“I did not sign up for this,” I think as I gape at the footage the new channel is rolling. A man walking down a sidewalk, when a car parked nearby him suddenly explodes and sends him sprawled to the ground. Several people at the park enjoying a nice day out, when a massive cloud of debris mushrooms up in the distance. A crowd of protestors on a bridge broken up rather quickly, when a tank recklessly charges into it. Anti-aircraft tracers light up the night sky over the city, shooting at distant jets.
It happens to be just my luck that for the first time I ever visit Turkey, a national coup and a miniature war break out. I was too frightened at that moment to have made this connection, but now that I’m back safe and sound in America, I realize that my country, the greatest country in the world, the United States, also went through some oddly similar times of turbulent change as well: people fighting over what they think is right, people making the decisions themselves to decide who will be their leader. After that I began to think: America prides herself and labels herself the greatest country in the world, because of its ideologies of freedom and democracy.
Yet what about all the other countries that have shown their firm beliefs in freedom and choice? Is America that much better than those countries to label herself the greatest? I was exposed to this thought rather unintentionally; actually, I was in Turkey because I was part of an ambitious Christian organization that had a niche focus on the Middle East. From a Christian focus, I did learn several things about God and my beliefs, but from a holistic, modern approach, I felt that I had managed to catch a glimpse into the inner workings of the world. Born and raised in the United States, everything I had learned had an American tweak to it.
The only impression of Middle Eastern countries that I had had come Americanized reports of terrorists, Islam, and the Arab Spring, but turkey…