Speech of Aziz Nesin: Letter to Carl von Ossietzky

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“Mankind is kind, he would’t accept heavy words. If you call him donkey he gets angry, but if you ride him like donkey, he doesn’t care.” quote from Aziz Nesin

Speech of Aziz Nesin:

Letter to Carl von Ossietzky

I would like to express my most sincere thanks to the appreciative people, who thought to give me Carl von Ossietzky Prize, the year of 1993.

To be deemed worthy of the award which was drawn up in the name of Carl von Ossietzky who has passed his 49 years very short life with struggle for democracy, human rights and peace, is an unique honor for me.

I bow respectfully to the memory of Carl von Ossietzky, who spent his youth in the concentration camps where were ignored even the living which is the most natural human right, for the sake of human rights, and who died in a corner of hospital due to the tuberculosis.

My dear audience, now to you, I will read the letter I’ve wrote to my big brother Carl von Ossietzky who is 16 years older(*) than me and the citizen of the world by knowing that it will never reach to his hand.

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Dearest Carl von Ossietzky,

I would love to give you good news from this beautiful world where my sojourn time decreased, but as a matter of fact, despite all my optimism, unfortunately I will not be able to give you good and beatiful news from our world.

Which one I would tell you, dear Ossietzky?

People have started to value the human rights more than the times when you lived in the world. It needs to be pleased, doesn’t it? But you do not be happy right now; actually it doesn’t like that at all. While the people are becoming more aware of the value of human rights, the ones who ignore and who are against human rights continue to the human rights violation by applying new methods that they discovered. These new methods are ensuring the violation of human rights, while they are seeming to protect and defend human rights. The most dramatic aspect of these new methods is that the people whose rights are violated, are not aware of who violated, and also even they are not aware of whether their rights are violated or not.

Dear Carl von Ossietzky,

We have learned from you what human rights are and how they could be obtained. We owe a lot to you. We now know that as same as human rights can be violated in the behaviors of the individual against the individual, the human rights are violated in the individual’s behavior against the society or in the society’s behavior against individual. Today, the most talked controversial issue is the behavior of the states or governments’ behavior which is against human rights, on their citizens. Today, those times when a state that was in violation of human rights could say “you can not interfere to my internal affairs, I do what I want to do on my citizens,” to the other states which were respectful to the human rights, have passed already. However, today, human rights are being violated by the new methods that I have mentioned without being noticed, by the states.

I am, as being a writer of one of the countries which were called as “the third world” before the period of unipolar globalization called the new world order, and nowadays which are known as “underdeveloped” or “developing”, as being a writer of Turkey, I feel such states’ acts against the state, their acts against the human rights until my bones and marrow. The human rights of the people and intellectuals of the countries like my country, are being violated by the countries which are considered as civilize, supposed high-tech countries, modern civilization countries and the countries that experienced the industrial revolution on time. Thanks to the newly discovered violation ways of human rights, even the people whose rights are violated would not know it. Except this, the people and intellectuals of the state that violated human rights of an another state, do not know their state have violated the human rights of the citizens of an another state; only their government officials and politicians know.

I can show the concrete examples for what I said. But I prefer to talk in general instead of giving the concrete examples.

Supposing that, the country A is backward or was left in backward, or it is one of the countries which is underdeveloped or developing. In this A country, both individually and socially human rights are being violated. Even in A country, human rights are being violated based on the laws.

The countries X, Y and Z, which respect human rights, naturally do not remain silent on the situation of A country. On the grounds that A country is violated human rights, the political and economic relations of the X, Y and Z countries with A country, have been deteriorated.

However in some day we see that, the broken realitionship of X country with A country suddenly has been fixed. Not only X country, also the countries Y and Z can suddenly improve/fix their relationships with A country.

Well, while the human rights violations are still the same as before in country A, even the rights are violated based on the laws, which reason it might be the reason for changing relationships of X, Y and Z countries which are thought to be respectful of human rights, with country A?

The answer of these questions should be found by today’s intellectual with thinking.

These reasons are the following events which are seemed as if they do have no realitionship with human rights:

The country X will set up a factory in the country A. The country Y will build a bridge in the country A. The country Z will sell the airplane to the country A.

A factory, a bridge, a weapon sale tender, these cause to forget human rights of the high technology and civilization countries which seem to be respectful to human rights. Neither the people and intellectuals of the counties X, Y, Z nor the people and intellectuals of the backward country A, are aware of all these, also thanks to the media.

Dearest Carl von Ossietzky,

It seems that to establish world peace, to actualize the democracy and democratization, to apply human rights in full, for all them our work is much more difficult than before. Because the people and the intellectuals of both the cheating countries and cheated countries, are deceived without their notice. The number of those who are not deceived and can see the truths, is decreasing day by day. Because every superior concept such as high technology, contemporary science, art and philosophy are in the hands of the opposite party and in their service.

