Grieving for all we have lost

ELIF GABB Opinion Editor

The time for preachy Facebook posts has ended. 

For the first time in my life, I have a platform to speak, so I am going to use it. 

Unfortunately there are some weeks when I don’t know how to use that platform. I am stuck trying to come up with an idea about what to write. Which is weird, since I am one of the most opinionated people you will ever meet.

Luckily, I have people in my life like my mother, who came up with a great idea for me this week. “Why don’t you talk about what you did on Facebook a while ago with the bombings in Turkey?” she suggested.

And I thought to myself, dang. What a great idea.

My mother is Turkish. I am half-Turkish. My name is Turkish. 

Therefore, the country means a great deal to me. 

Turkish culture has made me the person I am today. That is because it is my culture. 

So, on June 28, when 45 people were killed in the bombing of Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport, my heart broke for my country. 

I didn’t know what to do except offer my support to my mother, who luckily did not know anyone harmed in the event, and take to social media to publicly show that Turkey was in my thoughts. I know that’s a generational thing, but quite honestly, I didn’t know what else to do. 

When I got to Facebook, I expected to see post after post expressing sympathy for Turkey, condemning the people who committed this atrocity. 

Yet I didn’t see anything. 

I wasn’t able to change my profile picture to a Turkish flag. 

I had changed it to a French flag when 130 people died in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015.

I had changed it to a Belgian flag when 32 people died in Brussels on March 22.

But there was nothing for Turkey. And unfortunately, I realized why.

Turkey is primarily an Islamic country. 

The media has made everybody believe that attacks like the one in Istanbul are expected since Turkey has a border with Syria. I can assure you, they are not. 

But when this happened, everybody turns a blind eye. Nobody grieves. Nobody speaks. 

We fall silent. 

Worse, I only realized this after Turkey had been bombed this year.  

What about innocent people in Syria who are bombed everyday? Iraq? Afghanistan? Lebanon? The list goes on.

How come for some countries we are able to just forget about it? Quite frankly, it sickens me. 

But what sickens me most is that I didn’t realize that until somebody got too close to my home. 

Until a maniacal group attacked Istanbul, one of the most vibrant, beautiful cities in the world, a place where all walks of life live peacefully, I had shown no sympathy to those who needed it most.

Mourn for the innocents, regardless of where they come from.

Be it in France, Belgium, Turkey or Syria — a life is still a life.

Elif Gabb is the Opinion Editor for The Collegian and can be reached at [email protected].