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Review: Bob Dylan's 'Love and Theft'

Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews Love and Theft (Columbia) the new release by Bob Dylan.

06:54

Other segments from the episode on October 3, 2001

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, October 3, 2001: Interview with Stephen Kinzer; Review of Bob Dylan's album " Love and theft."

Transcript

DATE October 3, 2001 ACCOUNT NUMBER N/A
TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/A
NETWORK NPR
PROGRAM Fresh Air

Interview: Journalist Steven Kinzer gives a recent history of
Turkey, its government and modern culture
TERRY GROSS, host:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

The conflict between secularism and Islam in Turkey is one of the issues
Steven Kinzer explores in his new book "Crescent & Star: Turkey Between Two
Worlds." Kinzer is a New York Times reporter who became the paper's first
bureau chief in Istanbul in 1996 and remained in that position until last
year. He's now a national correspondent.

He says that Turks take pride in the way their country has been modernized
since 1923, when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk created a new secularized state after
the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. But although the country's current
leadership considers itself the defender of democracy and modernity, it fears
free and open debate and crushes challenges wherever they appear.

Steven Kinzer, where does Turkey fit in to the coalition that President Bush
is putting together?

Mr. STEVEN KINZER (New York Times): Right now, the Bush administration is
looking for countries in the area near where the expected action is going to
happen; countries that have large military infrastructures, military bases,
large amounts of airspace and political structures that will allow the United
States to operate from those bases without domestic or other problems. Turkey
is the country that fulfills that. So in the short run, in the medium run,
Turkey's gonna play a role and has already indicated that it will play a role
as a supporter of the US military effort in whatever way that it can.

Turkey, however, has a greater, long-term role to play in this coalition. If
we accept the view, as I think most Americans, including President Bush,
do--that this is gonna be a drawn-out conflict that will be as much a conflict
over hearts and minds as over territory or body counts, then Turkey has a huge
role to play. Turkey is the closest thing we have on earth to a Muslim
country that is ruled democratically. It is the country that can show the
Muslim world another way. It is, in a sense, the anti-bin Laden, the
anti-Taliban, the secular, modern, European, Western-oriented society that is
still true to its Islamic roots. If that example can shine through the Muslim
world, it can change that world and, in so doing, affect the whole world.

GROSS: But at the same time, Turkey, I think, has a reputation for
suppressing Islam in the country.

Mr. KINZER: Turkey's in a very interesting situation, if you compare it with
Afghanistan. You could hardly imagine a more extreme contrast in the Islamic
world. In fact, there probably is none. Afghanistan is a country where the
most extreme forms of religious devotion are incorporated into government
policy. In Turkey, we're at the opposite extreme. Even modest aspects of
religious devotion, modest displays of piety and religious belief are thought
of as scary. A woman who wears a head scarf cannot get a government job. An
officer in the army who prays regularly is probably not gonna be promoted and
will, sooner or later, be cashiered from the army. Turkey has gone to the
opposite extreme and, in one sense, it's gone I think too far. It has put
itself in the position where some religious believers feel that they need to
choose between their religious belief and their fidelity to the state. No
country that has ever placed itself in competition with religion has ever
emerged successful from that conflict.

GROSS: Well, because Turkey is playing such an interesting role now in the
conflicts between secularism and religion, why don't we kind of look at the
history behind that. Let's to back to--What?--1923 when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
became the ruler of Turkey. You say no nation was ever founded with greater
revolutionary zeal than the Turkish Republic, nor has any undergone more
sweeping change in such a short time. You describe Mustafa Kemal Ataturk has
a one-man revolution who was obsessed with progress. You say he abolished the
Ottoman regime and the Islamic Kharijite with the stroke of a pen. What are
some of the major changes he made after coming to power--changes having to do
with religion and secularism?

Mr. KINZER: There is hardly a figure in this century who brought more
dramatic and radical change to his society than Ataturk did. He took over a
country that had been shattered by defeat in war and dismemberment of what had
been the Ottoman Empire. He took it over with the conviction that Turkey's
greatest challenge was to modernize itself. He realized that Turkey had
fallen far behind the countries of Western Europe, which were his models. And
he decided that had to change. He was a whirlwind in Turkish society. He
banned the fez. He banned the head scarf for women. He changed the Muslim
calendar to the Christian calendar. He made Sunday, rather than Friday, the
day of rest. He banned polygamy. He legalized divorce. He went through a
series of changes that revolutionized Turkish society.

