In our fast and consumerist digital way of life, we have forgotten how important it is to disagree. When we look at the world through the lenses of our mobile applications and social media, we only see a fictional image reflecting what we want to hear and to see. Cass Sunstein extensively analyzed this dangerous vicious circle in which people socialize and interact virtually with people that have similar thoughts and tastes, while sharply opposing anyone different. This widely debated and studied phenomenon of polarization is very much related to the contemporary tragic event of the terrorist attack on the French history and geography teacher, Samuel Paty in front of a school in the Parisian suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.
- When in 1990 Turkish sculptor Metin Yurdanur was asked to design and carve a monument in honour of Human Rights to be placed in central Ankara, it was probably impossible to predict that the bronze statue of a girl sitting on a chair reading the declaration of Human Rights, sculpted by the Turkish artist, would have been one day “imprisoned”
- Ahmet Altan was imprisoned in Turkey with his brother Mehmet in September 2016. Despite being denied access to receiving and sending written communications, he wrote The Writer’s Paradox for publication on the eve of his trial, which starts on 19 September
- The weekly magazine The Economist reported on the current repression in Egypt, a country addressing the effects of a second lethal revolutionary euphoria, saying, “the re-emboldened security services have increasingly been hammering the whole gamut of opposition, from secular reformers to every type of Islamist.” The enthusiasm, with decisive support provided by the army, that had resulted in the overthrow of the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on July 30 2013, must now deal with an abrupt awakening.
- On March 18 a symbolic funeral march was staged in front of Turkey’s historic left-wing newspaper, the Milliyet, for the silent “death” of one of its most honorable authors. Hasan Cemal, 69 years, “dies” as a provocative columnist after having defended the disclosure of the minutes from a meeting between the representatives of the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and PKK’s leader Abdullah Öcalan. The leaked record helped the nationalist front to criticize the government’s negotiation with the Kurdish leader. “If this is journalism, down with it!” cried Prime Minister Erdoğan, and the writer was suddenly suspended.
- In January this year in Tahrir Square, there were obviously not only publishers, authors and bookshop owners, just a few hundred people in a city with almost twenty million inhabitants. In Tahrir Square, however, there were hundreds of thousands of people and, over the years, publishers, authors and bookshops had perceived and passed on their hidden thoughts, secret aspirations, concealed worries and their pressing demands. Thousands of people, who now, as individuals or as a community, are taking charge of their present to create a shared future.