London, 19 January 2008
It was small and intimate ceremony right outside the Westminster Abbey, in the heart of London. The place chosen to mark the anniversary of slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was very appropriate for the occasion - the Monument to the Innocent Victims of Oppression, Violence, War.
There were speeches and tributes by representatives of Armenian, Kurdish and Turkish communities. The event was organised by a number of Armenian organisations in London.
In this video from the ceremony - tribute to Hrant Dink by a representative of Turkish community. (Sorry for the quality of sound, there was no loudspeakers there, and this was all I could get from my camera)
There was singing towards the end of the ceremony and release of doves in memory of Hrant. The song was Khatchatur Pilikian's tribute to Hrant Dink. It was very symbolic - Liberty poem by Mikael Nalbandyan (music by Tigran Tchukhadjyan). Organisers distributed a leaflet with English version of the poem. There was very interesting info there I had no idea about:
"Rendered into English, titled as Liberty, by the great artist, writer and translator, Zabelle Boyajian (b. Diarbekir, 1872, d. London, 1957), the first woman artist exhibiting her one-woman show in London; the author of the first epic poem/play, in the English language, of the Sumerian epic, Gligamesh, 1926."
Liberty poem by Mikael Nalbandyan (translated by Zabelle Boyajian) was so appropriate to mark the anniversary of Hrant Dink's assasination, that I decided to re-post it here:
When the God of Liberty
Formed of earth this mortal frame,
Breathed the breath of life in me,
And a spirit I became,
Wrapped within my swaddling bands,
Bound and fettered helplessly,*
I stretched forth my infant hands
To embrace sweet Liberty.
All night long, until the dawn,
In my cradle bound I lay;
And my sobbing's ceaseless moan
Drove my mother's sleep away.
As I begged her, weeping loud,
To unbind and set me free;
From that very day I vowed
I would love thee, Liberty!
*Armenian babies are tied tightly into their cradles when they are put to sleep (Boyajian's own asterisk/notes)
A year after the killing of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, the BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Istanbul finds that the Turkish nationalism he challenged remains a potent force.
"Why was I chosen as a target?" More...
Thousands of people have gathered in the Turkish city of Istanbul to commemorate the murder last year of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. More...
see also Unzipped: Gay Armenia