In Turkey, elementary school pupils kept in school gardens and attend the pledge ceremony every morning. It’s a 5 minutes ceremony to start the day. More than 40 years old nationalist practice. “I’m a Turk, I’m righteous, I’m hard working… bla bla bla let my existence be bestowed upon the Turkish existence”. Hard core nationalist text, a practice from the 80s climate. We all have attended these ceremonies during the elementary school. And obviously there isn’t any place for that kind of ceremonies in 2021’s world. It should be removed and Turkish government exactly did that. Government has proposed a new law to stop this practice couple of years ago, it went to court, court rejected it but higher court backed this decision again last week. As you can imagine it has sparked an argument and lots of people were discussing this topic on Twitter whole week. Even some of Erdogan’s supporters were not happy about that. Welcome to Turkish politics. We have that kind of shitty discussions each and every day. Personally I support this decision. The pledge practice must be removed though I also know that this government doesn’t do anything which doesn’t have any hidden agenda behind. But that’s another topic.
Anyhow, yesterday after the work, I was on Twitter and scrolling as usual. I saw couple of tweets from young folks. They were discussing this topic and some of them said something like “I got traumatized because of the pledge”. This seemed super absurd to me, and it took the matter off the level that should be discussed. Yes the pledge practice should be removed. But I don’t believe someone got traumatized because of that, If they were born and raised in Turkey. We are the people who have experienced many coups, coup attempts, economic crises, bombings, terror, poverty etc. in Turkey. We have thousands of problems that can create trauma but the pledge practice is not one of them. I don’t believe that a pupil can get traumatized because he or she attended these ceremonies in the elementary school. And I sent a tweet about that. But I didn’t quote the “I got traumatized because of the pledge” tweet because I didn’t want to spark an argument with person who wrote that. I just wanted to say something about what I think and sent this tweet without mentioning any context.
“There are people who claim that they got traumatized because of the pledge. Do you know why this happens? First: you have not been beaten by your mother and dad when needed, Second: on these days nothing happens when you lie.” It basically means that “you have raised without getting discipline from your parents, you raised very soft and so you think that small things like pledge can traumatize you. Because you don’t know what a real trauma is”. In Turkish we use that kind of idioms and slangs a lot and I’ll come that later.
People started to send me mentions and wrote things like “no, you are wrong. people can get traumatized because of the pledge”. “a Kurdish pupil can get traumatized by repeating -let my existence be bestowed upon the Turkish existence- sentence everyday”. Some others supported what I said. Some wrote silly things etc. I started to discuss with different people. They said something, I answered. I tried to explain why I think that people can’t get traumatized. I wrote couple of things why I think like that, they explained why I’m wrong etc. Classical Twitter discussions. It happens everyday. I learned why I could be wrong. I tried to explain why they could be wrong. Nothing special, we were not fighting, you know. It’s sparked an argument and I understood that I can be wrong. Explained couple of viewpoints and after that I deleted the tweet. Because I didn’t want to discuss this topic anymore. I didn’t want to spend time on answering and explaining myself. It was just a small thought and I understood that it could be wrong. People can get traumatized etc. So far no problem.
But after that, I got couple of dms from different people. They all were warning me about a tweet sent by @rakyll. It seems that Jaana took the screenshot of my tweet and send a mention to someone and wrote “he is suggesting everyone who is criticizing reading the pledge deserve domestic violence as kid” and my employer Microsoft should take action.
I didn’t know who is Jaana before. I thought that she is someone who doesn’t speak Turkish, saw my tweet, used Google translate and misunderstood what I wrote. I wrote an idiom and Jaana, as a non-native speaker, took it literal and didn’t understand. I saw a mention from Emir Ercan Ayar but at first I couldn’t see the actual tweet above because Jaana has blocked me. And I wrote these:
As I said I thought it’s a lost in translation situation and I wanted to explain her the real meaning of this Turkish idiom. It couldn’t be translated like that. But a few minutes later I understood that I was naive. Someone sent me a dm and said that Jaana is a native speaker of Turkish. I got shocked. Because if the person is native speaker of Turkish, he or she must be able to understand the meaning of this idiom. I got confused.
