Since you have gone, Ali İsmail

Since you have gone, Ali İsmail

Had you lived, you would have been 21 years old this week.

Since you have gone, let alone getting better, life has become worse Ali.

They try to enact laws so we don’t go to the streets, we don’t say no to injustices, to oppression, so we don’t wake up from its sleep.

Big men attacked women, punched, hit them in the head, Ali.

Since you have been gone…

Trees were uprooted; the soil was left naked.

Bulldozers went in to the forests; grandmas sang ballads.

Rivers flowed through dirt.

Pigs came down to the cities; they were lynched.

Paradise valleys were given for plunder; turtles were going to become homeless.

Construction noise was never turned down; skyscrapers broke into the skies.

They got us away from the sun each day.

Respectable vs unrespectable

Since you have gone…

They beat us; either with gas, and if not gas, with boots, and if not boots, with their words.

Whatever we objected to, whenever we raised our voice saying this is an injustice, this is unfair, this is illegal, each time we were accused of being a terrorist, Ali.

Since you have been gone…

People were shackled just because they tweeted; they were detained, Ali.

They asked for “respect” Ali, they were told, “this is unrespectable.”

We asked, “Where is respect for us?” but no one heard us.

Journalists were detained; sent to prison.

They wanted to take to the courts mothers who lost their sons, Ali.

A huge palace was constructed in your absence, Ali.

Tons of trees were cut so that they could be replaced by imported exotic trees.

We have done several calculations day and night on how many hungry would be fed by the money paid for the electricity of that palace. We are tired of making these calculations.

Since you have gone…

They were generous in their reductions of the sentences against women-killers. The more women died, the more aggressive the killers became. But they played the innocent when facing the judge.

They preferred to be incredibly unfair against a girl who was raped and she ended saying, “I am so small how could I have resisted?”

For the first time, women got the courage to tell about their harassments. They were scolded by those who said, “don’t talk about it in the public.”

The more we said “equality,” the more they said being weak is in the nature of women.
Men protected each other. Women were again lonely.

Is dreaming still for free?

Since you have gone…

Kids continued to be raped, sent to prison, beaten, forced to work illegally, Ali. They were shot, saying they were terrorists. Those who shot them were acquitted by saying it was self-defense.

Since you have gone, workers working for 12 hours for 35 Turkish Liras lost their lives on the roads and construction sites of those who did not want to take the necessary measures because it would have affected their wallet.

Our neighbor held elections. We were jealous, Ali.

We thought, “What happens in our neighbor, can it happen here too?”

But can you believe dreaming is still for free, Ali?

This is still the land of the “you are right in parallel of your wealth,” Ali.

We are failing in education, as usual, Ali. But doors are wide open in front of those graduating from religious schools.

The more we said “science,” the more they said “religion.” They asked, “why are you debating obligatory religious courses but not debating obligatory chemistry courses?” We were left speechless.

They kept bringing publication bans to trial. We could not get ahold of the news. We could not get information; we could not debate, Ali.

It’s like that Ali.

Since you have gone, we are not happy at all.

We are in a huge prison; a big grave.

We keep recalling you.

Good that you were born, even if your life was short-lived.

* Ali İsmail Korkmaz was beaten to death by a group of officers and civilians in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir during the 2013 Gezi protests.