7 Ocak 2017 Cumartesi


An interview with me by Laurens Bammens, published on Dağ Medya

For those of us that don't speak Turkish and can't listen to your radio show, can you tell me a bit about Vegan Logic?

You can listen to it because it’s not a talk show.  I don’t speak too much on my shows; it’s mainly music - usually about 45 minutes of music and 10 minutes of me speaking about the songs or albums that I play. I do have some listeners who don’t speak Turkish. Although they don’t live in Turkey, they stream the show live or dowload the postcads and send me e-mails about it!

Jarvis Cocker once said that he would see it as a success if people were to fall asleep during his night-time radio show. I would see it as a success if people were to discover new sounds/bands on my show. As a music enthusiast, I don’t listen to radio to hear the songs that I already know or like. Maybe it was that way 15 years ago, but after the digital revolution the landscape of radio broadcasting has changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so. Because anyone with an internet connection can find any song and listen to it in a minute. So in my opinion, what makes a radio program interesting is its discoveries of new bands/artists. Sometimes I play songs that would never be played on radio. I like to take chances with what I play. I like to promote creative experimental music which I believe that it needs to be heard.  I want to open the doors of radio to artists who are uncommercial, under-financed or undescribable. This is what I have been trying to do on “Vegan Logic”. If you are interested in getting to know underground music and labels or some underrated bands, I can recommend you my show. Sometimes I do special shows dedicated to popular musicians such as David Bowie and Morrissey because they have a special place in my heart.

How hard is it to be vegan in Turkey?

4 years ago, I wrote an article titled “It Is Lonely Being a Vegan in Turkey” and tried to explain how a vegan living in this meat obsessed culture feels. Most of the people in my life show incredible kindness to humans and animals, but not all animals. When it comes to animal rights and veganism nobody cares. And they treat you like an alien. Of course, compared to 15-20 years ago, the vegan life in Turkey is much easier today. As you know, here in Turkey we have such an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies. And in the last couple of years, things have started to change in the country, at least in Istanbul. Now there are a few vegan restaurants in the city! And a completely vegan shop where you can find almost everything you need. (http://vegandukkan.com) There’s a growing interest for veganism among the young people. I used to live in New York City which I call a vegan heaven. Although it was much easier to find vegan food, I would still feel lonely. Because no matter where you are, there's one thing that doesn't change: People's ignorance/rage towards veganism. When you refuse to get involved in any kind of violence, people get shocked. I find it quite sad. The real challenge for a vegan is neither eating out nor finding the right food but dealing with people’s ignorance towards veganism. Hopefully, sooner or later, that will change, too.

What are some of the prejudices you've had to deal with?

The biggest challenge of being vegan is dealing with the antagonism and harassment that we get from so much of the world. Most people who don’t have any idea what vegan means think that you are a freak. There are always sarcastic comments, put-downs, stupid “jokes” and so on... Whenever you make a statement about animal rights, people portray you as self-righteous. The general negativity toward vegans feels more oppressive. When you tell that you became vegan for the animals, people suddenly get upset. If you refuse violence and oppression of all sorts and respect the right of life for all animals, and all living beings that fly, run, walk, or swim, that have eyes to see and have a mother, you are destined to be alone for making choices different from others. It is quite appalling to be called “aggressive” just because you strongly promote veganism. I promote veganism and non-violence both in and of itself, and as a means to creating a saner, more peaceful world. But I have been verbally insulted just for defending non-violence many times. It is frustrating to be judged because of this.

Am I wrong or is veganism something for upper class white left-wingers from Western countries?

You are wrong. The notion that “veganism is a privilege enjoyed only by upper-class white people” is absurd. It's actually the opposite; meat is the luxury. Veganism has nothing to do with white privilege.

And if you look at the correlation between veganism and anti-racism and oppression, you can clearly see that that notion is actually one of those prejudices against veganism. Rice, wheat, potatoes, corn, lentils, and beans are cheaper, way cheaper than meat. Actually, the most vegan meals are consumed by the worlds poorest. Here’s the Wikipedia list of countries by meat consumption. You can see that the Western countries have the highest meat consumption. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_meat_consumption Eating meat can therefore be seen as a sign of status, wealth or power.

