Flyte Film Script (Hegira Book 8)

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My Name Is Red

If so, then I could actually get there in time for the second half. There was no traffic on this road. The bus dashed along and when it stopped, which was rarely, only men got on — mustached, dark-skinned men in worn-down shoes, shabby trousers and uniform leather jackets bought in the bazaar. I just started at a book by Isabel Fonseca, happy that I would get home quickly, even taking a detour, because in this monster of a city you never know where you are, you just realize suddenly that you are there, even though you feel that you are going in the opposite direction.

November 2017

When we left the ugly industrial buildings behind, the bus did not stop at all any more, and I started squirming in my seat, put Fonseca in my pocket, took out my map. I tried my luck with the only taxi around. The driver, who knew how to read the map, muttered and showed me that we were not even on it. We had hardly gone three hundred meters when he stopped by a tea-shop - it was probably his regular hangout -, four hundred square meters with a population distribution of five mustached guys per square meter, all staring at a single screen.

It took three quarters of an hour, so I amused myself with the idea that if two neighborhoods can have the same name, in or around a city, and still be diametrically opposed to each other both in terms of architecture and population, then everything in this country can be duplicated without it bothering anyone.

Because everybody knows their place there can be two capital cities, two identities, two conceptions of the state, two histories, words and gestures can mean completely different things. Doublethink, Orwell would say, in the terms of which each decision can be implemented in two different ways or glossed over, there can be two stories behind each event, or a story can tell two events at the same time, and this is how it must be, for this cleverly edited film, this road movie is not for broadcasting, only for being spread out, it is no more than a celluloid strip which can be held in the hand and the cuts stuck side by side can be looked at, and thus the illusion that anything follows anything in time can be carefully avoided.

And now we are here By mid-March they realized what an idiocy it was and called off the action. Although they backed off, the threat is still in the air, creating an atmosphere of constant theoretical and practical danger for the heroes of our story. It must be acknowledged as a mitigating factor that no two sources publish identical data. Kemal H. But even Vasileva does not mention in her otherwise thorough study that at least half of those who had returned re-emigrated to Turkey, and the migration has never really come to an end. That would mean at least four hundred thousand Turks are present in Bulgaria, since this party is supported only by ethnic Turks and perhaps Pomaks, among the minorities many people vote for other parties.

I heard this from Vedat Ercin personally, who at that time used to hold the office of Deputy Secretary of State dealing with Turks abroad and who otherwise seemed like a nice guy, utterly incapable of inventing such an impossible idea by himself. Turkey would be willing to do the West this favor even now, despite the fact that the West keeps admonishing Turkey for its bad human rights record, the entrenched corruption of those in power, the Mafia presence and countless other things so familiar and everyday that the local power elite can not fathom why they are considered problems.

The lives of ethnic Turks were at stake and they are — according to republican, Kemalist principles and traditional Islam thinking — entitled to refuge in the motherland any time.

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The idea of expelling brothers in blood and faith had never occurred to anybody in the history of Turkish statehood, and the only thing that could explain it now was the crisis of a state ideology, which has had schizophrenic tendencies ever since its beginnings.

Although still disputed, it had positiveideological, political and economic impact.

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By initiating the emigration process, he was suddenly given credit by the West for playing a catalytic role in the Bulgarian political upheaval. Human rights organizations were also impressed, first because in the face of such mass emigration the Bulgarians were compelled to admit that there was after all a Turkish minority in their country, and second, Turkey demonstrated that it is not only militant and exclusive, but also tolerant and receptive to those who are deserving.

The West rewarded this new image with plenty of aid and support for building projects, thirty per cent of which - according to Ismet Sever, president of the Union of Balkanian Turks and others besides - was used as intended. The rest trickled into the enterprises of government officials. Today, whether we admire or revile him for this quite unoriginal idea, whether we curse him as a bloody-minded dictator or respect him as an ardent military leader and founder of a state, it can not be denied that few similar dreamers managed to put the ideal of the modern nation-state so perfectly into practice.

And furthermore, he achieved this in such a seemingly unpromising land as Asia Minor, whose diverse population was, as Canefe suggests 13 , hardly an obvious candidate for the national idea.

