If the past three weeks have only taught me one thing, it’s that Canada is a wonderful country to call home. We have safety, security, food, land, water, respect for others and an approach to life that respects culture, as well as a legal and economic system which supports a very large middle class.
I know Canada isn’t all roses, we’ve had our own issues with violence, we have homelessness and people on the fringes struggling through mental illness, some of you may not agree with our government leaders, and as farmers it’s always too dry, too wet, or the price is too low.
The turning point for me this week happened in Turkey. For the first four days of our visit, having been warned about violence from family, news reports, and country experts, I was very optimistic about this country. The people we met were genuine and friendly in this country that has this odd appearance of part eastern European, part Mediterranean, but what we didn’t see is the part of the country bordering onto the Middle East!
On Tuesday evening, three suicide bombers killed 40 people and injured 200 more in Ataturk Airport, in the same area we walked through four days earlier. Even more remarkable is that the airport reopened within hours, the blood was cleaned up and I walked back through the building 39 hours after so many lives were destroyed!
I asked a young fellow who interpreted a meeting at a local dairy, were you shocked about the violence the day before at the airport? His response was no, he is more surprised on days where somebody isn’t killed! Given the large military, the shared borders around Syria and Iraq, frequent attacks on military gave way to many casualties never picked up by foreign media, it is that which makes me sad for Turkey. You see Turkey is a country where there is diverse culture, on the ballet to potentially join the European Union, one where they control shipping channels to Russia, where land, water and labour are still available to produce food, a place where 80 million people call home, it’s the gateway to the Middle East.
So as I end this post about Turkey, it is a great country with so much opportunity. At no time did I feel unsafe, it’s that the attack did create uneasiness for me and others in our group and particularly those at home, so as we departed through a well secured Ataturk airport, analyzing every face I saw, it made me realize how appreciative I am of Canada!
In the past three weeks I’ve seen congestion, massive population, and a historical class system that divides poverty and wealth in India. Qatar, a country of wealth, driven by oil, but ruled by Islamic culture and now Turkey, a land of opportunity, but tarnished by varying fractions of cultural difference.
Oh Canada, our home and native land, 19 more days and I’ll be home. Happy 149th Canada!