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With its new appear­ance, Hasankeyf awaits its vis­i­tors” the Turk­ish regime announces in those media stand­ing at attention.


Did Hasankeyf, the 12 000 year-old rel­ic, the cra­dle of civ­i­liza­tion, tru­ly need a “new appearance”?

I ask you…

You have trans­formed human­i­ty’s her­itage into a vul­gar con­crete dam flanked by sub­ur­ban housing.

I ask you.

Do you real­ly think that “tourists” will will “attract­ed” by your con­crete hor­ror? Just as your sim­u­lat­ed video dur­ing you pre-con­struc­tion com­mu­ni­ca­tion cam­paign “pri­or to the build­ing of the Ilı­su dam” already sug­gest­ed, will vaca­tion­ers con­gre­gate there to prac­tice water sports?

You are the one with your sails filled by the wind of insa­tiable ambi­tion, you are the one surf­ing full speed ahead on prof­its and, here, in Hasankeyf, you are sail­ing five miles above History.

You dry out, you drown, you cov­er in con­crete, you destroy every beau­ti­ful site in need of preser­va­tion. You demol­ish every­thing you touch with your cor­rupt hands, using your inven­tion called “priv­i­leged calls for ten­ders” open sole­ly to those firms who are your allies, abus­ing the pub­lic-pri­vate sys­tem by sell­ing, giv­ing away, offer­ing gifts plun­dered out of what belongs to the people.

You send your firms, your machin­ery, into urban zones as well as rur­al ones, in the name of a so-called “reha­bil­i­ta­tion”; a mas­sacre you present as an “improve­ment”. And when the locals who wish to pro­tect their ances­tral trea­sures stand up to you, you send in your “secu­ri­ty” forces, in order to secure your designs.

Because, in your view, civ­i­liza­tion and progress take the form of con­crete and bank notes…

Once you’ve extract­ed your prof­it, you leave behind to the peo­ple dried out rivers, ster­ile lands, razed forests, moun­tains sealed in concrete.


Good­bye forever…

I ask you.

What gives you the right to bequeath to future gen­er­a­tions a dev­as­tat­ed land­scape and a ruined memory?

And like a tro­phy, you show off all the dis­grace­ful results you have created.

I ask you.

Do you real­ly think that this por­trait of plun­der escapes notice? Do you believe that here, no one will notice that you will­ful­ly destroyed a sec­tion of Kur­dish his­to­ry on these lands? Do you think every­one is blind­ed by your upstart bour­geois pop­ulism, big­ot­ted and totalitarian?

Do you believe that the yay­la you have anni­hiltat­ed, the dev­as­tat­ed forests, the ran­sacked lakes, the reha­bil­i­tat­ed relics have become “beau­ti­ful”? Your out­sized mega­lo­man­i­cal projects, the nuclear and hydro­elec­tric sta­tions, the walls you build out of enmi­ty are tru­ly use­ful? Really?

I ask you.

Is it with a child­like belief in your pow­er that you keep trot­ting out the ben­e­fi­cial aspect of your projects, sole­ly in order to con­vince your­self? Are you tru­ly con­vinced? Or are you just pretending…

Every­thing you touch is then deprived of beau­ty. Not only do you rob the sites of their poet­ry, but you con­fis­cate their mem­o­ry, the peo­ple’s sacred­ness. Every­thing your hands “restore” becomes a ridicu­lous con­crete car­toon of the original.

A few relics are transferred elsewhere…Last in line was the El-Rızk mosque, under the tears of outraged inhabitants. December 16 2019 – Mezopotamya Ajansı

If truth be told, you are in tune with the times.

When exam­ined from a wider angle, you are among the “best” of the hood­lum destroy­ers on the plan­et — a mis­er­able hord active on all con­ti­nents, unfor­tu­nate­ly. You keep on repeat­ing this is a “great coun­try”, that you are one of the “great world lead­ers”. Indeed, deeply root­ed in the cur­rent sys­tem, you suck the sap out of the earth and all that lives like every self-respect­ing preda­tor. Your suc­cess is unde­ni­able. You can go on dis­play­ing your tro­phies stick­ing onto them, as usu­al, a Turk­ish flag as a G‑string.

I ask you.

Do you ask your­self some­times, when fac­ing a mir­ror, if your trace will be inscribed in human­i­ty’s mem­o­ry? How will you be remembered.

To see this “new appear­ance” of Hasankeyf, now gone for­ev­er, is like dying…

At my age, with a need for reas­sur­ance, one tends to look back on “what was bet­ter before”. I am not one for that kind of con­ser­va­tion. For me, pre­cise­ly, the past is a her­itage that encour­ages us to do bet­ter. A peo­ple’s cul­ture is not some frozen archaism of an unsur­pass­able tra­di­tion, but lug­gage in order to trav­el fur­ther and be amazed by new dis­cov­er­ies. It’s a trans­mis­sion toward youth, so that it will fash­ion a new world out of it. And here, to see one of the fam­i­ly’s pearls drowned and cov­ered in con­crete by polit­i­cal wheel­er-deal­ers who claim they want to return to Ottoman val­ues while show­ing off the worst of car­toons, makes me want to puke.

It is both the expres­sion of a nation­al­ism prac­tic­ing geno­cide on oth­er cul­tures and in the coars­est sense, the expres­sion of a mediocre under­stand­ing of the future, of a “progress” poured out in destruc­tive con­crete and the pseu­do glit­ter of a tacky civ­i­liza­tion, in the era of cap­i­tal­ism cov­ered in Turk­ish gravy.

As a final look at Hasankeyf, a “lament” in the beautiful voice of Kurdish singer Aynur Doğan.

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Ten­dress­es, coups de gueule et révolte ! Bil­lets d’humeur…