Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dec 21st 2006 Thursday 146 days to go after midnight...

(19:38) I think our march was good enough because today we didn’t march as much as we used to.

It’s a shame I don’t get to shoot the things we do and show it to you. At the end of the day, we were so tired we just stopped talking and marched as hard as we could in front of the commanders. It was nothing but darkness, the arms moving up and down and the sound of the march, rupp rupp rupp rupp... Everything else was too tired to make any sound.

Today at noon I went to the bathroom. I took off my watch and put it in my pocket, something I always do to keep it from getting wet. This time, when I took it in my hand and looked carefully, it brought back so many memories. I realised that this watch had been with me for so many years. It was with me when I was looking desperately at the girls in highschool. It was with me when I gave it to the girl I fell in love with at the 1sy year of university to try it on. It was with me when I gave it to my girlfriend in Romania and we laughed cause it was too big for her thin wrist. It was with me when I put it near he bed on the last night she and I spent together, the only sound we heard that night was its beeping every hour which felt like five minutes. It was with me when I set the alarm in a train somewhere in Romania, not to fall asleep and miss the station. It was with me when I first started aikido and the sensei told me to take it off. It was with me when I was camping high up on the mountain, sitting beside me to check the time not to be late for the hike. And it’s with me right now on my wrist, while I’m sitting on the bed in the dormitory of the military in Adana among crazy commandos who are right now beating each other for fun.

When I had a girlfriend in Romania, I used to write her letters as often as possible. Before I came here to military, one thing I was upset about was I had no girlfriend to write to, to, to share my memories and emotions. But of course, I have YOU guys. All of you. I have my friends, I have my Youtube buddies, I have my army pals who are getting more and more by day. I have my future friends, and that special girl, who I haven’t met yet. Hey, do you want me to keep writing after I’m our of the military?


Dec 20th 2006 Wednesday (20:22) 147

I’m where I always am at this hour, in dormitory with 35 short term soldiers and 30 something commando privates, all talking in their accents, making it harder for me to concentrate.

Tonight I wanna classify the commanders to you. I can put them in 3 categories. First one is the real dickheads who have no intelligence whatsoever, who have endless inferior complex and have this grudge against college graduate intellectual people and believe that we are not better than them because they can give us orders to do anything and insult us like an elementary school teacher, but they’re wrong, nothing can change the fact that they’re primitive bullies with big guns.

Other type is tough commanders who are real soldiers, who have been in real operations, who sometimes get tough or shout, but they don’t do it out of inferiority complex, who want to do everything right, who I respect because they have risked their lives so that we stay safely in our homes. Tough C, and our team commander are among them.

Third type is the commanders who just wanna do their jobs and get rid of us quickly without any problem. Of course, this is my favorite type.

More and more people are getting injured everyday and getting medical permission. Today was my turn, I got a sore toe on my left foot. It’s the worst kind of injury you can get here. It’s not big enough to be permitted out of marching training, yet it seriously inhibits your ability to walk.

The short term soldiers like me are seperated into 4 teams. At the beginning of today, our team was the worst marching team. Our second commander is an idiot who knows only to tell people off and talk to his cellphone while commandos train us instead of him. Today our commando trainers changed. They’re privates like we are and of course much younger than us since they’re not college graduates. They did the training today and instead of telling us off or punishing they cheered us up. We kept walking better and better. At the end of the day we came back to the ceremony field to be controlled by the head sergeants, commando privates running around their teams giving tactics and cheering up for them. At the end of the control, the head-sergeant told for the first time the worst walking team is not our team. And then the best marching team is ours. So tomorrow is a very important day because the brigade commander, a colonel, is coming to watch us, and if he says he likes our team, it will mean the rest of our recruit training will be alot easier. Therefore I will not leave my team alone. I will hope for my toe to get better and march my best no matter what happens.

Dec 19th 2006 Tuesday (20:10) 148 days to go after midnight

I’m slowly getting used to this walking and tiring my ass off. Every 10 minute brake we’re given, I sit on the grass of the training field and dream away. Yesterday I thought about my old loves, and girls I loved. I wonder what all my ex-s are doing,if they’re with someone else, if they’re happy. I thought about myself when I was with Flori 5 years ago. I thought how much I have changed in 5 years. How far apart we have been with each other. How far apart we are right now, her being “literally” 1000km north west of ─░zmir and me 1000km’s east of it.

