You see the question in this title… It wipes you out.
It shatters you, it ruins you.
How can any heart endure this pain?
It’s your kid, it’s your life…
What could be beyond that?
There, Berkin, has been sleeping for 39 days, just like that…
He has had two brain surgeries.
He is still unconscious.
It’s not clear whether he will come back to life. It’s not clear whether he will be able to hug his parents again.
I know for sure that anybody who reads these lines would lose their minds if anything happened to their kids.
What about the Elvan family then?
What’s their crime?
Is it going out to buy bread on a Sunday morning? Before reaching the bakery, he was shot in the head. He is in a coma.
It is uncertain whether he will wake up or not.
Even if he came back, he will not be coming back as the old Berkin.
What I don’t understand is, ok what’s done is done, there is enormous grief, it can not be undone, but isn’t there even one sensitive official who would make a phone call and say, “You’re suffering a disaster, hope your child recovers, gets better. We share your sorrows” … There is a family writhing in pain.
But even a “Get well soon” is considered too much. I am ashamed on behalf of them.
Can you introduce yourself?
-I am from Tokat. I work in textiles. I am the father of 14 year old Berkin who was shot in the head while going to the bakery to buy bread…
How is his condition now?
-Nothing has changed, he is still in the intensive care unit…
How many days has it been?
-39. He has had two brain surgeries. But he has not woken up. He is still unconscious. Everyday, we are waiting in hope…
What grade is he in?
-He finished 8th grade. He had his graduation in two days. We went shopping, bought him new clothes. He was excited. But unfortunately he could not attend the ceremony. He is unconscious, laying in the hospital. His friends cancelled the ceremony. They say they are going to do it when Berkin wakes up. The suit we bought is on the hanger at home.
IT WAS FATHER’S DAY
What happened that morning?
-We live in Okmeydani. That Saturday night was very eventful. Our district turned into a war zone. Even in our houses there was a very strong smell of pepper gas. We woke up in the morning, that day was also Father’s Day, we were preparing breakfast. Our uncle and his kids were with us at home, we were crowded. The table was being set, the tea was ready. My wife said, “I’ll go and get bread.” Berkin said, “Mom, you stay, I can get it.”
What time was it?
-It was 7.00am. He bounced out and that was his exit. We kept on waiting but Berkin wasn’t back. It was 7.39 when there was a knock on our door: “Your son was injured in the head, we took him to the hospital.” What happened has happened, in the meantime…
-They shot him in the head while he was going to the bakery. We left …
Were the demonstrations going on at that time?
-No, I haven’t seen any protesters or anything. But I saw the policemen at the entrance of our district. And there was a heavy smell of pepper gas. We ran to the hospital. They had taken Berkin for an operation immediately.
Are there any witnesses?
-There is one. According to what he says Berkin left the side street, the one between our house and the bakery. And then he was suddenly shot. They simply aimed at his head. The shell hit right behind his right ear, and he fell down.
HE PULLED OUT THE SHELL HIMSELF
Who helped him?
-That witness. He says, “He was lying on the ground.” He could not move him. He called for help and some people arrived, they took him on foot to the front of the health care center. According to what those friends say the gas shell was still in his head. Berkin pulled it out and blood flushed out. They made Berkin sit. He says, “Don’t tell my dad, he will be worried”. Then he started to vomit. Seeing his situation getting worse, they decided to take him to the hospital. Then they saw a car passing by with a women driver, she feared taking him in the car. She could have been afraid, I can not criticize her. Then another car pulled up and they took him to the hospital, it was 5 minutes away anyway, Okmeydani Training and Research Hospital. He has been in there since that day…
What did you feel when you first heard about it?
-I was shocked. One can not comprehend how severe the situation is at first. The doctor came out from the surgery and said, “He is in a bad condition. His brain is seriously damaged, the hemorrhage is still continuing, there are small bubbles in his brain. His heart might stop at anytime”. He told us they would take him into another operation in the evening. In short, he did not give us any hope. Then we kept on waiting for days, for nights, the hospital became our home. And we are still in that same state…
WE ARE LONGING TO SEE HIM
What did you feel when you saw him?
-We saw him on the second day. He was connected to machines. He had a lot of cables on. It is very painful. Your kid lies there and you can not do anything, you are desperate, your hands are tied. He just went out to get bread.
What is parents’ psychology like?
What crosses your mind, your heart? -There is only one thing I can think of; him opening his eyes and looking at us, to me, to his mom, to his sisters. The rest is not important to us. Anything is okay. Whatever happens, he is our son, our life, he is part of us. He is our everything. If we can at least remain upright today, it is due to this hope. Otherwise this pain is not endurable, it is empiercing. Even so, we do not reflect our pain onto him. Yes, he is unconscious but we think he feels us, in fact we are sure. That’s why we are always with him. We are cheerful whenever we are next to him. We tell him how much we love him, how we know he will come back to us, how we are longing to see him. We believe he hears us…
Are you feeling a mix of emotions all at once?
-Yes. We are fine while we are with him but we are shattered when we leave. We always say, “May god let him open his eyes.” We pray. There is no progress up to now. Yet we still try not to lose hope. He is in a ward with 4 people in ICU. It is not possible to be there all the time. We wait at the door 24 hours a day. Sometimes he has a fever. We have been through a lot of things in these 39 days, he got infected once too. Sometimes new patients come in, there is also the risk of infection with them too, we try to be careful. We know, because Berkin had it, we consider other families too…
We talked before. You are so kind hearted that you even understand the lady who didn’t take your son into her car. Is anyone understanding towards you too?
-Evil thoughts are not useful, to the contrary they make one worse. We are hopeful about goodness. What keeps me strong now is that there are people who love Berkin and pray for him even without knowing him. There is unbelievable support. They call us from everywhere. There is a teacher calling from USA, for instance, constantly asking about him. People are so sensitive, I would really lose my mind long ago if it was not for this support.
So you do not cry when you are next to him?
-Never. I only let myself go when I am alone.
Are the doctors giving you any hope?
-They don’t say much yet. They say, “He might be requiring care even if he wakes up.” We are happy with that too, as long as he holds on to life.
THEY DID NOT WISH FOR RECOVERY
Do you need anything?
-We might not be in a very good condition financially but we do not need help. We do not accept anything from anyone. We did not until today either. I was sorry to hear that there was an account number circulating on internet as if it was mine, for help. I do not have such an account.
Is there anything you want to say to the politicians?
-They should know how we feel. We feel whatever someone whose kid does not wake up feels. Even if it was my father who put Berkin in this situation, I would want him to suffer the consequences…
Has anyone from the government called you?
Don’t you think someone should have called and at least wished… get well soon?
-That, I leave to their humanity. I can’t say anything to anyone.
How do you evaluate what has happened to Berkin?
-A policeman aimed at my son’s head and shot him. It was something done on purpose. How can a 14 year old kid possibly harm a policeman? This is more than disproportionate force. They ruined his life. The legal process has started. I want to trust justice…
25 July 2013
This post is also available in: Turkish