The HDP held an event to mark the sixth anniversary of the Roboski Massacre at the Kent Culture Centre in Istanbul’s Şişli. HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş also sent a message to the commemoration. The message, which was read by film director Ezel Akay, was as follows:
“Most valued friends, my dear colleagues,
I greet with longing you, the valued members of our people who have congregated to commemorate those we lost in Roboski, one of the most merciless massacres of our recent history.
One of the most important components of the struggle for democracy we are waging to bring humanity’s universal values to prevail in our own part of the world is the issue of coming to terms with the past and unearthing the truth.
WE HAVE MADE OUR ANGER INTO A COMPONENT, NOT OF HATRED AND REVENGE, BUT THE STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM
Unfortunately, our history and recent past is replete with the pains of genocide, massacre, exile and execution. We, despite all the pain that has been experienced and to enable all the oppressed to live together freely, have preferred, rather than using the anger caused by this pain for anger, hatred and revenge, to make our anger into a component of and reason for our struggle.
While all the pains, from the Armenian Genocide to the Dersim Massacre and from Çorum and Sivas to Roboski, Suruç and Ankara weigh down heavily on our hearts, we will continue to premise our struggle on the demand for a reckoning with the truth so as to mitigate and hold to account for the pains of these massacres. We will keep up our efforts until those responsible give account before history and the judiciary.
ROBOSKİ WAS VERY DIFFERENT
On the morning following the night on which poor and working Kurdish children were bombed with warplanes in Roboski, I was there with our Co-Chair Gültan Kışanak. Over my life, I have witnessed large numbers of deaths, dead bodies and autopsies as part of my profession and the struggle I have waged. Of course, a calamity affects those involved the most. It was the families and relatives of the massacred who felt this pain at its deepest. But, the circumstances surrounding the Roboski Massacre were totally different. The calamity did not move only those directly involved. Everyone who has a scrap of conscience was and is moved by the calamity that struck Roboski.
THE CHILDREN TOLD ME I WAS LATE
I looked one by one at the dead bodies reeking of diesel of the massacred children wrapped in blankets in the corridors and rooms of Uludere State Hospital. I was left along for several minutes in an empty hospital room in which many dead bodies had been laid side by side on the floor. It was as if the dead children wrapped in blankets said the following to me and it was as if I really heard them.
They said, ‘They have murdered us, chairman, you were late. We were all poor and we all worked. Our only crime was to pass between two parts of our homeland that has been divided with barbed wire to engage in trade. Our homeland is in smithereens and now we are in smithereens. You were late, chairman, you were late. We have always been poor and we have always been killed. Look, you have not been able to solve these problems and we were the ones to die, again. Welcome, but you are late, chairman.’
You may not believe it, but I heard these words. I wept in shame and with a deep sorrow at the sides of my siblings from Roboski. I made a promise to those children there to do my utmost to hold to account for this and for us not to be massacred after this.
WE WILL NOT ABANDON THE ROBOSKİ STRUGGLE
I am now in Edirne Prison. I am here for living up to my promise. Let there be an oath that we will abandon our lives but we will not abandon our struggle to call the Roboski murderers to account. We will stand steadfast carrying in our hearts the sacred duty entrusted in us by the thirty-four souls we have left in the Roboski mountains, the thirty-four poor Kurdish children.
THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY OF HOLDING TO ACCOUNT IS AN HONOURABLE PEACE AND FREEDOM!
I know we were late, children, you are right. You are right in whatever you say. We were at least a hundred years late. But, you rest in peace. We the hundreds of thousands of offspring of the brave people from Afrin to Kobani, from Hewler to Mahabat, from Botan to Amed and Serhat altogether make a promise of freedom and peace in solemn commemoration of those we have lost thanks to our lateness.
The most effective way of holding those who massacred you and covered it up, who rip down memorials erected in your memory, the children of Roboski who remain alive and those who threw Ferhat into jail to account is to achieve an equal, honourable and just peace. We know this and will succeed!
LET THERE BE THOUSANDS OF GREETINGS TO MY BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY’S WONDERFUL CHILDREN WHO ARE RESISTING
Let there be thousands of greetings to all my beautiful country’s wonderful children who have been killed and jailed and are resisting. I bow down in respect before the memory of all of them and I embrace with longing and send my greetings to the Roboski families and all my people and friends.