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Last July 15, Hamza Ajan, a young 17 year old Syrian, attempted to stop a group from assaulting a Syrian woman. He was beaten to death. This happened in Bursa. One of the two persons involved was taken into custody and jailed.

Dear Hamza, may I be forbidden your pardon,
may your two hands remain on my collar…

Murat Sevinç / Diken

They killed him by beating him up. Slugging away at him. They killed a seventeen year old kid by beating him up. As they had done previously to other children. Other people’s children.

Some newspaper allies (of the regime) described the news in these terms: “an argument”. There you have it, this is how things go here, people die from a beating, over an argument. Their death is isolated and some can write “the argument” the same way one others will read those words.

A seventeen year old human being, a youth, a kid…

A few raging fascists grabbed Hamza and started to beat on him. They killed him in a sordid beating. Beating him on the head, which his parents did not even dare to kiss, on the back, the arms, the legs, beating on his heart that had stopped beating.

“The incident” occurred in Bursa, in the evening of July 15. This is how the news items lead off. Hamza Ajan, 17 years old, working as a market salesman attempted to defend a Syrian woman being insulted by a bunch of hoodlums. He wanted to protect the humiliated woman. Clearly, as he was an honorable youngster, he could not bear the thought of remaining passive. Hamza was a moral human being.

Whereupon he was attacked by the woman’s four aggressors, and beaten. He felt faint and collapsed.

The rest is known… As we hear it told all the time: “Despite all attempts at the hospital, he died the night of the incident around…”

Some were taken into custody. One was arrested. Does anyone doubt, word for word, the defense he will present? The business suit he will wear, the tie he will choose and the love of the flag and of the country he will expound before the judges?…

Hamza is Syrian. Maybe he was there for the fun of it, and was delighted to work at the market. How he had hoped to be wrenched from his country. His dream was to become a market salesman in Turkey.

As others in his country who all dream of working in sweatshops for pennies. As the children who prefer to drown in the raging waves. As if their dream was to beg under bridges. As if their dream was to be swept along borders. As if they dreamt of being despised here by people they do not even know…

Perhaps Hamza dreamt of being despised by fascists. Some clearly want this. Those who, wearing the qualifier of “opponents” can place the word “democracy” on their tongue, but only on these lands. Those who raw, empty, believe everyone outside themselves is an idiot, and who lead their life with the illusion of being extremely well equipped, as long as they manage to pronounce the words “realpolitik” and exterior policy”.

“Let them go baaaaack to their countryyyyy… This is our landdd…. They should go home and fight… They are riiiiich… They are….”

We cannot know if he intended to go back. Hamza didn’t have the opportunity, he was beaten to death. He was seventeen years old. He was a youth, a child with a sense of dignity who wanted to protect a woman.

I can’t manage to write. I can’t manage to use the words he deserves. My mind is frozen, it locks up. This is not working.

Apart from a handful of people who will care about it, no one will bother about him, I know it, we know it. He will be pulled up in the news, his name will be mentioned from time to time, by a handful of people who still care about Nadira Kadirova 1; about Rabia Naz, a little girl knee high to a grasshopper 2; about Ali Ismail 3; about those who lost their lives on railroad tracks, the others…

Hamza will soon be forgotten. Like the others

For my part, I have nothing to say to the racists, the corrupt without honor, I have no values to mention, no principle to offer up. My concerns are about myself, this time.

As they say in my tongue: “Dear Hamza may your place be in Paradise, may I be forbidden your pardon, may your two hands remain on my collar…”

Murat Sevinç was born in Istanbul in 1970. He entered the Political Science Faculty of Ankara University in 1988. While completing his masters, he became an assistant at the Constitutional Tribunal. He completed his masters and his Ph.D in political science at the same Faculty. He has published articles on constitutional law and its history.
He was fired by decree in 2017 during the state of emergency while he was teaching at the Political Science Faculty of Ankara Univerity. He is the author of two books and of numerous articles notably in Diken.

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges 
*A word to English-speaking readers: in all instances where the original text is in Turkish or Kurdish, the English version is derived from French translations. Inevitably, some shift in meaning occurs with each translation. Hopefully, the intent of the original is preserved in all cases. While an ideal situation would call for a direct translation from the original, access to information remains our main objective in this exercise and, we hope, makes more sense than would a translation provided by AI…
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