Author: Fatma Nevin Vargün; Translation: Beliz Baldil; Editing: Feride Eralp
NOTE: It is a positive case that this TV serial becomes a means of passing down the devotion and altruism of one generation to today’s generation.
We have come to watch TV serials in order to forget the depressing, boring and desperate atmosphere of the political platform and get rid of our daily fatigue. Everyone has a TV serial appropriate to his/her own temperament. The media is very creative in this regard, and anyway; there is a lot of material at hand in this country. “Remember Beloved” became a very attractive TV serial for our generation, whose political background lies within this variety of material. Therefore, this article is, in a way, going to be a subjective one.
As a person stuck between the generations of 68 and 78, remembering those days has been painful and thought provoking. This TV serial certainly has many aspects that can be criticized, but it reminded us once again how those who governed this country treated their youth badly, how they attacked left-wing thought, democracy, justice, equality and the idea of freedom mercilessly. It also reminded us that this attack has never finished.
We have fallen tired of living through the same things repeatedly. We are angry because, apart from the fact that the carnage and murder organized by the deep state is yet to be illuminated, it still continues today. While considering that the perpetrators of the bloody 1st of May have not yet been found, we said that waiting for the illumination of the “murder of Hrant Dink” and the “Şemdinli events” is a vain hope.
In my high school years, Deniz Gezmiş and his friends’ determined, confident attitudes and their handsome looks in parkas brought us all closer to “the thought of becoming revolutionary”. Politics was important in all of our lives. Adults had faith in young peoples’ beliefs and ideals. University students were a part of and together with the public. During school holidays, they shared the problems of the community in villages and neighborhoods. There were fractions as well as political differences within left-wing thought, but all of them shared being based in the masses.
How widely it was accepted by the state that violent events, created by the political atmosphere supported by workers, villagers and pioneered by university students, and by the counter-struggle of fascist powers, could be ended with the execution of three young people, at their twenties.
You know how there exists a mass belief in this country: “If you let some of them hang, it will solve the problem”. In the end, that is what they did. The impotency and idée-fix of those who govern the state created a custom out of providing “order” through the execution of the young and of prime ministers.
As the daughter of a “Justice Party” deputy who was in the Justice Commission at that time, I experienced the period of the execution at very close proximity. Our power was only enough to protest by refusing to speak at home for many days. As the members of an unhappy and glum family, which had offended each other, not to be able to speak and discuss was really depressing. Watching the serial after many years, with my son, a university student, and witnessing his interest, his questions, his effort in understanding socialism has made this TV serial precious to me.
It is much more difficult to be a university student in 2008. Exam preparations starting from kinder garden and passing the university exam within the privatized education system, have taken a hard-gained, important position in human life. The poor, wretched portion of the public passing the university exam with their own effort is increasingly becoming a minority. Parents, who struggle through all of this trouble and spend their money and effort, desperately try, using every resource they have, to keep young people away from politics. Parents who were once active in student fractions have also joined in with the rest in this aspect. Parents of the Kurdish youth, who are the most politically active of the group, are also nowadays in a much greater effort of securing their children. The past eighty years, in which the state has violently bashed the heads of those seeking rights and justice, have led people to this result, scaring young people and keeping them away from social problems.
Under these conditions, will the spirit of 68 come back? Naturally, this is not really possible. That period is now in the past. Today, the world is in a different situation. People’s perceptions of the world have altered greatly. Communications and technology are developing at an incredible speed. But there are still things which have not changed. Wars, for instance… A war has been going on in this land for the past thirty years. We behave as if this war, fuelled by the rebellion of the Kurds, is non-existent. Corpses come in one by one, everyday. Ceremonies are organized. Often, the funerals of the Kurdish do not reach us. For those which are received, ceremonies are organized, however, either security forces interfere or investigations follow immediately.
Starvation and poverty have become much harsher than in the past. People’s inability to reach the constantly viewed variety of consumer goods created within the wheels of the capitalist system, results in new traumas. The situations of poverty have fallen to greater depths in today’s conditions. I daresay that nowadays a spirit in regards to 2008 has become necessary. I do not know when this spirit, this wind will blow. Many of us wait, in anticipation of this spirit.
There is much more which is remembered through the “Remember Beloved” TV serial: The relationship the generation of 68 had with Kemalism. As a great departure from the common attitude against American imperialism and defending the total independence of this country, the point reached today has become nationalism. This part is quite confusing. The TV serial expresses the opinion that the generation of 68 was completely Kemalist. However, in this period when socialism was wide-spread around the world, the youth was discussing and aiming at socialism. The TV serial does not really touch on this point. It is, instead, assumed that no connection exists between the student movement and socialism.
In the meantime, the lack of mention of the gender issue is also quite conspicuous. We had already only noticed the patriarchal structure of the spirit of 68, much too late: If socialism were established, the gender problem would cease to exist. As their revolutionary sisters, comrades, we were equal to men. Many of us saw, through experience, how love affairs and marriages between revolutionaries reached quite classical endings. We witnessed what the separation of paths with feminism in socialist countries, came to cost women.
The Kurdish Issue is also not mentioned in this TV serial. Deniz Gezmiş’s words, concerning the Turkish and Kurdish peoples, have been censored. It almost aims for people to perceive these events as only having happened in the western part of country, in metropolises. It is being projected as the struggle of city-born bourgeois families and children.
I hold that, despite all of its defects, the “Remember Beloved” TV serial maintains the specialty of being an important political film, within the chaotic environment of Turkey. In my opinion, the effort contributed by those working on costumes and décor has been the most admirable. It was evident that brains were racked and much effort spent on this aspect. Meticulous work in reflecting the atmosphere of the period to its minutest detail was, clearly, done.
If you are to remember, there was a general perception in the public, saying that “revolutionary women are ugly.” I do not know whether or not this was taken into account, but it almost seems as if special attention has been given to choosing charming and radiant actresses.
In conclusion, it is a positive case that this TV serial becomes a means of passing down the devotion and altruism of one generation to today’s generation. The mere fact that the new generations are curious, try to learn and REMEMBER is very important. Yes, this “beloved” must be remembered.