But particularly in the area of religion, he had a very important effect. Up
until the end of the Ottoman Empire, there had been no real separation between
secular and religious power. Ataturk destroyed that. Ataturk felt that the
state must be secular in all regards and that there was no place for religion
in public policy. Over a period of 75 years, that policy has now been so
ingrained in the Turkish way of looking at the world that even people who are
pious, religious believers, in many cases, accept the idea that they are
living in a secular society. This is a precept that is not widely embraced or
universally embraced, certainly, in the Islamic world. It's a precept that
Turkey needs to preach more aggressively.

GROSS: Now you quote Ataturk as having said, "A civilized international
dress is worthy and appropriate for our nation and we will we wear it; boots
or shoes on our feet, trousers on our legs, shirt and tie, jacket and
waistcoat. And, of course, to complete these, a cover with a brim on our
heads. This head covering is called `hat.'" I'm thinking what must it have
been like for people in Turkey to get this ruling from on high that now
they're going to change their clothes and adopt, you know, jackets and ties
or, you know, shoes and, you know, Western hats. I mean, it wasn't their
organic process. It was, you know, your leader saying, `OK. You're going to
abandon the clothes you've always worn and wear these instead.'

Mr. KINZER: Probably at the time that Ataturk was in power, which was the
1920s and '30s, there was no way that any of these reforms could have been
imposed other than by fiat. If there had been a plebiscite on these reforms,
probably the reforms would have lost. In fact, the whole idea of having a
plebiscite, of consulting the people about the direction of society or the
nation, would have struck most people of that time as quite absurd. This was
very much a top-down revolution. It has now been internalized by many
Turks--by most Turks, I'm sure, but at the time, probably the benign
dictatorship of Ataturk was the only way it could have been imposed. There
was resistance to it, needless to say. Essentially, what Ataturk was doing,
not just by changing the clothing of the Turks, but by changing so much in
their daily lives was to rip them apart from the traditions that many of them
had lived by for centuries.

For example, this changing of the script from the Arabic script to the Latin
script did not just mean that people had to learn a new alphabet; it meant
that, suddenly, all of the poetry and all of the other literary works that
had been produced by Turks over centuries were now gonna become illegible to
new generations of Turks. It was a huge and very wrenching project; probably
among the most revolutionary of this century, but Ataturk felt it was the
only option for Turkey if Turkey wanted to avoid the fate that he saw already
absorbing many other Muslim countries, which was to be held back in those
soft desert sands and never to be able to advance to the role of playing a
leadership position in the civilized world. Turkey is now in a position
where it can do that. It's still a little reluctant to look outward beyond
its borders, but it needs to do so at this moment.

GROSS: If you're just joining us, my guest is Steven Kinzer. He's a New
York Times reporter who was the bureau chief in Istanbul, Turkey, from 1996
to 2000. He has a new book called "Crescent & Star: Turkey Between Two
Worlds." Let's take a short break here and then we'll talk some more. This
is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: My guest is New York Times reporter Steven Kinzer. He's the author
of the book "Crescent & Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds." He was the New
York Times bureau chief in Istanbul from 1996 to 2000.

You know, we mentioned some of the clothing changes that Ataturk initiated.
He also banned the veil for women. How did Ataturk become so Westernized
himself?

Mr. KINZER: Ataturk was born in what is now northern Greece. The Balkans
were really the heart of the Ottoman Empire. When the Ottoman Empire
collapsed, Turkey was left with Anatolia. That is the region that we now call
Turkey, what used to be called Asia Minor. That was a historical accident.
The real heart of the Ottoman Empire was the Balkans. And it was the
cosmopolitanism of the Balkans that made it so perfect to play a role in the
imagination of Ottomans, people like Ataturk. The Balkans was a cauldron of
nationalities, but it also reflected the best of the Ottoman Empire, which was
no desire to convert people from one religion to another, a large amount of
regional and local autonomy and a great deal of ethnic mixing.

