From the Book THAT DAY: The “Wise People” come to Kavar

From the Book THAT DAY:

 The “Wise People” come to Kavar 
Today is the fifteenth of May 2013.  I set out from Tavan to Çorsin just before noon.  Today we have important guests.  I get to Çorsin just after the Wise People Committee is about to arrive at the villages.  Clearly the Wise People are not the only ones to arrive, for I can see several vehicles from the Office of the Prime Minister as well.  It is not easy to find space for these vehicles in a place as small as Çorsin.  The women of Kavar greet the Wise People with pictures of their dead children.  They do not put these pictures down throughout the two hours of the meeting.  The Committee is taken to the house of mourning where the meeting will be held and seated at the chairs and tables hung with cloths of yellow, green and red.  I quietly find a place to perch at the side and begin watching.  Quite a number of people have been stuffed into a room of one hundred-square meters.   Women sit on one side and men on the other, with several people from the Prime Ministry wandering around in the center.  The Committee Head briefly explains the goals of their visit and then various residents of Kavar describe what they experienced THAT DAY.  How Çorsin was burned down on the twenty-eighth of December 1993, who it was that gave the order, what all happened to the people of the village THAT NIGHT, all of it is described in detail.  As the man from the Prime Ministry runs his video camera over the faces of the people of Kavar I am once again awed by the villagers’ bravery.

            Then THAT woman begins to speak.  Sometimes she speaks Turkish, sometimes Kurdish.  It is obvious that she speaks Turkish well, but like my mother, when she begins to weep and moan she slips into Kurdish.  She speaks of THAT DAY: 
            “On the evening of 28 December 1993 the soldiers came into our village.  They took my husband out of the house.  They martyred my husband.  He had done nothing.  My husband was a building contractor.  They sprayed us with ammunition.  With tank and cannon.  Three of the soldiers were wearing masks.  They beat me and I fainted.  First they broke my husband’s legs, in front of the children.  Then they took him out of the house.  They murdered him savagely.  Then they drove over him four or five times with a panzer tank.  I ask you: WHY did they do this?  After all these years I still have not found an answer.  WHY?  WHY?  They burned everything.  I was left alone with my six children.  No one helped us.  My husband had no weapon, he was a contractor.  WHY did they do it.  WHY?  I scraped my husband’s flesh off the ground.  Pieces of him were stuck on the ground, I picked them up one by one.  WHY?  The next day they wrote in the newspaper: ‘A terrorist was killed.’  WHY?  What had my husband done, what was his crime?  WHY did they do this to my husband?” 

The woman pointed to her twenty year old son standing beside her: “This boy has no father.  WHY?  WHYYYYYYY?” she shrieked at the Wise People.

            “What is it that you expect from the government?” asked the Committee Head coldly.
            “First of all Öcalan’s freedom, then our language and identity,” she answered.
            “What has that got to do with what happened to you?” answered another on the Committee, and the Committee Head added, “If you want your human rights, you must demand them.  A person must always have the right to demand.”
            The woman seems a bit distracted, as if she were addressing them from another world:
For twenty years I have been asking myself the same question.  WHY did they do this to my husband?  ÇİMA? ÇİMA?”[1] Then she paused and thought for a while.  “In fact there is no answer to this WHY” she mumbled, trembling.   “I know that the WHY has no answer.  I try to make myself believe that my husband died fort he sake of a struggle, that he died for us, fort he Kurdish people.  In fact the WHY has no answer,” she moaned.

            After a little while she looked at her son again, pointing to him for the Wise People’s benefit: “So where is his father?  I will keep on struggling till the end.  They committed an outrage against us, an outrage, they murdered him savagely.  An OUTRAGE, an OUTRAGE,” she shrieked.

            OUTRAGE, OUTRAGE… the word rings again in my ears.  How often over the years have I heard this word from the villagers of Kavar.   How many an OUTRAGE did I hear of, like: “They drove us out, they committed an outrage against us,” “They skinned my son alive, they committed an outrage against my son,” “They tore up our dead, they committed an outrage against them,” “They burned down our houses, they committed an outrage against us,” “They shattered my dowry chest, they committed and outrage against me,” “They put my father in the earthen stove, they committed and outrage against us.”  It showed that the Kurds think of the cruelty perpetrated against them during these years of war as a question of “honor.”  The Kurdish question was a question of Kurdishness, and Kurdishness was now a question of honor.  I return to the hotel.  For the sake of the villagers of Kavar, for the sake of all Kurds, I seek an answer to the WHYS.  I can find no answer…

***This is a small part (page: 308) from my book O GÜN (THAT DAY), published by Iletişim Publishers, February, 2014.

[1]Kürtçe: Niye? Niye?