Ahmet Yildiz, Ahmet Yildiz, Ahmet Yildiz …
We recall today how you have been absent for 16 months since you left a cafe near the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul, and yet you have not really left us and we believe you never will. Some of our brothers and sisters knew you closer, as a 26-year-old straight-A student of physics, an aspiring teacher, a loving son and brother, a stocky and fun-loving young man.
Or perhaps they knew you only as Turkey’s Gay Poster Boy, martyred by the tragic circumstances of your departure, victim of a so-called “honor killing,” shot five times by a religion-crazed father on account of openly acknowledging your homophilia. He is not the only perpetrator; every soul who harbors hatred of homophiles shares part of the collective guilt.
Amhet Yildiz, your spirit endures forever. It endures not only in Muslim lands, but as a beacon for homophiles everywhere. May memory of your life and death raise awareness of the need for healing the wound in all our families and all our nations that is homophobia. Through your sacrifice, let us have faith that there is greater hope for reconciliation in areas of women’s rights, sexuality, and the place of religion in our societies.
Let us not forget your death, and the sacrifices of so many victims of anti-homophile violence, lest we fail to heed Spirit’s call for us to extend our capacity for compassion and love everywhere on the globe. And let us require justice for your killer (who remains unapprehended) and all perpetrators of evil. Until the world is healed of Fear, duty and fraternity binds homophiles everywhere to keep your memory alive and to honor your name whenever we act with justice.