The shock doctrine

The shock doctrine

“Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their sight there is a covering. For them there is a great torment,” (Al-Baqarah - 7).

“This world is a simulation,” said Ayşe Acar, a good friend, a great researcher and documentarist of cultures. “There are very few good, but a lot of evil people. Our mission on earth is to pass the test as honest and good people and lie in rest in the soil. We cannot make everyone good.”

Ayşe is right. Not everyone is born a good person, and we have seen it. The Ankara bombings have shown us how brutal, brainwashed and evil ordinary people can become. To seek the worst in others though, we have to look into the evil within ourselves. 

Turkey has experienced a series of traumas in the past two-three years on such a grand scale that people are practically numbed by all of them. A mine explosion, a civil unrest, a flood, terror attacks, you name it. None of them seem to have created a change in behavior in Turkish society. Life continues as if everything was happening on TV. The entire nation seems to be a test ground for the brilliant journalist Naomi Klein’s theory of the shock doctrine. 

Klein argues that collective events and shocks like the 9/11 attacks are part of a grand strategy. The events are examples of “the shock doctrine,” in which the public’s disorientation following massive collective shocks – wars, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters – are used to achieve control by imposing economic shock therapy. Sometimes, when the first two shocks don’t succeed in wiping out resistance, a third shock is employed. 

Think of the massive traumas this country has lived through and all the things we said about them. The Soma Mine accident should have been President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “Katrina moment,” right? Not a chance. Gezi could have been his and this society’s enlightenment, right? Not even close. So all the talk about the Ankara bombings and all the 99 lives lost in broad daylight in a matter of seconds is just hot air. Turkish society, especially the well-off, the white-collared, the plaza-working crowd of Istanbul will forget this within three weeks. For the people of heartland Anatolia who only watch government propaganda on AK Party-supporting TV channels, the event may not have even happened. The pictures will be erased from the Internet, while TV stations will not show anything due to the gag order enforced by the government. 

So come Nov. 1, Turkey’s picture at the voting booths may be just like June 7.

But then again, how are we going to break this chain? 

Look at the faces and stories of the young and old people who died in Ankara. Look at the symbolism of the train station and the choice of the attack, the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK) as the legendary workers’ union that symbolizes the leftist movement among the blue-collar workers. Teachers, carpenters, engineers, technicians and cleaning workers died there. Just like the Soma mine accident. They were the breadmakers of this society. They were the real backbone of the economy. They died in the place in which the seeds of this very Republic were laid. 

Yes, our eyes must have been really covered. And unless we break the seal in our hearts, there will be a bigger torment coming.