Humanity, I am still here
We know the face of that scientist who fled Syria and took refuge in Istanbul, but we do not know his name.
When you look at the photo taken in front of a pistachio-green painted wall where his suit hangs on a nail, with his two children, you feel like a voice is rising inside you, the one that you want to silence.
When his story went viral on social media, we also heard of him, together with the rest of the world. We learned that he was a successful scientist, that he lost seven members of his family when a missile hit his house, that he developed stomach cancer and that he was trying to survive in Istanbul in despair and poverty. A blogger in the U.S. wrote about him.
U.S. President Barack Obama sent a supportive message to his story posted in Humans of New York (HONY) and invited the scientist and his family to the U.S. American actor Edward Norton, when he heard the story of the Syrian scientist, started a donation campaign. As of Dec. 16, there was $440,000 collected for the Syrian scientist to go to Michigan in the United States.
This scientist will start a new life in Michigan now.
His bitter story, in his own words:
“[…] Inside were 116 small bombs, and each bomb was filled with needles and shrapnel. The pink house belonged to my brother and his entire family was torn to pieces. The second missile landed in the green house but did not explode. That was my house. If the missile had exploded, I wouldn’t have any children left. But it only destroyed the top floor where my wife and daughter were. Sixteen people died in the attack.
Seven were from my family.
“I was overseeing a project outside the city when the missile hit my house… Nobody was around to help, so my son had to carry the pieces of his mother and sister out of the house.”
I was especially moved by his declaration of wanting to work for the benefit of humanity after experiencing such a tragedy.
He also wrote he has sketches for a plane that can fly for 48 hours without fuel and a device that can predict earthquakes weeks before they happen.
He later wrote: “I learned today that I’m going to Troy, Michigan. I know nothing about it. I just hope that it’s safe and that it’s a place where they respect science. I just want to get back to work. I want to be a person again. I don’t want the world to think I’m over. I’m still here.”
In his messages he also said he went to the hospital in Turkey five times but he was turned down because he had no insurance.
What am I trying to say? Let me try to explain my point of view.
I have always supported Turkey’s “open door” policy, even though I had reservations about its method and practices. It made me proud that we open our doors to people in trouble.
I found those criticizing Turkey on this matter (even though some were quite justified) dishonest.
I thought we were right when we said, “If you know that much, then come and shoulder some of the responsibility.”
However, it does not mean we should not criticize ourselves just because we don’t want others to criticize us.
I think Turkey is exerting an extraordinary effort by handling such a huge and intense migration considering the conditions in the country.
I also know it is very difficult to record more than 2 million immigrants in a certain system, but as we see in this example of this scientist, the situation we have reached is: “We have let them in our country and we have let them go around freely… let God take care of them.”
Children who are sold, lost to prostitution gangs, forced to stay in refugee camps, forced to beg or who cannot go to school are those whose voices cannot be heard in this chaos.
Turkey has done everything it could, that’s correct, but maybe a better system could have been implemented.
Not that I know any better, or that I am here to criticize harshly…
But let us think through how we can set up a healthier system. For instance, how we can make a valuable scientist say, “I have come to a country where science is respected?” What I am saying is let us review the whole matter from this perspective.
That’s about it…