Radikal: I am a Looter (Çapulcu) in prison and I miss you, my brothers and sisters – Kubilay İyit

Kubilay Yiğit is a Master’s student in the Faculty of Fine Arts Musicology Department of Dokuz Eylül University. He was taken into custody in a dawn raid on 20th June as a consequence of the Gezi Park events. He was arrested on the 23rd of June and transferred to Kırıklar F Type prison. He wrote a letter to his comrades from prison.


The letter;

I am a Looter (Çapulcu) in prison and I miss you, my brothers and sisters!

I have been an early riser ever since I arrived in prison. I get up before breakfast. While I am thinking that the surreal dreams I have will turn to pink… The alarm clock we bought from the canteen is a new born lamb. It only works against me and I wake up.

Izzet and Ozan’s snoring is very deep, they went to bed late. Ever since they arrived they lay siege to Taksim from two sides with salvos and are pushing the police back to Dolmabahçe. Right after that they go back to Gezi enveloped in the tear gas shield.

I need to go downstairs and put the kettle on for some tea. Then need to clean up, have breakfast and get ready for the headcount. I hope there are eggs today. I wish it is soft boiled. I want to dip my bread into the egg yolk.

We will have our first sports session today. My belly does not fit the prison ward, I need to sweat it off. The yard is made of concrete and it makes one feel tired. Izzet likes cigarettes and me and non smokers. I am struggling with İzzet. I know it is useless, however time does not pass here. I said to him, “If you are a leader in sports then you are a leader in the prison ward”. He believed me. He trusts the fact that he is young. It feels like I am the tortoise and he is the hare. If he said let’s do arm wrestling he would outmatch me. But he doesn’t know it…

Lunchtime has finished. The sun is high up. We had put five litre water bottles out in the yard. We wanted the water to be heated by the sun so we could have a bath. The area where we have some fresh air is like an oven. Even all the living creatures have gone back to their holes. My friends are teenagers and they are running around. We play ball in prison. It is famous. We call out to each other “Ismail brother.” “Hey!” “Have you got it?” “How is it?” This has been continuing ever since our “revolutionary brothers” entered the F type prisons. I call this game an F type communication. It is somewhere between tennis and dodge ball. Imagine a prison in the shape of a diamond. In every section there are three people and an area where you can have fresh air. You roll up the newspaper into a ball and write or stick your messages into the ball. You write down the name and information of the person you are sending the message to and kick the paper ball over the wall to the other section. You warn the person behind the wall by calling out their name so they know the message is for them. I tried it on the first day and the ball I threw hit Şerko’s head. Şerko is one of the old ones. He apparently said, “ I have been here for many years and it is the first time I’ve been hit on the head by a ball.” and he sent a message for me which was, “Who the hell threw it!” I met him afterwards, I said, “You are my elder brother.” He said, “It’s ok. You are one of us, comrade,” (in Kurdish). Then they told me I had turned my back on them. That is how I knew that I was throwing the balls in the wrong direction. The more you shout the more people there are. Your voice echoes and goes around. Sometimes all three of us shout and yell three times a day. We are like an orchestra thanks to the little yard where we have fresh air. You lose your sense of direction and time passes by.

We realized when we were pacing back and forth, that even the creepy crawlies have left. We had promised each other that we would share everything and that we would not even discriminate against insects. We wrote a petition objecting and describing how the presence of people endangered the ecological species in the F type prisons. We believe such an objection is a plausible and more understandable accusation in comparison to what we have been accused of.

My books have arrived. I am not actually very happy about this. I have brought them to share my destiny here, they were a part of my collection from home. I had signed one of the petitions against the banning of books in F type prisons, quoting that the books were not allowed freedom to have themselves read. When I was in custody, I had given the names of all my books as a list to my lawyer, as if I was a criminal and I was confessing. My lawyer had said, “Hold on. Why are you rushing? Why would they send you to prison?” I had told him that “the prosecutor had “liked” me and I knew that I would end up in prison. I do not know why I listed the books. I guess I must have read something about this somewhere. They say that if you divide up a responsibility between many people, the possibility of it being carried out could be decreased as the responsibility percentage would be divided equally. I guess I made a mistake by choosing the books. Not even a child would believe such nonsense.

I put the plastic bag with the books inside it on my bed. I remembered my teacher Ayhan. I had gone to his classes every Thursday for a whole year. When he came into class he would say, “Good afternoon, my people”. And then would shake his head as if saying, “What are you up to?” with a smile. I would shrug silently. I want to answer his question hoping the question has not reached its expiry date. I am a result of the most popular event of the past decade. They call me Çapulcu (Looter) now and I have become reborn with this name.

Returning to the books inside the plastic bag, Out come the big guns, such as Williams, Giddens and Lyotard. I have a good background. And, finally, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He is smiling like a century old sycamore tree. “Living to tell the tale.” I look at the back cover of the book, “Life is not what one lives, it is what one remembers and how one remembers to tell it.” I say to him, “You look like my grandfather. Your moustache, your hair. You are only missing a fedora hat. Tell me about your love stories, when you were my age.” Marquez surrounds me. Sits right near my bedside. He promises he will narrate his memories to me tonight. It is like looking at a loved one. “A Saturday in Paris, I will bring to your ward the woman who you loved who is scented like a carnation. Will you stop being shy and give up being a looter and give it to me as a gift of your love and affection?”

Ah, Marquez…

I hear news, more people are taken into custody. More and more are getting arrested. So-called Justice has gotten on his murderous machine, having gas, and wearing a helmet. They are hunting after the Gezi protestors. I was astonished before, now I am not shocked at all. In order not to embarrass those who threw me into prison, I leave Williams, Giddens and Lyotard for the defence and stick with Marquez. We are like a rainbow, I rub cinnamon on my body, wear purple gowns, red nail polish and wear a whole Çarşı around my neck. We are here to win! This game will surely be over one day. But as for now, I am a looter in prison and I miss you my  sisters and brothers.

Kubilay İyit
22 Temmuz 2013
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