If you spend a few weeks as a guest in a small town in western Turkey which is where I’m from, you’ll be amazed at how people people people are (nope, this is not a typo, I”ve always wanted to do this pun, consider yourselves lucky).
Let me clarify: being a people person over there is not just conversing and eating. It’s also sharing everything you own with your guest. Your guest can literally be entitled to anything you own. As a foreigner who doesn’t even speak the language, you’ll be treated like royalty.
Spending a few weeks as a guest has its perks. But if you’re there to stay, you’ll start to realize that the same people who were incredibly generous to you (and still do remain to be so) will also start to claim a say in your personal affairs after a while. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll always mean well. But their values won’t necessarily align with yours. When there’s a conflict, there’ll be heated discussions. And when you question their intention, they’ll just say, oh no, I’m just looking out for you.
Do you get where I’m going with this?
Every sultan, (needless to say, sultan is a metaphor here) is there to watch over you. He’s the father that tells you not to wear this, not to wear that. He’s the brother that lets you know you should get your act together or you’ll get beaten up. He’s the neighbour that insists you get married or people will talk. At some point, you feel like you’re being monitored by an all-seeing-eye. But it’s all good, if you ask him as he does all this, out of love.
The silver lining is you’re protected. But one needs to ask, at what cost?
More about the artwork
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