31 Mart 2015 Salı

The Duty of Conscience

Isak Jerusalmi, son of David Effendi working as a translator for Mahmad Sadik Rifat Pasha, has transliterated Pasha's Risale-i Ahlaq (an Ottoman Turkish treatise on ethics taught in the Ottoman schools) into Latin alphabet. Isak writes in the preface of the book [1]: “Yellowish pages of fair amount of 'old' books were sold to shops of dried fruits by miserable people and after being used for a paper bag, these pages were thrown into the trash bin. The existing publications from the Ottoman period constitute very small amount of the total publications from that period. The books have been waiting, locked up in the cabinets of famous libraries. This tragic waiting has lasted over a century. Who will read and evaluate these books, which have not seen sunlight? Unfortunately, there is a lack of experts”.
The cover page of the treatise

Isak Effendi, born in Uskudar district of Istanbul, tells us so and asks the uncomfortable question: Who will read these books in Ottoman Turkish?

At the end of the preface, he writes that on March 4, 1924, after the abolition of the Caliphate, it was decided that Abdulmajid II would go to Çatalca from Istanbul by car and from there to Europe by train. His private secretary, Salih Nigar, narrates the arrival of the convoy to the train station in his book [2]: “The manager of the station of Rumali Railway Corporation was a Jewish citizen. Since there was no convenient place where His Excellency and his family could rest, the manager assigned his building to the high guests and the manager and his family treated them with respect and served. When His Excellency thanked him for the sincere respect and help, the manager said 'the Ottoman dynasty is the benefactor of the Jewish people. When our ancestors, being exiled from Spain, were looking for a country to protect themselves, the Ottoman dynasty saved them from vanishing and provided them with safety of life, honor and property, and freedom of religion and language. In the time of troubles, it is a duty of conscience for us to serve them as good as we can'. These words filled us with tears”.


[1] Mehmed Sadik Rifat Pasa, Risale-i Ahlak, prepared by Isak Jerusalmi, Cincinnati, 1990. The book contains Ottoman text along with its transliteration. This book can be downloaded here.                  

[2] Salih Nigar, Halife İkinci Abdülmecid, İstanbul, 1964, p. 8.

Hiç yorum yok:

Yorum Gönder