Bits and pieces on this May 18th 2016

May 18, 2016

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The day was waning, the streets are busy with rush hour traffic, harried faces, horns honking, aggressive taxi drivers. I had just walked by Pera Palace, when I heard this booming voice hollering. I looked back, an old man with a hat and a suit jacket, gesticulating, he’s mad, in another reality. I continued. Red light, I press the button and wait for the light to change to green. Pedestrians jaywalk to the middle section of the road. I used to do that but realize that you are a target there for any runaway car, scooter, motorcycle, bus or truck, so I wait for the green. Loud voice, I jump. The old man with the hat and the suit jacket is right next to me. His blue eyes are focused on an intense inner world, his face framed in gray stubble, his skin deeply etched by a demanding life. Green light, we cross. Three quarter of the way through the 6 lanes I see a street dog on the other side estimating traffic, looking nervous, he is big, brown and black, dirty. I wonder if I should help him but before I can do anything the old man hollers again, goes to the dog and talks to him, they understand each other instantly. Now I know the dog is safe from those rabid Istanbul drivers…

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Maybe it’s an overdose of world news but it seems we’re going to hell in a hand basket in an accelerated rate of speed. I hurt for the earth, the animals. I cannot grasp the amount of spite, anger, violence. How easy it is for humans to just do that: be violent, vengeful, hateful, shortsighted, greedy and completely stupid.

The human is the most despicable, destructive, stupid form of life on the earth. I’m sorry if that offends you but really… look around. The pettiness, the greed, the self interest, the intolerance, the violence… I mean the concept alone of making arms… to blow each other up… don’t give me any reasons. There are none. Because if you changed shoes for 3 seconds and the ones blown up were your kin, then it would be atrociously unacceptable.

Then see the way we feed each other poisonous things, we have human companies, manufacturing foods and medication that make people ill, that kills them, human companies that knowingly send all their garbage in the environment. Like Flint!!! poisoning your people with local water and giving good water to GM Motors… As a species it comes down to living, sleeping eating, in your own shit. No animal does that.

Good people create for themselves the best justifications to manufacture, sell arms and poisons and not be responsible for their actions, because, well, there’s good money in it and the crowds clap in agreement: Money is good.

The lack of empathy, of feeling, of thinking… The human thought process is deranged, a diseased thing, unable to grasp simple survival (clean air, water, food). I am not sure at all we will survive what is coming, or should I say has already arrived (climate change) Mother nature has hit Canada where Canada hurts her the most: Fort Mac Murray. Now she’s burning the workers camps. Good riddance. “JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!” they all cry like babies. ECONOMY! ECONOMY! What the fuck is that? Money is not even a representation of gold stores anymore, money, the banks and their moron bankers have the system rigged. It makes me sick to see all their advertising, clean crisp corporate image of winners, I spit on those lies… The elections : Rigged. ALL OVER THE WORLD! All the while we are with all our might and conviction hanging on to our unsustainable lives, dreams of fame, fake lips, boobs and asses, obsessed with porn and bodies and utterly insignificant, idiotic celebrities while raining 40 000 dollars bombs on cotton tents…. This is madness. Madness. Madness. Oh mother nature… I cry.

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I headed out to Taksim on foot, destination: Junior bar. The old “Jurnal” now has a new name and a new owner. He had contacted me regarding the possibility of playing. The sun is setting and it’s absolutely gorgeous out. I walk through the fish market, the restaurant hosts harass you on the way, trying to get you to engage and come to their tables, I walk on. Ms Sokak, I turn, I go downstairs, there is a cat on the steps whom I must carefully step around. Inside, empty but for 1 person. The owner. It’s too clean, too orderly, too empty.

“Hello”

“Hello”

I sit with him, he’s a young guy, he tells me he used to have a terasse with an open ceiling, lots of customers, music, it was beautiful, but the Zabita came in and since he didn’t have a license they shut him down. Now he’s here, it’s underground, small, low ceiling, no windows and there is no one around.

“Since the bomb, every week there is less and less people. Everyone hangs out in Beşiktas or Kadiköy. 4 years ago.. 3 years ago even, it was great…” Three years ago is when I arrived, and yes it was incredible. People from all over the world, artists, musicians, students, the young Turks happy and creative, inventing futures for themselves. That was what I saw. Now I see the fast decline of Beyoğlu, there aren’t thousands of people to hide the cracks and the decaying surroundings. There aren’t laughing tourists to make you disregard the shady characters hanging around and trying to rip you off. There isn’t hope anymore. Now it’s patience.

“One day, like everyone, he will go away…” Said he about the dictatorial leader. The Turkish patience through hardships. We will organize a concert when I am done at the school. I will invite many but I’m not sure we can overcome what is going on here. I feel I am on a slowly sinking ship. The fate is such. Turkey is going down, by its own politics, by way of geopolitics, by way of intolerance. They are isolating themselves. We will see. I walked back home on Istiklal, shoppers abound, the darkness is coming in. I think of Maryam, Eren, and the crew of people who used to make this place magical. I remember Eren telling me in 2014 outside Karakedi version 2 that things were going downhill, the good days were ending… he was right. I also remember Moosa telling me right after Gezi that this was exactly what happened in Iran, and to watch and see how darkness would set on this wondrous city.
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I cleaned my room. Istanbul is so polluted (20 million people make a lot of pollution) everyday you can sweep a good quantity of dust and sand (yeah I don’t know how that happens) things get covered in a layer of greasy dust within a day. I had neglected the room for over a week so it felt like a purification to wash floors and dust everything. It feels peaceful. Tonight I had an awesome dinner of taze fasulye and then we walked to Karaköy and got yes… baklava. We sat by the Bosphorus. This area last year was bustling with fish sandwich impromptu restaurants, tables, all sorts of festive temporary eating spots. In the fall last year, bulldozers came and flattened all of it. Overnight. Now they have planted trees and put down grass, gentrifying the whole thing, I think soon this whole area will be fancified into hotel-shopping row. That is what is going on everywhere. Big fucking corporate money. So we sat by the Haliç opened up our box of Güllüoğlü baklava, unbelievably tasty! one piece each, the sun is warm and beautiful, it’s peaceful, we watch the boat traffic on the Haliç, a father and his fat little son walk by.

“Now it’s good to be in Istanbul!” He says ironically, yes right now it feels incredibly sweet.

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