Saturday, March 03, 2007

not humans, properties!

the recent hot topic is the sad death of the little girl who fell into a sewage drain, was dragged for a mile and emerged drowned from another outlet of public un-hygiene. the incident reminded our esteemed press and good public of similar "accidents" caused by such atrocities of management by our local and national government institutions where eventually, the victim was virtually found to blame. nobody recalled, however, that one of turkey's most popular and best known poets, orhan veli had died the same way, half a century ago.

in the last case, too, the lawyer of the contractor firm (which is apparently related to such dignitaries as the prime minister, the justice minister and other notables of the genre) attempted to blame the child for falling in the drain where she died. that did not wash in the media but the courts may still uphold the lawyer's claim.

anyway, that is not the point here. the issue is that a city becomes an urban space only through its citi-zens. if the denizens of an urb are totally and also proudly ignorant of a city-sense, the organic mathematics of thriving in tandem, not only are lives in jeopardy, but the jeopardy will persist as well, because there exists no system to indicate the right course of action for urban survival when the mathematics of space is not organic to the mind of its "occupant".

as always when peasant or schooled-peasant (diplomé, as the french call them) minds are at work, some researched how european cities cope with the problem of underground public works. photos appeared of london where the danger zone was segregated by fences, distinctly marked and lighted. so far so good, but the research, or at least attention to the results of research came after-the-fact-of-death: not before-the-fact-of-construction. the media commmented: "see how human life is valued in the west and how it is valued here".

wrong! there is no "human life" in peasant societies because there are no humans. "human" is not a biological or evolutionary category that classifies all specimens of the homo sapiens-sapiens as such. "human" is a derivative and function of "individual" which is the historical and historic product of the process called freedom. freedom is the last concern of peasant societies where lack of control means loss of status, power, holdings and the means of holding on. therefore, there are few free, individual human-persons in peasant societies.

there exist mainly subjects - of the state, of the prophet, of the imam or the priest, of the political leader/party, of the father, of the family, of the football team, of the street gang etc.

the chief characteristic of a "subject" is its expendability in inverse proportion not to its merits but its usefulness to the "owner".

am i being too harsh? exaggerating?

here, let me recount two lines from a childrens' march (yes, march as in military marches) from the 40's which is still sung collectively at schools:

children are sacred properties of the motherland
each a tree of the august tree
who should be cared for and supplied with aid.

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