It seems as if some Turks are mimicking the insanity that people like Michelle Bachmann and other wingnuts who blame natural disasters on the ‘sins’ of a certain people or a certain geographical area. I am going to expound on this a little bit later, but recall Katrina and the Pat Robertsons who said New Orleans and their evil denizens brought about this vicious storm. Certain GOP candidates this year have blamed Hurricane Irene and that freak earthquake in Virginia on the horrible job Obama and White House are doing; it was a wake-up call for them. Telling them not to stray from the ‘proper’ path.
I keep on seeing Facebook statuses berating the PKK for taking out Turkish soldiers. I don’t condone what the PKK did. There are other ways to respond to such acts of oppression they’ve dealt with for decades and longer. But this entry isn’t about that in particular; what really pisses me off has been the response to a natural disaster that just happened yesterday. Just yesterday, a strong earthquake hit Van in eastern Turkey. There was extensive damage. Many people died. Poor construction and lack of decent infrastructure led to many more casualties. Although this is an issue all throughout the country, the fact that very little is done in the Kurdish-majority areas – at least in government assistance in rebuilding and maintaining poorly-constructed property – is a bit telling. How much really goes to protecting people and property in the event of an unspeakable disaster like a strong earthquake. So many countries offered to send aid (Armenia and Greece even!), and – last I read – Turkey’s government has waived it away for now, saying they appreciate the gesture but they can cope, they can help out those affected by the quake, they can take care of all those who lost everything, who lost loved ones in the disaster. I wonder how much aid will really make it there and actually do some good; how hard will the government work to help those devastated by this. Maybe my cynicism has grown to disgusting heights.
And now there’s this, a statement I found on my Facebook:
24 şehidin naaşını toprağın sessizce kabul etmesi beklenemezdi… O da sarsıldı…
My Turkish is poor, but I’m going to attempt a translate: “The land could not be expected to quietly accept the 24 dead martyrs. It moved.”
Again, because 24 “martyrs” died the other day by PKK soldiers, God got POed and began decimating Van and other areas nearby with tectonic ferocity. Because – damnit – if those a-hole Kurds put one foot out of line, he’s gonna to take back 100s of them. Really? In retaliation? As a staunch reprimand? Where’s the logic in that? It’s like saying God flooded New Orleans and all the poor black people who could not afford to leave in time because it was riddled with sin and decadence, gays, drunkards, and Mardi Gras flashers.
What about Joplin, Missouri? What about the tornadoes there? Was there an influx of homosexuality in SW Missouri to warrant an F5 to obliterate the town from the map? Or maybe the atheists were takin’ over…
What about the famines in Africa, a place where many people are born-again Christians? Why are they suffering so much? Tell me, is God punishing them for the sins of their great-grandfathers or the intermingling of various tribes, wars fought amongst one another because of border conflicts thanks to colonialism (countries where Christianity is the tacked-on religion)?
Maybe God’s just pissed at everyone…
Whatever the reason, these anti-Kurdish epithets on Facebook are the icing on the cake for me. How dare people scorn those who have just went through a few minutes of hell? How dare they prostyletize on ethics and eye-for-an-eye retaliatory conduct? How many of these people living in Van were against what the PKK do? How many of these people just wanted to live in peace and embrace their ancestry without outside interference? It’s unfair. It’s repulsive. And the beauty of a real and meaningful life seems to have been lost.
At least a few people on my Facebook are expressing sympathy and/or sending aid to the region. There are small specks of hope somewhere. They’re there. The hatred likes to hog the spotlight though. Way too often.
Edited to add: Just read an article where the government is saying they’re FINALLY accepting outside aid now from 3o countries. Would have been a smarter idea to allow help immediately instead of waiting a day or two. And also GETTING it to them. I’ve heard stories that the goods provided by people in other Turkish cities are not getting to Van and other areas in the east. Obviously there are going to be a lot problems, a lot of chaos, a lot of Katrina-like issues. It’s Turkey. It’s going to happen, that’s not a generalization or an ignorant comment. Expect it. But, damn it, government! Accept assistance when it’s offered – no matter who it’s from and GET it to people, PEOPLE. HUMANS WHO NEED HELP. WHO ARE DYING.
Common sense, isn’t it?