05 June 2013

Aldeia Taksim

Having heard rumors that a new breed of white elephants had emerged in Turkey, I took to the hunt. To my surprise, I encountered with Brazilian consultants and architects who had perfected the murky techniques of pachyderm insemination.  While promising that the Brazilian variety (loxodonta brasilense) would bring infinite returns for those who financed them, these same professionals had mastered the art of depoliticizing the authoritarian use of public money to ensure private profit. These post-modern fakirs go to great lengths to disguise the wrapping of concrete and steel in high-tensile, translucent membranes (manufactured and maintained by foreign companies) as a necessary passage towards modernization and return on investment. Public space has no apparent financial returns and could be used more profitably if given to developers so it is “natural” that this happen.

Except it isn’t natural at all.

After the conference as I walked around one of the great football and stadium cities in the world, I came across the Hippodromo where 30,000 chariot fans were once slaughtered for being on the wrong side of a political debate. In the Byzantium city of the Greens and the Blues, Circus Factions could determine the fate of Empire.  1500 years later, the fans of Beşiktaş welcomed the rival fans of Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray as they organized to protest the Erdogan government in the streets around their stadium

Don`t cry for me...Brazil?
The battle for Taksim Square is as much about symbolism as it is about the functional use of public space and the future of Turkish democracy. By eliminating one of the few remaining green spaces in central Istanbul, The Turkish government wants to rebuild an Ottoman-era (read: pre-secular Turkey) military barracks that will then be transformed into a shopping mall. There was no public consultation and the NGO established to preserve the park was violently ousted by riot police. This kicked off the larger protest that has engulfed Turkey over the last week.

As the Rio state and city governments showed in the struggle for the Maracanã, the Turkish state has shown itself willing to use maximum force to eliminate peaceful, public dissent and the right to public assembly. That both police forces use tear gas manufactured in Brazil is an ironic coincidence. That these struggles have as their flash points the authoritarian appropriation of public space and culture to produce symbolic spaces dedicated to conservative and consumerist ideologies is sadly consistent with larger governmental trends in both countries.

Putting down the violent rebels in Istanbul
...using the same perfume and good sense as in Brazil. 
We can see in the recent history of the Aldeia Maracanã he same kind of struggle being played out over Taksim Square. The major difference is that in Rio, no larger protest emerged over the loss of the city`s most iconic public space. Reading the news reports of the Maracanã‘s official opening (Brazil x England) I saw no mention of the years’ long struggles to keep the stadium in public hands. As we know, once the lights are on and the ball is rolling, no one remembers the past. This is a major genetic flaw in the White Elephant.

The extent to which the state will use violence to protect the interests of private capital has been demonstrated time and time again as Brazil prepares to host the World Cup and Olympics. Istanbul, until last week, was the leading candidate for the 2020 Olympics and Turkey will host the U-20 World Cup in July of this year. The Turkish state has demonstrated quite clearly that they too are willing to intercede violently in the pursuit of conservative consumerism. We will find out in September what impression this leaves on the IOC.

As the Turks battle for their public spaces and democratic rights, Brazilians (and everyone else) should pay close attention to what is happening. Brazilians should remember that there is always a chance to raise a collective voice over what has happened in the name of the same kind of governmental regime that the Turks are fed up with. This is especially true in Rio where the mayor reacts to public criticism through personal acts of violence (he punched someone in the face after being called a piece of sh*te). The mayor`s personal actions are a perfect expression of the way he handles the government and this should be reason enough for large-scale protest.

For those with the stomach of an elephant the following shows disturbing scenes from the last week of protests in Turkey.

No comments:


