Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Don't Touch the Lion




In the  proud tradition of American "don't tread on me" flags comes a piece of nationalist bravado from 1939 warning Italy what happens to those who covet Turkish territory. As some of our previous maps illustrate, the threat of an Italian attack was taken very seriously at this time, especially in light of bellicose Italian poems like the one below. In addition to some nice map-themed graphics and illustrations by the incomparable Munif Fehim, "Bu Aslana Dokunmayın" features a poem weaving together different historical eras and nationalist symbols - the Hittites, Atilla, Barbarosa and the Janissaries - to convey  the fundamental message of all nationalist literature: we raped your ancestors and if provoked we will do it again. The full poem, a cursory translation and selected illustrations below:



The book begins with a selection from an Italian poet:

Allunghiamo la nostra via / Prenderemo la Turchia / E se le cose vanno bene / Andiamo in Atene
Andiamo per Atina / Per Pasare vita fina / Prederemo il Pireo / Anche tutte mar Egeo!

We'll open the way, to take Turkiye,  And perhaps follow through, and take Athens too
On next to Athens for a life that is swell, Then to Pireaus, and the Aegean as well.

This was the response:

Sordunuz mu, Türkiye neresidir, nerdedir? / Türkler, hangi ulustur? bunu öğrendiniz mi?
Gözünüz, çizmenizden çok uzak illerdedir. / Bilir misiniz o yer, bir toprak mi, [d]eniz mi?

Have you asked where is Turkey? Where? What people are these Turks?
You're eyes are on a land far from home. Do you know that place? Is it a land or a sea?*

Italyan şairleri, dinleyini oyleyse, / Öyle bir toprakıir ki Anadolu illeri:
Onun bir kayasına yabancı parmak değse / Taa.. Havaya saçilir kemiğinin külleri!

Listen Italian poets, if it's like that. Anatolia's lands are such that
If someone lays a finger on them, their charred bones will be scattered to the winds.
Sizin o, Vezuv'unuz, nasil Milat'tan once / Ateş lavlar puskurup yakmışsa Pompei'yi
Bizim de yureğimiz, yabancı el değince / Dünyayı yakar, durur... Bunu biliniz iyi!

Like your Vesuvius threw lava and fire in the air and burned Pompeii
Our heart too will, if touched by a foreign hand, burn the world. Know this well.

Oyle bir denizdir ki, o Turkiye topragi / Içine dalanları girdaplarında boğar!
Efesinin ğöğsü, koca bir dağ / Bozkırlısın gözü, yıldırımları koğar.

Turkey is a sea that swallows and drowns those who enter in its whirlpools.
Its heroes' chests are like mountains, their eyes throw thunderbolts.

Bilir misiniz, kimdir, Turk denilen bu ulus, / Bilir misinz, kimin, goz diktiniz yurduna
Siz bizi, dedenizin dedesine sorunuz / Söz atmayın Asyanin yırtıcı Bozkurduna

Do you know who these people called Turks are? Do you know whose homeland you cast covetous glances at?
Ask your great grandfathers about us. Don't tease Asia's fearsome grey wolf.

Bu ulus, bir zamanlar o guzel Roma'nızın / Onunde at koşturan Atilla neslindendir..
Bu ulus, Venedik'te kanına bin bir kızın, / Türk tohumu aşlayan, Türk tohumu ekendir!

This nation is descended from Atilla, who charged the gates of your Rome,
This nation is the one that planted and sowed Turkish seed in the blood of a thousand Venetian girls.

Hele karıştır biraz, ananın anasının / gönlünde hangi aslan yeniçeri yatiyor!.
Venedik sularının, Sicilya adasının / Ruzgari, dinlesene, bak, neler anlatiyor.

Ask around, what Janissary lion rests in your great grandmother's heart.
Listen to the waters of Venice or the winds of Sicily and see what stories they tell.

Atilla'nin biz öyle oğluyuz ki, bir zaman, /  Roma'niza akmışız., Yeniden akarız da!
Biz karşı koyanın, dinlemenden hic aman /  canlarını yakmışız.. Yeniden yakarız da!

We are the sons of Atilla that once rode on Rome, and we'll ride on it again.
We burned the souls of those who came against us without mercy, and we'll burn them again

Omzunda testi testi su tasiyan Sicilya / Kızlarının bilirz gönlüne de girmeyi..
Yigit döller isteyen Italyali anaya, / Biliriz, Turk kanindan yigit döller vermeyi!

We know how to win the hearts of Sicilian women with water jugs on their shoulders.
We know how to give heroic children of Turkish blood to Italian mothers who want to sire heroes.

Kaç Andrea Dorya'nin - gemiler batırarak / Mezarını kazmışız.. Yeniden kazarız da!.
Deniz tarihimize zaferden altın yaprak, / Altın sayfa yazmışız, yeniden yazarız da!

How many Andrea Dorias have we sunk? We'll sink them again.
We have written golden pages in our maritime history and we will write them again.

Fakat artik bunların birini istemeyiz, / Bize yeter bu vatan, bu su, bu gökkubbeler...
Göz dikmeyin bu yurda, istemeyin bunu siz, / Arslanlar arslanına dokunmayin kahpeler! (30/5/939)

But we do not want any of this. This country, this land, this sky is enough for us.
Don't covet our land, don't wish for all of this. Don't touch the lion of lions, whores!