Albanians, Armenians, Kurds, Greeks and sons of many other nations, whose names are not easily made to sound Turkish were all victims of his conception of the state, but other elements of his conception were only partially realized. In their conception, hijra is a holy duty for each Muslim. Hijra or hegira is quite a flexible notion, its archetype is the flight of Mohammed from Mecca to Medina, that is, metaphorically, from the place which is not desirable for practicing the Muslim faith to a place where there are no obstacles for the believer.

Turks, who are mostly believers, unfortunately did not realize that the vast majority of the immigrants were inveterate atheists. Therefore they could regard their exodus as perhaps an unconscious, blood-driven hijra. The migration of peoples always has a good effect on the economy, because a lot of energy is liberated, which is then transferred into work.

Just take a look around - here in Turkey it is mainly the immigrants who are making it. After they immigrated, they spread around and worked on constructions. It was a hard life, but they gradually made their way onto the social ladder through hard work.

They were offered state jobs and apartments for which they had to pay some money, but only a nominal amount. They were promoted to technical manager, then company manager, until they eventually launched their own company with the money they had saved up. Today each of them has a car and a house. But they have retained their state-owned apartments as well, since they have got used to them.

They dragged me proudly from one of their customers to the other - here everybody respects them, they say, they have credit, they do not have to pay for everything immediately; here the first thing is work, everything else follows, money makes things happen here. They explained the basics of business to me as if I had just wandered out of Communism for a management-training course. It took them two or three years to find their feet here, but everything has been going smoothly ever since.

They invited me to their place in Pursaklar, to the housing estate that the government had built for the immigrants, and showed me the small but comfortable apartment. Sami introduced me to his wife who also works — I had already met the daughter who worked as the company's secretary. They were grateful to the state and would always remain so for allocating them the apartment - the locals are able to live their whole lives in digs, but never attain anything.

The opening up of the Russian market came in handy, because the knowledge of the language became a valuable asset. They counsel first-time entrepreneurs abroad, mainly in Central Asia, about acquiring capital for a particular project. The conversation tends to be mostly in Russian, but the boys speak several foreign languages. Deniz, the blond, hardly thirty-year-old young man completes Sami's story with the general and theoretical particularities of the immigrant's life. He reckons that immigrants are successful precisely because they are rootless in the country, and therefore cannot count on anybody but themselves.

This increases their potential, he thinks, because they want to integrate and to prove that they have a place in this society through hard work. The state has helped a lot, it must be said - their entrance exam into the university was easier than the regular one. They were given free food and accommodation, all of which he is grateful for. Although the locals are often jealous, employers tend to prefer immigrants, because they do not steal or shirk and do the same job for less money.

Consumer society came to Turkey at the same time as he did - that was when privatization began, when bank services started to develop, and he, along with the locals, learned what a credit card was. Four or five years later he felt completely at home, his thinking switched to local concerns—that is, all he thought about was business. He bought a decent apartment in town and ceased to be frustrated about being a mere immigrant.

Of course, there are great losers among the immigrants, he says — for example older people or agricultural workers. Because the land is private here, everybody cultivates his own without help. Those who could not get used to living in an apartment in the city and working in industry or commerce went back to Bulgaria.

Those who manage to make a living are saving up to buy a plot of land and, if necessary, spend years building a house, brick by brick, with a little garden where they can grow some vegetables for their jars of pickle.

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As a matter of fact, it is hard to tell how certain people were appointed to their present positions, because they had certainly not been trained for them. I met a guy in one of the outskirts of Istanbul who told me after his fourth raki that he had been loitering around in Turkey for a year and a half when he was found he did not mention by whom and questioned as to whether he had been really imprisoned in Bulgaria, and when it turned out that he had refused to accept his new name, he was immediately allocated an apartment — that other immigrants had to pay for — because he was a former resistance fighter.

Still, knowing the people in Pursaklar, this cannot have been the only criterion, especially because the number of apartments built in Ankara by far exceeded the number of Turkish rebels in Bulgaria during the forty-five years of Communism. The stories about the immigrants' life in Bulgaria were as varied as those about the life in Turkey were similar - lives which were hard, but in the final analysis successful - a precisely measured balance which makes it impossible to interpret the contempt for the locals as an antipathy for the country.

