The Actor: Sait Sanli, a 64-year old former butcher and cattle-raiser in southeastern Turkey.
The Scene: 10 years of blood feuds (or, vendettas).
The Action: Sanli personally facilitates the end of 446 potentially bloody disputes. 67 families are on his waiting list…
And the Actor says: “The cost of the suffering that these feuds cause cannot be estimated. One person may be killed, but the lives of 100 people are affected. Based on the tradition here, when one person commits a crime, every one of their relatives is responsible,” says Sanli, who has a grey mustache and deep set brown eyes. “We are really suffering here from a gap between the official law and traditional law. What I’m trying to do is fill in that gap, to prevent things from escalating. I’m a messenger.”
Enter Mazhar Bagli (a sociologist at Diyarbakir’s Dicle University): “It’s not easy to do what [Sanli’s] trying to do. He’s going against something very ancient.”
An aside from the Narrator: “Ten years ago, he decided to let his eight children run the business and dedicate himself full-time to peacemaking.”
The Actor: “I am trying to show people the importance of forgiveness, how important it is in our holy book, and to show them how much they have been sacrificing by seeking revenge….
The main thing is making people think about how they are acting, about what kind of example they are setting. I try to appeal to that sense in people. I’m trying to show people that there’s a different way to do things, that there’s a different way to live….”
The Author: He gets little sleep (maybe 2 hours a night), never stops thinking about others, and says, when he does fall asleep, he feels at peace . . .
Written in response to Postcards from the Funny Farm…