A Black Woman in Istanbul

I came across this in my wanderings on the internet recently – thought you might be interested to see it . . .


MadameNoire has teamed up with Black Girl Fly to bring you profiles of Black girls taking travel to new heights. Each week we’ll profile a new lady, giving you the details on her latest adventure and everything you should know about being a fly Black girl abroad. 

Black Girl Fly: Tammy Freeman

Home city: I’m originally from Queens, NY but I currently reside in Northern Virginia.

Why Turkey? I stopped in Turkey on my way to Italy. Going and coming from Italy I elected for an overnight layover in Istanbul, and I’m so glad I did.

Travel companion? Solo traveler

Length of Stay: 2 days (1 day en route to Italy, 1 day en route from Italy to DC)

How much was your flight? Around $800, but I was flying to Naples, Italy. Flights to Turkey as a final destination are a bit less.

What should you know about being a Black girl in Turkey?

Being in Istanbul, I’m sure the locals have seen people from nearly every nationality. Even when I was out among the locals, no one seems shocked by me being there. It’s very much like NY, people seemed unbothered by my presence for the most part. Compared with a place, like Asia, where black skin is treated as an anomaly and most act like they’ve never seen a black person before! Turkey was amazing. Great people, a plethora of things to see and do.


Towel-heads, MOP Heads and a 30% Peace-loving President

Yeh, I know I’m on shaky ground here. I haven’t voted in a New Zealand parliamentary election since 1993 – and I only did then because the government had finally bowed to public pressure and agreed to hold a binding referendum on electoral reform at the same time. For the record, supporters of PR – where seats in the legislature are allocated more or less according to the proportion of votes a party wins – achieved a notable victory. Sad to say, nothing much has changed in the country since then. As some wise guy (or maybe girl) once said, ‘If voting actually changed anything, they wouldn’t let you do it.’

Barack Obama accepts the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions

Barack Obama accepts the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions

So I have to tell Obama-voters in the United States of America that I was I was just a tad cynical about all the euphoria surrounding the election of that nation’s first African-American President. To be fair, I don’t think it would have made a great deal of difference if Hillary R-C had got the Democratic nod instead. First African-American President, first woman, first Mormon, first bona fide card-carrying member of the Cherokee nation . . . In the end, they do what they’re allowed (or instructed) to do. I’m not a conspiracy theorist. If you want my opinion, there’s no ‘theory’ involved. It’s a stone-cold certainty.

But I know some people are reluctant to accept it, and I can understand that. When your last illusion is shattered, what are you going to do? Pretend it’s all a dream? Act locally and f**k the ‘globe’? Jump off the Tallahatchee Bridge? Not an attractive range of options really. May as well give this guy (or girl) a chance and see if he/she can’t do a little better.

And what happened? Bailed out Wall Street after about a month in office! I’m telling you now, it’s not a matter of ‘Too big to fail’. What it’s all about is the transnational banker/financier fraternity have got those politicians by the short and curlies. They knew they were lending to people who could never pay back their debts. They knew they were packaging up worthless loans and selling them as sound investments to retirement fund managers etc. And when the loans went bad, as of course they would, the government stepped in and covered their losses – with what money? Anyway, the government was already trillions in the red. According to the latest figures I can find, the USA has an external debt[1] of $18.5 trillion (that’s TRILLION!); and The Economist tells me that the US government alone owes $15.2 trillion. Who to, you might ask. Well, China apparently owes $3 trillion itself, so it can’t be them.

Pretty clearly, that money is not actually being put up by the beleaguered tax-payer, whatever Angela Merkel is telling her German constituents. Those tax dollars have already been spent, and then some. So, in a nutshell, the government is borrowing from the private bankers to cover the bad debts of those same bankers, and the rest of us will be paying interest unto the third and the fourth generation, and probably well beyond that, if the world survives that long. And where do those bankers get their money from? Don’t tell me it’s all petro-dollars.

But back to Barack Hussein Obama II. You’d think, with a name like that, he’d at least have some sympathy for Muslims. Time Magazine informed us, on 8 July, that the ‘US air force [is] primed and ready to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.’ Dear God! Are we back to this again? Is this what Obama-voters thought they were getting after George Dubya departed the scene?

‘The U.S. has made it clear,’ according to the Time people, ‘that it will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon to threaten Israel or its other neighbors in and around the Persian Gulf. If the atomic talks break down—and U.S. intelligence decides Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear-armed state—look for the Air Force’s Massive Ordnance Penetrator to get the assignment to try to destroy that capability.’

USAF B2 stealth bomber loading up a MOP

USAF B2 stealth bomber loading up a MOP

So, if I’ve got this right, the USA is ‘talking’ with Iran about its nuclear programme, while making an open threat to smash them if the ‘talks’ don’t go the way the USA wants. The main aim of the US policy is to ensure that Israel remains the only country in the region with nuclear weapon capability. The only country in the region that is allowed to threaten its neighbours is Israel. And who will decide if Iran is cooperating or not? US ‘intelligence’. Now I don’t want to be unkind here. As I remember, when it came to Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, the US finally went with George Dubya’s intelligence – not a characteristic he had hitherto been especially renowned for. Mr Obama is reputed to be a few points higher up the IQ scale, but . . .

Anyway, wading through the Pentagon-speak in that Time article, I learnt a new acronym: MOP. As you see, it stands for Massive Ordnance Penetrator, and, apparently, it’s the next best thing to a nuclear bomb if you’d prefer not, at least in the short-term, to actually drop an honest-to-God nuclear bomb. One problem is, we just don’t trust those guys. United Nations inspectors repeatedly checked and found no sign of WMDs or development installations in Iraq, but George the Son and Tony ‘Poodle’ Blah went and shocked and awed them anyway. I’d like to hope we can rely on Barack Obama’s superior intelligence this time, but I’m not sure.

Another problem is the United States economy is pretty heavily dependent on arms manufacturing – and these MOPs are serious hardware, designed to drive though 80 metres of rock-solid mountain to reach the Iranian government’s nuclear facility at a place with the unlikely name of Fordow. From a purely technical point-of-view, it sounds pretty sweet, with ‘GPS-guided lattice-type fins, its alloy steel hull – some 80% of its weight – is designed to remain intact as it drills through rock or reinforced concrete before setting off its 5,300-pound warhead.’ That’s a 12-ton bomb, if you need help with the calculation, costing $15 million per bang.

Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was quoted as saying ‘It’s a hammer that might have to be used repeatedly if Iran refuses to back down and continues to work on its nuclear program’ – so the Pentagon reportedly went ahead and ordered 20 of those mothers, at a cost of $314 million. But the politicians are still talking, you understand.

Well, America’s first black president has about a year left in office. Who are you going to try next, guys? Maybe Hillary ‘Dove’ Clinton will be the one to save the planet. Wimin assure me the world will be a better place when more of them hold key positions. Sad to say, I find myself feeling some empathy with the 46% of eligible American voters who didn’t even bother making their way to a polling place for the last presidential election.


[1] Total public and private debt owed to nonresidents repayable in internationally accepted currencies, goods, or services