I simply didn’t care. This was not because I put aside thinking or I lost my capacity to draw conclusions, but because I went numb.

Aydan Murtezaoğlu, Room Temperature

I am writing this piece, which has been lingering in my mind in its different unripe versions, on the day Trump got elected as the president of the US. This is not because I am going to write about Trump, but because of the weird feeling that took over me after his election. If we leave aside my opinions about the results which are as good as those of any other person, I found myself in this state of feeling: I simply did not care. This was not because I put aside thinking or I lost my capacity to draw conclusions, but because I went numb. I guess this is the most fit word to describe my state of mind: numb.

For some time, I have been trying to come up with various tactics to keep my psychological well-being. For instance, nowadays when we are constantly rocked with the “breaking news” I turned off the notification option of the news application on my phone. I try hard not to read any political analysis at all –we do not suffer from a scarcity of analysis anyways!– starting with those on Twitter. Particularly these days when the political agenda tries to rip our insides apart, I try to keep occupied with other interests. But I cannot. The reason for this failure is not because my efforts prove to be futile, but because whichever side I choose to turn, I cannot succeed in protecting my body and my soul. The panic attacks which appeared for the first time in my life this summer and which now and then –and in most inappropriate moments– pay a visit to me, are the marks left by this state on my body. When the bus driver sees it as his right to scold me, I find myself not satisfied with the reply I gave and carrying on the rage tantrum inside my mind. I sometimes find myself staring at people with hatred and when I realize what I am doing I feel ashamed. When I see Madame Tussauds sculptures in the place where once used to be Emek Theater, I am burning with revenge and I look at the crowds of people who are staring at the sculptures with disgust. Although I did not lose the sound sleep of the old days, I became acquainted with uneasy sleep. It is getting all the more difficult for me to keep the train of my thoughts and construct a coherent whole. Everything has fallen into pieces.

I was sitting in Karaköy after July 15 with a friend of mine. We want to flee away, and my friend is already about to hit the road for a different reason. In the neighboring seats everyone is talking about where they would like to go. Everybody seemed to be one step ahead of me, I felt panicked. The country has been locked and I have been left inside. It was that kind of a panic. A woman sitting at the next table seemed to have no plans and the others sitting at the table asked her why? She said I do not want to live like a refugee. Silence ensued. Both inside me, and at the table. Once my panic was over, I remembered her words more often. It dawned on me that the question of who can leave and who cannot afford to leave is intricately intertwined with who can own what and how. My respect and admiration for those who have managed to free themselves of any kind of possessiveness are reserved.

When I learned about both the Soma and Ankara massacres, I did not feel anything at first. Then, I carried with me the guilt of this numbness. When I look back now, I find myself in the inconceivability of the catastrophe. I simply cannot wrap my mind around these things just like a person would not understand something that she does not know anything about. It is something like that. How can I understand cluster bombs and corpses that were stored in the refrigerators, and why should I? A short silence after each “very bad” event. A small dose of “normal agenda” and then it all starts again. The banality of the state of emergency. After the 4th of November[1] someone[2] wrote “we did not let them steal the bullet box, they stole our MPs”. As the regime of resentment, jaundice, hostility, and malice becomes institutionalized, we inherit a feeling of injustice, and I do not know how it would be possible to compensate for this feeling.

While all these things take place, life still goes on. In the bus which I take to return to my home in the evenings there are many people from all around the world who have been forced to leave their houses, people who maybe began to settle in Turkey or stay here as a transit country. The bus is crowded. In the moving crowd I find myself next to three kids, one is in a stroller. We exchange glances with the little one. The older siblings take notice of my interest and first speak Arabic and then smile at me. Then, a male voice fills the bus: “How come they have so many children while they are in this state!” His face is bursting with male righteousness and his smile is confident of his power. The shit head offered us his evaluation. I want to smash his mouth. I cannot do that, but I take hold of myself. I am filled with rage, but also with hope. The mother of the children is sitting on the adjacent seat. I say to myself “I hope the woman does not understand Turkish”. The man gets off at the next stop. As the African woman who is sitting on the seat just behind is trying to make the baby of the woman whom I hope was not clouded with the venom this man splattered around, the Turkish woman who is sitting on the next seat calls the baby with its name. She was holding the baby just a second ago. I imagine a future built by the women where that man would be wiped out along with his venom. This is hope, one side of us is a spring garden.

Translator: İpek Tabur

Proof-reader: Müge Karahan

For the original in Turkish / Yazının Türkçesi için

[1] This is the day when eleven MPs from People’s Democratic Party (HDP) were detained including the co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ. (Editor’s note)

[2] I could not remember who that person was, so I did not mention the name.


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