The dervish and the gas mask
[ by Charles Cameron — wall art, sufism and poetry in Istanbul ]
I wasn’t altogether sure, when Zeynep Tufekci tweeted a stenciled image of a whirling dervish (above, right) the other day, that the dervish was in fact wearing a gas mask. Just the fact that the dervish was showing up on a wall during the events in Turkey was interesting to me — and all the more so since Zeynep pointed out that the accompanying slogan Sen de Gel — Come, Come Whoever you are is from Jalaluddin Rumi, the great Sufi poet and founder of the Mevlevi order of whirling dervishes.
As the photo of a dervish whirling in the park (above, left) shows, however — and I only saw it today — the stencil is indeed the iconization — in protest art — of a dervish in gas mask in real-time Istanbul.
There’s insight to be had there.
The version of Rumi’s poetry that I first ran across lo these many years ago, and to which I return:
AJ Arberry, tr, Mystical Poems of Rumi 1
AJ Arberry, tr, Mystical Poems of Rumi 2
AJ Arberry, tr, Discourses of Rumi
Rumi’s poetry in the versions that have made this thirteenth century Afghan-born, Persian-speaking resident of Turkey “the best-selling poet in America”:
Coleman Barks, Rumi: The Big Red Book
Rumi’s life, as told within Sufi tradition:
Idries Shah, The Hundred Tales of Wisdom
Rumi’s life, teachings and poetry, in contemporary context:
Franklin D. Lewis, Rumi: Past and Present, East and West
Rumi explored with scholarship and depth:
Anne-Marie Schimmel, The Triumphant Sun
Anne-Marie Schimmel, Rumi’s World
William C Chittick, The Sufi Path of Love
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Reading Mystical Lyric
Come, Come Whoever you are
June 11th, 2013 at 6:24 am
Michael Weaver, having seen the dervish stencil above, very kindly pointed me to another stencil, also from Turkey and also involving the (unexpected) wearing of a gas mask… thereby permitting me to make this DoubleQuote:
June 30th, 2013 at 5:01 pm
For more on the dervish and the gas mask, including the full Rumi poem as translated by Coleman Barks, a photo of the dervish stencil in rainbow colors, and a wonderful overview of the “Gezi spirit” as Zeynep Tufekci has found it in the neighborhood forums of Istanbul, see her blog post today, Come, Come, Whoever You Are.” As a Pluralist Movement Emerges from Gezi Park in Turkey.