The Importance of Being Vigilant: the Greatest Trick

A Democratic Turkey is Worth Fighting for

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania gulen erdogan
Erdogan (left) and Gülen (right) when they were still allies. 

The Obvious Villain

There is such a thing as evil in this world. We seemed to forget that. We like to think that even the wicked among us, are ultimately redeemable. Somehow they must have noble intentions, there has to be a soul worth saving. Only the movies have villains, in real life, people are far more complicated.
It’s true that people are complicated, that denouncing them as either good or bad will not do it justice. Perhaps in the cosmic battle of things, there is such a thing as redemption for even the greatest sinners. But so long as they are in this earthly plain, we can’t depend on divine epiphanies. We must recognize the wicked among us. We must see them clearly, those that pose a threat to our civil liberties, to democracy at large. We must admit the existence of evil. As Michael Caine quipped so eloquently in The Dark Knight: ”some people just want to watch the world burn.” There are people who start the fire and we must put it out.
Take the Authoritarian for instance: when a subject is presented with evidence of authoritarianism, such as jailing dissidents, controlling the media or rigging elections, one could only conclude that this person is a threat to democracy. He’s the type of character we were warned against in history, the symbol of governorship we are trying to avoid and have tried to eradicate. A governing body that is not only hostile to our way of life, but to the core of our values. The person or his political party that is trying to undermine our democratic freedoms by warping the people’s perception through propaganda, is the one we should all collectively fight against.
This was the classic story, this is how it should be.
One can only conclude then, with the popularity of the likes of Putin or Erdogan in the Western World, that we have forgotten to spot the authoritarian, our classic villain of democracy. We must try to understand the reasons. Some have concluded that it’s because the survivors of the great war, the one for the soul of Holland and Europe are dying off. Those who remember the importance of our democracy, how easy it can slip away, are gone. Others would point out our own governments gave us little reason to trust them and there is certainly truth to this claim.
In a recent book by Joshua Green called ‘The Devils Bargain’, which details the rise of alt-right icon Steve Bannon who is currently one of Donald Trump’s closest advisors, there is a poignant segment in which Bannon starts to realize the power of the Internet, how it could suck the host into an information vacuum, creating an alternative reality which could be manipulated by the populists. In this reality, the likes of Trump have become anti-establishment heroes. Even Putin, is beloved for his public criticism against the West, despite his regime being the epitome of establishment evil.
In order to be a populist, one needs to have a certain charisma, a certain skill-set of persuasion that Trump does indeed have- as Dilbert creator Scott Adams, despite his hilarious and sometimes frustrating mental gymnastics defending the likes of Trump, has made a convincing argument of. Politics is about persuading the public to your side and when it comes to the populist and the authoritarian, it boils down to alienating the public from the establishment, convincing them that they are part of an oppressed group, that their culture is in danger. The great fight for a better society is simplified. No more hard numbers. No more science mumbo-jumbo. No more hard facts but the ones that feel right emotionally. When you have enough people by your side, then you have to make sure that your enemies and their means of information, are silenced. If you have enough political power, you can weaken democratic institutions and once that’s in place, it will be very hard to stop you.
All of this is radically simple in theory and if you look at both Putin and Erdogan, you can see this theory at work. The interesting thing however is that both these politicians started out with promise. Erdogan began as a more progressive choice, Putin rose to popularity when the Russian public were deadly afraid of Chechen terrorism- many respectable historians have suggested that Russian security forces were behind the bombings that killed hundreds of Russian citizens. The implication being that Putin instigated false flag operations in order to amass support, a recognizable tactic by authoritarians.
When it became clear to these men that democracy was not going to keep them into office, they had to undermine it and they had so through fear-mongering, information warfare, jailing and even killing dissidents.
All of this information, especially in this day and age, can easily be fact-checked. You don’t have to look far, just open your computer screen. There had been days when you had dive into the library or ravage newspapers to understand our modern-day politicians but not anymore. We have everything we need.
But as we have seen, people still admire, despite all the seemingly obvious signs, these leaders. Regardless that that Putin’s actions in Ukraine has cost the lives of almost two hundred Dutchmen, we still have many Dutch people defending him, even stating that they believed it was a conspiracy orchestrated by the Ukrainian government.
The Dutch defense for Erdogan however, by a large part of the immigrant population, is far more apparent and troublesome. Before I began researching this article I did talk to some Erdogan defenders and to be honest, this became extremely frustrating. When debating them, I shared all of these articles of human-rights organizations or articles by Turkish journalists but they still refused to accept the information. To them, I was in the spell of Western propaganda. They spoke of the hubris of the West. The underlying hypocrisy of the Western-world to criticize the Turkish government while it has been robbing the rights of its own people.
Before the failed coup (or false-flag operation) Erdogan had long started cracking down on the freedoms of Turkey. Turkish-immigrants in Holland were already watching state sponsored channels from Turkey that demonized Erdogan’s opposition, in particular anyone who supported Fethullah Gülen’s Hizmet movement. The Diyanet organization which funds mosques from Turkey, had already rallied their imams to endorse supreme leader Erdogan. In Aydogan Vatandas collection of journalist articles ‘Hungry for Power’, one could read about the seeds of the authoritarianism growing. We responded too late, we didn’t listen, perhaps because we wanted Turkey to remain loyal to their promise of housing the discussed number of refugees.
When it finally became clear to Erdogan that the only way to remain in power is to undermine European democracy, it all became too clear what future Turkey was heading towards. I would not be part of the European project, it would be just another authoritarian state. There had been hopes that enough people would vote against him in the referendum but alas, Erdogan would be victorious here- unsurprisingly there have been massive voter irregularities.
In Holland, the support for Erdogan is there, perhaps not with the majority but, as the following interview would attest, of the people that were eligible and did vote for the Turkish referendum, 70 percent of them voted in favor of Erdogan. They live, like Trump supporters, like Putin supporters, in a vacuum where Erdogan is not the villain. To some he’s a savior or a protector of traditional values. To others he’s a straight-talker, to others a necessary evil. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist- or more appropriately in this case: the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that -despite his red tail and hooves- he is not what he looks like.

