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Hasty burials during pandemic days

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In normal times, mosque yards are crowded for funerals. “Funeral ceremonies are the cocktail parties of the secular” they say, jokingly. But these ain’t no normal times. Hence, the stopover for prayers at the mosque is cancelled by order of authorities. One takes the body of the loved one from the municipality’s facility where dead bodies are washed and cleaned according to religious custom. You can’t hop on the funeral hearse car as it too is forbidden, skip the mosque, skip the customary final salute driving past the home of the deceased, straight to the graveyard with an embarrassed haste.

There, a handful of people, mostly closest relatives and their even fewer friends stand side by side to form a short line for the last prayers. One wonders whether the graveyards reflect the local custom or religious dictum or both. I tend to believe that especially historic Istanbul graveyards are perfect vessels of that hybrid, refined cosmopolitan culture. Cypress trees, small marble ponds at the feet end of graves for birds to dip their tiny beaks in, bare chested rectangular graves for the rain seen as God’s forgiveness to reach the bodies of the loved ones sheltered by the earth.

It’s a total contradiction of the well-organized, well-manicured catholic cemeteries perhaps. It’s quite an affair to navigate the graves to find........

© Duvar English