Quotulatiousness

April 22, 2012

Protecting the Turkish identity should not include ignoring history

Filed under: History, Liberty, Middle East — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 12:11

Ayşe Kadıoğlu is a Turk who went to university in the United States. Part of the experience was meeting Armenian-American students in Boston and learning about events in Turkish history that have been rigorously suppressed in aid of bolstering “Turkishness”:

I grew up in Turkey, where the prevailing education system still conceals certain historical facts in primary and secondary school curricula lest they harm the “indivisibility of the state with its country and nation”, an expression that is used several times in the current Turkish constitution. Perhaps the fear about deeds that can harm the unity of the state and nation is best symbolised in the Turkish national anthem, which begins with the lyrics “Do not fear”.

When fears nurture and sustain taboos, the ability to retain experiences declines. Enduring an education that is laden with either false historical facts or an eerie silence makes it impossible for people to exit the state of self-imposed immaturity.

[. . .]

There are many taboos in Turkey that mainly concern the protection of the “indivisibility of the state and nation”. There are also many laws that make it a crime to break these taboos. When taboos are sustained by law, the minds (and, many times, bodies) of citizens end up being imprisoned. One such taboo involves the founder of the Turkish republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. In Turkey, it is a crime to insult his memory and harm his statutes. Another taboo involves the sacredness of the armed forces. This is sustained by a law against discouraging people from performing their compulsory military service.

[. . .]

Taboos, enforced by law, are fetters in front of the ability to reason. It is possible to be released from the spell of taboos and strengthen the ethos of democracy by upholding the realm of public debate and deliberation. Therefore, yes, I agree with Free Speech Debate’s fourth draft principle, “We allow no taboos in the discussion and dissemination of knowledge”, because we try not to be trapped in a state of immaturity and want to do our utmost to fulfil our capacities as reasonable human beings.

January 12, 2011

Armenian discovery may be earliest winery

Filed under: History, Wine — Tags: , — Nicholas Russon @ 01:47

A recent find in Armenia shows evidence of grape pressing, vine cuttings, and fermentation vessels. It may be the earliest winery ever discovered:

While older evidence of wine drinking has been found, this is the earliest example of complete wine production, according to Gregory Areshian of the University of California, Los Angeles, co-director of the excavation.

The findings, announced Tuesday by the National Geographic Society, are published in the online edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

“The evidence argues convincingly for a wine-making facility,” said Patrick McGovern, scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, who was not part of the research team.

I don’t know how far back it goes, but the evidence at this site shows that even 6,000 years ago, Vitis vinifera vinifera was the best choice to turn into wine.

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