2015 Hrant Dink Awards to women and LGBT rights activists

2015 Hrant Dink Awards were presented last night at the ceremony that was held in Istanbul. Women rights activist Samar Badawi from Saudi Arabia and Kaos GL Collective that has been fighting for LGBT rights in Turkey for 20 years received the awards.

Hrant Dink Awards, which are being presented for 7 years on Hrant Dink’s birthday (September 15) were presented last night.

At the ceremony, Ceylan Ertem and Eileen Khaçaduryan performed on the stage and there was an additional version of “Işıklar” (lights) that greets the inspiring people and institutions in the world. In “Işıklar 1915” section, the government officials, people who work for embassies and civil society activists who defied the deportation decision of the Party of Union and Progress, helped and hid the Armenians and thus delayed the deportation process were commemorated. And in the “Işıklar” section where people who inspired the world in 2015 greeted, 35 young people who were killed in Suruç Massacre were commemorated.

Badawi couldn’t have attended the ceremony

Hrant Dink Award laureate Samar Badawi, women rights activist from Saudi Arabia, couldn’t have received the award herself, since she has a ban on leaving the country. Badawi started many campaigns like right to vote and right to drive for women in her country and became the symbol of the women rights activists in Saudi Arabia by bringing the problems of women to the international agenda and her award was handed to Elsa Saade who is a human rights activist that Badawi work with.

In her speech, Elsa Saade referred to Hrant Dink’s last article, “the Pigeon-like Unease of my Inner Spirit”: “His thoughts and this award are the symbol of solidarity with all the pigeons that seek for freedom.”

From Turkey, Kaos GL is awarded, as a collective that was founded in Ankara and became an important part of LGBT struggle with different actions like organizing meetings and demonstrations and founding a library, in addition to issuing a magazine for 20 years.

Ali Erol, who is one of the founders of Kaos GL, received the award and said:

“Just like Armenian community says, ‘We want justice, not mercy’, LGBT community says, ‘We are here, get used to it, we won’t leave.’ We know that we cannot succeed in our fight against homophobia, without fighting against racism and nationalism.”

A message concerning borders

Conveying a message about borders, Erol said: “Here is our downright message to the ones who attempt to love us by acting like as if we are accessories: Open the border gates, not the gates to your heart. Stop the deportation threat and guest oppression. You have to recognize the right of habitation and right of working of the workers from Armenia.  We remind you that opening the Armenia border is not a blessing, it is a historical and actual necessity.”

“The historical trauma about Armenians cost dear Hrant’s life. As long as we couldn’t find a way to face ourselves and get rid of our paranoid thoughts, this poison will continue to spread everywhere, no matter how much political steps you take. We won’t stop reminding the ones who consider us enemies whenever they want: this nation is a forged whole.”

At the end of the ceremony, Kaos GL crew shouted, “Where are you darling?” and the crowd responded with applause and saying, “I am here darling.”


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Gözde Kazaz