It is stupid that someone can die from a snowball. A snowball cannot break a window, but it can break a heart.
I hang onto the idea that Nuh died at the height of something great, if small – just 30 minutes earlier the demo, singing revolutionary songs, dancing in the street.
There is more to say on this, but I don’t know if I can think of it yet. It is too early… But I am trying to make sense of how all politics seems to become stupid – the incident with the University Dean who had to resign because he mocked the Turkish army uniform that looks like a bathrobe, which does not seem that different to the madness of duck pond expenses scandal in the UK, or the hanging chad electoral scam for Bush in Florida. As if the stupidity of politics was making its point by mocking us. Absurd and terrible. Dead for a snowball fight.
Nuh died a few streets away. I don’t think there was a direct connection with the protest we had just left, but there is a strong link to the issues. It really was a joyous protest, with several of the woman protesting in masquerade masks in the snow. So, there is a sense that the fun of the protest spilled over into exuberance on the way home. The shopkeeper – a kind of deli/drinks/snacks/spice store owner is, according to one who runs the cafe I often sit in, a ‘crazy rich guy’ who owns a local shops, he had offered to rent premises to the cafe, but then jacked the price up massively between agreement and start of lease. So, even though I don’t know for sure, and the issue of psychosis is real, I do think this has some wider connection to the gerneral relations between youth and shopkeepers in the context of urban life and changes introduced by government authority – the snowball fight was a bit of fun that was considered disruptive by the shopkeeper type.
My friend Enis says this is some sort of conflict related to sexual repression. A part of the problem was the robust reaction of young men and women – after a demo about the Security legislation and just days after a terrible murder-rape remember – who politely but without backing down, affirmed their right to have fun in the street. A snowball fight met with baseball bats, and then escalating to a knife. Yeldegirmeni Dayanismasi are proud of their formation in Gezi and their sense of local community. So are the shopkeepers, but in a conservative patriarchal way.
A snowball hits a shop window.
The day after Nuh died there was a vigil. All through wednesday, and in the evening thousands of people packed the street to mourn for Lun. It was so sad and so cold for those standing on vigil all day, the comrades support each other but have lost their friend and only want him back. I found that frozen tears are an actual thing.
A mournful song was sung – the whole crowd singing in driving snow. Really heavy snow.
After the crowd had moved off, the windows of the shop were smashed in anger. Despite their grief, anger, loss and cold, women from Yeldeğirmeni formed a line across the front of the shop to stop it being looted in front of the cameras.
What to say to them? I did not speak to them more because they have plenty to cope with and do not need to be looking after some English-speaking whatever looking about trying to understand things from outside.
But I am standing there lost and alone among many people I care about. Trying to understand what I cannot understand. Trying to think of how this fits a wider pattern. Both these killings, Özgecan, Lun, have been in part about assuming a right to the street/space coming up against the conservative patriarchal Government-backed petty bourgeoisie and its control of space. Can we say a kind of civil war is going on? – of which the Gezi protests were a part I guess – why does the government encourage a civil war, the brutalisation of people, the desecration of life
Surely we don’t want to scrabble desperately to find a political angle for a stupid thing, but the stupid things are the shape of politics today. At the same time on tuesday night in the parliament the politicians were bashing each other with the speakers’ gavel. Stupidity again. Trinketization.
Frozen tears. Nuh, is it any consolation that there were revolutionary songs and laughter on your lips just so few moments before you died? Comrade, Red Salute. #NuhKöklü
Statement from Yeldeğirmeni Dayanışması here
Snowball street name change campaign here.