MyFace Book – review by Prof. Süreyya Karacabey

Presentation of an Event:

These two headlines bear the qualification of pointing to two fundamental characteristics of the book even before starting to read it. The first one alludes to what is related to the personal, and tells of perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the personal: the face. Yet, those who’ve read Levinas would know that “the true face is the denial of the face,” and selfhood becomes a problem when its seal consists of what belongs to me and what runs away from me. As for the second one, it is an objective entitling of the personal. While hinting at the epistomological existence of the book, it does something similar again; through the act of revelation, it ambiguates this very act itself: what actually is this thing called a bookperformance? If this introduction looks too inexplicit, let’s expand on it then.

 

MyFace Book / Bookperformance

In this text, about the work in hand, what should be done should actually not be an introducing a book but a presentation of an event. If introduction refers to what is written in the blank situated at the range of the relationship between the pre-defined /pre-identified and what accompanies it afterwards, then a discussion held on MyFace Book (Yüzüm Kitap, 2012), which established its unique existence on the banks of “just now” by deconstructing the categories concerning the genre fiction, shall at best become a presentation of an event.

In this work, as well, the point in question is clearly a narrative, through which people, objects, times, short stories and cases pass. The Speaker/Writer incorporates a technique, which we have been familiar with since the emergence of the avant-garde, in the texture of her narrative. This technique is one which places an emphasis on materiality. It is the explicit foregrounding of the elements composing a work, the disclosure of the means composing a work; thus, art not as a conclusion but as a process. In contrast with the conventions of the classical art (that promotes art as a signifier) it is a form in which the signified is liberated. It is just like a painting not presenting the receiver an object of contemplation but pointing to the characteristics of the wood, colors and the brush strokes it is made up of in this current phase of art. MyFace Book likewise broadens all the elements constituting the narrative at all leves and embraces them radically.

In this work, the radicalness of the emphasis put on the materiality of the material fastens the status of the text in a strange interspace, and the intention of the avant-garde is brought to a further state. I call this as extreme transparency, and something else occuring once this transparency has been carried to a radical line does constitute the undecidableness of the text. The fact that a transparency case constructs itself in the undecidable is a strange characteristic of the text, or a step to estrange a naturality.

While the book thematizes its own processuality and demonstrates the reader how it actually does this, it makes two planes in the narrative interpenetrate each other: 1) The processuality of the personality that is transmitted by the daily chronical as well as literary background of the person attempting to write the book 2) The processuality of the book that is transmitted by the narrative background presented to the reader.

The speaker of the narrative reminds us of the means of autobigraphy as genre while telling us of her own autorship process by stating the elements which she is composed of such as her memories, correspondences, friends, family, dreams and her essays she wrote before she attempted to become a professional in her writing career. She does continue her narrative by conjuring up the means of other literary genres, as well. Therefore, the narrative expands to another plane, which is established on the pluralistic facilities of narratives, by also involving a theoretical opening like how to write a book or what a narrative is. The book describing itself as “performance” already on the cover, but it does not confine itself to that, and creates its own manifesto explaining what is meant by “performance”. While constructing a processuality at all planes, the narrative also embodies the theorization of what is actually being constructed.

While doing all this, by demonstrating how it is doing all this, the book can be described as “theatrical”. It is theatrical, because the narrative time is stopped by the speaker at the very present between herself and the reader. The pieces of the past are always recalled from this very present and incorporated into the narrative right in front of the reader’s eyes.

“They said that everything could be read on my face, and maybe because everything is better read on my face, I wasn’t able to write to you. Thinking back, how could this be? There are some people in some places who talk about something like the conscious, the preconscious, the unconscious, and even the subconscious, and they say we need all these to be understood. I wonder if we have really been imprisoned within a single face. Have we been sentenced to this one face for centuries?”

We shall look through the transparency the book unwinds for us, but never be deceived by appearances.

Süreyya Karacabey, Professor in the department of Theory and Theatre at Ankara University. Her work mainly focuses on Heidegger.  

