Français | English

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 |
You may use and share Kedistan’s articles and translations, specifying the source and adding a link in order to respect the writer(s) and translator(s) work. Thank you.
Mamie Eyan on FacebookMamie Eyan on Twitter
Mamie Eyan
Tendresses, coups de gueule et révolte ! Billets d’humeur…