zondag 9 juni 2013

2013/21 Turkish Spring

Turkish Spring

Summer has arrived in our country and all week I have been hearing about the Turkish Spring. Once again, it seems we want to sum up complicated events in a particular part of the world in a one-liner. I therefore decided this blog might provide some useful links. Here is the first one. (see below)
I was wondering if my American friends were getting information about what was happening in Turkey, since I think what is taking place there is very relevant. But they were not really getting much. I know in Belgium there have been some demonstrations, but I’m not sure if those concerned Belgium Turks or Turks from all around Europe. Maybe there were more demonstrations around Europe: several million Turks live in Germany, and who knows if they are still going on? One of the reasons the demonstrations in Istanbul got such a boost from the public was the fact that Turkish media, under pressure from the government, hardly reported about the events that were taking place. So, what do people do? Use the channels that are available. Water always finds its way. So these days, we all have gimmicks and tools to spread the word through social media and things like Twitter, the most overvalued information source, became very useful. Maybe we are not so different at all from the Turks. The only difference is the content of the trending topics. In Holland, it was mainly football, summer, Amsterdam, X-Factor, and Justin Bieber. Another difference is that in Turkey, twitter was closed down for a few hours, while in Holland many news items are supported by the opinion of those few twittering people among us. It seems always much too little or much too much.
How much uselessness can be said in short messages? 99%? Better relax. Saber. Saber is pronounced as “sabur,” and has many meanings. It means “patience” but also “reconsider.” It means “take a deep breath” and “add more perspectives to the overview you have.” It means “question yourself again, but differently than before.” Just the sound of the word itself… Sabur.
And I try not to forget what I know, because I have no power over the choice of what gets forgotten. The only influence in terms of choice in that sense is what to learn. Most of the events in the Arab world of the past several years were triggered by poverty, conservatism, dictatorship, hopelessness, and a desire of a new era, of new times. Religion was mainly used to give oneself an identity. Therefore, what is happening in Turkey is highly remarkable. It is a clash between secular people and religious people -- not really between generations, but more between morality and rationale. In Turkey, the secular opinion might stand, or it might be crushed by a combination of religion and politics.

Also, therefore, it is impossible to compare the events in the Arab world with those now taking place in Turkey. One of my teachers in life once told me, “Look, my friend, I think religion is the art of interpretation and politics is the art of lying. Now what do you prefer?” One another day I replied, “I’m not a democrat, but I will defend democracy if threatened by something worse.” So, he said, “If you are not a democrat, what are you?” I replied, “Gnostic.”
“Naten e mire,” as they say in Kosovo every day. “Good night and peace.”

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