I lived. Past tense. I lived nine months in a place called Nomy. Nomy was a strange town, I have to say. But that’s not what I want to talk about today.
I left Nomy four months ago. Past tense. It should be over by now, you know, the memories – good or bad. But those memories are called as such because of present tense. The old reality becomes new after leaving. Here is a new territory, your mind is working daily to accumulate new memories. The old memories are not so much old, they’re still alive with me in my speech, temper, I even developed new fakeness in my character. Most of all, those old memories are alive within me through my new semi-phobias.
In Nomy, there was no electricity, water nor any form of telecommunication. People use motorcycles and cars to reach that someone they want to talk to about something, or as whether someone has just passed or not. You can imagine how many times your door is being knocked because simply there are no telecommunication. No sense of privacy. That’s why people leave their door open during the day instead of answering it more than five times a day, on a usual day – as in no shelling, for example. In my case, the teacher and child entertainer, my door was being knocked more than 8 times a day and then I stopped answering it- which is considered inappropriate to the residents of Nomy. But I was from outside the city, people considered it a foreign habit from where I come from and embraced it. Like they embraced my uncovered hair and jeans. Some things are not impossible for Nomy.
There were net services in the town but they’re all too slow and no one really uses them except the women of the village who had no other option of internet access in their private spheres. They cannot move around easily in public. They don’t own the public space, men do, and men with guns are the leaders of the public space.
Women cannot go to a net cafe or to one of the new party’s military, media and relief bases. Those are usually filled with not just one, but mostly two or more satellite internet equipments. Men like to keep reminding women that it’s war and there are no places for women in wars. Interestingly, all cultures of the universe agree on this statement, not just traditional or conservative communities of the East.
In Nomy, not all women agree with this statement. Some women keep saying in closed private gatherings and almost on a daily basis that Nomy is not and will never be a man’s world-only. Nomy is growing out of a revolution that started magically in a country three years ago. The country has been ruled by Sumta for 10 years and his father, Kali, before him for 30 years. Sumta’s family comes from a small community in the country. It historically suffered injustice by the dominant community and powerful leaders from other communities in the region. Sumta’s community had very little rich families. Small communities have always tried to gain power whenever possible. Power is not a joke. It guarantees bread on your table, a shelter for your children and gas in cold winder. Power keeps you alive throughout history and seasons. Men kill each other to last longer. Women don’t have to, they have their wombs. Which is why I think gender equality is a stupid idea for women’s interests. She could and can fight for her own gender’s exclusiveness. Your rights are not good enough for me, and it’s not about wanting “more,” I want a whole different scenario.
So Kali, comes from the least powerful community in the region, and he too comes from a poor family that does not have a past. It started three generations ago; his grandfather. Kali lived his whole life as a nobody. The yearning for power is alive in the veins. Then something happened that changed the course of history. Volunteering for the army. Kali and other young men from the small community joined the army simply because even though it’s the cheapest yet it’s the most honorable job they could get. Kali’s people were the proletarian of the dominant group for tens of years. They worked in hard labor and their women were sold for food. After independence from western powers, national armies were on the rise in the market: “let’s join the army for food!” Sumta men all cheered. That’s when Kali started to smell the powder of power. Kali was the first of his small group to ever reach a high ranking position in the army. “This is my chance, for my family to matter like the Molis and the Goris in our small community.” Kali’s family have always treated as if they’re nobodies.
Few years later, Kali becomes not only the most powerful man in his small community, he became the president of the whole country. The dominant group that has just lost its power, and it will always be his enemy. Always. Any group that lost its power will be his enemy. Kali knows the yearning of power very well. Those who are defeated today will be back soon to regain power. Kali ruled the country for thirty years and oppressed all of forms and signs of dissent, killed some and imprisoned some, he even committed massacres. Kali won’t give up power. It’s as simple as that.
Kali started to get older and is very sick. He brought his son from abroad and asked him to take over the country. The constitution was changed to make Sumta a legal candidate to rule the country. Sumta lived abroad for several years and that’s why he tried to impose some of his past learnings on the country. He opened the market, gave his nephew larger control of the country’s business, allowed some freedom which resulted in discussion salons and one newspaper but all were soon closed after the emerging of new organized political groups that call for reforms in the country. Sumta thought that the people would appreciate his gifts. He gave them some air to breath: internet, technology, new cafes and malls and hotels. “The people should be happy, how come they’re revolting on me now? I am a better president than my father was.”
Sumta does not get it. He did not live in a poor village, but in one of the world’s most prestigious schools. His family is not a nobody. He can do or own whatever he pleases in the world. He does not understand the historical fight for power. He thought by marrying one of the daughters of the dominant group, he’d be OK. He’s be washing away his father’s legacy. But the fight for power began, and by the most vulnerable groups across the region. The workers, farmers, poor people, unpowerful people all took the streets to called for a just system. We want to speak and work in dignity, we want all of our rights. Some did not call for rights, even from the very beginning. Some people called for whatever the people call for, but what they really want is the power back from that small community.
Sumta graduated from one of the world’s most prestigious universities and now he’s sending the country’s tanks, aircraft, rockets, chemical weapons to silence not just his new emerging enemies that his father before him feared, but he’s also silencing the people’s peaceful revolt. Sumta lived in one of the world’s prestigious universities.
Power, if centralized, will always end up badly on the leader and the people. The country is one of many in the world, the people will eventually know that this is not how things should be. We want more, we want to be like the others. Sumta could have played it smart and used his propaganda to brainwash the dominant group, he rather sent his small community men to kill the men from dominant group. That’s how many communities saw it. Sumta thought that using his “father’s legacy” then will work. It didn’t. The region is not the same as before, the people are not the same as before, the small groups and the dominant ones have changed forever.
Personally, Kali and Sumta are both war criminals, the world knows it and did nothing to Kali and it probably won’t do a thing to Sumta either. The people of the world will never live change unless they demand it. Human beings will need more years to get that the suffering of one people will eventually lead to their own. But that’s for the world to consider.
As for the people of the country I was talking about in this long post, they have other things to consider. What exactly was Kali’s legacy about? Power? Injustice? Absolute deprivation?
I lived in Nomy for nine months. Past tense. And I cannot stop thinking about the past ever since.