Can Oz writes: I am scared. With every speech that prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gives, I feel the hatred and disgust against me and young people of my generation increase. All we are after is a bit of freedom, a bit of space to live and a few trees. It reminds me of a line from Jimi Hendrix’s If 6 Was 9: “I’m the one that has to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.”
Today I was in Taksim Square again, a few hours after the police cleared the area with water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets, and protesters hurled fireworks and fire bombs. Some say the protesters’ firebomb attack was staged, and while I don’t have certain proof that this was the case, it wouldn’t surprise me: over the past few days I have witnessed so many lies from the police and government that I don’t think I can ever trust them again. I have spent days with the protesters – withstanding another gas attack, cheering, singing chants and sharing food in the park – and I haven’t encountered any signs of weapons or violence on their behalf. These people made me feel like I’m living a dream.
The purpose of my visit to Taksim Square was to listen to the press conference the Taksim Solidarity movement had prepared; and I was confident that I could trust the chief of police and Istanbul mayor’s assurance that the park would not be attacked. Then, right before the press conference was about to start, gas rained down over our heads once again. It was a moment of crushing disappointment. Coughing, wiping tears out of my eyes, practically blind, I realised that our government would never understand the meaning of the passive resistance that Martin Luther King Jr and Mahatma Gandhi were famous for. That’s when I ran out of the park.
I am the owner of the biggest literary publishing house in the country. In the past few days I have received hate mail and death threats, just because I was publicly part of this passive resistance movement. [Continue reading…]