Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mengalahkan Tegal Biasa : Keruntuhan Kemalism II


Is Kemalism losing its former strength?

Today is Nov. 10, 2012. It has been 74 years since Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, died.

At 9:05 this morning, if you were awake or if you were in your car driving somewhere, when you heard the sirens most probably you joined the others in one minute’s silence. Some of you were standing with genuine enthusiasm, some others just not drawing any reaction. No other leader in the world would ever be commemorated in such a widespread manner 74 years after his death. However, the strangeness is that we all have a different Atatürk. We have not yet agreed upon a joint concept of Atatürk.

For some of us, he is Kemal.

These people would protect and follow Kemalism and its reforms in an authoritarian way. They are ultra-nationalists. They like neither Europe nor the United States. The principle of secularism, for them, should be maintained in its strictest form. This country should not be left to theists. Whatever they say should be implemented; other thoughts should not be listened to. Their Turkey is a reserved, arid country in a vacuum.

For some others, he is Atatürk. He is a democrat, humanist, a drinker, a person who can fall in love and a politician who wants to make Turkey an indispensable part of the West. He is a leader who is not religious, who believes that religion should be restricted within the relationship between the individual and God.

The biggest harm inflicted upon Atatürk over the years belongs to the Kemalists.

In the name of social engineering, with their condescending attitudes and oppressive mentality, they were unable to force people to like Atatürk. They did more harm than good. Nowadays, they are losing their power and persuasion. Despite this, Atatürk’s followers are becoming more widespread. Those who want to know Atatürk as a person are increasing. In the 74th commemoration year, I welcome this development.

I like today’s Turkey where we all - the religious, the Atatürk followers and the Kurds - live together, not the Turkey that the Kemalists tried, but failed, to formulate.

We were afraid of him

Our generation’s childhoods experienced diverse feelings about Atatürk. Our fathers, mothers and teachers had tremendous admiration for him. Those who had any would speak of their memories or those that they heard from others. For them, the Gazi was a person remembered with enormous love. They owed their lifestyles to him. They were reborn from the ashes of a collapsed empire thanks to him. I remember how my mother’s eyes would water when Atatürk was mentioned.

They were the children of the Republic; however, they were not able to raise us very well. They were not able to pass on the same feelings to us. It was our duty to love Ata. We grew up listening to “difficult to understand” speeches at school.

He was a person not to be discussed; he was an ideal leader. More precisely, our generation was indoctrinated by these clichés. Discussing him and - God forbid - questioning him, were out of the question. Indeed, when raised in such a cold atmosphere for years, Atatürk became a frowning statesman for us.

We could not understand those who cried during the ceremonies on Nov. 10.

Whenever Atatürk was mentioned, we would immediately remember the army. It was how he was portrayed to us. The hard look of the soldier, the discipline of the army and Atatürk were all put together.

We started learning about his human side much later in life. If we had not been raised with such an incorrect approach for so many years, I’m sure today the Gazi would have been in a different place for us.

If our society is still arguing over Atatürk, the responsibility for this does not fall on us, but on those generations who were not able to raise us properly.


Ban on remembering Atatürk backfires in Turkey

Satirical Turkish web site Zaytung - the equivalent of The Onion, issued hypothetical “breaking news” yesterday. It said that international departures at Ankara’s Esenboğa airport were overloaded due to Nov. 10 traffic.

It was making fun of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) officials, who choose to stay out of the capital during official ceremonies to commemorate Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, on this 74th year of his passing. Similar jokes have been whispered in ears over the last two days, as Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan decided to extend his Indonesia visit to Brunei, after getting an invitation from its sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah. This means that Erdoğan could not be back in Ankara to attend the Atatürk Day ceremonies.

