Putting to shame even the goriest black metal show, it was definitely a bad day to be a farm animal here in Turkey. Bayram is an Islamic holiday that lasts about a week and commences with a day of feast, joyful family gathering, and brutal carnage. The holiday’s original intent is based on alms-giving and each family slaughters either a cow, sheep, or goat (depending on their socio-economic status) and donates the majority of the meat to less fortunate souls – similar to donating a turkey to your local charity at Thanksgiving.
It sounds just peachy until one experiences the inhumanity of the terrified creatures being dragged through the streets before their jugulars are torn open by men (many of them very young) that seem to have a bit too much pent-up aggression and bloodlust in their knife-wielding fists. We didn’t encounter any of the death first hand (besides some news footage of a cow and a very dull blade meeting in a painful denouement); however, we did get to witness the aftermath of the butchery on an evening stroll, happening upon such wonders as freshly chopped bovine heads resting beside trash piles, scarved women hacking sheep to pieces in a mosque’s courtyard, and small children playing with piles of unknown innards in back alleys**.
By no means was the day only full of horror as we were invited to a spectacular dinner at Oya’s parent’s house and had a great time mowing down. It was all going great until Oya’s father Hüseyin broke out the mini-synthesizer and I became quickly addicted to constructing minimalist dance hits. This of course pleased me greatly and annoyed the shat out of everyone else there.
As the blood began to coagulate in the gutters and evening turned to night, the celebration (at least for the young-uns) transitioned back into the streets - exemplified by the blaring techno and its ominous pulsating rhythms spewing forth from the rows of discotheques as we trudged back through Beyoglu towards home. We were bloated from the delicious meal and ashen-faced from the sights we stumbled across earlier that evening when Nellie made an announcement - “I think I’m becoming a vegetarian.”
**If anyone has any interest in pictures of the content mentioned above send me an email as they’re a bit too graphic for the blog (you will not be judged for your interest in pictures of dead animals).