A while back I was working on a nightmare I had a few years ago which I sorted out using the Tarot. One of the images which has been haunting me ever since is The Magician, the first card in The Tarot after The Fool. The Magician is my card, it comes up so often in Tarot readings or if I’m picking a daily Tarot card for myself, it’s quite amazing. So I decided to create a painting of The Magician to really embrace the energy of this card and allow it full rein in my life.
I drew the image a while back but couldn’t work out how to fill the body until I found myself fiddling around with digital art created from a polished fluorite tower I used to own which I dropped. Fluorite is very brittle so it shattered but, nevertheless, I kept the pieces. This is a photo of the tower, when it was in one piece, and some of the art I created from the image:
Then I realised that Fluorite encourages the unity of the heart (emotion, feeling, psychic opening, love, sensation) with the head (intellect, logic, reason, thinking), and it’s the perfect stone for the body of The Magician – which is bringing the magic of the Universe into the light of day on Earth.
So here’s the painting which emerged over the past few days:
The body is composed of pieces of fluorite. I got my husband to crush the larger pieces so that I could fill the body with pieces of this lovely crystal, certainly didn’t want to waste it because it wasn’t in one piece any more.
The black around represents the void into which The Magician reaches to bring the magic of the universe into life on earth. There are four clear quartz crystal points in each corner to represent east, west, north and south; earth, fire, air and water. The wand the Magician is holding is a kyanite wand with a clear quartz sphere and garnet stones, enhancing psychic energy and understanding, in order to bring it to life at an earthly level and render is useable in material terms; from the hand pointing down to the earth are pouring small hematite tumbled stones representing the transition of universal energy to practical form on earth and at the end of these is a spray of stibnite which scatters star energy on earth.
Here are close-ups of the pics of Rumi’s work which I felt drawn to add at the end:
I love the pics and quotes of Rumi, his words really speak to my heart have great emotional input for me. They remind me I need to be more open about what matters spiritually to me. And they remind me of my love of dance and the fact I have great rhythm (even if I am tone deaf and can’t sing for toffee!).
And finally I walked in this morning to look at the painting and there smirking at me behind the main figure was a shadow figure, plain as daylight and I hadn’t noticed it the day before. However, after sitting with it for a while, I decided I really knew what it represented – to stop holding back my energy, get my physical body moving and exploding into the stratosphere – so added some glitter to transform the energy into positive star stuff.
Last weekend, here in North Cyprus we had a Beyram on the Saturday, which is a national holiday. On the night before, 39 years after the Turkish intervention, people gathered at Altinkya, on the north coast just down the road from where we live to keep a vigil. It’s where the Turkish troops landed in 1974 at 4.30am to liberate Turkish Cypriots from genocide by Greek and Greek-Cypriot forces, to remember the landings. People here see this as a hugely beneficial action by Turkey and remember those brave Turkish troops who died during the lands and subsequent fighting.
Saturday was Peace and Freedom Day with big celebrations, gatherings in the main cities of Famagusta, Lefkosia (Nicosia) and Girne (Kyrenia), and an astonishing aerobatics display off the Girne coast by the Turkish White Stars Air Display team. We had enjoyed watching them arrive from Turkey the previous day and carrying out some practice runs which took them past our apartment.
As I mentioned in my previous post on this subject, the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus as a formal entity was established on 15th November 1983 after intransigence by Greek-Cypriot leaders in making any serious steps to resolve the north-south conflict.
Greek-Cypriot and Greek governments went bonkers but the TRNC formalised a situation which had dragged on since the Turkish intervention of 1974. It gave recognition to the fact that Turkish-Cypriots were building their own economic and political structures in the 40% liberated from Greek-Cypriot genocide by the 1974 intervention, in the face of intransigence on the part of South Cyprus in reaching a resolution of the division of Cyprus.
