Not Being Able To Cry For Ahmet Selim

Guray and 66. Sonnet*
March 4, 2021
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Not Being Able To Cry For Ahmet Selim

Kerim Balcı

1 September 2016

Too few things from my childhood live in my memory. A few lines from the novel of which I don’t remember the name by the Fisherman of Halicarnassus are one of them; ‘People of soil were created of soil and people of water were created of water’ and ‘The sea is so faithless that it doesn’t let you even cry for your dead’. The second one is engraved on my memory as meaning. When I heard that Ahmet Selim’s heart which was already wounded stopped as he couldn’t stand the accusation of being a coup plotter, I felt a wave of anger surged inside me like the Fisherman of Halicarnassus felt towards the stormy sea.  Banishment is like that, doesn’t let you even cry for your dead…

If Ahmet Selim had departed this life to the one everlasting in a normal time, he would have reminded us all of the saying ‘The death of a scholar is like the death of the universe’; I would have remembered our conversations over our columns and burst into tears for a few months. I couldn’t… I gulped back my tears…

I have always accepted Ali Bulac, Ali Unal and Ahmet Turan Alkan who were all the victims of banishment as my masters in writing. However, Ahmet Selim was my master in both heart and writing. He would say ‘The ordeal of idea is the most painful and severe of all’. If the people of soil were created of soil and the people of water were created of water, Ahmet Selim was created of the ordeal of idea. His lines felt to you that they were written in much heavier pain than the pain of a childbirth. The ones not aware of this would condemn him as being eclectic and not being understandable. When someone claimed what he wrote was unrelated to the agenda, I would smile bitterly and gulp back my tears. He would write around, not out of the agenda, from the deep inside of it.  He would review objects in terms of Esma ul Husna. He was dealing with not the quality but the truth. The ones who didn’t know how to dive would think they were swimming at the edge of the ocean where he was busy with  changing the way of the waves on the agenda. I heard even they accused him of not being a journalist as he couldn’t get out of his house. However, he was wandering around the world of knowledge, perception and wisdom where our world seemed dot-like.

Ahmet Selim was the one who commanded a great deal of respect by his modesty. I met him face to face only for once. Nevertheless you don’t need to have a repeated experience in order to understand what deserves respect. Even by meeting only for once, some masters make each moment of the rest of your life meaningful. Ahmet Selim was one of them…After spending time with him for half an hour, I could neither read his articles as easily as in the past nor could write my own ones as fast as previously. While I was working as an editor at Aksiyon, we went to convince him of a hernia operation he was ignoring.  I made a real gaffe and asked why he was writing sport articles. ‘The young don’t read the comment page,’ he said and continued: ‘I write those articles with the worry of whether I can graft the description of looks on the ball at penalty spot onto the thought of tawhid or the focusing on a target of the players onto the devotion of a man to his cause’. All my thoughts throughout paled into insignificance…

He told one of our common friends that he corresponded with Fethullah Gülen and he was reading the letters of him as excitedly as a young girl who received letters from her beloved. He had attempted to write a series of books on Hizmet movement and Fethullah Gulen more than five years before now and told that ‘I don’t know when I will write but I take comfort from the dream of this book as if I were cooling off under the shadow of a tree in summer’s heat. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I find relief from my dream of this book.’ Maybe he wrote that book only in his dreams.

After the attacks towards Fethullah Gulen and Hizmet movement had exceeded the limits of mercy in December 2013, Ahmet Selim declared his side via his article which was probably written for his mentioned book. In this article, he was describing how Fethullah Gulen suffered a lot for his audience not to get stuck while he was explaining a deep subject in an effort to degrade it to the level of the people around. This article meant that any allegations made against couldn’t be related to this teacher who was so respectful and merciful to the people listening to him. Without questioning the agenda, he had sent his compliments to his true friend from the deep of his heart.

The storm of banishment broke the door of Ahmet Selim too. Ahmet Selim who was already brokenhearted couldn’t stand this. The police came to my house as well. However, I am still angry from the bottom of my heart with the fact that they went to his house. This anger didn’t let me cry for him…I gulped back my tears…