The Power of The Word – The Weakness of Will

Szymon Kochański


The Abstract Obstacle

Nilüfer Doğanca

At last, the hospital appeared through the clouds of the city. His heart was already beating too fast, and suddenly it stopped for a moment. The enormous, rectangular building was standing before his eyes, with people who are oblivious to everything inside.

He barely made eye contact with his “brothers”, the other soldiers. They were all fascinated with what they had just seen. The expression of happiness and satisfaction on their faces was real, beyond real, they were the expression, they became the expression.

He struggled to understand his feelings. The emotion that he had to feel and that he actually felt at that moment were different. First, he felt guilty about that difference. Then, he questioned himself for the reason of his guilt. In the deep of his heart, he knew that this guilt was unnecessary. However, he couldn’t admit it to himself. Then, there was a piece of pride. After all, he was the one who was chosen as the pilot of the helicopter despite his young age, seventeen. There were hundreds of soldiers in the military who would do anything to have that honor. Besides, he carried out a successful flight, which meant that after completing this mission, he was going to be generously rewarded.

By this time, he was almost above the hospital. Suddenly, he saw a little shape running through the hospital gate. It was a little girl, apparently less than ten years old. Afterwards, she left the hospital with a man. The man was seriously injured. He didn’t have his left arm and was barely walking because of his crippled leg. Nonetheless, they were both smiling and hugging each other in the garden of the hospital. At that moment, he remembered his own family, particularly his seven-year-old little sister. Then he realized, October 17th, it was her birthday. He asked himself how many birthdays he had missed. He hadn’t seen his family for five years. The face of his sister appeared in his mind, smiling. Then he pictured his mother. She wasn’t smiling at all, she was just staring at him, with no emotion. He tried to bring back to his memory the reason for leaving his family and joining the army. He couldn’t.

He heard a voice calling into this sense of the unknown. It was one of his “brothers”. It was time. His eyes fell on the little girl again. She was entering the hospital. He wanted to scream at her, to stop her. He couldn’t. His hand moved to the lever without his will. The air was filled with excitement. The face of his mother appeared in his mind once again. Then, it transformed into the face of his commander. With a strong, tough temperament, he was ordering him to lift the lever. The commander’s face disappeared, and this time the little girl appeared in its place. Unlike the other people he saw in his mind, she was smiling, just like his sister. Then he heard his “brothers” shouting at him again. He saw his sister, then the commander, then his mother, then the little girl, then his mother, then his sister, then the little girl, then the commander — he lifted the lever.

He saw the little girl still smiling at him, and the shouts of his “brothers” cleared his mind, destroyed the little girl’s face. He looked at the hospital: fire. A hell as loud as thunder. A concussion as strong as an earthquake. Did he do that? By only moving a simple lever? His eyes began to burn, not because of the fire above the ground but because of the flames in his mind. He had followed orders. These orders were his own hell in his mind.

What My Father Taught Me

Nil İrigül

When you’re just an infant there has always been one question all your family friends and elders have asked. Are you your father’s or mother’s little girl? I’ve always been my father’s daughter. He’s the one who taught me everything. Thanks to him, I’ve become who I am today. He has always been my role model when it comes to life choices, I have always aspired to be just like him. His views on religion, humanity, politics, economy and freedom continually amaze me. He always puts his mind and logic before his heart and feelings. However, there has always been an exception. Me. He treats me as if I am the only person who matters in the whole wide world, which for my mother wasn’t the right way of parenting. She always said that I lived my life in a bubble and that reality wasn’t close to what I thought it was. Well, she was right, but I’m glad my father decided to raise me this way. Even though I spent my whole childhood in a bubble, it was the best childhood a girl like me could ever dream of.

As I grew up, my father started having more mature and complex conversations with me. He is very keen on science, and I used to believe he knew everything. No matter what I asked, he always had an answer: for example, with regard to learning English. I remember never wanting to study any kind of language when I was in primary school, but my father helped change my view of learning a new language. Thanks to him, I got keen on language learning and decided to study at a French high school. He had an interesting view of teaching me. Whenever I needed to study, we would go on long drives without a destination and listen to songs in English. He would stop the song from time to time and ask me what the song was about and what the lyrics meant. As I grew up, this technique went from teaching me a language to helping me learn life lessons. He would make me listen to songs with deep meanings, and we would talk about what the songwriter meant to say.

