is a writer, feminist and programmer with a special interest in the Middle-East. Halaceli works as project manager for inclusivity at the University of Amsterdam and as a programmer for the Winternachten International Literature Festival The Hague. Her debut De vergeten geschiedenis van mijn grootvader Sulayman Hadj Ali (The Forgotten History of My Grandfather Sulayman Hadj Ali, 2015) deals with the discovery of her grandfather's memoirs. The book tells about her search for his life story, which ended in the First World War period, when he was a conscripted soldier - an era with direct influence on the present. Her poem Moederhuis (Motherhouse) won the El Hizjra Literature Prize. Halaceli has worked as a researcher and interpreter for various prominent programs of the Dutch national broadcaster VPRO. She is working on her second book.(2020)
Archive available for: Meltem Halaceli
About literature, poetry, feminism and violence - with Müesser Yeniay, Çiler İlhan, Sanem Kalfa, Meltem Halaceli & Canan Marasligil (moderator)
In What Will They Say, Meltem?, Meltem Halaceli, Müesser Yeniay and Çiler İlhan discussed what role literature and poetry can play in bringing to light violence against women. This event was the live finale of a series of podcasts with the same title by Winternachten programmer Meltem Halaceli. Domestic violence against women and LGBT-groups has increased worldwide and femicide has become a growing problem. Struck by this reality, Meltem Halaceli went in search of her family's feminist values and made a podcast about them. Her mother's eyes were opened by novels and poetry by Turkish, Russian and American authors who wrote about the unequal status of women. In her podcast, Meltem spoke to writers, poets and experts and asked them how they use their knowledge and literature to bring violence against women into the open.
In this live event we first of all met Turkish poet Müesser Yeniay, who recited a number of new poems. In the introduction to her latest collection Sevgiliyle Daimi Konuşma (Endless Conversation with the Loved One) she wrote: "For many Eastern women, poetry is the only place she exists." What does that mean for her poetry? The second guest was Çiler İlhan, who moved to the Netherlands from Turkey in 2017. She spoke about her latest novel Nişan Evi (Engagement House), in which women are seen as commercial objects - a body and nothing more. Her earlier book Sürgün (Exiled) won the EU Literature Prize and was translated into 20 languages. Jazz singer Sanem Kalfa framed the conversation with live music. Canan Marasligil, a translator and writer, moderated the event.
We concluded this program with a screening of the Writers' Monument. Like every year, The Theatre of Wrong Decisions has made made an updated version of their 'digital monument' for the journalists and writers who were murdered. The monument could be seen during the opening of Winternachten, to stand still together, reflect and realize how many people worldwide sacrifice their lives simply by holding the pen and wanting to tell the truth.
With Manon Uphoff, Shantie Singh, Sanneke van Hassel, Raoul de Jong, Müesser Yeniay, Margijn Bosch & Meltem Halaceli
For whom is home actually home? What if your safest place isn't safe at all? Why does "domestic violence" sound like something "domestic" or even cozy? The theme Whose House is This? also requires us to discuss human violence within walls, war and peace under our own roofs, the unsafe interior world that so often remains hiden. Domestic violence, especially against women, is not a matter of isolated incidents but a societal problem. Or, like Manon Uphoff said in an interview: "They are shards that together form a mirror into which society needs to look."
What does literature tell us about this great theme? We invited you to an initial exploration, a collage of literary texts about domestic violence. Manon Uphoff, Iris van Vliet, Shantie Singh and Sanneke van Hassel of the writers' collective Fixdit, together with Meltem Halaceli and Ellen Walraven of Winternachten, collected a large number of literary excerpts for this event.
Writers Manon Uphoff, Sanneke van Hassel, Shantie Singh, Raoul de Jong, Müesser Yeniay, Meltem Halaceli and actor Margijn Bosch read these excerpts in an intimate setting, close to the public. We read works by and sometimes also with the actual authors:
Elif Shafak, Manon Uphoff, Shantie Singh, Margaret Atwood, Rebecca Solnit, Alice Munro, Astrid Roemer, Philip Huff, A.M. Homes, Müesser Yeniay, Ronelda Kamfer and many more. And yes, this could be painful and confrontational. But this topic deserved a literary investigation and probe. What is going on in the various rooms of ever-changing houses in which it is not safe?
