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Oh the media, one of the most convoluted parts of society if you ask me. Each news source is a sneaky, biased, money driven network of lies. Well that’s a little harsh but hear me out. How are we ever going to tell what’s certainly true or not in the news? These news sources essentially control what to tell us and not tell us. More importantly their main goal is to make money so whoever pays them to most to say something is what we end up reading on CNN or hearing on MPR.

At this very moment riots are spreading in Turkey; that’s about everything people care to know on the subject though. If I asked anyone why they are happening, what the people are protesting against, maybe one out of ten would know. The general public knows more details on Kim Kardashian’s baby with Kanye than it does about the lives being threatened in other parts of the world. Sometimes people need a reminder to look at things in perspective, but it’s hard to have them looking with a broader lens for very long. The media drills in our heads the false assumption that celebrity babies are important for us all to care about and those topics become what we talk about at the dinner table. Let’s change that people! Let’s read an article on a serious topic that could affect people’s lives. And let’s not just read about it and erase it from our brains. We should keep the information in the back of our minds and spread the word, because the only way to begin making a change is if we first know of the issue at hand.

So it’s time to get started. For those of you who haven’t heard about the issues in Turkey I can give a quick glance at what’s going on from the perspective of a Turk and Middle Easterner who will be traveling to Turkey this summer.

An on going struggle in the Middle East and now in Turkey has been the role of religion in the government. Contrary to popular ignorant belief, not everyone in the Middle East is religious and get this, they’re not all Muslim either! I know, shocker.

However, the protests didn’t arise from this battle with religion. The protests began May 31 after police cracked down on what had been a peaceful demonstration against redevelopment of the Gezi Park in Taksim square, which would remove a considerable chunk of rare green space in the sprawling city. The clashes have grown since, with the square becoming symbolic of greater dissatisfaction with the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s, government.

Thus when the prime minister recently imposed restrictions on the sale of alcohol, altered social security, separated children by sex in primary and secondary schools and emphasized religious holidays over national ones, the people had built up anger that needed to be released.

According to the Turkish Human Rights Foundation, four people were killed on Tuesday June 11th, including one police officer, and nearly 5,000 have been treated for injuries or exposure to tear gas. I’ve linked an article discussing the issues in greater depth for anyone interested.

If you ask me, it’s refreshing to see that the Turks recognize their government’s issues and are willing to fight against them to keep their country the way it was. Of all the Middle Eastern countries, Turkey has come the farthest in moving past the religious leader barrier that every other country is stuck in. It’d be a shame for the country to take a step back and hinder its economy and general morale of its people.

I’ll be there with my family in August this summer. I’m hoping the worst of the riots will have passed by then but I am interested to see how the people are reacting. When you travel to a foreign country you can somewhat tell what’s going on by observing the people. You can tell when the lights are a little brighter, the laughs are a little louder, and the children are giddy. But you can also tell when people are hiding behind closed doors, no one’s out past sunset, and there’s invisible smog that you can’t see but indefinitely feel. I’ll see which version I’ll experience during my time there.

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/11/18895842-turkish-riot-police-fire-tear-gas-in-effort-to-clear-istanbul-protesters?lite



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