Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
June 8, 2013

Turkey in a Whirl

Turkey in a Whirl

A number of you forwarded us this picture. What I have been impressed with this week is the diversity of protest images — the same kind of creativity we witnessed from the Occupy movement. It’s a wonderful commentary about the tear gas attacks and rising above.

Because I’m not that familiar with the Sufi tradition of the Whirling Dervish, a couple lines about the Mevlevi order and this Sufi tradition stood out from Wikipedia:

In 1954 the Mevlevi were given partial rights to perform semâ in public but primarily because it was important as a tourist attraction for Turkey, but as a Sufi order they are still banned….

The Mevlevi Order survives because it managed to transform itself into a nonpolitical organization.

On the surface, I see citizens honoring cultural tradition in the face of a government attempting to impose its will and ideological agenda. But I’m hoping some of you more familiar with Turkey could help explain whether and how much this performance is also a political act.

(photo: Twitter/joeman42.  caption (via IBJ): A member of the Mevlevi Order (a “Whirling Dervish”) wears a gas mask while dancing during protests in Turkey. via Wikipedia: Whirling Sufi Protester wearing gas mask in a Gezi Protest in Ankara. – 2 June 2013).

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