Tuesday 1 April 2014

Fool's Day

Fool' s Day

Today, the results of yesterday's municipal elections are being published in this beautiful country.
It is not a surprise that, once more, the sitting party has a majority of votes. Of course, stories of fraudulent activities in many of the voting places do the round. Like stolen bags full of votes, burned votes found at dumpsters and toilets, huge electricity blackouts during the vote counting, changing numbers in favor of the party of Erdo─čan.
But the reality is, that they are the party with the most votes.

In 1994, Aziz Nesin, a great Turkish writer and military activist, declared: 60% of the Turks are stupid.
Well, how right he was.

The actual premier is involved in the biggest corruption scandal ever. Bribery and corruption have formed the warp and weef of Turkish society since time immemorial, but the magnitude of these malversations is unheard of.  But still he gets votes.

Many deaths have been since the beginning of the unrest in Istanbul, which started to save a few trees in central Istanbul became a cry for revolution for the entire country. Last of them, a fourteen year old boy that had been wounded by the police while he went out to buy some bread. To add insult to injury, the premier declared the boy a terrorist, because he had marbles in his pocket. But still he gets votes.

About sixty journalists are in prison, many for years without trial. In the mean time, the TV shows documentaries over the flowers and the bees, oh yes, and penguins, many penguins. But he gets the votes.
Twitter and YouTube are banned, and the premier's wife declared internet to be worse than drugs. But her husband gets votes.

The man wants to install the Shariah, the Muslim law. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Unfaithful and dishonest women would be stoned to death. There are no unfaithful or dishonest men. On the contrary, it is a virtue for men to have more wives. And still the women give him votes.

Votes are being sold for 50 Turkish lira. The party in question has about 30% of the votes, the rest being divided in a multitude of parties. Stupid does not begin to describe what is happening now.
I could rant all night, but let me instead leave you with one of Aziz Nesin's poems
“Be Silent”

Be silent; don’t speak.
It is a shame; stop your voice;
Be silent already.
And if speech is made of silver
Silence is made of gold.
The first words I heard as a child
when I cried, laughed, played were
“be silent!”
At school they told me half truths; they told me: “what do you care? Be silent”
When a girl first kissed me, they told me “Shhh be silent; don’t say a word”
Stop your voice; and don’t speak; be silent.
This went on until I became 20 years old.
The words of the grown up; the silence of the child.
I saw blood in the streets
“what do you care” they told me “you gonna get in trouble, be silent”
Later on my bosses got angry
“don’t get involved; keep your nose clean; be silent”
I got married, had children; I taught them to be silent
My wife was loyal and industrious and knew how to be silent.
She had a prudent mother who told her: “be silent”
During leap years my parents, my neighbors advised me
“be silent; don’t get involved; pretend you did not see anything; be silent”
We might have not had an envied relationship with our neighbors
But we were connected to them by
“be silent”
“Be silent” this person said and that one.
Those high up: “be silent”
Those below: “be silent.”
“Be silent” said our neighborhood
“Be silent” our city.
We swallowed our tongue.
We have a mouth but no voice
We even formed an association:
“The silent ones”
And there were many of us: a whole country, a big power
But mute
We were successful; we reached high goals; we received medals and rewards
Only with “be silent”
This “be silent” a great art.
Teach it to your children, your wife, your mother in law
And when you feel the need to speak
Deracinate your tongue
Make it stop.
Cut it off completely
Throw it to the dogs
It is an unnecessary tool when you don’t use it correctly.
You will sleep well at night this way; no nightmares; no doubts; no guilt
You will not feel ashamed in front of your kids
You will save yourself from having to speak
To say “you are right; I am like you; one of you”
But ahhh!
-Wretched me-
How I wish I could speak
But you will not
You will become a salivating verbalist
Cut off your tongue
Cut it off now
Become a mute
Since you are not gonna speak; you should dare that much.
Cut off your tongue.
This way you will be consistent with my plans
With my dreams
I retain my tongue amidst tears and cries
Because I fear that there will come a moment
Where I won’t be able to take it anymore
I will burst out
I won’t be afraid
I will hope
And every minute
I will fill my throat
With one syllable
One whisper
One stutter
One howl
Which will tell me:

Happy Fool's Day, Turkey


  1. Beautiful poem, beautiful image, great post..

  2. Amazing post!
    Wonderful poem, my mouth fell silent reading and felling so many words that my heart is talking, and when the heart talk the mouth has to open up and speak, speak and speak!
    Thank you for sharing this great, important and touching post!

  3. Great post!I envy your courage to write all that!AriadnefromGreece!

  4. I´m speechless.
    I did not see any TV newscast today, and the only information I get in portuguese newspaper online is from sunday.
    No updates.


  5. I am looking for the freedom, where is it? It's not in Turkey. What a shame!

  6. This is all so infinitely sad, sad beyond words :(

  7. It makes one sad and angry to see this situation... your words are just and the poem is beautiful

  8. Why are you lying?
    I did not get to vote 50 tl
    I did not see the field
    Turks living in Turkey do not disparage the
    Turkey're making money from the sea
    You do not thanked turkey

    Get out from turkey

  9. Dear Asuman,

    I don't totally understand your words, but the general meaning is clear.
    Of course you are entitled to your opinion. Don't call me a liar, though. One day your eyes will open, I hope.