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Religious Minorities of Turkey

20 Jan

Religious-Minority-of-Turkey-Report-Cover

Religious Minorities of Turkey: An Evaluation from the Perspective of Human Rights

Why can’t Christians open a legally recognized place of worship? Why are Alevi cemevis not recognized by the State? Why are historical churches and monasteries owned by the State rather than by religious communities? Why must a State regulation be issued before a handful of non-Muslims can elect administrators for their foundations? Why can’t these minorities choose foundation directors in any manner they wish? Why does the government interfere in patriarchal elections when these should be, at every step, an internal matter for the religious community? Why is Turkey’s legal framework for religious minorities confined to the Lausanne Agreement and a few Ottoman Era regulations? Why does hate speech targeting religious minorities go unpunished? Why have there never been any non-Muslim government officials? Why can’t religious minority groups commemorate their members who have been killed in massacres?

View Report

 

Another Teutonic digression…

20 Jan

…since I went on that whole Habsburg/Wittlesbach tangent (below) of crazy Germans a couple of posts ago.  THIS is the best, most comprehensive, can’t-put-it-down book written about a much written about topic: the turn of twentieth century Viennese art and cultural life, the civilization’s love of beauty, psychoanalytic perspective on life, and philosophizing and intellectualizing of art without sterilizing it away.  What a fevered period of artistic fermentation it covers.  It’s a book shared with me by a good friend when we were in grad school and shared an obsession with the same period. Thanks B.

**************************************************************************************

* I never knew that Otto was so handsome.  Look up the Wittelsbach; they’re a fascinating cast of characters that would make Netflix’ The Crown or any other historical film or tv a total bore; the family that produced Elizabeth of Wittelesbach, consort to Kaiser-und-König Franz Josef, their son who committed suicide with his lover at Mayerling, Crown Prince Rudolph Habsburg, Ludwig II of Bavaria, the nephew of our Otto and the great patron of Wagner throughout his career, who were cousins through the Wittlesbach line with Elizabeth and most intimate best friends till his assassination; they adored each other. He probably gay; she on planet Wittelsbach, but with an intense fascination for Hungarians, who she romanticized as wild and sexy (chuckle to myself because that kinda sounds like me and Serbs), and as a foil against the stuffy court at Vienna.  The only Habsburg who ever bothered to learn Magyar, she made herself queen of Hungary and even the most anti-Habsburg Hungarians loved her back and it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that she was a major factor in keeping German-Hungarian animosity from tearing the empire apart for as long as it did.

Sorry for the mangled and probably confusing historic summary there.

Plus, they gave us an Athens that’s still beautiful despite all the destruction inflicted on it.

Prinz_Otto_von_Bayern_Koenig_von_Griechenland_1833I always had a genuine affection for Otto and his consort Amalia.  They were crazy German Romantic Philhellenes of their time in the purist sense so you can imagine how he felt upon being crowned King of Greece.  They adored their new kingdom and its people and didn’t treat it as their personal çiftlik, expending instead much effort in creating a new Euro-Greek social and political culture that would match their times.  But in what was essentially a Balkan Afghanistan, run by Albanian warlords, that proved too much of an obstruction.  They were ousted and shipped back to Bavaria in 1862.

Isabel_da_Áustria_1867See Elizabeth von Habsburg of Austria née Wittlesbach, for an account of Elizabeth’s tragic life and assassination.

Rudolf_Crown_Prince_of_Austria_LOCRudolf, Crown Prince of Austria. the son of Franz Josef and Elizabeth, who committed suicide with his lover Baroness Mary Vetsera, below:

Mary Vetsera

De_20_jarige_Ludwig_II_in_kroningsmantel_door_Ferdinand_von_Piloty_1865Ludwig II of Bavaria, major patron of Wagner

Glamorous, elegant and crazy as a loon every one of them.  You can see in late 19c. Vienna, the slow growth of the Teutonic dementia that would eventually wreck Europe twice, though a pan-German constitutional monarchy might have kept the forces of fascism at bay.

