Strangely enough, we all have the same story

Strangely enough, we all have the same story

Being one of the judges of the Aydın Doğan Foundation cartoon contest, I have been reviewing, for days, hundreds of caricatures submitted to the competition. As far as I can see, the stories and the issues of everybody in the world, the problems humorists and artists obsess about, are exactly the same. 

Many cartoonists participating in the contest were from Brazil, Indonesia, Italy, Iran, Poland and the U.S. Interestingly, the themes these cartoonists of different cultural backgrounds worked on were all the same: Syria, refugee issues, wild capitalism, environmental problems, terror, hunger, women’s issues and even the exaggerated significance of cell phones in our lives.

In this year’s contest, there was a separate section for those cartoons dealing with young girls’ and women’s problems. 

It is also evident when you look at the cartoons sent from all over the world regarding women, that the fact is we all have the same story, as in Dario Fo’s play, “The Same Old Story.” 

One other thing that drew my attention is that in Europe, there is huge and widespread disapproval about the refugee issue; moreover, there is rage. However, the real brain twister was, if the issues which break our hearts and consume our souls are so similar to those of people who live in different places of this planet, why can we not find a solution to any of them? I guess we should look for an answer to this in those cartoons which criticize politicians. 

Religion as a form of address 

We hear these sentences quite often: “They are lying and they are lying before iftar, the fast breaking meal. While that leader was saying that, I really don’t know whether he was fasting or not… None of my Muslim citizens would do that… Those who slander our party in the month of Ramadan…”

I am extremely fed up with politicians attacking each other using religious references, scolding citizens who did not vote for them over religion, criticizing the wrongdoings (from their own points of view) of other parties or politicians not within the framework of law, justice or democracy but within the framework of religious rules.  

As a person who wants to live in rule of law and at the same time a Muslim, I am thoroughly fed up. 

Dudes, do not meddle in my religion with your political debates, disputes and nagging. 

While you are delivering long speeches, slamming your rival party, being a partisan or entering into an argument, do not mention Islam again and again.

When a crime is committed, in a corruption case - I don’t know - when there are anti-constitutional acts, as if there are no laws, no code, no justice in the country, do not base your disapprovals on religious rules. 

You are harming this country, as well as law, democracy and religion. 

Leave religious references for people to use in their good wishes, thanks, in their prayers, on holidays… I don’t know, in their good times.

Don’t involve religion in sappy politics, polarization, provocation, polemics and demagogy. Religion is not a form of address. If you see a violation of the law, of justice anywhere, point it out relevantly. 

What did we used to call this? We called it secularism, didn’t we?