Ataturk came out of this tradition and then joined the Turkish military. In
that role, he traveled both in the Islamic world and in Europe. He was able
to see quite dramatically the contrast between the two. Coming home, he
realized that the only hope for Turkey was modernization. During World War I,
Ataturk was a young Turkish officer who won the only major battlefield victory
that Turks won during World War I. That was the battle that was fought
between Turks and an expeditionary force sent by Winston Churchill to the
peninsula of Gallipoli. He emerged from World War I as the only legitimate
hero of the Turkish army, and when the Ottoman Empire collapsed soon
thereafter, he was the logical person to whom Turks turned. It so happened
that his background had given him this fervent passion for modernization and
Westernization and that was a huge stroke of good fortune for Turkey.

GROSS: When Ataturk was Westernizing and he wanted people to stop wearing the
fez and the veil, did he try to also institute a set of punishments for people
who wore the fez or the veil in public?

Mr. KINZER: The great punishment was really social pressure. Turks,
remember, had come out of a tradition in which the state, the leader, was a
holy thing. The Ottoman sultan was to be obeyed. For many years, the sultan
was also the caliph of Islam. So the tradition that Turks developed over
centuries of obedience to the will of the state was something very much
ingrained in them. When the Ottoman sultans taught them that they were
masters of a multicultural empire that stretched over vast dominions and that
they were God's servants on Earth, they accepted that. When Ataturk came to
power and told them they had fallen far behind the world, needed to
Westernize, couldn't wear articles of clothing that he thought showed their
ignorance or their unwillingness to accept what he called universal
civilization, he was willing to do away with that. However, there was no
sweeping punishment of people. It was well-understood in Turkey that the veil
was no longer favored by those in power. Neither was the fez. That was
enough to force people to change their habits.

GROSS: How did religious leaders in Turkey respond to this almost force-fed
secularism in Turkey?

Mr. KINZER: At the beginning, there was resistance. In fact, in some cases,
it was armed resistance. Ataturk responded by setting up what he called
independence courts which were, essentially, tribunals for people who were
rebelling against the government and several hundred people were condemned and
executed by order of these courts. The religious leaders in Turkey did not,
naturally, embrace these reforms in large measure because these reforms
implied, inevitably, a loss in the authority and the role of religious
leaders. The abolition of the dervish sects and other religious orders also
played an important role in galvanizing some religious factions against
Ataturk. But his power was such and his ability to seduce large numbers of
people from the Islamic community and the Islamic clergy allowed him to
overcome these obstacles. Certainly, if there had been a regime of civil
liberties and courts like the one we know today, it would have been impossible
to impose these reforms because they were resisted by many traditionalists in
Turkey. But at that time, the methods that Ataturk used proved sufficient to
bring most of the population to his side.

I will say this, though. There's a myth in Turkey propagated by schoolbooks
and official discourse that all Turks soon after Ataturk arrived in power
embraced his reforms. That's not true and it's not true to this day. There
are still people who, if they were really free to say so, would complain that
Ataturk went too far.

Turkey's challenge now is to ease up enough so that religious believers can
feel they have a full place in society and incorporate them into what is
already a very vibrant and multifaceted society that can prove a very valuable
model to other Islamic countries, especially at this moment.

GROSS: What kinds of restrictions are there against religion now?

Mr. KINZER: As I mentioned earlier, one of the aspects of Turkish life is
the fear of religious symbols. The secular establishment doesn't like seeing
professional women, for example, wearing head scarves. They're allowed to do
this in their own businesses, but they're not allowed to act, for example, as
judges or lawyers or civil servants when wearing a head scarf. Religious garb
for men, traditional robes and turbans, is also outlawed. But what's more
important, I think, and what I think is more irritating to some Turks is that
any instruction in religion that is not sanctioned by the state is also
suspect.

