Re: Reply To Sankho

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Posted by sankho from ( on Monday, November 18, 2002 at 8:59PM :

In Reply to: Reply To Sankho posted by panchmaster from ( on Monday, November 18, 2002 at 9:25AM :

: +++I'm afraid that sort of begs the question...if you are "very religious", does it matter not which religion you practise, or how sincere your devotion is or can one religion be substituted for another?

>>>Like Gibran said, religions are the fingers on the hand of god, or something like that.... so maybe it doesn't matter, after all

+++Our god demanded we fight for him...elevate him by maintaining ourselves. Yahweh and his offspring demand we die for them...honor them most through humiliating ourselves. Our heroes, as Christians, are those infamous martyrs...and what good did they do anybody?
>>> Jesus taught pacifism..not a bad thing; Gandhi was a pacifist too.... look at what he achieved. No, it was the nutters AFTER Jesus who went loony and took the turn the other cheek saying to a ridiculous level. Listen to Yosip B. Yosip's "Wardeh oo Kitweh"

: +++Maybe it's just me, but in that neat segue you made..."carried that across to their NEW religion"...lies the whole problem for me. Just how and why do you carry anything over to a "new" religion? Can I carry my love of my dear wife over to a new wife? I can of course, but it's a new wife, not the same dear one of the other day...does that not say something about my understanding of what love is in the first place?
>>>Why can't you? Millions of people do it everyday....

: +++That was before Islam. I believe that in time many more people converted to Islam because it suited our temperment better.

>>> Hhhhmmm.... covering women in veils, having to pray an inordinate amount of times per day, not being able to drink or smoke, chopping off limbs and pulling out eyes in the event of crime, owning harems of women.... these suit the human temperament better???! [yeah, the male one perhaps]

: +++Something not consistant here. For the Assyrians to make such a dethrone one set of gods after so long an association, to install another set...needs some sort of an explanation. If you keep maintaining that it was no big deal...I have to keep asking, "then why did they bother"?

>>>I don't know, and it will be impossible to ever tell....

: +++The cross was the gibbet of the Romans. They nailed whole populations to it.

>>>The ancient Assyrians were - like most religions - very interested in the concept of eternal life: look at the Gilgamesh story. I think THAT'S what interested them about Jesus, not his actual suffering, but the fact that he's meant to have been resurrected. THIS was the clincher for these people, their dreams of the Gilgamesh story finally appears in 'reality'... they were and still are hungry for eternal life [when all is said and done that's the main thing I think Christians are interested in]

: ++++Again you mention their zeal and passion...for one god, then calmly transition them to another god, THEN say he wasn't that different of a god. Sankho, baby, take some friendly advice....should the day come when you break up with the Nineveh or Doumarina of your heart, DO NOT tell her that as far as you're concerned it's no big deal that you found a new woman to love, then help wash this bitter pill down by saying, "but sweetheart, she is SO much like what's the difference"?

>>> Hey, it's worked for me before! People usually DO go for the one that reminded them of their previous..

: +++Get that bridge fast before it sells to someone else. Now what fascinates me with that story is that Jesus was a Jew during his lifetime...transformed by Paul later in a gentile. So Abgar called upon a Jew god to help him where his own god had been ineffective. I can't see that story as anything other than an attempt to explain why Assyrians switched religions. And the odd thing is we are exhorted to be faithful to Jesus...yet praised for having abandoned our own Gods. And all because Abgar received some benefit some tangible goody. had Jesus not been able to cure him, would he have found reason to believe? What shall we do when the next god offers us a bigger prize? Behind every scientific mind there is a desire to believe in tooth fairies it seems.

>>>Abgar got cured. He converted. Obviously, he was no dummy. Had he not been cured, I have no doubt that he would not have converted. Seems logical. The Assyrians and Greeks had funny relationships with their gods. More realistic than the Christian view. If something good happens ain the Christian world, it's a heavenly miracle: something bad and it's God moving in mysterious ways.... The ancients would not hesitate changing their loyalties ....

