I received several emails and What’sApp messages cautioning me to be careful because I’m currently in Istanbul. I appreciate your love and concern. But here’s my challenge.
Can someone please explain what an “American” looks like?
It’s would be a laughable situation if we didn’t live in such tumultuous times.
An epidemic is bad enough. We all wake up each morning wondering if today will be the day we inadvertently touch the wrong thing or forget to wash our hands, or stand too close to someone on the tramway or while walking in a busy marketplace. But it’s the way things are right now. It’s not a wonder that more people–myself included–are not sick just from hearing about the dangers of Covid-19 and living with the fear for so many months.
But back to the terrorist warning.
Seriously, how can you tell a Turk from an American or a Canadian. If terrorists are visiting North America they would soon see that what has made all our countries so great is the way we have integrated people from all nations into our homeland. A second generation American might be a family from Vietnam, or China, or the Middle East, or Mexico, or India. We could be black or white or many shades in between. Almost every country in the world is represented in Canada and the USA. They call our nation ‘melting pots’ because that’s how our countries began and have thrived through the decades.
I don’t have any idea why this threat has been made–but isn’t that the whole purpose of terrorism? Unsettle, disturb, create fear and tension–as if we don’t have enough on our minds with the pandemic!
So what do we do?
Well the Embassies and the Consulates of the US in Turkey have shut down, probably indefinitely. It’s safer that way. In 2016 down the street from where I live, the football (soccer) stadium was attacked. 38 people were killed, hundreds injured. Why the attack happened two hours after the game was over is anyone’s guess. And why it happened all together is still a major issue in this country today. You can do the research on the PKK if you are curious.
This is a country trying to gain acceptance in the West, yet surrounded by the challenges, and walking a tightrope between East and West. Every single day in the local news there is mention of groups of terrorists being ‘neutralized’ throughout Turkey.
And yet the Turks are amazing resilient people.
They dine out, walk the streets, work at the tourist sites, ride the ferries between the Asian and European side and overall live their lives. I see all around me smiling faces and total acceptance of a single “American?” “Canadian?” “British?” woman living amongst them. They don’t care where I come from only that I have a smile on my face and have decided to live amongst them.
When I began my journey in early 2019, I was consumed with this idea that We Are All One. I know it’s naive to believe we can all get along. But I’m more convinced than ever that if this planet and its people are to survive we must find our reasons to unite the world not separate. We must join together to celebrate the values we all hold dear of peace, and love, and family. Or we and our children will pay the ultimate price.