[Marxism] The Turkish Army’s Gay Porn Archive
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Mar 9 11:30:12 MST 2012
Counterpunch Weekend Edition March 9-11, 2012
Shaft the Draft!
The Turkish Army’s Gay Porn Archive
by MICHAEL DICKINSON
In the immortal words of Frank Zappa, from his ode ‘If Only She
“You got a letter today…
Life And love
Has left you shafted
And on top of that
You just got drafted”
Words to strike a chill in many a good-hearted American who can
remember the Vietnam War and the forced recruitment of young men
to serve as trained killers for the War Machine, or perhaps a
grateful sigh of relief that there is no longer mandatory
conscription since the United States discontinued the draft in
1973. At present it maintains it collossal military force with an
all-volunteer personnel. Unemployment helps.
Not so democratic in some other countries around the world, where
regardless of unemployment figures, young males are still legally
forced to serve time in the military. One such country is Turkey.
Compulsory military service in Turkey applies to all male citizens
from twenty to forty-one years of age. The duration is up to
fifteen months, when, apart from training as soldiers, conscripts
are forced to work for officers’ private needs, including driving,
cooking and serving meals in officers’ clubs.
Most young male Turks accept their obligatory call-up with a
resigned shrug. It’s the way things are. Besides, refusing
military service due to conscientious objection is illegal, and
speaking publicly against the army or conscription rates as
“undermining Turkish people’s zeal towards military” and
“insulting the spirit of the Armed Forces”, both punishable
offenses. Better to bear the term in military hell than face
censure and perhaps prison.
Or what about another way out? For example, homosexuality is
perceived as an illness by the Turkish military, and gays and
bisexuals are barred from serving. Why not just claim to be gay,
and get away? Well, it’s not quite as easy as that. Apart from the
social stigma of being openly gay in macho-minded Turkey, the top
brass want evidence.
All you have to do to get out of doing your military service is to
present photographic or video evidence of your participation in
homosexal acts with others. Get shafted and you won’t get drafted!
You might get some friends to help out. Then after intimate
questioning by army officers and perhaps an anal check-up, if
they’re convinced you’re gay you’ll be barred from the military.
Yippee! No more “You’re in the Army now!” But at what a cost! And
what happened to those sordid pictures the inspecting officers
were poring over? They will be kept in your confidential file in
Ankara Military Hospital, which has been described as ‘the biggest
state owned gay porn archive in the world.’ Yes, many unfortunate
gay brothers have been forced to degrade themselves in such a way
rather than endure time in the army.
A recent Turkish film, “Zenne,” movingly depicts one such case.
The man who came out rather than face military service was shot
and killed by his conservative father.
Mehmet Tahan, an anti-war protestor, who, although gay, refused to
recognize his sexuality as an illness or an excuse to escape
service, spent several months as a conscientious objector in
prison, where he was tortured and threatened. In a statement
before his arrest Mehmet Tahan said:
“I condemn every kind of violence and believe that joining or
condoning violence will only result in new violence and everyone
will be responsible for the consequences. I think that wars caused
by power-mongering states are first and foremost a violation of
the right to life. The violation of the right to life is a crime
against humanity and no international convention or law can
justify this crime, regardless of any rationale. I therefore
declare that I won’t be an agent of such crime under any
circumstances. I will not serve any military apparatus.”
Well said! Go shaft your draft!
Michael Dickinson lives in Istanbul. He can be contacted at
michaelyabanji at gmail.com
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