Stand Up For Kobane.

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In the sweltering summer of 2014, I and tens of thousands of others from all backgrounds took to the streets of London to march in solidarity with the Palestinians. As innocents lost their lives, a feeling of utter helplessness led me to stand up and be part of a collective voice which called for an end to the bloodshed.

Now as Autumn befalls London, I feel a familiar sense of horror stirring in my gut. As the so called ‘Islamic State’ leaves a trail of death and destruction across Iraq and Syria, their advance has showed an utter disregard for humanity. Their brutal ‘convert or die’ method has been absolute; there has been no mercy.

During the infamous London Riots, London’s Turkish / Kurdish community were almost alone in seeing off troublemakers from their doorsteps. This, I have come to know, is the Kurdish mentality – you stand together honourably in the face of trouble.
As Isis besieges Kobanê and other parts of Rojava, it seems the YPG and YPJ are not fighting alone; queues of Kurdish civilians have joined the resistance in a bid to defend their land and people. But their tired weapons and sense of honour may not be enough. Angry citizens just over the border in Turkey who want to help are held back, pitilessly dispersed by water canon spray from the Turkish authorities. A slaughter looms on the horizon and the people desperate to prevent it watch helplessly from a no-mans-land as the Turkish military idly get into position. Coalition strikes may not be enough to save Kobanê as Isis fighters engage in street battle.

With anger amongst Kurds at boiling point, explosive protests have spread across Turkey where more than 20 protestors have lost their lives at the hands of the Police. Simply dismissed as ‘supporters of the PKK’ by the government, the protestors message is lost. A right to defend is their main objective. Shouldn’t a right to survive should be everyones objective? As other protests take place by Kurdish diaspora in Europe, I don’t see diversity in the crowds. I can’t see the ‘Not In My Name’ placards, or people of all faiths with a common love of humanity. I want to scream and shout because I feel cheated at the lack of awareness, support and because Isis has been allowed to arrive on Europe’s threshold. Moreover I cannot sit back and watch another slaughter. I am angry at the apparent lack of empathy by the Turkish government, a NATO member, and the hushed British MPs, media and other influential people who had so much to say about other conflicts. I am not Kurdish but as a compassionate human being it is my duty to stand up in solidarity with the brave resistance in Kobanê, and inthe name of humanity.

Today thousands of protestors gathered in Westminster in solidarity with Kobanê and as I suspected non Kurdish protestors were but a handful. I did however speak to one, Aubrey, who said he was absolutely horrified at the lack of support from outside the Kurdish community. For me its not about supporting what the YPG / YPJ / PKK stand for, its about inaction when innocent people are faced with a massacre. Without urgent action, Kobane and other towns and villages in the region are destined to become the modern era Srebrenicas; we can only pray history does not repeat itself.

Not-So-Modern Ideas For Today…

Mevlana

 

One of the most basic human needs is to feel accepted. In London, where diversity is abundant and individualism embraced, we are blessed to be able to express ourselves.

So why, even in this liberal society do we continually strive to adhere to perceptions of normality and shy away from revealing our own differences for fear of being judged? Society’s expectations of how we ‘should’ be, or what we ‘should’ be doing, or what we ‘should’ have achieved by a certain age plays on our subconscious. Perhaps we are not as modern or free as we like to think.

We’re bombarded by media reports of horrific hate crimes from every corner of the globe. Their motivations may be as menial as a difference in creed or faith, sexual orientation or political view, the ‘daring’ act of dressing as one pleases, for refusing to conform. Genocide, honour killings, random attacks; all point to the refusal to accept or embrace difference. There are alarming levels of intolerance in this ‘modern’ era.

I was in Istanbul when I discovered an idealistic concept of acceptance and tolerance in the most ancient of thoughts, mounted on my sister in law’s wall.

Dilek, the eldest of Murat’s five sisters, lives in an apartment block amongst the extended family of her husband. I immediately identified her as she waited for us outside her doorway on our first meeting; she has the same wiry raven-coloured hair and deep brown eyes as her brother.

“Welcome! Hoşgeldiniz!” She led us inside, past a huge evil eye charm, up a crumbling staircase and into her modest home.

“Please.” She motioned to sit down and disappeared momentarily to prepare Turkish coffee.

“What is that?” I asked, pointing to a stone plaque on the muted pink wall.

“Ah…That’s a Mevlana quote. You may know him as Rumi.”

Amid delicate strokes of calligraphy twirled a Dervish, turning blissfully with his eyes closed. He seemed utterly content.

