Istanbul, habibi

This was the second night of my life where I literally was unable to sleep (meaning: without choosing to do so). Around 3.30 am I gave up. Lying in bed and waiting for the alarm to go off was more stressful than getting up. So I made some tea, sat on the balcony, and watched the sun rise. I had to keep reminding myself that I was lucky that all I needed to do today was make a phone call (about work), and get some biometric pictures for my new passport – and go to the inauguration of my dear friend La’s light center tonight (I suspect that subconsciously the latter might have had something to do with my insomnia …). So apart from the prospect of me being tired all day, I was thankful for this beautiful early morning. I have had so few of them lately, having slacked off with my morning routine, getting up later and later on the days I didn’t need to work. Seemed like a great start for a day. Peaceful.

Two liters of green tea and already countless rays of sun later – which was about half an hour ago – I turned on my computer to check my e-mail (not that I was expecting much at this hour, maybe something from my American friends). Following a link that read “What is Happening in Istanbul?” (I was curious, for I had visited the city three years ago and fallen in love with it), I quickly realized how oblivious I had been. I mean, obviously, there is constantly injustice being done somewhere on this planet while I am sitting on my sunny balcony, sipping tea, pitying myself for having had a sleepless night … but somehow this really hit me. I don’t know, is it really as banal as that we need to feel connected somehow in order to really feel affected? Is it because I had a wonderful time in Istanbul, got to discover so many amazing places, and beautiful and kind people? Is it because I have been at Gezi park? I’d like to think, no. I mean, of course, I went “Oh, I’ve been there!”, and “I wonder how the people I met there are!?”. But I also feel something else.

I feel sad over how I am not surprised by what’s happening. And I don’t mean “not surprised that it’s happening in Istanbul”, I mean: I am not surprised that this is happening AT ALL. Not surprised that greedy companies want to pave paradise and put up a shopping mall, to coin a line from a Joni Mitchell song (that ought to tell you something about how old this sad scenario is …). Not surprised that there is no (national?) media coverage. Not surprised that the police is unnecessarily violent (if there even is such a thing as “necessary violence” …). Not surprised that the government is not on the protesters side. Nope, not surprised by any of this. And that is truly something to make you feel affected, and feel hit by.

I don’t know if this helps, I signed it anyway:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Erdogan_End_the_crackdown_now/?copy

Istanbul, my love, stay strong!

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