Occupy Gezi

. . . And the Beat Goes On!

It's been almost two years since we launched #Occupy into the world with audacity, without knowing or controlling what it would become. And just nine months ago, on Occupy's one-year anniversary in September, we acknowledged that while #OWS in Zuccotti had fizzled, the nascent movement was indeed alive and well, as just one part of a global uprising that could be traced from The Arab Spring to the student uprisings in Montreal, Mexico and Chile; from the economic revolts in Spain, Greece and Britain to the protests across India, Africa, Japan, China and Tibet.

Over 2012 & 2013, these insurgencies have come and gone, peaked and waned, burst and dispersed. But the feeling in the pit of the stomachs of hundreds of millions of young people all over the world burns strong and gnaws deeper. The sense that the future does not compute, that a different, sane and sustainable future is possible and worth fighting for continues to spread like wildfire, on social media and in the streets. No one knows what new forms of creative rebellion and bold resistance this growing feeling will spurn, nor do we know what metamorphosis of #Occupy will come next. But there is one sure thing – these sparks of defiance will only continue to crackle across global skies.

Over the last few days in Istanbul, an Occupy-style protest has emerged. Since May 27, Istanbulites from all classes, races and ages from all over the city have been committed to peaceful protest in Taksim Genzi Park, the city's largest and only public park, scheduled to be bulldozed and cleared for the construction of a shiny new mall.

About 50 Zuccoti-style protesters camping out in the park awoke on May 28th to a cloud of tear-gas cluttering their airways and forcing them, chocking and stumbling, out of the smoke-filled park. However, this sinister and sneaky early-morning attack backfired immediately, as even more Istanbulites flooded into the park in solidarity. The next day, demonstrations in the park continued in high spirits. The second intervention came early the following morning on May 30th, this time at 5am, when the riot police set fire to the tents using tear gas and copious pepper spray, causing several serious injuries along the way. “Against this inhumanity and extreme violence,” writes a Istanbulite on Facebook, “ the reaction was the occupation of the park, this time by thousands. But this morning, Friday May 31, proved to be the culmination of violence and barbarism that no words can describe,” with an excessive use of force on behalf of the police. The park's exit was blocked, so the group was thus trapped in the park and caught in an unprecedentedly destructive crossfire of tear gas and pepper bombs. Everyone was chocking. Many were wounded. This is the most violent clash seen in a long time.”

While there's a media blackout in Istanbul right now, you can find dramatic pictures of the police brutality here and here. Istanbulites are calling out for solidarity, stating:

The resistance for democracy and human rights will not be terminated; we are determined to continue our struggle against a government determined to crush each and every oppositon, a government that can not tolerate even a peaceful opposition for saving trees. The Turkish government, has violated all international human rights conventions and mechanisms it is a party to.

Your valuable support and solidarity will indeed fortify our determination and resistance. Please share it, name it and shame it and blame it so that this insanity and brutality practised against human rights defenders can be terminated through international pressure.

Share this energized open letter on Facebook, watch the Turkish live feed here or on Al Jazeera, and stay tuned over the next few days, weeks and months, because this Turkish uprising is just one manifestation of that deep feeling we all have in our guts. The fire of a Global Spring is lit and its spark is inside of every one of us. While no one quite knows what's coming up next, these outbursts of the human spirit rightfully claiming what is our right, whilst reclaiming what has gone wrong, are going to continue to pop up in unexpected and unpredictable ways. And we at Adbusters feel that these moments of not-knowing are when the most exciting, weird and wonderful things happen . . .