Sunday, February 08, 2004

Muhammet Kalem and me

A street corner in Konya, Turkey
This is a picture of a street corner in Konya, Turkey; the city where the 11-storey apartment building (according to the CBC; Reuters has it as a 10-storey building) collapsed on February 2, 2004.

Muhammet Kalem was pulled from the wreckage today, having indicated his position to rescuers by moving a piece of plastic tubing. As I look at pictures of Konya, I'm stunned by how much it resembles many Canadian cities. I lived in four apartment buildings over a six-year span of my life, and not once did I doubt, or even consider, their structural integrity. Strict building codes are yet another luxury I enjoy without thought.

I understand that Muhammet's father (who had gone out earlier and avoided the collapse) had already arranged his burial plot. What mixed emotions he must be dealing with today: his son alive beyond all hope, his wife (and second child?) still missing.