Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy 23 April National Children's Day in Turkey

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was the greatest visionary, leader and the transformer in the history of Turkey. Apart from pulling out the miracle of creating a modern state - more modern then European states back then, there were 15 women in the parliment when the women could not vote in Europe- from the mess of a theocratic Ottoman Empire, he was also a very humane leader, and put his belief in the children. It was in his presidency that the celebrations of the gathering of the first Turkish Grand Assembly were used to gather money for the orphans and other kids with disadvantages. It was then established as a tradition that all the seats of power would be replaced by a child for a few minutes on 23 April. This tradition evolved further, and now we celebrate 23 April as National Sovereignty and Childrens' Day in Turkey. Children -mostly dance groups- come from all over the world and stay with Turkish families. We hosted a girl from Finland and one from Thailand, which was so much fun when we were kids. Apart from the fun, it was very important to see that the kids from other countries were kids just like us, and there were no reason not to like them. I wonder what would happen if a similar tradition could be established between Palestinian and Israeli kids, or Iranian and American kids.

I'd like to celebrate the Children's day of children of the world!

*Here is the translation of Mustafa Kemal's words in the picture above:

"Dear little ladies, little sirs,

You are all the roses, the stars, and the brightness of the future. You are the ones who will bring this country to the enlightment. Work hard, knowing how important and precious you are! We are waiting a lot from you, girls and boys!

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - 1922"

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