A Message From The Grave – On the 10th anniversary of assassination of Kani Yilmaz

Kani Yilmaz, who had been assassinated in Sulaimani city, Iraqi Kurdistan on Feb. 11, 2006. The photo is from May 2005. Photo:

From the friends of Kani Yilmaz

On the 10th anniversary of theassassination of Kurdish activist, Kani Yilmaz (Feb. 11, 2006)

If I could see the changes over the decade since my former comrades took my life, what would I tell you?

I would say our relations with Turkey are darkening with echoes of the worst days of the 1990s. I might think the suffering of the region’s peoples have been in vain. I would tell you a new generation of Kurdish children are growing up with the same fear and bitterness as did our generation and our grandfathers’.

I would tell my mother I am sorry I did not spend more time with her as a grown man and that she had to outlived me, her first born son.

I would tell my brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, how sorry I am that I never got to see them again: we believed we had time.

I would tell my loved ones and my friends I am sorry I couldn’t be with them sharing the bright times and the dark.

I would ask Apo (Abdullah Ocalan) if Imrali is worse than Diyarbakir prison where hundreds of activists endured torture and death between Turkey’s military coups.

I would say to all the people I used to know, not to give up and to remain hopeful. I would say to them, “Look at our Kurdish brothers in Iraq! What they have achieved! But I would be saddened that mainly those at the top are enjoying the freedom the peshmerga fought for and that they punish their critics.

I would ask my fellow Kurds wherever they are to “agree to disagree” and practise democracy in more than name.

I would ask the Turkish state to embrace pluralism and would kindly ask President Erdogan to dismount from his high horse.

I would try to banish ISIS from the face of the earth as the greatest abomination of the century – a curse upon the faith they seek to preach.

And then I would walk outside among the fig trees and roses in Sarchinar. I would quote Rumi and Shakespeare instead of Marx and Apo. I would sing as I was singing in my last days and I would again value life above politics.

But it is too late for me to speak afresh: this is just a whisper from the grave on the war torn border between Turkey and Syria where my ashes lie entombed.

All that remains is this memory.