What’s really curious to me is the intensity of Greek anti-monarchical sentiment towards the Danish Glücksburgs, who were installed as kings by the European powers after the outing of Otto and the WittlesbachsThey seem, from my perspective, at least, like a bunch of innocuous nebeches — certainly without the nutty flair of the Habsburgs — more passive than anything else as kings of Greece, and making everything worse when they did take an active political role — or try to — in things.  I probably don’t know enough.

Elizabeth’s palace at Corfu, the Achilleion

Achilleion_in_Kerkyra(Elizabeth’s Corfu palace, the Achilleion, a getaway from court and her insufferably cruel mother-in-law Sophie)

In the intro to the blog, I look back and see that I wrote, in: Jadde — Starting off — the Mission“: 

“What I hope this blog accomplishes, then, is to create even the tiniest amount of common consciousness among readers from the parts of the world in question.  A very tall order, I understand, maybe even grandiose.  Time will tell if it all ends up an unfocussed mess and I end up talking to myself; it’s very likely.”

I’ve gone in this one post from whether I’m Orthodox or not and Orthodox Church rankings to Rudolph II of the Habsburgs and the double suicides at Mayerling.  I hope I’ve succeeded in the kind of tall order I’ve set for myself in making connections for people that they didn’t know existed.  Maybe for others it’s just another weird NikoBako Piscean stream of consciousness türlü.  But maybe even for them there’s an unconscious level on which things hook up with one another.

But I bet you didn’t know that the connection between “Στου Όθωνα τα χρόνια” — “In the time of Otto” — by Stavros Xarhakos and Richard Wagner ran through Munich, did you?

RIP Les Amis, p.s. –Holy Shit, I totally left Chris Theodorou…

20 Jan

…otherwise known in Astoria as Heavy Metal Chris, out of my thank you list, when he provided me with the interview on which the whole piece is structuredSORRY, buddy!

Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 11.45.59 PM

**************************************************************************************

RIP Les Amis – “The world is too small to contain my pain:” – The last bouzoukia in Astoria

Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 11.14.10 PMA friend in New York just informed me that Les Amis, the little after-hours Greek boîte I shot a short video piece on in 2015 has shut down.  As my video feared it would, it did.  Maybe we should be surprised, actually, that it lasted so long.

Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 11.10.25 PM

Well, αἰωνία του ἡ μνήμη· it was the last büzükçidiko in New York, after Microcosmos, Akroama and the semi-trashy Thiasos had all serially closed, where you could hear live λαϊκά of half-decent quality, and not DJ-ed Anna Bysse· and the place just had the most enchanting vibe ever —  till six, seven, eight in the morning.
couple
But if Time Out lists you as one of the world’s 50 coolest neighborhoods, you know it’s like hearing your Ode to Joy and your Swan Song at the same time and that places like Les Amis, — places that make the world’s Astorias, Astorias — will soon disappear.  But gentrification is getting to be a boring topic.  Want something more interesting?  Move a little further out on the 7 train and come bei mir.
Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 11.18.02 PM
 
I want to thank Paola Ramírez, Lucina Melesia Friedman, Mathilde Hammel, Aman, Yu Kanyakrit Vongkiatkajorn, Zain Alam, Alden Nusser, Calista Macharrie, Andy Menezes, Demetre, Soteria, Claudia, Kosta, Thanase and Julio for helping me out on shoots, or helping me scout out the place or just coming along with me for support.
 
Then I truly need to thank Yusuf Swide; when the anxiety of the shoot we were on together ended up leaving me trashed, he took over camera, sound and did a great job.  Thanks.  It wouldn’t have haven’t been possible otherwise.  Plus, he never neglects to offer ebbó to the Virgin of Regla (Yemayá) on my behalf whenever he’s in Cuba.
 
