Nihan Aydin

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I read some news today that made me think twice about the world I’m surrounded with. A newly wed couple was shot in a car somewhere around Fatih, a strongly religious district of Istanbul. They were shot -by the brother of the girl- at the ages of 26 and 29. Do you know why? Well, simply because they believed in different religions; the girl was Christian (a member of The Syriac Orthodox Church to be more specific) and the boy was Muslim. According to the news, their families have never approved of their marriage and the couple tried to convince them by saying that their spouses will convert to Christianity and vice versa. In the end they got married secretly, went on their honeymoon secretly and when they were back in Istanbul, they went back to living with their parents. They were probably planning to smooth things over before they spread the news. But only 9 days after their marriage the families somehow learned the situation,and the couple was killed. Two shots in the head, and just like that, they are not present in neither of their families any more.

Here in Turkey we hear many cases of homicide with the motives of religion, the so-called customs etc. But there is no getting used to this, not for me at least. It bothers me, touches my nerves, makes me angry, makes me sorry every time I read this kind of a story. Why on earth would a person “kill” his sister and her husband just because they don’t share the exact same belief or thought as him? In what way were these two people giving harm to their families or to their religions? What makes people think that these two people are not worth living just because they fell in love although they don’t share the same belief? And so what now? Is that brother the most faithful person in the world? Does he really think he’s going straight to heaven because he “defended” his religion? And now that these two are killed, nobody will ever even think about falling in love with someone besides their religious society?

Too many questions to ask..But the point is, nobody deserves to die because of their beliefs.. I’m thinking, if these two people weren’t killed, I probably would never have heard of them. But this doesn’t mean that they would be living happily ever after. They would probably be getting tortured both psychologically and physically, their families would probably be making this world a living hell for them and who knows eventually maybe they would even succeed in separating them. Think about it, just because you loved someone who doesn’t share the same religion with you, the best you can get from life is a lifetime of struggle, argument and torture, and in this case the worst case scenario happens and you die. And the most ironic thing is, if these people were born into some other families, parents who don’t care about their daughter-in laws’ , son-in laws’ religion, they would still be breathing.

And of course, it’s not only religion, it’s politics, it’s customs that make people think that they can commit a cold blooded murder to suppress “others” .Too many people died, in this country and in this world for their ideas, beliefs and even for the scientific facts that today we take for granted.

We are about to complete our 10th year in the new millennium. It’s been 10 full years since we’ve become the people of the 21st century, and we still think we have the right to kill somebody for not sharing our ideas. Way to progress! I recently watched V for Vendetta again, so I will quote “We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later, an idea can still change the world.” So in the name of all people who were killed, who were tortured, who are still suffering physically and psychologically for their ideas and for their beliefs, I sincerely and somewhat naively hope that people will learn to tolerate each other soon so that you won’t have died or suffered for nothing.

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