A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
On the 13th of March there was an explosion in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, it was the third attack in the last five months. According to the most recent numbers 37 people died and 125 are injured. They were on their way home from a long day of work or study. They were at a cafe or a park, going to the movies or doing other things that people would do on a Sunday, things that you and I would do on a given Sunday.
But they were at the wrong place in the wrong time. They were caught up in other people’s battles, lost their lives in somebody else’s war. I will not get into the politics of what happened as this is not the place to do so. But I do have something else to say for which I think this is a good platform. Thank you.
After the explosion, James Taylor, a British musician living in Ankara wrote a Facebook post and it went viral, it was shared by many and it made it to local and international news. The main question of his post was: “You were Charlie, you were Paris. Will you be Ankara?”
I personally really liked the piece James had written as it puts things in perspective and depicts our feelings perfectly. But I don’t think it is necessary to ask the question: “Will you be Ankara?” because people were Ankara. You were Ankara and that is why I want to thank you.
I had friends from Thailand to India, France to Malaysia write and share posts about what had happened and they have all sent their thoughts and prayers to us. Right after the unfortunate event took place, it was breaking news on Dutch news websites and remained at the top as the first thing to read. The same was the case for many international news websites as well and they have really given attention to the event and the people affected by it.
Thank you to the people who grabbed their phones right after hearing about what had happened and texted, called, asked us about the details and wanted to learn more. Thank you very much, to all the people who shared our feelings, our sadness as well as our anger. Thank you to the people who sat by our side and listened to us. Thank you even if all you did was read a news item or react to a post we wrote or to a link we shared. Thank you for being here, thank you for being with us and thank you for caring.
I think being part of the BA International Studies plays a big role in this as it is one of those wonderful international communities where people care about each other and what happens around them. We are a bunch of students from all over the world; we have seen places, been to places and lived in places around the world. This has given us an enhanced view of the world and of its people, no matter how close or far we are from them. In the end we are all human and our lives matter.
I am lucky to be surrounded by people who care about what happens around the world, people who want to know what is happening and why. People who are genuinely interested and want to hear more. So thank you.
My thoughts go out to everyone who has been affected by the attack in one way or another and may those 37 innocent souls rest in peace.