picking over the remains of a burnt-out village. The smoke was still rising in places, and among the debris were many corpses – each and every one of them decapitated.

“Hell, this is a bit gory!” Bob shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

“It’s about the Inter-Island War,” Eluji whispered back.

“I figured that much.”

“This is what they did, Bob. They raided our villages an’ hacked the people’s heads off.”

“Really?”

“Yes. That’s why I wanted you to see this. Before you go judging us, you gotta know our history.”

A change of scene. The cinema grew darker. A group of middle-aged men in old-fashioned suits sat around a table in wooden chairs, smoking cigars and discussing the latest attack. A military response was justified, declared a broad-shouldered general with a vast array of medals gleaming on his chest. The grim-faced individual at the head of the table got to his feet and raised a clenched fist. “The killers of Yenugian heroes shall be brought to justice!” he cried. And Bob recalled that these were the exact same words he had heard the evening of his arrival in Crupsy.

Half an hour into the movie he needed to use the toilet. But how was he going to get out of this cramped row without disturbing anyone? It was pitch-dark and several people sat either side of him. Eluji would think him a buffoon! He’d just have to hold on till intermission, though that might be another half hour away – perhaps more.

Shouting and gunfire drew his attention back to the screen. The Yenugian squadron had once again been set upon by a band of screaming, wild-eyed killers. But these hapless fools they calmly mowed down, outwitting them, outmuscling them where necessary, and ultimately overcoming them. Only this time there was a twist; one of the heroes had been captured. The following scene was to find him inside a dingy jailhouse, being tortured by two sweaty unshaved officers, who sneered contemptuously at him the whole time. Finally he was dragged outside, paraded before a cheering mob, and unceremoniously beheaded.

“Seems a bit far-fetched!” Bob groaned.

“It’s based on a true story,” Eluji reminded him. “Now you can see why we hate ’em so much. They’re evil. They’re not even human!”

Bob had been right with his estimation; the film endured over two-and-a-half hours and by the time they got back to Crupsy it was approaching three.

“See you in six hours!” he quipped, pulling up outside her dorm.

She laughed back at him. “I ain’t goin’ a class in the mornin!'”

This did not greatly surprise Bob. She’d missed lessons before. He leaned over and gave her a kiss.

“Don’t you wanna come up for a night-cap? I got half a bottle a banana liqueur needs takin’ care of.”

“Well . . . I’m drivin.’ And I wanna make Professor Hannah’s class -”

She silenced him with another kiss. “Stop makin’ excuses. It’s only one lesson.”

Bob realized she was right. What in hell was he afraid of? The girl of his dreams was inviting him up to her dorm and he was worried about missing a class! As for the car, he could just leave it where it was. Vaddi’s house was scarcely ten minutes’ walk away.

They entered quietly, taking care not to wake her roommates, and the first thing he noticed when she turned on the lights were the pictures on the walls. Like the Cemeks,’ they featured chubby-faced young men in military attire, and above them were the standard yellow flag and portrait of the Founding Father. But mixed in among the photos were images of slain rebels – clippings from newspapers and magazines – many of them accompanied by headlines and opening paragraphs; young men, mostly, a few women too, lying where they had fallen, some covered in blood, others with gaping wounds, the worst of them barely recognizable as ‘human.’

“Are you crazy?!” He turned to her as she walked toward him, still holding the keys.

“What’s the matter?”

“This is sick! Why in hell would anyone put pictures a dead people on thir walls?”

“Thir Killers, Bob. You saw the movie. They got what they deserved.”

“They ain’t animals!”

She poured the yellow liqueur into two glasses. “Gonna help me finish this off or not?”

Bob downed his in a single gulp, surprising even himself. Eluji merely giggled and poured him another.

“Ease up, Bob,” she told him. “Yir an Incabay. You still don’t understand what’s really goin’ on here.”

The pleading edge to her tone stalled him from protesting any further. Where was the point with these people? They were so brainwashed the message would never get through. It would only be unwise to push it any further, he realized. His own friends had warned him against this – more than once.

“Another?” She held up the bottle.

They sat down on the couch together, resting their drinks on the circular black coffee table – upon which was a copy of the Rihesh Register. ‘Yenug Forces Bomb Killer Chief’s Home!’ roared the headline roared, accompanied by an image of a crumbling apartment building.

“So that should be the end of it,” Bob suggested. “They got thir leader. It’s all over.”

Eluji shook her head. “The killers will jest appoint another.”

“Really?”

“That’s what always happens. You ought a start readin’ the papers here, Bob, learn about what’s goin’ on. She topped their glasses up for a third time, then pointed at a picture in the bottom right corner. “Recognize that face?”

Bob examined it more closely. “Sure. He was in the movie we jest watched.”

“Been cheatin’ on his wife, they say.”

“And ‘that’ makes the front page?”

“Course. He’s one a the island’s top actors.”

“But it’s only a rumor, right?”

“Where thir’s smoke thir’s fire. These rumors always turn out to be true.”

She refilled his glass yet again, and Bob soon began to feel the effects. The images on the wall were no less surreal, though now like part of some strange dream in which he’d found himself alone with an irresistable seductress. And the seductress brought her lips to his once again; her eyes dark and mesmerizing as she gazed at him, slightly amused. Bizarrely, she still wore the yellow baseball cap.

He broke off too soon; just like the first time.  “Sorry, but I never . . . “

“‘Never?'” She raised her eyebrows. “Wow, you Mainlanders sure are weird. Our religion encourages acts a love.”

Bob’s eyes returned to the wall in front of him; those clippings of mangled corpses, the photos of cleancut faces, the Founding Father’s portrait – all stuck to the wall. “I gotta get goin,’” he apologized.

A moment later he was outside in the cold darkness, Eluji watching him leave from the doorway. No more words were spoken. Everything was silent. It was half past three in the morning after all. Bob left Slenno’s car where it was and started walking.

XVII

“Anad’s quite a girl. Yir gonna love her, Bob!” Vaddi assured him as they clunked and rattled along. “She was my student before the summer.”

Bob cocked an eyebrow. “You snake in the grass!”

Vaddi was approaching middle-age. He wore a pony-tail though his hair had receded beyond the crown of his head, giving him the profile of some tribal warrior out of a movie. But when he turned to smile it was the more civilized visage of the university professor that gazed through the square-framed glasses. “Makes up for my horror-story of a first wife. Cleaned me out an’ got custody of our daughter too.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“You can see I’m still bitter!”

“Yep. So what’s the colored part of the eye called?”

Vaddi chuckled and returned his attention to the road. “I’m tellin’ you about my divorce an’ you wanna play ‘that’ game?”

“You love it, man. You always win!”

The warrior profile chuckled again. “The ‘iris.’ That’s easy. How ‘bout the pipe that shifts food down into yir stomach?”

Bob shrugged. “You asked me that last time – an’ I still don’t know.”

“That’s why I always win!”

The old van threatened to fall apart at every bump and dip in the road, and there were many, but somehow it got them to Rihesh and the river. Vaddi pointed her out as they parked in front of the ferry terminal: Tall, bushy-haired and obsese. Like the professor she wore large-framed glasses, which gave her a decidedly nerdy appearance as she waved cheerfully at them.

Bob climbed into the back, so that Anad could sit up front. And first thing she did when she got in was light a cigarette and roll up the window. Bob’s annoyance turned to confusion when Vaddi did the same. They’d lived together almost a week now and Bob had never seen him smoking. But when a sweet herbal fragrance filled the air, he understood what was going on.

“Wanna try one, Bob?” Anad passed the packet back to him. They were tailor-mades, just like real cigarettes, only a dark shade of green inside.

“No, thanks. I don’t smoke – an’ certainly not ‘that’ stuff.”

“It’ll do ya good!” Vaddi mocked him. “Hell, yir smokin’ it lready – jest by sittin’ thir.”

“So open the windows!”

“No way!”

Bob laughed at the absurdity of his situation. He didn’t want to smoke the weed with them, but stuck in the back like that, where none of the windows opened, he had no choice.

Anad looked over her shoulder again, a pink tinge to her eyes. “So yir a Mainlander? Folks smoke much a this stuff over thir?”

Bob’s mind went blank. With the herbal-scented smoke swirling all around him, he couldn’t recall a thing. “No idea.”

“You don’t know?” She stared at him in astonishment.

Vaddi’s bespectacled eyes caught him in the rear vision mirror. “Hey, what’s the capital of the Mainland?”

Bob thought for a moment, then shrugged again. “No idea.”

“That’s yir hometown, man!”

Anad broke into laughter. “Gotta know where yir from, Bob!”

All he could do was apologise. “I get memory blocks sometimes.”

Anad turned back to the front and giggled at the professor. “Think our friend’s a li’l stoned back thir?”

“An’ he claimed he didn’t smoke this stuff!”

They stopped outside the ‘Sweet n’ Healthy’ ice-cream parlour. Bob felt oddly thin as he walked past the other customers – though he himself had put on a fair bit of weight since arriving on the island. He wasn’t even sure what ‘normal’ was any more.

“Okay.” Vadd lowered his voice. “We’re gonna say it’s yir birthday, Bob. That way we get a free cake.”

“They don’t ask for I-dee or nothin?’”

“No, last time we told ‘em it was Anad’s birthday, an’ the time before that mine!”

Anad laughed quietly. “We get a free cake every time we visit this place!”

When the waiter came over, Vaddi duly informed him of Bob’s birthday, and shortly afterward a double-layer chocolate cake was brought to their table, complete with creamy icing and a single burning candle.

“Happy birthday to you . . . “ the waiter began, and Bob’s companions promptly joined in.

They really were a nerdy pair then, peering at him through their large-framed glasses, goofy smiles on their corpulent faces, singing ‘happy birthday ’ with the waiter – hopelessly out of tune.  He had to chuckle despite himself.

“I’m not sure about this,” he protested when the waiter had gone. “Doesn’t seem right.”

Vaddi winced. “Who cares? Everybody does it.”

“How do you know? We’re betraying thir trust.”

“Oh, don’t be such a do-gooder, Bobby!” Anad mocked him. “The owners a this chain are filthy rich. So what if we get a few free birthday cakes off ‘em?”

The cake was a little gooey for Bob’s liking anyway. He declined a second piece and allowed his companions to gorge themselves. Meanwhile, their ‘super low-calory’ sundaes arrived, and these they also devoured with gusto.

“Smokin’ always gives me an appetite!” Vaddi said between mouthfuls.

“It’s called the ‘munchies,’” Anad explained. “Ain’t you hungry, Bobby?”

“A little,” he conceded, sucking a dollop of ice-cream off his plastic spoon. “I don’t want any more cake though.”

That evening a yellow four-wheel-drive pulled up in front of the house and out stepped the barrel-chested figure of Coach Semja. He wore a dark sports jacket and pants – as opposed to the customary ‘Bombers Football’ attire Bob had always seen him in. Vaddi went to the door and welcomed him inside.

“I dropped by earlier but you guys weren’t home,” the coach said, entering the kitchen. “Got some bad news, I’m afraid.”

Somehow Bob knew exactly what he was about to say next. Perhaps a premonition; perhaps just a good guess; but when the coach went on to inform them Tyram Cemek had died in a head-on car collison the previous night, it almost seemed to Bob as if he were personally drawing those words out of his mouth.

Anad made coffee and they all went through to the living room. It was growing dark outside. The wind rustled among the trees, carrying a few dry leaves along with it. Bob went through to his bedroom and put on a sweater.

“That’s really terrible news,” Vaddi was saying when he returned. “Poor Anicom and Sinden! What happened, exactly?”

“Lost control on a bend. That’s all they know.”

“Anyone hurt in the other car?” Anad inquired.

Semja removed his cap and ran a hand through his thick black hair. “Whole family wiped out – mother, father an’ two kids. Also, he had a passenger, one of his buddies from high school. Six dead in total – an’ all from this town.”

Bob recalled the last ride Tyram had given him. ‘Ain’t scared, are ya?’ the kid had mocked him, racing along at breakneck speed.

XVIII

The gold-cladded pyramid shone brightly in the late-morning sun, high up in the hills among the trees. It was perhaps fifteen meters high. Bob leaned forward between Vaddi and Anad to get a better look at it as they clunked and rattled up the narrow road.

“Thir’s a vent at the top,” the latter informed him. “This releases the smoke directly up to Yar.”

“The temple’s a crematorium?” Bob gazed through the windscreen. “You believe all that stuff?”

“About the smoke?”

“That the sun’s a livin’ entity? Does it have thoughts and emotions?”

“No one can answer that who hasn’t been thir, Bob,” Vaddi replied, changing gears as the old van whined. “What we do know is Yar created the World an’ everythin’ in it. Science has borne that out. Yar brings light, Yar brings warmth, Yar heals the sick an’ make the crops grow. That’s why we worship him.’”

“An’ when you die, yir smoke returns to ‘Yar?’”

“Somethin’ like that.”

“Yir spirit returns to the world Yar created,” said Anad, lighting a joint. “Least, that’s what they taught us in school.”

As the van filled up with smoke, Bob realized he was going to get stoned again – whether he wanted to or not. There was no escape, stuck in the back of the van like that.

Barely had the joint been lit, however, than they pulled off the road into a parking area, already half full with four-wheel-drives and other vehicles. The view behind them resembled that from a plane; houses and farms appearing like miniature toys in the valley far below. A stiff breeze blew, cool and fragrant. Birds soared and glided through the air around them, piercing the tranquility with their sharp cries.

Vaddi checked his watch. “Midday Oath’s in five minutes.”

Crossing the parking area, they ascended a flight of concrete steps, and the first thing Bob saw when they reached the top was the shining gold pyramid. It now stood before them, in the middle of a grass field, high as a six floor building. And milling around in front were a large number of people, all attired in black – from their baseball caps to their shoes.

As they drew closer Bob began to recognize some of the faces, Anicom’s and Sinden’s among them, but there was no time for greetings or commiserations before the daily prayer began. All Bob could do was stand awkwardly by while they all knelt down in the grass before the temple; Vaddi and Anad hastening forth to join them.

“Great fire that created us,

Great fire that gave us life,

Yar, ruler of the universe,

Take us back when we die . . . ‘

Bob had heard it many times before, and still it struck him as a little odd. These people, so civilized and sophisticated, seemingly, still worshipped the sun like the ancients.

The first speech followed, delivered by Sinden himself. He spoke of his memories and the experiences he’d shared with Tyram, though mostly of the high hopes he’d had for his son. The listeners bowed their heads respectfully, a few of the women could be heard sobbing. It was never meant to be pleasant. The speeches were a farewell to the dead, an acknowledgement of their passing, and a means of putting things into perspective.

The wooden coffin was then carried into the base of the temple itself. Only the immediate family entered with it, so that Bob remained where he had been since his arrival, standing at the edge of the field. Another ten or fifteen minutes passed, before the first wisp of smoke came trailing out of the pyramid’s peak. The youth he’d shared a living room with just a few weeks before – the same kid who’d taken him for those reckless rides in his sports car – was now burning to ashes inside the golden temple.

Snacks and drinks were brought around as everyone began to mingle. The talk was formal, condolescences extended to family and friends, inquiries as to one’s relationship to the deceased, even the occasional joke – in good taste, naturally, with laughter kept to a minimum. It was as tedious as listening to the speeches, thought Bob, only this time he was able to slip away.

Strolling around behind the temple, he was surprised to encounter Nitty, gazing out over the valley. “How are the folks?” he inquired.

“Not so good,” the youngster replied. “Maw’s gonna have to go in fir some reprogrammin.’”

“’Reprogrammin?’”

“Emotional rehabilitation. Lotta folks go through it after a personal crisis. She’s gonna need it.”

Bob nodded solemnly. “So how’s the football goin,’ Nitty? Remember that time we tossed the ball roun’ in the park? You went right by me!”

“Naw, you were takin’ it easy. I knew all along. But it still felt good!”

“You jest needed a li’l confidence.  After that thir was no stoppin’ ya!”

Another figure had come up beside Bob while they were talking. He now turned his head to see who – though it took another moment to recognize the features behind the shades.

“Howdy, stranger! Gonna ignore me all day?” Eluji smiled mockingly.

“I had no idea you were here.”

“That’s ’cause you were in back the whole time. I saw you standin’ behind us while we were makin’ the Midday Oath. Ain’t you converted yet?”

“I’m an ‘Incabay’ – remember.”

“Then yir spirit will never be accepted back. You’ll be an Incabay in the after-life too.”

Though he was unable to see her eyes, there was the trace of a smirk on her lips. She was nonetheless attractive, and Bob found himself questioning his own sanity in walking out of her dorm the week before. He could have fullfilled his fantasies with her, yet something had held him back.

“Who was that you were talkin’ with?”

Bob prepared to introduce them – but Nitty had gone. “That was Tyram’s kid brother.”

“The adopted one?”

“You know about that too?”

“Course. Ain’t no secrets in this town, Bob. Everybody knows everythin.'”

They strolled back across the field together, much like a couple, partaking in the snacks and drinks, pausing to chat with acquaintances here and there.

“These occasions can be tryin,’ can’t they?” Eluji muttered after one exchange.

Bob gazed around distractedly. “Thir’s no old people here. I can see children and young people, middle-aged folks even. But thir’s no old people.”

“Cancer, heart attacks, diabetes. Somethin’ always gets ’em.” Eluji shrugged.

Another of the waitresses came around with a tray of cakes – chocolate, cream cheese, banana with butter frosting. Bob took a couple, though he’d already had four. There wasn’t anything else; no sandwiches, savories or fruit – just these sugary cakes.

He was forced to endure Vaddi and Anad’s teasing when he informed them he’d be leaving early with Eluji.

“You snake in the grass!” The former grinned slyly.

The hatchback seemed like a dream after the professor’s clunky old van. Bob sat beside her in the passenger seat; electronic music bouncing out of the stereo speakers, the sun shining in through the windows, a view of the patchwork farmland in the valley far below

“So, is this yir car?” he asked.

“It’s my roommate’s. Loaned it to me for the afternoon,” Eluji replied. “It’s a nice day. Let’s go somewhere!”

“Like where?”

“The beach or somethin.’ Maybe take a walk.”

There was little traffic on the roads. They drove out to the same point from where Rasco and Narles had made their fatal swim several weeks before. The latter’s funeral had been held in his home-town – but Rasco’s body had never been recovered.

“Guess I gotta swim that strait soon,” Bob said, staring out at the water.

“You can’t be serious. After what happened to those boys?!”

“It was jest bad luck. Everybody says so. Lotta guys a made that swim.”

“So you gotta prove you can do it too?”

“No, I gotta make that swim to join the Wolves. Everybody on the team’s in the club. Ain’t no way ‘round it.”

They drove in silence for a while. Eluji kept glancing in the rear vision mirror, frowning slightly. “This may sound crazy to you, Bob, but I think we’re bein’ followed.”

“That does sound crazy!” He twisted around in his seat nonetheless, and what he saw then were two vehicles coming around the bend close behind them. The first was a regular four-door sedan, silver and blue; the second a black four-wheel-drive – the same as countless others on the island, yet somehow vaguely familiar. “Pull over and let ’em pass.”

Eluji did as he’d suggested, and the sedan flew by seconds later, but the four-wheel-drive slowed down and drew to a halt just ahead. And, sure enough, it was the hulking figure of Kram which stepped out of the driver’s side.

So preoccupied was Bob with this spectacle, he barely noticed when Reshif emerged from the other side.

“We better get out and talk to ’em,” Eluji said, turning off the engine.

Bob agreed. It would have appeared wimpish to remain in the car.

“Well, well, well . . . “ Kram greeted them cheerfully; his square jaw forming a twisted grin. “Out for a romantic drive, are we? ”

“That’s none a yir business,” Eluji told him. “Why you been followin’ us?”

Kram leered menacingly down at them. “I decide what’s my business. And when my girl goes off on a drive with some feller I got a right to know what’s goin’ on.”

“I ain’t yir girl, Kram. I told ya that already – how many times?”

“Whatever! You were kissin’ this ‘Incabay’ a week ago. I heard all about it. The whole town knows!”

Bob caught Reshif’s eye, remembering the way he’d peered in at them during the party two weeks earlier. “What of it?” he said to Kram. “Eluji ain’t yir girl. She jest told ya so herself.”

The hulk’s response was to seize him by the collar, so powerfully he was almost wrenched off his feet.

“Let ‘im go, you thug!” Eluji began hitting him.

But the hulk merely held her at bay with his free arm, until Reshif stepped forward and pulled her aside.