Those ceremonies have been one of the most controversial symbols of Kemalism. Because they were reproduced by the military and civilian bureaucratic elite for years - especially following the 1980 military coup - they turned into a kind of ideological propaganda. As a result, the image of Atatürk as the hero of the Turkish War of Independence, the founder of the Republic, and the reformer who put an end to Sharia law and adopted a Western-oriented secular system and a relatively modern economy, started to turn sour. It became like the source of all evil in the country, especially in the eyes of the religious and conservative masses.

This strong ideological symbolism started to fade away during the AK Parti rule from its beginning in 2002. In parallel to Atatürk Day, the government also decreased the military and protocol levels for celebrations of national festivals, including the Oct. 29 Republic Day. Not very many people were happy about the North Korean-style celebrations anyway.

The picture started to change when the government introduced a ban on marking national days in public in front of Atatürk statues (present in almost every town square in Turkey) other than official ones. Even placing flowers at them was banned. The government’s motivation for this came from its bitter memories of the “Republic Rallies” of 2007, allegedly manipulated by the military. But barring civilians from marking the days was a bit much.

The Republic Day this year was a turning point. When the government said civil associations would not be able to gather in front of the historical Parliament building in Ankara, a number of opposition parties, lead by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), joined together to break the police barricade and rally from there to the Atatürk’s mausoleum.
Yesterday, the government had to lift the ban it brought forth only a few months ago. Today, perhaps for the first time in many years, Atatürk’s admirers will take to the streets to show their respect for the founder of the republic.
This is not a comeback of Kemalism, but perhaps for Atatürk, as summarized by Müjdat Gezen, a popular actor who was put in jail by the 1980 military regime for being a socialist sympathizer and is now accused by conservative writers of being a Kemalist because he said he would attend the rallies today. “I am not a Kemalist,” Gezen said in reply, “I just love Atatürk.”


Catitan Sut:

Dua tulisan ini saya copy & paste dari dua penulis kolom akhbar Hurriyet, Turki. Akhbar ini  kerap bersikap kritikal kepada AK Party dan pimpinannya.   

Ketegalan  Turki yang sekian lama dinaungi oleh Kemalism agak sukar untuk dilupuskan, pun begitu kenangan kepada kebesaran Uthmaniyyah di kalangan rakyat lebih sukar untuk dipadamkan. Usaha Kemalism yang kerap 'keras & totok  (brute and blunt) ' tidak dapat menentukan sepenuhnya 'under-current' masyarakat.yang masih mempunyai ikatan kepada kepercayaan dan amalan mereka, kenangan mereka kepada sejarah orang tua mereka.
Saya bercadang untuk membuat catitan tentang Mahathirism  di tanah-air kita, dengan mengambil kira banyaknya perbezaan antara Kemalism dengan Mahathirism.Kedua aliran ini meninggalkan kesan kepada masyarakat bahkan beberapa generasi di negara masing-masing.

Ketegalan Mahathirism di dalam sistem politik kita bukanlah sesuatu yang perlu dipandang dengan sebelah mata . Mahathirism bukanlah nostalgia ekonomi dan pembangunan manis semata-mata, bukan setakat binaan yang 'masculine' (size and length matter most) yang telah didirikan, bahkan Mahathirism meliputi pandangan terhadap perjuangan bangsa, amalan politik yang begitu pragmatik dan sedia mengorbankan (amputate) mana-mana anggota yang mengancam.

Sekiranya BN tidak dapat mencapai kejayaan sebagaimana pilihanraya sebelumnya dalam PRU 13 ini atau BN khususnya UMNO terus bertambah kuat berkuasa untuk terus mentadbir negara ,  sudah tentu Mahathirism mempunyai saham yang penting dalam keputusan yang akan terjadi itu.  Terutama sehingga kini BN, khususnya UMNO masih kuat dinaugi oleh Mahathirism secara langsung dan tidak langsung.

Semoga saya mempunyai kesempatan untuk membuat catitan khusus, catitan dari seorang yang sudah nekad untuk tidak mencampuri politik kepartian dan sangat berminat dengan sebahagian golongan GOLPUT di Indonesia.

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