Saturday, March 14, 2009

Witty protest of the Darwin cover censorship by Turkish

In Middle East Technical University (METU), one of the most prestigious universities in Turkey, there is a stadium, and on the concrete seats of this stadium there is a giant print that says: DEVRIM (means “revolution” in Turkish). According to the urban legend, this was written by a group of revolutionist students in 1968 with a formula they developed together with chemistry students, and this was such a formula that, no other paint could cover this white paint. All the attempts of deleting it, painting on it by the officials in the years that followed proved to be useless. Obviously, the chemistry students knew what they were doing. So the word “revolution” stayed on, reflecting the revolutionist spirit of this university for decades*.

Yesterday, protesting the recent censorship of Darwin cover by the Turkish national science council of Turkey (TUBITAK), students and faculty at METU got together on the letter “D”. They called this protest “Censoring the censorship”. Because, when you remove “D” from the word “DEVRIM” you are left with “EVRIM”, which means “EVOLUTION” in Turkish.

The head of the Association of Faculty at METU, Prof. Dr. Melih Ersoy, says, “TUBITAK is the institution that should be promoting and encouraging the scientific research and thinking. It is unacceptable and very worrying to see this institution replacing the Darwin cover of the magazine, especially in 2009, the Year of Darwin.”

Photographs by: İsmail Çiftçi

*Now one of the symbols of METU, the DEVRIM print was repainted in 2008, celebrating its 40th anniversary. Pictures of this event are here.