Saturday, May 29, 2010

Turkish Ordeal- Halide Edib Adıvar

 Daha önce şu yazıda yazmıştım Halide Edib'in 'Turkish Ordeal'ı hakkında. Amerika'da yaşadığı yıllarda yazdığı anılarının ikinci kısmı olan 'Turkish Ordeal', tekrar altını çizerek söylüyorum ki, bir çok insanın sandığı gibi Ateşten Gömlek'in İngilizcesi değil, 'Ateşten Gömlek'ten önce İngilizce yazılmış bir kitap. Adıvar daha sonra Türkiye'ye döndüğünde önce Mor Salkımlı Ev, ardından da 'Ateşten Gömlek'i yazıyor, ama bunlar 'Memoirs' ve 'Turkish Ordeal'ın Türkçe çevirileri değil, yeniden yazılmışlar. 'Turkish Ordeal' sanıyorum ki özellikle Atatürk'le ilgili ifadeleri nedeniyle bir süre Türkiye'de yasaklanmış, şu anda da bir baskısı yok.

I wrote before about Halide Edib Adıvar's Turkish Ordeal here.It's the further memoirs of Halide Edib and contrary to the general belief, it is not the translation of 'The Shirt of Flame', and is originally written in English, 'The Shirt of Flame' is written after she returned to Turkey and it's not a translation into Turkish. (A bit confusing I know, in short she wrote two sets of memoirs, one in English, one in Turkish). 'Turkish Ordeal' is considered to be harsher in tone about Ataturk and was banend from Turkey for sometime. As the publishing house was closed, there is no copy of the book today, neither in U.S.A. or in Turkey.


Benim gibi Halide Edib'e hayran bir insan için onun anılarını okumak tabii ki etkileyici, özellikle Sultanahmet Mitingi'ne niye Halide Edib'in seçildiğini ve onun nasıl erkek hakim Osmanlı Devleti'nde önemli bir siyasi figür haline geldiğini bu kitapla daha net olarak öğrenebildim. Bunun yanında Atatürk dahil askerlerin ve siyasi figürlerin ona olan saygısı ve ona gösterdikleri özene hayran kaldım. Bu özen o kadar büyük ki, komutanlar meclisin ilk açıldığı yıllarda köpeği ölünce depresyona giren Halide Edib'e yeni bir köpek bulmak için yarışa girip kimin köpeğini seçeceğini bir onur meselesi haline getirmişler.

For a person who admires Halide Edib, reading her memoirs is of course amazing, especially to learn how she came to be the speaker in the Sultanahmet demonstration and how come she could become such an important political figure in a patriarchal Ottoman Empire. Beside that, the fact that Ataturk and all the soldiers respect her so much and take such a good care of her in the military was very interesting to read. This 'taking care' was done in such a delicate manner that she never felt as a weak woman, but rather almost a divine figure. In Ankara, the time when the first assembly was opened, Halide Edib was in depression because her dog died, and all the soldiers around raced to find her a new dog, for example.

Ama kitabın en önemli yönü Halide Edib'in Atatürk'ün kişiliğini, bugün Kemalizm'in bizi zorladığı ikonlaştırıcı şekilden uzak olarak öğrenme çabası, Atatürk'ün yanında olduğu süre boyunca onu gerçekten incelemiş ve işte bu incelemeler kitabın en önemli noktası. Halide Edib'in Atatürk'ünün en büyük özelliği kazanmak için herşeyi yapmaya hazır olması, bu Kemalist'lerin söyleyeceği gibi kendi hayatını bile feda etmeye hazır olması anlamına geliyor, ama aynı zamanda da kazanmak için kim olduğuna bakmadan herkesin ayağını kaydırabileceği ve herkesi kullanabileceği anlamına da geliyor. Halide Edib'i gerçekten endişelendiren başka bir nokta ise, Mustafa Kemal'in totaliterliği, evet Atatürk padişah, halifelik gibi güçler ve semboller peşinde değil, ama sıra karar vermeye gelince sözün tek kendisinde olmasını istiyor. Daha da kötüsü, alternatif görüşlere hiç tahammülü yok. Aşağıda zaten verdiğim alıntılarda Halide Edib'in bu çıkarımlarını okuyacaksınız.