If a father, for example, spends his evenings talking about the Koran with his
children and some other neighborhood children start showing up and, pretty
soon, twice a week, this fellow's house fills up with some local kids to
discuss religious themes, that person might well find himself visited by the
police. He might be asked if he's running a Koran school without a permit.
There are these so-called underground Koran schools, which, in many cases, are
just informal discussion groups. The government, however, is terrified that
they are the germ of something more serious, more profound, more dangerous.
Therefore, religious teaching is to be done within limits that are set by the
government. Even many of the imams who preach in mosques in Turkish towns and
in the neighborhoods of Turkish cities receive their sermons or outlines of
their sermons from a central directorate of religious affairs that is part of
the Turkish government. So there's a considerable effort on the part of the
government to assure that what people are learning about religion has been
officially sanctioned.

People function outside this consensus. There are a number of religious
schools in which religion is brought closer to the center of the curriculum,
but even in those schools, textbooks are supposed to be approved by the
government.

GROSS: You said that there's certain beliefs that can't be spoken in Turkey.
Like what?

Mr. KINZER: Beliefs that are outside the consensus of what Turks are
supposed to believe are punishable by law. There is now a project at this
moment as we're speaking in the Turkish Parliament to change these laws, but
at the moment, insulting the army, insulting national leaders, insulting the
memory of Ataturk, supporting the idea of ethnic diversity; these are ideas
that are considered very dangerous. If you speak these ideas, you are in
legal danger.

I'll give you one example that I use in my book. A friend of mine who's a
Turkish journalist wrote a book in which she interviewed veterans of the war
between Turks and Kurdish separatists. These were army veterans. She found a
lot of them very upset with the way they were treated in the army. They had
bad things to say about the army. They didn't feel so terribly about the
people they were supposed to fight. They became very confused. They disliked
their officers. In a sense, they reacted the way young soldiers have reacted
to any war. That woman who put that book together was arrested. She
ultimately was found not guilty, but she had to go through two trials because
just by printing the statements of young kids who said, `The army doesn't
serve our interests. The army doesn't care about us. The people we're
fighting against might be right. We might be wrong'--those views were
considered hostile to the state. And for that, she was prosecuted.

GROSS: Steven Kinzer is the author of the new book "Crescent & Star:
Turkey Between Two Worlds." He's the former Istanbul bureau chief for The
New York Times and is now a national correspondent for The Times. He'll be
back in the second half of the show. I'm Terry Gross and this is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

(Credits)

GROSS: Coming up, Turkey's relationship with other Islamic countries. We
continue our conversation with journalist Steven Kinzer, author of "Crescent &
Star." And Ken Tucker reviews Bob Dylan's new CD.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross, back with Steven Kinzer, author
of "Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds." Kinzer was The New York
Times' Istanbul bureau chief from 1996 to 2000. He's now a national
correspondent.

In the first part of our talk, he described how in the 1920s, under the
leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey became a modern, secular state,
but in doing so, the state repressed certain public expressions of Islamic
religion and culture, a practice which continues to this day.

You've used the word `tolerance' to describe the Turkish government, but in
some ways, the government doesn't sound tolerant at all. If you're not able
to wear religious garments in public, that's a suppression of free speech and
freedom of religion, the way we would define it in the United States.

Mr. KINZER: Turkey's often described, and I think quite aptly, as a
half-democracy, or a country on the way to democracy. Certainly it's the most
democratic of all the 50 or so Muslim countries on Earth. It cannot honestly
be considered a full democracy, however, for the reasons that you point out.

When Turkey was founded in the 1920s, there were all kinds of threats to this
very fragile new regime, including threats from orthodox religious leaders.
It made sense, in those days, for certain views to be suppressed, because the
Ataturk reforms could never have taken place without that repression.

Those days are over now. Turks are as vibrant and open and anxious a society
as any on Earth. They really want to make their mark on the world. They're
being held back by a sclerotic cadre of ruling groups that is unwilling to
give up its own power. This is a cadre that is afraid that any expression of
religious beliefs is going to lead to radical fundamentalism. Any expression
of ethnic diversity is going to lead to violent separatism. It's a philosophy
based on fear. Turkey and most Turks have gotten far beyond that. The regime
is still lagging behind, and that is creating a great frustration in Turkey.
People want to move forward towards full democracy more quickly than their
leaders want to let them do so.

GROSS: Well, you know, you would like to think that Turkey can be a model for
other states with predominantly Muslim populations, about how you could have a
democracy, but if the cost of democracy is suppressing religion, it seems like
a big cost, and it also seems like a price, you know, no other country's going
to be paying right now.

