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Elif Shafak on the earthquake

Elif Shafak is an extraordinary writer. Her books The Island of Missing Trees and 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World were lyrical, beautiful, and brilliant.

She is also Turkish, and she wrote this weekend’s FT Weekend Essay on the subject of last week’s devastating earthquake, which hit south-eastern Turkey and northern Syria. Her excoriating essay, which makes the point that inequality and government corruption have proven to be more deadly than nature alone, is well worth your time.


They have never learnt from the sorrows and mistakes of the past. They have never let go of their hubris. Greed and cronyism have been the dominant guidelines.


There is so much anger, so much sorrow. Whether we are in Turkey or across the diaspora, we oscillate between grief and rage. One minute we are crying uncontrollably, another minute burning with outrage, consumed by a sense of brokenness.


Today, I walked past a tribute on the side of the street with pictures of some of those killed in this disaster. A solo violinist played nearby, taking donations to the relief effort. The pain is worsened by Shafak’s description of how government decisions have contributed to the suffering and death.

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Post-a-day 2023, , , , .

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