Monday, April 16, 2007

symbols and dead kids

there was a huge rally protesting the premier's rather inarticulate desire and ambition to become president this weekend in the capital. according to reports, the tandoğan square in ankara, just a stone's throw from atatürk's mausoleum, the anıtkabir, turned into a "sea of flags" while hundreds of thousands declared fealty to the republican ideal of secularism.

the moderate and hardline pro-islamic pro-government front contended, rather than through counter-rallies, by verbally denouncing and decrying the secularists' assembly and hanging posters, banners etc. that urged national will as reflected in parliament to prevail in electing the head of state.

while thousands were demonstrating in ankara, a tragedy of catastrophic proportions was lived only 150 miles away in aksaray, where more than 30 schoolchildren and their parents on their way to visit cappadocia were killed when their bus collided with a truck.

the bodies of the casualties were laid to rest with a doleful ceremony in izmir, their point of origin. hundreds, maybe thousands attended. the coffins were draped in turkish flags, too.

question one: if we had spent half the mental effort we do over such high matters as contemplating and arguing how our holy and hallowed state must be run as on such mundane matters like why turkish drivers are world-record breakers in deadly accidents or on why norms supposed to order social life along rational principles, are worth less than the bureaucratic paper they are written on especially in traffic (though not much better in any other area either); could it be possible that neither the rally nor the ceremony might be necessary?

question two: of course participating in others' joy and sorrow is an exemplary act of social solidarity and empathy is a noble feeling. i only have praise for those people who left the sunday comfort of their homes to attend the funeral of the unfortunate victims. however, the question has nothing to do with individuals and their goodwill in this case. should we, instead of stately manifestations such as "ceremonial" gatherings or demonstrations, exalt ultimately less grandiose but more productive achievements as good organization, might it be possible that we would not have to gather to weep collectively after the mass annihilation of our children?

question three: the flag is the simplest symbol of allegiance there is. it is so simple that even the most nescient individuals in a certain society can realize their identification with what the flag signifies. therefore, an exaggerated display of the simplest symbol also manifests itself as a subliminal uncertainty about what it denotes. besides, as symbols, by nature can only convey meanings in their most rudimentary, they can hardly supplant the communication of ideas by words.

so, is it a coincidence that the place of non-verbal signs and tokens are far more pronounced in the third world, compared to societies based on rationality which essentially rely on words? then, as a corollary, instead of trying to impose our truth/message on a situation by means of overwhelming yet obscure symbolisms, could we avoid confrontations and even collisions through sensible and intelligible exchange of ideas, even idiosyncrasies and obstinacies?

1 comment:

super hero said...

i believe the answer is simple. respect the laws, and make people respect them. if we can achieve this only holy goal, than less children are going to die as well as less people are going to feel worried about the future of the state.