But the most important part of the book is the way she tries to learn Ataturk's true personality, liberated from the iconic image that Kemalists. She observed him all the time she spent with him and these observations are the most interesting parts of the book. The biggest characteristic according to Halide Edib is that Ataturk can sacrifice everything for victory. And even though it means that he could sacrifice even his life, which a Kemalist would tell you, it also means that he can do every trick and ruse in order to succeed. Another part of his ideology that scares her the most is his totalitarian views. Yes, rejecting the Sultan and Chaliph (head of Muslims) titles he was not after power, but when it comes to making decisions, he wanted his to be the only-one. You can read more of these observations in the quotes that I took from the book below. 


Halide Edib'le Atatürk'ün arasındaki en büyük fark, Halide Edib'in büyük bir hümanist olması ve adalet kavramına inancı, yine de Atatürk'le aralarında bir kaç konuşma geçse de, Atatürk'ün Halide Edib'e her zaman saygı ve sevgi gösterdiğini de burada belirtmek lazım. Ayrıca Halide Edib, Atatürk'ü anlatırken kesinlikle sadece kötü yanları ortaya koymuyor, iyi yönlerini övmekten hiç bir zaman çekinmiyor.Halide Edib'in anlattığı Atatürk bana daha mantıklı geliyor, çünkü dünyanın en büyük güçleri tarafından ele geçirilmiş bir ülkeyi kurtarmaya çalışan birinin, bize öğretildiği gibi sevecen ve duygusal biri değil, tam tersine büyük bir egosu olan ve neredeyse mekanik bir insan olması gerekir. Ya da ben böyle düşünüyorum...

The biggest difference between Ataturk and Halide Edib is her humanism and her belief of justice that she mentioned all the time in her speeches and in the book, but despite some quarrels, Ataturk was always very respectful of her. Also, Halide Edib doesn't always criticize Ataturk, but puts his qualities in focus too, so this book really does a good job in portraying a really important man of the history. For me, the Ataturk that Halide Edib makes more sense, because for someone to uprise against all the powerful forces of Europe in a enslaved fallen empire, he has to be with a big ego and almost a mechanic person, rather than an emotional and affectionate person like the Kemalist says him to be.

Gelelim alıntılara, alıntılar sadece Atatürk'le ilgili değil, kitabın en sevdiğim parçaları sadece (Türkçe'ye çevirmiyorum, ama İngilizcesini anlayamayan biri olursa söylesin çevireyim):

Here are my favorite passages from the book:

 page 80:
"Life is not so very different from the cinema after all. The only difference is that one gets more excited at the movies."
 Her first impression from the first time she saw Atatürk, page 90:

"His mind is two-sided, like a light lantern. Sometimes it flashes and shows you what it wants you to see with almost blinding clearness; sometimes it wanders and gets itself lost in the dark."

Edhem, the most important leader of the irregular forces wanted a death sentence on someone who the Turkish Army sworn to protect in return of his helps to one of the Turkish soldiers. Halide Edib and İsmet Pasha wanted him protected as promised, but Atatürk wanted to grant Edhem's wish in order to honor him, page 111:

"He openly avowed that in our condition there was no place for mercy, pity, and sentimental morality; that scruples about breaking a promise were a sign of weakness; that any who indulged in such considerations were bound never to succeed. Once we got hold of our enemies, there was one thing to do, promise or no promise, and that was to kill them; dead men can’t cause trouble."
"It is only now that I realize how significant his words were, and how they symbolized the government he then meant to set up and which he has since succeeded in establishing. But even then I could not help seeing how much like Edhem he was, and how ruthless and primitively practical are these men of destiny who upset old dispensations and impose their own order on a nation. And although Mustafa Kemal Pasha’s ideas, which still dominate his administration, have numberless supporters all over the world, I still believe that they represent only a short-sighted, expediency which, though it may make for immediate success, in the long run will make men feel so unsafe that they will rebel against it for the sake of security if not for the sake of morality."
page 118:

