Tuesday, September 28, 2010

U2 Dancing in Istanbul

I am listening to Istanbul, my eyes closed;
I am listening to Istanbul, my eyes closed;
Just then birds fly by;
High up, in huge flocks, screaming.
Fishing nets are being drawn out of the water;
The water touches a woman's toes;
I am listening to Istanbul, my eyes closed;
I am listening to Istanbul, my eyes closed;
The cool covered bazaar;
The crowded Mahmutpasa market;
Pigeon filled courtyards.
I am listening to Istanbul, my eyes closed;
I am listening to Istanbul, my eyes closed.

Paul David Hewson, Bono, vocalist of the Dublin-based rock band U2 was captivated by the beauty of Istanbul. I have not been to Istanbul but its mystique is captured in the poetry that my father would recite to me as a child. I grew up listening to my father recite: 'I am listening to Istanbul' by Orhan Veli.
As part of its 360º tour U2 finally delivered a concert in Istanbul to an audience of 50,000 people. This was the first time that U2 had visited Turkey and indeed performed live for a Turkish audience. As is typical of U2 they managed to meet and greet the echelons of power and the political establishment who  not only is extremely conservative but were quite sluggish in their interactions with Bono. It was like leaving the Pope in a room full of homosexuals. How imprudent! But Bono managed to get a giggle out the Turkish Prime Minister when he handed him a present, a red iPod Nano, which he said would benefit the Global Fund to Fight Against AIDS. Later, PM - Erdoğan spoke at a rally held for a referendum campaign in İstanbul and he talked about his meeting with U2. Bono asked the Turkish Prime Minister why he was jailed: "When I said it was because of a poem, Bono burst into laughter," he said. The poem that the Prime Minister recited included the following verse: "The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.”  Hardly an upbeat peaceful vision!

But Bono this is no laughing matter!- we have already had the British  "lyrical terrorist" case where Miss Malik, 24, was given a nine-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months at the Old Bailey in December 2009, under Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 for posting a series of poems on websites across the internet about killing non-believers, pursuing martyrdom and raising children to be holy fighters. 

I am generally a warm and generous person but l sound so grumpy, its not because U2 a favourite band of mine met with the cleavages of political power but because the Turkish audience was so pathetic in its reception of U2 in particular when Bono raised the issue of Fehmi Tosun, a victim of the politically motivated disappearances in Turkey. And Zulfu Livaneli who inspired a generation of left wing political activism appeared on stage with Bono looking like a political neophyte:  out of place and awkward. And he was criticised by Fehmi's wife, Hanim Tosun for being disrespectful towards her husband and other disappeared victims. Neither the audience nor Livaneli was overwhelmed by the emotions of Bono who was trying to get them to chant Fehmi Tosun's name. One wonders why people should be concerned and care about each other, other's suffering. Is it as Rousseau saw it: "They don't know how to love themselves; they only know how to hate what is not themselves."

Mothers Of The Disappeared lyrics
Midnight, our sons and daughters
Were cut down and taken from us
Hear their heartbeat
We hear their heartbeat

In the wind we hear their laughter
In the rain we see their tears
Hear their heartbeat
We hear their heartbeat

Night hangs like a prisoner
Stretched over black and blue
Hear their heartbeat
We hear their heartbeat

In the trees our sons stand naked
Through the walls our daughters cry
See their tears in the rainfall

Please Comment

No comments:

Post a Comment