Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm Fine, We're Fine, Everything Is Fine

Well, no. Not exactly.

It's just then whenever folks back home or folks not here get in touch asking if we're okay, this seems like
this is the best thing to start off with.

I expect a lot of people in my list of Facebook friends, the ones outside of Turkey I mean, have blocked me for being annoying with Turkey stuff. It's okay. I've blocked a lot of them for their boring, single-issue crap, too. Hurt animals with one nasty eye. Every goddamned injustice you can think of. Inspirational yoga quotes. Religious stuff.

If you think I've blocked you, it probably wasn't you. It was someone else.

I bring up Facebook because it's all I can manage as an information source. I still haven't gotten on Twitter. I've gotten used to the daily Facebook weirdness of Cop Violence! Taksim live feed link! Dead guy! I'm eating pancakes! Government lies! Insanely amazing people who still haven't given up and started punching despite the madness and fear! My kid is wearing a funny hat! Burning chemicals in the TOMA spray! Guy at Best Buy was stupid! Incisive political commentary!

This photo was guilt-free.
I used to post the shit out Facebook. I still do, but it's all Turkey stuff. I've started feeling guilty for posting non-Turkey stuff. Maybe once every couple of days I allow myself an empty share, like something hilarious George Takei punned, or something the Americans did that was bad, or something about Monsanto because I *hate* them. I've even gone off Grouchy Cat somewhat, which is not like me at all.

It's gotten to where if I don't start posting a bunch of Turkey crap within a certain time frame, my dad freaks out and thinks I've disappeared. It can be awkward when I'm out somewhere, and I'm suddenly all, "Oh, wait, sorry. It's after 9. I gotta start liking and sharing some stuff or my parents will get upset."

Here's the thing. LE and I are okay, but everything is not fine. More like everything is hovering precariously between everything is extraordinarily good and everything is extraordinarily bad. There are arguments both ways.

Today LE asked me why the soldiers don't just come and get rid of the police. So I tried to explain that, about the recent history of military coups and how that might affect us, but right in the middle he asked me why the kid who sticks his hands into people's armpits doesn't come to preschool anymore. The he asked me why the man and woman on the cigarette package are mad at each other, and I explained that it was because they couldn't have sex and how the government is trying to make you think cigarettes keep your dick from getting hard which isn't true at all as far as I know, and he said he didn't understand what I was talking about. This was all before 10am. Then this afternoon he wanted me to explain infinity so I did, but he got caught on the part where I was showing him how the kitchen is finite and he just wanted me to walk into the wall over and over.

So it was a heavy day for him.

These are extraordinary times. You try to guess what will happen next based on what you know about history, and about the nature of such things, based on what you know about Turkey but I'm pretty sure
An iftar meal that stretched over a mile down İstiklal.
nothing like this has ever happened in the world. Six weeks of cops brutalizing people and six weeks of people cheerfully coming back. Six weeks of the state trying to find excuses and ways to undermine what the people are doing and saying, and six weeks of the people being 1,000 miles ahead of the government's stupidity. At least it seems that way in terms of ideas. In terms of behavior, the government is all too happy to pull the crackdown card and the detainment card and the threat card and the farce trial card and the beating card. So maybe they're winning and I'm just reading the wrong stuff like I did during the last US election and it seemed all of America was a blue state.

I've stopped wondering when the guys were going to turn up with real guns because it seems the state is comfortable with just hurting people a lot and pretending it's all reasonable. Mostly I stopped feeling like I ought to learn how to pray or something, because I don't know how else you use your brain power to make people not do something awful.

Brain needs more superpowers.
It could be that something like this actually has happened in the world before now. Maybe it's just that nothing like this has ever happened to me. Not that it's happening to me exactly. Just near me. Around me.

Or maybe we're seeing how it's done, where people just keep being good. I don't know.

Also I don't know if such an event has ever been reported in such excruciatingly minute detail, where every day there's a new kind of man or woman that's memed so fast it's over-memed and tired by the third day. Woman in red. Woman in black. Naked Man. Talcid man. The laser cats show us the way? Hilarious, but so last month.

