‘A social media account listed the football players with the highest contribution to the scores in the history of the Super League in Turkey, but they skipped Hakan Şükür, who should have been in the first place with 249 goals and 100 assists. According to them, there has never been a football player named Hakan Şükür, who is a globally recognized brand for Turkish football.‘
When I first got my hands on George Orwell’s book 1984, I was still in middle school or high school. About 40 years later, I added 1984 to the list of books I ordered from Istanbul. The things described in the first few pages didn’t seem unfamiliar to me for some reason.
Orwell’s book, published in 1949, depicts the city of London in 1984, which is a part of the new world order in the country of Oceania. The sole ruler of Oceania is Big Brother. Big Brother’s enormous photographs can be found everywhere, on the streets, in government offices, at the entrances of apartment buildings, and at the beginning of staircases.
The country is governed by four ministries:
- The Ministry of Truth, responsible for news, entertainment, education, and fine arts.
- The Ministry of Peace, responsible for war.
- The Ministry of Plenty, responsible for the economy.
- The Ministry of Love, responsible for law and order.
The biggest threat to Oceania is Emmanuel Goldstein and the secret organization called the “Brotherhood.” Goldstein, who was once a party official and held the same rank as Big Brother, later engaged in counter-revolutionary activities and was captured and sentenced to death. However, he manages to escape. He becomes the scapegoat for any sabotage, defection, or dissent against the Party. He constantly attacks Big Brother, accuses the Party of dictatorship, and demands an immediate peace with the enemy country “Eurasia,” where he has sought refuge.
During those days, television had not yet become widespread, but there were tele-screens in government offices, schools, streets, and homes. Unlike today’s television, these tele-screens watch and listen to you and give you personalized commands. It is on these tele-screens that the Hate broadcasts are aired at a specific time every day, and Goldstein always takes the lead role. The people of Oceania, while watching the Hate broadcasts, shout in anger against Goldstein, losing control to the extent of throwing objects at the screen.
Goldstein’s theories are refuted thousands of times in newspapers, news articles, and debates on tele-screens. However, Goldstein’s influence on Oceania never seems to diminish. Therefore, the Thought Police conduct daily operations and arrest Goldstein’s supporters.
Arrests are always carried out at night, and the Thought Police wake up a poor man in his bed with sudden bright lights, handcuff him, and take him to an unknown place, as if making a show of power. Many of them are not even brought to trial, no arrest report is even prepared for them. Their names are erased from the records, all evidence of what they have done is destroyed, as if they never existed, and this process is called “vaporization.”
Does all this sound familiar to you? Have you seen people being taken from their homes in the middle of the night by police armed with automatic weapons, and those who are displayed as if they have committed a great crime in the regime’s media? It has appeared before my eyes.
Thank God we don’t have such a tyrannical regime in our country, no “Big Brother” who monitors every step we take, watches us inside our homes, and dictates what we should do, you might have thought. I didn’t think so.
For example, the concept of “vaporization” caught my attention. Just as I was reading that section of the book, a tweet from legendary football player Hakan Şükür appeared on my phone’s notification screen.
A social media account listed the football players with the highest contribution to the scores in the history of the Super League, but they skipped Hakan Şükür, who should have been in the first place with 249 goals and 100 assists. According to them, there has never been a football player named Hakan Şükür, who is a globally recognized brand for Turkish football.
In other words, he has been vaporized! Yes, Hakan Şükür is a name that has been vaporized because he didn’t stand at attention to Big Brother, because he didn’t curse at those who were declared “traitors” in the “hate” broadcasts that are aired 24/7 in Big Brother’s media.
It’s not just Hakan Şükür; the names and works of the members of a movement that were once lavishly praised by Big Brother and his supporters have been vaporized in this country. Their newspapers were seized, shut down, and their archives were erased. Their schools were confiscated, their names were erased, they were vaporized.
Large Anatolian capitals like Boydak, Koza İpek, Nakiboğlu were looted, their names were erased, they were vaporized.
Many valuable academics, teachers, journalists, businessmen… were forced to leave the country, and their remaining works were vaporized.
Of course, the reality is not like that. Of course, none of them have been vaporized. But there are those who want us to believe that it is so. The Ministry of Truth in the novel 1984 has changed its name and is now called the Presidency of Communications. They engage in black propaganda through tele-screens 24/7, ignoring us.
We haven’t disappeared. Our homes, workplaces, schools, newspaper or television buildings may have been destroyed, our books may have been burned and reduced to ashes. But we have not vaporized; we are here. We still care about our country and humanity, and we continue to try to find solutions to age-old problems, and we will continue to work.
Let this be their concern as well.
*Mehmet Tahsin is a journalist and columnist at TR724.com