Reflections on violence in Turkey published on Medium

A couple of weeks ago I made the decision to publish something I had started writing a month prior, in the wake of the third bombing here in Ankara within six months. Wanting to balance my professional concerns with my urge to speak my mind, I decided to publish it because of my convictions about the piece.

It discusses both the basic context of each of the bombings, as well as the impact medias have on the mediation and discussion of such events in the United States.

The article is called, “What Terrorism Coverage Has To Do With Terrorism- Notes From Ankara A Month On,” and if you haven’t had the chance to read it yet, please feel free to click through to my new Medium page and check it out!

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John Kasich is No Moderate

My friends over at AMERICAblog ran a series delineating the many ways John Kasich’s record doesn’t match up with the moderate image he has tried to project throughout the Republican presidential primary. As a born-and-bred Ohioan, I hopped on the chance to contribute. You can check out an except below, and head on over to AMERICAblog to read it, and the whole series, in full.

What’s happening regarding abortion access and women’s health issues in my hometown of Toledo is even more baffling when compared to the existing regulations in my current place of residence, Ankara, the capital city of Turkey. Ankara has a population of roughly 4.6 million, whereas the population of the state of Ohio is about 18 million. In the entire state of Ohio there are currently 9 abortion providers. In the city of Ankara alone, there are 129. By a simple per-capita measure, that makes it 56 times more difficult to find an abortion clinic in Ohio than it is in Ankara.

As a native Ohioan who faces constant questioning about my experience as a non-Muslim American woman living here in Turkey, I cite this statistic not only because it’s a useful example to counter the assumptions the average American has about women and the Middle East, but also because it is a telling example of just how regressive policies affecting women are under John Kasich, and in the United States more generally. To be clear, Turkey’s regulations regarding abortion access are far from perfect, but it is telling that in a country notorious for its conservative leadership, abortion access remains far more attainable for the average woman here than in the state of Ohio under John Kasich.

 

‘A National Holiday That I Do Not Recognize’– Reflections on Columbus Day 2015

Today I am not at the office in observance of a United States national holiday that I do not recognize, a day commemorating that in which I recognize my complicity yet nonetheless reject; the project of settler-colonial domination and the creation and perpetuation of myths of nation which oppress. Across the North American continent to the lands of historic Palestine to the city square up the way from my home here in Ankara, (and indeed across the globe) we wake daily to face the brutal and too often deadly consequences of narratives and myths of “nation.”

Today I am not at the office in observance of a United States national holiday that I do not recognize, a day which epitomizes the ‘success’ of *white-washing* history. Today I reflect on years in elementary school doing craft projects and reading story books that told truth through lies so masterfully spun they dared to call it history. The name of the class period was in fact “social sciences” which is far more fitting, for we know that there is a science, an art to the process of national mythology by which repression, displacement, and structural and physical violences against communities of difference are perpetuated and justified.

Today I am not at the office in observance of a United States national holiday which I do not recognize, and the irony of such a mandated commemoration on this the final official day of national mourning in Turkey is not lost on me. Before blood could be washed off the streets political paradigm creators began their acts of justification, of framing, of discourse, of what maybe can only be called story telling. Yet street cleaners and history-writers seem unaware that blood shed in the name of ideology cannot be washed away, for water does not erase, but flow. Innocent blood seeps down into the lands claimed as ‘homeland,’ trickles in the streams and creeks by which our children play, churns through pipes into our homes and places of work. Bloodshed is ingested, and flows without cessation, coursing through the veins of those awake to their own humanity.

Today is no holiday, but a day of mourning. As long as our brothers and sisters of humanity live chained by narratives of erasure and entitlement– of ‘manifestation’– there is no celebration, but only mournful, respectful solidarity and resistance.

 

Note: This was originally posted to my personal Facebook page on 12 October, 2015. 

Syrian American Contributions

Syrian Americans have been part of the rich fabric of American life for over a century. Syrian Americans include members of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. Syrian Americans have contributed and elevated American politics, sports, popular and high culture, academia, industry, and civic life for generations.

If Paula was your favorite judge on American Idol in its heydey, you have danced along with a Syrian American.

If Jerry Seinfeld ever cracked you up, you have laughed alongside a Syrian American.

If you’ve used any Mac product, you can thank Steve Jobs, whose birth parents were from Syria.

If you’re a woman pursuing a career in law, you can look to the inspiring example of Rosemary Barkett, the first woman to serve on the Florida Supreme Court, and the first woman Chief Justice of that court, who has Syrian heritage.

If you live in Michigan or follow libertarian politics, you may have been represented in Washington by Justin Amash (R-MI-3), a Syrian American.

If you’ve been able to quickly and easily photocopy something, you can thank Paul Orfalea, the Syrian American who founded Kinkos.

If you attend Wofford College or Purdue University, your school is led by a Syrian American (Nayef Samhat and Mitch Daniels, respectively).

If you ever wanted to take up surfing because that Kelly Slater is just too darn gorgeous, that’s probably because he has Syrian heritage.

If you get your news from CNN, you may hear it from celebrated Syrian American journalist Hala Gorani.

If you’ve enjoyed watching Homeland, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Finding Forrester (etc.) then I’m sure you’ve recognized the acting talent of Syrian American F. Murray Abraham.

If you’re a big hockey fan, you are probably aware of former Blackhawk current Blue Jacket Brandon Saad’s talent on the ice– yes, Syrian Americans even play professional hockey.

If we want to ‪#‎makeamericagreat‬ again, how about we take in as many Syrians as possible, huh?

‪#‎immigration‬‪#‎wakeupamerica‬‪#‎syrianrefugees‬

 

Note: This was originally posted to my personal Facebook page on 15 November, 2015. 

I’m still here!

It’s been a whopping 10 months since I last posted… how time flies and life gets in the way!

Though I shouldn’t say this, as when I promise more on this site generally end up jinxing myself, but I’ll be updating soon with backdated pieces and writings that haven’t made it onto this site since last May. Apologies for the delay and thanks for reading!

-Tess