On the plagiarized character of John W. Sexton

Wherein one of the angry minions of Ialdabottistan, one ‘John W.Sexton’, claims  intergalactic Magus Martinus Benders is ‘arrogant’ for attempting to improve some mediocre verses scribbled by earthlings no one in the Galaxy has ever even heard of. Martinus Benders was kind enough to let Loewak reprint his retort. 

Dear John,

The real arrogance, my dear misguided fellow, lies exactly in the idea that scribbling down some mediocre verses and claiming no one else has the right to improve them is enough to have a shot at the status of Demi-God in the brainwashed backwoods you call ‘society’. Let’s be frank, John: its the exact reason you got involved with the substance we call ‘poetry’ in the first place. You were brainwashed into the belief that it was actually possible for you to achieve this Demi-God status within your own little status pyramid by scribbling down a few lines of mediocre code and threatening the world rest of your life with lawyers. John, in my neck of the woods we snicker at ideas that are so obviously primitive.

Back in the days when your primitive planet wasn’t hijacked by neokapitalism as of yet there was an oral tradition, where every bard tried to improve the songs in his portfolio and put his own stamp on it. Nobody cared and rightfully so, because ‘the sacredness of the original’ is a religious product of the era of industrialisation. There was a clear reason why all of a sudden the original NEEDED to be sacred: and it has nothing to do with poetry or criticism but rather with capitalist personality culture: where any decent, clear critic would see and understand that Lorca wrote a few good poems that possibly would need no improvement, and a huge chunk of his work consists of mediocre verses that any normal intelligent society would declare open for improvements, your society did something different: it declared that whatever Lorca has written is sacred, and this idea of sacredness has nothing to do with the work itself – its based on a personality cult of Demi-Gods, that function like intellectual celebrities sometimes also known as ‘The Canon’.

Man is likely the most religious creature in the milky way, and when the old institutions started to fail we saw countless sparkoffs of these religious constructs, one of which was the ‘poetry world’ – a small, incestuous place where people attempt to achieve Demi-God status and would do anything in their power to achieve it. I freely admit that it’s one of our favorite frogponds to watch from up here, because it is so particularily silly. Anyone with a clear mind would see that the entire construct is false: all of the great poetry written in the 20th century is out of print, and yet here we have a few fat, incestuous frogs that blow up their cheeks at the idea that someone would copy their bizarre croakings. Foul, mean creatures that would do whatever it takes to achieve  a Demi-God status within their little universal pond: they lie, cheat, swindle, lick ass and do whatever it takes to become this one thing they always dreamed of: a frozen sacred personality that is immortal. Arrogance, John? You want to speak about arrogance? I’m sorry for breaking the news but if you had a real problem with arrogance the likelihood of us seeing a Mr Sexton hovering around in the poetry world would approach zero.

Fact of the matter is that the only context in which ‘the sacredness of the original’ would make sense would be in the era pre printing presses, the oral era. But no one has ever managed to explain to me why it is that, when there can be a clear orginal that is saved on a piece of paper, one would go at incredible lengths to actually try not to change and improve the original, as if one was still living in the oral era where such acts would actually destroy the original work. So what we really see here is two overlapping systems: oral era logic in a industrialized age. Same goes for the modern day internet: a communist structure with a capitalist reward model. I am sure John W. Sexton freely listens to songs on Youtube all day long, and he never actually wonders why it is all these songs are so free and he never needs to pay a dime for it. I can tell you why, John. You can listen to them because they were stolen and disowned. Sure, they mostly still have the name of the original artist on it. But he doesnt make a dime anymore from his crafts, and has to be satisfied with – yes – the notorious promise of a Demi-God status. Why does he even want money? Shouldn’t he, just like John W. Sexton, puff and grovel at the idea that some other artist would STEAL HIS SONGS and his ONE SHOT AT BECOMING A DEMI GOD WITH THE SUPERPOWERS OF HIS MIND? Oh hell John, I dont know. Let me tell you that we truly enjoy the spectacle of all these insipid little sectarians from up here, with their silly status gatherer culture.

