Talking about applause...
I didn't even want my name-gender-picture-ID on the website. The first name that came to our minds thinking about a name for the website was to get mad.world; as expected, it was already taken. So we thought of some other names which we dismissed for one reason or another. In the end, Carlo said “gulin.world is fine, it's your name” and got it. He looks after the web part, I didn't interfere.
I didn't want my gender, thought it better not to be known if I was a male or a female. But that's not possible either, because I give references from my life, talk about motherhood and my husband in my writings. I thought of not mentioning those but that would mean putting restrictions on myself. Restrictions would mean that the things I advocate lose their integrity. Apart from that, I believe my being a woman makes the things I say/do more impressive. It should.
I did not want my photo on the site. But unfortunately, people are not satisfied with only the conceptual aspect but want to identify with the physical being. Sort of a personal touch... And that is an important factor when you set off on such a mission.
I said let me not put in a CV. There, again unfortunately, people first look at who you are in order to read your ideas. They do not read and evaluate your ideas, they evaluate your worth and then project that worth into your ideas. When I was doing the tour guide in my 30's, the tourists walked over me quite a lot. I looked young, they saw me as a novice girl in her 20's. There, too, being male-female makes a real difference, trust me. Then, on one occasion, someone came and chatted me up at the beginning of the tour. He asked and I answered. Robert College, Boğaziçi University Mechanical Engineering MS, drop-out of doctorate, round-the-world tour, a book. Naturally, word got around fast in the group. Ah, what a comfortable and entertaining tour that was! Was I more knowledgeable and better? No. Their perception and approach was different.
Name-Gender-Picture-ID... Now all is out there! Stark naked.
“Are you doing what you do for yourself or for anybody else?” my friend also asked.
I did the three wound-the-world tours and the last Amazon trip for myself. But I did the Caribbean, North Korea and Romania trips just for the mission to burn passports. Am I doing something I do not like? Not really. But as a person who does not believe in countries, going to every country does not mean anything. If I didn't have this mission, I wouldn't have done these trips now but when my daughter grew up a bit, when my husband retired. That is, what I'm doing is not a personal ambition. I am definitely not after fame, money or riches. Seriously, if I want anything for myself apart from the satisfaction of knowing to have been a catalyst to end a universal injustice, injustice at birth, may I burn in flames!
When a friend of mine claimed I waited for applause, I questioned myself.
When setting off on my first round-the-world tour, I did not expect any applause. I was on the front page of one of the most important national newspapers, I got applause. I have to confess I liked it. When starting my second round-the-world tour, eh now I am doing the second, I expected more applause. I didn't get it, I was upset. Whereas setting off on the third, I had Carlo and my daughter in my life, I didn't need applause. On the contrary, I especially did not want applause. I had offers (it sound funny when put this way :) but I turned them down saying “I do not give solely travel interviews.” I told them I was out unless they published my “I'll be burning my passports once I've been to every country” and “Anybody who does not question borders should not call himself/herself a traveller. People need to be provoked a bit. But there needs to be a media with the courage to do it! All I wanted was to promote these ideas, I wanted to use the third rtw as a bait for this. As you can imagine, I'm a satiated traveller, what do I need to tell and brag about my travels? I do not wish people who approach me just because I have done a round-the-world tour. I do not have time for them. There has been such people and I chased them away. I'm not interested in people who do not believe in my “mission” and do not support me.
My friend thinks I expect applause, when in fact I am afraid of having stones hurled to my head. I mean, in this environment, my expectation is not applause but a stone to my head. I didn't get much stones until now, because nobody messed with me. And those who did, I believe I have staved off decorously. Because I approach the topic from only one point of view. Injustice at birth! (And that nobody can really object to.) I do not claim what I advocate is going to bring about a better world. “I don't know,” I say. “The only thing I know is there can be no excuse or justification for conserving such a global injustice.” I say that people's freedom of movement is above national-sovereignty. If you do not agree with this premise, you don't need to. We simply know where we diverge, end of argument.
Still, whenever I attempt to post anything on Twitter and look around a bit, I feel scared. I say “Merkel and Jolie fall short in their course” whereas some people curse and utter unimaginable profanities claiming these two women have gone too far about migrants. Incidentally, it's very interesting that one of these women is named Angela and the other Angelina. Angel and little angel. It's becoming.
I have no claim to be an angel. I only wish to be the scale of justice. I do not wish for any applause or praise either, just don't cast stones at me, that's enough.
A friend from high-school told me I was waiting for applause. “What for?” you might ask. I was “complaining” that the Turkish media, prominent journalists were not interested in me. I guess my friend had not understood what I was talking about!
“I say I'll be burning my passports in order to end Global Apartheid. What do you suppose I'm going to do, shall I burn my passports in the fireplace at home after I visit every country and we celebrate with Carlo opening up a bottle of wine?”
This image made me smile, but it's no laughing matter. I really need to find a way to reach people.
Put that aside... I have never understood such insolence at predicting people's intentions. I mean you may say “It seems like, or I feel like you are waiting for applause” or something of the sort. But claiming, authoritatively, that you are waiting for applause is arrogance and bad manners.
“You are doing this, you are doing that.” I understand, thank you very much... Just have a look at yourself and tell me what you are doing!
Besides, what if I am in fact and truly looking for applause? What does it matter? Does it take anything away from the things I say? Just look at what I say and criticize that, say something against that if you have anything to say. Just don't attack people. Just don't!
Personal attacks do not do any good, do not serve anything; discuss ideas if you will. Ah, my friend also asked if getting an interview with a reputed journalist would make my ideas any more valuable?
