Taksim Gezi Park, a green island in the midst of concrete and the woman in red

This woman in red became a symbol of the Turkish protest, in Taksim Square, Istanbul.

This woman in red became a symbol of the Turkish protest, in Taksim Square, Istanbul.

Before I start, let’s make it clear:  this post is not meant to judge or blame the recent events that happened in Turkey and cannot be used for politic matters.

The title of this post sounds like a “fairy tales’ ” one, but it is about today’s reality. After hearing the news and seeing pictures of the riots in Turkey, I tried to understand why thousands of young people have demonstrated with such passion on the Taksim square. According to journalists, the origin of the riots was to protest against the project of replacing the Taksim Gezi Park with a reconstruction of the historic Taksim Military Barracks (demolished in 1940) and the possibility of housing a shopping mall. When I saw the importance of the protests, I tried to understand why a park can be so important to people and I realized that:

  • I learnt to bike in a park,
  • We spent hours at the park with my mum and my brother to play on slides and swings, buy ice-creams in summer when school was over or to look for a four-leafed-clover that would bring us luck,
  • As a child, grandma walked us to the park on Wednesday or during the week-end, to feed the ducks and swans with the left over bread,
  • Students, we used to spend time at the park to enjoy the first sun beams or make a break in between exams. Sometimes we preferred the park to the Latin or History lessons and decided to skip class : laying on the grass was more entertaining listening for the 5th time the episode of the Trojan War or how Vercingetorix surrendered to the Romans after being besieged and defeated at the Battle of Alesia in 52 BC. (Now that I am grown up, I do recon both are great topics)
  • 3 year ago after a great night out with my friends, we ended up wandering in Hyde Park lost in the darkness of the night, laughing out loud and soaked as we got caught in the rain… Simple things but great memories for me,

I can continue the list for long but where I want to go with this, is that parts of my memories are linked to time spent at the park, whether it was in France or anywhere else in the world. Yes, there mus be multiple reasons why so many people took part to the demonstrations in Turkey, and maybe among the crowd there was someone who joined the movement to save a place that has been the birthplace of life memories.

The picture in this post was taken from the following website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/05/woman-in-red-turkey-protests

This woman in red became a symbol of the Turkish protest, in Taksim Square, Istanbul.


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