News rooms have been reporting the best they can on what is going down in Istanbul over the last 5 days, though no one has told the story from a civilian, inside the country’s point of view. I will. Today, a post came in through my Facebook page from a dear sister living in Istanbul. She says it is time to tell the real story of what is occurring there. Stories that have been told have been from a governmental and police perspective and are slanted against the truth. According to this woman, there has been a complete media black-out in the area, allowing no reporters or news broadcasts of what is really going on. These are the words from one woman in Istanbul – inside the resistance.
Several days ago, citizens of Istanbul gathered together at Istanbul’s Gezi Park in hopes of preventing the tearing down of hundred-year old trees in one of the few parks left in the area- to be replaced with yet another shopping mall. According to this dear sister, they are in little need of such another structure -“There are numerous shopping malls in Istanbul, at least one in every neighborhood!” Those protesting the tree demolition were families with children, neighbors, friends, peacefully setting up tents in the park under the trees Thursday night. These people, according to my source, did nothing but stand in front of the bulldozers.
The police arrived and chased people from the park, sprayed pepper spray and shot water cannons. Numbers grew the following day – on both sides. This Istanbul woman says that they came to stand for something bigger than these giant trees, they came to stand for “The right to live as honorable citizens of this country.”
Police sprayed tear gas and continued with the pepper spray. Several individuals were run down by tanks and killed, and still the people just offered food to the authorities in return. One woman was hit hard in the head by a flying tear-gas canister and after a three-hour operation in the local hospital, it is still uncertain if she will make it. Three others lost their eyes due to similar events. Stray cats and dogs have been killed by the sprays as well. From inside the resistance, words from one woman in Istanbul cry: “These people are my friends. They are my students, my relatives.”
According to locals in Istanbul, the government makes no hidden agenda, they are being sold out to giant corporations for the building of luxury condos and malls, more freeways and nuclear power plants. They are being taken over. Governmental control has become “almost unbearable”, says sources, as many conservative laws are outlawing practices from abortion to the wearing of certain colors of lipstick.
Despite the violence, the people march on. Hundreds of thousands now march, several thousand of which crossed the Bosporus bridge on foot from neighboring Taksim to join in. Citizens in other cities began to march in their streets to support the movement in Istanbul.
Hotels and schools have opened up to the community, including many 5 star resorts. Doctors are offering first aid in lobbies and hotel rooms, helping those who have received injuries. Some police, refusing to join in the terror, quit their jobs.
The government has tried to keep information from getting out of the country. Internet lines were jammed and media was blocked, broadcasting instead the Miss Turkey contest. Locals with working wi-fi offered their connections to those wishing to communicate. Restaurants are offering free food and drinks to members of the community standing for their rights. One one level, the country is coming together, on another, it’s falling apart.
The cry to the world from those in Istanbul is simply- to be heard, to know the truth and to support them in what ever way is possible. When asked what she wishes to gain from spreading this message from inside the resistance there, she answers “ I wish to gain freedom of expression and speech, respect for human rights, control over the decisions I make concerning my on my body, the right to legally congregate in any part of the city without being considered a terrorist. But most of all by spreading the word to you, my friends who live in other parts of the world, I am hoping to get your awareness, support and help!”
These are the words from one woman living in Istanbul, inside the resistance. May we send our support in thought, word and action. Let this be a message to all the world and to corporations wishing to take over countries everywhere, that the people will not stand for it. Somehow this must stop. The citizens of the world must be allowed to enjoy peace, beauty, nature, community, and free-speech without injury.
Written by: Stasia Bliss
Sources: Blogspot in Instanbul