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.
An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
Politics in Turkey is very different that I’m used to in Belgium or even Western Europe. And if for one thing being active in a European Political Federation is that is very informative about the sense of politics. Politics as in political parties. Politics as in a parliamentary democracy. Politics between right- and left-wing policies.
And in those things politics in Turkey is very different. In every sense.
It might be very strange to understand for anybody who is used to any kind of Western European kind of politics but it is so. I only hope that by writing this down I don’t seem too much like a spoiled Western European brat who knows things so much better. A kinder manner of neo-imperialism.
But things in Turkey are very different indeed. For one there seems to be no such thing as a difference between political parties. All of them seem to be very nationalistic minded, militaristic and conservative. There seems to be no such thing as a difference as in conservatives, liberals, socialists and progressives.
If there’s any difference then that should be that between black and white. There is no such thing as a grey area of politics. You’re either in favor or against. No middle way at all. And in such extremist surroundings it doesn’t even make sense to be grey. Not at all. No sense at all. Because that only confuses. And confusion in the field of politics, or for whatever else that matters is just not done in Turkish society.
This black or white thinking also makes it impossible to ever think about a parliamentary democracy. The closure of any Kurdish party (the only worthy opposition party possible) has shown this. Seven Kurdish parties have been closed down this way. Because they were against a majority thinking Because they were against a Turkish nationalistic approach. Because they defended a minority (maybe only the biggest minority in the Turkish Republic, but still). And this is unsettling in what should be considered a democracy. This is actually not even worth to be called a democracy when parties that stand up for minority rights are abolished just because of that. And all other reasons given are just crap.
Also the complete lack of something that could be considered a a left-wing party in the Turkish Republic is completely strange. Because no matter how progressive a party may seem here, it is always overshadowed by nationalism, by militarism or by clear racism. There is as such no such thing as critical thinking. And that is something that is needed to be left-wing, to be progressive. To be able to change.
And therefor I fear that this way of politics, that has drowned society, or that is maybe a result of the societies wishes, maybe never really ready for democracy. Or even the illusion of democracy. Because democracy as such takes courage to think differently. To be in acceptance of minimal change.
Love is longing and longing, the pain of being being parted;
No illness is rich enough for the distress of the heart,
A lover’s lament surpasses all other cries of pain.
Love is the royal threshold to God’s mystery.
The carnival of small affections and polite attachments
Which litter and consume our passing time
is no match to Love which pulses behind this play.
It’s easy to talk endlessly about Love,
To live Love is to be seized by joy and bewilderment;
Love is not clear-minded, busy with images and argument.
Language is too precocious, too impudent, too sane
To stop the molten lava of Love which churns the blood,
This practicing energy burns the tongue to silence;
The knowing pen is disabled, servile paper
Shrivels in the fire of Love. Bald reason too is an ass
Explaining Love, deceived by spoilt lucidity.
Love is dangerous offering no consolation.
Only those who are ravaged by Love know Love,
The sun alone unveils the sun to those who have
The sense to receive the senseless and not turn away.
Cavernous shadows weigh down your vision with dross,
But the rising sun splits the ashen moon in empty half.
The outer sun is our daily miracle in timely
Birth and death, the inner sun
Dazzles the inner eye in a timeless space.
Our daily sun but a working star in a galaxy of stars,
Our inner sun is One, the dancing nuance of eternal light.
You must be set alight by the inner sun,
You have to live you Love or else
You’ll end in words.
“Donî monî mal ava, Xwedê kurê we bike zava. (Doni moni eviniz sen olsun, insallah oglunuz damat olsun.) Serê salê binê salê, Xwedê kurekî bide Kevanîya malê (Yillin basi yillin sonu, Allah bir cocuk versin ev sahibine.) Qerqus merqus, xwedê kurekê bavêye dergûs, para min kakil û mewij (Karakus marakus, Allah bir cocuk atsin besiginize, benim hakkima da düssün ceviziçi ile üzüm.) Serê salê binê salê, pîr bi qûrban qopê kalê. (Yilin basi yilin sonu , yaslilar kurban olsun dedenin kamburuna.)”
This is something strange. It’s something I’m not sure I understand nor if I want to understand. It’s something so deeply rooted it’s even quite worrying. And it even might be fucked up. But at the same time it might just be me reacting on the cultural chock I’m living through since moving to Istanbul.
In Turkish society even the people calling themselves a-political are very much political. Everybody has an opinion on what is happening. Everybody. No exception possible. It either be a nationalistic (many), either anarchistic (very few) or leftish (very few as well). It’s incredible as people are opinionated. To the very extreme. It’s either you’re in favor or you’re against something and with that that very person who stand for those idea’s. It’s very much black or white. There seems no existence of the color gray. No fucking way.
And people are not afraid to come out and talk about their opinions. About their ideology. Not afraid at all. There’s so much openness about it it might be impossible to comprehend. But it seems that this goes hand in hand with the polarization between ideologies. Between black and white.
This makes it very strange that in a different part of people all is hidden. The part that isn’t politics but is our personal emotional behavior. And when I write hidden I actually mean Hidden. Completely covered up. Non accessible. Not at all.
It’s like people are too afraid to describe, to even talk or think about what is going on inside them. What they are feeling. What they are experiencing. That is something that is not in accordance with that crazy openness about everything that is political.
It makes one wonder how complete this society or even an individual is when there’s only polarization on the political level of life and there is no talk of what is going on in our heart. Can this then really be a society where respect and love is present? When there’s so little of that respect and love for each other actually shown between individuals? Or maybe it’s all about politics here. Nothing about love. Nothing about the heart.
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?