Yesterday, when I learned about the bombing into Iraq, I immediately informed some friends.
F replied as; "I am discovering that I have the same response to the idea of your country bombing Iraq as I had to the idea of my country bombing Iraq, even though I know there is more provocation in the case of the PKK. I wonder what is to be gained by the bombing: A show of strength? I do hope that the villages are empty, but I still wonder about the trees, the flowers, the animals, and the souls of all of us if we keep this up."
She was certainly right, voicing some of my own worries. But I have so many worries that I couldn't keep myself asking;
"I don't think any country would accept what Turkey is facing; what would you do;
- if there are continuous attacks from a neighbor (for ex Mexico)
- if they are murdering and kidnapping your soldiers and civilians
- if they have the democratic right of being elected to Parliament and it come out that one of your representatives or congresswoman was in fact trained in Al Quayda camps (for example)
- if her husband is still with terrorists and shamelessly receiving funds from your government as a farmer
- if there is a political party and the leader of the party come out forging document not to serve in military and already been in jail for nine years because of terrorist activities.
- if they are directing drug and arm traffic, laundering drug money
- if your allies don't hear your calls
- and if those terror bases are just a few kilometres beside your border."
Her reply was; "Well, my problem is that I have always been pretty much totally a pacifist. A radical even among antiwar folks. So, I'm not a good person to ask questions like what would I do if Mexico or Canada aimed their guns at the US. I tend to believe that if generals want war, they should fight them themselves, that all military weapons that can destroy life at a distance of greater than arms length should be destroyed...things like that. And most of my adult life I have argued for such measures, since ultimately if we are to avoid destroying the planet, I think we're going to need to use them."
What can I say, she is right. We share the same values but not the same geography. Lately I am finding myself in deep dilemmas. I don't know how many times I wrote my peace activist friends that I never felt my self so stupid to make any analyses, in lack of making decisions on my observations.
It is as if we are living on daily basis and under the bombardment of events pulling us in a "mind eclipse" (I am beginning to develop terms).
We never had so many flags around. We hear nationalist attacks from both sides of the society. Every side, even from prisons. This is a years long conflict but suddenly it changed strategy as if some hidden (but not hard to identify) forces wants the people of this country became enemies.
Though, there is no need to be pessimist. Sometimes when we reach to the peak of a conflict of any kind, it may surprise us how it may change for good spontaneously.
After the confessions of ex generals and other army members, another step came from the opposition leader. Baykal announced; "Barzani should be accepted as a part of the Iraqi administrative system..." He said we should befriend the people of Iraq including the Kurds. "We should establish very warm ties offering university grants, more water and other incentives to the Iraqi people. Then in the warm atmosphere we can expect them to combat the PKK more effectively."
He said Turkey can provide up to 2,000 grants to Iraqi university students every year at the best universities here and thus help to train a new generation of administrators in Iraq including in the Kurdish region. We should finish the UIisuyu Dam on the Tigris River and thus provide secure and more water resources to Iraq.
He voiced majority of the opinions as there should never be a conflict between Turks and Kurds. "Our struggle should be against the PKK not the Kurdish people." Said a new project is needed to enhance the living conditions of Kurds in Turkey and Kurds in Turkey should be able to have their own language courses, their own schools and their own publications.
I never liked him but I must admit that he surprised me. His suggestions may open new and long-term consequences. Creating higher education opportunity for Iraqi youth from any ethnic group in Turkey may help closer relations and understanding. His other suggestion, spreading Turkey based television broadcasts in the region may be used as a productive tactic. When journalists asked the students at the universities in Erbil, many already replied as they they would like to study in Turkey. Talabani and Barzani also sent warm messages.
No logical mind should oppose the social and cultural rights of any group and majority of the society supports it other than little minded ethnic nationalists. Can this become a state policy, it is the point we cant be sure. But at least we can be "a little" optimistic, now that it is beginning to voice by certain centers and ones who are responsible from ex wrong policies are confessing one by one.
The questions I asked my friend are still in my mind. Neither her reply, nor similar or opposite opinions can satisfy me. Not even my own, years long beliefs seems enough. May be we are insufficient to embrace the new necessities our time is forcing on us.
If "war" changed concept and weapons, why can't "peace" change too? We can stop asking only "what ... would you/ we do" and add "where", "when", "why", "who", "how" to our questionings all together.
As my friend points out; it takes hundreds, even thousand years for firs, oaks to grow and human can destroy them with few bombs in a second. We see the same human can create terrorism at any area in few decades don't want to find a way to stop what he created other than endless reasons for new pains.
Wish we can get out from this mind eclipse. Of course the other problem is; if I can be a pacifist activist... "What" if pacifism would cause eclipse on activism... Don't laugh, these are strange lands to live...