Posts Tagged ‘Istanbul’

Taksim Square one year on

May 31, 2014
Taksim Square one year on

Taksim Square one year on

One year on, and the same police brutality as was used to clear peaceful protesters from Taksim Square a year ago.

Ten days ago, we had a mining disaster, an advisor to the Prime Minister viciously kicked one of the protesters. The Prime Minister too lashed out at protesters. The mining disaster was dismissed as no great matter.

A brutal dictator who the people must depose.

You, who they call Lord

March 30, 2014

You, who I can feel deep inside my soul.
You, who has created this world.

When I look into the microcosmos, in the macrocosmos, everywhere I find you.
I sense your greatness.

You, who they call Lord,
who they call Father,
who they call Allah,
who they call Jahwe,
You, who is there.

Who is with us. Who walks with us.
The older I become, the more I can call you friend.
You are the friend of my life, who loves me and who called me to carry your message to the people.
Thank you.

I want to ask for everyone who is here today, to feel some of God’s Greatness and His love, who wants us, who loves us.
Jesus Christ showed us a way which we can walk together.
In spite of everything and everyone, we can find ways together,
seek and find ways which will gift us with a better and more beautiful life.

Paulo has written that he is searching for the sense in his life.
And while searching he went across new paths, wrong tracks and detours, like the all of us.

Let’s keep on looking for you in the humans beings that are present in our path.


— Abbot Burkhard

Abbot Burkhard is Abbott Emeritus at the Benedictine Abbey at Melk.

It is a tradition of Paulo Coelho that he marks St Joseph Day with a party with his friends. Abbot Burkhard is one of his friends. The evening will always have prayers in many languages, many traditions, starting with Portuguese led by Paulo Coelho.

This prayer by Abbot Burkhard, translated from German by Nayla, is from Istanbul.

Synchronicity: The day after Festa de São José I was in Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção talking to the Parish Priest. I mentioned this prayer by Abbot Burkhard. One week and one day later, Paulo Coelho in a tweet, referenced this prayer on his blog.

Hot chestnuts

December 12, 2013
hot chestnuts

hot chestnuts

At this time of year, I used to see vendors on the streets in London selling hot chestnuts. I say used to, as I do not know if it happens any more. I was in London this time last year, and nowhere did I see hot chestnuts on the streets.

A couple of weeks ago, at a Christmas Fayre in Farnham, hot chestnuts on offer, but not traditional hot chestnuts from a street vendor, these were being cooked on a gas-fired barbecue!

The one place I have found hot chestnuts, and where I least expected to find them, was on the streets of old Istanbul.

Everywhere I came across streets vendors, each had an identical stall, but each had his own display of hot chestnuts, each display different.

And the chestnuts? They were delicious, far better than I have ever tasted on the streets of London.

And they were cheap:

  • 100g 3 lire
  • 200g 5 lire
  • 400g 10 lire

Around the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, they tried to rip you off, that is until I pointed out I knew the price, then they backed down.

What I also liked, was the lovely old scales they used to weigh out the hot chestnuts.

I think I had hot chestnuts every day. It was something to look forward to, and made a pleasant snack whilst wandering the narrow streets of old Istanbul

The only time recently I have seen hot chestnuts, was in the old part of Athens, only a couple of stalls. I tried. Expensive and poor quality to what I had found in Istanbul.

Unlike London, where hot chestnuts are found around Christmas time, in Istanbul and Athens, it was March. Whether available all year round, I do not know.

Published on Medium with pictures of stalls.

Tea and cakes in Istanbul

November 28, 2013

Tea and cakes in tiny tea shops in old Istanbul

 tea and cakes

tea and cakes

One of the things I liked in Istanbul, was in the old part, down very narrow streets, tiny tea shops with the most delicious cakes.

Best with a friend, then you can sample more of the cakes and share.

The tea is red, served in a glass, and sweetened. I would not usually drink tea with sugar, but when I tried without, I found it to be very bitter.

What the tea is, I do not know. I asked, but the communication gap was too wide to be bridged.

The cakes, I do not know what they were either, other than they were delicious.

Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance!

June 11, 2013
Red-eyed protesters streaming to Gezi Park Medical Tent to splash milk on their eyes, tear gas wafting from Taksim Square

Red-eyed protesters streaming to Gezi Park Medical Tent to splash milk on their eyes, tear gas wafting from Taksim Square

Arguing whether to stay in #GeziPark or go to #Taksim ends in chant Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance!

Arguing whether to stay in Gezi Park or go to Taksim Square ends in chant “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance!”

protesters form human chain to protect Gezim Park and edge of Taksim Square

protesters form human chain to protect Gezim Park and edge of Taksim Square

This morning, the forces of repression, went in very heavy in Gezi Park and Taksim Square, armoured vehicles, water cannon, tear gas, rubber bullets.