The victims

The most tragic part of this is that by supporting the authoritarian, you are hurting their victims. You are dismissing the pain and suffering of their victims and families. When you say that Putin isn’t so bad, you are dismissing his war crimes committed in Chechnya, the journalists that have perished trying to discover the truth about his regime, the families that were never able to say goodbye. When Dutch people support Putin, they are dismissing the tragic loss of the families of the victims of MH17. In response, the authoritarian, as Putin has done countless of times, throws the blame somewhere else. When confronted by this interviews, he would usually resort to the Soviet-classic ‘whataboutisms.’ The authoritarian always needs a scapegoat.
The scapegoats are sometimes even the victims. The propaganda-machine goes on non-stop trying to undermine their humanity. This is no more evident than Erdogan’s favorite scapegoat: the Islamic scholar Fetthullah Gülen and his Hizmet movement. As an outsider, I didn’t know much about Gülen either. It became very clear to me that Erdogan was someone to be distrusted but I didn’t know enough about Hizmet to make an informative opinion.
After the failed coup, Hizmet sympathizers in Holland were threatened, sometimes even attacked by pro-Erdogan supporters. Despite having little knowledge about Turkish politics at the time, I was still appalled by these actions. I could not understand how Turkish-immigrants felt the need to assault opponents of the Turkish state while living in Holland. But despite my ethical objections to such cases, I had to admit that I did not know what kind of organization Hizmet was. Was the organization a real militarized threat against the Turkish state or was this mere propaganda from Erdogan’s Media Army?
When researching Hizmet, there seemed little evidence of malevolence. The independent organization that looked into the various schools inspired by the movement, received nothing but adulation for its inclusiveness, the atmosphere and the curriculum. When it came to the founder himself, Fethullah Gülen, there was little evidence of villainy, in fact, scholars around the world praised him for his stance on universal human rights.
But in order to this subject justice and inform myself properly, I decided to contact someone from an organization inspired by his philosophy. I came across Platform INS, a non-profit organization that dedicates itself to spreading Gülen’s Universal values by organizing courses, symposiums and publications. Many of these courses aim to better integration and bring communities together. Their mission is to highlight the ethical values we all share in Holland. INS, is the Arabian word for humanity and its chosen name illustrates their aim to reach a broader public, not just immigrants.
When I requested the organization for an interview I was given the e-mail of Saniye Calkin. After some time, we did finally set a date for the phone interview but at the last moment, she had to delay this because she was protesting the Turkish consulate for the arrest of the Amnesty International Director in Turkey Idil Eser. While this arrest illustrates the worsening freedoms in Turkey, it did convey the moral convictions of my subject.
When we did finally talked, I only became more convinced that Hizmet, at least to how it has inspired Platform INS, has brought positive results to civil society and that Erdogan’s objections to its existence, had little to do with it being a threat to Turkey.
Even now, many Turkish supporters of Hizmet fear being too upfront about this. The sudden rise of the pro-immigrant political party Denk, which has refused to condemn Erdogan and defend Hizmet, has only worsened the situation. But through it all, people like Saniye Calkin, refused to be silenced and they have persisted in their convictions.
In this interview, I discovered the reach and power of Erdogan, even within Turkish communities in Holland. Bringing disenfranchisement, in some cases we have people being disbarred from celebrating their faith, to tearing people’s family apart because of their opposition against his regime. And in some extreme cases, violence was involved. Erdogan, like many populists, has put a spell on his supporters.
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania Denk partij erdogan
Tunahan Kuzu, Selçuk Öztürk en Farid Azarkan, members of DENK party. 

We don’t know the future of Turkey but as long as Erdogan rules, it doesn’t look good. Here’s hoping that people like Saniye, and her message, will continue to inspire the best of us.

This will be my second interview with someone affected by Erdogan’s reign and I consider this a spiritual sequel to my former article ‘The Importance of Being Vigilant: Understanding Erdogan his Followers’ in which I interview exiled journalist Abdullah Bozkurt which you could read here: https://welcometothehumanrace.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/the-importance-of-being-vigilant-understanding-erdogan-and-his-following/

***

Before we start this interview, could you tell me why you are a good authority on Hizmet?

Saniye: My name is Saniye Calkin and I’ve known and been involved with Hizmet for over fifteen years; starting out as an eager volunteer. Once you really begin to grasp the tenets of Hizmet, your own way of life, the goals you initially had for yourself, begin to change. Originally I was an economist, an accountant but at a certain point I made a switch from the business-world to a more societal one, especially when this concerned the Muslim community. Before Hizmet I was much more individualistic- just make some money and spend it- but at a certain point, you do want more in life. You begin to feel a greater sense of societal-responsibility and want to contribute more to society. My first steps to this higher goal was working for the Center of Emancipation and Diversity for the local municipality. Perhaps Perhaps because I was a woman, curious about universal values. When I began pondering about the universal values of Hizmet, about its notions of freedom, equality, diversity, and when I started to delve deeper into the movement, I knew I found my place. For the last four-five years I’ve been involved with Hizmet consultations, both locally and nationally. The last few years I have been director of Platform INS, an organization which aims to better society. Ever since I’ve really gotten to know Hizmet, I’ve felt more involved with society but I’ve felt a greater urgency to contribute. This is about wraps up my qualifications on the topic. I’ve been born and raised in the East of Holland, in Enschede and I currently live in Amsterdam.

Would you consider the Hizmet organization more humanistic than religious?

Saniye: Well first I want to point out that you keep talking about the ‘Hizmet organization,’while there is no actual definitive organization of sorts. You can’t really say that this is a ‘Hizmet organization’. There are people who are inspired by its founder, Fethullah Gülen and consider themselves Hizmet sympathizers, who started foundations in honor of its tenets. This does not however, immediately make it a Hizmet organization.
   The second question, whether or not Hizmet is more religious or humanistic, well if look at my organization Platform INS, I would say it’s more humanistic because we strive for a peaceful society where everybody can live in freedom and to achieve this, certain universal values are imperative. Next to this I would wonder if this has actually anything to do with religion. We ask questions regarding the betterment of society and how Hizmet can contribute to this- Hizmet also means ‘service.’ How can we be in better service for people and society, wherever you live, and it’s those questions and how to have this conversations in order to accomplish them, that is central to the tenets of Hizmet. Religion is something personal to me, something I receive my strength from, my daily input, this is something for the individual. If you come to my organization you’ll be welcomed with open arms. You will see that we have a very diverse group of colleagues.
    Look the one can do it out of religious conviction, but to me, it doesn’t matter if someone is Muslim or Turkish. Religion is just something I receive my daily strength from. Hizmet is a social movement which inspires people to contribute more the world around them and the people that inhabit it.
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania platform ins
Logo of Platform INS.

From my own research, Hizmet inspired schools have a good track record.

Saniye: Well I have say that last week a rapport came out where Hizmet is referred to, again and again, as an exemplary model for integration. My two oldest children, just happen to receive the graduation percentage of their school and if you did read that with VWO there’s a 93 percent graduation average and with HAVO 90, than its hard not to be impressed with its quality. If you also look at the target-group, all very diverse, you are very happy as a parent that you they get a hundred percent out of your kids. So all of this very familiar to me.

To tell you the truth, I’m an outsider and researching information about Hizmet wasn’t easy. You can find much praise, as well as the opposite. It’s hard to rummage through the muck.

Saniye: I think the most important thing is that, not just for the subject of Hizmet but for everything else as well, that we have to be critical and wonder about the negativity surrounding something. When necessary, I’m critical about Hizmet about a few points. But when I look at the education factor, I can only use my own children as prime examples. Truthfully, school isn’t always easy for my kids, but they still manage to get through VWO (preuniversity secondary education). Every year again, through motivation and a sense of responsibility. The results are there in their rapport card.

