MURDER IN THE SWAMP

Vultures on black-fingered wings tilt back and forth over the broken  trees.                                –  Peter Matthiesen

Could it be those fingers of swampy wildness that reach into the Metroplex with Saw Grass and Coontie? The whorl-shaped sloughs that surround Ft. Lauderdale airport? The drainage ditches along Route 75 or the mysterious savannah I first glimpsed through a chain-link fence on the way to Key West? Where do the Everglades begin?  Sometimes, strolling through Bal Harbour, I catch a whiff of jungle funk wafting on the breeze from an outlying swale and I think of Ponce de León, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and others who came here for conquest and glory, but only found mosquitoes, disease, and sodden camp sites. The Spanish were perplexed by the place and so were the English. It was a problem of entry, perception, discovery, mapping, claiming territory and finding familiar points of reference. Journalists and poets didn’t know how to write about it. Artists didn’t know how to paint it. There was no real center, no overarching theme or landmark, no mountain, canyon or picturesque waterfall. The Glades splayed and sprawled and seeped restlessly southwards from Lake Okeechobee in the river of grass that conservationist Marjory Stoneman Douglas wrote about. But the river metaphor was misleading to many because one imagined a river as a meandering channel between two banks while this was more like a hundred-mile swathe of water without sides, only a few inches deep, continually moving southwards in a steady flow, what modern hydrographers call sheetflow or what the Seminoles called Pa-Hay-Okee, meaning grassy water.

Explorers, missionaries, surveyors, botanists and plume hunters used less dignified adjectives like dismal, barren, hideous, desolate, monotonous, lonely, lost, impenetrable, impossible, inundated, unnavigable to describe the “God-abandoned hellscape” that was the Everglades. “No obstruction offered itself to the eye as it wandered o’er the interminable, dreary waste of waters, except the tops of tall rank grass, about five feet or upwards in height, and which harmonized well with the desolate aspect of the surrounding regions, exhibiting a picture of universal desolation,” wrote army surgeon Jacob Motte who passed through during the Seminole Wars of 1836-1838. [*Journey into Wilderness: An Army Surgeons’s Account of Life in Camp and Field During the Creek and Seminole Wars, 1836-1838, via Michael Grunwald’s meticulously researched The Swamp, Simon & Schuster, 2006, p. 42.]

 Today there are numerous points of penetration, gateways of a sort to the placeless place: one to the west in Chokoloskee, another to the south in a ghost town called Flamingo. A raised wooden walkway leads through a flooded cypress landscape near Monroe Station or you can paddle your kayak through the mangrove tunnels of Nine-Mile Pond. There’s also a limited access through Lake Chekika and Grossman’s Hammock although they’re often flooded during the wet season.

Of course, the real obstacle is psychological, not physical. It’s a matter of adjusting one’s expectations and learning to paint oneself into the picture, so to speak, slowing down, catching the translucent layers and hidden hues. My son and I set out on Thursday morning with bug spray, sun block, and a copy of Peter Matthiesen’s Shadow Country as our guide, a novel infested with outlaws, drifters, ragged desperados, and the man at the center, Edgar J. Watson, also known as “Bloody Watson,” who’s more complex than Hamlet. What may have once felt like a mental barrier, an impossible transition from Bling City to Pa-Hay-Okee, now proves to be quite effortless.

You simply retrieve the rented car from valet parking and drive west along SW 8th Street until it turns into Route 41, continue in a straight line past Krome Avenue and the pastel-pink-and-blue blob of the Miccosukee Gambling Casino, last vestige of civilization before the horizontal sweep of the Everglades unfolds with only an occasional airboat ride and alligator wrestling joint, passing over weirs, sluices and drainage canals designed to control the uncontrollable. It’s flat and repetitive, reminiscent of the polders of Holland with the same translucent, water-saturated light that Jacob van Ruisdael painted. The sky seems vast, overbearing.

        

You continue west on the Tamiami Trail through Water Conservation Area #3B where the natural flow of the Glades has been interrupted by canals, levees and roadways so that water has to be transferred from the north to south by a complex system of pumps and sluice gates, a kind of artificial life-support system devised by the Army Corps of Engineers.

