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Journalist makes suggestion to AngloInfo

Posted by Rob Hyde - Created: 16 years ago
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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by linzi-mermaid - 16 years ago

Well, with over 12,000 members and active discussions that help everyone who has a dream of living in the South of France or being a part of the Anglo- Info community, we don’t conform to what you want. Just let it grow natuarlly this is not a GM website <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

The Best labour saving device ever invented is tommorow

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Posted by Rob Hyde - 16 years ago

Dear Zeynep,

Thanks for your respnse. Yes, there is a reason why I sent this to AngloINFO - some people replied to the lengthy postings complaining of its length and content (I quoted these commented in the last email). I therefore thought it best for them not to have to see it if they didn't want to. About sending it to you via email - I didnt send the reply to you via email to give AngloINFO more control over the situation - it has pointed out to me that I've gone in with all guns blazing without having contacted them first, and all of this has provoked negative reactions.

So, here is the reponse I sent to AngloINFO last Friday at 4.30 pm.


Dear Zeynep,
Here’s the response.
1.  ‘Alivi’ / ‘Alevi’ issue. ( “It is "ALEVI", not "Alivi". The least you
can do is to spell it right, for God's sake…)

I have found this word to be written with different spellings in different
countries. An example of it spelt ‘Alivi’ is the work by Jean-Francois
Bayart, "The Alivi Question in modern Turkey", in Carre and Ahmad eds.
Islam and the State in the World Today (New Delih: Manohar, 1989). I’ve
seen it also spelt so by politicians and of people of this faith
themselves. I’m trying to keep this post as brief as possible but have the
examples if you want them. In Germany, the spelling can indeed be ‘Alevi’,
but also ‘Alewi’. I accept that ‘Alevi’ would therefore probably be the
best of the three possible, relevant spellings for this article which
describes someone of this faith who lives in Germany.  I am sorry if the
other spelling offended you.

2. About the identity of Alevis

(“…Alevis ARE Turks”  + comments about Shiite Muslims.

From what I understand and have been told by Turkish, Kurdish and Alevi
authorities, the whole point is that is absolutely no fixed definition of
the identity of the people who follow this faith (and its not even clear
whether you should call it a faith or not).

If you want to bypass the next few paragraphs which explain what I
understand of the Alevism, (though this is detailed, complicated and confusing), I’ve included quotes for you from Eren Ünsal of the Turkish Association in Berlin (TBB).

I spoke to her about this issue given the complex nature of
one of my interviewees, Hakan, who is half Turkish, half Kurdish, and also
Alevi. She stresses how ambiguous all of this is, especially in light of the
tension between many younger members of the Turkish and Kurdish
communities in Berlin. (Quotes at the end=.

Alevis – general:
So, I understand (from research and interviews)  ‘Alevi’ as being an
umbrella term for a vast number of  separate heterodox groups whose
beliefs can differ massively, but which are all based on love of the
prophet Ali (and his predecessors). This makes it unclear whether Alevism
is a religion / faith or a way of life. The Alevis are one of the Shi`i
groups, but Alevism is so different from most Sunni peoples (Druze, Ahl-i
Haqq, Alawis in Syria etc) that some have even suggested that the faith is
no longer strictly part of Islam. An example would be that they do not
draw as much on the Qur'an, and they believe it should contain many
missing verses on the key figure `Ali ibn Abi Talib’.

Turkish Alevi
Figures vary given the ambiguous identity, but one estimate is that Alevis
account for around 20% of the Turkish population (10 million), with around
8 million Turkish Alevi. Crudely put, Turkish Alevi and Kurdish Alevi are
viewed by different groups as either Kurds having lost their original
religion or Turks who have know done away with their original language.

Kurdish Alevi
Turkish and Kurdish nationalists have struggled to understand, accept and
appeal to the (vague / confusing) identity of these tribes. Kurds have
claimed that Kurdish Alevis are more linked to Iran. During the 70’s,
Alevis were courted by the Kurdish separatist movement, but not always
successfully. The Kurdish Alevi have never united behind one, clear stance
on Kurdish separatism / nationalism. The vast majority of Kurdish-speaking
Alevi groups / tribes, use Turkish as their main language in Alevi rituals
and it has not yet been proven (though often been attempted to prove) that Kurdish (and Zaza) are fundamentally Turkish languages.

QUOTES: Turkish Centre Berlin.

