These kids are great!
Internet was born to our very laps, so my generation knows where it came from, how and why it came to be and more or less its ins and outs. However this generation of bright minds, or the brave new world of Turkey, they were born right into it! If we designed the initial stages, they amalgamated their lives by tweaking those designs to their needs. They are one with technology as we will never be, making art, redefining art, documentation and with it, now, journalism.
I used to be one of those journalists who raised an eyebrow at citizen/twitter journalism. However these last 20 days have changed me, much as anyone in Turkey. Juxtaposed to conventional journalism, twitter won the first round: 0-1.
I was walking in nervous circles at the onset of the demonstrations. Not being in Istanbul, I felt guilty, almost responsible for the severity of early violent attacks on innocent protesters. As if should I be there to report on it, they wouldn’t be so vulnerable. The mainstream Turkish media was certainly not helping. They were busy playing the three monkeys, or maybe I should say the three penguins: by now an icon.
But soon I realized, they didn’t need me, or anyone else for that matter, any member of the conventional press, stringers, freelancers inclusive. They were perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. Beautiful photographs, short videos were being streamed straight out of the demonstrations. One more, one less hardly mattered. They were acting as one big body with multiple eyes, multiple arms and millions of fingers, tweeting, sharing, or in their words: chapulling.
It was about time art and humor took their appropriate places in this rash, part punk, part flower revolution. The mainstream columnists, most of them “once hippies, now yuppies”*, lost in nostalgia coined the word “rainbow children” for these brilliant/clear minds of sharp wit.
So after the first few days I stopped fidgeting, and got lost in their world of protest, respect, love, understanding, cooperation, support and much more of what we have been missing, well, forever.
After days of protest, injuries, even deaths, their souls came forth even stronger, determined and defiant. Then I loved them more. When their mothers poured into the squares in defense and maternal support for their kids, I felt a small pang of pain: only if I had made babies instead of photographs, I too could have had one of them. Then there would be one more out there screaming his/her protests.
Up until now most of us took these kids lightly. I knew they were smart, I knew they read and processed more than my generation ever dreamt of, but frankly even I would laugh at the notion of them making a revolution. But a revolution they made. Courageously, they brought us hope, showed us a way, and only for that they will never be forgotten. Neither will their martyrs, whose sole guilt was to wish for a better, more just, more equal world. And a life they could call their own.
*From the song Aquarius, by the Boston band, Tree.