By Nurcan Baysal
When I woke up this morning, I learned that Osman Kavala, a leading civil society leader and a prominent businessman, had been detained. You already know a lot about him, I would like to tell you some things that you may not know.I met Osman Kavala 16 years ago during my work in civil society. Osman Kavala was supporting the women’s rights work that I was very active in. Throughout the years, I took part in many cultural activities and projects that were organized by him. For many years, I have witnessed his efforts to bring people from different views to the same table from Kars to Muş, Diyarbakır, Antep, Antakya, Mardin, Erivan, Mid Anatolia, Çanakkale, Bursa… He not only invested in culture and art facilities but also in activities supporting children’s rights, poverty, development, the rights of LGBT’s, the peaceful solution of Kurdish and Armenian issues, democracy, freedom and establishment of justice… He has done a lot for this country. Osman Kavala founded Anadolu Culture which has supported local artists all over Anatolia and has contributed to the revival of local cultures and established cultural bridges between different cities, cultures, societies, languages… For many years, they have supported children’s activities, organized art workshops for the children affected by war and supported the establishment of cinema clubs in universities.
While hundreds of thousands of Yezidis were fleeing to Turkey because of ISIS attacks in the summer of 2014, Osman Kavala was again there to support the establishment of Yezidi camps in the Region. After a lot of work, we established a school together with him in the Diyarbakır Yezidi camp. The needs of the school, the school books, motivating the teachers…
I am telling you, this man dealt with them one by one. When the wood for keeping warm, food or clothing ran out in the camps, Osman Kavala was the first person we called.
I am telling you, this man paid such close attention to the kinds of tents we bought, and the wood we chose to ensure we kept the families warmest. Also he did the same for the Syrian refugees. He is always there when there is someone in need.
I am telling you, this man has done his best for the Syrians, Yezidis, Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, for all the nations, societies, for all the people.
As one man, he has contributed enormously to the development of civil society in Turkey. Many times I thought that if we had a few more Osman Kavalas, the civil society of Turkey would be in a much different place.
Osman Kavala is also a good friend. His friendship makes you trust and believe that another life is possible. He is so warm hearted, gentle, helpful and honest. He could never see harm come to another human or living thing.
Osman Kavala is a good man. His detention shows that this is a war between good and evil. Surely, goodness will prevail!
Story is originially posted on Ms. Baysal’s blog.