Celebrating survival: tripping into the new Turkey

12-11-2015

Hope remains, but fear dominates. Love resists, while the outrage spreads. After the Turkish elections one thing is certain: the struggle continues.

Cagla Aykac

 The winners of the elections in Turkey are the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, their party and all the nationalist and conservative people who wanted ‘security’ and ‘stability’. The race was not fair but they won anyway. They set the rules of the game and decided to play it alone.

 The minorities that were not killed in the run up to the elections led a heroic campaign. The survivors must be celebrated for their sound politics, their courage, their diligence, their ethics and their open heart. Too many people were hurt, and more are being crushed because the majority won.

 We all tried to be rational about the electoral process. We knew that it was a lie, but we tried to motivate ourselves despite daily news of arrests, people being fired, lynched and attacked. We practised suffering together as we were forced to watch peaceful people being killed, towns occupied and forests burned before our eyes.

 Some time ago, we noticed that we tended to step out from rational zones. At some point rumours, dramatic and pervert performances of violence, and big lies became serious data. These shifts started a little more than two years ago, and we have been on this strange collective trip since Gezi. We did not have a choice; we were forced on it. No more 24-hour time rules, and usually, it all starts with some sparkles.

 We lost control of time one week before the elections. We were just about to happily adapt to capitalist wintertime, but we did not. We started living at two times, one wrong but right, and the other right and false. We were told to do that for one week, because of the elections. Arbitrarily, some time after yet another victory of the political right in Turkey, time went back to normal, until further notice.

 In principle, allowing time to flow differently could be quite a pleasant and even liberating experience. However, having your time at the mercy of an important little man has irritating effects. In a blink, his human shape can turn into some undetermined creature with an edgy smile under its moustache.

 He looks awful in pink on those posters that celebrate female servitude and capital. And there is that voice in the background, repeating itself, saying nothing but leaving you with a feeling of outrage.

 Of course, you must have heard about the real winner. He likes it that the whole world is talking about him. He has the capacity to multiply things like buildings and money and people. He even pulled a palace out of a forest. He can change the places and names of things and rewrite history. A big cold wind spreads when he scolds the world.

 If you like living in fear of God, you might also like living in fear of him. Even if you know that he is brutal.

 But do not let fear take over. Take a deep breath, try to find your flow and settle back into your space. Listen to some soft music to reset the vibes, gently shake your organs and blow through the hair on your arms. You might start to relax, let your heart explode softly into little diamonds. Kind people really do exist.

 Behind the veils of this generous and transparent place, there is death. There is a lot of love here too. There is a constant traffic, some people who arrive in masses, people who can’t arrive, people who arrive too soon, and those who won’t go. It is an entire industry full of suffering, mutilated bodies, very little bodies, young smiling faces, old bodies and lungs in need of air.

 And suddenly, just like magic, no more potential bombs in the metro.

 Does this mean that we are safe now? Why is everything slowing down as they grow bigger all around? Is it because they have the licence to kill now? Who are all these people happy to see a woman’s dead body left naked in the street after being tortured? Will they kick that door in and step through your life with their boots? Do you have anything to hide? 

 Will you get rid of the books or keep them, even the controversial ones? Do you have strong networks and smart connections since you can’t trust the laws? Did you clean up your computer, save your data and erase all your history, especially the sexy stuff? How will I fight back with these long skinny arms? Will you object consciously and disobey?

 Cagla Aykac has a Phd from the EHESS in Paris. She currently lives and teaches in Istanbul.

 

This article was first published by Opens external link in new windowRoaRmagazine

 

 

The experience of Greece demonstrates the importance of building a pan European movement based on values of solidarity and deep democracy. Thank you for doing so much to organise this .
Hilary Wainwright| Red Pepper magazine |

"This is sheer unbridled sadism. The Greek people are being punished for the failure of the neo-liberal consensus to avert the hideous and increasing forms of inequality which were always inscribed within its mandate. Nothing can explain why the most powerful countries of Europe should want to continue to impose on Greece policies which have brought it to the brink of collapse, other than the desire to precipitate a true collapse which they will then take as the proof that only their vicious system could have saved it - a self-defeating argument and a blatant lie. We can only speculate what unconscious links there must be between the forgiving of Germany's post-war debt, of which it remains the beneficiary to this day and without which it would not be in a position to dictate its terms, and its refusal to countenance any such forgiveness, let alone the paying of war reparations, to Greece. No logic can explain it. We have entered the realm of the cruellest social fantasy. The irony is that the whole of Europe will now suffer. But our hearts go out to the Greek people who will suffer - who are already suffering - most."

Jacqueline Rose, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.

Étienne Balibar :"The struggle of the Greek people is the struggle of all European democrats, of all those who believe in human progress . In the case of a potential defeat all European peoples would pay the price. In the case of a potential victory, as limited as it may be, all European peoples would benefit. That's why it is necessary for those French and European forces who have hope in the renewal of democracy to positively answer the calls of Syriza to build European solidarity around Greece and the Greek people. The perspective of a referendum urgently requires the reinforcement of this solidarity"

Slavoj Zizek: "The struggle that goes on is the struggle for theEuropean economic and political Leitkultur.The EU powers stand for the technocratic status quo which is keeping Europe ininertia for decades. In his NotesTowards a Definition of Culture, the great conservative T.S.Eliot remarkedthat there are moments when the only choice is the one between heresy andnon-belief, i.e., when the only way to keep a religion alive is to perform asectarian split from its main corpse. This is our position today with regard toEurope: only a new "heresy" (represented at this moment by Syriza) can savewhat is worth saving in European legacy: democracy, trust in people,egalitarian solidarity. The Europe that will win if Syriza is outmaneuvered isa "Europe with Asian values" (which, of course, has nothing to do with Asia,but all with the clear and present tendency of contemporary capitalism to suspenddemocracy). We from Western Europe like to look upon Greece as if we aredetached observers who follow with compassion and sympathy the plight of theimpoverished nation. Such a comfortable standpoint relies on a fateful illusion- what goes on in Greece these last weeks concerns all of us, it is the futureof Europe which is at stake. So when we read about Greece these days, we shouldalways bear in mind that, as the old saying goes, de te fabula narrator."

 "The behavior of the Troika today is a disgrace. One can scarcely doubt that their goal is to make it clear that defiance to the northern banks and the Brussels bureaucracy will not be tolerated, and that thoughts of democracy and popular will must be abandoned. Other than power, there is no reason to continue with the shameful farce in which French and German banks profit from the suffering of the people of Greece."The debt should have been radically restructured long ago, or simply declared “odious” and cancelled. Today, Greeks are offered a miserable choice between two painful alternatives. One can only hope that their brave resistance to the brutal assault will encourage global solidarity that will save them and others from the harsh fate dictated by the masters."

Noam CHOMSKY | United States | MIT


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