If only I could write about a long awaited beautiful summer finally arriving in Paris, cheerful young people running to both banks of the Seine river in order to have long and happy picnics, about the saxophonist practicing jazz tunes every afternoon under the shade of centuries old trees in the little park just in front of my apartment…
If only I could do that.
But I can’t. I can’t tell you about the long, cheerful summer days because 5 young, innocent, bright people got killed this summer in my country. Ethem (26), Medeni (17), Abdullah (22), Mehmet (20) and Ali Ismail (19) got killed by the police and by some thugs who got encouraged by the same police and politicians. Others got injured, seriously injured. Lobna (34) got struck in the head by a gas canister, stayed in a coma for weeks, lost her ability to speak. Mustafa Ali (16) got struck in the head by a gas canister, stayed in a coma for weeks; he’s awake now but still in the hospital. Berkin (14) was out to buy bread on an ordinary Sunday morning when he got struck in the head by a gas canister; he is still in a coma. Some demonstrators lost their eyes. Twelve eyes, to be exact.
I can’t write about summer in Paris because people are jailed for they had a simple demand: freedom. They are jailed because they were practicing their constitutional right, the right to gather and protest for their freedom, to be heard, to be acknowledged.
They were killed, injured, and jailed because they were born in a country with a track record full of injustices and pain. And I can’t write about summer in Paris because their murderers got away with it, just as if it was business as usual. And the victims got blamed for being terrorists, for being provocateurs, for getting killed!
Those were courageous young people who had something important to say, who believed in justice, in freedom of speech, in equality and in nature. All they asked for was to be heard; they were not. They were not only attacked brutally, but their families were also ignored after their deaths by the very influential, very important and very busy state men who preferred using their precious time to create conspiracy theories and hate speeches.
When Ali Ismail was beaten to death in a dark alley by “mysterious men”, responsible adults were repeating big empty sentences on TV channels speaking not for their conscience but for their earthly interests.
I can’t write about summer in Paris because our lives have changed. Because we found our siblings that we never knew we had, and we lost our brothers that we’ll never get to know.
And Turkey is in mourning for we lost our children. And we are incredulous as the nights turn into new days, as how life goes on. And I can’t write happy, shiny stuff. Because we lost our brothers.
Ethem, Mehmet, Medeni, Abdullah and Ali Ismail were killed.