Yesterday Fidel, tomorrow Tahir Elçi
By Aydın Engin
At the paper yesterday, ‘bitter humour’, rather than ‘black humour’,was stretched to the limit. Fidel Castro’s death featured in both the front-page headline and the inside pages, covered through a variety of articles and photographs.
One of my young colleagues muttered:
- It’s the good leaders who are dying nowadays, mate; nothing happens to the bad ones.
It was good joke, but nobody laughed. After all, it was bitter humour.
Another colleague reminded us that we should not forget to report the events being staged on 28 and 29 November and 1 December to mark the first anniversary of the murder of Diyarbakır Bar Association Chair Tahir Elçi in the next day’s (i.e. today’s) Cumhuriyet.
Following his reminder, he also muttered:
- Yesterday Fidel, tomorrow Tahir Elçi… It’s as though our numbers keep diminishing every day.
Nobody laughed, this being bitter humour.
Fidel Castro reduced our numbers with his departure two days ago. Tahir Elçi did so a year ago. It is ten years since Hrant Dink the same.
A revolutionary from Mexico, a Zapatista, once exclaimed with reference to Fidel:
- The comandante is Fidel, Ernesto. I can only besubcomandante Marcos.
Subcomandante, that is subcommander.
If this is not revolutionary modesty, what is it?
At a time when in Diyarbakır the heart of the city, Sur, had been destroyed and this failed to provoke protest from terrified, forlorn Diyarbakırians, recall the slimy words most notably of spokespersons for the AKP, the leading culprits for all this: “The people do not support them. Our people have given a wide berth to the HDP’s call for mass protest. Let them draw the appropriate lesson.” One woman, the pain and sorrow at the loss of her husband burning in her heart, Türkan Elçi, replied to such self-righteousness. And in sentences of poetic beauty:
- If a city inspects its grief with a blank stare, this is from pain. If it falls silent and does not speak, this is because there remains nobody at its side worthy of trust ...
Ten years ago, when Hrant Dink was waylaid and murdered so vilely on 19 January, in the early evening of that inauspicious day, remember the stark sentence that has become ingrained in our memories addressed by another woman, Rakel Dink, to the tens of thousands who congregated in front of Agos:
- Without questioning the darkness that creates a murderer out of a baby, nothing can be done, brethren.
Ten years ago, Hrant; one year ago, Tahir Elçi; the day before yesterday, Fidel Castro…
My young colleague on the paper is right:
- It’s as though our numbers keep diminishing every day.
This was penned in anger; this was penned in sorrow; this was penned in hiccoughs.
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