And FINALLY, I need to thank Travis Fox.  In my short stint at the CUNY J-School, he was the one warm, funny and genuinely intelligent and supportive member of the faculty.  (Mind you, I’m talking the professor of Craft Video, not the eight-armed Durga-Maa that taught the first half of Craft I).  When I handed in my final project — posted below — Travis wrote to me: “I must admit I’m mildly impressed.”  And I replied: “I must admit I’ve never been so flattered by mild praise.”
Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 11.34.48 PM
 
My video is posted on Youtube at bottom.  Maybe that’s it for Les Amis.  Maybe it’s all over.  But the Gospels say that desperation is a sin, and talk around the mahalla says the NYPD is gonna let a place like Les Amis re-open again in another location, which, given sneaky Greek ingenuity, may have already.  So, to future post-parties, saludos, geiamas and zhivelis, wherever we’ll be toasting them… 
Thanks folks.
Love, N
Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 11.42.57 PM

 

Maddening, and hard not to see as the inherent sterility of mainstream Islam’s war on the beauty of Alevism…

20 Jan

Or the beauty of anything…

See article:

cemevi

Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 7.07.33 PM

cemevi2

nikobakos@gmail.com

 

“As an Orthodox Christian…” & us and the West and Romans and Otto, the Habsburgs and a Balkan Afghanistan

19 Jan

Screen Shot 2020-01-19 at 2.26.28 PM

This is kind of a silly question, but if I think about it, parts of me belong to all of these, and part of Orthodoxy’s beauty comes from being able to be all of these at once.  “Roman/Byzantine” takes precedence by far; it’s pretty much one of the most important theses of this blog, and if people understood what I meant if I said “Roman” or didn’t just think I was crazy, I would call myself a Roman for sure, just as my ancestors did down to my grandparents, or the tiny remnant Greek minority of Istanbul still does.

“National Church?”  Clearly I’m more attached to the rites, imagery and music of the Greek Church through the sheer fact of being brought up in that space, even though Russians are far more professional in their production values than we are and that does affect my mood.  Otherwise, though I may feel some honorary precedence for the Patriarch of Constantinople — and yes, even the Pope — no one Church takes priority over another for me.  And I think it’s of utmost, urgent importance that the national Churches stay out of political life everywhere.  The first cool thing Tsipras did when he was sworn in as Prime Minister (when I was still super-hopeful about him and Syriza) was to have no clergy present at the ceremony.  The Church needs to know its place: in church.

Hands6047626-3x2-940x627

At one with the “Eschaton” (ἔσχατον) bre koumbare?! the Infinite, the Ultimate, that Beyond beyond which there is no Beyond?!  Aren’t you asking a bit much of us with that one?  :)  To keep things short and in keeping with Orthodoxy’s traditional apophatic theology, I have to say that I wouldn’t know if I were at one with the Eschaton, even if I were.

I may have written this before — can’t remember — but if I could have somehow been a conscient embryo who could choose what religious tradition to be born into, it would be Hinduism, because it functions on the most sophisticated dialectic spectrum between unity and plurality than any other religious tradition, though we can see these days in Modi’s India how questionable it is to romanticize polytheism — as I have in the past — as inherently tolerant and open-ended. You can have one God that’s an insufferable prick like that of the Abrahamic trio and a thousand gods that are just as much insufferable pricks, though there’s a tiny more wiggle-room with the latter.

So, if you ask me about my religious affiliation, I guess I’ll tell you I’m Greek Orthodox — which I guess I am.  If you ask me what I really “believe” — though I’m not sure what that word means precisely — I’ll have to tell you I’m a Jungian (I know, it’s the cop out of every Jungian: I don’t know what ‘believe’ means really).  And that’s as close to a religious identity and the Eschaton I think I’ll ever consciously get to.

