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The Just Revolt of Our Hearts

June 6, 1919 — Sultanahmet Square, Protesting the Occupation of Izmir by Greece, Constantinpole (now Istanbul)


Brethren, Sons, and Countrymen!

From the tops of the minarets nigh against the heaven, seven hundred years of glory are watching this new tragedy of Ottoman history I invoke he souls of our great ancestors who had so often passed in procession through this very square. I raise my head before the just wrath of those invincible hearts and say:

I am an unfortunate daughter of Islam and an unfortunate mother of the equally heroic but more ill-fated generation of my own day. I bow to the spirits of our ancestors and declare, in the name of the new Turkish nation presented here ,that the disarmed Turkish nation of to-day still possesses your invincible hearts; we trust in Allah and in our rights

Listen, brethren and sons, hear the sentence the world has passed on you.

The aggressive policy of the allied powers of Europe has been applied during the last generation to the land of Turkey always unjustly sometimes even treacherously. The European powers would have found a way to send armies of conquest to the stars and the moon had they known that Moslems and Turks inhabited those heavenly bodies. At last they have found a pretext, an opportunity to break to pieces the last empire by the crescent. And against this decision we have no European power to whom we may appeal. But surely even those who have no share in Turkish booty are just as responsible — more responsible — in the inhumanity of this decision. They were all sitting at a court whose ostensible object was the defense of human and national rights, yet all that court did was to sanctify the spoilation of the defeated people. And these men who call the Turks sinners have sinned themselves so deeply that the great waves of the immaculate oceans cannot cleanse them.

But the day will come when a greater court of justice will try those who have deprived the nations of their national rights. That court will be composed of the very same nations whose governments are now against us. Those peoples will condemn their own governments then for having been unjust to other nations in their name, for there is an eternal sense of what is right in the hart of every individual, and nations are made up of individuals.

Brethren and sons, listen to me. You have two friends: the Moslems and those civilized peoples who will sooner or later raise their voices for your rights. The former are already with you, and the latter we will win over by the invincible justice of our cause.

Governments are our enemies, people are our friends, and the just revolt of our hearts our strength.

The day is not far off when all nations will get their rights. When that day comes, take your banners and come and visit the graves of your brethren who have fought and have fallen for the glorious end.

Now swear and repeat with me:

The sublime emotion which we cherish in our hearts will last till the proclamation of the rights of the people!



Source: The Turkish Ordeal: Being the Further Memoirs of Halidé Edib, by Halidé Edib (London: John Murray, 1928), pp. 32-33.