Not Happy Eid!

Not Happy Eid!

It is not a “Happy Eid!” but a very sad one, especially for Turkey and Syria. Even from very far away, I feel that I can no longer cope with the sorrow of hunger strikes and the tragic turn of events concerning the Kurdish issue in Turkey. Besides, every day I feel devastated by the fact that things are only getting worse in Syria.

I am someone who has lots of reservations concerning hunger strikes as a political strategy, regardless of whether it is a method of peaceful and passive resistance. I cannot stop myself thinking of the tragedy of the loss of life and health in order to direct public attention to a political cause. Nevertheless, I am not someone who can explain away such a move of “commitment to a cause” simply as an expression of political zeal. On the contrary, I am more bothered by the limits of democracy which hinder the Kurdish political movement to express itself in more humane ways. I am also more troubled by the insensitivity of Turkish public opinion concerning the hunger strikes and the Kurdish issue in general.

We in Turkey witnessed terrible events and lived through the “dark war” of the 1990s. In the end, there should have been a point at which we overcame our prejudices on the Kurdish issue and the Kurdish political movement in particular. But no, Turks are more concerned about ensuring the survival of the centralized political system and ensuring “national unity,” and that stops us from reconsidering the idea of “national unity” along with more flexible lines.

Yes, we are more concerned by symbols of political authority with an emphasis on Turkishness than being bothered by such things like “social peace” and “the value of human life.” So much so, that the sensitivities of Turkish public opinion come before anything else, meaning hunger strikers are being seen not as “victims of the democracy deficit,” but as “trouble makers.” It is not just the position of the government, the general mood in Turkey also says something along the lines of “they are killing themselves to give the government and/or Turkey a hard time.” I just feel sad, not only about this terrible turn of events and the democracy deficit in Turkey, but also about this “humanity deficit” which has become more apparent with the hunger strikes.

As for Syria, I am simply devastated by what is happening there, given that I visited the country many times and ended up loving Syria. I know that anybody who says so can quickly be labeled as being pro-al-Assad, but we should not fall into this “trap.” Yes, Syria was better than it is now! And, yes, the al-Assad regime was despotic and terrible! Anything is better than civil war, but it should not be an excuse for the survival of dictatorships; moreover, people in authoritarian regimes must be supported in their fight for freedom.

We all know that there are Syrians who are willing to struggle for freedom and we also know that the men with guns are struggling with the regime in the streets, but not for more freedom. Alas, Syria is in ruins and nobody seems to seriously care.