What are the greatest misunderstandings regarding Hizmet and the Gülen movement?

Saniye: What is very important, since I’m actively involved with Hizmet for the last four or five years, and I think we had this intention and have succeeded in this actually, is to combat the unfamiliarity regarding Hizmet. Now there have been an increasing interest for Hizmet in the last years, especially due to politics and media coverage. There has also been constant extensive research about the Hizmet movement, for example the one made by Martin van Bruinessen in 2010, by order of the House of Representativeness, a literary research paper by Thijl Sunier and Nico landman, last Wednesday there was a field field investigation orchestrated by RadarAdvies. We haven taken the advice of these investigations, even when we receive acclaim, like Bruinessen calling us the ‘best integrated migrant group of Holland.’ But at the same time, he also advised the movement to be more open and transparent, and then you have to answer: ”okay, so how are going to achieve this?” We knew there was a need for transparency and we worked on it. We made a website: http://www.hizmetbeweging.nl and if you look at the website, a lot of questions are already answered, such as: ”who are we?” ”What is our mission?” ”What is our philosophy?” ”Who are these people?” At the same time we know that transparency has its drawbacks, as you well have noticed the last few years, especially after the failed coup in Turkey.
   We really have made steps through sites, organizing programmed, through publications, all with the intention to show that ”this is who we are, these are the people involved, this is what we believe.” We opened up Hizmet consultations, people have joined us at our table, all with the intention to be transparent about the movement and its founder. Still, we can’t help that large groups perceive as terrorist or as traitors to our country.
But there’s no denying the steps we made nor the results that came out of it. If people still have questions, we encourage people to ask and we have given them all the means to. We want people to ask more about us. I did recently also write an opinion-piece and I do hope this will reach media outlets.

What are the most common criticism regarding, or perhaps better phrased as propaganda, regarding Hizmet or the Gülen movements?

Saniye: Unsurprisingly, criticism usually comes from Turkey. Erdogan naturally needed a scapegoat to justify all the things he did there. He knows this very well well. Even before the failed coup, he labeled Hizmet as a terrorist movement. He even stated that there have been previous failed coup attempts. But knows very well that the movement has never incited violence or has anything to do with terrorism. We saw e from the previous year, or the last three years to be exact -right around when the corruption scandal came out-, the start of his purges, all the things that he has done to make sure that no one defies his fabricated narrative. You try to find justice through the court of law, but the court has died for some time now in Turkey. Even so, he has tried to convince the outside that Hizmet was behind the failed coup attempt and in my eyes, he hasn’t succeeded in this, because no matter how hard he cries this out, most people can see through his lies.
   The thing is, he’s not just an enemy against Hizmet, he’s an enemy against anyone who is against him, it doesn’t matter who you are. If you are against Erdogan you are either a terrorist or a traitor to your nation. The thing that really got to me was the arrest of the director of Amnesty International. First he was arrested, then he was a accused to trying to set up a terrorist coup. It’s just absurd. You shouldn’t see this as something between Erdogan vs. Gülen, as an ideological battle for the soul of Turkey, it’s much broader than this. It doesn’t matter if your Kurdish, if you’re part of Hizmet, if you’re a secularist, it doesn’t matter to him. We can see this day in and day out and he sadly gets away with it.
   I’m just happy we are in Holland, because despite a rough year, a year in which I have been intimidated, insulted and threatened, we have persisted. We won’t be silenced. We continue to proud in what we believe in. We only hope that the outside the world deepens their knowledge about Hizmet, so that they understand what we are trying to do. That’s why Hizmet is more of a social movement, not a political one. It’s not about about politics, it’s a social movement that aims to better society.

Is that’s why it’s such a threat to Erdogan, because it so popular, because it isn’t constraint by religion and reaches out to a broader spectrum of people?

Saniye: Of course, and at first, he had Gülen’s support. But when you look at the people now, what they go through, I’m very happy that Gülen finally said: ”well I’ve supported you for all these years, as did Holland, the EU and the secularists when we saw how you applied yourself…” But when he changed, when it was became obvious what kind of leader he would be, Gülen said ”no more,” and the EU agrees. I’m very happy that Gülen rescinded his support, that he didn’t defy his own values but this was naturally unacceptable for Erdogan. You have to understand, he doesn’t just want to arrest his enemies, he’s talking about exterminating them, wherever in the world they may be. So in his mind, Hizmet people shouldn’t exist anymore, shouldn’t walk the streets anymore, and this proves that he’s just not a danger to them, he’s a danger to the rest of the world. It could be Hizmet now but who is it going to be later or tomorrow?

I can assume then, since I have found no credible sources on this, that the Hizmet movement or Gülen himzelf has never encouraged violence against the Turkish state?

Saniye: Absolutely not, he even has said that there should be an independent national inquiry and, he has said this on the first day even, that if it turns out he had anything to do with it, he would come to face the court in Turkey himself.
   If you look at the movement in several countries, around 150-160 countries, to the people, who they are, it’s all more evident that Erdogan’s vision conflicts with reality. Gülen himself time and again, focuses on our collective responsibility to the world and when it comes to radicalization, remember, he was the first Islamic scholar after 11 September, who made a statement that said that ”a Muslim can never be a terrorist and a terrorist can never be a Muslim.”

Do you think the failed coup was a false flag operation?

Saniye: If look collect all the information and evidence, if you look at how it was set up and watch the footage of some of the bombings then it indeed looks like something staged. But like you, I eagerly want to know who were behind it, and it doesn’t matter who they might be, those people needed to be tried in the court of law. But you can’t just arrest thousands of people just because they have a subscription with this newspaper, or they have a child at this school or have a account at this bank, or they sympathize with Hizmet, or you gave a donation here. This is why these people are arrested and most of the time they don’t even know why they were arrested apart from that there was a coup and they either possibly complicit or merely capable of doing one. Same with the Amnesty director. Like you I’m very curious who was behind it and hope that the truth will come out.

(Note: according to a thorough rapport by The Stockholm Center for Freedom, shared to me by Saniye Calkin after this interview, their conclusion has been that ”The body of evidence gathered by SCF that was summarized in this report points out at the elaborate scheme in the disguise of coup attempt in order to benefit Erdoğan and his associates. July 15 events certainly deserve further review, closer scrutiny and deeper investigation.” It’s certainly a worthwhile read: https://stockholmcf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/15_July_Erdogans_Coup_13.07.2017.pdf )

My position is, is that even if it wasn’t a false coup, Erdogan certainly took advantage of the situation, using it as an excuse to get rid of his enemies. So whether or not it was false, in my eyes it doesn’t really matter, his actions afterwards speak volumes about his character and him as a leader.
My next question: are Turkish immigrants in Holland still afraid to publicly support Gülen or the Hizmet movement or has there been improvements?

