Rulers cannot execute laughs. So they exile the laughs they cannot execute because the serious rulers have no tolerance for humor.
Author: Tuğçe Asya Yaldız
Demirtaş Ceyhun, as he refers to “Asılacak Adam” (The Man to be Hanged) says that the exile ordered by this serious power could not be a grave for Aziz Nesin because he, who is a hundred years old now, still continues to echo with all his realness in a school yard, in a court room, or in a grocery store like the laughter of a being that does not fear expressing a good idea – no matter the consequences.
Aziz Nesin defines the fact that he pulls no punches as the only thing that he has held on to his entire life, and tells that he would act in the same manner no matter the consequences. “The intellectuals’ contributions to the good of the society with their ideas and opinions, and the people that form a society learning from these ideas and opinions of the intellectuals, and benefiting from them improves their personalities, and raises people’s social, political, economic and cultural levels,” says Nesin, directly expressing his desire for “what is good”. His short stories, novels, poems, plays and articles have earned him wide acclaim both in Turkey and around the world as a thinker, humorist, and master storyteller. “All of Aziz Nesin’s unique qualities, and more importantly his resilience, have made him the great humor writer of our time. A being that knows how to laugh also knows how to love, think, and have fun. Aziz, just like Nasreddin Hodja, makes you laugh and think at the same time,” says Yaşar Kemal, pointing to the special place humor holds in Nesin’s literary style.
Illustration: Ethem Onur Bilgiç
Aziz Nesin on the other hand says that humor, rather than being an emotion, is completely an intellectual function. Instead of the argument that an individual could mobilize a society through their writings, he has defended the idea that writings were born as a product of the social will, and emphasized that if there was action, it would be the subject of writing. His welcoming approach to intellectual differences was not limited to literature alone, and he has mentioned that every artistic work, as the creation of an idea in any art form, was important. In the interviews he gave, he has said that sensitivity toward arts was a habit, and like every other habit, it needed to be developed. Throughout his eighty-year long life, he defended that learning from the past was an intellectual necessity, and perhaps said it best with determination, “If I lived another seventy years, I would have been twice as productive”.
It was a hot day in July, the same month as the fateful fire, when Aziz Nesin left us in his usual hurried tempo. According to his will, he was buried in an unmarked grave in the gardens of the Aziz Nesin Foundation without any ceremony. “Let there be no tombstone for us, bury us in a school yard, let the children run above us…,” he wrote because he knew that he would leave behind the joy of a child, a purposeful laughter. Today he continues to grow in the consciousness of all, whose lives he touched in some way, and in the intellectual line that spreads across our faces as we smile. Today he is a century-old reality, surfacing in every resistance, a ‘blessed’ laughter in the midst of all the pain and misery, be it in Istanbul, in Bursa, or another city in the world, in Sivas, Madımak, Roboski and Suruç…