Thursday, June 27, 2013

Holding My Breath

Since the protests started, every day is like holding my breath. Go to work, go home, go to the market, kiss the boy, take a small breath and hold it. A little bit I feel like if I start breathing, something is going to kick off again.

There are people who want to talk about it and people who won't talk about it and people who are sick to death of talking about. I'm in the first group. I won't shut up about it. All I do is read about it and worry about it and get mad about it and get sad about it and get excited about it, around and around and it just doesn't seem like there's anything else going on.

Of course there's other stuff going on. There must be, because I keep trying to do other stuff.

I heard it's basically just a food product.
I've been reading everything I can about Turkey, about AKP, about teargas, about anything in the world that could explain this to me. Before this, I used to shut off after a couple of paragraphs of political analysis, but not anymore. I used to forget a lot of what I read, but not anymore. All the names and numbers and statistics are staying there. And I'm reading it in Turkish and English, just to make sure no one has left anything out, or that I don't get misinformed on accident. My Turkish reading sucks, but the last few weeks have improved it somewhat. I have this feeling like if I can find out everything, I might be able to figure out what's going to happen next. Or maybe even what the endgame is.

When you're a kid and someone does something bad to you, someone bigger or stronger or with more power, there's almost always someone in authority who might be able to get them to stop it. It's a naive way of thinking, but I still have that same frustration that makes me want to punch the wall till my knuckles bleed, bite my tongue hard, scream and flail and hit someone in the chest till they listen. At first, especially when the media coverage was weak, it seemed like people were thinking, "If only we can get the world to see what's happening here, someone will help us and make them stop." Quite how they would make them stop, I don't know. It's not like anyone was hoping the Americans would come in and save us. It was more that for years, the government has been successfully bullshitting the foreign press. Finally the world could see their true colors, what a bunch of insane, fundamentalist, authority-drunk dickheads they are. How, over the course of a few years, they have managed to turn a perfectly good country into quagmire that looks like it's on its way to becoming another Middle Eastern religion-bound shithole.

So now the world knows. And also the world cares. The world is doing stuff to try to stand up for Turkey--
the EU, Amnesty International, other people everywhere-- and our good leaders don't give a shit because they're too busy fapping each other's insanity while sending their money to Switzerland and thinking about blowjobs from the forty virgins they think await them in heaven.

As it turns out, there isn't a lot the world can do. The people in authority here are just splitting everyone's lip with a swift backhand and threatening worse if you tell anyone. And there's no one to tell to make them stop. Turkey, it would seem, is on its own.

So they just keep going. There's no point in getting upset about the lies anymore, because even with clear proof they just keep lying. Reality is just a little pocket you have to construct around yourself and curl up into to get through the day.

Because that's the other thing, being scared. They have so many threats how they're coming to get you.
They're going to use the Internet and hunt you down and and every person who ever said a word against His Majesty of the Quaking Thin Skin. My school, or rather the family that owns it, comes up all the time in Tayyip's speeches, with references to foreign conspiracies, university organizers. Foreigners that get deported just for marching. A journalist who got beaten and they kicked her in the gut so hard they ruptured her bladder and left her pissing herself in a cell for a day or two before deporting her.

So you just decide how scared you're going to be, how much of what they say you think is bluster and how much is true and how much is delusional fantasy even though if it's true, there won't be a damn thing you can do about it when you're choking on bits of your teeth. Or out of a job. Or sent home and they won't let you take your citizen kid with you.

People I know have taken on varying degrees of fear. I try to say fuck that shit but I've had some sleepless nights for sure, imagining the banging on my door to start any second. If I hide under the covers and don't answer it, will they just go away? The fact that we might have bedbugs isn't helping with the under-the covers thing.

On the other hand, a bit of fear that comes to nothing isn't so bad. The other night waiting for the bus, two riot police buses passed us on their way towards Sarıyer. The night before, at the forum in Yeniköy (the forums are nightly meetings in parks around the city to keep the gatherings small enough and quiet enough that the police don't attack them, where they light candles for the people who have died and talk about what's going on and what to do next and instead of clapping, they wave both hands in sign language applause), a muhtar leading a band of fanatics armed with knives and sticks had attacked the protestors, calling them enemies of the faith. I felt the fear when I saw the buses, and then I realized I was thinking, "Wait for it," because after the fear there's a rush of endorphins that feels really fucking good. So that's another thing I've learned.