About thirty-five miles west of the Miccosukee Gambling Casino there’s a turn off for the Shark River Slough. You can walk or take a trolley out to the observation tower, and it’s really quite a beautiful, if absurd, monument standing out there in the middle of Motte’s universal desolation, a kind of deconstructed Guggenheim Museum built during the spacy 1960s (originally a fire lookout) with a ramp and two-tiered tower rising sixty feet above the marshy expanse. Here, in this place where there’s no there, as Gertrude Stein put it, the tower provides a kind of metaphysical thereness, a 360-degree frame of reference.

 

From afar, it has the presence of De Chirico’s Great Tower of 1913: lonely, spectral, melancholic, but as you get closer you can see that it splays out with a concrete pedestrian chute that makes a wide, cantilevered spiral over a boggy sump of sedges and spikerushes: needle spikerush, scallion grass, dwarf hairgrass, fewflower, false junco, umbrella hairgrass

And then there’s the humble but mysterious Periphyton, tubular, spongy algae that clusters in mats just below the surface of the water. It provides nutrients while filtering pollutants, retains water and helps to sustain the balance of moisture in the Everglades during the dry season.

It starts to rain again as soon as we reach the top of the tower and try to take in the panorama of flooded desert, sawgrass prairie with occasional pools, narrow canals, clumps of hardwood rising slightly higher but otherwise flat and featureless to the horizon in every direction. As a destination it remains unaccommodating, resists interpretation. On first glance it looks like nothing. Maybe it takes a day or more to get used to the ineffable scale and emptiness. Maybe then you finally catch the subtle gradations of sky and light across the broader expanses. In any case, it’s a long, slow read: muted strokes of pale ochre, viridian, with slightly denser patches of tea-green, pale sea green, asparagus green, dotted here and there by tiny flecks of berry, red, umber and yellow, and unusual plants that grow in moving water like bladderwort, spatterdock, maidencane, white water lily, and a few undernourished slash pines in the distance.

A group of geriatric Danes arrive by trolley and move up the ramp as if a single Viking organism. They take photographs and hurry back down. We stay a bit longer, gazing at the sub-wash of pink-tinged heliotrope that might be a result of watery light refracted through the shallows, somehow, I’m not sure, but maybe the matte grayness of the lowering sky acts as a sponge, a kind of optical Periphyton, pulling invasive hues up from the groundscape.

On my way back from the tower, a chatty Park Ranger offers me some type of edible brown berry. Will I hallucinate?  He laughs.  The Calusas used it in ceremonies.  It has the bittersweet tang of Scottish marmalade and leaves my mouth oddly dry with a zincish aftertaste. I jot down the name of the plant but lose the slip of paper.

We drive further west past Monroe Station and Ochopee, past America’s smallest post office, built circa 1916 for work crews on the Tamiami Trail , then left onto Route 29 and Everglades City, not a city at all but cheap motels and trailer parks with a current population of under 500. City founders like Barron Collier and the Storter family had high hopes, envisioning a marshy utopia laid out in a grid of streets and avenues–Storter, Copeland, Kumquat, Collier–with a traffic circle at the center and an imposing city hall, a bank, laundry, churches and a proper schoolhouse. They even built a trolley line through the middle of town anticipating the coming boom but no one came and most of the lots remain empty, awaiting urbanization.

Lunch of deep-fried gator tail and frog legs at creaky Rod and Gun Club–old homestead of George W. Storter, early settler and sugar planter. The lobby glows with an orange hue from a thousand coats of shellac over walls and stuffed tarpon, alligator heads and panthers, their jaws now slack and leaking dust.

Above the reception desk hang photographs of several U.S. Presidents, earnest-eyed hunters and fishermen from the 1920s when the place flourished as a sportsman’s retreat. Hemingway came here, so did Zane Grey. Now it’s sour with ammonia and a family of possum scatter when I step through the back door, and tell myself it’s good background material for something.