This has nothing to do with an interview making my ideas more valuable. I have no personal desire to be on the news. Why do I want to be known? Because I have a goal. To achieve that, it would be nice if I had a sponsor. And that's only to be able to do this thing without harming our family budget too much and without being too much of a burden on Carlo, not to make money for myself. Eh, I am aware enough of the world that no institution would sponsor me with a goal to protest the restriction of freedom of movement on the world we are born. On the other hand, I'm sure there is an eccentric out there who can toss me a 100-200 thousand bucks. I want to find him, or her, plus a media outlet to help me promote this project.
I also wish to aid and abet people. I mean not to crime, to civil disobedience. The media cannot take that risk, but at least they can help me to be known and direct people to my website. Even if there is not a single person else to burn passports with me, I should at least get a crowd around me when I burn my passports. Otherwise, if there is no media coverage, if the word doesn't get out, what is the point of what I do? I would have just played a game needlessly torturing myself. We have a saying in Turkish: “Fare dağa küsmüş, dağın haberi olmamış.” Translates as “The mouse stopped talking to the mountain, the mountain is unawares.” We need to become a mountain with a crowd at my back for our protest to have any meaning.
What applause? Stones...
“You didn't get me on any newspaper or TV in Italy,” I sometimes whine to Carlo. He is not exactly a journalist but he is in the media, he is a press officer. He then replies “So what if you have done three round-the-world tours? It's nothing important, anybody can do it.” Correct. Thing is, everybody doesn't do it. What's more, there are so many people who show up with whole-page interviews on newspapers, who appear on TV all the time, is it of any significance what they say?! There are a thousand articles written on Italy, people still keep writing about it and it gets published. Look at all the travel or the weekend magazines in Italy and Turkey, somebody has gone on a ten-day vacation, it's news. Put all this aside, I believe that at a time when migration is the central topic on the world agenda, someone who says “I'll burn my passports after I visit every country in the world” is news; humbly.
And this is not a complaint, it's criticism! What's more, it's rightful criticism. That's it. Nothing more.
Colin Grant, in his TEDxBrighton talk on October 2012 “How our stories cross over” says:
“Jamaicans will tell you that there's no such thing as facts, there are only versions. We all tell ourselves the versions of the story that we can best live with.”
I couldn't say it better.
I said I am 100 % with Trump. What I meant to say is I'd be 100 % with him if I held the premise that national sovereignty is above the right of freedom of movement of people.
Thing is... I don't.
My premise is the opposite. National sovereignty cannot be any argument to put conditions on people's right to freedom of movement. Freedom of movement is an inalienable right that cannot be taken away from people; especially not according to their places of birth.
The current visa regime which requires people from certain countries to get a visa and exempts others needs to be abolished. Visa requirements are nothing but tarring people born within a certain line with the same brush. Sorry, I correct. Requirement of visas is either tarring people with the same brush or is a political gun.
I guess we all agree that tarring people with the same brush is wrong. We are individuals, we reject being equated to "bad" people who happened to be born within the same boundary as we. And I hope we all agree that we do not want political guns directed at ordinary people. We are the people, we are not our governments. Directing political guns at us for something "our" government has done is terrorism!
I don't understand why these people who are so outraged at Trump's EO do not protest the current visa regime. If it's a matter of national sovereignty and any country has a right to determine who comes into their borders without a visa, who needs a visa and dictate what procedures to go through, present what papers to obtain that visa, or who can come in with filling a simple form like the ESTA, I don't see why they shouldn't be able to say “We don't want the people from these countries in our country.”
I mean if a country is like your home... I can tell who comes into my home and I can make up a set of rules to deny or accept people, that is at my discretion, and I totally have a right to say “Anybody from such and such family is not setting foot in this house.”
Those people who protest Trump's EO but not the current visa regime only do so because they are blinded by the status-quo. They accept the status-quo as is, they do not see how Trump's EO is the exact reflection of the visa regime.
If you take national sovereignty as the basis of your judgment, if that is the norm that we accept, I don't see anything wrong with Trump's order. He totally has that right. I am 100 % with him.
I mean I'd be 100 % with him if...
This is an old piece that I wrote on September 5th, 2015, starting my third round-the-world tour with my family. I wanted to post it here too.
Soon they will be questioning if you have a legal right to exist in this world, asking you for your documents, if you have papers from God giving you the right to be born. I mean they would already have done it if God signed such papers. I'm sure they would have, if they could...
“It's not enough that you have the right papers to go out, we want to make sure you came here with the right papers,” they say.
We were headed for Russia from Italy. At the passport control out, I naturally had our Turkish passports in my hand for Lara and me as Russia doesn't ask for a visa from Turkish citizens. The passport control officer asked for my visa. I said we didn't need a visa for Russia. I am funny sometimes. Of course he's not asking for that. What does he care about the Russian visa? He's asking for my Italian visa. Checking if I entered his country legally. I said I had citizenship. Of course I needed to show an ID for that.
I don't know... Is it only me? I find it so ridiculous that there is a man at some point, stopping every person to check if they can go on their way. I understand it's a job for them but I can't help wondering if it ever occurs to them to question what purpose they are serving, what they are doing on this Earth!
“Ebony and Ivory...”
“Agony and ...” Agony and what? I tried to find a rhyming antonym here but I couldn't. So I stayed with “Agony and Ivory.”
It's not a bad song the way it is. After all, I am after ebony and ivory being able to stand side by side. “Living in perfect harmony...” Well, that's a little bit tricky. Even ebony and ebony or ivory and ivory do not live in much harmony. So how do you get ebony and ivory to live in harmony let alone in perfect harmony?!
“If I could change the world...”
I like that Eric Clapton song as well. I tried to see if I could play around with its lyrics too, but it is basically a love song and the man wants to change the world to get access to the lover, not for anything else! I have more utopian and noble aims to change the world.
"If I could chaaange the world... I would get rid of the injustice at birth.
If I could, oh yeah baby I would..."