The reality is that Greek-Cypriots aren’t interested in recognising that they lost the war, that they were the aggressors in the conflict, and that they need to compromise to reach a solution. Take the Annan Plan which was a United Nations proposal to resolve the partition of Cyprus. After various revisions and negotiations it was put to the Cypriot people as a referendum on 24th April 2004 with the following result: supported by 65% of Turkish Cypriots, but only 24% of Greek Cypriots.
Greek and Greek-Cypriot governments have acted shamefully and vindictively in villifying Turkey for its actions in protecting Turkish-Cypriots, trying to undermine any international links between the TRNC and overseas interests to the extent of even trying to intimidate international acts into not performing here. Students who came here on holiday last year as part of their school-leaving celebrations were told it was too dangerous, and they’d be raped by rampaging Turkish soldiers. In the event, the young people had a wonderful time and returned home with good stories about the real situation in North Cyprus.
For Turkish-Cypriots, the constant years of anti-North Cyprus propaganda have meant times of hardship, trying to build a society where they can be safe and build a future for themselves, their children and future generations. Many had moved from Greek-Cyprus to the north (as Greek-Cypriots moved from the north to the south) and had to re-establish themselves in different towns and villages. In the early years it was very tough, but things have been improving in recent years.
With the advent of the internet and social media, the isolation that Greek-Cypriot and Greek leaders have tried to maintain has gradually broken down. The truth about the history of Cyprus and the need for the Turkish intervention is getting more widely known. There is increasing support for the TRNC as people visit here and realise it’s not run as a police state, Turkish troops are not running amok, and Turkish-Cypriots are friendly, helpful, courteous, kind and have a wonderful sense of humour.
Yes, you do drive past barracks with Turkish and Turkish-Cypriot troops and you’re not allowed to take photographs. But the troop presence is hardly noticeable, and the only reminder of past conflicts are the occasional fly pasts of the odd army helicopters and occasionally a fighter je
t. Troops maintain an almost invisible presence in public.
Although talks continue, presently chaired by UN representative, Alexander Downers, a former Foreign Minister of Australia, Greek-Cypriots continue to present stumbling blocks:
*talking of unconditional talks but demanding the return of Maras, a no-man’s land south of Famagusta, before talks can continue;
* just recently passing a law making it illegal to use Turkish names so you can’t mention Girne (Kyrenia) or Ercan Airport in the south any more, which is absolutely pathetic and petty.
*in the case of the article I mentioned in my previous blog about the histor
y of North Cyprus, swamping any media reports favourable to North Cyprus with indignant, self-pitying comments
* downgrading the representative responsible for talks on the Cyprus situation
* going bananas when Mr Downer spoke of “Greek-Cypriots”.
The irony for those in South Cyprus is that, after years of gloating about economic security and well-being, while Turkish-Cypriots have to had to struggle painfully to build their economic and social and political structures, South Cyprus courtesy of its exposure to the Euro, its membership of the European Community and its out-of-control banking sector, has now ended up in dire financial strife. You could say it’s karma come back to bite them on the backside.
What’s it like living in the North Cyprus of today? Well, we think it’s a piece of paradise. For my husband and me it’s rather nice living in a country where the big multinationals don’t have a presence. There are no KFC or MacDonalds outlets. There are no big shopping malls, although it can be challenging to track down the small shop which has the particular goods you’re looking for. There are very few hoardings cluttering up the sides of the roads.
If you park your car, you can leave the windows open and the car unlocked because there is little or no car theft in North Cyprus. Why not? Think about it. Where do you go on a small island with a stolen car???? Yes, there is some crime but it is nothing like the levels of Western nations like the US, Britain or Australia. Prices here are pretty reasonable, particularly food and especially if you eat the local produce and don’t waste your money on imported, expensive food.
