Last week, a Turkish history professor casually commented that Turkey could “stroll into Greece, like Hitler entered Poland with ease.”
Dr Ebubekir Sofuoğlu, a regular guest of debate programmes where he often speaks against the Westernisation of Turkey, was commenting on Turkey’s ongoing dispute with Greece and Cyprus over rights to natural resources in the Mediterranean.
These are days when we often ask ourselves, “How could a human being do that?” We are subjected to horrifying news every day on Turkish media.
We read of murdered women, abused children, rising racial tensions resulting in deaths, people subjected to violence for speaking their mother tongue, lynchings, fury, sham trials, othering, hate, violence… We witness an endless round of evil.
Public “intellectuals” praise violence, war and death. Being subjected to this environment, we change too. We get tougher. We no longer hear the good examples. We don’t talk about “good.”
But it is important to spread the good, against this torrent of evil.
Let us remember the good news of this week:
The ship British street artist Banksy purchased and donated to refugee rescue in the Mediterranean, the Louise Michel, and her captain Pia Klemp are still working to add to the thousands of refugees who were rescued at sea.
Klemp faces trial in Italy for trafficking over her efforts, but she continues. Doing so, she protects her own honour and human dignity. No less than 350 refugees were rescued from the Mediterranean last week by the Louise Michel.
This is good, even while we hear that Syrian refugees “should go back home already.” This story rebuilds our faith in the good in people.
Another good thing this week was Bego Demir launching his denim brand to manufacture “clean clothes.” Demir himself lost 46.2 percent of his lung capacity during his time working in a denim sandblasting workshop, and has been fighting for the rights of textile workers since. He is now producing clean denim that does not harm humans or the environment.
The other day I saw a sign posted at a right turn near my home. “Please watch out when you take a turn, do not speed,” the sign said, warning drivers that non-human living beings could not always run. I saw this after a cat was run over last week. Asking around, I heard that my young neighbours were responsible for the sign. This gives me hope. Maybe the good rescue ship is not too far away.
We must build societies where nobody uses Hitler’s invasion of Poland as a good example for what we should do today. Where Nazi Germany is not an inspiration.
We must build a system with bricks that don’t give ammunition to hate speech by politicians.
It is not possible for any one person to change a whole society. But there are things that we can do to further that goal. We can put up signs warning people to mind the cats. We can be good people.