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On March 21st 2020, Turkey for­bade per­sons of more than 65 years from leav­ing their home.

We who are over 65 years old but also those suf­fer­ing from chron­ic ill­ness­es will no longer be allowed to leave our homes because of mea­sures against the coro­n­avirus. This is what our Min­is­ter of the Inte­ri­or declared on Sat­ur­day March 22. “The aged and the sick will no longer be allowed to go out­side and walk in open spaces such as parks and gardens.”

Too many old peo­ple in Istan­bul were still using pub­lic trans­porta­tion” dur­ing the coro­na storm, accord­ing to the May­or. Attempts at hav­ing us pay for those means of trans­porta­tion – usu­al­ly free of charge for us – did not work out, apparently…

There is a video mak­ing the rounds on social media… A man of approx­i­mate­ly sev­en­ty years, com­ing back from the hos­pi­tal. Two young police­men want to charge him with an offence because he is out­side…“Well yeah, but I’m com­ing back from the hos­pi­tal” he says, his voice becom­ing hoarse, “the bus dri­ver refused to let me board.” And those two lit­tle idiots lec­ture him. “Stay home, uncle! OK we won’t charge you this time, but go home! And stay there!” Which is what he did… on foot. Not a sin­gle one in that bunch showed the least bit of com­pas­sion or attempt­ed to help him. It gave me a heavy heart, may coro­na be my witness.

We are young, noth­ing will hap­pen to us”, they say out in the streets. For good­ness sake, you bring your virus home and offer it to your old peo­ple. “What do we care about old peo­ple. They’re a bur­den, so much the bet­ter if there’s less of them.” This is how I sense the cur­rent “ten­den­cy”. All right, I’m not the only one, many oth­ers see it the same way and grow indig­nant, see­ing what soci­ety has become, the wear­ing down of social ties, the absence of empathy…

But sev­er­al years of hatred, of flags, of divi­sions won’t dis­ap­pear because of an epi­dem­ic. And these habits of step­ping on oth­ers, even among the poor­est, are now almost car­ried out between gen­er­a­tions, because of the each-man-for-him­self men­tal­i­ty, but also because of the social vio­lence instru­men­tal­ized dai­ly by the Reis. The old folks have had their time in the sun. If Saint Coro­na could car­ry out the clean-up at that level!

Well, I can’t help it, but when I hear him tell us that Turkey will come out of it “greater and stronger than before to take its place in the new world order”, it makes me cough. Who will he hold respon­si­ble this time? He wants to repeat the post-coup busi­ness? Nation­al unity ++…

So, we have to find prac­ti­cal and nec­es­sary solu­tions with­out him.

There are quite a few of us liv­ing alone. In my build­ing which is part of a com­plex for pen­sion­ers, we are a few neigh­bors help­ing one anoth­er. It was easy to take care of each oth­er, those on the same floor or on a few adja­cent lev­els. Now, we phone one anoth­er, to main­tain the safe­ty dis­tance. We have the tremen­dous luck of hav­ing a big-heart­ed jan­i­tor, an irre­place­able per­son who is very atten­tive, does our shop­ping for us and even goes as far as com­ing with us in the ambu­lance or to the hos­pi­tal. Please, may noth­ing hap­pen to him… Some gro­cery stores and most­ly phar­ma­cies also home deliv­ery. They are still doing it, here’s hop­ing they will continue…


But the prob­lem is that all these pur­chas­es require cash. Wear­ing gloves now, of course… Except, we old peo­ple don’t keep too much cash at home. Before this con­fine­ment, we went out to draw the mon­ey on the day when our mea­ger pen­sions land­ed on our accounts. Since you can’t pay with a bank card on your doorstep, we are won­der­ing how we will man­age. We can’t be hand­ing out our card and our code so some­one else will draw the money!

Since the banks had announced to pen­sion­ers “don’t wor­ry, we will bring your pen­sion mon­ey to your door”, I called my bank. “We don’t offer such a ser­vice,” they told me, advis­ing me to con­tact City Hall. The swith­board oper­a­tor at City Hall gave me the phone num­ber for those who would take care of us. The per­son who answered that num­ber gave me anoth­er. This lat­ter one turned out to be that of the Pre­fec­ture. I lis­tened to the vocal menu, chose the num­ber for social ser­vices. That ser­vice nev­er answered…

It’s a seri­ous problem.

When I put the ques­tion out on Twit­ter, I received some answers. Some sug­gest­ed to buy online. Fine! But how many ancient ones have Inter­net? And the gro­cery store does­n’t have a “dri­ve-through” ser­vice either…

Still on the same tweet some­one answered “you’re lucky, you have mon­ey, we’re hun­gry, we’re hun­gry”. Mon­ey. Min­i­mum pen­sion, yes… I know full well there are mil­lions who don’t even have their irreg­u­lar jobs any­more, jobs that weren’t even suf­fi­cient to bring home enough bread before coro­na… We are in the same boat, my child!

I don’t know by what mir­a­cle I will make it between the rain­drops. Med­ical doc­tors are announc­ing that, because of lim­it­ed sup­plies, they will soon have to “choose” those patients they will save, accord­ing to their pro­ject­ed chances of sur­vival. Harsh… But I can under­stand that. The oth­er day, I was telling a young woman over the phone, “Well, before the doc­tor tells me, I would ask him to save the young per­son next to me.” She answeredd “Uhhh, if he’s a young Hitler, I’d feel sor­ry for you.” The polar­iza­tion has seeped all the way down to the mar­row of soci­ety. How sad.

That we’ll make it out of this viral pan­dem­ic and our home con­fine­ment is one thing, but we’re not out of the woods yet.


Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges |
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Ten­dress­es, coups de gueule et révolte ! Bil­lets d’humeur…