Mother and son... It is not too hard to guess who they are represent since the author is a obsessed with Cyprus. Or should it be mother and daughter? Let's assume a gender neutral role for the term "son" for now. Just look at a random newspaper from son's media. You can see what I mean by "stirring the waters, testing the patience". They want to create a storm in cup — say a cup of zivania for son and a cup raki for mother.
Remember, son is immature yet. May be an infant.
In the house of mother, the patience is running out. AKP's turn has not passed yet. EU membership did not come. Erdogan is testing waters; should he be the next Demirel/Ozal? , i.e. should he be elected president because the parliament elects the president and his party has enough of a majority to elect anyone they want after few rounds of bickering at the parliament? Perfect excuse. The national socialists, oops, sorry, I meant the (pseudo-)social democrats who hang out with the infamous "red apple", a.k.a. the ultra-nationalist, group are still bitter about their election defeat and how irrelevant they became. It is not easy to swallow losing the role as being the poster child of modernization to ex-Islamists-now-turned-hidden-Islamists, a.k.a. AKP. For decades, their rhetoric revolved around a self-proclaimed fight for civil and economic liberties, for modernization, for being the anti-thesis of Islamo-Turkish nationalism and religious fundamentalism. But when they had the power — as little of it as a government in Turkey is "allowed" to have — they messed up. They messed up so badly that they were booted out with the conservatives. One of them had a minor comeback because it was already booted out (CHP). Now, they have nothing to provide the Turkish public. So they allied with the ultra-nationalist, conservative, pseudo-secularist crowd. In the bizarre world of Turkish politics, secularism means attacking all outward displays of Islamism while at the same time alienating, destroying the multi-cultural, multi-religious heritage of Turkey. After all, we are all born Muslims as defined by the Turkish government and not by our heritage, culture or parents.
Ohh, before I drag on too long — and also because my train ride is about to end — stirring waters --- yes, stirring waters. Small but high profile murders to create tension, to bring attention to issues like the Armenian genocide, anti-semitism, anti-Christian feelings. To fire up the nationalist press. To slowly increase the tension to start calling for martial law etc etc. Then the demonstrations. The recipe is ready. The latest fashion all around the world is to gather uni-colored crowds — e.g. orange , on in the case of Turkey the red Turkish flag. Do all this in a way that no-one can really say anything, for example, do the rally around Ataturk's tomb. How can one criticize an event that took place in front of the ultimate idol.
Then the real bosses speak — obviously, the army. They talk about principles of the Republic, Ataturk, secularism, etc etc. They issue threats. The storm starts. The big prize is the seven year seat at the presidential palace.
Anyway, I get carried along again. I do not have anything important or unknown to say about the pathetic situation in Turkey. Sad but true on both accounts.
North Cyprus provides a off-shelf, microwavable bite for the holders of the spoon in Turkey. The "general's diaries" (I wonder if it has any juicy Bridget Jones' diaries like entries too) that surfaced few weeks ago revealed a fairly developed plan for a military coup which was conveniently timed prior to the Annan Plan referendum in 2004. Cyprus and its presumed lose of — if Turkey is not occupying north Cyprus, how they are afraid of losing is beyond standard logic — was the stated excuse for their actions.In 1955, that was the excuse for the pogroms in Istanbul. After all, it is nice to have a sweet, syrupy (is there such a word?) bite with all that water they are stirring.
Puppeteer and the puppet; If the puppeteer is so active, the puppet can not stand still either. The man-power needed to stage their scare tactics, mini-demonstrations, flood of columns is happily imported from the mother — like a good mother, she does not spare anything from her offspring (or does she?. Let it be an antique documentary ("Our Wall") on government TV station or a comical football game of politicians or the party congress of CTP, or the murders at Kumsal in 1963 ("the bathtub masacre"). They are all wonderful excuses.
