During last Saturday’s Istanbul riots, former Brockwood Park School student Daniel Christoffel, who lives and works in Turkey, had to take shelter in an Istanbul coffee shop with three tourists from the other side of the globe. To their great surprise they found they had something in common…
(In the photo, from left to right, Varun, Daniel, Prashnant and Kaushal) — at Taksim Gezi Park, ISTANBUL.
“I had a rather unusual encounter the other day, which I thought would be interesting to share with you.
For those who might not remember me, I used to be a student at Brockwood from 2002-2005. Beginning this year I moved to Istanbul for work and I have to say that I’ve never experienced so much noise and distortion ever before.
Anyhow, let’s get to the point. I moved to a lively district in the heart of the city but since it is right in the middle you get a lot of the recent protests as well. Turkey is currently in Turmoil due to the rigid regime of the current government. This Saturday was the anniversary of last year’s Gezi Park protests, where many people have died.
I was out in my neighborhood hanging out at my friend’s shop drinking some coffee and watching the crowds getting more and more excited. You could see the police move slowly down the hill while the protesters yelled and clapped. The police shot a few tear gas capsules but it was still all quite normal. We are used to a little bit of tears in the eyes.
The protests got more and more ugly; the protesters started throwing stones and bottles at the police and suddenly the whole atmosphere collapsed and people panicked and ran down the hill chased by police. As the rubber bullets and tear gas bombs flew next to my friends shop we knew it was time to get in. We locked the doors, and put the shutters down.
We barricaded ourselves into the shop watching the street fires burn higher and higher. We were six friends, one cat and four tourists in the shop, who also ran inside as it became ugly. In total we spent about two hours in the shop trying to escape to the back of the shop as the tear gas came in through every crack.
It was a fun crowd like always and we had plenty of coffee, water and music to have a good time. The tourists turned out to be a group of friends from America who studied together. They were very friendly, but scared at the same time as they are not used to these kind of protests. All of them came from India but mostly grew up in the States.
So we had some talks about Istanbul, Turkey, the US and India and had a good time. As we talked about education they said that three of them went to a small boarding school in India, no one would really know it, in the State of Andhra Pradesh. I did not think much of it as India is big, however when they said Rishi Valley I knew what it was all about.
Is that not the funniest coincidence? A former Brockwood student lives in Istanbul and during a protest meets with four strangers in a shop, which is barricaded, and three of them turn out to also have been to a Krishnamurti school? Now I think, that this was the most curious thing that has happened to me this year and somehow there must be a meaning behind all of this… Krishnamurti is everywhere
More importantly, these encounters show one how small this world really is and how small all of our problems really are. Once back in the open world, led by greed and power, the need to achieve something becomes ever so important. But realizing how small we actually are makes me realize how unimportant most of the thoughts are, also.
I wish you all the best and hope that this little encounter inspires some as much as me.
All the best, Daniel Christoffel”