“We’re gonna take a walk on the beach,” Kram announced calmly, dragging Bob down the grassy bank.

Eluji was hauled along behind them, still protesting. “What a ya think yir doin?!’ This is kidnappin,’ Kram! You better let us go right now!”

“We ain’t kidnappin’ nobody! Jest arrangin’ a li’l contest, see. It’s gonna be me against the Incabay, winner takes all.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. I ain’t the prize for some stupid fight!”

Bob glanced across at the neighboring island, its hilltops visible several miles away. “You wanna contest, Kram? How ’bout a swimmin’ contest – to Yezuk an’ back?”

Eluji gaped at him.”Are you crazy, Bob?! You don’t need a prove nothin’ to this dum’ass!”

“Hey!” Reshif shook her. “Don’t go callin’ nobody a ‘dum’ass!'”

She answered that by slapping his arms away, then took advantage of his surprise to scramble back up the bank.

“Let her go,” Kram told him. “The Incabay jest challenged me to a swimmin’ contest. Hear that? I’m gonna humiliate him in front a the whole yardam team!”

With that he released Bob and stood over him. “Tomorrow night after practise, Incabay. Jest make sure yir here. No one ever backs out of a challenge on this island.”

Bob could hardly have been more delighted or relieved. Whether he could beat Kram across the strait and back remained to be seen. But he’d been on the swim team at high school and would certainly stand a better chance in the water than in a punch-up on the sand. Besides which, we was going to have to make that swim one day. Might as well kill two birds with one stone – or try to.

XIX

Several vehicles were already parked up when they arrived. Slenno pulled over and they climbed out into the cool night air. A crowd was gathered on the beach below; footballers every one of them – seniors and JVs alike. And the cars kept coming even as they made their way down onto the sand.

From out of the hordes in front of them stepped a hulking square-jawed figure, flanked by two gargantuan linemen. “Winner takes all, Incabay! Don’t forget it.”

“He ain’t got a chance!” one of the linemen sneered. “Kram’s done this three times before.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Slenno told Bob. “Jest make sure you get back safe is all. You won’t have to do it again.”

Bob himself had other ideas. It was ‘winner takes all,’ as the defensive captain had said. If that was the way they settled things here, then he fully intended to be the winner.

The fire had been lit. The moon glowed luminously over the distant hills of Yezuk Island – almost a full moon. It was a clear, starlit night, just like the one on which Rasco and Narles had made their swim the month before. Bob gazed at the dark glossy sea and shuddered at the memory. But there was no way out now. This had to be done.

They were approached by the crewcut mammoth who’d overseen proceedings on that last occasion. He wore the same yellow and green striped suit, and the same cluster of gold and silver chains hung around his neck, each with a figure of the sun at its base.

“Time to get wet gentlemen.” Jumacho handed them both a small plastic bag. “Now, y’all know the rules. Get across to Yezuk, snatch a handful of sand, and bring it back in these bags.”

“We know the rules,” Kram assured him, zipping up his wetsuit. “Now, how ’bout we get this show on the road.”

“Okay, good luck, gentlemen.” The mammoth saluted them and stood aside.

Bob took one final glance at the beach as he waded into the icy surf. They were all standing there watching, a multitude of silhouettes gathered in front of the bonfire, like primitive tribesmen, waiting for the contest to begin.

A series of loud splashes alerted him to the fact Kram was already making good progress, propelling himself along with quick, powerful strokes. Diving into the waves, Bob pursued him, and for the next few minutes he struggled even to keep within sight of his rival. But after a hundred yards or so Kram slowed up, thereafter maintaining a pace more suited to long-distance swimming.

A few hundred yards on Bob spied the first rock – a slimy peak that barely broke the surface. Kram hauled himself straight up onto it, so that Bob was required to tread water while he waited for his chance to rest. By the time Kram got to the next rock, they were almost halfway across. There were more rocks beyond it, shimmering like jewels in the moonlight as the waves washed over them. Moreover, they were now within sight of the peninsula itself; a low, sandy shoal projecting from the coastline. Kram set off again, ploughing through the water toward another rock.

To this point Bob had merely followed him to learn the way. But this time,having rested again, he made directly for the peninsula. Upon reaching the sandbank, he looked around to find the hulking form still out there on one of the rocks. He sucked in the air, filling his lungs gratefully, confident now that victory was within his grasp. The moment Kram came ashore, he’d charge back into the water and begin the long swim back.

A gull flapped overhead, emitting a whistling cry. Bob straighted up and stared around, and great was his alarm when he saw the lights of the patrol boats; both of which had come into view – one to the west; the other looming up on the east. Dropping onto the sand, he rolled onto his stomach and continued watching them from there. It was a disaster, of course. He’d have to wait for them to pass, giving Kram chance to recover. Bob had lost his advantage.

But there was no sign of his opponent. He wasn’t clinging to the rock any more, and if he’d made it to the shore already, he was certainly keeping well-hidden. Bob shivered as he lay there, and dug himself into the sand a little. The vessel to the west seemed to be getting closer; its search-light sweeping the water just short of the pensinsula now.

For fully twenty minutes he waited like that, lying in the sand, wondering again and again how in hell he’d got himself into this mess. All for the sake of a challenge; for the sake of joining a fraternity; for the sake of winning a girl – though only in Kram’s eyes; not even his, and certainly not her own. Suddenly it seemed insane.

Then came the distant clatter of helicopter rotors; a sound that sent the adrenaline coursing through his veins. He was going to have to make a move now – either back into the sea or up the sandback toward the shrubbery. The patrol boat to the east had moved on. He would be able to conceal himself from view on that side of the peninsula – provided he reached the vegetation line. Bob decided to make a run for it.

He got less than halfway before the helicopter swooped in, its search-light glaring down and turning the sand white in front of him. His own hands shone as they pumped away, protruding from the glistening black arms of his wetsuit. A few more steps then he dived, and a loud voice crackled down from the sky above; the words entirely incomprehensible to him.

All he could do was lie there, face-down in the sand, as the defeaning drone of propellers told him the chopper was landing nearby. He soon felt the cyclonic wind on his back. What was it Slenno had told him the night Rasco and Narles had made their swim? ‘Try to escape, they’ll jest shoot ya.’ Bob knew he was going to have to surrender.

XX

Captain Fatsuma sat across the table, smoking a cigarette, his eyes large and brown, his uniform beige khaki, his short cropped hair dyed purple. He was middle-aged and robust – though he seemed oddly thin to Bob after two months on Yenug Island. “So you do this as an initiation ritual?” He elevated his jet-black eyebrows. “That’s an extremely hazardous way to earn your membership.”

Bob felt the sweat dripping down his back. It was after midnight, yet it remained humid in that cramped little room, with the door closed, and only one small window. The smell of body odour pervaded the air, vaguely like onions. “I had no choice. To get into the club I had to do what they told me.”

The captain tapped his cigarette over the ashtray and broke into a disbelieving chuckle. “Thousands of boys must have swum across that strait right under our noses!”

“Not all of ’em made it. Jest last month two a the kids were shot in the water.”

“Really? I don’t recall anything about that?”

“One washed up dead on Yenug. The other’s body was never found.”

Captain Fatsuma frowned pensively. “The Coast Guard must have mistaken them for refugees. If they’d given themselves up, like you did, they wouldn’t have been shot.”

The walls were bare and grimy. Bob could see the lights of other buildings through the window. The chopper had brought him directly here, landing on a helipad out front. They’d provided him with a baggy grey tracksuit and sandles to wear. And the man who sat in front of him now was a soldier. Undoubtedly, then, he was a prisoner of the Yezuk army; perhaps a ‘Prisoner of War.’

The door opened and a young officer entered with a tray of coffee and sandwiches. He too wore khaki, and his short cropped hair was dyed purple. The captain poured cream into his cup, sat back and lit another cigarette.

“This is a poor country. Our neighbours have deprived us of our natural resources, and these wars have made us poorer. Every day there are people trying to flee this island.”

“By swimmin’ to Yenug?”

“It’s been known to happen.”

“But why shoot ‘em?

“Because we’re at war. They represent a security risk.” Captain Fatsuma pushed the tray of sandwiches toward him. “And that’s the message we’re going to send you back to Yenug with.”

“You ain’t gonna toss me in jail?'”

“No, we’re not going to toss you in jail.” The captain chuckled. “You’re a Mainlander, and we don’t want trouble with the Mainland. But make sure you inform your companions about this. Anybody caught swimming that strait in future will be shot on sight.”

The sandwiches turned out to be fried dripping, greasy and a little stale. But Bob had burned up a lot of energy that evening and devoured them without pause. In fact, he found, they were quite tasty.

“This conflict is so pointless,” said Fatsuma, waving away a fly. “We islanders are all the same, you know. It was the colonial period which divided us. So now we call ourselves different countries and fight with each other. But beneath the surface we are still the same people.”

Bob shifted uncomfortably in his seat, mindful of the role his homeland had apparently played in this – and of the role it was continuing to play by supporting Yenug Island.

The captain drew on his cigarette and gazed up at the slow-revolving ceiling-fan as he exhaled. “My grandfather was a Yenug Islander, you know. He fought here during the Inter-island War. But he couldn’t go back; not after losing his right arm to shrapnel. He’d never have worked again, never have married, never have had children. So he surrendered – ‘defected,’ if you like.”

“He was able to work and get married here?”

“Of course. Why not? Yenug’s laws are absurd.”

Bob had to agree on that count. In fact, the captain didn’t seem like such a bad fellow at all and was actually making more sense to him than anybody had for a while – a ‘long’ while. So they were sending him back with a warning for the others; not to try swimming the strait in future. But Bob would have more to tellthan this, once he returned to Yenug.

XXI

“Bob? Yir alive!” Slenno’s voice came down the line. “Hell, we’d given you up fir dead – jest like Narles and Rasco!”

“I got caught. But I’m okay. How ’bout Kram? He get back alright?”

“Sure did. Boasted about it all night too – even while we were waitin’ fir you to return.”

“Okay, don’t let on to anyone that I’m back, alright?”

The payphone receiver crackled with laughter. “What in hell are you up to, Bobby? Gonna play the ghost or somethin’ – come back from the dead to haunt ol’ Kram?!”

“Not sure yet. Jest keep it quiet though.”

“Okay,” Slenno agreed. “Guess you need a ride back to Crupsy.”

An hour later he arrived at the ferry terminal. They went for breakfast in a local cafe; eggs, hash browns and coffee. Slenno just couldn’t stop grinning at the sight of him.

“You look like an escaped convict!”

“Feel like one too! Least they didn’t send me back in the wetsuit an’ flippers . . .”

“So what in hell happened over thir?”

Bob gave him the low-down, stressing the warning Captain Fatsuma had provided him with. “It’s crazy to keep doin’ this, man.”

“Kram made it back alright. Can’t be ‘that’ dangerous.”

“Where did he come ashore? Did you actually see him emerge from the water?”

“No, it was further down the coast. He had to walk some.” Slenno gazed inquiringly at him, lines forming across his forehead. “Why do you ask?”

“I don’t believe Kram ever made it to Yezuk, that’s why. I was thir, remember. Whatever turf he put in his bag he surely collected on this side.”

Slenno stirred his coffee, the lines on his forehead canine-like. “Well, thir ain’t no way to prove that, Bob. Best forget it. Least you made it back. That’s all ‘at matters.”

The eggs and hash browns were cold. Bob pushed the plate aside still half-full, reflecting that he’d enjoyed the dripping sandwiches more. He didn’t tell Slenno what was really on his mind, of course. But he knew who the first person he’d visit once he got back to Crupsy would be.

In fact, Eluji was in class when they returned, according to her roommate. Bob wasn’t sure what he’d expected, but it seemed a little odd she’d gone to her lesson under the circumstances.

He took a nap on the couch while he waited, still exhausted from the events of the previous night. Some time later he was awoken by a hand shaking his shoulder. It was Eluji; dark eyes narrowed in irritation.

“What are ya doin’ here, Bob?”

Dazed by her tone, he promptly sat up and blinked back at her. “Ain’t ya pleased to see me, Eluji? Ain’t ya glad I’m alive?”

“Course I am. But you lost the race. You shouldn’t be here.”

“I was first across the strait. Only . . . the chopper came in an’ I got caught. But Kram never stepped foot on Yezuk. I’m sure a that.

“Well he showed up with a bag full a sand. That makes him the winner.” Eluji shook her head slowly. “You should a never accepted that challenge, Bob. Ain’t no way out of it now. I’m Kram’s girl.”

“That’s insane! You said so yirself. You ain’t no prize.”

“You don’t understand our culture, Bob. You accepted Kram’s challenge. You accepted his terms.”

Bob sprang to his feet. “What in hell are you talkin’ about, Eluji? The guy cheated! An’ you don’t need a be his ‘girl’ anyhow. It’s a free world, ain’t it?!”

“Yir so naive. This ain’t the Mainland, Bob. We have our own customs here.”

His eyes moved to the wall, the yellow flag and the portrait of the Founding Father, and all the pictures hanging beneath them – the crewcut, chubby-faced youths in their military attire; the slain rebels, covered in blood and debris, a few of them mutilated beyond recognition. “Some fine customs ya got, too. Like tarrin’ an’ featherin’ folks an’ stonin’ ‘em to death inside a stadium!”

Eluji took a step backward, her features contorted in horror. “Don’t insult us, Bob! We had to fight fir our freedom. It’s our customs that have kept us strong. Talk like that outside, you’ll get yirself arrested!”

“Let ’em arrest me. They’ll jest send me back to the Mainland. Back to sanity!”

“Sure, run home any time ya like. But this ‘is’ our home. An’ we have a comfortable life here. Who are you to question the way we do things?” She moved across to the front door and held it open. “It’s over, Bob. You lost the challenge. I’m Kram’s girl now.”

XXII

It was an overcast day. They zipped their jackets up and buried their hands in their pockets. A cold breeze blew, carrying the sweet, sickly essence of bananas. Helicopters droned overhead, at one point a supersonic jet roared across the sky, and from off in the distance came the brassy sounds of marching band music – growing steadily louder as they continued.

“Didn’t they have this same parade a few weeks back?” asked Bob.

“That was Papa Yenug’s Birthday,” Vaddi explained. ”This one’s Heroes Memorial Day.”

“Lotta parades, huh.”

“Next up it’s Independence Day, an’ after that we celebrate Victory in the Inter-island War.”

The road was long and narrow, closed to traffic that afternoon, though the parade itself was on a connecting street a couple of blocks away. The stores and offices were closed too, and there was an eerie absence of humanity.

“Why so nationalist?” Bob inquired.

“We ain’t ‘nationalist.’ We’re jest patriotic, like you. The Mainland’s got its own holidays, right?”

“We got a few. But not, like, every month.”

“Well, Yenug had to fight fir its freedom. It’s our patriotism that has kept us strong. We’re surrounded by evil enemies, Bob.”

“Yezuk? I was there a week ago, remember. They ain’t evil. Thir jest the same as you an’ me.”

Vaddi’s eyes appeared magnified behind the large-framed spectacles as he stopped and glowered down at him. “Sounds like ya got yirself brainwashed over thir. Those yardam Killers are attackin’ our troops every day, Bob. Best keep opinions like that to yirself!”

Another jet roared across the leaden sky, momentarily drowning out the clatter of the helocopters, not to mention the the pipes, cymbals and drums of the marching band. They walked on in silence.

“How many colors in a rainbow?”

“That’s easy. Seven. What are the three primary colors?”

“Red, blue and . . . “ Bob could only shrug.” I forget.”

Vaddi broke into a vindictive chuckle, the pony-tail bouncing slightly at the back of his balding head. “I win again.”

They turned a corner and the Yenug TV Tower came into view, its giant screen filled with the images Bob and Vaddi could now see for themselves in the street below – the military parade and the flag-waving hordes, many with sticks of yellow candy floss, yellow balloons and T-shirts. Vendors plied their wares. The aroma of grilled meat emanated from the hamburger stalls. Vaddi stopped at a banana sundae stand and ordered two.

“A li’l cold for this, ain’t it?” Bob shivered.

“Never too cold for the Food of the Founding Father,” Vaddi replied.

Light rain began to fall, and an icy, damp sensation soon alerted Bob to the fact he had a tear in the shoulder of his jacket – the only jacket he’d brought with him from the Mainland. He’d have to try and get it repaired, he realized. It was too good to throw away. Meanwhile, Vaddi produced a yellow cap and pulled it on.

“First time I seen ya in a hat,” Bob noted. “Ya look jest like a Yenugian!”

The professor grinned back at him. “Gotta do my patriotic duty. Besides it’s rainin!’”

The roar of the supersonic jet filled the air again, though the aircraft itself was nowhere to be seen on this occasion; flying somewhere above the dense bank of clouds. The soldiers were passing by them; army, navy and airforce combined, all swinging their arms and legs in unison. Loud bursts of applause greeted them. Cameras flashed, yellow flags fluttered, and balloons shot upward – released from their strings, to float swiftly away on the breeze.

The crowd fell in behind and followed the parade to the Cenotaph; a colossal stone monument at least ten metres high, bedecked with yellow flags and giant posters of the Founding Father. At the top were inscribed just two large words in shining gold: ‘Never Forget.’ Here the marching band halted and proceeded to play a solemn melody. A round of gun-fire followed, signalling the start of a two minute silence – which ended with another round of fire. The buglers then performed the ‘Last Tribute’ to the fallen soldiers, before the wreath-laying commenced.

Striding forth on impossibly long legs, wearing a plastic raincoat over his yellow suit, came the president himself, accompanied by an escort holding a large umbrella over his head, a TV camera crew, and several newspaper photographers – all dwarfed by the extraordinary height of the man. At the foot of the Cenotaph he lay his wreath, stepped back to salute, then swung around on his impossibly long legs and returned to the applauding crowd.

Next up was the mayor, as wide as he was tall, then the silver-haired general and the military chiefs. On and on it went, as the crowd stood watching in the drizzle; one official after another, placing their wreaths in front of the Cenotaph, standing back and saluting.

As it dragged on, Bob began to regret his decision to attend, what, with the cold and the rain seeping into his torn jacket. But finally it was over and the multitudes began to disperse. At last they could go home.

During the drive back to Crupsy Bob remarked on the president’s astonishing height. “He must be eight feet tall!”

“Eight-three.”

“His legs were twice as long as his body – and they didn’t bend when he walked. He was obviously on stilts.”

The magnified eyes glowered again. “That’s the craziest thing I ever heard! He’s our president, not a yardam circus performer!”

Bob lapsed back into silence. More and more often he seemed to be saying the wrong things to Vaddi.

The windscreen wipers flicked back and forth, clearing the rain that blurred the view. Livestock grazed in the fields, oblivious to the elements. Dead leaves had piled up along the side of the road. The heater was warm against his legs, but Bob’s T-shirt and sweater were damp and uncomfortable. His jacket lay on the floor in back, torn and pretty much useless.

XXIII

In fact, there wasn’t much to see; just the orange flashes of the bombs exploding, igniting the night sky, and the ghostly clouds of smoke they left behind. Aside from the blasts themselves, the only sound to be heard was the wailing of the air raid sirens. He imagined all the people running to the shelters; men, women and children; there to cower in terror as the bombs destroyed their city. But how many would never make it to the shelters?

It was almost midnight. The president had announced the start of the war on the six o’clock news; this, in response to the latest attack on Yenugian troops. Too many heroes had died. The killers had to be brought to justice. The news channel replayed his at the top of every hour.

They were celebrating in the capital that night. Live coverage came through at regular intervals: people dancing in the streets, waving their yellow flags, chanting anti-Yezuk slogans. Then back to the orange flashes of bombs exploding. The glare of the screen was all-consuming, mesmerizing and hypnotic in its effects, so that nothing else in that dark empty room seemed to exist at all. Bob flicked through the channels. Most showed the same thing – with the exceptions of a couple of Mainland stations he was able to pick up.

Switching the TV off, Bob took another pill and went to bed. Vaddi had gone to a basketball game but he’d felt too ill to join him. And for several hours his fever kept him awake, tossing and turning, those same images confronting him: orange flashes, clouds of drifting smoke, and the president’s words reverberating in his head: ‘Vengeance shall be ours! Good shall prevail over evil!’ – followed by rapturous applause.

Next morning he followed the hordes down the long corridor. Papa Yenug and all the other dignataries stared down at him from their portraits on the walls. The students in front of him wore much the same attire, everyone in the classroom took their customary places. Professor Schardir distrubted copies of the ‘Times;’ the headline ‘Yenug Goes to War!’ emblazoned across the front page, and invited them to express their opinion.