Eren Ünsal has often talked to the German press about the friction between great numbers of the second and third generation Turks and Kurds in Germany, (including just this October to DetuschlandRadio Berlin. She told me the issue was a very “serious and relevant concern for both Turkish and Arab” communities in Germany.

About how Alevism fits into all of this (given the fact that Hakan is half Turk, half Kurd and also Alevi), she said:

“This is all becomes very difficult - which identity is one dealing with?
Is it based on national or religious grounds, or is more of a
Weltanschaung (philosophy of life)? Many Alevis disagree on all this – and
there also Turkish and Kurdish Alevis. Even so, in the least ten years
Alevis have secured more rights in Turkey, so even here the former
‘paranoia’ between various sub-groups has gone - there is a growing
acceptance between all.”

Maybe you want to follow the matter up with her. I interviewed her two
days ago in German, but have just phoned her now to check the translated quotes which she approved of. She speaks some English, but maybe you could discuss it in Turkish?

3. Didn’t really understand your point about the employment situation.

4. Me, my journalism etc
I promise to write a detailed response to all the points you raised over
then send it to AngloINFO and ask them to hold it for you to
pick up. This way everyone else doesn’t have to read it - some clearly
don’t want to, having described it  as “banal”, “is this sponsored
verbage?” “why write fifty words” etc etc) -  and fair enough. You can
then distribute this as and where you will.

The article is now written, so after this I’m afraid I do find it really
interesting but I just can’t keep up with the speed of the reactions to
postings and reactions to reactions on the forum and don’t have the time
to give the detailed answers required. I’ll therefore for the most part be keeping off it from now on, but I will answer any points if you want to email them to rob@robhydeglobal.com (might take a couple of days to reply though).
All the best


Rob Hyde
PGCJ:Periodical Journalism
Telephone: +49 (0)173 186 1164
Web: http://www.robhydeglobal.com

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Posted by azurienne - 16 years ago

I love the way this thread has gone.  I'm not into journalism, but I've been an expat for 13 years.  I find that there is more friction between two specific groups of expats rather than expats in general:  those that integrate into the local community, and those that cry over their camembert and wine about everything they had to leave behind. 

I determined within the first month of coming across the second group that they were not the kind of people I cared to associate with, and I've thoroughly enjoyed both the first group and the local people thru the years. 

Yes, life isn't necessarily better (I've always stayed loyal to my birthplace, even if I don't really want to live there anymore), but it is definitely different (maybe more so for Americans than Brits, as we don't share the European tag, either).  And one will be happy wherever they are WHEN they choose to be so.

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Posted by Andy G-190935 - 16 years ago

Yes well put, unbelievable. On my more sensitive days I share most of your sentiments, but we perhaps ought not get too carried away. We have only come to France after all, and while this is an achievement and challenge in many respects, we are hardly surviving central Africa or the Antarctic.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Peppy, while I can’t disagree with your statistics (I too am disappointed with many aspects of the UK), I don’t recall feeling that bad about it when I left. Doesn’t it do well at anything in your surveys?


It’s something of a cliché among British expats to complain about the UK, and it’s all too easy to stack up statistics against her. My practical experience is that living in France is not so different from the UK in fundamental terms. This is backed up by the variety of positive and negative points of view to be found with these forums. Some things are cheaper, others more expensive. Some things better, others worse. Those that have experienced good health care in France will draw different conclusions to those that have experienced horror stories. The same applies to other administrations and house buying etc These things are frustrating wherever you are.


I believe in what unbelievable wrote when he said “not better but just different” but I would perhaps add – not always so different.




P.S. As I write this (really!) a French colleague has just come in to say goodbye. He’s off to England (Cambridge) to live with his family. He lived there before, and couldn’t wait to get back...He’s probably already has horrible statistics about France to share with his compatriots in England!  

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Posted by Zeynep-183200 - 16 years ago

Rob - Is there are a reason why you could not send your mail directly to my e-mail address? An experienced journalist like yourself will have no doubt realized with minimal research that there is a button that rather conspicuously says "e-mail" next to my name.

What do you want me to do now, somehow find your mail by corresponding with Angloinfo Admin? Have pity on lesser mortals like us who do not know the finer points of how to research such stuff :-)

In other words, my e-mail address is there. If you do not wish 12,000 people to read your reply to my post that pointed to your lack of understanding of what "Alevi" means, send it to me by e-mail.