And of course, funny things keep happening, I keep realising what they say about Turkey is so true, that it’s the biggest mosaic on earth. People from different cities have so much difference, yet so much in common.

Like, a guy from Black Sea region moaned about how slow my moves are while he always rushes for every move. I told him he’s from Black Sea and I’m Aegean, for Black Sea people move quickly and without thinking and Aegean people think alot and move slowly...

Dec 17th 2006, Sunday: 151 days to go...

Strange but... we actually had fun today. The commandos had a mission in the morning. The political Party of PKK has arrived to Adana for a meeting, so the commandos had to go and make sure nothing nasty happens. First, they got ready on the field in front of our building. Then, the commander took 20 of us and gave us sticks and stones made out of paper & tape. So the 20 people attacked the commandos screaming and shouting. The commandos tried to stop them using shield and bayonets, they almost got their ass kicked. We were at the back, cheering for the angry mob. It was hilarious.

After the commander came to us and asked if it reminds us our college days. Funny, cause university people are known to cause trouble to police.

The commander was the one everyone was afraid of. I don’t wanna give name so from now on I’ll refer to him as “Tough C”, C is for commander.

Touch C was known as a crazy sergeant-major. He has been to east and actually fought against PKK terrorists and shot many of them. I mean MANY. New soldiers like us were really scared of him cause he’s gone CRAZY. We saw him working the shit out of his team, shouting and constantly tiring them, cussing and swearing all the time, although all his soldiers like him alot. We kinda understand why the privates like him. He’s crazy but he’s a real soldier and he really cares about army and defending the country.

He came to our group and started talking. We were shocked because he was talking quite softly. And he was saying meaningful things unlike many other commanders. Soon later every “short term” soldier gathered around him and started listening to him. I realised most of his thoughts about the government, the military, life, were all like mine. My favorite part was that he hates the captain just like we do.

He also said how girls eventually choose and get married with dickheads. That made me go back to my civilian days. The truth is that I’m in love with a girl for 4-5 years. She was in the same school with me, but a different faculty, so I could rarely see her. It took 2 years before I could make a move on her. I had gathered my courage and told her that I want her to know about me. I didn’t know her name until then. So how could I know she had a boyfriend?

And why I didn’t give up on her? Why would I? All I wanted from her was to see her, and talk to her every once in a while, so I don’t need to be her boyfriend for that. She’s so... so different. She’s nothing like I’ve ever seen before. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you girls are not pretty, but you’re all human. She’s something else. I don’t know if she was created by the same God, and I don’t know why God wanted to create something like that. She’s a sun, illuminating the surrounding wherever she wanders, warming the people who looks at her, burning everyone who looks directly in her eyes... there’s no way I can forget about those eyes, even though I hadn’t seen her for almost 2 years. You know, I wanted only one thing before going to the military, to see her once again. To look into those eyes, which give me strength to put up with the shit of life, to remind me that this shitty world is a beautiful place, because she’s a part of it. And my wish came true. I miraculously saw her while going to a Japanese class. She was with her boyfriend in his car. You know, when she saw me she remembered me, and turned behind to see me again as the car went away. I know, she was still with her boyfriend, but why should I care? What would be different if she was single? I got nothing to give her anyway. I heard her boyfriend is son of a rich man, he takes her from home to school everyday, I’m sure he gives much more to her. What can I give? I’m a new graduate who doesn’t even have a job yet.

Ahh sorry, didn’t mean to depress you. I just wanted to share this with you. On the first days of military, when things were unbearable, when I was sleeping in a bed a thousand km’s away from home, I’d think about her eyes, her face, and it would give me strength to go on. It brings warm happiness to my heart. I just hope she will be happy with her life. I will wait until I find someone like her, because that’s the only way I can forget about her.

Anyway let me cheer you up a little. I told you before there are no spoons or forks in the cafeteria to eat food with. But there are steel waterglasses to bring water from bathroom. Today there was pea and spaghetti for meal, I worked my brain and used the waterglass as a spoon. It was hilarious and my friends were laughing on the floor (just like me), but it did work.