“Gotta defend ourselves, don’t we?”

“Those Zuks a got it comin!’”

“Yardam Killers! Wipe ’em off the face a the planet, I say!”

The professor smiled and turned his bearded features to Bob. “And you? What’s yir view as a Yabanci?”

“I think it’s tragic.” He wanted to say more, but something prevented him.

“It’ll teach ’em not to kill our Heroes!” Kram snarled from across the room.

“That’s right,” agreed Eluji beside him. “You jest don’t understand, Bob.”

He was too dazed to respond. She’d sided with Kram again – just like she had during that very first lesson, almost three months before. Hard to believe anything at all had happened between them since then.

“Bombin’ ain’t gonna achieve anythin,’” Darb spoke up. “It’s been done before – many times.”

“So what’s ‘yir’ solution?” the professor inquired.

“We gotta pull our troops off that island.”

Kram thumped his fist down on the desk. “This time we shouldn’t let ’em surrender! We ought a wipe ’em out completely! That’ll solve the problem!”

The professor smiled down at Bob and Darb as the others cheered. “Well, it seems you two are on yir own.”

After class Kram cornered Bob in the locker bay. “Should a stayed on that island, Incabay. You talk like a yardam Zuk-lover!”

“Jest said it was ‘tragic,’ is all. People are dyin.’”

“I’m startin’ to think you hate us!” The captain of defense stood over him; the square jaw twisted in a sneer. “Hell, maybe yir a ‘spy.'”

Eluji appeared at his side; the coal-dark eyes boring into Bob from beneath the peak of her yellow cap. “You don’t belong here. Y’ought a go back home.”

Again he was too bewildered to respond. He’d almost fallen in love with her. But now the whole affair seemed like no more than a dream.

Kram swiped Bob’s cap off his head and threw it on the floor. “Shouldn’t be wearin’ this either, Incabay. You ain’t no patriot!”

Darb stepped forward and picked it up – but Kram grabbed it off him and tossed it into the trash. “Three-pointer!” he guffawed, giving Darb a shove for good measure.

“Word’s gonna get around, Bob,” Eluji warned him. “Pretty soon everyone on campus is gonna know yir a Zuk-lover.”

Leaving his cap where it was, Bob turned and walked out of the locker bay. Darb followed close behind, a slight graze on his cheek, just above the level of his beard.

“Thanks fir steppin’ in back thir,” Bob told him, blowing his nose. “But no need to get off-side with Kram on my account.”

“I been off-sides with that thug for a long time,” Darb assured him. “You stood up for me first day a term, dude – remember?” He dropped his own cap in the next trash bin they passed.

Bob chuckled. “What a ya doin?’”

“I ain’t no patriot neither.”

“That’s gonna be tough, Darb. I’m a Mainlander. Kram took my cap off me ‘imself. But this is yir home, man. You gotta get along here.”

The bearded features shook slowly, a trace of swelling around the graze, a droplet or two of blood. The light reflected in his spectacles as they came to the heavy glass-paned door. “Hell, we’re bombin’ people, dude. I ain’t gonna wear that cap!” Darb pushed open the door.

They parted in the West Block and Bob continued on to Professor Hannah’s classroom on the second floor. He was early, though the middle-aged elephantine figure was already there behind the desk, the yellow flag and Papa Yenug’s portrait flanking the white-board behind her.

“Mornin,’ Bob. Lose yir hat?”

“Somebody threw it in the trash.”

“Has this to do with the war, by any chance?”

“It’s tragic! Thir bombin’ people!”

“I agree. But you must be careful what you say to folks here. They’ve been taught to hate Yezuk since the day they were born.”

Bob’s eyes moved to the yellow flag behind her, and the Founding Father’s portrait. Would she have wanted those on the wall had it been her choice? He wondered.

“Yir not the only one who thinks this way, Bob, believe me. This island’s stuck in the past. It’s barbaric. We worship a star, idolize the military and believe our president’s eight feet tall. We gorge ourselves on ice-cream and Yenugade and die before we’re old. It’s been this way fir generations.”

“You said an outsider’s perspective was what they needed.”

“It is. But don’t make ’em too angry. That can be dangerous.” She peered up at him from over the rims of her glasses. “Yir still naive about this island, Bob. Now, take my advice and get a new hat.”

Bob lowered his gaze to the tired, rheumy eyes, with their lines and shadows, and the heavy bags below. And though the semester was halfway over, he realised he had never seen Professor Hannah standing up.

XXIV

“Bowl burger!”

Lardy did not even raise his eyes as he toiled, transferring the plates, cups and baskets of utensils from the dishwasher to the dryer.

Bob picked up a glass jug and held it aloft. “Jug burger!” But the grin fell off his face as Lardy walked away. He looked across at Trebor. “What’s the matter with Lardy?”

“Lost his girl burger. She run off!”

“It ain’t like that!” Lardy snapped. “I told ‘er to go. She was wastin’ her time with me.”

Bob stared at them both. “Adokat’s gone?”

“Go see fir yirself,” Trebor suggested.

He did just that and, sure enough, it was not Adokat he found setting up the serving line as always, but an older woman with round-framed glasses. Yes, she’d started that day. No, she didn’t know anything about the young lady who’d worked there before.

Bob returned to the dishwashing room. “So Adokat quit – jest like that?”

“Jest like that.” Trebor nodded.

Lardy fumbled a glass and it smashed on the floor. “Yardam!” he swore, and fetched the dustpan and brush.

A moment later big Nats ducked through the doorway. “Breakin’ things, Lardy? Be more careful in future – or I’ll start chargin’ ya fir ’em.”

“Sorry, sorry, sorry.”

The catering manager’s gaze now came to rest on Bob. “Where’s yir cap?”

“Somebody threw it in the trash.”

“Why in hell would anyone do that?”

“Said I wasn’t patriotic enough to wear it.”

The towering canteen manager ogled him a moment longer, registering that information. “Well, get yirself another. Can’t work here without no hat, Bob. You know the rules.”

“Campus store closed at five,” Lardy pointed out.

“I know that. Now get back to work, rodent. I don’t want anythin’ else broken today, ya hear!”

“Sorry, sorry, sorry.”

The pale blue eyes returned to Bob. “And you: Show up with a hat tomorrow – or don’t show up at all.”

Lardy walked back to the dishwashing machine. “You heard ‘im, Bobby. I’m a yardam rodent. That’s why Adokat couldn’t marry me.”

“You ain’t no rodent, Lardy.”

Trebor gripped his companion by the shoulder. “Yir my pal, Lardy. Big Nats fires you, I’ll be leavin’ too.”

“Me an’ all,” Bob added.

But there was no cheering Lardy up that evening. At one point he pulled a bunch of forks out of the basket and brandished them in front of Bob. “Gotta put ‘em in prongs-up, or else they won’t wash properly.”

“Aw, come on, Lardy, it don’t matter!”

“Sure it does. That’s the system. Gotta follow the system or everythin’ turns to chaos.” He began replacing the forks, one by one, prongs pointed upward.

Across the room, Trebor grinned from behind the drying machine. “That’s right, Bobster. Gotta follow the system or everythin’ turns to chaos!”

Most of the players were already kitted up when Bob arrived for training, all in their bright yellow uniforms, the word ‘Bombers’ emblazoned across their chests in lime green letters. The helmets were yellow too, hanging from hooks on the walls behind them. All eyes seemed to stare as he stepped into the gloomy clubrooms.

“If it ain’t the Zuk-lover?” one of the seniors called out.

“I hear you hate us,” said another.

“You hate ‘me,’ Bobby boy?”

“Where’s yir cap, Incabay? You disrespectin’ the Foundin’ Father?”

Bob unzipped his sports bag and began unpacking his kit. He could have ignored them, and they might even have left him alone. But something compelled him to reply. “I don’t hate nobody. An’ somebody threw my cap in the trash.”

Kram got to his feet, shoulder pads in place but his shirt not yet on, so that he looked like something out of a science fiction movie. “Who might that a been, Bobby boy?”

Unable to locate his gloves, Bob turned the bag over and dumped everything out on the seat. “Somebody who cheated in a swimmin’ race,” he answered.

“Yir a yardam liar!”

Kram lunged toward him but Bob stepped aside in the nick of time – causing the big linebacker to stumble into the bench. This infuriated him all the more, and the wild left hook he followed up with might easily have broken Bob’s jaw – had it connected.

“What in hell’s goin’ on!”

Bob could hardly have been more relieved at the sound of the coach’s voice behind him. Saved – if only for the moment. It wasn’t going to end there, of course.

“Kram, Bob, come to my office.”

Inside they found him seated on his desk, arms folded across the barrel-chest, the yellow ‘Yenug Football’ cap pressed down on his head. Behind him on the wall were the national flag and the Founding Father’s portrait – just like all the classrooms. Elsewhere there were trophies and stacks of football books on the shelves. The whole office was perfectly neat and organized, Bob observed – but for one blemish: The trophies were covered in dust.

“Keep yir fists to yirself, Kram, or you’ll be off this team.”

“He insulted me, Coach. Called me a ‘cheat.'”

“I don’t care. He’s a freshman. Pick on someone yir own size.”

Kram grimaced and turned toward the door. “That all, Coach?”

“That’s all.”

The deep-set eyes now bore into Bob. And that stare was more unnerving even than the sight of Kram coming at him had been.

“So what’s goin’ on, Bob? Everybody’s talkin’ about ya; sayin’ you don’t support the war an’ all. Need a be more careful what ya tell folks, son, or yir gonna wind up in serious trouble.”

“It was Professor Schardir’s class. I jest said the war was ‘tragic.’ We’re ‘supposed to’ give our views, right? Kram jest didn’t wanna hear it.”

“Kram and a whole lot of others,” Semja warned him. “Now, you know yir paw’s an ol’ friend a mine, and I feel obliged to look out for ya. But I can’t say what’s gonna happen if you continue to shoot yir mouth off, son. Think about yir family. Thir payin’ good money to send you here.”

Bob’s gaze fell upon the trophies once more, with their thin layer of dust. The Coach was right, of course. And so were the others who’d told him the same thing. Best to keep his opinions to himself on this island. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to cause no trouble.”

Semja leaned foward and gripped him by the shoulder. “Don’t pay to be different, Bob. I wanna winnin’ team an’ you gotta fit in with the rest of ‘em. Now, go get yir uniform on.”

XXV

Bob raised the spoon to his mouth and paused a moment before consuming the ice-cream on the end of it. His stomach felt like a sack of boulders, what, after the hash browns and eggs he’d eaten, the waffles and fruit topping, and now the banana sundae to follow. It had become his customary breakfast, but this particular morning he just didn’t have room. ­­The cool ice-cream merely slid down his intestines and remained there, trapped in his digestive system, unable to enter the overflowing storage tank below. Another spoonful and he’d throw up for sure, and perhaps that would be preferable – just to get rid of it all.

When Big Nat’s approached he braced himself for another yelling at. But the campus clothes and stationery store wasn’t open yet, and something in the canteen manager’s expression suggested he wasn’t coming over to reprimand him about the cap anyway. There was more a look of defeat in his eye than anger.

“Got some bad news, Bob,” he said gravely, lowering himself into the seat opposite. “‘Real’ bad, I’m afraid. Lardy passed away last night.”

“‘Passed away?!’ How?”

Nats removed his own cap, placing it on the table and running a hand through his receding blond curls. “Tried to hang himself from a tree. Some folks found ‘im lyin’ in the grass with a broken neck and called the ambulance. By the time it got to Rihesh he was gone.”

Bob averted his eyes, recalling how Nats had rebuked Lardy just the previous evening. But no, he couldn’t hold that against him; nor even the fact he’d called him a ‘rodent.’ That wasn’t the reason Lardy had taken his own life, of course.

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“The funeral’s tomorrow at noon, Temple a Yar.” Nats put his cap back on and returned to the kitchen.

Pushing aside the sundae, Bob stared blankly through the windows at the bare, windswept trees. So Lardy had hanged himself; prevented by law from marrying the woman he loved; a law that told him he wasn’t good enough to live a normal life.

For the second time in as many months, there would be a funeral at the Temple of Yar. Three months on this island, three young men had died – while a fourth was still missing, almost certainly dead as well. Bob tried to remember their faces but couldn’t; not even Lardy’s. He recalled their words and various incidents with absolute clarity: Tyram laughing at him in the sports car and asking if he was scared; Rasco and Narles zipping up their wetsuits before wading into the sea; Lardy’s blubbering apologies to Nats: ‘sorry, sorry, sorry . . .’ When he tried to remember their faces, however, he saw only the features of the cleancut soldiers in the photos on Anicom and Sinden’s wall – the ones who hadn’t come back.

Bob got up and headed for class. Though this was no more than instinct, developed over a dozen weeks or so of doing precisely the same thing; as routine as eating and sleeping. If he hadn’t been walking to Professor Schardir’s lesson right then, what else would he have been doing?

On this occasion he was early, no hordes in front of him as he made his way along the corridor. The only faces he saw were those in the portraits gazing down from the walls; Papa Yenug’s most prominent – baseball cap in place, jowls bulging, stern look in the eyes.

One by one Bob pulled those portraits down and threw them onto the floor, breaking the frames and shattering the glass. He’d got through six or seven before a voice cried out behind him.

“Hey! The Incabay’s goin’ crazy!”

Teachers emerged from their classrooms to see what was going on. Then, up ahead, Bob saw Professor Schardir himself; bearded features gaping in astonishment; eyes bulging behind the spectacles.

“In Yar’s name, Bob, what are you doin?!'”

That’s when Bob started to run, charging past the dumbstruck professors and out through the northern exit, across the campus and on toward the main football field. The cold wind drew tears from his eyes as he went. The ice-cream rose back up in his intestines, reaching his throat so that he could actually taste it again; sweet and sickly.

He could hear them yelling: ‘Keep sight of ‘im!’ . . . ‘Don’t let ‘im get away!’ Yes, he’d become a fugitive, on the run, and those in pursuit no doubt viewed themselves as the brave and righteous heroes.

Upon reaching the pitch, Bob had only one intention. Seizing the ropes of the metal flagpole he brought the great yellow rectangle of fabric down as quickly as he could, and tore it off. The first chaser reached him as he did so, a wiry fellow Bob recognized from the track team. They tussled for a moment, then Bob managed to land a blow. In almost the same instant his stomach heaved and out came the ice-cream and waffles, spraying all over the horrified victim on the ground beneath him. The next chaser halted a few yards away, understandably discouraged.

Bob immediately felt much lighter – much freer. Setting off on a diagonal route, he flew across the field toward the clubrooms, up the concrete driveway and out onto the road. From there it was downhill all the way to Vaddi Monhaff’s bungalow, a few blocks off campus.

It wouldn’t be long before they came for him, of course. Would they send him to prison? He could only guess what the penalty for smashing the Founding Father’s portrait might be. But one thing was for certain: Bob had no intention of hanging around to find out. He should have got off this island a month ago, he told himself, right after the ‘Stoning of the Killers’ parade had revealed to him exactly what kind of place it was.

The keys to Vaddi’s van were hanging on the hook beside the front door as usual. Bob’s first thought upon grabbing them was to head for Rihesh, then board a train and return the way he’d come. Too obvious, however. If the cops didn’t overtake him on the way, they’d be waiting for him at the station, for certain – or otherwise at the airport.

It were almost as though the van itself determined to take him west, along the narrow road toward the coast. Half an hour later he was there, at the same beach where his race with Kram had begun just two weeks before; the same beach onto which Narles’s body had washed up the night of his fateful swim. Bob drove off the road to conceal the van among the bushes. He had brought just two things with him: The professor’s own wetsuit, which proved too big – unsurprisingly, and a plastic bag containing his wallet and passport. With these he trotted across the road and down the slope to the shoreline.

The water encompassed him like a blanket of ice, freezing his bare head and hands so they imeddiately began to ache. The waves rocked him about, impeding his progress, forcing him to gulp in the air between strokes. It was going to be tough, he realized; much tougher than the last time. Of the bottom he could see nothing – only blackness.

When finally he rolled over to rest, floating on his back as the waves lifted him up and down, he anticipated finding himself somewhere in the middle of the strait. In fact, he had covered barely a hundred yards or so. And above him the clouds were growing darker. It was starting to rain. Bob turned back over and continued swimming.

Next time he paused for breath the rain was coming down hard. A distant drone could also be heard, though from which direction, he couldn’t tell. Nothing was to be seen in the grey mass of the sky. The Yenugian coast remained a shadow behind him, between two and three hundred yards distant.

He kept going, plowing the water with his arms. At one point the waves literally picked him up and hurled him backward. And the rain fell harder still. It was difficult to say whether he was making any progress at all. In addition to which, a current seemed to be dragging him eastward – out toward the open sea. Yet no current had been evident during his race with Kram. Bob realized it was possible he was well off course.

Even in this predicament he was startled by the clatter of helicopter rotors nearby. Filling his lungs, he sunk below the surface and propelled himself along frog-like. For twenty or thirty seconds he continued this way, before coming up gasping. Much to his relief, the lights of the helicopter were gliding away – headed for the Yenugian coast. He had done well to avoid detection.

He kept going, though his energy began to wane, though his shoulders burned with fatigue. Swarms of white jellyfish surrounded him, some tinged with blue, others almost transparent. But they, at least, proved harmless. He’d been in the water more than half an hour, and for the first time he wondered whether he was going to make it. If he was on course, he ought to be within a few hundred yards of the rocks. If he wasn’t, then he had no chance. And the latter seemed more likely, for that current was dragging him eastward, out toward the open sea.

His extremeties started to tingle, then lost feeling entirely. All Bob could do was keep plowing the water with his arms, keep kicking with his legs. By now he should have reached the first of the rocks, surely. But he knew that he was nowhere near them. The situation was hopeless. He could no longer control his movements. His whole body began to tremble wildly.

As he sank into the murky depths strange images appeared before him. They were the pale, chubby features of the soldiers in the pictures on Anicom and Sinden’s wall, three in total. But as they came into clearer focus he was able to distinguish their faces: Narles, Tyram and Lardy – floating around him like balloons on strings; underwater angels welcoming him with vacant smiles. The further he descended, the colder it became – unbearably so. He could now see the bottom, and there, curled up on the sea-bed, was his own likeness, sleeping peacefully.

But, no, he wasn’t ready for that. Looking upward, he saw another face above him; this one bearded and bespectacled; a graze on one cheek, a droplet or two of blood. Darb! Bob smiled cheerfully. The good fellow was there to save him, grinning down, beckoning him back to the surface! With the last of his strength he kicked away from the bottom, his need for oxygen driving him on. The faces disappered from view, Darb’s among them, but still he continued. And so desperate was he to breathe in the air, he did not notice the rain still falling when he emerged, nor the condition of his own body, and neither did he hear the voices that cried out close behind him. When they pulled him aboard the patrol boat, he was already unconscious.

Part Three

I

Several times Bob had awoken; once believing he was at home on the Mainland, perfectly warm and snug; on another occasion shivering violently with the cold, in spite of the blankets that covered him. He recalled the momentary pain of the needle entering his arm, and the doctor standing over him – a middle-aged man with dyed purple hair – talking in a strange language that he did not understand. But who had he been talking to? Bob could not remember. The second figure had remained in the background, a mere shadow that moved once or twice. And it had replied to the doctor in a sonorous tone which, though low and muted, had echoed around the room.

The bed was narrow, the room small and bare; its walls a grimy off-white. Presumably he was in a hospital. His chest, heavy and congested, caused him to break into frequent coughing fits when he was awake, and he was entirely devoid of energy – so much so that it required a great effort just to roll over.

In this position he saw himself – lying at the bottom of the sea. And then it all started to come back to him: his escape from Yenug Island and attempt to swim the strait; the hard rain falling; the giant waves and the current that had carried him too far off course; the loss of feeling in his extremities; the exhaustion in his arms; and that dreadful moment when he had sunk toward the bottom, hallucinating wildly, seeing himself curled up on the seabed – as he did again now. Bob shuddered at the memory; that moment when he had foreseen his own death.

Only one thought served to comfort him as he lay in the narrow bed: Wherever he was now, it was the people who’d saved his life that had brought him here. Within a few days he ought to be back home again, with his family. And what a story he’d have to tell them! Perhaps he’d go to the newspapers. He could almost see the headlines – ‘Mainlander Escapes Horrors of Yenug Island!’ Yet somehow he sensed this would never happen.

