Musa Anter remembered at his grave in Nusaybin

29 years ago, the Kurdish intellectual and writer Musa Anter was murdered by Turkish counter-guerrilla forces. He has been commemorated at his grave in his native town of Nusaybin.

The writer and journalist Musa Anter was commemorated at his grave in the Nusaybin district of Mardin. The occasion was the 29th anniversary of the intellectual's death. Musa Anter was murdered by Turkish counter-guerrillas in Amed (Diyarbakir) on September 20, 1992.

The graveside service in the village of Sitîlîlê was attended primarily by journalists from the free Kurdish press, for whom Musa Anter is considered a pioneer. In addition to the entire board of the Dicle Firat Journalists' Association (DFG), journalists from the Mezopotamya and JinNews agencies and the staff of the Xwebûn newspaper were also present. HDP deputies Ebru Günay, Meral Danış Beştaş and Garo Paylan also participated in the commemoration, as did the executive boards of the district and provincial associations of the HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) and its sister party DBP (Democratic Regions Party).

"Twenty-nine years have passed since Musa Anter was murdered. However, he remains unforgotten by his students," said DFG Chairman Serdar Altan and added, “Both the free press and the Kurdish people will always remember Anter, even if dark forces want to erase him from the collective memory of the Kurds. The trial for the murder of the intellectual is being delayed by the Turkish judiciary, with the threat of a statute of limitations. We will not allow the massacre of Musa Anter to go unpunished."

"Teller of the truth"

In a speech, parliamentarian Garo Paylan described Musa Anter as a "teller of truth." For a society, he said, such people are always of existential importance. "At a time when the existence of the Kurdish people was denied, Apê Musa taught the deniers better. For this he was to pay with his life. The murder was supposed to erase Musa Anter from people's memory and make them forget him. But the opposite happened. He remains unforgotten for eternity. Apê Musa breathed his breath into the Kurdish people, manifesting the existence of the Kurds. His death was considered by millions as a source of resistance."

Garo Paylan named journalist Hrant Dink, who was murdered by an assassin of nationalist forces in Istanbul in January 2007, as the Armenian counterpart of "truth teller Musa Anter." "Musa Anter is alive, just as Hrant Dink is alive. Apê Musa's struggle is carried on by millions. This resistance will never retreat even one step. Long may you live, Uncle Musa," Paylan concluded his touching speech. Red carnations were then laid at the grave of Musa Anter. The mourners were bid farewell by Dicle Anter, Musa Anter's son.

Musa Anter, the plane tree of the Kurds

The Kurdish writer and intellectual Musa Anter was a relic from another time. Born in 1920 in the village of Zivingê in Nusaybin, he experienced many things during his lifetime that others knew only by hearsay. He experienced the founding years of the Turkish Republic, the uprising of Sheikh Said and the genocide in Dersim as a schoolboy, and the Second World War as a student. He was one of the protagonists of the short spring of the Kurdish national movement at the end of the 1950s; in the "Trial of 49" he was accused of Kurdish propaganda and separatism. The background was his poem Qimil (Weevil), which he had published in Kurdish in the magazine Ileri Yurt in August 1959. The magazine, based in Amed (Diyarbakir), was again the first magazine in decades to deal with the Kurdish question. Musa Anter was the editor.

Kurdish society called him Apê Mûsa - Uncle Musa - , or "Çınar", which means "plane tree", a mighty tree with deep roots and far-reaching branches. On September 20, 1992, the Kurdish plane tree was cut down by counter-guerrillas in Amed at the age of 74. Anter, who was living in Istanbul at the time, had traveled to Amed for a cultural and art festival at the invitation of the local municipality. Immediately after his arrival, plainclothes police officers took to his heels. Under the pretext of settling a conflict between two quarreling families, Anter was lured out of his hotel and shot five times in the middle of the street.