Sunday, March 8, 2009

The orange, white and blue

I left my flat this morning only to find my neighborhood plastered with the orange, white and blue flags of the AK Party (Justice and Development Party), as well as meters-long banners of every candidate with their shining faces in monstrous blow-ups along all the walls. Not that there hadn't already been propaganda up before this. But now, at only three weeks before the local elections, the campaign propaganda has gone up in force (perhaps done by little AK gnomes in the middle of the night), to an excessive degree.

So imagine these flags flying over both sides of the street, attached to the top of the fencing, and then also down the middle. Then a cascade of them coming down in tent formation at every roundabout, and one of those massive banners at the end of every street with the all too familiar AK light bulb in the center.

So while it's all very festive looking (really, the only thing that's missing is a giant piñata), the ruling party's efforts, at least in my neighborhood, seem completely unnecessary and wasteful. The whole concept for my neighborhood was conceived by the AK Party leader, Prime Minister Erdoğan. His cronies and supporters make up the majority here. There's even a luxury apartment building named after the party. Thus there's really no need for the party to campaign here at all, much less drown the place in its propaganda.

In a few weeks, all their flags will be littering the streets and gutters, with incongruous pieces of orange and blue poking out of the trees and flowerbeds. And all so the party could basically say, "We own this neighborhood, look how much we could afford to waste on it."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Still standing

My apologies for the weeks-long hiatus in posts. Mostly I've just not been in the mood to write in the midst of personal turmoil. In addition, my laptop was recently destroyed and while I could always blog from work, I prefer not to. This week acquired a tiny netbook to tide me over till my trip to the States in May.

These days of gray, wet, muddy Istanbul blend into one another, seemingly endless. Recent events have led me to re-evaluate my life, my relationship, my path. A major shift is coming this year, that much, at least, is clear. Much thanks to friends that have provided support in the winter of my discontent.