An African's Anecdotes and Accoutrements
|We’ve just gone through Turkey’s second Ramazan - four days of religious observation preceded by the mass sacrifice of sheep. Although I accept the religious practices and rituals of this country as an animal lover I find it heartbreaking.
I hate the days leading up to this Ramazan. About four weeks before it begins huge tents are put in places at different places around the city. The tents hide the actual slaughter of the animals, but the sight of the large stainless steel containers and the fencing where the animals wait to be chosen is enough to cause me to avoid even driving past them. On Thursday Ivan and I went to Bornova Forum for lunch. En route we drive through the village of Űlüçak, and passed a small fenced off area in front of the local hardware store filled with unsuspecting sheep, happily munching away while several men leaned over the fence selecting their animal. Of course I got upset, and even when Ivan reminded me that half a world away many turkeys had met a similar fate for another holiday it didn’t help.
“At least in The States they don’t have the same ritual sacrifice,” I snapped. What a paradox - I’m happy to eat meat and lamb is one of my favourite dishes, but when I think about how the animal reaches my table...
This month is going to be nicely hectic for us. Our Malawian family - Ivan’s sister Heather, her husband Dermot and our niece Courtney - arrive on December 20 for three weeks, and I’ve started organising our "Izmir Tourist" schedule. We also got stuck into the junk room on Saturday, tidying up while packing away the things we don’t need right now, like fans etc. I’ve also been putting the summer clothing into vacuum seal bags, and I cannot believe how much space I now have in that room. I need to clear the bedroom which houses the cupboards containing our clothes and bed linen for my niece, hence the current tidying up spree.
As for writing - well, the thumb has healed well, and I’ve been frantically tapping out articles for Suite 101. Regrettably I am two articles behind yesterday’s deadline, but the editors have been so helpful I think I’ll be okay, and should have then done by tonight. I have also joined a writing critique site, and posted one of my older stories on there. I had over 100 views on the first day, and five “comments” - all very varied. None of the comments was discouraging, but what was interesting was just how different people read a story.
I was a bit shocked at first, because the reviewer was so blunt - the story is no longer visible on WDC, but it features an African dictator’s encounter (guess who ) with the Archangel Uriel. This reviewer said she felt I should have tried harder to give my dictator some redeeming qualities... well, during flashbacks between Uriel and “The Old Man” I tried to show how many times the dictator had been given great opportunities, and how he’d chosen one direction over another! Another writer felt I used too many “ghosts” to tell the story, but he enjoyed the “Old Testament” terror and retribution featured in the story!
Right, off to finish the housework. I owe so many blog visits... be there soon!
Get busy living, or get busy dying.
Stephen King, US Author