Saturday, October 5, 2013

The KCK Trial Resumes

File:Salem witch2.jpg
One of the predecessors of the KCK trials

No more long breaks--the KCK trial will now drive forward with occasional weeklong breaks until the government gets what it wants, I presume.

                It's October 1st. We board the bus from home which begins our three hour trip to the courthouse in Silivri. I have taken a personal day from school to do this, but Delal does this every day. Sometimes she comes back at night, which means 6 hours of traveling every day except Wednesday. And we are one of the lucky families in terms of travel time and logistics. Nevertheless, however fortunate we may be relatively speaking, this whole process is stressful, and has a wear and tear on our lives here that increases with time. It's been two years! On the bus ride, I catch a glimpse of a newspaper article about the government shut down in America and I think of all the hysterical shouting about ‘communism’ and ‘dictatorship’ over this watered-down, anemic health care plan—God forbid the US should ever get a taste of what a real dictatorship is like (or real health care) but these games back home irk me today. How could people there be so blind and ignorant?

                By the time we arrive, the trial has already started. I hear Judge Ali Alçın’s voice as we rush down the hall—he is shrieking in that high pitched nasal voice of his, shouting at the lawyers. When we enter he has just finished and things are settling down. I won’t go into too much detail here—the proceedings are monotonous, the same absurdities dragged out again and again, over an over. Two people give their defense today—no one says the name of the first very clearly (none of us catch it) but the second is a man named Kiyaset Mordeniz. Both are local officials for the BDP. The proceedings are the same. Judge Ali asks ‘You were seen at a political rally on such and such a date, what do you have to say to that?’ And both of them give the same answer, ‘First, I was not at that particular rally, and even if I had been, it would not have constituted a crime because the BDP is a legally recognized political party and as an official, I have a right and duty to attend a rally.’ One piece of evidence is that a picture was taken showing one of the men near a building where a political meeting was taking place. Again--'is being near a building enough to prove I joined the meeting and even if I had...' The mentality if frighteningly stupid.

                At one point, Judge Ali starts to quote a personal phone conversation between Mordeniz and his wife. The lawyers stand one by one and issue their objections, private conversations have no place in the courtroom they insist. But Ali shouts them down—he does this alot today—and proceedings resume with this intimate phonecall between a husband and wife.

                It is clear to me that these people are being tried here for being in the BDP on the State’s assumption that it is equivalent to being a member of the PKK. They are arguing against a mentality capable of seeing the world only in a very rigid and twisted way.  People who oppose the government’s line are trying to divide the country and are terrorists.  Any concession you make to anything they do or say is treason. It’s the mentality of McCarthy, of the Witch Trials, of any of history’s frightening and monsterous purges. It’s all spectral evidence and guilt by association and circumstantial evidence and thought crimes—all the things that democracy has spent the last four centuries trying to stamp out. It's a disease.

                At the breaks, we wave to my father in law. We try to talk over the huge distance but even with shouting it’s impossible to hear anything. And after a minute or so, the guards shove them all out anyway. They must vacate the courtroom during the breaks—no choice, no tolerance, no mercy for those who have no other way to see their loved ones. I am sure in the eyes of the hysterical Judge Ali—our personal devil in all this, our Judge John Hathorne—we are also terrorist witches who must be stamped out forever.

That’s a real dictatorship, kids. The Law doesn’t protect you, it attacks you. The State sees you as the enemy and changes its policies as necessary to punish you, and then uses lies and animadversions to hide what it’s doing. Because you are assumed guilty, anything you do is spun to support that claim and as evidence is not really important, nothing you can say can exonerate you. Nothing is certain—not the fairness of judges or the absoluteness of the Constitution—nothing except that the State will win. Things will always be adjusted to ensure that ending. For those back home playing like this is what you are experiencing, you should hang your heads.