The Silence of the Lambs

I don’t eat an awful lot of meat here in Turkiye.  It just doesn’t have the same taste and consistency and, frankly, my hips are thankful that I give meat a miss more often than not but the one thing I cannot avoid here in the village is my neighbours preparing a Feast of Thanks to Allah.

I always know when a neighbour is preparing a feast.  The huge pots are delivered early in the day to enable a thorough cleaning prior to cooking.  Then sheep, goats and even cows are delivered for inspection before a choice is made.  It is usually at that time I disappear and don’t come back out until morning although yesterday I walked straight past a sacrifice just as it started – devastation.  I understand why an animal is sacrificed.  I understand why it is important to the worshipper but I find the whole practice of an animal being put to death cruel and I choose to not take part in the preparation.  Before you cry “but you still eat meat” yes I do.  I am a hypocrite – I get it.

Bayram feast

The Turk’s family prepared a feast recently in memory of his mother’s passing.  This is called Yas Bayram (mourning bayram).  I know that two sheep lost their life in our driveway and I know that everyone in my family stayed up the whole night to prepare a meal of meat, rice (cous cous) and chickpeas that are then given to neighbours and the less fortunate in Refika’s memory.  I did not eat the meal that was prepared by the family and I apparently offended my sister in law in the process.  I do not regret this decision.  I miss The Turk’s mum a lot, she has a wonderful woman and think her fondly each and every day.  I do not need to take the life of an animal to remember her.

The Turk argues with me that I ate a butt load of meat back in Australia (which is why my butt is now a wide load) but more importantly I need to immerse myself in all aspects of the Turkish culture and take part in these village rituals.  I took part – I helped pay for the feast.  That is more than enough for me.

Growing up in the Sydney suburbs I was not privy to the inner workings of a farm or an abattoir.  Yes I am part of the meat and two veg lifestyle but the meat that I ate was purchased in packages and its blood isn’t staining my driveway.  An animal still died to feed me but not by my hand or by my husband’s hand or a neighbour and certainly not where I can see it die.  I guess you can ignore a lot when it is not in your face.

Daughter has often gone fought with her conscience about eating meat but here in Turkiye she pretty much has become a vegetarian.  She will not eat chicken (as she hears them clucking on every corner).  She will not eat cows or sheep (as they are often in the garden across the street although she will eat a hamburger – go figure) and she will never eat fish (more about the taste than anything else).  She is happy with her decision and I am quite proud of her for standing by her quasi morals (other than the hamburger that is).

I still love a steak and the next time I find myself at the Newport Arms Hotel (best pub lunch in Sydney) I will order the steak with pepper sauce and salad *drool* but here in Turkiye I will continue to maybe pass on the meat depending on each situation but what I wouldn’t do for a pub lunch.   Mmmmm.

7 thoughts on “The Silence of the Lambs

  1. I’m no vegitarian but the sooner we human(?) beings consume less meat the better all round – most mammilian species, including us, are doomed by our own hand as Mother Earth modifies her attitude towards self-destructive, carbon-based life forms that mess with her. Eating meat and the externalities associated with it are a prime example of the insanity of the economic system we live and, ultimately, will die by. There is a saying thatb if a capitalist was condemned and standing on the gallows he’d try to sell the executioner the rope to hang him with!

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  2. I’m so sorry for your loss Janey. I am on the opposite side though, I am completely involved in the whole thing. I don’t help do anything, slaughtering I mean, but I always watch (as I think it makes FiL proud) I also for the most part eat the meat year round. ITs part of the Turks rational, it makes me feel more like a part of the family and village

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  3. Although I don’t enjoy watching it, I do find they have their little gullets slit with respect which I appreciate. None of the awful pig-kiiling scences I have witnessed with everyone running around covered in blood chasing a screeching pig who refuses to die. I think it is, as you say, to do with being confronted from an early age with the realisation that animals aren’t fluffy pets, they are being fattened up to make a lovely rabbit stew or a delicious lamb chop.

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  4. I’m not a vegetarian but eat very little meat. I don’t feel obliged to take part in the village sacrifices but am quite happy to donate something towards it. In this way I’ve got on well with my neighbours for many years and I don’t think either side is offended.


  5. I havent watched any animal being slit or killed. But I completely understand where you are coming from. I have grown up in a vegetarian family, but personally I have adapted myself to meat, to a level now that I don’t mind trying anything. lol. I love Australian steak myself. Hope it is all working out for ya. 🙂


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