One hundred years ago today, a nation decided to actively protect its right to freedom and life which, in today’s societies, are perceived to be guaranteed by states and public authorities. Hundreds of brave idealists coming from all over the land, established the first independent national assembly with pure tenacity. Following the birth of the Republic of Turkey, our founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk dedicated the day to all the world’s children. Because he and the founding citizens knew that all ideals and endeavors were destined to vanish and be lost unless protected, interiorized and sustained by the younger generations. This was why, those people who knew that they were against powers that exceeded them in numbers and in the power of their tools did not rely only on the masses praying and working for their success all over Anatolia, or on their patriotic love, but also the tenacity and the love of homeland to be possessed by the younger generations.
Every year, we, the people of Turkey, crowd school playgrounds, stadiums, and streets to honor the memory and legacy of these idealists and to show that we trust our children with each step towards development and social welfare, each wave of awakening and advancement, but most importantly; with the future of our beloved homeland. However, this year, the current circumstances seem to deter us from the festivities of April 23rd.
This year is especially important for it marks the 100th anniversary of Turkish Grand National Assembly. Today, our national assembly is a century strong and its strength reflects the strength of our democracy and serves as an assurance for the continuity of it. If we could go out this year, we would be one hundred times more proud and ecstatic, and chant “Many one hundred years!” This might be why we resent to the restrictions of quarantine so much.
However, as Papilon family, we believe our meeting the one hundredth anniversary of the Grand National Assembly is less of a misfortune and more of a reminder with great significance. One hundred years ago today, the future and wellbeing of a nation were in the hands of that nation itself, with no intermediary. Today, once again the wellbeing and future not of just one nation but of the whole world, are in the hands of the world’s citizens. This offers us to genuinely understand the founders of our Republic and carry their bravery and legacy into the future.
This year April 23rd is a more special day, but not just because it marks the 100th anniversary of our national assembly, it is also special for we are being tested with what the founding members were tested a century ago. For our admiration and empathy are not just rhetorical but practical today, and for we have a chance to act like them. We see the attitude of people of Anatolia who asked “What can I do to regain our freedom?” in every citizen who complies by the restrictions and protects his/her family and neighborhood. In brave, altruistic, and incessant work of health professionals all around the world, we see the manner of our brave Kuvayı Milliye, and in the efforts of all local, national, and international authorities, public health boards and commissions we see a determined search for a solution that resembles the search of our founders.
This year, we admire that will and determination differently and celebrate April 23rd as a day of resurrection for the power and will of the civilians.
Happy April 23rd to all the children and the citizens of the World!