It’s really been a long long time since I last posted on Edgeryders: it’s great to see so many things in action again! Life moves at an astonishing pace and now I’m in Turkey. Absolutely loving it and how couldn’t you when you are almost permanently surrounded by open displays of affection and support from everyone you meet. There’s also masses happening as I’m sure you’re all seeing in the news. There isn’t a great deal of coverage of the new masses rising out of the Gezi Park protests though: I suppose it doesn’t favour the status quo! But that is definitely where the edge is in Turkey at the moment. It mostly seems limited to the national scene - and I’d love to find ways to bridge it with international communities. My musings, I guess summarised by “pro-action opportunities”…
Love and peace… Malcolm
Interesting to hear your story!
As an Armenian I am interested to know more about the moods of people in Turkey, people that are not representing the political system or regime, those who, just like us, are trying to solve local problems and are challenged by the system.
And which country or culture are you from?
Greetings from Yerevan!
A tricky situation
Nice to hear from you too! As much as I’d like to I can’t pretend to any deep wisdom or prescience of people in Turkey. I’m very happy to share my own impressions though… perhaps my background would help you a little bit before I do and though I hate to admit it being British is a part of my culture and certainly my way of thinking (but very much tempered with long periods abroad - Japan, Venezuela, New Zealand, Spain, France and now Turkey): I’m really interested in those that are left out and want to find ways to bring us together more, more inclusive and participative. I think this calls for a complete revamping of old-fashioned democracy, but so far I haven’t really been ‘home’ long enough to work much on that. Ironically, now that I do feel more ‘home’ the stakes are raised much higher than anywhere in Western Europe. It seems to me that any form of activism in Turkey is pretty quickly labelled as terrorism making it a very uncomfortable place to try to be active. It doesn’t seem to affect the moods of people in Turkey however: brave activists are repeatedly speaking out (especially on twitter and facebook) and gathering on the streets. The Gezi movement is far from over… there are Park Forums being held every single day in one park or another, with a core team of facilitators leading the way. I don’t like to criticise but concrete local action does still seem to be missing, and I think that needs to be solved.
On a personal level I’m hoping to start assessing levels of participatory democracy in different neighbourhoods in Turkey… starting with my own: Çankaya, here in the middle of Ankara. I’d like to analyse the levels of scrutiny in local media, in the twitter forums, check out the participatory approach deriving from Rio 92 and Agenda 21 - ‘the citizens’ assembly’ (apparently quite lively in Çankaya).
How does that compare to Yerevan, and your life there?
Look who’s come home!
Hey Malcolm, really good to hear from you! Turkey, right? Ankara, if memory serves? I wish you all the best, and say hi to the lady! Any chance you can drag yourself to one of the things we do? LOTE in the fall, maybe?
Congratulations, man! That’s the best news. In this case, give even more of my best to the lady.
Wow it’s been too long!
Hi Malcolm, what a pleasant surprise! Glad you’re feeling more at home than last time we talked :) What are you up to? Still with CoE?
For those of you who don’t know Malcolm yet, here’s his previous touch base… (cc @Vahagn
How are you Noemi? Yes, all’s very well thank you, and lots to catch up on. I originally resigned from CoE at the end of December only to land on two really solid feet in Ankara with a project role in “Generation Democracy”. It’s a project with the Turkish Ministry of Education to strengthen Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education - in CoE speak Basically it’s trying to introduce formal courses on democracy and human rights in schools on one hand while deepening democratic school culture through multi-stakeholder decision-making, student-based activities, school community belonging and co-operation. I’m coordinating the project evaluation: it’s really interesting and very close to my research - though school-based rather than local community.
And you? What are you up to?
Navigating in between…
Hey, didn’t know about CoE, neither about your growing family! Big big congratulations and a hug to both of you future parents,
So it seems I’m also back in the seat where we met- interfacing with institutions, although with a great feeling that I’m ahead of the learning curve. I’m in Tbilisi now and traveling to Yerevan (via Istanbul but I can’t really get out of the airport); we’re hosting workshops and trying to do live reporting for Edgeryders and the twitterati (although twitter isn’t this much used in neither of the 2). Thanks for keeping a close eye on what’s happening in the area, who knows where this will lead - if we’ll be heading to anything close to Lote in Strasbourg by the end of this project, it’ll be pretty awesome. We’re on our way there