Born and raised in Turkey, the Turkish political area taught me a lot. Its dynamism and personal effect on people need to be studied to understand middle eastern countries. Political dynamics in a country cannot be understood properly if the focus group consists only politicians. And many people love simple answers, and blaming politicians is just one of them. I am not here to defend the politicians; I am here to tell that the politicians are just mirrors of our collective moral standards and values. We choose those whom we feel trustworthy in our standards. Some people love blunt politicians who say whatever it comes to their mind. Some like calmer politicians who think twice before they speak. Whoever they are, they are simply us.
I was born in the middle of many turmoils that swept Turkey for many years. People were divided for many years. Basic human rights were just a gossip. Nothing has changed since then. In fact, things got even worse. Speaking up your mind has always been a crime in Turkey. It has always been a crime in the eyes of the government as well as people who don’t share the same ideas with you. The label “Traitor” has always been extensively used by individuals to describe their opponents. They never thought that perhaps what they had been suggesting might have been wrong. People were so convinced that they believed and how they executed their ideas were the ultimate truth. For many years, religious people were labeled ignorant peasants who don’t have a proper education, who are not allowed to take positions in the military or any political institutions and so on. In the meantime, religious people labeled others as secularists who cannot stand any thought of a religious leader governing the country or having a proper education to take upper positions in companies, government, or any other institutions. Secularism, in the eye of many Muslims, were the reason for the degradation of the country. Simply, these two major groups developed their monsters which haunted them. Time proved that they were not better than each other when it comes to political power. They forgot the human factors as to how power corrupt.
I can talk about this on and on. However, this is not the topic of this post. It was just an example, the example of the missing element in humans that turned them into monsters. I deliberately used monster, because, to me, a monster is a creature who wants to hurt others and take pleasure from their pains. Aforementioned is what I saw. I should also mention that it is not my intention to talk ill about Turkey. It is my hometown, and like every other human being in the World, I love Turkish people. Even though, I am originally from there, when I am asked where I am from, I am now more inclined to say “I am from World,” as I am demolishing the borders in my mind that were put by my ancestors. The missing human factor was to criticize ourselves first. We were/are into criticizing other too much; we didn’t even find the time to look at our mistakes. It might well be because we don’t think that we cannot make any mistakes, which is a mistake in itself. The cultural dynamics taught me the same thing: What you believe is right, anyone who opposes your ideas and criticizes them should be mental. You may wonder if I got an education that was telling me that. Not officially, but culturally. Some say, it is our perception who shapes the world around us, but they don’t mention who drew the perception we have in the first place. There are implied rules in societies. You learn them by observing because everyone had been already doing them they were born. Most of us ignore to challenge the teaching of our forefathers. We learn from them as we grow. And we only accept that. Anyone who questions those teachings get a reply “We found our fathers in doing them. What makes you smarter than them?”. A few lucky person with a criticizing and non-conformist nature by birth can usually challenge these ideas and ask the questions…
As I am getting older and a little bit wiser, I have realized that I started from the wrong start-line to make a change. I thought I was capable of changing the world until the realities slapped me in the face, and showed me how weak I was. However, I was still powerful enough to change myself. By the way, one particular reason why I was thinking like that in the first place was how the media was portraying the famous people. The media has always used the successful people as a role model. They explained how they worked hard and such and such, and everyone who works hard can achieve their success. We have 6 billion people in the world, and I am sure there must be many people working harder than them, but I don’t hear their names. Because they are not as successful as they are. What media either fails to mention or deliberately ignores is the fact that the successful people they cover were born at the right time, in the right conditions, decided to do the right thing with the right help. The truth is that all these right components don’t align well all the time. They worked hard… at least some of them.. but we cannot ignore the situational forces.
I can give more examples and more reasons behind my evolving understanding towards changing myself first and always. We may not realize it all the time, but we have some amount of influence over people, and we actually can change the influence by acting accordingly. If we are honest people, even our enemies will accept it. If we are hard-working, it will help others to see you. Therefore, we can help changing some people around us if we change ourselves, which will improve our public image as well.
I have spent too much talking, and now I want to change it to more doing. We heard this a lot. There are many proverbs on talking less, doing more type of suggestions. But, there are certain times for certain actions. When you are too young, you don’t understand or appreciate it. But as you grow and read more, you start enjoying this motto, because of your mental evolution, as well as your character, demand the change now. They grow tired of talks that don’t lead them to anywhere. And, at one point, the last drop into the fully filled glass makes the spill.
Sometimes, I ask myself the question as to why I am reading so much on various topics. It takes too much of my time. I can have more fun. But then I realize that I don’t want to do the same mistakes that my forefathers did. I don’t want to be deceived by some ill-intentioned politician for their agenda. I don’t want to relay my responsibility to distinguish good from bad to a higher authority for a later time while I am given a brain that can do it for me. I can think for myself as well, which I enjoy a lot. I don’t like people doing the thinking for me as they don’t know me, my conditions, my desires, my hopes. I can read, I can learn, I can increase my thinking skills, and I can make my decisions after deliberately collecting various thoughts from people with different backgrounds, but it is me at the end who will make the decision. If it is me making the decisions, then I should start criticizing from myself.
Also, for I am not a great writer, the topics above might be somewhat disconnected, but actually, there were some filler thoughts in my mind that I might have failed to mention, also to keep the post in a readable length.
The moral of the story is to change yourself….