Yes, electricity is expensive, but where exactly is electricity cheap these days? The bureaucracy can be quite nutty and drive you barmy but if you smile, take a deep breath, keep a sense of humour and refuse to get uptight, it’s easy to manage the various ins and outs of car registration; residency permits and so on. Although yes, we do find it strange that you have to go to the local cop shop to find out if you have any parking fines because they aren’t posted out to you. The driving is quite insane – the only rule seems to be that there are no rules. Yet people are quite laid-back about the mad behaviour on the road, there is very little sounding of horns, no road rage, cars will let you in or cross over to get down a side road. And if you’re waiting to cross the road, most often cars will stop to allow you to cross. The down side though is that there is a high accident rate and a lot of road deaths because the driving really is quite manic and dangerous at time.
Above all, we love the laid-back pace of life here. People are valued, kids are loved and adored and considered the gift of God. When I had a minor car accident, all Turkish-Cypriot onlookers were concerned about was if I was okay. They pointed out that people were important and cars could be repaired. Yes, this is an Islamic nation but it is incredibly tolerant. I realised it was different the firs time I lined up at a supermarket check-out to see a big display of Durex condoms beside the counter!
You can wear what you like, whether traditional or up-to-date modern clothing and that’s fine. The sense of humour is great. People are tremendously helpful. When we had car trouble on first arriving in Girne, people poured out of restaurants to stand around, swap advice, offer help and take us under their wing until someone arrived to get our car started. We met lovely people in the first village we stayed at when we arrived who were incredibly helpful, warm and welcoming.
I love the fact that, if there are no customers in the store, owners will sit outside and swap stories or gossip with other shop-owners. We in the West have forgotten how to take time for people in our obsession with things, iPads, hurry, haste, long working hours and the importance of time for family, kids and friends. I know the slow pace of life here can drive some English ex-pats barking mad.
I am, of course, writing as an ex-pat. What Turkish-Cypriot people want for the future of their nation is a matter for them. There is some tension because the nation is reliant on Turkish funding, so there’s some conflict between wanting Cypriot independence balanced with the reality that Turkey is the paymaster. Having been to south Cyprus and lived here in North Cyprus, it’s hard to see how the island could be unified, given there are now distinct Greek and Turkish features in each section of the island.
But don’t forget people. Government leaders may stick their heads in the sand about cooperation with North Cyprus, but there are plenty of grassroots organisations where people are getting together to talk peace and build friendly relations between both Greek and Turkish peoples. Get-togethers take place in Lefkosia (Nicosia) and we saw the presence of Peace Dancers with people from both north and south when we visited the Buyukkonuk Eco-Festival, close to the Karpaz Peninsula.
What the future holds for Cyprus I have no idea. But what I do know is that North Cyprus is a warm, friendly and hospitable community who will choose their own future and who hold dear a future living in peace free from the conflict of the past.
Just recently the naughty Financial Times in the UK had the temerity to publish an article which talked favourably of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. It was swamped with complaints from Greeks or Greek-Cypriots, wailing about the horrible Turks intervening in Cyprus in 1974, ranting on about the dispossession of Greek-Cypriots (it cuts both ways – Greek-Cypriots lost their houses and possessions, so did Turkish Cypriots), and generally beating their breasts about how hard done by they are if there’s any positive coverage of North Cyprus.
This is typical of the snow job carried out by the Greeks and Greek-Cypriots since the Turkish invention to stop the genocide of Turkish-Cypriots in 1974. Turkey supposedly occupied part of Cyprus illegally and had no right to land its troops and intervene in the internal situation.
And that is frankly a load of old cobblers. Turkey had the right to intervene in Cyprus by virtue of the Treaty of Guarantee between Turkey, Greece and United Kingdom. It did so when the Greek and UK governments refused to intervene in the continuing killings of Greek-Cypriots by Greek and Greek-Cypriot forces and Turkish Cypriots by Greek Cypriots and, eventually, Greek troops. To have not taken action would have enabled the Greek-Cypriot coup leaders to declare Enosis (Union) with Greece and thereby trigger an even greater international crisis and possibly war between Greece and Turkey.
