Measuring the love of the homeland with a washing machine
The president delivers a speech in front of a coffin covered by a Turkish flag.
There are bodyguards everywhere. Ten men in suits and six soldiers listen to him at full attention.
A few young men shout slogans.
All eyes are on him.
In the other corner of the photograph, the father of the martyr, sitting on his knees, cries in front of the coffin.
A father who loses his son can’t stand on his feet in a monumental way; his body can’t carry him. He would fall down. When he does so; others will bend over, take his hand and cry with him.
There are only two persons that remind us that humans are people with consciences; the two men on their knees next to their father.
Only the eyes of those two are not fixed on Him.
We have this picture when you set out on constructing the road to the government with the love of the homeland. There is always a big crowd that can’t tear their eyes away from the platform when you say “the homeland.”
The source of certain authorities come from others’ fear of death. That authority in times becomes the homeland itself. Whoever revolts against that authority is accused of treason against the homeland.
Individuals are, to a large degree, melted down within society and the nation in this country, which was founded on the motto “one nation, one flag, one homeland, one state.”
The individual was deemed valuable only if he sacrificed his own existence for the national existence.
Generations were raised, being told that they were citizens of a country surrounded by enemies on all sides.
As if this is not enough, a rhetoric based on martyrdom has been polished in recent years.
March 18 was declared Martyrs’ Day with a law enacted in 2002.
Visits are being increased to the Gallipoli cemeteries, while religious ceremonies are being organized for Sarıkamış in Kars, where an important World War I battle occurred.
The energy minister of the country says he wants to be a martyr.
But there is a big contradiction right at that point. The efforts to glorify martyrdom remains mere rhetoric because only the “poor” die.
The answer to “why” this is so has been perfectly explained in an anecdote about military service in the book
“They said die and I died” written by Serdar M. Değirmencioğlu.
“The commander asked the soldiers if they have any relative who had become a martyr. Some hands went up.
“‘See?’ says the commander. ‘We are this kind of a nation, this kind of a country. Each corner of this homeland has been shed by the blood of the martyrs. And you, I am sure will not refrain from making a sacrifice just like them. Now I am asking. We don’t have a place for washing the dishes. Who would like to participate in constructing that place?’ Some will raise their hands. There will be a division of labor. Then the commander will start talking again.
“‘Now we need another sacrifice. We need a washing machine. I am sure there is someone who loves his country, who wants to pay his debts to his country and would like to purchase this machine. Who would like to make this sacrifice?’ A tall man rises up. The commander praises him. The division of labor is completed: workmen, craftsmen and the capitalist. We are sent to our dormitories.
“The construction starts. The only task of the workers and the craftsmen is this. The one that has sacrificed to purchase the washing machine does not work. It’s like his military duty has ended. It is said that he can leave the barracks for the city center anytime he wants.
“Perhaps because of that, he is seen nowhere in daytime.”
In short; all this is rhetoric. Sometimes the love of the homeland can be measured by a washing machine.