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On Decem­ber 28 2011, F‑16 fight­er planes rained down bombs on Robos­ki, a vil­lage bor­der­ing on Irak in the South­east­ern part of Şır­nak with a Kur­dish major­i­ty. A ver­i­ta­ble mas­sacre… The bombs left behind dis­mem­bered bod­ies in which the fam­i­lies could not iden­ti­fy their rel­a­tives. A total of 34 civil­ians were killed, includ­ing 19 children.

The sole survivor to the Roboski massacre:
“I will tell everyone, from the wolf to the bird. Everyone must know”

Hacı Bişkin for Gazete Duvar

In Robos­ki, the pain has been ongo­ing for 9 years. Servet Encu is the sole sur­vivor to the massacre.

Exact­ly nine years have gone by since the death of 34 per­sons, most of them chil­dren, fol­low­ing bomb­ings by fight­er planes on Robos­ki, Ulud­ere dis­trict in Şır­nak. The fam­i­lies’ judi­cial fight has been exhaust­ed fol­low­ing the neg­a­tive deci­sion from the Euro­pean Tri­bunal on Human Rights. Nonethe­less, the fam­i­lies con­tin­ue call­ing on the author­i­ties and ask­ing them to lis­ten to their con­science. Servet Encu, 41, father of six chil­dren, is the sole sur­vivor of the mas­sacre. He narrates…

That night, everything had become different”

Servet Encu explains that, at the time, move­ments back and forth across the bor­der were free and that the vil­lagers had set out to earn 150 Turk­ish lira. “We left our homes at 3 PM. Every­thing was as sim­ple as going from one vil­lage to another…Before that, half of our vil­lages, our fields were on the Ira­ki side. It was so sim­ple. Like going to our vil­lage, to our fields…We picked up our loads at the bor­der. That day, we were car­ry­ing oil and petrol. We loaded them on the mules and start­ed on the way back. Every­thing was nor­mal up to the half-way point. All of a sud­den we heard a noise. At first I thought it was a mor­tar shell, that hap­pened at times. But this time, there were bombs, rain­ing down on our heads. I called our fam­i­lies. That night, every­thing had become dif­fer­ent… The bombs were sound­less when they fell from the sky but light burst out from them. Every­where, every­thing was lit up as in day­time, and then we plunged into darkness…”

The bombs rained down on us”

Servet Encu was lucky because he was at the very front of the group. In no time, his friends his rel­a­tives were killed by the bombs: Encu con­tin­ues: “So the bombs start­ed rain­ing down on us, light­ing up the sky. It was so silent, I did­n’t hear a sound. A bomb land­ed close to me and I fell. I thought I would not stay alive. I start­ed yelling “flee!” And look­ing around me, I saw pieces of peo­ple and of mules fly­ing every­where. I let myself slide down the cliff. Then I pre­tend­ed I was dead. They stopped send­ing bombs on the spot where I was then.

I wait­ed like this for two hours. In the cold, I was about to freeze. I wait­ed like that, on the snow, as if I was wait­ing for death. Lat­er, I saw the light of approach­ing lamps, I heard the singing of a lament… That’s when I real­ized I was going to be saved.

When I opened my eyes, I saw all the bod­ies scat­tered on the snow. One of the vil­lagers noticed I was alive, and they got me out of there.

I heard a voice say­ing “he’s dead also”. I saw my com­pan­ion. She was close to me. When she saw I was alive, she howled “my broth­ers!” Her two broth­ers were dead.

It was like the Judg­ment Day. On the snow, uncle and nephew, son and father, brothers…Mostly chil­dren. They were prob­a­bly going to study, to become engi­neers, doc­tors. They had tak­en the road for pock­et mon­ey. May the god not impose this on anyone…”


The bur­ial…

Robos­ki. So every­one will know”

Servet Encu lost eleven peo­ple from his fam­i­ly in Robos­ki. “I will nev­er be able to for­get the pieces of peo­ple and of ani­mals in the sky”, he says, and adds: “They killed us, all right… Us, human beings, we could talk, we could defend our­selves. And the mules?… They have no lan­guage. Why did they kill them?

Now, when the snow falls, I can’t expe­ri­ence any joy. When I hear a plane fly­ing by, I jump, I won­der who will be killed this time. No, I haven’t seen a doctor…

The morn­ing after the mas­sacre, I asked myself why I was not dead. I think the god want­ed a wit­ness to remain. I can­not for­get and I will make sure that no one for­gets. I will tell every­one what hap­pened. From the wolf to the bird, everyone…To every­one with a con­science. So that the world will know what hap­pened in Roboski.

We had a can of petrol and a bar­rel of oil. Now I ask: why did you kill us? If we had com­mit­ted a crime, arrest us, put us on tri­al. But why kill us? You who would not even let a 13 year old child go out alone for gro­ceries. Would you ask your­self why a child that age would get involved in smug­gling? I’m address­ing myself to those who made the bombs rain down: Why don’t you put your­self in the place of the moth­er whose heart you burned by slaugh­ter­ing her child, and talk with her. Then, take into your arms an ani­mal’s lit­tle one…Do the account­ing with your conscience…”


Note by Kedistan :

Every year on the anniver­sary of the Robos­ki mas­sacre there are arti­cles, dec­la­ra­tions, pho­tos, videos and draw­ings pay­ing trib­ute to the victims.

But these acts of war against civil­ians, always tar­get­ing a spe­cif­ic pop­u­la­tion, are so com­mon that the his­to­ry of the peo­ples in Turkey are staked out by them as if the State of Turkey need­ed to mark its dom­i­na­tion and the respect of order through acts of bar­bar­i­ty and sav­agery. In a bit over a cen­tu­ry, this Repub­lic , not yet one hun­dred years old, has buried a geno­cide, pushed down pop­u­la­tions, com­mit­ted or had oth­ers com­mit pogroms, has built its foun­da­tions on the blood of the ones against the oth­ers.

Each mass mur­der, each destruc­tion or exac­tion, whether denied or claimed by the State, builds up in the mem­o­ries and fam­i­ly his­to­ries. When, in addi­tion, the evi­dence of crimes is negat­ed, as is still the case for Robos­ki, all the way to the very diplo­mat­ic Euro­pean Tri­bunal, resent­ment builds up.

One Jan­u­ary in Paris, three Kur­dish activists were assas­si­nat­ed. In this case also, after 8 years, the des­ig­nat­ed assas­sin is dead, and the Turk­ish State will nev­er acknowl­edge spon­sor­ing the crime despite evi­dence of the impli­ca­tion of its “ser­vices” in its exter­nal war against the Kur­dish movement.

And all the ges­tic­u­la­tions of French and Euro­pean gov­ern­ments in front of the Turk­ish regime con­tra­dict one anoth­er and can­cel them­selves out when jus­tice is con­stant­ly violated.

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.