: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

: Father Akbulut must be one of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. I stayed at his church, the Mart Maryam Church in Amid [Diyarbakir] in Turkey’s southeast, for 4 days in September. He is very oomtanayah. In a place where the word ‘Assyrian’ disgusts many priests, he calls himself one. [I met with another priest in Elazig in southeast Turkey – before he let me into the church he asked whether I am Assyrian or Oromoyo. Now, believing myself to be just as Aramaic as Assyrian I said sure I’m Aramaya [too]. He smiled and said Oh you can come in. He lifted his finger to his neck and making a slicing action against his throat said that all Assyrians are dead.

: +++Like I said, priests are a very unsavory lot. I like Father Benny very much and I'm sure Akbulut is a good man. Far be it from me to hold a man's religion against him.

: Contrast that with a person like Akbulut who has four very old stone columns at the altar of his church. They are ‘pagan’ Assyrian columns he told me. One had a very worn Assyrian star engraved on its surface. He is proud of them.]

: +++That's wonderful.

: It’s odd that he’s meant to have said those things about the genocide to reporters ‘in private’. When the papers asked to interview him, he was told VERY SPECIFICALLY that everything he says will be published in the paper. Private? Hardly. When the journalists left, they said to him ‘you realize that a lot of good can’t come out of this interview’ or ‘that this interview will be bad for you?’ or something like that. He told them he can’t help the truth.

: +++As he must have told you this himself, it must be true...almost. However, it contradicts reports at the time. I have the disadvantage over you of only having heard this second and third hand...but then this was the news we all had to go by at the time.

: +++He was let off specifically the court said because his conversation had been a private one, and he'd been assured it would never see the light of day. The Turks needed to get out of a tight spot, perhaps, and used this technicality. had that not been the case, why would it have come up at all.

>>>>It simply came up because it 'had to'. Having broken a law he HAS to be seen in court; you just can't decide these things outside a court - what do you want to happen if someone breaks a law? Thats what courts are for - thats where you decide what happens. Simple. So, having broken the law, he was taken to court, David Chibo caused a stir in front of the Turkish consulate, and the world said let's get involved. So the government WAS worried. Yeah, theyve killed lots of Kurds. So? The Kurds are working for their rights too. Let them chase up that issue.
Did the Turks back down because they were in the spotlight?

>>>It's the EU thing. There was a European presence in the courts.

I mean if they are the big bad Turks?
>>>Of all the countries in the East I see most hope in Turkey; they do have a nasty past but at least they're working on making changes.

When has the United States backed down in the face of so much criticism of its death penalty use among other things?
>>>There is intense debate on the death penalty in the States; there are many for and many against....why should it back down? Whats that got to do with silly Turkish laws?

The country that was glad to capture and kill Kurds left and right got squeamish over a priest?

>>>Many weren't happy to see the Kurds killed and many didnt get squeamish over a priest.... the 'country' is not a monolith... you're being too SIMPLE

Was it a cynnical ploy to impress the Europeans into letting them into their club?


If so then why haven't the people there taken advantage of the situation...

>>>>who says they haven't?? do you know everyone in turkey? do you know all the Assyrians in Turkey?? Do you read Turkish? Dont you know many ARE working in secret from a government riddled with paranoia? Do you know that many have good relations with small l liberal Turks and politicians? No, doesnt sound like it...

pushed for whatever it is we demand of the Turks...that we don't seem to demand of the United States? Is what has been occuring in Iraq NOT a genocide?

Where are we NOW...not 70 and 500 years ago but RIGHT NOW!!!

Is it any easier to remind Turkey of what happened 70 years ago, or tell the United States NOW to back off?

Are there no secret police monitoring any of us now?
>>> Of course there are, but the difference is they won't be interested in us unless we are criminals or 'terrorists' etc I WANT their presence.....most of us will die a ripe old age without ever knowing the Western secret police were looking into our lives..whereas in the East they are intrusive and pervasive and make life a misery for ordinary citizens

: +++Sankho, you have a touching reliance on the goodness of the Western nations you live in.

>>>No reliance on the goodness of anyone.... just more faith in that system, flawed as it may be, than any of the claustrophobic, suffocating, totalitarian crap that's going on in the East.

In America you are free to speak as long as you are ineffective.

>>>That's very cynical and untrue... you just have to be brilliant to shine, it's a tough world out there buddy!

There are plenty of instances of people being jailed and killed for daring to speak out.


