The protesters in Taksim Gezi Park have made an important discovery: The easiest way to get people to understand and care about your cause is to latch on to some pop-culture signifiers.
Now in the third week of demonstrations over a number of grievances against the Turkish government, including its violent response to initial park sit-in, the Occupy Gezi movement appropriated from Les Miserables the French rebel song, "Do You Hear the People Sing?" in a carefully organized choral number that has begun to spread on YouTube.
The video, uploaded on June 10, made it to Les Mis star Russell Crowe's Twitter account on Thursday morning — ironic, seeing that he played the authoritarian role in last year's big-screen rendition of the musical. Crowe responded with a mild show of support, tweeting, "Sad to hear of the violence in Turkey. Examine yr actions with yr heart & mind ,protestor & policeman alike. Compassion over rules religion."
Les Miserables has made $571,000 at the Turkish box office since being released there in late March.