Mourning with Masks: Political Death and Virtual Life

  • Inna Zlatimirova Yaneva-Toraman University of Edinburgh


In this essay I explore how the V mask (Guy Fawkes mask) not only became a ‘re- sistance’ mask for the Turkish protesters during the 2013 Gezi Park demonstrations, but also how it visually transformed into a new image. I argue that this new face became a virtual ‘death mask’ for one of the killed protesters and that the image exemplifies a shift in commemorative practices. Furthermore, I examine the relationship between this mask and the process of mourning to dis- cover why the Turkish protesters decided to adopt this particular mask for the dead. This essay argues that the mask and the need to wear it can be explained as an attempt to keep the lost one alive by virtually becoming him. In this sense, the V mask transformed from being just a ‘politi- cal’ symbol in real life activist movements, into a new mask which signifies something beyond the political, that is, a more ‘personal’ connection with the deceased that in turn ‘resurrects’ him.

Author Biography

Inna Zlatimirova Yaneva-Toraman, University of Edinburgh
PhD student in Social Anthropology, previous degrees  MSc Social Anthropology, BSc Sociology
How to Cite
Yaneva-Toraman, I. (2013). Mourning with Masks: Political Death and Virtual Life. The Unfamiliar, 3(2).