2014 World Cup Rio de Janeiro Maracanã FIFA 2016 Olympics 2016 Summer Olympics Eduardo Paes CBF Copa do Mundo 2014 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Ricardo Texeira World Cup 2014 Vasco da Gama 2010 World Cup White Elephants mega-events APO UPP BRT Brazil football Flamengo Lula Orlando Silva violence ANT Aldeia Maracana Carlos Nuzman Dilma Eike Batista Rio 2016 Sergio Cabral 2007 Pan American Games Campeonato Carioca Corruption IOC Jerome Valcke Novo Maracanã stadiums BOPE BRASIL 2016 Brasil 2014 Engenhao Joao Havelange Maracana Policia Militar Vila Autódromo Aldo Rebelo Botafogo Henrique Meirelles Medida Provisoria Metro Revolta do Vinagre Sao Paulo Sepp Blatter World Cup 2010 forced removal Carnaval Elefantes Brancos Fechadao Marcia Lins Minerao Morumbi Odebrecht Porto Maravilha Rio+20 Romario Security Walls South Africa South Africa 2010 TCU Transoeste protests public money public transportation slavery transparency x-Maracana Andrew Jennings Argentina Audiencia Publica Barcelona Brazil Carvalho Hosken Comitê Popular Confederatons Cup Copa do Brasil 2010 Cost overruns Crisis of Capital Accumulation EMOP FERJ Favela do Metro Fluminense Fluminese Fonte Novo IMX Jose Marin Leonel Messi London 2012 Marcelo Freixo Maré Museu do Indio Olympic Delivery Authority Perimetral Rocinha Soccerex Transcarioca bicycles consumer society debt idiocy militarization transportation 1995 Rugby World Cup 2004 Olympics 2015 Copa America Banco Imobiliario Barcas SA Belo Horizonte Bom Senso F.C. Brasilerao CDURP CONMEBOL Champions League. Mourinho Complexo do Alemão Copa Libertadores Cupula dos Povos ESPN England FiFA Fan Fest Istanbul 2020 Jogos Militares John Carioca Kaka Manaus McDonald's Obama Olympic Village PPP Paralympics Providencia Recife Russia Salvador Soccer City Taksim Square Tatu-bola Urban Social Forum Vidigal Vila Olimpica War World Cup Xaracana attendance figures cities corrupcao drugs estadios football frangueiro futebol mafia planejamento urbano police repression porn privitization reforms shock doctrine taxes 201 2010 Elections 2010 Vancouver Olypmics 2013 2018 World Cup 2030 Argentina / Uruguay ABRAJI AGENCO ANPUR ANT-SP Amazonia Ancelmo Gois Andrade Gutierrez Anthony Garotinho Arena Amazonia Arena Pernambucana Athens Atlético Paranaense Avenida das Americas BID Barra de Tijuca Blatter Brasil x Cote d'Iviore Brasileirão 2013 Brasilia Brasilierao Bruno Souza Bus fares COB COI COMLURB CPI CPO Cabral Caixa Economica Canal do Anil Cantagalo Celio de Barros Cesar Maia Chapeu Mangueira Chile 2015 Choque do Ordem Cidade da Copa Class One Powerboat Racing Clint Dempsey Comite Companhia das Docas Copa do Brasil Corinthians Cuiabá Curitiba Dave Zrin David Harvey Der Spiegel Eastwood Edge of Sports Escola Friendenrich Expo Estadio Expo Urbano FGV Fonte Nova Gamboa Garotinho Geostadia Ghana Globo Greek Debt Crisis Greek Olympics HBO Hipoptopoma IMG IPHAN ISL Iniesta Internatinal Football Arena Invictus Istanbul Itaquerao Jacque Rogge Jefferson John Coates Jose Beltrame Julio Grondona Julio Lopes Julio de Lamare Knights Templar Korea Lei Geral da Copa MAR MEX Manchester United Mangabeira Unger Maracanã. Soccerex Marina da Gloria Mexico Milton Santos Molotov Cocktail Mr.Balls Neymar Nicholas Leoz Nilton Santos Olympic Flag Olympic Park Project Oscar Niemeyer Pacaembu Pan American Games Parque Olimpico Pernambuco Plano Popular Plano Popular do Maracana Plano Popular do Maracanã Play the Game Pope Porto Alegre Porto Olimpico Porto Seguro Portuguesa Praca Tiradentes Preview Projeto Morrinho Putin Qatar Quatar 2022 RSA Realengo Regis Fichtner Roberto Dinamite Russia 2018 SETRANS SMH Santa Teresa Santos Sao Raimundo Sargento Pepper Security Cameras Smart City Sochi 2014 South Korea Stormtroopers São Januário São Paulo Teargas Templars Tokyo 2020 Tropa do Elite II Turkey UFRJ/IPPUR URU USA USA! Unidos da Tijuca United States government Urban Age Conference VVIP Via Binário Victory Team Vila Autodromo Vila Cruzeiro Vila do Pan Vilvadao Vivaldao Volta Alice Wasteland Workers' Party World Cup 2018 Xavi Zurich apartments atrazos barrier beer bio-fuels bonde capacities civil society comite popular copa sudamericana crack crime dengue dictatorship estádios favelalógica feira livre fiador flooding freedom of information furos geral graffiti guarda municipal host city agreement identity infrastructure ipanema istoe labor rape riots schedule school shooting security segregation social movements stadium state of exception supervia tear gas ticket prices torcidas organizadas tourism traffic tragedy trash trem-bala velodromo wikileaks xingar