Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

Roj xelat* – Erkan is all right now. No more worries.

In Erkan in the military service on June 20, 2009 at 08:57

*Dawn is born (In Kurdish) I see this wall writing on the cabin where I do my watch near a small prison. Most of the soldiers are Kurdish origined and I guess a guy doing his 04-06 watch had written that when the dawn was born:)

My dear readers, I am sorry for all the pessimistic writing recently. I could not help it. Despite my optimism it did not work for better until very recently. I can now declare that despite the failure in my transfer request I am doing much better!  This new turn of events happened after reaching the lowest point here. One morning I fainted. I remember fainting once when I was in primary school. I haven’t had any issue like that before. Sleeplessness, stress and blood pressure finally worked on me. After staying 3-4 hours in the hospital, I came back and my life got better gradually.

In fact, my life had gotten better after being cleared off from the office work- not any more subject to continous exposure to stressful officials. My life had become simpler: Doing 5 or 6 hours of watch duty in a small prison next to our barracks. Daily exercises- Particularly the morning session plus pre-lunch and pre-dinner sessions. Daily morning cleaning duties. In order to sleep enough, I go to bed at 8:30 pm so that I can do my night watch easily.

Officials like privates to do constant work and this does not leave much time for rest. However, I am now basically exempted from any extra work – don’t ask what extra work is; officials can always find extra work for privates like pulling grass, painting, cleaning again and again- This leaves me enough time to do readings! I have been reading all my life and I chose Sociology in my undergraduate program just to read more and this was the first time I could not read for such a long time. Now that I am back to regular reading, I feel really better. I now take routine exercises for my own bodily benefit. Officials are not pushy any more and I am still doing lower scores than my 10 year younger mates but I certainly show betterment in scores.

From time to time, I am sent to patrolling duties, we roam through villages. So far I was in night patrols, so I haven’t seen villages in daylight but I hear it is fancy to walk through villages. I was once sent to a patrol that would transfer two inmates from one prison to another. This was a more stressful task as you might guess. Speaking of the prison, ours is a small one and contains small time inmates. There has never been an escape attempt. This makes my watch duty less stressful. There are always two privates and one sergeant in the watch. I wait in the back cabin and sometimes pace up and down in my designated area. I will write a story about passing 3 hour-session there:) Well, since this duty is not particularly stressful- in fact prison guard duty is under normal conditions a very stressful duty- my duty sometimes turns out to be idyllic. The prison has a big garden and the sergeants mostly do some kind of horticultural work while privates climb trees and collect cherries. or sit down and read newspapers which are all of course forbidden normally. A few days ago, something on my helmet. It was a white mulberry. Since then I spend sometime collecting and eating mulberries.

There is virtually no pastime activity which is a constant complain. Our table-tennis has just been removed. TV set is only used my officials at the moment. No more news watching. There are backgammon sets and even a small chess set. as you might guess, chess is not a favorite pastime activity for many kids but I still played some and chess remains to be only sport I am good at. I suspect backgammon sets will be removed soon. So what can 20-21 year-old kids do? If they find any time, they wrestle. There is something Freudian in these constant bodily encounters, but i won’t speculate about that.

Cell phone usage is forbidden but when night comes, people use it in the ward and officials probably are aware of that. So I will have to listen to boys talking to their wives or lovers or watch them wrestling. My station is a place for "exiled ones". Many privates have criminal records or psychological problems. This never became a problem for me though. I am more used to work or encounter with these types though some of them are harder cases than I ever met. Most of the privates are Kurdish by the way. As far as I know this is a general policy. Sending Easterners to the western regions and vice versa.

Let me hope to bring more good news next time. Next week we will be subject to an Auditing by the Regional Command Headquarters. That’s hopefully the last hard phase before I am released in mid-September.  Thank you for all your support and good wishes.


Erkan’s Contact Info.

Please write responsibly as all received material supervised here:)

J. Er  Erkan Saka
İlçe Jandarma  Komutanlığı
telefon: 0366 313 1032

Beşiktaş Champion and I am still living the nightmare…

In Erkan in the military service on June 6, 2009 at 13:31

It was a very upsetting night. Beşiktaş became the  champion and I could not feel happy because of the conditions I was in.

I find myself in the best internet cafe of the town in this Saturday morning and relying on I try to relax in listening to Lamb of God and Manowar. These are what I chose for this session. Nothing special… But particularly Manowar sounds very good, makes me feel better right now. This is the one day 9-17 break in 2 weeks. Other stations have weekly breaks but ours only in 2 weeks. [Now I move to listening to "Running Wild".] [finally Meshuggah, before I leave, before I post…]

Unfortunately, nothing much changed since the last break. They are so unpredictable that you cannot routinize my experience. In fact, there have been some changes. Yesterday, I was fired my my office work because the office was not tidy enough. Now, I will be totally an ordinary soldier. I will have at least 6 hours of watch duties. There are probably lots of cleaning tasks and of course patroling duties. That’s all right. I was just too stressful in the office work, always subject to officials’ watch and warnings. Not to mention insults by some.

I am still waiting for a transfer with diminishing hopes. Well, I have lost motivation to write. Let’s hope for a better post next time.

p.s. I received a card from Kathrine (Jensen) and a letter from Prof. Nezih Erdoğan! These were sweet, they made my day. Let’s pray for a good transfer and I will post my address again.

Blogosphere research from the Berkman Center Internet & Democracy project

In Cyberculture on June 6, 2009 at 09:45

First, the extensive study of the Persian blogosphere which the project released last year, Mapping Iran’s Online Public, has been supplemented by an interactive interface for exploring an updated blogosphere map. This updated map includes translations of a small sampling of representative blog posts and provides a handy visual companion to the study. Links:

* Mapping Iran’s Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian Blogosphere, April 2008 (English and Persian versions available):

* "Mapping Change in the Iranian Blogosphere," February 2009:

* Mapping Iran’s Online Public: Interactive blogosphere map, June 2009: