This brilliant animated film shows the reality of what happened in Turkey at the time of the outbreak of mass protests against the government this year and how the press simply ignored it. The film closes with a quote by Albert Camus: “A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.”
Police Kids Jack And Jill by BANKSY
Although Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan his last term in office is winding down, he is zealously continuing in his mission to change his country from The Republic of Turkey to the Turkish Republic of Saudi Arabia. Yesterday he ordered a governor in Turkey to monitor young adults who are not married and live together and ‘address the situation’. He is doing his best to ram his conservative Muslim values down the throat of the secular Turkish population. Protests have already been planned against the government for these latest attempts to impose a theocratic system in Turkey in order to make it more like Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Turkish government has been preparing for the upcoming resistance by feverishly purchasing millions of dollars worth of tear gas canisters and new water cannon trucks. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of The Turkish Republic, famously stated that his goal was to have “Peace at home, Peace in the world.” Mr. Erdogan has decidedly pursued the exact opposite of this dictum. He has fanned the flames of a religious/secular culture war in his country that has thousands of citizens languishing in prison for political reasons, thousands of citizens persecuted at their jobs and in their homes, thousands of people injured by his personal police force and a number of protestors have been killed by police in the resistance to Erdogan’s imposition of a Muslim police state. That is Erdogan’s legacy of creating ‘peace at home.’
Erdogan’s policy of creating ‘peace in the world’ has been to harbor, train, arm and send Muslim terrorists into Syria in hopes of overthrowing the secular government there. The results have been atrocious with over 100,00 people killed in that country and Al-Qaeda taking control of large swathes of land on the Turkish-Syrian border. But Turks have also suffered from this policy, as well. On May 11, 2013 two car bombs exploded in the southern Turkish city of Reyhanli. At least 51 people were killed and over 140 people were injured. On May 30, 2013 the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the al-Qaeda group operating in Iraq and Syria, accepted responsibility for the attack, threatening further attacks against Turkey. Many people believe that this was a false flag operation carried out in order to lure the Turkish military into invading Syria. This has been Erdogan’s strategy to create ‘peace in the world.’
One should not be surprised by Mr. Erdogan’s attempt to limit the freedoms of his people by imposing conservative Muslim values on the country and his alignment with Muslim extremist elements in the region. Erdogan was thrown in jail in 1998 for publicly reading a poem that was seen as an attack on the principles of the secular republic. The lines that earned him his jail sentence were: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers…” Many in Turkey are now wondering why he was ever allowed to become Prime Minister when he has proven again and again his contempt for secular democracy and has become quite dictatorial in implementing his conservative Muslim master plan for Turkey. But the Turkish people have proven again and again that they will not have their country ruined by this pernicious man of vision. Protests are already being planned against this latest bio-political policy that inscribes politics directly onto the bodies of young people in Turkey. Writers and journalists (the ones who are not in jail) have already begun writing against Erdogan’s ‘sex police’ policy. We have translated into English Dila Karam’s latest piece: Will You Break Into Our Houses? This article appeared in yesterdays Radikal. You can read the article in Turkish here: Ev mi basacaksınız?
Will You Break Into Our Houses?
by Dila Karam
“We have seen in Denizli that since there are not enough student dorms, female university students stay in the same houses along with male university students. There is no law that addresses this situation. This is against to our conservative democrat mentality. I have instructed the governor of Denizli to bring situation under control.” -Signature: (of course) RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN
I really wonder what the governor will do about this after receiving his instructions. Probably, he will go from door to door with the police to get the people who have reached the age of discretion. WHY? Because university students are adult individuals. Because the citizens of this country, who know their rights and responsibilities, stay in the same houses.
WHY? It is against the mentality of the Prime Minister of the country for them to stay in the same houses. It is against his conservative democratic mentality. Because, as a matter of fact, we are being governed according to his value judgments. We hand over our children to the government to be educated according to the conservative and democratic mentality of the Prime Minister.
The governor of Denizli will be able to kick our children out of their houses with the right that the government gives him. WHY? Because he receives an order from the Prime Minister, who is offended and angry when he is called ” a dictator “. Because, in this country, there are no rights nor rule of law. Instead of them, we are being governed by a conservative democratic system.
I want to ask something: ls it your business with whom and where my child stays? Is it really your business, especially, even me, before saying something – if it is very necessary- if I think about something fifty times and say it once to my child who is over 18? So who are you? What right makes it your business to say what kind of life my child has? Do you remember? You were not interfering in the lifestyles of the people in this country? What happened?
Everyday, children, women, students……everybody and everything is contaminated by some form of your conservative democratic intervention, but l can honestly say that, having already been aware of your conservative mentality, I was not expecting that you would be able to say with whom and where people are allowed to live.
I truly ask: HOW WILL YOU DO THIS? By breaking into people’s houses? Will you kick people out of their houses? Will you make them live somewhere else by force? What if he or she does not want to live in another place? And what if they are happy living with their friends? And what if it isn’t a problem for them and for their families to live with people of their choosing? WHAT WILL YOU DO?
-Translated by Global Perambulator and Co.
Young People In Turkey On The Front Lines Of Democracy
Related Content: Syria jihadists ‘use Turkey bases’
From America to Turkey to Bahrain the equation of police violence is the same. This powerful music video by M.I.A. and Romain-Gavras speaks to the ongoing repression and atrocities at the hands of those in power in police states across the globe. This video also speaks to the reality of American foreign policy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. The question as to why global revolution is necessary in radical forms of direct democracy that put power back in the hands of the people is unavoidable after witnessing Born Free.
Anti-government protestors in Kizilay Square in Ankara
With their protests, Turks have shown that they seek to redefine citizenship and to enlarge the liberal-democratic space in the nation’s politics. The demonstrators, especially those in Taksim Square, have defied Erdogan’s strictly majoritarian understanding of democracy. Their extraordinarily pluralist makeup runs counter to the ruling party’s restrictive religious and cultural definition of citizenship and society.
This civil, spontaneous, politically unaffiliated movement on a massive scale is unprecedented in Turkey. It reflects deep-seated social impulses that won’t go away even if, for the moment, they have been suppressed. And sooner or later it will find a political outlet.
After all, this upheaval is about Turkey’s future identity. And that identity is much better represented by the humor, pluralism and liberalism of the protesters than by the dour disciplinarianism and provincial conservatism of the ruling party.
Read the rest of the article here: Soli Ozel: The protests in Turkey won’t be the last
Protesting the Empire in Egypt
Obama said in his speech to the American people tonight that “America has been the anchor of international security.” This is what the ‘anchor of security’ looks like:
- Overthrowing the democratically elected government of Iran that led to a brutal regime that was overthrown and turned into Sharia Law-based theocracy.
- Killing over a million people in two wars in Iraq that is now a hyper-violent failed state and is perhaps the most insecure country in the world that is not technically at war.
- Overthrowing the democratically elected government of Chile on Sept. 11, 1973 that gave way to a murderous dictatorship to provide ‘stability’ to that country.
- Massive use of chemical weapons in Vietnam that in combination with conventional weapons killed over 3 million people.
- Invasion of Panama to remove a CIA employee who was also the dictator of that country. In that invasion American forces killed over 3,000 people.
- The creation of Al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups in Afghanistan to lure the Soviets into a war there that led to a failed state that became the base to plan the attacks of Sept.11, 2001
- The total destabilization of Central America by financing and training death squads in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua that has made this region the most insecure in the entire Western Hemisphere.
This is a short list that doesn’t include a very long list of countries in Europe, Asia and Africa that the American military and intelligence services bombed, helped to overthrow their governments or supported some of the most ruthless dictatorships of the 20th century. The United States has been the main source of global instability for decades. Obama makes his statements with the most blatant disregard for reality. He is also responsible for a large portion of the tragic instability in Syria today by working in concert with Saudi Arabia and Turkey for arming and training rebels and sending them back into Syria to kill Syrians.
Obama tried to appeal to the American people by asking “What about those images of children in hospitals in Syria after the (alleged) gas attack?” What about the massacre in Fallujah and the use of white phosphorous that burned through the bodies of women and children there? What about the hospitals all over Iraq filled with children with limbs missing and faces blown apart? What about the images of people running naked down the street in Vietnam with their flesh burned off from Napalm? What about the women and children bombed in Afghanistan and Pakistan while attending wedding ceremonies? What about the hospitals in Serbia that were bombed by NATO forces while filled with victims of previous NATO bombings? What about the images of birth defects of deformed infants in Iraq from the massive use of depleted uranium by U.S. forces? Does this mean someone needs to bomb America to teach it a lesson and keep it in line and prevent it from ‘flouting international norms’? This is Obama’s logic, hypocrisy and shamelessness. At least Bill Clinton went to Guatemala and apologized for America’s involvement in the killing of over 200,000 people there. Obama just lies about history in order to continue to keep the theatre of operations open so that the empire can force its murderous hegemonic agenda around the globe. No, Mr. Obama, Russia and China by standing strong against your policies have proven to be the stabilizing force that has just begun to put the rapacious empire in check.
