Tag Archives: minorities

For Hrant.

Today, January 19th 2010, it has been 3 years that Hrant Dink was brutally murdered. He was assassinated after years of being threatened, being ridiculed and hated upon. This was brought upon by nationalist, racist and fascist people, government and law. Till now only 5 people are under prosecution but there hasn’t been a verdict yet. It also seems clear that not only those 5 people are responsible for the murder of Hrant Dink.

Many more persons and even institutions inside the Turkish Republic are as such responsible. First and foremost for not protecting Hrant Dink for his right of freedom of speech and as one of the biggest fighters for Democracy in this country. But also for making it possible that there was a flood of hate against the man that only had the best in sight for a country that also he considered his home although he was from Armenian-Turkish descendant and therefor the victim of much racism. They are also responsible for hindering justice for the culprits behind the murder are still protected by those people and institutions and even are part of those very institutions that would make up this pretense of a democracy.

Thousands have stood, listening to friends and family of Hrant, this morning on the place where he fell. Thousands have walked Istiklal to ask for justice this evening. As they have done for several moments during these past 3 years. But still the culprits of the murder. The murder of the pretense of democracy. Are not even punished. They are being protected by whatever state calls itself a democracy. A democracy that can not even provide justice in a murder-case where evidence is very clear. Very clear that this Republic is rotten. Rotten by hatred. Rotten by the murder of innocents.

It is time that this passes. That this is cleaned up. That justice prevails. That democracy shines its light upon this country and that the hatred can be shot instead of those who want to bring peace and understanding. For Hrant. Because we’re all Hrant in this country. We’re all oppressed. We’re all Armenian.

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The only thing that matters is that you are able to tell yourself that you want it and that you want it irrevocably! What? That you want to take part in life, instead of being an observer; that you want to make decisions about when to say no to evil – in brief, that you will have civil courage at the appropriate moment.

Svetlana Broz – Essays On Civil Courage ‘Having What It Takes’

Islamophobia and racism walk hand in hand through the Swiss mountains

When writing this it look like the referendum on the banning of Minarets in Switzerland will pass with a majority of votes. The referendum will decide upon the faith of minarets in the ‘neutral’ mountain state. And since in Switzerland referendum are binding this will become a practice put down in law.
It is quite astonishing how something democratic like that is being used for something that discriminatory and would become a tool to spread hatred.

This ban on minarets in Switzerland is only a signal of the times. The signal that hatred, that racism, that islamophobia, that a despise for minorities, that non-respect towards the ‘others’ is gaining field in our ‘European’ and ‘Western’ societies. It’s gaining field and is about to be set in stone. Into the law. The law that is supposed to be written for all of a countries citizens, inhabitants. Is this now how we see democracy in the ‘West’? I this how we drive discrimination to new heights? Is this how we want to be en example of the implementation Human Rights and democracy in society?

No We Shouldn’t even pretend.
It is clear that with the extreme right gaining more and more votes. With so many political parties embracing discriminatory policies. With the institutionalized spreading of hatred. We are not even worth pretending to be an example for so-called developing countries or the Global South. We’re nothing more than hatred for everything that is different or unknown.

You say Peace, I say Hope

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Last week the Armenian and Turkish Foreign Ministers signed 2 protocols in Switzerland. Two historical protocols I might add. The protocols include the willingness of the 2 countries to 1) establish again diplomatic connections 2) opening the borders and establishing a committee to research the history between the 2 countries. This is as such a huge step set on the road to peace between the republics of Turkey and Armenia. Therefor it is understandable and very much a positive sign that so many people both in Turkey and Armenia are over the moon with this.  It is as such something historically important in the sight of peace. But nonetheless there’s much more work to be done. Work that the Armenian and Turkish republics and their citizens might not be ready to undertake.

The fact that the Armenian Government is under attack by both the opposition in their own country and the Armenian Diaspora all around the world for not being able to let the Turkish republic recognize the Armenian Genocide is a huge strain on this peace process. And of course the fact that the Turkish republic still refuses to recognize anything in relation to the Armenian genocide is more that a strain, it is simply a reluctance to act responsibly towards its past. What this will give in the committee that will be established to research the history between Armenia and Turkey. Nobody knows. There’s only hope for this matter to be resolved

One can also hope that this committee will look into the ‘Turkification’ of many Armenian children during and after the Genocide. This as an undisclosed amount of citizens of today Turkish Republic have been raised under the impression of having the Turkish ethnicity whilst actually their parents or their grandparents were taken from Armenian families and brought up in orphanages or by Turkish families  to make them Turkic. Their whole culture and ethnicity was cleared only because that was for the greater good of Turkish Nationalism. These people deserve their past and their culture. Even tough many are still unknown to these historical facts.

