1 july 2012


 “Hard prohibitions are necessary in order to live systematically... Strength isn’t affected by being a woman... I must use my authority continuously, even though it may seem insensitive to others....” The eyes of the female administrator widened after she murmured these words to herself.
She told her secretary not to be disturbed and began typing on her computer. She was almost frantic with excitement over the things she wrote. Sometimes her eyes stayed fixed at one point and she was envisioning three dimentional fiction from the words.
Two hours passed.  She put the last period on her article, which resembled a political party announcement or a syndicate bulletin and bore no feeling or empathy. She remembered to write her name, title and date at the end.  After signing, she picked up the phone and said,  “ The difficulties of the opposition against my authority will simply have to be understood."
 Her talk, complete with gestures, was reflected upon behind the misty glass.  A few minutes later, a white-haired worker entered the room after knocking.  He held the letter bestowed upon him. With a trembling hand, he went down the back steps, and read the letter quickly.  He took a deep breath after wiping his sweat from his forehead and thought about the negative aspects of being a foreigner in a strange country.
His anxiety continued at home that evening. Watching his children wanting to sit on his lap to get rid of their own day’s troubles doubled his pain. That night he had chest pains and was taken to the hospital by an ambulance, where he died.
His loved ones visited his body in the morgue. His wife wasn’t able to stop her tears while she tried to speak of the cold winds that had changed the direction of their lives.  How could their children be greeted in the future if no one knew of their heritage?
The event was forgotten.  A few months later, the woman in the same work place said,   “Continued effectiveness requires judgement... It must be my duty to continue struggling with foreigners using the best psychological methods... My strength isn’t affected by being a woman.”
She began typing on her computer after murmuring these words to herself and told her secretary not to be disturbed. She was again excited over the things she wrote. She remembered to write her name, title and date below her letter after she put the last period.  After signing “Traces from the beginnings of everything reach to the end; forgetting things from the past  will make my job easier...”, she said and picked up the phone.  Her talk was reflected upon behind the misty glass.  She handed the letter to her worker who entered the room after knocking  on the door. She stretched out, relaxed, as her worker was going down the back steps. The waiting began...
Her worker took a deep breath at first. Then he folded the letter into his pocket. Sirens sounded in his ears. He felt as if he had died. Nobody noticed the disturbance reflected in his family life as his feelings closed down. Sales advertisements at reduced prices were given more attention than human rights declaration on the walls.   

by Üzeyir Lokman ÇAYCI
Translated by Fide ERKEN and  by  Anne PROULX
Paris, 20.12.1998 

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