Skip to content

Long Donkey: A Student Talks about the Student Protests

December 16, 2010

Ismail Keskin is a masters student of history at Bogazici University and a bit of a Balkans music usta as well. He wrote the following as a Facebook note and was gracious enough to allow us to post it on this blog. All words are his, we have added some explanations in [brackets] to fill in some background information. Ms. Geerdink has also written about the protests, and can provide some information here.

What are those students doing on this photo? They are playing uzuneşek with polices, even police does not want to play… so they gave their back(what state expects from good citizens) to the police and playing uzuneşek!!!! But what is uzuneşek?

Uzuneşek (long donkey) is a children’s game which is still being played in turkey, was one of my favorites too…I remember it was hard and painful to play (back pains whole week) but damn fun!

As they say, children games are actually education for life; uzunesek was like SYSTEM101 course: introduction to System rules:
You have one direk(literary translation is foundation/ for the game, it refers to the guy who stands by giving his back to solid structure-like a tree, or in this case police shields- not to fall with pressure comes from down when riders jump on donkeys. He takes the head of the first donkey inbetween his legs (not very different than a government). There are two teams(made up mostly from adolescent fools)on game.

One team is donkey as you see above and another team is riders…riders jump on donkeys, when all team jump, team leader of riders shows his fingers: as I or V and asks “tek mi cift mi?” :”it is single or double”…if donkeys pretend [guess] it correctly, riders turn into donkeys…and direk/foundation is there as referee(as risking his balls). If he lies, since donkeys could not see the number shown above, donkeys could stay as donkeys forever, till they die, or they revolt by understanding [the] trick: the direk/foundation is a liar….in this case, direk has to run or could be kicked by team of donkeys with back pains…

So why writing those…the dear democratic prime minister of turkey, visiting universities those days, but he has a bad bad habit, he comes with tons of batchoi, polices…as you know, police is illegal in the campus even according to 1980 junta constitution of turkey, with a exemption, in case rector permit, they can…so erdogan asks lovely, and rectors as you might expect (wish you wouldn’t) allow…

He came to my university this year too, ok he can, but he brought his (referring George Orwell’s animal farm) system dogs…and all of us felt dirty…after he left…some of the students were also beaten…

So let’s turn back to Uzuneşek game…as you see donkeys, riders and foundation…all there….
it is a fair game, as fair as “American Dream”, if you are good enough, you can born as donkey but if you try hard enough, you can pretend rider’s riddle and you can become rider and enjoy the jumping to back of donkey

But what if direk/foundation is a liar?

Ok, you can read this question’s both practical and philosophical answers from history of 20th century as well as from precise history of US and American dream…

But simple answer is, donkeys stay as donkey forever, and believe me, being donkey is not the best part of that game, especially without hope of you are going to be rider and hope over donkey…
But let’s turn back to our own example…what if direk/foundation lies? (it is up to you to find the address of that metaphor)

Two possible results of game if direk does not lie:
Rider shows V (two fingers), wow it is a day of metaphors, V/Victory…donkeys says victory…pardon double, and tha taaa they are riders…
Rider shows I (one finger, which finger is very important here, in this case, middle finger seems perfect choice), if donkeys say I, solidarity…ta taaa donkeys are riders again…

But what…what happened? direk/foundation lied…lied to us…and next scene…there were quarrels, donkeys and riders are beaten by police, while inside, Mr. Prime Minister was talking about democracy…
This is a mirror for you my dear friends, you are going to “like” it most probably, yet you have two options too…

First: You can feel sorry about students and accuse single state, with a Stockholm syndrome for your own violator, saying my violator (you can say my state too) is the best and the rest is savages, so if you say: “Oh my bad, look at Turkey, see, there is no democracy, poor students, ax how they can…it is natural, it is culture of third world they should learn from us….” Beep!!!! Say no more, there are many phrases in many languages for this situation but simply in Greek we say καλό κουράγιο , in Turkish kolay gelsin and in English good luck…keep loving your own violator…

Second: you sympathize with your own students instead of your “own state” (you know it is a dream, you do not own a state, state owns you practically), and you say bastards!!!
You call bastards to both groups, you say bastards!!! to students, as you say to your best friends, when they organize a surprise birthday party for you… you call “bastards” to students, with a smile on your face, thinking “why this idea didn’t come to your mind before them, it is damn cool move…”
And you call bastards to the “direk/foundation” all of the world, keeping students out from school in special days, such Presidents, Prime Ministers, super riches, CEOs visiting the school.
Finally you say: donkeys and riders!!! Keep those bastards out of your game!!!!

Have a good day….and anyone wants to play uzuneşek? After that much talk…it was so fun to play even to back pains….

sevgiler, filia, parev, greetings…

[The above picture is from ODTU, that is, Middle East Technical University in Ankara, not Istanbul. Ismail wants to give all credit due to those ODTU students for playing: “photo taken in ODTU, I wish I would but I was not one of the players, so this honour is their[s] and their university[‘s], I wouldn’t like to share of victory pie while I did not gave any effort, so please make it sure event happened in ODTU.”]

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Virginia Munez permalink
    October 31, 2012 4:59 pm

    When it comes to back pain, i just take some relaxing massage and relaxing meditation. .

    Remember to view our web site


  1. Catching Up Quickly with the ODTU (Middle East Technical University) Protest | İstanbul Altı

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: