Friday, July 11, 2008

Some Turkish Music By Baris Manco and Some thoughts of Jewish Gratitude to the Turkish People

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One of my favourite Turkish singers is Baris Manco. Born in 1943 in Istanbul, Manco composed over 200 songs, many of which were translated into other languages. He had a wide range of styles. Until his death in 1999 he was very influential on the Turkish music scene as a producer, composer and singer. In addition to going solo, he established bands such as Kurtalan Expres and and Harmoniler, among others. His songs and Turkish music in general enjoy a worldwide following.
I have always felt a sense of gratitude to the people of Turkey for taking in Jews who were fleeing the Spanish Inquisition. It is worth noting that it was an Islamic government that welcomed us at a time when Christian intolerance resembled the mutant forms of Islam afflicting the world today. The leaders that gave refuge to the Jews at that time at least read their Korans and offered us a subordinated form of civil rights in which we were able to thrive. To this day, when Jews study the weekly portion in the Torah classic "Meam Loez", they are studying a work that was composed in Turkey by the rabbis to educate Jews who were returning to Judaism from forced conversions by the Catholic Church and the Spanish Monarchy.
Our comfortable stay in that country long predated the secular regime of Kemal Ataturk. In looking at the long history of the Jewish exile, it seems that no religious movement or political ideology provided us a guarantee of security. The biggest disruption to our good relations with the Turks was the Sabbatean debacle in the 17th century and the superficial conversion to Islam of Shabtai Zvi's diehard followers followers that later ensued. To this day, Islamic fundamentalists talk about the role of the "Donmeh" or Sabbatean false converts in the secular revolution early in the last century .
It is important to remember our past history, when our help came from unlikely places. It is important to remember that in trading Judaism for a secular substitute, we are depriving the world of something irreplaceable . The best gift you can give the world is to be yourself.
I feel gratitude to G-d when I remind myself of those among the nations who helped us in our hours of need The kindness of the Turkish people in our time of need should be forever remembered.
Baris Manco entry in Wikipedia

Baris Manco Music Video Filmed In Bremen Germany

Baris Manco "Nerede"

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