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Posted by Rob Hyde - 16 years ago

Dear Zeynep,


I have sent a reply to your earlier posting to AngloINFO and asked them to hold it for you to pick up. This way everyone else doesn’t have to read it - some clearly don’t want to (postings have been described as “banal”, “is this sponsored verbage?” “why write fifty words” etc etc) -  and fair enough. I hope the response helps and you can then also distribute it as and to who you will.




Rob Hyde
PGCJ:Periodical Journalism
Telephone: +49 (0)173 186 1164
Web: http://www.robhydeglobal.com

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Posted by peppy-191941 - 16 years ago


You are quite correct. I heard a quip from a chap in ventimiglia that Britain is the second rainiest place on earth once and it stuck in my mind. Now I have my own quip back about those 'grey sky' quips, for next time. It makes a bit of sense because the skies do descend between December-March. I do marginally prefer the climate here though (he!He!)  

So here are some more stats ;

OECD reports (economic arm of the UN) for February 2000 world economic development show ;

UK to have the highest levels of relative poverty of the industrialised nations (America next, then Canada).

Bottom place amongst industrialised nations for teenage literacy and numeracy levels (pre-16).

International Public Health Laboratory Service report for 2002 (published in the British Medical Journal last year, can be viewed at the BBC's own news reports home page) shows ;

Highest levels of sexually transmitted disease within Western Europe.

Highest levels of alcholol consumption and alcholism within western europe.

Highest level of teenage pregnancy and mothers within western europe.

European Union commission for economic and social research compilations 2000-2002 (reports available online at the EU website, May 15);

Uk has the second highest level of registered Narcotic Addictions in EU (portugal first) and highest levels of Narcotic abuse.

Uk has the longest working hours within the European Union.


You can go on and on and on. Checkout the PHLS and British Medical Journal report online at the BBC itself!! It is very grim reading indeed! I am 29 years old and wanted to make the change before I got complacent. I am very happy with my reasons for moving but it saddens me so much that Britain is sinking into the sea because I do return so often and it was my home but I do not think I could ever return now for fulltime.   






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Posted by Sam the clam-189505 - 16 years ago

Beautifully put! I find the unbelievable utterly believable!!

Small point about rainfall:

Gt. Britain av. ann. rainfall 750mm

Nice, France. av. ann. rainfall 889mm.

Might want to check out your reasons for coming here!

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Posted by unbelievable - 16 years ago

Interesting to hear some reasons for why people have relocated. Myself, I came here from the country named by the UN for several years running as #1 in the world for quality of life and standard of living, for whatever that's worth. I'm here not because I deem France a better place to live, but because it's a different place.

I am still fairly young (mid-30's) and found a job here before I came. Since arriving I have come to understand better that a great part of the reason for coming here has less to do with the need to experience difference for it's own sake than it has to do with a need to develop oneself beyond the confines allowed by what is termed "home" and "the familiar." It has been hugely stressful at the same time as it has been enormously satisfying.

I don't consider myself an emigrant because in this day and age, home is what you make of your surroundings. In the background resides the knowledge that I will return at some point to "home" and that in the meantime, life here remains a temporary diversion and opportunity for personal growth. Or maybe not -- time will tell.

I strongly believe that leaving behind what's familiar teaches one to recognize the limits one may have previously imposed on one's life. There is nothing like escaping the ties that bind to see clearly the deep constraints fostered in each of us by our mother country's social values and pressures; by the fears our friends and acquaintances hold that we will evolve in some way or another that is "beyond" them; and by our own natural tendencies to confirm the merit and scope of our own lives by comparing them only to the lives that surround us instead of holding them up for comparison to the full potential we may endeavour to reach.

You need only ask into the origins of the people deemed "successful" or worthy of admiration in nearly every village, town and city in the western world to identify a pattern in which the leaders of industry, arts and culture are individuals who have been transplanted or arrived from elsewhere, whether that means another town, region, country or continent. Or they are prodigal sons and daughters who have returned better equipped, wiser, more confident and knowledgeable, with an objectivity that can only be bred in geographic, cultural and philosophical detachment from home.

In short, if you are one that believes that the responsibility for shaping your life rests in your hands, at some point you will come to the realization that you need to break out from the run-of-the-mill norms, values, philosophies and behaviour patterns that govern your life and, for the most part, the lives of those around you. One way to do this is by leaving the familiar and viewing it from afar at the same time as you encounter the unfamiliar up close. The urge, if or when it comes, will not suddenly announce or explain itself, but it will quietly creep up and grow into an inexplicable need that eventually differentiates those who dream and desire from those who do.

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Posted by mixer-186069 - 16 years ago

I thank you!