postvirtual

Archive for July, 2013|Monthly archive page

Horseheads

In #GlobalRevolution on 31 July 2013 at 12:12

PostVirtual

[Spanish translation here]

Sofia, July 31.

Dear people,

Let me tell you a story. It’s the kind of story you would hear around the fire in winter. Now in summer, you can hear it around the piano.

It was told to me by comrade M., the man who carries a styrofoam horsehead on a stick every evening, in protest against the mafia. Comrade M. is a repatriate. There is no way for me to verify if his story is true, but frankly I don’t care. A good story doesn’t need to be weighed down by truthfulness.

M. was 17 years old when he fled from communist Bulgaria in 1980, together with his dad. They didn’t really have a choice at the time. His dad was an engineer who had invented a device for the quick and even distribution of cocoa powder. The authorities seized his machine, and employed it…

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International Intrigue

In #GlobalRevolution on 30 July 2013 at 14:52

PostVirtual

[Spanish translation here]

Sofia, July 30.

Dear people,

Like most eastern European countries, Bulgaria has rarely been master of its own destiny. Things were decided either in Constantinople, or in Moscow, or more recently in Brussels and Washington. As part of the next layer, I will concentrate on the country’s geopolitical importance.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the West swiftly moved to incorporate eastern Europe in its expanding sphere of influence. Bulgaria became a member of NATO in 2004, and of the EU in 2007.

As far as Europe is concerned there is a disequilibrium in the relationship between Sofia and Brussels. Bulgarians long to be as free and prosperous as the West, but Brussels doesn’t really seem to care for them. They are a second rate member, outside of the Schengen area and outside of the euro. If the EU ever bothered to welcome Bulgaria in its ranks…

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Water Melon Day

In #GlobalRevolution on 29 July 2013 at 13:26

PostVirtual

[Spanish translation here]

Sofia, July 29.

Dear people,

I haven’t seen people dancing in circles out on the streets since early June when Taksim Square was ours. Yesterday, the Bulgarians danced in front of parliament. It was the 45th consecutive day of protest.

For the occasion, some people had brought water melons. It took a while for me to figure out the reference. It was an intricate one. The Bulgarian word for water melon (диня, dinya) is similar to the words for ‘day’ (ден, den)  and ‘year’ (година, godina). The communists ruled the country for 45 years, the protest is lasting for 45 days, the melons meant to say that it has been enough. It’s time for the ‘mafia’ to leave. So, on the beat of the drums the crowd chanted the unambiguous slogan of ‘оставка’ (ostavka, resignation).

As I promised, I will try to onion my way around…

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Bulgarian Summer

In #GlobalRevolution on 29 July 2013 at 10:06

PostVirtual

[Spanish translation here]

Sofia, July 28

Dear people,

You notice the difference at the border. The Turkish side is super fancy, with neon lights and grand unified architecture that announces a proud nation on the rise. The Bulgarian side is a run-down dump with a few shacks that nobody cared to replace since communist times. Inside one of the shacks it’s a mess. Apparently, a router had recently been installed and they never bothered to tidy up the wiring. The only piece of 21st century is the chip-reader for passports, for which the router was necessary. Everyone passes without a problem. When it’s my turn the border guard starts asking questions. I wonder what popped up on his screen. He seems reluctant to let me in.

I’m here for tourism, sure. I considered telling him that I’m a foreign agent intent on bringing down the Bulgarian government, but I…

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Diversity of Tactics

In #GlobalRevolution on 25 July 2013 at 00:36

PostVirtual

[Spanish translation here]

Istanbul, July 24

Dear people,

My time is running out. Soon I will have to leave the country. It prompts me to make another reflection on the concept of revolution, on the real, substantial change that all of us – or almost – want to see in this world.

Many people who call themselves revolutionaries consider the revolution to be something serious. Especially in Turkey. They hide out in their coves, plotting, drinking tea, smoking, theorizing, and accusing other revolutionaries of not being revolutionary enough. When they go out onto the streets with their banners, they sing their ominous chants, they spell doom to the ruling class, and they dream of Judgment Day when all counts will be settled.