There was a context to the Yeniköy thing, by the way, which I read in Turkish so a thousand pardons if I got it wrong. Apparently they want to build a mosque where the park is, to replace a mosque that was knocked down in the 50s when they widened the road. The forum discussion became a bit of a local dispute about the mosque. Not that it makes the armed fanatics acceptable, and because gangs of armed AKP youth had gone out to attack protestors following Tayyip's staged screed in Kazlıçeşme, it seemed this shit was spreading everywhere and the Turkish Revolutionary guard was starting to form, even in Yeniköy.

I don't know where the riot police buses ended up. I didn't hear anything about that. But I was on my guard even as I was buying peaches and cherries from a guy selling fruit at midnight because one reason Istanbul is super cool is that there are guys selling fruit at midnight. Good fruit, too. Not scary midnight fruit.

He's doing it for God.
Conspiracy theories abound in this part of the world. It's gotten harder and harder to blow them off over the years. Lately I imagine that to people at home, I sound like someone I once would have laughed off as a nutjob. But one thing that has become evident to me as I watch this unfold, as the Fearful Leaders lie and lie, as the police keep hurting people for no reason, police that were amassing a week before any of this started, as it becomes apparent there's pretty much nothing anyone can do to make it stop, is that certain of the conspiracies were maybe real. That all of this started getting put into place a long time ago. That certain entities probably really were working slowly to infiltrate every level of government and bureaucracy, down to that guy who stamps stuff at the post office. People have been saying this for a long time. Some people laughed it off and some didn't.

Eventually you just laughed it off like an inevitable fear, like how the sun could explode into a red giant at any moment or you could get hit by a bus. It's perhaps less catastrophic than the sun exploding and less personal than getting hit by a bus, but it's still a bit of both.
June 25, 2013

Last night, there was a big demonstration in Taksim because the cop who shot and killed Ethem Sarısülük in
the head with a real bullet has been let off on his own recognizance, pending a trial that is sure to be a farce because even if he is punished, these young cops aren't the ones to hold the blame. Not all of it.

The cops didn't attack anyone last night and the demonstration stayed peaceful.

Still, I'm holding my breath because if I breathe, if I don't follow the minutiae of what's going on, the next thing might happen and it might be way worse.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Beautiful West: You're Doing It Wrong

Nope, not working.

Like most countries, Turkey's relationship with the West, and the US in particular, is very fraught. I don't mean officially, as in the countries' foreign relations (though that is not without its dramas). I mean in how people view the West and think about the West and deal with the West.

Turks think about America way more than Americans think about Turks. It's impossible for someone not to have some sort of the stance on the US and the West. Even not having a stance is a stance of sorts. America is the root of all evil and the coolest place on Earth, often in the same breath. The source of information on both extremes is spotty at best. As for the rest of the West, who cares? It's just all one big, homogenous mass anyway, right?
Nice, but indecipherable for me.

When Atatürk pushed Turkey to modernization, it mostly took the form of Westernization-- Western
calendar, Western alphabet, Western clothes, with laws and a system of government based on the West. There were other things. I'm not a historian. I'm kind of bummed about the fez. Of course all this clashed in some way and became distinctly Turkish, and it continues to do so.

It seems to be working out, for the most part. Not always, but a lot of the time.

Not yummy, be sure.
Of course, there are times when the emulation misses the mark. One thing I hate in Turkey is going to tourist places where the hotel or whatever is trying to be Western. They never quite get it "right." The people working there don't like it and sneak in as many chances to be Turkish when they think no one is looking. These attempts to be "Western" are a bit sad, to be
honest. It's like there's a tacit understanding that the Turkish way isn't good enough, except no one but the tourists are buying it. Turks are self-effacing about being Turkish and proud of being Turkish, all without a hint of cognitive dissonance, and this pretending to be Western doesn't work with that.