Saniye: I know a lot of people who despite everything, are still very open about what they believe in, myself included. Who state, rightfully and proudly: ”this is a free country and we have the right to be who we want to be.” But the fear is certainly still there. There are still tensions inside communities. What is very dangerous now is that opposition against Hizmet was done publicly, we would receive calls or they would express their disdain via social media. Point is: it was all visible, you knew from where to expect them, where they would appear. Well two weeks ago, a rapport came out which talked about militarized thugs of Erdogan being active in Holland. I’m not sure if you heard about this?

Now I haven’t heard about this, please continue…

Saniye: This was two or three weeks ago, the AIVD (General intelligence and Security Service) came out with a rapport, and I can send this to you if you want, but these militarized thugs have been in active in Turkey for some time and now they have set up shop in Holland, doing the criminal bidding of Erdogan in Holland. The fact that the AIVD felt the need to came out with this publicly is very worrisome to me.

That’s horrible, and you know that far-right groups will use this example as an excuse to say ”see integration is not working!”

Saniye: Well you that with integration, because that’s always the main question: does this benefit or obstruct successful integration? I can say at least about Hizmet, looking at any of the inquiries, that it has the highest rate of success when it comes to successfully integrating individuals. We also must delve into the inquiry, be open to it, not fear the outcome. We must always wonder: what do the scientists say? What are the facts?

Do you think the Turkish state media has had a negative influence on how people, from either Turkey or Holland, view Hizmet or Gülen?

Saniye: Certainly, because even people in Holland are bombarded with the media blasting in their living-room or by social-media and this goes on day in, day out. The message of the media certainly has a great influence.

There’s a book I read from Aydogan Vatandas, ‘Hungry for Power’ which is a collection of journalist articles, and this was all written before the coup, but even then he wrote about his worries about Erdogan, particularly in how he started to acquire or take over various media outlets. These very channels are being watched in Holland by Turkish immigrants. All of these channels are very pro-Erdogan and give a completely warped view about what is going on there.

Saniye: Yes but in Turkey the media is in the grips of the supreme leader Erdogan. An flow of information is dictated by him. Yesterday I was appalled knowing that over one million people were protesting, demanding justice, maybe you’ve heard about this, all of these people using their constitutional right to criticize Erdogan and his regime, but what does the Turkish state media air? Old speeches of Erdogan himself.

I compare the situation with Dutch people watching Russia Today and who become in turn, pro-Putin. If you compare Erdogan and Putin together, despite their differences, at the very least you can say that they are anti-democratic. But still they have supporters from the Western world, despite that this person stands against all of the freedoms we enjoy here. This support doesn’t just come from people who don’t know any better, it even comes from the educated ones, the people that SHOULD know better. And this is all because of the particular media outlets they watch…

Saniye: It’s a shame, because for some time Turkey was doing really well, so well in fact that steps were made to let it possibly join the EU one day. Now that option is completely out the window and whether Turkey will become the next Russia or China, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is how dangerous Erdogan has become. How he has proven to the world what is he willing to do in order to protect himself and his regime.

It’s a shame because as you said, Erdogan started out very well. He was a poster-boy for the Islamic leadership of Turkey, of the whole world in fact…

Saniye: That’s why he received the support from so many diverse groups because he did do good things, there was promise to his regime, till a certain point. And when you state openly that you can’t support this man anymore, that’s when he comes after you, he just can’t take it.

It’s similar to many populist leaders: playing the victim card. Always acting as if the whole world is against them. Moving on to a different subject: do you think DENK (Think, the pro-immigrant party who in the last election won three seats) has been a positive or polemic influence in political discourse?

Saniye: Well let me think, well, concerning Think, in the election I have carefully paid attention to the Turkish media and watched the spots starring the gentlemen of Think and they’ve pulled out all stops, did whatever they could to get their seats. I’ve read messages from mosques from the mouths of Imams, imploring people to vote the party. But on that point, regarding the values they apparently hold so dear, I would say: apply this to everyone, every individual and group, in Holland! Don’t dismiss the rest of the country. When it comes to rights, when it comes to being disenfranchised, wanting to find your place, let their voices be heard! Because none of us want this. I’ll give you an example, I can send you a picture of the last day of Ramadan, which was… Let me think 25th of June?

Perhaps, I’m probably the wrong person to ask this…

Saniye: Yes, well on 24-25th of June, there was on the door of a Diyanet mosque, where there was a celebration of the end of Ramadan, in Holland, In Breda, that Hizmet sympathizers were not welcome inside the mosques, to join the service. Well if you talk about disenfranchisement, discrimination, if you talk about these things, if this happens in Holland, or well it doesn’t matter where this happens, but you have to let you voice heard. But sadly I haven’t heard a peep from them, and that’s when you lose credibility in my mind. Do what you say, say what you do but do it because if you don’t, you lose credibility from a lot of people.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania moskee niet welkom gulen
A mosque in Breda stating that Hizmet sympathizers are not welcome to take part of the service. 

I have similar views about the party. I once wrote an article about Think (https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/chris-van-dijk/failures-of-holland-s-pro-immigrant-party), in which I state that the party had promise, but that has failed in the end to contribute anything positive to political discourse.
One obvious sign of the party’s polemic nature is the way they communicate to their followers: using Twitter or social-media. Oftentimes denigrating or refusing to converse with traditional media outlets- an obvious example is Donald Trump who communicates with his voters mostly through Twitter. They try to turn the people against the establishment, in order to make themselves look like the Underdogs. Now, ignoring the use of internet trolls or their refusal to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, the biggest red flag in my mind is how they have refused to criticize Erdogan. Going so far, that they have even voted against the release of imprisoned journalists in Turkey right?

Saniye: That’s true.

And it’s unfortunate. Their presence only gives more firepower to extreme right-wing groups, like (Geert) Wilders and his kin.
Just to clarify on something, the Diyanet is a Turkish organization that funds mosques?

Saniye: Yes Diyanet is an organization that funds mosques through Ankara. All of the imams, even the content of their sermons come from Turkey. I’ve have seen a program that showed that various mosques held the same sermons on the same day, same time. All of financed by Turkey.

I’ve also read that before Erdogan completely switched to authoritarianism, that a lot of mosques were more progressive or more inclusive. Later these imams were replaced with more, let’s say, Pro-Erdogan imams you could say.

Saniye: Well I know for sure that in Turkey, but also in Holland, they have listed which person supports who. They know this very well or else Erdogan’s purges wouldn’t have been so effective and we saw how fast this went. But this even happens in the consulate in Holland, where if you want to do some work for them, that people have been denied because behind their names are four letters, a word Erdogan likes to call them. This happens in Turkey all the time but in Holland as well.

I was also shocked after I heard, though I’m not sure if the numbers are entirely correct so please correct me if I’m wrong but that 60/70 percent of Turkish immigrants voted yes on the Turkish referendum in Holland?