Finally, “anti-Hellene.”  If I’m 99% Roman, I’m 150% anti-Hellene.  The term “Hellene” is…essentially…a lie, a resuscitated neologism, an oxymoron that gives away its own falseness, and the impulse behind its creation since the Greek Enlightenment is childish and embarrassing.  I understand: if you’re an impoverished Albanian statelet and you’re told you’re the heirs to Pericles and Alexander, with a 17-year-old scion of the looney Wittelsbach royal family of Bavaria as king, you’ll dress up as Alexander the Great at Apokries (Carnival) and take that myth as better than nothing.*  With “Hellene” today more than unquestionably established as an endonym — though all Greeks still know what they’re talking about when they say Roman or “Romioi” or “Ρωμιοί” — themselves — there’s not much one can do.  It’s the campaign now to abolish “Greek”, which has served the West as an exonym for us for more than two millenia, and make foreigners say “Hellas” and “Hellene” that makes me start to grind my teeth whenever I see it.  Like, starting at the airport…

Answer your questions Byz?

I’ve promised a “Why I’m a Roman” post for years now but haven’t gotten around to it because the issue is so convoluted, but I promise soon.

**************************************************************************************

* I never knew that Otto was so handsome.  Look up the Wittelsbach; they’re a fascinating cast of characters that would make Netflix’ The Crown or any other historical film or tv a total bore; the family that produced Elizabeth of Wittelesbach, consort to Kaiser-und-König Franz Josef, their son Crown Prince Rudolph Habsburg, who committed suicide with his lover at Mayerling, Ludwig II of Bavaria, the nephew of our Otto and the great patron of Wagner throughout his career, who were cousins through the Wittlesbach line with Elizabeth and most intimate best friends till his assassination; they adored each other. He probably gay; she on planet Wittelsbach, but with an intense fascination for Hungarians, who she romanticized as wild and sexy (chuckle to myself because that kinda sounds like me and Serbs), and as a foil against the stuffy court at Vienna.  The only Habsburg who ever bothered to learn Magyar, she made herself queen of Hungary and even the most anti-Habsburg Hungarians loved her back and it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that she was a major factor in keeping German-Hungarian animosity from tearing the empire apart for as long as it did.

Sorry for the mangled and probably confusing historic summary there.

Plus, they gave us an Athens that’s still beautiful despite all the destruction inflicted on it.

Prinz_Otto_von_Bayern_Koenig_von_Griechenland_1833I always had a genuine affection for Otto and his consort Amalia.  They were crazy German Romantic Philhellenes of their time in the purist sense so you can imagine how he felt upon being crowned King of Greece.  They adored their new kingdom and its people and didn’t treat it as their personal çiftlik, expending instead much effort in creating a new Euro-Greek social and political culture that would match their times.  But in what was essentially a Balkan Afghanistan, run by Albanian warlords, that proved too much of an obstruction.  They were ousted and shipped back to Bavaria in 1862.

Isabel_da_Áustria_1867See Elizabeth von Habsburg of Austria née Wittlesbach, for an account of Elizabeth’s tragic life and assassination.

Rudolf_Crown_Prince_of_Austria_LOCRudolf, Crown Prince of Austria. the son of Franz Josef and Elizabeth, who committed suicide with his lover Baroness Mary Vetsera, below:

Mary Vetsera

De_20_jarige_Ludwig_II_in_kroningsmantel_door_Ferdinand_von_Piloty_1865Ludwig II of Bavaria, major patron of Wagner

Glamorous, elegant and crazy as a loon every one of them.  You can see in late 19c. Vienna, the slow growth of the Teutonic dementia that would eventually wreck Europe twice, though a pan-German constitutional monarchy might have kept the forces of fascism at bay.

What’s really curious to me is the intensity of Greek anti-monarchical sentiment towards the Danish Glücksburgs, who were installed as kings by the European powers after the outing of Otto and the WittlesbachsThey seem, from my perspective, at least, like a bunch of innocuous nebeches — certainly without the nutty flair of the Habsburgs — more passive than anything else as kings of Greece, and making everything worse when they did take an active political role — or try to — in things.  I probably don’t know enough.

Elizabeth’s palace at Corfu, the Achilleion

Achilleion_in_KerkyraElizabeth’s Corfu palace, the Achilleion, a getaway from court and her insufferably cruel mother-in-law Sophie

In the intro to the blog, I look back and see that I wrote, in: Jadde — Starting off — the Mission“: 

“What I hope this blog accomplishes, then, is to create even the tiniest amount of common consciousness among readers from the parts of the world in question.  A very tall order, I understand, maybe even grandiose.  Time will tell if it all ends up an unfocussed mess and I end up talking to myself; it’s very likely.”

