A moment in becoming a Mother Teresa
It has been a few days since my encounter with the refugee children from Syria in Taqsim Square in Istanbul, but the image is still surrounding me. It was one of those surreal moments where real disconnection with reality takes place. A strange feeling of ascendance to a totally different place, partly delusional and partly perceptible.
We were walking there waiting for a missing colleague when a girl came to speak to us in English, flirting her way around us in a cute way. I asked her where she was from and she said Aleppo. I started talking to her in Arabic, and something immediately flushed into my sensations. I was seeing my youngest daughter Serena in her. Actually Serena has the same flirtatious attitude, same pony tail, disorganized features. She asked me if I could buy her a toy from the store next to us because she would love to have one, before I said ok she asked if she could also get another toy for her younger brother. I asked her to pick up what she wanted, and she was into choosing anything and everything. To keep restrictions to myself first, I asked her to just pick just one thing for her and for her brother, Putting my rules on the “ good deeds “ of a privileged person.
As I entered the store to pay, I can only remember this image of that hallucinating scene, I was holding my purse, children, many of them, all in the store all asking for toys for them and for their little brothers. A ten-year-old boy holding a toy gun and my colleague insisting no for the gun. Well after coming out of long sessions of non-violent resistance guns cannot be a good idea for a toy, and I was proudly backing him on the idea. I have no idea how this lasted. What I know is that our colleagues left us in the store. The entering of the little children was endless. And every single penny in any currency in my purse finished. Finding myself having to remind my colleague next to me that he will have to pay for the taxi.
Getting some toys to maybe a ten children of so would have been a nice feeling, until the mothers followed me. And other children. My colleague was holding my hand speeding up getting away from them. I wished I could say lets stop at the ATM machine. It was too naïve from my side, I practically would have ended in emptying all my accounts that are practically in debts. But to end the march with the following mother and kids I started asking my friend in becoming a participant in the mother Teresa adventure. A mother asking for a milk powder for her children in the stroller and a beautiful boy and his brother offering his singing services, with an enchanting voice…
All the experience haunted me. Some heavy feelings invaded every single emotion in me. This girl. Serena. A horrifying resemblance kept lingering me with melancholy. I don’t know how much I identified with it. Could it be, that she was speaking in Arabic? They were all speaking Arabic. All those kids. Families. They definitely thought that they had a normal life just a year ago. They were probably planning next school years, new dresses, a new piece of furniture for the house, a new job … anything. They were thinking that they were just living a life. A normal life of whatever it could have been.
And now there life is this.
Refugees dispersed around, homeless in Taqsim Square.
Schools no longer are options.
Families sleeping in the streets.
Children growing up soliciting a price of anything that starts from a piece of bread and ends in a toy …
How unbalanced life is.
How close could this happen to me too? To my kids. It felt adjacent.
There is no protection under cruelty of humanity.
A Mother Teresa could have survived a less cruel world.
Even a moment of goodness patronized me with guilt.
With a fierce commotion of subjugation, that exceeded what I perceive as occupation.
The problem is way impenetrable and stern …
Humanity has failed.
Not even a pretentious feeling of a mother Teresa could satisfy my meager affection towards being a more privileged fellow human.
Even for some moments…
We botched humanity and humanity dumped us …
Humanity has failed..