AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE - 2 (YOUTH YEARS)
Every person has a lot of memories and experiences, good or bad, especially regarding his childhood years. People mostly live with those memories. They are supported by them and shape their futures by boosting their spirits with them. For those moments and the past is the main element, factor or ground that makes a person human and valuable. For a person exists with those memories and his background. The life given to a human cannot be separated from his past. In a matter of speaking, the future of a person is hidden in that beautiful past, which includes a background full of memories, practices and experiences. When people feel like stuck or want to feel good sometimes or to experience an intensity of emotions, they embrace those memories and their past. And they always go back to their innocent childhood years. And tears go by at that moment, an emotional moment engulfing their body instantly.
First they remember their devoted mothers, then fathers and then their beautiful siblings. Their first walking moments, the moment when they started to talk, the moment they started their first school; those classmates, those good teachers; those birthday parties, young years, first love games, love escapades, little lies, the betrayals, lovelornness, sleepless nights, devastations, exhaustions and a lot of bittersweet moments and incidents flash before their eyes. And after a brief moment of intensity of emotions, they learn lessons from those memories and experiences and continue living. For the mysterious of the future is hidden in the person's past and the person is valued with that past.
Now when I think about it, I realize how beautiful, epic and beyond dream my past that is filled with a lot of good and bad memories, my childhood years were. And in fact, the life in that small mountain village where there was not electricity, radio, gramophone, cassette player, phone or TV was very natural and innocent. My childhood years, gone like a fairytale and a dream, have had their places in my emotional, beautiful world. And they will continue to do so. Because in those years when the technology has not reached there yet, the feelings and thoughts of the people living in that village were not contaminated yet; the people living in that small mountain village did not experience those evil desires yet and the greedy demands called competition did not come to the borders of that village yet. And in those years, some capitalist demands or approaches such as obtaining wealth and capital; being rich, worshipping materials had not sieged that small mountain village yet.
And my life in that small mountain village where spent my six years like a dream as child ended with a sudden decision of my father. Some economic reasons and some family issues led my mother and father to make such a decision. After that decision that upset me a lot in these years, we had to leave our beautiful village and move to the city. And then for me, the beautiful, epic days of my childhood were like gone and hidden in somewhere beyond the mysterious Kaf Mountain of the fairy tales. And I even remember how sad I felt and how I cried when I looked our village where my best days were gone for the last time over the hill at the end of the village, like yesterday. My best memories and most joyous life incidents were always at those small mountain village. And because of these, my memories from those childhood years and the good days I lived at that village still keep their best places in my inner world full of dreams.
And during the period when we started a journey towards a new life when I was just six, I saw and knew the first car, bus, truck, trailer; the first asphalt road, traffic lamb, terminal, train, train station; the first pavement, police point, electricity post, electricity lamb, telegram post; the first phone, radio, gramophone, cassette player; the first post office, cinema hall, hospital, doctor, dentist, grocery store, greengrocer, restaurant, tailor, barber, shoe polisher and money. Surprised, I felt like passing to another world from a different world.
And then, our wait in the train station as a family together, the movement of the train, its acceleration, going through the dark tunnels, that existing sound it makes and the people boarding and taking off at every station were all very exciting for me. As a person who had not been in a car or train, I felt like going to another world during that train trip. At the moment when I thought I started a mysterious journey, I realized how beautiful it felt to watch outside from the train and see new places. It was very, very beautiful to see and know those mountains, plains, fields, forests, rivers, villages, towns, provinces and train stations one by one. It was very good to wave to those shepherds grassing down the animals or villagers working in the field. And the things I saw, experienced and all my menaces during the train trip that lasted almost two days left deep marks on my endless imagination and caused great changes in me.
However, for a child that was only six years old and that had not been out of his village, who could have known that those beautiful, epic days that he once lived in that village were over with that journey in the train and that a lot of suffering and drama would come and be lived from then on?
And with that train trip, those dreamy, epic days were behind for that little boy. That decision made by the head of the family would have caused many negative developments for both the family and that little boy. And it did.
Because they firstly faced with the language problem in the city where they just moved. Nobody could spoke the language of the city where they moved, except for the father. And therefore, the people living in that country would see that small family differently. They saw them as foreigners. Other kids playing in the streets did not befriend that little child and did not even include him in since he did not know the language. However, that little child overcame all the obstacles and problems in a few months and became one of the most successful students of the school. And he even got many first place awards in the trivia contests organized traditionally among primary schools. New successes and first place awards obtained in the sports branches followed these. Nobody could stop him then. Having solved that language problem, that little boy was curious about everything, hungry for information; wanting to know everything and reach new knowledge.
