Enthusiastic Protest with Fireworks in Kadıköy
Today, the murder trial of Mehmet Ayvalıtaş provoked thousands of people to gather outside the courthouse this afternoon. The police attacked the protestors at the courthouse and they eventually relocated the demonstration to the center of Kadıköy (Boğa Heykeli). The community of protestors decided to walk to the AKP’s regional builiding in the district of Kadıköy where the police predicably reacted with the TOMA water cannons as well s tear gas. The third demonstration in Kadıköy was conducted this evening as a heightened, enthusiastic response by the protestors with the usage of fireworks. Kadıköy has not been the centre of a protest of great size since October (with the exception of the “corruption” riots of December). This is significant for protestors to face the coldness of Turkish winter to get their message across.
Allow me to be blunt-
I’m nineteen years old, this concept of age is in terms of maturity but this number is true. I write, this much is true too. It has been only a short while since I have been admitted as an objective spectator to the events unravelling in Turkey.
Almost everything else in this scene is ambiguous and invented.
Invented, yes, but not playfully. This is most certainly not a game, especially to me. It’s a form: as I invent myself, even now as I write, I’m thinking of all I want to tell in regards to why this blog is written as it is- carefully constructed and selective. Par example, I want to tell you this: a few days ago, I watched a dog die after being struck by a tear gas canister on Kadıköy Haydarpaşa Rıhtım Caddesi on my way home. I did not kill him, but I did not do anything either. I was present, and my presence stained me with guilt just the same.
I remember his face- this withered creature, hardened by the streets, stared at me with one icy, lifeless eye. His face, not as friendly nor pleasant as that of a pet, burned into my memory. Yes, I remember his face because his jaw was in his throat. I remember being overcome by the sickness of both disgust and heartache. I felt the burden of responsibility and was instantly overcome with undescribeable grief. I blamed myself. Justifiably so, I feel, because I was present.
But, let me interrupt with more bluntness, perhaps even that story is fiction. No?
I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to understand that sometimes ficticious truths are more real and true than those in reality.
It is true- I am nineteen years old, I do indeed write, and I am living in Turkey. Here, in Istanbul with a population of 14 million, there are many people. People, like me, with bodies, faces, thoughts, dreams, desires- there are real bodies with real faces. I may be young now, but I am not afraid to look. Looking or not, I do feel both faceless responsibility and faceless grief- or don’t I?
Perhaps it is also true- He was a bony, dead, rugged, and was aged to be of about twenty years. He lay in the middle of the street with trash and debris. I could see his jaw in his throat. One eye was was abnormally wide- forced open. The other eye was a gashed, bleeding hole, marking the strike of the blow. He wasn’t a dog.
I feel as if a story can make certain unidentifiable, uncomprehendable ideas present.
I can look at things I never looked at; I can make you believe.
I can paint faces and apply them to these emotions- to grief, love and pity.
I can be brave.
I can face the suppressed and the faceless.
I can make myself feel again.
I can believe, too.