Pro-Gezi player faces double standard
ERKAN GOLOĞLUFirst of all, anybody even slightly involved in sports knows that if a player was selected for the national team only one month ago, then he would not be excluded unless he or she had a health problem.
Bogdan Tanjeviç said that Cenk Akyol was not included in the Turkish national basketball squad for “technical reasons.” We hear this often in airport announcements. When top statesmen are late for their plane, somehow the plane starts giving technical failure signals. We don’t buy these tricks anymore - it’s not that we are very smart, but rather because we have gained quite a lot of experience due to all the cheating we have been subject to. They, in turn, without any embarrassment, continue saying: “But we do not have any other number.” That is correct. They are left with no numbers to play.
Secondly, when Turkey is shaking from top to bottom, starting in Taksim, if a TV station shows not even penguins but platypuses, we would be highly upset. Cenk Akyol therefore used his right not to speak to the TV station in question. This right is legitimate, democratic and inalienable. But Cenk’s protest disrupted the comfort of some people, causing them insomnia.
Don’t pay attention to me calling them “some people.” They are the ones who “out-herod” herod. Their title may be “coach” or “Koçbaşı,” or “head of the federation,” or whatever.
Thirdly, the basic characteristic of radical social movements such as the Gezi Resistance is that they distinguish the “face” from the “mask.” Those wearing masks take the front line in such cases, accusing those such as Cenk, who have a face. They say, “But he entered the newly polished parquet floor with high heels.” They are afraid that if they do not say this, they will be pushed out of the game. Their whole life is spent in this fear anyway.
Fourthly, reporting a player who has used his right to protest to his own club, more than anything else means not being able to adopt democratic practices. Also, this stance, from the viewpoint of “our neighborhood,” is an act that calls for the red card. In our style, one does not even report the enemy. If there is wrongdoing, it is settled by us. What is wrong is actually the letter itself. What the writer of the letter should do is not to stand in front of that letter. We are sending our arrows to the letter, not the writer; as long as he stands in front of it, he would be injured by the arrows.
What’s more, the most difficult voice to hear in this storm is the voice saying, “Come on friends, what you are doing is not right.” In any case, the number of friends who can say this is never more than the fingers of one hand. We focus not on the words of the voice, but rather its harshness. We do this in an indirect way and we waste the value of the criticism in those words at one sweep. Don’t pay attention to my good and bad words, try to understand what I am saying. Do not change the satire of the friend with the flattery of the enemy.
Life? It goes on this way or that way. Some people hand the national flag to a racist athlete who has said Gezi was the “work of the Armenians,” while we form a circle around the athlete who has refused to let go of his conscience.
In order not to be caught in a current and to get on with life…
Erkan Goloğlu is a columnist for daily Radikal in which this piece was published on July 17. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.