Today, many of us will start the day in a manner consistent with the established practice that is expressed by the opening lyrics of a song by Barış Manço: “Today is festive day/Get up early, children.“
Again, many of us will either exchange eid /feast (Turkish: Bayram) greetings in our community after performing salat-al-eid (eid prayers) at mosque, or, visit our relatives with the occasion of the festive holiday in order to remedy our weakened emotional bonds with them as we often neglect them in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Today is our festive day, and expected to be different from other days.
Will it be different indeed? Well, I am quite doubtful.
There are many reasons for my doubt.
We look like a divided society. People who live in the largest city of our country -almost one fifth of our population- will go to ballot box after 19 days, and this sharpens our image further as a divided society.
In other countries where politics sets the agenda for a while, however, people don’t grow hostile to each other due to politics as much as we do. Since power changes hands from one election to another without causing considerable problems in those countries, there is not such a thing as ‘cause‘ associated with love for a political party. Politicians conduct ‘service-centered‘ propaganda in election campaigns, and people vote for particular parties which, they believe, would serve the nation better.
In our country, even the most sacred values suffer damage because of the attitude and perception illustrated by the word ‘cause‘.
Some presumptions such as “The believer would not involve in wrongdoing, lie, commit an injustice to somebody, have a greedy eye on properties of others, involve in acts of corruption; but act fairly, and approach everyone with love and respect.” are no longer held as widely as in the past.
Quite the contrary, a certain group of individuals in our people tend to ascribe a ‘political‘ meaning to the definition of ‘believer‘, with a term ‘political Islam’, which is not something to take pride in for believers.
Public opinion polls corroborate this observation. So, who seem to be winners are in fact losers.
It is difficult to put up with the criticisms which bring the epithet ‘political‘ before the word that resonate with our belief system; but it is impossible to regard those criticisms as unfair when we look at them closely.
Please do not consider what I have written so far as some deviance ‘peculiar to us‘. This is a common trait among the countries located in our region even though it shows some relative differences from one land to another.
The more one ponders upon the region, the more problems one notices
The dominant image of each country in our region presents is predominantly problematic, and the general appearance of the region as a whole is seen equally problematic throughout the world. I would like you to think a while if there are any countries within the ‘Muslim World‘ which do honor to the word ‘Islam‘.
What is our contribution to the present-day civilization?
What traits of us may we take pride in feeling ourselves superior than others?
Think this: People of which countries set off on a long and risky journey -often risking their lives- whenever they find an opportunity to do so, and what counties are their target countries they desperately try to reach? Think over the reason of this too, please. . .
Why do citizens of the target countries perceive these migrating people as a ‘threat‘ for themselves, and feel the need of taking all measures in order to stop them at locations as far from their soil as possible? Please give some thought to this question, too.
Wouldn’t it be right to argue that we are in such a situation because we don’t ponder upon such important matters?
Because we do not think, we do not generate ideas, but tend to live in our comfort zone instead by laying the blame at the door of others. . .
Today is our festive day, and we are supposed to be cheerful. But what matters I am discussing here may put a damper on our joy.
What to do then? Perhaps it is better not to bother with such questions. . .
What can I say: “I wish you happy bayram!”
[Translated by Bernar Kutluğ from the the article appeared in this site’s Turkish section on June 4, 2019]