In Turkey there may be many more injustices to speak out against, and a far more paranoid power structure...but America will get down on you just as fast if you hit a nerve. Besides...why do we compare ourselves with the worst?
>>>>Nah, if you think America will 'go down on you' just as fast as the Baathey's or Iranianins, you're dreaming.... there are so, so many people saying things in America that would have gotten them their testicles electrocuted, or had them knee deep in sewerage for a couple of days, or had their tongue cut off, 6 bullets in their chest etc etc no, at the end of the day I'd rather have the 'flawed' Western democracy than a cold Bathy.

: Imagine a priest talking to two journalists about a topic that is very, very taboo in Turkey. No, whichever way you look at it, it’s pretty brave.

: +++If it was very brave, then what happened?
>>> Read the press.
Akbulut spoke his mind, arrested, tried, found 'innocent' and sent home... one small step for a priest has created ripples that are getting bigger.... things are happening, and it may look slow but in terms of the depth of Mid Eastern history it's pretty damn fast!

: +++There is fear in America right now among us darkies. The government announced yesterday that it will begin monitoring Iraqi Americans.

>>>So they should; let them monitor. You will never know it's happening; and unless you have something to hide I wouldn't worry too much; contrast that with the daily and nightly anxiety suffered by political dissidents in the East: you have it easy. Stop complaining and count your blessings.

The freedoms you extoll in America can vanish in a heartbeat...they have slowly begun to. We had concentration camps and we now hold people in military prisons indefinitely without due process...something never before done in America...maybe in Turkey but not here. The Weimar Republic was a model of democracy and tolerance too before Hitler was elected.

>>> well, if that happens then America has joined the rest of the world and hey who cares then?

: +++Of course it takes courage to stand up...but if Akbulut intended to be defiant, then why was he silent at his trial...why did he maintain he'd just repeated what he'd heard? Mind you this is what I recall hearing at the time. It was the perfect time to defy the government, mildly by simply reasserting the truth...why not seize the moment...with the whole world watching?

>>> he simply reiterated in court what he said to the journalists.

: +++And do you really think there is no secret police in America? you think America's secret police isn't active in those countries? Or are some police better than others? Are we going again to brag because we're better than the Turks, or the Mongolians?

>>>The secret police in America is doubtless the biggest in the world... and so they should be. Like I said above, they do their work and let 'ordinary' citizens get on with life. Unless you're into something criminal or part of some fucked up 'terrorist' organisation, no probs. If that worries you,sorry. I sleep ok at night. The Eastern style secret police is a lot more unsophisticated and intrusive and life doesn't go on normally. Your cousin could be a spy and let his mates know you think the President of Syria is a knob... and then you better protect your testicles...

: +++I'll tell you what...had he maintained his beliefs intact and voiced them that last day...his ass would have been in jail now. They were able to appear more liberal because Akbulut cooperated with them...allowed them to duck the issue he'd raised and failed to follow through on. I don't fault the man...Ashur knows he was the one facing jail time. But something doesn't make sense here...if you're going to make a statement you know is provocative in a country such as Turkey, in a region you say is extremely hostile to such sentiments...why would you make it all only to in essence take it back...for he must have satisfied the court of SOMETHING or else why would they flaunt their own laws in front of the whole world? Their law specifically called what he did a crime. Without his help and cooperation they could not have saved face at all...just caved in.

>>> Akbulut is a human being, he has all the weaknesses of a human: do you know how scary it is living where he does? He lives in a church fortified with high walls in a city with a populatiobn of millions and a handful of Suryoye... now, you're bound to have a few nutters in all those millions who don't like Assyrians or anyone talking against the history of the country. He had undercover police come one night and take him away; he has several young kids; the head of the Police in Diyarbakir had good relations with the minorities and was assasinated by xenophobes - do you think it's easy living a life like that? It's easy about thinking of all the great things you can do, but believe me when you're in the thick of it, and when you have young children, you might just want tostart thinking of yourself again. We can't all be heroes. Despite that, Akbulut maintained, and still maintains, his beliefs. The priests from surrounding areas wrote a joint statement denouncing Akbulut's comments. He said he would say the same thing if asked to make a public statement again.

: +++See, that statement is hard to understand. Things got better...for what and how?

