I work at International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) as an intern. With its mandate “enabling poor rural people to overcome poverty”, IFAD implements projects of rural development elsewhere in the world; market&financial access, youth, gender, indigenous people, innovative agricultural tools, rural roads, etc. etc.

I, currently living in Rome, went to the Turkish film festival arrived in Rome, on dully rainy Sunday evening, with my Turkish friend and Italian vegetarian friend. The two films we watched were not particularly exciting kind, but showed beautiful Turkish scenery, culture, and poked my IFAD identity.

One film is from 70s (according to the Turkish friend it was not allowed to put on the screen until 80s because of the military coup d’État), depicting the contrast between rich coastal people and poor rural people (a village in dry area). A scene caught my attention was when an electric water pump pleased kids of the village, and the man of the village said this machine made “paradise”. My thought went to what IFAD’s projects do and people it tries to support. Even though this film was fairly old, the context was relevant to me.

The second film, came out this year, was about the “sheep race” tradition that a rural village has. People herd sheep in this village, and eventually eat them. One day, a man in the village went to Istanbul to make money and tried to work at an industrial mutton factory. There he saw how inhumanely a number of sheep got killed, quit the day and came back to his town.

Urbanization or urban migration is definitely one topic of the development. The scene was fairly negative but poor people may have no choice to reinforce themselves to be in culturally/physically incompatible environments. But hey, if many many people migrated to urban area, who does agriculture that provides food to all over the world? So-called “developed” world can be seen hypocritical.

Both films had the scene of killing sheep, and the audience had some sort of utterance be it disgust or pity (my Italian vegetarian friend muttered “you all eat them everyday”). Anyway, it was symbolic and communicated a piece of Turkish culture. When they kill (special occasions or everyday?), how they herd (one by one with affection or in a big factory with white walls?) and kill (one when needed or 100 at a time?), in rural village? in urban city? I am sure many of traditions especially nature-oriented ones and industrial procedures in different countries have these kind of contrast.

I cannot and do not necessary take stand because I eat meat but I can do without it. I didn’t have a reason to eat it until I met a vegetarian. (It may sound ignorant in the USA, but it does not in Japan.) Eating-meat is beyond the above contrast, and (I guess) so is not-eating-meat. Culture, economy, tradition, wants, development. My thought is still messy.

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