On day 20 of trans LGBTI+ activist Diren Coşkun’s “indefinite hunger strike”, her friend and one of the organisers of Istanbul Pride Irmak Keskin had started a 3-day hunger strike and taken an oath of silence. Today is the second day of strike, and the interview conducted with her prior to her starting the strike (on February 12, 2018) is today published on dokuz8NEWS. In order not to divert attention from Diren Coşkun, Irmak Keskin has requested her images not to be shown, but instead images and illustration featuring Diren.
Can you please introduce yourself ?
Irmak is a plain person who has participated in various rights-struggles over the years. A simple person who has joined in a solidarity action for the primary subject, Diren.
What was your motivation in starting a 3-day hunger strike and taking an oath of silence?
Diren is not the only trans-inmate in prisons. What she is going through is experienced by many LGBTI+ and vegan prisoners. In fact her resistance and outcry might seem about herself but the earnings of this struggle will open new doors for many prisoners. While there are other options outside the bars and starting hunger strike is a debatable action, but the news we receive of Diren point to her feeling forsaken. For that reason the methods and practicalities can be debatable yet this is a way of showing her that she is not alone nor forsaken. This action in truth is not just for Diren either. She is just one person who suffers this violence and the outcry holds multiple people within.
What is oath of silence? What caused you to take it?
Oath of silence is a passive resistance. It is a way of silent, non-reactive and tacit action against those staying listless seeing Diren. Homo-Sapiens’ survival possibility increases as long as they stick together; and can co-exist through communication. Especially in the modern & post-modern world, where a person feels connected to everyone and have possibility of communication with all, and when “unconnectedness” is cause for panic, it feels like standing still quietly in silence in front of the people is the best kind of answer. My oath of silence also covers all kinds of written and verbal communication, sign language and other methods of interaction.
What impact do you expect your action to have?
None of us think this process is going to cause miracles immediately, but we do expect Diren’s basic needs to be considered and answered to begin with, through raising more voices and spreading reactions in society.
What would you add as a final remark?
I wish for a process that will increase and expand the level of hope for all of us, with many earnings.
*This interview has been conducted the day before Irmak Keskin started her 3-day hunger strike and took oath of silence, on February 12, 2018.