Yeraltý Notlarý, 27 Haziran 2004

Sevgül Uludað

 

Agenda of the human heart…(*)

Sevgul Uludag

The regime in the north is clever: the agenda has nothing to do with our daily lives, our struggle to survive, the determining of our future, the reunification of our island… It has nothing to do with the agenda of the human heart…

In the northern part, Salih Boyaci is the main agenda for the whole week – he’s a businessman, the father in law of Serdar Denktash and he was supposed to be imprisoned due to a decision by the court… Boyaci was the owner of the `Cyprus Credit Bank` and when it had `collapsed` thousands of people had lost their money. Instead of going to prison, by a decision of the Talat government, he’s sent to Turkey for a `health check-up` since Boyaci is constantly fainting and they think maybe there’s something wrong with his heart. Of course he does not go through the `normal channel` of having to go through the board of health where doctors sit and decide whether you can be treated in Cyprus or you need to go abroad for treatment. Boyaci stays in Istanbul and has a lot of tests for his health – then there’s a big discussion about whether he will return to north Cyprus or not… In the Turkish Cypriot parliament, MPs spend a whole day discussing the subject of Salih Boyaci…

No one is interested in the discussion of the law to be changed where civilians will no longer be tried in military courts. Talat presents this change as a `step towards democratization` - the charges will be the same, the only difference being that civilians like journalists, party leaders, intellectuals, trade unionists will be tried in civilian courts rather than military courts.

If you write something like `There should be no military service in this country` or criticize the commanders or the military in general, you could get sued and be tried in military courts for allegedly `encouraging people to hate the army` or `abusing the commander in chief of the army`…

Such `crimes` will not `change` - you would still be charged with the same type of alleged `crimes` but you won’t be standing in a military court – civilians will do that instead!

None of the MPs are bothered with that since the only subject they want to discuss is the future of Salih Boyaci.

What will happen to tens of cases against journalists from the AFRIKA newspaper in the military courts? How about the cases against journalists from YENIDUZEN, KIBRIS and ORTAM newspapers?

Aren’t the MPs at all bothered with these and that the current move of the Talat government has nothing to do with `democratization` since the alleged `crimes` remain the same?

To top the agenda of the MPs, Boyaci eventually returns to the north, entering from the Timbu airport through the `VIP saloon`! It is said that the chief of police greets him there but this remains a rumor which is not confirmed… They take him to prison and put him in the health section together with other sick prisoners… Serdar Denktash gives a press conference about the whole issue and demands that Asil Nadir, the businessman who owns KIBRIS newspaper which was bombed recently, should also be in prison!

None of the MPs or politicians are discussing why the police still could not catch the bombers of KIBRIS and AFRIKA newspapers or what happened to the car full of bombs and TNT belonging to a Turkish army official…

No one is discussing how the Green Line Regulations of EC will be applied starting from the 30th of June on our `borders`… Instead, the policemen hang a piece of paper this week at the checkpoints, declaring that `You must show your passport or ID according to directives given…` They definitely mean `directives given from above`… No one can give `directives` to the police except the military… This has nothing to do with the `law` but we all know that we are beyond `international law`…

The puppet show continues – there’s a new round of discussions between Talat’s party CTP, Serdar’s party DP and Akinci’s party BDH about a possible coalition… A side-line agenda is `Should we have early elections or not?` or brainstorming about `Will a new coalition be formed or not?` The regime manages to keep the `discussion` under `control` - our `agenda` is the future of Salih Boyaci and the coalition, not our future on this island, not the future of the police or the military, not the application of the regulations of EU, not the trials against journalists, not the bombs, not the car full of bombs belonging to the Turkish military…

In this atmosphere we go to listen to Goran Bregovic and his `Wedding and Funeral Band` in the Salamis Antique Theatre on Tuesday night… He’s a crazy musician whose music we came to love through the films of Emir Kusturica – Time of the Gypsies, Underground, Arizona Dream…

My friend Yuli Taki, years ago, long before the opening of the `borders`, during lunch at Pyla at Hamit’s place had brought a CD of Goran Bregovic, `Ederlezi` as a gift for my husband’s birthday… It was November, Yuli’s son Leon was just beginning to learn to walk… The secret police kept on passing back and forth in their red car to see what we were doing in the restaurant – we were doing nothing, just eating octopus, fish and calamar, drinking Cypriot brandy which was `banned` in the north, teaching Leon to walk and talking about our lives… But the secret police had to write their reports which would go to the files of the Turkish military services and if the `need` arose, would `find their way` to `newspapers` working closely with them, to be `manipulated` against us…

Leon was not aware of the secret police, the red car passing back and forth, the report to be written about him and us to go to the files of the military - he was busy discovering how to walk and would not stand still or sit in his mother’s lap… He was energetic and wanted to move, therefore we had to take turns to teach him to walk, while the red car passed back and forth…

We brought back `Ederlezi` from Pyla, saying goodbye to Leon and Yuli, to listen to Bregovic at home to discover the beauty of the Balkans, the traumas and the joys, the feasts, celebrations and the drama of the losses… Weddings and funerals… Life and death… Darkness and light… The essence of life, that is, finding its way to the human heart…

On Tuesday night, we sit at the Salamis Theatre together with Greek Cypriots to listen to the same music – Bregovic is here, I could never dream of listening to him live… But there is a dreamer in Famagusta – his name is Asim Akansoy – he’s been running the Famagusta Art & Culture Festival for the last 8 years… Asim loves to dream and realize his dreams and goes after bringing Bregovic to Cyprus whose music he came to love as a student during his university years… Bregovic is on stage with his band from Serbia – his singers from Macedonia and Bulgaria – this is the multiculturalism of the Balkans – Bregovic himself is multi-cultural – his father is Croat and his mother Serb… He lives in Paris and does what he likes most: composing and playing music… He’s local and universal – he speaks a language we can all understand – of passion, love, life and death… Of fears and traumas, of war and peace, of the agenda of the human heart… Not of Boyaci or Matsakis…

He stops the concert couple of times at the beginning because there’s something wrong with his computer and his guitar and shouts at the guy in charge of electronics – he’s a cute and spoilt musician… My son later, tells me how he walked out of the membership of the jury of the Lucarno Film Festival back in 1998 – the reason was that he didn’t like his hotel room!

But finally the guy in charge of electronics understands what he wants and they restart the concert to play and sing songs we came to love so much… One of the Greek Cypriot journalists sitting next to me is amazed at the crowd: `You have so many youngsters… If this concert was done in the south, the age group would be above 40-45…` The youth is present everywhere: in demonstrations for peace, in concerts, in anything that concerns life on this soil… They start shouting `Kalashnikof! Kalashnikof!` to force Bregovic to sing this song… Bregovic sings `Kalashnikof` finally – there are some military commanders from Turkey watching the concert – I laugh when I think of this! Perhaps one of their aids would think that the Cypriot youth is cooking something up! But the commanders would ease their worries: `The agenda is under control! These are just songs they sing in concerts!`

Bregovic speaking to KIBRIS newspaper says: `In all undemocratic regimes, the conflict is the making of politicians… And in such countries ‘democracy’ serves the personal interests of those in power… As Cypriots you deserve better politicians than you have today…`

I knew he’s aware of the agenda of the human heart!

(*) Article published in ALITHIA newspaper on the 27th of June 2004.

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