Over the past few weeks Istanbul has been shadowed with the urge to fight for your rights and your right to live. Gezi Park in Taksim is been watched by the world in the news and followed on social media.
There is nothing more I support than doing what your heart desires and apparently the A LOT of people agree with me. They were just either very subtle at showing it or afraid to show it. Everyone did what they wanted to do but it was always done in a hushed manner and with the possibility of being named and dubbed a shame in society. Cultural pressure, which I despise with a vengeance, had taken its toll on the youth of Turkey.
On the 31st of May, the day of enlightenment, many of the people of Istanbul went for it. They wanted to protect their right to freedom of speech and their right to democracy. I had heard the tired voices around me talking about the oppression of a small minded and judgemental society but I guess when we all saw that bit by bit the ‘oppression’ was being legalised under the name of Islam we had no choice but to act. The ‘you live by my rules’ policy is being summed in every aspect of our lives by our beloved Prime Minister and he wasn’t ashamed to hide it.
For me the demonstrations have been about the right to be myself. My right to live and let live. The bright and educated individuals in Turkey are being made to feel a minority, they speak English at extraordinary levels, they watch European TV shows, they are not afraid to show skin or love and touch another of the opposite sex. However, more than anything it was how we were made to feel shamed or named disgraceful and sinful because we had wanted to or decided to live a certain way. We wanted to fight our right to be individuals, our right to respect the thoughts and ideas of others while we ourselves are respected.
The Turkish Prime Minister separated his own society in to groups and tried to make them fight and clash with each other. I emphasise he divided his people into wrong doing liberals and Islamic individuals. There is not one door in Turkey that you can’t open without finding his political mentality or power behind.
He called the demonstrators a ‘few’ looters, we had stood together in millions. He dismissed and despised the voices of millions. This is our Prime Minister, our governor.
We are about to complete are third week with the demonstrations and housewives and teens still go to the centre of their town to bang pots and pans to support the demonstrations in Taksim Square. This not just a riot like some spectators seem to believe. This a fight for a right that should be ‘handed out’ but it’s a fight for a right that is a given.
If I have ever been anything in my life time, I have always been a part of a minority. The ‘Turk’ in the UK and ‘Brit’ in Turkey, no-one is ever happy. Trust me, I know how it feels and how it felt first-hand.
I know and feel why those kids were out there on 31st of May. I know why they are still there today.
Oh and The Gezi Park is an amazing palce to visit, putting aside the feeling of union and solidarity, the youth there are amazing. Respectful, polite, funny and responsible. Their ironic approach to all of this has been happening is refreshing, it’s a younger way to happier way to resist.