Radikaal Hopeful

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She watches through Ieder1 eyes.

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When spoken word fills your mind and your belly,  all you can do is make others jelly.

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I think this is what a cool uncle looks like.

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Ever-present rain in this land won’t dampen Ieder1’s hearts.

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Oud en nieuw, heavy and light, samen radikaal hopeful.

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This 1 has been training peoples in alternatives to violence. You’ve been all over, and you will not rest! Don’t deprive us of your mighty guidance.

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Extraordinary feeling of togetherness,

“Negativiteit aanstekelijk is maar positiviteit ook.

Dit is een manier radikaal zijn,

we zijn radikaal hopeful.” -Derek Otte

(Translation: negativity is contagious but so is positivity. This is a way of being radical, we are radically hopeful.)

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Ieder1: I caught up with them in Museumplein, right where the festivities peaked.

So what’s the deal?

Amsterdammers from everywhere gathered together in a parade literally translated, for Every1. This was the first of its kind. Speakers of all ages, music from funk jazz to oud/string duos. Exactly what Ieder1 needs. Seeing, hearing and tasting diversity, walking with it all the way from Bijlmer Arena to Museumplein to see it grow greater. Be overwhelmed by its presence so as not to forget. The fantastic side to turning up to these gatherings alone is that you can jam with people you’ve never met before without the usual Where are you From? Saves people like me from having to map out where I’ve been until they track down how I got my accent. Friend, I’m from here in this moment in space and time, and so are you.

To be the sea again,

 

Again and again.

My visit to Turkey this year was unlike the rest. In spirit and happenings. The summer in which those who’d seen a couple decades go by here ask me sardonic questions like “Is this your first coup?” to the failed attempt around midnight 15th of July.

Our current homebase here is the little town of Gümüşlük in Bodrum (also known as Myndos, after the ancient city). The cosy teahouses scattered around the coast are infested with political conversations. There’s new-founded vigour and contempt. You can see children’s play get divided by their wish to ask questions and join in all this terror talk because it is seriously the only topic of discussion when adults gather together. Çay’s got a darker, bitter edge and the familiar heat, roasting the land more furiously than before.

My public interest in interacting with refugees was teased and I was actively discouraged from seeking them out personally whether children or families, in inner Anatolia or elsewhere. It is a sour and restless time for the Turkish folk around me, as well as the Kurdish and ofcourse the Syrian population spread out all over parts of Turkey. Sour because people are visibly growing more distant and more intolerant with every event, desensitized because they’re drowning in an overwhelming ocean of “news”.

When I am not keeping busy recording and transferring the energies I am receiving from this land I also feel this restlessness and apprehension for the future.

Parçanın bütüne yolculuğu gibi “yeniden deniz olmak” hayalimiz.. Mavinin ruhunda, suyun dinginliği gibi sessiz.. / To be the sea, again. To be one body, one feeling with the rest of the universe../

So here is one way we could interact with this pickled mix of people around us. Encouraging togetherness and tolerance. See locally; the humans around us as one and take care of the platforms upon which we physically engage with these humans- the land, the sea. Turkey is indeed a pickled mixture of rich ingredients, sometimes I thought of it as a soup, or an intricate kilim or carpet.

But not this summer. We are trapped in one jar filled up to the brim with acı the turkish word for  

  1. pain, ache; agony, sorrow
  2. hot; bitter; rancid; acrid; sharp; hurtful, cutting, harsh; grievous, tragic; sour
  3. angle; point of view

with neighbouring jars rattling and shaking the cupboard around us.

Gümüşlük has a little sunken beauty in the sea. On the condition that we don’t harm the sea in any way with the materials we use on this weary boat,  the waters allowed for my friend Emir Rıfat Işık and I to collaborate on a note we wanted to leave with the people of this town. Emir joined us from Istanbul, he is a talented calligraphy artist and multi-disciplinary designer, predominantly featuring arabic and farsi sayings and words in his works. We spent a couple of hours before deciding on a farsi phrase

“We are two spirits infused into single body.”

In choosing the sea and this peaceful boat in it, we also added in turkish “yeniden deniz olmak”, meaning to be the sea again.

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Our streets

London,

I tasted a colourful,  brave side of you this year. Consequently, our relationship has entirely freshened up.  You’ve given me fruitful friendships along the Regent’s Canal both east and west. Slowly, I’d like to give something back, thanking you for the experiences.

I’d also like to thank my shoes full of feet for walking me places you’d like me to be.

We all Come from Somewhere: At the Migrants March on the 24th of June I participated in the walk in opposition to Brexit and anti-immigration. It was duly captivating to watch the transformation of our perpetually restless, collisional streets of London turn into a diverse, euphonic and intricate tapestry of human connectedness and support. I’ve been more careful not to pack my days back to back like the Bisy Backson-Rabbit from A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh  (and almost every other rabbit in the classic stories) so that I may wade into these magnetic waves of collaborative action. Everyone should avoid becoming a regular Bisy Backson; our blinding speed at rushing pointless places with a 0 positive impact in our lives can become contagious.

It was incredible to recognize for the first time familiar faces and groups from the crowd, pouring out with physical, vocal energy and determination. I took these black and white photographs on a film camera on the day of the march and included a few photographs I took from the Australia House meeting on June 20th.