14 October 2006






A Letter To Elif Shafak…*

By Abir Zaki


My Dear,


was it a farce comedy?

first you were prosecuted

"They" said, you insulted "Turkishness"

and that you denigrated the "Turkishness"

then you were acquitted

but still "they" resist removing the notorious

"article 301" although they claim that

they are keen to interpret the so called

"301" positively…!


"They" call themselves a democratic country

using poisonous material from their legislation

and prosecute acerbic voices,

outspoken, intellectuals,

and activist people like you…?


Your attachment to the Islamic,

Jewish and Christian heterodox mysticism

and your search whatever is under the rubbles

will bring the mirth out

from the deepest clandestine

of "our" selves



My dear,

you will not be the first,

nor the last


I bow my head to your courage

to your multilingual, multicultural

view of humanity, and thus of life…


and hope that you continue to

stand up for the rights of your PEN

and your humanly beliefs!



*Abir Zaki is a Saudi author. She now lives in Jordan.

*Elif Shafak is a Turkish writer. She has published novels written in English as well as Turkish and French. She holds a Master of Science and a Ph.D in Gender and Women's Studies. Her first novel, The Sufi was awarded the "Mevlana Prize" in 1998, which is given to the best work in mystical literature in Turkey. Her Mirrors of the City, brought her "Union of Turkish Writers' Prize" in 2000. Elif Shafak has written two novels in English. For references to the Armenian Genocide in the second of these novels, The Bastard of Istanbul, (The original title means "The Father and The Bastard"). She has also published reviews in The Economist, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, and The Washington Post.  Elif Shafak was charged in Turkey with "insulting Turkishness" under Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code which punishes anyone who publicly denigrates Turkishness, or the Government of the Republic of Turkey, the judicial institutions of the State, the military or security organizations by imprisonment of between six months and two to three years.


Your Comments


"Antonio Galletta" <tonigalletta@libero.it> 

Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2006 20:39:17 +0100

    I fully agree with Mr. Naim Mahlab's comments.


However a book I would recommend to read on this subject is "Turkish nationalism and Armenian genocide" by the Turkish historian Taner Akçam, Professor at the University of Minnesota.

Antonio Galletta



Sat, 14 Oct 2006 20:07:29 -0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

From: "Naim S. Mahlab" <nsm@videotron.ca> 


    The position of the Turkish Government is totally unrealistic.

There were massacres of Armenians. I think it will be better if the Turks would adopt

Archbishop Tutu's ideas and form a 'truth and reconciliation' body that will deal with

this matter. The Germans admit the misdeeds of Hitler and his ilk, and are trying

to make amends,as if their crimes can ever be forgotten. At least they are trying.

Turkey should do the same.

Whether the Armenians were murdered by the tens of thousands, or by the hundreds of thousands,

the fact remains that these atrocities did take place.

For those who are interested, I recommend they read the book 'The forty days of Musa Dagh',

by Franz Werfel. It is probably out of print, but it is worth reading.

Man's inhumanity to man is something our species have had to deal with from the days

of Cain and Abel. I guess it will always be thus.

It is truly a pity that we seem to be unable to accept the diversity of people, and learn to

enjoy it rather than destroy it.

Naim S. Mahlab