Hard shoes clacked in the corridor. Men’s voices could be heard. Then the door clunked open, the light flashed on, and two slim officers entered. They were in military uniform, their short-cropped hair dyed purple. And both were smoking cigarettes. Bob began to suspect he was not in a hospital ward at all.

“Good afternoon, Bob. We trust you are feeling better,” one said, in the same sonorous tone he had heard before .

“Afternoon?”

“You have been here more than twenty-four hours.”

Bob broke into another coughing fit as the smoke filled the room. “A doctor gave me an injection . . .” he wheezed, seeking an explanation.

“Antibiotics. You are suffering from pneumonia.”

“Where am I?”

“You are a Prisoner of War. We are officers of the Yezuk Island Army.” The fellow took a long drag on his cigarette. “Now we’d like to ask ‘you’ some questions.”

At this his companion produced a note-pad and pen. The cell was full of smoke by now, so that Bob was scarcely able to breathe without coughing. He wondered how they expected him to get through the interrogation like this.

“Why did you attempt to swim here?” the officer began.

“I was trying to escape from Yenug.”

“Escape from Yenug Island? Why?”

“Because I disagree with the war on Yezuk.”

The officer elevated a purple eyebrow. “That’s a nice story to tell. But this is not the first time you have tried to reach our island illegally. We have Captain Fatsuma’s report on your previous ‘visit’ less than one month ago.”

“Then you know it was a hazing ritual.”

“So you claimed. The first time you swam here it was to join them, now you swim here to escape them. Do you expect us to believe you?”

“I’m sorry,” he said, pausing to cough. “But it’s the truth.”

The officer stamped out his cigarette and lit another. “We are a nation at war. You have tried to enter our territory illegally. Why did they send you here?”

Bob almost burst out laughing, except it turned into more coughing instead. “I’m not a spy, if that’s what you mean. I’m not even Yenugian.”

“The Mainland has always been against us too.”

Bob recalled Captain Fatsuma’s comment: They hadn’t wanted to ‘antagonize’ his homeland. Surely that would save him this time as well. But first he had to convince them he wasn’t the secret agent they evidently believed he was. “Do you seriously think the Mainland would force their spies to swim here?”

The officer considered this for a moment, then gestured for his companion to put away the notebook. “You have attempted to reach this island from Yenug – not once, but twice. Given the fact we are currently at war with Yenug, you will excuse our suspicion.”

With that the two officers departed again, switching off the light, so that Bob was left alone in that dark room full of smoke. As their hard-soled shoes clacked away, he contemplated his fate. So he was a ‘Prisoner of War.’ Would there be further interrogations, then? Would they send him off to some kind of labour camp once he’d recovered? Scenes from old war movies began flashing through his mind. Perhaps they’d even torture him.

Half an hour later a young officer entered bearing a tray of sandwiches and coffee. The filling was the same as that he’d eaten in Captain Fatsuma’s presence a month before – fried dripping. And Bob devoured them with as much gusto as he had on that occasion too. It was the first time he’d eaten since abandoning his ice-cream sundae at breakfast the previous morning.

Afterward he slept soundly, and when they woke him again he found that he felt much better. His body temperature was normal; his energy beginning to return. The antibiotics had taken effect. The officers standing above him were not the same as before, he observed. Though attired in khaki uniform, their crewcut hair dyed purple, they were younger and leaner than the previous pair.

“Put these on,” said one, handing him a brown paper bag. “Then you will come with us.”

The bag contained a baggy grey tracksuit and sandals – like those he’d been given last time. All he had on beneath the blankets were some inelegant striped pyjamas. The officers waited outside while he got changed, then escorted him along the empty corridor, hard-soled shoes echoing  off the walls. Through the windows Bob could see the lights of other buildings, and a few armed soldiers walking about in the courtyard below. He was back at military headquarters.

Indeed, they soon entered an area of the building that was familiar to him. No need to read the sign on Captain Fatsuma’s door. They found him inside, middle-aged and athletic, attired in a khaki uniform, his short-cropped hair dyed purple, his eyebrows dense and black. He was seated behind his desk, smoking a cigarette, just as Bob remembered him.

“Well, well, well! Hello again, Bob. Back so soon?” The large brown eyes glimmered with intrigue.

“I jest wanna go home, back to the Mainland.”

“Impossible, I’m afraid.”

Bob felt the sweat trickle down his back. Above them the ceiling fan revolved slowly. The purple-haired general glowered down from his portrait on the wall, beside the purple flag.

“So what’s gonna happen to me?”

The captain stubbed out his cigarette and lit another. “That depends on how much you co-operate.”

“‘Co-operate?’ How?”

“First of all, I want you to tell me everything you know about Yenug Island.”

Bob greeted this with a guarded sense of relief. He would be more than happy to oblige. But would they ‘really’ let him go if he did?

“Sure. But I’m jest a student. I don’t know anything important.”

“I’ll be the judge of that.”

“Will I be able to go home afterward?”

The nicotine-stained teeth smiled back at him. “Provided you co-operate with us, Bob, you will be released the day this conflict is over.”

II

“You pulled down the Yenugian flag? We should award you a medal!”

“Did you see any evidence of cannibalism? Do the Yenugians really eat human flesh?”

“Why do they hate us so much? What’s your view on that?”

Bob gazed around at the reporters in bewilderment. His eyes found the TV cameras trained on him at the rear. “No, I didn’t see any evidence of cannibalism. I doubt that’s true. Thir hatred is based on ignorance. They only know what thir taught.”

“They’re ‘taught’ to hate us? Why?”

“I don’t know.”

“Is it to justify their wars, their exploitation of our natural resources?”

Bob gazed around at the reporters again. So his story was going to be in the newspapers after all – and also on TV, evidently – though not in the way he’d imagined. He shook his head in apology. “I don’t know.”

After the conference Captain Fatsuma approached him and placed a hand on his shoulder. “You did well, son. I think they even took a liking to you!”

“But I couldn’t answer most a thir questions.”

“You said enough to help our cause. That’s what matters.”

Bob was a little uncomfortable with the captain’s grip on his shoulder, almost vice-like. Nonetheless, he was encouraged by this praise. Surely they weren’t planning to torture him after this, nor dump him in some labour camp.

“Merjey  Darnok from the Yezuk Times has offered you accommodation. His apartment’s a little way out of town.”

“You mean I’m free to go?”

“Naturally.” The captain shook him by the shoulder and revealed his ginger teeth. “Merjey’s a good fellow. He’ll look after you. But don’t try to leave the island, Bob. That would be a mistake.”

Half an hour later he found himself speeding along the coast in the passenger seat of Merjey Darnok’s sports car. The lights of the boats lit up the black expanse to their left – big cargo ships, fishing vessels, yachts and launches. Now and then a plane shot overhead, rumbling noisily in the night sky. And once or twice Bob thought he heard the distant sound of thunder.

“They are destroying our city,” said Merjey, puffing on a cigarette as he drove. “Can you hear the bombs?”

Bob knew, of course, that the aircraft flying over them weren’t passenger jets. They themselves could be obliterated at any moment – if even one of those pilots happened to deem them a worthy target.

“Yes, I hear them.” He twisted around in his seat to see what was going on in the capital. The city was now hidden behind the forested hills behind them, though the half-moon high above it was cast in an orange-brown hue.

Merjey switched on the radio and listened to the strange and urgent babble coming out of it. His frustration was evident. “People are dying as we speak. We are brave people, but how can we defend ourselves against bombs from the sky? It’s not war. It’s extermination. The Nugs are nothing but cowards and mass-murderers!”

Bob wanted to tell him about Darb, and other good people he had met on Yenug, but speeding along the coast like this, with the Yenugian fighter jets roaring overhead on their way to bomb the city, obviously wasn’t the time. Besides which, he’d just escaped from Yenug and been as good as accused of spying. Opening his mouth in defense of the enemy was how he’d got himself into this fix in the first place.  So he merely tightened his seatbelt and kept quiet as Merjey accellerated down the long straight.

Another jet swept the sky, followed soon after by the muffled boom of an explosion. Merjey shook his head gravely and puffed on his cigarette. He had the standard purple hair and ginger-stained teeth, and seemed extraordinarily thin – as they all did to Bob after three months on Yenug Island.

As they passed through a small village Merjey steered the car off the main road, and soon after parked it in front of a small bungalow overlooking the coast.  “Welcome to my humble abode,” he said.

Once inside, he hastened through to the living room and switched on the TV. And there before their eyes were the images of burning buildings in the capital, orange flames shooting up into the night sky. The same strange and urgent babble Bob had heard on the car radio now boomed out of the television speakers.

“It all began with the discovery of gas fields off our shores,” Merjey told him. “The Nugs invaded and killed many of our people. That’s what started the Wars. So long as they continue to control our resources and occupy our land, how can this conflict end?”

Bob felt himself swaying slightly; his eyes beginning to close. It was past midnight, and he was still recovering from his illness. “Do you mind if I sit down?” he said, slumping onto the sofa.

“Oh, I’m sorry, Bob! You must be exhausted. Let me get you some blankets.” Merjey returned a few minutes later with a pile of bedding in his arms, as well as a large cushion. “Can I get you some food? A sandwich or something . . .”

“No, thanks,” Bob declined, despite the hunger grinding away in his stomach. He just wanted to sleep.

“Okay. You need rest. Tomorrow we’ll go shopping and get you some clothes and things.” With that Merjey switched off the TV and lights, and left him alone in the living room.

Comatose though he was, Bob remained awake on the couch for some time afterward, contemplating in a daze all that had occurred since he’d awoken in a cell at military headquarters that afternoon. He could’ve been tortured. He could’ve been sent to some kind of labour camp. At the very least, he’d expected to be locked up like the ‘Prisoner of War’ they’d told him he was. Instead he found himself in the living room of this amiable journalist from the Yezuk Times, unrestrained by any means, with only a verbal warning not to leave the island.

The sofa was firm but narrow, not wide enough for his knees when he tried to curl up into the fetal position. Besides which, the arm made for a harsh pillow, even with the cushion on top. And the hunger continued to grind away in the pit of his stomach. He should’ve accepted that sandwich after all. In his own home, he could have simply got up and made one, but what could he do here, in the house of a stranger? Bob listened for some noise that might tell him his host was still up and about, but heard nothing. And now he felt almost as trapped in that room as he had in the cell at military headquarters.

III

They ate breakfast together out on the porch; eggs, bread, tomatoes and sausages – all pan fried together in oil; and washed it down with fruit juice and strong black coffee. The morning sun glowed warmly upon them, and barely a hint of a breeze blew in from the sea. It was going to be a fine day, Bob observed, though it was almost winter. But what did winter really mean here, on the edge of the sub-tropics in this virtual island paradise?

Merjey pushed his plate aside and lit a cigarette. “Would you like one?”

“No thanks. Don’t smoke.”

“Well, you should try it, my friend. Calms the nerves and helps you concentrate.”

Bob took another sip of the bitter coffee instead. “What’s the news from the capital?”

“Hundreds killed. Maybe thousands.”

“Sure looked bad!”

“It’s easy for them to slaughter people in the city, but they won’t achieve anything that way. Yezuk Islanders are masters at guerilla warfare. We learnt this during the struggle for independence.”

“They speak the native language on radio and TV here. I never heard it once on Yenug.”

Exhaling a stream of acrid smoke, Merjey frowned at the horizon. “Yenug has all but reverted to its colonial status. Their army is funded and equipped by the Mainland, and their leaders are puppets of the Mainland.”

Bob reached around to scratch a persistent itch behind his left shoulder. “I never knew about any a this. You must hate us.”

“Not exactly.” The journalist smiled wryly. “The Mainland is like a wicked stepfather to us. Obviously there is deep resentment. But what can we do? We are only a small island. Yenug, on the other hand, is like a brother which has betrayed us; a brother which runs to the wicked stepfather for protection. It is the Nugs who we truly despise.”

Bob left Merjey smoking his cigarette on the porch and went inside for a shower. In the bathroom mirror he was able to see what the cause of his itching was: two angry red mosquito bites. He searched the bathroom cabinet for cream but found none. Perhaps he could get some when they went out shopping, he thought. But then he remembered: His wallet and passport had not been returned to him at military headquarters. Bob didn’t have any money.

When he came out of the bathroom Merjey was kneeling in front of the TV, listening intently. Bob assumed it was more news about the bombing, but the images on the screen were not of the capital. They were of a middle-aged gentleman, with purple hair and flowing purple robes, staring directly into the camera while speaking in the native language. On the wall behind him were the Yezuk flag and the same portrait Bob had seen in Captain Fatsuma’s office.

After a few minutes the speaker’s image gave way to green hills and forestry, and a slow tune began to play. Still on his knees, Merjey sang along with it – the words incomprehensible to Bob, naturally.

“Was that yir president?” he inquired afterward.

“That, my friend, was the High Priest Hamabar.”

Bob recalled a dicussion in Professor Schardir’s class, when one of the student’s had described the Yezuk Island religion as ‘evil.’

“Who’s ‘Karpot?'”

“Goddess of the Earth,” Merjey replied, and broke into a chuckle. “You really don’t know much about us, do you?”

“Sorry. We didn’t learn it at school.”

His host grimaced and looked him up and down. “Well, I think we best head into town and get you some new clothes. Can’t have you going about dressed like a convict!”

Along the way Merjey stopped at a newsagents and bought a copy of the Yezuk times. Sure enough, Bob’s photo was at the top of the third page.

“What does it say?”

“It’s in English, Bob. The Times is an English language paper.”

Bob looked closer and read the headline:  ‘Mainlander Escapes Yenug Horror!’ – just as he’d imagined while recovering in the cell at the military compound.

“No misquotes, I hope.”

Merjey winced good-humouredly. “I don’t misquote ‘anyone,’ my friend.”

At the clothes store, Bob discarded the baggy tracksuit and sandals in favour of the clothes his companion bought him. “This Is very generous. Wish I could repay you but – “

“No need. Company’s paying for it all. You gave us a good story, my friend.” Merjey winked and led him out of the store.

Next stop the barber’s, where Bob’s hair was clipped short and dyed bright purple. He barely recognised himself afterward. Though his hair had been reduced to little more than stubble, so vivid was the colour it diverted attention from the rest of his features entirely.

“Now you look like a Yezuk Islander!” Merjey shook him by the shoulder.

It was about the last thing Bob wanted, but what could he say when his host – or the company he worked for – was being so generous? Instead he inquired about the portrait on the wall.

“The greatest soldier in history,” replied the barber, gazing up at the picture. “General Saparatruma won our independence. General Saparatruma held out against the Mainland in spite of all the odds. General Saparatruma  served as first king of Yezuk until his death. General Saparatruma laid the foundations of the free and democratic society you see today.”

Bob turned his eyes to the mirror and studied his own purple hair. Yes, exchange the purple for yellow, the hair for a cap, and he could almost have been back on Yenug once again.

“Okay, let’s go to the supermarket,” said Merjey, leading him out of the barber shop.

IV

Etan ordered another round of ‘General’s Rum.’ They were already on their third. It came with ice and ‘Yuzekola.’ Bob was beginning to feel the effects already. Up on the screen a soccer game was showing. The standard did not appear high, though a crowd of young men were gathered around in front of the wall-mounted TV set watching excitedly.

“Is it true they stone our captured soldiers to death inside a stadium?” Gerro inquired, puffing on his cigarette.

“Tarred an’ feathered ‘em first,” Bob answered. “Saw it with my own eyes.”

“Wow, that’s brutal! Just goes to show what savages the Nugs are.”

“And they think their king is eight feet tall!” Etan scoffed, downing his rum and crunching the ice with his teeth.

Bob nodded. “Also true.”

“Well, ours is nine feet tall!”

They were all chuckling now.

“So he claims,” Merjey told him. “But we’re not as naive as the Nugs.”

Gerro called for the next round. Bald and overweight, he would’ve looked more at home on Yenug than among these slim fellows with their dyed purple hair. “So what do you make of this bombing campaign, Bob?” he asked.

“I think it’s tragic. Those bombs are killin’ innocent people. What’s that gonna achieve?”

“Not a karpottam thing!” said Gerro, and his companions raised their plastic ‘glasses’ in salute.

Etan exhaled a long stream of cigarette smoke, which soon merged with the general haze. “I was there this morning. They were carrying out the bodies. Some burnt black, others with limbs torn off, kids with their skulls caved in. But after a while, nothing shocks you anymore. You just get used to it.”

A cheer rose up from the crowd in front of the TV. Replays showed a headed goal from a corner, then the score ‘0 – 1′ flashed up on the screen.

Bob watched as the red team celebrated, each of the players with purple hair. “Surprises me thir playin’ this game – what, with the war on an’ all.”

“There’s ‘always’ a war on,” Merjey answered, and downed his rum.

“Besides, it’s a derby,” Gerro added. “Call this game off and we’d be dealing with riots – as well as the bombing!”

“You a player, by any chance?” Etan asked Bob. “We got a team in the social league. Could use an extra pair of legs.”

“Sure. But I ain’t so good. Football’s the main sport back home.”

“Well, we won’t hold that against you – so long as you show up on Sunday!”

This time angry jeers rose up from the crowd in front of the TV. The white team had been awarded a penalty. And, sure enough, one of the players stepped up and calmly  slotted the ball into the corner of the net as the keeper dived the other way.

“Karpottam ref’s biased!” Etan cursed, crunching ice with his teeth.

Bob glanced up as two men entered the bar and approached the table. And for a moment he was too dumfounded to speak.  The yellow cap was gone, the hair dyed purple, but the face grinning back at him was unmistakable.

“Hey, Bobster, I heard you were in town!”

“Glad you fellows could make it!” Merjey welcomed them, and called for another round of drinks.

Bob was still staring. “Rasco . . . Yir alive! Everybody back on Yenug thinks yir dead!”

“Suits me just fine. I won’t be going back there.”

“Do yir folks know?”

“That’s who I ‘don’t’ want to know,” Rasco replied. “My father would kill me if he knew I was here.”

Merjey slapped Bob on the shoulder. “Thought you’d be surprised. Here, have another rum!”

Bob accepted the plastic glass but did not drink from it. He wanted to keep his mind as clear as possible, now that he’d met Rasco again. “So what are you doin’ here?”

“Working with these fine fellows.” He indicated Merjey and his colleagues.

“Yir a journalist?”

“Got lucky over here, Bobster.” Rasco lit a cigarette and kept grinning. “Got a place down the coast, wonderful girlfriend, scooter for getting around. Life’s good, my friend!”

Bob coughed from the smoke. “Apart from the war . . . ”

“Exactly. You see what the Nugs are doing here. It’s horrific!” He offered the pack to Bob. It was purple and featured General Saparatruma’s portrait on the front.

“You know I don’t smoke, Rasco. An’ since when did you?”

“Since I got here. Calms the nerves and helps you concentrate.”

“So how long are you gonna stay?”

Rasco puffed thoughtfully on his cigarette. “Truth is, I could go home any time. Nothing to stop me. But I no longer have the desire. ‘We’ are the Killers, Bobster – not the Zuks. You understand what I’m saying . ..?”

Bob nodded in agreement. But something nagged away at the back of his mind. This just didn’t feel right. The fact Rasco was smoking. The fact he’d lost his accent so quickly. And could he really have given up his home that easily?

The match had finished. The watching crowd dispersed, their expressions neutral, for it had ended in a draw. Advertisements followed: Cars, household appliances, banking services, fashion . . .  There was even one for the same brand of rum they were drinking – with the general’s portrait on its label. Then the news came on, live from the capital. The bombing was continuing, more buildings aflame, the lights of the fighter jets sweeping across the night sky. Rasco himself ordered the next round as they all sat about watching.

V

Eggs, bread, tomatoes and sausages; washed down with fruit juice and strong black coffee. The morning sun shone, a faint breeze blew in from the sea. They talked about the war, the bombing and destruction, the latest estimates on civilian carnage. Each day began the same way, with the same routine.

Only on this occasion it was interrupted by the arrival of a beige saloon. It bumped to a halt in front of them, and out stepped Rasco and Trodie – his companion of the evening before. They were attired in dark suits and wore shades in which Bob could see only a reflection of the sky.

“Welcome to my humble abode!” Merjey grinned as they approached. “Let me get you some coffee.”

Rasco and Trodie sat down at the table, their backs to the street, and helped themselves to the food. “Merjey’s looking after you then!” the former observed.

“Wish thir was some way I could repay him,” Bob replied.

