Yesterday there was a funeral in Istanbul. A massive gathering of hundreds of thousands of people laid a 15 year old in his final resting place.
Berkin Elvan was shot by police during Gezi Park protests and after spending 269 days in a coma, he passed away on 11 March, 2014. He was 14 when he was shot, 15 when he died, and his 45 kilo body had shriveled to a mere 16 kilos in his final month in hospital.
For months, for hundreds of thousands of people Berkin symbolized hope. People prayed for him to open his eyes, prayed for him to be well once again. Yet, a week before his death his family sent a panic-stricken message over Twitter: “Berkin needs you,” it read. Hundreds flooded the hospital garden. Tents were pitched up, people stayed over. Berkin’s condition was now critical, his tiny body had lasted for as long as it could but we were not ready to let go of him. Not yet.
We needed justice. We needed those that killed Berkin to be identified, tried and sentenced. After 7 dead, we needed Berkin to live. We needed hope, and we wished for a miracle.
At 7 a.m. the morning of March 12, another tweet fell into our timelines. “Our beloved son has passed away,” it was simple, cruel and cut into our hearts.
First news came from high schools, students started boycotting their classes, then university students poured out to their campus grounds from classrooms, people started flooding central parks and squares all around the country. As the masses soared, police intervened. Clashes erupted in major cities, Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana. Despite the mayor’s orders, some municipalities refused to pump water into the riot vehicles hosting water cannons, thus becoming part of the resistance.
The hope people let live in a corner of their hearts for Berkin to wake up, lent itself to burning anger. The corruption scandals, the voice recordings pointing at the Prime Minister and his cabinet, all that build up of frustration and anger was let loose with Berkin’s death. For weeks we had been listening to millions, billions of dollars being embezzled, and now a child, who had stepped out to buy bread for breakfast was dead.
Below are the photographs from his funeral. Much leaves to be said but for now let’s have the pictures speak…