6 Temmuz 2013 Cumartesi


TURKISH (For English text, please scroll down)

Gezi Parkı artık boşaltıldı, kordon içine alındı, dışında üniformalı polisler dolanıyor, içinde sivil polisler banklarda oturmuş sohbet ediyor ya da cep telefonlarıyla oynuyor. (Biliyorsunuz eskiden tesbihleriyle oynayanlar artık cep telefonlarıyla oynuyorlar.) Hemen karşısında AKM'yi usul usul parça parça sökmeye başlamışlar. Oysa 6 Haziran tarihli mahkeme kararı parkı korumuş ve halka iade etmişti.  6 Temmuz Cumartesi günü- yani bu yazının tarihi- parka girmek isteyen halkla polisler arasında yine gazlı çatışma olmuş. Sopalı satırlı sivil kıyafetli zorbalar da katılmış polisin saflarına. Vali Hüseyin Avni Mutlu parkın açılışını bir gün sonrası, 7 Temmuz 2013 Pazar için müjdeledi, yaşayan görür.

"Gezi Ruhu" bir şekilde yaşar mı bilmiyorum ama o ümit dolu park günleri artık geçmişte, tarihte, ve folklorda kaldı. Ama olayların yarattığı kültürel dalga kolay kolay kaybolup gitmez. İşte birkaç güzel klip daha (İngilzce yazıdan hemen sonra), nihayet hepimiz billiyoruz ki:

Baki kalan bu kubbede hoş bir seda imiş.

Taksim, 6 Temmuz 2013.
"Ilımlı İslam" dediler; biraz daha ılımlı olursa hiçbirimizin kellesini bıramayacaklar.
Taksim Square, July 6th, 2013.
"Moderate Islam"; any more moderate and we all loose our heads.

The footnote links do not work; you will have to scroll down to to the footnotes for expanded information. Opening the blogsite on two seperate windows and keeping one on the footnotes will make it easier to go back and forth. Sorry for the inconvenience, I'm no expert!.

Other links should work.

The Promenade Park ("Gezi Parkı") is now vacated, cordoned off, with uniformed police outside and plain clothes policemen chatting or playing with their cell phones inside. (Cell phones have replaced worry beads as playthings among Turks.) The AKM- the Ataturk Cultural Center right next door- is quietly being dismantled, making Prime Minister Erdoğan’s threat of pulling it down a reality.[1]

A court order as early as June 6th 2013 had overriden the demolition plans and returned to the park to the public. On July 6th- the date of this entry, there was once again a confrontation between the police and the public trying to reclaim the park, complete with the usual gas! Some thugs in civilian cluthing with clubs and meatcleavers gave the police a hand. The Governor of Istanbul, Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, attempted at the 11th hour to avoid the confrontation by setting the opening of the park to Sunday, July 7th. We shall see!

Who knows whether we will ever experience again the aura of those almost magical days of unity and hope of the Gezi Parkı uprising? The culture that was created will endure in the collective memory in some manner and form and the music and the videoclips will remain a testimony and a reminder of what might have been, and- dare I say?- what yet may be!

Here are a few more choice music clips for your enjoyment!

As we here in Turkey all know,

The only thing that endures in this world is a pleasant sound. [2]

First, a salute from New York.
Şimdi İstanbul'da Olmak Vardı Anasını Satayım! (New York'lu Çapulcular.)
"If I could be in Istanbul right now, damn it!" ("Marauders of New York")

These talented young Turks in New York have expressed their support for the struggle through a whimsical interpretation of a well-known drinking song. The original words speak with longing of Istanbul's beauties and pleasures, here replaced with gas, water, and scars from beatings. The last caption says: Hold On, Turkey!

Şimdi İstanbul'da olmak vardı, anasını satayım!
"If I could be in Istanbul now, damn it!"
In case clicking on the image doesn't work here's the link:

No less a figure than Joan Baez honored the "Promenade Park" (Gezi Parkı) uprising with John Lennon's Imagine., introducing the song with heartfelt words in English as well as in Turkish.

John Lennon's well known lyrics go

Imagine there’s no country
I wonder if you can

Nothing to kill or die for

A brotherhood of Man

Inconsistent with the nationalist leader Ataturk? Maybe not as much as it seems! Quoting the founder of our Republic:

Yurtta Sulh, Cihanda Sulh!

“Peace on earth, Peace in the World!”

Milletin hayatı tehlikeye maruz kalmadıkça savaş bir cinayettir.

“Unless the life of the nation is in peril, war is murder.”

Atatürk’s vision excluded war as a political tool. [3]  According to this vision, a Nation would be to the World Community what a famly is to a society. It’s as close to “imagine there’s no country" as one could realistically get.

And what would the Islamists have to say about these other lyrics?

Imagine there’s no religion

It’s easy if you try,

No hell below us

Above us, only sky

The hellfire and brimstone brand of Islamists that endorse Erdoğan and the AKP- who in turn endorse them- would find such blasphemy unacceptable, but faith can be purer when divorced of the fanaticism of religious doctrines, the threats of hell and promises of heaven, which speak to our selfish egos rather than our yearning for truth and wisdom.

