At the command of brutal savagery - EROL GÖKA

At the command of brutal savagery

Now we can also add the “events of October 7-8” to our collection. For years in the future, we will debate how and why they occurred and who was responsible for them. It turned the last day of the Bayram holiday into a poisonous one…

This was the period when feelings of shame and sadness reached a peak due to the bloodletting cruelty of people. It was a period when looting and plunder, rarely witnessed in these lands, became routine. It was a period when it became a rite to display resentment by attacking symbolic things like the flag and statues. These acts of brutal savagery were accompanied by unparalleled cursed events, like the torching of vehicles belonging to the Red Crescent and Disaster and Emergency Management services and schools. Even the memories of scholars came under attack…

What we witnessed sits right at the top of the pile when it comes to our history of political brutality. Those responsible should be held to account and all those who possess understanding and reason should think of the causes behind these incidents. Right now, all the strategic and political analyses are clouded by a storm of dust that hasn’t settled yet. Nobody is looking at the deep socio-psychological factors behind it, but we should. We are compelled to look at these factors in order to prevent the repetition of this serious humiliation brought upon us by history.

Society bestows us psychiatrists with incredible powers at times. It expects us to be able to identify the “healthy” and “sick” instantly, like a repairman fixes something with his spanner as if there are some fixed diagnostic categories.

I wish we could do that, but it would be impossible and wouldn’t be right at any rate.

Our approach is focused on the “individual.” More to the point, our expertise is based more on the psychological problems of individuals. While it is clear that these mass protests or beliefs, which are so nonsensical as if almost being incomprehensible, have a link with psychological well being, we lack the capacity as psychiatrists to provide detailed explanations with regard to these incidents. On top of that, there is a high possibility of falling into the trap of confusing our personal opinions, judgments and engaging in reductionism, while stating our findings.

In order to establish different perspectives while analyzing societal behavior, we need to rely on sociology, political science, philosophical anthropology and social psychology. We also need to delve into the sub branches of social psychology, which include political psychology and, to an extent, social psychiatry and group analysis.

This is why it is often that while analyzing such societal events, the views of thinkers that can combine these different perspectives together in their minds, gain in value and come to the fore. In our country, where we face a void when it comes to thoughts, Etyen Mahcupyan is one of those that stand out. His conclusions about the “October 7-8 incidents” were also very important.

According to Mahcupyan, the Kurdish political movement is like a child seeking to get away with a bit more each time, while looking straight into the eyes of its parents. The immature political energy within the PKK and its surroundings was released yet again as a result of the possibility of Kobane falling in the face of ISIL attacks. The youth, who lack an ideological background, are resorting to “politics” of vandalism and plunder. “A block dynamic exists, where they are trying to arouse sympathy for their rage against those that are different; and in this process, develop an identity for themselves.”

Mahcupyan believes this dynamic is being fed by political-ideological and identity-psychological processes.

The first of those processes was the acceptance of a “solution,” brought about by the reconciliation process, which was never completely understood by a young generation nourished on the dream of one day having their own independent country. It is almost impossible to block the impulse of a “take to the streets” attitude by youth in a system that constantly fed them a separatist diet, and where families that lost loved ones to the cause were praised. “The PKK made use of this section of people, particularly outside Qandil, to maintain its hegemony within the organization. These young people were given authority at a very early age, and under the subjugation of hierarchical powers, made a part of daily life despite their lack of knowledge, experience and mature reasoning capabilities.”

The process for reconciliation required more mature communications and a structural and administrational make over. These are lacking…

The second process affecting the dynamic, according to Mahcupyan, is the surreal and untimely use of Rojava as a metaphor. He believes the metaphorical use of Rojava for the moment of birth of the Kurdish century, while providing the Kurdish movement with the moral high ground, also resulted in making its ties to politics very fragile. The youth who were nourished on the myth of Rojava, believed in claims that Turkey was supporting ISIL without even feeling the need to check the veracity of the claim, according to Mahcupyan. They wanted the claim to be true so that they could punish Turkey in some way.

The combining of these two processes provided the grounds for the mobilization of young Kurdish generations, who have adopted an identity without establishing any individuality first. On one hand though, it has left the organization in danger of losing its common intellect.

We have written in our column the important views that say “mature parental behavior and long term perspective” are needed for a solution. In our next article, we will present our view on the psychological aspects of these events.  

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