RUMEYSA – Spirit of Gezi protests recollected in PHOTO book

Spirit of Gezi protests recollected in PHOTO bookA little more than a year has passed since 2013andrsquos Gezi Park protests, but the resistance is still influential in the arts and culture sphere, from art exhibitions to books, and especially as a reference to the youthandrsquos powerful energy that embraces many fields, from arts to everyday life and sociology.A recent photography book released by the G Publishing Group successfully captures the outcomes of this youthful energy, as well as the oppression by the state and its police force that caused the uprising.

Titled andldquo#direngeziparkI: Spirit of Turkeyandrsquos Gezi Uprising,andrdquo the book features photos and a concept designed by Bora Samman and Tamer Tamar and text written by Baran Alp Uncu and Gungr YIldIzbayrak. The book both captures the soul of the Gezi resistance and reminds the reader of the landscape during the protests.

The photos in the book not only cover standalone, instantaneous moments from people resisting actively but also the more permanent outcomes of the resistance, such as murals, graffiti and social media posts. As such, the book emphasizes the network of ideas and humor that accompanied the protests.

andldquoThe pen is mightier than the sword,andrdquo say the bookandrsquos authors on their website. andldquoResistance was unarmed.

Social media posts and graffiti gave courage to Gezi protests. Street art making fun of oppression, musicians wearing gas masks, bubble-blowing girl and silent sit-down demonstrators.

Disproportionate intelligence against disproportionate police violence. Nasreddin Hoca, the ancient Sufi satirist, must be grinning in his grave.

andrdquoIndeed, throughout the protests, humor had a central role and with all its references to the arts, media, politics and sports, the humor that accompanied the resistance served as a reminder of the youthandrsquos level of intelligence.The photos in the book are divided into several different sections according to their content.

In the first section titled andldquoResistance,andrdquo there are strong images of people resisting in different ways. andldquoThe thrill of the first protestandrdquo captures young men protesting by an overturned car while another photo, titled andldquoReaction,andrdquo shows graffiti along the display window of a bank.

The simple image of a bottle of vinegar and a lemon cut in half in andldquoLemonvinegar for tear gasandrdquo stands as a powerful tool for remembering the effects of the tear gas police used during the protests and also as a symbol of solidarity among the protesters.In another section, titled andldquoOppression,andrdquo there are snapshots of police intervention, tear gas shells, plastic bullets, people hiding from the police and people mourning after the loss of their loved ones in the protests.

andldquoLegends,andrdquo andldquoSharp shootersandrdquo and andldquoInvasion of Gezi Park,andrdquo three photos in this section depicting police intervention, are among the most powerful in the book as they both document what really happened during the protests and capture the potential violence in those scenes.In the section titled andldquoHumor,andrdquo the book covers many moments in the resistance when humor won over tragedy.

The photos perfectly remind readers of the survival instinct the youthful protesters employed to deal with politics and how successful it was in keeping up the spirit, as well as how andldquocoolandrdquo a weapon humor was against the sternness of oppression.The bookandrsquos last section, titled andldquoSolidarity,andrdquo opens with this passage: andldquoYoung, old, men, women, gay, [Alevi], Sunni, Kurdish, Armenian, urbanite, villager, Fenerbahe fan, Galatasaray fanandhellip A transformed country of solidarity where differences were overlooked.

The mass awakening that started with Turkish Gezi Park protests resisted oppression and injustice. Here is to making this awakening a permanent one.

andrdquoIndeed, fans of Turkeyandrsquos top football clubs played an important role in shaping the solidarity during the protests. The photos in this section play an important role in conveying this spirit to people who both experienced the protests themselves and those who have only heard about it.

Full of bittersweet moments, andldquo#direngeziparkIandrdquo stands as a glowing reminiscence of this influential period in the history of Turkeyandrsquos politics and resistance movements.As the bookandrsquos co-author Uncu, an academic at Marmara Universityandrsquos Department of Political Science and International Relations, puts it: andldquoThe exploration for a new society and political structure that aances with experience, and resists ready-made recipes started with the Gezi movement, and is still continuing.

And, this is where the significance of this book lies.andrdquoFor further information, check out www.

direngezibook.co.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman