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Hrant: Seven Years on the Seventh Day By Eric Nazarian (The Armenian Weekly)


  • Hrant: Seven Years on the Seventh Day

By  // January 21, 2014


Special for the Armenian Weekly

It is Sunday, January 19, 2014. Seven years ago today Hrant Dink was assassinated in broad daylight on one of the busiest streets in Istanbul. I joined the family for the first time to commemorate Hrant’s legacy. My heart is full and the quill won’t do much justice this time around to convey the pressure-cooker of melancholy, rage and the awesomeness of seeing one of the busiest boulevards in Istanbul shut down to make room for tens of thousands of commemorators from all walks of life belting out at the top of their lungs, the now famous mantra, “We are all Hrant…We are all Armenians,” in addition to “Hrant, we will never forget you,” in Western Armenian dialect a stone’s toss from Taksim Square.

photo 4 300x300 Hrant: Seven Years on the Seventh Day

Listening to these words faraway in America through YouTube or online links is no match to experiencing the acoustic magnitude of tens of thousands of unbreakable voices exploding as neck veins flared up and down Halaskargazi Boulevard. Today is the day every year that protesters shut down this Boulevard. Today is a day when this society is forced to listen and remember one of the most seismic events to shakedown public consciousness here in the 21st century. Today, we remember this deeply peaceful man of words and letters who devoted every iota of his being to finding the beginnings of an extremely difficult reconciliation between Armenians and Turks.

Every age and walk of life was present in the march remembering this lonely fighter for justice with a pen, a very devoted family and a small, close circle of writers and thinkers up against an army of swords waiting to take him down for threatening the fabric of their consciousness and identity by exposing historical truths that began shattering national taboos.

Today, I thought of Leonard Cohen’s magnificent lyrics in “Anthem” where he sings, “…ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering…there is a crack in everything… that’s how the light gets through.” Hrant was the light that caused the crack and got through. What he endured, the vast majority of us will never come to know. He faced the storm of hate with complete devotion to his principles and integrity. A rebel to the bone, he remains alive in the souls of these people clenching roses and standing resolute side-by-side in his honor. And these people, like Hrant, cannot be silenced. They are here because keeping the flame of memory burning is not enough. There is much more work to be done to further the work he started.

photo 51 300x300 Hrant: Seven Years on the Seventh Day

We walked today with thousands to the beat of Hrant’s drum. There were children, elderly, youth, and the handicapped. Everybody came to this spot and everybody had a voice in the chorus of “Sari Sirun Yar” blasting on the stacks of loudspeakers for all to hear. And today, like all January 19 days to come from here until as long as this city is above water and the sun shines, Hrant’s voice will soar and flow. No man can kill Hrant. You can only immortalize him. He is beyond death, and today was yet another proof that he lives in the souls of these people who have a place to stand and be heard because of him. Lest we forget.


About Eric Nazarian

Eric Nazarian is a screenwriter, filmmaker and photojournalist. In 2007, Nazarian wrote and directed “The Blue Hour,” a first feature film that won six international awards. In 2008, Nazarian received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences® (home of the Oscars) prestigious Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting for his original screenplay, “Giants.” In turn, Nazarian’s film “Bolis” was the recipient of the Best Short Film Award at the 14th Arpa International Film Festival in 2011. He is currently adapting Chris Bohjalian’s critically acclaimed novel, The Sandcastle Girls, for the big screen. More Posts

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