Maside Ocak: Promise to our Hrant, our Tahir, we will continue your legacy of struggle
Hrant Dink was commemorated in front of his newspaper on the 9th anniversary of his death. This year, the commemoration speech was read by Maside Ocak who is Hasan Ocak’s sister and one of the members of Saturday Mothers (Cumartesi Anneleri).
Here’s the full text of the speech
Parev, dearest Hrant,
Parev, dear Dink family with whom we became sisters in suffering,
Greetings to all hearts that are united today, in this very scene where Hrant Dink was murdered, to all hearts having gathered here so that he is ‘not to be forgotten’.
Greetings to the enlightened people of these lands.
Today marks the 9th anniversary of Hrant Dink’s assassination.
On this January 19th, we have once again gathered to make our appeal ‘‘For Hrant, For Justice!’’
Because, for the last 9 years, there have been constant attempts to obstruct justice for this murder perpetrated by the state. There have been attempts to prevent this assassination from being solved truly, in all aspects.
Because, in Turkey, there is no political will that take democracy, human rights, and rule of law as a fundamental basis. While the defendants are well protected in the case of crimes committed or orchestrated by security forces, the victims are repeatedly faced with all forms of judicial and administrative practices geared towards refutation of their claims.
Because, from the perspective of the state, Hrant Dink is still a dangerous enemy, since he advocated Armenian identity, used the therapeutic language of peace and brotherhood, and asked for a free, equal and just country.
The poisonous climate, which was set before Hrant Dink’s assasination, has been jointly created by the government, the judicial bodies and the mainstream media. Today, this poisonous climate continues to target anyone who makes efforts for the resolution of social problems through democratic and peaceful means. Today, those who do not obey the state policy of assimilation and imposition of a single identity are sentenced to live in a season of blood.
We are in such a season of blood that we cannot even keep track of our dead. Bullets by the state hit babies in their eyes, small kids in their necks, killing them. Corpses are not allowed to be buried. The curfews imposed without any legal ground compels Kurds to watch and witness the bodies of the deceased rotting on the streets. The society, which is already poisoned with lies, is expected to give consent to these unlawful, unscrupulous and inhuman practices.
Hail to those who speak the truth in the face of lies of the rulers! Hail to those who declare ‘‘we will not be accomplices to this crime’’ in response to a government that is hostile to rights, truth and justice!
— Wally Sarkeesian (@gagrulenet) January 19, 2016
They are scared of us not only when we are live, but also when we are dead. That’s why they want us to forget Hrant and all our murdered children. That’s why Saturday Mothers (Cumartesi Anneleri) are deprived of graves for the missing ones. That’s why they deny all the crimes against humanity they committed since 1915 to this very date. Since they are scared of the truth represented by our deceased, they want to enslave the society by subjecting them to a ‘constructed official discourse’.
They want to turn Turkey into a country of masses who are estranged from one another’s pain and suffering, who are alienated from rights and law, and who lost its quality of being a society. That’s why they are blocking our channels of claiming rights and making peace mainstream.
Those who shot our Hrant in his back on Halaskargazi Avenue, those who shot our Tahir in his neck and made him fall face-down right next to the historic minaret Dört Ayaklı Minare. They did not only target them; they also wanted to shoot at our struggle for rights. Yet, here is our pledge to them: We will continue their legacy of struggle for truth, justice and peace.
We will not concede to a single death, without any ifs or buts, without hesitation. We will insist on silencing of arms, and settlement of all problems through dialogue. We will insist on peace, which is for us a state where human rights and liberties are recognized, protected and promoted.
We are fully aware that each crime that is ignored, denied or not nconfronted paves the way for the next one. That’s why we will keep the truth alive.
We are fully aware that remaining silent to persecution mechanisms targeting the dignity of people amounts to being an accomplice to the crime. That’s why we will not remain silent.
We are fully aware that oppressive regimes build all their power and strength upon fear. That’s why we will hold no fear!
We will never give up to call the ones who turned these lands into a safe haven for crimes against humanity, yet an unsafe hell for those who call for rights and liberties to account.
There is no doubt that those who attempt to hamper brotherhood and freedom in this country are doomed to fail. Our humanity, which has been tested so many times with pain and suffering, will win and prevail. Our dream of equality, freedom and peace for all will ultimately become true.
For our children who disappeared under custody and detention,
For our lawyer Tahir Elçi,
For truth, for justice, for peace!
Saturday Mothers (Cumartesi Anneleri)
Human Rights Association Istanbul Branch
Committee against Enforced Disappearances