But I can never claim this as narrative space for myself because it’s already been irrevocably staked and claimed by Matthiesen and his great swamp epic Shadow Country, so much so that I feel like I’m literally sliding down one of his sinewy sentences as we cross the causeway onto Chokoloskee itself: “…a baleful sky out toward the Gulf looks ragged as a ghost, unsettled, wandering.” And he’s right. The sky is ghostly, witholding rain and wandering in a way that gives me a headache just squinting at the steamy light. Maybe it’s the vapor from so many shallow estuaries, too many ions, the swamp gas or miasma that was thought to cause Malaria. I don’t have a clue. There’s a shirtless man in the shallows near the bridge, fishing with a butterfly net. A dull, blue-gray line marks the horizon as if we’d finally reached the end of the world.

Nothing much to Chokoloskee itself, more cheap bungalows, trailer parks, shabby pre-fabs propped on concrete pylons. We turn past the Havana Café onto Mamie Street and find the pitted track that leads to Smallwood’s General Store, a wood-framed building, painted red and raised high on cedar posts to escape flood. Inside, there’s one long and poorly illuminated chamber with hardly any windows but an open door at the far end, filtering swamp-brewed light from the Gulf of Mexico. The barge-like structure was built in 1906 by Charles Sherod “Ted” Smallwood with low-pitched roof, vertical boards of termite-resistant slash pine, all of it propped high on locust posts like Noah’s Ark, ready to float away in the final Deluge. I have a sudden urge to buy something, but there’s nothing for sale other than a few old postcards.

It housed the original post office and Indian trading post and is now open as a museum of sorts, frozen in time somewhere about 1941, the year that Smallwood retired as postmaster, and a decade before the causeway to the mainland was finished. Shelves are stacked along side walls, original counters and glass vitrines in tact and stuffed with dusty relics. It also provides the opening scenography for Shadow Country: the hurricane of 1910 has just passed and the novel begins with a kind of Biblical inventory-taking of objects ravaged and rendered useless by the storm: “Pots, kettles, crockery, a butter churn, tin tubs, buckets, blackened vegetables, salt-slimed boots, soaked horsehair mattresses, a ravished doll are strewn across bare salt-killed ground...” The grounds around Smallwood’s store are still puddled with a putrefying stench of death and rank corruption. “Vultures on black-fingered wings tilt back and forth over the broken treesstove-in boats, uprooted shacks… odd pieces torn away from their old places hanging askew, strained from the flood by mangrove limbs twisted down into the tide.”

There’s a similar tidal wash of inventory inside Smallwood’s store today: pickle jars, animal skins, moldy books and magazines, tobacco tins, old-fashioned tinctures and ointments in their original boxes, hurricane lanterns, axe handles, 1923 typewriter, sacks of raw sugar (Pearl White, Fine Granulated,) Miccosukee weavings, turtle shell, dried sponge, sawfish rostrum, gator jaws, photo albums, candy jars, coffee grinder, old pop bottles, egret plumes, ancient cash register, faded signs and photographs of how the place once looked–much the same as now–and a scale model that someone made from toothpicks and popsicle sticks. In fact, there are two scale models, one being quite elaborate and lit from within, something like the miniature spirit shrines you see along the roadsides of Southeast Asia, but in this case honoring the myth of self-sufficiency and the lost ways of frontier living.

The postmaster’s window is still there and so is Ted Smallwood’s bedroom in a back corner, gloomy with creaky bedsprings and threadbare quilt, Victorian undergarments hanging from a line over his bed. There’s also a life-sized mannequin of Ted Smallwood himself sitting in a rocking chair with a milky, infinite look in his eyes, staring out towards the bay.

On the other side of the store, someone has put together a little display, almost an altar, dedicated to the Watson legacy with letters, photographs and drawings, a charcoal rendering of the man, an oil painting of his house at Chatham Bend, newspaper clippings, letters, old pamphlets and books that tell the story. There’s even a box of shells and a shotgun that was supposedly used in his execution, and a hand-drawn sign that proudly states: “KILLING MR. WATSON WAS A COMMUNITY PROJECT.”

 

 

The crudely marked map has circles and arrows that point to locations where Watson’s victims were said to be buried: Lostman’s Key, Storter Bay, Opossum Key, Deer Island and if you have a morbid curiosity you can paddle your kayak down the Wilderness Waterway and visit these sites or go to the Watson place on Chatham River, twenty miles south of Chockoloskee.  How many bodies did he bury in the inlets and shoals around his homestead?  How many did he really kill? There’s a sign and a little dock that the park service maintains. The house burned down a long time ago but  the foundation still exists as well as a cistern and some spooky remains of the Watson sugar works.