Consider this womb occupied!
Lately, it's the West as it appears in political rhetoric that's started pissing me off. Whenever someone in power wants to do something obnoxious, they're able to cite an instance of how they do it like that in the West. They've always done it, these politicians, but lately it's especially been rubbing me the wrong way. "We want to ban abortion. And look! Abortion is banned in the West!" Yeah, okay. There are places where abortion is banned and limited, but there are a lot more where it isn't, and even where abortion is a non-issue. "We want to limit drinking in all sorts of ways, and look! It's limited in the same ways in the West!" What makes it worse is that when they want to do something (and you know by the time you hear about it, it's more or less a done deal), they always want to do it more and better than the West. "Let's raise the drinking age to 24! It's 21 in the US so we're doing it way better than they are!"

You *must* give me your recipe, Miss Hannigan!

I'm really glad Tayyip and his boys seem to lack specific information about America, like that we have dry counties in some places. Otherwise we could kiss booze goodbye.

Same for the tear gas. Tayyip has already reminded us several times they use tear gas in the West. There's a thing floating around FB (I can't confirm its veracity) that twice as much tear gas has been used in Turkey in the last 13 days since the protests began than was used in all
of Europe in 2012. So, yay Turkey! Good job, fearless leaders. You sure showed the West how its done. We're all ever so impressed.
Clouds of gas make Western dicks feel small.

And remember how LE was supposed to start first grade last year, at the tender age of 5.5? "This new education system we're shoving down your throats, it's the same as in Europe so that makes it great and ours is even better!" I mention the 4+4+4 education thing only because of its noticeable absence in all the press talking about all the things people are fed up with. Sure, environmental destruction and creeping Islamification of daily life and World War III are a concern, but so is fucking our kids with a poorly-planned and shabbily executed education system. And once politicians here use the West to justify a dumbass decision, you know it's time to get suspicious.The goal of the new system seemed to be, as it turns out, a
way to start religious education sooner. Plus a bunch more religious crap got stuck into the curriculum for all ages. Regular state schools get turned into state religious schools with little or no warning.

It was around this time Tayyip started talking about the pious generation. Not that he's been capitalizing on religion to turn folks against each other or anything.

And here's where the whole thing of "looking to the West" when it suits someone pisses me off. For one thing, it assumes people are doing nothing but gagging to be like the West. You aren't sure you like some bullshit AKP is suddenly pushing through Parliament? But wait! They do it in America! Don't you want to be like America? C'mon! Everybody wants to be like America, even this great nation of Turkey.

Except what people know about America is not very much. The guy at the Tekel the other day was asking me if they have such laws in America about drinking, and I was all, "Yeah, I guess. It depends. It changes by state and city. Some places are less restrictive and some places are more restrictive." I gave him some examples. I realized how silly it sounds, how you can buy whatever the fuck you want from a grocery store in California, while in Oregon, you can only get your hard liquor from a liquor store during certain hours, and in Maryland, even the beer and wine are locked up in supermarkets on Sundays. It's an annoyance, but it doesn't make anyone worry about civil liberties much. You know why? Because America isn't Turkey, not by a long shot. Beer and civil liberties don't equate in the States, but they sure as fuck do here.

We give good boob.
This deep-seeded American Puritanism isn't widely known about outside the States, but it's actually why our ginormous American boobies are so popular throughout the world. We're capitalists above all, and don't waste time covering the sacred, secret boobies when they can be sold for so much money.

Do we limit abortion in America? Sure we do. We also have domestic terrorists that murder abortion doctors and bomb clinics. Are you sure, Turkey, that you want people to develop these strong feelings about abortion?

And this cop?

Apparently he's meme famous and I missed the whole thing. He got fired after he did this, and the students got a shitload of lawsuit money. You can be sure that very little cop-firing and lawsuit money will happen here once this protests come to whatever end they're going to come to.

The thing is, sometimes, a lot of times, trying to be like the West doesn't work. It assumes people are ignorant, makes the leaders look ignorant, and makes it seem like Turkish people are starry-eyed chasing after something that they're, in fact, not particularly interested in.

