The woman in red speaks
Using the influence of a symbolic photograph is not a sign of justice
by Translating Taksim
17 January 2014 (original post)
I didn’t want to speak till now as I didn’t want to change the symbolic value of ‘the woman in red’ and I didn’t want to make an individual more important than the movement itself. But now I feel I owe an explanation especially to the families of those who were killed during Gezi. No one should talk of justice until the killers and those responsible for the killings are punished. Prosecuting a 23 years old police officer for acting alone yet still under the orders of his superiors is not sufficient compensation for the violence incited by a government who described the police as ‘legendary’.
During the 7 months since Gezi, no case has been brought against the police for those they injured. While this is the case, prosecution of a police officer spraying tear gas into my face contributes nothing to justice. It is clear that this prosecution will not go beyond using the influence a photograph had internationally and beyond an attempt to quash the rebellion of millions.
Prosecuting officers whose job security and working conditions are dictated by their superior is no consolation for those who lost their lives, suffered brain injuries, lost their eyes, broke their limbs and sustained other injuries, and for their families and those of us who managed to stay alive during Gezi.
ETHEM, ABDULLAH, MEHMET, İRFAN, MEDENİ, SELİM…
How unfortunate that the following were not wearing a red dress
Ethem Sarısülük – when he was shot in the head by a police bullet;
Abdullah Cömert – when he died after being hit on the head by a tear gas canister;
Mehmet Ayvalıtaş – when he was run over by a car during the protests in the “1st May” neighbourhood;
İrfan Tuna – when tear gassed in his work place;
Medeni Yıldırım – when he carried a placard against the construction of a police station;
Selim Önder – when he went to visit his daughter living in Gümüşsuyu;
Zeynep Eryaşar – when she joined her children guarding the Gezi Parkı;
Ahmet Atakan – when he protested to demand the killers be punished;
Ali İsmail Korkmaz – when he was beaten to death; and
Serdar Kadakal – whe he sat outside his place of work.
Berkin Elvan did not commit a crime other than going to the shops to buy a loaf of bread. [when he was shot in the head by a tear canister and has been in a coma since June, and earlier this month celebrating his 15th birthday still in a coma]
Just because these people were not accidentally captured in a press photo cannot be an excuse for not prosecuting and punishing those responsible for their death and suffering.
Of course today we cannot talk about a justice and equity in a system which prosecutes journalists fighting for freedom of speech, lawyers helping those unjustly treated and academicians defending independent science and protects those responsible for the killing of Hrant Dink (7 years ago this Sunday) and many others.
Despite all this, nothing will be forgotten and this unjust treatment will not be accepted. Justice will only be achieved through fighting for our rights and I believe Berkin will wake up for this.