CTP party congress. They put up a good show as usual. Made big deal of silly little things like that they provided wireless Internet in the venue instead of providing important political plans (hey, they are supposed to be the governing party, a.k.a. the head-puppet). The little debate that happened during the congress was portrayed as unacceptable dissent and it was silenced. They did the usual display of national symbols, paying homage to this martyr or that etc etc. But it was not as prominent as those done by the nationalist (UBP, DP etc) gang. So it provided the right excuse for an all out attack. It was a totally meaningless attack that could have easily been marginalized had it not been for the fear of the mother. Instead of counter-attacking and proclaiming that having a memorial for the martyrs (what is a martyr anyway?) , reading the national anthem (mind you, we are talking about the national anthem of Turkey!) aloud, having hundreds of Turkish and TRNC flags are irrelevant, unnecessary and wasteful, one after another, so called president, prime-minister and other puppets got up and tried hard to prove that they have actually done all that. They proclaimed that nothing (including a black cat — I suppose the use of the term does not imply any superstition on our super-star communist Ferdi Soyer) can get in between them (the puppet) and Turkey (the puppeteer). Well, it is nice to have good mother-son relationship eh? You know family values and all that.
I see indicators of these exercises pretty much everyday in newspapers. As time passes, they appear more and more coherent.
Then came the children's day celebrations — the 23rd of April is a gift of Go^H^H (x) Ataturk to the children of world. The civilians, i.e. the willing puppets of the military showed a tiny bit of dignity and accepted to sit separately from the military in the militaristic, nationalist, backwards celebrations that take place annually. This gesture is common place. Every few years military in Turkey says "to hell with you, I am the real boss, and I will do my own functions". Well, there is not much of a difference between the two after all!
Unfortunately, they have also mostly pacified the "opposition" over these years. The period surrounding the Annan plan referendum ate up a lot of its energy. The period immediately after where newer puppets were designed and built saw a lot of them become the part of the machinery — nothing unexpected! — . Recently, various teacher's unions that CTP used to consider its golden asset rose up against the government. CTP did what it learnt from the previous gang, tried to split the movement, tried to take over the union to replace the leadership with its own people. The attempt is obvious, to turn yet another Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) into a Not-so-different-from-the Government Organization. We have hundreds of them, few more is not a bother at all!
Aha, now for a final cliche. We need to do all we can to resist this for the sake of the family (mother-son)'s real members (people). If the army, its puppets, its collaborators keeps showing off its power, we need to learn to show off our power as the people and achieve the critical mass to impose our will. Get out and protest. Start with the simplest, raise your voice, sign a few petitions, pick up plastic buckets and make noise. If nothing else, next display of nationalist, militarist power, i.e. next "holiday", can be turned into a chaotic, diverse, colorful display of our own music, music from banging pots and pans.
I did warn you that it was a cliche!
(x) For those unfamiliar with the old skool Internet jargon, "^H" is what appears on the screen when backspace is pressed in a terminal that is poorly configured. It is commonplace amongst geek^H^H^H^H old skool Internet users to use it to keep the deleted word intact. Nowadays, bloggers strike-through a word instead.
I just added few photos from Hey Day 2007 at UPENN. Mine was more than 10 years ago.
