June 3, 2013
Many words are about to be spent on these four days. Lots of things will be written, and many grandiose political analysis are surely on their way.
But what has really happened these four days?
The resistance for Gezi Park ignited the collective capacity to organize and act between us common citizens. It has been the matter of just a spark…. we saw the very body of the resistance as it walked towards us along the Bosphorus bridge, we saw it endure without fear along Istiklal street; we saw its limbs in each one who, chocked by an excess of teargas, would still struggle to help another; we saw it in the shopkeepers giving us food for free, in residents opening their houses to the wounded, in the volunteering doctors and in the grandmothers banging their pots at windows all night long as a sign of defiance. The police waged a veritable war against us; they ran out of their tear gas stocks, they trapped us in metro stations and shot us with rubber bullets – but they could not break this body. Because the body of the resistance, once on fire, could only go on. And now all of our experiences are part of a collective memory which will run through its veins like lymph, so that we may always remember one simple fact: we can choose our own fate through our own collective action.
We can reclaim our life – and where we want to live it.
The journey which started in Gezi nurtured our strength and courage with its tenacity, creativity, determination, and self-confidence. In no time, the resistance blossomed from Gezi park to Taksim Square, and from Taksim to all Istanbul and then the rest of the country. The struggle for Gezi park became the place where to voice all our rage against anything preventing us from deciding for our own way to live the city. After this display of rage and solidarity nothing will be the same again. No one of us will be the same. Because now we have seen something about ourselves we had never seen before. We did not just see it: we made it together. We saw our own bodies ignite to a spark, and set the body of collective resistance to life. The struggle for Gezi park triggered a youth riot: it assigned a place and a meaning to one or two generations who lived through AKP governments and who equate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with authoritarianism. These are the children of the families evicted from Tarlabaşı in the name of grand gentrification plans, these are the workers who lost their jobs in the name of cutting production costs and privatizing factories. Any struggle to come is now going to be enriched by these generations.
The struggle for Gezi Park and Taksim Square set a new definition of what public space means. Reclaiming Taksim has shattered AKP’s hegemony in deciding what a square is supposed to mean for us citizens, because Taksim is now what the Resistance wants it to mean: our public square. We have seen the resistance that a single spark can ignite, and we know now that we are fully capable of lighting new sparks and new resistances. We can sense our collective might against the dispossession of our commons because we got a taste of what resistance feels like. We shall not step back from where we are now. Because we know that we carry more than one spark, more than one struggle, and that it is only a matter of moments before a single spark turns into a fire.
Müştereklerimiz, or “Our Commons”, is a collective in Istanbul active in the struggle that has blossomed from the occupation of Gezi Park.