When you know your enemies are gathering around to attack you, maybe the best thing to do is get the cannon to go off before all the powder has been loaded.
It is fantastical that vast numbers of Muslims are happy to bang on and on about Freemasons and the Illuminate, but the moment you mention the possibility that a Muslim organisation operates a clandestine secret society, everyone responds, “That’s preposterous, impossible, an outrageous assertion, absolutely unbelievable and patently untrue.” Some claims, it seems, are a stretch too far.
Some light reading for those seeking something more wholesome than Muslamic conspiracy theories, government propaganda and pious apologetics.
Is Fethullah Gülen the head of a terrorist organisation? On outward appearances, I find that somewhat implausible. Followers of the Gülen movement are actively engaged in education, social welfare projects, humanitarian aid and interfaith dialogue all around the world. To the outside observer, they could only be an altruistic social movement; the idea of a malignant conspiratorial secret society seems preposterous. Continue reading Great games
Who will counter the pious legends that follow our heroes around? Not our religious leaders and scholars who help promulgate them, nor their followers who hang on their every word.
How often have we heard over the past few days that Turkey has so many enemies because it is free of the burden of debt? Continue reading Pious legends
I’m not an AKP groupie. The president’s style of leadership and temperament is not my cup of tea. The government deserves much credit for growing the economy, developing infrastructure and bringing about positive social change in Turkey, but uncritical fanatical followings help no one: there is the good and the bad.
Still, any objective person can see the that coverage of Turkey’s reaction to the coup attempt in our newspapers is far from balanced and fair. Compare coverage of France’s state of emergency instituted after the Paris terror attacks, to coverage of Turkey’s reaction after F-16 fighter jets repeatedly struck their Parliament, tanks rolled on the streets, prosecutors prepared an emergency constitution and made plans to hang not just members of the ruling party, but also of the opposition.
I wonder how exactly Turkey is expected to react to a massive terrorist insurrection, when it is yet to determine exactly who instigated the coup, and whether it has been fully thwarted or whether it will yet succeed. How would our state respond to such an incident? Would we not institute a state of emergency? Would we not see widespread arrests and suspensions in the course of the ensuing investigation?
I passionately believe that the Turkish government should use this near catastrophic event to reinvigorate its process of democratic reform, to carry the people with it and build a positive, vibrant, inclusive and tolerant society for all. I pray that they will not disappoint in this regard.
But let’s not be so naive to think that our reaction to events would be any different. If rogue officers hand commandeered several RAF Tornados on Friday night and dropped bombs on the Houses of Parliament, nobody would be calling on Theresa May’s government to show restraint.
If tanks had rolled down The Mall, crushing everything in their path, or if helicopters had fired on protestors gathering in Trafalgar Square, or if Balmoral had been bombed, you can imagine exactly what our reaction would be. We too would overreact. We too would take missteps and make mistakes. We too would institute emergency laws. It may not be right, but it is entirely understandable.
For too many of our social commentators, reactions to current affairs are based not on ethics or the idea of right and wrong, but on who’s side you’re on.
Over the weekend I heard and read many commentators switching seamlessly from rightly condemning terrorist acts perpetuated by Muslims to celebrating the attempted violent overthrow of a democratically elected government and the country’s democratic system.
For all intents and purposes, the latter was an act of terrorism on a large scale. Its aim was to change and disrupt the way of life of ordinary people, and enforce anti-democratic values on them.
Could any of us imagine talk-show hosts lamenting a failed terrorist attack? It would be an abomination. But on my car radio this weekend, I listened as a talk-show host lamented that this coup had failed and that the elected president had not been killed.
Sadly those leading the nation’s conversation speak of the sanctity of life, the rule of law and democracy only when it suits them. There is not much difference between them and the apologists, hate preachers and ideologues on the other side.
Like those who bravely resisted a coup this weekend, we too should resist this madness. “O you who have believed, stand firmly for justice, witnesses for God, even if it be against yourselves…”
Why would the people rise up against the attempted coup? Because they have long memories, perhaps? Because they remember what it was like last time? Because they remember loved ones being taken away for days and weeks on end? Because they remember being barred from travelling from village to village? Because they remember that, far from bringing freedom and upholding democracy, the people’s freedoms were trampled, arbitrary arrest was widespread, individual rights were undermined and the economy collapsed. Whatever the faults of the government — and there are no doubt many — nobody wants to return to those days.
I pray the Turkish government responds to this crisis wisely. I pray they take it as an opportunity to reaffirm democratic, pluralist principles in service to all people of Turkey of whatever political leaning or belief, and not as an opportunity to consolidate power. This is an opportunity to carry the people with it.
The coup surprised a lot of people. But the people’s reactions surprised even more. In one night the Turkish people showed the world their love for their homeland.
Beware of forming or holding your own opinions, which run counter to the groundswell of euphoria generated by the disciples of the new politics. At best you will be accused of swallowing establishment propaganda whole, at worst of outright heresy. Don’t think for yourself in these times. Don’t be a traitor to the revolution. Beware!