Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Smiles and Cries

I have been in one long training since moving to New York, and it only seems appropriate that the movie I have been watching all week long is "Training Day." (Although my life is nothing like the actual movie).

Anyways, early in the movie, one quote did get me thingking when Jake says he has the streets figured out: "It's all smiles and cries...You gotta control your smiles and cries. No one can take them away so... they're all we really have."

Not much else to say... It's all smiles and cries...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Further proof that Carmello's 15 game suspension was excesive

As many of my 3 loyal readers remember, I had a big issue with the NBA suspending Carmello 15 games.
Well, the NBA is at it again, further proving my point.
This time, Kevin Garnett, aka The Kid, aka The Big Ticket gets only one game for throwing a punch at Detroit's Antonio McDyess.
"With 5:18 left in the fourth quarter of the Pistons' double-overtime victory over the Timberwolves on Friday night, McDyess knocked Minnesota's Mark Madsen to the floor with a forearm shove. Garnett then chucked the ball at McDyess, who charged at Garnett with his fist cocked. Garnett was poised to punch, too, and took a swipe at McDyess as he partially retreated." Associated Press.
Ok... where in the spectrum does KG's punch fall relative to Carmello's??? If Carmello got 15 games, KG at least deserves 15 for using a forearm to knock a player, throwing a bal at another player, and then punching that guy, close-fisted (as opposed to Carmello's open handed slap).

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hrant Dink, Turkish Penal Code 301, and Turkey's past

Hrant Dink, a Turkish journalist of Armenian descent was recently killed with three bullets to the neck. His assailant, was an 18 year old man, who, as some eyewitnesses report, exclaimed with utter jubilance "I have killed the non-Muslim!" as he fled the scene.

It is no secret that Dink was well-known around Turkey. He has been criticized by ultranationalists for bringing up a past which Turkey does not want uncovered: The Armenian genocide, the destruction of over 2 million Armenians (including the Cilician and Adana massacres of 1893-6 and 1909). His actions caused him to be the spectre of widespread resentment and hatred, where he was sued countless times for insulting the Turkish identity under Turkish penal code section 301. As well, Dink says during one of his final interviews how his computer memory banks were overloaded with hate emails.

What is surprising about these acts was how the assailant yelled "I have killed the non-Muslim." In Turkish, non-Muslim, or unbeliever, is translated to "Gavoor." It is also a synonym for "non-Turk" and the Turkish equivalent for the North American "N" word. It is the word used to identify Armenians.

And yet, using "gavoor" in Dink's death is not surprising at all. You see, Hrant Dink's death exposes Turkey as a society that cannot live with its own past. Turkey is like a fat kid who ate his mother's chocolate cake, and denies she ever made that cake, despite the fact he has chocolate smeared on his lips.

Turkey has taken great pains to deny any existence of the Armenian genocide. Turkey has been able to brush off its genocidal past with relative ease, until, Hrant Dink exposed how Attaturk's (the father of all Turk's) adopted daughter herself was an Armenian genocide survivor. From this woodwork, many prominent Turks, like the former editor of Hurriyet magazine began to claim Armenian ancestry. The running joke in Turkey was that half of Turkey was half Armenian.

This type of news was not taken well by the nationalist element in Turkey. Imagine, the father of all Turks adopting a Gavoor(, and many other Turks themselves being Gavoor? The Turkish authorities came up with the Turkish Penal Code Article 301 amidst this backdrop, which states the following.

1) A person who publicly denigrates Turkishness, the Republic or the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and three years.
2) A person who publicly denigrates the Government of the Republic of Turkey, the judicial institutions of the State, the military or security organizations shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and two years.
3) In cases where denigration of Turkishness is committed by a Turkish citizen in another country the punishment shall be increased by one third.

4) Expressions of thought intended to criticize shall not constitute a crime.

The application of this law has been interpreted extremely vaguely, where even the mention of Turkish identity and gene pool actually being Armenian through the culmination of centuries of forced rape could be interpreted as insulting "Turkishness."

The point of this legislation was to wipe away any negative history Turkey has.

However, like the story of Cain and Abel, silence will last so long before the blood spilled on the ground will scream for justice.

The precursor to Hrant Dink's execution-style murder was the Turkish court giving him a suspended sentence for violating Penal Code 301. As he lay dying, Turkish authorities put a white sheet over him, a symbolic gesture of whitewashing the past.

However, the blood seeped through the sheet, making the sheet red and white, the colours of Turkey's flag.

Turkey will have to learn to come to grips with its past. The white sheet, like Turkeys flag, is dripping in red.