I’ve gone in this one post from whether I’m Orthodox or not and Orthodox Church rankings to Rudolph II of the Habsburgs and the double suicides at Mayerling.  I hope I’ve succeeded in the kind of tall order I’ve set for myself in making connections for people that they didn’t know existed.  Maybe for others it’s just another weird NikoBako Piscean stream of consciousness türlü.  But maybe even for them there’s an unconscious level on which things hook up with one another.

But I bet you didn’t know that the connection between “Στου Όθωνα τα χρόνια” — “In the time of Otto” — by Stavros Xarhakos and Richard Wagner ran through Munich, did you?

An odd poem/document to the struggle to establish order and form a new Greek state.  I don’t know why the English translation given here says “cruel guards” when in Greek it’s “Bavarian guards”.

In the Time of Otto

One afternoon
around the Acropolis,
The heartless thieves
made toy hot rocks
their hangout.
At Monastiraki,
the cruel guards,
In front of the king
are dancing
sirtaki
(REF:)
To Crete and Mani,
We will send a decree,
In cities and in villages.
We will send a decree,
For the policemen to come,
To kick out the brutes.
(INTERLUDE)
Down at the port,
The policemen are dancing.
They came but
their hearts are still
in Mani.
On Tuesday the guys
came in from Psiloriti.
They drink tsikoudia,
But their hearts are still
in Crete.
To Crete and Mani,
We will send a decree,
In cities and in villages.
We will send a decree,
For the policemen to come,
To kick out the brutes.
***************************************************************************************

Στου Όθωνα τα χρόνια

Ένα μεσημέρι
στης Ακρόπολης τα μέρη
άπονοι ληστές
κάναν τις πέτρες τις ζεστές
λημέρι
Στο Μοναστηράκι
Βαυαροί χωροφυλάκοι
μες στην αντηλιά,
χορεύουν μπρος στον βασιλιά
συρτάκι
(REF:)
Στην Κρήτη και στη Μάνη
θα στείλουμε φιρμάνι
σε πολιτείες και χωριά
θα στείλουμε φιρμάνι
να `ρθούν οι πολιτσμάνοι
να κυνηγήσουν τα θεριά.
(INTERLUDE)
Κάτω στο λιμάνι
τραγουδούν οι πολιτσμάνοι
ήρθαν τα παιδιά
μα έχουν ακόμα την καρδιά
στην Μάνη
Ήρθανε την Τρίτη
τα παιδιά του Ψηλορείτη
πίνουν τσικουδιά,
μα έχουν ακόμα την καρδιά
στην Κρήτη
Στην Κρήτη και στη Μάνη
εστείλαμε φιρμάνι
σε πολιτείες και χωριά
εστείλαμε φιρμάνι
κι ήρθαν οι πολιτσμάνοι
και διώξαν όλα τα θεριά.

https://lyricstranslate.com

nikobakos@gmail.com

Photos: Armenia

19 Jan

A beautiful country, wonderful food, incredible people.

Armenia1Armenia2Armenia3Armenia4

Epiphany: for the Old School school

19 Jan

The diving for the cross, blessing of the waters…in Macedonia somewhere…

EOpJhf5WsAAVBbA

…and Cyprus

cyprus_epiphany_78488-1880x1254-thumb-large

And here’s a random Russian image/icon of the Epiphany that brings up a question I’ve always had: how do Russians achieve that brilliant whiteness they use in icons and murals?  It’s almost as if no one else knew the secret.  It’s such an intense “non”-color that it serves as a foil to the saturated colors of the rest of the surface.  It’s beautiful.

epiphany-icon1

nikobakos@gmail.com

“Dola Re Dola” …

18 Jan

Just random post of Durga dance from 2002 Bolly blockbuster DevdasSince Durga Maa came up in previous post.  Madhuri Dixit, the world’s most incontestably beautiful woman for me, was 5 months pregnant when they shot this scene.

