Whenever someone tells me that the mobilisation of large numbers of people is “fishy”, my blood starts to boil. Perhaps because I remember all too well when in March 2005 we were being called agents of Israel and the west when we were protesting in Beirut. Or perhaps because I remember very well how Gaddafi was dismissing tens of thousands of protesters as “cockroaches” and “gnats”.
Today, I am constantly being disappointed by people, people I otherwise like and respect, because they keep telling me about how the demonstrations in Turkey are “fishy”, with more than a hint that Syrian and Iranian hands are behind this.
I understand why they love and respect Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey for standing by the Syrian people. I also understand that his supporters in Turkey greatly outnumber the protesters on the street, but that will not change the golden rule I believe in regarding large protests:
“When a large number of people demonstrate, it is always because of a legitimate perception of injustice committed against them”
It sounds simple and straightforward, and yet many people keep ignoring that rule and insisting that there must be some sort of conspiracy designed to mobilize those people. That is unbelievably condescending and patronising to entire groups of people who are being beaten and gassed simply for showing up and protesting.
Just because these people are protesting against someone you like, it doesn’t mean that you’re in a position to judge the legitimacy of their cause.