Rakel Dink: ‘A State Cannot Be Worthy of These Lands Unless it Regards All Lives as Sacred’
Below is the full text of Rakel Dink’s address at the 10th commemoration of the assassination of her husband Hrant Dink in Istanbul, translated into English by Burcu Becermen for Agos newspaper.
Ten years. Easier said than lived…
Exactly 10 years without you. It has not been easy at all. Being without you, not having my beloved one with me, and above all, being separated from him by a heinous plot have causes even more pain, sorrow, and heartache.
What do I have to say to those who have been suffering for the last 20, 30, 40 years? What do I have to say to those whose children have been murdered?
In the last 10 years, I have learned by living and experiencing what it really means to feel a pang of grief, how my tears could wet my bread and how salty they are. Thanks to the divine grace, I have learned how to cope with hatred and anger. Every time I think of your absence, it burns my body like a fire. I burn and burn so much that I cannot contain the flames under my skin.
So much has happened in 10 years. Oh my darling. Malatya massacre, İskenderun, Sevag Balıkçı, Roboski, Gezi events, Suruç, Diyarbakır, Sur, Mardin, Nusaybin, Cizre, Şırnak, Tahir Elçi, Ankara, July 15th, Maçka, İzmir, Gaziantep, Ortaköy, Airport attack, and the war in the Middle East. Operations, terror, and what not… The country has turned into a bloodbath. Some wanted to shower in human blood. A nightmare has swept the country. People started to fear and suffocate. People have been humiliated because of their identities; their dignity has been dishonored and despised.
It is as if mothers give birth to their children just to bury them. They encourage people to have more children, but no one thinks of protecting the right to life of those who are born. Yet murders that are committed day and night, such as murders of workers and women, do not count as political murders. No one takes the blame and responsibility.
Under the power of terror and the terror of the ones in power, it is once again the peoples who pay the price. The way you name what is happening does not change the thing that is happening to us. The terror waged by the states that declare war against terror comes to the same thing. This state becomes the U.S. in Abu Ghraib, Russia in Aleppo, Turkey in Southeast Anatolia and Syria against opposition. One day the winds blowing from north seed death on its lands and the other day the winds blowing from south. Yet, it is always us, the people, who end up reaping this cursed harvest. Bodies of babies are coming ashore… Can there be anything more terrible than this?
I call out to the sky and earth, mountains and seas… Rise and witness. Bear witness to the bloodshed on these lands. For people are silent and silenced. They are dying and being killed. We are too exhausted to mourn after them. Violence and tyranny have already gotten beyond borders. Reasons are eclipsed, and the reasonable ones have been exterminated.
Mountains and seas, skies and earth… Rise and bear witness. Bear witness to the history and the present day. To the deadly sins, to the abundance of murders, to the undoing of people. Bear witness to the plots, lies, endless arrogance, and recklessness of Evil. Bear witness to those who distort justice, and to all abominable incidents happened on these ancient lands.
‘‘Utterly meaningless!’’ says the Teacher, and continues: ‘‘I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves… I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces… I acquired fame and I became greater by far than anyone lived before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor…And this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.’’*
So much has happened in 10 years. They gave us a trial. We went to courthouses. They laughed at us, insulted us; they told us to ‘‘love it or leave it’’. They first claimed that ‘‘there is no organization behind the murder.” Then the Supreme Court ruled that ‘‘there is an organization, but limited to a number of young nationalists.” Then one day, all of a sudden, within the state, which committed the crime, then concealed and finally tried to make benefit out of it, as one of the many alliances has collapsed. The organization consisting of a couple of young nationalists had been replaced by FETÖ [Gülen movement]. At one stage, they pretended as if Ergenekon was to blame. Each and every time, the state leaves its tail at the crime scene and says, “here is the evil.” Both right and wrong. When are we going to stop dealing with the snake’s shed skin and start to chase after the snake itself?
Once again, we ask the very same question we asked 10 years ago…
Those who made him a target, who threatened him, who said ‘‘Hrant, you are the target of our rage’,” those who released statements on behalf of the General Staff—when are they going to face justice?
The crime scene footage is once again put into circulation. They say that 10 years ago, around this time, on this very spot, there were more gendarmerie officers than civilians. We just wait to see when this years-long investigation will come to an end.
We said it before, we will say it again. This murder was committed by a well-known perpetrator. The perpetrator of this murder seems to be the state with all its ranks. A shameful theater has been performed in the last 10 years to understand who the perpetrator is.
If the state is not the perpetrator, then it has the responsibility to sort through the perpetrators within itself. What is sacred is not the state, it is the human being. What is sacred is life.
For the last 10 years, the state has been sacrificing what is sacred for these lands. Just as it did 100 years ago and afterwards, for the last 100 years.
My sisters and brothers,
A state cannot be worthy of these lands unless it regards all lives—regardless of nation, race, or belief—as sacred.
It gives me great pain to be here today; to share the pain of my husband who was murdered 10 years ago and to talk about his murder case. Yet, this case is a very significant cause for the democratization of this country.
My husband used to value the conscience of people rather than that of the courts. The only thing that still gives us hope, in the midst of all that happened, is that the people have condemned this crime in their own conscience.
This case is one of the keys to Turkey’s democratization. If you are going to make use of it, it’s all yours, as long as you use it for this purpose.
This case is also the case of detained journalists and deputies who have found themselves in jail— deprived of their own freedom—while they were seeking for truth and struggling for peace and freedom. May God let them to reunite with their beloved ones very soon.
Today, in this dark era, those who console themselves thinking that ‘‘we are lucky that our people are in power,” please do not be mistaken assuming that the ones in power are on your side. Those you selected to govern this country, all with all good intentions, have turned into “men of state,” though they were once the children of people. They have already forgotten their promises. Now, they are now trying to make you accomplices to their crimes. You do not deserve this. We all deserve much better. And I do hope we will achieve what is much better.
Love means doing things for the others. When you walk in the path of love, you will have heartaches, for certain. Yet, love is the strongest psychological warfare. Love responds to evil with benevolence. Without love, there is no faith.
Dress yourselves with love.
‘’Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.’’**
Let the ones who love the God also love themselves and their neighbors.
Dear friends. We are here together with you for the last 10 years. We said that we have become relatives in pain. We have shared our stories, we have listened to each other. Yet, during these 10 years, so many more stories full of pain, sorrow, and tears have been written—thousands of them, tens of thousands of them…
It is not only about living together. What really matters is to live happily and equally. And to live freely and with dignity.
Come, let us do away with the restlessness of the doves in this country. Come, let us not sacrifice doves any longer. As my Chutag said:
Come, let us first understand each other…
Come, let us first respect each other’s pain…
Come, let us first let one another live.
* Ecclesiastes 2:4-11
** 1 Gospel of John 4:20
Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: Rakel Dink: ‘A State Cannot Be Worthy of These Lands Unless it Regards All Lives as Sacred’