This is old school, this won’t happen. A real revolution means joy, unity, and fun. The Turks have understood this at Occupy Gezi, like the Spaniards before…

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“Everywhere Armutlu”

In #GlobalRevolution on 18 July 2013 at 20:50

PostVirtual

[German translation here. Spanish translation here. Greek translation here.]

Istanbul, July 18

Dear people,

The resistance in Armutlu is becoming an inspiration for citizens all over Turkey. At the moment, the neighbourhood is firmly controlled by the people. Police don’t even try to conquer it any more. They have lifted the siege. A few days ago, they made a final attempt to enter. We saw footage of that, it was epic. People threw down burning sofa’s from the roofs. Police employed armoured vehicles to break through the barricades, and didn’t succeed.

Aside from the burning sofa’s, the most interesting aspect of the resistance is the effective use of strong laser beams. When the vehicles moved in, people were flashing dozens of them at the drivers from the windows of their houses. It turned into a spectacular light show.

The demoralizing effect of lasers on an invading force…

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Repression and Resistance

In #GlobalRevolution on 14 July 2013 at 16:33

PostVirtual

[Greek translation here (with more fotos) and in comments. Spanish translation here]

Istanbul, July 14.

Dear people,

For the past week, both the repression and the resistance are gaining steam again. On Monday, eight members of Taksim Solidarity were arrested on trumped up charges including the founding of an illegal organization with the ‘intent to commit crimes’. Other members were charged with the possession of suspicious materials, such as gas masks. Police raids were performed throughout Istanbul. Our own primary cove got raided twice in the aftermath of the Gezi occupation.

On Wednesday, fifty Occupy Gezi detainees started a hunger strike to protest against the witch hunt. Amnesty International and human rights organization IHD called for the immediate release of all peaceful protesters and for the government to protect the freedom of expression and demonstration. Pending trial, the Taksim Solidarity members were released on Thursday.

Four members of the…

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Gezi Homecoming

In #GlobalRevolution on 9 July 2013 at 16:48

PostVirtual

[Spanish translation here]

Istanbul, July 9

Dear people,

Gezi Park was officially re-opened for the public yesterday afternoon. Too bad the square was closed so nobody could get there. Authorities had lined up a ridiculous amount of police in Taksim, and they didn’t lose any time to attack the people who assembled there between six and seven o’ clock. So once again, it was going to be a night of clashes.

After a month in Istanbul, you learn the basics about urban resistance. Let me fill you in.

First, organisation. Generally, people go in groups, or cells, of say six to twelve people with a certain affinity. Each cell is divided into buddies. Hook up with one other person. Look out for that person and don’t lose him or her. A number of cells together can form a cluster. These clusters may or may not have a political, social…

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Reasons to Fight

In #GlobalRevolution on 7 July 2013 at 12:56

PostVirtual

[Greek translation here. Spanish translation here]

Istanbul, July 7

Dear people,

It’s not hard to predict the weather once you get to Taksim Square. Yesterday evening it was obvious straight away that there was tear gas in the air.

Police had blocked all the exits and kept considerable reserves in the park and in the square itself. For streaming purposes we took up position from one of the terraces. We saw the communists marching down Istiklal street behind a banner that was obviously inspired by the events in Egypt. “Government resign”, it said.

After the communists came the anarchists of çArşı. After them came the representatives of Taksim Solidarity. They brought the court order, which declared the redevelopment of Taksim and Gezi Park to be illegal. They showed it to the line of riot police and demanded access to the square. In response, they got showered by…

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In Name of the Law

In #GlobalRevolution on 6 July 2013 at 02:51

PostVirtual

[Spanish translation here]

Istanbul, July 5

Dear people,

“This can only happen in Turkey,” my brother Naber said, but I’m pretty sure these things can happen in Italy as well.

A month ago, on June 6, when the people had just occupied Gezi Park after days of clashes with police, a Turkish court ruled that the entire reconstruction of the Taksim area, including the park, was unlawful. After that, they kept their decision a secret, until last Wednesday. The project violates current city protection legislation and must be cancelled. Personally, I wonder why the court didn’t rule, or wasn’t asked to rule, before they brought in the bulldozers, but hey, this is Turkey.

So all those people who defended Gezi Park against demolition, who got gassed, shot at, even killed, were actually defending the rule of law against authorities themselves. Now it’s the police who are illegally occupying Gezi…

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