Missing Hrant

Stratos MoraitisFrom now on I will now and then publish guest blog posts on this website, written by Turkish journalists. The first guest blog post is written by my friend Stratos Moraitis, who corrected me by saying he is not a Turkish journalist but a journalist with a Turkish passport. He is Greek, he writes for Greek (and sometimes American) media. And he was a good friend of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was murdered today four years ago. This blog post is in his memory.

It has been four years since Hrant Dink, a prominent Armenian journalist in Turkey, has been assassinated. It has been four years, much has been said about his murder, including by myself, but none of these words went beyond the usual ears that are ready to absorb pain and injustice.

After four years, I find it appropriate to put the death into perspective, even though the pain is still very young, and a day does not pass without remembering what a difference his presence made in the lives of people who knew him. But it is essential now to analyze this event in the light of the continuum called Turkish politics.

In modern democracies, state is a product of an unwritten social contract. But when we use that term our imagination materializes it into a form of written agreement. It is not. It is an evolving set of values which we attribute to ourselves as a people. And as this set of values evolve with the needs of modernity, democracy expands. In this geography however, expectations of the majority was shaped in the late 19th century within the framework of a disintegrating empire. And deification of these values upon the value set of the republic later on prevented significant changes in the perception of people for the identity of their state and even themselves

Many people today protest, write, talk and even cry for Hrant. These actions are in fact despite themselves. Come tomorrow, many of those will go back to their original set of values where thoughts could be perceived as a threat to their state which they think is a separate entity that protects them from the harms of an imaginary outer sphere.

Contrary to their beliefs, Hrant was just not a martyr. He was a martyr because he fought so that he could be the last martyr. Yes he was about freedom, but he was about fraternity as well. He was above the ever-going social contract, and so the state couldn’t afford to live with his ideas continuing to question and criticize their ideological existence.

He was an exception. Not only for Turkish population at large, but also for Turkish Armenian society which is mostly silent and fatalist. (All puns intended, even extended to Greek minority) Yet he was able to say “democratization will take away the veil in front of the eyes of Turkish people”.

Now Turkish state cares for one thing concerning Dink murder: to put everything under the same veil and make all the evidence disappear slowly to clear all threat to their existence.

Yes, I agree, Hrant Dink and people like him are threats to the Turkish state the way it is programmed to function. If democratic people will increase in numbers in this country, it will not be able to continue its fascist policies, or it will have to fight against its own people, which is what it did in its recent history.

But today, even four years later, it is still not about politics. At least for me.

When a good person dies, he takes a piece of your hope with him. A part that nothing will replace. I do not only “remember” him. I simply miss him. Not only his ideas or ideals. Maybe even more, I miss my friend. I miss a guy named Hrant Dink.

And I do not wish, even one day, my recognition of inevitability of his assassination, to come first in my thoughts. I know my pain won’t go away. And it’s my choice, too. I will miss him, and everyday, his memory will be a part of me. A bitter-sweet smile will replace my tears. As I will see him smiling with irony to my desperation.

I will miss his smile.

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  1. […] (The first guest blog post was written by Stratos Moraitis. Click here to read it.) […]

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