Crying babies

She had been in a good mood all day, taking care of the guests coming to her house for seker bayrami, the festival marking the end of the fasting month. He came home early from work in his own business, to take time for dinner and exchange the latest family and village news. An average Turkish couple in an average Anatolian city, aged around fifty, with adult and almost-adult children.
About an hour later, they were both crying. I didn’t notice, till my friend, their daughter, drew my attention to it. It was the news that made them sad: again, that weekend Turkish soldiers died in the southeast in the fight against PKK. Young guys mostly, some just married, some young daddys. My friend advised her parents just to change the channel. They did, but the other channels showed the same: crying families, crying babies, funerals, pictures of the deceased, sad music or tunes you would expect in a James Bondmovie. My friend got angry at the journalists presenting this news. Yes, she said, the losses must be mentioned and the grief must be shown, but not 20 minutes in a 25 minutes news show, as if nothing else happens in the world. And not with all this over-sentimental music, slow motion images and loudly crying babies – as if a half-year-old would be conscious of losing his daddy. The more non-objective and over-emotional news items people see, she said, the more people become aggressive and want to kill the terrorists. News shows, she concluded, have become participants in the conflict. Which leads to more deaths on both sides. The dead soldiers also make my friend sad and angry, but the way the conflict is brought to the TV-screen adds to her losing hope in peace.

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