However, they put the ethnicity and sect problems in front of that little family. Those problems, which had been experienced in that country for centuries and caused many pain and drama, finally knocked the door of that family. The family did not and could not have any faults regarding this issue. Because their language, ethnicity and sect was a legacy from their ancestors. All of these still continued to survive in these sacred lands filled with culture and the culture mosaic that hosted civilizations. And taking advantage of that, some political formations and religious groups probed those ethnicity and sect problems further, almost looking as having a purpose of political benefit and pouring gasoline on the fire. And those behaviors, aiming for the easy things in essence, those political thoughts caused much pain to the people in every era. And it continued to do so.
All those discriminative behavior, the distress and exclusions became unbearable for that small family. What was happening outside then reflected in the house and the mother of the house started to blame the father for all these. She was blaming him for taking them out of their beautiful village and dragging them to such pain. Fierce arguments started to occur between the mother and father of the house that consisted of five people. Constant arguments, fights and some domestic, social and economic problems started to become a nightmare upon that family. Yet, they had left that small mountain village with good dreams and hopes and came to that lands that they did not know. However, those hopes were almost gone and those dreams that they dreamed for a better future were lost one by one. The mercilessness of life and the difficulty of survival eventually showed their faces to that small family. Hope was far away and seemed to remain there forever. And there was not an environment that would bring that hope from there and blossom it again.
And in these years, due to ethnicity or sect issues and political formations, houses and districts started to be separated from each other. No groups were able to enter the district or region of the opposite group. There were sometimes armed conflicts between the districts and people were keeping watch to defend their districts from the attacks of other groups until the morning. And the attacks in which averagely four or five people died every day became normal. And the political groups started to fight over their dominance areas. In other words, the leftist groups started to start a process of fighting, existence.
And those domestic, social and ethnic problems; sect discriminations and these political formations started to brew some storms in the inner world of that young man, our Veysel Baba. That young man, in the period of adolescence, slowly started to ask questions to himself and seek answers regarding the things happening around him. Some fascist constituents that were taking advantage of the fact that a rightest coalition was ruling the government slowly occupied all the state offices, police and school administrations. And that young man, exposed to the discriminative policies and behavior of the fascist constituents occupying the administration in the school, started to be involved in politics. He then wanted to call those administrators, rightest fascist constituents that were discriminative towards him in the school to account for what they were doing. He planned to take revenge from those brutes, vampires and horde of killers that made them suffer for centuries for his ancestors. The young man, who became a rebellious person in a short period of time, could not be stopped anymore. It was like the oppression, discrimination and grudging, hateful build-up of centuries turned into a fire of rebellion in that young man. And that young man, who wanted to set a new path, a new route for himself, was about to take a dislike of that previously-loved education life.
And upon the suspension given by the school administration, there were no choices for that young man but to be involved in armed combat. And it happened that way; that young man became one of the political leaders of the region where he lived. First, he called those fascist administrators that expelled him from the school to account for and punished them in their terms. Later, he questioned those lackeys, toadies and thieves that act together with that fascist government one by one and gave them an unforgettable lesson.
Now an organization leader; organization, illegal formation and the objectives were much clear and indispensable for that young man. Even during his young age, that young man planned and organized many actions and attacks in detail without compromising himself and his group. And he had the opportunity to extend his political perspective that had been weak until then. He started to see, know and interpret the world with a different perspective and thought that it was an honor for him to join the revolutionists that aim to end the injustice between the oppressing and oppressed. The prophets that claimed to have been sent by God for thousands of years failed to have the result that they want and could not end all the injustice, despite giving their audience communities some sacred messages. Some evil desires appeared in that sacred path that invites the people to righteousness, honesty and a just life and the beautiful future of and the entire humanity was just lost in the hands of some savages, brutes and people with malicious intentions. Those people, attached to carnal desires, organized among them with the development of the industry and laid the foundations of the capitalist system. In order to draw the line for and to stop this greedy capitalist system that is based on exploitation, theft and stealing the labor of community and efforts of the laborers and villagers, those great revolutionists, thinkers and guides came to the stage one by one and simply left after giving the best messages and most valuable fights. And thanks to the role model fight fought by those good people, brave revolutionists under those harsh conditions, all the people in the world, all those oppressed, exploited and laborers, workers and villagers made great gains. For instance, we can include many social rights such as occupational safety, life safety, right to work for eight hours, equal price for equal work, rights of vacation, strike, resignation, compensation; unemployment aid and right of retirement and many social gains.
And those brave revolutionists, human rights defenders and those organizations and people without boundaries still continue that intense struggle aimed to expand all those gains and actualize them in other parts of the world. Seeing this distresses that are experienced more intensely in the whole world, our teenager Veysel Baba took those great revolutionists as his role model and started a very harsh struggle. And it seemed that that young man, came to the leader position in the illegal formation, had no option but to take up arms under the harsh circumstances of those days. Because at that period, some formations such as counter-guerilla provoked all the people in the world towards each other and discriminated people as leftists and rightists, leading the way for those military juntas to rule or seize the government. And these deep and illegal formations with foreign sources sometimes handle the ethnicity and sect problems and even religious discriminations among the people and take the things to a different level. And they did all of these to help those military regimes and junta to come to power. Actually, the method was very easy; however, it was not easy to understand such games under those circumstances. People and countries had to support a side in that two-poled world and clarify the lines.
