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Kedis­tan has always attempt­ed to offer a sup­port­ive voice for all hunger strik­ers, be they the strug­gles of Nuriye and Semih or of the mem­bers of Grup Yorum, as well as the hunger strikes launched by Ley­la Güven or of oth­er groups or per­sons who could not man­age to be heard by any oth­er means, unfor­tu­nate­ly. We have attempt­ed to serve as a relay for their strug­gles as best we could, so their demands could be heard, par­tic­u­lar­ly by inter­na­tion­al pub­lic opin­ion. It is with a feel­ing of legit­i­ma­cy, because of this uncom­pro­mis­ing sup­port and sol­i­dar­i­ty we have always brought to these strug­gles although they breaks our hearts as wit­ness­es, that Kedis­tan opens its pages to Mine Rabi­a’s cry for Ibrahim’s life, with­out dis­re­spect­ing the strik­ers’ determination.


Ibrahim, please don’t die!


İbrahim Gökçek must not die”.
This is the most inno­cent and humane appeal in the world, but for some, it rep­re­sents a huge “betray­al”.

Who­ev­er says uncom­pro­mis­ing­ly “İbrahim Gökçek must not die” finds him­self or her­self in the blink of an eye, labelled a “trai­tor speak­ing the lan­guage of pow­er, a resis­tance break­er, col­lab­o­ra­tor,” or even “a spy”.

Those who speak this way would like the appeal “İbrahim Gökçek must not die” to be addressed sole­ly to the State; and that no one ask the orga­ni­za­tion act­ing as the non-offi­cial wing to the hunger strike, that this use­less action should cease. That if the tyran­ni­cal State does not under­stand rea­son, nei­ther do they; that while the ele­phants fight, the grass­es get tram­pled: Helin has died, let Ibrahim die also; so their names will spread…

The excus­es are ready. As they threw in the face of every oppo­nent yes­ter­day “your silence is what killed Helin”, tomor­row, they will get away with it by howl­ing “your silence is what killed İbrahim”

As for us they accuse of insen­si­tiv­i­ty or even of betray­al, we who have nev­er been silent because we have appealed to the State as much as they did, but have not said what they wished to hear, we will be charged with the heavy weight of a respon­si­bil­i­ty that, tru­ly, belongs to them.

Because, either we are with them, or we are treach­er­ous ene­mies. As if not sup­port­ing a hunger strike the effec­tive­ness of which did not con­vince us meant we did not sup­port the legit­i­mate demands of the strikers.

Not bad, yes?

Yet, I for exam­ple sup­port all of Grup Yorum’s demands; but sup­port­ing hunger strikes to the death, nev­er! And that turns me into one of the great­est of trai­tors. What a sub­lime comedy.

How to escape from these accu­sa­tions? Should we say “İbrahim Gökçek must die”? Is that what you want?

Obvi­ous­ly, sup­port­ing this action would mean noth­ing else than “İbrahim Gökçek must die”, giv­en cir­cum­stances in which the obso­lete action known as a hunger strike is no longer effec­tive, nei­ther in the eyes of the State becom­ing con­stant­ly more cru­el, nor in the eyes of ordi­nary peo­ple who have entered a new era with indif­fer­ence, where the State has not become rea­son­able, not even when faced by Nuriye and Semih’s resis­tance which received the great­est sup­port in this coun­try, and will nev­er accept uncon­di­tion­al demands, even when exposed to the entire coun­try; and since the oppo­nent is deter­mined not to put an end to the hunger strike despite the epi­dem­ic rep­re­sent­ing a very great risk for İbrahim.

Some­where in their mind, Ibrahim is already dead, and all that remains is his imme­di­ate bur­ial. Some whose only con­cern is stay­ing in the news, attempt to accuse others.

I nev­er had the kind of pen that strings togeth­er pearls about the beau­ty of life, pro­duc­ing cheap lit­er­a­ture with texts where every sec­ond sen­tence is in the cat­e­go­ry of “life is worth liv­ing”. I write none of my texts from that angle, includ­ing on this top­ic. Quite the oppo­site, my whole life has been spent, arm in arm with death. I am some­one who knows full well how this cursed life can lead peo­ple to huge rebel­lions, throw them into deep sad­ness, and can lead them to believe death is their only means of expres­sion. And even as a per­son hav­ing expe­ri­enced it per­son­al­ly, remains hand­i­capped for life. This is why I am so torn…

Because that’s not it!

