Can one ever be happy for not having a child?

Can one ever be happy for not having a child?

My heart sank when I saw the photograph of the yellow “dolmuş” burnt to ashes after the explosions in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district near the Vodafone Arena Stadium because I live in Beşiktaş and I regularly take these “chartered yellow cabs” that shuttle between Beşiktaş and Taksim. 

Both explosions on Dec. 10, a Saturday night, occurred in the neighborhood I live. My mother, my sister and one of my best friends all live right next to Maçka Park. It was only two hours before that I had passed near the stadium with one of these yellow dolmuşes. 

We have passed, I suppose, the point of “I could have been inside that dolmuş,” or “I could have lost my loved ones in the explosion.” These bloody attacks have entered so deep into our lives that in any one of them, any one of us could have been there or could be in the future. 

Personally, my only consolation is that I don’t have a child. Could one ever be happy for not having a child? In this country, even people’s delights are contrary to the flow of life. 

The dead and the injured do hurt us deeply; there is no question of that – it is as if they were our beloved ones. But what hurts even more are those who are trying to turn this into an opportunity; those who are attempting to show subservience to those in power while the dust of the explosions has even settled. 
If nothing, this is a shame. 

Even before the dead and the injured were counted, you had people associating this with the presidential system or claiming, out of the blue, that these bloody attacks started with the peaceful Gezi Park demonstrations… 

While body parts were still being collected from the roof of the stadium, yes, some people were engaged in discussions like these…

These are the ones who are more royalist than the king, those who have left their humanity, whose hearts shriveled, who have lost their conscience, who have lost their minds, whose only issue is position, promotion and power. 

Let’s leave them aside; what are WE going to do? Life goes on, as a matter of fact. True, but everybody is forced to change their lives. 

Those who were able to leave the country have left. Those who have not left yet are trying to leave. 

We stop going to certain neighborhoods one by one. For instance, people do not go to Beyoğlu anymore; they stay away from shopping malls. They avoid the metro. Now, they will not be going to Maçka Park while this park was maybe the only green area left for people on this side of the city, particularly children, to get some fresh air. 

I have a friend who took her baby out to Maçka Park every evening. I don’t think she will ever do so again. That baby is now bound to grow up inside concrete walls, walk around inhaling exhaust. Or they will too leave this land. 

In other words, no matter what we say, no matter what kind of a Pollyannaism we hold onto, life does not go on… We can fool ourselves as much as we want… 

This means we are not getting used to this; we cannot get used to this. 

How can one get used to a life that passes only with survival efforts? At a time when the bodies of civilians, soldiers, women, workers and children pass in front of us every day…
That evening when I got out of the dolmuş and walked through the Beşiktaş bazaar main street toward my home in Ihlamur, football fans were crowding on the sidewalks moving downhill to the shore and toward the stadium. 

While I was trying to advance in the opposite direction, I felt like I was swimming upstream – a current that was blocking my way, slowing me down and exhausting me. Isn’t this the same as living in this country? 

All of us, each of us, are tired and exhausted people now trying to swim upstream all the time, not only scared of tomorrow but also scared of today… 

All other issues have been shelved; the issue of survival has replaced them.