There is one song that stuck with me. It’s “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley. We were returning to our hometown from our summer house, and this song came up on the radio. My father suggested that I listen to this song and try to understand the meaning behind it. When we first listened to it, it meant nothing to me. I was very much astonished when I listened to it a second time and later heard my father’s thoughts on the song. At that time I didn’t yet know about the government in Turkey, but we were facing some challenges. Our rights were being taken away. Especially the ones of little girls just like me. Women homicides were growing more common by the day, and at first my father tried to gatekeep this information from me. He enlisted me in private schools, volleyball, and piano lessons and did his best to help me get the best education possible while also helping me evolve culturally. I didn’t think much of it at that time, but now I understand that knowledge is power, and the more I know, the freer I get, just as in the song. So he was rescuing me by having me pursue my studies.

The song by Bob Marley had a few lines that kept bugging me. “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery / None but ourselves can free our minds” For me this line was a plot point. After researching the song I found out that these lines were derived from a speech that Marcus Garvey gave about Black Nationalism. Later when I listened to this speech, I heard him say, “The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the man who uses his mind.” This is a mindset I live by. I try to stay as awake as possible and have as unique ideas as possible because I don’t want to be ruled. I want to keep my rights and I’m fighting for them, not by physical power but by learning and developing and working on myself. Because in my opinion freedom starts in the brain.

Even though the song as a whole had an impact on me, there is one last line that I would like to recall. “Have no fear for atomic energy / cause none of them can stop the time” These lines seemed to be very important for my father, because he talked about them a lot. He talked about how the life I’ve been given is very precious and that I need to use my time efficiently. If there was something stressing me, he told me to remember this line. Stress won’t stop time and time is the most important thing I can have. He told me that I should always do things that interest me and give me joy. Because the odds of me being born were even slim. He talked about the butterfly effect and how, for example, the smallest thing my great-grandfather’s great-grandmother did could be the very reason I exist, so I need to be grateful. He also says to not fear death because in his worldview, if you have had an impact on the world then you never really die. He says that the time you live isn’t calculated with the time you spend on Earth but with the time you spend making differences, and this could continue even when you die.

My whole childhood, my father has been a doctor, a philosopher, a scientist, a teacher, a coach, a cook, a songwriter, an author just for me. But most important of all, he has been a good father.

The Ballad of the Moon

Fatma Irmak Tuncel

a sudden pain
white and bright
the dark was stolen from her
and nobody had ever asked.

The cold started from her spine and spread. It went through her hands and went through her neck.
Pain was softened but the white and the bright was infinite. They were united.
She stood up slowly. The cold passed through her feet but her shaking legs weren’t able to feel anything.
Anything but the ground.

The rest was passing through her breath.
Each second, her chest was uncontrollably swallowing the infinite matter surrounding her and releasing it with the desperate truth of not being able to absorb the infinity.
It was repeating itself, as if nothing was happening… As if her lungs weren’t suffering…as if she was willing it herself…

She didn’t know that it was her lungs breathing the air, her legs helping her to stand, her eyes telling her that infinity was a pure white.
Five minutes before, she was nothing
but five minutes later she was there with “the everything”.

She was there with the unknown sorrow of the loss of her “nothingness”.
She was there with the forced existence.
“J’ai la nausée” said Sartre
but la nausée wasn’t enough to define her brightness.

It was then that the others arrived. Maybe she wouldn’t feel that much fright when she saw them, if she had a mirror given to her.
But she didn’t have a mirror and she didn’t feel safe.
She wondered if they had the same “pain”, if they were longing for something that they weren’t able to name.

She stood there wondering
why the pain wouldn’t stop,
with the brightness for which she didn’t vote.
The dark was stolen with her loneliness,
it was stolen from her nothingness.

The director of this film was missing.
and I still can’t recall its name.
The film had run out of tickets
when no one had ever bought them…
and she was the actress as well as the spectator.
But nobody had ever asked her
if she had been willing to be both.

No one asked the moon
if she wanted to be seen at night ;
maybe she was peaceful in her darkness,
maybe she wouldn’t prefer to reflect the sun.

And no one had ever asked us,
if we were willing to be alive,
how difficult it should be for a baby
to adapt to a life where it was forced to come.
I am in the endless “white and bright” ;
some claim to hear the voice of a god,
some claim to remember the other shades before the white.
Yet, I am here
just like her
without knowing the reason for this life
and without having enough time to find out.
The only thing that I managed to figure out
is that free will never ever existed, all from the start.

White remains infinite,
pain remains inevitable,
god remains silent…
and the only sound breaking this bright silence
remains as the ballad of the moon, ceaselessly being sung.