The method called hunger strike to the death [unlim­it­ed hunger strike] which nev­er achieved mean­ing­ful vic­to­ries com­pared to the lives lost, has now lost its func­tion and become some­thing else. It has mor­phed into some­thing resem­bling the pagan rit­u­als of human sac­ri­fice. In the cen­ter, an altar and peo­ple bare­ly cov­ered with skin and bones, stretched out on it. And infer­nal fig­ures that feed on death, dance and stomp around them in this sav­age sacrifice!

I encoun­tered death’s cold face many times. I learned when I turned away from the grave I was sup­posed to enter alone that no revolt, no strug­gle for rights could be more impor­tant than the suf­fer­ing of my child and of my moth­er whom I would leave behind; that besides them, even those clos­est to me, after a few days of sad­ness, would not remem­ber me, nor my struggle.

Just like all those who came before them, Helin and İbrahim also will be noth­ing oth­er than names we will recall once a year. For their com­rades, some of which are afraid to wit­ness the bur­ial because of their legit­i­mate fear of the epi­dem­ic, they will have no mean­ing even beyond the pub­lic­i­ty for “sacred mar­tyrs” of their move­ment. They will go on burn­ing like embers only in the heart of their moth­er and of their chil­dren if they have any.

Many hunger strikes were car­ried out in this coun­try. Scores of peo­ple died dur­ing resis­tance move­ments in Type F pris­ons, and because of the insuf­fi­cient med­ical means at the time, scores of oth­ers remained hand­i­capped for life with the Kor­sakoff syn­drome. Who remem­bers them now? Who vis­its their fam­i­ly whose suf­fer­ing has not ceased, or wor­ries about how their hand­i­capped com­rades sur­vive? Who gives them one cen­time of aid, une bite to eat? No one!

Per­son­al­ly, I do not want a painful end for İbrahim Gökçek.

And like any being exposed to such a hor­ri­fy­ing pagan mass, who becomes a spec­ta­tor to imposed cru­el­ty, I claim the right not to want this.

An artist’s great­est rev­o­lu­tion­ary strug­gle is through art. And, if one wants, art can ben pro­duced even from the depths of a well. This world has known artists who wrote their poems, their music, who drew on the walls of the cells in which they were thrown, on toi­let paper, on their own skin. And with their cre­ations, they are the ones who moved the pub­lic the most. İbrahim Gökçek must live and strug­gle with his art. His sac­ri­fice to the ambi­tion of some through a death nei­ther this State nor his com­rades care about is, con­trary to what is the­o­rized, a betray­al both to human­i­ty and to the rev­o­lu­tion­ary struggle.

A hunger strike to the death is no longer a resis­tance but a means of plead­ing with the tyrant and, as such, can become a humil­i­at­ing act.

They also say “no one is ask­ing you to take part in a hunger strike to the death, if you don’t approve, shut up!” Don’t they know that the spec­ta­cle incor­po­rates the spec­ta­tor as an ele­ment in the spec­ta­cle. If death is the spec­ta­cle, the cru­el ones mark the way by howl­ing “die! die!” while the oth­ers cry out “do not die!”

I belong to those who tear them­selves apart by cry­ing “do not die”. And I know there are hun­dreds of thou­sands of oth­ers who, like me, are torn by a burn­ing heart and think “do not die!”

Be stub­born in the face of all those cru­el ones, both close and dis­tant from you, do not die, İbrahim Gökçek!

This coun­try does not need the death of its suf­fer­ing ones, but your melodies, even emerg­ing from the depths of a well. And those who tru­ly love you need to see you live so as not to die of sadness.

Mar­tyrs nev­er die” is some­thing that does not exist İbrahim. Mar­tyrs die! They die and are buried in the yel­low­ing pages of a cal­en­dar, aban­doned to obliv­ion. And life goes on for every­one, except for you and your family!

And you also know that, in a real­i­ty where death has become so ordi­nary, sac­ri­fic­ing one’s life for one’s beliefs does not destroy any evil.

Please don’t die this way!

Rabia Mine


rabia mine portrait


Rabia Mine

Writer and poet, activist in the defense of human rights. Author of the book of poems “Külden” (Ashes) published in Turkish in 2014.
She studied Law at Istanbul University and cinema-television at Mimar Sinan University. She has worked as production manager in cinema, editor and as an independent publisher.

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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