However, we can say that vegans are tend to be left-wingers. I have never come across a right-wing vegan before. Veganism has a very progressive philosophy based on the equality for all. To become a vegan you need to question the society in which you live and reject the violence against sensitive beings. Veganism is not just a diet or it is not just a way of reducing suffering, but it is a commitment to justice and and refusal to participate in animal slavery, so it is clear to me that its philosophy is linked to the left side of the politics.

If you haven't, can you look at this ad and tell me what you think about it? Many vegans thought of it as offensive. 

You don’t have to be vegan to see that it is offensive. The ad uses the term “Operation Boomerang” which, I think, is insensitive to indigenous Australians. It is discriminatory and promotes violence against vegans. Very unwise.

In an interview on your blog with Clifton Roberts from The Humane Party, he calls every animal an individual with the right to happiness. Do you agree with this? http://www.veganlogic.net/2016/02/representing-voices-of-voiceless.html

Of course! Animals are sentient beings whose lives matter. They can experience both positive and negative emotions, including pain and distress; they can socialize in their community and make decisions. They think. They feel. They love. Likening animals to things means ignoring the current state of scientific knowledge. Animals’ capacity to feel pain is now the object of broad consensus. Did you hear about the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness, publicly proclaimed on July 7, 2012? The scientists behind the declaration wrote, "Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.” (http://fcmconference.org)  By defining animals as sentient beings, we accept that animals have the ability to feel, perceive, or be conscious, or to experience subjectivity. This is proven scientifically. So I really don’t understand why it is still asked if animals should have the right to happiness...

Are you saying humans and animals are equal?

Yes, though they are not treated like equals. People think that they are superior to animals. But today there are scientists who argue that evidence is emerging to suggest some animals actually have cognitive faculties that are superior to those possessed by human beings. The fact that they may not understand us, while we do not understand them, does not mean our 'intelligences' are at different levels, they are just of different kinds. Animals definitely deserve to be treated as more than property. Every single creature should have the right to live and love. Both humans and animals are conscious beings with the same determination to survive.

If a human and an animal were in a life-threatening situation and you could only save one, who would you pick? Why?

I would do the most logical thing and save the one that I have the most chance of saving in such a case. But I find it interesting that vegans always get asked questions about imaginary situations that will never happen, like “If you are alone on a deserted island with a pig, would you eat the pig or starve to death?” And this is my reply: If you were not alone, living on a planet with 7 billion people, had access to unlimited fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and other healthy foods, and knew animals suffer and die horrible deaths just so you could eat them when you don’t need to eat them to survive or be healthy, would you continue to eat them? The difference between the questions is that the scenario I am asked about will never happen and my question is about the choice you are facing right now.

Many people might want to try to go vegan, but a big argument against veganism is that you have to take vitamins like B12 to be healthy. What fo you think of this? This does not seem natural.

There is a such thing as vitamin B12 deficiency but it is not caused by veganism. Vitamin B-12 comes from microorganisms, mostly bacteria that live in soil, water, and the digestive tracts of animals. In the old centuries, people could get B-12 by drinking from streams. Or by working in gardens and then eating without washing their hands thoroughly. Since we no longer do these things, “natural” plant-based sources of Vitamin B-12 have dropped out of the modern life. The biggest untruth feeding this myth is that people have been told the only source of vitamin B12 is through animal-based foods (meat, dairy products, etc.) Plants don’t make B12 but animals don’t make it either. Vitamin B12, whether in supplements, fortified foods, or animal products, comes from micro-organisms. These bacteria grow in the guts of animals, which is why their bodies and products can be a source of this vitamin. But there are reliable vegan sources of B12 and they can be found in foods fortified with B12 (including some plant milks, some soy products and some breakfast cereals) and B12 supplements. We don’t need to kill billions of animals to find vitamin B12.

And strangely, meat-eaters are always worried about vitamin B12 but they never talk about the dangerous health risks such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis, heart disease, and stroke), all of which are directly linked to meat-based diets. People don’t stop eating meat even though there are lots of actual scientific evidences about the dangers of it. This does not seem logical to me.

What also does not seem natural is thousands of years of eating animals to not eating animals products at all. What do you think?

What do you mean by “natural”? Tradition or habit? The best answer to your question would be this quote by Gary Smith: “150 years ago, they would have thought you were absurd if you advocated for the end of slavery. 100 years ago, they would have laughed at you for suggesting that women should have the right to vote. 50 years ago, they would have objected to the idea of African Americans receiving equal rights under the law. 25 years ago, they would have called you a pervert if you advocated for gay rights. They laugh at us now for suggesting that animal slavery be ended. Someday they won’t be laughing.” People need to understand that veganism is all about evolution; it is a process of gradual, peaceful, progressive change. Adopting a vegan life is based on deeper understanding of others. And it is, of course, natural. It is time to evolve. We need to consign the archaic animal eating tradition to history.