“Must be tough, not having money . . . “

“Downright embarrassin,’ I’d say!”

Trodie tossed a chunk of fried bread to the birds on the lawn and watched them peck away at the greasy substance. “Say, how would you like to come and work for us?”

“I ain’t no journalist!” Bob chuckled, both surprised and flattered by the offer. Moreover, he wanted to get back to the Mainland as soon as possible, and being invited to work for the Yezuk Times made his situation here seem much too ‘permanent.’

“Doesn’t matter, my friend. We’ll train you up,” Trodie assured him.

“Money’s good,” Rasco added. “And it doesn’t look like this war’s going to end any time soon. You can’t depend on Merjey forever.”

“I’m afraid he’s right,” said the host himself, returning to the porch with the coffee. “Got family coming to stay over New Year’s. It’s going to be awfully crowded.”

Bob understood this. He couldn’t leave the island, he couldn’t continue staying at Merjey’s, and he couldn’t live on nothing. He had no choice but to accept their offer.

“We can take you to the office after breakfast, if you like,” suggested Trodie, revealing a nicotine-stained smile. “Show you around. Unless, of course, you have other plans . . . “

Bob chuckled again. What ‘other plans’ could he have possibly had? “Sure thing!”

It was a bigger city than Rihesh, perhaps as big as Yenug City itself. Certainly there were as many tall buildings, albeit of a less modern variety – some of them downright decrepit, in fact, beige and grimy, at least several decades old. Giant screens, like the one atop the Yenug TV Tower, featured prominently nonetheless. Most of the buildings had them. And even as Bob stared, the High Priest Hamabar appeared on screen – right across the city – his hair and robes bright purple, the national flag and portait of General Saparatruma on the wall behind him.

Trodie stopped the car and turned on the radio, then he and Rasco climbed out and knelt on the sidewalk as the Prayer to Karpot began. All around them other drivers and passengers were doing the same thing. Bob felt something like a captured alien as he sat there, watching this strange behaviour from the back of the two-door saloon.

So Rasco had changed his religion too, Bob observed. He was not the same fellow at all. Perhaps, therefore, this was to be his own fate. Would he some day become like them? This he could only ponder as the sermon continued, the rhythm of the words matching the movement of the lips on the faces gazing down from the tops of the buildings.

The Yezuk Times Tower was located on the main boulevard in the heart of the city. The standard giant screen glowed at its top, while down below, in front of the entrance, was a bronze statue of a figure on a horse, one arm holding the reins, the other raising a sword. The glowering features of general Saparatruma were unmistakable, even without the purple hair.

As Bob followed Trodie and Rasco in through the revolving doors, a middle-aged, athletic fellow in khaki uniform made his exit. Their eyes met just for an instant, the officer’s large and brown beneath the dense black eyebrows.

Bob turned to Rasco. “Hey, wasn’t that . . ?“ He had a mental block on the name, and suddenly felt unsure of himself.

“Who?”

“The Captain. Jest went out the door.”

Rasco grimaced. “I’ve no idea what you’re on about, Bobster.”

“Someone you met at military headquarters, perhaps?” Trodie suggested.

Bob paused to look back through the entrance, but there was no sign of the fellow any more. “That’s right,” he said quietly, sensing something was amiss. “The captain in charge.”

His companions glanced at each other in amusement, as if they’d come to the conclusion he was delusional.

“The Commander-in-Chief is in charge over there,” Trodie told him. “And that wasn’t him!”

Rasco, placing a hand on his shoulder, gave him a playful shake. “Come on, Bobster, let’s head upstairs to the office.”

Bob received a visitor’s card at security check, then they rode the elevator up to the sixth floor. The doors opened to a sprawling office of purple-haired, suit-clad, cigarette smoking workers; some tapping away on their keyboards, others speaking on telephones. It was warm – a little too warm for Bob’s liking – while the dense haze of smoke was almost choking. The now familiar portrait of General Saparatruma adorned the walls, where large TV screens beamed images from the various news channels.

“This is the engine room!” said Rasco, sitting down at one of the desks.

“We’re just starting a new campaign,” Trodie told him. “The idea’s to encourage people to drink more Yezukola.”

“You mean an ‘advertisin’ campaign?’”

“Not exactly. The government wants to tie it in with anti-Nug sentiment. We need to be strong in the face of war.”

Recalling the sugary taste of the rum two nights before, Bob was more confused than ever. But something told him to keep his thoughts to himself.

“We could start you off right away, if you like.” Trodie revealed the nicotine smile.

Bob shrugged and lowered himself into the empty seat beside Rasco. “Jest show me what to do.”

His old pal grinned and shook his hand in a vice-like grip. “Welcome to the team, Bobster!”

VI

Gerro lit a cigarette and winced through the smoke at Bob. “You got a girl back home?”

“No. But I dated a chick on Yenug. Didn’t turn out too well.” Bob downed his rum. “How ’bout you? Hitched up?”

“Come on, look at me!” Gerro laughed.

Bob did so, running an eye over his short, overweight frame, his bald head and bespectacled eyes, and the crooked, nicotine-stained teeth. “Yir a good guy. You got a lot to offer.”

“I don’t think you understand. It’s forbidden for fatties to marry on this island.”

“’Forbidden?’ Why?”

“Obesity’s genetic, my friend. We want to wipe it out altogether. If fatties don’t marry, they don’t have kids.”

“That’s ridiculous! What’s so wrong with bein’ a few pounds overweight?”

“It’s the law, Bob. We don’t question these things.” Gerro ground his cigarette out and headed for the men’s room.

Through the haze of smoke the nearest wall-mounted TV showed silent images of bombing, destruction and carnage. Bob covered his mouth with his T-shirt to try and take in a few clean breaths, but still the foul taste remained in the back of his throat.

“Say, you must be the Incabay?”

Turning around, Bob found himself confronted by a tall, skeletal, dark-eyed woman, gazing directly back at him; a mocking smile on her lips. “That’s right. I’m from the Mainland.”

“Yes, I know. I’ve heard all about you.”

The woman extended a hand, as though she wanted him to kiss it, but which he shook instead. Was she flirting? He wondered. If so, he was going to have to disappoint her. She was at least a decade older than him, to start with.

She drew on her cigarette and raised an inky-black eyebrow. “So you escaped from Yenug to come and live on this island?”

“Is that what they told you? No, I wanna go home. But I’ve been warned not to leave till the war’s over.”

The mocking smile grew wider. “The war’s ‘never’ over, honey. Not really.”

Bob glanced at the images on the TV: Ambulances racing through the streets; victims on stretchers; buildings ablaze. “You mean I’m ‘stuck’ here?”

“I’m afraid so. Better get used to it.” She offered him a cigarette, which he declined. “Calms the nerves and –

“Helps you concentrate!” He finished with a chuckle. “I know. But thir’s enough smoke in this bar to take care a that!”

Just then Etan sidled up and put an arm around her waist. “I see you two have met.” He took the cigarette she’d offered to Bob.

There was the hint of a flicker in the tall woman’s eyes, almost reptilian, though by the time she’d turned to face him the smile was back on her lips. “Bob’s just been telling me how much he’s enjoying life here.”

“Best place on earth!” Etan declared. “Best people too – brave, honest, friendly!”

They raised their glasses and drank to Yezuk,’ then Etan pulled the tall woman closer and kissed her passionately on the mouth. “And the most beautiful girls on earth!” he said, leading her away .

Gerro had returned from the men’s room and now moved closer to Bob. “Keep well clear of that witch, my friend. Scuna likes to make Etan jealous. It’s like a game with the two of them. Sometimes ends up in a fight.”

“No danger thir,” Bob assured him. “She ain’t my type.”

“That’s not all.” Gerro lit another cigarette and peered up over his spectacles at him. “She’ll find out everything she can about you, then spread it all over town. That’s what she does.”

Shamot approached while they were talking. “Biggest gossip on the island. And she’s not even from here.”

“Where’s she from?”

“Ugod. Never trust anyone from Ugod, my friend. They’re all liars!”

“You know, they still eat people on that island,” Shamot continued. “Say, is it true they practice cannibalism on Yenug too?”

“Not that I saw.” Bob broke into a chuckle. “Actually, they have similar ideas about this island!”

“But you saw them stoning our captured soldiers, right?” Gerro asked, leaning on the bar to his left.

Bob nodded. “Yep. Stoned ‘em to death.”

“Well, then!” The purple-bearded features grinned triumphantly to his right. “Only stands to reason they must be cannibals as well!”

Shamot ordered a round of drinks. It would be Bob’s fourth of the evening already; Gerro having bought the previous three. But soon enough he’d have money of his own, now that he’d started working at the Times. He wouldn’t have to depend on his companions much longer.

The music pounded out of the speaker system, fast and hypnotic. The smoky haze drifted slowly around the bar, while up on the wall-mounted TV screens the images of destruction were continuing. Gerro bought another round, then Shamot again.

Yelling from across the bar drew their attention to a commotion. Scuna was at the centre of it, evidently trying to pull Etan out of his chair.

“Ease up, will ya!” he protested. “It’s football night. Just wanna talk to my team-mates for a while.”

“‘They’re your colleagues, Etan. You see them every day!”

“That’s not true. Now lemme finish my drink!”

Flinging his arm aside, Scuna turned and marched across the bar, high-heels clacking on the wooden floor. Before disappearing through the exit, she paused to hurl a final torrent of abuse back at him.

With a slow shake of the head, Etan got to his feet, apologised to all around him, and dutifully followed.

“Always ends the same way!” Gerro shook his head slowly. “Except when she gets him into a fight, of course.”

VII

Two days before Christmas and he hadn’t contacted his family for almost a month. How would news of his disappearance have reached them? He wondered. Would everyone assume he was dead – like Rasco? He’d been too preoccupied with his own survival to think about them much since his escape from Yenug. But now he was settled, he had time to reflect, and of course he was going to miss them over the holiday period. It saddened him deeply to think of the grief his absence must have been causing them. There would be no celebrations at home that year, he knew.

“Hey, Bob, quit day-dreaming!” Rasco chuckled down at him. “Let’s get some coffee and see what the togs have brought in.”

Getting up from his desk, Bob followed him down the corridor to the coffee vendor machine, and from there to the photographers’ room at the end of the passage. Inside were a middle-aged fellow and a freckle-faced young woman; both of them bespectacled, and both chatting animatedly together while gazing into a computer screen. They glanced up as the two men entered.

“Take a look at these, guys,” the young woman invited them. “It doesn’t get any more graphic!”

What Bob saw then, as he peered into the screen, sent a shudder down his spine. There was so much blood and gore he feared he might vomit. One picture showed an old man carrying a girl out of the rubble, but her legs were mangled; the feet missing entirely.

“Will the paper use these?” he asked faintly. “Thir awfully shocking . . . “

The middle-aged fellow looked offended. “They most certainly will! This is exactly what we need, my friend. Shocking people is our intention!”

“Somebody’s got to show them the truth,” the young woman added. “The more graphic the pictures, the better.”

Her companion used the mouse to bring up another frame. “Here, take a look at this one.” A bare arm reached out of the dusty ruins, remarkably unscathed, and already turning blue. “Now that’s what sells papers!”

Bob felt the sweat trickling down his back. The room was stuffy with only one small window. Coach Semja, Slenno, Big Nats, the Cemeks, Vaddi and Eluji: Was ‘this’ what they were capable of? Even if they didn’t know it, the carnage before him was the result of their hatred. Reaching behind his left shoulder, he scratched a persistent itch. The repellent he and Merjey had picked up from the supermarket obviously wasn’t working. There were bites on his ankles too; where the veins were close to the surface. He’d have to try another kind.

Back in the office their colleagues had gathered around the wall-mounted TV screens, a haze of cigarette smoke hanging above them, through which the towering, purple-haired figure of the president could be seen on each and every set, flanked by a pair of grim-faced soldiers, neither of whom came up past his shoulders.

“What’s he saying?” Bob asked Merjey.

“Damage sustained during the bombing,” came the reply. “A lot of innocents have been killed by the murderers.”

The president’s tone appeared to change from anger to triumph as he continued. Indeed, these comments were greeted by a burst of applause and cheering from those gathered around the screens.

“What’s he saying now?”

“A successful operation was carried out last night by our soldiers,” Merjey replied, smiling as he joined in the clapping. “They ambushed a murderers’ patrol and executed all the captives.”

Even as Bob digested this piece of information, somebody in front of them cried out: “They can drop their bombs from the sky, but they’ll never defeat us on the ground!!” And everyone cheered raucously.

Bob had just returned to his desk when Trodie came by. “Hey, good news!” He beamed. “We’ve got a place for you down the coast, well out of the danger zone. It’s all set up.”

“My own house?”

Rasco gripped his shoulder and shook him playfully. “Looks like we’re going to be neighbours, Bobster!”

That evening the three of them drove there in Trodie’s beige saloon.  Bob’s new abode was located a few miles on from the village he’d been staying in – and just two blocks from Rasco’s own home. It was a single-room bungalow of timber construction, almost identical to Merjey’s. And on the living room wall hung the standard portrait of General Saparatruma, beside a large flat-screen TV.

After his companions had gone, Bob lay down to rest a while. His new bed was heavenly after the couch he’d been sleeping on for the past few weeks. When he opened his eyes again it was dark; the luminous hands of his watch showing ten-past-eight. He’d slept more than two hours. Wandering outside, he breathed in the cool breeze from the nearby sea. The half-moon was up and the myriad stars shone brightly. Lights were on in most of the houses, though not a noise was to be heard. It was unimaginably peaceful. His predicament was surreal. For the first time since arriving on this island he’d truly been left alone, with nothing to stop him trying to escape if he wished to do so. No one would even miss him till morning, were he to disappear that night.

The buzz of an electric motor came into earshot. Bob looked around to see an orange headlight turning into the street; Rasco’s tall, athletic figure unmistakable even before his face became distinguishable beneath the street lights.

“Jump on, Bobster! Let’s go get some groceries.”

“Sure, but take it easy alright. I ain’t ridden one a these things before.”

Rasco promptly took off again once Bob was on board, almost performing a wheelie as he accelerated away from the pavement – then laughing raucously at his passenger’s alarm. “Relax, I’ve been riding this thing for years. Only ever had a couple of accidents.”

“Oh, very reassuring!” Bob called back, the airstream blowing into his face like a gale. Privately, he also noted the incongruity of that claim, for Rasco had only been on the island a few months.

They stopped at a takeaway for burgers and Yuzekola, then Rasco took Bob to a supermarket and told him to stock up on whatever he wanted. “Don’t worry about the money,” he insisted.

Bob offered no protest. He needed the groceries, of course, and his first pay check had yet to arrive. Among other items he purchased a mosquito coil and a different brand of repellent. A couple more bites had emerged since his nap that evening, and the itching was driving him to distraction.

For his part, Rasco added a case of beer, sausages and a loaf of bread. “There’s a party down at the beach tonight,” he explained. “Let’s go take a look.”

There being no room for the case of beer in the storage compartment under the seat, Bob was required to hold onto it all the way to the coast. Though it only took five or ten minutes, this was an experience he would rather not have endured. Several times he felt on the point of falling off – or, at the very least, losing his grip on the beer. It was, therefore, with considerable relief – and aching arms – that he climbed off the bike when they got there.

Rasco led him down the slope to a bonfire blazing on the beach, around which two dozen or so people stood drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and talking. It reminded him of the Wolves’ parties on Yenug, but these were no college students gathered to witness a bizarre hazing ritual.

No one but fishermen and their families had inhabited this stretch of coastline half a century before, one fellow explained. But with improved roads and public transportation it had become a popular residential area, away from the crowds and chaos of the city – and, more importantly, out of range of the regular bombings.

“So what do you think about this war, Bob?” another inquired.

“I think it’s tragic. Innocent people are dyin.’”

“Why do the Nugs hate us so much?”

“They only know what thir taught.”

“We saw that in the paper. Everyone reads Merjey Dernok’s articles!”

“So you know all about me?”

“That, we do, my friend.” The first fellow smiled, offering him a cigarette. “You’re the one who tore down the Yenugian flag!”

Bob declined the cigarette but accepted a hotdog from someone else. “That’s true!” He chuckled at the memory.

“You’re a regular ‘celebrity’ on this island, Bobster!” Rasco shook him by the shoulder.

“Gonda Nirsen,” a young woman introduced herself. “Night presenter for Capital TV.”

The smooth complexion glistened in the firelight, the dark eyes reflected the flickering of the flames, the fur-lined jacket gave a soft edge to her features. Bob was immediately struck by her beauty.

“We’d be interested in setting up a live interview with you, if you had no objection,” she added.

“I didn’t come here for the publicity. Jest wanna get back to the Mainland is all.”

“You’d be paid, of course.”

“Go on, Bobster.” Rasco nudged him. “Then you’ll be able to pay for your own groceries next time!”

“I don’t know nothin!'”

“You seem like a smart fellow to me.” Gonda inclined her head toward the shoreline. “How about a little walk?”

Bob shrugged and followed, chewing the last of his hotdog.

“You’re working for the Times?” she inquired. “Didn’t they give you an advance or anything?”

“They gave me a house. Not to mention a job.”

“They could’ve given you a little cash as well.”

“I wouldn’t wanna be greedy!”

“You’re being kept here against your will, Bob.”

“Not by the ‘Times.’ It’s the army that’s keepin’ me here.”

“Same thing. They’re all run by the state. And the job and the house are designed to make you comfortable so you won’t want to leave.”

Bob stopped at the water’s edge. The surf fizzled as the tide pulled away. A gull cried somewhere overhead. What was she saying? Why would they want to keep him here? And were Merjey, Rasco, Trodie and the others all involved in this too? It hardly seemed plausible. “Why are you tellin’ me this?”

“If you come on air with me, your story will gain credibility. Nobody believes The Times.”

“Why would anyone have cause to doubt it? The Yenugian army is pulverisin’ yir capital – remember.”

Gonda shook her head slowly, the sea-breeze toying with her hair. Bob caught a whiff of her perfume, sweet and alluring. Her only blemish was the characteristic ginger hue to her teeth, which were otherwise large and even. Even as he observed this, she took out a cigarette and, shielding  it with one hand, lit it with the other. “I can see you don’t trust me.”

Bob watched her start back toward the bonfire. The fact he’d offended her, evidently, didn’t sit right with him at all. “Wait!” He ran to catch up with her, his heavy shoes digging into the sand. “I didn’t say I don’t trust you. And I didn’t say I wouldn’t do it either.”

“So you will?” The nicotine-stained teeth gleamed in the dark. “How about tomorrow night, after you finish work?”

“I ought a be home by six,” he told her, and reached behind his left shoulder to scratch the itch again.

VIII

She arrived in a red saloon identical to Trodie’s and many others on the island, square and basic, no embellishment added, like some relic of a bygone era. The dark eyes glistened as she greeted him, stepping out of the car in a blue dress and the same fur-lined jacket she’d worn the evening before.

“Those are for you.” Gonda indicated the back seat – where half a dozen or so plastic bags of groceries could be seen; a loaf of bread sticking out of one.

“I jest bought groceries yesterday!”

“For a few days? This will keep you going for a few weeks. And if the Times hasn’t paid you by then, better look for another job!”

“They’ll pay me,” he assured her. “An’ then I’ll pay you back.”

“Don’t worry. Agreeing to this interview is enough.” Her smile broadened, revealing the slightly stained teeth.

Having put the groceries away, they returned to the car and set off for the television studio. Gonda turned on the radio and listened to the urgent babble coming out of it.

“They’re preparing for more bombs tonight,” she explained. “People are being warned to evacuate the east side of the city.”

“We’re drivin’ into a city that’s about to be bombed?!”

“Don’t worry. The studio’s on the west side, out in the suburbs.”

“Oh, very reassuring  . . . ” Bob shook his head slowly.

Indeed, the Capital TV Tower rose like some colossal monolith out of the rows of decrepit apartment buildings on that side of the city; the inevitable giant screen flickering at its top. Leaving the saloon in the hands of the underground parking crew, they passed through security and rode the elevator up to the studios.

Bob was left waiting in a small room for over an hour. It had a table and desk and a glass front wall, so that he could see the staff walking by outside in the corridor – and they could see him. Some even paused to stare, as though he were an exhibit on display. The interview itself took twenty minutes, with a five minute break in the middle. It amounted to little more than a friendly chat about the things he’d told the Times at Military Headquarters; only Gonda broke off every now and again to summarise in Ladai for her audience.

