- Posted June 7, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Protests across Turkey
Reporting for Turkey, from outside of Turkey
- sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer
Dear CNN & World,
I am a 23 years old Turkish citizen, the head of personnel of a Turkish construction company and I am writing this letter from my office in Gabon; Africa. I can’t work. I simply cannot concentrate on a mail regarding arrangements when the tab next to my Microsoft Outlook has pictures of Turkish citizens crying for help for the love of democracy; a new one every 5 seconds. My fingers and wrists are sore, for the past few days all I could do was punch the letters on the keyboard and click the mouse countless times to retweet, share. Since there is no internet in the hotel rooms, I occasionally find myself occupying the office up to 20 hours a day to follow what’s happening in my country, Turkey.
Being outside of Turkey is nothing new for me; however it was for the first time I felt terribly guilty for it. I was guilty for letting my friends get gassed and arrested in the name of freedom without me. I was guilty for not being able to keep my colleagues company as they march to Taksim Square straight off work. I was guilty for not being able to give the people my apartment to shelter, my food to eat, my water to drink and my vinegar to ease off the reaction from the chemicals sprayed on their bodies. I was guilty for not being there. Physically.
My mother appeased me, saying what I do from Africa is as much as important as what my friends do in Turkey. I couldn’t comprehend. All I did was stand in front of my laptop, refreshing Twitter, retweeting the truth and posting videos on Facebook. How can this be as important as running away in fear for your life as police brutally wave their bombs of justice on top of you? People were bleeding because they are hit on the head with a shell fired from the forces, the most uncomforting feeling I got was when my leg went numb.
At that moment I had the feeling which every child has when they hear their mother tell the truth, yet they desperately don’t want to accept the fact that she is right. However, mothers are always right.
Like the feeling of enlightenment you get after that point, I had a feeling of liberation flowing through my veins. I realized who I became. I was no longer 23 years old, I was no longer head of personnel, I was no longer in Africa and I was no longer guilty. I became a reporter with quotes, cameraman with videos, photographer with images, a 24 hour news channel with everything I posted on the social media.
The local media of Turkey has been a symbol of dictatorship for the last few days, censoring everything about the events, disagreeing to show any documents from the protests. Ever since the first moment I waited, waited and waited for the local media to start educating the rest of Turkey about the events. The times that I went up to my hotel room, I followed the news of Turkey, from African news channels that had the decency to put at least captions on. At the same time one of the Turkish channels were hosting a beauty contest, the other showed instructions on how to bake delicious cookies and the other one was showing a documentary about penguins. Waiting was useless. They weren’t there. Not emotionally, not mentally, not physically.
Corrupted media’s efforts to silence the protestors were effective as closing your eyes to avoid the music. I wasn’t alone. Turkish citizens who accommodate in UK, Belgium, Italy, France, US, Canada and many more locations took over the social media. We contacted the news channels all over the world and like CNN, they responded in a way Turkish media refused to.
We are a generation who is confusingly stuck between the constant, inevitable modernization of the world and the irrevocable feeling of peace from having retro traditions. However, these days have been a perfect combination of the two. We kept our values that made us who we are almost a century ago, and used the 21st century tools to defend those values.
As my final words I would like to inform the rest of the world on what this movement is about. This movement is not about a party, or an opposition party. On the contrary, the lack of, is the reason why people took matters to their own hands. This movement is not about religion, we are not saying that Turkey is not an Islamic country; we are saying that it’s more than just that. This movement is not against the ones who cover their heads; it’s against the ones who cover their minds. This movement is about freedom, independence, honour, existence, democracy and the fact that the reality of many should out do the corruption of few.
The latest news is that up to thirty people have been arrested for the crime of “conspiring against the government via social media”. Reporting for Turkey, from Africa;