Fun With Zeyreks (Actually, Zeybeks)

Akbaba, no. 215, 1938
There are all sorts of reasons to love this 1938 cover of Akbaba, a humor and satire weekly published from the last years of the Ottoman Empire until the 1950s. But one particular reason is because the cover signals the co-presence of an Ottoman past within a Republican present. If I knew more about the zeyreks, I'm sure that one might raise interesting questions about representations of national identity (the modern woman dancing to a jazz orchestra with a romanticized figure of the Ottoman past) or about questions of sexuality and the body, but it's enough for the moment to simply remark at the joy of it - the brightness of the colors, the angular bodies, the energy of dance.

Update: As a friend was kind enough to point out, it's not actually zeyrek but zeybek on the cover - which as Wikipedia points out, was a type of play (and dance) local to western Anatolia.

Update 2: For a more thoughtful accounting of the violence to which the comments refer, see here.


-Ahem- said…
… but I also remember that when I was a child, going to school in a primary school in Yugoslavia, it was taught to us that the Serbs who resisted the Turkish occupation were a heroic nation. I also began to read with interest about that topic. I learned that the Turkish occupation like we learned about in school wasn’t scary. There was a more open-minded and tolerant administration.

That’s really a remarkably cute quote.

You, and your ilk, genuinely can see nothing evil about Muhammad, his teachings and the numerous genocides committed in his name. That is the most astonishing feature of you and those who somehow manage to develop worldviews similar to yours.

Absolutely nothing else about your unremarkable self is interesting.

Oh, by the way, it might have escaped your notice that 40 Copts were massacred in the last few days during the Muslim Spring in Egypt.

During this pogrom you would, of course, be aware that at all times the Egyptian Government and its Muslim allies did not violate in even the tiniest way Article II of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. You know, the one that every Muslim ruled country felt perfectly safe in signing?

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