This website that bears my name is going to complete its third year soon. After having been deprived of the possibility of writing in newspapers; instead of enjoying a quiet and pleasant life of retirement at home away from hustle and bustle of the day, I embarked on an adventure that involves more time devoted to publishing effort than before.
In the past, I would write commentaries on most days of the week and took time-off some days. Now, except one-week period due to a surgical operation I underwent, I have been writing religiously a piece every single day on my website.
I have found the answer to this question in a newly-published book, titled “The Scandal of the Century and Other Writings”, written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014), the Nobel laureate in literature in 1982, famous as “Gabo” throughout Latin America. The book is a collection of pieces he wrote during his journalistic career.
The answer I sought lies in the lines below:
“[..] it seems elementary to wonder why we writers write. The answer, necessarily, is more melodramatic the more sincere it is. You’re a writer in the very same way you might be Jewish or black. Success is encouraging, support of readers is stimulating, but these are supplementary rewards, because a good writer will carry on writing anyway with worn-out shoes, and even if his books don’t sell. It is a kind of occupational hazard that explains very well the social madness that so many men and women have starved themselves to death, in order to do something that, after all, and speaking completely seriously, serves no purpose whatsoever.”
If one is a writer indeed having caught the writing bug -i.e. the habit of sharing thoughts and feelings with others, this person goes on writing at all costs.
Nowadays, if many writers in our country who have been deprived of the possibility of writing in newspapers keep writing on websites that provide them with a platform to meet with their readers -without any sort of payment as far as I know- the reason of this is to be sought in the instinctive reaction framed by Marquez above.
We cannot do without writing.
The questions such as “How many people read our pieces? What do our readers think of our frenzy resistance? How do they interpret our resoluteness?” has no real significance for us.
Religion and the religious
A few pieces have appeared recently in newspapers on a particular subject that is worthy of serious discussion.
First Ertuğrul Özkök from the Turkish daily Hürriyet pointed out this topic; Ahmet Taşgetiren from the newspaper Karar then gave some thought into it.
The topic is really serious enough: The tendency to lose one’s religion…
Ertuğrul Özkök has preferred a title for his article in harmony with his provocative style: “Turkey is no longer a country with a 99 percent Muslim population.”
What led him to this conclusion is a public opinion survey carried out by the Optimar research company conducted between May 7-May 14, in 26 cities, with 3.500 participants…
According to the survey, 89.5 percent of the participants responded to the question, “How would you describe yourself regarding your religious belief?” stating, “I believe in the existence and oneness of Allah” while the remaining gave responses expressing some suspicion about their religious beliefs…
However, in a similar survey conducted by the same research company two years ago, 96.1 percent of the participants responded “Yes” when asked, “Do you feel you belong to a certain religion?”, and 99.9 percent said “Muslim” as a response to the following question, “Which religion?”.
Taking into consideration the differences in responses in the surveys two years in between, Özkök concludes that “89.5 percent of Turkey’s population are Muslims, 4.5 percent deist, 2.7 percent suspicious of existence of God, and 1.7 percent ‘atheist’. . .” He even expresses suspicion noting that the findings of the surveys may not be completely accurate representation of the truth…
And rightly so…
Religion and politics
Some of my readers may wonder what the relevance of this quote is in a piece pertinent to the question, “Why do writers write?” The answer is simple: What has urged me to go on writing religiously every day for years has also been my anticipation that we could end up in such a situation.
My fear of disintegration of fundamental values of our society…
The title of my very first piece published on this website on June 9, 2016 was this: “The more we preach about Islam, the more we deviate from Islam.” Two weeks later (June 22), I wrote another warning piece: “The Muslim World is on the threshold of losing its religiosity.”
I have written eight pieces at least in last three years by emphasizing the same point.
As a matter of fact, my commentaries on matters of our domestic politics may well be seen as pieces attempting, directly or indirectly, at pushing people into self-criticism and sense of responsibility for maintaining core value systems in our society.
When the contrast between expectations from people known as ‘religious‘ and their day to day practices becomes noticeable, what suffers from this contrast is the system that those core values are related to.
What is experienced today is not a phenomenon peculiar to us: In the whole Muslim World, general ‘outlook on religion’ is adversely affected by weaknesses of individuals known to be ‘religious‘.
Widely held assumptions such as “The religious people don’t lie, they don’t do others an injustice, they don’t victimize other people” are seriously weakened.
Although what appears to be changing is ‘outlook on religion’, what actually changes is views about individuals who claim to be ‘religious’.
In politics and elsewhere.
I will go on writing as I’ve done for years.
[Translated by Bernar Kutluğ from the the article appeared in this site’s Turkish section on May 24, 2019]