Thursday, June 20, 2013

Daram Adam

Protests against the Turkish government have now entered their third week.  After police removed their tent city and re-opened Istanbul's Taksim Square to traffic, activists continued to protest, but often in more creative ways.

The one that's had the most effect recently has been dubbed duran adam, meaning 'standing man' in Turkish. For more than six hours on Monday night, Erdem Gunduz stood motionless in Taksim Square, passively ignoring any prodding or harassment from police and people passing by.

His protest has inspired activists in Turkey and around the world to assume the same pose.  You can see a bunch of photos here showing both Gunduz and a number of other people standing...just standing.  It's certainly a more effective method than burning yourself alive, a protest that began the Arab Spring uprisings, and one that's probably less likely to get you killed.  However, it's a tough call to stand anywhere for six hours.  I find it hard enough standing for an hour and a half at the Sunny Side Up singing practice, and I'm doing something I enjoy at the same time.

Photo courtesy of Petr David Josek/AP

I've begun to have a greater interest in things related to Turkey, of late.  Earlier in the year I did a course in which I trained to be a tutor to people wanting to learn, or improve their English. A couple of weeks ago I finally got a student to work with, and he turns out to be from Turkey.  He understands some things well, other things barely, so the first two sessions have been a matter of discovering what he does and doesn't know.  I suspect that will go on for some time yet!  It's very rewarding. 
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