THE POWER OF EMPATHY-
The picture that you see here was taken in Cappadocia in 2008.Canan is my older daughter and at that time she had been a tour guide for eleven years.She was guiding for cruise passengers who would arrive in İstanbul or in Kuşadası to visit Ephesus.This picture was taken by Tony Nelipovic;one of my tour group members from California.They were on a pilgrimage tour organised by Fr.Tom Welbers.As Christian pilgrimage tours had been one of my specialties I invited Canan to join our group hoping it would provide her some experience.The tour lasted for two weeks and ended in İstanbul where we had started from.Probably it was the end of the third day on the road and we had arrived at our destination for the day, I was gathering my personal belongings before leaving the bus.At that very moment by ''divine coincidence''my eyes were double checking the rest of the bus to see that every one was all right. To my surprise I noticed Canan in her seat four rows behind the drivers side by the window still seated but in tears.I could not understand what had happened so I asked her what was going on and here is what she told me then:''Babacığım''(My dear daddy);''For all these years I worked as a tour guide I had never ever realized how difficult was the pilgrimage tours you were conducting.As a teenager when you left our apartment with two suitcases for the next two weeks on the road my sister Nazan and I were very happy for some reason and now that I saw what it takes to do what you are doing to succeed and then there is still dinner and accomodation needs ahead for your tour members I do not know what to say.''
Now Canan thanks to Allah is happily married with two sons;Ömer,15 and Ali who will be on January 19; nine years old;are so far away from my wife;Özlen and I living in Virginia;USA.I write this story in order to tell them how much we love them and miss them.In case her sons may have similar feelings one day when their parents are gone away for some time;then it will be easier for her to understand what I meant to her when she was a teenager and what we mean to her family today.It is all about one of the biggest things on planet earth that seems to be lacking which is empathy.In Turkish we have a saying ''The only person who can understand truly what it feels like when you fall down from the rooftop of a building is another person who had also fallen down from a rooftop earlier on''.Putting yourself in somebody elses shoes and showing others sympathy when there is need for it is very humane but unfortunately is hard to find.
The next video was sent to me by my lovely couple living in Lima,Peru.Maria Pilar and Raphael Cisneros were on my tour of Turkey three years ago.My thanks to them both for being true friends.However the story of the video has some lessons we should all learn from.I will let you watch it so you can make your own conclusion.According to the Qur'an Allah would like us to work hard not only for this world but also for the hereafter.But as we do we should learn how to share those blessings that He had given to us.In Islam ''the hand which gives is better than the hand which receives.''We all need more empathy.
Speaking about the need for more empathy the next video was prepared by Amnesty International in Holland lets first watch it then I will give you my take:
I would simply say ''well done'' for this video.This is the difficult task we as Turks have inherited from our ancestors namely ''The Ottomans''.The Ottomans had ruled the Middle East for 401 years including Mecca,Medina and Jerusalem.As an outside force ruling the Holy cities was not very difficult for them.They had the know-how.If you know how then it is easy.They knew how to do it.I will not go into details regarding this issue because if you are interested you can chech the internet to learn how they did it.
One thing is for sure by now; ever since the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948 there has never ever been a moment when killing has ceased in Jerusalem.The last decision by President Trump to relocate the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem seems to have backfired as the voting in the UN General Assembly was 128 to 9 against the US decision.Only two days ago the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Pope Francis at the Vatican.The Christians and the Muslims need a peaceful Jerusalem as much as their Jewish brothers and sisters.So trying to exterminate the other religion or the other sect also has backfired by the will of Allah.''Thou shall not kill ''still remains as an order of Allah so those leaders like Esad of Syria who has killed hundreds of thousands of his own countrymen and if they succeeded to escape death and ended up being a refugee as can be seen in the last video they have been traumatized for the rest of their lives I know some people find it hard to accept refugees.We have close to four million refugees from Syria and Iraq in the last six years.But now having watched this video you can emphatise better hopefully what if those people who can hardly understand what a refugee goes through then may be our Dutch friends for the sake of tulips which they imported from İstanbul in 1555 can decide to work together with their Nato ally Turkey in combatting terrorism which escalates the influx of refugees.Then may be they can decide for the return of Dutch Pattriots to defend our Southern borders.I am pretty sure that my Dutch sister-in-law and I can find a workable solution when she will visit us soon for her birthday.
I received the next video from my dear ''bacanak''(brother-in-law),Ünal Aydıner and felt deeply saddened that a country where I had lived for one year as an AFS,exchange student 54 years ago had turned out this way.This is not acceptable by my standarts as well.We have been partners with the US in Nato since 1952 and now they preferred a terrorist group to be their new partners in ''their fight against terrorism''.That terrorist group has been an enemy to the Turkish State ever since 1984.So the elderly gentleman is absolutely right.When Americans will travel to the Middle East in the future how will they be treated?At least he has this video to show and I have this blog to present to those who might ask us in the future what we had done under these circumstances!
İstanbul,Türkiye,17 January,2018 Wednesday,20:25 local time