ALTHOUGH, ASKING ‘TELL ME HOW LONG THE TRAIN’S BEEN GONE’ MIGHT SEEM LIKE A SIMPLE QUESTION, WHEN WE CONSIDER THE QUALITIES OF THE ONE THAT IS GONE WE REALIZE THAT THE ANSWER IS NOT THAT ORDINARY.
There are simple but impressive phraseologies. ‘Tell me how long the train’s been gone’ is one of them. In addition, James Baldwin’s book is the one that I recall often. The black American writer. I said it on purpose. Good thing that he is a black writer. No, I won’t say what good came out of the white ones. Life is not all about slogans and it is not as … as to fit in slogans, either. Not as what? Not as easy… Then, we cannot look at life or live our lives in the easiness of a slogan!
Although, asking ‘Tell me how long the train’s been gone’ might seem like a simple question, when we consider the qualities of the one that is gone we realize that the answer is not that ordinary. At least, most of the time, if not always… A long time ago, I had written a verse that went like this: ‘The departed leaves a journey in the city.’ The departed doesn’t always leave nothingness, emptiness behind, but a journey sometimes. I am not among the ones who look for a journey in everything; I am among the ones who find it in everything. More precisely, I ascribe a journey to everything.
Just as what our country has been going through right now… A republic that is about to celebrate its 94th anniversary and a democracy adventure afterwards. The word of adventure recalls positive things in me, just as journey does, so I always would like to write positive about it with love, with praises to beautify it. I have been present for the 60 years of this adventure. I have been witnessing it. The Turkish Republic that had been established by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, his comrades and the people has come to these days. We are going to celebrate its 100th anniversary soon. The Turkish Republic shall exist for thousands of years as a democratic and a secular social constitutional state and let this become our mission.
It is the kind of joy, which resembles the joy of covering this country with the iron network. I want democracy to be the way the rails can be built in remote places and trains can reach those remote places. It shall reach to the people who have never heard of it, so they experience their freedom to the fullest, so their thoughts race with each other, so one doesn’t dominate another. Therefore, whether we say the nation owns the command or the dominance belongs to the people; what is primary in both is the free consciousness, free election, and democratic participation of the nation.
Bombing a nations’ grand assembly building means many things. This alone proves the need of democracy’s dissemination and the necessity of maximizing the realms of freedom. Therefore, whether military or civil, the way to prevent any type of coup attempt is to have the democracy train reach the most remote corners without questioning how long the democracy has been gone.
I dream of our democracy with roots put out as of a plane tree, getting taller, living long, wise like an olive tree, invoking beautiful sensations and optimistic feelings in everyone like a magnolia tree… This is how I imagine it. Is dreaming not counted as thinking? A thought begins with dreams and again grows with new dreams. So, let us dream of our democracy and freedom as we wish. Let us dream of our democracy as a train that goes so fast that it almost flies. No one can catch up with it. Everyone says that, look everything is going well. Someone dreams of my tree metaphor. One dreams of it as the seasons, as another dreams of it as the events of nature… as unforgettable flavors, as a poem from the Hittites or Sumerians written on papyrus, carved on stones, like an ancient poem. A poem told a poem beloved…
We may have missed the train, then this would be a memorable moment for us, but if we miss democracy, that’s when the pain becomes unforgettable. If our people stood up against the coup plotters and defend our democracy, and if this power is the indicator of that, a coup in this country can never be attempted ever again, let our democracy be a high-speed train!