A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it... We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive... And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us try then what love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel.
William Penn

Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone...
George Fox

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Running, Walking, Sorting Things Out in Istanbul; and Another Appeal for Help

Why Run When You can walk?

My host, Bigem, invites me to go for a walk last Sunday morning in a park north of Istanbul. When we arrive, there are scores of competitive runners warming up for either a 4, 14, or 28k race through the woods.
"Do you like to run?" she asks.
"Well...sometimes, " I say. "But not often," I don't say.
"Would you like to run in the race?" she asks.
I haven't run for excercise in years. I am wearing baggy jeans and 13 euro hiking boots. I have been smoking again for several months now. In fact, I am smoking as we speak.
So naturally I reply, "Sure, I'll run."
We walk to the registration booth where Bigem asks whether it is to late to sign up for the race. It is. I conceal a sigh of relief, and we walk some ten kilometers instead, keeping out of the way of the occasional passing runner. It is muddy and hilly through the woods, but I enjoy the walk. I enjoy the absence of the  backpack, and the absence of thoughts of basic survival that accompany my usual walk. And most of all I enjoy Bigem's company.

Why Walk when You can Take Time to Sort Things Out?

Bigem has invited me, Inge, and Inge's friend, Sofia, to stay in her apartment in the north of Istanbul until the 20th of February. In the meantime she has been living with her parents, and she will soon be having a holiday in the south of Turkey.
The night I moved in, I mentioned to her that I needed some groceries; some bread, some spaghetti, and something to put on it. She brought me to the grocery store and we left with a full grocery cart to supply me for a week. Then, when Inge and Sofia arrived a few days later, Bigem did it again. For the very first time in nearly 15 months I am hard pressed to eat everything before it spoils. I haven't felt really hungry in days, as I eat constantly. I hope to stay here for the time Bigem has given me. I need the rest, and I need the time to sort things out as my walk is getting a little more complicated now.

Many Thanks, Again

Meanwhile, once again, many thanks to the people who have sent me money, to those who have hosted me, treated me to a meal or to those who offer encouragement or help in other ways. I have enough money now to last me a month, or longer if I stay at Bigem's apartment and keep consuming her food.
Having left Portugal with 235 euros, I can say without any hesitation that the kindness and generosity of both friends and strangers have got me to Istanbul. My work in return is to keep walking, and to keep speaking for peace (my irrational belief in world peace is my faith) ; to do all I can to deliver my petitions, and to continue on to Cairo for Masterpeace.org.

Another Appeal for Help

And now for another appeal for help, not so much for my day to day living at this time, but for a predicament I would like to share with you.
First of all, my visa for Turkey gives me a total of 90 days in this amazing land of beauty, generosity and history. I have already spent nearly 30 days here. If I am unable to obtain a one year residence visa, I will, by February, have to start marching again, straight south to the port of Alanya where I would hope to catch a ferry to Cyprus, walk to the Greek city of Limassol, and catch a plane to Tel Aviv to continue my walk. Of course, once in Alanya, if not before, I would need money to get to Israel.
On the other hand, if I can get a residence visa, I would have time to walk towards Syria. On the way, if not here in Istanbul, I would try to get a visa for Syria and Jordan, enabling me to walk all the way to Egypt. This is the course I would rather take, as I would then truly be walking to Egypt. I had thought that a Syrian visa to walk through that country from Turkey would be impossible, but the Syrian consulate here has assured me that "it is possible." While I am concerned about the fighting there, I am also aware that it is possible to choose a route to avoid it. As in other places deemed hostile by the Western world, I am sure the people of Syria are as hospitable, if not more hospitable than the average European.

In either scenario, whether with or without a Turkish residency visa, I will need money. Again, without the residency visa I will need money for a ferry and flight to Israel from Turkey and Cyprus after a two month march from Istanbul. This will cost something like 180 euros, not including daily expenses.
To get a Turkish residency visa, and to obtain a Syrian visa, I will need more; probably something like 600 euros. To the best of my knowledge, this would cover the cost of the visas and the money in a bank account I would need to process the visas.
For now, though, the 300 euros I would need for the Turkish residency visa would be enough to get me started towards Syria.

So once again, if you would like to contribute in a big way to a drop in the ocean for peace, you can contact me at  la_peripherie@yahoo.com, and type donation for the subject of the message. You can then specify whether you would like to donate the money towards daily living expenses (which I don't really need right now) or for visas or travel expenses. If the latter, I won't use that money for any other purpose. And if I can collect enough, I will do my best to carry my message for peace through Syria.
Please keep in mind that the amounts I have stated are estimates; if I collect more than necessary and you do not wish the money to go towards daily expenses, I will send back what I don't need. If I cannot collect enough for the visas, I hope to collect at least enough to get to Israel via Cyprus.
Thank you, and Peace!

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