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I would like to share with you this mag­nif­i­cent and large meet­ing of ants I could unfor­tu­nate­ly not join myself.  From afar in the Basque coun­try where I live, I fol­lowed the prepa­ra­tions for the meet­ing the nits com­ing togeth­er, with much emo­tion and pleasure.

Do you know the “festive ants”?

Among them, I am per­son­al­ly famil­iar with the red­dest, the deep­est mauve, the green­est and the bluest among them, from Istan­bul. I met her as she ran with her pack­sack, from street to street, coun­try to coun­try, enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly dis­trib­ut­ing Life Resis­tance to trees, birds, rivers, human beings…She taught me resis­tance. I’m learn­ing free­dom,  learn to go on mov­ing for­ward with­out stop­ping and with­out fatigue, and I will go on learning…

Once again, she writes her own man­i­festo on free liv­ing, in her lat­est nov­el ’ “The Fes­tive Ants” (to be pub­lished in French by Edi­tions des femmes). In this nov­el, she tells the strange and crazy sto­ries of roads, labyrinths, tales and blues. She nar­rates in the lan­guage of trees and in the smiles of secret loves. With a stick, she keeps the hoop rolling across large avenues and small trails, she shares her poet­ic spir­it with the earth, the seeds, consciences.

The fes­tive ants stitch things togeth­er care­ful­ly, del­i­cate­ly, slow­ly. In Euro­pean towns chang­ing with the faces of migra­tions and exiles, the Earth ants resist and chal­lenge the mafias, the racists, the multi­na­tion­als. They car­ry out their strug­gle so as to share with all their hope and their happiness.

And so, once again, on June 5th in Nice, the hero­ines of this nov­el gath­ered togeth­er to pay homage to human­i­ty, to the trees, the rivers and the birds.

Azu­ce­na, Alex, Manu, Luna, Katy were there. Maite, Roza, Jiyan, Elisa, Pınar Selek were there…

Do nov­els take their inspi­ra­tion from life, or do lives con­struct them­selves the way nov­els do? Avoid­ing the vor­tex set off by this ques­tion, a man­i­festo root­ed in life was writ­ten in Nice, against all oppres­sions, bor­ders, cap­i­tal’s ter­ri­ble preda­to­ry ways, against patri­ar­chal and mil­i­tarist thought, and the world to which it gives rise.

For months on end, ants in dozens of Euro­pean towns worked with care and enthu­si­asm to pre­pare this meet­ing. They cov­ered a lot of ground, doubt­ed at times, but nev­er gave up.

5 Haziran Nice

Toutes aux fron­tières — Every­one to the bor­ders” final­ly crossed all the bor­ders and, on Massé­na Square in Nice, on June 5th, the meet­ing took place. They greet­ed one anoth­er in a num­ber of the world’s lan­guages, in basque, cata­lan, kur­dish, turk­ish, french, ger­man, ital­ian, castil­lan, eng­lish… They assem­bled under every col­or in the rain­bow, and with songs.

It was­n’t the usu­al demon­stra­tion where the few pre­pare and call on oth­ers to pro­vide their pres­ence. The thou­sands of ants gath­ered on that Square were the very sub­ject of the action. This is why a surge of enthu­si­asm ran through the crowd, hap­pi­ness burst forth in laugh­ter,  words were spo­ken com­bin­ing love and rebellion.

There were those who stood on a stretch of side­walk writ­ing their demands in bright col­ors on their posters. Those who cir­cled the Square on their bicy­cles, those per­form­ing music, read­ing texts, speak­ing, hold­ing posters aloft…

On this Square, thou­sands of hearts of all ages were beat­ing as one,    shar­ing the same revolt. Ants Yaşar Kemal could describe as “a coun­try gar­den” chant­ed yet again:

Imagine there’s no heaven,
It’s easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today.
Imagine there’s no country,
It isn’t hard to do,
No cause to kill or die for,
And no religion too,
Imagine all the people
Living their lives in peace
(John Lennon, Imagine)

Fes­tive ants, anar­chists, ecol­o­gists, queers, LGBTIQ+, social­ists, com­mu­nists, apo­lit­i­cals, you who once again filled the polit­i­cal Ago­ra with your rebel­lious hearts, human­i­ty owes you many, many things!

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Ercan Jan Aktaş
Objecteur de con­science, auteur et jour­nal­iste exilé en France. Vic­dan retçisi, yazar, gazete­ci. Şu anda Fransa’da sürgünde bulunuy­or. Con­sci­en­tious objec­tor, author and jour­nal­ist exiled in France.