FROM: ZEYNEP TOZDUMAN – IZMIR, TURKEY April 24, 2013
I apologize for every single day that we have remained silent since the days of genocide.
I apologize for our grandfathers who cooperated with the murderers carrying out the brutal massacre of 1.5 million people in Anatolia.
I apologize from your young girls for permanently burying their hopes into their dowry chests.
I apologize from all your people left dead without a proper burial, shroud or cemeteries.
I apologize for causing you to add the word ‘converted – Donme’ to your vocabulary.
I apologize from all your girls and women abused and raped, forcefully converted to Kurd, Turk, Alevi or Islam.
I apologize for forcing you to become the Diaspora and scatter like pomegranate seeds to all corners of the world.
I apologize for forcing you to long for your homeland with broken hearts from the faraway deportation points.
I apologize for preventing you from giving your children proper names and education in your mother tongue, a basic human right.
I apologize for confiscating your houses, properties, lands, farms, orchards, and shops to create our national economy, based on a disease of racism in this country.
I apologize for denying even the very existence of the original peoples of thes lands after subjecting them to economic, cultural and political genocide.
I apologize for confiscating your places of worship (monastery, church, sinagogue, Jem house, etc.), and converting them to mosques, museums, community centres or stables.
I apologize from the survivors of the genocide for even forbidding them from dreaming in their own language.
I apologize for forcing racism on you by making you repeat every morning ‘So happy to be a Turk’.
I apologize for presenting your properties as gifts to your own murderers.
I apologize for transforming the Anatolian garden of different peoples to a cemetery of different peoples.
I apologize for realizing too late that the sorrow expressed in the song ‘Sari Gelin’ was in reality the sorrow of the genocide.
I apologize for wiping out the various original peoples of Anatolia living on these lands long before the arrival of the Turks, and for trying to create a single nation state.
I apologize for creating a hell of murders in this country, instead of a heaven of humanity.
I apologize for burying all the people named Agop, Kiriakos, Samuel, Ani, Maria or Sarkis in my city Smyrna (Izmir) as well as the rest of the country, and also burying our humanity in the process.
I apologize for committing crimes against humanity for one thousand and four hundred years in these lands.
I apologize for not realizing that fascism would eventually arrive and start killing us as well in these lands.
I apologize for not being able to put a stop to the denial and assimilation policies for one hundred years.
I apologize especially for our inhumane behaviour during the genocides of the Armenians, Assyrians, Pontic Greeks, Yezidis and Alevis.
And I apologize once again on this April 24 genocide commemoration day, for our inability to protect you and preserve our humanity.