Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Well Played, Dumbasses

Tomorrow is May 1.

Mayday mayday!

Mayday makes me think simultaneously of flaming warplanes crashing and little kids with flowers in their hair dancing around the maypole. That might be metaphorical for something.

Image search hit for "fractious."
For the last few years, we've suddenly gotten May 1 as a holiday. I suppose May 1 is kind of fraught, what with all the bad memories from stuff that happened decades ago, not to mention the Commie associations, some of which in Turkey are also PKK associations, and naturally workers' rights would be less than popular in a country where the Capitalists are trying to out-Capitalist the Capitalists. Whatever anyone else in the world is doing, the powers that be in Turkey think they have to do it better and with greater fanfare.

So getting May 1 as a holiday seemed kind of big to me, like some people in authority were maybe growing up a little bit.

Also for the last two years, people were allowed to demonstrate in Taksim. So for the last two years, demonstrations in Taksim have gone off more or less peacefully. They didn't used to, not when they were illegal. It used to be the evening news on May 1 was all about tear gas and police tanks and police beatings with sticks. And then the police would herd some demonstrators into the Gypsy neighborhoods in Dolapdere and Tarlabaşı, except the Gypsies didn't care for that, not one bit. So they'd get all batshit, wielding any implement they could get their hands on to fight everyone off, which would then turn into a bunch of small riots. One year, there was a guy on the news in one of those neighborhoods who was so mad he was standing on the roof of his apartment building in a screaming rage, punching himself in the face with both hands.

It will be heaven if traffic is this good tomorrow.

So this year, a day before May 1, our genius authorities have come up with this: ban all the Taksim demonstrations and close most central public transport. The Metrobus, the ferries, the Kabataş funicular, and the Metro past Levent. They're closing a bunch of roads, too. Big, main important roads. What a winner idea!

On my micro-level it means my plan to deliver LE to his grandparents is not to be, which means we get to hang out for awhile tomorrow because neither of us has to be anywhere.

On a macro-level, it means potential chaos and insanity and violence that I sincerely hope don't happen.

The scary message from the consulate has arrived:
May 1, 2013
U.S. Consulate Istanbul informs U.S. citizens that official demonstrations in support of “Labor and Solidarity Day” will be held on Wednesday, May 1, in the Kazlıçeşme area of Istanbul.  The potential for unofficial demonstrations exists in Taksim Square.  A large turnout is expected and several main thoroughfares in the area will be closed.  In the past, large-scale protests and demonstrations in Istanbul have turned violent, although the past two May Day celebrations were peaceful and concluded without incident. 

The U.S. Consulate reminds U.S. Citizens that Thursday, May 2, 2013, is the two-year anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death. 

At the end is the boilerplate waring that reminds you to keep a low profile. Ha! Yeah, that's super easy.

Başbakan Erdoğan says it's better than booze, but I'm having none of it.
Of course, in the Hürriyet article, our Good Leader has already managed to lay all blame any possible violence on the people, as though he honestly expects everyone will just swallow their rage and stay home and drink their fucking ayran. But I'll bet the police are polishing their clubs and shields and oiling up their tanks right now.

So that's the Big Excitement for today. I really hope it's not an interesting news day tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your good thoughts on the May Day lock-down. It's all a bit reminiscent of Boston a couple weeks ago, no? Even in Kalamış, there was a strong police presence this morning, they were blocking roads, standing around, doing whatever it is they do when they're not gassing large crowds. Anyway, I just came across your blog today, and enjoyed it.
- Jeff from Ohio

Backto Bodrum said...

Sounds like there was more than a kerfuffle in Taksim today, with water canons and tear gas.

Stranger said...

Thanks for your comments, Jeff. I suppose in terms of the chaos, it was reminiscent of Boston, with the main difference being that here, 40,000 police were called out to smash a people's protest rather than hunt down a criminal.

B to B, it was and probably still is a fucking mess.

Westy said...

Looked crazy up there always though with the esteemed leader, always everyone elses fault but his own!

Stranger said...

I know, right? If only people wouldn't keep insisting on all this crazy stuff, like civil liberties, these things wouldn't happen.