There’s a photograph of Watson himself set in a Victorian frame with a  floral pattern embossed around the olive-gray matting. He’s sitting upright, wearing a tightly fitted jacket, high lapels and short tie, but I find it hard to look at the face. A surprising face, not what I’d imagined, wide and urgent, clear brow, receding hairline; high, square forehead. Wary of ambush, Watson was said to never turn his back on anyone, even a child, and there’s a cant to the head, slightly to the left, as if the photographer caught him off guard, in motion, ready for a turn, retreat or drawing of his pistol.

“He was a Scotsman with red hair and fair skin and mild blue eyes,” wrote Marjorie Douglas in the 1940s, after interviewing people who were old enough to remember the man. “He was quiet spoken and pleasant to people. But people noticed one thing. When he stopped to talk on a Fort Myers street, he never turned his back to anyone.” Was he glaring at the nervous photographer? There’s  a resemblance, not unlike a certain paternal grandfather,  but it’s hard to look at the old tintype and not see a serial killer. Without such foreknowledge he might be mistaken for a mid-level banker, fish-oil salesman or prominent planter, which is what he was, but there’s something in the eyes that blows that illusion. The eyes are high and creepily close together, intense and penetrating, verging toward madness.

A 19th-century phrenologist would read Watson’s high, broad forehead as obdurate, stubborn, willful and prone to outbursts of violence. The pronounced ears were said to signify lude passions according to Owen Squire Fowler, phrenologist and octagon-house pioneer, but the mouth and jaw are impossible to read because Watson sported such a thick moustache and mutton-chop sideburns as if to conceal his true, ornery nature. Were his lips full and fleshy or were they thin and coldly pursed? Did they smirk with an ironic foreshadowing of his own demise or were they locked in a permanent frown? It’s hard to tell.

The waxy, end-blown light inside Smallwood’s makes me feel like I’m standing inside an overexposed sepia tintype myself. My stomach is rumbling. The fried gator from lunch is crawling back up my gullet in a bid for reptilian revenge. I’m relieved to walk onto the back porch that hangs over Chokoloskee Bay and look down to the very spot where Watson pushed his boat ashore onto a bed of broken shells, just before he met his violent end that day, October 24, 1910.

We climb down a rickety staircase and stand on the murder spot. The sun is setting over the Gulf and I peer into the subfusc crawl space (more like walk space) where Smallwood kept his chickens. They were all drowned in the hurricane and the postmaster was cleaning out the sorry mess when the shootout started. “Wincing, Smallwood arches his back, takes a dreadful breath, gags, hawks, expels the sweet taste of chicken rot in his mouth and nostrils.” No chickens now, only sand and the smell of salted pine down there along with a Miccosukee dugout, beautifully carved and propped on a wooden stand. This was where the neighborhood posse gathered in twilight and gunned down E.J. Watson in cold blood.

“He never crumpled but fell slow as a felled tree… You never seen a man so dead in all your life.” More than thirty-three bullets were pulled from the bloated corpse and plunked into a coffee can. After that they stopped counting.

                                            “If nobody is innocent, who can be guilty?”
                      [*Quotations from Shadow Country, Peter Matthiessen, Random House, 2008.]
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MIDNIGHT EXPRESS: Istanbul Biennial

Overnight to Istanbul.

Leave Miami in morning, transfer through JFK to this sprawling city’s 12th Biennial, a glass bubble floating in a taffy blob.

Annoyed taxi driver leaves me off in empty lot where phalanx of police stand around concrete blockhouse. Paranoia Alert #1: no one in “real” Istanbul seems to know where this event is being held, much less cares about another gathering of global art junkies. An attendant with black boots tells me to go 500 meters back so I walk a narrow, ominous alleyway that feels like prison gauntlet in Midnight Express, then through maze of chain-link fencing to incongruous sight of a red carpet leading through metal detectors to a plaza and two orange warehouses on water’s edge–Antrepo 3 and Antrepo 5–site of this year’s Biennial. To shrink scale in such a metaphysical landscape, a giant white cruise ship looms up from its berth and blocks view of Bosphorus.