And as an added bit of information, because the international community, ie, the Big Powers of Britain, US, USSR and United Nations chose to call the killings in Cyprus “ethnic cleansing” instead of genocide, the United Nations was not forced to intervene.
We live in North Cyprus, my husband lived here as a kid when his father served in the British Army, and he served here in the British Army in the ‘fifties. We have taken a keen interest in the true history of the Cyprus conflict and what you find is that when people find out the true facts behind the partition of Cyprus, they come down on the side of Turkish-Cypriots, who have been badly treated by the international community as well as by Greek-Cypriots and Greeks.
So my next blog will describe what life is really like here in North Cyprus at present.
The history of inter-communal violence in Cyprus is not pretty, but the Turkish-Cypriots who lived through those dark days deserve the truth to be known. And there’s a hell of a lot more to the story than the mawkish, self-pitying lies that have been spread by Greeks and Greek-Cypriots, to conceal the fact that when they decided to push for union with Greece they shot themselves well and truly in both feet and lost the war.
The Financial Times article came as North Cyprus was celebrating the Turkish intervention in Cyprus in 1974. This took place after the generals in Greece instituted a coup in Cyprus, to kill Archbishop Makario, round up his supporters, and kill or drive out of Cyprus any Turkish-Cypriots still resident on the island.
More than 3000 Greek supporters of Makarios were killed by their fellow countrymen (Greek-Cypriots, NOT Turkish-Cypriots) in the wake of the coup and civil war that followed. The generals installed a psychopathic killer, Nicos Sampson, as leader but it backfired. They had been counting on lack of action by the Turkish government but lost the bet, so to speak.
Makarios was to say to the United Nations Security Council: It was a [Greek] invasion that violated the independence and the sovereignty of the republic.” And later in his speech: The [UN] Security Council should call upon the military regime of Greece to withdraw … and to put an end to its invasion of Cyprus.” And the commander of the Greek national contingent in 1974 later confessed to a Greek-Cypriot parliamentary committee that after the coup his orders were “to target Turkish Cypriot enclaves – not worry about any Turkish reaction.”
Going further back in time, there was a long history of tension between the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities. My husband can remember the contempt with which Greek-Cypriot people regarded Turkish-Cypriots and his surprise when playing with Turkish kids that they were just the same as any other kids. And the Turkish-Cypriots adults were friendly and decent too.
Without going into the whole history (which is a book in itself), from the early 1950s, the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA) began a violent campaign against British rule in April 1951. My husband has the greatest contempt for EOKA whose main claim to fame is its ability to shoot people in the back as its too gutless for face-to-face combat. The actions of EOKA, its stated aim of Enosis (union) with Greece and its hostility to Turkish-Cypriots led to the formation of the Turkish Resistance Movement in 1956.
British rule in Cyprus lasted until 1960 when the London-Zurich agreements created the Republic of Cyprus. Supposedly the rights of Turkish-Cypriots were to be guaranteed in this agreement but it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. EOKA had no intention of co-existing with Turkish-Cypriots and in 1963 the slaughter of unarmed civilians by armed police and civilian forces at Gonyeli in Northern Nicosia heralded the start of continuing violence, killings, against Turkish-Cypriots who were driven into enclaves.
While EOKA existed among Greek-Cypriot nationalists, Turkish-Cypriots had also begun to arm and organise themselves as they understood that the intention of EOKA was to exterminate or drive out any Turkish-Cypriot inhabitants of Cyprus. So when armed conflict erupted in the wake of the 1974 coup, Greek-Cypriots found themselves facing well-armed Turkish-Cypriot contingents, who fought furiously to defend themselves and their communities against the planned genocide by the Greek contingents.
