Yesterday on the bus to Tatvan there was a young man sitting next to me. I asked him what he was doing. He told me he was a soldier stationed in Mardin. I asked him what Mardin was like. He said the scenery was nice, but the people are bad.
“Did he just say what I think he did?” I thought to myself. “You’ve got to be a major moron to make a statement like that on a bus like this.” I shut up, knowing full well that the people around us were about to come out swinging…
Sure enough, within moments the other passengers began ripping him a new one. One man in particular, an older man I had chatted with at a rest stop 15 minutes earlier, went on for a full ten minutes, saying Erdoğan this, Erdoğan that, Turkish soldiers this, Turkish soldiers that, and I kept hearing him repeat one phrase over and over: “We are not a question, we are a people.” The passengers around him chanted like a choir in a church, probably saying the Kurdish equivalent of, “Amen, brother, you tell him!”
The young soldier just slouched down into his seat and tucked his chin into his jacket, the expression on his face saying, “Oh why did I have to open my big fat mouth?”
“Sorry, boy,” I thought, “but someone’s gotta teach you some manners.”