Mr. KINZER: Turkey needs to make some fundamental decisions. Turkey can
become a hugely important model to the Muslim world, but in order to do that,
Turkey has to change itself. Turkey, at the moment, is a country where
certain beliefs cannot be spoken, certain political positions cannot be held,
where writers are still put in prison for what they write, where people can be
arrested for statements they make in public, not for actions, for newspaper
columns. That has to stop if Turkey is going to play the role that it can
play in the world.

These days, it has suddenly become much more important for the world that
there be a true Muslim democracy. Therefore, it's more important than ever
that we try to work with the country that is closer than any other to that
goal, which is Turkey, to try to help it complete that march toward democracy.
If the world can help Turkey overcome a handful of psychological and political
barriers that have inhibited its political development, that will be great for
Turks and great for Turkey, and also great for the whole world.

GROSS: You know, you mention in your book that two-thirds of Turks now are
under the age of 35--that's, I guess, a big demographic shift--and that a lot
of young people aren't obeying the way they used to, the way people used to,
that they're impatient for change and impatient with leaders who are
preventing it. Can you talk a little more about what you think the long-term
effect might be of this large number of people who are under the age of 35?

Mr. KINZER: They can be a very positive influence on Turkey. They are the
ones who are demanding that the lid be taken off and that people be allowed to
speak and write and express themselves in Turkey, just as they can in fully
democratic countries. This group, however, also poses a danger. It's a
demographic time bomb. Many of these young people are either from rural areas
or they're in cities but have come from rural areas. Turkish society has not
been successful in integrating these people, in providing for their basic
needs, in providing jobs for them either on the land or in the cities.

Who profits then? What is the group that embraces these young people as they
feel increasingly disoriented in their new surroundings? It's the Islamic
Movement. There have been long periods in Turkey where people working for
religious groups would post themselves at the bus station in Ankara and in
Istanbul. And when some disoriented person comes off the bus and doesn't
really know where to start, these groups offer help. They'll take the guy in
for a few weeks, help him find a job, provide the social services that the
government doesn't provide. The government doesn't like this but it can't
compete because it's not offering those same services. Turkey needs to be
able to integrate its very young population to avoid that population from
turning into the kind of angry mass that we've seen in some other Muslim
countries.

GROSS: Is terrorism an issue in Turkey?

Mr. KINZER: Turkey has gone through a military conflict domestically that did
involve a lot of terror on both sides. That is the war between the Turkish
army and Kurdish rebels. An interesting thing has happened in the last few
years there, as I describe in my book. The Kurdish war came to an end,
essentially, with the defeat of Kurdish rebels at the hands of the Turkish
army and the arrest of the Kurdish rebel leader who remains in prison. As a
result of these events and other related processes, the Kurdish movement has
become more conciliatory than it ever has in the past. The danger of terror
in Turkey, while it still exists, is considerably lessened. But it also
raises a very interesting question. The Turkish army is now the only army in
the world that has fought and defeated a well-equipped and well-motivated
guerrilla force in rugged, mountainous terrain. Will that experience become
useful at some time in the near future? It's a question that I'm sure
policymakers in Washington and in Ankara are asking themselves now.

GROSS: Elaborate on what you mean.

Mr. KINZER: The Turks have experience in fighting in a place that's a lot
like Afghanistan. They fought against guerrillas who were equipped and
motivated, to a certain degree, like the Taliban fighters in Afghanistan are.
One of the lessons the United States has learned too late from its involvement
in the Gulf War was that the arrival of outside forces to do a job which might
have been done by Muslim forces, created a huge backlash. If the United
States feels that Muslim forces, the forces from Muslim countries, can play a
role in Afghanistan, as I think they can, there is no country whose forces are
more equipped to do that than Turkey's. Turkey has also shown in the last
decade an increasing interest in becoming involved in international military
operations. Involved all over the Balkans. There have been Turkish troops in
Africa. Turkey is a country that can play a military as well as a political
role in Afghanistan.

GROSS: Well, how do you think the Turkish people would feel about that?

