Life goes on, but... - AYŞE BÖHÜRLER

Life goes on, but...

Following the massacre that ended the lives of 44 people with 400-500 tons of explosives, we are obliged to live our mourning and share our pain, grief and express our grief all the while cursing the perpetrators.

Of course “life goes on,” but this does not mean “we should protect ourselves from grieving, we should not allow ourselves to hurt and make sure nothing happens to us.”

This week Fatma Karabayık Barbarasoğlu held an amazing mirror to our faces with the articles she wrote on what is evoked by the motto “life goes on.”

As she speaks out to those who are successful enough to avoid personalizing this mirror, she reminds us of our responsibilities.

“Ladies and gentlemen, those who think they are life gourmets, those who spread their gusto everywhere, a lot has changed since September 11. When people are too afraid to leave their houses and consumption is feared to decrease, people started to do online shopping as if to say 'but shopping/consumption is a part of life.' After every bomb explosion in Istanbul, shopping centers had no customers but 'online stores' and takeaway food restaurants dramatically increased their sales. So where has all the analysis gone then? Do we need to openly say that, the thing they call 'life' belongs to the rich! As we bury our loved ones and mourn, the capitalist minds write 'shopping despite everything.' Or some actors are just trying to stage philosophy.

We will be in 'national mourning' all in all for 24 hours. National mourning. Theater actor Adem objects. A theater cannot close down. Theater would have to continue despite anything. You keep your theater open and you clearly show how stingy you are as you fear to lose a few pennies. But stop there! Shut your mouth for the mourning mothers who have just lost their children, for the children who have just lost their fathers and for the fathers who are grieving the loss of their children. Stop acting sophisticated.

You haven't closed your shop, we don't know the extent of your sadness, your heart does. But trying to tout customers by acting as if you are doing something divine is hopeless!


Hence, life goes on 'here' too. Some go visit police stations, taking dessert with them for motivation, some build a shelter for street animals, some try to put together donations for Aleppo and others give out hot soup in the streets late at night. Some recite the Quran day and night. And then there are those who knit jumpers, hats and scarfs for the poor, those who regularly take food to student houses and those who try to organize visits to the lonely elderly. In brief, despite all the grief, the warm face of life continues with those who share the compassion.”

What are the reasons for the 'Syrian issue'?

Just recently we were at a meeting speaking about the refugees. A well-dressed and well-educated woman of high status suddenly said, “Turkey brought them to this state, so of course it is going to take care of them.”

You can guess the rest. We spent a long time – probably more time than we would trying to explain it to a foreigner – trying to explain that this was not the case, using statistics, data and realities. Ignorance feeds biases, but education gives it the extra strength. Nonsense persuades the so-called educated people. Moreover, not even the Syrian refugees, who are the actual victims, think like this group.

I have been watching and recording how the refugees have been going to Europe since 2015. Just like a photographer watching migratory birds. I have finished a part of the documentary that I have been making on this issue. Not once have I heard a single refugee, who lost his family, home, past and came face to face with death complain about Turkey in this sense. On the contrary, most are grateful. Moreover, I haven't heard the same positive comments from those refugees who migrated to Europe. While looking for the answer to the question, “What do you think about the refugees who migrated to Europe?” I came across a study that was conducted in 12 refugee centers in Berlin. Eighty-eight percent of the participants were male and 12 percent were female. Thirty-seven percent were university graduates. These participants represent the average refugees in Europe. Forty-five percent are aged between 16-to-25.

Most of the refugees left their countries in 2015 and went to Germany. Fifty-one percent came to Germany by themselves, 88 percent had their homes or neighborhoods bombed, 92 percent left their country because their lives were under risk, and 88 percent had their families in prison, wounded or killed. The same number of people were living under siege, were starving or still living in the conflict, and 86 percent were threatened with abduction or prison.

The answer to the question, “Who was threatening you with abduction or imprisonment?” was the Syrian army and the uniting groups (77 percent) and Daesh (42 percent.)

They were asked, “Who do you blame for this?” Seventy-four percent answered the Syrian army and its allies and 33 percent said Daesh.

The percentage is about the same (70 percent said the Syrian army and allies, and 32 percent said Daesh) in response to the question, “Who is responsible for the civil war?” Turkey is not among the reasons given for the question, “Which events in Syria led to this situation?” The answer to this question is, 79 percent Syrian authorities and the army responding to protests, 17 percent say the arming of rebel groups, 31 percent say the increase in jihadi groups and 12 percent say the protests and protesters. The answer to the question, “What could have been done to stop this war?” was “If only there was a fly ban for bombs.”

Sixty-eight percent believe that they can go back if the war ended, 8 percent say they would never return.

Turkey was never the reason for the Syrian issue. On the contrary it was the country that put the most effort in trying to resolve the issue. The above study outcomes prove this too. It is impossible to understand our own people who insist on accusing Turkey for being responsible. Hating oneself to this extent indicates serious pathology.

Would a German or French person have said, “the reason is my country”?

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