BELGİN AKALTAN - [email protected]
Thank you for being so brave… Thank you for being so clever... Thank you and your friends for having taught us so much over the course of the past few days that we have difficulty catching up.
Yes, I’m talking about my son and all the other young people staging the Gezi Park resistance in Istanbul, now in its 12th day.
I thought my teachings, lectures and giving examples from my life would never end for you. Well, it ended on the day of June 1, my dear. Now, you are teaching me what is right and wrong. I am outdated. Your father is also outdated. Now, we are learning from you.
Let me admit, I had seen the sparks of wisdom in you before this and you know I have complete faith in you and your future and your friends. But, really, frankly, I did not know you were so wise.
I was supposed to be the source of information. I was providing you all the social knowledge needed.
That’s what I thought. Well, you taught me you are better informed. Some of yours need confirming but you taught me to question my information sources.
“You are so much more peaceful than us. You are so much cleverer than us. You are much wittier than us. You use technology much better than us, a million times better. You are more artistic than us. You are much more humanistic. You have so much solidarity with each other. And you have left a much more permanent mark than any of us…” This is what Ertuğrul Özkök wrote in daily Hürriyet on June 6.
You have taught us creative ways to stage a peaceful resistance. You have shown us what kind of strength, how much power you have when you come together. You have taught us how we can say “no” to the oppressor; how we can defend our core values. That there is not one way but several ways to stand up for our rights…
I admire your wisdom, your wit, your creativity… Here is a letter that’s circling in the internet, writer not known:
“We are the apolitical children of this country. Generally you wouldn’t hear our voice because we had never spoken together before.”
“We did not say ‘no’ before. Actually we wanted to; for example when our internet was restricted, when a ban on abortion was attempted to be introduced, when Taksim was seized, when our tables were pulled out by force from under us; when we were insulted as ‘drunkards,’ when you became fixated on “absolutely three children…”
“When you interfered headlong into our private lives where even our mothers and fathers did not interfere, when public announcements on morals were made… We wanted to say ‘no’ very much…
“We could not do it because we did not know the method… You had made us forget how we would find each other 30 years ago. You had scared our families. And they us… For this reason we could not go any further than murmuring to ourselves.
“Then on May 31, 2013, at 5 in the morning, we, harmless, unarmed kids were protecting a park in the most innocent way you could ever imagine, in other words while we were reading, singing, being very happy for seeing each other, while we were embracing the trees; you came against us with your panzers and with the gas you cherish more than us, you attacked us. You injured us. ‘We stopped listening to you’
“On June 1, 2013… We became tens of thousands… Some of us were on the streets for the first time… Some of our fathers said, ‘This time, you should go.’ They sent us. Some of our mothers were yelling on the phone, ‘Come back home!’ We answered, ‘Not this time.’ We stopped listening to them, just as we stopped listening to you…
“For the first time we heard our own voices… And do you know what we recognized? That we are not afraid… That there is nothing to be afraid of… Our eyes burned, our breath was taken away. Cartridges passed to our right and left. We put on our goggles. We put our Talcid, Gaviscon, lemons and masks in our backpacks. We were stronger than ever. The more you gassed us, the more we multiplied.
“We are the people. You taught us this. You withdrew your police from Taksim. This time it was again us who stood up against men with sledgehammers in their hands, those who burned busses. We did not abandon the square to them. We took our garbage bags. We planted saplings in Gezi, we cleaned Taksim.
“In short… You know what happened? You had forgotten us. You were not hearing our voices. You were condescending to our demands. Now, we reminded you of ourselves. We told you ‘This country belongs to all of us and you cannot disregard anybody.’ We said we are free.”
All of these Gezi resisters are our children. I’m so proud of you and your friends, my dear son… I’m so proud I’m your mother. Thank you.
PS: Don’t gas them prime minister; they are our children. They are not enemies. Show half the mercy you have shown to Syrian refugee children. Think of them as Palestinian children. I am scared to death every evening as any other mother, terrified to think your mood would change any moment. Please prime minister, they are our darlings…