Advisor to Turkish Medical Association says 10 Head Injuries across Taksim Square from Tear Gas Cannisters fired too low. Most taken to hospital.

Gezi Park Medical Tent reports three broken legs, three head traumas and many overwhelmed by gas. They have their own generator in case electricity is cut.

Lawyers have been dragged from the Court House. When lawyers are dragged by riot police from a Court House, Turkey loses all pretence of a modern democracy.

Turkey tops the list for journalists in gaol. Is Turkey now trying to top the list for lawyers too?.

Last week, the Turkish Prime Minister was calling the protesters terrorists, today he is saying they are part of an international conspiracy.

Please sign the Amnesty International petition.

Please sign the Avaaz petition.

Woman in red becomes face of Turkish protests

June 5, 2013
The woman in red turns as the policeman showers her in pepper spray at close range

The woman in red turns as the policeman showers her in pepper spray at close range

This is what democracy looks like in Turkey

This is what democracy looks like in Turkey

Standing up for her rights: The brave woman is forced to retreat coughing and spluttering as the gas-wielding riot policeman goes on to spray the crowds of demonstrators behind her, leaving them in agony

Standing up for her rights: The brave woman is forced to retreat coughing and spluttering as the gas-wielding riot policeman goes on to spray the crowds of demonstrators behind her, leaving them in agony

Police firing tear gas on unarmed protesters

Police firing tear gas on unarmed protesters

Every citizen defending their urban rights, every worker defending their human rights, and every student defending university rights has witnessed the police violence I experience. — Ceyda Sungar, woman in red

The more you spray the bigger we get — graffiti on walls in istanbul

What began as a peaceful protest in a park in Istanbul to stop the destruction of the park for a shopping mall, rapidly escalated when the repressive police used extreme force to attack protesters.

As the protests have shown, there is no democracy in Turkey.

The Prime Minister calls the protesters ‘terrorists’ and social media as ‘the worst menace to society’.

The police are now arresting protesters for using twitter. It is important therefore, people around the world re-tweet and repost these images in order that the brave people of Turkey who have taken to the streets to oppose a hard-line Islamic regime know they do not stand alone.

Turkey is not a democracy. If this was Kurdistan or occupied northern Cyprus, the police would be firing live rounds.

Third day of protest in Turkey

June 2, 2013
A man waves a flag with portrait Turkey's founder Kemal Ataturk as thousands of Turkish youths gather at city's main Kizilay Square in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, June 2, 2013. (Burhan Ozbilici/AP)

A man waves a flag with portrait Turkey’s founder Kemal Ataturk as thousands of Turkish youths gather at city’s main Kizilay Square in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday 2 June 2013. (Burhan Ozbilici/AP)

What started out as a protest against a shopping mall in a park in Istanbul, is now in its third day with over 90 protests taking place across Turkey.

When the police went in heavy, to crush a protest in a park, people took to the streets. It was the final straw, people are now venting their anger against an unpopular authoritarian Islamic government. They are now calling for the resignation of the Turkish Prime Minister and his government, an apology from the police and an end to all urban development.

As with the Arab Spring, social media has a major role to play.

The Turkish government is censoring what the media can show. Please ensure this is widely circulated.

Istanbul Symphony (Op 28) – Fazil Say

June 3, 2012

Note: Concert starts at 16 minutes.

Paulo Coelho and Christina Oiticica in Istanbul

April 13, 2011

Paulo Coelho and Christina Oiticica in Istanbul on St Joseph’s Day.

Scenes from press conference at Pera Palace Hotel and Istanbul street scene.

Photos by Marcos Borges.

Music Istanbul by Orient Expressions.

Paulo Coelho in Istanbul on St Joseph’s Day
Paulo Coelho Press Conference at Pera Palace Hotel
Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day Party at Pera Palace Hotel

Dreams do come true

April 4, 2011
nostalgia by Eisblume

nostalgia by Eisblume

When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream. — Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

There are always two choices in life, either put up with the conditions as they are, or take the responsibility to change them. — Pooja Tripathi

I’m constantly blinking my eyes trying to stay awake
I feel like I’m fallen and I know I better awaken
I’m constantly reminiscing on what are the meanings of my dreams
My dreams are beyond an ordinary dream
In my dreams I have already been here and there
I feel like I’m trapped in a cage
Because it continues to leave me puzzled like a maze
I feel like in life it is meant for us to dream
Because dreams are what bring life to reality
All I know is I must awaken before life passes me by
Because I pray when I die I get to live in the sky

— sehar

A doctor by profession and a child by heart. A teacher by choice and a dreamer by soul who aspires for civils,A poet,a blogger who wants to be a writer,A dancer who is an optimistic and believes in enjoying every moment of life – good or bad because gift of life is life itself,An aquarian whose life’s motto has always been “LIFE IS FOR ONCE,MAKE IT LARGE”………….n thats ME

There are always two choices in life, either put up with the conditions as they are, or take the responsibility to change them.

