12 March 2006

Pamuk on the Assassination of Writers

Ka took some consolation in imagining that his poems might be translated into German and published in Akzent magazine, but it was still perfectly clear to him that should this article in the [eastern Anatolian] Border City Gazette prove to be the death of him, the published translations would mean nothing....

The many writers killed in recent years by Islamist bullets paraded before his eyes: first the old preacher-turned-atheist who had tried to point out "inconsistencies" in the Koran (they'd shot him from behind, in the head); behind him came the righteous columnist whose love of positivism had led him to refer in a number of columns to girls wearing head scarves as "cockroaches" (they'd strafed him and his chauffer one morning as he drove to work); then there was the investigative journalist who had tenaciously sought to uncover the links between the Turkish Islamist movement and Iran (when he turned on the ignition, he and his car went sailing into the sky). Even as he recalled these victims with tender sorrow, he knew they'd been naïve. As a rule the Istanbul press, like the Western press, had little interest in these fervent columnists and even less in journalists apt to get shot in the head for similar reasons on a backstreet of some remote Anatolian city. But Ka reserved his bile for a society that so easily forgot its writers and poets: For this reason he thought the smartest thing to do was retreat into a corner and try to find some happiness.
SOURCE: Snow, by Orhan Pamuk (Vintage, 2004), pp. 296-297

No comments: