persona_non_grata: (tree)
Dearest Adile,

I am writing this letter to you because a year ago today, something terrible happened to you and you died.

You were shot by a guard on the Turkish side. He'd been working the ferry for years. Because you didn't travel by car, you had to deal with him. They say the ferrymen are different from the men on the bridge. No one knows why. Maybe because the people who come by ferry are so much poorer. (Most of them are. But of course there are the tourists, who insist on seeing the Bosphorus.) I think it's just the water. Something about crossing the water so often. Didn't our grandmother say something about making the crossing too often? Something about tempting fate. I don't remember, any longer. You always loved our grandmother so much, and I could barely stand her. You were such a romantic, and so was she. I suppose that was the thing I hated about both of you. And then it got you killed.

Why Ekrem, Adile? Why him? What was so special about him? Was it just that he paid you some attention? Was your self-esteem really that low?

He was using the Silhouette system, the guard. That's why he shot you. At least, that's what he said at the hearing. He said he input your information in to the profiler, and it told him what to do. Silhouette is an impartial judge, or so they say. I'm not so sure. I think that computer hates Muslim women. A stupid thing to say about a computer, maybe, but profiling is what it does. I think it saw a Muslim woman with a Greek man and it decided to hate you. I think it recognized your face from press releases about our family, saw our wealth, and decided to punish you.

Do you know that the Turkish government helped finance the Silhouette project? It was one of our reparations following the split with Greece. We had to give them something to help with security, because they were so pitiful at doing it themselves. It featured state-of-the-art affect and intent detection, facial recognition, total information awareness. It probably read this fucking blog. It's probably figuring out who I am, right now. To date, your death is one of five attributed in part to the system.

You died because a flying robot took a split-second look at you and didn't like you. You died because you were a good girl and insisted on wearing the hijab.

Do you know what the developers called Silhouette, once they started localizing it for Greece? Erinyes. The Furies. Vengeance. They wanted to punish us. For not being Christian. For being wealthy. They saw your hijab and your good jewelry and the way you had "seduced" a Greek boy, a good lapsed Orthodox boy, and they decided to punish you. Who's to say a computer can't be programmed with culture? It's only as good as its engineer, isn't it?

None of this is helping you. I know that. And none of this helps our family. I still haven't shown this blog to our parents. I think they blamed Ekrem even more than I do. I understand how much you felt for him, even if I don't really understand why. To me he was nothing special. Do you know that he ran away from your body as you bled out? You were still alive when he bolted. They tased him. I wish he'd had a heart attack and died on the spot.

I wish you were here with me, right now.

persona_non_grata: (city)
They fished it out of the Bosphorus. He was Greek. A migrant. One of those search and rescue 'droids found him. The kind that's shaped like a porpoise. He just slipped out of the water, soundlessly, and suddenly everyone on the ferry started screaming. We all thought a child had fallen from the railing. But no -- a corpse.

We got home and ate my favourite lamb stew with eggplant and cheese, and I took a hot bath, but I still can't push the sight of him from my mind: bloated, blue, a fingernail missing. He had been chewed on by crabs.

If we have the 'droids, why aren't they saving people?


persona_non_grata: (Default)

March 2011

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