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October 25, 2011, Tuesday

An earthquake, a rally, a possible provocation

The earthquake that hit Van and Erciş was, from the perspective of the faithful, a celestial sort of warning. After all, nothing God is unaware of happens in this world. God is the one who makes continents slide and grind, as well as the one who sees the energy build up in the earth's fault lines.

God is the one who creates the laws of nature as well as the one who pushes aside those same laws to make miracles. This is what we believe. With all this being the way we see things, does it not mean we need to think about the timing of a big earthquake when it hits?

This celestial warning has to do with our brotherhood. In the region where this earthquake happened, there is an insistent and traitorous Turkish-Kurdish conflict that has targeted our brotherhood, our union and our livelihood. All that keeps our hearts standing in the same place are our belief and our shared values. And the new generations that are torn away from those values are being pulled from strong foundations onto rotten foundations.

And so Allah reminds us of the glue that holds us together: our brotherhood. Would you just look at what happened after the earthquake? Assistance began to rain down onto the earthquake zone. State aid as well as assistance from civil society, all sorts of people who simply love humanity rushed to the site. They run with blankets, with water and bread, with mobile kitchens, racing to embrace humanity. At this point, Van is the heart of Turkey.

This heartfelt embrace, this sincere reaching out by humanity, should push everyone to think again. It has reminded even those who have overseen the removal of the word “brotherhood” from party bylaws to pick up the true scent of what brotherhood is. And so today is a day for those who don't take the concept of brotherhood seriously and who belittle and dismiss the strength of the heart to ask themselves where they have gone wrong. There are all sorts of traps and ambushes that lie before us on the horizon, and each one has the potential to damage our brotherhood. But let us speak with our hearts. What does “Turkish” mean? What does “Kurdish” mean? We are all brothers and sisters. And thus the earthquake, in a sort of divine tongue, reminds us of this brotherhood, offering a great warning at what is perhaps the final turning point.

The real solution to these problems lies in our brotherhood, and Turkey possesses a future wherein everyone is an equal citizen, a future crowned by the reality of the supremacy of justice. Everyone must do what their personal responsibilities call for. And now, I would like to turn the subject to the rally that millions are expected to attend this Sunday in İstanbul.

The rally is being planned by a “United Call Platform” formed by some 24 leading civil society organizations. Its intent is to show the deep reaction and grief society felt in the latest terrorist attacks that killed police, soldiers and civilians. While I do not doubt the good intentions driving this rally, I believe it is actually a mistaken maneuver. At a moment when the eastern parts of the country are trying to heal their wounds from the earthquake, it is not the right time for millions in the western part to gather and shout slogans. Crowds such as these are the perfect bait for every kind of provocation imaginable. No one can prevent those same people who did not get the results they were hoping for from the “Republican rallies” in the past from slipping in between the millions at this rally. Attacks could take place on businesses declared to belong to Kurdish citizens. And what could thus happen is that this priceless opportunity that has arisen in concert with the earthquake could be destroyed.

The truth is, these sorts of mass meetings and rallies are the manifestation of just how wrong it is to push the weight of the solution on to the people of the country. In our nation, the streets are the tools of the guardian authority. For 25 years now, people have been shouting “Martyrs never die, the country will not be divided” at the funerals of fallen soldiers, but all that has happened is that the wounds have become deeper. Now is not the time for anger but rather for compassion.

And let us not forget another reality. In Turkey, when the coup supporters turn power over to the people, they have always achieved their goals through polarizing the society. And in the wake of the rightist-leftist, progressive-retrograde, secular-religionist polarizations, all they have left in their hands now is the Turkish-Kurdish conflict.

And so, once again, while we must not doubt the good intentions driving this rally, we must also be aware of the risk of provocation it poses. It falls to each and every one of us to be cautious and careful in these times. There are four more days until Sunday. We could decide to simply pass up on this rally, giving as our reason the understanding that it is not right to march in the streets when people are still dressing their wounds, and when such an atmosphere of brotherhood and compassion abounds.

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