(20:18)

Right now I’m in my bed trying to write something but my friends are talking all around me, all of them with different accents. I didn’t know there were so many different accents in Turkey. We’re actually having fun. I had to stop a few times cause I couldn’t stop laughing.

I found many people to talk today about various things. I found another aikidoka and talked and discussed all day about aikido. I found a guy who loves “Prison Break” just like I do, so I told him what’s going on on the second season. It’s late, gotta sleep now...

December 16th 2006 Saturday: 152 days to go...

I didn’t write anything for 3 days because I didn’t have time or energy to do it. I was going to shred the previous entry but I wanna keep it anyway ‘cause I want you to see how much my mind has changed in 3 days. First of all, thank God I’m not a squad leader or somth, that was just for one day until things got in order. There are a million things I wanna tell but, I’m not gonna fully express my feelings cause this notebook I’m writing on can be found and I could be severely punished. All I can say is, this is FUCKING STUPID! All we had from the beginning of the first training was COMPLETE TORTURE! Is that how I serve my country? This place is a Nazi camp which strips down all your character, and makes you a brainless clown to entertain the commanders. All we learned in 4 days was how to march. And I can’t tell you how much of a torture it is. It shouldn’t have been like this. The price of being a Turk shouldn’t be being imprisoned in a military camp. There are more than 100 university graduates like me trapped in here. Think about a decent person, like your dad, taken away from his job and locked in a camp, where he’s been told when to get up (4:30 A.M.), what to wear, when to take a bath, what to eat, what to do, being humiliated by the biggest assholes you can think of, being have to do everything EXACTLY what they say, arrange your locker exactly like they tell you, eat lame food without spoon or fork (today I “stole” a knife from kitchen and ate rice and spinach with it). Think about being stripped off your humanity and by the force of army, being put under disgusting people who try to brainwash you to “obey, obey, obey”.

It’s been fourth day since the training began and I’m slowly getting used to this life, but still, sometimes it’s just too hard. Once I dreamed I was back home and when I woke up I was in the dorm. Think how terrible a feeling it was. When I were a civilian I used to have nightmares every once in a while, but when I woke up, I was relieved that I was safe in my bed. This is exactly the opposite.

One of the hardest things is that everytime I call my parents, I force myself not to cry and I tell them everything’s alright and they’re treating me very well. It’s completely a place where there are superior people and inferior people. You might say it’s also like that in civilian, but it’s not. Here, the superior has the complete control over the privates like us. They can make you do anything, say anything. The captain said they’re also going to chekc our “crouch shave” soon.

How the FUCK is all this helping my country? How the fuck is a bunch of uneducated commanders making us march all day, screaming and shouting at educated people like us helping my country? How is wasting enormous amount of money to give us army clothes, food, etc. And making us obediant monkeys helping my country? For years, our citizens have been brainwashed into “you owe your contry” crap. Yes I do owe my country, is this the way I pay back? Being inferior to some brainless dickheads? What is my guilt? What have I done? What have I done to put up with this bullshit?

I miss you guys. I miss all of you. To be honest, I miss you and my family more than everything else about civilian life, even listening to music, or having clean clothes, or not having to wait in line to have a 3 minute shower.

Anyway let me tell you a little bit about my life. I wake up at 4:30 AM, get dressed all those uncomfortable dirty clothes, shave my non-existing beard, have a breakfast before going to the “count”.

One morning, the breakfast was very stale bread, a tiny piece of cheese, and olive. I looked at the plate, and imagined the days I was saying a breakfast is incomplete because there’s no ham.

Anyway after breakfast, we go to the marching training. That’s what we do for the whole day, and you can’t imagine how hard it is. Some of the guys are injured because of the boots, and none of us can walk, I mean walk properly. I mean walk walk. Today is Saturday so we were set free after another training. We’re still in prison, but I prefer this prison rather than having to face the commanders and be clowns for them.

I’m in the lounge right now because it’s the place where commanders don’t come by often. Actually I went out once, and saw that a commander was having privates clean the yard, so I went back not to get caught.