Jeez, Obama, didn't you throw anyone in jail over this? The West is so confusing.
Okay, I admit I'm happy about the alphabet thing, As for legislation, Europe and the US and their varied countries, states, counties, and municipalities arrived at their silly laws about drinking and abortion and boobies and whatever else through an entirely different set of circumstances, both cultural and social. These laws didn't appear overnight. To an American, the fact that someone wants to ban the sale of alcohol from shops during certain nighttime hours is kind of meh. To a lot of Turkish people (and not just secular people), this is another brick in the wall.

What is the wall? Who knows? But it looks kind of dark.

And it's hard to explain if you don't live here.

Open Letter To Tayyip:
But I *love* the jacket.
Dear Tayyip,

Quit using my country as an excuse for your bullshit. It takes a lot to make me get all defensive about
America, but you've done it. Congratulations. If you want to use America to justify something, at least choose something good we have, like bacon and free(ish) speech and microbreweries.

Sevigler saygılar,


Open Letter To America:

Dear America,

You can keep your plastic boobs, however.
Try using Turkey as an excuse next time you come up with some bullshit legislation because it would be hilarious watching Tayyip sputter his indignation. Also there are some things in Turkey you should have, like intermissions in movies and socialized medicine and pistachio nuts that have salt on the nut but not on the shell.



Friday, June 7, 2013

A Bit Of Çapulation

Look, here's the deal. I couldn't take it anymore and yesterday I went a-çapulling. University faculty and staff from various schools staged a march in Taksim yesterday and a few of us from my department, both foreign and Turkish, joined in. I took a scarf and goggles just in case, but I wouldn't have gone if I thought it was going to go bad.

You can see me about a block and half back, on the left.
One of my co-workers was handing out those small, disposable gas masks. I took one, but shoved it into my back pocket because I'm so not a joiner and I didn't want to be a part of the latest fashion accessory for Taksim by wearing it around my neck, but I wasn't going to say no to a gas mask. It never hurts to have a gas mask, after all.

Other people joined the march till there were thousands of people. I couldn't see where it started.
I didn't join the chants either, except I did say "Öğrencime dokunma" softly because a lot of our students have been out there since the beginning and I don't want them to get hurt. I'm so afraid for them and insanely, crazy proud of them and everyone else at the same time it's like I could burst.

Or where it ended.
It was fun being in the demonstration for once. Usually I try to stay away from them. We always get scary warnings from the embassy about demonstrations.

Lots of people came out of windows and businesses to watch and cheer.

We took pictures and video of each other.

Even the guys at Hilfiger.
I don't suppose there's any reason to go into the summary of all that's gone one here lately. If you're reading this blog, you are probably also reading everything else Turkey-related.

I can't stop reading everything. I've been running down my phone batteries several times a day obsessively checking FB for news when I'm not at home in front of the computer. My friend was urging me to finally go on Twitter, which I've resisted this whole time, but it ended up being okay because on the first night of the police attacks, we were on the phone to each other while watching our computers and he was reading me everything from Twitter and I was reading him everything from FB and we were sharing and reposting everything new.

I learned yesterday it's okay to call this Internet çapulling.

My friend and I both had the DHA live feed on for the first night of protests. A line of police was in front of the French Consulate firing round after round of gas at a crowd of people you couldn't see for the smoke. We watched it for over 2 hours, trying to figure out what was going on. Why were there so many people with cameras behind the police lines? When is that cutie in the plaid shirt going to pass by the camera again? Why were they firing SO MUCH gas? The trash on the ground was all the same color, and we realized is was spent teargas cannisters, so many you couldn't see the gray of the sidewalk underneath. Taksim looked destroyed.

Yesterday it was business as usual. Despite government and media claims of all this vandalism, the only broken windows I saw on businesses were broken by teargas canisters. You could tell by the shape and size of the hit in the safety glass. In Tünel, there were more tourists than Turks. I was expecting devastation. Part of the reason I went was just to check on Taksim. Except for some graffiti as you near the Meydan, Taksim seems okay.
This is the only destruction on İstiklal that was probably caused by demonstrators. The streets and the Meydan and park are sparkling clean, cleaner than when the Belediye is in charge. The protestors clean it every morning.
Later, I heard police were chasing people up the side streets, then trapping and attacking them more there. In videos you can see police doing stuff like firing teargas into houses where people have gone to hide, not to mention all the beating and other types of brutality. The water cannons had pepper spray and tear gas mixed in so it would hurt people more. They were aiming for people's heads and faces and genitalia. It became apparent the police were not trying to disperse the crowds, but instead were doing everything they could to hurt the protestors as much as possible without actually shooting them with real bullets.

