Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Istanbul and the Atheist

In Istanbul I gave 4 'really mad' interviews. This might have been something to do with the solid marble floors I had been sleeping on- accompanied by the now mandatory wakefulness at 5.00 am . George Galloway was there on his global dogleg between Canada, London and the Middle East. He is a very well known man, and greatly loved in these parts. More then once I have heard people say that he should be the leader of all Arab States.

We went to visit the cemetery of one of the victims of the Mavi Marmara. This young, good-looking lad was shot dead - by more than one bullet. He was a little over 20.

Our convoy then did a tour of the city which - without police escort - became a shambles. Red lights are the enemy, and without a police escort we unfortunately had to stop at every one. The minarets of Istanbul put me in mind of Tennysons Dreaming Spires of Oxford (same deal, different packaging) Cars constantly beeped at us, pedestrians waved and cheered, or stood silently clapping our progress.

Near the sports hall where we were staying lived a woman called Aminah. Although we share no language, we became friends. She was very shocked when I told her that I was an atheist, but recovered herself fairy quickly. The Moslem's relation with their Allah is intense and very personal - almost a love affair. They find it difficult to understand the concept of living a life without a god, it is so alien that it is shocking. But Aminah was a true friend, after weighing the predicament she simply said' I love you'.

It is an interesting phenomenon worth reporting that the overwhelming majority - about 99% - of non-moslems on the convoy are atheists.

From Istanbul we drove to Ankara with a reception at Adapazari on the way. Another big fat reception greeted us - and a bed!

No comments: