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It feels so good. Even if we know this mobi­liza­tion around Boğaz­içi Uni­ver­si­ty, a promise of spring in win­ter­time, is hit­ting against, and will con­tin­ue to hit against a locked-in pow­er struc­ture always ready to bite.

Because these youth are like a trans­fu­sion of new blood in the mid­dle of a pan­dem­ic of auto­ma­nia. It sur­pris­es, wor­ries, tres­pass­es over the lines and does not seem to be any­one’s puppet.

Youth offered us a beau­ti­ful “open let­ter to the Pres­i­dent” with all the imper­ti­nence the offi­cial oppo­si­tion has lost, and even some of the kind pro­duced as elec­toral­ism since Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş is in prison.

Yes, they are stu­dents; and in Istan­bul; in a uni­ver­si­ty that had resist­ed so far, some­times by ignor­ing, some­times because author­i­ties hes­i­tat­ed in touch­ing a “pres­ti­gious dis­play win­dow” such as Boğaz­içi which admits slight­ly priv­i­leged chil­dren and who work with “for­eign­ers” so decried by our nation­al­ists. But then, the Pres­i­dent want­ed to sig­nal that the game was over. His decrees reform­ing the uni­ver­si­ty were nice and cozy bid­ing their time in his desk draw­er. As for “admin­is­tra­tor-tutors”, Erdo­gan is expe­ri­enced. He prac­ticed on all the munic­i­pal­i­ties in Kur­dish towns. He had start­ed with a few uni­ver­si­ties, here and there, but in Istan­bul, just think, the temp­ta­tion was huge to leave the new CHP may­or stuck between two chairs, since he already had visions of him­self as the Calif replac­ing the Calif.

Every kind of ignominy rained down on the stu­dents; yet they are doing fine and sup­port is grow­ing for the time being.

I read a paper recent­ly on Duvar – one of the places still hold­ing the ban­ner high for free­dom of expres­sion; it said that insults were rain­ing down on the young peo­ple. Some of them are trans­lat­ed in French HERE. You would have a hard time doing worse.

I also read some neg­a­tive com­ments under pho­tos of the mobi­liza­tion where some of the young female stu­dents wore scarves. And anoth­er arti­cle tak­ing a larg­er per­spec­tive, in response to those sec­u­lar­ist fans fight­ing the wrong fight.

But I also read some­where that these young peo­ple “deserved Erdo­gan’s hell”. Noth­ing less. These young peo­ple or, like in the fable about the wolf and the lamb, their fathers or “their broth­ers” no doubt had not fought the good fight when called upon to do so. There­fore, it would be wrong to sup­port them now. That’s not very nice for the HDP, which is far from rep­re­sent­ing only Kurds. It is most­ly giv­ing in to the image of a nation­al­ist with­draw­al that won’t solve any­thing in mat­ters of “con­ver­gence of strug­gles” in Turkey. But are not those with­drawals a sign of the times? Each in his own shop will nev­er amount to a con­vivial mar­ket place.

Here is an excerpt among oth­ers of the “open let­ter” from those of Boğaz­içi which should bring back to rea­son those who don’t know how to read:

… You main­tain in prison ille­gal­ly the for­mer co-pres­i­dents (Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş & Figen Yük­sek­dağ) of the Peo­ple’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (HDP). And also jour­nal­ists, union members…But we declare that we are in sol­dar­i­ty with those who are not afraid to speak the truth and that we are against all the admin­is­tra­tors put in place by the government…”

This is what they wrote, and these youths live elbow to elbow with all, includ­ing with their LGBTIQ com­rades, very present and inven­tive in the mobi­liza­tion, to the great dis­plea­sure of the big­ots in power.

Yes, what can you do, the fact I’m watch­ing close­ly how this con­fronta­tion around Boğaz­içi will end does not mean I’m falling back into infan­cy. On the con­trary, I’m fol­low­ing it so as not to die an idiot, or prostrated.

I will nev­er be in the camp of those who say “they got what they deserved”, “they should have moved soon­er”. Who can move under a ton of lead? Going to prison is not a solu­tion for the future. Demon­strat­ing con­stant­ly for “lib­er­a­tions” does not make the issue budge by a sin­gle inch. So that to see these youths, many of whom flee to Europe these days, to see them take to the street, is a huge morale booster.

Even if this youth rep­re­sents only a minute sec­tion of youth in Turkey and that it is not real­ly in the image of the black­ness cov­er­ing every­thing, it shows it is pos­si­ble to remain stand­ing today for tomor­row. And sup­pos­ing they will lat­er sing the praise of racism, homo­pho­bia and mil­i­tarism, after what they have writ­ten to the Pres­i­dent, would be an invi­ta­tion to give up for good, and not to see that the roots of Gezi have not dis­ap­peared into the earth. Vic­to­ries over obscu­ran­tism in Turkey will occur against all nationalisms…against all of them.

And even if things end poor­ly, the fact these youths at Boğaz­içi make me a new lease on life, is bliss. These chil­dren have offered me one more year of living.


Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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