Conferences Date

07 Oct 2017 15:00 - 15 Oct 2017 23:59



Modest Contributions to Peace: “Solidarity Academies”

“Politically I’m an anarchist. I hate, rules and being taken into custody. I’ve zero tolerance to see animals in cage. People must be free and so do love…” (Şerdıl Cengiz, 2016, our student before he was shot into his head during a demonstration in Diyarbakır, which demanded to stop violation against civil population in Sur province) According to mainstream social science approaches, “War” and “Peace” have usually been accepted as a common way of establishing complex relations with nature and other members of its own species Homo sapiens. It could even be an aim of taking advantage of environment for economic benefits or just getting in contact with “other” societies. But war and its results has always been a destructive phenomenon which humans (or all living creatures) cannot escape from. However, at this point, I think we should distinguish types of war before the emergence of modern state (as a social, political and military organization) and afterwards. There have been always different kinds of social organizations in human history, but in general, acts of war had gained they major property via demolitions since modern states emerged as the main political actors. For instance, if we look at ethnographic data on societies which have no state-like social organization, we usually see the act of war depending on small size territorial claims or the defences of natural sources. War simply emerges on the ecological basis of survival. Among stateless societies like hunter-gatherers, the destructive effects of war could also be traced in non-violent activities such as rituals. On the other hand, as we see and experience in today’s world, war between states are able to create mass disasters for human beings and nature. Massacres, genocides, forced migration, torture, wiping out ecological texture, poverty, environmental disasters and humiliation are the most common consequences of war that we learn from history and still live in it. In fact, it is a catastrophe what we are forced to live in. After the World Wars of the last century, humanity had finally learned (or we should say invented?) how to destroy the entire world. But implementing this power does not seem wise in order to maintain the capitalist system. As a result of this, nowadays wars are taking place in form of territorial clashes within third world states or ethnic groups. These wars are cheaper and necessary to manage world system of competition for sources of energy. As a cultural consequence of this from literature to academy and even daily life,we live in a world system which has been reconstructed onto an ideology emphasizing new kind of political identities and new ways of social life. Turkey, as a country of political movements of reinvented identities such as political Islam, the Kurdish movement or Alevism after the “Alevi Revival” could easily be seen as a part of this recent ideological reconfiguration. As part of the battlefield Middle East, Turkey has been suffering high losses due to ongoing conflicts. For example over twothousand people had died just after the elections of summer of 2015. As a faculty member of Munzur University and a resident of Dersim (Tunceli), I witnessed many tragic consequences of war myself in the recent years. For instanceright after the clashes had started up in summer of 2015 between PKK and Turkish military, four people were assassinated in the street where I live in Dersim. PKK militants tried to take a police station. Two militants, one police officer and a female civilian lost their life in this desperate, suicidal attempt. This is just a simple illustration among many other tragedic deaths, violations, devastations and migrations that we are forced to live in. Currently many of my students are under custody. Some of them disappeared. I also had been imprisoned for a few months in 2013 when I was still a PhD student. In the coming months, the court is going to give the final decision, which will most likely be imprisonment. I was prosecuted because of my political and academic activities related to organization of popular local government in Dersim. Under these conditions, what could a lecturer have done? Or we also can ask what should have been done? AKP has been raising fundamental Islamization and nationalism especially among young people. Crimes, harassments, rapes and especially violation against children and women are increasing dramatically. Minority ethnic identities are also under serious threat of assimilation and violence. Under these circumstances giving lectures or organizing public lessons for community within a perspective of historical materialistic anthropology on “culture”, “identity” and “religion” could be very helpful to understand what ethnocentric, homocentric and even geocentric ideas. Under rule of AKP, Turkey's education system from pre-school to higher education is unfortunately under threat of fundamental religious doctrines. I think that promoting secular-scientific knowledge against this sexist, unequal, nationalist and religious discourse is a modest but tangible action in defence of democratic right in Turkey. In my presentation I’m going to discuss some ideas which came up during my alternative academy experience we established after our dismissal from the University last year.