"Mustafa Kemal Pasha during all those first months, and during those brief periods of crisis when I worked near him in later years, was never other than sober and correct in his person. And entirely occupied dealing with the situation at hand. But a student of human nature observing him then, or in his present mode of life, is obliged to admit that he must be considered as one of those human beings who are abnormal morally. Immoral he certainly was not; he was merely amoral. He never accepted the current standard of human morality, or saw its necessity. Those people who professed moral ideals or claimed to adhere to austere standards were to him either hypocrites like the hodjas or, if there were a few who were genuine and consistent, them they were just fools."
"But perhaps the most characteristic element in Mustafa Kemal Pasha’s make-up was his complete lack of heart. At that time it gave him an ascendancy, for he could work out his plans untroubled by human weaknesses. And pity, affection, sacrifice were to him useless weaknesses. Intelligence and self-interest were what mattered in the intricate scheme of human life. Nothing spiritual, nothing which could not be explained by the everyday intelligence, was worth considering. The intelligent man uses other people who have these weaknesses, but he himself remains an absolute materialist and a heartless one at that. But here again a paradox. Mustafa Kemal Pasha was superstitious. He was deeply affected by omens. I remember a green cloth of Arabic inscriptions of magic a clairvoyant sent him which he had hung against the wall behind the desk. And he was constantly telling of the dreams of his followers. And his followers always managed to have good dreams, dreams which foretold his success."
On Communism, page 126:

"...that hey seemed to divide all men into those who were Communists or likely to become Communists and those who were not, and that they had a different standard of judgment for each. Here was a new class division, a new judgment, a new barrier: not one of race or religion, perhaps, but still a barrier all the same.
One passage that will make the Kemalists very angry, page 129:

"In terms of vitality, he wasn’t. And it was this alone that made him the dominant figure. Take any man from the street who is shrewd, selfish, and utterly unscrupulous, give him the insistence and histrionics of a hysterical woman who is willing to employ any wile to satisfy her inexhaustible desires, then view him through the largest magnifying glass you can find – and you’ll see Mustafa Kemal Pasha."
Their first quarrel, page 130:

Then he was dazzlingly clear that I remember vividly not only the sense of what he said but the very words that he used. For once his life-motive was apparent without concealment, and he said what he really meant with the utmost simplicity.
cause?”
“What I mean is this: I want everyone to do as I wish and command.” “Have they not done so already in everything that is fundamental and for the good of the Turkish
He swept my question aside and continued in the same brutally frank manner.
“I don’t want any consideration, criticism, or advice. I will have only my own way. All shall do as I command.”
“Me too, Pasham?” “You too.” His absolute sincerity deserved a reciprocal frankness. “I will obey you and do as you wish as long as I believe that you are serving the cause.” “You shall obey me and do as I wish,” he repeated, ignoring the condition. “Is that a threat, Pasham?” I asked quietly but firmly. “I am sorry,” he said; “I would not threaten you.”
page 217:

"Mustafa Kemal Pasha, though a blindingly brilliant perpetual motion of intelligence, had drawbacks in his character and temperament which might have proved fatal to our cause if Ismet Pasha and Fevzi Pasha had not been there to counterbalance them. Mustafa Kemal Pasha was harsh and extremely jealous of personal distinctions. Like most men of destiny, he hated to see any one in the public eye, even in a sphere which did not touch his: this feeling became with him a fierce resentment which took the shape of persecution the moment he felt himself strong enough."
On the war field, page 223:

"Through the field-glass I was seeing the game of war as it is played, and the beast in me was enjoying it as much as the rest, forgetting what its results would look like in the hospitals later on. I could see men coming nearer and nearer, and even the fall of the men in the front line, leaving it indented and broken; and the final onslaught with bayonets. Thus the ants take their exercises around the small yellow mounds of their nests. Until I realized that those who could not rise after the smoke had cleared away had had their eyes opened to reality and were scorning this clumsy, stupid game of death, I was feeling sorry for them for not having been able to continue." 

