Assyrian tells his bittersweet story about military service in Turkey by Vercihan Ziflioğlu ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News, November 14, 2013.
Sweden-based Assyrian Fehmi Bargello (C) is seen with two Assyrian priests in the southeastern province of Mardin's Midyat district. ‘Even if I had difficulty in military service, I also met sincere people there,’ Bargello says.
Sweden-based Assyrian Fehmi Bargello has penned a new story about the difficulties of performing military service in Turkey with a book titled “Gabro” (Gabriel).
The book, which covers an issue that has received little attention previously, has been published in Sweden, but will soon also be published in Turkey by Aram Publishing house in Turkish.
“I would like to make a remark, a note for the next generation,” Bargello told the Hürriyet Daily News when asked why he wanted to write this story now.
Bargello was born in the southeastern province of Mardin's Midyat district and conducted 20 months of national service in the early 1970s. First he went to Kayseri as a rifleman before being deployed to the eastern province of Ağrı.
Word of hate avoided
He said he refrained from using any word of hate in his book. “I wouldn’t like to bother anybody. I just tell the truth which I have experienced. I love Anatolian people without any discrimination of their religion and ethnicity.”
Bargello said that because he did not hide his identity and religion either in military service or in Turkish society, he was subjected to “discrimination and humiliation.”
“They hit me; I had a really difficult period during my military service,” he said.
He said it was understood that he was not circumcised during a “cleanliness control” and his mates called him names after that.
“They were humiliating me and I was really afraid of them,” he said, adding that if it were not for two friends that were there for him, he could have tried to escape. Besides sad stories, he also experienced tragicomic moments described in the book. One day he was given the duty to buy tuna fish, which was tricky for him.
“Can you imagine? I hadn’t even seen the sea then,” he said, adding that he thought they were talking about “tons” of fish, with the two words spelt the same in Turkish. “I asked them how can I carry tons of fish all by myself!” On another lighter note on the book, he said he pretended to be sick to avoid carrying a musical instrument, remembering that he had not seen an instrument before.
“Even if I had difficulty in military service, I also met sincere people there,” said Bargello, before summarizing his thoughts on his book: “I am trying to tell my whole story without any censorship. They hit me, humiliated me, even cursed at me, but I have no hatred inside of me.”
\ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)
1: an ancient empire of Ashur
2: a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern
Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)
a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of
its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender
4: a democratic state that believes in the freedom of
religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the
principles of the United Nations Charter —
Ethnicity, Religion, Language
Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
\ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)
1: descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur
2: the Assyrians, although representing but one single
nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now
doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle
ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding
hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the
East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.
These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the
Christian Era. No one can coherently understand the Assyrians
as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church
from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly
difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for
in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control,
religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a
criterion of nationality.
the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya,
Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean,
Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu,
Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye,
Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. —
1: a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of
the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.
2: has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical
Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.