June 29, 2013

Istanbul Recap #1

Disclaimer
This recap is a slightly different version from what you would expect. I would love for you to read what I have to say and how I feel, but if you don't feel like reading I understand. 

I also mention no names, except for Atatürk, and I do not link back to anyone or any place I got the photos from and simply cite them as twitter, facebook, and the world wide web. I have my reasons.

Most of you know that I go to Istanbul pretty much once a year. That is if I can. It's become a routine since I turned two. So, yes, it's technically something I have done all my life. It's part of who I am. So, whenever I land and walk out of the airport I feel at home. Then again, we know that home has many meanings to me. This year however, I was filled with mixed emotions going to Istanbul. I did not know what to except other than possible chaos and unhappiness. If you watched the news, or read my twitter feeds or even are friends with me on facebook, or yes, even read a few posts from me, you know what has been going on. Or you just have a slight idea.

photo taken by me while I was watching live what was going on

You can see the reporter wearing a gas mask telling us what he experiences.
While I was taking this photo, and watching it away from all the craziness I also got constant updates from friends saying where they were and that they were safe and unharmed. Their photos and comments were astounding. And a few minutes after that we all experienced the worst outburst ever with fire bombs and what not. My FB kind of marked this event with an f-bomb. And I never use the f-word online, but it was worth it.
Needless to say, I lost my appetite that evening.

***

I won't go into too much details because certain things should not be mentioned on here or anywhere else. It's not that I don't want to it's because I cannot or should not. I will keep it neutral and keep it at a level that should be acceptable and tolerable by everyone. What I learned and experienced on my own while in my favorite city is indescribable. Not only was it slightly *but not too* chaotic, it was patriotic like no other. Turkish people are known to be patriots, and they are good at this. But this time, they are even better at this than before. 

For the first time in years (pretty much since the late 1990s) Turkish people are standing up for their rights. They are fed up with what has been going on and how they are treated. They don't want to be ruled by someone who wants to rule only on his behalf. They want to have a say in whatever is happening in their country especially because Turkey is a democratic country. The democratic rules so to speak were broken and now time has come to say NO. 

{courtesy of facebook, twitter and the world wide web}

The hashtag "duran adam" means standing man. It has become one of many symbols in Turkey now. One man stood one night for about eight hours straight in protest and faced the Atatürk Cultural Center; Atatürk being the founder of modern Turkey. With his action he inspired many more to do the same, every day, at any place. 

***

It took the Turkish people a long time to stand up for their own rights. The time for change has come. The time to find a way out of this religious thinking has arrived. Don't get me wrong, if you are religious it's fine, but don't mix it up with politics. That's not the way. The founder of Turkey and man everyone looks up to in Turkey (even after his death in 1938), Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, would be appalled to see his beloved country in this mess. He'd be appalled to see that his name is being used to defend someone's actions and demands. What Atatürk created and what he wanted and dreamed of has become reality. Turkey is modern, non-religiously ruled, and shares its love and history with the world. His words however, have now been twisted around and used to guide this country into a direction no one wants to go but one person. So, for the first time, this so-called democratic country is fed up, and says finally NO.

I witnessed it in Istanbul only, but other major cities are protesting too.

{courtesy of twitter, facebook and the world wide web}

Excuse the bad quality but this is the main square most people heard of: Taksim.
To me it simply makes sense and I know what buildings and streets I'm looking at.
It's simply insane. Look at the crowds!

***

Personally I am against violence, protests, demonstrations and what not. Yet, I feel for Turkey and for its people. Quiet frankly I am one of its people too. So this topic hits home for me. I have not met one person that is against what is going on in Turkey at the moment. I know why Turkish people are protesting, and I salute them. 

Protests can have many forms. The best ones are the friendly ones, just as they should be. And this is also how it all started in Istanbul: Friendly. 

Singing, dancing, eating sandwiches, and listening to music while sitting around holding signs is one way to protests. It's friendly, it's quiet, and it's normal. Just the way we all want it. But...

What if then armed forces rush in for no reason and spray people with pepper spray, 
tear gas, and heavy water (later filled with blue and red color so you can be identified and taken in later on) ??? 

What if those armed forces rush in to beat the hell out of you for sitting down and eating?
What if those forces waltz in and ruin your happiness even more?

What if they don't care whether you are young, old, educated, in a wheelchair or already on the ground in pain?

What if your beliefs and your ideas are not taken into consideration? 
Your words, your clothing, your look, and even your breath have no meaning anymore? 

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk would be appalled and in disbelief. 90 years after the founding of the Turkish Republic, after much work that this country would look and act more modern and build itself up to become what it somewhat has become until today...after 90 years, someone wants to destroy it and doesn't want to acknowledge it. Fingers are pointed, names are called, social media is blamed, words are spoken and unfortunate actions are taken to handle the "bad people who act violently". Those "bastards" and "stupid, uneducated misfits are ruining our country" is what the news tells every day. And really, I quoted it because first, it's not true, and second, don't believe the news. Ever. Again! 

{via}

Yes, Atatürk. It is a shame. We know that. Let us fix this somehow. And soon.

A website I recommend you read and look at if you are interested more but have hardly time to read. 


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1 comment :

Sam M said...

Wow, is that really what the news stations are saying there? That's crazy! I'm excited to read part 2 of your reactions to being in instanbul during such a history changing point in time.

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