You know, idioms can lost their meanings when translated to other languages. Please try to translate “put a sock in it” literally, word by word to your native language. It will lost its meaning. Noone is suggesting you to put a sock into somewhere. It means “shut up”. Or when people say “you beat me to the punch” they don’t mean there’s a violence ongoing. “To beat someone to the punch” means to do something, say something or achieve something before someone else is able to do. As I said before, we have that kind of idioms a lot in Turkish. For example, let’s say someone asks you for money to borrow and you ask back “how much do you need?”. And he or she replied back fifty thousand dollars. You use this idiom: “ya dayak yemedin ya da sayı saymayı bilmiyorsun”, “either you haven’t got beaten ever before or you don’t know how to count”. It basically means that it’s a huge amount of money and you don’t realize how huge it is. Not something like, you have to be beaten because you don’t know how to count :). Or, in Turkey, military service is a compulsory service for men and every healthy men should complete their military obligation when they are 20. If a young man acts irresponsibly, people would say “sen bu kafayla gidersen askerde çok dayak yersin-if you continue like that you will be beaten a lot during the military service”. As you can understand, this means “be responsible, life is hard, take it serious because it’ll get harder”. Nobody is saying that young men should be beaten during the military service. And last but not least, when people say “sen çocukluğunda dayak yememişsin o yüzden böyle davranıyorsun – you haven’t been beaten by your parents in the childhood that’s why you act like that” doesn’t mean you have to be beaten by your parents. It means that you are not a disciplined person and act inappropriately. You act like a spoiled child. It is AN IDIOM and I think everybody knows what an idiom is. But it seems I’m wrong.
I wanted to understand how can someone translate what I wrote to “he’s suggesting everyone who is criticizing reading the pledge deserve domestic violence as kid”. There are 2 logical explanations of this. Either this person really didn’t understand, it’s a misunderstanding issue or this person intentionally lies. To understand which is wrong I wanted to ask that to Jaana. As I said she blocked my account and can’t see what I write so I switched to my other twitter account and send this:
She decided to educate me, switched to Turkish “I don’t know why” and sent this mention:
“I’m saying this, If I’m not Turkish, I would listen this bullshit. I know how much disrespect is tolerated and how normal violence is. Repeating these erroneous behaviors is a huge problem for a person of your level and position. “
Repeating? Normalizing the violence? I don’t know why but she accused me of normalizing the violence. I really don’t understand how can a person think that I’m normalizing the violence based on this context. Really don’t understand. There must be a misunderstanding or this person is really malicious. I still wanted to be positive and replied:
“I want to ask only one thing to you? You claimed that – Ozgur is suggesting everyone who is criticizing reading the pledge deserve domestic violence as kid- Is this true?”
I really wanted to understand if Jaana really claims that or not. Because It’s a big lie as you can see from the tweet even with literal translation. I really don’t have any problem with counter arguments against what I wrote. And as I said that I can be wrong and I also wrote this to Jaana too. My view could be problematic, the pledge practice can create trauma etc. I’m all ok with that and respect others’ views and be very happy to learn. I really want to learn why I’m wrong and ready to discuss this. But claiming that “I am suggesting everyone who is criticizing reading the pledge deserve domestic violence as kid” is another level. Because IT’S A BIG LIE.
She replied again:
“Man says beaten by parents so that’s the reason why he is sassy.” Is this normal? Getting beaten is normal? Don’t be silly.”
Obviously we were not talking about the same thing. I wanted to repeat my question and wrote this:
“Look; I will come to this beating situation and explain this but could you please answer my question. Did I say -I am suggesting everyone who is criticizing reading the pledge deserve domestic violence as kid- or not?”
“Look, you’re still bullshiting and you think you’re dealing with a child. The thing that you wrote normalize the beating and wrong. Apologize like a man and go”
Last but not least she wrote that:
“because of your bullshits, people think that we are barbarians. Could there be such a way of speaking? Man should be embarrassed to write the following under his profile”
She thinks that the guys like me is the reason why other people think we are barbarians. (I don’t know who are these WE but I assume that she probably meant Turkish people) She blocked my second twitter account after that.
🤦♂️ I don’t know what to say. She probably has a prototype of villain in her mind and matched me with that. Actually I don’t care that kind of things. I can send silly tweets, people write me back other silly things. If I think I’m wrong I say this. I ignore if I don’t think I have to explain. I apologize if I figured out its bad. Etc. Etc. Two tweets, couple of likes and that’s all. I didn’t write something that long to explain why i said something, do something etc. before. Now I did this because I saw that other people started to judge me by believing a lie. This is really toxic. She is slandering me by lies.
I don’t want to come to a conclusion. Just wanted to write what has happened and that’s all for now.