Down to Our Grassroots (2)

Written by Selami Sahin on . Posted in Selami Sahin

Selami SahinAs one of the column writers for the newly formed Turkish Association of Canada, I would like to thank the coordinators of the website for providing me with the opportunity to write about issues that affect most of us in the Turkish Community. In so doing, I hope that most of my columns will express current issues that affect us both abroad and in Canada.

My first piece will be concentrated on our rapidly changing technological environment and how it affects our social well being.

In today's fast paced era, where much of our lives is spent in front of some sort of electronic display screen, our means of social interaction and communication has deviated much from the norm that existed earlier in the twenty century. Our lives have become entangled in this fast paced new technological generation, that which we still call freedom. Our hunger and thirst for companionship has been trumped by our need for monitored social media feed and competition. Which is essentially just a fabrication of the conglomerate media cartels that surcome to the wims of the controlling few. The generation of our children and those to come is at risk of losing the human emotional contact element in most aspects of their daily communications. Year by year, it seems that people spend more energy and time in utilizing these monitored electronic gadgetry.

More so we are losing out to the cultural past that our generation was able to absorb and rekindle in our daily social activities, even while abroad from Native Lands. This cultural heritage, or in other words, our social legacy needs to be instilled in our children for the future in order to sustain their sense of self perseverance and respect for nature, family hierarchy and their fellow mankind. In order to preserve the essential fundamentals that which makes a society which it is, further degeneration of these fundamentals needs to be avoided.

Our children need to be returned to their grassroots and interact with surrounding environment as was done in the time of our ancestors. As such was my intention in bringing my children to Turkey for vacation this year, and hopefully every several years from now on if economically feasible. As a child who came to Canada at very young age but that went back to visit Turkey every several years. I found that I can feed off my memories of my visits and social interactions that occurred, throughout the years in Turkey. These collective memories of my childhood, I find, are very useful in helping me establishing a sense of belonging. It is the one thing that helps me take a grasp of who and what I am, and for the future, what I can be. Thus, the English saying, Grassroots. If you have no sense of your past, at least to some degree, then your sense of your future can be in dismay.

Selami 2

My focus this year was to have the children spend some time in interacting and participating with the healthy and natural ways of food collection and manipulation as was done by our elders and those before. In Mountainous regions of Giresun, about 50 km inland from the Black Sea, and about 1500 m above sea level. The children participated in the natural harvesting of crops, milking of cows, pasteurizing and churning of milk naturally for butter extraction, production of several types of cheese, corn flour production, corn bread production, stone oven baked bread observations, harvesting and searching for wild mushrooms, herbs, berries, and harvesting of fruits.

They resided in houses that were hand made by their forefathers using only simple cutting tools that shaped the wooden supports and nailed together from self made nails, and then fitted with naturally shaped stones extracted from ravines. The roofs of the houses were made with wooden shingles cut using simple scraper tools. The window frames, doors, and wooden floors were all made of heat hardened chestnut wood. Which has not been treated and still til this day holds its glamour and strength.

So much of our heritage and those of our ancestors and many other Cultures way before our time exists in this beautiful Country of Turkey, which can arguably be said to be one of the Cradles of Society.

I trust that in having the children visit Turkey this year at their age of 6, that even though in as little time as we did, much of which they spent in the homes close to the Black Sea, and the interior Mountain sides, this time will be engraved into their childhood memories. Of which some of this collective conscious might perhaps ease their understanding and outlook for the future in dealing with mankind and nature in a more respectful and positive outlook. That will benefit them and their children to come, for the future. This educative mission that is bestowed on us, as to pass on to our children is an ongoing mission as life itself is, and therefore should be frequently repeated even if circumstances might arise to hinder our attempts in doing so.

In conclusion, foremost our values need to be replenished, and if not then at the least sustained through our legacy, that is one of the best attributes that we can instill on to them. At the same time, that which is within their existence, is also a glimpse of our self preservation and salvage.

Selami Sahin

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