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SYNPOSIS:

UZUN ALI, SHAME AND SALVATION

 

2  August 2012

 

Ozay Mehmet

 

When Empires collapse, families and individuals suffer…fortunes are lost and made… some win, others lose. Identities change; history of war and conflict hides many personal tragedies.

 

UZUN ALI, SHAME AND SALVATION is a family story, set Cyprus, from 1870s to 1980, told in three generations.  Uzun Ali was the all-powerful Kaimakam (provincial governor) of Milltown in the Ottoman period. In 1878 he suddenly lost his status and authority when the British took over the island. His family survived and ultimately became a successful global family thanks to his unwavering confidence in the power of education in the modern world.

 

The novel is 433 pages long and is organized in four Parts.

 

The first Part, DISGRACE, is a story of abduction and female exploitation in the oppressive Ottoman culture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This is a period of transition, when the British replace the Ottoman rule in Cyprus, promising law and order. But the British fail: a legal limbo prevails on the island, polygamy is widespread and the divided ethnic communities are hostile to one another. The dashing zaptieh (policeman), Halil Ibrahim, takes advantage of opportunities that come his way, living a life of a shameless hedonist in the dying days of the Ottomans, driving his pregnant wife beyond the limit of endurance to murder. Daughter Aygul is born to a life of torment, hating his biological father as the real murderer of his beloved mother.

 

The second Part, ROSES AND TEARS, is a multinational story of murder in an Ottoman Kervansaray in Nicosia in 1923: This mysterious murder is the sad end of a love story between an Irish girl, Mary Edward, a typist in war-time London, and Uzun Ali’s first-born son, Munir, in London to become a lawyer. Munir, heir to Uzun Ali, is totally devastated by this unfortunate murder, and is spiritually transformed from being a selfish brute into a forgiving and repenting soul dedicated to ethical living. Munir’s redemption parallels a similar transformation in his younger half-brother’s wife, Aygul, the rejected daughter of Halil Ibrahim. Munir and Aygul become soul-mates and together their redemption ensures the eventual successful re-emergence of the Uzun Ali clan.

 

 

Part III, DISCOVERY, is the story of third generation of Uzun Ali clan, spread over the globe, in England, Canada, Turkey and elsewhere. Thanks to the redemption of Munir, and his educational trust for the grandchildren of the Kaimakam of Milltown, Uzun Ali’s grandchildren are modern children, highly educated, professional and able to compete and succeed in the globalizing world. Their success represents the power of redemption, ability to forgive and get on with new challenges, staying open-minded and ready to meet and overcome adversity. Their achievement, in so many different environments, is testimony to the fact that staying isolated, resisting change and progress, is the recipe for stagnation and decline.

 

The final Part, HYPOCRITES AND ANGELS, is a family story of the Cyprus conflict and the failure of international, especially UN, mediation. Even angels in heaven are unable to resolve the Cyprus issue. The Uzun Ali family suffered greatly from the bitter EOKA violence and the Greek-Turkish war in Cyprus in 1974. Throughout it all, the young generation of the Uzun Ali clan remained emotionally attached to Cyprus, meeting there and recalling the glories of a vanished world, amidst the natural beauty of the Island of Love.   

 

The narrator is Sevgi, a granddaughter of Uzun Ali, a social historian who has the good fortune of discovering the family secrets hidden in the attic of the old Konak, where the Ottoman Kaimakam, once ruled like a benevolent despot.

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BIOSKETCH

OZAY MEHMET, Ph.D.

 Senior Fellow, Modern Turkish Studies &

Professor Emeritus, International Affairs/Economics,

Carleton University, Ottawa

Permanent Address: 2195 Delmar Drive, Ottawa, Ont., CANADA K1H 5P6, tel: 613 260 5733

mehmet5010@rogers.com

 

Ozay Mehmet is of Turkish-Cypriot origin; married, has three sons and lives in Ottawa with wife Karen. He was educated in Cyprus, was the first Turkish Cypriot to go to the London School of Economics (1959-62). Subsequently he received his MA and Ph.D in economics at the University of Toronto (on a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship). He has taught at various Canadian universities [Windsor, York, Toronto, Ottawa and Carleton].

 

He is currently Senior Fellow in charge of a new initiative to launch Modern Turkish Studies Program at Carleton University.

 

Professionally, Ozay Mehmet is a specialist  in economic development, with special reference to Asian Tigers, Turkey and Cyprus. Consulted extensively for WB, ADB, CIDA, CFTC, UN agencies (ILO, WHO, UNDP) and others.

 

Author of 21 academic books and over 100 articles in top academic journals.

 

In retirement, he has started writing historical novels.

 

Latest Books include:

 

  1. WESTERNIZING      THE THIRD WORLD (1st ed in 1995 Routledge,  several editions, hardcover and      paperback)
  2. ISLAMIC      IDENTITY AND DEVELOPMENT (1st ed in 1990, several editions,      translated into other languag)
  3. TOWARDS      A FAIR GLOBAL LABOR MARKET (1999, Routledge – with Errol Mendes and Robert      Sinding)
  4. GLOBAL      GOVERNANCE, ECONOMY AND LAW (Routledge, Taylor & Francis, 2003 – with Errol      Mendes)
  5. Sustainability      of Micro States: The Case of North Cyprus, University of Utah Press, 2010

 

Historical Novels:

 

  1. UZUN      ALI, SHAME AND SALVATION, Wisdom House,       UK &      USA 2011
  2. ANGELINA’S      TREASURE, CYPRUS 1570, Wisdom House, UK      & USA      (forthcoming)

 

 

Latest Academic Recognition

 