An abandoned building where protestors took shelter from the police.
I don't know when this teargassing of every gathering started exactly, but over the last few months it's become normal. People gather peacefully, police come and attack them with pepper spray and teargas, a few people get beaten or detained, and life goes on. On May 1, police attacked the fuck out of demonstrators, and it's just gotten worse since then.

The French Consulate is still pretty well occupied out front.
There is actually no way that what's happening here can be described as police keeping the peace because the demonstrations where police don't turn up are completely peaceful.

And don't get me wrong-- I feel sad for the police too, at least for the ones who don't make the choice to brutalize people.

I love how they're pleased and trying not to be but they can't stop being people.
I saw a video last night where a protestor asked a cop how long it had been since he'd slept. He said 66 hours. The protestor asked him why he was doing this. The cop said it was his orders. Why was he in this job? Bread money. Why was he doing this to people? He didn't know.

"Please, pay attention, this is very important: You guys, the police haven't slept for 5 days. Tomorrow let's be sensitive and everyone bring your own pepper spray and spray it on yourself."

When the demonstrations first started, I wanted to go. I *really* wanted to go. Then I saw how violent they were getting and I still really wanted to go. I went back and forth in all kinds of contortions justifying two very bad choices to myself.

Choice A: Stay home like I don't care, even though I really, really do care and I wanted to go and help support the people I know who are down there.

Choice B: Put myself at risk.

See? It's not very good. But deciding not to go came down to two things. One, I'm yabancı and my being yabancı could potentially complicate things or cause extra problems for other people. Two, if I got hurt or arrested, someone might take my kid.

And as a yabancı, this is not my fight. I don't want to be some imperialist asshole acting like I'm telling people how their country should be run, but because I'm American, I'm automatically sort of this asshole.

On the other hand, it's not like I don't have a stake here. I'm an in-between yabancı. My dad is freaking out trying to get me to make evacuation plans.

On the other hand, I want to be the kind of mom who goes out and stands for stuff and believes in things. I want my son to be proud of me, and be proud of who he is someday.

On the other hand, if something happened to me, it would scare my son to death and I wouldn't be a cool revolution mom. I'd just be a selfish mom.

On the other hand... No, as Tevye says in Fiddler On The Roof, there is no other hand. It's an impossible situation.

So I was sort of paralyzed and scared. Everything has changed and no matter the outcome of this thing, nothing will ever be the same. My stomach is in knots and I can't really eat or sleep well. I live in a place where heavily armed police attack non-violent protestors, where the news pretends it's not happening, where the politicians seem to be inciting it. Of course, I knew this all along, but like everyone else, I managed to get on with it and keep my head down and focus on the daily stuff. Now the veil has been lifted. There is absolutely no way to know what's going to happen. Sometimes it looks good and sometimes it doesn't look good at all.

I declare him the hottest of the protestors.
At the same time, I'm completely amazed. These people doing this are amazing, how they've controlled their tempers and for the most part, refrained from making it worse. There is an explosion of anger and joy and creativity and irony and love, in this self-effacing yet subtly brilliant way Turks are so good at.

"Pepper spray beautifies your skin"
I knew something was going to explode soon. It's been building up for years. And it's exploded like this, in a way that has brought out the very best in Turkish people and society, all the kindness and strength and brotherhood (sisterhood? everyone-hood?) and knowledge and pride and enterprise. A lot of people are suddenly expressing themselves in a way they haven't, or were too scared to before. Even the language on FB is changing, and in the pictures and ideas that are suddenly flying around all over the place.

"It's been 5 days. Where are you, Gandolf, you bastard?"
It feels like the stopper has blown off. It feels like all these divisions we were supposed to believe in turned out not to be true. The big division of course was religious versus secularist. Then there are all the ethnic ones. Then there are the age ones and the class ones. These were gone at first, like when the rival football teams all joined together and when everyone in the park quiets down for ezan and when they celebrated Kandil together.

