DISCLAIMER: The book is given by the Indonesian publisher in exchange of an honest review. All the review written is not related to any personal issues or connection.
I was getting so emotional when I read Seher or is translated as Subuh in Bahasa Indonesia. I do not know the reasons why but I just feel this compilation of short story is like a message of humanity that Demirtaş tries to convey. The message is simply clear: to be kind, to have great understanding and tolerance towards others. Yet his voice is so loud and clear, it reaches me like it is transformed into a universal language. The stories in this collection is short and simple yet is very much touching. The main theme is about social injustice, violence and hardship experienced by ordinary people. I assume that these stories are based on Demirtaş’s experience as a lawyer in human rights.
The story I do love the most is a story about a very lovable girl named Seher. She once falls for her workmate and does not know that this guy has a hidden agenda. One day, this guy takes her into the wood and sexually molested her with his two other friends. Seher who faces the brutal experience will have to deal with the custom later. Seher has brought a shame to her family honour. This leads to a condition where his father and two other male relatives drag her in an empty field and take her life away.
“Tiga laki-laki merampas mimpi Seher di tengah hutan pada petang harı. Tiga laki-laki mengambil nyawa Seher di ladang kosong pada waktu malam.”
(One evening in a forest, three men robbed Seher of her dreams. One night in an empty field, three men robbed Seher of her life).
Apart of Seher, there are also some other stories that I found intriguing. The story about Nazan-the cleaner for instance. Nazan is trapped in the middle of protest and is assumed to take a part in it even if she does not know anything about it. She is sentenced to an imprisonment because of this false accusation.
Those portrayals of custom and social injustice leave me breathless. I couldn’t help myself but to sob and to sigh when I read some of those parts. When I read Seher, I was thinking why women should go suffering in her life. When I read Nazan and other stories, I could not help myself but to think how people can be so cruel to others and what happens to the value of humanity. How can we become such a monster to others? What I love the most of this book? The characters particularly the female characters in the novel have such a strong portrayal. The female doctor who helps Nazan and Seher’s mother, for instance.
There are so much to say about this book. I can go for hours to tell you about it but it will spoil the fun. So grab it and read it yourself because it is truly a very enlightening yet entertaining piece of works.