Type-A bureaucrat who professionally pushes papers in the Middle East. History nerd, linguistic geek, and devoted news junkie.
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Ouch.

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hannahdraper
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Turkey pardoned by Trump had multiple contacts with Russian officials

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WASHINGTON — The turkey pardoned by President Donald Trump has had multiple contacts with Russian officials over the past year, Duffel Blog has learned. Grav E. Gobbles, a 4-year-old bird from western Minnesota, received a pardon Tuesday during a ceremony in the Rose Garden. But how Gobbles was able to secure a presidential pardon has […] More
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Every Argument Against Commonsense Gun Control Broken Down to Its Idiotic Nonsense

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Baby-killing is bad.

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hannahdraper
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Flea market impressions in Feriköy

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Nightlife at The old brewery is not the only entertainment in the Bomonti hood of Istanbul. Sunday mornings are worth spending there as well. Istanbul is full of new structures and experiences, but the flea market in the Feriköy district of Bomonti offers a unique time travel through the cultural heritage of the city and the country.

I love to get lost in the antiques, ephemera, or simply the junk of this market. The quiet and calm walks down to the neighbourhood early in the morning always serves as a mental preparation for what stories await me. I turn left just before the brewery and here is the marketplace surrounded by modern looking, tall buildings. Most of them are luxurious residences that were recently built as a result of the gentrification projects going on in the old parts of Istanbul.

There is an old saying in Turkish that might be translated as: “If old things were in fashion, light from heaven would illuminate the flea market” (Eskiye rağbet olsaydı, bit pazarına nur yağardı).

The flea market of Feriköy might be an embodiment of this. But for those who are obsessed with the past, like me as a history student, it is a heaven in itself. It offers a time travel in the recent history of Turkey through the ordinary material culture or simply the junk.

If you want to experience and discover the stories that you cannot find in the books or in the touristic places, this is a definitely a place to visit for you. Once you join the curious crowd wandering around booths, the time travel starts.

The period that the objects belong to could be measured on a large scale. The booths offer funny combinations of objects from the heritage of these lands.

In one I saw a document written in Ottoman Turkish with Arabic script, next to an ad for Ford trucks, a poster of Bülent Ecevit, which quotes his 1977 election campaign motto “For a new Turkey”, and traditional wooden spoons with Arabic inscription. In another booth I noticed black and white photos of ordinary people taken in a certain Nuran Photography House in Divan Yolu (thanks to my weak skills in reading Ottoman inscription) along with different old medals of war veterans.

It is also possible that you find postcards with intimate notes at the back, sent from all around the world. For the junk lovers, there are plenty of second hand clothes, cameras, furniture and other stuff. For collectors, there are more valuable objects such as stamps, old coins, maps, books, magazines, vinyl records with old music, and decorative materials.

The flea market is not only rich in stuff but in people as well. Engaging in small talks with visitors or with the owner of the booth leaves you with more stories about the past. You may get to know a member from a wealthy family of Istanbul, a history professor, an editor from a history magazine or an ordinary resident of the neighbourhood.

If you are lucky you might meet Kağıt Çocuk (Paper Boy) who sells old movie posters and ads from magazines and get lost in his papers. He once told me that he has a separate house for keeping his collection.

I suggest you go see Mihran Amca’s booth whom I met this Sunday. He is an Armenian from Dersim, living two blocks away, and sells books on the Armenian culture published by Aras Publishing House. I bought one called “A Cry for Justice” (Bir Adalet Feryadı) which is about five Armenian feminist writers who were born in the Ottoman lands. If you seem interested enough, it is possible that he will give away his documentary on Armenians from Dersim.

This time travel in the flea market of Bomonti will give you sneezes from the dust. Not only that but also a bag full of “junk” and stories. That’s what is worth a simple walk in the market. There is more to that. If you want to take your time and contemplate on what you have experienced after your visit, there are hipster coffee shops around. But, of course, this will be the topic of another post.

Naz Vardar

The flea market, Bit Pazarı in Turkish, is open from 9 am to 7 pm.