GLOBAL GOVERNANCE, LABOUR MARKET DYNAMICS AND SOCIAL CHANGE, Essays in Honour of Emeritus Professor Ozay Mehmet, edited by B. N. Ghosh, Wisdom House Publications, UK, 2010

 

Educational and Career Highlights:

  • Educated at the London      of School of Economics (1959-1962: B.Sc. Econ Hons) and the University of Toronto (1964 – 1968: MA and Ph.D      in economics)
  • Born in colonial Cyprus (in 1938), educated at the English School,      Nicosia      before LSE
  • Has consulted extensively for      international development agencies, including:

The World Bank, Asian Development Bank, the UNDP, ILO, WHO, CIDA

  • Chief Technical Advisor, UNDP-ILO
  • As Development Economist, specialized      in Asian Tigers (Malaysia,      Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand in particular)
  • Recipient of academic awards in Canada      including several SSHRC grants
  • Has been honored by international      economics associations and universities abroad.
  • Has been the Founding Editor of the      CANADIAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENT STUDIES and served s President of the      Canadian Association for the Study of International Development.

 

  • Distinguished Service to Economics by      the TURKISH ECONOMICS ASSOCIATION, November 2006

From: Dan Hegarty <danh@expressmedicals.co.uk>
To: Professor Ozay Mehmet <mehmet5010@rogers.com>
Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2012 8:38:08 AM
Subject: Uzan Ali

Hello Professor Mehmet.

I recently returned from a short holiday in Belek, Turkey. Whilst there, your novel provided some excellent holiday reading. Congratulations upon writing such a readable, informative and reflective tale.

My wife was born in Larnaca and is of “turk cypriot” extraction. She came to London in 1973 and her parents live near Kyrenia. The book enhanced my insight into the history of Cyprus and the end of the Ottoman epoch.

The story of the Ali family is an entertaining read in itself.

For myself, the most interesting aspects were the “universal” issues that affect peoples from all communities. Some of the things that seem to have common resonance include :

A. Redemption through forgiveness, albeit on a personal/relationship level or a wider politico-ethnico-cultural level.

I am part irish and so am very familiar with some of the challenges that the turkish and greek communities do face in “healing” their respective grievances.

My own experience of life up until now leads me to believe that it is difficult, and perhaps impossible, to achieve contentment without the capacity to forgive both self and others.

B. The need to embrace change, albeit to survive or to embrace the wonderful variety of experiences and the cornucopian spread of opportunities that life can offer.

C. The concept of a diaspora and all its ramifications within ethnic groups, both advantageous and otherwise.

D. The huge importance of education in faciltating personal growth and success.

E. The value of family and ancestry in helping shaping each of us.

F. The book also reminded me that people are very similar the world over. Every family has successes, failures, issues, dysfunction etc. This is, I believe, a truism irrespective of nation, religion or wealth. Perhaps the Uzan Ali clan is a microcosm for humanity?

Thank you for writing your book.

Good luck in your own life.

Dr Dan Hegarty.
(London).
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Letter from Canada No. X

Ozay Mehmet,

Ottawa, Ontario

Mehmet5010@rogers.com

OLYMPICS – GLORY & AGONY

The world is glued to TV, watching the biggest sport celebration in the world, the London 2012 Olympics. The spectacle is at once a sport competition, glorifying champions like Bolt, Phelps and other gold medalists who achieve superhuman excellence in their chosen field.

Olympics are also a shameless display of nationalism, flag waving and individualism, with women athletes (in the words of one Turkish pundit), “looking like men”.

From North Korea to the USA, governments spend huge sums to win medals to demonstrate superiority of their regime. It is, perhaps, not as bad as the Berlin Olympics of 1936 when Hitler sought to prove the superiority of the Aryan race!

Maybe it is not even so bad as the US-boycott of the Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics for political reasons.

Yet, there are troubling paradoxes: When there are starving people in the Horn of Africa, and Syria is embroiled in civil war; when even the once- rich countries of Europe are suffering from debt crisis and economic distress, the London Olympics must be qualified as surreal, and a costly diversion staged by a British government hell-bent on throwing a huge party to give the masses a few weeks of respite from the ugliness of unemployment and recession.

The games themselves, from the organizing committees to the podiums, have farcical elements. The “Winner take it all” premise is nothing else than glorification of individualism, of the selfish gene!

Does it really matter if Usain Bolt chops another second off the 100-metre dash? Will humanity be materially better off, world peace more secure, if some Russian weightlifter lifted another 5 lbs?

When Communist China wins more gold medals than the USA, does that prove the superiority of one ideology over the other? Clearly, gold medals, or indeed success in Olympics, are a function of national expenditure invested years before by a government or party for its own image?

The Montreal Olympics in 1976, stage-managed by Mayor Drapeau, bankrupted the city of Montreal. Greece is still paying for the Athens Olympics of 2004. Taxpayers always end picking up the tab.

And, the real winners? Besides ruling politicians, surely they are the corporate sponsors, the TV& PR media selling, distributing and marketing the spectacle of the sporting events. They pocket the huge revenues selling TV time, sport equipment, clothing and other consumer goods and, of course, the huge recreation/tourism industry.

Lets face it: The Olympic spirit, the underlying philosophy of these events, is INDIVIDUALISM captured by materialist interests atop our capitalist world. There is the other side of the coin as well: For every winner, there are several other worthy competitors who fail. Who shares in their agony and loss?

One wishes for perhaps the impossible remedy: A system which glorified not ONE, but ALL who simply participated for the love of sports, regardless of politics. Away from all that ugly politics that, for example, disqualifies Turkish Cypriots simply because they are what they are!