Edited by: Maggie Rosenau

Artwork: Nour Zantah


My mother was afraid to take a shower during the bombing. No way was she going to die there and have someone see her naked! That would be a “shameful!” No,–it would be “a big shame!” she said.

My dad would come home from whatever it was he was doing, then sit–wearing glasses—cross his legs, smile, then focus. “We should calm down. We are not afraid, we’re fine.” This is what he used to say!

He would say this repeatedly until the bombing stops. “I am not afraid, you are all fine. We are not afraid, we are fine, everything will be fine.”

It is not the fear of death itself or whatever is beyond it that we fear. These are things we simply do not know. No one knows! What we fear is the method of death.

During a night of violence in Istanbul, while many extremist Turks were roaming the streets destroying Syrians’ shops, I was at my friends’ place nearby. I was trying to look confident. I wore my clothes and steel-toed leather shoes. I sat down. That’s the most I could do–to be “ready.” Eventually, you just don’t know what might happen, and have to be prepared.
My friends trusted me, and they also dressed up. We calmly gathered for a glass of wine.

Fear? No no–it’s not fear.
We are used to our roles as daily funeral visitors. The dead are dead, and death does not care about how we feel.

O all this world, here we are.

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