The chorus of those kneeling before politics

The chorus of those kneeling before politics

Nuri Bilge Ceylan raised the Palme d’Or prize and his fist at the Cannes Film Festival. It is one of the most important prizes in world cinema; maybe the most important.

When he proudly embraced his award, the Turkish press was not there with him. Our media must have regarded the event as “not popular enough,” covering it from a distance. We left him “alone,” the director, who received a standing ovation, from the “lonely and beautiful country.”   

When the media was criticizing, the film’s main actor Haluk Bilginer said, “You were not there in Gezi either.” There were others who said Ceylan had good relations with the Cannes lobby, trying to underestimate this priceless victory.

Fazıl Say presented fantastic pieces this year to his audience. Considered as one of the most important composers of today, Say, in a year when he was so productive, was covered with the news of his dismissal from the position of art director of the Antalya Piano Festival and with his pieces being removed from the Presidential Symphony Orchestra program.

Our gifts to our artist, one the entire world, from the East to the West, embraces, were bans and censorship.

There were many supporting Say, but there was also a chorus singing the song: “Say talks a lot.”  
After six years, Orhan Pamuk met his readers with his novel “A Strangeness in My Mind.” The book, providing an in depth reading to our recent history, has, at the same time, a structure shaking the dynamics of the art of novels. 

When the book was out, Pamuk was referred to not with the content of his novel, but with the political messages he gave or did not give. Even those who liked the book said, “Pamuk is writing his books not for us, but for the West.”

Nobody is obliged to like anybody and applaud their artistic productions. A healthy criticism mechanism is what the artist and the art world want. But these kinds of stances, darkening the culture and arts scheme, are only good for restricting art reporting to a populist corner.

We are in need of academic evaluations, qualified and objective criticism mechanisms, culture and art reporting that questions, but not judges. Otherwise, we will be drowned in this cauldron of rumors, in this ever-thickening batter.

When rock music legend Neil Young performed an unforgettable concert in Istanbul, they said he constantly performed with his back turned to the audience. When they couldn’t find anything to say about Morrisey who wrote a song for Istanbul, they said he had put on too much weight.

There were also off-key voices heard though, fortunately, in clear harmony, a unity of voices was achieved while the Golden Orange Film Festival was hit by a censure storm, while Şinasi and Akün theaters in Ankara were being sold, while a wrestling referee and a director at the municipality, a police officer was appointed as general manager of the metropolitan city theaters, while the state theaters told people to mind their own business when they made their actors wear historic costumes for a private reception.

Of course, nobody is expecting a monophonic song in culture and art events; there will be diverse views, different voices. There should be. These voices should be listening to each other. However, these diversified sounds and the other ones that obey the political power that locks culture and arts into darkness should not be confused. 

The voices that kneel before politics have no place in the environment of a song of a free culture and art.