Girding Our Loins for Battle

It was important for me to go to Taksim Square, but I will not lie, I was nervous. Cops make me nervous anyway. Turkish cops terrify the fuck out of me. The Turkish police, in my book, have far too much agency and not enough controls. I mean, I even thought that before all the shit went down a few days ago. Riot police? We need to invent a new word for the level of panic I feel at the idea of Turkish Riot Police. Reinforcements brought in from the East? 40% of the Istanbul police force spread between Kadiköy and Taksim? Eek!

TJ came home around three and I ran out for lemons and coke. We sat on the porch checking twitter and speculating until Lina came over at around 4.

“Girls-” she said, looking us up and down, “uh-uh. No. No no no.”

I was wearing a cream dress printed with violets and sandals. TJ was wearing shorts and a tee shirt.

“You. NEED. To. Cover. Up. Trust me. I was there yesterday. The tear gas will burn your skin. You must wear long sleeves, and pants, and sensible shoes.”

Agent L’s idea of sensible shoes is ballet flats.

She also owns no trousers and considers herself equally capable of running in a cute summer frock as in track pants.

“I have a cardigan,” I said, mildly.

TJ went to dutifully change while I rummaged through the old clothes bag for suitable old tee shirts to use as gas masks. I tucked a shirt in each of our bags, packed mine with the coke and lemons and a small carton of milk. I emerged back on the porch with a pot of vaseline.

“Ladies,” I said solemnly, “if you would care to, please rub this all over your faces.”

“Why?” Lina asked.

“Extra protection.”

In a few moments we were all greasy and ready to go.

I’m very happy to say we didn’t need any of our provisions after all, but that’s another story.

“Um, Agent L?” TJ said much much later in the evening, as we lay sprawled in the grass in Taksim Square, watching boys set off fire works and flares from the statue, “did you SERIOUSLY match your gas-mask tee shirt to your dress?”

“Yes, TJ. I seriously did.”


“Riots are no reason to clash, dear.”

(Agent L is headed back into the fray tonight. More stories tomorrow.)

sarah protest2

This entry was posted in Gezi Park, Istanbul, Taksim, Turkey, Turkish Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Girding Our Loins for Battle

  1. Agent J says:

    Vaseline makes the gas stick to you and prolongs its effects, don’t use it.

    Sorry we missed you.

  2. Pingback: June 1, 2013, Gezi Park | agent L abroad

  3. Pingback: Girding Our Loins for Battle | agent L abroad

  4. Freer says:

    I made a T-shirt like a true American.

  5. agentlabroad says:

    Reblogged this on agent L abroad and commented:

    A year ago today.

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