Trash Sorters – İstanbul Voices Unheard Voices of İstanbul Sat, 17 Jun 2017 20:59:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 In Ramadan Festival Songs All the Same Thu, 12 Jan 2012 10:21:35 +0000 A group of Turkish students and activists meet with impoverished undocumented Sierra Leone nationals in Istanbul during Ramadan. Joyous Sierra Leone and Turkish folk songs result.

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Immigration Roads Thu, 12 Jan 2012 10:00:38 +0000 On the Sea shaking on a tiny ship, 10 masked Africans, in their hands ladles…
On the fore of the boat, they boiled rice on an outdoor gas tank, they caught fish and cooked them, on a wide-wide open trip.
How much food can fit in a tiny ship?

Refugees, struggling with huge waves coming at a boat like sharp rocks, unable to breath stuffed together on trucks, are moving from south to north, from east to west to open the routes of migration.
The immigrants road is not free or easy, it is a blocked road with a huge wall, people are buried in this wall.
“Empty stomachs are being globalized!” with screams…
A coast comes into view, this is a forbidden world with guards and protectors looking.
There are nameless corpses on the coast, the huge sharp rock-like waves are applauding

While immigrating from their homes, not even hunger, thirst or the fear of death…
Can make them forget that their children cry out for food, the poetry of their lovers’ music on their souls.
What has become of their homeland? How far away is it?

Why are you trying to escape, explain?
With the wars of imperialism
Your place on earth has been stolen, your land has been raided.
With a days wages they race with nothingness
Not even able to work for a filled stomach.
As you left all you took with you was war and poverty
What was left of war and poverty.
In history the boat always tilts these two sides.
Whatever else poverty is a natural law, right
It is a biologic rule so say the forbidden world’s knowledgeable folks!

Hasan tried to explain what it was to be a refugee, his head rested on hand, his elbow on a table, his mind hurt from a headache.
He was still on rocky waters on the ship that had brought him to this dry land.
“How many days did your journey take?” I asked him.
He said, “I don’t remember the numbers of sunsets and sunrises, the ways sun lifting up and sinking back on planet made our world red and purple in the dust and dawn. I can’t remember.”
Maybe 10, maybe…
He had forced doors open, he had wanted a home here, he had wanted food, he kept coming to the trash of Istanbul.
He was a trash sorter here.
As Istanbul shines on in the night with its fast “sexy” neon light, Hasan carries a sack on his back, travels the landscape of giant Istanbul
He passes huge African Statues on display in a museum…
The name of this museum is “Spoils”…

Arif Murat Gür
June 13, 2011

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Why He Can’t Wear Trash Sorting Gloves Thu, 26 May 2011 22:42:21 +0000

Trash sorter and writer Ali Mendillioğlu.

Years ago Ali had worked as a painter of skyscrapers in Ankara, Turkey. He liked the climb up the ladder, the walk on the narrow wooden board to his place on the side of a huge building. Ali would paint for hours, loving the sunlight and breeze and fresh air.

Then one spring day when the wind was soft in Ankara, Turkey and the sun beat down, Ali looked up and saw a helicopter coming out of the distance over the flat Anatolian plateau. He watched the helicopter change from a tiny dot in the sky to the nearing swopswopswop swing sound of the helicopter blades over the countryside, then over the city and coming closer, closer… Ali felt like he was meant to – at this moment – see this moving floating object coming toward him.

Finally it was right up close, flying around the skyscraper he was painting. The helicopter flew in a few circles around then stopped dead in the middle of the air, floating, like a shark watching him, staring at him. In that moment of the staring helicopter the ground of Ankara flew up, made Ali dizzy and he suddenly realized where he was, so high from the ground on a tiny twig of a wood board… Ali clung to the side of the building he was working on. He dropped his paint roller and it fell, fell, fell down and Ali thought he should call down to warn any passerbys below that the paint roller was coming their way but it was too late. His voice would never reach the people before his paint roller did.

The paint roller crashed below making a small explosive sound as it hit the ground and missed two workers. All Ali could do was move inch by inch along the narrow board, gripping the side of the building. Finally he was by the ladder. Very slowly Ali climbed down.

After that job Ali did other jobs and finally “fell into the trash.” For years he learned trash inside and out and then began to write his observations about his life in trash. Ali says that for him to wear plastic protective gloves when he sorts would be the same as seeing that helicopter again come out of the flat horizon. If Ali wore gloves when he sorted trash he would be forced to see how society judged him as a trash sorter. And he could never do his work again.

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Falling into İstanbul’s Trash Sat, 23 Apr 2011 18:18:28 +0000 Trash sorting is widespread in İstanbul. Watch Ali Mendillioğlu – a trash sorter and writer – as he investigates the trash of one Istanbul neighborhood.


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