Gezi Park, A Symphonic Movement of Infinite Movements
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.
The Second Coming, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
With the inevitability and power of spring it arose. From the pregnant earth, from the thinnest of air, from the soul of a long-abused people, it leapt, irresistible. And like the biggest of bangs, it exploded. And the nation was drenched in blood and smiles, hate and sweat, tears and lies, generosity and gas bombs, police brutality and corporate compassion, scimitars and penguins, slander and song, all proof—absolute, exhilarating, genuine proof—that all was well with the ageless Turkish youth. And all was wrong with the treasonous government, now ten years about its nasty business.
No one understood it. How could simple trees have harbored such explosive force? Could mere trees, so easily destroyed like scraps of wood by the thoughtless, thieving government, spark a revolution? A clump of trees in the center of the toxic city, a spurt of gas on a beautiful woman in a red dress by a boneheaded cop, and suddenly the nation was enraged and on the march. And in this manner a terrible beauty came to Turkey. Call it freedom. Call it self-defense. Call it rebellion. Label it at your peril. No one understood it then. No one understands it now. Call it Gezi.
First came the young people, swift, agile and beautiful. They made Gezi Park a new Garden of Eden, a place of peaceful protest, resistant occupation and serenity. These kids will save these trees. And their roots became one. “Intolerable insolence,” said a government mouthpiece. Who needs trees when another shopping center can plunder the people? And in good time the fascists sent their brutal police to make the world safe for relentless capitalism. Like thieves in the night they came, these so-called police and their helmets, armored vests, clubs, pistols, gas bombs, rubber bullets, incendiary devices and cannons belching poisonous sprays. A sneak attack against kids armed only with dreams, patriotism and courage. It was no contest. The cops cleared the park but the world learned the exact nature of the Turkish government and its supporters. In a week, the lies and slander from the now emboldened government left the prime minister standing naked. And out of gas, tear gas, so intense was the resistance. Blindings, murders, beatings, knifings, slashings, thousands injured, all of them democratically and peacefully assembled to register their legitimate protest, six lovely boys dead in the stinking street. The cities were shrouded in fog. Democratic, peace-loving America had to resupply poisonous gas canisters to its naked puppet prince. Their ambassador spouted his usual gas about the Turkish government having a “conversation” with its people. Imagine, such a conversation…perhaps a conversation like America had with the innocent Japanese people in Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.
And then the kids disengaged. They turned passive. Like stones they stood in the public space claiming their right to exist, as one, or as a million. And the government threw more gas. And the fascists were more clearly defined by their violence. Slowly, ever so slowly, the fascist carcass was unveiled, twisting slowly on its meat hook.
The ruling elite think it went away, that a little more violence will finish it forever. More jailings, more gassings, more state-sponsored murders, more denial of public space to the public, more threats, more nonsensical self-serving “democratic” political packages, more, more, more, more of the same. This will surely work. They fear for their political lives, these fossils from a world that is finishing. All those who have grown drunk on its atmosphere of greed, ignorance and violence will never understand Gezi. They gape and gasp like beached carp stinking in the noonday sun. Such will be their end. And thus it has begun…