Monday, 20 May 2013

You are

You are five or six, and he is your idol
You love it when he tells you stories
Of kings and princes, brave warriors, and devoted foot soldiers
Of dynasties and palaces, intertwining the past with the present
And in your dreams he is the hero of every battle

You are ten or twelve, and he is seldom there
You love it when he arrives home at night
You love that he hugs you tight, his clothes full of dust and sweat
His rough chin scratching your cheeks
You love it when he tells you about his day, the narrow escapes, the great deeds
And in your dreams he is the hero of every battle

You are fifteen, and things are different now
He comes home less often
You hear him wearily climb the stairs
He talks less, you listen less
He can't wait to get out of the suit
You can't wait to leave the room

You are old now, and he is older still
You love it when he tells his stories
But you don't fill the gaps
The images are duller now
The kings less benign, the princes never kind
The warriors cruel, the foot soldiers cheap
The dynasties brutal, and the palaces murder grounds

You both believed

You both trusted


You so wanted it all to be true


"Günaydın" he greets me as he descends the stairs
He would like "süt" with his rice crispies and he says "teşekkür ederim" when I bring it into the living room for him
He practices on his grandfather who corrects his pronunciation, and tells him stories of belonging

We browse the maps, and images of beach resorts, deciding on the August trip
Different interests, opposite dreams, arguments and he is close to tears
Why cant we just do what all my school friends do
Just go to our "home"

He downloads the official travel advice, the map is filled with colours
There are no green areas, it is mostly red, but there is a yellow patch
And from the north there are pictures

He scrolls down very slowly

Gradually relaxing

Look Mama

A whole page

No dead people

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The spark

Three decades ago when I was still studying we were all rounded up and taken on a march
Just another round up, just another march
But it wasn't
This march ended in deaths and an explosion
This march was the spark that started an eight year war

And now there is another explosion
In a country that can no longer keep count of its explosions
This one was different
The young boys all smile out of the photos
And in my own tribal homeland
Another spark

When you have lived through two
And watched another two from afar
You get to recognise the warning signs

come back...
all is forgiven...
can we have....
three independent countries....
without another un"civil" war