Happy birthday Hrant!

Happy birthday Hrant!

Today is Hrant Dink’s birthday.

If he had not been murdered, he would have been 58 years old. We would have been able to look at his smiling face, into his eyes that reflected his goodness, and enjoy his inner beauty not from photographs but in the flesh.

It wasn’t meant to be. He never gave up his struggle for his ideals, for peace and for brotherhood. His prize was a bullet fired from behind.

The Hrant Dink Foundation has been granting an award in his name for four years to encourage the struggle for ideals for all people, as Hrant did at the cost of his life. This prize is given every year to two individuals, institutions or groups, one from Turkey and one from abroad, who have worked for a world free of discrimination, racism and violence, for a freer, more just world, who take individual risks for these ideals, who try to rock paradigms, who use the language of peace, and who, while doing all this, inspire and gives hope to people on the road to continuing their struggles.

I wish we had stood by Hrant in time and not left him alone.

No one will give up their plaque-presenting habit

Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek and I have been thinking the same things. Reactions still continue to the Afyon governor’s plaque incident.

Çiçek said, “Our governors should give up this plaque-presenting flattery now.”

Impossible. Our lives are all plaques. Whoever has more plaques in his office, that guy walks differently.

I’ve never seen anywhere else in the world with as great an amount of plaque consumption as ours. A Turk is thrilled to present a plaque to another Turk. The recipient assumes he is being honored; the presenter calculates that he may ask for favors from the person he has given a plaque to. This is a strange cycle.

Unless it is banned, the plaque traffic will not stop. Be sure that even if it is banned, then something will be given and taken secretly one way or another.

Sycophancy in general is embedded in our DNA.

This education system trains only mediocre youth

We are loudly debating the shortcomings of the 4+4+4 education system. However, no one is discussing the low quality of the education we are providing to our youth.

Columnist Serdar Turgut’s piece the other day was very true. He was drawing attention to the fact that we are a mediocre society.

How can we not be? The media is mediocre, intellectuals are mediocre. Indeed, the education system is mediocre.

We expend money and effort for our youth to have more education, but we do not talk about how outdated the lessons we are teaching them are, how they are based on memorization, and how much they need to be modernized.

Our teachers are falling apart. They cannot move beyond a mentality of heroism.

Look at OECD statistics, and you will see Turkey falling through the floor in terms of education. And then we deceive ourselves with slogans of “Leader Turkey” or “Strong Turkey.”

Discrimination among martyrs
We are going through a dark age, when coffins wrapped in flags are scattered all around the country. People die, children are orphaned.

One person who has been left childless is Mesut Deri. He lost his son in 2010 in the Keşan district of the western province of Edirne, to an incident of “traffic terrorism.” His son İbrahim Deri was a gendarmerie staff sergeant and was processing an accident when he was hit by another car driven by a drunk driver.

İbrahim was married with a child. He was performing his duties. In other words, he was also martyred. However, article 3713, defining martyrs of terrorism was not applicable for the family. His father has been seeking state assistance since that day. He says his son lost his life while serving the country and the state should help his family. He is saying, “We should at least have equal value in the eyes of the state with the families of those who lost their lives in Uludere.”