And she looks it too in same film.  Especially below, this time, carrying a costume that weighed like 20 kilos and the obvious sexy chicho slightly bulging over her ghagra.  Kathak purists will obviously object to this number, but it knocks me out every time.

nikobakos@gmail.com

RIP Les Amis – “The world is too small to contain my pain:” – The last bouzoukia in Astoria

18 Jan

Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 11.14.10 PMA friend in New York just informed me that Les Amis, the little after-hours Greek boîte I shot a short video piece on in 2015 has shut down.  As my video feared it would, it did.  Maybe we should be surprised, actually, that it lasted so long.

Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 11.10.25 PM

Well, αἰωνία του ἡ μνήμη· it was the last büzükçidiko in New York, after Microcosmos, Akroama and the semi-trashy Thiasos had all serially closed, where you could hear live λαϊκά of half-decent quality, and not DJ-ed Anna Bysse· and the place just had the most enchanting vibe ever —  till six, seven, eight in the morning.
couple
But if Time Out lists you as one of the world’s 50 coolest neighborhoods, you know it’s like hearing your Ode to Joy and your Swan Song at the same time and that places like Les Amis, — places that make the world’s Astorias, Astorias — will soon disappear.  But gentrification is getting to be a boring topic.  Want something more interesting?  Move a little further out on the 7 train and come bei mir.
Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 11.18.02 PM
 
I want to thank Paola Ramírez, Lucina Melesia Friedman, Mathilde Hammel, Aman, Yu Kanyakrit Vongkiatkajorn, Zain Alam, Alden Nusser, Calista Macharrie, Andy Menezes, Demetre, Soteria, Claudia, Kosta, Thanase and Julio for helping me out on shoots, or helping me scout out the place or just coming along with me for support.
 
Then I truly need to thank Yusuf Swide; when the anxiety of the shoot we were on together ended up leaving me trashed, he took over camera, sound and did a great job.  Thanks.  It wouldn’t have haven’t been possible otherwise.  Plus, he never neglects to offer ebbó to the Virgin of Regla (Yemayá) on my behalf whenever he’s in Cuba.
 
And FINALLY, I need to thank Travis Fox.  In my short stint at the CUNY J-School, he was my Craft professor, and perhaps the the one warm, funny and genuinely intelligent and supportive member of the faculty.  (Mind you, I’m talking the professor of Craft Video, not the eight-armed Durga-Maa and her assistant Kali that taught the first half of Craft I).
Kali_by_Raja_Ravi_Varma
When I handed in my final project Travis wrote to me: “I must
admit I’m mildly impressed.”  And I replied: “I must admit I’ve never been so flattered by mild praise.”
Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 11.34.48 PM
 
My video is posted on Youtube at bottom.  Maybe that’s it for Les Amis.  Maybe it’s all over.  But the Gospels say that desperation is a sin, and talk around the mahalla says the NYPD is gonna let a place like Les Amis re-open again in another location, which, given sneaky Greek ingenuity, may have already.  So, to future post-parties, saludos, geiamas and zhivelis, wherever we’ll be toasting them… 
Thanks folks.
Love, N
Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 11.42.57 PM

 

Every state’s least favorite state

18 Jan

When I first saw this tweet I kinna lept over it, thinking: “What a dumb tweet”, and then less than a second later, in testament to the power of identity to pull anybody into its little hell, I said: “Wait a second?  Who doesn’t like New York?  Fuck you.”  Then thought: ah, good, only Massachusetts, long-term rivals that have always shared gut-distaste for each other anyway.

Cool that almost nobody hates California.  As much of a New Yorker as I am, Cali is still the Promised land.

EOk8wIPWkAYbcHB

P.S. Interesting that Jersey isn’t New York when it’s as New York as Long Island is: one of the the anthropological theses of The Sopranos It’d be fascinating to see some way that could measure how the inner suburbs of the city are now more New York than a sterile Manhattan has become.

But snort…   Boston…  Thinks who she is…

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

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