Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

The next morning I had early morning coffee with Özcan. He showed me his “treasures” — ancient Roman / Constantine artifacts he found while digging near his hometown. Interested in archeology, he tells me that ancient artifacts are property of the Turkish government, but for the most part they don’t take much interest in creating government-lead expeditions. There is, however, a rash of men planting false “gold” items in remote villages and then conning the local towns-people out of money by convincing them to subsidize their “sale” of the item in a larger town like Istanbul or Ankara, swindling the town out many thousands of dollars and left with only a worthless brass something-or-other.

Özcan shows me two glass bracelets, a beautiful gold ring that had mostly turned black with age, some sort of sharpening tool, and a coin with “Addus Constan” stamped on it. All amazingly well-crafted, and which sparks an interesting discussion about history, culture, Darwinism and the relevance of knowledge for knowledge sake.

I get along well with Özcan, and find he has a unique depth to him; he’s quieter than Bayram and more interested in tradition and culture than Selda and Nehire — fun in their own right– who have embraced Europe’s modernity. But Özcan seems to truly be interested in the pursuit of finding God in truth and information — something I unendingly respect.

Which is why I am heartbroken when we start talking about archeology and culture, and what they say about progress and evolution. In Turkey, Özcan notes, there is a great deal of controversy over modernity and tradition, over education and religious practice. I say there is no difference in the U.S.

“We’ve got creationists and Darwinists at each other’s throats.”

“Do people actually still believe in this?” he asks.

“I know. It’s crazy.” I say, stirring my Nescafé with sütü.

“I read lot of scientific magazines, and they dissprove Darwin all the time. I just can’t to believe there were apes that turn into us.”

My heart sinks. Is he serious?

But then, as we continue to discuss Natural Selection and the Bible; Survival of the Fittest and God’s intention; The Koran and the Galapagos finch population, which all assure me that yes, he is most serious — I find myself smiling: I am so pleased to have found a friend whose beliefs sharply contrast mine, but mutually appreciates the discussion of these ideas.

Mom and Özcan

Me and Bayram the Bartender

§336 · June 25, 2007 · Couch-hop, Location-Location · · [Print]

1 Comment to “More Days in Ölüldeniz”

  1. M says:

    Hey, Thanks for including me in the pictures! We had a great time plus an education! I’m so glad we did it! Thanks for the memory. Me

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