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Monday, July 08, 2013

Reopening Hearts?

Istanbul reopens part at heart of protests
Istanbul reopens a park at the heart of June protests after a makeover...
...and is closed again only 2.5 hours later due to clashes/8 July 2013

There's not many that will have missed news of Gezi Park in recent weeks. A tiny little park in the environs of a huge urban city, at the heart of protests for a month, was reopened in Istanbul today after a makeover.

When I first heard the park had reopened, there were many things I wanted to say on the subject. Those of you that continue to blog will know how it is; in that first, giddy moment of elation, you pack your hopes into some sort of musing that gives voice to the one inside.

But when I saw the first pictures of the open park it silenced the reams of notes and teeming thoughts vying for blog space. Instead, I thought: No drama. No rhetoric. No machinations. And please no violence. Just look. And dream. And for one moment let there be peace.

Dream that for one moment there can be peace. Where we dirty our hands in the process of giving and sustaining life, rather than the taking of it. For only then will there be an opportunity for closed hearts to bloom again.

And anyone that destroys this image today, whether to police or to protest, will have learnt nothing from the past month. Least of all that true enlightenment does not bloody hands, it's the water that cleanses them.

The moment of peace passed. For Gezi Park it lasted 2.5 hours, after which time violence erupted between demonstrators and the police in a new crackdown of Gezi protests. Not surprising following the skirmishes of the weekend, when demonstrators had tried to serve notice of a court decision that annulled the redevelopment plan. It seems you can't open hearts as easily as you can a park.

Still, I stick by my thoughts. Peace may not last, thoughts do.

Idealistic thoughts they may be, but until we change the narrative of violence we are stuck in, the unrest we see across so many parts of the world - Syria, Egypt, Brazil - will continue. It will continue in Istanbul, too.

Anyone interested to see Monday's chain of events at Gezi Park can go to the Radikal newspaper's page here.

Radikal does not endorse a particular political preference, but is generally considered to be a social liberal newspaper.

UPDATE: The park was reopened again later the same evening.

Read more about the Gezi Park protests >>

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