Pooja reads and comments on Paulo Coelho’s blog. One day to her surprise, Pooja recieved an e-mail:

Dear Dr. Proja
I prefer to post your story as my “Reader’s story” later this week, that is why I did not approve the comment
I am copying to my good friend, also a warrior of the light, Priya, who will make the necessary corrections.
Thank you for sharing

The e-mail was from Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho, and true to his word he published her story on his blog.

There are always two choices in life, either put up with the conditions as they are, or take the responsibility to change them.

It happened one fine day when I was at my father’s clinic attending to his patients whilst he was out of town. A lady named Saraswati came with her one year old daughter. The baby was burning with fever, when I took her temperature I realized it was at 103. I scolded the lady for not bringing her baby in any earlier. The lady started crying, saying she did not have the money for the doctor’s fees and medication (I didn’t pay much attention to this since this is a very common occurrence at my father’s clinic).

Saraswati then told me her story. She had got married three years ago; her parents paid a dowry of 10,000 rupees. However, her husband ran away with the money and leaving her pregnant. Saraswati returned to her home and took on the job of a servant. Her husband’s family did not care about whether her daughter was sick or well since she was a girl.

After telling me her story, Saraswati left. I did not charge her, but I knew that this would not solve her problem. I thought about Saraswati all night and wondered what could be done to help these illiterate, cheated and downtrodden women.

Then the next day I received a call from my aunty who needed a housemaid for her daugher-in-law who had just had twins. I felt as if God had showed me a way to help Saraswati.

I recommended her to my aunty. My aunty gave Saraswati a good income and a good home to live in.

After a few days she came with her sister who was educated and was looking to become independent like her sister. I recommended her to one of my friends for a receptionist’s position. From this came the idea of NAARI, an organization for making women self-dependant.

Setting up NAARI was not an easy task, since there are so many legal formalities for female organizations. I was very young and all alone, so I dropped the idea. And then one sunny morning when I was having coffee a group of women came to my house (guided by the ever so dear Saraswati of course).

Everybody had a common story, cheated, exploited and dowry victims.

I recommended nine of these women to domestic maid jobs.

Now these ladies are independent and all eleven of them are working hard to live a respectable life. I may have not been successful in giving them an organization but when one day Saraswati came to my home with a box of sweets because she had got admission for her daughter at a nearby school, she fell to my feet and said : you have given my daughter and I a respectable living, may God give you much success.

I realized I had done nothing I just showed them a way – a way to self-respect and thereafter, all eleven of them continued this tough journey themselves.

She thanked Paulo and he replied: “Thank you for sharing the story. you are not only a beautiful soul, but a good writer too (went through your blog.”

And having been in communication with Pooja all evening, I can only say I agree with Paulo, she is a beautiful soul, who radiates an outer beauty, and she is a good writer. As my lovely friend Iva with who I was chatting later would say (and says of me), she is a typical Aquarian.

But it did not end there. She had e-mails following publication on Paulo’s blog, one of which she reproduced as it was yet another story, which was also posted as a comment on Paulo’s blog to the original story.

On the eve before fleeing my homeland in April 1975, I was struck with a mysterious infliction (some kind of severe, internal bleeding and clot). Some at the hospital announced I only had a few days to live. Others with my condition had already died. My father refused to believe in this fate for me, refused to give in to the despair swirling around him. He was not alone.

There was a young, female doctor who performed an immediate surgery on me to remove whatever it was that stood in the way of my breath and caused blood to pour from my mouth. I was four years old and one of the few memories I have from that time in the hospital was being in a room full of sick and dying children and thinking, “I am not going to die. Not today. Not here.”

Doctors like you make a difference. Hope makes a difference.

Thank you to you and to all the doctors out there saving lives. As we say in Vietnamese, cảm ơn bạn rất nhiều. Thank you so much.

We all have dreams, but how many follow our dreams? We make excuses, then we bemoan our fate and are envious of others who have all the luck.

We are all presented with the same opportunities in life, the difference is that some grasp the opportunities that life offers them, are like Santiago in The Alchemist prepared to take risks to fullfil their dreams.

For me it was as a dream come true when Paulo Coelho invited me to his St Joseph’s Day party in Istanbul. Meeting him was like meeting an old friend I had known forever. Being in Istanbul, was in itself like being in a dream.

Meeting my lovely friend Sian was like a dream come true. I often used to think when we met, would I wake up one day and find that was all it was, a dream.

When I came back from Istanbul I went to see my lovely friend Sian. I wanted to share with her the excitement of my trip to Istanbul. I told her of how meeting Paulo was like meeting an old friend who I had known forever. I or maybe she said it was like when we met, something clicked, as old as time itself we had known each other, two soul mates reunited

The Road Not Taken
Dreams Do Come True
Two Choices in Life
Reader’s story: two choices in life

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