Bodrum is in the newspapers on a daily basis and BBC radio is broadcasting from Bodrum Marina and yet BacktoBodrum is not posting. I apologise for my absence but a family wedding in the UK and an unscheduled cooking assignment in Greece have kept me away from home for over two weeks, except for a brief and welcome 10 hours flying visit on Saturday night. I too am reading about what's happening in Turkey and have been saddened by the tragic pictures in the press. Beaches are for children to enjoy with buckets and spades, not to be washed up on as flotsam. It takes a harrowing photograph to engage the world's interest and finally the plight of the thousands of refugees crossing the Aegean is being focussed on. While governments dither and faff about, the good people of the Aegean Coast have pulled out all the stops to give aid to the transitory visitors to their towns. Groups have been formed to provide nappies, clothes and sanitary goods. Others are cooking hot meals or making sandwiches and distributing them to those living in the streets. Babies born to fleeing mothers have been checked out at hospitals. Homes have been opened to allow families to shower and changes of clothes offered. The people traffickers are making their fortunes charging 1000s of Euros for ill-fated sea passages and not letting their "cargo" take any personal items with them, so other individuals from Bodrum are taking clothes and supplies to the Greek island of Kos so that those who survive the sea journey have something to greet them when they reach Europe. If only the swell of human kindness could persuade European, US and other Middle Eastern powers to act in an humanitarian way. I want to ask Tony Blair where he is. He was very keen to send in planes to this area not long ago. It is the aftermath of this ill-thought out and badly concluded plan that we are living through now. He is supposed to be a Middle East diplomacy expert these days. Could he not broker a deal to send in some more planes, this time to uplift the poor folk that are being loaded on to unseaworthy rubber dinghies. He could get his mates in those oil rich states nearby to finance the operation. Or at least start the process of allowing the refugees to get exit visas, so they do not have to hand over their life savings to a shark on a dark beach. While European leaders chop and change about whether they accept 10 or 100 thousand refugees each, nobody seems to be discussing where the other couple of million displaced people are going to go.
If you were planning to visit Bodrum and have been put off by the news, please still come. All the locals helping out refugees rely in some way on tourism. It is our only serious industry. Please continue to support those that are really doing something to help human beings in trouble, rather than just discussing it as a policy.
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