Undocumented Africans – İstanbul Voices http://www.istanbulvoices.org Unheard Voices of İstanbul Sat, 17 Jun 2017 20:59:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.6 Jesus’ Home: African Refugee in Istanbul http://www.istanbulvoices.org/2012/02/jesus-home-african-refugee-in-istanbul/ http://www.istanbulvoices.org/2012/02/jesus-home-african-refugee-in-istanbul/#comments Thu, 23 Feb 2012 01:28:31 +0000 http://www.istanbulvoices.org/?p=473 Isa (Jesus) is an African Refugee living on the margins in one of Istanbul’s toughest slums, Tarlabaşı. Listen as he describes his and fellow African Refugees’ lives.


by Sean David Hobbs and H.firouzeh

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On the Outside with African Refugees http://www.istanbulvoices.org/2012/02/on-the-outside-with-african-refugees/ http://www.istanbulvoices.org/2012/02/on-the-outside-with-african-refugees/#respond Thu, 02 Feb 2012 13:59:43 +0000 http://www.istanbulvoices.org/?p=461 We met them at one of the many cheap “Sulu Yemek” (“Watery Food”) restaurants. They were West African Refugees from Sierra Leone living undocumented lives in Istanbul. They said, their crowded apartment was frigid in Istanbul’s winter. Every night they went Trash Sorting, hoping to find recyclables which they could turn into a bit of money. They said no other work was possible for them in Turkey.

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As a group we went to a local homeless shelter that held Turks and political Refugees from other countries. The young men from Sierra Leone explained they had come as stowaways on international tankers. They were in Turkey illegally and they always feared arrest. They were afraid to even go to the government to start the refugee application process.

A man from Egypt and a man from Iran and others spoke with the men from Sierra Leone. Everyone of us were living and waiting and working in Istanbul and all of us were on the outside.

Writing by Sean David Hobbs, January 29 2012

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In Ramadan Festival Songs All the Same http://www.istanbulvoices.org/2012/01/in-ramadan-festival-songs-all-the-same/ http://www.istanbulvoices.org/2012/01/in-ramadan-festival-songs-all-the-same/#respond Thu, 12 Jan 2012 10:21:35 +0000 http://www.istanbulvoices.org/?p=430 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 http://www.istanbulvoices.org/2012/01/immigration-roads/ http://www.istanbulvoices.org/2012/01/immigration-roads/#respond Thu, 12 Jan 2012 10:00:38 +0000 http://www.istanbulvoices.org/?p=424 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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