Two examples (what is the girl doing -- photo on the right :) )
Few photos from an anti-war protests in 2003:
nothing much to say here except I like things that poke fun at random things. specially political ones. Stravara Mas blog ( http://stravara.blogspot.com/index.html ) is one such site about Cyprus. With comments like:
We are currently witnessing the struggle in North Stravaraland (note: this is a geographical expression, as used by the German Foreign Minister, footnote not to be repeated again ever) between the Turkish military and the T/C. We are witnessing claims that the T/C are not "Turks enough", according to the head military guy in the North. [Of course, the top military guy should also define more clearly what the minimum qualities of being "Turk enough" are, but I leave accurate definitions to people who can read and write, qualities not expected from military men on either side of the divide.] Earlier in the year, we also witnessed a spat between the head military guy in Ankara and Talat over the infamous Ledra bridge, a spat that was interpreted as political theater by our astute political analysts working somewhere between the Kykkos Metoxi and 386 TP
I am in a satirical mood again so I will pick on the latest on the population census. Full text in Turkish is pasted below. The background.. The "new regime" (hah hah!) claims they conducted a scientific population census in north Cyprus. They have been announcing statistics about it in pieces. Ofcourse, the whole claim was shredded into pieces before even the census was conducted but that is a different story. Today, some data about "migration patterns" appeared in Yeniduzen following a press-release by the government planning and statistics department. The following snippets caught my satirical radar:
"Dense migration pr-1979: According to the data, migration to TRNC gets denser in 1979 and prior years. According to this data 46,795 people came to TRNC or migrated to TRNC prior to and including 1979."
Well, apparently there are very talented people out there because TRNC did not exist even in its absurd state in 1979. It was announced in 1983. These people succeeded coming to TRNC prior to its existence.
"The distribution of the migrants according to countries is as follows: Cyprus 32,285, Turkey 94,977, England 6,900, Bulgaria 1690 and smaller numbers from other countries."
I did the translation carefully. First of all which country is "Cyprus" from which people moved to TRNC (a non-existing entity)? Second, I suppose these people decided to split hairs and separated people from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland etc and gathered statistics about England only? I highly doubt that. Later on they got smarter and defined a new country "South Cyprus" but still insisted on England. Oh well.
Interesting and sloppy language was also used; "the age group that is the most dense in terms of numbers". Nice terminology they got there. They are making sure that we do not think they are talking about molecular density or number density of individual people. It is some "number" and its "density".
They also mixed up "gender" and "species" for which word "cins" can be used but normally they are separated as "cinsiyet" and "cins". So the statement "Amongst TRNC citizens, the difference between species was very small but in total de-jure population it is a lot larger". Literal translation here for our amusement. Species? Donkeys vs Homo Sapiens? (*)
At the end of the day what counts is that:
"When we evaluate the residency of the de-jure population as whole, 114,553 lived in TRNC since birth, whereas those that migrated to TRNC amounted to 141,634".
The village that is visible does not need a guide! a literal translation from yours truly for your amusement.
(*) I am editing this post now. As was pointed out to me, if I am going to be nitpicking even for silly satirical purposes, I should be precise. Ok, "cins" can be used for gender but often "cinsiyet" is used instead. "Cins" can be defined as: "1. purebred. pedigree. pedigreed. pure-blooded. blooded. pureblooded. well-bred. kind. type. variety. species. genus. sex. gender. race. breed. cast. class. diversity. persuasion. quality. stripe. 2. sort. type. kind. breed. genus. species. sex. gender. race. stock. grade. crank. oddity. purebred. thoroughbred. queer. weird. screwy. " I just wanted to pick on it.
At some point I was eager to put photos here. Then I neglected it. Here are links to my latest photos on flickr.
The above photo is that of the defacing of the headquarters of KISA (Action for Equality, Support and Antiracism) in Nicosia. I have written about KISA in the past and applauded their efforts. The use of Nazi symbols by presumably young, extremist, (Greek) nationalist persons and organizations is not new. Like their European cousins these kids are trying to masquerade their own bigotry and extremism as the revival of a ghost ideology. They are nowhere near the complexity, brutality and evil-genius of the Nazis. They are in reality nothing but a small group of extremists who could not even create their own, local ideology , so they are instead relying on on that ghost ideology. It is up to the society and the government to shun these people, to minimize their effect, to marginalize them. Unfortunately, the reactions of Republic of Cyprus to the latest human rights reports about Cyprus are not very encouraging to this end.
As I once said about the "gray wolves", the "blue wolves" will also have to be dealt by the "bears" .
(see below for the article that appeared in Cyprus Mail)