The March for Justice in Turkey - Zeynep Oral

History will record this march, my child: We are walking as a silent protest for justice, without which there can be no democracy. By justice, I mean real justice, beneficial not only to the government but to everybody equally.
This march is for the right to oppose, which has been denied. It is to be able to give voice to thoughts without fear.
See, my child, this march is to defend the rights of the coal miners who were killed in Soma, western Turkey, because of working under inhuman conditions. It is to put an end to the indecency of the scandalous disregarding the value of human life. It is to highlight the fact that the right to live is the most precious value among all.
Our march is to defend the rights of more than 100 thousand civil servants and hundredths of Academics  who lost their right to work. It is to prevent the deaths of the two devoted teachers who have been on hunger strike for more than four months now: Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça. They are among the citizens unfairly expelled from their jobs.

This March, my child, It is to defend the rights of the soldiers sent to the front upon provocative speeches in favor of war. It is to say no to wars.
History will emphasize that this march, initiated by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, is above all political parties and has been massively supported by citizens from a variety of backgrounds, different opinions, different beliefs.  -from Ankara to Istanbul, more than 450 kilometers.
This march, my child, is for the sake of my friends, numerous journalists who are in prison without conviction; not only my colleagues from this newspaper,Cumhuriyet, namely Güray, Musa, Ahmet, Turhan, Kadri, Akın, Önder, Bülent, M. Kemal, Murat, Hakan and Y. Emre but for so many more.
This march is also the voice of the revolting women who have been exploited and harassed by violence at home, outdoors, at police stations and the judiciary.
We are walking to protest the “new” education system that aims to raise a pious and a hateful , revengeful youth.   We  want our children  and youngsters  to grow up without fear and hatred, equipped with scientific thinking and be creative  and  in harmony with conscience.
More than a decade now, in the name of  “progress” and more income,  numerous forests, rivers , land, our environment  have been destroyed. This march is also the voice of all those forests, those trees. We want make those shameless ones hear us: they have ruined  the environment for their personal gains.
This march is to regain secularism. It is to stop the counter-revolution in all areas of life: education, arts and sciences, social life.

Look, my child, hundreds of thousands of people have various reasons to participate in this march. The pages of this newspaper would not suffice to make a complete list. TO give you the bottom line: this march is for human dignity. It is to defend our human dignity, our honor, our pride.
This is the most peaceful and significant march I have ever witnessed; no other march was embraced by so many people from various backgrounds. Remember it as it is, my child.
You should also know this: The oppressors have claimed that all the walking people are “terrorists” . They have accused us of being traitors and enemy of the nation... We did not back up!
Initially, they tried to make fun of this march. “They should have taken the fast train,” etc. But when they saw that thousands, hundredths of thousands of citizens have been joining, they began to use other means such as swearing, threatening. They have tried to terrorize the justice-seekers. In vain. They have failed: We are not afraid.
They said: “A thousand different kinds of people cannot come together.” But the whole world sees that people with various ideas are able to unite.
The oppressors have failed: They have not scared the protesters. They have not been able to stop us. They have not been able to block us.
Why? Because the power of this march is righteousness.
This march is rooted in conscience.
Therefore, let us keep joining, uniting and marching.
Cumhuriyet, 6 July 2017