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

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Adana and Gaziantep

In Gaziantep, Shu and I have arrived without any idea of where we'll sleep. He's here for serious confectionay research; Antep is known for its quality baklava. I'm here hoping to find a way to volunteer to help Syrian refugees. But after an interesting day of hitchhiking from Adana, we're  homeless. At the police station we're directed to a mesafir hane, or guest house, and there we're immediately treated to a hot meal of chickpeas and rice. Later Abdullah, a teacher of Koran at a nearby mosque, invites us to stay with his family after he has given lessons at the guest house. While waiting for him to finish, I meet one of his students, Bariş.  
Bariş hears about my story, then tells me he was named Bariş, or Peace, because he was born during the First Gulf War in Adana, where the US air base there flew sorties into northern Iraq.

In Adana we stayed at the house of a former US Air Force aircraft mechanic, Eric, and his Turkish wife Emine. Eric served in many places around the world, including the airbase in Adana. We spoke as two US military veterans might be expected to speak, about what we did and where we served, but we also spoke a great deal about the prospects for peace, and we both agreed that there are better alternatives to military action. We both have faith that people are basically good, and this faith leads to the conclusion that peace is possible. Eric and Emine were hospitable people and good company. I think we'll meet again.

Bariş has a German friend who is involved in helping Syrian refugees here, thousands of them restricted to camps apart from the city. She is in Istanbul, though, so I'll have to wait for Hatay to do my part. Even there I may not have any access to the refugees, and only be helping from backstage. But I am looking forward to meeting Sister Barbara, also from Germany, once I get there. My friend Selda from Ankara has arranged for me to help out alongside Amnesty International and other volunteers with Sister Barbara. Meanwhile, Shu and I are again looking for a place to stay tonight in Antep, and tomorrow we'll hitchhike towards Hatay.

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