The prime minister of German North Rhine Westphalia state, Armin Laschet hosted a group of 21 people at the prime ministry building in Dusseldorf city. What those 21 people had in common was they all saved someone else’s life while putting their own at risk. They were given “medal of courage” awards for their act. The premier Laschet said during the ceremony that those 21 people were real heroes and should be role models to the society.
Just a day before, 17 years old Mustafa Sozen entered the train station on Ostend Strasse in Frankfurt to catch the last train to go home. He suddenly noticed an homeless man falling on the tracks moments before the arrival of the next train. The Turkish-descent teen jumped on the tracks without hesitation to save him. The man was unconscious and a bit heavy so Mustafa had a hard time to pull him out of the track. The train was closing up on them but Mustafa still had not manage to pull the man away from the tracks. As the train driver noticed 2 people on the tracks, it was too late to stop. The 17 year old finally managed to push the homeless German away from the oncoming train and saved his life. But Mustafa never made it home that night. He lost his own life while saving some one else’s.
Mustafa’s father, Ejder, stumbled when he was told that his son passed away. After the initial shock, he learned that his son died while saving someone else’s life. However, when the police spoke to Ejder, they downplayed the very fact according to Anadolu Agency interview with the father. The Frankfurt police implied that the 17 year-old Mustafa’s initial intention may not have been to save a life but looking for an excitement. This attitude of the police hurt the grieving father almost as mush as his son’s death. The reaction of the police was not though unusual since discrimination of Turks by German police is a wide-range practice in Germany.
What falls on the state premier Laschet is to fight with that discrimination by honoring Mustafa with the Medal of Courage next year to prove a point and send a message to xenophobic elements within the state institutions. As the medal has been giving to those who risk their own lives for others since 1951, perhaps a first should be handed to a person who never made it while saving the others.