Two Fathers, Two Nations

Comparing Gandhi and Ataturk

    Statues of Ghandi (at the Ghandi Museum in Madurai)

Raising the flag in front of the statue of Gandhi at the Gandhi Museum in Madurai

The statue of Ataturk in Taksim Square, Istanbul

The statue of Ataturk in Taksim Square, Istanbul

Mohandas Gandhi and Mustafa Kemal. Both have so much in common. They both liberated their home country (both from the British… funny), and both received a name meaning Father (Ataturk actually means Father of the Turks, but whatever). To compare these two figures, one must first know a bit about them. And I learned a lot about each as we travelled through both India and Turkey.

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Finding Santa

Originally published in Alternatives Journal blog, Think Global

It’s December 6, and we are on the island of Kos in Greece. The stores are closed for the celebration of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors, but the sun is out and the cafes are doing a brisk trade. A band approaches and then a procession bearing the icon of St. Nicholas sweeps through the square on its way to the church where the service is being held. The procession passes, and the square is empty again, save for the Christmas tree and Santa Claus display. Continue reading

We Stay in Pamukkale

pamukkale (3)An iconic image that appears in all the travel magazines for Turkey is the white terraces of Pamukkale, or the “cotton castle” in Turkish. Over the ages, hot water springs have deposited calcium carbonate down the hillside, thus creating pools in which people have bathed for thousands of years. In fact, at the top of Pamukkale lie the Greco-Roman and Byzantine ruins of the city of Hierapolis; beginning in the 2nd century BC, the Romans used the hot springs as a spa as the waters were believed to cure all sorts of ailments. Clearly the Romans knew a good thing when they had it! Continue reading