Mr. KINZER: Turkey went to fight in South Korea. That was really the first
flowering of Turkish military presence since the Turkish Republic was founded.
At this moment I think the Turkish people are absolutely terrified by what
they are seeing in Afghanistan. They've had the great discomfort of living
next to Iran and Iraq. Now they are seeing something that is their true
nightmare happening just one country away, which is in Afghanistan. I think
that Turkish involvement in a conflict against the Taliban, if it is handled
correctly, would have considerable, popular support. It also would be,
strategically, a very interesting development and, in some ways a very
productive development, possibly, for Turkey, in terms of its relations with
Europe and the United States.

GROSS: Well, how do Islamic states regard Turkey and how does Turkey regard
them?

Mr. KINZER: Turkey, because of geography and because of the history of the
Ottoman Empire, plays a unique role in the Islamic consciousness. The caliph
of Islam was the sultan for years and Istanbul was considered the seat of all
Islam at certain periods in Islamic history. It has certainly played a key
role in the Islamic world for many centuries. So there is a certain status
that goes with being Turkish when you're in the Muslim world.

However, in certain parts of the Muslim world, Turks are looked at as having
been colonizers. They also don't traditionally have a good relationship with
Arabs. Turks, in general, look down on Arabs and there would need to be some
work to be done. However, I think the idea of Muslims trying to show not just
with their voices, but in every way, that they reject the Taliban's
interpretation of Islam--is something that the United States ought to be
looking at very carefully now. If there's going to be a Muslim power, which
is going to posit itself as the anti-Taliban, the example of the other way for
Islam, then Turkey is the obvious choice.

GROSS: As you watch the United States try to put together this coalition with
countries around the world in the fight against terrorism, are you seeing new
relationships that you're finding quite surprising and are you wondering what
the implications will be for the future in those cases? And if so, maybe you
could give us one or two examples of alliances that we're creating with other
countries that you find surprising.

Mr. KINZER: Probably the most interesting shift in the geopolitics of this
region as a result of the episode of September 11th has been the relation
between the United States and Iran. Iran borders on Afghanistan and the
Iranians hate the Taliban regime. You may know that there was an episode not
too long ago in which Taliban fighters overran an Iranian consulate in
Afghanistan and killed all 10 Iranian diplomats who were there. This just
exacerbated long-standing mistrust between the Shiites in Iran and the brand
of Islam that the Taliban favors. So the intense hatred between the Iranian
regime and the Taliban gives Iran something very much in common with the
United States.

There have been many strategists in Washington who have been thinking for
years of ways in which the United States could move closer to Iran, because
our strategic goals in the Middle East are, in many cases, coincident. This
episode has certainly strengthened their hand.

GROSS: My guest is New York Times reporter Steven Kinzer, author of the new
book "Crescent & Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds." We'll talk more after a
break. This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: My guest is Steven Kinzer, The New York Times' former bureau chief in
Istanbul. His new book about Turkey is called "Crescent & Star."

Steven Kinzer, while you were The New York Times' bureau chief in Istanbul,
you were arrested. What were you arrested for?

Mr. KINZER: I was snooping around, as journalists sometimes do, out in
eastern Turkey, which is the region where the conflict between the Turkish
army and Kurdish rebels was, at that time, taking place. That war was fought,
more or less, outside of public view. It wasn't possible for Turkish
journalists to cover the conflict. It was, more or less, illegal for them to
do so. And it wasn't so welcome for foreign correspondents, either.

Nonetheless, I was in a car driving around one day. When I arrived at my
third road block of the day and told the lieutenant there that I'd be happy to
turn around and go back, he said, `No.' And he took me into custody and later
on I was brought into the basement of a military command post in a provincial
capital and kept up all night by people screaming at me and wanting to know
what I was doing. They told me they thought I was spying for the PKK, the
Kurdish rebel group. It was a very unpleasant 24 hours that I wouldn't want
to live through again. On the other hand, I wasn't physically harmed. I came
away with some interesting insights, but it cost a bit. I don't want to have
do that every time I go abroad.

GROSS: What were some of the insights being imprisoned and interrogated left
you with?

