The idea of wanting more comfort is significantly different than the obligation to start over. Anyone wanting a better career, more money, more luxury, and a better home may experience the first. However, if you dream of freedom in a land where darkness prevails even though the sun enlightens early in the morning, and you have a profession that speaks to your dreams, the idea of starting over is costly rather than an exciting experience. Yes, freedom has a high cost in some countries. At a moment, you have to leave your family, friends, books, home, the roads you pass daily, and sceneries you find peace within. You will flee the darkness not if you fear death, but if you fear capture. If you are lucky you will find a new country where you are not deprived of a new sky, a sun, and the blowing wind. I have experienced this pain. I constantly recalled the suffering my colleagues were exposed to with imprisonment, getting handcuffed and the deprivation of a new sky.
I constantly told myself to look at the bright side of things. “I have a new life ahead of them away from political repression, tyranny, and hypocrisy.” Of course, I did not fool myself, everything has changed including the taste of my coffee. It was a rough period. Throughout this period my greatest support was Pasha. My well-dispositioned cat with whom I shared my yearning and sadness.
I met Pasha in my new home. He was the cat of the previous tenant. They abandoned him. At first, I thought this was a ruthless act, however, I later realized that the ruthless actions against Pasha were a great favor for me. In a period where I isolated myself because I was sick of the lies, bad words, and hypocrisy, they left behind an honest friend for me to find. Of course, our friendship did not inflame immediately. That also took a while. Throughout this period, Pasha’s freedom-bent character affected me. He explained with his actions that he would not trade his freedom for a bowl of food or a pat on the back. He was not a hypocrite, and he definitely was not ungrateful…. He ate his food, drank his water, but never let anyone touch him. “The fact that you feed me does not mean I am obliged to like you,” he said with his actions. While I thought “He should not leave my side”, he refused to remain behind closed doors. He wanted to walk freely and lay wherever he wanted. He attempted to force open the closed doors with his cute paws. After unsuccessful attempts, he looked at me with his sad eyes as if he was saying “do not imprison me here”.
Although his fight for freedom was entertaining for me, I was aware that I had to treat him like a person. I started leaving my door open, day and night… I prepared his food and water. He ate and drank, then went off to his freedom. After a while, the Pasha I could not keep behind closed doors would not leave my room. The Pasha that applied force with his paws would now come onto my lap with his own will. He now knew that his freedom was not at risk and that he was not imprisoned. If he chose to be a hypocrite and agreed to be imprisoned behind closed doors in exchange for his food and water, we would not be as happy.
Sometimes I take a long look at Pasha’s face. I think of the politicians, bureaucrats, judges, prosecutors and media members serving the authoritarian leaders who aim to bury bright ideas in darkness for their personal interests. Would they not have preferred to be as well-charactered as a cat instead of being as cowardly and pathetic as the horde of acclaimed senators appointed by the crazy Roman Emperor Caligula? Could they not have prioritized freedom and respect? While I answer these questions, I focus on Pasha’s character that is free of hypocrisy. I sort the international acts of hypocrisy based on a cats character. I think of the journalists imprisoned in Turkey at the expense of betraying their own values, academics, judges, doctors, and even babies. I think of the European Court of Human Rights that does not move a muscle, I think of the European Union administrators that make cliché comments in front of the cameras. I picture the Western leaders that shake hands with a creator of an authoritarian regime. I see the way the authoritarian regimes are legitimatized for the sake of arms sales, I see the way democratic values are betrayed. I see that hypocrisy has no boundaries or position. This hypocrisy shows me how correct my previous thoughts are. This is not only my thought, but the thoughts of all thinkers, journalists, and authors who share the same fate as I do. If you are fighting for democracy and freedom in countries where you want to be imprisoned in the dark, you should never trust Western leaders and states because they can draw a line on the rules of democracy with the same pen they sign contracts worth billions of dollars.
Exiled journalists have various stories. However, all these stories have an aspect in common. Indeed, we all have been experiencing a period to purify from two-faced people around us. We have achieved to explore the real faces of these people involved in our lives, job opportunities, money, fame and social communities. Facing-off with these realities is tough and upsetting even though it is beneficial, on the other hand. Therefore, I get frustrated with every single memory. At these moments I want to be alone and to speak with no one. Yet I don’t weary of life or lose my hope. Since I go for spending time with Pasha. We, together, listen to music, observe the street from our window, and walk around the flowers in the garden. When I read a book or watch TV series he generally naps and never butters up for the food he would eat very soon.
Pasha… Thank you for being a good example to mankind with your character far from hypocrisy, and most greatly thank you for being my friend.