I felt all along that whatever one of them was saying could have equally been voiced by any other - as though they were narrating one other's lives, giving voice to each other's ideas. They are attached to it in the same way as you are attached to a second-hand jacket - you feel it would be a betrayal to get rid of a piece of clothing which served so well at its prime, but you do not feel like wearing it in front of others. Objectively speaking, Pursaklar is a bizarre place indeed: five thousand people live in sixty-two blocks on top of a hill in the midst of a wasteland about ten kilometres from Ankara and two or three kilometers from Pursaklar village.

Apparently that was the only place where the government could find land for sale. None of the immigrants living in the capital city believes that they wanted to lock them up in a ghetto. There are no mosques here, only a loudspeaker in the bus stop, from which the voice of the muezzin from the neighboring village can be heard. There are some stalls, however, selling alcohol, soft drinks, tobacco and basic food.

Should they attempt to go to Bulgaria and fetch it themselves, they will be compelled to wait in offices for months, spending several times the amount of their pension on food and accommodation. Many of them try to cultivate the land between the buildings, trying to grow vegetables on the pebbly soil, more, it seems, for the sake of working in the garden than with any genuine expectation of success.

In Yalova the immigrants' territory is separated from the outside world by a fence. The place has a decent entrance opposite the tea-shop, which constitutes the only local spot for community life. There used to be a pub, but it was locked up by the gendarmerie, because, Ilyas tells me, on one occasion some locals turned up, got drunk and called the immigrants to account for why they got everything free. It ended in a fight. They came to bully our kids the other day, but our kids are in much better condition than theirs and they don't like to be called giaours.

We complained to the police that they kept coming here to disturb us, and the policeman told us - not officially, of course - to knock any intruders on the head, then he would take the matter in his hands and stitch the thing up.

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Only those we invite, he says, get beyond the fence, everybody else is an intruder or a burglar. There is no public lighting, a punishment from the Islamist local government for the immigrants from whom they got merely three votes at the previous elections. But by night, even in the darkness, there is a bustling social life, light streams from the open doors of pastry-shops, the children amuse themselves by playing leapfrog, badminton and football, boys chat up girls, adults stand in groups, talking in the shafts of light, travelers sell cheap brandy, cigarettes and dry pork sausage smuggled in from Bulgaria.

We sit down with the others, drinking thin Turkish beer and chewing greasy, thick-cut Bulgarian salami to go with it. Eight of us are listening to Sali, who is telling stories about the Chanti and the Vogul he worked with on a construction site in the Soviet Union, earning relatively good money, but then how he left everything behind in Bulgaria.

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He saved up some money, bought a plot of land, and then spent a week digging the foundations and putting up the walls with the relatives. They finished a room, moved out, rented out the apartment, and ever since he has been buying building materials with the rent, and building a little more each weekend. In two years the house already has a roof - two or three more years and everything will be in its place.

No days of rest and recreation — they subordinate the entire life of the family to a single cause.


Some others whom I drank beer with, in the storeroom that doubled as a speakeasy, were also wearing denim tainted with lime and oil-paint, the company changed completely three times till the evening. They quickly finished up their working hours in the city, then after a two-hour trip back and a quick beer, got stuck into working on their house. The world must change here or we will never adapt to it in our lifetimes. In spite of the miserable conditions they lived a cheerful life in the camp, Ali recalls.

In the evenings they sat together, talked, listened to music and danced - they were a real community and he made some true friends. Economically I integrated quickly - I found work immediately, because I knew a hundred times as much as the best local computer engineers, but I will never manage to adapt culturally.

We came from a country where everyone was equal and we did not have to bow in front of someone just because his position was higher, whereas the locals cannot think of anything but their position in the hierarchy. They do not play roles, they are not hypocritical — their aim is not to cheat the other.

Flyte Film Script (Hegira Book 8) Flyte Film Script (Hegira Book 8)
Flyte Film Script (Hegira Book 8) Flyte Film Script (Hegira Book 8)
Flyte Film Script (Hegira Book 8) Flyte Film Script (Hegira Book 8)
Flyte Film Script (Hegira Book 8) Flyte Film Script (Hegira Book 8)
Flyte Film Script (Hegira Book 8) Flyte Film Script (Hegira Book 8)
Flyte Film Script (Hegira Book 8) Flyte Film Script (Hegira Book 8)
Flyte Film Script (Hegira Book 8) Flyte Film Script (Hegira Book 8)

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