The Platform


While Turks, Syrians, and Kurds have long-held grievances against one another, they all share the same level of grief.

Not all earthquakes are the same. However, our solidarity must be. The 5.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on February 6, killed over 30,000 people, while a 7.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan in March killed only 4 people. Earthquakes cannot be predicted, but what is predictable is that Turkey, with far more corruption and unscrupulous building standards than Japan, was going to witness far more human misery.

With only 9,000 rescuers mobilized, and miners from various provinces volunteering to join the search and rescue efforts, the death toll was guaranteed to reach unimaginable heights. The reaction of profiteers to the disaster was summed up by the Turkish stock exchange; after the earthquake, the shares of cement companies soared.

While the Turkish government boasts of producing killer drones and long-range missiles capable of hitting Athens, people have been trying to rescue their loved ones from the rubble with picks and shovels. In fact, the earthquake is not primarily a natural disaster, but a social crime for which responsibility rests with a system that puts people above profits, while manipulating especially those below by building a false social cohesion on hate.

The earthquake caused thousands of casualties in both Syria and Rojava. According to Syrian state-controlled media and other sources, dozens of buildings collapsed, and when rescue crews reached those who were trapped under the ruins, they found nothing but death. Thousands of civilians have also been injured in Rojava and in northern Syria, adding to the region’s misery.

For some parts of Syria, devastated by a 12-year civil war, the international community has had a difficult time reaching impacted areas. In the ongoing civil war, with parts of the country controlled by various factions, rescue teams have been prevented from reaching impacted areas. While they might share some of the same grievances, Turks, Syrians, and Kurds, now all have a common fate, buried in the same land.

Eleni Kapa-Karasavidou teaches Interculturality and Literature at the University of Ioannina, Greece. She studied Pedagogy and Mass Media at the Aristotelion University of Thessaloniki. Eleni was honoured with a scholarship by the University of Nottingham and received a Master's degree in Cultural Studies. She completed a second Master's degree in Intercultural Education and a Ph.D in Children's Literature. She was the organiser of the InterBalkan Network for Intercultural Education. She is a member of various cultural, social and scientific institutions. She has been published in various magazines and newspapers and has been honoured under the aegis of the Greek Ministry of Culture for her work.