Spotlight: Protesting and Turkey

By Amy Gorel, Staff Writer

Turkey is a city, just like any other./PHOTO VIA Flickr user mr_smee44

Trouble makers, hippies, righteous activists, people who want to make a difference…

Everyone has very different perspectives on protesting. There are activists, there are those who believe all change occurs gradually by working with the government and there are others who just don’t care as much.

Many of us at BU have been here long enough to remember Occupy Boston (based on Occupy Wall Street) and even the attempt at Occupy BU for a brief moment.

Some of us saw the Occupy movement as intelligent people trying to even the economic disparity in America and some of us saw people who were out of work complaining about their lives.

The reality of the situation was probably somewhere between the two, in my opinion. However, this brings to light the issue of perspective.

The protesters in Turkey believed Prime Minister Erdogan was becoming too authoritarian and that something had to be done about it. Others in Turkey thought the protesters were only causing trouble and creating traffic for those going about their daily lives–even if they agreed about Erdogan.

Though most people know that the issues in Turkey over the summer were very different from those happening in the Middle East, it’s easy to be caught off guard and mix the two.

One BU student from Turkey tried to explain it to me this way:

“The first time I went to Africa, I expected to see wild giraffes and be on safari the whole time. Once I got there, I realized it was different but still relatively normal in my mind. There were buildings, schools, buses, bars and restaurants.”

Stories on the news show that protesters are dying. Photos show the vast number of people in the streets and over turned buses in Turkey. Similar headlines and visuals are shown from Syria, Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan and Iraq.

However, Turkey is a secular, democratic nation which has acted as a bridge between east and west, Europe and the Middle East. Less than 10 have died in the Turkish protests while hundreds have died in the ensuing violence in Egypt, and over a thousand in Syria.

These numbers are just an indicator of the difference in circumstances these neighboring countries have–neighbors who are sometimes grouped together in our minds as “the problems of the Middle East.”

Sitting in Boston, these countries are all more than a 10 hour flight away.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s