Number 59

Imdat Bulut, a prisoner on hunger strike, died on Thursday. The whole world has learned his name and story: He was arrested and charged for being a member of a radical organization, then jailed, tortured, and badly injured – following a protest against Turkey’s habitual use of small jail cells. He was then taken to hospital, where he began his hunger strike, and where he died. And he wasn’t the first, or the tenth or 50th to die in this way over the last year and a half. He was the 59th… It is difficult to find a justification for the lack of action by the international community and its organizations (which on other occasions have moved heaven and earth to voice their protest, imposing severe sanctions or even launching bombing campaigns). Perhaps they are all waiting for the death toll to reach a round number before launching objections, demands, condemnations? Maybe all those outraged at scenes of slavery and oppression need a strong symbol – like the figure 100 – to sympathize, to get angry, to say, «Enough is enough.» Imdat Bulut was the 59th Kurd to die because he didn’t have a country, a language, or rights; all he had was a desire to be free, even through death. He was a Turkish Kurd, that is a citizen (although not a legally recognized one) of a country knocking on the doors of the European Union. Even if those who decide whether or not to admit Turkey as an EU member don’t consider Cyprus or Turkey’s unchallenged military regime, won’t they count the carnage? How many more have to die?

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