It's up to us. This is what women in Poland and Turkey are demanding in their protests for gender equality and for better protection against violence. The ruling right-wing nationalist politicians in their countries want to withdraw from the so-called Istanbul Convention. This human rights convention of the Council of Europe is the world's first binding instrument to prevent and tackle violence against women. Some governments doubt the "moral implications" of this important milestone and even believe that it could be "harmful" to their societies.
3:17 - Dilâra Gürcü (France), interview.
14:10 - Mona Eltahawy (US), video essay.
17:25 - Zsófia Bán (Hungary), interview.
30:38 - Dilâra Gürcü (France), question audience.
33:03 - Kaouthar Darmoni (Netherlands), interview.
42:03 - Nazmiye Oral (Netherlands), interview.
48:48 - Kaouthar Darmoni (Netherlands), question audience.
51:09 - Mithu Sanyal (Germany) preview video piece and interview.
1:02:21 - Kaouthar Darmoni reaction on Mithu Sanyal
1:04:14 - Nazmiye Oral, question audience.
1:05:51 - Laura van Dolron (Netherlands), live written poem.
Moderated by Nicole le Fever.
In The Female Convention, we analyzed the demonstrations and gave a voice to authors. In short: we employed literature to make the convention tangible and to breathe new life into it. This program featuring strong women and political current affairs was hosted by journalist Nicole le Fever and has been made by programme maker and writer Meltem Halaceli. Those interested could take part actively by joining the chat session, hosted by theatre maker and stand-up philosopher Laura van Dolron.
Nicole le Fever and Turkish writer, psychologist and feminist Dilâra Gürcü zoomed in on the protests in Turkey, but also on the means of protest and the role of writers and artists in this matter. Gürcü provided an impressive testimony of her life, which has changed dramatically since 2013.
The Hungarian writer and literary critic Zsófia Bán told us how she claims women's rights with the sharpness and imagination of language.
Egyptian-American journalist, writer and feminist Mona Eltahawy made it crystal clear by means of a video message that the convention does not do sufficient justice to refugees and women without residence permits, or who depend on their partners for their residence status.
We also spoke to Kaouthar Darmoni, CEO of Atria, Institute on gender equality and women's history in Amsterdam, and to actor and writer Nazmiye Oral about the role they can and want to play in this debate. How do they voice their activism and feminism from their positions?
Next, we zoomed out to a "politics of love" with the German writer, journalist and cultural scientist Mithu Sanyal. Her books Vulva (2009) and Rape: From Lucretia to #MeToo (2019) explore how our society has dealt with sexual violence for centuries, and what that says about our beliefs on sex, sexuality and gender. Her video-essay is an inspiring and confrontational report by a driven researcher about her investigation into love as a political force.
(Find the Dutch-language version here/Lees hier de Nederlandstalige versie)
Read and watch on here:
Laura van Dolron
website: FEMINIST GIANT newsletter
Video: Mona Eltahawys video-essays, among which FEMINIST GIANT.
Watch the keynote speech, Love Politics, by the German writer, journalist and cultural scientist Mithu Sanyal here.
It's up to us. This is what women in Poland and Turkey are demanding in their protests on behalf of gender equality and better protection against violence. The ruling right-wing nationalist politicians in their countries want to withdraw from the so-called Istanbul Convention. This Council of Europe human rights convention is the world's first binding instrument to prevent and tackle violence against women. Some governments are concerned about the "moral implications" of this important milestone and even claim it could be "harmful" to their societies.
In The Female Convention, we analyzed the demonstrations and gave a voice to authors. In short: we employed literature to make the convention tangible and to breathe new life into it. This program featuring strong women and current politics was hosted by journalist Nicole le Fever and produced by writer and programmer Meltem Halaceli. Those interested could actively take part in the chat session hosted by theatre producer and stand-up philosopher Laura van Dolron.
Nicole le Fever and Turkish writer, psychologist and feminist Dilâra Gürcü zoomed in on the protests in Turkey, as well as on the means of protest and the role played by writers and artists. Gürcü provided a formidable testimonial of her life, which has changed dramatically since 2013.
The Hungarian writer and literary critic Zsófia Bán explained how she demands women's rights through the incisiveness and imaginative power of language.
By means of a video message, Egyptian-American journalist, writer and feminist Mona Eltahawy made it crystal clear that the convention fails to do justice to refugees and women without residency permits, or those who depend on their partners for their residency status.
We also spoke to Kaouthar Darmoni, the CEO of Atria, Institute for Gender Equality and Women's History in Amsterdam, and to actor and writer Nazmiye Oral about the role they can and want to play in this debate. How do they voice their activism and feminism from their positions of visibility?
