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I exchanged a few words on Facebook last night with an expatriate friend in Estonia, who described the mood there: “All the expats I know are gloomy,” he wrote, ‘like its 1938, all over again. Call it “Waiting for Princip.”‘
That’s certainly my mood, too. Other expats here sense it as well–as one journalist wrote yesterday, “Too much going on with Kurds in Turkey at the moment. Walks for end of isolation of Öcalan, I hear. Forbidden. I see trouble coming.”
We’re all worried about civil war in Syria. It goes without saying that the situation in Egypt is desperately unstable. Iran has threatened Turkey because it has accepted the NATO missile shield. Turkey has deployed frigates and choppers to the Eastern Mediterranean. If Iran cuts off the gas–which it has done in the past–people here will be cold this winter. There’s no way Turkey will be spared the impact of the global economic crisis. We’re just waiting for it to hit hard.
I asked my friend in Estonia whether he thought expats, in particular, were seized with apprehensive dread. “Don’t know,” he wrote, “but it seems universal among my peeps. It’s worse than ’07, when we were seriously worried about a Russian invasion; discussions were held about how best to evacuate. … Princip is going to shoot someone. You just don’t know who and where …
“My Princip has been fixated on the inpending meltdown of the Euro, compounded by my trip back to the States in January. That’s not the same country I left. I feel like war is coming … or economic disaster, and I’d just like it to get kicked off, so I can reorient. It’s like a pregnancy after eight months. That’s a sad, pathetic, statement. Wishing for war. But hey, it seems like a year for dark thoughts. And I’m not alone in that.”
I’d rather live forever with the dread than see it “get kicked off.” I don’t know whether the dread is exaggerated; I hope we’ll look back on it and think we were unduly apprehensive. But I certainly feel it–something bad is coming.
The situation of our timeSurrounds us like a baffling crime.There lies the body half-undressedWe all had reason to detest.And all are suspects and involvedUntil the mystery is solved.And under lock and key the causeThat makes a nonsense of our laws …
How did a snake get in the tower?Delayed in the democraciesBy departmental vanities, The rival sergeants run aboutBut more to squabble than find out.
I wonder if expats are more likely to feel dread because generally, expats are more likely to be the grandchildren of exiles? Because we know that history in a deeper way than most people do?
Or perhaps, as he said, it’s because we’ve gone home recently and seen that it really isn’t the country we left anymore?