Monday, 24 February 2014

the commons

Revolutions have shifted from seasons and colours it seems towards something more in situ and the world is receiving a lesson, no less, in foreign terms for square or plaza where the protests are taking place and public politics are fomenting.

In recent memory, before the press was allowed to name and tidily adjudge such things, there was Tiananmen Square (天安門廣場, named for the Gate of Heavenly Peace which separates the area from the Forbidden City) in Beijing in 1989. Not as if everything was quiet, peaceable or simmering in the meantime, there was Tarhir Square in Cairo (Mīdān at-Taḥrīr, Liberation Place) in 2011. In 2013 and on-going is Taksim (meaning division or distribution from an Ottoman era reservoir originally on this site where the plumbing of the city was managed) Meydanı in Istanbul whose Gezi Park has become a symbol for government oppression and autocracy. Presently, the Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Майдан Незалежності, Independence) in Kiev has seen its square component of its name become shorthand for public uprising itself—the Euromaidan (Євромайдан) demonstrations seeking to realign Ukraine with Western Europe. Of course, there were countless rallies, marches, movements and occupations before they could be widely reported to the outside and degrees in coordination and spontaneity, and myriad in between. Overthrows and positive reform do not end with these pivotal moments, and possibly a public more educated and connected can appreciate the difficulty in managing the aftermath and transition.