By Ayşen Şahin, published on July 11 in Turkish on Evrensel.
To the authorities concerned…
Have you ever had to go scrounging for your bread money seven storeys underground?
You, have you ever had to bury your colleagues with your own hands because the mines that were supposed to belong to the State had been privatized and that the capital’s back was being stroked, such that job safety was not introduced?
You, have you ever gone to Ankara, not comfortably settled in million dollar, bullet-proof vehicles, but on foot, in the cold and the storm, or with the sun scorching your forehead?
You, have you ever called for justice before the tribunal, or at the door of your own parliament where you were denied entry?
You, have you ever attempted to look 453 children in the eyes after they were left fatherless because of negligence?
You, have you ever earned money at the sweat of your brow?
You, have you ever slept on the concrete to obtain your rights
You, have you ever had to drive along a an endless road for days, without sufficient sleep?
How many tombs have you visited in your life, you?
They marched to Ankara exactly 16 times, because you have ignored the rights of 888 workers, while erasing millions in tax debts for those horsetrading among themselves lands worth hundreds of millions.
You have wrapped and covered up billions in lies, but you haven’t kept your word for 25 million you had promised for rights on real jobs.
They lay on the concrete for 6 days, you were able to look them in the eye and say: “If we grant you your rights, it will create a precedent for others.”
Whereas at the Izmir earthquake where your minister performed a show in front of the cameras, risking in this way to waste the power on the phone of someone still buried under the debris, the miners broke off their resistance, so they could work at the rescue effort.
Not in order to obtain bonuses, not by cutting off the traffic with protocolary convoys such as yours – putting the lives of hundreds of people at risk – but so as to save even only one life by putting their own on the line.
You, you have never gone down in the mines and have never asked what were their problems.
Sharing the miner’s grief and woes doesn’t mean wearing the same shirt two days in a row. You, you don’t have a clue what it means to share grief and woes.
You know, the weapons you’ve handed out like breadrolls are revealing themselves now. Now, the wheel of justice is turning in your direction. Now, confronted by all those clamoring for their rights, you are blind, deaf, you are tear gas and rubber bullets. Now, you in your mansions under high surveillance, in your convoys ten vehicles long, in your crowded meetings, in the good-soldier media under your orders, you think of yourselves as the important ones, the ones that matter.
Although they know they are the targets of the weapons you distributed, armed with the strength of throwing a monkey wrench in your wheel, of standing upright before your security forces, of working for their comrades rather than for themselves, not expecting even one centime of personal profit, of resisting for their rights, good organizers, lovely person, they are Tahir Çetin and Ali Faik İnter who were the truly important ones, the true leaders. They died because of you. Know this for the fact it is. Next to leaders of workers’ resistances, what are politicians that come and go?
This is the shortest article I’ve ever written in my life.
Because mourning is harsh, it swallows up long words.
Because these are days where anger cannot fit inside the words.
Because the more lovely persons die, the more we remember that our time is limited.
Now, if you looked at other sources that your bought medias, you would see and hear the sentence “their memory lives on in our struggle” and would not even stop to think about it. Know that the burden of this sentence is heavy for those who say it.
It means shouldering their struggles. What is taken on is the stubborness, the courage, the heart and the dreams of two union leaders.
In other words, you might read this as follows: henceforth, the objective is to carve their names at the entrances of nationalized mines so that their memory will live on, your photos will be removed from the walls, your brass name plates pulled off your doors, and your names listed as those responsible for all these deaths will be found on the envelops of letters addressed to prisons, just above the number of your cell block.
Their memory will live on in our struggle.
With us, when we say we will not forget, we do not forget .
We will not forget.
For your information…
Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
You may use and share Kedistan’s articles and translations, specifying the source and adding a link in order to respect the writer(s) and translator(s) work. Thank you.