“I have a special affection for 23 Aprils. This date can also be the day my wife and I obtained married. Our nuptial night time happened on the night time between 23 April and 24 April. This was the time we gave life into our first youngster. Neither 23 nor 24 April. Perhaps that second is 23.5 April.” – Hrant Dink “23.5 April”
Hrant Dink wrote these phrases in an article revealed in Agos on April 23, 1996.
Over the course of a 52-year life that was tragically reduce brief by his assassination, the number 23 seems to be the fateful double digits that symbolically bind the ties of his life’s work and legacy. Did he know that 23 years after publishing this text, in 2019, the symbolism of what he coined, 23.5 would develop into the testomony and testimony of his life’s work and future?
Within the wake of January 19, 2007, that darkish and notorious day when he was murdered in front of Agos, the Hrant Dink Basis has worked tirelessly to commemorate his life’s work by creating public platforms to deal with human, civil and minority rights in Turkey, oral historical past publications and conferences devoted to a plethora of topics heretofore deemed taboo in Turkey.
If the saying is true that one rose doesn’t deliver spring, these previous two Aprils certainly did for Armenians in Armenia last yr in 2018, and this yr in Istanbul in 2019.
This website is a place of engagement and a sincere wanting glass into what it means to take up the pen and wrestle for social transformation and awakening by confronting grave social and political injustices.
On April 23, 2018, the individuals of Armenia led by Nikol Pashinyan declared victory when the former Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan publicly resigned after a grassroots revolution led by Pashinyan changed the complete socio-political course of Armenia by way of peaceful demonstrations and mass acts of civil disobedience that resonated all over the world.
Precisely one yr later, on April 23, 2019, the Hrant Dink Basis unveiled the “23.5 Hrant Dink Website of Memory” at the Agos headquarters the place Hrant cemented his legacy and was tragically murdered. April 23 can also be the day of Hrant and Rakel’s anniversary.
Each of those momentous days, one yr aside, converse poetically to the fusion of social change and public consciousness not just between Yerevan and Istanbul, however for the Armenian experience at giant, and its relationship to the global fresco of social and human rights recreation changers. This is what Hrant struggled for throughout his life. This previous yr has been nothing if not the yr of dreamers and underdogs.
Hrant Dink’s Website of Memory is a very distinctive and visionary undertaking long within the works by the Hrant Dink Basis. Its vision is to create a public area where all human beings are welcome to experience and share in the story of Hrant’s life and legacy. The creation of this area can also be to nurture significant dialogue, analysis and to impress important questions in regards to the state of human rights and social transformation in Turkey. This is achieved by visually creative and emotionally gripping installations that spotlight the life and occasions, trials and tribulations of Hrant.
As you enter the doors into the Website of Reminiscence, the publications of the Foundation greet the customer. The books are a cornucopia of themes referring to human rights in Turkey, oral histories and stories from the inspiration on their tasks.
Just past the reception desk is a standard area for workshops and analysis. Ten-plus years of Agos (1996-2007) are exquisitely housed in a touchscreen archive open to guests and researchers.
Several pictures of Hrant’s childhood and youth, including private paperwork and narrative touchstones, greet the visitor as they move from the occasion area into the corridor leading to his workplace. Wallpapered from floor-to-ceiling is a cinematic mix of front-page articles from the vast archives of Agos. Every article is rigorously positioned to create a fusion of aesthetic and narrative resonance. The visible and emotional effect is particularly arresting upon first entrance.
The Tirttava is a room highlighting the discrimination Hrant confronted throughout his obligatory army service. The dual objective of this room is for the customer to turn into conversant in Hrant’s narrative in addition to share their own experiences of discrimination.
Shifting down the hall, a haunting and very slender, closet-like area has been transformed into the Rest room Choir, an installation that evokes the grim and darkish chapter after the 1980 army coup when Hrant was arrested, enduring psychological and physical torture.
Further down the hall near Hrant’s previous workplace is the Dovelike Disquiet Room and the Agos Room, dedicated to the historical past and archives of Agos replete with prescient political cartoons drawn on the partitions by Hrant’s colleagues on the day of the opening.
Across the Agos archives is the Dovelike Disquiet Room, another haunting show of the hate campaign towards Hrant beginning in 2004. The chronology is laid out with narrative precision, mixing video and reportage.
