Lal Laleş wrote a letter to Osman Kavala on 29 March 2018. Below is the translation of the original text:


Dear Osman,

For a good long while, the temperament in the country has changed. I got my share of this as well; I have changed. I used to get up early in the morning and read. There were times when I wrote several sentences. For a good long while, during the dawn the time has been engraving sorrow. It feels better to get up early and walk. For a while, I have been out of Diyarbakır. Before going to sleep, I decide to get up early and have long walks on the beach. I wake up at 06:00. I quickly wear my tracksuit. Right before getting out of the door, I check my pockets due to an old habit dates back to 90’s. I feel relieved to see that my ID is in my side pocket. I go down to the beach. To me, the beach is identified with summer sun and tremendous crowd, not relaxing but rather a weary ritual. I think beaches are much nicer during the seasons outside of summer for long walks that relax the person and spring them peace of mind.

I start walking on the beach. The gradually hardening wind sweeps me near to a small overturned boat. I lean against the boat and look away. As I hear the voice of the dog between groaning and crying, I startle. I walk around the boat and look underneath. I cuddle the cute, piebald dog. I take out some food from my bag and give it to her. She relaxes. She begins to rub herself to my legs. She plays on her own. As I gazed at the dark clouds in the sky, I cannot stop looking at the dog that jumps around. It starts to drizzle. The raindrops coming to my forehead and my eyes feel like kisses of compassion. I do not know how the raindrops make the dog feel. I wonder whether I can run faster than the dog. Then suddenly I start to run. I say “Rain, run!”, and the dog starts running. I realize that I name the dog on impulse.

Suddenly I stop. Rain stops as well. I call “Rain!” again; we both start to run together. Rain stops under the porch at the door of the cafe. I go inside. I sit at one of the tables in the center. A Balkan immigrant waiter profoundly asks me “What would you like, sir?” with a smile in the blueness of her eyes. I reply, “I’d like justice, Madame”. She looks at me as if she says; “bring it on then”. We both start laughing. Dear Osman, I can see you smile from inside. As I order winter tea and look into her face, I catch sight of the nametag on her chest, written "Adalet” (Justice) on it. I feel embarrassed and shyly look straight ahead.

I write these lines from an Aegean town, Ölüdeniz (Dead-Sea). I think to myself why humankind would associate a place with such marvelous forest and sea with death.  The following saying that anyone with reason and order would make, and unfortunately became hollow due to overuse, comes to my mind: “We are experiencing the heaviest winter of our lifetime, where equality, justice, and peace are such hightailed and death such praised.”

Adalet leaves the winter tea on my table. She smiles and leaves.

Dear Osman, as I wrote to you far from Diyarbakır, I realize the following. You are registered to two cities in my mind: Istanbul and Diyarbakır. I know that it is not fair to limit someone like you - a world citizen, courteous and grateful person - to two cities. I hope you will return to us and tell us about Osman Kavala’s Yerevan, his Paris or his visible cities. Not one person is unaware of your talent to observe and sense the dynamics of the cities and their residents, to map out their arts and culture scene, keep their memory alive, and make their countenance visible.

As a friendly eye that looks from the outside, you used to tirelessly work and draw our attention to various issues that we could not recognize during difficult times within Diyarbakır. You used to bring people together on a common ground to develop solutions. You have an indelible mark on Diyarbakır. Would Diyarbakır forget the friendly hand offered to itself? It won’t.

I like to drink herbal tea when I stay out of Diyarbakır for long. Yet, I miss kaçak çay (smuggled tea) over time. Adalet appears beside me again. “Your tea will cool down” she says. As she sees your photograph in Cumhuriyet newspaper on my table, she asks “Isn’t this Osman Kavala, the artist-friendly man?”. I respond “Yes. He is a friend of mine”. She replies: “He is already a friend of everyone. He is a very kind man.”

Adalet is right. With your kindness, you have established lasting friendships among people of different disciplines from various circles. Your joy towards the works that came out of these friendships inspired us. It gave us hope. People continue to produce glorious works and give meaning to life through the web of affection you interlaced. This is your honor. And that honor is very precious to me.

As Adalet approaches to grab my empty cup, I say “Look, my friend! I am writing to your friend as well”. She asks “To Osman Bey?”. I nod. Adalet grabs the cup and moves a couple of meters away. Then she returns and says “It’s ridiculous that he is not among us.”

Dear Osman, in Ölüdeniz, there is Adalet that knows you. Adalet has her abiding greetings.

With the hope of rejoining soon…

My warm regards,

Lal Laleş, 29 March 2018