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Thursday Watercooler


A Gezi couple in gas masks, one with a wounded eye

Despite injurious attacks and escalating threats, the people keep returning to Taksim Square.

Tonight’s video selection is “Fineshrine” by Purity Ring, from the album Shrines.

Have you been watching livestreams from Taksim Square in Istanbul over the last 36 hours? After Monday’s brutal attack on the square, the people regrouped and brought in a piano. From Turkish Revolution:

The people weren’t intimidated. On the contrary, they invaded Gezi Park, ready for continued resistance. I have never seen the park as packed as I did yesterday. Around seven o’ clock, rumours went around that the police attack was imminent. So everyone put on their gear, calmly, expecting the worst. At the barricades the other morning, one of the anarchists told me that police may use live rounds of ammunition. But, he added, “ideas are bullet proof”.

Three livestreaming units were deployed, and broadcasting. Yet the attack didn’t come. Once again, people formed a human chain around the police, to avoid provocation from our side. Instead of the final apocalyptic battle between good and evil, something else happened. Something unexpected. A piano appeared, a big one, the one they use in concerts. It was decorated with lights, it stood right at the top of the main entrance to the park, ‘nineteen steps to the edge of fear’. Someone sat down, and started to play. “Imagine”, by John Lennon.

So people in the square started to sing. ‘Imagine there’s no heaven… Imagine there’s no countries… And no religion too… You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us. And the world will be as one.’

It was a magic moment. You should have seen the public. The old and the young, prepared for battle, listening to music. I see beautiful women wearing construction worker helmets and casually carrying gas masks instead of hand bags, tears in their eyes.

The sing-along continued tonight, with crowds playing, dancing, sharing mere feet away from riot police and the massive ‘TOMA’ trucks that are armed with the powerful water cannons. Sadly, reports that activists in Ankara were under savage police attack arrived while tonight’s concert was underway, and of course the future of this enclave is still very uncertain. Reportedly, some are meeting with the prime minister, but he has warned that the protests have less than 24 hours to end and has told familes and children to leave — they haven’t.

There are beautiful photos on Jenna Pope (@BatmanWI) and Zeynep Tufecki (@Zeynep)’s Twitter timelines, and videos in the archive of livestreamer yongmashum1.

I watched as thousands sang along to “What A Wonderful World” and “Hallelujah” and heard the livestreamer declare Gezi Park the freest place in the world. I could not argue with that.

Meanwhile, in Brazil:


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What’s on your mind tonight? It’s an open conversation in the comments.

Photo by Burak Su released under a Creative Commons license.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and