One year from today

One year from today

The sadness and sorrow in the Ankara skyline has not diminished. First, we thought the attack in the central train station would be the game-changer. Then came others. Kızılay is a breaking point for many… until something else raises the bar.

The cycle of violence and terror is an everlasting one. To be able to stop it, you have to take a risk. The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is using every method and motivation in society to recruit and turn young people into enemies of the state. Look at the pictures of the young students slain in the Ankara attack. The one who committed that heinous crime could have been their classmate or a friend they would meet in a bookstore. But look at the way he/she chose to die and kill. Indeed, as Rakel Dink had said, this is a society that could turn a young baby into a killer and it faces some serious challenges.

When did we become so intolerant, so numb, so ignorant? When did we stop fighting for the good in people? Ask yourself, when was the last time you opened door for an elderly person, or helped a woman with a stroller on the subway escalators? When did you really do something small and good for NOTHING? 

Is there a campaign to remember the ones we lost at the Ankara train station? Is there a memorial? Why do we not organize a charity concert for all the ones who died in the past six months? All of them, including the ones that left their homes in the southeastern towns of Sur, Cizre, etc. Who killed the humanity inside us? 

Şerif Turgut, my great friend and a trailblazing war correspondent, wrote her feelings on Twitter. She was in Bosnia, when I was in Ankara and Istanbul, 20 years ago. She has seen so much death and destruction that she almost exploded after the attacks in Ankara, even though she lives in Africa these days. “Do not get used to it,” she said. “They will kill your loved ones if you do not rise up. Do something, raise a white scarf; say something. Just do not get used to it.”

In my 20 years in this profession, I had never felt this much despair. Even after the big earthquake, I was sure that we would recover. Even in those days of modest means, a humble economy and quiet politics, somewhere deep inside I knew that things could get better. Not anymore. Cities and towns are covered with a quiet and sad cloud of death. One year from now I am not sure where I will be as a person. The scarier thing is I do not know where this country will be.

Ask an elderly person, they would say, “This, too, shall pass.” Yes, but only if we are good human beings, if we stick together, if we learn from our mistakes, if we learn to heal each other’s wounds. If we decided to watch “Survivor” even on the night of a heinous attack, we do not deserve anything good anymore. And it will never pass.

But then again, who are we to blame others? When nothing changes, when even your tiniest criticism becomes a lightning rod on social media, when everyone is fighting for the chair you use, so that you can get fired after a tweet, why react? Why bother?

One year from today, things can only get worse. Before, I used to think that there is actually a rock bottom, and we had hit it. Nope. We are not even close.