Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What kind of Zadik, What Kind of Agos?

When holidays and celebrations of special days in a country are overcast by shadows of cases of urgency, intensive agendas and murder cases, then some things of significance are not going well in that particular country. In our country where things are definitely not going well, those of us at Agos are celebrating a Zadik devoid of Hrant’s body and our 11th anniversary of foundation, both on 5th of April, this week. No matter how strong the urge to curse those who have found us worthy of this pain and separation, such an act is not in our tradition. We do not choose to hurt those who hurt us, to take revenge, to use words of damnation, dream of evil doings, to use acts of crime done against us as a crutch for our future acts of crime. This “WE” encompasses not only Armenians but any brotherly peoples who think the same way. This “WE” embraces all those who believe in peace and it eliminates no one. This may not be in the best interests of a seriously large group of people… We know very well, just as Hrant did, that this ground we stand upon is not safe. Nor does this stance has a short term benefit because this ground does not breed opposition, animosity and any of those profit mechanisms that sort of grounds breed plenty of. This ground has no “bulk ideology” outlook, but has communication and sharing. When we look at people, we choose to see not first their race, then religion, sect, sexual identity and social status but to see that special person for who he/she is, to be able to communicate with him/her and to put value in this because we know that both nationalism and racism which is its extreme state are both diseases. Humanity has caught this disease while going hurriedly in the morning frost from fallacy to reason without drying up its hair properly.

Both Hrant and Agos have maintained this view for 11 years. Always having said “the emperor has no clothes”, endeavored to speak the unspeakable in the knowledge that we are a nation without a tongue or with its tongue removed. As if we were made to repeat word and sentence patterns everywhere in this country, 24 hours a day, in specific situations, as if a loud prompter made us repeat our lines. This is exactly where Agos and Hrant take stage. The prompter is confused. Well, are Hrant and Agos that important? Doesn’t this country has other immense problems, and loads of democrats who make all these other problems their own and put in immense efforts to solve them? How come a newspaper published by a tiny community covers such a significant place in a country’s destiny? Could it be that we are carried away by illusory perceptions and feelings, overrating ourselves?

Just as negative experiences of the past make one ill, societies also struggle with and suffer from side effects of bitter memories of the past that they are unable to face. The forced emigration of Armenians and the devastating effect of this on the Armenian people [millet] is to this day affecting our present day as a major disaster Turkish peoples have yet to face in their consciences. This is the case for a Turk, and a Kurd, a Circassian, a Laz, a Turkmen and an Armenian. This was what Hrant referred to when he said “We are all sick”. This fear of facing causes an eclipse overshadowing Turkey’s future, laying a paralyzing claim on her intellect and the whole of her values. I can assert without any reservations and with boldness that when Turks and Armenians face the issue of forced emigration in a realistic manner and with integrity, they will be released form other fears and anxieties that they hold which disease them. And the only way of doing this is to try talking without distorting scientific facts and consciences, fearlessly and calmly.

This is what Hrant and Agos have been doing for the past 11 years. Talking, telling, and communicating. There were many attempts trying to silence him. He got reactions not only from outside but also from within the Community. Finally, like his ancestors, fell victim to vicious hearts where love and compassion had emigrated by force. Nevertheless, the Agos without Hrant, will continue following the same path. This is not to challenge anybody but a state of existence… Because we know that first there were words and a person who has no words is not living. According to this view which many may find absurd, in fact Hrant is not dead. In this sense, in the hearts and minds of tens of thousands attending the funeral ceremony following his death, Hrant has resurrected.
This is why this year, Zadik is more filled with grief but also much more precious compared to past holidays.

Agos newspaper, 06.04.2007

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