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    Please just tell us what to remember and what to forget

    Fatih Özatay, PhD08 October 2013 - Okunma Sayısı: 924

    Why are we supposed to remember the total GDP loss during the 1994 and 2001 crises but ignore that the loss was higher in the 2009 crisis?

    When I was in secondary boarding school I used to get beaten up several times by some study-hour instructors and the deputy principle, especially in the first year. Sometimes it was because of a glass broken while we were playing ball, or because I could not have had a haircut for my late aunt who used to keep guard of my pocket money was not at home. Or there were times when I was slapped by my study-hour instructors for secretly reading the novels our Turkish teachers recommended us to under my desk. They would say that I will not grow into an important person as I read novels instead of studying my textbooks.

    I don’t want to upset my parents, though. It don’t know if I grew into a person they are proud of but at least I have this column that some people read; I am teaching at a university and some of my students actually listen my lectures. All thanks to the years at the boarding school... Also I have friends with whom I meet occasionally to take a stroll down memory lane. To be honest, we only remember the funny parts. Is this is the common way, that bad memories are pushed back in the corridors of our mind and good ones are featured instead?

    I don’t know that. But one thing I know for sure: either Turkey’s statesmen assume that the entire society follows this behavior pattern or think that we have poor memories. For instance, one day they declare that they are bestowing a pinch of democracy and usher in that some more will come later on, and the other day they cite some late political leaders as democrats, one among which campaigned against the lifting of political bans. They want us to neglect this fact. Or they want us to remember that certain leader solely with is positive practices.

    But some other times, they ask us to do the exact opposite. For instance, when they proudly recite the economic successes and record-high growth figures, they want us to forget about the recent past and focus on the distant past. They want us to recall that economic growth in the 2003-2007 was 6.9 percent, two times of the rate in 1990-2002. There is no need to insist upon this, though; we already know that. But how can they expect us to forget that the average growth in the 2008-2013 was lower than that in 1990-2002? Or, why are we supposed to remember the total GDP loss during the 1994 and 2001 crises but ignore that the loss was higher in the 2009 crisis? This is just confusing! What should we remember and what should we forget? Please tell us...

    This commentary was published in Radikal daily on 08.10.2013

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