“Hope it was okay,” he told her afterward, sensing he hadn’t explained much at all.

“You did fine,” Gonda assured him. “Now, if you take the elevator back down to reception, one of our drivers will take you home.”

“So it’s goodbye?”

“I’m afraid so. My ‘day’ has just begun here.”

With that she handed him a wad of bills, kissed him lightly on the cheek and walked away. Bob was too dumfounded to move for a few minutes – and not only because of the cash in his hand.

By ten he was back home, out on the porch, gazing at the stars and sipping the red wine she had brought him with the groceries. It were almost as though the entire thing – his journey to the the TV station, live interview with Gonda, and the kiss on the cheek she had left him with – had been some strange kind of dream. More than once he reached into his pocket to ensure the cash was still there; the cash she herself had given him.

At first he slept soundly, then some time around four came wide awake. And neither was he surprised to hear the sound of an engine, then the crunch of wheels on gravel, followed by the clumping of a car door opening and closing. He went to the door and let her in.

“I’m sorry,” she said, her features taut with distress. “But tonight was awful! They must have killed hundreds!”

“Let me get you a glass of wine. You can tell me everything.”

“No, I don’t want to talk about it. I want to forget it – if you don’t mind. At least for tonight.”

He poured the wine and handed it to her. “I couldn’t get you out a my mind.”

The dark eyes opened wider, though the expression gave nothing further away. “Through all the horror, I kept thinking of you too.”

Putting down the glass, she stepped into his embrace, and a moment later they were kissing passionately. Bob wondered only that the thrill wasn’t greater.

IX

“Morning, Bob,” Trodie greeted him. “Great interview! I watched the whole thing live.”

“You certainly explained things well. Put it all in perspective.” Rasco smiled back at him from the front passenger seat.

“Guess it’s ‘cause I’m an outsider.” Bob shrugged.

Trodie’s eyes found his in the rear vision mirror as they pulled out of the driveway. “So it’s true what they say – about cannibalism on Yenug?”

“How do you mean? It wasn’t brought up.”

“Sure it was. The presenter claimed you’d witnessed it over there.”

Scratching his wrist, Bob felt something disintegrate beneath his fingernails; a mosquito, one of its wings torn off, wriggling in a spot of scarlet blood. He’d finally caught one, but that was his ‘own’ blood, he acknowledged.

“In Ladai,” Rasco confirmed. “Isn’t it true?”

“Come on, man. You ought a know. Thir yir people!”

“They’re not my people any more.” Rasco frowned back.  “Please understand that. You’ve seen what they’re doing on this island . . .”

Bob flicked the dead insect off his arm, out the open window. He only wished he had some way to wash his hands. He’d get some more mosquito coils on the way home that evening.

At the office Bob spent much of the morning sitting at his desk, drinking black coffee and smiling bemusedly up at all those who popped in to congratulate him.

“We’d always suspected it,” Nerak crowed, puffing on a cigarette. “Some say they roast our captured soldiers alive. Is that true?”

Limilaw gave him a limp handshake. “You’ve shown great courage, Bob. We know it’ll be hard for you on the Mainland after this.”

“‘The Mainland?'” Bob slowly withdrew his hand.

“Well, this is certain to create controversy. Gonda Nirsen’s interviews are often picked up by the foreign networks.”

“They might not let you back in!” Nerak teased him, grinding her cigarette out in the glass ashtray on his desk.

Returning from the coffee machine early that afternoon, Bob was confronted by an image which stopped him in his tracks. Gonda was up there on one of the wall-mounted TV screen, dark eyes glistening, the purple hair tied back in a ponytail, a trace of a ripple on her brow as she reported on the bombing. Footage of buildings aflame in the darkness glowed on a screen behind her, orange sparks spewing up into the sky. For several minutes he stood there, completely transfixed. It was the face of the woman he’d made love to the previous night; and the face of the woman who’d lied about him on national television, apparently. Bob didn’t know what to think any more.

A firm hand on his shoulder interrupted his thoughts.  “Say, was that her car parked in your driveway this morning?” Rasco grinned slyly.

Bob recognised the futility of denying it. Rasco had already guessed; and if he knew, Trodie surely knew as well. Pretty soon it was going to be public knowledge – and how much credibility was his story going to have then? “Jest sort a happened . . . ”

“Well, it’s not hard to see why!“ His companion cocked an eyebrow. “Still thinking about leaving this island, Bobster?”

He found it an awkward question to respond to, though the answer seemed clear enough in his own mind. All he could do was gaze up at the screen, absent-mindedly scratching his wrist again, another droplet of blood emerging beneath his fingernails.

She called him at the office that afternoon.  “Bob, your bed is so comfortable! I’ve been sleeping all day.”

“Glad to hear it.”

“It’s my night off. I want to cook dinner for you this evening. So don’t get anything on the way home. Okay?”

“Sure.”

There was a pause on the line. “Is everything alright, Bob?”

He slumped back in his chair. How could he stay mad with her? Whatever she’d claimed he’d said during the interview, there was nothing he could do about it now. “Jest a little tired is all.”

“And why might that be?” She giggled.

“What was the name a that wine we drank?” he asked, brightening up again. “I’ll pick up another bottle on the way home.”

“’General’s Favourite’ – dry red.”

“Of course . . . ” Bob replied, remembering that he also needed to get some mosquito coils.

X

A pall of white smoke filled the screen, obscuring almost everything else at ground level, though dark shapes soon began to emerge, moving about within it; a multitude of human forms. From the chatter around him Bob came to understand what was occurring. The students were staging an anti-war demonstration in the centre of the city. The police, unable to dislodge them peacefully, were now using gas.

“I don’t get it. We’re bein’ bombed by Yenug, not the other way around.”

“They blame the government for everything,” Rasco told him, adding a puff of his own smoke to the general haze. “Students always do.”

Gerro glanced at his watch. “How about we finish up early, head over there and take a look”

“Count me in,” Bob agreed readily. All he’d done the past few days was sit around typing up advertising copy. “So long as we don’t get gassed!”

“Don’t worry. We’ve got masks,” Etan assured him. “Never know when you’re going to need one on this island.”

Thus they set off together, four young men in shirtsleeves and slacks, driving across town in Gerro’s car. It was a warm, sundrenched afternoon, not a cloud in the sky. Within a few hundred yards of the centre they came to the police barriers and were forced to park up.

Rasco took Bob aside, out of earshot of the cops. “They’re not going to let you go beyond that point without a press pass. But don’t worry. Duck down the side-street on the left over there, take the first right, walk two blocks, and turn right again. You ought to come up at the YezBank corner. We’ll be waiting for you there.”

Bob followed his instructions, though by the time he got halfway down the side-street his eyes were stinging, his throat beginning to burn. Evidently there had been some recent activity in the area. Pulling on the gas mask, he turned right and continued. The street ahead of him was deserted, all the shops closed, and a yellow-tinged mist hung in the air. He could feel it on his skin; a hot prickly sensation. Two blocks on he turned right again, and even as he did so a swarm of youths came charging down the street toward him, many with masks like his own. He scrambled into a shop doorway to avoid being trampled beneath them, and it was fortunate that he did so, for a spray of projectiles followed, cracking into the wall beside him. Plastic bullets, he observed, picking one up off the pavement. A couple of the youths went down, one young woman shrieked.

Bob contemplated his next move. YezBank corner was at the top of this street – but so too were the cops. His best bet was to proceed to the next turn then circle back, if possible. In the event, the next street turned out to be crowded with protestors also, though there was no sign of the police. He decided to make his way up it and had almost reached the top when a line of officers in dark uniforms and white helmets appeared in front of him; one carrying a kind of short-barreled gun. Then everything turned white and he couldn’t see a thing, not even his hands in front of him. The gas scorched his bare skin like fire.

Someone grabbed his arm and yanked him aside. For a moment he feared he was being arrested, but the grip was neither strong nor aggressive, and he allowed himself to be pulled along. Soon the smoke began to clear, and blinking through the goggles of his mask he found himself among the protestors. They had led him into an underground shopping centre. The youths removed their masks and babbled away in the native language. The fellow who had dragged him to safety now addressed him personally.

“I don’t understand.” Bob shook his head in apology.

The youth’s dark eyes flew open. “Incabay!”

“Yes.” Bob nodded. “I’m a Mainlander.”

“Wait,” said a young woman in his language. “You’re the one who was on the news.”

Bob nodded again. “That’s right. I spent three months on Yenug Island. But I had to escape. Thir crazy!”

At this the youths all burst out laughing. Bob noted that a number of them had not dyed their hair, some of the boys even wore it long, and the teeth that grinned at him were white and unstained.

“So why are you here, Incabay?” the young woman asked him. “Why have you joined this protest, if you blame Yenug for the war?”

“I came here with my colleagues from the Times – ”

“Are you a journalist?”

“No,” Bob replied instinctively, the expressions around him turning hostile.

“The Times is a big liar!” sneered another of the youths.

“Go home, Incabay. Go back to the Mainland. We don’t need you here!”

Bob hurriedly put his mask back on. Nothing would’ve suited him better. These kids weren’t to know he was effectively a prisoner on the island, but it would’ve been too difficult a thing to explain to them. Besides which, his companions were waiting for him.

Creeping back out onto the street, he saw that it was empty, though his view of the top remained obscured by the yellowy haze. As he drew closer he was able to discern the forms beyond it: baton-wielding policemen in pursuit of protestors, here and there fighting with them. It were as if he had somehow transported himself into the midst of the scenes he’d stood watching on TV an hour before.

The YezBank corner was clear now, though he could see no sign of his colleagues. Then a hand grabbed his elbow and he whirled around in alarm. The faces behind the masks were neither those of the cops nor the students, however. They were the familiar features of Rasco, Etan and Gerro, and the expressions in their eyes told him they were grinning. Bob understood how startled he must have appeared.

Etan indicated with an incline of his head for Bob to follow, and they all set off toward the square. The clatter of helicopter rotors filled the air above them. Two flew by almost directly overhead, one in green camouflage, the other carrying the initials ‘YZTV.’

A little further on and the chanting came into earshot, then the protestors themselves came into view. They were two or three hundred strong, assembled on one side of the square with their banners and signs, while standing opposite on the other side were an equally large number of police. The cloud of gas had abated, meanwhile, to the point Bob and his companions were able to remove their masks.

“This could kick off at any moment,” Gerro warned them. “If we get split up, head back to the car.”

Rasco lit a cigarette and squinted ahead. “Look, the togs are on the far side. Maybe we can find Limilaw and Nerak over there.”

Peering in that direction, Bob’s heart skipped a beat, for among the photographers and TV camera crews across the square he spied the slender figure of Gonda.

She gaped in astonishment as he approached. “Bob, what are you doing here?”

“Came with Rasco and a couple of others from the office.”

“But it’s dangerous. Didn’t you see all the gas?”

“No problem.” He raised the mask in his right hand.

“The police are also using plastic bullets. That won’t help you.”

“I know.” He didn’t tell her he’d almost been hit by them. “But I ain’t here to protest.“

Before she could reply there came a loud boom. A smoking canister landed among the protestors, but immediately one of the youths picked it up and hurled it back at the cops. The reply was an entire salvo of canisters, and within seconds everything had turned a yellowy-white. Bob pulled on his mask again, as did most of those around him – though not Gonda. She was now speaking into a microphone in front of the Capital TV camera crew a few yards away, seemingly oblivious to the toxic haze that drifted around her. Limilaw and Nerak, meanwhile, had moved out into the square with the other photographers, gas masks on, focusing their camera lenses.

Soon the smoke began to clear, revealing a scene of swinging batons, students in bike helmets fighting back; others being dragged away by the cops. More youths came out of the side-streets as the cloud of gas lifted, these ones bearing rocks and broken paving tiles – which they proceeded to hurl at the police.  A shower of plastic bullets cracked into the walls of the buildings behind them, and in the same instant several of the students fell to the ground, evidently hit. The noise of the helicopters grew louder as they hovered above the square.

When the police began to withdraw, the demonstrators cheered wildly, raising their fists in triumph. Had the youths won? Bob wondered in amazement, but the notion was dismissed almost as soon as it had occurred to him. For a long column of soldiers came trotting down the main street, all in khaki uniform and black combat boots, helmets and masks in place, rifles in their hands. Many of the protestors fled at the sight of them – but more than a few remained; a hardcore mob who stood resolute at the edge of the square, still waving their signs and banners. The soldiers at the front stopped, trained their rifles upon them and fired, so orderly and impassive that Bob struggled to make the connection when a number of the students dropped to the ground on the other side of the square. This succeeded in driving off the last of the students – those dead or writhing on the concrete notwithstanding. These last numbered perhaps a dozen. Bob saw this clearly, for the cloud of gas had lifted.

XI

Again she came to him in the hours before dawn, only this time there was no red wine, and they did not make love. She merely lay in the bed beside him, pulling the blankets up over her head and burying her face in his arms. For his part, Bob had not slept at all; too traumatized by what he had seen that afternoon; too concerned for Gonda’s safety. He’d stayed up late watching news of the riots, including Gonda’s own reports on Capital TV, replayed over and over again. And though the content had been the same, each time he’d seen them had troubled him more.

“Why didn’t you report the massacre in the square?”

“Actually, I did,” she answered, without looking up. “We filmed the whole thing. But the station didn’t use it.”

“Why not?”

“They have their reasons.”

Bob shook his head in disbelief. “They jest shot ‘em. No sign, no warnin,’ nothin!’”

“We’re at war – remember. The army needs our support. The police need to maintain order. This isn’t the time to encourage rebellion.”

“So they lie about it; pretend it didn’t happen . . . ?”

“Talk like that can be dangerous, Bob. People might think you’re a spy.” She got to her feet and started dressing again. “Perhaps I’d better leave.”

That he did not want. She’d only been doing her job, after all. How the network covered it wasn’t up to her. “I’m sorry. Don’t leave.”

Gonda paused for a moment, then sat back down on the bed beside him. “You’re so naive, Bob. You don’t understand this island.”

He smiled wryly, recalling that Eluji had told him the same thing. “I may be an Incabay, Gonda, but I’m not naïve – not anymore.”

He was still awake when the dawn’s first light penetrated through the curtains, forming vague outlines of the furniture in his bedroom. For a while he amused himself trying to figure out what they were. The red figures on his digital clock rolled over to ‘7:00.’ Normally an alarm would have accompanied them, but he wasn’t working that day, and neither was Gonda. They slept until almost noon, then Bob prepared a breakfast the way Merjey had done it – pan-fried eggs, bread, tomatoes and sausages, accompanied by juice and black coffee. And they ate together out on the porch, the sun glaring down from its zenith, a light breeze blowing in from the sea.

“There was no bombing last night,” Gonda informed him. “The Nugs must believe they have achieved their objective.”

“Pulverise the city till the people rise up against thir own government, you mean?”

She refilled their coffee cups and lit a cigarette. “It seems that way. But they won’t succeed. They never have.”

After breakfast they took a walk along the beach. Dark clouds loomed on the horizon, and the wind that blew in from that direction carried an icier edge now. The sea was gradually turning grey, white-flecked and choppy. Gonda pulled the hood of her fur-lined jacket up over her head, reminding him of the way she’d covered herself with the blankets in his bed the previous night. A pair of kayakers glided past, smooth and fast despite the waves. Watching them vanish into a bay some distance ahead, Bob found himself wondering how long it would take to reach the Mainland in one of those things. Probably a few days – and nobody but a trained athlete would’ve had the stamina to do it. Besides which, the open seas were likely to be rough at this time of year; too rough to cross in a kayak. But Tabi Island, on the other hand, was much closer.

“What are you thinking about?” Gonda inquired.

“How nice it is to be here with you.”

“Liar! You still want to go home. I can see it in your eyes.”

Bob chuckled, but probably they both knew it was true. He missed his family and friends and would dearly liked to have been with them again. The job and the bungalow were nice, but that wasn’t his future – and neither was Gonda, regrettably.

Gradually, almost imperceptibly, the clouds were getting closer. Now they cast a shadow over a significant stretch of the sea. Bob was on the point of suggesting they head back when Gonda stopped and pointed toward the hills above the bay into which the canoes had disappeared. Among the dark green vegetation, the white squares of houses were visible.

“That’s where I live,” she told him. “You can almost see my home from here.”

“Maybe we could walk it . . .”

“Not in this weather. It’s five or six miles.”

Bob squinted in that direction. It didn’t seem that far. “Too bad. I’d like to see yir place.”

Gonda peered out of her fur-lined hood like a dark-eyed eskimo. “One day, perhaps. But not yet.” With that she took him by the hand and turned around.

XII

Like a scene from a post-nuclear holocaust movie, the shore was strewn with debris washed in during the storm and the mangled corpses of rats flushed out of the sewer pipes. The deluge had lasted only one night, but during that time enough rain had fallen to turn the beach into a soft and mushy wasteland. Carrying his shoes in his hands, Bob made his way along the rocky terrain overlooking the sand. The sun shone down from between light clouds, a fresh breeze carried the unpleasant odors of kelp and roar sewage, and the sea heaved in and out with a gentle, unbroken hissing. The coast was deserted of all but the gulls, which emitted their piercing cries from time to time. Bob paused to watch as one swooped into the surf, rose back up with a shellfish in its beak, and dropped it onto the rocks ahead of him. Descending again, it pecked out the meat and flapped away, pursued by two of its companions.

Finally he reached the bay into which the canoes had disappeared; the same bay Gonda had pointed toward when showing him the hills where she lived. Bob made his way up to the road and continued. Half an hour later he came to the village itself. There were bungalows, like his own, with verandas and wide overgrown lawns, and narrow tree-lined streets that continued for as far as the eye could see. He began to ponder the implausibility of his task, but barely had he gone another hundred yards than he stumbled upon what he was looking for. Down the side of one of the houses, through the open door of a garage, he spied the two kayaks.

The first time he knocked on the door no one answered. All this way for nothing, he thought bitterly, though at least he knew where they lived now. He could always return another day. But a second knock brought noises from within, the muffled sounds of somebody moving around inside. A moment later the door creaked open and the drawn, bespectacled features of a middle-aged woman peered out.

“Sorry to disturb you,” he began hurriedly, as she appeared on the point of closing it again. “Could I speak to the owners of the kayaks?”

The woman eyed him suspiciously, the chain connected to its latch in front of her. “Are you one of Temha’s friends?”

Bob hesitated only for a moment. “Yes, that’s right. I’m Temha’s friend.”

“You speak Mainlander. Are you an exchange student?”

“Yes, exactly.”

The sunlight reflected in the lenses of her spectacles as she gazed up at him. “I see. Well, he’s gone to the store. Should be back soon.”

Bob smiled in gratitude, pleased to know his trip had not been in vain after all. “Thanks, I’ll wait out front.”

In fact, he waited more than an hour. A few people walked by. Now and then a car droned past. The only other signs of life were the birds among the trees, and a stray dog that sniffed around for a while before proceeding to its next destination. But finally two youths rounded the corner, a boy and a girl, both with undyed, dreadlocked hair, and he knew it was them by the plastic shopping bags they were carrying. They stared at him with curiosity as they approached.

“Saw you out thir on the water yesterday,” he told them.

“Are you a kayaker?” the young man – presumably Temha – inquired.

“Not yet. But I wanna learn.”

The pair put down their bags and introduced themselves. They were both around his age; twins, in fact, the girl told him. Her name was Pyneez, and her teeth were large and white when she smiled.

“Those are our boats in the garage,” the fellow said. “Our grandfather built them for us.”

“Karpot rest his soul,” Pyneez added. “He passed away last year.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“Where do you live?” asked Temha. “I haven’t seen you around.”

Bob was grateful ‘not’ to be recognised, given the reaction of the protestors he’d encountered two days before. “Next village up the coast. But I ain’t been here long.”

“We can see that!“ Pyneez revealed her large white teeth.

They invited him in for lunch, and their mother made cocoa while they put away the groceries. The house was warm and full of the smells of cooking. A roast turkey was on. Bob’s stomach ground audibly as he waited in the living room. He’d worked up an appetite during his long walk that morning.

No portrait of General Saparatruma was to be seen on the walls, he observed; no national flag nor photos of male relatives in military attire either. Not since leaving the Mainland had he been in a house devoid of these items. And for one moment, as their mother brought in the cocoa, he could’ve almost believed he was back at home on the Mainland.

They all sat down with their cocoa and Temha flicked on the TV. The images were of the riot in the square; youths tearing up paving tiles and hurling them at the police. “We were there,” he said proudly.

