Senior has foreign penpal

Brylee Huber, Editor-in-Cheif

   Not long ago, I found myself bored and in need of conversation. For some reason, I decided that the best place for this was a pen pal page on Reddit.

   After a rabbit hole of random conversations, I started talking to a 16-year-old Muslim boy from Turkey. Because postage between our countries was so high, we decided to just chat for a little while.

   The conversation started out without much awkwardness. I instantly asked him about what it was like living in Istanbul with all of the history from it once being Constantinople. He said that there is history no matter where you look, and he thought it was bizarre that American cities can hardly be 200 years old.

   We discussed average things such as music and movies, but the conversation quickly turned to the world we live in.

   Surprising to my small-town-USA brain, he was worried about America. A boy from Turkey, a place that’s been at war with Syria for well over eight years now, was worried about the U.S.

   His name is Mehmet Kerem Okutan, and he claimed that, even there, reports of Covid and the BLM protest were strong. He said this as well, “At least we are together when a danger shows up. U.S. may have a huge civil war.”

   The first sentence refers to how Turkey and the United States seem to assist each other in wars, the War on Terror being a major factor, and the second sentence refers in our conversation to how Democrats and Republicans fight all of time.

   A 16-year-old boy from a country most Americans couldn’t point out on a map, or even tell what continent it’s on, knew that there were terrible arguments between our two political parties, and he was worried for the U.S. He even went as far to send a GIF of a virtual hug.

   Let this editorial be a message.   Learn where countries are, understand what lives are like outside of the United States, and stop classifying Muslims and Middle Eastern people as “terrorists.”

   Mehmet and I had one of the most intellectual, respectful conversations I have had in a long time, and I hope others can do things such as this.