Let me explain that Hacı Yatmaz is an anomaly in the Karagöz puppet troupe that inhabits my head. You see, he is not a shadow puppet, rather, he is that famous Turkish bouncing child’s toy – always managing not to topple over, always popping up again and again. Originally, the puppets voted him in with the thought that having a different kind of puppet as their leader could lead to great cross-fertilization in the intellectual and equity realms…but now they are not so sure. What with all the popping up and back and forth and all.
And just today, he sprang back yet AGAIN…even in the face of derision from so many of the puppets. No matter what extreme he bobbles over to, he always pops back up, dammit! It is a force of nature. But let me fill you in with a little bit of history first, with the help of the puppets.
Hacivad Bey begins the explanation “In my humble opinion, it all started a few years back – way before he constructed a massive palace with lots of rooms to explore – Hacı Yatmaz had been fairly stable for a long time – even drawing in lots of praise for his calm, moderate and collected demeanor in a sea of otherwise bobbing politicians. He was often lauded as the most thoughtful of the Presidents out there – a model to be followed for many in the region. All of the other puppet Presidents sought photo-opportunities with him, in fact. And yet slowly, with time, the kooky movement began. And while he is a laughing stock, he pops back up again and again – I really don’t know how he does it!”
Safiye Rakkase, the vainglorious dancing girl puppet draws a blank on her made-up face. “What do you mean the movement began again, Hacivad Bey? All I know about President Hacı Yatmaz is that he was arrogant enough to say that all of the female puppets shouldn’t laugh in public! Can you imagine that? I can’t recall that he was ever popular – how can it be true? Well, I guess I don’t read the papers that much…”
Rolling her eyes, Esma the hippie puppet tried to curb her sarcasm in favor of supporting her female puppet-mate for the good of the feminist cause. Then she remembered that Safiye Rakkase likely had no idea what feminism was, and gave up. Even light-filled hippie puppets have their limits, you know. “What about the time he came out and said that all we female puppets were good for was motherhood, that we were not equal to the male puppets – and that we feminists had rejected motherhood for good? That was a pretty significant dip, for sure, even after getting lots of critique from us female puppets!“
Mercan Bey, the spice trader from the Arabian penninsula piped in at this point. “Now,” he said with a somber stance, “I have travelled far and wide, and while I have only been to the American continent lately, even I know that the likelihood of Muslim puppets discovering the Americas is fairly farfetched – I do beg to differ with President Hacı Yatmaz on that!”
“And let us not forget how sad we were as puppets,” Bebe Ruhi, the puppet who is a dwarf – and who has an ample heart says, “to hear President Hacı Yatmaz say that last summer’s mining disaster in the Aegean town of Soma was just ‘an ordinary thing.’ He really went off the rails with that one!”
Yehuda Rebbe,the wise man puppet steps up now. “It is with a heavy heart that I read the news of today as well,” he says with such a deep sigh. “How is it that one can call out some of our national treasures in the literary world, calling them ‘Western stooges?’ Never were two people more pro-homeland than these two.”
Zenne, the tiny handmaiden who is a nervous nellie, like a bowl of quaking quince jelly steps up now. “Oh dear, oh my, please. You all, just please. Don’t speak so about our fearless President… We don’t want to end up in the doghouse or anything! Just celebrate how much he can bounce back!”
…and so it goes – the need to write in a politically sensitive manner here in the land of the puppets.