November 2, 2008

Not that I am a Writer or Keep Diaries...

I am sitting in the non-space of the Istanbul airport- glamorous, anonymous and alienating, with its boutiques, packaged and shiny oriental "Old Bazar", the green lounge, duty free shops. It is nothing like "reality" out there, on the street, with its contradictions, failures, disappointments but also fulfillments. Since I resisted the temptation of crashing in the airport hotel for 5 hours before my flight to Ljubljana in the face of terrible exhaustion, I decided to treat myself with a coffee and a 10 euro Caesar Salad in the fancy green lounge. Amongst spicy chicken, lettuce and cheese, there is a corpse of a fruit-fly in my salad, I guess prominently playing the role of the Caesar. I am writing this at the very moment of contemplating over the fruit fly in my salad (at least it comes with wifi).

People are passing by, as if they were never here - anonymously, indifferently, transiently (do these words exist in English?). There are bodily smells and then sterilization of smells, smells, sterilization of smells...smells....again...

The phantasmagorical spectacle of the airport which nevertheless refuses to become a flaneur, is the diametrical opposite of the film I have been watching during the long hours of waiting. It is called "Half Moon" by Kurdish Iranian director Bahman Ghodabi, a part of Aras' collection of movies given to me to help to kill time. I expect to actively participate in and personally execute the assassination of time while in Ljubljana and/or between Ljubljana, Istanbul and Cairo. This is a preventive killing to avoid past experiences of depression and disappointment in this sleepy and repressed city of desires (It will also prevent my friend Tevz to attribute my depression to the disposition of stars in the sky. Last time he claimed that the most depressing Monday in my life was already being declared as the most depressing day of the year by scientists and astrologists alike, even before it started for me...give me a break...)

But I want to tell you more about the Kurdish film... While watching it, I had two terrifying realizations: 1. the sublime lies not within the horrifying power of the beauty but within simplicity. 2. I have to make a scandalous announcement: I am BIOLOGICALLY over-identifying myself with the Kurds. I had briefly experienced this feeling while traveling in Eastern Anatolia. There, for the first time I saw women and men with similar facial features and greenish/yellowish/grayish eyes I inherited from my grandfather's side and that I share with him, his mother and my father. But this feeling has been forgotten, only to strike back now more powerfully than ever. The scandal in this confession for me is not my cultural self-identification with the Kurdish people but the very biological one... I never sought to find out my blood origins or family roots because I have always felt (up)rooted in a cultural and historical community and because I don't believe in the primordial identification with blood...that's is why this internal biological identification with the kurds it so upsetting for me...I feel strange to myself...I feel queer.... (not that I necessarily have to use this word to justify posting this message on a queer blog).
Sorry for talking too is because of the sleepless night and my confused brain.


  1. i too was stuck in that airport back in 1999, i think, or maybe 2000, and it was in construction. i was never really aware of my "identity" as an armenian until i was asked four-five times by the port control "ermeni?" ermeni . . ermeni . . ermeni . . are you armenian? i could say yes, no, i don't know, maybe, what do you think? are you armenian too? . . but since my passport said i was "ermeni" i guess i was ermeni for the moment.

    i was overwhelmed by the enormity and consistency of the images of ataturk plastered all over the airport (including the little coffee cups with his face on them) -- it was suffocating. but then again, airports are interesting spaces of exaggerated stereotypes, national emblems and rhetoric, and at the same time they are transitional, expendable and temporary.

  2. Funny enough,
    I didn't see a single Ataturk image. It has been replaced by first class lounges and G. Ferre and Armani shops. Not much of a difference, anyways.