Monday, June 17, 2013

Standing up for Dignity: Power of Creative Nonviolence on Display in Turkey

Individuals standing up to overwhelming force with silence and dignity in Turkey

A man’s single act of nonviolent defiance has turned into a growing group of people’s silent struggle for the right to protest in Taksim Square. His name Erdem Gündüz, a dancer and a performance artist. Around the world the hashtag began trending.

Erdem began standing after police conducted a bag search six hours ago, and he was still standing in the same place staring at the flag of modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, which is hung on the Atatürk Culture Center (AKM) when he was detained by the police. He was shortly released afterwards and this is what he had to say
"Maybe the media and people will learn something from this silent standing, this resistance," Gunduz said in an interview with Hurriyet TV. "Maybe they will feel some empathy. I am just an ordinary citizen of this country. We want our voices to be heard."Gunduz said he was protesting in solidarity with demonstrators who were evicted at the weekend from Gezi Park adjoining Taksim, an intervention by police that triggered some of the most violent clashes to date.
About 300 others that had joined him in the silent protest of which 10 were also detained. There whereabouts remain at this moment unknown.  Taksim square has been ground zero in the struggle between the police and protesters over the past three weeks.

There are other people standing up in Turkey, we now have a "standing woman" in Ankara silently protesting where the police shot and killed Ethem Sarisuluk, a young man of 26 years of age. Now the hashtag has also appeared.

Tonight in Turkey we have witnessed the power of nonviolence to resist brute force and to bring people together in defense of human dignity.

Lets remain vigilant and continue to support the nonviolent demonstrators in Turkey and their just demands by signing this petition from Amnesty International an end to the abuse and an accounting of the extent of the injuries suffered.

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