When Turkey requested Britain, as a signatory to the Treaty of Guarantee to take action to return Cyprus to its neutral status, and Britain refused (British MPs wanted the votes of Greek Cypriots in their various electorates), Turkish troops landed just before dawn near Girne (Kyrenia) and proceeded to advance into Cyprus. Greek, British and US leaders had been counting on Turkey to either a) not intervene or b) send in troops at Famagusta which had good landing beaches. The landing in Altinkaya (or Five Mile Beach as it was then known) took the Greek Cypriots and others by surprise and, while the Turkish troops were advancing, the forces of Greek-Cypriots and Greek armed troops who had been flown in by Greece were busy trying to destroy Turkish-Cypriot enclaves instead of organising against the advancing Turkish troops.
When a ceasefire was declared three days later, the Turkish military had not only protected Turkish-Cypriot communities, they also put an end to the civil war being waged between supporters of President Makarios and supporters of the coup. This is often overlooked because, in the ensuing years, Greek and Greek-Cypriot forces have been busy re-writing history to portray themselves as the oppressed instead of the oppressors.
In the wake of the Turkish intervention, the military coup collapsed and Sampson renounced the Greek presidency. In the ensuing talks, Turkey moved to ensure the second phase of its peace operation to secure control over 40% of Cyprus. The ceasefire line is commonly called the Green Line after Major General Young, the commander of the British peace keeping force, drew a ceasefire line on a map using a dark green crayon. The Cyprus Star reports: “On 13 February 1975 the Turkish Cypriots declared the areas controlled by them to be the Federated Turkish State and so almost 40 years off of separation was formalised”.
In the time since, the TRNC has been regarded as illegal by the international community and placed under an embargo. This is an historic injustice which reflects badly on the international community and its refusal to stand up to the bullies in the Greek and Greek-Cypriot governments who have never forgiven Turkey for losing the war.
Greek and Greek-Cypriot governments have waged a continuing propaganda war to portray the existence of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus as illegal; Turkey to be an illegal occupying power; Turkish troops raping and pillaging across North Cyprus; and various other lying pieces of propaganda. They have been successful because they have been able to rely on prejudices about Turkey being an Asian nation; being an Islamic nation; and good ol’ Greece is part of Europe. It managed to weasel Greek-Cyprus into the European Community and Eurozone. Technically speaking, the whole of Cyprus is part of the EC but the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, established on 15th November 1983, is still not recognised.
In the second part of this blog, I am going to look at what has happened in North Cyprus since 1974, how Turkish-Cypriots have coped with the economic embargo, and what North Cyprus is like now. I am indebted to the following sources for information:
The Genocide Files by Harry Scott Gibbons (I have read parts of this book but have to take my time because I have found it hard to handle the horrors perpetrated against Turkish-Cypriots by Greek-Cypriots).
The Cyprus Tapes by David Matthews
Various articles in The Cyprus Star newspaper
Various articles in the Cyprus Today newspaper.
You can also watch a video about the history of North Cyprus at the following link. It’s called Homeland but I haven’t been able to work out how to embed it:
As I’ve been working through the emotional issues and release these past few weeks, I’ve been enjoying creating a self-healing piece of artwork. It relates to releasing all the hurts I’ve swallowed over the years, the happy face I’ve kept on even when I’ve been deeply upset, and my decision to not swallow any hurtful comments in future but to be upfront in being honest and open about how I feel.
The heart at the centre is, of course, self-explanatory, but the orange background represents the joy I feel in finally being open about my feelings; the yellow the assertion of my self-confidence and self-esteem; the gold the wisdom I’ve learned over the years, ie, learn to stand up for myself; and the glittery sparks representing fireworks to celebrate my steps forward to a new, assertive Mo. I’m definitely voicing the words: “I am woman, hear me ROAR!”
Back in 2005, when I was living in Pingelly, in the wheatbelt south-west of Perth, Western Australia, I had the one and only nightmare of my life. It left me feeling deeply upset, stirred up, and up in the air because basically I couldn’t make head nor tail of the images. This past week I felt strongly I had to tackle it and I’ve been quite surprised at the result.