Saniye: Well let’s say, how many people voted… Almost half I believe, 40-45 percent? Well it’s important to know that from the people who voted, seventy percent voted in favor for Erdogan. That’s a big difference, even though it’s a still a lot. Which is still, if you look at Holland and Germany, extremely high. And naturally you wonder how they could vote this way, especially after all the stories and everything that has happened here in Holland alone. These people consider me a traitor to my country or a terrorist, that’s how they see and they refuse to sit in the table with me because of it.
   Examples like this does give people the chance, to look at both Hizmet sympathizers and to the characteristics of Erdogan sympathizers, the difference being obvious. You hope that at a certain point people will see who Erdogan really is: a danger to all of humanity, not just a specific group of people. When you know about the militarized thugs and his purges. First Erdogan calls people to the streets and they might grab the flags at first but it’s not going to stop here. These are very scary things. You just hope that people see this and make the right decision for themselves and their fellow men.

Do you think there’s enough awareness about these subjects, such as his militarized thugs?

Saniye: Well when was this, Friday around two or three weeks, AIVD brought out the rapport, and naturally you don’t hear much from them but they do state the seriousness of this topic. The media does talk about it but you can’t force people to listen. You hope that people know what kind of people were dealing with here. And you must understand these thugs have been reigning hell in for a longer time now. First in Turkey, then Germany and now they are starting in Holland.

Do you think he won the referendum honestly?

Saniye: He’s reached just 51 percent and if you look at how he reached that number, it’s hard to be suspicious. You wonder if he still dares to do it again, especially after all his tiresome effort to barely get more than fifty percent by his side. But you know how it goes with countries run by dictators where voting results suddenly turn to their favor by a whopping 99 percent. You see this happening in neighboring countries of Turkey. So I can’t be sure about whether it was an honest victory, but there’s enough cause for concern.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania referendum turkey protests
Protests in Turkey against the result of the referendum.

A completely different question, but something I would like some clarification on, especially since I found conflicting information about this: is the Hizmet movement positive regarding LGBT rights?

Saniye: What is central in Hizmet is our humanity and it doesn’t matter if you are gay or lesbian, everybody deserves respect. So no, it shouldn’t make a difference, certainly not with Hizmet.

My final two questions: are you positive about the future of Hizmet and its message?

Saniye: I think that with Hizmet and most of its proponents, that it’s a way of life: this is how you we live, this is how we are in society, this is how we can be in service to people. That we can do something for people without expecting anything back, that you contribute something to this world of ours. Look it doesn’t matter if Gülen is around or not, or that many of his inspired organizations will disappear, it doesn’t matter. The people who have been inspired by Hizmet will persist. This is a something very positive. I see it as a chance for people to show what they really believe in. And of course it’s a very painful if you see what happens to Hizmet sympathizers in Turkey. Even here in Holland, because the past few years even my children haven’t been spared, my own family has deserted me because I’m part of Hizmet, they refuse to even see me in Holland. There are many examples of these. But despite all of this, it does give you an opportunity to show the world what you really believe in, that you don’t give up despite of it. If you look at it from the viewpoint of integration, it’s something very positive. The people are finally crossing down Turkey in order to focus solely on Holland, accelerating successful integration.

Are you as positive about the future of Turkey?

(A big sigh before she answers)

Saniye: if Erdogan continues in the same manner, there will be chaos and imbalance in this world, including in Holland. He’s consistently railing at his opponents and everything is going so fast. As long as he’s there I don’t see it going the right direction. This worries me a lot.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania referendum turkey protests

***

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Our Disease 4

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a dream at all

Whenever Stone’s around, there’s hardly time for sleep. He always has with him a suitcase full of mysterious chemicals making sure there’s always time for a party. They were spending most of the time in Stone’s luxurious hotel since Harry’s place was a mess and Stone always loves to create havoc in some upper-class hotel. Occasionally there were complaints but nobody in the hotel was as rich or connected as Stone so in the end, it didn’t matter.
Despite their differences, the last few days there was much boisterous laughter, long meaningful talks into the night, a connection that wavered on and of. There were moments when Harry didn’t feel so alone more, felt part of the mad scheme of the universe. But in time, as he suspected in the back of his mind, the high faded away and then the crash happened and then everything felt even worse.
The crash was happening now.
On the leather couch in the living room, Stone was having a dispute about Russia with an high-class escort called Tara. Tara was a busty blond, nearing her thirties, her voice almost that of a child. Harry sat in front of them, smoking a cigarette, wearing a fake smile.
”Listen to me young lady, the Russian people just don’t know any better. We tried to give them more rights in the nineties and look what they did? They gave it all away because they need a strong leader. They want someone to point at people and say: ‘we must annihilate these kind of people.’ That’s what people want deep down. They want to be part of a big good vs. evil story.”
”I have more faith for the Russian people…”
Stone started bawling in laughter, winking at Harry.
”We just have to give the right example. We just have to reach the people somehow. Expose their president for the monster that he is.”
”The people have been brainwashed for centuries now. We can’t penetrate their media and we will lose the information war. He’s got them locked in. You have to understand, when it comes to propaganda, the Russians know what they are doing. They’ve perfected it. It was so good, it has even infected the hearts and minds of Europeans and Americans. It’s over darling.”
”But if we showed the human rights statistics then…”
”They will say it’s fake. Western-Propaganda.”
”But it’s not.”
”They will: how do you know?”
”Because…”
”You want to help them and mean good but they don’t want your help. They think they need to protect themselves from you.”
Tara looked sad, drank a sip of their wine.
”I’m scared about the future of our country. We aren’t there yet, but we are getting close.”
”We are almost there, we just haven’t gone to the acceptance mode yet.”
”It’s going to be alright,” said Harry, his eyes getting watery, knowing deep down, that it won’t be alright.
”You really think so?”
”My friend is just pessimistic. There’s good in us. We will prevail in the end.”
Stone started bawling in laughter.
”Just make sure you keep remembering who the monsters really are,” said Harry, getting up and heading towards the bathroom. In the background, Harry could hear the conversation between Stone and Tara continuing. Harry threw the cigarette in the toilet bowl and dropped to the tile floor, lying there, staring at the ceiling.
He thought about slashing his wrists, about bashing his head against a wall until it was a unrecognizable pulp of gore. He thought about jumping from the window, falling three floors and hopefully dying in front of the bellhop. In the end, it all boiled down to one thing; he missed her, oh a god he missed here.
He knew damn well he shouldn’t. But then he did it anyway. The time alone was egregious but he had to hear her voice.
”Sheryl Palmer speaking.” This was alone felt so painful: she took his last name.
”I’m sorry, I’m really sorry,” he began, ”I just don’t who to call. You’re the only person I can turn to.” A barrage of cliches. Sometimes the extent one’s self-loathing has no bounds.
There was a sigh, contemplation. Her voice sounded a little drowsy, she hadn’t been in a deep sleep when he called but she was about too.
”It’s okay,” pause, ”what’s up?” This was a mistake but it was too late now.
There was her coldness, her refusal to express any emotion. She had given him too much already. She was already giving more. There seems to be no end.
”Well…” he didn’t know what to say. Whatever he could say would just aggravate her. But he had to express himself, he had to tell her that he loved her, even if he couldn’t say it outright.
”I had this dream. It was so beautiful.”
”What dream?”
”That’s the most painful thing. I can’t remember. It vanished from the mind. The brain just doesn’t think dreams are important to remember I suppose. But I know it was beautiful. And I know you were in there.”
”Oh Harry, she said, sighing, then: ”it was only a dream.”
It was a reasonable but nevertheless painful statement.
”It doesn’t have to be.”
”Are you drunk?”
”Yes. I’m in a hotel bathroom. Stone is discussing Russian politics with an escort.”
”You be careful with him. He handle the abyss. You can’t.”
”I wouldn’t be doing this if…” if she was still with him, ”if I knew what I was supposed to with my life.”
”Maybe you need to leave that podcast of yours alone. It’s just isolating you.”
”I can’t. It’s my world. It’s the only place that still makes sense.”
”Are you still doing therapy?”
”Not for a while.”
”Why?”
”I know all the answers and I don’t like any of them.”
”You know I care about you Harry, but I can’t help you. I can’t come too close. You know that.”
Harry didn’t say anything, as the happy memories came, so the tears streamed from his eyes.
”I understand, sorry to bother you. I shouldn’t have done this.”
”It’s okay. You should get some sleep Harry.”
He wanted to tell her that he loved her but instead: ”I always hate waking up.”
”Harry…”
”Sweet dreams.”
He hung up. The conversation in the living room was still going on. Harry closed his eyes. He imaged himself running in a rye field, trying to catch the shape of his beloved dream. He got close so many times, but the memory kept slipping away.
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania david lynch  art love
Art by David Lynch

