10th September, 2023

An apology to Kenan Ayas, by Costis Efstathiou

My friend and comrade Kenan,

I apologize to you. I apologize to you for not being asked by the leaders of power in my country. My shared homeland that you loved and believed in so much. My little homeland that groans under the boot of the Turkish conqueror, just like yours, Kurdistan. Years ago you trusted your life to it. You sought asylum and protection, hunted by the Turkish state.

The same callous state that suppresses every voice of freedom and democracy. You told us then about the oppression you experienced as a Kurd in your homeland, about your Kurdish language that you were not allowed to speak in your homeland. The torture you were subjected to when you were still a child in the Turkish dungeons that permanently cost you your health. Your family members and relatives who killed you. Your brother who died in prison from the horrible torture. You even told us about the twelve years you spent in prison as a “terrorist” and the beating you received. About the disgusting solitary confinement cells. About the childhood dreams that were stolen from you. For your compatriots and classmates who “disappeared” at night in the streets of Mardin and Diyarbakir and whom no one ever saw again…

You also told us about the Kurdish struggle for freedom and equality. About your love for the fellow countrymen of Theophilus whom you adored. Theophilus Georgiades who gave his life for the freedom of peoples. Of Cyprus, Kurdistan, Rojava, the slaves everywhere. You sought asylum and international protection in the homeland of Theophilus, whom you loved.

For 11 years you lived free – under siege in Theophilus’ Cyprus. Free in Cyprus to fight for Freedom, besieged because your heart is always in the mountains of Kurdistan. The same mountains through which freedom passes in Cyprus. As you were taught by Theophilus, whom you loved.

I humbly apologize to you because for the same reasons that Theophilos’ Cyprus once protected you from the Turkish Minotaur, you were sent back to it by the Cyprus of the willing and the boneheaded. All those who give daily credentials in the corridors of submission to please the new order. He sent you first to Germany as a “Kurdish terrorist”. Because you spoke up and demanded freedom! You are a “terrorist” because you held, they say, fundraisers and speeches for Kurdistan and freedom of peoples and that you are a person who exerts influence on your compatriots. That is your crime. You are, they say, exerting influence in favour of freedom and you will spoil the “street” of all us comfortable people.

I apologize to the willing of our ministry of “justice” for repeating like parrots the Turkish fairy tale that you are a “terrorist” because you ask for freedom. I apologise for the idiots in the “high rooms” who cannot understand that the Kurds are not Turks.

I apologise for the policemen who, carrying out orders from the “higher echelons”, beat up the hunger strikers for supporting you and who had them tied like animals to the chairs in the police station for hours. I apologize to you for being deprived of a doctor and dignity in our prisons for sending you, a sick man, by the “Cypriot Justice”, whose only concern was “meeting deadlines”.

I apologize to you for the judge who forbade you fifteen times to speak in court. For our courts who did not dare to stand up and who proved that in Cyprus justice is not only blind but also dumb, dumb, timid and when it wants to, hasty. I apologise to you for the unacceptable insinuations that the Minister of Justice impertinently left about you, a sick man in prison.

I apologize for the silence of the lambs. For the indifference and the shrugging of shoulders of those who “don’t have time to deal with the mullahs”. I apologize for those parties that suddenly lost their speech about the Kurdish struggle in view of “participating in the government”.

Once a great poet and fighter in Cyprus, Doros Loizou had written:

“For God’s sake

Do not throw

Your heart

To the dogs.”

Sorry, Kenan!

P.S. 1 “Terrorists” is what the English called Evagoras Pallikaridis, Afxentiou, Karolos and all the flower of Cyprus, the Greeks, Russians, Yugoslavs and French partisans were “terrorists” for the Nazis because they wanted freedom. Nelson Mandela was also a “terrorist”.

P.S.2 Sweden succumbed to Turkish blackmail by initiating the extradition process to Turkey of the Kurdish militant Mehmet Kokulu, hoping to break Turkey’s veto against its NATO membership. As unacceptable as the Swedes are, what ‘benefit’ were we expecting by shredding Kenan Ayaz?