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An Uprising for Dignity

Thursday 6 June 2013, by Ahmet İnsel

The Gezi Park rebellion is nothing like the Arab Uprisings. It is neither an uprising against a dynasty coiled up as head of state for decades, nor a demand for fair and equal elections against an autocratic head of the state running dysfunctional elections against a non existent opposition. The resistance at Gezi Park is the outrage of a segment of the public brought to the end of its tether with the reckless and disproportionate use of force by those in power. In this sense, the people who poured into the streets not only in Istanbul but all over Turkey and resisted police intervention with determination are similar to those of the Spanish, French, American “indignants’ movements” . It is an “uprising for dignity” which overruns the abovementioned in leaps and bounds in terms of participation.

To be half of the voters

This reaction can’t be sufficiently explained as the opposition to a series of political actions of the ruling party at the local and global scale. First and foremost, it is a reaction against a personality who perceives opposition and criticism with the viewpoint of a toughie in trouble, a reaction against a personality nurtured under a culture of submission. It’s the uprising of those who are fed up with this aggressive and dominant political style, this disdainful tone, those who think that their dignity as citizens is jeopardised. This is why it is not a riot against the regime, it’s an uprising for dignity. “Tayyip, resign” is the most popular and powerful slogan at the Taksim Square, Gezi Park and at other places around Turkey . This however doesn’t mean a denial of Erdoğan’s legitimacy as winner of the elections. Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people are saying that Erdoğan is pushing and crossing the borders of democratic legitimacy (not legality) with his actions. Not only with his actions, but with the way he does things and with his choice of words, with his demenour and tone, Erdoğan oversteps this border of legitimacy. As he boasts continuously that half the voters are behind him, he sets the other half against him. He excludes them. He openly declares that he doesn’t consider them. He harms their “dignity as citizens”. The Gezi Park rebellion is the expression of this harmed “dignity of the citizens”.

The loss of the feeling of security

In addition to this “injured dignity“, there is a perception of intervention to lifestyle. People feel that their lifestyles are more or less under threat, they feel insecure against a hyperactive personality who believes he knows what’s best for everyone . The urge to protect their personality is added to the injury of their dignity.

Suggesting the hand of the Ergenekon behind the youth , the engine power of the Gezi Park resistance, calling this a struggle to return to the old regime, blaming external powers, represents the codes, assesment styles and conspiracy theories of the old regime and the rhetoric of an absolute power. Let’s be crystal clear. Talking about the formation of a new political tutelage in government reveals that we are trapped within the codes of the old regime. What we have today is not a political tutelage exhibited brazenly over Erdoğan’s personality, it is a regime of direct domination . Those who believe that their dignity as citizens and their democratic values are violated are revolting against the one who dominates them.

Source: Radikal, June 4th, 2013