User’s guide for prisons by Demirtaş

Co-chair Demirtaş's piece published in the daily BirGün:

My imprisonment is not long enough for me to forget the flowing life outside. And, it is also not long enough for me to pontificate about prisons in a country where there are people jailed for more than 25 years. However, writing about my observations on imprisonment is nevertheless my obligation, I think.

One of the results desired to be achieved through our imprisonment is spreading fear among the people and suppressing everyone by threatening them with imprisonment. So, since that is the case, what we need to do is to rebut that goal. In any case, whatever will be will be in the end.

If we are to break through the climate of fear and enter into the season of courage, it is better to ridicule fear than to give into injustice and unlawfulness in fear of getting detained.

I am writing this so that you would have in hand fresh information in case you do get arrested. I guess, there is no need to write the political differences between the concepts of what is called inside and outside. To put it more precisely, there aren’t differences worth of writing about. I’ll rather write more about the differences on daily life and you’ll just keep in mind the ones you find beneficial.

At your first entrance to the prison, they search you and seize everything that is prohibited to be taken inside. But they cannot seize your ‘thoughts’ that are shown as the reason for your detention; you can take those in with you. It’s an interesting practice.

During the earlier days, when you are taken out from the room for a meeting with your lawyer or so on, you might suddenly check your pockets in the hallway worrying that you might have forgotten the key of the cell inside. Don’t panic! Here, locks are many but there is no key!

Those who come to visit you find you with no difficulty every time. Nobody tells them at the prison door ‘Well, Mr./Ms. has just walked out for a meeting’. Or, there is also nobody who tells them ‘She/He is on annual leave; we’ll forward her/him your note if you have any’. I mean, you have no place to escape.

Even if you are someone who is not loved and respected much outside, don’t be sad. Because, here, they call your name everyday at least twice so it’s better than nothing. Just look into finding some joy in this!

Here, there is no worry over ‘dying batteries’; your battery (of your mobile) never dies here. Be easy; no need for tension.

And, when things elevate a little, they also do not cut your internet here. It is really a nice feeling giving you a bit of a taste of freedom.

There are also cautions taken here for those who lament not having been on TV even once. There are cameras recording you for 24/7 and there are friends watching you over with complete attention in front of screens. Just enjoy it!

Those who run in blood, sweat, and tears everyday in order to not miss the bus, metrobus, or the ferry: this place is just for you! Because, the shuttle never takes off without having you in. There is extreme concern for passenger satisfaction.

Have you come to the point where you are unable to go anywhere without navigation? Don’t worry; a minimum of 4 guardians personally take you everywhere.

You’ll have friends who will say ‘I guess, the door is being knocked; can you get it?’ Don’t you ever fall for it!

When you hear a clink at night, you can be sure that it is not a burglar. There are burglars in prison but they stay in different rooms. And, in any ways, they are minor burglars. The major ones are not taken inside, so, you do not need to be afraid.

Here, nobody can threaten you by saying ‘I will get you jailed, man!’ It is a different feeling!

Those who get angry over messages not replied in 10 minutes! Here, it may take at least 1 month for a letter to be sent and for you to receive a reply. So, it is good for anger management.

In the shopping list for the canteen, do not write things such as ‘pickaxe, saw, or hammer and sickle.’ Them villains do not give them!

Here, there are managers, assistant managers, and teachers but do not feel like you’ll be getting a report card and go on a break! They do not give those, either, that’s for sure.

Even if you brag and say ‘So what, my brother? I am the son-in-law of a family from Lice’, it won’t work. Don’t be quick in blaming your father-in-law for it. The system is like this.

Those from İzmir call ‘çekirdek’ (sunflower seed) ‘çiğdem’ (crocus) here, too. I guess, that does not change much.

Here, too, ‘life is short and the birds are flying’; and, ‘even if you are a dragon, it has no influence on nights’.

And, here, too, ‘the real love is in never giving up.’ 


17 June 2017