A similar play supported by the counter-guerilla started to be staged in the country where our Veysel Baba lived. And after the conflicts occurring sometimes between the districts, political groups, religious groups and ethnic groups, that fascist military junta that they missed a lot finally seized the government and a state of siege was declared all around the country. It was forbidden to go out after a certain time at night and leftist people were taken from their houses and brought to some places unknown. People were first tortured by some dark powers and then collectedly were executed by shooting. And even in these dark times, since he was wanted, our Veysel Baba became more illegal and protective. The man was taking some precautions not to be captured under those harsh conditions and meanwhile, attacking these districts where people with opposing views live along with a few men, sometimes extorting the business people that steal the people's labor; sometimes sealing off the roads of those fascist cops and call those torturing officers to account for. Whatever they did, whatever precautions they took, they could not capture him. The man was suddenly appearing in an unknown location, calling out some people to account for what they did and disappearing. It was like a curtain of secrets surrounded and protected him. And it evolved into such a state that those fascist cops, torturing officers and these betraying, fascist constituents cooperating with them were trembling like a leaves in the wind when they heard his name.
That young man and his friend group was pursuing justice in a region under their dominance. They were calling those fascist and torturing constituents to account, while extorting the bosses that leech and steal the labor of the people, just like they understood. Taking from the rich and giving to poor evolved to such a state that people started to call him Veysel Baba. Thanks to the rank of 'Babalık' (Fatherhood) whose concept has a very sacred place in the Alevi-Bektaşi belief that is a product of Anatolia, the Balkans were 'Islamized' or they adopted the belief of Islam. The concept of Babalık manifests itself in four ways in Turkish tradition: 1. The person who founded the family, head of the house. 2. The person who starts to lead the underground world after doing some dark deeds. 3. The person ruling a community and teaching them the requirements of the belief in Alevi-Bektaşi belief. 4. The person who watches over the poor, taking from the rich and giving to poor, just like our Veysel Baba.
And while everything continued like this, that evil concept and thought called betrayal finally came and found one of Veysel Baba's friends. And on the morning of a cold winter day, Veysel Baba, never considered to be thought, was trapped by those fascist cops. After a long conflict, out of ammunition, that brave man desperately surrendered. That brave revolutionist, caught upon the betrayal of a very trusted friend, was almost exhausted while being taken to the political office. They tortured him in that interrogation and starved him for days. They wanted him to provide all the information regarding the organization he was in, its leaders, the illegal formation of the organization, the actions it had committed in the past and the weapons that the organization possessed. Despite he was exposed to all types of tortures that a human mind cannot conceive, that stubborn man never talked and did not give the information required by them, sell his friends or appease his role model personality. After such a resistance, those torturer cops stripped them naked and threw them in a dark cell. And in that dark cell, they wanted to make him crack with a different type of torture: stripping him naked on a cold, concrete floor with cold water. Those inhuman tortures made with cold water continued for days.
Exposed to torture for days in that fascist junta period when any laws or rules were not duly applied, that desperate, miserable man was not allowed to see anyone. They did not even allow a lawyer to see him. It was a dark period when the fascist junta came to power and every day, hundreds of revolutionists and socialists were subjected to most brutal tortures in these interrogation rooms and hundreds were 'lost' there. The two sides were almost fighting for existence and destruction. It was a period when darkness and evil reigned. And a period of many betrayals, selling out the causes. It was a period when the good and evil and darkness and light blended into each other. And the hope seemed to remain behind the Kaf Mountain in the fairy tales. His dreams, his beautiful hopes on the future of the humanity were trampled on by the military junta.
Losing his hopes, the man was almost semi-conscious after the inhuman torture made to him. The days blended into each other in that dark cell and concrete floor; days or nights did not matter. The man still tried to remember that small mountain village where he was born, as he was alone in that cold cell, trembling. How great and epic it had been to dream by looking at the stars in the sky at night in the soil roof of the house and to sleep with these dreams. It was great to remember the cooperation between the women washing clothes by the river. And whenever he was tortured with cold water by those torturing cops and shivered on that cold flagstone; he realized how beautiful it had been when his mother had warmed him up with a bowl of hot water when he called out “Mother, I'm cold!” Who would have kept him warm when he was tortured by those fascist cops with cold water on the cold ground and naked and pour a bowl of hot water on him whenever he yelled “Mother, I'm cold!”?
END OF CHAPTER
20/04/2016 Veysel Baba - Kinder House, London