Let’s face it: they are not really interested in poetry. To them poetry functions like a videogame: its all about ‘levels’. They write poems as if they are pressing buttons on their keyboards and every magazine functions like the ‘End Boss’ does in a videogame: once beaten, there should be a bigger and more hairy one on the horizon. As millions of videogamers grovel for some imaginary status to validify the enormous waste of time and the sheer boredom of having to do countless and countless repetitive acts so also our ‘poets’ are pitiful creatures that try hunt for some imaginary status while any sane person could see that 99.9% of all great poetry written in the 20th century is totally out of print and no one reads poetry anymore. The solution of Mr Sexton? He calls improving poetry ‘arrogant’.

Well, Mr Sexton, in our neck of the woods we see things a little differently. You worry about plagiarized works: why dont you worry about plagiarized personality instead? Because what you are doing is simply a plagiarized form of behavior that points at a severe lack of real character: you copy the behavioral patterns of the social group you belong to, and call a mindless, boring article that only sums up what everyone in your social group already knows and believes ‘very intelligent’. But we all know it isn’t, dear Mr Sexton, it’s all just plagiarized drivel. But leave it up to some sore tarts to have a need for sensationalist witchhunts: plagiarism, a term that came from the world of science, because writers, in all their sectarian farcicalness, with their ‘peer reviews’ that  resemble scientific peer reviews about as much as a tea shuffle resembles a gangbang: Mr Sexton – please take your little, gossipy, sensationalist-capitalist humbug elsewhere, because you and your Daily Inquisition are exactly the reason why most poetry is out of print. You, Mr Sexton, are nothing but a carbon copy of the group you belong to. You, Mr Sexton, are plagiarism.

Martinus Benders

Reinventiamo L’Amore con Myface Book di ÇiÄŸdem y Mirol?

Reinventiamo l’Amore con Miafaccia Libro

di Çiğdem y Mirol?

Miafaccia Libro è la mia “libroperformance”. È parte di una struttura più grande che esplora non soltanto una relazione di eguale sviluppo tra libro e performance, ma anche il trasferimento d’amore che lega l’autore e il lettore. Il ‘libroperformance’ non è né un soggetto néun oggetto letterario, sia esso creativo, di critica o di consumo. In particolare, è una teoria pratica che ha origine nei miei studi accademici. In generale, il ‘libroperformance’ potrebbe essere considerato come il punto di partenza per un’intera Weltanschauung d’indirizzo universale. Chiamo ‘libroperformance’ in ugual modo come una ‘performance d’autore-lettore’ e una ‘performance del lettore-autore’. In un inconveniente impegno tra “alta” e “bassa” cultura, questi due fattori si mescolano per produrre ciò che viene chiamato Miafaccia Libro (Yüzüm Kitap). Nelle scene finali di quest’opera si trova il “Libroperformance Manifesto” il quale – ricordando il nostro posto di lettori e autori ancora sulla scia del modernismo – riflette la parallela testualità e realtà dell’autore come un Sé veritiero e creatore di verità. Di certo io, l’autrice, vi presenterò, lettore o lettrice, al mio libro. Ma è ancora una presentazione: noi (tutti) facciamo il resto. Pertanto invito tutti noi a portare la nostra attenzione sulla lettera d’amore, scena d’apertura di Miafaccia Libro.

 

Reinventiamo l’Amore?

Mio amato lettore, mia amata lettrice,

Mentre leggi questa lettera, sarò probabilmente lontana. Ti starò scrivendo altre lettere. Ma questa è la mia prima lettera per te. È la prima volta che mi sento così coraggiosa. Adesso ho il bisogno di dirti cosa sento, perché so che se non lo faccio non sarò compresa. So anche che non cercherai di comprendermi da solo o da sola. Credo questa sia la ragione principale per cui questa possibile tardiva lettera potrebbe essere così in ritardo. Ovvero, avevo in te una fede sentimentale che mi avresti compresa un giorno, che mi avresti trovata. Voglio dire, questo è stato il mio sbaglio sentimentale. Tuttavia, per essere trovati si deve prima cercare. L’ho appena scoperto. Questa scoperta mi sta facendo scrivere queste righe. Mi sento molto in pace adesso che ho la forza mentale per scrivere queste righe. Sarei impazzita se avessi aspettato ancora. Non mi troverai facilmente se non mi rivelo, lo so. E anche se rendermi così ovvia potrebbe non renderti più facile il trovarmi, almeno c’è più di una possibile fortuna per la nostra relazione, piuttosto che nessuna.

