52 MEN 52 WEEKS /14 VOLKAN AĞIR: 'We' Weren't There But 'We' Were More

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  • April 11, 2018
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Those were the days when Ali Sami Yen Stadium (former stadium of Galatasaray) wasn’t demolished. I was the regular of Yeni Açık tribune. At Champions League games, I was preferring the lower stand due to lower prices and the upper stand at the league games.

We sat on our places with my friend. The game started shoulder to shoulder. An exciting game..The opponent is Fenerbahçe. After a while, everyone started to swear at Fenerbahçe. Hands on shoulders, vocal cords are at their limits, I feel the ground shaking at the tribune.

The whole tribune is shouting all slang cheering. Those were the times when I started to question why we started swearing at mother of the opponent out of the blue. I shouted out all cheering I mentioned with a great enthusiasm, with pleasure and great happiness of shouting out the same thing together with a group.

In fact, the first part of the cheering was good: “I am child of Cimbombom [Galatasaray], what am I gonna do with the Kanaray [Fenerbahçe]..” I started to feel bad while cheering the rest of it. I found it strange when I heard it while watching a derby game with my mother, and I wasn’t able to bring myself out to say those words anymore.

I didn’t want to be a part of this group which I was criticizing and I was thinking to myself “another cheering is possible!”.

I shook as the amigo, who turns his back to the tribune and is responsible with making everyone cheer, hit my shoulder while I was avoiding to chant those bad cheering and mumbling to myself: “Shout out like a man! What kind of a fan are you!”

I simply chanted “CİMBOMBOM”. I didn’t want to chant it and furthermore, I was accused of “not being a man”. I was bullied for not swearing at somebody’s mother at the tribune. It was then I realized that one cannot exist at tribunes without swearing.

In the half-time, I wrote different words for that cheering about swearing mothers and started to grumble to my friend: “Mate, we both get angry even we make non-slang jokes about our mothers’ names or clothes. So why do we try to irritate our opponents by making our mothers that we highly value subject of a much harsher sentence? Isn’t it obvious that we both would be pissed off if someone else does it to us? I feel ashamed of chanting such cheer about mothers. My mother is a fan of Fenerbahçe. Why? They are not even an element of the game. Wouldn’t it be better if we say something that against the opponent player? For instance, ‘I’ll break your leg, Fenerbahçeeee…”

The response is clear: “Don’t be ridiculous mate. What the hell is that? If you want, you can chant ‘I’ll bite your arm’, geez…”

It didn’t make sense even to my friend whom we watched the games together and we couldn’t continue a discussion about it. Well, we had just turned 18, these were over our head..”

Still, how could I have changed the tribunes while discussing it was impossible even with him?

Much later, I had curiously watched a game whose tribunes were filled with women to a “tribune penalty”. Even though this penalty was nonsense, I was hoping that things would take a different turn.

Nothing changed. Thousands of women started to chant sexist swearing with a single voice. It was not the women’s fault because the women were just doing what those whom they replaced have been doing.

The women couldn’t avoid the cheers filled with words that sexual violence was projected by male tribune culture, which doesn’t allow anyone to imagine another possibility. “We” weren’t there but “we” were more in there at that time!

We, the ones with more testosterone, draw an equal relation between the serotonin to be released in body after winning a football play and the serotonin released in body when shouting out that we will have a sexual relationship with the loved ones of our opponents.

That is why, we are all of the same opinion that the statement which describes best the pleasure felt when a goal is scored belongs to Sokrates: “No, no! That was not a goal! That was an unending orgasm! It cannot be forgotten.”

It was how Socrates, the legendary player of Brazil National Team, described his goal, which brought the score to 1-1 against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) National Team in 1982 World Cup, in the book ‘Doctor Socrates’ written by Andrew Downie.

We are born, raised and become adults with a suppressed masculinity, whatever that masculinity is. Even though I cannot yet understand why it is suppressed and what exactly is suppressed, the expression of whatever that is suppressed spreads to the universe in the form of verbal violence against the opposite sex though they are not around.

When I say suppressed masculinity, do not think that it is something peculiar to the tribunes or culture of Turkey.

On December 31, 2015, Cologne experienced one of the darkest new year’s eves in its history. 497 women were subjected to a mass sexual harassment at Main Railway Station. In an attempt to tease their opponent, the supporters of Hertha Berlin opened a placard on October 25, 2017, which read, “Your sisters dance alone even on New Year’s Eve.”

This masculinity is something so savage that it can turn a situation on the scale of a social trauma of not only Cologne, but also that of whole Germany into an object of ‘ridicule’.

On the day when the Champions League Final match was played between Juventus and Barcelona, I was in Santiago, Chile on June 6, 2015. I was staying with four male friends of mine living in the same house. The play was on 3.45 p.m. at local time in Chile. Apart from us being five men in the house, the goalkeeper of Barcelona was Claudio Bravo from Chile while Arturo Vidal was one of the midfield players of Juventus.

As for the referees of the match, they were from Turkey. The midfield referee was Cüneyt Çakır, his assisting referees were Bahattin Duran and Tarık Ongun; the line referees were Hüseyin Göçek and Barış Şimsek and the extra assisting reserve referee was Mustafa Emre Eyisoy.

Before the play started, my housemate called out to me and said, “The referee is from Turkey, I will swear in Turkish when I get angry. What do you say most frequently to the referees?” Here was the long-sought meeting and sharing environment between the cultures.

In the end, we grew up with the film where Şevket Altuğ taught his English teacher how to say “Fuck Pimp Osman.” I had to give the film his due!

But If I had said everything that came to my mind, some of our girlfriends watching the play with us would have left the house. Though I said, “Do not make me say sexist things”, I could not make myself clear. At last, I answered, “OK, you say it when you are at home, but do not ever say it to somebody from Turkey, they say ‘Fagot Referee’ the most…” It was one of those moments when I reproduced sexual violence, I was suffering from a slight feeling of shame and embarrassment. But the first syllable of the swear word was difficult for somebody from Chile to pronounce. He wanted me to teach him something else. I taught him how to say  “Fuck off” in Turkish. He found it easy to say. Throughout the whole play, he said it whenever the referee Cüneyt Çakır blew his whistle and sometimes just for the sake of saying it.

It was one of the moments when I recently did not feel good. I especially did not like being the reproducer of the very thing that I hoped could change.  

Now, most probably, my friend remembers neither this memory, nor these words. It does not even have a value. What outweighed even more was the desperation that I felt in the face of my own subculture which did not and could not offer me something else.  

Note: I apologize to the most esteemed referees Cüneyt Çakır, Bahattin Duran, Tarık Ongun, Hüseyin Göçek, Barış Şimşek and Mustafa Emre Eyisoy. (VA/APA/TK/SD)


Introduction – Haluk Kalafat

#1 I Must Have Gone Crazy – Murat Çelikkan

#2 Woman – Mehmet Eroğlu

#3 Sur-Karşıyaka-Cebeci-Sublime Porte – Tuğrul Eryılmaz

#4 Middle East – Ümit Ünal

#5 Yes Pain, Rocky – Hakan Bıçakçı

#6 I’m Afraid of Confrontation! – Yekta Kopan

#7 An Evening in the Country

#8 3 States of Male Violence

#9 We Men Are Very Insincere About Women

#10 Magnificient Manhood

#11 My Son Should Know His Father

#12 Situation of Women Reporters Not Different Than That Report

#13 My Name is Hatun

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