Rene — Extracts from Hrant Dink's last editorial

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Hrant Dink, a ‘frightened pigeon’
Dink’s murder triggered outrage and grief across Turkey
The following are extracts from the final article by Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, published in his newspaper Agos on 19 January, the day he was shot dead in Istanbul.
At first when an investigation was launched against me for insulting Turkishness I did not feel troubled. This was not the first time…
I had complete trust in what I’d written and what my intentions had been.
Once the prosecutor had the chance to evaluate the text of my editorial as a whole, not that single sentence which made no sense by itself, he would understand that I had no intention of “insulting Turkishness” and this comedy would come to an end. I was sure of myself. But surprise! A lawsuit was filed…
In covering every hearing the newspapers, editorials and television programmes all referred to how I had said that “the blood of the Turk is poisonous”.
I may see myself as frightened as a pigeon, but I know that in this country people do not touch pigeons
Each time, they were adding to my fame as “the enemy of the Turk”.
In the corridors of the courthouse, the fascists physically attacked me with racist curses.
They bombarded me with insults. Hundreds of threats hailed down for months by phone, email and post – increasing all the time.
I persevered through all this with patience awaiting the decision that would acquit me.
Then the truth would prevail and all those people would be ashamed of what they had done.
‘False information’
My only weapon was my sincerity. But when the decision came out my hopes were crushed. From then on, I was in the most distressed situation a person could possibly be in.
The memory of my computer is filled with angry, threatening lines sent by citizens
The judge had made a decision in the name of the “Turkish nation” and had it legally registered that I had “denigrated Turkishness.” I could have coped with anything but this.
In my understanding, the denigration of a person on the basis of any difference – ethnic or religious – is racism, and there was no way this could ever be forgiven…
Those who tried to single me out and weaken me have succeeded. With the false information they oozed into society, they created a significant segment of the population who view Hrant Dink as someone who “insults Turkishness”.
The memory of my computer is filled with angry, threatening lines sent by citizens from this sector…
How real are these threats? To be honest, it is impossible for me to know for sure.
What is truly threatening and unbearable for me is the psychological torture I place myself in. The question that really gets to me, is: ‘What are these people thinking about me?’
Unfortunately I am now better-known than before and I feel people looking at me, thinking: ‘Oh, look, isn’t he that Armenian guy?’
I am just like a pigeon, equally obsessed by what goes-on on my left and right, front and back. My head is just as mobile and fast.
‘Heaven and hell
What did Foreign Minister Gul say? Or Justice Minister Cicek? ‘There is no need to exaggerate about Article 301 (on insulting Turkishness). Has anyone actually been put in prison?’
As if going to prison was the only way to pay the price. This is the price. This is the price.
2007 will probably be an even harder year for me
Do you ministers know the price of making someone as scared as a pigeon?
What my family and I have been through has not been easy. I have considered leaving this country at times…
But leaving a ‘boiling hell’ to run to a ‘heaven’ is not for me. I wanted to turn this hell into heaven.
We stayed in Turkey because that was what we wanted – and out of respect for the thousands of people here who supported me in my fight for democracy…
I am now applying to the European Court of Human Rights. I don’t know how long the case will take, but what I do know is that I will continue living here in Turkey until the case is finalised.
And if the court rules in my favour I will be very happy and will never have to leave my country.
2007 will probably be an even harder year for me. The court cases will continue, new ones will be initiated and God knows what kind of additional injustices I will have to face.
I may see myself as frightened as a pigeon, but I know that in this country people do not touch pigeons.
Pigeons can live in cities, even in crowds. A little scared perhaps, but free.