Besides the environmental destruction the new 3rd bridge will cause, His Arrogance decided to name the bridge after Yavuz the Grim, a Sultan who was particularly fond of Alevi slaughter. You can see Ali on the bus stop.
This all made me feel really good, especially the religious thing. Religion is so deeply rooted in the culture no matter a person's degree of piousness, and it seemed like people on the secularist side maybe are taking some comfort in openly enjoying religious traditions because for so long it's seemed like they could only do it in private, or else be labelled one of "them." That barrier seemed to drop a little bit.

Some of the worst of Turkish convention (I can't call it culture) is also coming into play. Our Dear Leader is trying to fan those flames of fear and division again. Both Turkish and Western media have started characterizing the protestors as a bunch of rich spoiled kids out having a big party and vandalizing everything for fun. According to the press (here especially but mentioned internationally) is that they're all Leftists and Communists and Fascist Nationalists and Kurdish Separatists and Terrorists, with a dose of foreign provocateurs, just to mix things up.

It's not just kids occupying the park.
But it's not. It's just people. Most of it is just people. However, like the US Occupy movement, no one has come up with a list of viable, specific demands. It's just that the people who are doing everything from joining the protests to banging pots and pans to giving food and medical supplies to the protestors to posting and tweeting each video and scrap of information, these people are fed up with everything. Everything everything everything. I feel it, too. I could come up with a list of things I'm fed up with, but it's not enough. It's not meaningful to people outside Turkey, like why folks would be so mad about not being able to buy alcohol from shops between 22.00 and 6.00, or why the whole nation is up in arms about some trees getting ripped out of a park that, quite frankly, was never really all that nice and I never would have gone in there at night.

It's not the thing itself, it's what it might mean. And then it's all the things piled up on each other, one after another. All those things that people didn't like but they were too afraid to say or do much about. I've felt it over the years, how more and more there are certain things you just don't talk about in certain places.

A BDP support area.
Tyranny of the majority. A faceless Anatolian rural majority the press keeps talking about. I've never met them. Apparently their votes can be bought with some charismatic, inflammatory rhetoric and a bag of coal.

Abandoned construction vehicles.
The workers' protest at my school in April was a microcosm of this huge thing that's happening now, I think. Everyone was so mad at the authority and suddenly there were enough people standing up to the authority that it felt okay to be against the authority. At first, the authority (Rektör) came down hard and fired everyone, but when the outcry continued, he started negotiating and most people got their jobs back and everything turned out okay. Rektör turned out to be a person after all.

The university people have been discussing the protests via the facultyserve for the last week, dickering over every little point of the declaration they wanted to read, and where it should be read, and who should sign it. For two days they discussed about what to wear. Regalia? No regalia? Wacky signs? The day of the march, the what-to-wear discussion opened up again and was left undecided. It reminded me of this scene from Life Of Brian.

The only way for this whole thing to turn out okay is if Tayyip starts negotiating. So far, it doesn't seem like this is his plan. Quite the opposite, in fact. He seems like he's trying to open every division he can find, milk every fear there is and escalate it all as much as possible, till there's no choice but to start shooting people.

Rektör even postponed final exams for a few days because of the protests, and now our school is officially on Tayyip's radar.

At first, all the information was flying around social media. It was kind of hard to tell what was true and what wasn't. Then the mainstream media got in on it after a week and the international press got lazy and just started reporting from the Turkish media and the information has become very confusing and now it's almost impossible to tell what's true and what isn't true. The truth has disappeared.

An occupied police van.
There's the stuff you see and the stuff you hear and none of it is the same. I've quit posting stuff until I can confirm it somewhat, and I've stopped posting everything that's scary.

I'm all over the place with this post, chronologically and otherwise. It's the best I can do, okay?

A few days ago, we went to Bodrum. It was when Istanbul traffic was still disrupted and it was hard to know what busses were going to be running and to where. The night before we left, I decided to go stay at the in-laws because they're near the airport and a lot of my angst, as it turned out, was not being next to LE.

