Two men and one small girl

By Tayfun Atay
Yayınlanma tarihi: 14 Nisan 2017 Cuma, 15:40

Politics, in one sense, is a struggle waged for symbols. A struggle in which everyone tries to bring their own symbols to dominance in life.

And a symbol, in one sense, is the concretisation of a value.

So, everything that you portray in symbolic terms creates awareness of the kind of world of meanings and values you wish to inhabit.

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Everyone’s most pressing question and concern is the outcome of the referendum scheduled for Sunday.

But from time to time you encounter those who utter sentences beginning, ‘If ‘No’ emerges or if ‘Yes’ emerges, in the end ...’ and continue informed by their own nature, thoughts and temperament.

So, let me utter one such sentence.

If ‘Yes’ emerges or if ‘No’ emerges, in the end three symbols will be the legacy of the referendum.

And, perhaps those who years later look at the referendum process in Turkey will best and most correctly understand what took place from these three symbols, the way they address us and the treatment they receive.

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These symbols are two men and one small girl. Posters of them to be more accurate.

The men invariably have huge ‘Yes’ inscriptions to their right and left, below and above them.

We encounter them, in huge dimensions, on walls, municipal paid-for billboards and on ropes stretched across streets and roads.

We see them in the form of giant posters that bear down on us with crushing stridency and draped over buildings that shoot upwards and spread sideways and ugly constructions that are still at the skeleton stage.

If we turn to our right or turn to our left, if we lift our head while going uphill, on the way downhill, on the way from home to work, from work to the shops and from the shops to the tea garden – we encounter masses of them everywhere.

One of these two symbolic men who represent a ‘post-Islamist construction capitalistic’ rule forever waves at us from the picture with a smiling visage revelling in self-satisfied handsomeness. Accompanied by the slogans, ‘For the motherland, for the people, for the country – of course: Yes, Yes, Yes.’

We all look on in the knowledge that the real meaning behind that wave so desirous of ‘Yes’ is, if ‘Yes’ comes about, ‘So long, goodbye to me!’ With a bitter smile on our faces.

The mien of the man on the other poster, by contrast, is far more serious. Imposing in his stateliness, majestic in his grandeur, patriarchal in his patriarchalness and disquieting in his scariness.

We virtually stand to attention as we look every time we encounter it.

They have cropped up for the entire duration of human history and probably the most typical association conjured up by such images is of ‘Big Brother’ in Orwell’s novel 1984.

‘Big Brother’ who protects, guards and watches over everyone with his pictures that decorate the walls in every street, every road and every home as the novel unfolds.

There is also the poster of a small girl, with plaited hair, delightful in her lovableness but, to the same extent, brittle in her touchiness.

You cannot find her draped over giant buildings and from top to bottom over skeletons on construction sites. Nor can you find her scattered all over in vast quantities.

You encounter her individually here and there like a breath of fresh air.

With the words, ‘No for my future’ to her right or left, beneath her or behind her.

Of course, you are lucky to see this poster and you are also lucky if you can read those words!

This is because in many cases we encounter her with bits ripped off or even torn in half.

In the area I live in, alongside the countless profferings in massive proportions of the two ‘Yes-Man’ posters, there was one of her serving as a veritable charm to ward off the evil eye that I saw every morning on the way to work.

First, they tore it across the middle.

Then, one day I saw that they had pulled it off, screwed it up and thrown it on the ground. They had put up a ‘Yes-Man’ poster in the vacated space – with ‘elegance’!

The two men and the one small girl tell us a lot symbolically. About the world, life and people.

About tyranny in all its might and gravity.

And about resistance with all its frailness, but, to the same extent, its courage and persistence.

About patriarchal authoritarianism steeped in religious chicanery.

And about secular, pluralistic, democratic parliamentarianism.

The future will undoubtedly present us with different conclusions in the short, medium and long term.

But there is also a conclusion we will be presented with when the future becomes history!

The thing of crucial importance, rather than what the two men and that small girl will bequeath to the future in the short, medium and long term, is what they will bequeath to history.

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When it comes to us ...

Is it possible that our short-term end can be like that of the poster of the small girl that was crudely ripped down and chucked to one side? It is.

But, who knows, maybe those who have wronged the lovable, joyful, lively, small girl, whose dogged persistence comes across, will get their just desert and the treatment she was deemed to merit on the streets will be weighed on the scales of both heavenly justice and human judgement, in the name of all that is good!

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Cumhuriyet Arşivi Gazete Kupürlerinde:

Tayfun Atay