Dicevano che mi si potesse leggere tutto in faccia, e forse proprio perché tutto mi si legge molto meglio in faccia, non sono stata capace di scriverti. Ripensandoci, come potrebbe essere così? Ci sono certe persone in certi posti che discutono di certe cose, come il conscio, il preconscio, l’inconscio, se non addirittura il subconscio, e dicono che è di queste cose che abbiamo bisogno per essere capiti. Mi chiedo se siamo stati imprigionati dentro una singola faccia. Siamo stati davvero imprigionati per secoli dentro questa singola faccia? Vorrei aver guardato più attentamente la mia faccia. Allora anch’io avrei visto che non c’era nient’altro da leggere sulla mia faccia che una paura esitante. Sono stata ingenua, ti prego di scusarmi. Non ho preso in mano uno specchio, né tantomeno mi sono fermata al passare davanti ad uno di essi per guardarmi accuratamente. Scusami, di non aver visto i miei sbagli, e di non aver scusato me stessa, allora.

Adesso vivo nell’attico di una vecchia casa. Sono arrivata qui senza alcun avere; ho preso con me soltanto la mia sedia rossa. Ti scrivo queste righe ad un tavolo inclinato di fronte ad una finestra inclinata. Mentre scrivo, non guardo le mie dita, ma lo schermo. Quando non guardo lo schermo, guardo fuori dalla finestra che comincia dove lo schermo finisce. Vedo il cielo durante il giorno. Vedo il cielo che delle volte è tutto bianco, delle volte tutto blu, delle volte blu e bianco tutto insieme, delle volte grigio, e delle volte del colore del fango. E nelle sere, non vedo nient’altro che il mio riflesso nella finestra. Scrivo opposta al mio riflesso. Per lo più, guardo durante il giorno e scrivo durante la sera. Il più delle volte scrivo quando piove. Da qualche parte c’è una radio accesa, e le parole che sento dalla radio stanno nella mia mente. Qualche volta succede qualcosa di strano: nella mente mi si blocca il subconscio. Voglio che tutto ciò che immagino, tutto ciò che non so immaginare, tutto ciò che sarò capace di immaginare e tutto ciò che non sarò capace di immaginare, si mescolino con la tua immaginazione in queste lettere e questi spazi.

Sai cosa? In realtà il mio amore per te l’ho già ufficialmente dichiarato con una tesi di laurea. Dopo averla letta, i membri della commissione m’hanno detto che le cose che avevo scritto non riguardavano affatto il libro di cui s’occupava la mia ricerca, ma hai fatto un buon lavoro, hai una forte immaginazione, complimenti, così hanno detto, la tesi va’ pubblicata, deve trovare i suoi lettori. Perciò, anche a me è venuta voglia di pubblicarla, e così mi sono messa in contatto con alcuni editori, ma poi non si è fatto vivo nessuno, non si preoccupi, m’hanno detto, il che ovviamente mi ha fatto preoccupare, così ho lasciato perdere. Poi però ho capito che la mia tesi non sarebbe potuta arrivare tra le tue mani, che non avresti potuto leggerla. E ancora mi chiedo se c’è un modo per cui tu possa trovarla e leggerla? Ma lasciamo stare, niente di ufficiale ti interessa ancora, lo so bene. Per qualche ragione, tu di questi tempi sei interessato soltanto a te stesso, e in realtà neanche a te stesso, ma solo alla tua immagine. Guardi sempre le tue immagini, ti ‘piace’ sempre qualcosa, commenti, condividi, aggiungi sempre persone alla tua vita, poi le cancelli dalla tua vita, e suppongo che non pensi così spesso alla mia esistenza o alla mia non-esistenza, forse la possibilità stessa della mia esistenza è qualcosa che non esiste veramente per te. Ecco anche perché forse ancora non sarai capace di trovarmi. Non mi ascolterai, non mi leggerai, e così come questa lettera non ti raggiungerà, anche il mio amore per te resterà qui.

Mio amato lettore, mia amata lettrice, sono così diretta, e forse non dovrei essere già così schietta con lei. Mio rispettato lettore, mia rispettata lettrice, per piacere questa lettera non la butti via, forse le piacerà, e anche se non le piacerà, la condivida, e se non la condividerà, almeno la commenti. Per adesso, miei rispettati lettori, mie rispettate lettrici, riguardatevi bene. Siete sempre nei miei pensieri, vi prego di tenere questo bene a mente. Si, siete nei miei pensieri, in ogni riga e parola che scrivo, anche negli spazi dove non ci sono parole, voglio dire nella mia coscienza. Ma niente è scritto sulla mia faccia, vi prego dimentichiamoci questa illusione. Siete nella mia coscienza. Esistete sulle punte delle mie dita. Questa verità non è un qualche errore battuto dalle punte delle mie dita, ma piuttosto quel che è stato battuto dalle punte delle mie dita è una possibile vita per noi due.

Ancora una cosa, in realtà ho una richiesta da farvi. Spero che non vi ci vorranno cent’anni perché mi capiate. Non sopporterei altri cent’anni di solitudine. Io voglio essere capita adesso. Se mi capite adesso, mi dico, cosa non potremmo fare in cent’anni? Immaginate!

Dopo tutto non siamo forse persone dello stesso mondo? Poi volevo svelarlvi anche un piccolo segreto, e apprezzerei davvero se restasse tra di noi: capire significa, in un certo senso, divertirsi, d’altronde anche se non sono sinonimi, sono omonimi, proprio come i suoni che facciamo quando capiamo e ci divertiamo. Omonimi.

Con la speranza che un giorno ci riuniremo da qualche parte.

La vostra amata autrice

 

P.S. Vi invio tutto di me, forse perché sono un’autrice-protagonista che cerca di scrivere le sue storie in un libro di racconti.

 

***

“Reinventiamo l’amore?” è la scena di apertura di Miafaccia Libro, Yüzüm Kitap in turco (ISBN: 9786054623112, pubblicato nell’Agosto 2012, presto disponibile anche in traduzione inglese come Myface Book). L’autrice Çiğdem y Mirol considera Yüzüm Kitap come la prima libroperformance (‘kitaperformance’ in turco, ‘bookperformance’ in inglese), una costruzione che vuole offrire un approccio teorico innovativo alla questione dei generi letterari. “Reinventiamo l’amore?” è stato tradotto da Hermes David Verhagen e la traduzione è stata autenticata dall’autrice Cigdem y Mirol.Per maggiori informazioni: www.cigdemymirol.net.

Ballotism: the kindergarten variety of democracy

When one looks at the media its increasingly hard not to be surprised about what nowadays has to pass for a ‘democracy’ in the news and in political debates. One wonders, have these people ever studied the entire system devised by the ancient Greeks and later on by Montesquieu? It’s as if they think just putting up some ballot boxes is really enough to call yourself a ‘democracy’. However, any educated person would know that the system thought out by our forefathers was much, much more complex and requires a decent Trias Politica to function: a government divided into different branches that operate independently and have a system of checks and balances in place to make sure one branch doesn’t dominate the others.

How tiring is it exactly to hear Erdogan present the idea of crushing minorities (”terrorists, looters, alcoholics, heretics”) as a principle of democracy? Everyone with even the slightest hint of education knows exactly the opposite is true: crushing minorities is not a democratic quality but rather a fascist one. Any government that has not a decent Trias Politica but rather a fake one should be labelled ‘fascist’ because without a Trias Politica that’s the only thing a government can essentially be: a banana republic.

The modern ‘Playstation’ version of democracy, however, seems to have forgotten all these complex issues our forefathers were so aware of. Democracy? Just some ballot boxes, and after that you can just do whatever the fuck you want, as long as you have a decent part of support. Habeas Corpus? Is that a new pizza flavor in the Walmart freezer department?

From Egypt to Turkey to Italy – you show me the proper system of checks and balances, and then start talking about ‘democracy’. We live in an age now where ‘secret service’ now means a bunch of guys reading everyones mail. That already is an impossibility in a Trias Politica: the only way such absurdity is possible is in the absence of a checks and balances system for government powers.

Hence, we just can no longer afford to use the word ‘democracy’ at all anymore, unless we seriously reinforce the Trias Politica on a global scale. It should be replaced by the word ‘ballotism’, a political system invented in 5 minutes by some overweight teen who never read a book in his entire lifetime and thinks of every leader as an ‘End Boss’ of the level he happens to be in. Erdogan, as the ‘End Boss’ of Turkey, surely does his utter best to look both as scary and as cartoonesque as is virtually possible.

Ballotism is a political system that is actually worse than fascism – simply because its so childish. You can’t even hear its proponents speak without losing your straight face. When an End Boss, the Ballotist equivalent of a President, calls half the country ‘terrorists’ you simply know that this evil End Boss does what he is designed for: be a tool for young adults to practice their button pressing skills on. Fortunately the Turkish youth are really apt at ducking this Bosses gassy breaths. What End Boss will they find on the next level? No one knows yet, but I think we can safely say that as long as Ballotism rules the country, it will be the intellectual equivalent of a simple computer game.

Martinus Benders, Mierlo, 07-07-2013

Ankara police violence report by Ceren Turan

My friends whom I was trying to organize from Facebook were planning to be in Kızılay around 16.00 pm, synchronized with the larger group attending the Facebook event so that we don’t get gassed individually but as a group. The plan was to meet in front of the Zara Store on Atatürk Boulevard – the main street in Kızılay. I have to admit that it was one of the stupidest decisions we have ever made since that street was at the heart of the riot. Taking our masks, scarves and a couple of lemons in our backpacks, we tried to get to our meeting point. One of my friends, Melih, was already on the field. Another one was coming from Olgunlar, a street that crosses Atatürk Boulevard.

The moment I got to Atatürk Boulevard, I saw a large group walking down. Not seeing the gas bombs, and not being able to realize the helicopters aiming at people to throw tear gas, I kept on walking. Then I heard a noise, the loudest I have ever heard in my life. Then I saw the gas coming out of the bomb which was less than a meter away from me. At first, its effect was nothing more than burning eyes. I didn’t yet know that the adrenaline blocks the pain receptors for a short while in times of shock. We ran as fast as we could for there was no point in trying to hide, we were out in the open. The moment we turned right, I thought the police could no longer throw gas, at least not as close as the one we got hit by a moment ago. So the adrenaline started dropping, and for the first time in my life I realized what it felt like to suffocate. People often complain about burning eyes; and I’m not saying that they don’t have a point. When the gas is coming from a distance, it’s only the eyes that are affected by it.

But that moment, I thought I was going to cough out my lungs. Luckily there were people waiting with vinegar to help people. A girl told me to take of my mask and started pouring vinegar on my face. Normally I would have objected someone trying to put acid on my face, and would try to cover my eyes. But I couldn’t breathe, so I let her do whatever she wishes. After a while of struggle and drooling, I’ve managed to breathe again and started walking to find my friends. I found one of them in a couple of minutes and we started walking back up from the street parallel to the one which the main action was taking place in. One of the strange things that still stay as a mystery to me is that if someone asked me what I would do if I were to encounter what I did at that moment, I would probably say that I’d go home without a doubt. But that day, I didn’t even thought of going back, and neither did any of my friends. Instead we put more vinegar into our masks and tried to slice a lemon with our hands and teeth for we didn’t bring knives not to get into trouble with the police – yes, ironic, I know.

Around 16.30, it was four of us joined to a larger group chanting slogans against AKP (Justice and Development Party) and for the protection of the Taksim Park. Staying there for a while, we’ve decided to go to Konur Street where there were other people whom we can meet with. At this moment, I should explain the defense and the police lines. People at the upper parts of the city (Tunalı, Tunus and upper Atatürk Boulevard) aim to go to Güvenpark, to move on to the Congress House. There is also another group around Kızılay Square, with the same purpose. The main problem is that since the police forces were throwing tear gas from two locations (in the middle of Atatürk Boulevard), the group on the upper parts and the one on the lower parts couldn’t join. Many people kept on trying, walking against the gas. Although one gets used to the gas easier than expected, the threat of getting hit by its shell is a major one. Therefore, by the end of the day, people had managed to move only a one or two hundred meters. Instead of joining one of those two groups, we have decided to be on Meşrutiyet Avenue, one that crosses Atatürk Boulevard.