                                                                                            Smryn Gill

The title of the exposition understates it all. “Untitled, 2011.” That’s it. The five-part organization is based self-consciously on the work of Cuban American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres. 1:“Untitled” (Abstraction,) 2: “Untitled” (Ross,) 3: “Untitled” (Passport,) 4:  “Untitled” (History,) 5: “Untitled” (Death by Gun.) All share the same zero-sum title with bare parenthetical addenda that suggest a kind of Facebook vagueness without being fully committed to a single overarching idea. (I guess you can go blame Gonzalez-Torres if you don’t like the results.) The curators explain that the exhibition is untitled because “‘meaning’ is always shifting in time and space,” which seems dangerously naïve–really?–and as with all contemporary art fairs, there’s a premium on overstating the obvious. But there are also many beautiful works.

A grandmother’s shredded fabrics are repurposed by Romanian artist Geta Bratescu; 35mm slides of unknown families are displayed as artifacts by Vesna Pavlovic; there’s a kind of crude needlepoint by mono-named Leonilson and highly neurotic internal mappings by Simon Evans. Marwa Arsanios is obsessed with a 60s modernist beach pavilion in Beirut shaped like a flying saucer. Carlos Herrera makes vulva shaped self-portraits of his own death from sneakers, baseballs, deflated footballs strapped together with fruit-packing tape, while Bisan Abu-Eisheh gathers detritus from demolished houses in Jerusalem–stained documents, old shoes, shards of masonry, toys, clothing, etc.–and displays them in glass cases, tragically, as if luxury goods.

Marwa Arsanios

“We’re not interested at all in the spectacular,” says Adriano Pedrosa, co-curator while sitting, chatting with me in a back corner of Antrepo 5, a place that has all the ambience of an interrogation cell–“antrepo” simply means warehouse in Turkish–but it’s in keeping with general mood. There are no celebrity moments, no Koons or Wei Wei ego ejaculations. Subtle, almost too restrained, many of the 500-plus works seem fractured and displaced, appropriated or recycled artifacts, “archive art,” multi-cultural mementos, ephemera, pre-digital printed matter displayed as fetishistic tableau, letters, magazines, old vinyl recordings of political figures, cuttings, clippings, tiny pencil and watercolor renderings on pulpy faded paper, as if the 20th century and it’s printed matter were already a lost civilization.

Søren Thilo Funder

Words have been stripped of meaning, isolated from the text or narrative stream, words as ethereal flecks and pricks, word-encrusted objects imbuing themselves with extraneous meaning, worry beads wrapped with words (Smryn Gill,) words on crossed-out, censored documents (Glenn Ligon,) cancelled passports, title pages of antique books altered with lyrical imagery (Adrian Villar Rojas,) identity papers of sadly forgotten souls (Baha Boukari.) Larger-scale billboards by Mark Bradford have shredded, layered lettering that refer to a serial killer in South Central L.A.  Partially erased texts by Søren Thilo Funder have selected words–gun, shotgun, pistol–drifting across the page like orphaned nouns and seem particularly poignant considering the censorship of the current regime. While this Biennial sets out to explore the “rich relationship between art and politics,” the unmentioned elephant in the room is the fact that Turkey has more journalists and writers in prison than any other country in the world–twice the number being held in China or Iran. (Both Bayram Namaz and Ibrahim Çiçek of the Atilim newspaper, for instance, face up to 3,000 years in prison.)  I wasn’t really sure I wanted to look at any more art after hearing this statistic.

Adrian Villar Rojas

“We wanted to slow the pace of the visit because people are used to rushing through,” says curator Pedrosa who explains that this is the first Biennale to be held in a single location and not scattered throughout the traffic-strangled city of 14 million. Installation design is by über-minimalist Ryue Nishizawa (architect of New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York) and plays a similarly parenthetical role by being there but not really there. Corrugated metal decking  creates a maze of scaled-down galleries in the same industrial feeling as the warehouses themselves. The corrugated sheds amplify tones of lost identity, missed connections, isolation and deportation that are woven throughout the exhibition. Walls appear to be self-supporting but are penetrated here and there by small entry points with ragged, unfinished edges. (At 6-foot-4, I barely fit through without scraping the top of my skull.) Nishizawa left interstitial voids between galleries as if wanting to deny or extract narrative from the convention of contiguous architectural volumes. The warren of passageways–shadowy, narrow and slightly intimidating–is more telling than the primary exhibition spaces. It’s what usually gets left out or forgotten within the memory of a place. It’s also what stays with you when you’re back on the polluted streets of the Karaköy district.

Mark Bradford

Weary of contemporary, I cross Bosphorus to Hagia Sofia and to stare at the great dome and imagine purely Byzantium space before Muslim hybridization.

Great Dome, Hagia Sophia

Looking up, straining neck to make out 6th-century mosaics of Christ and Mary, only produces a kind of reverse vertigo. There’s no foreground reference to provide scale so perception swims in retinal flecks and dust particles. I feel flattened and pressed and have to gaze at cracked tiled floor to recalibrate optic nerves.

Yerebatan Sarayi: Basilica Cistern

Discover a different form of spatial flux, subterranean, in nearby Yerebatan Sarayi (Basilica Cistern or Sunken Palace”) where slippery marble steps lead down to forest of columns and elevated walkways that cross vast but shallow waters–about two or three feet deep–built in 6th century during reign of Emperor Justinian. Reflections of columns in water reinforce illusion of infinite repetition in spectral orange glow while some hybridized genus of albino carp swim in confused circles and never see sunlight.

Back to my room for shower on top floor of hotel built for Orient Express passengers in 1889, final stop on direct line between Paris and Constantinople, by Belgian entrepreneur Georges Nagelmackers and his Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. (The trip took 67 hours from Paris.) Hemingway stayed here, so did Pierre Lotte, Greta Garbo, and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, father of modern Turkey, who took corner room on second floor whenever he was in town. The hotel was a wreck for years but they finished restoration two years ago, including a ceiling with tulip-shaped skylights that bathe the big tea room with subaqueous glow.

 Kubbeli ceiling restored, Pera Palace

Ataturk room is now locked as a kind of museum but they let me in to see his toothbrush with blackened bristles, driving goggles, black shoes for his surprisingly tiny feet and rumpled linen suit in a vitrine, just like one of the ephemera cases at the Biennial.

Paranoia Alert #2: Istanbul is a modern city, but it’s also an ancient place of a million contradictions and a mob of young riot police–oddly attractive as if models for some J. Crew catalogue called “Rendition Fashion”–pour out of armored vans on Istiklal Street, near the foreign embassies, brandishing machine guns.  I take photo with my Blackberry and go to ask them questions but hesitate, remembering prison scene in Midnight Express, just as ocean swimming is forever ruined by Jaws. Later I learn that the police came to quell demonstrations against the visiting Israeli soccer team.

Kept awake till 3 AM by 1980s disco beat from across street then woken by 5AM call to prayers through crackling minaret loudspeakers.

Next morning at breakfast, a Turkish poet describes irony of Victoria’s Secret opening its first store in Istanbul while sixty-eight journalists sit in prison under bogus anti-terror laws. (Thirty-six more are being prosecuted.) You can now buy a “Sexy Things”® burka but you can’t criticize the government for fear of                                                      detention.

I dedicate this, my own  Biennial installation, to Turkish colleagues in prison:

1. Abdulcabbar Karadağ, Azadiya Welat Newspaper’s representative in Mers

2. Ahmet Akyol, DİHA, Reporter in Adana

3. Ahmet Birsin, Diyarbakır Gün TV, Chief Broadcast Coordinator

4. Ahmet Şık, freelance Journalist
5. Ali Buluş, DİHA, Reporter for Mersin
6. Ali Çat, Azadiya Welat Newspaper, Worker in Mersin
7. Ali Konar, Azadiya Welat Newspaper, Elazığ Representative
8. Baha Okar, Bilim ve Gelecek Magazine, Editor
9. Barış Açıkel, İşçi-Köylü Newspaper, Owner and Editor in Chief
10. Barış Pehlivan, Odatv, Execytive Editor
11. Barış Terkoğlu, Odatv, News Desk Manager
12. Bayram Namaz , Columnist of Atılım Newspaper
13. Bayram Parlak, Mersin representative of Gündem Newspaper
14. Bedri Adanır, Owner of Aram Print house and Chief Editor of Hawar Newspaper published in Kurdish
15. Behdin Tunç, DİHA, Şırnak Reporter
16. Berna Yılmaz, Yürüyüş Magazine, Dealer
17. Cihan Gün, Yürüyüş Magazine, Worker
18. Coşkun Musluk, Author
19. Deniz Yıldırım, Executive Editor of Aydınlık
20. Dılşa Ercan, Azadiya Welat Newspaper, Worker
21. Dilek Keskin, Atılım Newspaper Istanbul Reporter
22. Doğan Yurdakul, Odatv,
23. Emine Altınkaya, DİHA, Ankara Reporter
24. Ensar Tunca, Azadiya Welat Newspaper, Iğdır Reporter
25. Erdal Süsem, Eylül Hapishane Kültür Sanat Magazine, Editor
26. Erdoğan Altan, DİHA, Reporter (Batman)
27. Erol Zavar, Owner and Chief Editor of Odak Magazine
28. Faysal Tunç, DİHA, Şırnak Reporter
29. Fazıl Duygun, Yeni Nizam and Baran Magazines, Author/Columnist
30. Füsun Erdoğan, Özgür Radio Executive Editor of broadcast
31. Hakan Soytemiz, RED Magazine, Columnist
32. Halit Güdenoğlu, Owner and Chief editor of Yürüyüş Magazine
33. Hamdiye Çiftçi, DİHA, Hakkâri Reporter
34. Hasan Aksoy, Yürüyüş Magazine, Dealer
35. Hasan Coşar, Atılım Newspaper, Columnist
36. Hatice Duman, Owner and chief Editor of Atılım Newspaper
37. Hayri Bal, Özgür Halk Magazine, Worker
38. Hıdır Gürz, Halkın Günlüğü Newspaper, Editor in Chief
39. Hikmet Çiçek, Aydınlık Magazine, Ankara Representative
40. İbrahim Çiçek, Executive editor of Atılım Newspaper
41. İhsan Silmiş, Azadiya Welat Newspaper, Worker
42. Kaan Ünsal, Yürüyüş Magazine, Worker
43. Kadri Kaya, DİHA, Diyarbakır region Office representative
44. Kenan Karavil, Radio Dünya (Adana) Chief Broadcast Editor
45. Mahmut Güleycan, Özgür Halk Magazine Worker
46. Mehmet Karaaslan, Dicle News Agency (DİHA), Mersin Reporter
47. Mehmet Yeşiltepe, Devrimci Hareket Magazine, Worker
48. Musa Kurt, Kamu Emekçileri Cephesi Magazine, Executive Editor
49. Mustafa Balbay, Cumhuriyet Newspaper, Ankara Representative, Author/Columnist
50. Mustafa Gök, Ekmek ve Adalet Magazine, Ankara Representative
51. Müyesser Yıldız, Odatv,
52. Nedim Şener, Millet Newspaper, Reporter
53. Nuri Yeşil, Azadiya Welat Newspaper, Worker (Tunceli)
54. Ozan Kılınç, former Chief editor of Azadiya Welat Newspaper
55. Prof. Dr. Mehmet Haberal, Kanal B Television,Chairperson of Board of Directors/ Rector of Başkent University
56. Sait Çakır, Odatv, Columnist
57. Sedat Şenoğlu, Atılım Newspaper, Publication Coordinator
58. Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat Newspaper, Adana Representative
59. Sinan Aygül, DİHA, Bitlis Reporter
60. Soner Yalçın, Odatv, Owner /Journalist
61. Suzan Zengin, İşçi-Köylü Newspaper, Worker (Kartal Office)
62. Şafak Gümüşsoy, former Editor in Chief of Mücadele Birliği Magazine
63. Şahin Baydağı, Azadiya Welat, Dealer
64. Şeyhmus Bilgin, Günlük ve Azadiya Welat, Worker
65. Tuncay Özkan, OPwner of Kanal Biz Television, Journalist
66. Vedat Kurşun, former Editor in chief of Azadiya Welat Newspaper
67. Yalçın Küçük, Author/Journaslit
68. Ziya Ulusoy, Atılım Newspaper, columnist