Say has been sentenced: We are awfully shocked! (Part II)

Say has been sentenced: We are awfully shocked! (Part II)

In a way, pianist and convicted atheist Fazıl Say is just further collateral damage in Turkey’s “great leap toward advanced democracy.” For the Turkish useful-and-disposable idiots, Mr. Say is a natural victim whose conviction won’t be recalled by anyone soon. For the self-declared “Western friends of Turkey,” who might be too shy to label themselves more realistically as the “European useful idiots who think they are friends of Turkey,” Mr. Say is not even a victim as long as Turkey jailed its coup-craving generals and made peace with the Kurds.

But there is a problem of simple logic for those who think that Mr. Say should be punished for his tweets and retweets.

Like billions of others on earth, this columnist was not aware that the famous pianist had tweeted what he tweeted. His anti-religion (more specifically, anti-Islam) texts reached millions only after he was prosecuted and finally convicted for these manifestations. As newswire Bloomberg put it realistically in an op-ed piece, “Turkey’s shameful prosecution,” after Mr. Say’s tweets, attributed dubiously to Omar Khayyam, this 12th-century Persian polymath, became a trending topic on Twitter in Turkey (and probably elsewhere) with many reposting the contentious verses.

In fact, the lines that Islamists and Turkish judges thought endangered public order and peace “by insulting religious values embraced by all or a part of the nation because they may have been read by a few people,” were eventually read, reread, debated, posted, reposted, further debated and eventually reached millions of newspaper readers and social media users.

In other words, the “dangerous content” has reached millions who would not have been interested in the eccentric tweets of an eccentric Turkish pianist had the prosecution never been initiated. This is the dilemma: The judiciary simply paved the way for the quick contagion of any “dangerous content” by acting to contain it and punish its perpetrator. Today, Google gave me more than 9.5 million results when I typed “Fazıl Say,” with hundreds of pages boringly devoted to his trial and his “criminal words.”

Since there is no court ban on Mr. Say’s “dangerous tweets,” allow me to remind everyone what in 21st century, EU-candidate Turkey, whose biggest city is a candidate to host the Olympic Games, it is an offense to say:

– Wherever there is jack-off, (a) cheap-jack, (a) thief, (a) jester, all are Allahists.

– (Quoting the poet Khayyam) “You say rivers of wine flow in heaven; is heaven a tavern for you? You say two heavenly virgins await each believer in heaven; is heaven a brothel for you?”

And allow me to remind everyone what in 21st century, EU-candidate Turkey it is just “science” to say. These are excerpts from the colorful and popular blog of the Muslim theologian Ali Riza Demirci, father of the Justice and Development Party’s Beyoğlu, Istanbul mayor, Ahmet Misbah Demircan, featuring his work published in volumes of books featured as “scientific work.”

– “In Heaven, there will be no bachelors.”

– “Every man [residing in the lowest circle of Heaven] will be given 72 women per day. A fully faithful Muslim will be given 100 virgins per day with whom he will have sex all day long. Women in Heaven will become virgins immediately after having sex with men.”

– “Every man in Heaven will be given the [sexual] power of 100 men combined.”

– “Every person in Heaven will return to the age of 33.”

– “Women will be given to men who died in the name of religion.”

– “Men in Heaven will have permanent erections.”

– “Every man in Heaven will have sex with his wife and angelic virgins all day long.”

In a functioning democracy both Mr. Say and Mr. Demirci should be able to express their opinions that “all Allahists are thieves” and that “women will be given to men who died in the name of religion in Heaven.” In an ideologically selective democracy like Turkey, Mr. Say would have gone free and Mr. Demircan would have got a prison sentence a decade or two ago. Today is just about time for the opposite. Neither is democracy.