Friday, April 6, 2012

Clash of Labels ~ By: Mustafa Kemal Dağdelen

Written by: Mustafa Kemal Dağdelen

This Video was a commercial video fo a leading newspaper in Turkey.  The motto of the commercial was "Think Without Labeling"

Clash of Labels
How do you label your counterpart? According to his/her nationality, race, ethnicity, religion or sect? What is the motivation behind labeling other human beings? Establishing a ground to explore differences peacefully or identifying potential adversary?
The youth of 21st century has been familiar with national identities, political identities, ethnic identities, racial identities, sexual identities and religious/sectarian  identities and has witnessed a number of clashes which are arisen from those identities and/or differences between them. 
It is not the intention of these poor words to propose a very idealistic prescription for the oldest problem of humankind. Rather, these words intend to reflect a deep burden of the author who was born in one of the most diverse cities of the world which historically has been home to different religious and ethnic communities and very rarely seen severe conflicts between different groups.
Since 2001 every aspect of socio-political arena has been affecting the author’s life-path, decisions, orientations and motivations. The author has always been trying to understand explicit and/or implicit generators of socio-political developments and has realized the fact that from philosophy to literature, respective systemizations/disciplines within Humanities offer various explanations for human beings’ tendencies and actions.
By the way, the burden of the author should be clarified before getting drowned in the chaos of thoughts; ‘Why do we always tend to label other human beings and treat them accordingly?  This is a very broad and complex question and could open several paradigmatic discussions. Yet, this piece does not have an academic purpose; thus, the simplistic inspiration or reaction desires to be tolerated and accepted as a written formation of sensitivity against current developments in the world. 
The author has always been puzzled by this burden and usually been told that the answer could be explored with a scholastic pursuit and very first shock was reading ‘Homo homini lupus est’ and its depth and a big question appeared in the author’s mind ‘Why?’ and Machiavelli approached with his remarkable words In judging policies we should consider the results that have been achieved through them rather than the means by which they have been executed.’ Meanwhile, the author’s fantastic journey has begun  in the wild nature of politics, which is basically ‘affairs of state’ according to Aristotle’s politika. Getting closer to the youngest, most attractive, most aesthetic, and most contemporary discipline of social sciences -International Relations- made the chants more hearable ‘let the war begin between glorious écoles of International Relations, namely realism and its foes.’ Since the subject was being analyzed very subjectively, it was lacking an academic basis; it did not have a well-identified research question, dependent and independent variables, indicators, theoretical framework etc., it was highly encouraged to visit scholarly jungles. However, if it had been desired diligently, several scholarly clichés would have been applied and  it was pledged that the problem would be lost and shadowed again in the luxuriant academic patterns.
Before forgetting, what was the problem? Are the labels truly needed in this world or should they always been strongly emphasized? The author of these paradoxical words thinks that learning beyond the names of human beings usually establishes a ground to clashes which occurs in different levels – international, regional, internal, societal etc. -  Do you often pray to see solutions for Arab-Israeli, Shia-Sunni, India-Pakistan, North Korea-South Korea conflicts or Flemish-Wallon, Turkish-Kurdish, Pashtun-Punjabi crises or Republican-Democrat, Communist-Nationalist, Leftist-Rightist tensions? Although it is not difficult to enrich examples, it is not necessary to demonstrate the sable tableau of our world again. 
Written by: Mustafa Kemal Dağdelen

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