May 31st – Day 3
Up early and back to Istanbul! After a wonderful exhibition on the Gezi Protest in Bursa, we boarded a ferry back to Istanbul, as Cansu carefully monitored which roads and bridges would be blocked. Word on the street was that the police would preemptively block any travel into Taksim in order to stop any potential anniversary based protesting. By the time we reached Taksim, it was apparent that we would not be able to stay in our hostel- so we decided to hunker down in Lisa’s apartment instead. But, half of us needed to go back to our hostel to pick up extra clothes and toiletries. In order to do that, we had to cross through Taksim, which had an estimated 25,000 policemen.*Cue Mission Impossible theme song* Looking as tourisit-y as possible, Lisa talked our way into Taksim. Soon enough we were exactly where a CNN reporter had been forcibly taken for questioning by the police. Being naïve, I took a few pictures (below), before realizing that 25,000 police were staring back at me- the very same police who assaulted and killed protestors one year prior. I’ll remember this experience for the rest of my life.
Finally, we returned with our belongings to Lisa’s apartment. With the Turkish news playing in the background, we prepped for dinner. The five of us gathered around the dinner table for a quick lesson on how to make köfte, and tried our hand at preparing a traditional Turkish meal. Meanwhile, Cansu made Turkish coffee. We sipped down our drinks as fast as we could so that Cansu could tell our fortunes with the coffee grounds. I’m trying not to jinx anything, but my future is looking pretty bright here in Turkey! J
Attila arranged for a dinner party of friends and family for the night, so the apartment was buzzing with life as we dug into our köfte, rice, and salad. At all corners of the house, we engaged in discussions about politics, American foreign relations, music, and art. We challenged each other in our views, especially concerning Orientalism. Finally, I was able to recall and use my opinions on Edward Said in a constructive way! Our Turkish friends were very aware of American politics, but I knew very little about Turkish politics- hegemony at its best! We talked for hours and hours…(until 3 am)…but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. If this is the Turkish way, I am so happy to be a part of it!
<3s and love,