This eulogy of Hrant Dink was delivered by his wife Rakel Dink on January 23, 2007. The funeral service turned into a demonstration of thousands of people gathering in the streets of Istanbul demanding free speech in Turkey.
I am here today full of immense grief and dignity. My children, my family, you and I are in mourning. This silent love bestows upon us some fortitude. It enables us to experience within us a sorrowful calm.
In the Bible, the Gospel of John 15:13, states, “there is no greater love than for a person to give up his life for the sake of his friends.”
My dear friends, today we send off half of my soul, my beloved, the father of my children and your brother. We are going to conduct a march without any slogans and without showing any disrespect to those around us. Today we are going to generate immense sound through our silence.
Today begins the moment when the darkness of the valleys rises towards brightness.
Whoever the assassin may be, whether he was 17 or 27 years old, I know that he was once a baby. My brothers and sisters, one cannot accomplish anything without first questioning the darkness that creates an assassin from such a baby…
My brothers and sisters,
It was Hrant’s love for honesty, for transparency, for his friends that brought him here. His love that challenged fear made him great. They say: “He was a great man.” I ask you: “Was he born great?” No! He too was born just like us. He did not come from the heavens; he too was created from earth. But what made him great was his living spirit; his deeds, his style, and the love in his eyes and his heart. It was what he did, the style he chose, the love in his heart that made him great.
A person does not become great naturally; it is through his deeds that he becomes great… Yes, he became great because he thought great things and pronounced great words. You too all thought great things by coming here. You talked greatly through your silence; you too are great.
But do not let this suffice; do not be content with this alone.
Hrant marked the birth of a new era in Turkey and you have all been his seal. With him changed the headlines, dialogues, and bans. For him, there were no taboos or forbidden topics. As it is stated in the scriptures, it all sprang from his heart. He paid a great price. Futures for which great prices are paid can only be accomplished through such love and belief; not with hatred, insults, by holding one blood superior to another. This rise is only possible if one sees and respects the other as oneself, if one assumes oneself to be the other.
They separated him from the heaven of his home he had created with the help of Jesus. They made him spread his wings to the eternal celestial heavens – before his eyes tired out, before his body had the chance to age, before he could become sick, before he could spend enough time with his loved ones.
We too shall come, my beloved. We too shall come to that matchless heaven. Love and love alone enters there. Love and love alone that is superior to the speech of humans and angels, to prophecy, to mastery of all the mysteries, to faith that moves mountains, to sharing all one possesses, even to giving up one’s body up to flames.
Only that love will enter heaven. There we shall live together forever in true love. A love that is not jealous of anyone, a love that does not covet the property of anyone else, a love that does not murder anyone, a love that does not belittle anyone, a love that holds one’s brother and sister more dear than oneself, a love that abandons one’s own allocation, a love that demands the rights of one’s brother and sister. A love that is found in the Messiah. And a love that has been poured into us.
Who could forget what you have done, what you have said, my beloved? Which darkness could erase them? Could fear? Could life? Could injustice? Could the temptations of the world? Or could death have them forgotten, my beloved? No, no darkness is capable of having them forgotten, my beloved.
I too wrote you a love letter, my beloved. Its cost was dear to me too, my beloved. I owe it to Jesus that I was capable of penning this, my beloved. Let us give his due to Him, my beloved. Let us give back everyone their due, my beloved.
You departed from those you loved; you departed from your children, your grandchildren. You departed from those here who came to send you off. You departed from my embrace. You did not depart from your country, my beloved.”
Translation by Fatma Müge Göçek.