|Diyarbakir, a city of 2 million, is considered to be the center of the Kurdish separatist insurgency. As a result, it feels like a city under siege. Life there is particularly tough for the many people who have moved into the city from the surrounding villages to escape the fighting between the Turkish Army and the PKK.
We were dropped off some 10km from the center of town but having no map didn't actually know how far out we were. I left Evelyn with our gear on a busy side street and went off free of my backpack in search of the cluster of cheap hotels we'd been told about. A quick spin around a large city block, past a rather intimidating armored vehicle and a significant police presence, yielded not a single hotel. I returned to find Evelyn playing with a gameboy, surrounded by an audience of some two dozen kids. Careful not to clock any of our 'new found friends' in the head, we hoisted on our packs and headed down the road towards where I'd seen a police stand.
The crowd of kids followed and grew like a snowball rolling downhill. They all wanted to get as close as possible; shaking hands, obstructing our ability to walk. The mob was now blocking traffic—the sound of car horns mixing with the laughter of the children. Adults were getting angry—yelling at the children—and we felt responsible.
At the corner, a policeman helped us find the right bus. As we did, the crowd of children dispersed somewhat but there were still enough to be in the way as various mini-buses pulled up to the curb. The policeman lost his patience—hit one of the children hard, in the face.