in solidarity with the people of turkey!

it’s been horrifying to read messages from my friends in istanbul about civil war-like circumstances- and i’m still worried that i haven’t heard back from some people since their last messages around 11pm CET [EDIT: they are safe, unlike these people].

this german TV report with english subtitles is the best video i could find so far. the reporter on the ground, who has been to afghanistan, lebanon, libya and many more crisis zones before, says, clearly moved, that he “has never seen anything like this before”.

the news coming out of istanbul appear way too horrible to be true, but I’m afraid they aren’t. it seems that it wasn’t just plain water in the water cannons (more evidence), people were deliberately fired at with tear gas capsules and rubber bullets, police even shot water and tear gas into the lobbies of neighboring hotels (and hospitals! and private homes!) that offered shelter, they are denying access of medical personnel to the injured and arresting everyone coming out of the hotels, 3G and other signals are jammed, reporters denied access to the scene and even reports of journalists beaten, mass arrests. among the hundreds of injured were many children under 10 years old, elderly people who were having a picknick, and also the head of the german green party.

by the way, as a friend of mine pointed out, tear gas is considered a chemical weapon and if this were an ‘official war’, its use would be prohibited. what about that, obama?

this is another good information source on what’s happening, as is this one. and this is a well-kept multi-lingual ticker. here you can sign the avaaz petition.

(by the way, the situation in brazil doesn’t seem much better.. [EDIT: good explanation of the protests])

i know, we’re talking about sovereign nations, but we must not let our political leaders/representatives get away with ignoring this situation we need immediate international reactions from the most official authorities, especially since erdogan doesn’t seem to take democratic displays of public opinion seriously. i’m not an expert on what kinds of pressure could be exerted, but those responsible should be held accountable for violations of universal human rights.

in berlin, there are solidarity demonstrations at 12:00 at breitscheidplatz and 15:00 at kottbusser tor [EDIT: on sunday, june 16]. taksim is everywhere. big thanks to yusuf beyazit, who has been an invaluable information resource for this post.

I wish this video was in English, so non-German speakers could understand this. There is a world-class scandal happening in Germany at this moment: It is just absolutely outrageous how the life of whistleblower Gustl Mollath is being destroyed.

For seven years he has been held detained against his will – not in a regular prison, but in a Bavarian psychiatric ward, pretty much a mental asylum. I wonder how long a person can be in there and actually keep her sanity.

Why is he being detained? Because he spoke out against his ex-wife and her employer Hypo Vereinsbank, who were laundering money through Switzerland. In fact, physically driving money from Germany to Zurich for their clients. The thing is, in 2012, journalists uncovered an internal bank report from 2003 (!) that shows that Mollath was in fact right all along!

However, this was still not enough to set him free: The court ordered that Klaus Leipziger, the psychological expert whose first evaluation was the basis for the detention, re-evaluate the case. But the expert, who evaluated Mollath as insane without having ever personally met him, is now feeling ’negatively influenced’ and refuses to do his job – so Mollath remains in custody for another year!

There are numerous other egregious inconsistencies in this case, such as witnesses that have testified that the ex-wife unmistakenly threatened to destroy Mollath’s life and put him in the ‘loony bin’ if he talked about the money laundering. Or judge Otto Brixner that called the investigators of the (as we know today: valid) tax fraud claims and convinced them to drop the case because Mollath was supposedly insane. Then in court, the judge used the fact that there was no investigation as a proof for Mollath’s insanity. Brixner even admitted to the investigation committee that he had never fully read the 106-page defense.

Yet Mollath remains locked up. Beate Merk, the Bavarian minister of justice, continues to cover for all the atrocious mistakes in this case, justifying the fact that there were never any investigations of Mollath’s claims, and still keeps to her story that there were no mistakes made and she had never been untruthful about any detail of this case.

This is the only English article I could find on this so far. This case needs to get more international attention.

But as if the story has not been scandalous enough, a harmless tweet by a professor (and conservative (!) party member) that there might be an opportunity to ask Merk about Mollath’s release during one of her public appearances got her a visit by the police, suggesting she delete the tweet and stay away from the event.

Our government likes to criticize judicial processes in other countries, but we don’t need to look very far to see incredible injustice happening.

How shameful, Bavaria. How shameful, Germany.

[EDIT: German speakers might also appreciate this fantasticly sharp-tongued piece on Beate Merk who is responsible for Mollath’s continued imprisonment and the post-tweet police visit. Thanks, Christoph Süß at quer:  ]

this is not exactly verified, but has been re-posted by a few of my friends. using media distortion tactics and agents provocateurs is pretty common, so it would actually surprise me if erdogan would not be using them:

“The government in collaboration with the police and the media staged a theater play (with terrible actors) at Taksim square early this morning. After announcing that there will be no attacks on the people at Gezi park and Taksim, hundreds of policemen came to collect the banners, at the same time chocking people with tear gas. The media, who has ignored the protests so far was there from the beginning broadcasting (from extremely good shooting points) a play between hundreds of cops and about 30 protesters (still a mystery who they were) who were throwing molotov cocktails to the police at the square. This act went on for more than an hour. The police, who is capable of breaking up thousand of people (without provocation) within minutes with tear gas and water cannons, only circled around them, gently spraying a little water. In the mean time, on the back streets and around Gezi park, where the media was not broadcasting, the attacks were as usual brutal. The protests until this morning have been peaceful and it is not clear whether these people were extremists from some political groups or some others(??). What is clear is that they do not reflect the spirit of this uprising. Couple of hours ago, police attacked the biggest court house in Istanbul and arrested around 70 lawyers, who were only protesting against the morning attacks, probably as a response to their help with protecting the rights of the people arrested and injured during last weeks protests. In response to today’s events, people of Istanbul are going back to Taksim square this evening at 19:00 possibly with larger numbers than the protests on May 31. Please spread this information. The Turkish media has failed miserably and it is very important that the world knows what is really going on in Turkey.”

from berlin in solidarity. photo courtesy of ari.

[P.S. an important message from egypt to the turkish demonstrators:


check out the inspiring czech artist-activist collective Ztohoven!

for their project moral reform, they got ALL of the czech parliament members’ mobile numbers, and created a “parliamentary drama of 223 persons and 585 lines” by sending them 585 SMS messages during a session that was broadcasted live on TV. but the SMS were sent on behalf of other parliament members and included apologetic messages to each other and called for better behavior and more political decency – which caused a panic! read more about it here.

they have created all kinds of amazing projects, but a lot of information is in czech. wikipedia is a pretty good resource though. there’s also a great arte tracks portrait of them, unfortunately only in german.

i’ll end with the manifesto of the project Občan K., from their website:

Citizen K. / I have returned from places where I beheld myself and realised that it is mainly us that matters! We are all a society, we all create the system and we watch one another. We are all involved in the fear that keeps us at a standstill. For all of us I entered the places that others fear to enter and perceived the vanity, the absurdity of obedience. How frail and how easily abused is that which should serve us. We are not numbers, we are not biometric data, so let us not be mere pawns in the hands of the big players on the game board of these times. If we do not wish to fear our own face, we must save it!