|Here comes the censor ship, with its cargo of cultural baggage.
||[Jul. 19th, 2008|10:20 pm]
Mustafa "Ataturk" Kemal was actually a pretty cool guy, although spending while in Turkey might convince you otherwise.
Ataturk was responsible for replacing the corrupt, decadent, Islamist Ottoman Empire with a successful and prosperous modern liberal state. And he did it all while fighting off invasions by half the powers in Europe, at a time when most other Middle Eastern countries were degenerating into decades of corruption and ethnic strife. It's hard to find anyone, in or outside Turkey, who isn't profoundly impressed with what he's done.
At least I think it's hard. There's no real way of knowing. Because in Turkey, it's illegal to say anything bad about Ataturk. Even the slightest of insults, like mentioning his name rhymes with "Atajerk", could get you in trouble. I could get in trouble just for writing "Atajerk."
But the Turks take it much, much further than this. I wanted to go on YouTube today to watch one of ari_rahikkala's weird Straylight videos. Couldn't. YouTube is banned in Turkey. Why? There are rumors that foreigners might be posting anti-Ataturk videos on it. Just these rumors are enough to block the site from every computer in Turkey.
I wanted to see the new maps of Mar Sara in Shireroth's Landsraad. Can't. They're on Geocities. Geocities is also banned in Turkey. Also the sort of place foreigners might be posting anti-Ataturk material.
This doesn't just anger me. It confuses me. It confuses me because people are trying to force conformity to a belief that happens to be CORRECT. Who ever heard of people censoring something FALSE? I keep on looking through Wikipedia, trying to find some instance where Ataturk killed and ate puppies or something so I can feel like the draconian censorship regime in Turkey makes sense. But as far as I can tell, he never ate a single puppy, kitten, or any baby animal except the normal ones like calves and lambs that no one cares about.
I am forced to admit that the thugs who will lock up anyone who says anything bad about Ataturk are actually expending all that effort just to force people to hold a belief which, even if they let it rest, people would still hold anyway. And they're doing it to protect the memory of a man who was great because he opposed things like censorship and fascism. What a waste of time.