Documentarist & video-activist Kazım Kızıl who was arrested while following the post-referendum protests in Izmir, misses his camera the most while in prison. Kızıl says “I will first hug my camera, and then my family and friends. I want to go on a vacation then; look at fields full of flowers, dive into rivers. I want to go a little crazy. It is not this prison that makes me crazy, it is liberty itself.”
Kazım Kızıl, having been behind bars since April 22 has answered Seyhan Avşar’s questions for Cumhuriyet Daily. He was arrested with claims of having insulted the president, which he states is not likely himself. “Insult is not my personality. I have nothing I cannot say through valid criticism to revert to insult. There are currently two court cases against me and an investigation. Both of the court cases are about journalism, regarding the news pieces I was following; and the investigation has started due to my participation in ‘Cinema for Peace’. If I am to summarize the situation in Metin Altıok’s lines, ‘I am dangerous for some, to be burned at stake, to set an example.’ The will is obvious; to prevent police violence on camera. Yet I continue to repeat, ‘Journalism is not a crime!’ Kızıl answers Avşar.
What about unfinished works?
I had been working on a series of documentaries regarding child labor prior to my arrest. Kids who work at tobacco fields with their parents, unpaid labor which is not considered work officially; the production of the first of series was complete for ‘Where are you, Friend?’. There was only the soundtracks and color correction remaining. Reflections of my childhood are in this documentary, which takes its name from Yaşar Kemal’s book that consists of his interviews with children. The second film was to be about Syrian child-workers. And the third one would be about the crony-businessmen erecting skyscrapers in Izmir’s Bayraklı, titled “Penises of Izmir”.
Do you have any problem in prison?
This is the first time I enter a prison in my life. I have been subjected to psychological harassment and pressure. For a long time Erdoğan-marches were echoed in my ears. Thankfully later I have erased the Erdoğan-marches from my ears with folk songs of Neşet Ertaş and poetry of Turgut Uyar that I kept repeating from within myself, having learned them by heart. We stay 19 people in a room for 8. Five of our friends sleep on the floor. Our letters are kept waiting in ‘reading committees’.
How do your days pass?
The books in the prison were finished only in a few days. I have started working on my English. I keep writing essays, articles, stories. Just like Sait Faik (Abasıyanık) has said ‘I would go crazy if I did not write’.