Thursday, December 08, 2005


Behind the sideral charm of minarets, mosques and bazaars, few tourists seem to remember that this was for centuries the capital of an oppressor empire (aren't they synonyms) , the Ottoman Empire. The list of oppressed has varied with the years: Bulgarian, Albanese, Greek, Armenian, Kurds, etc. In Istambul I was lucky enough to meet Tulay, a girl from Hospitality Club who took me to the inauguration of a socialist cultural center rather than to Sultanahmet. It was called the Beksav Cultural Center, in Moda, Kodikay. There I met people from the Socialist Plataform of Oppressed People. The guys there explained the situation: Turkish police hits hard socialist people just for exercising their right of gathering. While Turkish youth of big cities discuss abut GSM technology and ringtones the shepherds in the South East carry on a desperate living, and the Kurds continue without their rights. (It's not a surprise that they hold 8% of the world's oil reservoir under their feet). They also asked me about the social movements in Argentina, they referred to the 2001 'cacerolazos' -i.e popular uprisings. How that could ever happened in a country where the left has been demonized and blamed for the last 30 years of history. Then they ask me my political choice, they ask if I consider myself Leninist and wait anxiously for the answer. They sem a bit disappointed when they hear that I welcome all sort of escaped from the present system, from hippie communes and social experiments like Christiania in Copenhagen to Social Inclusive Systems, to Gesell's Free Economy. In the cultural center they present 2006 official calendar of the Cultural Center. In each month there is an illustrious person. Most of the are Kurdish poets, with two exceptions: Bertold Brecht and… Victor Jara (Chilean singer murdered by Pinochet agents) . We go then to the little gathering place of the Socialist Youth. The sign in the bell button is written with pen… Is the kind of places I love.

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