Log in

No account? Create an account
11th-Jan-2009 10:48 pm
Candle In Hand

Ahmet Yildiz was openly gay. This was an affront to members of his family who believed his lifestyle brought shame on the family name. Their solution was to murder him last summer. He was 26 years old.

His friends and associates believe he was the victim of so-called honor killing. Turkish sociologist, Mazhar Bagli, has done extensive research involving people who have been convicted for honor killings. Bagli has little doubt that Yildiz' death could indeed fall into the honor killing category:
"Honour killings cleanse illicit relationships. For women, that is a broad term. Men are allowed more sexual freedom, but homosexuality is still seen by some as beyond the pale."
In Turkey it is believed that around 1,000 honor killings have been committed over the past five years. In virtually every case, the victims are young women who have transgressed against patriarchal rules governing conduct. In some cases females have been murdered for the 'crime' of having premarital sex. They have also been murdered for falling victim to rape and even for the offense of speaking to a stranger.

Prior to the shooting, Yildiz was pressured by relatives who wanted him see a doctor so he could be "cured." When he was in the company of relatives, there were continual arguments.

Yildiz openly gay lifestyle even made him the target of death threats. Yet despite the enormous pressure to underplay his homosexuality, he had the courage to stand his ground.

The courage of Ahmet Yildiz is the more remarkable since gay rights in Turkey have recently taken a few hits. As the Turkish gay community has become more visible, there has been a reactionary backlash with gays targeted for beatings, insults and threats.

A former neighbor of Ahmet Yildiz said that his refusal to live-a-lie may have been too much for some people:

"He could have hidden who he was, but he wanted to live honestly. When the death threats started, his boyfriend tried to persuade him to get out of Turkey. But he stayed. He was too brave. He was too open."

His partner left the country after his love was murdered. He had no claim to Ahmet's body and was not even allowed back to the flat to get his personal belongings.

It is frightening to think about such things happening anywhere, but the hatred, bigotry, intolerance, and homophobia that lead to this tragedy is all too common the world over. This is not just a case of a middle eastern society, this is happening everywhere, including our own backyards. It runs unchecked like a cancer because those perpetuating this intolerance are seldom called out for it. I cannot live with that.

Ahmet Yildiz died for having the courage to be who he was shamelessly - as we all should - and because those who were supposed to love him CHOSE to hate him for it. His death diminishes me as a human being. As it should diminish us ALL as human beings.

I've posted some pictures of him below because I want all of you to look at him and burn that beautiful face into your minds knowing that his face could be mine, yours, or someone else you love - not in Turkey, not in Iran, but right here in the USA.

12th-Jan-2009 04:20 am (UTC)
My mouth flew open and stayed that way throughout the whole post. I cannot even imagine what kind of courage it took for him to be true to himself. When even here in NYC, the majority of gay couples still don't even feel comfortable holding hands. And, sadly, who can blame them?

This can't be dismissed as cultural. Killing your own? Via hate crime? That's what's beyond the pale. Thank you for sharing this.
12th-Jan-2009 04:58 am (UTC)
Please link to this post if you mention it on your blog or anywhere else. People need to know.
12th-Jan-2009 04:29 am (UTC)
Thank you for this write-up. That YouTube vid has exploded all over my f-list but no one has gone into such detail as you have.
12th-Jan-2009 04:59 am (UTC)
Feel free to comment to them with a link to this post. People have to know.
12th-Jan-2009 05:09 am (UTC)
Reading that made me terribly sad.
12th-Jan-2009 06:08 am (UTC)
As it should.
12th-Jan-2009 02:45 pm (UTC)
Have linked from my lj.

That video made me want to cry.
13th-Jan-2009 03:45 am (UTC)
Thank you.

As it should.
12th-Jan-2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
the wiki page isn't about him though. That was a tad confusing.

Very sad, though =(
13th-Jan-2009 03:46 am (UTC)
I went looking for one but all I found was a guy in Berkeley, is that what you mean? I didn't post that link.
12th-Jan-2009 08:14 pm (UTC)
You were the third of my LJ friends to post this video. And believe it or not, I typed something obscene in my first comment on this topic.

Do you know that my country borders Turkey? Not that part of Turkey, but still... it was an especially nasty shock for me.

God, the idea some people have of "honour". Shame, eternal shame on them!

I could be their "honour killing" candidate too, as an unmarried woman who is not a virgin. It's nauseating.
13th-Jan-2009 03:47 am (UTC)
I cannot imagine this at all, but I imagine it is way too close for comfort for you.

Nauseating indeed - at the very least.
13th-Jan-2009 01:06 am (UTC)
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

As a mother of a son, I cannot look at Ahmet's face and imagine his own mother wanting him dead. Or his father. I cannot imagine being so ashamed of my child that I'd want to kill him to restore the "family honor." It seems to me that killing my child would be the action that would destroy the family honor, not my son being true to himself.

I am a mother. I have a son. I have a daughter. I love them both with an intensity and ferocity that sometimes astonishes me. The thought of them coming to adulthood in a world where they could lose their lives because of who and what they are, for things that are not of their choosing, frightens me.

Change comes, and it comes slowly, but it does come. I know it will. I just... wish it would come a little faster...
13th-Jan-2009 03:48 am (UTC)
Thanks for that quote, I couldn't remember it when I needed to use it several months ago! One of my favorites...

What can I say - religion poisons everything. As far as I'm concerned, all homophobia has a religious bent.

Edited at 2009-01-13 03:49 am (UTC)
13th-Jan-2009 08:27 am (UTC)
I agree with you 100% !
This page was loaded Oct 21st 2019, 11:14 am GMT.