We swing from despair to elation pretty quickly around here.
Two nights ago, things were pretty bad. There were tons more arrests, and after a stunningly, not just unfactual but anti-factual two hour speech which you should read about here, seriously, gangs of young men, many of them armed with knives and even machetes, calling themselves Erdoğan’s army and chanting Allah’s name were running around with the fucking police. Arrests were mounting. The status of detainees was still uncertain. Bad Boy and Z were somewhere in the fray and both had stopped updating their facebook pages. I’d had two hours of sleep.
It was a bad night.
Dystopian police state seemed not only reasonable but inevitable.
After a whole whopping four and a half hours of fitful sleep, though, the world seemed brighter.
First there was the statement by the Çarşi- the notorious hooligans whose slogan translates to “Çarşi don’t stand for anything!” and who were responsible for the glorious hijacking of a bulldozer which they then ran at police lines.
I fucking love the Çarşi.
Here’s a rough translation:
LAST NIGHT AS THE ÇARŞI GROUP WE MADE A DECISION!
Taksim has fallen into the hands of the police, and nobody knew what was going on there. Were the detained being taken away and beaten? Were the women and girls being raped? Were they burning the trees? No one knew anything about it. Taksim has been rescued, and it’s pretty much a police neighborhood.
The leaders of Çarşı were taken from their homes in morning raids and charged with whatever crime.
A group of about 10,000 people gathered around Çarşı and the statue (eagle) and marched to Abbas Ağa.
A press statement was made and we came to a decision.
After the press conference, while making the decision we explained to the people there that the police are not our enemies, and that they will never be our enemies. They are our friends, our relatives, and our brothers, and that we won’t use any kind of rock, stick, knife, gun, or any other crude weapon, and that we haven’t and won’t at any time get involved in brawls.
There were people who didn’t like this and people who wanted to stir up trouble. There were those who said, “They’re beating our friends down there, we have to go and help them!”
We all know who they are now!!
There were also some who broke off from the group, but we were certain of our decision.
At first there were only 200 of us. Things were discussed and it started to rain. We sat and sang songs and danced.
Did you take us out of Taksim, my dear brothers, sisters, police, and heads of state? Did you take Gezi from us? Did you beat us?
From now it’s like this: The 2nd Taksim and the 2nd Gezi Park is Abbas Ağa Park!
We’ll be waiting there for you. We will sit! We will sing! Now it’s like this: We will wait for you “for now.”
Come and throw us out. We’ll go to Emirgan Park.
Come and throw us out. We’ll go to Fethipaşa Park.
Come and throw us out. We’ll got to Yıldız Park.
Come and throw us out and we’ll be standing and waiting for you at the third bridge, because:
Everywhere is Taksim! Everywhere is resistance!
We love your pepper spray so much. After awhile we’ve started loving your clubs.
As far as you understand this, we will continue our resistance.
Love and respect.
ÇARŞI GRUBU OLARAK DÜN GECE BİR KARAR ALDIK !
This made me tear up a little.
What actually made me cry a little was The Standing Man. Erdem Güzdün: I will totally marry you if you want.
As has become well documented, he began a silent vigil in Taksim, and stood, without moving, for six hours before the police arrested him. Yep. Arrested him. For standing. Which made them look a little ridiculous, yes?
(Erdoğan responded by calling him an idolater and thanking god that he himself had true religion. To my American friends who are having trouble relating to this whole mess- imagine Rush Limbaugh was PM, and he’d filled the cabinet with Fox Newscasters and let Westboro Baptist Church be in charge of the police force. That’s the level of lunacy we have going on here.)
This was such a wonderful gesture, especially in the face of Erdoğan’s accusations that we’re all a bunch of violent lunatics.
It quickly caught on. All over the city people are just standing. Some are reading, some are staring into space. It’s a form of protest, unlike barricade building, that everyone can get behind. Even in (fuck my life) Bakırköy last night, when I left there were whole families standing in the square, facing the flag.
Thanks to the Çarşi, there have also been movements to occupy other parks. I hear tell Moda was occupied last night while I was wasting hours of my life I can never get back in (fuck my life) Bakırköy. I hear it’s occupied now. I’m going to go check it out.
I am, once again, so freaking proud of the Turkish people right now.