Hümanur Bağlı
4 minutes

I had the opportunity to visit the earthquake zone, albeit a hundred-odd days later. Most of the destroyed buildings in the area are not even damaged, collapsed or incomplete, and many such buildings are no longer visible along the road now that the debris has been removed. Now we are just passing through large expanses of land. They are all covered with meadows, grass and the crimson poppies that decorate them.

If we didn’t hear what is transmitted on screens and the stories people tell, we might think that these areas have been virgin and uninhabited for a long time.

Now I understand more deeply why there are places of memory, monuments, museums. They should not be just a leisure activity, a form of service for which tickets are sold and money is earned. There is a vital function hidden in such spaces and fictions. Because there is so much to be done around here, but if only those who lived through the earthquake remember what happened in a before-and-after story, we can quickly and collectively fall asleep.

Yes, after all, the memory of human beings is clouded. So human memory is programmed to forget.

Memory is programmed to forget, surely there is wisdom in this, but is forgetting the solution to everything? What else goes with you when you forget? Or what does remembering carry back with it? Considering that the word “museum” comes from the same root as the word “muse”, i.e. inspiration, it is clear that being a reminder has other implications. The moment-related meanings of inspiration de-emphasize the past, bring it into the present, and even carry it into the future.

Maybe the reminder as a mechanism should be just enough to keep us on the move, a kind of routine alarm, so to speak, without losing the special inspiration it contains. It should not be a means to keep opening a wound that is constantly scabbing over, but it should not lead to inertia either.

Remembering should blend sadness with reverence, pain with tranquility. They should not parody things that have happened, that have passed but traces remain. The past should not be embalmed and made to look alive, nor should it be imagined as a pit in gloom and swallowed up.

Human beings need to remember as much as they need to forget, they need traces of reminders, there is great virtue in living in the moment by saying “this is the moment”, but the depth of the moment depends on the past that carries it in its arms.

But I see that the fact that all children, whether they have experienced the earthquake or not, stay in the moment, laugh, play, no matter what, is a lesson for those of us who are stuck in the past or the future we have created. Whatever the situation, they are reborn every moment of every day, making crowns out of flowers, soup out of mud, playmates out of temporary guests like us. They are attracted to everything they come across that is suitable to love and be loved.

The poppies, like the children, or the children like the poppies that cover the land, come out of the stones and slag every day with joy. Just like the brides who gave her her name, they open their skirts for once and dance their crimson dance in the same color as the gold ribbon pinned on top. They paint themselves flag by flag in spite of the gray color of the wilderness, they sing like a national anthem, like a revolutionary folk song, like a love song, staying in the moment, using the moment, singing it with a booming voice.

Even though the poppy covers the wreckage, it remembers, remembers, remembers with reverence. It joins all mortals in its transience.

Poppy, like her name, is a wife who leaves her home early and unites expatriation and vuslat. The greetings of spring out of winter to all the springs to come.

The poppy and the kids say hello to all of us. Without erasing the memory, without losing the moment, and with green, not red, lights for the future. Let us know that this is not a request for support, but for sharing.

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