In the direction of the top of the Website of Memory is the Atlantis Civilization Room, dedicated to Hrant’s childhood in the fabled Camp Armen in Tuzla where he met his spouse, Rakel. Probably the most emotional heirlooms in the room is a shovel that Hrant used to work the land.
The word Agos in Armenian means “furrow” or “plow.” For millennia, our ancestors tilled the earth of Western Armenia, paving the soil with recent crops to nourish and nurture. With Agos, Hrant used his pen and voice just like the fabled shovel to sprout new seeds of ideas and to nurture dialogue and openness in a society deeply illiberal of minority rights and civil liberties.
The last stop on the Website of Reminiscence tour is Hrant’s workplace. A replica of Arshile Gorky’s well-known portrait together with his mother welcomes guests together with the yellows and reds of Martiros Saryan’s pastoral pictures. One can imagine Hrant staring into these photographs after an extended day’s work, drifting on the country and the traditional spirits that tied him so deeply to his ancestral land. A video of considered one of his final interviews and reflections airs on a display, capturing his meditative speech underscored by the darkish weight of intolerance and dying threats that he endured over the past yr of his life, in addition to reminiscences of the kindness of strangers who understood his wrestle.
Staring on the chair and desk, an indescribable sense of loss pounds into that strange place of one’s conscience where the magnitude of the irreparable loss is by some means slightly alleviated by the decision that his life’s work has been magnificently memorialized as a testomony to humanity. The final set up behind Hrant’s desk is Salt and Mild, created by the world-renowned artist Sarkis as an area to ponder and mirror on Hrant’s life and legacy. A pink neon mini duplicate of Camp Armen hangs within the middle of the room, the past hovering eternally with the present sure for the longer term.
It is upon us to proceed taking over the quill, the microphone, the loudspeaker and the digital camera as our shovels to plow by way of a new day with the resolute dignity, bravery and starvation for a better tomorrow.
Circling the Website of Memory over the course of the day, a sense of something ineffable hovered in my soul. In optics, nature and poetry, the huge vacuum of darkness breaks from skinny slivers of sunshine that deliver the dawn that turns into the day, fading again into twilight. We’re caught in this cosmic cycle of life unto dying, violence unto peace, endings and rebirths. All of this stays unchanged from the newborns of tomorrow born to descendants of genocides previous, to the nameless and the faceless buried by the merciless pages of our historical past. They’ve seeded in us the devotion to struggle in the identify of justice, fact and peace that the indigenous minorities of this region have lengthy been denied by a denialist state.
Instilling respect for dialogue concerning the public memory and collective conscience of any society grappling with racism, bigotry and human rights abuses is an enormous, thankless and life-altering activity. Hrant Dink was a soul for all seasons who gave his all to this quest. It’s upon us to proceed taking over the quill, the microphone, the loudspeaker and the digital camera as our shovels to plow by means of a new day with the resolute dignity, bravery and starvation for a greater tomorrow.
The work of the Hrant Dink Foundation in envisioning and realizing the Website of Reminiscence is actually momentous and intimately monumental in its creation of a public area the place individuals come together to expertise and share in the legacy of Hrant’s life, work and wrestle to convey really tangible change and consciousness in Turkey’s long and dark historical past of human, civil and minority rights abuses.
This website is a place of engagement and a honest wanting glass into what it means to take up the pen and wrestle for social transformation and awakening by confronting grave social and political injustices. The location is the grain of hope in this huge sea of intolerance in Turkey, holding courtroom after the tried coup in 2016 as the world’s leading jailer of journalists.
We’ll continue to stroll these halls and mirror on the occasions of the previous few years, particularly now when so lots of our beloved associates, colleagues, journalists, teachers and human rights activists are being unjustly imprisoned to this very day.
Is it irony, destiny or coincidence that the Website of Reminiscence is housed in the Sebat building? The which means of Sebat in Turkish is a confluence of “willpower, perseverance and standing by one’s word and choice.” All interpretations are welcome.
The last serendipity of the quantity 23 in Hrant’s life is Psalm 23 that he recited day by day. You already know the one…
Although I walk
by means of the darkest valley,
I’ll worry no evil,
for you’re with me…