Debate of Old-New
The Nâzım Hikmet-Peyami Safa Polemics
Kemal Ahmet's Case
Against the Accusation That He Had Turned Bourgeois
Against the Accusation that He was a Nationalist
Against Leftist Pretenders
There is a note attached to "Simavne Kadısı Oğlu Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı" (The Epic of Sheikh Bedreddin, Son of the Kadhi of Simavne) concerning the possible critique that might come from those, particularly of the new generation, who pretend to be leftists.
In the ninth section of the epic, there is a fight between Prince Murat's army and Bedreddin's men.
Bedreddin's men are defeated by Prince Murat's army "_________________ _________________." The poet expresses his dejection about this defeat as follows:
That they might sing as one voice|
and together pull the nets from the water,
that they might all work iron like lace
and all together plow the earth,
that they might eat the honeyed figs together,
that they might say,
but the lover's cheek,"
the ten thousand lost eight thousand...
They were defeated.
Nâzım Hikmet felt the need to make the following note upon these lines:
(*) As I am writing these lines, I can see those young men who pretend to be leftists muttering something like, "Look at him separating mind and heart; claiming that while his mind accepts the historical, social and economic facts, his heart undergoes pain. Look at that Marxist, now..." I can see them just as I visualised the don of historiography and vividly heard his laughter in the beginning of my text above.
And if I am now providing the present explanation, this is not for the above but for those who started newly to read about Marxism and are far removed from the formers' kind of leftist snobbery.
Let us assume that a doctor has a child with tuberculosis and he knows that his child is going to die and accepts this fact as a physiological, biological, or something-logical inevitability, and the child dies. Does the doctor not cry after his child despite the fact that he knew all along of the inevitability of his death?
Did not Marx mourn the great dead of the Paris Commune, feeling them in himself like a "song of suffering," despite the fact that he had known all along that the Commune would be crushed and the fact that he knew precisely for what historical, social and economic reasons it would be crushed? And, was there not at least a drop of bitterness in the voices of those who cried 'The Commune is dead, long live the Commune!'?
A Marxist is not a 'machine-man' or a robot, but a historical, social, and concrete human being with his flesh, blood, nerves, mind, and heart.
it's the necessary result
of historical,social,and economic conditions -
My head lows before the things you mention.
But my heart
doesn't speak that language.
" O fickle Fate,
O cruel Fate! "
and they pass one by one,
shoulders slashed by whips,
faces bloodied -
in a flesh they pass
bare feet crushing my heart -
the defeated of Karaburun through Aydin...
As can be understood from this note, Nâzım Hikmet was depressed because of the critique coming from the left. The communists who were members of the party were, secretly or openly, bothering him. He was accused of being 'anti-Stalinist' and was excluded from the illegal Turkish Communist Party which was linked with the Komintern. And the Komintern did not accept a second illegal party that was thought to be founded by Nâzım Hikmet and those who were excluded from the party with several reasons. In any case, the party itself came to an end within a short period as a result of investigations, arrests, and sentences. Hikmet Kıvılcımlı and his supporters were like enemies of Nâzım Hikmet.
In brief, then, he was a non-aligned communist.
He was friends with the revolutionary journalists in Babıâli such as Naci Sadullah, Suat Derviş, Mahmut Yesari, Nizamettin Nazif and Sabiha Sertel and was struggling against fascism, Nazism and the racists and pan-turanists who described themselves "nationalists," as a writer and a poet without support from any party.
The comrades in the party watched for ways to criticise him and tried hard to interpret all his actions negatively since they did not appreciate what he had been doing.
An example may be found in the column entitled "Kısa Tetkik ve Tenkitler" (Short Analyses and Critiques) in the periodical "Yeni Adam" which belonged to Piraye's aunt's husband, Ismayıl Hakkı Baltacıoğlu. These columns were devote to light allusions to various people and were not autographed. There was an item on Nâzım Hikmet in July 1936:
"One day, Dr. Fuat Sabit told Kerim Sadi that Nâzım Hikmet had a flat in Beyoğlu and its doors operated electrically. Kerim Sadi, after thinking a while, replied: 'Those doors in Nâzım Hikmet's flat are nothing, you should see my mansion in Kuzguncuk which I rented for 8 Liras; its doors are opened by themselves by the wind'."
"Yeni Adam" was the most effective magazine of the revolutionaries at the time since it was an anti-fascist one. There were powerful leftist writers, painters and, of course, the younger generation from the party who were working for the periodical. God knows who had written that humiliating story. The rumour about Nâzım that he had became bourgeois, increased as he rented a flat in Cihangir with central heating and was reflected in "Yeni Adam" as in the above.
Nâzım Hikmet recalls his aggravators from the left as "the young who pretend to be leftists" and calls this "leftist snobbery." And he underlines the fact that his explanatory note was not added for their benefit. This means that it is impossible to talk with them and explain them anything. Nâzım Hikmet was thus hopeless for the Marxists he knew.