The reason I returned to this nightmare is that, in the past few weeks, I’ve been clearing out a whole heap of issues which have cluttered up my life – my tendency to swallow hurtful comments instead of standing up for myself; my driven behaviour (which is much better but still rears itself from time to time!); my need for approval (probably common to a lot of people); and my dislike of confrontation.
The confrontation thing I can understand because, being a Libran Sun and Libran Ascendant, I do try to promote harmony, diplomacy and tact. I really hate confrontation and aggro behaviour. Well, this tendency I overcame this past week when I stood up to our neighbour who was trying to make our life awkward around the fact we have four rescue dogs. We appreciate they can be noisy and were in fact a complete pain when our neighbours first arrived. But we’ve taken steps to rectify this issue and things are a lot quieter now. I had tried to resolve the situation through discussion but my neighbour simply wasn’t interested and I was really pissed off that she’d implied I’d lied.
Usually I let my husband handle any aggro as he’s a Leo Sun, Aries Rising and Aries Moon so is quite feisty and not afraid to be forceful and stand up for himself. But on this occasion, I’d had a rotten night, was in a bad temper so stomped into the garden and tackled our neighbour in a polite but very determined manner, to point out that she was being unreasonable, she was misrepresenting us, creating unnecessary trouble, and we weren’t going to put up with it. And I do have to say that it was a very good feeling indeed. So much so, that I intend to take this course in the future rather than trying to keep the peace.
In facing up to our neighbour, though, I also started working on various other issues which have been nagging me lately, particularly the nightmare I had at Pingelly. I recently held a workshop on understanding dreams and one of the ways you can work with dreams is to break them down and then draw cards from the Tarot to look deeper into each part of a dream and perhaps get to understand the images that may have not been clear when trying to understand the dream. So this is the spread I created for my nightmare which went as follow:
“I’m walking along a narrow path beside a deep ravine. Suddenly a Dementor swoops towards me and I scream that I can’t go any further. Then the Dementor asks me what happened when I was six. (A Dementor in the Harry Potter series was a sort of living dead character, all in black, with a rattling breath, it sucked the joy out of you and, if you were really unlucky, sucked out your soul.)” That was the nightmare.
So I broke the nightmare down as follows in the reading:
The Heart of the Matter: 4 of Swords
The Dementor: The Fool
The Ravine: 8 of Coins
What needs to be released: 8 of Swords
The Result: The Sun
Here’s my interpretation, which really was quite eye-opening and allowed a big emotional release:
HEART OF MATTER
4 of Swords
This dream relates to my transfer from our local public school to the Sacred Heart Convent when I was six. I had no friends there, was extremely lonely, felt isolated because I had no connection with or respect for the Catholic Church, but worked like a Trojan as everyone – parents and nuns – heaped expectations on me of academic success. If I didn’t come first, second or third, I was accused of being lazy and found out my parents had had talks with the nuns about my academic progress or lack thereof. It left me with a pattern of over-achievement, anxiety, and need for approval so I was a classic Type A personality as a result. This card underlines the need for me to slow down, stop putting pressure on myself to perform, and to take things easy so I take much better care of myself.
THE DEMENTOR: The Fool
This figure shows me that I need to let go of all the past reactions to pressure and expectations, to live my life true to myself and to have fun and enjoy adventures. Far from being a fearsome figure, the Dementor is, in fact, a liberating figure illustrating the heavy burden placed on me as a kid to always be the best and showing me the need to ditch this heavy weight and jump into the unknown, feeling fearless and knowing I’ll be supported as I fly.
THE CHASM: Eight of Pentacles
This card illustrates the pressure I had on me to perform from an early age until I graduated from university. While it has had a detrimental effect on me, I do feel with this card that it’s reminding me I have a good work ethic, can really work hard to complete a project, and I need not to be so critical of myself in relation to my health challenges. Do what I love, when I’m able. Otherwise, rest and take care of myself.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE RELEASED: Eight of Swords
I hold myself back because of fear of being criticised or not being good enough, trapped by criticism, bullying and aggro from my father as a child and young woman. But now is the time to realise that I can let this go, it’s only myself holding myself back.