What about eating organic eggs? Eggs that were bred by chicken in normal healthy conditions.

Eggs that were bred by chicken in normal healthy conditions? You mean “free-range”? Humane/organic/free-range are used to anesthetize the truth. Do you know that male chicks are worthless to the egg industry because they cannot produce eggs, so every year millions of them are tossed into trash bags to suffocate or are thrown into high-speed grinders called “macerators” while they are still alive? Eating eggs means giving this your stamp of approval. Eggs are a chicken’s period. And they don’t produce eggs for humans. They produce eggs to make next generation of chickens. And the egg industry is full of cruelty to chickens. Captive parents of layers are bred repeatedly. Hens are malnourished from overlaying. Everyone is slaughtered young.

Is veganism important to counter global warming?

Without a doubt! Carnists don’t want to hear the truth because they want to continue to eat animal products. But a staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute. Additionally, The United Nations has said that raising animals for food is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” Raising animals to eat produces more greenhouse gasses than all of the carbon dioxide excreted by automobiles, boats, planes and trains in the world combined. So it is obvious. If you do care about the environment you need to stop animal agriculture which has been destroying our planet. To accomplish this, people should change their diet and stop eating animals.

Do you think veganism will ever be a stardard?

I don’t think I will see that happening in my lifetime. I once asked Morrissey about this and he said, “I think eating animals will be to the 21st century what smoking tobacco was to the 20th century, and because this is becoming evident, the factory farmers are hitting back very hard.” I agree with him. I think factory farming will be seen as absolutely barbaric by mainstream society within, 100 or 150 years. Plant-based meat replacements will change many things. When they become cheaper and more available, people will start eating less meat and dairy. The demand for animal products is already on decline in some countries. We can attribute this to greater awareness of the health problems associated with diets high in animal products and global warming.

I feel like a lot of traditional food, doesn't matter from where, contains meat and other animal products. Will this get lost if everyone turns vegan?

No, it doesn’t have to be that way. For example, the most traditional food in Turkey is doner. Now there’s meatless doner (iskender/kofte/sis kebap/schnitzel) available at a very reasonable price. It is very healthy and tasty. Today I can veganize any food that contains meat and other animal products. I make my own plant-based milk and yoghurt at home. You can use avocado as a egg replacer. Vegan food is truly revolutionary and a new era in the way we eat. I find it very exciting.

Isn't it expensive to be vegan? So what for those that don't have money?

It isn’t. That’s one of the myths about veganism. You don’t have to buy luxury cheeses or expensive stuff. Mock meats are not a must. You can survive without them and you can also make them by yourself. According to an Iowa State University study, plant protein used in the vegan diet is less expensive than animal protein. If you have access to fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, and grains, you can eat a healthy plant-based diet. Anywhere in the world has those foods. It provides not only great nutrition, but also accommodates life on a budget – it all depends on the choices that you make. A diet based around fresh produce, rice, pasta and legumes is much more affordable, since vegetables are far cheaper by the kilogram than meat.

I see you are a big fan of David Bowie. What makes you like him so much?

Yes, I am a big fan of him. His music means a lot to me. I grew up listening to his fantastic albums that opened a whole new world to me. I was amazed by his extraordinary talent and penchant for reinvention.The way he took risks to challenge public perceptions of sexuality was an act of a genius. David Bowie represents a rare circumstance in which society willingly accepted creative art oddity. I will always be thankful to him for that. There’s no one like him. He was one of the smartest, most prolific artists of our time and left this planet on a creative high note.

Do you feel like nobody makes monumental (like David Bowie, Queen, Nirvana, Abba, Sex Pistols, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones...) music anymore? 30 years from now, which artists we will remember from the 2000s and 2010s?

Maybe Arcade Fire, Amy Winehouse, Interpol, The Strokes, Muse... There are some good bands but it is not easy to find something inspiring in popular music today. I'm not saying there isn't great work existing now but today’s pop music is mainly unoriginal. That’s why I feel excited about underground/experimental stuff. And Morrissey still makes monumental music.

Hiç yorum yok: