Letter from Taksim

Since the army coup in the 80s, it is probably the first time we break through the wall of fear and we dare to question the sources of the totalitarianism. Everyone should listen to our stories. Despite of the ones who try to divert the truths about what happened to us, we will use the power of social media to reveal everything about this resistance.

31st of May. All week we gathered at Gezi Park after work. We were defending our park and our trees towards the government who takes all the corner stones away from our culture one by one and tries to erase all our memories. After the unfair interference the night before, we had become more angry, more desperate but more confident.  It’s the time for resistance and the matter was no more the trees, it’s about our basic rights and freedom, our future in our homeland.

My friend and I met at Osmanbey and we joined the thousand of people who gathered in Harbiye. Our goal was to reach our friends who were defending Taksim. The people who were standing out in this crowd were the students, the women who attended a protest for the first time in their life, business people who supported us from their window. We were protesting with plaudits while maintaining the peace and suddenly we felt the tear gas. We were ready for the tear gas. With fortitude, everyone was encouraging people around them to walk slowly and we started to retreat quietly.

What happened then? The police threw tear gas bombs in the middle of the crowd which was retreating until it became impossible to see each other and breathe. With the help of someone squeezing lemon to my face, I started to breathe again but my friend was missing, I couldn’t see anything. While I was trying to escape in the fumes I saw a water cannon approaching me from my left. It became closer and closer, and from approximately 1 meter started to eject red colored water with an indescribable pressure. I fell down, the second attack came while I was trying to get up and escape. My head was throbbing, my eyes were blinded and I was pounding the first door I saw shouting “Help me!”. I could hear from behind the police shouting “sluts!”.

While a girl was dragging me into a building I saw my friend whom I lost during the tear-gassing. Inside the building was full of gas, no one could breathe and the porter took us down to his apartment. I was all wet, trembling like a leaf and the left part of my body was in an excruciating pain. When my friend suggested to give me her dry shirt I start to undress. The bone sticking out from my shoulder was not good news.

My friend and the young people whom I met in this humble porter’s apartment went outside the building to find an ambulance. I had no other choice but wait for the ambulance, I couldn’t face another attack. I was in pain, I was trembling…Suddenly we heard someone shouting and banging the door “bring the patient”. The ambulance took us and we went to Emergency Room of Sisli Etfal.

Then? Head trauma, collar bone fracture, a black eye, injured ribs due to trauma and finally an operation. All night I saw young people brought to Sisli Etfal with blinded eyes, muted ears and head injuries. If still there is anyone who questions the disproportionate force used by the police towards a small woman who was trying to escape while being tear gassed, sprayed red water and called a slut, they can come to Etfal and listen to the stories.

After that night everything snowballed. Just 2 years ago, my mother was very worried when I went to the memorial of Hrant Dink. The woman who was sending me off saying “Don’t go, be careful, something could happen”, now is on the streets with lemon in her hands. From advertisers to fashion editors; from lawyers to general managers; if these people prepare solutions with talcid and water; if the ladies from our streets help the young ones with goodie bags that means we had enough.

We are known as the Y generation, the apolitical generation; we woke up and throw the dead weight off our shoulders. We became more experienced with each day of the resistance. For example we learnt the purpose of the barricades, we learnt how to resist the TOMAs [water cannons], we prepared better solutions to fight the effects of tear gas. In one week the dystopian novels became our reality, we are as marginal as someone who runs in the streets in the middle of the night with goggles, we are as much a looter as muddlers of the garbage to reinforce the barricades.

Hereafter the fashion trend is having black eyes, combination of swimming goggles and gas mask. The timeless accessorize is the bottle of vinegar.

Broken bones, first operation, so be it. We saw the civil resistance, the hope and the solidarity in the streets, that’s more than enough for us…as long as they don’t distort our story. The victims of the outrageous rage of the police encouraged by the government shouldn’t be forgotten.

Like Visconti says, “The Earth is shaking”, upon my oath it’s shaking!

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