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The Civic of Civility

The Civic of Civility

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Published by Rajib Karmakar
This article is from newyork times news paper. word meaning of difficult words are also given in next document
This article is from newyork times news paper. word meaning of difficult words are also given in next document

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Published by: Rajib Karmakar on Jun 23, 2013
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06/23/2013

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 June 21, 2013, 6:51 amComment 
The Civics of Civility
ArisMessinis/Agence France-Presse
 — 
Getty ImagesISTANBUL
 — 
 
I have two ready answers when I’m asked why I’velived in Istanbul all these years. The first is that I’m enamored of the city
itself: the history of the skyline, the blue expanse of the Bosporus, myneighborhood of wooden houses along a central promenade. The secondis that I admire the civility of everyday life here. I enjoy nodding to people on the street, the animated conversations in the shops, thekindness of locals toward someone who was born elsewhere.Yet for some time I had been fending off the suspicion that these twoexplanations are incompatible
 — 
that I live in a city so well behaved it isincapable of raising more than a polite cough to protest its owndestruction.
 
In London, environmentalists and community activists have managed foan entire decade to stall the construction of a third runway at Heathrowairport.But when the central government in faraway Ankara announcedits intention to build a third airport with six runways in Istanbul,the news was treated here as a fait accompli. This city has a famously lowrate of crime against the person,yet it has long looked the other waywhen it comes to crimes against the environment.But all that has changed recently. For many years I shared an officeoverlooking a patch of green in the inner city, and during that time I
didn’t even register it had a name other than the “bit of green off TaksimSquare.” I don’t ever remember sitting there to eat a lunchtime
sandwich; it had no inviting air. Now the whole world knows it as GeziPark and the site, for three weeks, of pitched battles between protestersand the police.At the end of May, something snapped, and the campaign to save
Taksim’s trees became a campaign to change the country.
 In February 2012, I did tag along to a protest meeting against a scheme
to develop the park and cut down its trees. But that demonstration didn’t
strike me as an example of a city awakening from its slumber: Therewere few people and far too many were my friends. What hope wasthere, I remember thinking, for a movement to stop the construction of athird Bosporus bridge, a behemoth that would pave the way for unthrottled conurbation, the devastation of an important habitat and thedestruction of over two million trees?At the end of May, something snapped, and the campaign to save
Taksim’s trees became a campaign to change the country. And now the
near-universal consensus about that mess is that, with their reckless brutality, the authorities stoked the very unrest they were hoping to quell.The human rights lawyer Orhan Kemal Cengiz has estimated the finaltoll from the violence
:“Four people were killed and 7,822 were
 
wounded. Eleven people lost their eyesight when the capsules of gas projectiles hit their eyes. Six people are fighting for their lives inintensive care. Tens of thousands of people who participated in the
 protests inhaled the gas fired by the police. Thousands were detained.”
 Istanbul, though it is bent out of shape, is slowly returning to normal.There are no more angry protests in neighborhood parks, just communitymeetings. Demonstrators show their colors not with banners and gasmasks but by standing at dignified attention until the police or their aching limbs tell them to move on.And for now, the plane trees of Gezi Park are safe. The nationalgovernment has said it will respect a court order that protects the park 
 pending final official approval of the developer’s plan. The municipality,
acting like a guilty child, has been  planting flowers in the park and evena few more trees.And in a perverse upside of the crisis, the marketshave been rattled
 — 
which means that the government will find it muchmore difficult to finance its cherished development projects, includingfinding all those billions for that third airport.
Andrew FinkelPrevious Posts 
 
 
 
Mixing Gin and Politics Yet we all fear a crackdown. The prime minister has muttered that he
will “
” from those who supported the protests, and
there are threats to regulate the tweets that went on behind his back.Meanwhile, many Turks remain mobilized
 — 
and largely because theyhave seen their government behave with less decency than they expectof themselves.

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