Tag Archives: human rights

For Hrant.

Today, January 19th 2010, it has been 3 years that Hrant Dink was brutally murdered. He was assassinated after years of being threatened, being ridiculed and hated upon. This was brought upon by nationalist, racist and fascist people, government and law. Till now only 5 people are under prosecution but there hasn’t been a verdict yet. It also seems clear that not only those 5 people are responsible for the murder of Hrant Dink.

Many more persons and even institutions inside the Turkish Republic are as such responsible. First and foremost for not protecting Hrant Dink for his right of freedom of speech and as one of the biggest fighters for Democracy in this country. But also for making it possible that there was a flood of hate against the man that only had the best in sight for a country that also he considered his home although he was from Armenian-Turkish descendant and therefor the victim of much racism. They are also responsible for hindering justice for the culprits behind the murder are still protected by those people and institutions and even are part of those very institutions that would make up this pretense of a democracy.

Thousands have stood, listening to friends and family of Hrant, this morning on the place where he fell. Thousands have walked Istiklal to ask for justice this evening. As they have done for several moments during these past 3 years. But still the culprits of the murder. The murder of the pretense of democracy. Are not even punished. They are being protected by whatever state calls itself a democracy. A democracy that can not even provide justice in a murder-case where evidence is very clear. Very clear that this Republic is rotten. Rotten by hatred. Rotten by the murder of innocents.

It is time that this passes. That this is cleaned up. That justice prevails. That democracy shines its light upon this country and that the hatred can be shot instead of those who want to bring peace and understanding. For Hrant. Because we’re all Hrant in this country. We’re all oppressed. We’re all Armenian.

Advertisements

The only thing that matters is that you are able to tell yourself that you want it and that you want it irrevocably! What? That you want to take part in life, instead of being an observer; that you want to make decisions about when to say no to evil – in brief, that you will have civil courage at the appropriate moment.

Svetlana Broz – Essays On Civil Courage ‘Having What It Takes’

The Hypocrisy of a Majority Thinking

In our current understanding of democracy it is clear that societal changes (or any change for that matter) can only be made when 50% or more of the voters agree with this change. Or vote in favor of it. it’s the way our governmental coalitions are formed. It’s the way our laws are forged. It’s the way we are structured. We can see this principle nearly everywhere. In politics. In civil society.
This understanding of democracy seems to be set in stone and certain for some. But is it really something we should strive for in democracy?

Doesn’t democracy actually mean solidarity? Doesn’t it mean inclusion?
Isn’t it highly questionable that this 50% and more rule is actually not working against solidarity and inclusion? I would say No. Because there is no way in this rule that all of society is shown solidarity and the inclusion they deserve. There will always be hatred and exclusion when we keep pretending that in a democracy an amount of people should agree and then after that everything would be okay. Just okay.
Because it isn’t. If only a certain amount of people agree then there is another amount of people not agreeing with whatever that should be agreed upon. This is a democratic deficit.

It’s a democratic deficit as such that if those decisions and agreement carried by that majority would harm that minority that disagrees, it would mean exclusion and discrimination. It is a democratic deficit since harm is done to minorities and that that then is carried to the institutions that form our societies.

Can we then still say that we live in a democracy?

Islamophobia and racism walk hand in hand through the Swiss mountains

When writing this it look like the referendum on the banning of Minarets in Switzerland will pass with a majority of votes. The referendum will decide upon the faith of minarets in the ‘neutral’ mountain state. And since in Switzerland referendum are binding this will become a practice put down in law.
It is quite astonishing how something democratic like that is being used for something that discriminatory and would become a tool to spread hatred.

This ban on minarets in Switzerland is only a signal of the times. The signal that hatred, that racism, that islamophobia, that a despise for minorities, that non-respect towards the ‘others’ is gaining field in our ‘European’ and ‘Western’ societies. It’s gaining field and is about to be set in stone. Into the law. The law that is supposed to be written for all of a countries citizens, inhabitants. Is this now how we see democracy in the ‘West’? I this how we drive discrimination to new heights? Is this how we want to be en example of the implementation Human Rights and democracy in society?

No We Shouldn’t even pretend.
It is clear that with the extreme right gaining more and more votes. With so many political parties embracing discriminatory policies. With the institutionalized spreading of hatred. We are not even worth pretending to be an example for so-called developing countries or the Global South. We’re nothing more than hatred for everything that is different or unknown.

DirenIstanbul/ResIstanbul 04.10.09

direnistanbul-logo9

All tough  some very stupid and biased Dutch television journalist stated at the beginning of the protest that with Turkey being heavily hit by the economic crisis one would expect thousands on the streets to march against capitalism, waving at only 20 people assembled, it turned out a great march with around 200 to 250  protesters.

The protest in itself lasted nearly 2 hours. Marching from Tünel Square over Istiklal till Taksim Square whilst shouting slogans and singing songs. Accompanied by a samba band the mood was great. The reactions from the crowd that was walking through Istiklal was equally great. Fantastic even. Many people cheered and even joined the march. The efforts from the Revolutionary Clowns Army to clean up Istiklal from consumerism and multi-nationals gathered also a great deal of attention.