***

EVET

”The people will vote with their common sense!” The leader poses for a picture among his electorate, he’s one of them, on their side, fighting the enemy from within and without. All the others just don’t understand. The others are a cancer that needs to be cut out. They have no faith. The Western parasites have infected their brains with the promises of the flesh. The men will let loose, become the savage animal that only Allah can contain. The females will turn from their duties, the children will be lost. Men will lay with men. The children will forget, the children will forget all that is good for society.
The Western media and their ominous messages: they talk about the end of democracy, the subjugation of free speech, the assault on objective reality, the rumors about what happens to those who defy the leader. They talk about the rise of an Islamic dystopia. A caliphate. Whatever happened to the dream of our republic? Doesn’t this leader betray the constitution of this country?
They don’t understand. We must dream bigger now. This is new world. The system we had was just a failed experiment and now we must return Allah into our government.
You will see what faith will can bring us. Yes mistakes will be made. But we will keep trusting our leaders. We will reject the negativity from dissidents and the Western media. We will only listen our chosen leader, the man that will save us. He is the only man strong enough to counter the demons of this world, the movements that try to infect our minds with false knowledge and false gods. Who are trying to take away the veil of our beautiful women, who want to take away their purity. He’s our star. Our light.

And sometimes I cry when I think about how I got from here. I was once like them. Protesting for the old world. We all got captured. I was surrounded by the same walls for months and months. Maybe longer, I don’t know. Time doesn’t mean anything when all you have is four walls that keeps coming closer and closer…
I said I cared about the truth. Truth was what I believed set me free. But I misunderstood what truth was, I didn’t see that there was a greater truth, truth beyond this world. I kept writing about the outside world and I didn’t see the glory of the outer truth, the truth that led so many people to following this great man.
And sometimes I cry about the men who remained stubborn. Those who saw their brothers being shot and still refused to pledge their lover for the leader. I made myself forget all their names. It’s no use to love then anymore. They ruined it for themselves. I will never see them again because they are in hell and I won’t go to hell. If you follow the prophet, our leader, you will remain in the good grace of Allah.
And sometimes I can’t sleep. I can feel the drop of water that kept pounding on my forehead. I can feel the things that put inside my body. The anticipation of another beating, each worse than the other. They said you’d get used to them. I never could.

But it’s all in the past now. Now I cry because I have been saved. Now I write to you telling the truth beyond this world. Join us. The voting will soon be over. You still have a chance if you have been doubting so far. If you are a dissident, tell the authorities where you are and where the rest is. You can make something of yourself still. There’s still a chance. Common sense will prevail. Allah will prevail. Our country will finally be free by rejecting freedom and subjugating us the will of the leader. The endless war will soon be over.

We will be cured. Tears will trickle down the sides of our nose. But it’s alright, everything will be all right. The struggle will be finished. We will win the victory over ourselves. Love shall prevail.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania 1984 john hurt

