Turkish author warns against British nationalism


This video says about itself:

Elif Shafak: The politics of fiction

19 July 2010

Listening to stories widens the imagination; telling them lets us leap over cultural walls, embrace different experiences, feel what others feel. Elif Shafak builds on this simple idea to argue that fiction can overcome identity politics.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism

“What worries me is that we haven’t learnt anything from history”

Nick Clark

Thursday 05 March 2015

Turkey’s best-selling woman writer has warned against the rise of nationalism in Britain, saying that London’s “precious” multicultural scene was one of the main reasons she moved to the capital four years ago.

Elif Shafak spoke out against the rise of Ukip in Britain after witnessing the “bruising” effect of nationalism on the culture of her home country.

She told a packed audience at The Independent Bath Literature Festival that she was “very worried” about the rise of nationalism in the UK and added that she would like to share a platform with Nigel Farage to debate with him.

“Some of my English friends in the literary world say: ‘Don’t take it seriously’. But I do take it seriously,” the novelist said. “One of the precious things that Turkey has lost is cosmopolitanism. Many minorities have left, or had to leave, and we have lost a lot.”

Politicians across Europe belittling multiculturalism and targeting minorities “make me very sad”, she said. “What worries me is that we haven’t learnt anything from history. Not a long time ago, I’m talking about 70 years.”

The desire for uniformity and people who look the same was disturbing, she added. “The illusion that similarity will bring safety worries me very much. It’s nothing more than an illusion.

“There are few cities in the world now where there is true diversity. This is precious; philosophy, creativity and true democracy always thrive on diversity. In places where it’s not appreciated, democracy is bruised badly. This is what has happened in Turkey.”

Shafak, author of 13 works, said: “I am very fond of London; intellectually I find it very inspiring. The multicultural aspect … is very precious.” She is the best-read female novelist in Turkey, and her work has been translated into more than 40 languages.

Shafak was born in Strasbourg and raised in Ankara, before moving to London in 2010 with her children.

“We won’t learn anything from people who look and speak exactly like us,” she insisted. “Others will challenge us and teach us and we can teach them in return.”

The writer has won numerous literary awards, including France’s prestigious Ordre des Arts et des Letters, and has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

She has long spoken out over the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doing “nothing to further gender issues and equality. We have a big problem of gender violence”. This, she said, had risen 1,400 per cent over the past decade. The issue was highlighted last month after demonstrations broke out across the country following the rape and murder of student Ozgecan Aslan.

Shafak said she did not “have the luxury” of being apolitical as a writer, and criticised Turkey, saying freedom of speech was “going backwards”.

“Turkey is a very patriarchal, sexist and homophobic society,” she said. “The literary world is no different. When you are a woman writer you are treated differently.”

Most popular animals in Britain


This vido is called Children’s Favorite Animals – Learning English Animal Names | Kids Learning Video.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies, says YouGov

Dogs remain the nation’s favourite animal

Zachary Davies Boren

Monday 02 March 2015

Men and women like quite different animals, according to new research.

According to a silly YouGov analysis that has confirmed long-held suspicions of gender-based animal bias, men like lobsters, alligators and sticklebacks (it’s a type of fish) whereas women prefer cats, ponies and miniature pigs.

The country’s overall favourites are still predictably pets like dogs and cats, as well as the more exotic tigers and elephants.

But, by declaring their animal preferences via the YouGov website, some of the pollster‘s 190,000 members have helped reveal that some stereotypes really are true.

Men, whom one classic nursery rhyme claims derive from slugs, snails and puppy-dog tails, have an expressed affection for powerful, strange, and not-traditionally cute creatures.

Slow worms, crayfish, and ants feature on the list of animals loved by one gender but not by the other.

Male animal preferences

Women, on the other hand, choose cuddly critters like guinea pigs, hedgehogs and panda bears.

Besides the butterfly and the penguin, every one of the female-preferred is a mammal.

There’s not a single mammal amongst the more male-loved animals.

Female animal preferences

What’s in a number?

This poll is actually more complex than many of the higher-brow studies which YouGov regularly releases; that’s because of something called the Z-score.

YouGov explained: “For each preference by members of a given group, we find what is known in statistics as the Z-score.

“This is a measure of what is particularly true of the people in that group. Basically, it is how the attitudes and opinions of a particular group differ from the national average and how great the strength of that difference is.”

The Z-score for the animals preferred by women are much stronger than those by men, which means the difference in opinion over donkeys is much greater than the one over rattlesnakes.

This probably means that women like their creatures much more than men like theirs.

Read the full list here.