Cover story – the head scarf, modern Turkey, and me by Elif Batuman

Faith, value and belief are deeply personal values. I wrote about this here.

Reading this feature article from The New Yorker, I was drawn to the anecdote of a journalist, educated in America, visiting the religious site of Urfa in Turkey in 2011: she forgot to remove the scarf off. She then experienced a totally different encounter with locals: they’d meet her eyes, smile rather than the usual hostility she was met with and were so much nicer eg. calling her sister.

While reporting her “rising sense of freedom” and her unscientific study, subjective impression, in simple terms

“It felt amazing” and “a wonderful gift”.

Then her heart goes between keeping the scarf, reconsidering her beliefs and values.

It feels like she will radically give up her personal journey, education to be back in this “amazing” zone… but eventually she didn’t wear the scarf again after that afternoon, couldn’t explain it rationally but

“it didn’t feel right”.


After all, our values and beliefs might be summarized in such a simple question: Does it feel right?