Thursday, June 3, 2010

There's Always an Excuse When You Need One

Three weeks into Istanbul and I've found a job and a place to live. The place to live is nice, but there are a few too many unidentifiable bugs in the kitchen. Such comes with the bohemian lifestyle. And I'd complain a bit louder if I paid rent.

Note that I'm being charged rent. Just not paying yet. Let us, um, see how long I can pull that one off.

Other than that, it's just days full of translating and nights full of being a tout. Lots of, "Hey, my American friend. I have knowledge of great restaurants, and you can trust me because I am another American. Isn't this true, friend?"

So not exactly the world-changing, life-altering Experience. Yet. But I've never actually worked before, so that is sort of a novel concept so far. I'll have to try being entrepreneurial. Not what I expected to be doing, but it will be fun to try. But it'll be neat to see if this is something that I'm good at.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan is devolving into bloodshed, torture, and Event Horizon-esque horror. And the most I can do is...sit here. Lovely. I don't even have time to write about it, even when all sorts of people can be paid to write about it. Even when the possibilities for their writings can become even more impressive. Even when there are avenues with whom to write. Nope, for now my fate is in Istanbul, and I'm not sure what I can do from here. It'll be up to July to find out. So I'll leave it to the fine pens of Ms. Kendzior and Mr. Schwartz to fill you in and their respective comments sections to entertain you. In short: everything is really complicated. There is no such thing as an Evil People, and there's a lot of blank space to be filled between the Anthropology of Kendzior and the Evil Studies of Schwartz. I'm not really sure there's a good way to fill that gap, but hey.

Things happen in Central Asia. This particular one, of course, was bad, but it is awfully important to note that this is a rarity, not the norm. Mass violence has never been the norm. We haven't moved into Barter Town quite yet. And Osh is almost certainly not where it would start.

It's a common theme here, but remember: most speakers are qualified to do nothing of the sort. I absolutely include myself in that categorization. The Ferghana Valley is an agonizingly complex place, but that doesn't mean its a tinderbox ready to explode. Manhattan is an agonizingly complex place, but even the Bernie Goetz's have been largely phased out. So what I'm trying to say is...let's gentrify Central Asia!

I'm going to start looking at Central Asia through a Turkish lens through this blog, that's the hope. It goes with the whole Neo-Ottoman, Pan-Turkic viewpoint of the current regime (though obviously less of the latter. There's no Ozal to be found currently). I'll also, depending on how work works out, try to get a view of the ugliness of the NGO world. I had a good talk over a football match with another American about the make-work and the short-sightedness of the NGOs that us do-gooders love, and I'd love to look at more of that through my personal scope.

"So if you're gonna mock governments and non-governments," you may ask, "then what's your answer?"

Underemployed young creatives, mostly. Yeah, you got it, I think that other jokers like me can make a difference. I'm not completely serious when I say that, though. Mostly because, I mean, what am I doing? Am I going out there and being Change? No, of course not, I have too many excuses why not. I can blog while Osh burns.

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