Around 18.00, the amount of tear gas increased drastically. People trying to get to their homes were trapped, so we tried to help as many people as possible. There was group on Meşrutiyet and others on almost every street that crosses the boulevard; and there were small fires on every street. However unlike what the press claims, it wasn’t the violence of the people that caused the police to use gas, but the other way around. At certain moments, it was impossible to be on the streets, so we went into restaurants that opened their doors for us. For almost four hours, we dealt with the tear gas and helped people.

Around 20.00, we went back to the boulevard, after getting a message from a large group of friends that they were also in Kızılay. We heard a gas bomb exploding, and thought that it was tear gas also. But this was something else, it wasn’t just burning our eyes but I remember my eye lids going numb. A girl sprayed milk on my face and my eyes and told me to keep them open for a while.

With the shock of the events, I tried to keep them open for a very long time thinking that I would go blind. After a minute or so, a guy came with talcid water and managed to calm me down. It’s not just physical pain that puts people into stress but also the images they have in their heads. I’ve read the day before that the police would start using orange agent that day and if one drinks water after breathing the chemical, he would be paralysed. So even the gas itself doesn’t do that much, the fear of it blocks one from moving. We are still not sure what that gas was, probably not orange agent, but when I saw my friend she told me that she felt exactly the same. After that point, we’ve decided to leave, and come back the next day.

02.06.2013

Sunday morning I had to have a really long argument with my parents to go to the center. After seeing what had happened the day before, they were nowhere close to letting me go. I’ve managed to convince them saying that I won’t go to Kızılay, only to Tunus to help with the cleaning as people were doing in Taksim on the same day. What we saw when we went to Kızılay was a lot worse than the day before. We couldn’t get to Atatürk Avenue at first (around 15.00). We’ve spend some time on the smaller streets but this time it wasn’t possible to stay on Meşrutiyet Avenue either. Because it wasn’t just the police throwing gas, so was the civil police. At first we weren’t aware of this and were walking down Meşrutiyet with a large group. Then we started having gas bombs in the middle of the streets. When we looked up, there weren’t any helicopters but people on the roofs of the building and on footbridges throwing gas.

Realizing that it was a greater threat to be surrounded by buildings, we went to the boulevard on which the police can throw gas only from two directions. That day I have experienced something I thought would never happen, at least not in Turkey. For days we knew that violence had reached incredible levels and the police was attacking people; not to stop them but to kill them. What was different on that day was that I saw two groups of police lines like the day before. One was located a couple of hundred meters away from us on upper Meşrutiyet Avenue and the other one at the same distance below. The latter was throwing gas at least three, four times a minute, synchronized with the people on top stories of the buildings so that a group running away from one is forced to be attacked by the other one. In between these attacks, the police were waiting for a few minutes; making people think that they would stop. Yes, no matter how violent they were, we were naïve enough to think that they had a sense of humanity in them and that they would stop eventually. So whenever they stopped, we tried to walk down. And every time we started moving, they threw new bombs: not close to us, but on us. They knew that we wouldn’t leave, so they wanted to “stop us”.

Around 20.00, we had decided to leave because after three days we could predict what could have happened next, and unfortunately we were right in our predictions. With the police located in two places; when the day light was gone the people in between would be trapped. They would have to run for their lives. Of course at that point we didn’t know that the police would also throw gas into the buildings, and take the ones into custody who get out of the buildings in desperate need of fresh air. I was back at home when I read the news. Hundreds were trapped in stores and a mall (Kızılay Mall). One man died in the mall and the rest has taken into custody. So many of my friends whom I talked to around 2 am, told me that they ran from Kızılay to upper parts of Tunalı, trying to get away from the police, and that most of their friends were in custody.

03.06.2013

I must admit that today I went to Kızılay because it was impossible to stay at home for me. I had seen the video of people stuck in that mall and all I was wishing for when I went to Kızılay was to avoid getting arrested. It wasn’t the custody that bothered me but I knew I would be horribly injured by the cops if they were to catch me.

