Istanbul Letters (A Vintage Short Original)

ISTANBUL LETTERS

“Why do some forms of violence—the beheading of journalists by the Islamic State, a bombing in Ankara, or the attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando—make us feel so threatened, while other forms—the 372 separate mass shootings in America in 2015 or the 4,219 Syrians killed that same September—do little to challenge our sense of safety?”
 
From his base in Istanbul, Elliot Ackerman has written letters and essays that explore how global and seemingly remote issues like terrorism, US foreign policy, and other geopolitical forces play out and wreak distress upon the quotidian lives of civilians. Here assembled into a haunting piece, the fragments of a year’s notes open a window into life under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s oppressive and nationalistic right-wing regime, the civil war in Syria, and the disintegration of the old order in the Middle-East.
 
Exposing how a pervasive rhetoric of fear can shape a society and written with intimacy and a tremendous amount of compassion, this is an astute political commentary and first-person travel narrative par excellence.