My dorm is with the commando privates. Of course we’re very different from each other. We short term soldiers are all university graduates, getting a payback from being educated by doing the military service for only five months, and we’re going to become sergeants after completing the recruit training. Actually, if you’re reading this, it means I already finished the recruit training which will last until Jan 12th.

The commando privates are nice guys, all around 20, I said we’re different because they’re healthy guys with very little education. Some of them can’t read or write properly. They’re very noisy in the dorm, almost every day they’re having brutal fights with each other over a piece of cheese, or a piece of paper. Sometimes they hit each other with bayonet just for fun. All I have to be careful about is not to get an accidental blow or a guy falling on me while I’m changing my clothes in front of the locker.

Fortunately they’re not a problem to us yet, I think they respect us because we’re “adults”. Oh I forgot to tell. All non-“college graduates” have to serve the military for... get ready... for FIFTEEN months. And as a private. I can’t even imagine WHAT KIND OF A DEVILISH NIGHTMARE IT IS. It kinda explains their savage behaviour. For us, it’s being patient until you get out. For them, it’s “say goodbye to civil life”. Let me tell you something. In civil life probably I won’t have a good-pay-job, but if I knew I’d be paid a $100,000 per month, I would NEVER choose to be a soldier, no matter what my rank is.

In the lounge the TV is on. They’re showing a stupid Turkish TV series episode. But I’m watching anyway because those people having tea in their house, sitting on a couch, GIRLS, windows with views, free people, they look so tempting now. I just watch it with envy.

The commandos look so different than us. They also talk differently, it’s like all of them came from villgaes. Our faces and their faces are so different no matter which cities we are coming from. It’s like we’re different races, like they’re real Turksw and we’re fake, jus like they’re real soldiers and we’re prisoners in camoflage.

The one good thing about here is, well the best friends are made in worst situations, I almost doubled the number of my friends. They all, ALL hate it here, even though most of them (just like me) came here with the excitement of serving the country. We get along well for now and we always help each other out, cause as I said we’re prisoners, and prisoners need to support each other not to die of depression. Sometimes we have great laughs, mostly out of our deranged nerves. Sometimes a friend sings an old turkish folk song about home and family, and my eyes get all wet. Funny isn’t it? Those songs were meaningless to me before because I never suffered the pain of having to be away from my family before.

GOD I miss EVERYTHING. Walking on the seaside in ─░zmir, the aikido friends, listening to music, Youtube, sleeping in my bed, taking a decent shower. And I miss YOU guys. Right now all my prayers are that after the recruit training ends on 12th of January, I draw a decent place and get the hell outta here.

December 12th 2006 Tuesday: 156 days to go...

Today’s my second day in the army. I couldn’t write anything yesterday because my head was still heavy because of the tiring 12 hour bus trip. I feel lucky because I was sent to a warm and a comfortable place, I still say this whole thing totally suck. A comfortable prison is still a prison. Nevertheless, without this military service I wouldn’t realise the real value of the people around me, my family, my friends, even my Youtube friends, and I wouldn’t realise how much you guys care about me. (14:38) I had to cut writing because the commander called us up. He asked who applied the army yesterday, it was five of us, he called me and made me the squad leader. Now I’m responsible for around 120 people. Dude!

OK Where was I? A few months ago I was very miserable that I don’t have a girlfriend who’ll think about me when I go. Yesterday I realised how stupid I was, because there are tens of people who care and think about me.

After all, military service is maybe GOOD for people. You learn to appreciate everything you’ve taken for granted. Your own bath, yourown bed, room, people you love, the internet, walking freely wherever you go.

Secondly, I’m so pissed off at guys who can get everything they want, who got lots of money, the best girlfriends, and never even need to work for a living. So this military service is good to have revenge on them! I don’t feel too uncomfortable being here, but such a service surely devastates playboys like those guys.

Today I was at the lounge sitting, saw a private with a long broken flourescent bulb in his hand. So I took it from him and studied Jp kata and Jo suburi with it (if you don’t know what I mean, watch my “Learning Jo Kata” Video) People turned and started watching me, so as you see I’m providing entertainment wherever I go (no wonder they made me the squad leader)