STATS – Day: 25 | Distance: 8466.8 miles | Location: Istanbul, Turkey | Money Spent To Date – Transportation: $653.65 (includes airfare) | Food: $101.55| Stay: $116.75 | Play: $84.66
Some of you know, or may not know that Istanbul had a bomb explosion last Saturday, March 19th in the middle of the major pedestrian walkway in Taksim Square. That bomb killed 5, wounded 36 and has added another injury to an already bleeding country.
I was sleeping a couple of blocks away and was awakened by an unusual amount of sirens passing nearby. I had that feeling once before when I was in Old Town Alexandria right across the river from the Pentagon and that same sound was rushing by my building. It is a strange sense of “something is really wrong”.
Then I rolled over and went back to sleep.
I slept in until 2pm, a bit over indulgent in any playbook. I turned on my phone and saw about a dozen messages from friends in both the US and Turkey asking if I was alright. I did a quick Google search and read about the bombing.
I posted a quick update on Facebook, which was a really good thing because the Turkish government shortly after locked down most social media so you could get new updates very slowly, but it was nearly impossible to respond or post. It was like that for two days.
2 No Facebook Days = Eternity
I felt cut off and alienated. The mood of everyone at Planet Paprika hostel was somber and deflated. I did not write my blog, I wrote it days later and pre-dated it. I did not practice my Turkish. I did not read a book.
I went back to sleep and shut out the world.
I did almost the same thing on Sunday, venturing out for a short walk down the once bustling, now nearly deserted street, to the bomb site to mourn and let the realization sink in.
When Facebook came back up I was surprised that so many people didn’t even know about it, there wasn’t on much on the news feeds. I did see one article that really angered me, highlighting the fact that 2 Americans were among the dead.
Dead is Dead! Human is Human!
I heard several people say that no one cares about Turkey and that “they” lump Turkey in as a Middle Eastern country, where bombing is a part of life. How freaking sad is that! Where violence is expected and dismissed?
All violence (bombings, shootings, terror) should not be expected or dismissed as “normal” regardless of cause. It doesn’t matter if it is motivated by politics/government, religion/beliefs, history, patriotism, libertarianism, ego, boredom or some un-known reason.
And here is the kicker……I AM PART OF THE PROBLEM!
Wow, did that slap in the face hurt or what! Because as I am thinking about all of this, I realized that I used this “excuse” myself to justify my trip to friends and family who were worried for my safety.
“Turkey has had problems for a long time, it is the normal problems. I’m in no more danger than usual.”
I get a little sick when I think about what I said and how utterly wrong I was in thinking that.
Change starts with oneself. Realizing my part, I can change my own flippant attitude, and view the damage of a country and its people equally.
We all are one.
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