with the permission of Serdar Yılgoren
“I am not Turkish, I am more Greek and Russian”, said a friend’s daughter, a very young girl at the beginning of her teens. “That is what I say when they ask me my origin.”
She had strong reasons behind that desire to belong elsewhere. From her rather short experience in this world, she quickly realized that nobody likes Turks a lot. My friends who have lived in Turkey all through their lives will disagree. But I, who grew up outside Turkey, felt so connected to what the little beauty had in her little confused heart. She is a Canadian, born here, grew up here, in Toronto. Her parents are Turkish immigrants, who came here not long ago, around 15 years, let me say. And she is fucking right: our passports belong to a country of origin that not many westerners like.
I can talk about the reasons behind it for pages and pages, I may even contradict some arguments smartly, but that doesnot change the fact that it hurts.
I grew up in Algeria, went to american and french schools all through my teen age years during 80’s. Almost half a century has passed over those days. And that fact remains to be god damn true: Nobody likes us. I always had to prove that I was not like the other Turks, whoever those were, I didnot even have an idea at that time. I had to confront questions relating to Armenians, Kurds, as well as the immigrant Turks of Germany, about our thousand coups d’etat, our faschist regimes at such a young age. I felt discrimination so strongly, that I did my best not to fall into the traps of racism all through my life. I didnot know where to stand: should I be proud of my country, or ashamed.
The remark of my little friend brought back all those memories. I understood her so well, what a burden that is over little shoulders.
Today, now that Turkey entered Syria, I felt the hearts of tousands of little immigrant Turks beat in my body. I felt the same ache as I saw a Kurdish origin friend’s facebook comment for example. I felt it in another Canadian friend’s facebook post.
Can I blame my childhood friends from USA for their country’s behaviour in the middle east? Or can I blame my beloved Canadian friends for belonging to a country that is the biggest arm exporter to the same area? None of us are in this mess personally. The rules of the game are cruel, as well as very stupid. We should have evolved into beings who should not be wanting any war in any part of the world after all that we have gone through, and no little girl should be feeling that way about her origins.
To me personally, I dream of a world that nobody is proud of belonging anywhere, because it is obvious that every single country, developed or third world, has millions of shameful acts in history. Noone is to blame the other for their past. Belonging to a country, being proud of it , just creates the “others”, whereas what the world desperately needs is feeling as “One” nowadays.
I hate the fact that Turkey will be attacking the Kurds, whatever reason is declared. I hate the fact that Trump pulls and pushes every country around, I hate the fact that both Kurds, Turks, even all those Islamic State terrorists are/will be dying in another war produced artificially, just to make some people rich. They are all little human beings who didnot have the priviledge to choose to become what they are now. Many are born into a suffocating hatred in the area. What does the silly rulers of the world expect?
Little brains continue to hate Syrians who were forced to leave their land. Who wants to prostitude at the age of 13, because he/she has no choice to survive? Who wants to leave behind their dignity in order to be able to live? That makes me very mad. And I feel powerless. I feel confused, even at my age.
I hate that country that I love so much.
ps: Please tell your kids that despite every force that tries to pull us apart, we are all “one”. It will take years for them to understand it fully by their hearts. If children die in war in far away lands, whatever group they belong to, the whole world is bound to suffer from that pain in the end.