I was 10 years old, and it was on tv. My parents were devastated, watching it with loud comments, cusses. I was sitting on our beige couch, trying to understand if this was a movie or no. Because it seemed to me things like this only happens in movies.
On July 2nd 1993, 35 artists/writers/musicians/intellectuals were killed in a civil attack in Sivas. They were there to celebrate 16th century Turkish poet Pir Sultan Abdal. Writer Aziz Nesin, who had recently translated Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” into Turkish was among them. The novel had caused controversy in the Muslim community around the world. On July 2nd 1993, after the Friday prayer a big group of fundamentalist islamists came in front of Madimak Hotel, where the artists were staying. They were shouting “Death to Infidel!”. They were after Aziz Nesin.
The crowd got bigger on TV, the police didn’t seem helpful, my parents were mentioning “Where is the government! How can they ignore?” It looked like no one expected that the crowd would get so big and enraged and eventually burn the hotel. They were unstoppable. Or no one stopped them. 33 artists died in the massacre in Sivas’ Madimak Hotel. Aziz Nesin survived, he was able to escape since no one recognized him in the crowd. The crowd were the people who didn’t read his books nor Salman Rushdie’s. They were believing on what was told to them.
Last year in March, the Sivas massacre case was dropped. Eight of the lawyers who defended the case are in the Turkish Assembly through Justice and Development Party (AKP) which rules the country.
I was sitting on our beige couch, I was scared.
I am scared now. Trying not to be hateful. Trying to believe in humanity and goodness, while the evil rules my country.
Sivas ’93; We didn’t forget, we won’t forget.