Illustration of a buffalo leaning down to sip water from the Niagara River, with the Niagara Falls in the distance

The regrettable opacity of toponymy

While language may seem to change rather quickly, toponyms, or place names, tend to last. People often care deeply about them, making them so entrenched in the culture of a place that they can outlive whole civilizations.
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This is privilege

I stood in the fresh-bread section at Berkeley Bowl, fighting an impending mental breakdown. I stood there for four minutes — maybe less, maybe more, I didn’t count. What I was counting were the types of loaves in front of me: Sweet Batard, Sourdough, French, Italian, olive. I counted 16
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Turkish politics are ruining my dinner plans

Two blocks from my apartment on the corner of a busy street is a restaurant called Sinem. From the walls to the front counter, the whole place seems to be made of glass. It’s open late and always lit up. There isn’t much in the restaurant besides chairs, tables and
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My first week in Istanbul

I am now three weeks into my semester abroad at Bogazici Universitesi in Istanbul, Turkey. It’s been mostly cold and gray here. The city smells like spiced meat and the bus driver’s cigarette, and it sounds like traffic and the Islamic call to prayer over loudspeakers. On my first morning
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Deja vu: bloodshed in Berkeley and Istanbul

Notes from Underground

For both Berkeley and Istanbul, 1969 was a year filled with bloodshed. On Feb. 16, 30,000 people marched to Taksim Square to protest against the government; two were killed and many were injured by the police. Almost three months after Turkey’s “Bloody Sunday,” 6,000 Berkeley dissenters, protesting against the university’s
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Dispatches from Turkey: What are the penguins about?

ISTANBUL, TURKEY — In the frame of the recent protests concerning Gezi Park and civil rights in Turkey, penguins are being used as symbols to criticize the Turkish TV news channel CNN Turk. The image of the penguin became relevant when police attempted to disperse the protesters gathered at the
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