Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Standing Men and Women of Kadıköy (photos by Stephen Freer)

There is a new form of protest sweeping the country now—it started last night at 8:00PM after the brutal crackdown of the weekend (detailed in my last entry) with one man in Taksim Square and now seems to be spreading everywhere—it’s called duranadam, the standing man, although there are standing women and children as well now. We came home to Kadıköy today to see if the movement had spread here, and indeed it had. At Altıyol, where the famous Bull Statue serves as a meeting point, about twenty people stood facing down the hill toward the sea.


There was an old man, many young people, and a couple of middle aged women. People stopped to wipe sweat off the protesters, or buy them water. A couple of Kurds from Adıyaman stood beside me as my friend took pictures.

‘Do you think they will keep going?’ he asked.

‘I hope so,’ I told him.

‘What will happen to them? Will the police attack them? Will standing become a crime here, too?’

Down at the wharf one lone boy stood next to the Roma flower sellers.  He was more serious—he did not acknowledge us when we set that water bottle at his feet—just nodded slightly and kept his eyes focused upward on the flag.

Finally, in front of the Atatürk statue, a bearded young man with a backpack was pacing back and forth as if keeping guard. His friend kept him supplied with water, wiped sweat off his face, and then took a turn when the other got tired.

‘I’m a sea captain,’ he told me. ‘I left my ship when all the violence started against the protesters, and I came here to do my part. We are keeping watch here in front of the founder of my country.’

‘Have any police bothered you yet?’

‘Not yet. No one seems to have noticed us.’

I saw a man that I could swear was an undercover cop—they’re everywhere, but I didn’t say anything.

‘I am ashamed of our press,’ the ship captain said. ‘I am ashamed they stayed silent for so long. My country is a beautiful country, but this Tayyip is a bad man.’

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