In the war-front, a major bragging to journalists about having a woman transport, and the woman's feelings- one of my favorite passages from the book, page 241-242:

"Through the field-glass I was seeing the game of war as it is played, and the beast in me was enjoying it as much as the rest, forgetting what its results would look like in the hospitals later on. I could see men coming nearer and nearer, and even the fall of the men in the front line, leaving it indented and broken; and the final onslaught with bayonets. Thus the ants take their exercises around the small yellow mounds of their nests. Until I realized that those who could not rise after the smoke had cleared away had had their eyes opened to reality and were scorning this clumsy, stupid game of death, I was feeling sorry for them for not having been able to continue."
“Oh, daughter,” she said, “I hate guns. I tremble like a leaf when I touch one. What have I to do with guns? I love the soldiers and I want to serve them. Why should they take my picture with it? I am trembling all the time anyway, my child: whenever the commander speaks, my knees give way . . . .”
“Is he unkind to you, Mother?”
“No, no, but he shows me to every passing visitor as if I were an amusement [show]. I am more afraid of the old man with the baggy white beard, the commander’s second. He shouts when he speaks, he carries a whip and strikes the soldiers with it. They do flog the deserters so badly . . . the poor lambs; my heart weeps blood for them. Nothing is done by beauty [kindness]. When do you think Seughud will be cleared? There is nothing but fear in this camp. I have to bear it for the sake of the soldiers and for my blind lad.”
page 261:

"The sultans had divine power—it was rotten: we will create the legend of the powerful man, the man who rules by might, not by heredity. We are naturally drifting toward a kind of government such as we see in the South American republics—unstable and only dependent on strong men: ‘General X. is on the throne, hence General Z. must be on the mountains’ sort of thing. The sultans have passed away, long live the pashas.”
After the Smyrna victory, page 270-271:

Thinking of all that he had gone through in the hard days, it was almost touching to see Mustafa Kemal Pasha’s exuberant joy.
“After you take Smyrna, Pasha, you will rest, you have struggled so hard.” “Rest; what rest? After the Greeks we will fight each other, we will eat each other.”
“Why should we?” I said. “There will be an enormous amount to do in the way of reconstruction.”
“What about the men who have opposed me?” “Well, it was natural in a National Assembly.” He had been talking in a bantering tone, but now his eyes sparkled dangerously as he mentioned
the names of two men1 from the second group (the name of the opposition party in those days). “I will have those lynched by the people. No, we will not rest, we will kill each other.”
"These words are the key to his temperament. There must be something doing—he must be on the stage, a unique actor perpetually astonishing the world—a dangerous kind of actor, but dangerous for others and safe for himself. He must be exacting all that the spectators can give—fear, wonder, adoration. And he would have only shadows on the stage, shadows called or sent back at his will, simply to make the show showy—no more. Perhaps he was not so very different from the other men of destiny whose specialty was thrones, power, rather than intellectual achievement. He made me think strangely at this moment of Isaiah’s description of God, a God who will not bear any uplifting of heads, be they of men, trees or mountains "
After the Smyrna victory, on Anatolian women who want the Turkish soldier to harrass the Christian women in Turkish lands, like Greeks has done to Turkish, page 276:

"I felt that their wounds would never be healed with time; they would brood over them, they would probe them ever in the same passionate way. Yes, this mood was absolutely Western in its fixedness and its vindictiveness; it lacked the mellowness, the subtle understanding and forgiveness of the real Eastern soul. These women had learned the lesson of ugly hatred which the West had been trying so hard to teach the East."


**Kitabın tümünü buradan indirebilirsiniz.

**You can download the whole book in here.

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