“So I was I,” Bob informed them. “But it wasn’t like this at all. The army arrived an’ fired live ammunition.’”

“You saw that?” Temha turned to him with added interest.

“Sure did. At least a dozen a the kids went down.”

“Many more than that were killed.” Pyneez shook her head dolefully.

Temha was still looking at him. “You’ve got to tell them what’s going on here, Bob, once you get back to the Mainland.”

“That’s exactly what I intend to do,” he replied, sipping the hot cocoa. “Jest as soon as I return.”

XIII

The narrow vessel was lightweight, so much so Bob marveled at the fact it would be able to support him on the water. Temha steadied it for him while he climbed in. There was room to stretch his legs out all the way, while the back of the seat held his torso upright. Taking the paddle in his hands, he began propelling himself across the waves, the fresh breeze blowing into his face, now and then bringing a shower of icy sea-spray.

His companion shot by soon after, and Bob was forced to work the paddle vigorously to keep up. But he wouldn’t be able to continue at this pace for very long. And undoubtedly Temha knew it, for a few hundred yards on he lifted one end of his paddle out of the water and swiveled around to wait, flashing a broad white grin as Bob approached.

“I’ll take you out to the Radalas,” he said.

“Where?”

“Radala Islands, just a few miles down the coast. It’s paradise there!”

Out on the open water the wind grew stronger, and the waves rose higher, rocking the wooden vessels about like toys. Yachts and launches went by, a giant tanker sat out on the horizon, seemingly motionless, and at one stage they were overtaken by a passenger ferry pursued by a swarm of gulls. From this point Bob could see the coast of Yenug behind him. How easy it would’ve been to paddle there, he thought – provided one were able to avoid the coast guard, of course.

Blisters had formed on his fingers and palms by the time they arrived, fully an hour later. Every muscle in his body burned from the exertion, mostly his shoulders, while the shirt he wore beneath his sweater was now drenched with sweat. As they approached the first of the islands, a dark form rolled out of the water ahead, its dorsal fin shimmering in the sunlight, then disappeared beneath the surface again. It was followed by another. A school of dolphins – the stuff of dreams! The sky was clear above him, the wind had died down, and the first of the Radala islands lay ahead. Bob gazed around in delight. But his joy gave away to alarm when he saw the coast guard cruising by. The mere sight of the vessel sent a shudder down his spine, and instinctively he steered the kayak away.

All along the shore men were fishing, reeling up their wriggling catch and dropping it into plastic buckets. A sizable audience of cats observed attentively, receiving the odd morsel of head, tail or guts, while over by the stores horses stood feeding, harnessed up and attached to phaetons. From that direction came the sour reek of manure.

Temha led Bob to a garden cafe and ordered soup and tea. They ate hungrily, finishing off the bread that came with the soup so that the waiter brought them more.

“This is Kucku Island,” Temha explained. “Over there you can see Yubku, the biggest. On a clear day you can see Mount Tabi from there.”

“Mount Tabi – from Yubku?”

“That’s right. About fifty miles south.”

Bob sensed Temha had a reason for telling him this.  “I’ve heard a lotta people try to flee this island. Do any of ‘em take that route?”

Temha nodded as Bob had known he would.  It were almost as though he were talking to himself, such was the affinity they’d developed.

“Yes, many. The northern coast is heavily patrolled. Most of the smuggling boats operate between Yubku and Tabi.”

“’Smuggling boats?’”

“They leave from Yubku regularly, though not all of them make it. The sea gets pretty wild out there.”

Bob studied the blisters on his hands. It was going to be a difficult enough exercise just paddling back to the Yezuk mainland, he observed.

The waiter came by with more bread. “Zini simrel sedrak?” he inquired.

Temra laughed and shook his dreadlocks. “Koy, koy. Ziral sadakra.” He turned to Bob and explained. “He thought we were brothers!”

Bob had already noted their physical similarity. “What did you tell ‘im?”

“That we’re friends, of course.” Temha flashed the broad white grin. “Come on, let’s finish this and go get some fresh fruit from the market.”

XIV

“Rembaha – hello, Surog – goodbye. Got it?”

“I think so.”

“Logas – thank you, neftul – please.”

“Okay. That’s enough for now.”

“That’s four words!” Gerro chuckled and slurped his beer. “Come on, Bob. You wanna live here, gotta learn the language.”

“Sure, but my memory ain’t so good.” Of course, he had no particular interest in learning Ladai, for he didn’t intend being on the island much longer at all.

The electric light shone on the crown of Gerro’s head as he puffed on a cigarette. Beside him sat Neleh, as chubby as he was, so that they might almost have passed for siblings. Outside the rain poured down, but the bar was warm and comfortable. The only drawback was the amount of smoke in the place.  Bob figured he might as well light up a cigarette himself, for all the carbon monoxide he was breathing in.

“Don’t worry.” Neleh smiled at him. “You’ll pick it up in no time.”

For a moment he wasn’t sure what she was referring to. Then Etan and Rasco came up behind him.

“Trying to learn Ladai, Bob?”

“Jest startin,’ Etan.”

“I know, let’s call the waitress over, teach Bobby here to order a drink.” Etan smirked at the others.

“First thing any Incabay should learn!” Rasco chipped in.

“Rib arib, netful.” Etan explained. “Rib-a-rib, net-ful.”

“Rib-a-rib, net-ful.” Bob repeated it several times. “Okay, think I got it.”

They proceeded to summons the waitress; a slender woman with large eyes and a pinched-face; her purple hair up in a bun.

“Rib-a-rib, net . . . ” Bob stammered, unable to recall the final syllable.

She rolled her eyes. “You want a beer? Just tell me in Mainlander.”

At this his audience burst ınto laughter. “Forget it, Bob! Everyone here speaks Mainlander?” Rasco guffawed, shaking him playfully by the shoulder.

A few minutes later Scuna came over and lowered herself into the seat beside him. “So you’re learning to speak Ladai, Bob?”

He glanced across at Etan, who was now at another table with Rasco. “Not really. Just a few words to get by till this goddam war’s over.”

“The war’s ‘never’ over, honey.”

Bob stared at her for a moment; the pale complexion and dark, heavily made-up eyes. She almost sounded hopeful. “Well, they ain’t gonna keep me here fir ever, Scuna. Even if I have to ‘swim’ back!”

“Best keep those thoughts to yourself,” she warned him. “And don’t worry about Etan. He’s nothing but a drunk, trying to justify himself and his own weaknesses.”

Bob averted his gaze, taking a swig of beer as an excuse to break off eye-contact. The cigarettes she smoked gave off a peculiar, spicy fragrance – or was it her perfume? He wasn’t sure. Up on the wall-mounted TV, an ad for YezuKola was showing.

“What you need is a little grammar,” she told him. “I had to learn it myself when I was a kid.”

“I heard yir a Ugod Islander.”

She studied him for a moment, as though trying to figure out who might have told him. “That’s right, honey. I was born there. Maybe I could help you.”

Bob glanced across at Etan again. “Yir boyfriend might have somethin’ to say about that.”

“My ‘husband,’ actually.” She lit another cigarette and waved cheerfully at Etan, who now transferred his attention to them. “He’s a war orphan, you know. The Nugs bombed a wedding his parents were attending.”

“Why in hell would anyone bomb a wedding?!”

“False tip-off, likely. No one knows for sure. But that’s why he drinks, that’s why he needs his pals, and that’s why he married me when we were both too young to know better.”

She finished her cocktail, a bluish liquid with a slice of lemon on the rim of the glass, and gestured to the bar for a refill. Bob took the opportunity to order another beer.

“Say it in Ladai,” Scuna insisted.

Bob did so sheepishly: “Rib-a-rib, net . . . ful.” And the pinched-faced waitress rolled her eyes.

“See, you did it!” Scuna gave him an exaggerated smile. “Here, take my phone number. We should get together and work on your grammar some time.”

Etan looked over just as she scribbled it down, the unmistakable spark of suspicion in his eye. Scuna waved again.

Slow and hypnotic, the methodic rhythm pounded out of the sound system speakers. Bob began to feel drowsy. He asked her who was playing and she replied that it was a local band.  He gazed up at the TV screen across the bar and sat back in the cushioned seat. The music went well with the carnage from the latest Yenug bombing raid, he observed wryly, almost as though it had been composed for the purpose.

Gerro leaned over and tapped him on the shoulder. “We’re heading out, Bob. See you at the office tomorrow.”  With that he and Neleh got up, pulled on their coats, and left.

“Those two need to be careful,” Scuna commented, watching them leave. “Plenty of folks on this island will take exception to seeing two fatties together.”

“That’s ridiculous!”

“You’ve got a lot to learn about Yezuk, Bob.”

“Sure seems that way,” he agreed, and started to get up himself. “Come on, let’s go join the others.”

Scuna gripped his wrist and pulled him back down. “Stay here and talk with me, honey. Those guys are boring.”

Bob was about to protest, but there was no need. Etan, Rasco and Shamot were already on their way over.

“What’s going on, Scuna? You been talkin’ to Bob all night.”

“Oh, for Karpot’s sake, Etan! Don’t tell me who I can and can’t talk to.”

“Has the Incabay been chatting you up?”

Before she had chance to reply, Bob sprang up himself and confronted him. “What the hell, Etan? You accusin’ me of hittin’ on yir wife?”

Rasco and Shamot  immediately stepped in between them, though this only appeared to incense Etan more.

“The Incabay’s been chatting up my wife!”

Bob glanced around at Scuna. “We were only talkin,’ right? Tell ‘im.”

She failed to reply; just exhaled a long stream of smoke and shook her head as though it were all too ridiculous to bother with.

“So what’s the note on the table?” Etan demanded. “I saw her pass it to you!”

Bob flushed as he realised he’d left the number there, in clear view of everyone. Shamot walked over and picked it up.

“Scuna was offerin’ a li’l help with grammar,” Bob explained.

“Really, Bob?” she asked dreamily. “I thought it was you that asked me . . . “

Etan’s wild right missed Bob by some distance, and he almost stumbled over in the process of throwing it. Shamot seized him from behind and dragged him away.

“Let me at ‘im!” Etan roared, his features bright scarlet. “I’ll killim!”

The pinched-faced waitress now came over. “What’s going on?”

“Let me at ‘im!” Etan shouted again. “I’ll kill the karpottam Incabay!”

“Are you causing trouble?” The barmaid glowered at Bob.

Rasco tugged him by the elbow. “Come on, I’ll give you a ride home.”

Getting out of that smokey bar seemed like a very good idea to Bob right then. He wasn’t concerned about Etan, who was obviously too drunk to pose any real threat, but wasn’t particularly keen on having to punch him out either. Whatever bizarre game Scuna was playing, he didn’t want to be the one caught in the middle.

XV

No matter how deeply he slept, the familiar crunch of tyres on gravel, followed by the muffled thumping of a car door opening and closing, never failed to rouse him. His pulse quickened in anticipation. Within minutes she would be in his arms. But when she entered and turned the lights on, the look on her face told him something was wrong.

“What’s up?” he asked, and wondered that it sounded so guilty.

“I heard all about your little büst-up with Etan Twiner. What were you thinking, trying to chat up his wife?!”

“Gossip sure gets ‘roun’ fast, huh. Well, that’s all it is – ‘gossip.’”

Gonda sat down on the bed beside him, shaking her head slowly, dark eyes glistening with the first sign of tears. She took a tissue out of her handbag to wipe them. “But why would you even talk to that woman? Everyone knows she’s crazy.“

“Yes, ‘crazy’s’ the word. An’ she was talkin’ to me.  Wanted to help me learn Ladai!”

“’Ladai?’ But everyone in this town speaks Mainlander. They’ll just ridicule you if you try to use the native language.”

“I got that. But how ‘bout Rasco? He’s fluent, ain’t he?”

Gonda searched his eyes. “Rasco’s not an Incabay. He was born and raised here.”

It required a few minutes for Bob to register that information. The entire discussion was absurd. He and Rasco had played on the JV team together at Yenug University. His gaze came to rest on a spiderweb in the corner of the ceiling. The spider itself was lurking a short distance away, within a jagged crack in the skirting board.

She slept with her back to him, so that he wondered why she had come at all. But at the sound of his alarm in the morning she rolled over and hugged him. All was forgiven, it seemed. He went through to the living room and called Trodie, who sounded unsurprised when Bob informed him he would not be coming in.

If Trodie chose to drive past his place that morning, he would see Gonda’s red saloon parked out front. But there was no reason for him to do so, now that Bob had called him. And later on, sharing breakfast with Gonda on the porch, the warm sun glowing down, he reflected on the wisdom of his decision not to attend work that day. As long as he were stuck on this island, he might as well pursue whatever enjoyment he could find.

“I still haven’t seen your house,” he reminded her as they finished their coffee.

“Okay. Let’s take the car.”

He laughed in amazement. “So why have you made me wait so long?”

“Because I don’t live alone.”  She lit a cigarette and grimaced at him. “But I can’t keep you secret for ever, I suppose.”

“Why would you wanna?”

“I live with my cousin, Bob, and you’re an Incabay.”

“So yir ashamed a me?”

“That’s not what I said.” Gonda exhaled wearily, as though he were being foolish. “Just try to understand. This isn’t the Mainland.”

Bob glanced up and down the street. Bungalows like his own, doors closed, curtains drawn, no one else out on the porch enjoying the balmy weather as they were. The solitary sign of life were the pigeons on the rooftops, strutting back and forth, pecking at the guttering, now and then swooping away on some unknown mission.

Her home required only fifteen minutes to reach by car. It was up among the hills, with a picturesque view of the coast from the upstairs balcony. But inside it was cramped, and cluttered with toys and children’s books. General Saparatruma glowered down from the living room wall, beside the standard purple flag and photographs of cleancut young men in military attire. Beneath these was a large TV with a DVD player and several shelves of discs beneath it.

“That’s quite a collection of movies!” Bob pulled one of the DVDs out and looked at the cover. It featured only a hand-written name and date.

“Not movies. They’re all of me. Everything I’ve ever done for Capital TV – including my interview with you. Would you like to see it?”

“Maybe later.” He put the DVD back and wrapped his arms around her waist.

At that moment they heard the front door rattle open downstairs, followed by the voices of a woman and child. The pair soon appeared on the stairway;  the former showing surprise at Bob’s presence there, the child looking positively terrified. The boy’s mother spoke softly to him and took him back downstairs.

“Zaya’s afraid of men,” Gonda explained quietly. “His father was a very aggressive man.”

“‘Was?'”

“Enna’s husband was killed in the war.” She ran a finger slowly across her throat to emphasise the point. “The boy doesn’t know. He’s too young to understand.”

That evening Gonda was called out on assignment – nothing that would take more than a couple of hours, she assured him. Meanwhile Bob found the DVD of her interview with him and put it in the machine. Enna came upstairs as he was doing so, bringing  two cans of ‘Yezukale’ with her.

“Hope I’m not in the way,” he said.

“Not at all. Zaya’s sleeping now.”

Bob started the video and laughed in embarrassment at his own image – on the set with Gonda, being interviewed like a celebrity or something.

“Are you old enough to drink?” Enna asked mockingly, handing him one of the cans. She had a narrow face and bushy purple hair.

“Of course,” he replied, though he wouldn’t be twenty till April.

Bob hadn’t seen the interview before, but now as he watched the entire exchange came back to him, as if it had only been a few hours ago.

“Do they really eat human flesh over there?” Enna inquired.

“I didn’t say that. I guess she misunderstood me.”

“You didn’t deny it either.”

“I wasn’t aware I’d been asked. Besides, I ain’t no expert.”

“Expert enough to be interviewed on Capital TV.” The narrow features mocked him again; eyes twinkling as she took another swig of beer. “Come on. The Nugs have been bombing our city for weeks. If they can do that, surely they’re capable of anything.”

“They say thir soldiers are gettin’ killed here.”

“They’re occupying our land, exploiting our resources, slaughtering our people. What did they expect?”

“I didn’t say I agreed with ’em.”

“You didn’t say you ‘disagreed’ either.” She gave him a sideways glance. “Are you sure you’re not a spy?”

“Neither a spy nor an expert!. Jest a kid from the Mainland who wants to go home.”

Enna finished her beer and returned downstairs to Zaya. Bob felt relieved to be left alone for a while. The woman had made him uncomfortable, like he were on trial or something. He could fully imagine her assessment: ‘Too young for Gonda.’ ‘Possibly a Mainland spy.’ Or was he just being paranoid? He put another DVD on and reduced the volume a little, lest it be heard downstairs.

It opened with a scene of bright green countryside, forest and hills, a house or two in the background. The camera was unsteady, the footage somewhat grainy. Then it zoomed in on a group of men, among them two captive soldiers with their hands tied behind their backs. This pair were forced to lie face-down on the grass while one of the captors sawed their heads off. What shocked Bob most was how casually they went about it, and how submissively the soldiers accepted their fate – offering no resistance at all as their lives were stolen from them. In the next scene a youthful soldier was thrown off a bridge. In the next five were tied together, soaked with gasoline, then set on fire as a crowd of villagers stood about cheering. And so it continued. The most fortunate were simply shot in the head. Such was the fate of Yenugian soldiers taken prisoner on Yezuk.

XVI

It was a fifteen minute paddle from Kucku to Inicku, and it were almost as though they had arrived at the first island again; what, with the men fishing along the shore, the cats waiting for their morsels, the horses harnessed to their phaetons, munching into canvas feed bags. And once more there was the same all-pervasive reek of horse manure – though not even this could detract from the tranquil setting.

After a lunch of soup and bread in the village, they hired bicycles and set off around the island. Bob marvelled at the view of the sea and the two islands to the south. How easily he could escape from here, he thought. They were no longer on the Yezuk mainland. Aside from Pyneez’s brother, not a soul in the world even had a clue where they were.

“Good road for cyclin,’” he remarked when they stopped to rest. “How long does it take to ride all the way roun?’”

“At this speed, about two hours,” Pyneez replied. “But you could do it in half that if you raced.”

“No thanks!” Bob laughed, wiping the sweat off his brow.

A stiff breeze blew despite the warm weather. Removing her sunglasses, Pyneez brushed her dreadlocks back and pointed toward the islands. Unucku, though dwarfed by Yubku beyond it, was significantly larger than both Kucku and Inicku. A triangular structure flashed silver at its peak. “The Temple of Karpot,” she explained.

“Sure don’t spare any expense on thir places a worship in these islands, do they!?” Bob muttered aloud, recalling the golden temple in Crupsy.

When they reached the southern tip of the island the mainland of Yezuk itself came back into view, just a short distance across the water. Further along the coast Bob was able to make out the shadowy forms of factories and tall buildings in the distance.

“What’s that?” he inquired, pulling up again.

“Gunee Dock,”  Pyneez informed him. “It’s an industrial ghetto.”

“Really? Now that I’d like to see . . .”

His companion turned a doubtful gaze on him. “No place for an Incabay, Bob. And they don’t speak much Mainlander down there either.”

“Well, maybe I ought a learn the lingo then.”

“That could take years. You wanna go home, don’t you, once your studies are over?”

Bob took off his sunglasses and met her eyes. “I ain’t a student here, Pyneez. I’m a Prisoner a War. Can’t leave till the conflict with Yenug is over.”

She stared back at him for a moment, then her surprise gave way to a mischievious smile. “Looks like you’ll be with us for a long time then.”

“So they tell me!” Bob nodded wryly. “In which case, I may as well start learnin’ the lingo.” Putting his glasses back on, he turned his bike toward the road, unwilling to tell her more at this stage.

XVII

The rain came down harder and harder, gutters overflowed, even the road itself was hidden beneath the water, and the traffic moved slowly – windscreen wipers thrashing, horns blaring intermittently, as if it could help. Headlights glowed in the prematüre gloom. People hurried along beneath umbrellas, faces unseen, neither looking nor caring who they were pushing out of their way.

“Dam’ rude, ain’t they?” Bob cursed, dodging the spokes of the open umbrellas.

Rasco frowned out from the hood of his overcoat. “They’re just trying to get where they’re going.”

“Sure. That goes for all of us!”

“Come on, Bobster. People are no ruder here than anywhere else.”

They walked the rest of the way in silence; Bob contemplating Rasco’s over-sensitive response to his minör gripe. Several times he’d caught a wet umbrella in the face. He had a right to be a little annoyed, didn’t he?

Once at the bar they removed their shoes and socks and placed them on top of the radiator, then sat back and watched the steam rise. Rasco lit a cigarette and signalled to the bar.

