I will name my grandchild Preet Bharara
BELGİN AKALTAN - firstname.lastname@example.org
AP photoI cannot think straight nowadays. My thoughts are rambling. My mood is the same as my country’s: confused, fragmented, zigzagging between contrasts and, of course, very sad.
In this peculiar stage, I am not able to collect my thoughts and write a proper piece. I could not write one last week but by mid-week, one of my previous articles suddenly became popular. Most probably international readers searching the last bomb attacks in Turkey came across my July 2015 piece. This sometimes happens.
I am teasing my editor that even when I don’t write, people still read me.
Anyway, this week I still have nothing to write, but I have bits and pieces of unorganized thoughts and ideas… Just like me nowadays…
My first thought is, since I am way past childbearing age, this time I am talking about a possible grandchild: I will name my first grandchild Preet Bharara, or just Preet. He or she will be “Preet Akaltan.” By the way, Akaltan is my married name. My original last name, (not “maiden” name – I was not a maiden, believe me) was Güven. It was odd to change your name when you got married but in those times (36 years ago), it was not much of a debate. Also, at those times there was a beauty queen who turned into a porn star with the same name, so I was happy that my name changed. And now I am so used to it, I am not going to change it back.
Preet Bharara (insert mother’s name here) Akaltan, dear child, welcome to the world. (I hope my son and my future daughter-in-law do not read this.) For those who do not know, Preet Bharara is a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who is now popular in Turkey, very popular, for no particular reason. By the way, Preet means “beloved,” so we can start a hashtag #preetcandir.
My second thought is that Turkey is actually the ghetto of Europe. We are like a less privileged part of a rich and prosperous city, a neighborhood far away and not preferred, with cheap housing and cheap administration; the poor part of the city, reserved for the underdeveloped groups. So, the refugees who Europe does not want are dumped at our neighborhood. The money granted for this operation will last for about two months and the European-deported refugees will join us in poverty and our disadvantaged state.
We will always have this ghetto psychology and we will always be the underprivileged minority.
My third thought is about living in fear and how much we are used to it. Each and every Turkish citizen knows how to live in fear. We fear the authorities. We fear angry scolding men with loud voices.
Now we fear the streets, people and crowded places. We also fear the city buses, the metro, the metrobus, their stops, the Marmaray (the undersea tunnel across the Bosphorus), the beloved ferry and busy streets and squares.
The safest activity in Istanbul now is to feed the pigeons. You can also eat “pilav” (rice) or “kokoreç” (look it up) from the street vendor.
My last wish is that I wish everybody in Turkey would start thinking how this whole thing started. We were involved in Syria because our officials told us there was a dictator there and there was no democracy and human rights violations. Like a joke. We were actively involved in Syria to bring democracy and human rights to that country and end the brutal dictatorship. Again, like a joke. Look how much of these goals we have achieved… No further comment… I rest my case…