The graceful lesson I learned from Melinè, Nurcan and a scorpion
Last night I mediated a conversation between two women who are both originally from Muş – a city in the South Anatolia, Turkey- but who could not speak each other’s language. Melinè spoke in English and Nurcan in Turkish, and I was in between; translating from English to Turkish, from Turkish to English.
Melinè: I am mixed blood, half French, half Armenian.
Nurcan: I am mixed blood, too. Half Arab, half Kurd.
Melinè: Do you know a Kurdish song called ”Gülo”?
Nurcan: I know a mourning song dedicated to a woman called ”Gûle’’.
Nurcan started to sing the song with a moving tone. My soul vibrated with grace and sorrow.
‘’Gûle çûye ciye dûr nahatiye lıwan deran (Gûle went far away and she did not return back.)
Denge qe puxare biriye (She went and took her voice with herself.)’’
Then Melinè started to tell. It turned out that Gûle is Melinè’s great grandma. She was a beautiful woman living in a village around Muş.
One day, a Kurdish clan leader came suddenly to the village and kidnapped Gûle. He raped her and deforced her to stay with him. People, either Armenian or Kurdish, living in Gûle’s village mourned with songs after her. Melinè said that the songs in Armenian have similar lyrics like the Kurdish song that Nurcan has sung.
I was in tears while trying to translate between Nurcan and Melinè. My tears were not only for Gûle. I was in sorrow for all people who suffered from violence, from hatred, from injustice on the lands of Anatolia. Nurcan and Melinè were moved, too. We all were in silence.
The silence was interrupted by the screams of Asya and Kara. With two big brooms in their hands, they both were running towards us and yelling in English ‘’Scorpion, scorpion!’’ We then fully realized that in front of Kara and Asya a giant scorpion was approaching us. We all jumped out of our chairs. Nurcan grabbed the chair and she started to chase the scorpion with the chair skillfully using it as if it was a broom. Melinè, Kara, Asya and myself were screaming fearfully to Nurcan: ‘’Kill it, kill it!’’ However, Nurcan was trying to sweep the scorpion towards the garden. If Nurcan had wished, she would have killed the scorpion but she did not choose to kill it.
With an annoyed tone of voice I said to her: ‘’Why have you not killed it? If it comes back and sting one of us?’’ Nurcan replied helplessly ‘’I just couldn’t.’’
The next day, in the morning, I told our adventure with the scorpion to Ebru and Tuba. Nurcan was with us, too. At the end, I said to Nurcan again: ‘’I still do not get why you did not kill the scorpion.’’
Her face shone with a witty smile but her eyes were sad looking in contrast to her smile. She said ‘’After the wailful story that Melinè told us yesterday evening, which was related to the cruel violence of my Kurdish roots, I did not want that she saw me while I kill a living being.’’
I was in awe of Nurcan’s grace.
Shifting the perspective and feeling more at ease
After the ‘scorpion’ incident, I joined Milena, Kara and Asya who were drinking wine. I suppose I drank the wine a little fast and laid my head on the pillow right after that. Some people from our collective continued to give whole-hearted efforts to finish the flying carpet until the clock struck midnight. They even completed its tassels and hung it on the wall. It looked awesome.
Today, I have a headache and I feel a little nauseous, probably from alcohol. But other than that I feel calm. There is no trace of my nervous state which was dominant two days ago. Apart from being together with great women and doing the work I love, there are many other reasons to be happy here; surrounding mountains, sun, wind and flowing waterfall. I must admit, even the gurgling sound of the waterfall was getting on my nerves the other day, but now it excites my soul. This is probably what is meant by ‘shifting the perspective’.
Discussing conflicting opinions in an inspiring way
In the morning session, Tatev’s presentation about “Tolerance” caused some disagreement within the group. Tatev’s view of tolerance towards everyone and everything was based on humanity. We discussed how we define and perceive ‘humanity’. Although there were strongly conflicting opinions around the subject, the way we discussed it was inspiring. Everyone remained open to listen to the different views and expressed themselves in a non-judgemental way.
Creating our own language
Later, Lucine introduced us to the words associated with the female symbols in Chinese iconography. She mentioned that these symbols are mainly insulting or dismissing women.
Further, using the Chinese alphabet we created new words, which appreciate women rather than insulting or dismissing them. The creative experience was reassuring.
In the afternoon, Rüya let us practice percussion. Aida warmed us up intensely beforehand. After the body percussion, Heghine made us play a solidarity game.