Next, we zoomed out to a "politics of love" with the German writer, journalist and cultural scientist Mithu Sanyal. Her books Vulva (2009) and Rape: From Lucretia to #MeToo (2019) explore how our society has dealt with sexual violence for centuries, and what that says about our beliefs on sex, sexuality and gender. The driven researcher's video-essay is an inspiring and confrontational report on her investigation into love as a political force.
Watch the video-essay "Love Politics" by Mithu Sanyal here.
Read the text of the video-essay by Mithu Sanyal, commissioned for this program by the Winternachten international literature Festival The Hague, here.
(Find the Dutch-language version here/Lees hier de Nederlandstalige versie)
Laura van Dolron
While in Turkey the local elections are being held, we elected the most beautiful poem from Turkish literature. In the Central Library in The Hague, seven prominent Dutch/Turkish writers, journalists, artists and politicians presented their favourite poem. The audience was invited to add their favourites to the list. At the end of the evening we counted the votes of the audience for the best Turkish poem. Winner was 'On Living' by Nazim Hikmet. Watch the video registration here.
The evening was Dutch spoken. Poems were read in Turkish, with simultaneous projections of Dutch translations. All poems were chosen from two bilingual anthologies: Modern Turkish Poetry and Osman Poetry by Sytske Sötemann a.o..
With moderator Tuncay Çinibulak, and Kazim Cümert (writer), Nurnaz Deniz (writer), Ibrahim Eroglu (writer), Meltem Halaceli (writer, performer and Arabist), Fatma Koser Kaya (alderman for the municipality of Wassenaar), Froukje Santing (journalist, researcher and former correspondent in Turkey for NRC Handelsblad newspaper).
Music by Aynur Kahraman (voice), Veli Bahşi (saz) en Sedat Varhan (guitar).
Bookselling in the venue by Paagman bookshop.
An evening produced by Writers Unlimited The Series, with Jurgen Maas Publishing House. Programme made by Judith Uyterlinde (Writers Unlimited) with Erhan Gürer, Tuncay Çinibulak and Sytske Sötemann.
The winning poem:
Nâzim Hikmet (1901-1963)
Living is no joke,
you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel for example,
I mean expecting nothing except and beyond living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.
You must take living seriously,
I mean to such an extent that,
for example your arms are tied from your back, your back is on the wall,
or in a laboratory with your white shirt, with your huge eye glasses,
you must be able to die for people,
even for people you have never seen,
although nobody forced you to do this,
although you know that
living is the most real, most beautiful thing.
I mean you must take living so seriously that,
even when you are seventy, you must plant olive trees,
not because you think they will be left to your children,
because you don't believe in death although you are afraid of it
because, I mean, life weighs heavier.
Suppose we're very sick, in need of surgery,
I mean, there is the possibility that
we will never get up from the white table.
although it is impossible not to feel the grief of passing away somewhat too soon
we will still laugh at the funny joke being told,
we will look out of the window to see if it's raining,
or we will wait impatiently
for the latest news from agencies.
Suppose, for something worth fighting for,
suppose we are on the battlefield.
Over there, in the first attack, on the first day
we may fall on the ground on our face.
We will know this with a somewhat strange grudge,
but we will still wonder like crazy
the result of the war that will possibly last for years.
Suppose we are in the jail,
age is close to fifty,
supose there are still eighteen years until the iron door will open.
Still, we will live with the outer world,
with the people, animals, fights and winds
I mean, with the outer world beyond the walls.
I mean, however and wherever we are
we must live as if there is no death...
This earth will cool down,
a star among all the stars,
one of the tiniest,
I mean a grain of glitter in the blue velvet,
I mean this huge world of ours.
This earth will cool down one day,
not even like a pile of ice
or like a dead cloud,
it will roll like an empty walnut
in the pure endless darkness.
You must feel the pain of this now,
You must feel the grief right now.
You must love this world so much
to be able to say "I lived"...
Second was the poem İstanbul'u Dinliyorum (I listen to Istanbul) van Orhan Veli Kanık, followed by Cahit Sitki Taranci (Poem on Thirty-five Years) by Otuz Beş Yaş Şiiri. The other nominated poemms were Vasiyet (The last will) by Can Yücel, Gazel I by Pir Sultan Abdal's, Ahmet Haşims Parıltı, Var (There is) by Cemal Süreyya, Gazel by Yunus Emre and Hayal Şehir