The Hood Protest, Legitimacy and Conscience

The Hood Protest, Legitimacy and Conscience

Our hood protest, alongside its repercussions, brought along some discussions. Speaking of the protest, it is particularly important to scrutinize the opposition claims against the method and the addressees of the protest in a broader sense. The discussion is not only about the hood protest itself, but it’s also about different perspectives we can confront in the future.

Is the protest in question a form of democratic protest? Or does it include violence?

Throughout the history, the establishment has appealed to words like vandalism/terrorism in order to protect itself from actions opposing to its symbolic or functional existence. As such, Mustafa Kemal was denominated as a rebel and Deniz Gezmiş and his friends were declared terrorists simply because their programs, demands and practice were radical.

Inarguably, the hood protest was radical. However, what was radical about our protest was, above all, the content of it. The main “disturbing” element about the protest which targeted the military presence of the United States on our territories is its political content. Moreover, the method was radical as well. Throwing red paint and covering people’s heads with hoods are not the common ways of protest that we are accustomed to use. It is important to note that what determines the temper of the method is the reality of US foreign policy and military interventions in the Middle East and across the world, which brought along nothing but civil wars and sufferings of millions of people. Of course, a protest targeting the world’s greatest and most bloodstained gang of criminals is supposed to use a different method that is more rigid and precise. We have to remind those critics who are irritated by the images of the protest with aesthetic concerns: The pain and suffering of the victims of the US imperialism, as well as the anger arising from those, are not aesthetic. On the other hand, there wasn’t any attempt to harm soldiers’ health. As for the trauma and fear they experienced, they can count it as the payoff of their crimes.

The addressee of the protest, was it the “poor” American soldier on day-off?

Choices bring along moral and political responsibilities. While discussing the protest, some people were pointing to the conditions of “poor” soldiers, who maybe join the US army to live better off or to send their children to college. Nonetheless, today, no matter which reason they have, they cannot escape from the responsibility of being a paid staff of the world’s largest gang of criminals.

It was indeed the same “poor” soldiers who triggered the gun in Iraq. Again, it is the same “poor” who has been providing intelligence to Jihadists in Syria. They are the torturers in Guantanamo. Even the desk personnel providing information through combat drones are not that much different than the pilots of bombardments.

If assessing the protest is a matter of conscience or a sense of fairness, how can one appeal to conscience in spite of assuming that being a member of world’s greatest criminal gang brings along no responsibility?

These “poor” soldiers have to see that earning 30.000 Dollars by joining the US Army doesn’t worth their complicity for all those crimes. However, it is not enough to only talk about this, since you cannot persuade those people by mere communication.

You have to disturb them. You have to narrow their comfort zone. You have to make this “job” more darksome and fearful for them.

You have to salute people fighting in Lebanon and children of Palestinian Intifada.

You have to give courage and hope to them and to the Turkish people whose dignity is downtrodden every single day.

In brief, you have to put those plastic bags over the US navy sailors’ heads.

Uğur Aytaç

Member of General Executive Committee

Youth Union of Turkey

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