From Kasustu Primary School to Sorbonne University
At 4 a.m. on 11 September, we started our journey back from our upland house where we moved each summer, owing to our semi-nomadic way of life.
Our 2200-metre-high upland was located on one of the hills of Zigana Mountains. It would take us one and a half days to walk home. Then we would arrive home in Kasustu village which was 2 kilometres away from the sea. The place where we would stay overnight was “Çağlı venue”, where we would have arrived after having completed the two thirds of our walk. All along our walk, my mind was busy thinking about my scholarship for France, the hours I spent at the French Consulate during my visa application and my correspondance with my new school in France.
I wondered the city of Paris, about which I read in books and whose name I often heard at talks. I didn’t even know Trabzon very well, so I got worried about getting lost in such a huge city where I would travel soon. At the end of a day’s walk, just before the darkness falls, we arrived at the place where we would spend the night. We settled in one of the inns standing next to each other. As I was too tired of having walked all day long, I almost dropped my tired body onto the sofa. I remember this very well even today. In the first hours of the morning, the night spent in deep sleep came to an end with the wuthering sounds of the roaring rain, the ear-tearing thunder which almost tore the duvet where I hid my head as well, the sharp blue light of the lightning and the heavy rain as if it was destroying the tiles on the roof. With anxiety, I straightened my body to get out of the floor bed and I got dressed. After having washed my face and hands, I perched on one of the chairs around the crackling fire on the right corner of a large sofa in the entrance of the inn. After having warmed up my hands a little by the fire, I took out my transistor radio out of my bag. The heroic march which started to play as soon as I pressed the button of it was in harmony with the rhythm of the fire. I moved onto another channel. All in all, there were only two channels.
The same march was playing there as well. It was the morning of 12 September 1980, the army had taken over the government to save the country from the complicated situation which was created by the anarchism. It was being announced that the citizens should have no worries, and that the course of life would continue in the same way as it had always been. The given announcements had been mixed with the thundering sky, the heavy rains, the crackling fire and the sounds of marching, and this increased our worries even more. After suppressing our hunger, we set off again inspite of the rain. We walked in the rain for about one and a half hours.
We were soaked to the skin and our clothes were stuck to our bodies. While we were approaching down to the sea level, the strength of rain got lessened, and gave its place to the heat of sun. When we arrived at our house in Kasustu village, our clothes were completely dry, but we were feeling completely exhausted. All along our journey, we had walked ahead with the anxiety of being stopped and interrogated by a group of soldiers. On the contrary, we didn’t meet any soldiers. I was happy that I would get away from this atmosphere where democracy didn’t work, the government was often taken over by the army, the political intellect was completely built over self-interests and the education system didn’t train or educate.
I started my first long journey after I had spent some upset days because I was going to leave soon the lands where I had spent my childhood and teenage years. I was in Sorbonne. Sorbonne University had always been the basis of the French Universities. It was found as theology education centre by Robert de Sorbonne in 1253. It was converted to Philosophy, Art and Literature Faculty in 1271. Since its foundation, it has always been the source of civilisation for the whole world. In the near past, it became a current issue in 1968 as the center of the youth movement in Paris. After I had studied French for ten months in my room, from whose window I could see a part of Paris, I was planning to start studying French Language and Literature at Sorbonne University. My real purpose was to study there and learn better French for one more year and then start the Faculty of Medicine. For the first time, I was in one of the lecture halls of Sorbonne University. I sat in a desk in the middle row. I looked around thoroughly. I tried to get rid of the pressure of the incredible inferiority feeling I had, and slowly I straightened my body and sat back. I was fascinated by the smell of history, culture and civilisation.
Dr. Süleyman ÇAM