Friday, August 17, 2007

Is there anyone in there?

"Is there anyone in there?"

A shrill female voice broke the the dead hours of the night. It was brighter than the hot and sticky summer day that the dreadful night followed. The deep monotonic humming of the generators powering the huge flood-lights that turned the dead night into dead day mixed with the incessant humming of the cicadas, remaining true to their local name -the august bug. Hundreds of people waiting anxiously did not hear this humming, they did not hear anything for the first time in their life. They refused to hear, they refused to see, and they refused to let their heart beat until an answer came from inside of the ugly thing, which only a very trained eye could recognize as a 8 story apartment...

I was sitting hypnotized in front of a TV thousand kilometers away and did not feel a thing for the first time in my life. I refused to feel alive, until that lady who shouted through a hole in the wall of that toppled in building gave a positive sign, a sign of life, a sign that another human being had demonstrated a miracle and survived the 7.4 earthquake that stuck the northeastern part of Turkey this very same day 8 years ago.

Well that night this sign of life did not come for the residents of that toppled building. So did it not for more than 17 000 souls. That eerie sentence

"Is there anyone in there"

stayed in my mind as a reminder of the horrors and moments of miracle from those 4 months in 1999 and that my country -as any other cradle of civilization- is a very seismically active area.

8 years on -4 of which I spent abroad- I am not going to ask if the government or the state is ready for a next earthquake. I just want to pay my respects to all those who died in the earthquake and to ask everyone who remembers this earthquake to take a second to ask themselves what they have done for earthquake preparedness in the last 8 years.

Let me use this occasion to send my deepest condolences to the people of Peru who were struck recently with a very large earthquake...

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