Saturday, July 28, 2007

Neither Hot Nor Cold

Democracy does not solely mean to press a ballot box against the noses of citizens at certain intervals. If it were the case, then we would have made great progress since 1950, when the multi-party system was first implemented in Turkey, because we have had a total of 41 elections so far including 13 general elections, 8 parliamentary half term elections, 11 local government elections, and 9 Republican Senate partial elections. As a country that has been through 41 elections, we are going to vote in a referendum-like election with a totally corrupt and collapsed political system. The politicians who are “in favor of” democracy and who are “against” it are about to prove who is more powerful in this election. We seem to have some kind of a desire to settle the accounts, to show “who we are”. Everyone will show the “other” his power. Yes, I totally agree that the most civilized way of competition in democracies is going through elections; however, the feeling of competition in these elections has gained a different feature due to social ruptures and interference, and this aspect is something I strongly dislike.

As a result of being a member of a minority group, I have the tendency to show my natural reaction against all kinds of nationalistic discourse. Since the terminology including word patterns like “national unity and uniformity”, “split”, “external and internal focal points”, and “national interests” will eventually target me in one way or the other, my perceptions and analyses are influenced. If I this was restricted me and similarly sensitive members of my community, the problem would not be as big as it is now. However, in recent days, we have been able to observe that the only valid discourse in this country is a discourse that includes such terminology; and this discourse actually targets and divides the country into hundreds of thousands of parts. The need for security is threatened by the contrast of “those who target” and “those who are targeted”. This contrast manipulates and provokes social division and politicians produce policies under the domination of this discourse. And I am utterly disturbed by what is going on.

The striking results of TESEV’s research introduced to the public in recent days have proved how nationalism imposes its hegemony onto the whole country as the sole language in use, and how this language creates division among the members of society, in contrast to what it actually claims. This is bad news because the principal section of the society thought to be winning is obviously in a process of losing. Circles ignored by sections of society numbed from the sense of winning, exist thanks to this ignorance, and perpetuate their destructive methods no matter what manner of enforcement they may face. The gangs are abundant in all corners of the country and these gangs, under the protection of the state, are maintaining their assassinations and robberies, serving the so-called aim of protecting the state and the nation. This is a tragedy that takes place in front of all the citizens, and you have no other language to speak about it. In fact, the majority of this country – including soldiers, state officials, workers, peasants and members of the middle class – want to live in peace, prosperity and harmony. However, as this language leads us to a dead-end, in the end, we find ourselves divided although we have the same demands. This poison that was injected into our souls by the Union and Progress party is still in our veins today and has a paralyzing effect.

Was not Hrant killed because he rejected speaking that language, since he chose to speak Hrantish instead?

In the future, when all these events are recorded in history, we will see that 19 January is actually the beginning of an important historic era. Turkey was broken toward a certain direction on that day. For most of you, something changed irreversibly in your soul on that day. Similarly, this country entered an irreversible path. Although we seemed to be trapped in that restrictive and destructive language, on 19 January, we actually came face to face with the fact that the King was actually naked. Most of us also faced the evil in our souls. We realized that our leftist policies, democratic vision, nationalism or patriotism were indeed fake.

A quotation from the Bible goes on as follows: “You are neither hot, nor cold; you are warm. I wish you were either hot or cold, because now I will have to vomit you”. 19 January is a similar date. It offers us an option. An offer to begin to lead a real life. Shall we keep our eyes shut although we know that the King is actually naked?

The answer to this question will determine the direction of this break.

20.07.2007, Agos

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