I have written earlier about Turkey’s controversial proposal to legalize statutory rape. Today we saw a response to this heinous proposal on the football field. The players of Kocaelispor appeared on the field carrying a banner that read “Children Also Have Rights”. In a polarized country like Turkey it is refreshing to see footballers stand up for what is—undeniably—right. Unfortunately, on the same weekend of matches, we saw examples of violence against children when the Sivasspor goalkeeper inexplicably attempted to attack a ball boy during a second division match and when football hooligans in the southern city of Adana attacked a car driven by a man wearing a Besiktas jersey that was carrying a three year old child ahead of a clash between Besiktas and Adanaspor. In a social climate like this, we should thank the footballers for standing up for children, who are all too often voiceless.
Footballers Do What Is Right. Image Courtesy Of: http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/futbol/632950/Kocaelisporlu_futbolcular__Kizilcabolukspor_macina__Cocuklarin_da_haklari_var__pankartiyla_cikti.html
Interestingly, this weekend saw political protest in the United States as well, albeit in a very different venue. Vice President-elect Mike Pence was booed when attending the Broadway show “Hamilton”, before being addressed by the actors themselves. During the curtain call, a cast member of the play made this address to Mr. Pence:
Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical.’ We really do. We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us.
While the cast’s message is of course valid, it raises the question of where political messages should be voiced; is the stadium or the theater a more reasonable place to voice political protest? Personally I am of the belief that art should be separated from overt political displays. After all, no one came to the show to hear a political message, and there should be a certain level of decorum regarding a Vice President-elect. Mr. Pence was gracious in praising the show while acknowledging that the venue may not have been the most appropriate place for a political protest (Mr. Pence would know, since he has been booed in a stadium as well).
Mr. Pence Has Faced The Boo-Birds In a Stadium as Well. Image Courtesy Of: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/11/20/mike-pence-has-been-here-before-booed-at-an-indiana-baseball-game-then-hamilton/
The difference here, perhaps, is more than one between the “low-culture” of the stadium and the “high-culture” of the theater. The difference is that one protest is based on opinion while the other is based on fundamental human rights. I’m not sure that actors have a right to grandstand in a theater in order to profess their personal views, but I am sure that any attempt to legalize pedophilia and rape should be stopped. And therein lies the difference between these two protests. Still, the situation is one worth watching since it shows that, all over the world, people are growing more politically conscious in both “high” and “low” culture. Hopefully, governments in both countries become more responsive to their people since that is—after all—the goal of democracy.