One of the most surreal things about my life right now is that life continues. We are expected to go to work. Students are expected to take their final exams. We are all restless, itchy, can’t settle to read or watch t.v. or sleep particularly well because we feel a nagging physical urge to do something, anything, because what’s happening right now is important not only to us but to the future of Turkey. It’s only at night that we’re allowed to run free and protest. During the days business as normal continues as though this weren’t an historical moment.
On Mondays and Tuesdays I teach in Bakırköy, (fuck my life) which is far enough away from Taksim that I suppose the students don’t know about it.
A conversation I had three times tonight with Bakırköy students:
“Teacher, do you follow Turkish news?”
“You know about the protests?”
“Yes. I was there.”
“I think it’s true that the protesters forced the police to behave that way. It was a provocation.” (One assumes the word provocation was fed to them as it’s above their vocabulary level.)
“I was there. I am not going to discuss politics with you, but I say again, I was there, and I strongly disagree. I very, very strongly disagree.”
“But the police wouldn’t act that way if they had not.”
“Again, I was there, and I know this isn’t in the news here, but I strongly, strongly disagree with you. Please read Today’s Zaman, or any foreign newspaper.”