Istanbul: Come On Neighbor, Please Wake Up

Posted from Insanlik Hali 17 June 2013

A cop drawn in Gezi

A cop drawn in Gezi. From Insanlik Hali.

Good morning Neighbor,

I say good morning, but I am writing this to you at the break of dawn, after a night of no sleep. You know me, we’ve been living in the same building for years. I am the quite one, without many visitors. I go to bed early and wake up before morning prayer. But last night I didn’t sleep a wink. You slept instead of me dear neighbor. I know you did because I was out on the balcony so many times, banging pots and pans.  My husband was turning the lights on and off. We tried everything to get your attention.

But you kept on sleeping, neighbor.

While we sat with our hands on the door knob, our hearts racing at top speed, our eyes sore, you slept. I am not angry with you. If I had relied on that box called ‘television’ to be informed about what’s going on in the world, in my country or even on the next street, I would also go to bed and sleep peacefully after the evening news.

After all, what have they said on TV? Gezi Park has been evacuated. And it was done with utter ease. Without causing any harm. “Our people started leaving the park on time, due to the announcements made half an hour in advance. The marginal, illegal terrorist groups who stayed behind were treated with tear gas and water cannons.” On top of it our Mayor has made a speech, explaining that no harm was done to the people and children. That Gezi Park was evacuated and the public workers were taking down the tents. We should be at peace. This story has come to an end.

Dispatches from Ankara: Correspondence from a Protester

Yotam Ronen/Al Jazeera: The Ankara-based Human Rights Association says up to 1,000 people have been injured in protests.

Yotam Ronen/Al Jazeera: The Ankara-based Human Rights Association says up to 1,000 people have been injured in protests.

Ankara, Turkey

Following up from Clarity Within the Smoke: Thoughts From Inside Turkey’s Uprising, a candid look into the situation is Istanbul, Bay Area Intifada (BAI) sought out those in Ankara after a brutal attack by police on live TV.  Melih, a 24-year old protestor on the ground in Ankara found us instead.

These brief conversations took place between June 6 -9 (Turkey Dates).  The first dispatch will be the most recent. After that all correspondence is presented in chronological order starting with the first communication between Melih & BAI:

Continue reading

OccupyGezi Call to Action! June 8th & 9th!

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From: OccupyGezi, Square Assembly:

Calling on all cities of the world! Come out this weekend and reclaim your public spaces to show solidarity with #OccupyGezi and the many waves of protests in Turkey!

What began as a small occupation to protect Istanbul’s Gezi Park erupted within a matter of days into massive protests that spread like wildfire across Turkey. A key trigger was the disproportionate use of force by the police. Just as Gezi Park crystallized the struggle over an ever-shrinking public space hijacked by neoliberal authoritarianism, the pepper gas that security forces doused on Istanbul literalized the general need for breathing space – hundreds of thousands of people walked out onto the streets in support of the Gezi Park occupation despite a total media blackout, defying police brutality. Now we have reclaimed not only Gezi Park but also Taksim Square, the very heart of Turkey’s public sphere, where mass expressions of discontent have repeatedly been banned, throughout the republic’s history. As Taksim and Gezi swell every night with thousands of people who come to celebrate their solidarity, victory and power, our resistance in other parts of Istanbul and other cities across Turkey continues. Of one thing we are certain: Nothing will ever be the same again. Continue reading

Clarity Within the Smoke: Thoughts From Inside Turkey’s Uprising

Istanbul, Turkey

"Mom, are these police human?"

“Mom, are these police human?”

 

The following is an almost word for word interview with three people engaged in the uprising in Istanbul:  Nina, 34, is a teacher, dreamer and activist. Yaren, 30, is a leftist and atheist, but grew up Muslim. Mehmet, 34, is a left-leaning Islamist and father of two, currently an unemployed architect. While the three were holed up in a French school, seeking refuge from attacks of riot police, red clouds of tear gas and ceaseless fatigue, they sketched out for us a multifaceted political horizon: the violence of the state, the actors in the streets, requests for global solidarity, the ridiculous rumors, their concerns on where things will go, and the role of Islam. By no means will this conversation answer everyone’s questions, but it will offer a candid and brutally honest look into the Turkish uprising. Continue reading

Updates From A Comrade in Turkey

REUTERS/Murad Sezer A protester in Turkey braves tear gas.

REUTERS/Murad Sezer A protester in Turkey braves tear gas.

Update as of 6 am (PST) 

Due to a media blackout, the following updates are hard to confirm, but come directly from comrades on the ground in an undisclosed major city.

Vicious attacks from state security

  • Police chased protesters towards military barracks. The military opened their gates to allow protesters in and pointed their guns at the police. No shots were reported to have been fired.
  • Four people are said to have died so far. Other reports from the ground say this is not at all confirmed.

  • Internet and satellite services are scheduled to be be shut down by the State. Mobile communications were down the entire day yesterday, as well as throughout the night.

  • Anyone seen filming (with exception of mainstream media) targeted with violence by police.

  • Street lighting shutdown.

  • Helicopters are shooting plastic bullets indiscriminately into crowds of protestors and pedestrians.

  • The massive amounts of tear gas being used has caused many injuries and is said to be the biggest obstacle.

  • From a source on the ground, the numbers of injuries are in the thousands. Continue reading