I have decided to post this article again for those of you who have not read it yet. This is because of Obama’s plan to murder Syrians by means of a massive bombing campaign. I originally posted it 13 months ago. Everything in this article is more true today than when I wrote it. The crisis in Syria has exacerbated every situation that I outline in this article to the point where things are truly horrifying. Christians are being murdered by rebels on almost a daily basis and many of their churches have been bombed (as recently as this week). Other minorities are being slaughtered by Muslim extremists every day. Assad is fighting on the front lines on the War On Terror. America, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France and Britain are supporting Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra and everybody else who is fighting against the Syrian government. Let there be no doubt about it. The consequences of these crimes against humanity will be very real for the people of the Middle East for years to come and there will undoubtably be serious blowback against the American Empire and the West.
This is a response to a recent talk on C-SPAN by professor Joshua Landis of Oklahoma University. Before beginning this critique, I would like to note that I have a good deal of respect for the work of professor Landis. He is an important voice in the American media to help us understand the complex realities in Syria and the Middle East. His is a well-rounded and grounded perspective on this volatile and contentious terrain. I am going to explore the omissions (not entirely his fault) and blind spots that were present in his presentation on the current situation in Syria. I do highly recommend that you watch the lecture. It is refreshing to hear someone speak about American foreign policy in a clear and relatively un-biased manner, especially in a media landscape where we have a constant barrage of lies, distortions and sociopathic perspectives presented to us as ‘reality’ on Western and Qatari news programs. Our understanding of Syria and the region would be diminished if we did not have professor Landis sharing his views with us.
You can watch his talk here: Syria and Middle East Security
Rights of Women
One important issue that was missing from his talk (and is missing in almost all discussions on Syria) is the threat to the rights of women if the Assad regime falls. This is no small issue. One thing that surprised me during my visit to Syria is how Western it was compared to other Arab and Muslim countries in the region. Women’s dress is not restricted in Syria and they play a very important public role in society when compared to other Arab countries. Muslim fundamentalists and suicide bombers in Syria do have a Sharia Law agenda that they want to impose on the country. This is not theory. All one has to do is look to neighboring Iraq to see the deterioration of women’s rights in the post-Saddam era. Women used to wear miniskirts, show their hair and walk without fear in Baghdad. Now the situation has completely reversed. Women are forced to cover and are expected to stay at home. If they do not abide by this social practice, they are publicly shamed, and, in more extreme forms of Sharia justice, are raped and murdered.
An Iraqi friend told me that when he returned to Baghdad after the war he was stunned that women were no longer even comfortable speaking to him in public for fear of being thought of as whores. His experience of the status of women in public before the war was the polar opposite of the reality that one is now faced with in Iraq.
One should also note that the situation in neighboring Turkey has taken a turn for the worse in recent years under the Sunni AKP government. The rate of violence against women has sky-rocketed. Wives, fiances and girlfriends have been murdered by their male partners at a rate that is 1400 percent higher than 7 years ago. This is the same AKP government that is supplying their Sunni rebel ‘brothers’ in Syria with weapons.
There is a severe lack of discourse about what the consequences are for women if and when the Assad regime falls in Syria. It is clear why the Muslim extremists working in concert with Al-Qaeda in Syria do not talk about women in their fight for ‘democracy’. Women for them are marginal, servile and functional creatures who are to be neither seen nor heard in public life.
Christians, Kurds and Minorities
In the question and answer period after Mr. Landis’ you will note that there is a Syrian Christian man asking a question about the rights and status of Christians in Syria after a Sunni extremist takeover of the country. He is very concerned about this issue and he has good reason to be. Since the beginning of the so-called ‘revolution’ there have been many incidents of rebels killing Christians and bombing churches all over Syria. The chant of the fighters has been: “The Alawite and Christians to Beirut!” The intentions can’t be made any clearer. Nobody will be safe in Syria after Assad except orthodox Sunni Muslims. Mr. Landis made this very clear to the Christian man when he said that the solution for Turkey was ethnic cleansing. The reason there is no problem in Turkey with Christians is because there are no more Christians. They used to be 20% of the population. Those who were not killed or deported were forced to convert to Islam. All that is left of Christianity in Turkey are ancient Christian sites that are advertised to attract tourists to the country. Istanbul, which is still the seat of the Eastern Orthodox Church, barely tolerates what is left of the Christian community there. The Church has virtually no sovereignty and is at the mercy of the government and its flock has dwindled to almost nothing, when compared to its vibrant past.