* “J’ai la nausée” : expression for “I feel nauseous” in French, used as a reference to Jean Paul Sartre’s book Nausea.

My Diary

Luca Türk

Entry One – 22 Sept 2016

I’m still working on project 1-18-20-13-9-19. A.R.T.E.M.I.S.

A.R.T.E.M.I.S. is a project of mine. It can use echolocation like bats. The two prototypes work incredibly. I just have to finish them.

Entry Two part 1 – 7 Nov 2018

Project 1-18-20-13-9-19 is done. They started breeding. I don’t know whether it’s good or not. Maybe not. They have six legs, four to run with and two smaller ones. They can camouflage and have excellent hearing, sharp claws and teeth but no eyes. I already regret making them armored.

Entry Two part 2 – 7 Nov 2018

A.R.T.E.M.I.S. is a military weapon. Even nuclear bombs can’t kill them. This was a mistake.

Entry Three – 1 July 2019

My project is a success! They listen to commands wonderfully. Maybe I did make a creature God could not.

Entry Four – 21 Sept 2023

They tasted human flesh. I got reports that the killed and ate even our soldiers. I have to find a way to kill them.

Entry Five – 18 Oct 2024

The world has gone into hiding. They killed every single being they heard. I’m still working on a way to kill project A.R.T.E.M.I.S.

Entry Six


They’re in here now. I need help!

To anyone who reads this……R U N!!!!! They are still here!

Everybody Makes Mistakes

Ivett Csenge Csehi

Dear little, flawless me!

Here and now, at the age of 16, I realized my biggest mistake. What is it? — you must ask curiously and inquiringly what took so long. My biggest mistake was that I always wanted to grow up to be you. I always dreamed of being big, being an adult, being able to do things like adults. It was a mistake! Growing up is terrible, and one of the biggest trials is the period between childhood and adulthood. You are still young and flawless. I wish I could be you. You are looking at my letter in a confused way now, but you still don’t understand what I mean by this. If I could start my life over, if I could be you again, I would enjoy every single minute of carefreeness and flawlessness. Think! If I were you, I would want to be the same age I am now. Now, at this age, I want to be older, more, because I think it will be better. We don’t enjoy the life situation we are in, even though once years ago we wished we could be at this age. We are in a hurry. We don’t enjoy the happy moments that life gives us. Listen to me, I’m telling you the truth. So I am turning to you with a request. Never want to grow up, never want to be more, and most importantly, DON’T WANT TO RUSH. The biggest mistake a person can make is being in a hurry. Stay flawless!

With love: your perfect imperfection, the great “Big” Me!

A Fatal Error

Dániel Darabos

As Draken made his way across the ruined streets of the once shining streets of Budapest, he was wondering about life and where it all went wrong for humanity. About 20-30 years ago, in the year 2020, humanity was still very much in control of their surroundings, including climate, technology, bacteria and viruses. That is, until an experimental virus from the labs of the United States escaped, which turned humans into mindless madmen. As Draken was approaching his destination, an abandoned gas station, he saw some half-infected roaming around. Now, in this world, it is a known fact that the half-infected are very dangerous, possessing all the abilities of those infected by the mentioned disease, but still retaining some intelligence. Draken considered whether it was worth the risk to get the supplies there. His final decision led him towards the gas station. He sneakily made his way around to the back of the gas station, looking to loot it. It seemed there weren’t many half-infected around, which upped his chances of success. He went inside the gas station without the creatures noticing him and started grabbing anything he could get his hands on. He mainly got food and drinks. As he was exiting the building, he suddenly lost his balance with the heavy backpack on him and fell through the door, the contents of his backpack spilling everywhere. This instantly alerted the half-infected, and Draken started to run. Unfortunately for him, the half-infected were much faster, especially because it was getting late. One grabbed him by his collar and tossed him back in the direction of the station, as another one smacked him in the face, knocking him out. Then they pretty much beat him to a pulp, leaving him to die, without any medical support, by the morning.

Mistakes — Good or Bad

Áron Kaposvári

It is accepted that humans are made not to be perfect. Thus each of us can make mistakes, and their importance can vary.

Making a mistake means that we have never encountered such a problem in our life and had no way of knowing that we should have paid more attention to the details. Some of us feel so guilty that we think the only way mistakes can be avoided is never doing anything, which can also mean that we shouldn’t even exist. That is why all of us are encouraged to take our faults into consideration. Thus we can find out what the flaw is, and later we will not make the same mistake.

