Safety Check: Istanbul Atatürk Airport


I was writing yesterday when I learned about the attack on the airport in Istanbul, Turkey. I have traveled to Istanbul by way of that very airport, and as I listened to the reports and saw images and CCTV footage, I was overcome with sorrow and pain for such a beautiful city filled with wonderful people from around the world.

I began writing down my thoughts and feelings, and this is what they became.

Istanbul, Turkey. Photo Credit: Emily Greene

Istanbul, Turkey. Photo Credit: Emily Greene


“I came across humanity in Istanbul, and all I know about life comes from Istanbul.”

Orhan Pamuk

There was an explosion at the Istanbul Atatürk Airport today. I’m sitting here, watching, as my friends mark themselves safe live on Facebook.

What is this world I live in?

I am crying, and the only thing I can say is, “God.” A desperate plea to understand. To protest. To petition.

There are statuses appearing on social media. Statuses that say, “I’m all right. I’m still here.” There are stories already of close escapes – of people who should have been at the airport but who weren’t. For whatever reason.

My phone rings. It’s my husband, calling me as he drives away from work, and even though I try to speak in a stable voice, he hears my sorrow. “What’s wrong?”

A text from a friend asking if my family is safe. “They are, thanks. They’re here in America. They’re not there. Not yet.”

I’m alone, sitting at my computer, and yet the world is frantic about me. And all I can say is, “God,” because I’m just so tired of this perpetual state of fear and hatred that causes people to do such terrible things.

What is this world I live in?

I’m heartbroken because I found out about the attacks through Facebook: not through the Safety Check feature, not through the Trending Topics on my sidebar—

But through a callous status that I expect was birthed out of fear fueled by the hatred of others.

And all I can say is, “God,” because—what is this world I live in when hate is our first response?

I call my mother and we comfort each other. And later I will lie in my husband’s arms as we pray together. And I will have more words to say than just, “God.” I will be able to pray for the victims, the ones left behind, the perpetrators, the politicians, and for those who simply don’t understand. “Thy kingdom come…”

But for now I will cry out, “God,” and know that He hears me.

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One thought on “Safety Check: Istanbul Atatürk Airport

  1. Em, this is wonderful!! ❤ Wet eyes as I finish reading it. I am so glad you're writing. Thank you!! OXOXO Wende

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