Sunday, 25 January 2009

Patrick Azadian: "Are we really Hrant Dink?"

Highly recommend this excellent piece by Patrick Azadian. Very brave, and very honest. Sadly, many try to hijack Dink's legacy for their nationalistic agenda, which is a complete opposite to what Dink's legacy should be.

(Patrick Azadian is a writer and the creative director of a local marketing and graphic design studio living in Glendale. He is a columnist in Glendale News Press.)

On the inside, are we Hrant Dink?
Glendale News Press

Monday marked the anniversary of the murder of Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian author who championed freedom of speech and tolerance.

On the occasion, some chose the slogan “I am Hrant Dink” to express their support. On many of Internet’s social utility sites supporters swapped their personal images with that of Dink. [...]

Are we Hrant Dink?

People like Dink do not come along very often. Indeed, he was not a man of “sides.” He wanted the Armenians to set themselves free of the “poison” they carry in their veins because of the act of genocide. He did not allow the act of genocide to be the main determinant of his identity. [...]

Am I Hrant Dink?

Make no mistake, Dink did not forget the past. When referring to the genocide he once said: “Call it what you want. I know what happened to my people.”

His self-assured approach suggested that he cared intensely for the present and the future, not just the past. He exuded confidence reserved for individuals free of victim mentality.

And he did this in a hostile environment. Not from Glendale or Montreal. Not from Washington, D.C. or Paris.

Referring to his environment Dink said: “To be honest, I feel haunted day in, day out. Ever seen a pigeon? Seen how it keeps turning its head? It shudders at the slightest noise, ready to fly away any instant. Can you call that life? The difference is that I can’t fly away like a pigeon.” [...]

Are we really Hrant Dink?

Dink is still not fully understood in Turkey nor the Diaspora. So forgive me for feeling that the slogan “We are all Hrant Dink” can ring hollow at times.

I leave you with a few simple thoughts:

To my Armenian brothers and sisters: “Are we willing to free ourselves of our genocide-centric identity? How long will we allow an outside entity to dictate our actions?”

To my Turkish cousins: “Is your collective conscience clear? Are you proud of what your ancestors did to mine?”

We are not Hrant Dink.

*Thanks to Onnik for this link.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I also think that it's relevant to point people in the direction of historians such as Ara Sarafian who are working in Turkey and engaging Turkish academics and civil rights organizations alike without bitterness or political goals.

Of course, some in the Diaspora don't like that just as they never liked Dink and recently, there have been attempts to get Sarafian to shut up. His response is required reading, in my opinion.

Study the Armenian Genocide with confidence

Sarafian has also pointed out the irony with many Armenians taking on Dink as a hero even though some accused him of being a traitor and working for the Turks. Background on my blog:

Diaspora: Ara Sarafian Responds