If ethnic cleansing and forced conversion has been Turkey’s solution for diversity, take a look at the other country that is supplying weapons and Islamist fighters to topple Assad: Saudi Arabia. There is no country in the world that is as intolerant and anti-democratic as Saudi Arabia. Churches are illegal in that country. Women are literally blacked-out in the public sphere in dress. Saudi is also the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive. Women are subservient to men in the name of extreme Islam and Bedouin tradition. If Turkey and Saudi are the main suppliers of weapons and training of the rebels in Syria, one needs to reflect on what kind of culture is intended to be put in place after the fall of the secular and tolerant regime that is currently hanging on to power.
The Kurdish issue is an extremely volatile issue in Syria. Assad extended greater freedoms and autonomy to the Kurds via political reforms passed after the initial protests had begun. The Kurdish leadership in Syria has already openly stated that if Syria is attacked by Turkey, they will fight on the side of Assad. This issue presents potentially grave consequences of blowback for Turkey. In recent days the Turkish Prime Minister stated that Turkey may need to invade northeastern Syria to crush the Kurds there if they get too powerful. This would mean that Turkey would be fighting its war with the Kurds on three fronts. It is already battling a guerrilla insurgency within its borders and regularly attacks Kurds in northern Iraq.
Hillary Clinton regularly acknowledges that the United States is providing ‘non-lethal’ support to the rebels. There is no such thing as ‘non-lethal’ support. The U.S. claims to be supplying material logistical support and training. That is lethal support. They are training people to kill other people and giving them the logistical means to do so. But to claim that the Americans limit themselves to these forms of support is disingenuous. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are two very close allies of the U.S. Saudi is America’s biggest customer in weapons and military hardware. The Turkish military is trained and armed by America. The weapons come from America, go to Turkey and Saudi and end up in the hands of militant Islamic fighters in Syria. This is not an attempt to make a connection between America and weapons on the ground in Syria. This is the actual flow-chart of weapons from origin to destination: From America to Syria.
It is in this area where Mr. Landis must seriously be taken to task. When he spoke about his shock when dealing with the Chinese about geo-political concerns in the region, one must wonder what planet he is living on. He claimed that America was helping the ‘good guys’ and China was helping the ‘bad guys’.* One needs to merely look at the public record on the history of the region and the world to find where Washington’s sympathies lie. The best place to access this history is William Blum’s website: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II.
If we focus on the Middle East we can find an atrocious record of war, sabotage, coup d’etats, mass-murder, assassinations and the creation of failed states as a result of American foreign policy of global hegemony.
America claims to promote democracy. In 1953 America and Britain overthrew the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mosaddegh in order to attempt to regain control of Iran and its oil. The backlash against this criminal action led to the totalitarian theocratic state that is today’s Iran. America also backed and armed Saddam Hussein to try to destroy Iran in hopes that it would again become subservient to the West. The Iran-Iraq war claimed the lives of over a half a million people. Then when Iraq was perceived to no longer to be in line with Washington’s agenda, it was coaxed into invading Kuwait by U.S. ambassador April Glaspie. America then began a series of invasions into Iraq that resulted in a disastrous occupation of a destroyed nation that is has now become a failed state in which sectarian violence is completely out of control to this day. Millions of people have been killed as a result of American policy in Iraq over the past 20 years. So one must question Mr. Landis’ instruments of measuring who are the ‘good guys’ and who are the ‘bad guys’ in the Middle East.
And then there is the backing of the Taliban and the creation of Al-Qaeda by the United States before September 11, 2001. This was done in order to conduct a proxy war (like in Syria today) to defeat the Soviet Union. And then there is the U.S. support of Israel against the Palestinians. The ‘good guy’ Israel has flouted almost every international law on human rights to continue its genocidal policy against the Palestinians. Our ‘good guy’ in Egypt, Hosni Mubarak is finally in prison for crimes against his own people. And lastly, there is America’s unwavering support of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. The treatment of women in these countries is patently atrocious. And these countries have been the most brutal and intransigent in their response to the uprisings within their borders that have been inspired by the Arab spring. Suffice to say, that there is no moral high ground on which the United States can stand in the Middle East. In fact, one can easily find a multitude of cases that should be brought to the International Criminal Court so that those responsible for the mass-murder of people and the destruction of entire countries can finally face justice.
When Mr. Landis goes abroad representing the U.S. government and supporting its policies, let us remember what agenda he is pushing forward. In General Wesley Clark’s 2003 book Winning Modern Wars he wrote that in November 2001 he had visited the Pentagon and was completely stunned when he came across a list of countries that were to have their governments overthrown by the United States. That list included: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somalia.
So when you turn on the evening news and see the chaos, killing and destruction, you will now understand what a work in progress looks like.
*Addendum: After reading this critique, Mr. Landis informed me that the comments he made regarding ‘backing the good guys’ were made with tongue firmly in cheek. He said that he doesn’t believe it for one minute…
Further reading and video: