All Is Not Well At My Old Primary School And In The Town I Was Born

I was born in the Ceduna District Hospital on the West Coast of South Australia (click for map) and from grades prep to 5&1/2 I went to Ceduna Area School. My Grandparents live in the house I grew up in.

Although, Ceduna is on the coast, the town is isolated. With a population of 4000, it is the largest town for 300 km in any direction. When I was growing up, traffic lights, fast food chains, dual-lane roads, bridges, tunnels, rivers and multi-storey buildings were fantasies, only lived out on the annual or by-annual trip east. To get to Adelaide it is an 800 km drive.

There has always been a large aboriginal population in the Ceduna area. Unfortunately, like in many rural areas of Australia, the aboriginal and non-aboriginal populations have not always seen eye to eye. Recently, the racial problem seems to have reached a crisis point.

Let’s hope positive and long-term strategies can be put in place to minimise the area’s problems and allow people to live in harmony.

Flag Stories, Part 3

Whilst visiting the BBC story on the ‘flag burning issue‘ (recently updated), I stumbled upon a fascinating article concerning the similarity of the Indonesian province of Aceh’s flag with the Turkish equivalent. Here is the Acehnese flag:

If one burnt an Acehnese flag in Turkey I don’t think the Turkish authorities would believe the person was protesting against the Indonesians…

Funny And Annoying Sleep Patterns

Recently (the last 2-3 weeks) I have been sleeping lighter than usual. Before I wake up I have these semi-conscious thoughts. The thoughts are not of any particular nature or subject, just what was on my mind before I went to sleep. Consistent poor sleep has lead to headaches and tiredness during the day.

Coinciding with the light sleeping, I always wake up in the same specific lying position. Previously I used to sleep on my side. Now I wake up lying on my back with my arms above my head. I am almost certain this has something to do with my poor sleep. The new sleeping position also reduces the blood flowing to my arms and when I wake up they take a short time regain all their feelings.

I really don’t know why I am waking up in this new position. Falling asleep is not difficult and psychologically, I’m fine (well, that is what my other personalities tells me :-)).

I have tried sleeping in different positions on the double bed but I always wake up exactly the same. Tonight I am sleeping on the single bed in the lounge room. Hopefully, the different environment will help.

Burning The Turkish Flag

The second Turkish flag post in a row. This one is more serious.

This week, during the beginning of spring (Nevruz) celebrations in Mersin, some Kurdish protestors attempted to burn a Turkish flag.

In Turkey, burning or insulting the Turkish flag in anyway is illegal. The flag is held in very high regard in this strongly patriotic country. Read the army’s response to the attempted flag-burning: Turkish Armed Forces Is Ready To Protect Its Country And Flag.

Although I do not agree with the protestors’ aims, I believe they and everyone else should have the legal right to burn the country’s flag. Burning a flag is not a good thing, but it should not be a criminal offence. This is one aspect of freedom of speech.

Banning flag burning is actually not uncommon. Many, if not most, other countries also share the practise. Even in countries like Australia and the USA, many people want burning the national flag outlawed.

A sign of Turkey truly maturing is when she legalises the burning of her flag.

Any thoughts?

UPDATE [2005/03/23]: This morning at work, Serkan placed a large Turkish flag in the office window. I asked why he was doing it and he said “protesto” (protest). He put the flag up to protest the attempted flag burning on Sunday. I thought it was a joke until I walked to the nearby weekly fruit and vegetable bazaar (“pazar”). On the way there were Turkish flags up on apartments and shops everywhere, all displaying their solidarity in support of the Turkish flag.

Below is a photo of a flag dragging that also occurred on Sunday. I’m not sure if it is directly related to the attempted flag burning.

More news stories related to the flag incident:
Three detained over flag burning
Right-wing groups incensed
Disrespect towards flag condemned
Military issues flag ultimatum

UPDATE 2 [2005/03/24]: Here is a photo I took this morning on the way from home to work. The flags are everywhere.

The flag issue has become large enough for even the BBC to run a news article: Flag-waving frenzy grips Turkey.

Other news stories:
Botched flag burning leads to patriotic backlash in Turkey
IHD calls for moderation in flag reactions
Two children claimed to throw flag to ground deatin (sic)

UPDATE 3 [2005/03/25]: The Turkish flag is constantly displayed on the television by most channels like it usually is on a national holiday.

The Financial Times has a good rundown on the issue and Seyda at Metroblogging Istanbul writes from a different angle.

UPDATE 4 [2005/03/28]:

Lawyers act in Turkish flag row:

Lawyers in Turkey’s third city, Izmir, have filed a complaint against the country’s most senior military officer.

The complaint says comments made by Gen Hilmi Ozkok, after two young Kurdish men tried to burn a Turkish flag, created hatred between citizens.

Enough is Enough:

We should wake up and realize that what we have been experiencing over the past several days was not a demonstration of respect for the Turkish flag. On the contrary, we have been busy establishing even higher walls dividing our people.

Sweet protest:

A pastry shop in Eskişehir has joined countrywide protests against a flag desecration incident that occurred during Nevroz celebrations in Mersin last week, preparing two baking tins of baklava depicting the red-and-white Turkish flag.


UPDATE 5 [2008/08/04]:

A witness in the Ergenekon indictment claims the flag burning in Mersin was organised by the Ergenekon gang. If this allegation could be proven it would make things very interesting…

Mersin Graffiti

If you know where to look, Mersin has its fair share of graffiti. The graffiti is usually basic and either personal or political in nature. For some reason, graffitying in English is common.

Following is a Turkish graffiti artist/vandal’s work expressing their love for friends, Gulcin, Fatmagul and Sinem:

Did the graffitist write “you” to provide emphasis or because “I love you” is the most common form of the expression and the only form they knew? I suggest the latter.