Monday, July 29, 2013

Atatürk, Abridged

A sketch I wrote on request for the spring 2013 issue of the Knight-Wallace Fellowship house organ.

photo credit: Josh Neufeld
It was a weekday morning, still early, and when the busload of foreign journalists arrived, Ceremonial Plaza at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) in Ankara was mostly empty, save for a sprinkling of tourists and a gaggle of schoolchildren on a patriotic field trip. The emptiness made the bombastic architecture feel slightly forlorn.

Guards in polished helmets and long topcoats with shiny brass buttons stood sentry on pedestals, still as toy soldiers, one gloved hand propped on a rifle, the other tucked neatly into the small of the back. The foreign journalists snapped photographs of them. Overhead the flag of Turkey made a red motion in the overcast sky.

Into the emptiness and monumental stillness there now came an excited disturbance dressed in black. He had a black ball cap on. A brown leather satchel was slung over a shoulder. He carried a pointer with a red ribbon tied to the tip. Black sneakers squeaking on the marble, he bustled into the midst of the foreign journalists, poking the sky with his pointer and waggling the red bow. “Come! Come!” he said. “We walk in a hurry way, because of time.”