***

Pozantı

They were told to protest; ”if you care about the world around you, if you care about the future world of your children, you will march with them, hold the signs up high and scream for justice.”
They were still boys, but they believed themselves to be men. They had to believe they were men, you couldn’t perceive yourself to be a boy in such a world. Boys get eaten, men survive.
They were taught revolutionary dreams. The recruiters showed them pictures of the young boys who were hanged for treason. ”You must honor their memory, you must resurrect their spirits. Dying is a luxury, silence is our greatest sin.”
Even in those few years before manhood, the only games they knew were the games they played as children. Unlike the parts of the world where kids can distract themselves with the affluent choice of video-games and shows, here they had to do with whatever the state allowed them to play with; whatever the children from the Western world were bored to play with, whatever the president didn’t want his children to play with. Many of these boardgames were stolen however, then put in circulation all around the country. So before these boys would protest, before their lives would never be the same, they played a game of tag. In this game of tag you couldn’t just be ‘tagged’ by being touched, you had to be touched on your bald head. You see all of those kids had bald heads. None of them had been allowed any exotic hairstyles. The state made the schools shave their heads weekly because they had decided that boys with too much hair on their heads, looked too much like ‘them”, those people that defied God and most of all; the president. If there was a holiday, it was up to the parents to remind them. Any boy caught with too many hairs on their heads, would be arrested and the parents could expect an egregious fine. This was as long as the boy hadn’t been affiliated, even mildly, with some dissident group. If so, the boy could be put behind bars. The trial would be delayed for months, sometimes years to come.
The recruiters knew that these boys’ life would change in horrific ways. But they believed that this terrible sacrifices was worth it in the end. In order to enforce any changes, leaders must lead children to their deaths. The likes of Michael Collins or Che Guevara led young men to their deaths for a greater good. If enough children suffer, enough people will rise up and demand regime change.
They told kids that they will be seen as heroes. People will read them in history books, they would tattoo their faces on their bodies. ”We must stop this new law,” the recruiter reminded them, ”if this new law passes, the police will have even more power. If you have enough passion you will inspire others and if you inspire enough people, we can topple our corrupt president. This is not a fight for justice, this is a fight for a dignified life. Any bruise, any broken limb, any mental pain is part of this revolution. Don’t be scared. March until the end of days.”
The boys marched with worn-out sandals. Sand would fill the insides of their toes. The boys would talk about the microcosms of bugs that lived in their toes. They wore clothes made by boys like them, with different colors and shapes of eyes, but ultimately made for boys who live in the Western world. They saw many families flee to that direction and never come back. Some came back and would venture to that world again. It used to be easier they were told, but now the Western world was cracking up on any uninvited visitor. They said these visitors brought unwelcoming cultures in their own much more superior cultures. Some of them had managed to mate with women in the Western world, which scared many that live there. There were instances of violences done by men who hated the Western world and these visitors, even if they despised such acts and perpetrators perception of the religion they themselves adorned, were affiliated with them- mostly by political leaders with weird blond hairs. Like the president; they would become ”them”, people to be feared and despised and thus had to be stopped and locked away- or in this case, made to leave to whatever country of origin. One hopes that those that never came back, were allowed to stay and didn’t perish on their way there, as has happened many times before.
There were girls marching too. Unlike the bald heads of boys, they wore scarves around their luscious hairs. The boys talked in secret about being close to these girls and about what they wanted to do with them. The girls did this as well, but you had to be careful and not speak to loudly about this, especially if you were a girl; girls had always been expected to be more ladylike, while the antics of horny boys was deemed typical in their natures. Certainly if a boy and a girl got too excited and actually started to meet in secret, they better not get caught or else they would be considered deviants, and there was nothing worse than being a deviant in this country.
But there came a point in all these children’s lives that they wished that they had been more courageous because none of them would ever receive the kind of intimacy they had longed for. The country in this time had been especially watchful and harsh against expression of dissidence and the kids hadn’t even marching for an hour until teargas was shot their way. One boy had lost sight in one eye because a teargas cannister hit his eye. One boy, who had been especially passionate, had been beaten so bad, he had spent months in the hospital before he was send to prison and the blows he had received on his head were so bad, that he was never the same again. All the children, boys and girls alike were put into buses and immediately send to the penitentiary. Unbeknown to all of them, they were all put in the ”anti-terror” law, something the president had decided as an emergency precaution to all those showing any form of dissidence. This meant that trial could delayed indefinitely, that for the time their family could not visit them and that they were not allowed contact with the outside world.
The boys and girls were put in separate prisons of course- this was after all a conservative country! The moment the boys were there, they were stripped naked and hosed with water. They were forced to march to their overcrowded cells while they were forced to chant the same thing while they were protesting. As the bars closed for the first night each of the boy knew that they had made a terrible mistake and none of them spoke to each other. Any word, hopeful or otherwise, would hurt too much.
It would take about a year before the outside world began to hear about the abuse they endured. The endless humiliations; having to walk around like dogs, eat food from the floors, beaten when they were ‘bad dogs.’ Their ethnicity from the specific region they hailed from was constantly being mocked, it was ”the lowest of the lows,” they said, ”you are actually being treated like royalty here!” There were the forms of torture that amazed them in its horrors; that nightmarish drop of water, the bastinado, hot water, cigarette burns, the choking. There were the guards that liked to touch the boys a little too much and there the guards that liked too much. The boys were barred from medical attention, it would raise too much attention. There were the suicides and attempted suicides, one boy in particular said that when he thought about his mother, he just couldn’t do it.
When reports came of their abuse and spread about in human-rights court and finally in some little publications in the country, the president came to the rescue. He would move them to a different facility, one where they would serve their punishment honorably. It would be nice if the horrors ended this way, but then again, don’t underestimate this country nor humanity; the horrors can keep coming, things you can never imagine.
Boys were send to prisons and received their own solitary cell; to compensate for the abuse they endured, the walls of their cells were painted with clowns with floating balloons. The boys missed each other then, some of them would never see each other again as they were send to a different facility. ”You think they can’t take more of you, but then you realize they can. And they can probably take more than that,” one boy said in a report. The guards in question were never punished, even some of them were send to the prison facilities were these abused boys were. Some of these guards, for some inexplicable mad token revenge against these kids for speaking out; received a promotion with a hefty wage hike. The publications that spoke about this prison were seized and its journalists put in prison for ”disturbing the peace” or ”aiding ‘them”,” whatever was more convenient at the time. The boys grew up in these prisons surrounded by clowns and floating balloons, some of them growing mad by solitary confinement, some of them nearly starving, some of them suffering the same abuse over and over again. In time, some of them had been allowed visitation from their parents but when they met their parents they had no idea what to say and some of them, didn’t seem to remember who they were. It was a different life, a different world, a world that didn’t seem to exist no more. ”It was just my imagination,” one boy said to himself one day, ”I’ve always lived in here. I’ve never left.”
The memory of people who have read these reports, faded. Mostly willingly; it was better not to ponder such facts in life and focus on how good you and those around you have it. The good people, especially little boys and girls (whose abuse was no less terrible and deserves to be written about by someone courageous enough to explore it) are supposed to have happy endings. But being forgotten by the lucky ones outside these prisons was not something they had been at all surprised with. There had been some hopes when they managed to speak out about this and when the buses came to move them away, but when they entered their cells and saw the clowns and floating balloons, they smiled before they cried for the last time of their lives.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania kids turkey prison

***

Ghouta

I thought I knew him. I thought I looked into his soul. He was the first foreign leader to call my office personally after our country was under attack. He offered me extensive military intelligence, even troops, whatever it took to strike at the enemy.
”This is nothing to do with diplomacy,” he told. ”Sometimes two people from different worlds recognize a common enemy. This is about the greater good. This is God sending us a sign to stop being so stubborn and work together.”
On our first summit-meeting we spoke about God. History told me that his country despised religion, that it closed down churches, hunted down religious dissidents. The last century his country was dominated by a secular utopia. People had to confirm to a Godless universe or else the State will make you disappear. Like many great powers, it went too far to submit its people. The history of my country is in many ways similar. It’s build on blood like all others. The difference is that it was always founded on liberty, but in order to obtain this kind of liberty, a lot of people had to sacrifice themselves. Even now we haven’t perfected it yet. The fact that we are still so strong proves that at least some part of our dreams were true. The country of my foreign friend however, had to collapse before it realized it had to chase a different dream. But by then too many lives were lost and gone. Maybe the dream was beautiful to begin with. So say they all, after the nightmare is over.
You wonder when it’s too late., when redemption is no longer an option. The soul of a country depends on its people. We helped them out as much as we could. Send them money. Helped them create a new declaration. But the reports weren’t good. There was no democracy there. My foreign friend in question squashed any hope of this.
But after our hopeful meeting, I thought I judged too quick. A country that ran on such a troublesome history, needs the time to build its democracy. You can’t force it too quick or else it won’t work. He told me this; ”I know what you’ve heard doesn’t make me sound like a good guy. Some of it is true. I admit. Yet, my actions are not out of malice, nor are representative of the whims of a ruthless tyrant. It’s about creating stability in what is so far chaos. I make as many reforms as possible. Infusing a different mindset into the people so that Western-democracy can grow. I enforce it into our educational system, in our market system, into my speeches. You have to understand; I’m a good man that must do bad things in order to make sure the bad people don’t take over again. They spread an endless amount of propaganda about me because I’m screwing with their money. They want you to condemn me. They want you to take me out of the G8 meetings. Please believe me. I just want what’s best for my country.”
We spoke about God, mourning the loss of his presence in every continuing generation. He quoted my favorite verse: “but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” from Isaiah 40:31.His state made closer ties to its biggest Christian following, in order to popularize religion once more. It wasn’t the Christianity I follow but any Christianity, as long as it bases itself on his teachings, is valid. I believe, just as he said he believed, that evil can only be destroyed if we value the sacrifice Christ made. If we understand his selflessness and our willing to follow his path then maybe we can eradicate evil from our hearts and from our people.
In a way, though it sounds nonsensical now, I felt that I had to strike at the enemy as hard as I did, even with its massive collateral damage, in order to make the point to the enemy, despite my feelings about the innocent loss of lives. A part of me wanted to stop. Only send in drones perhaps. Maybe a few ground troops but not total war. I didn’t want all of it on my conscience. But in order to make this world a better place, just as he said, we have to do bad things just so the bad guys won’t take over. I had to sacrifice my virtue in order to make this world a better place. All this destruction and violence, I’m horrified to say, I thought it was what God wanted.
I thought what our country missed was idealism. Too much realpolitik. I thought we needed a return of exceptionalism. But maybe I went too far. Maybe I dreamed too much. I knew my presidency was a failure even before my second term. Maybe I shouldn’t have run, but I felt like I had to. I had to prove it to my father, my country and myself that I could uphold the promise of our nation. Make it exemplary in terms of uncompromising moral standing. I knew I couldn’t do it but I couldn’t let anybody else know this. I had to keep the charade and the people were dumb enough to vote for me again.
Then it happened; my so-called foreign kin, the man whose soul I misjudged, proved himself to be the monster that they said he was. Even worse. When I saw the pictures of all those kids with oxygen masks, all those tiny bodies covered in white cloth, I knew the devil had fooled me. See those eyes of those who survive: it’s too much horror too handle.
By then, it was too late. When I called him all his words seemed hollow. Kicking him out of the G8 didn’t matter to him, by then he had already achieved enough power to do what he wants in his country without needing the approval of me and the other G7 countries. The other nations needed him anyway for his national resources. He would be fine. They would tell him that they were concerned about some his actions but they would continue making deals with him anyway. Dead children aside, business is business.
I might have permanently weakened the enemy, though I could never kill its leader, but I wonder if any of it had any meaning. After the enemy was down, another enemy appeared from the dust. They just keep coming and coming. It resurrects; maybe it has a different name but it has similar rhetoric. Evil never goes away, I should have known that and maybe I did, but you get swept away in that all that patriotism that it’s easy to fool yourself. Evil evolves.
Now my replacement has to deal with the mess of the world. I’m glad I’ve become a civilian. I have no stomach for this anymore. I wonder if our country will hate him as much as they hate me.
Sometimes I’m not sure if I believe in God anymore. I don’t tell anybody this. Not even my wife. It’s best not to open this door.

I’m afraid my replacement will make the same mistake I made. I’ve seen him on TV, talking about how he (my former foreign friend) wants the same things we do. But he does not. He doesn’t care about the same things we do, he never did. He’s set to meet him soon. I’ve tried to call him but they keep telling me he’s unavailable.

I keep thinking about those children. Maybe if I saw the devil for who he was, maybe those kids would still be here. I dreamed about having one of those kids in my arms, surrounded by dust and rubble.  I put the oxygen mask into his mouth, turning the nozzle. I mouth a prayer.

Please. Just this once.

Nothing worked. It was too late.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania syria gas attack
 ***

Camp of Saints

(Note: this piece of prose is not meant to be taken as my political views. It’s only to illustrate the certain ethnonationalism that I see rising in our political discourse and Western society. This worries me and thus I wrote about it. I hope this will be clear in reading in this.)

Today the leader signed an executive order to secede from the union of nations this country was once a part of. A small majority considers this a victory the spirit of the country, the other country fears a return of isolationism that has given leaders in the past the freedom of absolute cruelty. Many say it won’t be so bad. All these horrible things are part of the past. There won’t be more place like this. People will always be free to speak their minds in this place, no matter how offensive their statements might be to the leading regime. ”We are safe and we will always be safe, don’t you worry.”
These same people talk about us progressing. ”We are becoming a better human species the more time passes. There is an increase of civil liberties, the meek will be protected, our victims will be avenged. We are building the moral arc that will push the laws of society towards absolute justice. One day we will become perfect. One day we will create heaven on earth.”
This one night, some supporter of the referendum talked to me. We had some beers and as it goes, our political discourse heated up. Tell you the truth, the more I listened to him, the more scared I got. My friends tell me I don’t need to be scared. They say it will be bad, but not this bad. But I don’t know what to say or to think and after he was done talking I ran home and tried to sleep. But I couldn’t sleep. His words kept me awake:
”This new referendum will change things for the better. Just wait and see. It’s only a small step forward. We don’t need those other nations anymore. We can be in charge of our fiscal, monetary and best of all; immigration policies. No more will we be forced to take in strangers that don’t respect our culture and values. Finally we can be proud of who we are. We won’t be forced to apologize. We don’t need to fear offending the sensitivity of people who don’t respect us anyway.
No more political correctness, unnecessary diversity or countless genders. We can joke about whatever we want now. No more censorship from the liberal media. Our prophets won’t get fired from their shows anymore. They can see how things really are and nobody will stop them.
We will educate our children, we will stop them from indoctrinating our children. All this tedious talk about the evils of our ancestry.
All this tedious talk about the evils of our ancestry. Always trying to make us feel bad. This is a different world now. The evils they speak about have long stopped existing. It’s time to let this go and let go of those who keep pushing us back. We need to move forward and they can either come with us or move out of the way. And if we have to, we will push them forward and if they still refuse, we will push them away. Sometimes you must be willing to do something you never thought you would approve of, just to maintain order.
This referendum will separate us from the regressive, the ones that feed on white guilt. Those who fight modernity. Stop harking back to the price others had to pay so that we could have it this good, just look around you: we are the most advanced societies on the face of the planet. You might even say it was worth it. The obsession of our opposition about the feelings of others. The comeback of evil that we have long ago purged from our beings. It’s time to stop caving in to those barbarians who demand our respect and our hard-earned taxes. If you are not willing to pay the price or if you enter our country illegally, we will make you swim all the way back to the flagitious deserts you came from.

No more appeasement. Not one concessions. No more mercy to the people who just can’t abide by our universal laws. No more history for that matter, we will focus on the future. History is overrated. There is no need to keep looking back. Keep looking forward and dare to dream. That’s the problem of this world, people stopped dreaming and they kept looking for answers in the past. They needed scientific verification while sometimes you just have to go with your gut and see what happens.
One day, when we are safe and sound in our newly established border, will you understand. It will all seem so simple then. One day you will see that all this suffering, all this surveillance, all these hard measures and unfortunate deaths, will all be worth it.”

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania refugees border
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