As was expected the police stayed out of sight when the protesters were marching through Istiklal and were waiting at Taksim Square. As has been for decades, also now protesters were not allowed to enter the Square. Even tough many Turkey based multi-nationals and even football hooligans are allowed to use the square for their celebrations or advertisement no political or non-governmental organisations has had that privilege for over 30 years. A sad and undemocratic fact underlining that no one is truly free in this country. Oppression is just around the corner. Over and over again. And it was proven by the reaction of the police yet again.

As there was a small police corridor blocking the protesters from going up to Taksim Square they continued to play music, sing songs and shout slogans. And as the Samba band retreated for a moment to decide what to do next people continued singing and shouting. Since the police still had not closed the protesters in completely the samba band decided to just walk around them and show up behind the police corridor and that action was soon followed by many. And then it started.

The Police was totallt not prepared for such an action. Luckily for direnistanbul. But acted quickly and formed a new police corridor still not allowing protesters to go on the Square itself. Whilst the samba band continued playing people started dancing against the corridor and trying to push the police for an opening to the square. The Revolutionary Clowns Army declared their love to men in uniform. But nothing could warm the hearts of the apparatus. The police even grew colder and were provoking by pushing protesters with shield and bats back to Istiklal, Only to forget that they were creating a vacuum where yet again the samba band jumped in. Unfortunately the police then decided it was time for teargas. As soon as the flasks were seen by the protesters they backed down. But still continuing to play music, dance and sing. Continuing. Till they were again on Istiklal street.

This was as such only the second manifestation of a whole week of actions against the meeting of the IMF and the Worldbank on the 7th and 8th of October. Many more will come. And many more people will be present. But already the protesters know; the police, my friend, is not your friend. So who knows what will give.

Mesophotam Social Forum

The past 2 days have been quite the shock. Shock in a very good manner. Being in Kurdistan, being in Diyarbakir is an eye-opening experience.
The wish of so many people, people who have been oppressed for decades and even centuries, for peace, freedom and dialogue is truly inspiring.

Being here at the MSF and talking with so many people, with so many organisations is not only politics. It’s also emotional. The people living in this area of Kurdistan have suffered so much. Sons and daughters have been killed. Woods have been put on fire. Bombs have been dropped. People have been resettled in a brutal manner. And that all because of a war that is still going on. A war that is caused by a state to oppress and deny people their human rights. A war that was caused by imported nationalism. A war that was supported by Western weapon trade.

The dialogue at the Mesophotam Social Forum is as such important as it gives people hope. Hope for change. Hope, that even as the state and politics screw up, it is in the power of people to live together in peace. Peace.

The only thing that disturbs me is the omnipotent presence of people from the EU. They seem not to understand the situation here and take the time to talk and preach. they seem not to notice that they are indeed disturbing a dialogue between people who need this badly. The EU’ers lack of knowledge of what happened and is happening in the region is even not understandable. When people interrupt emotional speeches by asking questions on what exactly the Armenian genocide is or what Kurdish identity is, it shows how much they care. I distinctly have the feeling that many Westerners have joined this Social Forum from a sense of exoticism or even oriental ism. And this is bloody wrong.

Because if in this region peace will be established, if freedom is achieved it will come by the people living here. And again; by those that have been affected by war. As they know how valuable peace is.

CDN Summer Camp 2009

6373_128912525928_715390928_2196782_1107310_n

I have to admit it; it was nuts. Thirty-five hours on a fucking bus. It was nuts. And that was only the way there. It took us another 34 hours to get back to Istanbul. Nuts, I say.

Being dropped kilometers before the Georgian border whilst you had bought your ticket to Batumi. A Laz taxi driver who told the story of the Iron Curtain and his people’s separation by it. Children begging for their life at the Batumi bus station. The matroeska between Batumi and Tiblisi breaking down.

Stressful to say the least. But then there they were. Ten days in Georgia. First and Executive Committee Meeting and then the CDNEE summer camp.

The CDNEE summer camp as such is every year a great experience. Only the pretext of having so many countries assembled and being able to experience so many personalities is already a big hurray. But considering it was a summer camp with the big topic of ‘Green Values’ it was worth a Mexican wave. Seven days long we discussed in workshops on gender, non-violence, democracy, anti-militarism, human rights, etc..As if we couldn’t get enough from discussing we would also continue during the evening and nights sitting under the stars in the middle of nowhere and drinking some cheap Ukrainian vodka mixed with sprite. Emotional discussions. Rational discussions. Content wise discussions. Pragmatical discussions. We had them all. Even discusssions on whether or not playing a killing game was ‘responsible’. And it was great. F*cking great even.

I might have to forget how sick iIl was during 8 out of 10 days, how i couldn’t keep in food, how the toilet bowl was my best friend or how i got easily annoyed by the differences between EU and non EU countries. But still it was great.

And then the busride back to Istanbul. After that I’m quite sure I will never ever set a foot again in a long distance bus. NO way. No No Never. F*ck no. From the women with magical expanding powers to the unfriendly and sexist bus driver till the bloody aircirculationthingy that didn’t work and no sleep for 34 hours, I’ve had it with buses.