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What does a radically tender society need?

Forfatter: Seyda Kurt
Forlag: Harper Collins (Tyskland)
HAT / Turkish-German Seyda Kurt is concerned with hatred that produces tenderness. Hate is often rooted in racism, misogyny, xenophobia and prejudice.


In the philosophical book hate writes the Turkish-German journalist and moderator Seyda Kurt about effect as a resistant form of action, as a reaction from the oppression of the present, as a self-defense and as a necessary means of justice. Hate is feeling and acting at the same time, she writes.

In the previous bestseller Radical tenderness (2021) she writes about radical tenderness when it comes to love, and why love is political. IN hate she is concerned with hatred that produces tenderness.

When her publisher asked if she would consider writing this book, Kurt's immediate reaction was that she would not. She hated the thought of writing the book. But after thinking about it all summer, she came to the conclusion that she either wanted to write about hate or there would be no book.

This author hates writing books.

In the middle of the book suddenly comes a paragraph about her hating writing books: "I really hate writing books; it makes me sick. It does not apply to the writing itself. I hate having to be creative under time pressure, under pressure from the market and consumer society."

Unfortunately, you also understand that she did not enjoy writing this book. It looks especially good in shape.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part consists of a prologue. The second part consists of the chapters "Hat" and "Hater". The last part consists of one chapter "Darkness".

The parts are perceived as messy, since they consist of very short essays with no connection to the next essay, and without any clear common thread. Each essay ends with a curved line of thought.

Seyda Kurt

Kurt writes about personal events in barndombut there hatred goes again. Or about various philosophers' thoughts on hate. Or about various selected events in the world with hate as a theme. Why she has chosen these particular stories seems a bit random to me.

After all the short essays and various events she describes, it therefore becomes more comfortable when she writes lists, such as when she writes "Who or what do we really want to hate?
The capitalists or capitalism?
The whites or racism?
Cis men or the patriarchy?
The people or the system?”

Certain sections are repeated. Like, for example, the paragraph that stands by itself before and after a curved line of thought, in various variations, where she adds some extra words or sentences: "(I try to imagine a world without punishment, I don't know if it's possible, I just know that when I hate, that cop in my head is barking, punishment, punishment, punishment)”

"I can not breathe!"

She mentions, among other things, a Syrian refugee by the name of Amed Ahmad who was burned to death in Kleve prison in Germany, for unknown reasons. He was imprisoned on the wrong grounds. His parents and friends are still fighting for justice in the case.

In 2020, the police in Hamburg arrested the 15-year-old Kadir H, she writes. In this case, a lady is filming the incident. She even tries to intervene. She repeatedly asks the police officers to keep calm. But they overpower him with his back against the wall and put him on the ground. Kadir gasps: "I can't breathe!" Behind him on the wall is graffiti with the words "Please, I can't breathe". The incident occurs just a few weeks after the black American George Floyd was strangled to death by a police officer in the United States.

Where does this hatred come from? Hatred is often at the bottom racism, misogyni, xenophobia, prejudice and so on. This is old news. Nevertheless, it must be addressed, because history seems to be repeating itself. Police brutality is not a new phenomenon, but due to social media and smartphones it is easier for most people to make it visible.

'Reactionary Hate'

"And the bombs continue to fall on Rojava", she writes, in the essay on whether one can imagine a society without hatred. What would a radically tender society need? Rojava in northern Syria is a society where hatred of oppression is transformed into a common politics of tenderness, despite the bombs raining down on the citizens there. There they talk more about 'strategic hate', a term that asks where the hate is needed, and where it should be buried. 'Reactionary hatred', on the other hand, is about self-defense and revenge.

Rojava in northern Syria is a society where hatred of oppression is transformed into a common politics of tenderness, despite the bombs raining down on its citizens.

For many, Rojava, with its Kurdish majority, is described as a socialist utopia. There, the work with women has come a long way. Because only when the woman is free, everyone is free: Women, life, freedom (Woman, Life, Freedom). It is this utopia that Seyda Kurt is inspired by in her utopian society.

Ever since the Arab Spring in 2011, Rojava has developed a society with direct democracy organized into three self-governing cantons modeled after Switzerland, led by women. There, people have come the farthest in practicing the ideas of democratic autonomous. Their struggle is not about uniting a nation, but about respecting and including Arabs, Assyrians and Turkmens, women as well as men.

Pinar Ciftci
Pinar Ciftci
Ciftci is a journalist and actor.

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