Thursday, June 6, 2013

Living in Taksim, Daily Report June 5, 2013

First off: Do not believe the reports in the media saying that Deputy PM Arınç has apologized. His words were directed to a very small group (the activists attacked in the park on the first night of the events), completely disregarding those killed and the thousands injured by police violence since the beginning; and his “apology” sounded more like a f*** you. Some people have a way of making anything sound that way… (Here’s a Turkish video of the “apology”)

For me, it was an exciting day as I was fully out and about for the first time since my cold. After doing some work in the morning, a few colleagues and I joined the tens of thousands with the unions walking from the Golden Horn up to Taksim Square (pic below). It was all peaceful, with a lot of chants. Sorry to say, socialist chants are not as much fun, or not nearly as energetic as those by the young crowds in the park. Another group, probably as large, had come in from the direction of Şişli. Remember how the police didn’t let the unions march to Taksim on May Day, and blocked the entire city to prevent them from doing so because it wasn’t “safe”? Well, apparently it’s perfectly safe when the police is not around.

I went on and off to the park, but when I arrived at 9 PM, it was more crowded than it had ever been. More crowded than a football game, a rock concert, a rush hour train… Today was a Muslim holiday, so there were calls to avoid alcohol, and it seemed that all abided by this. Prayers were held for believers, and this is important to show the 50% that does vote for AKP that it’s not a bunch of infidels in the park with no respect for any religion… There are now representative tents in the park, in addition to the developed kitchen and field hospital. I hung out around the tent of the cinema crowd, handing out free “simit” special for the holiday. All kinds of people, old and young, were walking by, again, everyone friendly and excited. Fireworks. Literally.

So the news from Taksim are as joyous as the last few days. They even managed to build an outdoor movie theater to show some films. But the police attacked the people again in Ankara with full force, and there were other incidents in Rize. So it’s impossible to say that all is well; and the screenings were cancelled because of this. As I write these, police is watering people in Ankara – now for a change, CNN Turk is showing it live. If anyone is wondering how strong this water is, here is a video of an old friend of mine, who is literally blown away by the force of the water; thankfully, he’s safe.

Representatives from Taksim have visited Deputy PM Arınç today. From what I can gather, nothing really came out of it. RTE comes back from his trip tomorrow. I am somewhat worried. I feel like we’re the children of an abusive father, and he’s about to come back home to beat the hell out of us. It wouldn’t make sense, but nothing he does makes sense. I saw an old friend today (all these old friends I see around the protests!), and when I admitted I was a little worried, he said that only people who are abroad or over 50 are worrying. Granted, I just recently came back, and I spent most of the day with my mother, but that doesn’t make the source of our fears any less real. We are not dealing with a rational man here. Taksim makes me think of the Paris Commune, let’s just leave it at that…

P.S.: I came across this video just after I finished this post. Apparently, I'm not the only one...

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