Thursday, November 20, 2003

Watching Istanbul

What a crazy world we live in now-a-days. I've spent the morning in a cafe watching the news with Didem, my Turkish "sister", as she frantically tried to get in touch with her friends and family.

One friend that works in security thinks that Kosovo will be hit in the near future. I asked why because there really is nothing of interest here...but the reply was a simple, it is a soft target. It's somewhat frightening to imagine that there is someone out there filled with enough hate that they want to kill you just because of what passport you carry.

The Iraq War has created some divisions in our office. Last summer, we were a tight knit group but this year, it is split into sub-groups. One colleague declared that he did not want to hang out with me because I was supporting the war. He never actually tried to ask me what my viewpoint was but only saw that in the first days, I wore an American flag scarf in support of the troops (of course, I did support the war because I thought Saddam needed to be taken out of power, WMD or not.) But it was interesting to see how people judge you on the foreign or domestic policies of your country rather than your individual opinions!

I asked Didem, my Turkish girlfriend, why Al-Quida would strike Turkey and she told me that it most likely was because they were a Muslim country but not all followed the ideals of strict Islam. Then we thought about Saudi Arabia. Now there is a fairly strict Islamic state but struck by Al-Quida...because the royal family has too many ties to the Western world. I think that there must be no country in the world, except maybe former Afghanistan, that can satisfy the wants of Al-Quida.

Have you heard the song by the Black Eyed Peas called "Where is the Love"? There is part of the song that talks about the media and negative images are the main criteria. But sometimes I wonder if maybe there is more bad to report than good. Everywhere you look, it seems that there is death, destruction, and mayhem. I think I can relate to Didem's anguish after watching the events of Sept 11 unfold from my hotel room in Germany in 2001.  I think of this attack as a Turkish Sept 11th....