Dear Carl von Ossietzky,

I am sorry that I was not able to give you good news from our world on the 45th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights while I am taking this award which was drawn up in the name of you. The human rights violations I have mentioned above, have not took a part yet in the Human Rights Declaration. I do not believe that this distorted order will change as long as the politicians and administrators who represent the biggest states, remain as the secret human rights violators.

There isn’t any hope? Is there no light at all? As long as there are those who see the truth and those who investigate the causes of the events, even if their numbers are few, there is hope. A tiny spark can produce very big fires, it could be causing a great light. We have no remedy other than hope.

With my warmest regards, I express my thanks, dear Ossietzky.

December 7, 1993 Tesvikiye, Istanbul

(*) Aziz Nesin birth date is 1915, Carl von Ossietzky birth date is 1889

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Aziz Nesin was a great humorist and satirist of Turkish literature, and political activist. If some one asks me, “who made you laugh too much on this planet?”, I can give his name in my top five list. His life has passed with struggle. He has been always against wrong managements. When looking his life we see that he never gave up. And his readers always esteemed/esteem his value. After more than 100 books (many of them has been translated into over thirty languages) poems, novels, short stroies and theatre works, after many awards from many countries such as Italy, Bulgaria, Russia, Germany, after built Nesin Mathematics Village in Sirince county Izmir where more than 100 children learn math with enjoyable ways by avoiding fear of failure on Math every year, and after so after many beauties he left behind, he left this planet in 1995.

His struggle life can be explaned with many time he was put in jail due to his political ideas, and in one time, he was tried to kill by burning in Madimak, Sivas city of Turkey in 1993. Madimak massacre is a kind of black stain in Turkey’s history. Same day, 33 poets, writer and folk artists have been killed by burning in Madimak Hotel by bigot Islamists mob. Aziz Nesin narrowly escaped a lynching attempt and death, while he was tried to run away from hotel fire.

There is a describing in English wikipedia page of Aziz Nesin: “Nesin supposedly provided a strong indictment of the oppression and brutalization of the common man. He satirized bureaucracy and “exposed economic inequities in stories that effectively combine local color and universal truths”.

I would like to add to this an another explanation from his voice from Turkish wikipedia page of him with translate by myself.

His understanding about humor and art

Aziz Nesin is describing the art, artist, and humor in the interview of Journalist Zeynep Oral, Milliyet news paper Art Magazine. [6]

When it comes to humor, I have to say from the beginning that I understand the functional humor which serves a function for the people’ benefits. The factor which drove me to the humorous writing was the conditions of that day’s environment. In short, I say; Humor is often deprivation and poverty, the anger which comes from life, furiousness, the way of putting forth own grudge. Of course each person who has difficulty would not be humorous with every painful condition, but these severe conditions improve one’s humorous ability. Humor is a destructive, as can be understood from the individual condition necessary for the growth of humor. If humorous can direct his disappointment, hatred, anguish, grudge to the goal which needs to be destroyed in real, and if humorous can use his/her humor weapon for people’ benefit, it becomes a positive destructive.

Each writer who has the class conscious knows that he is self-guided, motivated by ownself unavoidably. Any politicians, any directors cannot direct to a writer who has the class consciousness. The function of art? I do have the different ideas which do not fit with the others. On the condition that the artist identifies himself with his own class, the artist needs to reveal the function of art with self-exclusion and self-existence by reaching himself. Because of he is identified with his class, while he tells about himself, he tells about his class.

I don’t like to use “was, were” in past tense for some great humans, after their bodies left this planet. It’s not about accepting or denying death. Because, even if their physical existences aren’t here, they do have still power on laughing or thinking. Aziz Nesin still makes me laugh when he makes me think with his works. That’s why, I’d like to use “is” for him, because he is one of the greatest humorists and satirists which the mankind could see.

I hope that for those who have not known Aziz Nesin yet, Carl von Ossietzky reward he has received also his letter, and what I have conveyed (which is in fact, these are only one percent of his life) has been enough for now. I know that this planet is such a beautiful place with such beautiful people and their works. Also, I hope that the people’s awareness will increase day by day, as same as in the letter of Aziz Nesin to Carl von Ossietzky: “We have no remedy other than hope,” for now.

PS: As you can guess my Earthling friends, the speech and letter of Aziz Nesin to Carl von Ossietzky were translated in English by myself from this page of Nesin Foundation. There wasn’t English version on that page or web. I guess, except Turkish there is another one and it’s in Deutsche, if I find that one, I will add here later. You know, I have got flu in these days, and I have tried to do my best. I hope all translated parts have been clear and understandable. And yes, I’ve devoted myself to the humans’ benefit with making kind of translate works while I am sick, by ignoring all complaints of WD. 🙂

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