Things We Don’t Mention

One of the joys of my morning is opening my email and reading Writer’s Almanac.  If you don’t know of this gem you need to quit reading this and go immediately and sign up.  (OK, maybe not immediately.  Finish this entry THEN go sign up.)  Every morning Garrison Keillor (of Prairie Home Companion fame) has a short spot on Public Radio in which he shares the birthdays of authors, and shares a poem.  It come on in the middle of the day and I miss it, but through this email I get to read it.  It is always full of wonderful information, as well as a poem!

Today I learned about Orhan Pamuk.  (Didn’t know about his either?  Well here is what you need to know.

The Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk (books by this author) celebrates his 60th birthday today. He was born in Istanbul in 1952 and grew up in a fairly wealthy and Westernized district. He studied architecture and then journalism, but at 23 years old, he decided to become a novelist. He lived with his mother and wrote full time, and seven years later, he published his first novel, Cevdet Bey and His Sons (1982). He’s worked as a novelist for 30 years and has never held any other kind of job, and apart from three years he spent in New York, he’s lived his entire life in the Istanbul district of his birth.

In 2005, Pamuk gave an interview in which he made remarks about the Armenian Genocide and the mass killing of tens of thousands of Kurds. He said: “Thirty thousand Kurds have been killed here, and a million Armenians. And almost nobody dares to mention that. So I do.” Criminal charges were filed against Pamuk in Turkey, and his statements resulted in a new law making it illegal to make anti-Turkish remarks. There was an international outcry, and several noted authors — including Gabriel García Márquez, Umberto Eco, John Updike, and Günter Grass — spoke out in Pamuk’s defense. The charges were dropped early in 2006.

What hit me was that line, “Thirty thousand Kurds have been killed here, and a million Armenians.  And almost nobody dares to mention that.”  

That came the same day reports are starting to filter out of Syria about another massacre, this time in al-Qubayr.  This comes on the heels of recent reports from the massacre in Houla.  Al Jazeera reported that, “There were 35 persons from one family. Those persons have all been killed and most of them are women and children,”

Now there have been reports in the American media, but where is the international outcry?  How many children have to be killed before we decide enough is enough?  How many times do we have to walk past the “Never Again” monuments before we say “Never Again?”

I guess we really shouldn’t be surprised.  Syria, Somalia–they are so far away and it really doesn’t pertain to us.

And if there were 25,565 juveniles arrested in SC last year, at least they weren’t in my neighborhood!  And if there were 6,847 15-19 year olds who gave birth in SC 2010, at least they didn’t live in my house!

What can I do?

Maybe a start would be just to mention it!


My guess is, though, at lunch today we will talk about the Heat and Celtics, and Spoleto and the rain and maybe what we will have for supper.  The really important stuff.


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