By Contributor on June 09, 2013

It is the 12th day of the protests. Life in Gezi Park goes on with a different event every day.

A typical day of a Turkish citizen has become: go to work in the day and then go to the park at night. If one cannot, for some reason, make it to the park, then at 9 pm each evening, people come out of their houses and make noise by beating pans with spoons by way of protest, to raise "a voice."

All over the country the evening tea time is now "playing pan and spoon time."

I listened to a 9-year-old girl on a TV channel the other day. She said that she had been to protests since she was 3 years old, but had never experienced solidarity like this; and this from a 9 year old!

She also said, "People invented something called 'money' and this raised the issue of discrimination between rich and poor but Gezi Park is an existence where there is no money, like a utopia."

So how long will this act last? Fear washed over us when the Prime Minister returned to the country several days ago. His partisans, "his 50%," seemed to be asking for his permission to destroy the park.

Is this a call for civil war?

What kind of prime minister instills such fear in his people's hearts?

A young protestor died in Hatay (a city on the Syrian border), as did one police officer in İstanbul. Many are injured and some -- we don't know how many -- are in a critical state.

How can all this be ignored? It is inconceivable.

Neither a headscarf, nor gender, skin color, beard, job, or ethnicity differentiates us now. It is intellect that is the discriminatory factor amongst us.

That thing we search for, that being, that essence, the spirit more than spirit and the intelligence more than intelligence... (inspired by Rumi)

If we can conquer one another with our intellect, then this will really pass beyond a 50% - 50% contention, a festive mood, a pan and spoon playing time.

Maybe then these events will become a real civilian revolutionary act.

Otherwise, I am so afraid, so, so afraid that it will fade away as our prime minister wishes.

But even if the events of the last several days are, for a time, forgotten, I am so sure that we have at least shaken his kingdom with our intellect and our spirit. Like one slogan proclaimed: "Disproportional intellect against disproportional power."

But in all this what are we searching for?

Will we ever find it?

And will the disrespect our prime minister has for democracy -- rule by the people -- ever come to an end?

If a 9-year-girl old can grasp the essence of the struggle, then I still have hope.

Hope that is endless -- hope in the spirit of this country.


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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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