Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Nonagenerian Academic on Trial

Muazzez İlmiye Çığ is a 92-year-old academic who is recognized internationally as Turkey's most prominent Sumerologist. Here's her bio, according to the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism:
Muazzez İlmiye ÇığResearcher and writer (b. 20 June 1914, Bursa). She has also written under the pseudonym Muazzez Çığ. She is the wife of Topkapı Museum Director M. Kemal Çığ. She started her primary education in Çorum and completed in Bursa (1925). She graduated from Bursa Teacher Training School for Women, 1931) and Ankara University, Faculty of Language, History and Geography, Department of Sumerology (1940). She worked as a Sumerologist and cuneiform expert at the İstanbul Archeological Museums and retired in 1972.

Her articles have been published in many reviews and newspapers such as Belleten and Bilim ve Ütopya. She is an honorary member of German Archeology Institute and İstanbul University, Institute of Prehistoric Sciences.

WORKS: Kur'an, İncil ve Tevrat'ın Sümer'deki Kökeni (The Origins of the Koran, the Bible and the Torah in Babylon, 1995), Sümerli Ludingirra (Babylonian Ludingirra, a retrospective science-fiction, 1996), İbrahim Peygamber (The Prophet Abram, according to Babylonian writings and archeological finds, 1997), İnanma'nın Aşkı (The Love of İnanma, the Belief and the Holy Marriage in Babylon, 1998), Hititler ve Hattuşa (The Hittites and Hattuşa, written by İstar, 2000), Ortadoğu Uygarlık Mirası (Civilization Heritage in the Middle-East, 2002).
Sounds like a real trouble-maker, eh?

Well, trouble, like much else, is in the eye of the beholder. Ms Cig made the mistake of writing that head-scarves called 'turban' in Turkey, and elsewhere the hijab, were once worn by Sumerian religious prostitutes. Now she's on trial for violating Turkey's draconian laws against "insulting" the country, specifially for violating Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code, which covers offences committed by "insulting values that are regarded as sacred by an individual's religion", and Article 216, which governs the offence of "incitement to hatred and enmity as well as denigration" - 216 is the catch-all for prosecuting intellectuals and writers.

She and her publisher face up to three years in jail.

And Turkey is considered a moderate, even secular state?

It's simple. Religion can't take facts, so where religion is the most important thing facts must be suppressed to avoid "insulting values".

I can see it on our horizon. Can't you?

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