“How’s the Ladai coming along?”

“Not so good. People don’t wanna speak it with me here. I’m an Incabay – remember.”

“Nonsense. You just need to perservere.”

Bob accepted his beer from the barman, though it was ice-cold, of course, and left it on the table. “So how did you learn to speak the language so quickly, Rasco?”

His companion’s eyes widened as he gazed at the heater. “What do you think, Bobster?”

“I think you were born here.”

“And who told you this?”

“Ain’t no secrets in these islands, man. You know that.”

One cigarette was stubbed out; another immediately lit. “That’s right, I’m a Yezuk Islander. But I thought it best not to let on in Crupsy. You can see how much they hate us.”

Bob watched the rain gushing down the window pane beside him. The blurred forms hurrying by outside were like shadows in a strange dream. Inside the dimly-lit bar was filling up quickly; the musty odor of wet clothing blending with the more customary reek of cigarette-smoke; the loud murmur of chatter overriding the burble emanating from the various TV sets.

“I’m curious about one thing, Rasco. What exactly happened that night you and Senji tried to swim the strait? You know he washed up dead . . .”

“I saw him get shot. They nearly shot me too – karpottam Nugs!”

“‘Nugs?’”

“I was there – remember. And that’s why I never returned.”

Bob recalled clearly enough. It had been the Yezuk patrol boat they’d heard open fire that night. What kind of game was Rasco playing? But for the moment he let it slide.

The others soon began to arrive, hanging up their coats as they entered and sticking their umbrellas into the buckets beside the front door. Observing Etan among them, Bob shifted uncomfortably in his seat. It was the first time he’d seen him since the night they’d almost come to blows.

In the event, Etan merely sat opposite him, ordered a beer, and commenced ranting about Scuna. “She’s so karpottam jealous! I can’t even look at another woman without her making a scene!” Shaking his head slowly, he downed his beer in two giant gulps then promptly ordered another.

“Talk about making a spectacle of yourself,” Shamot muttered.

“Comin’ apart at the seams, I’d say,” Bob agreed. “What’s to stop ‘im gettin’ divorced, if he’s so dam’ miserable?”

Shamot grinned through his purple beard. “The settlement; that’s what.”

Gerro came over and squeezed in among them, the glass in his hand half-filled with a darker liquid. “Forget the ale,” he growled cheerfully. “This is the stuff for a rainy day.”

“Good thinking!” Shamot slapped him on the back and signalled to the bar.

Bob wasn’t sure he ought to be drinking rum so early but accepted his glass nonetheless. Sweet and syrupy, the drink left a mild, burning sensation in his chest that was almost pleasant. He paid for the next round himself; then another straight after that. His first month’s wages were secure in his pocket, after all.

“Looks like things are gettin’ serious between you an’ Neleh.“ He nudged Gerro.

“Yeh, but keep it to yourself, Bob. Remember what I told you about fatties on this island.”

“Sure, but we’re all pals here – right?”

Gerro winced as he took a drag on his cigarette. “Don’t be too sure about that, my friend.”

The bar was stuffy and heavy with smoke. What, with the heaters on and the doors and windows closed, the atmosphere was becoming decidedly oppressive. The chatter was louder than before, the odors more powerful, while the windows were fogged up completely so that whatever lay beyond could no longer be seen. Bob sipped his rum and peered around the bar. Cheerful, doughy faces stared back at him – or seemed to – their purple hair damp and dishevelled; their eyes dark and shining.

Another few rounds and Bob barely knew where he was any more. His head dropped forward and for one moment he believed he was at home on the Mainland again, listening to his parents and relatives talking around him.

It was Trodie who roused him, shaking him by the shoulder. “I’m headed home, Bob. Looks like you could use a ride.”

Only too grateful for the opportunity to leave, he pulled his warm socks and shoes back on, and a few minutes later they were out in the rain, hurrying up the street to where Trodie had parked his beige saloon.

“Too bad you drank so much!” His companion chuckled, once they were inside the car. “I’ve got a wife and kids to get back to. But the others will be out all night, it being pay-day and all.”

Bob shrugged indifferently. It hadn’t been much fun, he reflected, breathing in everyone else’s cigarette smoke and listening to Etan carrying on. Was that supposed to be ‘enjoyable?’

Trodie dropped him at a takeaways a mile from his house. He offered to wait and take him all the way, but Bob insisted on walking. The rain had eased up and the exercise would help clear his head.

The owner of the kiosk didn’t speak Mainlander, providing Bob with an opportunity to try out his Ladai. “Reg rubena trib, neftul.”

“En?”

“Reg  . . . ru-ben-a . . . trib.”

The owner blinked a few times, before the light of comprehension entered his eyes and he turned back to his grill. Bob’s mouth filled with saliva at the smell of the beef and onions frying. He hadn’t eaten in almost ten hours..

“Hey, Incabay, do you think you’re clever speaking our language?”

Only then did he notice the group of fellows standing around the corner, munching burgers and smoking cigarettes beneath the shelter of the overhanging roof. Their clothes were scruffy and their hair unkempt, while the grins on their unshaved jowls were an image of crooked, nicotine-stained teeth.

“But doesn’t he speak it well!” another intoned. “‘Reg ruuu-ben-aaah trib!'”

“Dyes his hair purple too!”

“You try real hard, Incabay,” the first went on. “But you’ll never be one of us!”

Mercifully his hamburger arrived at that moment. Bob hastily paid for it and turned around to walk away. But the men had come up behind him and were now blocking his path.

“We’d smash the Nugs if it weren’t for the karpottam Mainland!”

“We know the Mainland always supports them!”

“Give us a fair fight, we’d smash them every time!

All Bob could do was apologise. “I’m sure you would. The Nugs are crazy. I don’t like ‘em either.”

“Fine words!” the first speaker sneered, knocking the hamburger out of his hand so that it dropped onto the muddy pavement. “But you’re an Incabay just the same. Forget about dying your hair, forget about speaking our language. Just go home!”

Bob ducked past them and hurried away, the light rain blowing into his face, his stomach groaning with a hunger that had not been appeased. The taunts of the men followed him, and they would remain with him for some considerable time to come.

XVIII

The crowd applauded, the marching band played, the soldiers moved slowly along the main street in sombre unison – camera crews and photographers circling around in front of them. Children ran ahead with purple flags, while others held banners featuring the words ‘Ziga Cayam Tunu’ – blood red against a purple background. Bob asked Rasco what it meant.

“‘We shall never forget,'” came the reply.

Of course they honoured their war dead on Yezuk too, Bob acknowledged; just as they did on Yenug and the Mainland and everywhere else. But his mind kept returning to the gruesome killings he had seen on the video at Gonda’s home, and he could not bring himself to join in the cheering.

A light shower of rain came down, and umbrellas went up like a field of purple mushrooms. The vendors plied their wares – candyfloss and purple balloons, T-shirts with General Saparatruma’s image on the front.  Helicopters droned beneath the clouds, the initials of TV channels on their sides, and at one point a supersonic jet thundered overhead, sending the crowd into raptures and leaving a stream of purple smoke in its wake.

Bedecked with flags and portraits of the general, the Cenotaph was a soaring column of silver, perhaps thirty feet high, and inscribed at the top were the bold purple words: ‘Ziga Cayam Tunu.’ Here the parade drew up, the clashing sounds of the marching band ceased, and the buglars came forth to perform the final tribute. King Lark then strode forth to lay the first wreath; a purple-haired figure some eight feet tall, surrounded by bodyguards and policemen. His legs were at least twice as long as the rest of his body, Bob observed, and did not bend at all. But no one else seemed to notice.

Even as the king withdrew, the giant screens atop the surrounding buildings flashed to life. The High Priest Hamabar sat at his desk in a black robe, General Saparatruma’s portrait and the purple flag of Yenug upon the wall behind him. As the Prayer to Karpot began, booming out across the city, each and every person in the crowd knelt down on the wet pavement and fell silent. Awkward though it felt, Bob had no choice but to do the same.

Afterward he and Rasco headed for the bar. The wall-mounted TV screens were replaying images of the parade they had just attended. At one point Bob caught a glimpse of himself, an impassive figure among the applauding, flag-waving masses.

“So you heard about Etan?” Shamot inquired.

“No. Is he okay?” A range of possibilities flashed through Bob’s mind.

Shamot drew deeply on his cigarette, the glimmer of intrigue in his eyes. “He’s shot through, my friend.”

“Run off, you mean? Left Scuna?”

“We just heard from his brother,” Gerro confirmed. “Etan’s made it to the Mainland.”

Bob gazed back at him in horror. Etan was on the ‘Mainland?!’ Why hadn’t he told him? They could’ve done it together!

Neleh pursed her lips in disgust. “He’s abandoned this island to go and hide on the Mainland where he won’t have to pay out on the settlement!”

“I guess old Etan just couldn’t bare the thought of actually having to go to court with her!” Rasco chuckled.

Bob’s attention wandered to the window beside him, the grey drizzle beyond, and the blurred shapes going by. Etan was on the ‘Mainland!’ He had fled the island without even telling him. Bob could hardly have been more envious. But if Etan had managed to escape Yenug, then so too could he.

The warmth from the radiator was making him drowsy. Up on the TV screens the king was striding forth on his impossibly long legs to lay the first wreath on the Cenotaph. Cameras flashed, the crowd applauded, purple balloons shot upward and bobbed away on the breeze – airborne fugitives escaping to who knew where?

“A clown on stilts; that’s our king, ladies and gentlemen!” announced Gerro across the table.

“Pretending to be eight feet tall!” Neleh scoffed beside him.

But, look, here’s the nation’s ‘real’ leader,” Shamot pointed up at the screen, where an elderly soldier with copious medals now marched resolutely toward the silver column; a floral wreath in his hands. “General Tarum, head of the Army; he’s the one who runs the show on this island.”

“Better that way too,” Rasco concurred. “Kings don’t understand politics, and politicians can’t be trusted.”

Gerro puffed thoughtfully on his cigarette, his bald head nodding up and down. “Democracy’s a myth. People are just plain selfish anyway. They’ll vote for what they want, regardless of how it effects others; regardless of whether it’s good for the island or not.”

“So you let the army decide everything?” Bob gazed around in amazement.

“The army, at least, can be relied upon,” Shamot told him. “They’re the ones who defend our freedom. They have courage and integrity. That’s a legacy that goes right back to the days of General Saparatruma.”

The images Bob had seen on the video in Gonda’s home returned once again to his mind; prisoners being burned and boiled alive, their heads sawed off.

“Are you okay, Bob?” Neleh inquired. “You look a little pale.”

Shamot’s eyes widened, the hint of a sneer appearing on his purple-bearded jowls. “You don’t disapprove, do you? Disrespecting the army can get you into serious trouble here, my friend.”

“No, no,” Bob hastened to explain himself. “Jest surprised, is all. I thought everybody actually ‘believed’ the king was eight feet tall!”

They stared at him a moment longer, as though trying to figure out what language he was speaking. Then – much to his relief – they all burst out laughing.

“He’s a karpottam circus clown!” cried Rasco, and for an instant Bob wasn’t sure who he was referring to – himself or the king.

“And General Tarum’s a war criminal!”

The laughter stopped abruptly and everyone turned around. She had entered the bar behind them; a skeletal figure in a low-cut black dress that contrasted with the pallid hue of her skin, her dark eyes flickering with contempt. They were stunned into silence, as much by her unexpected presence there as the scathing tone she had used.

“‘Courage and integrity,’ my arse!” Scuna went on. “Is that how you describe rape and torture? You’re deluded; the lot of you!”

A glass fell off the table and smashed on the floor. Gerro and Neleh bent down to pick up the pieces, before the middle-aged barman arrived with a broom and dustpan to clean the mess up for them. Scuna, meanwhile, lit one of her scented cigarettes and continued to stand there before them.

“We heard about Etan, and we’re really sorry about that,” Rasco told her. “But insulting the army isn’t going to solve anything, Scuna.”

“Oh, I’m sure you ‘have’ heard about Etan. No doubt you’ve all been sitting here gossipping about it too. The man was a spineless alcoholic and a compulsive liar. Good riddance, I say!”

“We’re all disappointed in him,” Neleh assured her, pursing her lips. “Whatever we can do to help, just ask. But please refrain from accusing our soldiers of ‘rape’ and ‘torture.’ I’ve got two brother s in the army, you know, and my father was a captain.”

“It’s downright anti-Zukism,” growled Shamot. “You could get locked up for that.”

Scuna exhaled a stream of smoke and laughed merrily. “Locked up for telling the truth – while rapists and torturers are revered as ‘heroes?’ You’re pathetic!” And she was still cackling as she turned and walked back out the door, leaving a chilly gust of air in her wake.

Rasco ground out his cigarette in the plastic ashtray. “Crazy bitch! No need to put her in prison. She’ll be in an asylum before long.”

“Send her back to Ugod!” Shamot snarled. “Doesn’t she know there’s a karpottam war on?!”

“So let’s drink to Etan!” Rasco raised his glass. “Escaped the crazy bitch from Ugod and made it to the Mainland!” Though only Shamot joined him in the toast.

Gerro ordered a round of General’s rum and produced a pack of cigars from his shirt pocket. “Got news of our own,” he said, handing out the cigars. “Neleh and I have decided to tie the knot.”

Only then did they all notice the slender gold ring on Neleh’s left hand. Her chubby features flushed bright scarlet at the attention. “But keep it to yourselves, boys. I know I can trust you.”

“Of course,” Shamot assured her, while both Bob and Rasco nodded.

And the latter it was who raised his glass again. “So here’s to the happy couple, and trust among friends.”

XIX

The crunch of tyres on gravel; the muffled thumping of a car door opening and closing. Bob got up from his dinner in a state of mild confusion. The only person who ever made use of his driveway was Gonda, but that was invariably later, after her news show in the evenings. Peering out through the kitchen window, he was surprised to see the tall, raw-boned figure of Scuna approaching.

“Rembaha, Bob.” She smiled when he opened the door.  “I was driving by and remembered our little chat about Ladai lessons.“

He rolled his eyes at her. “You mean, the night yir husband took a swing at me . . .?”

“Ex-husband,” she corrected him, still with the smile. “So, are you going to invite me in – or leave me standing out here all night?”

It took him a moment to compose himself. “By all means, come inside. Hungry?”

“Just eaten. But I didn’t come empty-handed.” With that she drew a bottle of ‘General’s Rum’ out of her shoulder-bag.

Bob considered this for a moment. What if Gonda came around that night? He’d have to be careful. But one or two glasses wouldn’t hurt, he supposed. “Okay. Let’s sit out on the patio then. It’s a pleasant evening.”

“Gorgeous!” she agreed.

No sooner had they sat down, than the hum of winged insects began to disturb them. Bob hastily returned inside for the repellent.  “Goddam island’s teemin’ with these things!”

Scuna sprayed her pale arms and legs lightly, as though applying perfume. She wore a low-cut top, cotton shorts and sandals.  “You don’t like it here much, do you?”

“I didn’t say that. But – “

“Come on, honey. It’s obvious! You don’t need to lie to me. I’m not a Zuk either – remember.”

He swallowed his rum and grimaced back at her. “I ain’t lyin,’ Scuna. It’s not such a bad place. But it ain’t home is all. Never will be.”

“And the Isabrom won’t let you go home,” she reminded him.

“’Isabrom?’”

“‘Purple Heads.’ It’s considered an insult in Ladai.”

“Why? They all got purple hair. You an’ me too. Are we ‘Isabrom?’”

Scuna lit a cigarette, filling the air around them with its spicy aroma. “There’s a lot more to this island than Yezuk City, honey. People here are mostly well-off. Not so in the countryside. There’s a lot of anger. And those people ‘don’t’ dye their hair.”

Bob contemplated this for a moment. “I got good friends here –  Rasco, Trodie, Shamot an’ all. They ain’t the ones stoppin’ me from leavin.’”

“Your colleagues? They’re all spies!” She laughed sharply. “Sorry to be the one to break it to you, honey, but The Times is nothing but an instrument of the military leadership of this island. Your so-called friends have been keeping watch on you the whole time.”

He blinked at her a few times, requiring a moment to digest this information. She was almost ghostly in the dim light of the patio, her eyes ringed with dark make-up – both accentuating and constrasting with the pallid hue of her complexion. Rasco a spy? His old college buddy on Yenug? It hardly seemed plausible. But then again, the notion he was a Yezuk Islander had once seemed absurd as well; not to mention the fact Bob had found him here alive, when everybody on Yenug had believed he was dead. Rasco had already lied to him once. Bob wasn’t sure ‘what’ to believe any more.

“An’ you?” he inquired. “Ever think a goin’ back home?”

“This ‘is’ my home, honey. Been here half my life. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself back on Ugod. It’s only a small island. Everyone knows what everyone else’s doing every minute of the day.”

“Don’t you have family there?”

“I do.” She flicked her cigarette away. “And the less said about them, the better.” With that she proceeded to re-fill the glasses.

Later they took a stroll down to the beach. Bob was already beginning to feel the effects of the alcohol and figured it might help clear his head. A gentle sea-breeze greeted them on the sand. It was a clear night with myriad stars and a glowing moon casting a silver, rippling pathway across the water. The foamy shore heaved in and out with a long hiss and the grating of pebbles turning. Staring out toward the dark horizon, he felt the pang of home-sickness once more. The Mainland was out there, barely a few hundred kilometres away, but he was stuck on this island.

“Jest how closely are my ‘spy-friends’ watching me?” he inquired.

Scuna smiled knowingly, the breeze toying with her purple hair, exposing the coal-black roots beneath. “Not ‘that’ closely, honey. If you disappeared tonight, they wouldn’t know until you failed to show up for work in the morning. That’s how Etan got away. I’ll give him that much credit, spineless alcoholic though he was. He kept his mouth shut and nobody suspected a thing.”

“Easy for him, I guess.” Bob shrugged. “Got on a plane an’ flew to the Mainland. But I’d never get past the security check.”

“Well, perhaps you’ll have to swim.” The smile became a mocking one. “Come on, let’s do it together – tonight!”

Bob could only watch in astonishment as she kicked off her sandles, removed her clothes and ran into the surf, wearing only her bra and knickers. Soon she was waist-deep, waving back at him. “Come on in! It’s gorgeous.”

“Hey, be careful. Thir’s a current along this coast.”

“Oh, it’s nothing. Stop making excuses!”

Bob shook his head in wonder and chuckled at her. She was right, of course. They’d have to go pretty far out before the current became a factor. No harm in having a little fun close to the shore. Stepping out of his own sandals, he pulled off his T-shirt and charged into the surf.

“You lied!” he gasped. “It’s goddam freezin!’”

“Don’t be a baby! Come on, the Mainland’s ‘this’ way . . . “

He didn’t follow; just watched her swim away. And she paused to laugh back at him at intervals, egging him on and questioning his manhood when he refused to join her. Then she disappeared under the waves for several long seconds, and when she resurfaced it was not at the point he’d expected her to, but about ten or fifteen yards to the left.

“Bob!” she called out. “I think this current’s got hold of me!”

“Yir kiddin,’ right?”

She proceeded to splash around, evidently trying to swim back – though without getting any closer. If anything she was even further to the left than before. “No, it’s not a joke. I can’t fight this current. It’s too strong!”

Bob still wasn’t sure, but plunged into the water regardless.  It quickly became apparent she had duped him, however, for the current was barely perceptible at this depth. The cackling laughter confirmed it as he reached her.

“I can’t believe a thing you say !” he protested; his voice trailing off as he noticed the bare, almost anaemic flesh of her upper torso.

“It was creating drag. Not shy, are you?”

“No, but my girlfriend might have somethin’ to say about this.”

“Gonda Nirsen? For karpot’s sake, Bob! Can’t you see she’s just using you?”

He blinked at her a few times. “Well, like I said, Scuna, I ain’t sure what to believe any more.”

With that he began swimming back toward the beach. Scuna followed a few minutes later, naked except for her knickers, the wavy hair made straight by the weight of the water. Bob himself wore only his nylon shorts, and was in the process of pulling his T-shirt on when he noticed the slender figure standing on the road above them, silhouetted by the street lights. Their eyes met only for an instant, then she turned and walked away. Bob was too dumbstruck to even go after her.

“Dont worry, honey.” Scuna came up beside him, still topless. “Like I said before, she’s only been using you.”

It was enough to break the spell, and Bob hastily set off at a run. But he was too late. Gonda was already pulling out of his driveway when he got there, tyres scrapin