People might feel sorry for a man who’s fallen on hard times, but when an entire nation is poor, the rest of the world assumes that all its people must be brainless, lazy, dirty, clumsy fools.
Instead of pity, the people provoke laughter.
It’s all a joke: their culture, their customs, their practices.
In time the rest of the world may, some of them, begin to feel ashamed for having thought this way, and when they look around and see immigrants from that poor country mopping their floors and doing all the other lowest paying jobs, naturally they worry about what might happen if these workers one day rose up against them.
So, to keep things sweet, they start taking an interest in the immigrants’ culture and sometimes even pretend they think of them as equals.
In twenty years’ time – in other words, when you’re thirty-seven years old – you will have understood at last that all the evil in the world – I mean the poverty and ignorance of the poor and the cunning and lavishness of the rich – and all the vulgarity in the world, and all the violence, and all the brutality – I mean all the things that make you feel guilty and think of suicide – by the time you’re thirty-seven you’ll know that all these things are the result of everyone’s thinking alike.
Orhan Pamuk (born 7 June 1952) is a Turkish novelist, screenwriter, academic and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.
One of Turkey’s most prominent novelists, his work has sold over thirteen million books in sixty-three languages, making him the country’s best-selling writer.
Pamuk is the author of novels including Silent House, The White Castle, The Black Book, The New Life, My Name Is Red, Snow, The Museum of Innocence, A Strangeness in My Mind, and The Red-Haired Woman.
He is the Robert Yik-Fong Tam Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, where he teaches writing and comparative literature. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2018.
Of partial Circassian descent and born in Istanbul, Pamuk is the first Turkish Nobel laureate. He is also the recipient of numerous other literary awards. My Name Is Red won the 2002 Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger, 2002 Premio Grinzane Cavour and 2003 International Dublin Literary Award.
The European Writers’ Parliament came about as a result of a joint proposal by Pamuk and José Saramago.