Mr. KINZER: For example, I was told by the soldiers that the town that I was
trying to get to was a PKK town. That is, a rebel town. Outside in the world
of the Turkish media and in the official pronouncements of the Turkish
military, this is no such thing as a PKK town. Everybody supports the
government. There are only a few wild bands of savage terrorists who are
rejected by every civilian that are fighting against the army. The way these
soldiers were talking as they were shouting at me in the basement of that
jail; the way they kept talking about why I was traveling through pro-PKK
areas and into pro-PKK towns made me realize that the truth, and even the
truth that soldiers, themselves, perceived, was quite different from the truth
that we were being told in the newspapers being published in Istanbul.

GROSS: After living in Turkey for four years, you came back to the United
States and, you know, just a few weeks ago the World Trade Center was
attacked. The Pentagon was attacked. What's that experience been like for
you to watch this happen to your country?

Mr. KINZER: It has always amazed me to see the extent to which Americans have
lived in a bubble, as if they're totally impervious, totally immune to
whatever else is happening in the world. We go into countries and take steps
that greatly upset their political, social, military, economic balances and
then we just depart and we expect that that's not gonna have any effect.
Sometimes I think of that as being like a small child who leaves a trail of
garbage and discarded clothes and books wherever he or she goes. Someone has
to come by and clean them up, like the man who follows the elephant in the
circus. The United States is finally coming to realize that its actions in
the world, its alliances and its policies have effects. These things come
back to haunt you. You cannot live in a world where you're totally protected.

I think we're in a position now where we've gone from an exaggerated sense of
our security in the world to, perhaps, an exaggerated sense of how insecure
and exposed we are. All of it, to me, is a result of the way Americans over
the last decades have allowed themselves the luxury of believing that we can
live apart from the rest of the world.

GROSS: So you think we've gone to the opposite extreme and we think we're
more vulnerable than we really are?

Mr. KINZER: I do. I read the other day that 50 percent of Americans,
according to the one public opinion survey, think it is very likely that they
will personally become the victims of terrorist attacks. This kind of
exaggeration is perhaps understandable at this moment, but when you've lived
in countries in the world where this kind of thing has happened for years--and
I'm not just talking about countries like Afghanistan or Pakistan or even
Turkey, but countries like England and Spain and Germany--you come to realize
that nations have to deal with various kinds of threats and that life can go
on, despite the immensity of the challenges that these threats pose.

GROSS: But nothing has ever quite happened like the World Trade Center.

Mr. KINZER: Absolutely not, but I think the impact is even greater in a
country which people had lulled themselves into such a sense of security that
they felt that nothing bad could ever happen to them; that the good times were
gonna go on forever. I've always felt that the United States is more
different from the rest of the world than any other country. Americans don't
view themselves as part of the world. They've suddenly been thrust into it in
a very brutal and horrible way. This is a realization that--admittedly on a
smaller scale--people in other countries have come to a long time ago.

GROSS: Well, Steven Kinzer, I want to thank you so much for talking with us.

Mr. KINZER: It was a pleasure. Thank you.

GROSS: Steven Kinzer is the author of the new book "Crescent & Star: Turkey
Between Two Worlds." He's the former Istanbul bureau chief for The New York
Times and is now a national correspondent for The Times.

Coming up, Ken Tucker reviews Bob Dylan's new CD. This is FRESH AIR.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Review: Ken Tucker discusses Bob Dylan's CD "Love and Theft"
TERRY GROSS, host:

"Love and Theft" is Bob Dylan's first CD since 1997's "Time Out of Mind." Its
official release date was September 11th, the day of the terrorist attacks.
Rock critic Ken Tucker says he hears the music on "Love and Theft" differently
than he did in the days before its release.

(Soundbite of "Lonesome Day Blues")

Mr. BOB DYLAN: (Singing) Well, today's been a sad and lonesome day. Yeah,
today has been a sad and lonesome day. I'm just sitting here thinking. My
mind a million miles away. Well, as I do the double shuffle...

KEN TUCKER:

About a week before the terrorist attacks, I taped a review of Bob Dylan's
new CD, "Love and Theft." It was an admiring piece; one in which I talked
about how pleasurable it was to hear Dylan settle into senior citizenship
with jaunty zest and squint-eyed skepticism. Since the events of September
11th, I realized I couldn't let that original review stand as it was, even
though the song I originally picked to lead it off, "Lonesome Day Blues,"
still seems the best way to begin.

