[For Berkin Elvan, who died on 11 March 2014 at seven in the morning. He had been in a coma for 269 days after having been shot by a gas canister while walking to buy bread during the Gezi Protests. He was fourteen years old when he was shot, and fifteen years old when he died. We are publishing a translation of Ece Ayhan’s poem "The Monument of the Unknown Student" in his memory. Ece Ayhan (1931-2002) wrote this poem in 1973. When he was asked how he was influenced to write it, he answered: "A student called Battal Mehetoğlu was murdered by the police; he was a student leader in the Architecture and Engineering Academy in the 1970s. At his funeral, someone asked his mother, İnsaf, what she was feeling. She said: ‘They gave my son`s labor into his hands.’ This is the monument of unknown student.”
For a list of children who have been killed in Turkey by security forces and as a result of mines, click here.]
Monument of the Unknown Student
Look here, here, underneath this black marble
A child is buried; if he had lived for one more recess
He would have risen from nature to the blackboard.
He was killed in a lesson of the state.
The wrong question of nature and the state was
- Where does the Mavarannahr flow?
The only correct response from a raised hand in the last row
- Into the heart of the insurrection of a pale people’s children.
His ragman father, tying a purple-laced scarf around his neck
To stifle yet another death, wrote:
And I had made him believe that he had toys.
His mother, a night laundress, who from then on
Wore a military coat and nursed a secret fawn, had it written:
Ah, they gave my son’s labor into his hands.
His friends have woven this poem from oleanders:
Never mind 128! In the cadets` boarding schools of suicide
Every child has an older child in his heart.
On holidays the whole class will send you birds without envelopes
[Translated by the Turkey Page Editors, with assistance from Ulku Tekten]
Meçhul Öğrenci Anıtı
Buraya bakın, burada, bu kara mermerin altında
Bir teneffüs daha yaşasaydı,
Tabiattan tahtaya kalkacak bir çocuk gömülüdür
Devlet dersinde öldürülmüştür.
Devletin ve tabiatın ortak ve yanlış sorusu şuydu:
- Maveraünnehir nereye dökülür?
En arka sırada bir parmağın tek ve doğru karşılığı:
- Solgun bir halk çocukları ayaklanmasının kalbine!dir.
Bu ölümü de bastırmak için boynuna mekik oyalı mor
Bir yazma bağlayan eski eskici babası yazmıştır:
Yani ki onu oyuncakları olduğuna inandırmıştım
O günden böyle asker kaputu giyip gizli bir geyik
Yavrusunu emziren gece çamaşırcısı anası yazmıştır:
Ah ki oğlumun emeğini eline verdiler.
Arkadaşları zakkumlarla örmüşlerdir şu şiiri:
Aldırma 128! İntiharın parasız yatılı küçük zabit okullarında
Her çocuğun kalbinde kendinden büyük bir çocuk vardır
Bütün sınıf sana çocuk bayramlarında zarfsız kuşlar gönderecek.