Warning: The following notes smell like middle-class, I-have-it-all, I-can-afford-to-be-cosmopolitan bragging... not my intention, but the smell persists...The other day, a friend from Romania asked her network on Facebook to vote for a band in Germany. She's dating one of the members of the band, who's also from Turkey. Funny things is, me and this friend met in Turkey... the Westernized, touristic part of Turkey where people go to forget their frustrations and enjoy life by the sea, sipping on a margarita. That part of Turkey where's water in abundance and where everything is white and neat, just like the tourists... What stayed most with me however was the overwhelming feeling I had stepping into the Istanbul bazaar... Istanbul
Istanbul: There was this person I knew from Istanbul whom I actually met in the subway in Budapest. I was talking to a friend of mine who happened to be from Greece, and just like in a comedy of errors, this guy thought we were talking about him. The friendship between a person from Athens and one from Istanbul, as unlikely as it sounds to some ears, was actually a natural... Friendship
Friendship: So was the friendship between this person from Athens and a person from Skopje. Hey, who would have every thought... There's nothing more powerful in destroying ethnic stereotypes and nationalisms than friendships. The three of us formed a trio, always together - also known as "The Triplets"... Triplets
Triplets: Having triplets is no easy job, but for my friends it looks like a piece of cake. You'd think having three kids at once would transform the mom into a perpetual slave to diapers and baby food. Not this mom... She's just amazing, travelling almost every month to Strasbourg and Bruxelles. Hey, the European Union itself is asking for her! So she goes to beautiful Bruxelles, to mingle with all of those politicians and bureaucrats we only get to see on TV... When we visited Bruxelles, my mom told me: "Look, we are now running around in the backyard of Europe". Not quite a 'backyard', but still a huge, white (here comes whiteness again...) meeting place. A place where my former colleague, who so happens to be from Bulgaria, shops for fine chocolates and gateau aux abricots... Bulgaria
Bulgaria: I owe a huge debt to a person from Bulgaria, who once had faith in me and told me "you can do it". So did a person from Hungary and two from Norway: they gave me courage and skillfully guided me through the jungle of social theory. Theory and morality. Just and unjust wars. Social responsibility and peace. Peace
Peace: Peace is exactly what my friend from Kenya hopes and lives for. But when you work in a conflict area, thousands of miles away from your own family, peace seems like a rich-people privilege... My friend tells surreal stories about kidnappings, gun-attacks and violence. And I can only listen, a world away, hoping somehow nothing will touch my friend and the world will get a better place.... Cheers to bourgeois ignorance... I once had a roommate from that area. I remember she had never seen snow in her life before we were in Norway. But then again, neither did my friend from Athens - though it so happens that after we saw snow in Budapest, Athens all of a sudden started getting snow... Blame it on the climate change. Climate change
Climate change: My friend from Costa Rica keeps a calendar of the days left til the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change. It's a one-person fight: every day, he reminds all his friends of the summit and of climate change. Every day, he asks us to think about what each and every one of us could do to change things. It's like a daily mantra we came to expect: tell us something about climate change. And it works for us, his friends... Friends
Friends: My friends are spread all over the world. And if I'm to add my acquiantances to my network of friends, I get to cover quite a lot... From Asia to Europe, from Australia to North America, from Africa to ... well, what's left? Hm, no friends from the two Poles, though I can still brag with some friends who live above the Polar Circle...