“I’m not sure how to translate what is written…Look,” Murat searched on his iPhone and showed me a translation.

‘Come, come, whoever you are.

Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.

It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times.

Come, yet again , come , come.’

I looked at Murat. “Acceptance?”

“Exactly.” We both smiled.

Jelal ad-Din Rumi was a Persian philosopher, born in the 13th Century. After his death, his followers founded the Mevlevi Sufi order which uses his poetic prose as inspiration for its teachings.

It seems we can look to the not-so-modern wisdom from the heart of the Middle East for ideas of acceptance, tolerance and contentment.

In the final weeks of my pregnancy, I couldn’t help but notice another of Rumi’s poems in which he addresses the unborn, whether it be the physically unborn or spiritually is a matter of interpretation.

‘The world outside is vast and intricate.

There are wheat fields and mountain passes,

and orchards in bloom

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight

the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.’

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A Tale of Patience and Dignity…

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When I first started NazarBlue, I created two posts; Good Things Come to Those Who Wait and Time to Fly.
Then, as the months flew by and the floodgates for storytelling and writing opened, I unknowingly combined the two posts and wrote a tale of patience and dignity.

So now I share with you my latest story, The Kingfisher and the Persimmon Tree.

If you enjoy this story, you may like to browse through my Fairy Tales for Adults.

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The Force Behind It All.. Kismet!!

Kismet

Every life is full of ups and downs – of tragedy and comedy, choices, hope, longing, ambition. The saying ‘Life is what we make it’ rings true in some respects, but what about the things beyond the grasps of our control? We are constantly plagued by decisions whose outcomes will help determine our future, yet unexpected situations arrive on our doorstep, some welcome and others absolutely uninvited.

At times of turmoil, desperate attempts to resolve a troublesome situation serve purely as a tool of self-destruction. When we realise that there is simply nothing we can do to help ourselves, we’re forced to accept that certain things are out of our control.

Contentedness is born from acceptance. Acceptance comes after reflection and crisis. Sometimes crisis is necessary to find out who we are and what we’re capable of and on reflection we realise that a series of happenings has led us to the present situation. Consequences of events, whether good or bad, decipher our destiny. A sense of calm becomes us when we give up trying to fight against the powers that be. Everything will be OK, it always is in the end.

So what is the name of the force behind it all? Kismet.  It’s a force which hushes the storm within, it’s the concept which erases frowns and etches smiles.

I’ve mentioned the word Kismet before on NazarBlue, now I want to share my story with you to illustrate its meaning.

Read about a sequence of events so interwoven, it simply has to be fated…   Read On…

SariBlue – One of Everything Please!

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Its amazing what or who you find on the internet. A fantastic product, a common friend or a kindred spirit.. Click here to read about SariBlue..

Watermelon, Roses and Leyla – A New Story….


   “Please fetch me some fruit from the market, dear.” Mr Khalil called out to his young wife, Leyla, as he lay on the bed. It was a hot afternoon in the Medina and Leyla welcomed the chance to escape.

Continue here

What is Life? Today’s Wisdom…

M's Crowfoot Tattoo

“What is life?  It is the flash of a firefly in the night.  It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.  It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

~ Crowfoot, 1890, as quoted in Catch the Whisper of the Wind

Raki…

Raki Spread

In anticipation of visiting Istanbul, my other half laid out a ‘Raki Table’, in essence a party for two.  This kind of spread is best when accompanied by suitable Turkish/Balkan music and good company.  On the table aside from the Raki itself is melon, cheese, dried fruits and nuts and crisps.   After the first two drinks, we could easily have been overlooking the Bosphorus, not in the back streets of London.

Raki is an aniseedy aperitif like Ouzo, Arak and Sambucca. It is drunk in the same way, accompanied by ice and water and often diluted to a dreamy cloud colour.  But beware, especially of the homemade stuff, once you start to feel it you may have perhaps over done it!! It’s a potent drink which can either bring your mind to the presence of angels or demons.

Tahseen’s Iraqi Sweets

Tahseen's Iraqi Sweets

‘What are you going to do with those?’ asked the kindly man in Tesco’s, pointing at a packet of Pakistani vermicelli in my shopping basket.

‘Can I give you my recipe?’ he added.

‘Sure!’

Tahseen, an Iraqi national, proceeded to give me the recipe for his cardamom sweets on a hot July Friday evening, standing in the wafts of charcoal and meat of London’s Edgware Road.

Sweet, fragrant, nutty, crunchy, moreish and moorish, most of all simply delicious. Recipe here