Amed cannot recall the day 19 years ago when the Turkish army drove his family from their burning village, but the Kurdish teenager has many other memories to explain his anger.
He particularly remembers, as a small boy, asking about a row of faces hanging on the wall in his grandmother’s home. “She said they were my uncles and relatives. She told me they were killed by soldiers or disappeared or were tortured. How else could I have grown up, other than wanting to break heads with stones?”
Accused by prosecutors of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a demonstration in his hometown of Diyarbakir, the largest city in Turkey’s primarily Kurdish southeast, Amed is one of the so-called “stone-throwing kids,” a generation of angry youths whose clashes with riot police have become a symbol of the simmering unrest gripping the country’s 15-million-strong Kurdish minority.
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Alexander Christie-Miller is a freelance journalist based in Istanbul, where he writes for the Times.