The shooting at a wedding in Bilge, a village in the south eastern province of Mardin, went on for fifteen minutes. Using machine guns a few masked men killed 44 people. You could also say 47, since three of the murdered women were pregnant and almost ready to deliver their babies.
The TV reports about the shooting broadcast tonight take much longer: the most heart-breaking images are repeated again and again. A teenage boy who lost most of his family, and who hides his tears with his arms but can’t hide his shoulders trembling from so much crying. A girl in the arms of a woman, shouting and crying again and again that she lost her mother she lost her mother she lost her mother– she is finally laid down on a stretcher and taken to hospital. We see women in the fields mourning together with tears, songs and desperate eyes. Men in the fields praying in groups, old men staring into the distance with shock in their eyes. And in the background there are digging machines. They are preparing the graves, and they need such an awful lot of space.
It’s shocking and heart breaking, but I also look at the reports with my journalist’s eyes. The boy who hid his tears with a few microphones shoved in his face, was a young teenager. A girl who told different cameramen about how she saw her family being shot, was definitely not older then 15 or 16. And the girl who was taken to hospital with cameras all around her, was about 8 years young. Their grief is displayed to more than 70 million Turkish viewers. Of course it is good to share your grief with others, but how much better it would be if TV cameras were not among those ‘others’. If children, and maybe even adults, were protected from the press in these sorts of exceptional and horrifying events.
Mardin is in a remote corner of the country, where there are not always journalists close by. That saved us from seeing the bloody scenes of last night, and the families concerned fromhaving to display more of their personal horrors to the whole country in every horrible detail.