The World Promised a Good Future…

The World Promised a Good Future…

Photo: Nil Taskin

Life is like eating carob… Happiness is never the goal, but is it worth eating carob for just 7 grams of sugar? Everyone has their own answer…

The two world wars had ended. Humanity reached space and landed on the moon, so the world held great promises for the future. Both of my parents were living in the bustling metropolis of Istanbul when they married. My father was still in university, and they decided to bring children into this promising world.

In 1974, when I was young, I remember the blackout nights during the Cyprus conflict. Turks and Greeks were fighting in Cyprus, and authorities announced on TVs and radios that we needed to minimize our use of light at home, turning off all lights and covering our windows. We used candles and oil lamps to keep light to a minimum throughout the city, possibly even across the country, though I only knew what was happening in Istanbul. Greek warplanes could have targeted us. This was my closest wartime experience, I believe. And of course, there were sanctions; we experienced shortages of cooking oil and coffee! Just like today, due to the current Ukrainian-Russian conflict, we might face some food shortages in the coming months.

Apart from the many Syrian and later Afghan refugees on the streets of Istanbul, I didn’t feel much impact from either the Iraq war or the Syrian war. These were comparatively far away at the southeastern border of Turkey. However, both Russia and Ukraine are our northern neighbors and very close to my hometown, Istanbul, making this the second closest war experience for me.

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Then, I lived through or witnessed:

1977-1980: Chaos, strikes, revolts, and anarchy in Turkey
1978: Islamic Revolution in Iran
1980: Military coup in Turkey, which overthrew the government
1981: Lost my maternal grandfather, my first encounter with death
1986: Lost my paternal grandmother
1987: Started university
1987: Lost my maternal grandmother
1988: Lost my youngest paternal aunt and my father
1989: Tiananmen Square incident
1989: Fall of the Berlin Wall
1990: Invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein
1990-1991: Gulf War
1991: Graduated from university
1991-1992: Breakup of Yugoslavia
1994: My first trip to the US for studies
1994: Turkey’s currency crisis while I was spending USD in the US
1995: My first job
1995: Internet & cell phones came into public use
1998: My mother fell into a coma for six years
1998-1999: Kosovo War
1999: The Great Marmara Earthquake, which was a 7.4 magnitude and killed 50,000 people
2001: Got married
2001: Economic crisis in Turkey
2001: 9/11 attacks in the US
2003-2011: Iraq War
2003: Got divorced
2004: Lost my mother
2008: Global Financial Crisis
2010: Arab Spring in Northern Africa
2011: Syrian Civil War
2013: GEZI protests in Turkey
2016: Coup attempt in Turkey
2017: Regime change in Turkey
2020: Global Pandemic
2021: Unrest in the US and Europe
2022: Ukrainian-Russian War

Of course, I only remember some major events that occurred in the region I was living in; I know less about Far Asia, Africa, or South America.

Yes, when I was born, the world promised a good future.

Yet, I am grateful for every new day and the opportunity to experience new things. Who knows how many more springs I will see?

Nil Taskin

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