Today’s Zaman Columnists
YAVUZ BAYDAR News
My grief is very, very deep. I have lost a wonderful friend and a courageous colleague. Could we see it coming ? I remember an evening, months ago, in a restaurant. The infamous Pamuk trial had ended in tumult, with Orhan Pamuk leaving the Þiþli Courthouse followed by an angry mob. That evening we were all together in a display of solidarity for Pamuk, authors, intellectuals, artists and journalists. One moment we were by ourselves : Orhan, Hrant and I. Deeply worried, I told Orhan that he really should watch himself. In Turkey, we have a dark record of mistreating intellectuals, I said. Just remember Sabahattin Ali, Uður Mumcu, Ahmet Taner Kýþlalý, Musa Anter, Çetin Emeç, Ýpekçi... Be careful. Orhan was affected : he seemed to share my concern. But Hrant swiftly retorted We shouldnt worry, they wouldnt dare. And when Orhan moved away from us, he whispered in my ear : Whatever happens, happens. I know where we live. He had a great heart, Hrant. He never concealed his emotions, even in the most heated debates. I remember cautioning him on this. But at the same time, those who know Hrant will tell you how much he loved to tell the truth, how he loved to be bold and how much he loved his native Turkey and his brothers in Armenia. Because he sought reconciliation through truth, he was hated by hardliners both sides. He was a target. I may have lost a friend, but we all know the process of tolerance, peace and understanding has lost one of its staunchest defenders. His dream was a Turkey at peace with its past, and a Turkey with free speech. May his great soul rest in peace.
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