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The disappearance of American Tourist Sarai Sierra has been a hot topic for the past week or so culminating in tweets and Facebook appeals. In short, the mother of two traveled to Istanbul alone after a friend pulled out of the trip at the last minute. A keen photographer, it is reported that Sarai intended to use the trip to pursue her hobby.

During the period in which she was missing, the internet was full of questions as to why a mother of two, who had never left her native country before, would travel all the way to Istanbul? Why she would then take a trip out of Istanbul to Amsterdam and back? And why was she staying in a rough part of Istanbul in a backpacker’s hostel? The general consensus in the rumor mill was obviously a ‘drug mule’.

Whatever the truth, it is a tragic outcome that this poor girl has been found dead. My heart goes out to her family.

Reading the news today online, the people leaving comments are having a field day…. Turkey bashing.  These  Ignorant and ill-informed people are tearing the country apart and accusing the Turkish of being thieves, rapists and terrorists and advising anyone that will listen not to travel to Turkey.

I hope, if and when you come across any of the comments online, you are intelligent enough to know that this kind of thing can happen anywhere in the world.

Any woman knows there are risks involved in travelling alone. She knows she needs to be aware of her surroundings, she knows not to trust everyone she meets and above all she knows she needs to take precautions if she is going to meet a stranger (for whatever purpose). Sadly, that is the world we live in today.

I may not be the most world traveled but I have done my fair share and as for Turkey, I have seen more of it than a lot of people. I can also tell you that I’m more wary about walking around my home town of London than I am of walking around Turkey. As for the people, I have never met a kinder and more helpful race of people than the Turks.

There will always be a higher crime rate in a big city and there will always be unethical people who flock to a big city with dubious intentions. A big city attracts tourists and that brings the mugger and the pickpocket. A big city attracts the gangster and that brings the guns and the drugs. A big city attracts the rich and that brings the burglars and the kidnappers. The needs and wants of residents and tourists of a big city include both the salubrious and the seedy. Here you will find the massage parlor, the late night drinking dens, the underground poker rooms, the streetwalker, the street corner drug pusher and all of their customers. It all goes on in a big city, it is supply and demand.

By all means stay away from a big city if you don’t feel safe but, do use your common sense and realise that all big cities carry the same risks.

Do not sit  on your untraveled derriere at your computer and paint a whole country black based on ignorance, religious diatribe and gossip.

RIP Sarai Sierra

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