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Message from Silivri: We will sit side by side again

Our Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu has written of his expectations for 2018: There are heroes of this country, most of whose names we do not know, who are not absolutely waiting for their turn to come to call for a halt to the injustices.
Yayınlanma tarihi: 02 Ocak 2018 Salı, 10:21

. Lawyers, human rights advocates, journalists, academics. And, of course, mothers. It is these very mothers, spouses, siblings and kids, be they Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Circassian, Yezidi, who will hold us by the hand and we will sit side by side again.
 
 
The thing I have missed most since going to prison is eating lahmajoun. I am not actually one who is picky, selective, envious or fussy about food. Neither on the outside or here. In the days of freedom, anyone going out would ask, “Is there anything you want for the evening?”
 
I always used to reply: “Whatever’s at home. It doesn’t matter.” Here, too, we sit and eat whatever is brought. But, I have a big hankering for lahmajoun. This longing has acquired such fame that the lawyer friends who come to visit say, “We ate some for you with you in mind.” I have kept on asking myself: “What is it with this great longing?” The answer I was seeking came in my aunt’s letter. The lifting of the letter ban after thirteen months has seen an inflow of invigorating lines from my family and readers and friends. My aunt wrote in her letter: “Son, when you get out, the whole family, neighbours and friends will come all together like when you were a child and eat lahmajoun ‘with home-made fillings’ all together at a huge table.”
 
At that moment it struck home. It was not lahmajoun I missed, but rather the ability to sit and dine around a table with my family and friends, and chat. When I was a child, coming together was a frequent occurrence at weekends, on holidays, any old day.
 
In those days, it was the children’s job to take the lahmajouns with home-made fillings or meals made on a tray to the bakery and have them cooked.
 
Preparing and cooking it and coming to the table and eating it was all good, yes. But the best thing were the crowded tables. Then the years passed. Numbers started to drop. Family, friends, the neighbourhood. Initially, the grim inevitability. The departed. Then, the pressures of professional life. And, probably worst, especially in recent years, the select few we welcome to the table. The declining number day by day of those in the many nooks and crannies of the country who dine together even if they think differently from one another and are people of different identities, beliefs and political views. A country in which alienation and segregation has turned into a form of politics and those who do not think in the same way are singled out. A situation in which we have turned into people who delight at others’ sorrow and draw discomfort from their joy, in the place of shared joy, shared sorrow and shared hopes. In a country of people whose guiding philosophy is not to go to bed with a full stomach while your neighbours are hungry, the mindset that can say, “let them eat the roots of trees” about tens of thousands of people who have been made unemployed without even an investigation being conducted, and their spouses, children, mothers and fathers. Minds that have no compunction about using calumny to imprison those in the opposition who question and object as a method for terrorising, intimidating and silencing.
 
Well, does all this drive me to despair as we embark on 2018? Absolutely not. There are people in this country who, heedless of the price they may pay, are speaking, writing and opposing the injustices. Of all views and faiths. There are heroes, most of whose names we/you do not even know, who are not absolutely waiting for their turn to come, or that of their families and associates, to call for a halt to the injustices. Lawyers, human rights advocates, journalists, academics. And, of course, mothers. Mothers quaking over all the country’s kids not just their own kids.
 
It is these very mothers, spouses, siblings and kids, be they Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Circassian, Yezidi, who will hold us by the hand and lay the tables. We will sit side by side again. Even if we are not of the same views, same faith and same neighbourhood. Laughing and dancing, we will lay a future at the tables at which it once more and forever comes back to mind that being human, being good, championing rights and being on the side of righteousness are the most important values. This is an essay about “lahmajoun with home-made fillings.” This is a quest, desire and clamour for a “manifesto for cohabitation.”
 
May 2018 bring peace, repose and justice to all those on Cumhuriyet, my colleagues, those imprisoned for exercising their freedom of thought and expression, all mothers, not least the Saturday Mothers, and children and the country.

Her gün bir Cumhuriyet gazetesi alın, aldırın…
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