>>>Simple-for freedom of thought. There's a precedent now: saying you challenge the official version of Turkish history won't land you in jail or a death penalty ... at least not an 'official' one anyway....

Have the laws been repealed or are they just not enforced?

>>>>not sure on that one.... think it's the latter

If Turkey is the Turkey of our comes it that they muzzle themselves?

>>>>It's not Turkey that's part of our nightmares..... on the contrary, Turkey is gorgeous, it's culture fascinating, many of it's people liberal and forward-thinking.... it's part of Turkey's history that is nightmarish for Assyrians. Go to Hakkari and you'll feel the same. I spent 8 days there trekking the mountains and seeing destroyed Assyrian village after village and it brought tears to my eyes....

If it is because of intense scrutiny then why don't people there take advantage of it?

>>>see above... who says they havent?

After all...father Akbulut won them some measure of freedom...but what good is it? If this 'worked"...why not do it some more...or else what was all the bother for?
>>>ditto ditto

: +++From the Turks piont of view Christians should definitely be suspected. The Armenians terrorized the Turkish state years ago as the West circled the Sultan's lands.

>>>Now this is getting controversial. Sorry, but the Sultan's lands really were Armenian for thousands of years prior to the Turkic people settling there. I know, I know, you hate that argument, Empires come and go and lands go from one hand to another but I just can't help seeing the Armenians as anything but people who lived in the land for millenia subjected to the yoke of Turkic, Central Asian nomads.. same with the Greeks, Assyrians, Bulgarians... Christ, if you apportion land back to the Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians and Georgians and Kurds and ..I think there MAY be a couple of feet of land left to the Turkic tribes. Maybe. But I know you hate that sort of mentality.

See how suspect all Muslims and Arabs are now in the West. Imagine that instead of fifteen Saudi whackos, repudiated by their own government...the entire country was hell bent on attacking America...hell Saddam hasn't done a damn thing to America and look at what the Iraqi people have been subjected it any wonder Christians are not trusted in the Mideast? They are suspect for good reason.
[>> Left to their own devises I think those same people you mention would have imploded on themselves anyway. They can't cope with modernity. Ouch.]

: +++I strongly disagree with you there...we value freedom of speech very much here...that's why people are so pissed off at the turn towards Turkish policies this government is taking. Do you count as a freedom the freedom of the United States to undermine society destabilize governments, to create and support a Taliban, as the Israelis created a it really freedom we're talking about when it's paid for by the blood of innocent people? Did the West not need despots and thugs to rule the countries whose resources they wish to steal, and whose populations must be rendered impotent and kept you think the land that gave us the Cradle of Civilization would NOT know how to govern itself?
>>> The lad that gave us the C of C has seen little peace over its 10 thousand year history... sure there were shining exapmles like Baghdad being the City of Peace, but, like I say, human nature is bent on contiinual conflict. So, probably not... left to their own devises i think there would be more catastrophes than now.... I dont think are more tumultous now then they have been in the past... things always look worse in the period you are living, you know, like the end of the world is nigh type of idea..

: +++My dear friend...may you forever live secure in these ideas. There is no more militaristic government in the world today than the United States...that has more citizens in uniform and licensed to kill...that has more of its people armed and killing each other than any other...a country that wants very much to go down the path other totalitarian regimes went down, but "Constitutionally"...what with Homeland Security and neighbors recruited to spy on you think it would be long before angry in-laws turned each other in?

>>>>I know I know its not a perfect system... never said it was... but it's certainly the lesser of two evils.And unfortuantely thats what the pragmatist must settle for. If i had the choice of which system to live under it would definitely be a Western, European,secular model. Screw the Sharia Law, the Baathy system, screw them all!!

: Things are a lot better for Assyrians in Turkey now. Some Suryoye are going back to their villages with the government’s blessing (whatever the underlying motive may be, it’s still a good thing). They are even telling the world things like ‘the Assyrian pople’s history goes back at least 4 thousand years in Turkey.’ [that’s from a tourist brochure].

: +++That is certainly wonderful.
>>>it certainly is; like I say, there's most hope in Turkey
: I just hope that the new government sustains these positive changes.

: +++You better also hope that a new government comes to the United States...and stops the changes taking place over here. The potential for harm is far greater from an America than from a Turkey.

-- sankho
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