Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If only the news would be funny...then I could--a Bit about the Van earthquake

Remember our trip to Van--it used to look like this

Why can't news anchormen be monkeys? Spider monkeys perhaps, armed with pellet guns? Then the news would be hilarious (for me at least)--all the news in Turkey recently (and elsewhere) has been unrelievably depressing. We will crawl out from under the cloud soon, with any luck, but for now, let me rain down upon the English speaking internet some of the silly things the Turkish press and politicians has been saying about the Katrina level disaster in the Kurdish city of Van.

First, we have the brunette. If you are considering these three tools as the cast of Three's Company, she'd be the Janet of the group, namely the least nauseating of the three. Her name is Duygu Canbaş (which means Feeling Life-Head). She said, on live TV as footage of the destruction scrolled beneath her, complete with dead moms and screaming babies--"Tüm Türkiye, her ne kadar Van'dan da gelse haber, üzüldü.'  'Okay, even if the news comes from Van, all of Turkey feel ssad about (the earthquake).' A barrage of angry phone calls, Tweets, and emails persuaded her to retract and qualify this statement, which my wife and thousands of others interpreted as 'Well, even if it did happen to them Kurds, we ain't completely unfeeling.' The less disgusting interpretation might be, 'Even if it didn't happen to us here, we still feel sad,' which would just imply a lack of empathy rather than an unfeeling racism. The channel says--'She didn't mean it like it sounded, honest.'
That's Duygu Canbaş between Müge Anlı and Erdoğan Bayraktar

Then we have Chrissy, the freakishly blond Müge Anlı who said on atv--another live news channel, 'The first people to intervene in Van were the very police that they make their children throw stones at!' (She's speaking about the all-powerful Kurdish boys who sometimes throw rocks at the vulnerable and brittle battle tanks.)  She goes on, 'Our poor soldiers! My little brother, Selcan, is doing his service in Van, and God willing, he will finish without a problem. May God not bring any harm to our boys! And may he break the hands of those boys (in Van) who throw stones at them! They (the Kurds) say, 'It's like hunting birds! We pick them off with stones to our hearts content. We shoot them in our mountains. But if something happens to us, oh, then it's call the police, call the army! Let's play it safe, boys. In hard times, we'll say 'oh honey baby poopsy woopsy' We won't hunt them like birds.' Well, we say, it's not that easy. We'll put you in your place!' (The Turkish is at the end of this piece if you want it...' Müge/Chrissy had to take her account of Facebook from all the angry email she received.
Müge demonstrating the odd configuration of her breasts

Our Jack is Erdoğan Bayraktar, Minister of Cities and the Environment (his experience as a developer makes him an excellent protector of the environment*) He said, in response to a reporters question about why there was still a shortage of tents in the disaster area when thousands were out on the streets in freezing whether--'Well you give them tents, and then what do they say? How about my animals?' He spent the next minute complaining about how needy everyone was acting and how the rubble that they were now living in or dying under would one day be 'sparkling clean modern new villages!'

The esteemed Minister of Cities (and oh yeah, the enviro---what?) It may not look like him but a better likeness could get me arrested by an anonymous 'patriotic' informer for aiding terrorists or whatever. (an easy way to make a lira)

On the bright side, Delal was down in Kadıköy today and said that literally hundreds were at the city hall working to send packages of blankets, water, food, toys, and warm clothes. They told her they were sending supplies to the Red Crescent and the provincial governor's office, but there were interviews all over the TV saying that these two groups and their supposed help were nowhere to be found. (Maybe they are heeding Chrissy's call to 'put them in their place'?) So Delal called up again and was assured, 'We have received so many complaints about helps from the Crescent and the governor's office, that we decided to send our own people.'  Our school has mobilized (after a few meetings of course--one to decide to have a meeting, the actual meeting itself and then a final one to evaluate the meeting), and our English department run by our intrepid Cindy--who needs no meeting--has also set up a donation point down in the school basement where the English office is. According to rumor, even the street kids of Kaıköy are gathering old boxes to put back together for shipping supplies.

The mayor of Van, Bekir Kaya, after being grilled by CNN Turk-'What exactly is the problem? The tents and supplies have been sent and you say nothing is being distributed.' Mr. Kaya answers 'As leaders, one of our biggest responsibilities is to give the public accurate information, and not pretend things have been done that haven't.' This was the beginning of a long debate--both men getting frustrated and red in the face. The anchorman shouting 'All of us want to help but you say nothing is arriving. What the hell can we do? What is the truth? Why is there no coordination there? Who is responsible? The Turkmen villages so no help is coming because you are BDP and only help Kurds. The Kurdish villages say that no one is helping them because they are Kurds. The bottom line, no one is getting help. What's the problem?' The mayor never does explain and again, a barrage of angry tweets come his way. 

It reminds me of Katrina.

* probably just complete fiction

The original Turkish of Müge Anlı
"Her fırsatta küçücük çocuklar tarafından taş attırılan polisler, olay yerine gelip ilk müdahale edenlerdi. Mehmetçik... Bizim Selcan'ın erkek kardeşi de Van'da askerlik yapıyor. Ona ve tüm askerlerimize hayırlı teskereler diliyoruz. Allah da askerimize polisimize zeval vermesin. Onlara taş atanların da elleri kırılsın. Canımız istediğinde kuş avlar gibi taş atıyoruz. Dağlarda vuruyoruz. Sonra bir şey olunca da asker gelsin, polis gelsin diyoruz. Dengeleri kuralım. Zor günlerde canım cicim. Kuş avlar gibi avlamayalım bunları. O kadar kolay değil. Herkes haddini bilecek..."

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