23.3 C
New York
HomeHeadlineDefiant Voices in Turbulent Times: The Inspiring Story of Cemre Birand

Defiant Voices in Turbulent Times: The Inspiring Story of Cemre Birand

“When Gregor Samsa couldn’t get out of bed one morning, at first he didn’t understand what was happening. Over time, he realizes he has turned into an insect. His norms have changed; he has started to enjoy rotten food. What once disgusted him has now become a source of pleasure. ‘Metamorphosis’ is not a science fiction novel; it analyzes the potential of economic power to determine and transform social relations. If Kafka had written Metamorphosis in today’s Turkey, his imagination wouldn’t have had much to do. There is a ‘New Turkey’ that takes pleasure in tormenting 85-year-old Sisi Bingöl or newly delivered mothers. It has rolled over onto its back and cannot get up.”

I started the Metamorphosis Portraits on March 12, 2019. Frankly, I hadn’t anticipated it would take this long and be this numerous. It seems like I could write as much more, but I want to take a break and write about ‘Humans Who Remained Human’ too. I hope this list will be as long as the first. There are silhouettes emerging in my mind.

I struggled to choose between Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu and Cemre Birand. Finally, I decided on Cemre Birand, practicing positive discrimination towards women. The most chilling portraits of that era came from women; looking at the names in my mind, I can say that women will dominate among those who remained human too.

‘Too Good to Be True’

This seems to be the best headline to describe Cemre Birand. Many people still believe her social media posts are made by someone else through a fake account. I must confess, I thought so too. Why would a ‘White Turk’ suddenly attract lightning and take risks… in an environment where it’s unknown who will be absurdly accused at any time; in a hell of see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil monkeys, considerable courage is required for this stance.

Her thesis, however, was very simple and clear: “What’s wrong with defending a baby? How can I be misunderstood while defending the rights of a sick prisoner?”

We are all born human, but none of us is guaranteed to remain human. We succeed or accept turning into an insect like Gregor Samsa, depending on our intentions, efforts, and struggle to give meaning to our lives. What Cemre Birand does is actually normal, but it seems abnormal in times when everything is turned upside down.

“The issue of prisons is not on the agenda of our people or artists at all. Babies, patients, women, people unjustly in prison… Eventually, I just listened to my conscience. I’m not an activist, but I’m a mother, and at first, I felt a tremendous pity for the babies in prison. When I reached one baby, others appeared before me. That way, I felt I was the conscience of the people. Since I can’t take to the streets with banners at this age, I wanted to raise their voices with tweets.”

A human who remained human has a conscientious voice and a strong basis: “My husband Mehmet Ali Birand had cancer, as did my mother and I. That’s why my heart breaks when I see the cries of families of cancer patients in prison. A solution must be found now.”


Mrs. Cemre worked hard for the release of Mevlüt Öztaş, a Cihan News Agency reporter with stage four pancreatic cancer. She was outraged when she saw others released due to coronavirus: “You let go of a bunch of scoundrels, let Öztaş go too!”

Of course, Cemre Birand isn’t the only person in the country who has overcome cancer herself or among her family members; what sets her apart is her empathy and uncorrupted conscience: “I thought someone had to speak up, and suddenly found myself in that role. My conscience prodded me, and I did.”

In Turkey, there is a bad habit of mentioning people only with their spouses. I am distant from that trend, but I cannot pass without mentioning Mehmet Ali Birand. Empowered by his confession “If it weren’t for you, I couldn’t have been Birand,” I dare to mention his spouse. Also, to convey their bad experience. Cemre Hanım was undoubtedly the biggest supporter of Mehmet Ali Bey, who was denounced for objecting to the state’s oppressions against Kurds.

While we’re on the topic of Memoş, as she calls him, a few more words are necessary. She describes her Memoş: “Being his wife was hard. He was impulsive. He would act and write without thinking about his surroundings. The most important thing for him was news. He believed in the sanctity of news. He had many admirers, was even once voted Turkey’s most handsome man. The next year Turgut Özal was chosen, and I was a bit relieved then. If possible, he could have even been voted Turkey’s man with the bluest eyes… He was always able to draw people to him, which is why I was very jealous.”

She is a spouse, a mother, a grandmother, a human… and most importantly, someone who managed to remain human, an exemplary figure, as the old saying goes!

Take a second to support Politurco.com on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Most Popular

Recent Comments