 

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hannahdraper
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The Codex Quetzalecatzin comes to the Library of Congress

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Writing is a strange invention. One might suppose that its emergence could not fail to bring profound changes in the conditions of human existence…
                                                                          –Claude Levi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques

The Codex Quetzalecatzin, also known as the Mapa de Ecatepec-Huitziltepec, the Codex Ehecatepec and Huitziltepec, or the Charles Ratton Codex, is an extremely rare colored Mesoamerican manuscript and one of the most important indigenous manuscripts from the earliest history of the Americas to become available in recent years. Several months ago the Library Congress acquired this world treasure from a private collector in France, and has now made it available to the public digitally, allowing it to be seen and studied by scholars across the world, for the first time in more than a century.

The Codex Quetzalecatzin. Collections of the Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

As is typical for an Aztec, or Nahuatl, codex of this early date, it relates the extent of land ownership and properties of a family line known as “de Leon,” most of the members of which are depicted on the manuscript. With Nahuatl stylized graphics and hieroglyphs, it illustrates the family’s genealogy and their descent from Lord-11 Quetzalecatzin, who in 1480, was the major political leader of the region. It is from him the Codex derives one of its many names.

Lord-11 Quetzalecatzin (in red) as depicted on the Codex. Collections of the Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

The manuscript dates from between 1570 and 1595, making it an extremely rare example of a pre-1600 indigenous American codex. It was created at a time when many cartographic histories were being produced both as a part of a Spanish royal investigation into the human and community resources in the Spanish colonies, and when indigenous families were trying to reassert their ancient land claims. These maps were largely made by indigenous painters and scribes, and that is reflected in the structure and make-up of the Codex Quetzalecatzin. Particular features that point to indigenous authorship include pre-Hispanic illustrative conventions, such as the symbols for rivers, roads and pathways, and of course hieroglyphic writing. The glosses on the manuscript, which utilize the Latin alphabet, are clues to its colonial-era composition, as are the names of some of the indigenous leaders such as “don Alonso” and “don Matheo.” Naming conventions such as these provide evidence that at least some indigenous elites were granted the Spanish title of nobility (“don”) and had been baptized with Christian names.

Extent of the Lands shown in the Codex Quetzalecatzin. Map created by John Hessler, Geography and Map Division.

Like many Nahuatl codices and manuscript maps of the period it depicts a local community at an important point in their history. On the one hand, the map is a traditional Aztec cartographic history with its composition and design showing Nahuatl hieroglyphics, and typical illustrations. On the other hand, it also shows churches, some Spanish place names, and other images suggesting a community adapting to Spanish rule.  Maps and manuscripts of this kind would typically chart the community’s territory using hieroglyphic toponyms, with the community’s own place-name lying at or near the center. The present codex shows the de Leon family presiding over a large region of territory that extends from slightly north of  Mexico City, to just south of Puebla. Codices such as these are critical primary source documents, and for scholars looking into history and  ethnography during the earliest periods of contact between Europe and the peoples of the Americas,  they give important clues into how these very different cultures became integrated and adapted to each others presence.

The form and color of the codex reflects many of the deep artistic stylizations found in indigenous books made throughout Mesoamerica and uses naturally extracted pigments and dyes, like Maya Blue, and cochineal, to create the bold coloring that strikes anyone who looks at the Codex. Color was an important element in all Nahuatl and Maya books and many early sources survive that narrate how they were prepared and used. Perhaps the most important source for our knowledge of the materials and plants used by ancient Americans in the design and construction of the codices comes from the Historia general de las cosas de Nueva Espana, compiled by the Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagun around 1575-1577. His manuscript gives us deep clues on how the Codex Quetzalecatzin was made and painted and is now commonly known as the Florentine Codex.

Detail of Maya Blue on the Codex Quetzalecatzin. Collections of the Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

The Codex Quetzalecatzin, because of its extreme rarity, and because of its relevance to the early history of European contact with the indigenous peoples of the Americas, is an important addition to the early American treasures at the Library of Congress. To get a sense of the manuscripts rarity, it should noted that only around 450 Mesoamerican pictorial manuscripts survive to the present day, and less than 100 pre-date 1600. The acquisition of this world treasure by the Library of Congress adds to the rare and world class indigenous manuscripts already in its collections, including the Oztoticpac Lands Map and the Huexotzinco Codex, and we look forward to its study by scholars everywhere.

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The case for reforming airport-slot allocation

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GULLIVER is back from the 141st Slot Conference in Madrid, a meeting of airlines and airport co-ordinators run by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an airline lobby group.
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