"Lonesome Day Blues" can now be heard as a kind of prophecy about the
loneliness of death, even when you're surrounded by people you know. In one
verse that I keep playing over and over, Dylan says, `I'm gonna spare the
defeated. I'm gonna speak to the crowd. I'm going to teach peace to the
conquered. I'm gonna tame the proud.'

And who's that talking now? The voice of a leader, a tyrant, a follower? A
few weeks ago it was simply the sound of a man magnifying his loneliness to a
metaphor that took in the world. This is the Bob Dylan methodology of four
decades.

(Soundbite from "Mississippi")

Mr. DYLAN: (Singing) Every step of the way we walked along, your days are
numbered. So are mine. Time is piling up. We struggle and we strain. We're
all boxed in, nowhere to escape.

TUCKER: What happened on September 11th has moved many people to seize on
things, especially anything in the pop culture we find all around us, for new
meanings, for explanations, for omens. You can now hear that song,
"Mississippi," as a quietly terrifying expression about feeling trapped when
he sings, quote, "We're all boxed in, nowhere to escape." It's the way the
people who died must have felt and, in a more existential sense, a way many
people around the country and the world feel now.

(Soundbite from "Mississippi")

Mr. DYLAN: (Singing) All my powers of discussion are not so sublime, could
never do you justice in reason or rhyme. Only one thing I did wrong was
stayed in Mississippi a day too long.

TUCKER: September 11th hasn't made me lose my appetite for Dylan's music or
for music in general. In fact, listening to new releases by Macy Gray and the
hard-core band System of a Down and Loudon Wainwright III and Afroman has
increased my appetite for it; music not as escape, but as engagement with the
world; music as solace, but also as an agent of community, as a series of
messages that make personal emotions public and open to many interpretations.

That's the way I heard much of the music that was played during the benefit
telethon that was broadcast September 21st in songs by people like Bruce
Springsteen and Stevie Wonder and in Neil Young's performance of John Lennon's
"Imagine." "Imagine" is one of the songs on that list you may have heard
about. Clear Channel, a company that owns over 1,000 radio stations, released
a list of tunes they recommended not be played out of sensitivity to the
catastrophe. Many of the selections seemed absurd. Suddenly, for example,
we're not supposed to hear Sam Cooke's "What a Wonderful World," lest it upset
someone. Such de facto censorship is reprehensible, to be sure, but even
timid programmers understand something fundamental. At a time when anything
could rightfully upset anyone; an airplane flying over your house, the sight
of an absent loved one's shirt on a hanger, who's to say anymore what can be
upsetting?

(Soundbite from "Bye and Bye")

Mr. DYLAN: (Singing) By and by, I'm breathing a lot of sighs. While I'm
sitting on my watch so I can be on time, I'm singing love's praises with
sugar-coated rhymes. By and by, on you I'm casting my eye. I'm painting the
town, swinging my partner around. Well, I know who I can depend on. I know
who to trust. I'm watching the roads. I'm studying the dust. I paint the
town, making my last go 'round. Well, I'm scuffling...

TUCKER: For me, hearing Bob Dylan on a tune called "Bye and Bye" singing
phrases like, `The future for me is already a thing of the past' and `I'm not
even acquainted with my old desires,' those are upsetting; upsetting in a way
that all good art does when it pierces its way into life; when it, to
paraphrase this CD's title, `thieves love,' stealing it from our emotions.
That's something an artist like Dylan can evoke in us, transporting us on a
journey to a place in ourselves we didn't know existed.

GROSS: Ken Tucker is critic at large for Entertainment Weekly.

(Credits)

GROSS: I'm Terry Gross.

(Soundbite from "Lonesome Day Blues")

Mr. DYLAN: (Singing) I'm gonna spare the defeated. I'm gonna speak to the
crowd. I'm gonna spare the defeated 'cause I'm gonna speak to the crowd. I'm
going to teach peace to the conquered. I'm gonna tame the proud.
(Unintelligible) in the woods. Things are fallin' off of the shelf.
(Unintelligible) in the woods. Things are fallin' off the shelf. You're
gonna need my help, sweetheart. You can't make love all by yourself.
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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