For instance when we lie to our closest friends, we don’t feel good about it, but when they find out the truth, they are hurt and we see that we have broken their trust. In cases like this, it is natural to blame someone else, but the best way to learn from our mistakes is to take responsibility for our actions.

What we learn from our mistakes can turn into  the best lessons of our lives. Therefore, it is necessary and normal to make mistakes in life, but we will also regret them. Learning how to deal with failure is one of the most important skills we can develop. Regret is natural, but we also have to address the situation and prevent it from recurring.

If we learn from our mistakes correctly, they will move us forward. However, if we make the same mistake, it shows we aren’t making progress.

Why Are Mistakes Important?

Márk Gál

Mistakes: they usually happen when things go wrong. They can be quite annoying, but they have very important lessons for their perpetrator, could cause something to fail (for example: could cause someone to lose his/her life or a reign to fall), or somebody draws an opportunity from someone else’s mistake, to take advantage of it.

Teachings of mistakes: you can hardly get any experience without failures. Great artists, athletes, and others are never born perfectly. They acquire their skills by practicing and learning, and when they practice they make mistakes. They actually know what should change in their ways because of them. I too have learned from my faults: for instance, to save a game or file more often because I have lost a lot of things in many games. Also when I was writing this text, there was a blackout, and I had to start again from the second sentence.

Some mistakes which influenced history: 1. The fall of the Soviet Union. The leaders often weren’t thinking rationally, so firstly they killed millions of people (who would have been useful) or sent them into labor camps (where their labor wasn’t so much useful as free). Their citizens came to hate them because of it, and fomented rebellions and revolutions, so when Gorbachev decided to loosen the restrictions drastically, the people chose to rebel, and the government didn’t  have the tools to beat them down or to convince them they were wrong, so they let the nations leave the Soviet Union They were also spending their resources, mainly for the military and not for a prosperous economy, so they ended up depleted of many resources. 2. The assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. There were many failures on that day and before. a. The CIA and FBI had much information and even some rumours of Lee Harvey Oswald, but instead of sharing their information with each other, they just competed and didn’t search for him. b. Kennedy shared his itinerary in advance, so the assassin could start to make his plan. c. The police didn’t even secure the area so our sniper could find a perfect position to make a good shot. d. The president’s car also wasn’t the safest, as it was a simple cabrio without bulletproof plates and glasses, and the backseats were higher so most of the people could see him; thus, the sniper had quite easy work to deal with (probably just a “shoot here” label missing from his back). And these were all mistakes.

My general opinion of mistakes is that they are essential because they show us our deficiencies and can lead to great changes; on the other hand, they make us vulnerable and can shut out other options or opportunities.

Of course I would be happier if I made fewer of them.

I Miss You

Mira Melinda Csépe

I was in kindergarten… I didn’t know anyone, I felt lonely.

Every day I was afraid to let go of my mother’s hand at the kindergarten gate.

One day, when I was playing alone in the yard in the sandpit, I saw a little boy who was also sitting alone on the swing.

I thought a lot about whether to go there or not, but in the end I took courage and walked over to him.

At first he was a little afraid to approach me, but as time went by we became better and better friends…

Weeks and months passed and we spent every day together. We became inseparable.

Then kindergarten ended.. It was time for school.

We went to the same school. We shared everything with each other, we knew everything about each other, even our most feared secrets, we adored each other.

Years passed and we found ourselves coming to high school… both of us were changing both inside and outside, but we were still the most important to each other, and we stood by each other through good and bad times.

We had good days and bad days, we quarreled many times, but we were each other’s soul mates and always reconciled..

Time passed more and more, we got older and older, but time didn’t separate us either.

One day we had a big fight over some stupid thing, but this time was different..

We hurt each other.

We didn’t talk for days, and I felt really bad..

I missed talking to him, his caress and his presence.. I felt closed without him.

The days passed, and once my phone rang. His mom called me, I didn’t know why she was calling, but I answered the phone and she just said that she is very sorry but my best friend died.

I couldn’t speak, I was broken.

I felt that I had lost my other half and the person with whom I feel the happiest.

With him I felt free. But this freedom disappeared, and instead I felt insecurity.

I can’t put into words how it feels that we parted in anger and that I spoke to him for the last time.

I’m trying to find a way out of this confinement and be happy again.

I think about him every day and miss him more and more.

I wish I could give you one last hug.

(This is a fictional story.)

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