THE RESULT: The Sun
Really, this is one of the brightest, most positive cards in the Tarot pack. It heralds fresh creativity, outburst of energy, good times opening up, happiness, clarity, good health.
I thought I’d share this experience because the issues I’m dealing with probably arise for other people, plus it’s a way of approaching dream analysis which can provide insight if you’re a bit stuck.
And if anyone else has any other ideas for this reading they’d like to put forward, feel free. Every little bit helps to put together all the parts of the jigsaw and building up a complete picture!
As is the way with the media, having gone bonkers about the various demonstrations and rallies in Turkey, now they’ve moved on to another cause du jour, namely, events in Egypt. Poor old Syria’s disappeared from view as well, because there’s a new event in the Arab world to wring hands over, commentate about and pronounce on in minute detail. Until the next cause celebre, of course, when the Egyptian people will be swept under the carpet as the mass media swarm on to the next exciting sound bite.
So I’d like to keep popping in some comments about Turkey which have gone under the radar of the popular press because it’s about people getting together to keep organising, in an innovative manner, not involving conflict, divisions or whatever, but serious, focused action.
You may have read that the courts in Turkey have ruled against the proposed development in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, one of the few remaining green spots in the city. It was a victory for those who’d taken action to protect Gezi Park. That action also extended into nation-wide rallies and demonstrations against the increasingly authoritarian regime of Prime Minister Erdogan as well as the push to Islamise Turkish society and move it from the secular state it has been since the founding of Turkey in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
The following information came from the local newspaper in North Cyprus, Cyprus Today, and details how people have begun to get together to organise innovatively for the continuing development of Turkey towards a modern, secular state where all people are recognised and respected. Turkey’s parks have become forums where thousands of people get together, usually in the evenings, to listen to each other, brainstorm and try to work out ways to get politically organised around basic principles like democracy, equality and human rights, before local elections in nine months.
The forums are an exercise in grass-roots democracy in response to the heavy-handed police response to earlier protests. This response has united protestors who are putting aside political, sectarian, ethnic and social differences to walk and stand together for a different, democratic society. People wave hands to applaud if they agree with what a person is saying, cross their hands across their chest if they don’t agree, or wave their hands in circles to indicate a person has spoken for too long. The idea of the hand movements is to keep noise to a minimum in order not to disturb people late at night who live close to the parks where the forums take place.
Prime Minister Erdogan and his supporters have labelled protestors terrorists or internally driven conspirators which is a complete over-reaction and basically pretty stupid and pig-headed. The reality is that people appreciate the development of Turkey under Erdogan but many are becoming increasingly alienated by his authoritarian actions, refusal to listen to alternative viewpoints, and moves to sideline the traditional separation of state and religion.
What I find fascinating is that Turkey isn’t a one off. Wherever you look around the world, the old ways of doing business and governance are breaking down. Corruption is being exposed at a rate of knots. There is far less tolerance of governmental shenanigans. The banks are on the nose and facing pressure to reform and rein in their obscene greed. There is action to support people in developing nations who are being ruthlessly exploited by mega-corporations to provide cheap goods for Western nations and maximum profits for big business.
People are inventing so many wonderful, creative new ways to organise, get together and communicate which leave traditional, authoritarian governments – including Western democracies – wondering what hit them. Because the old ways of doing business – leaving things to leaders, following blindly, accepting the status quo however corrupt it was – are breaking down. People want more and are organising for more. The future is exciting, bright and really opening up to truly democratic forms of society with the people really in charge of their own destiny!
I’ve been playing with Photoshop again and produced the following images from a beautiful rock my daughter, Dee, gave me when we were in holiday in Rosehearty, north-east Scotland, last September. The markings on the rocks are natural, so I cropped the photo down to the swirling colours and used various tools to colourise and add different images, particularly “liquify” which I absolutely love.