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Desperately running on the streets of Istanbul

Last night I was there. I was one of them.

     By a wicked idea of my aunt, me and my family seemed to be on holidays in Turkey , in the middle of Istanbul. Morbid curiosity, you might think, but not so.They didn’t even step outside the hotel, as they were in this magic bubble, looking at the collapse like it was on TV. 

Me and my cousin were the ones outside. The only ones who felt it all happening.

     Was around dinner time when we had the idea of looking around. Walking the streets, I was observing the grey atmosphere; grey cemented streets,grey sky and a sad, grey city lying in front of us. I saw a dozen people wondering around without a purpose;they were also sad and grey.

Suddenly I turn around, trying to estimate how far we’ve come, and there it was. Police man appeared , cleaning the streets with tear gas, shooting at people and screaming at them in a language I didnt knew, but in that moment, understood. The streets filled up with yelling people, and everybody seemed to run in one direction : in front of us, an artificially constructed gate; inside, the “safe zone” . We started running with them, frightened by the tear gases coming quickly to us, pushed and dragged by the hundreds of equally scared people. They were trying to make us run faster.

They already knew the dangers of being outside on that time. But then again … there they were too.

     As we stepped on the “safe” side of the gate, a complex of flats raised in front of me, with every door opened to hurry us inside. The police have entered the area, and with them, they brought him; Erdoğan was there. I was shocked and stopped to look him well. He was there, flesh and blood, at a palm from me, discussing strategies, walking the streets on an accelerated tempo, never minding the rest of the people, whom were being beaten with sticks, dragged down by their feet, gassed and kicked to near death. I heard him talking, laud and clear, giving straight instruction. No expression on his face, regardless of what surrounded him.

As I felt the acid taste of the tear gas,I could only think of how calm and impersonal he looked, but yet, so alive there, alongside me, walking the streets of a frightened Istanbul. I gazed him for a few minutes, trying to understand were he comes from, and why is he not doing anything for the people he repeatedly said he loves.

I looked at him well, and wished he could turn around, see me, and then I could speak. I could’ve yelled at him, but no sound left my mouth. I felt numb, looking around, looking at him, and looking around again…

My cousin finally dragged me to a porch where a nice little girl opened the door telling us to come in, speaking to us quickly, in a language we didnt knew, but in that moment understood. And we did. We left them all outside, we left them suffer… I was staring at the window, imagining I was only seeing a movie on TV.

     The next moment, I woke up. I feel pain, I feel anguish, and I ultimately feel ashamed. I am not there anymore, running with them on the grey streets . I am far away, inside a warm,safe house, looking at it all from the window… 

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