But the details can be too much. I try not to read all of them.

Ali İsmail Korkmaz
But I know the kind of music this kid listened to, and that he volunteered with old folks, and that the hospital sent him home with a brain injury. He got beaten by several guys while trying to escape the police.

Lobna Allamii

And that this woman, now almost a vegetable, seems like someone I would have liked and has a sister who leads her to the toilet. She took a gas canister to the head.

Abdullah Cömert
And that everyone argued about how this guy died-- beating or shooting or gas canister to the head? It all got confusing and it was in Hatay and he was the head of the CHP youth so it all got a bit
conspiracy-ridden and then sort of forgotten.

Ethem Sarısülük
And that this guy was Alevi and wanted to donate his organs but they
were rendered unusable after the autopsy. He was shot in the head by a scared cop.

Mehmet Ayvalıtaş

And that this kid was also Alevi and getting ready to do his military service. He got run over when a taxi rammed a group of protestors.

Mustafa Sarı
And this cop became a pawn of the state right away, who said protestors pushed him off a bridge but his family didn't believe that and even the other cops said he fell off the bridge.

Those are just the ones I read about-- the ones that died and the woman everyone thought was dead because of that awful picture with her lying on the ground with her eyes bulging out, stunned. The brain injuries seem countless and every time I leave Sarıyer, I see one or two people with eye injuries.

It's hard to say what's going on now, really. The secret war? They're sure taking a lot of people. But sometimes I think that this was always happening, just not out in the open and mostly on the other side of the country and everyone felt like they weren't supposed to talk about it. Or is it a fake secret war, just to scare people?

It's not like anything I've ever heard of, so it's impossible to know what's happening or what is going to happen.

But until then, I'm fine, we're fine, and everything is fine. Or not.

Hard to say.


Anonymous said...

I saw the video of the cop shooting that guy in the head. That cop didn't look scared at all. He seemed to be enjoying it actually as he shot into the crowd. Pretty sick.

chole said...

YES! i think this is going to start going viral on fb. you put into words so many of the things many of us have been thinking.

wish there was a picture of you explaining the finite kitchen... :)

Anonymous said...

4 dead protesters are alevi, two of them from Hatay and nusayri, meaning alawite arab. Why?

I think you are playing for the hands of Assad.

Stranger said...

Only 2 of them were Alevi as far as I know. Since I was married to an Alevi for 8 years, I tend to pick up on this.

Assad can go fuck himself.

Anonymous said...

Another great post -- thank you, Stranger.

Seabell said...

I have read from commentary from Sevilay Yukselir (http://www.sabah.com.tr/Yazarlar/yukselir/2013/07/16/alevilikle-ilgili-tehlikenin-farkinda-misiniz), an alevite writer herself that all 4 dead protestors were alawite. All this may be the start of a sectarian division that is brewing among alawite population. I hope I am completely wrong. But this has happened at the past.

Jennie Toner said...

Dude, could you please collect these blog posts and transform them into some sort of book so that I can make my family and friends read it? I liked the idea for defining infinity too.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the possibility of alevi aggression being related to Erdogan,s position towards Assad regime
He has been openly supporting the uprising in Syria
4 protesters were alevi and alevi's historically are active in most uprising movements in Istanbul
I witnessed Gazi events many years ago. I hope the government prioritize the alevi rights package before it turns to a sectarian violence in disguise of a environmentalist movement. They have been long ignored and oppressed,

Stranger said...

They never outright say "Alevi" when they're referring to the "marginals," but the Alevis always know who they're talking about.

And the ones I know are definitely nervous. I, too, think it's very much related to Syria and an attempt to re-open sectarian wounds.

I was awfully pleased this year, though, that it wasn't just the Alevis talking and posting about the anniversary of the Madımak massacre... But then a lot of things like that have changed, haven't they? All these things you were supposed to keep quiet about...

Backto Bodrum said...

This kind of violence has been going on against marginals for the last 31 years I've lived in Turkey, mostly under reported or notice. The difference this time is that 50% of the population have become "marginal".