Today’s blog post is all about Karagöz, the shadow puppet from Turkey – and namesake of the famous “Karagöz Oyunları” or “Karagöz puppet troupe.” As you can see from the photograph to your left, he is standing today, joining the Turkish movement of standing men and standing women and well, standing people! All of these standing people (and the standing puppets in life of my mind) are protesting extreme police brutality, iron fisted control of Turkish media by the AKP government and increasingly authoritative behavior on the part of Turkey’s ruling party.
As it is my birthday today, and as I wish for the next year that I had some of this particular puppet’s energy as it relates to #OccupyGezi.
First, in general, if you read this blog much, you have likely caught on by now that he hs known to be a trickster and an agent provocateur – some might even say an agent provocateur extraordinaire according to the resident Ms. Manners. And, you see, this little puppet character, he has been this way since Ottoman times when he was born in Bursa, along with his original companion & sparring partner, Hacivad.
Even though this agent provocateur puppet watched live DHA feeds along with us with just the glimpse of a tear as Turkey erupted into chaos over the last weeks – his tongue in cheek, sarcastic and sometimes caustic humor alienated some of the puppets in his puppet troupe (here in my mind).
When Karagöz first heard about the standing man (#duranadam), for example, who stood for eight or so hours in Istanbul’s Taksim Square as a performance/protest against the police inflicted deaths during #OccupyGezi, that little puppet erupted in such chortles of laughter and splutters of glee and sarcasm you might think he would damage his camel’s hide-constructed self.
And the rest of the puppets made their displeasure known – more than usual – MUCH more than usual – and then, something different happened. Usually, Karagoz doesn’t care what anyone thinks. But the very best side of him came forward in the face of his peers. He apologized – did you hear that? Karagoz APOLOGIZED to his puppet troupe. And now, with very few agent provocateur interruptions (they are part of his nature, after all, he really can’t help it to some extent) he does his best to stand along with them as he is reallly upset about what is happening to his homeland as well, very, very upset indeed. The puppets are up to four days now, on the standing front.
1) Cultivation of lots of energy channelled in positive ways (but no cartwheels for me).
2) His zest and passion for living life in the moment.
3) The honor to admit when he’s wrong – and to stand up and change even if (slightly) embarrassed.
4) Commitment to having more fun with his sparring partners – the other puppets and especially his beloved Hacivad. (Jolly Joker, that’s for you, canım benim).
5) Most importantly, drawing on his activist spirit to speak the truth to power when necessary…and perhaps especially when others are afraid to do so!
- The Karagöz puppets are çapuling from bed rest! (elizcameron.com)
- #DirenTurkiye: The Karagoz Puppets provide a socio-historical cheat-sheet for what led to #OccupyGezi (elspethslayter.wordpress.com)