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Occupy Istanbul protest draws a meager crowd

    By Saige Martin. November 1, 2011 - 6:25 pm

ISTANBUL — Sunday, Oct. 30 I was sound asleep with dreamy visions of thousands of protesters, vibrant anti-Wall Street posters and an electric energy in the streets.

At 7:30 a.m. I got a phone call, the number was blocked so I assumed it was something about the protest. I answered and was speaking to the emergency room receptionist at American Hospital in Istanbul.

I was summoned to the hospital as the ’emergency contact’ of one of my friends who was critically injured in a car accident early that morning.

Emotions were running high as I began contacting his family, and trying to assist the front desk with my extremely broken Turkish language skills.

At the same time, I was getting calls about the protest; people asking for directions, ideas for protesters and media outlets demanding more information.

I never made it to the rally. But 75 people did. Yeah, 75 people, you didn’t misread that number.

So on top of a badly injured friend, I was mortified that I wasn’t able to attend the rally that I started and created on Facebook.

During the last week of planning for the rally I had tried to integrate my priorities and ideas with another group that had tried to stage an Occupy Istanbul rally without success.

I started to feel my American ideas and opinions were out of place. I felt I shouldn’t be making the decisions that drove this protest. Turkey isn’t my country and my notion of tactics and strategies might not apply.

So I let this group run with their ideas and make their own movement.

The problem was that my intuition was right; these people were nice but had little experiencing in political organizing. They needed help.

Friends who attended the small rally on Sunday said they agreed with me. I think. Perhaps my biggest fear was being an arrogant American who overran everyone’s ideas.

However, I wish I had listened to my gut and owned my own project instead of letting other people run with it.

My mother was always right when she would say, ‘trust your gut.’

Saige Martin
Staff Writer