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Letter to my beloved

The speech by Rakel Dink at Hrant Dink’s funeral on January 23th

It has been given to me to be the wife of my ‘chutag’.* I am here today full of immense grief and dignity.
I, my children, my family, and you are all sorrowful.

This silent love strengthens us, if only a little, and creates within us a sad contentment. In the Gospel of John (15:13) it says, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Dear friends, today we send off half my soul, my beloved, the father of my children, and your brother. We are going to march in silence without slogans and banners, and without disrespect to those on the right, those on the left, those in front, and those behind. Today we are going to raise a tremendous sound with our silence. Today is the beginning of the day that rises out of the depths to the light.

Whoever the assassin may be, either 17 or 27 years old, I know that he too was once a baby. My brothers and sisters, one cannot accomplish anything without questioning the darkness that created an assassin from a baby.

My brothers and sisters,

It was Hrant’s honesty, transparency and love that brought him here. His love that challenged fear made him great.

They say, “He was a great man.” I ask you, “Was he born great?” No. He too was born just like us. He did not come from the skies. He too came from the soil. It was what he did, the style he chose, the love in his heart that made him great. The body that withered like ours, but a spirit that was alive; the work he did; the style he used; and the love that was in his eyes and in his heart – these are what made him great. One cannot become great from one’s self. What one does makes one great. Yes, he became great because he thought big, and he spoke big. In coming here today you, too, have thought big and silently spoke big. You too are great. But do not let this suffice; do not stop here.

He made a new beginning today in Turkey. You, too, have become his seal. The headlines, the speeches, the taboos changed with him. For him there were no immunities and taboos. As it says in scripture, his heart overflowed.

He paid a great price. The future bought with this price comes in loving the Hrants, in believing the Hrants. It cannot come through hatred, through offense, through holding one blood superior to another. One can only rise through respect for the other, and seeing the other as one’s self.

They allocated a house in heaven, created with the help of Jesus. They opened the doors of heavenly and eternal paradise. They opened the doors of heavenly paradise before his eyes became tired, before his body wore out, before he became ill, before he could have enough of his loved ones. We too will join you there, my beloved.

We too will join you in that matchless paradise. Love, and only love, can enter there. Love, and only love, which is above the tongues of people and of angels; which is greater than prophethood; which is beyond knowing all secrets; which is stronger than faith that can move mountains; which is greater than the alms of rich or poor; and which is more than giving one’s body to be burned, will enter that paradise. We shall live there together forever with true love: a love that is not jealous of anyone, a love that does not covet the goods of another, a love that does not murder anyone, a love that does not belittle anyone, a love that does not hold one’s self above others, a love that sacrifices one’s own interests, a love that seeks the good of the friend, a love found in the Messiah. And a love poured out on us.

My beloved, who can forget what you have done and said? What darkness is capable of erasing these things? Who can make us forget what has happened and what is happening? Could it be fear, my beloved? Life? Injustice? The temptations of the world, my beloved? Or death, my beloved? No, my beloved, no darkness can make us forget.

I too have written you a love letter, my beloved. The price was heavy for me, my beloved. I am indebted to Jesus to be able to write these things, my beloved. Let us give Him His due, my beloved. Let us give back to everyone what is due to them.

You departed from those you loved, from your children, from your grandchildren, from we here who say farewell, from my lap, but you did not depart from your country, my beloved!

* Mrs. Dink called her husband “Chutag,” Armenian for violin.