The greatest problem with Ankara is that people are not organized. We kept hearing the news from İstanbul about how the Çarşı group “won” Taksim and that the police had to leave. We don’t have that sort of organization of in Ankara. And since it is the capital, the security measures are a lot higher than that in İstanbul. So many people in so tiny groups (even a hundred is small in such a case) are trying to walk to the Congress House or to Güvenpark. On the prior days it was better, but today since it was Monday, most people went to work and smaller number of people in resistance is always a bad thing.

The agenda of the police was obvious. They knew that the groups would be even smaller and they should better get rid of them before they get larger after 18.00, after the end of the labour time. We got to Kızılay around 16.00, and were walking down to Karanfil Street. We could smell the gas and a minute later saw the gas bomb a hundred meters away from us. When we tried to go back, we ran into people telling us not to because there also was a gas bomb. Realizing that we were stuck there, we went into a café. The first thing we saw when we entered was a man lying on the floor held by a few others. His leg was bleeding; apparently it was broken so badly that his lower leg bone was out in the open. We had been later informed that he had been hit by a gas bomb on his leg. He needed an ambulance immediately but we knew that if we were to call an ambulance the police would locate us and come to take us all. We tried to contact the people whose numbers we got from the social media. We shared on Facebook that we were trapped and that there was a man in need of a doctor. In a short while we heard the ambulance but it couldn’t get close at first because the police was still throwing gas bombs outside. Finally the ambulance took the injured man.

Some people were checking if it was okay (I cannot say safe, because nowhere was safe) to go out. We thought of every direction we could go but there were police forces everywhere. We could hear the helicopters passing. I think we spent longer than an hour in that café. The owner told us to act like his customers – meaning hide our backpacks filled with masks, vinegar, lemons, tissues and scarves, remove our masks and most importantly get rid of our looks filled with hatred towards the cops. He told us that in the last couple of days, the police came into the cafe and because they don’t have the warrant to take the customers of a café under custody, they walked out. It didn’t sound really convincing that the police forces actually obeyed the law, but it wasn’t like we had another chance rather than doing what the owner just proposed us. So we did our best to pretend. We even ordered tea and put backgammon on the table, I even remember my friend calling the waiter to ask for dice for we thought that the police may discover our cover.

They threw tear gas into the café, not directly the inside of it but into the separate entrance part. It was getting harder to breathe nonetheless, and we knew that we had to get out. People coming from outside and the posts on the social media were saying that going to Kızılay was very risky and it was held by the cops – they were arresting everyone on the streets – and that we should go to Sıhhiye. Putting on our masks back on; we got out of the café. We had to pass Ziya Gökalp Avenue. The police was standing really close to us (at most a meter or two away). Luckily their backs were turned. They were shooting at a group on the other side. We ran for the next fifteen minutes and managed to get to Tunus Street. Having the Bilkent bus cancelled, I took the cab to Bahçeli and came back to Bilkent by the bus.

Ceren Turan

 

Collected Works postponed

 

Dear reader,

I hereby announce that my ‘Collected Works’ which were announced to appear in May 2013 will be postponed for publication at a later date, somewhere in 2014. When I started creating the book in December 2012 I was optimistic enough to think I could simply translate all 3 of my books and add a few works, and then a Collected Works would be available a half year later. Possible, but it violates my sole principle, the only principle I write by: that each new book I publish must be better than the previous one.

I therefore have decided to go the hard way and to completely rewrite, rehash and refurbish my entire oeuvre, combined with writing new work directly into English. This must result in a book of English poetry that will be ‘as good as native’ – perhaps a goal hardly attainable, but a goal worthy of effort, nonetheless.

People tell me no Dutch author so far has been able to write in any sort of profound sense in the English Language. Gerard Reve, one of the iconic Dutch writers, tried and failed rather miserably. Maybe so – I made my call on this particular Minotaur and I’m already lost in its Labyrinth. I can say, however, that both preface and new poetry so far are at least promising enough to be inspired for quite some time. In the meanwhile this year two Dutch poetry books will appear from Nicolette Marie and Eddie Besselsen at Loewak Publishers.

Martinus Benders / Editor – Loewak Publishing House