photo: Eddy van Wessel


Sunday, October 6, 2013

The sense of danger

Do they really love their children as much as they say? It is a horrible question, but I often catch myself wondering.

When I see a woman holding her child crossing a busy street where cars tend to drive too fast. When I see children on their parent’s lap in the front seat, even behind the wheel. When I see children hanging out of car windows, or standing up in the back of a pick-up.

All of these situations, when they go wrong, could be deadly. A speeding car can swoop up the woman and her child. In case of an emergency stop the child on the lap will go through the front window. It should be safely in a children’s seat in the back. A car that gets too near, or a lamppost when the driver is forced to swerve, can hit a child that is hanging out of the window. And even worse, when the driver makes an emergency stop, the child will be thrown from the window – same for the kids in the back of the pickup.

Why do parents not worry, and even scold me when I point this out? In the rest of the world we have far more safety rules than here in Kurdistan. And for a reason. Because experience learns we have more chance to survive that way.

‘Ah, but’s it’s only a small ride’, people will say. But accidents happen always when you do not expect them. Why take the risk?

Like the motorists who do not wear a helmet. The law is clear, and the statistics too: motorists have a slim chance to survive an accident, and even slimmer when not wearing a helmet and protective clothing. Yet in Kurdistan nobody wears one.

The Kurds have been in danger for generations, survived war, famine, poverty, aggression. I expect them to be extra careful as they must have realised how valuable their lives are. But the opposite is true. 

Kurds are incredibly careless, they seem to trust that they will survive again. Do they feel invincible? They have survived the worst, so they will survive the lesser evils too? Not to mention the feeling that when it is your time, Allah will take you …

The Kurdish society has become a dangerous one. The number of cars has risen, roads are crowded and badly kept, and drivers have not been taught properly about rules and possible results of their behaviour. Many people drive too fast, and lorry drivers behave as if they don’t drive heavy and deadly machines.

It’s time the sense of danger gets back into the Kurdish system. Yes, I know you love your children. But please, keep them safe. To quote a famous police series: “Let’s be careful out there!”

This blog was published in Kurdish in the daily Kurdistani Nwe

No comments: