Posted by sepoy on November 19, 2009 · 1 min read

A german nursery rhyme, that I just found. I need coffee, desperately.

C-a-f-f-e-e / C-o-f-f-e-e
C-a-f-f-e-e / C-o-f-f-e-e
trink nicht so viel Caffee! / Don't drink so much coffee
nicht für Kinder ist der Türkentrank / Not for children is this Turkish drink
schwächt die Nerven / Weakens your nerves
macht dich blaß lassen und krank / makes you pale and sick
Sei doch kein Muselmann / Don't be a Muslim
der das nicht lassen kann! / who cannot leave it

- Carl Gottlieb Hering?

Maybe I get this?


Moacir | November 19, 2009

I think the first line is "Don't drink so much coffee!"

Atem | November 19, 2009

Oh, NICE. I see Herr Hering spells out C-A-F-F-E-E in musical notes. Just like Bach!

Hakim Hazik | November 20, 2009

Racism in societies is deep and broad and ancient, have a look at this: Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002) 521. HERMES AND THE ARABS Hermes filled a cart with lies and dishonesty and all sorts of wicked tricks, and he journeyed in this cart throughout the land, going hither and thither from one tribe to another, dispensing to each nation a small portion of his wares. When he reached the land of the Arabs, so the story goes, his cart suddenly broke down along the way and was stuck there. The Arabs seized the contents of the cart as if it were a merchant's valuable cargo... http://www.mythfolklore.net/aesopica/oxford/521.htm

gerry | November 20, 2009

Hakim, why does "Muselmann" suggest a racist stereotype, rather than a religious one?

AIG | November 21, 2009

What's wrong with being pirates? Even Muhammad raided byzantine and qurayshi cargo after he fled to Yathrib. That's what ya gotta do to survive, aint' no shame in the game. Aesop is alright, lay off PC nazis

Hakim Hazik | November 21, 2009

AIG It is easy to lay off Aesop, who is long dead and quite possibly did not exist. A bit of piracy may be ok between friends. This fable is not about piracy though. It is about racial charaecterisation / fear /abuse. Please read the linked page before you make up your mind. The rules of public discourse and popular culture are obviously different now in multi racial societies and an interconnected world. I doubt very much that this fable will find a place in the Arabic edition. Gerry I think in Herr Hering's time religious and racial identity of the Turks would be rolled into one 'other'. And it would mean one and the same thing to his audience.

Hakim Hazik | November 21, 2009

Here is some more Arab bashing, this time by Firdausi, commissioned by Mahmud of Ghazni to write an epic poem on the history of Iranian kings. بشیرِ شترخوردن و سوسمار عرب را باینجا رسیدہ است کار کہ تختِ کیان راکند آرزو تفو بر تو اے چرخِ گرداں تفو شاہنامہٰ فردوسی 'From the drinking of camel's milk and the eating of lizards, the Arab has progressed to the stage, where he has the nerve to aspire for the throne of the Kayan. It is a black day indeed.' Firdausi in Shahnameh

gerry | November 22, 2009

The assertion that the religious and racial identity of Turks would be part of one "other" to 19th-century Germans requires some support. By the 18th century - let alone the 19th - German-speaking Christians had communicated with, fought with, lived alongside, been governed by, traded with, visited, signed treaties with, and been visited by Turks for hundreds of years. German-speaking universities were the among the earliest European centers of formal study of Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish. Long before Germany was anything more than a vague cultural notion, German speakers could distinguish between Turks and the various Muslim, Christian, and Jewish populations under Ottoman rule. As Germans could distinguish among Turks and Arabs and Persians, Turks could tell the difference between Prussians, Austrians, and Sicilians. Something analogous to 19th- and 20th-century racism might be present among some of all these peoples, but the notion of a monolithic "other" - or even a series of monolithic "others" - is at best an oversimplification.

Lakshmi Srinivas | November 22, 2009

basheer shatr khordan o sosmaar? Dear Hakim, Mahmud of Ghazni was thought of in similar terms by the Hindus. He looted Hindu temples and indulged in rape and pillage in his invasions of India, not once or twice but 18 times. I suppose he looted enough to commission this epic poem. Of course I'm forgetting the traditional story that he still shortchanged Firdausi :) Lakshmi Srinivas

Qalandar | November 23, 2009

Off-topic: Gerry: fair enough, but familiarity with the diversity of the other/others, does not preclude assigning a monolithic label. For instance, the populations of South India had to have been even more familiar with the different kinds of Muslims (Central Asian/Turkic; Persian; Arab; descendants of local converts, etc.), but in more than one South Indian language (e.g. Kannada) the word for Muslim IS "Turk"...

Conrad Barwa | November 23, 2009

but in more than one South Indian language (e.g. Kannada) the word for Muslim IS “Turk”… Is that true for Malayam as well? Odd given that most South Indian contact with Muslim groups would have been with Arabs or Persianised Central Asians.

Qalandar | November 23, 2009

As far as I know that is not true of Malayalam -- I was thinking of Kannada and certain Telugu dialects...

der Türkentrank « verbal privilege | November 25, 2009

[...] dug up an excellent German nursery rhyme about (Turkish) coffee, so here’s a visual–from this summer’s Ramazan fair in [...]