A Country Full of Metaphors
There is a never-ending struggle between literature and life for truth and reality.
This is a race to encapsulate and reflect every aspect of humanity, the language of the living and animate alike, the limitless possibilities, and ultimately, the verity that defies time and space. Literature depends on its ability to record reality, to imagine what is possible, and dream alternative realms.
Life, however, has a different take on reality than literature does. That is, while literature uses some sort of logic within itself even when reaching for the tallest pedestals of creativity, life does not worry about that at all. What we deem astonishing, or call “no way” are implicit within life’s conception of reality. This is one resource that we have plenty of, and that’s where life runs circles around literature.
Life is not ashamed to create the most vulgar metaphors. Synchronicities accompanied by shocking images we would deem exaggeration if supplied by literature, are life’s common playground. When life comes at you this way, you just stand there paralyzed at what it has put you through.
We were told that a train had crash occurred in the Corlu district of Tekirdag province due to heavy rain causing the ground between the culvert and the rail to collapse. 24 people died, 338 people were injured. The blame for the accident that reeks of murder was conveniently put on 2 machinists. Of course, there was the traditional broadcast ban on the incident shortly afterwards. Why bother to inform the public furious about the incident?
Of course, details about the background of the accident quickly surfaced: the tender that would cover the maintenance of the railway between Halkali and Muratli was cancelled because of lack of funds. The caretaking patrol personnel had been let go. Supervision duties were taken away from the trade associations and reassigned to private companies. But it was more convenient to blame it on the rain.
And what we were left with was the photograph of the landslide of ground below the culvert; an empty space below the tracks. Derailed cars. A metaphor for a derailed country, perhaps? And incidentally, it happened to coincide with the day that Erdogan, the first president of the new Presidential Government System, swore political impartiality in front of the Parliament, followed by events to celebrate the occasion by firing a 101-gun salute and the march of the Janissary Band.
While the Parliamentary system was given its burial, guests holding their new shiny Turkish Lira coins bearing the insignia of the Presidential Complex, as well as the whole of Turkey were treated to these words: “We took office once again. And this time we have the powers of the executive branch as well. We have transitioned to a new model way beyond our previous experience with democracy. The old system that has cost us dearly, is now a thing of the past.” The celebrations that were supposed to include folkloric dances and laser lightshows were cut short because of the train crash.
Immediately afterwards, we heard about the Akhisar Heavy Penalty Court’s verdict on the trial regarding the mining accident that took place in Soma district of Manisa province on May 13, 2014 that had caused 301 miner deaths. Can Gurkan, the Chairman of Soma Coal Operations: 15 years; Ramazan Dogru, the CEO of the company: 22 years and 6 months; Akin Celik, the operating manager: 18 years and 9 months; Ismail Adali: 22 years and 6 months; Ertan Ersoy: 18 years and 9 months in prison. Alp Gurkan, the previous Chairman of the company who had left his seat to his son 6 months before the incident was acquitted. A total of 14 people were handed sentences, while 37 people were let go.
That’s how it is. The cost of life is not that high anymore. The EU summit in Brussels saw heated arguments regarding the refugee situation. After long deliberations and negotiations, it was decided that the second instalment of the payment that EU will make to Turkey for taking in the refugees will not be paid in cash, but rather through projects.
According to the agreement reached by EU leaders, the refugees that were salvaged from the seas will be sent to “control centres” located in member countries. These control centres will be built voluntarily, and will serve to ease the burden on Italy, where many refugees arrived crossing the Mediterranean Sea, and where extreme right is, incidentally, making a comeback. Also, there are talks about some “admission centres” to be built in North Africa. What an imaginative, inventive way to call “concentration camps”. Another resolution from the summit was the agreement to give more power to Frontex, which serves to secure EU’s borders. Borders are more important than people. And refugees are not even people; they are just that: refugees.
Charity shines like a jewel during fascist times. Perhaps that’s why the successful rescue operations for the young players of a soccer club in Thailand from a deep cave made such big news. 12 kids and their trainer were suck in a cave because of heavy rains, and an international team of 90 people conducted the operation in which every kid was assigned two divers that carried their oxygen tanks. The whole incident was over with one casualty: a diver who ran out of oxygen on his way to the cave. In a way, the drawings detailing the obstacles in successfully performing the operation were metaphors as well.
Perhaps, people prefer to communicate through metaphors when we cannot comprehend the hand that life is dealing us anymore. That’s why we underline what is inalienable to us no matter what the conditions may be. Because, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to call this “a life” anymore. And thankfully, life is so much more than us, and it claims what is rightfully its rights.
Thanks to those who watch out for these rights. That’s plenty.
Originally published at: https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/yazarlar/2018/07/12/metaforlarca-patlayan-ulke/