 Joan Baez singing Imagine for Gezi
In case clicking on the image doesn't work here's the link:

Our virtuoso concert pianist Fazıl Say has definitely given some thought to the deeper meaning of existence and the superficiality of religious fanaticism. He has some compositions based on Sufi thought- Sufism is an aspect of Islamic culture that can be studied and contemplated without being a Muslim, or member of any religion for that matter, and is potentially universally unifying.[4] Fazıl Say composed İnsan İnsan, (“Human, human”) based on a poem by 15th-16th century Sufi poet Muhyiddin Abdal. Obviously not a Godless infidel, Fazıl Say was targeted for some thoughts he shared on Twitter criticising a superficial and selfish approach to religion, had to face trial and even received a sentence, though it was commuted.[5]

A very effective videoclip was created with Say’s musical arrangement of İnsan, insan. The musical form is an ilahi (hymn).Here are some lyrics:

What they call human, human

What a human might be, now I know

They spoke of life, of life

What life might be, now I know

İnsan İnsan ("Human Human") by Muhyiddin Abdal, music composed by Fazıl Say.
In case clicking on the image doesn't work here's the link:

Ey Özgürlük- "Oh Freedom" by poet Zulfü Livaneli
"Sefiller"- Les Misérables by Alain Boubil (original words) and Claude-Michel Schönberg (music).
Concert at a more opttimistic moment at the Promenade Park ("Gezi Parkı"), Taksim, Istanbul. The confrontations were going on in other parts of the country at the time, and the park was agressively purged of demonstrators by the police a few days after this concert (June 11th) in preparation for Erdoğan's counter-demonstration set for the following weekend.

Ey Özgürlük "Oh Freedom" 
"Sefiller" Les Misérables
 In case clicking on the image doesn't work here's the link:
David Martello concert at Taksim square, during the Gezi demonstrations. Martello is playing before the splended monument to the Republic at Taksim Square, with Kemal Ataturk and his comrades in the struggle for an independent, civilized nation.[6]  This was a struggle not only for political freedom, but for the freedom of the minds and souls of a nation that has slumbered too long during the centuries of the lopsided Ottoman civilization.

Martello is playing on a piano sporting Ataturk’s signature as well as a Turkish flag. He is also wearing a scarf with Ataturk’s image. And one of the selections is John Lennon’s Imagine

The Kemalist ideals of our fathers and mothers had been banalized over the years by the talk of the Establishment. Seeing them freshened and thus blended into the ideals of our own youth, reversing any generation gap, has a dreamlike beauty about it, almost an epiphany.

David Martello playing at Taksim Square.
In case clicking on the image doesn't work here's the link:

KALK! YÜRÜ! "Get Up! Walk!"
Rousing and effective. I wish I could find a version with English subtitles, or had the time to provide them myself! The opening image has Messrs. Obama and Erdoğan and the three letters BOP between them. It stands for the "Greater Middle East Project" (Büyük Ortadoğu Projesi), which Mr. Erdoğan has himself admitted to serve. The last image of Atatürk has the quote "My only hope is with the young"! A confidence well placed, as it turns out!

Kalk! Yürü! Rise! Walk!
 In case clicking on the image doesn't work here's the link:

[1] AKM- Atatük Kültür Merkezi, the Ataturk Cultural Center, was the long suffering home of the Istanbul State Opera and Bale has been targeted by Erdoğan’s AKP for two reasons: being the home of such un-Islamic institutions as the opera and ballet, and bearing the name of Ataturk. In the height  of the Gezi Park controversy, Prime Minister Erdoğan said they would also demolish the AKM. He said it more than once, one occasion was at a speech deliveredat Yıldız University on June 1st, 2012. He claims it will be replaced by a new cultural center, but his personal record, and that of his party, makes him less than convincing! See:  “A Fine Audience”, 7 March- Mart 2013.

[2] From the 16th century poet Baki.

[3] What was the "Ministry of War" (Harbiye Nezareti) in the Ottoman era became the "Ministry of Defense" (Savunma Bakanlığı) in the Republic.

[4] The internationally best known Sufi mystic of our culture is Mewlana Jalal-ad Din Rumi  (1207-1273). Considered Persian in the west, he was born in what is today Tadjikistan and migrated with his family to Konya in Anatolia, today Turkey, then part of the Anatolian Seljuk Empire (or the Seljuks of Rum.) He is buried in Konya. The famous “whirling dervishes”, so popular wth the tourists, are his followers. The verse below by him is often quoted as an indication of his open and all-encompassing vision of faith:
“Come, come, whoever thou art come,
“Be thee a heathen, a  Zoroastrean, or an idolator, come still,
“Our convent is not a convent of despair,
“Even if  thou hast repented a thousand times and and gone back on your word, come still.”

[5] See “What did Fazıl Say say anyway?”, 29 October-Ekim 2012, and “Adultery and Espionage”, 28 Nisan-April 2013.

[6] Mustafa Kemal, front center, is flanked by comrade in arms and second President İsmet İnönü to his right and Fevzi Çakmak to his left. Atatürk’s achievements are well known enough- you can take a look at “April 23rd and the National Center”, 2 May- Mayıs 2012.  İnönü was the victor of the two battles at İnönü, January. 6-11 1921 and March. 23rd- April 1st 1921, against the advancing Greeks during the Turkish war of Independence, whence his surname. İnönü also headed the negotiating committee at Lausanne, where he assured the independence and territorial sovereignity of the new Turkish state. 
Defending his new alcohol restriction laws at the AKP party group meeting on May 28th,  Prime Minister Erdoğan made an unkind reference to "two drunkards" who had passed the existing laws. He was apparently targeting Ataturk and İnönü, though he later denied it. 
Fevzi Çakmak, on Ataturk's left, was variously chief of staff, minister, and politician. The monument is the work of Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica and was completed in 1928.

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