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Istanbul Gezi Park Anniversary

I have been waltzing between the living room and my computer all day now. In fact, I have been doing the mambo in my head for days.

I never had a writer’s block before. Never really know what it is, but if anything this could be it. My mind, my emotions are overwhelmed with all the death, the mayhem, the senseless injustice. I feel numb. Catatonic almost. I wake up every morning with a sick feeling. Seek an escape in dreams early at night.

But the waltz which started at exactly 4 a.m. this morning, much like many other a.m.s in the mornings past has to end right now, right here. At exactly 4:57 p.m. I write this: the price we pay for freedom, in all the lives that we lost, is unbearably high.

There will be marches in several major cities across Turkey tonight. People, despite the cold, will gather and chant against oligarchs, against the injustice of the verdict served today at a court in Kayseri on the case of Ali Ismail Korkmaz, a young man who stepped out in defense of freedom and who was ambushed and fatally beaten by thugs and police, and who died from his wounds because a doctor refused to treat him and sent him home.

Tonight they will chant, tomorrow everyone will go to work like nothing happened. Ali Ismail Korkmaz will not be forgotten, no. His immortal crooked smile will don red flags in demonstrations, and his name will continue to be reflected on stage in rock concerts along with others who were killed during Occupy Gezi protests.

His loved ones will embrace his absence, as will they embrace their sorrow, more profound now than before as the perpetrators got only minimal sentences, and that for causing injury, not death, as six go behind bars and two walk free.

A young man, in his early 20s, “dreaming of a free world” died in his bed, all alone, after he was beaten by several men much larger than him, holding wooden sticks, who trapped him in a street corner and kicked him when he fell. He was defenseless. He was unarmed. But his dream of freedom held such power that it scared those that beat him to death. His dream scared them to death.

To this young man, I give a verse from Shakespeare’s King John – although I bet if he lived, he would rather have one from Pink Floyd; only if he lived, I would even quote Pink Floyd:

I am too high-born to be propertied,

To be a secondary at control,

Or useful serving-man and instrument

To any sovereign state throughout the world.

The price we pay everyday for freedom is unbearably high. But we know no other way, as we are no servants nor instruments to any sovereign states throughout the world. And that in and of itself, makes us targets. And that makes us free.

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