As far as the recognizing the mutual affecting past of Armenia and Turkey one doesn’t even have to look for separating issues from over a century ago. One can also just look at the history of only a decade ago; the Armenian and Azerbaijani conflict. There it is clear that the 3 countries have acted from a very etno-centric  point of view. Both Turkey and Azerbaijan, under the false impression of sharing the Turkic ethnicity and speaking a similar language, have acted in such a racist and irrational manner towards Armenia that peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia is far from actual reality. This whilst both Turkey and Azerbaijan have an ethnic diversity witch both countries till this day still deny.

This always returning nationalism and etno-centrism is something that puts the peace process in a different light. Or rather in the shadow. And this is truly harming it. It is only a matter of time before this etno-centric and nationalistic again come to the surface and blocks this hope for peace so many carry. And what will happen then? Hope that is scattered? Where will that bring us?

Peace? Ceylan!

10532_153536544472_696354472_2633218_4101698_nOne can ask themself why in fucksake the biggest victims of war are always children. Innocent children.
Just this week a 13 year old girl who was herding sheep was shot to pieces by the Turkish army. And shot to pieces you should understand in the most literally manner possible. Her mother spend moments in time collecting the girls legs in a desperate effort to revive her. A heartbreaking effort.

This barbaric act happened in a village close to Diyarbakir, in the heart of Kurdistan. It is a clear and despicable example of how the Turkish state and army treat the Kurds. In their eyes Kurds are really nothing more than animals that can be killed, hunted down or put in inhumane surroundings.
One can not even deny this after this horrendous act of violence.

Even if the Turkish government has spoken out, the last few months, on peace. It has not acted as such and this horrible act by the Turkish army doesn’t promise much. And the question is rather what the answer will be on this murder by the freedom fighters. This whilst many said ‘let this war end now’, there will be a backlash for this despicable murder. And that is very natural as the most innocent of us all has been killed. A child.

Mesophotam Social Forum

The past 2 days have been quite the shock. Shock in a very good manner. Being in Kurdistan, being in Diyarbakir is an eye-opening experience.
The wish of so many people, people who have been oppressed for decades and even centuries, for peace, freedom and dialogue is truly inspiring.

Being here at the MSF and talking with so many people, with so many organisations is not only politics. It’s also emotional. The people living in this area of Kurdistan have suffered so much. Sons and daughters have been killed. Woods have been put on fire. Bombs have been dropped. People have been resettled in a brutal manner. And that all because of a war that is still going on. A war that is caused by a state to oppress and deny people their human rights. A war that was caused by imported nationalism. A war that was supported by Western weapon trade.

The dialogue at the Mesophotam Social Forum is as such important as it gives people hope. Hope for change. Hope, that even as the state and politics screw up, it is in the power of people to live together in peace. Peace.

The only thing that disturbs me is the omnipotent presence of people from the EU. They seem not to understand the situation here and take the time to talk and preach. they seem not to notice that they are indeed disturbing a dialogue between people who need this badly. The EU’ers lack of knowledge of what happened and is happening in the region is even not understandable. When people interrupt emotional speeches by asking questions on what exactly the Armenian genocide is or what Kurdish identity is, it shows how much they care. I distinctly have the feeling that many Westerners have joined this Social Forum from a sense of exoticism or even oriental ism. And this is bloody wrong.

Because if in this region peace will be established, if freedom is achieved it will come by the people living here. And again; by those that have been affected by war. As they know how valuable peace is.

Another One

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On the 13th of July 2009 the LGBTTQI community of Istanbul had to march again in the streets to condemn another hate crime and ask for justice. This last murder of a transsexual has been the last in a line of visible crimes committed against the LGBTTQI community in Turkey. As such as being the most visible part of the LGBTTQI community transsexuals have been the ones who have suffered the most in attacks. They have been either severely beaten up, arrested or killed. And nobody seems to carry.

This is as such explainable that in a paternalistic and sexist society like the Turkish one where women are perceived as lesser individuals the transformation from man to women is believed to be despicable act. It can even be perceived as a threat to mere male power and certain gender roles. But that doesn’t justify the inhuman reactions, treatments and discrimination the LGBTTQI community is facing every day. It is as such even despicable that governments are refusing to take actions so the Human Rights of LGBTTQI’s is secured. A true failure of this so-called democracy.

These hate crimes will never stop unless Human RIghts are secured by law and the execution of these laws by the police and the judiciary system. It is about time that these actions are undertaken as every death is one too many. No More. No More. Act the fuck now.