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The keys

Ιουνίου 15, 2017

It was poetry night down at the Ledra crossing tonight. As ever, awkward. Poems had to be recited in one of the mother languages, then the other, then in English.

Or so I thought, as I am not in a position to understand Turkish.
And poetry is not just words translated from one language to another. So it was a bit, well, complicated, as it is fashionable to say.

I was there with a good company of activists, old and new, a little more than the usual crowd that you would expect on a fine Thursday evening. Saying a word to each and every one present was really standing on the way of my attention to listening to the poems.

A friend was talking to me about one my tweets of today and the discussion that followed. Somehow the discussion was led to how we deal with nationalists and extremists who basically hate the other side and are prepared to go to any length to boycott any prospect of a deal.

There is no generic rule to cover all cases, but a few things are quite clear: do not waste time with those who are beyond repair, although this group has to be specifically defined by each of us and it may vary. I usually have a stomach for arguing hard, both because I feel that I am right, but also because I think I know.

More than the average social media user.

One of the things that we agreed with my friend is that it is important to say the truth and deconstruct myths and sacred slogans. A lot of people realize the sick propaganda of most of the media and the so called patriotic politicians, but they rarely dare to go the extra mile (or meter) to go out and tell them off. We also agreed that it is much more difficult to identify the bad guys and bad practices within your own group or community, rather than within the other group on the other side which is anyway perceived as the enemy by most of the guys on our side.

And then she started asking me about this and that commentator and how I have the patience to deal with them. I answered that these are people like us, living or working next door, they are a large group of people that we must respect. We must at least give them our attention to see if their arguments or phobias are real and how they can be answered, or at worse to counter them.
At the end of the conversation I admitted that my posts usually give a one sided approach since most of my criticism goes in fact towards my own community, whereas the other side gets an easy ride – despite its own ills and unhelpful or even provocative actions.

Yes, we have a lot of bad guys on our side, but there are bad guys on the other side as well.

At that point a poem caught my attention. I managed to listen to the last bit in Greek, and then almost all of it in English. It was a short poem.

It was about keys and it was written and recited by the poet himself Mr Gur Genc.

As far as I heard, as far as I remember, and more importantly as far as I could understand, that was a poem about the bad guys of the other side, who occupied, destroyed, built on land that was not their own thinking that it would be their own, forever. Guys who were thinking that nobody would change their convenient status quo, people who were thinking that their pseudo – reality would be there forever. The poem was talking about the situation on the other side, but the essentials were there, the status quo, the convenient pseudo reality is a common instance on both sides, shading away the normality that is so conspicuously absent from this blessed country.

And I thought, what a fantastic opportunity. I am going to take advantage of an impromptu poetic event to prove that I am no friend of the bad guys on the other side. I’m generally no friend to all those who think that what we have now is the best we can get and this is what our country is worth.

The poem finished (something) like this:

“We thought they would never come back. But they came, holding the keys to our front door. “

And since then I knew that I had to write this.

Disclaimers:

1. Yes, I do like writing, but I am no poet myself.

2. I stand to be corrected on any of the details of the poem or the poet.

3. Repeat: the most effective way to deal with the bad guys in one group is from within the group. It is kids’ stuff to criticize the people over the bench.

4. This is dedicated to the bad guys of the other side.

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3 Σχόλια leave one →
  1. strovoliotis permalink*
    Ιουνίου 15, 2017 22:35

    Η κατάρα της λεηλασίας

    Λεηλατήσαμε τα καταστήματά τους
    Χαλάσαμε τ’ αγάλματά τους
    Λογχίσαμε τα γουρούνια τους και τα κάψαμε
    μαζί με τις φωτογραφίες των παιδικών τους χρόνων.
    Γεμίσαμε τα χαντάκια τους
    Ισοπεδώσαμε με μπουλντόζες τους τάφους τους
    και χτίσαμε απάνω τους γήπεδα ποδοσφαίρου
    Κατεδαφίσαμε πλίθινους τοίχους που κουβαλούσαν τις μνήμες τους.

    Νομίσαμε πως δεν θα επιστρέψουν ποτέ.
    Και γύρισαν κρατώντας στα χέρια τους
    το κλειδί της πόρτας μας…

    Αρέσει σε 1 άτομο

  2. strovoliotis permalink*
    Ιουνίου 15, 2017 22:35

    The Curse of Looting

    We looted their shops.
    ​​Destroyed their statues.
    Speared their pigs and burned
    them, with their childhood photographs.
    We filled their ditches. Straightened with buldozers
    and built football pitches over their graves.
    Inside their memories, we tore down adobe walls.
    We cut their trees. Even killed their shadows.

    We thought they would never come back.
    They came. With our doors’ key in their hands…

    Μου αρέσει!

  3. strovoliotis permalink*
    Ιουνίου 15, 2017 22:36

    GANİMET LANETİ

    Dükkanlarını yağmaladık. Heykellerini kırdık.
    Domuzlarını mızraklayıp
    çocukluk fotoğraflarıyla birlikte yaktık.
    Hendeklerini doldurduk. Dozerle düzeltip
    futbol sahası yaptık mezarlarının üstüne.
    Anılarının içine yıktık kerpiç duvarları.
    Ağaçlarını kestik. Gölgelerini bile öldürdük.

    Bir daha geri gelmeyecekler sandık.
    Geldiler. Ellerinde kapılarımızın anahtarı…

    Μου αρέσει!

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