I checked the İBB live traffic website. It showed traffic snarls in Taksim and Beşiktaş, but with symbols saying there was roadwork. At the bridge where tens of thousands of people were marching from the Asian side on foot, it showed an accident. I decided that it was not reliable information. BE acted like I was overreacting when I talked to him, and MIL had no idea really what was going on, except, as she put it, a few bad kids had gotten their heads cracked in for rioting.

So I decided to just pack and get on a minibus and ask the driver if the roads and busses were open. Drivers know a lot of stuff. "For now," he said when I asked about the metrobus. I'd thrown some shit into a backpack, not really paying attention to what I was bringing (I managed the swimming stuff and clothes for LE but failed to pack pants for myself), not knowing if I were going to get anywhere or how crowded it would be so I didn't want a suitcase. I wore sneakers in case I had to run.

Clearly, they are marginals up to no good.
It was fine. Less crowded than usual, actually. I held a minor rebellion of my own and bought some beer to drink at the ILs. Nobody liked that but I didn't give a shit. BE sort of talked to me about the protests, but then I got a phone call he didn't care for and after threatening me for awhile he stomped off to join a march outside and he's still being a dick to me. He's also mad I took LE to a little protest in Bodrum, even though that protest was a lot like the march we had at school, but with older people. LE was nervous and when we got there, he wondered where the cops with gas were. The only cops we saw were three fat zabita sprawled over the railings at the back entrance to the Emniyet, smoking cigarettes.

Most of the time in Bodrum, though, we shooed the kids off to play and watched Halk TV and took turns reading FB on the computer. It was a good trip because Bodrum is beautiful and my friend's home is home to whoever is there and we were feeling the same, both of us tense and overcome with trying to figure this all out. Neither of us feel this is the sort of thing you should keep from kids, because kids come up with things scarier than reality when left to fill in their own blanks.

Yesterday in Taksim I did not see one single cop.

Normally, I hate crowds but some crowds are okay. This crowd was okay. It's the first time I've been in a Turkish crowd and not been groped, like guys grabbing my crotch from behind as hard as they can and it's so crowded and you can't tell which guy did it and there's nothing you can do anyway because that's what happens if you go to Taksim on New Year's or any other large gathering. So maybe it's best Erdoğan's 51% stayed home, who knows?

There was lots of regional and ethnic dancing.
I wasn't worried any more than usual about my backpack or getting pickpocketed. When people bumped into you, they made eye contact and apologized and often touched your shoulder gently. I found myself doing the same. In fact, I find myself touching people a lot more than I used to and I don't know what that's all about.

The park is a feeling of nervous celebration and it's not just kids. There is every kind of help you might need, even free cigarettes.

As ever in Turkey, there's always someone nearby to sell you something you didn't realize you wanted till that exact moment, like Turkish flags and whistles and swim goggles and Guy Fawkes masks and watermelon and köfte and gas masks.

I love her.
Things are highly organized, yet there is no central organization. I'd brought some food and trash bags with me and we found a place where they were handing out free tea and cookies and tried to give them the food, but they directed us to the yemekhane because that's where they were handing out free food. They didn't even need it anymore, really. If new supplies stopped coming in, it looks like they'd be able to stick it out at least a week or two. Still, I felt like I had to do something.

Pit of halted construction.
The university march was anti-climactic. I'm not sure what happened. The group seemed to get separated in the park and no one read the declaration as far as I know. Another march for Abdullah Cömert started coming the other direction so we moved out of the way and then our banner was coming the other way so we followed it to between two barricades and there were about 30 people left, all unsure what to do.

The bus barricades are now furniture.
Everyone eventually went their separate ways.

They made this barricade with construction scaffolding.
Today, I'm still a bit of a wreck. I went out for breakfast with a friend rather than pacing the house alone. It's like I'm on crank, I just can't stop talking about this or anything else.

A cold wind started blowing and we could see storm clouds coming our way. The waiters started rolling up the umbrellas. My friend felt the direction the wind was blowing and tried to gauge which way the storm was blowing.

We hoped it was blowing the other way, out to sea, but it was really hard to tell.