Creeping strategy --- March - 29 - 2009 - ISTANBUL (TURKEY)

Now I do not remember how many times, after discussions with the Turkish friends, talking about Italy and Turkey, we have been finished by saying: Turkey and Italy, 2 twin countries. There is also the saying: "Turkish-Italians, one face, one race", but in reality that was invented by the Greeks and Italians. And the Turks, at least those that preserve the genes of the Turks that came in Anatolia several centuries ago, have so beautiful Asian features, with eyes a little almond, so that saying is often only a  commonplace.
Surely the elective affinity is to be sought elsewhere, but it is a fact that exists.
Silvio Berlusconi has witnessed the wedding of one Erdoğan's daughter. Both now are preparing to conclude their triumphant day. The first dealing with the founding congress of the "People of Freedom" (PdL), the second celebrating a predictable victory in local elections (but which have the value of elections for half-term) in Turkey.

Parsley and lentils cooked in water --- March - 23 - 2009 - DIYARBAKIR (TURKEY)

In a few hours a scheduled internal flight will bring me back to Istanbul. The stay on the banks of the Tigris lasted only 3 days. But at home (that means in Istanbul) there's a lot of work to do for me.

Lost among peace and brotherhood --- March - 21 - 2009 - DIYARBAKIR (TURKEY)

Now that Newroz has become a "Turkish holiday", here in Diyarbakır what happens on March 21 seems like a picnic. The police was only at the beginning of the lawn, searching people, as usual during demonstrations here in Turkey. But they need? By meadows we could access there from any side. Since the Newroz was legalized in Turkey (in 2000) here a stage was built with rooms inside and a huge square in front, all surrounded by fields in the outskirts of the city. But this year, Newroz has become even a Turkish festival: how far can go the elections around the corner!!

Departures --- March - 19 - 2009 - ISTANBUL (TURKEY)

The room is chaotic as tradition every time a few hours before departure. I'm going to Diyarbakır, in Kurdistan, to attend the Newroz. 24 hours of travel by bus in the belly of Turkey await Kadir and me. But we will succeed. Perhaps it will be a particular Newroz this year, a few days before local elections in Turkey.
These days many things have happened, I can only mention a few. The World Water Forum began, and 2 women (one German and one American) who were partecipating in the Forum were arrested and deported from Turkey because they had exposed a flag against dams (all, not just those in Turkey), but the Turkish police (who had just finished beat some young demonstrator) was offended as well. Have been noticed policemen in plainclothes inside the Forum that with skill and dexterity take possession of the laptops of journalists to obtain some data. Finally, sudden and seemingly inexplicable interruptions of the microphone for those who during their speech dared to mention the human rights and human right to water. Renato was surprised, but only a little. Ulus comforted him: "Welcome to Turkey. You asked why the World Water Forum had been done in Istanbul. This is the answer, because you can afford this repression here, it's nothing else but normal".

Forgotten Italian fathers --- March - 17 - 2009 - ISTANBUL (TURKEY)

It seems that in a week should happen what has not happened in 3 months. It is not so easy to keep track of the facts and remain calm in the face of so many emotions.
A few days ago, so to speak, we celebrated exactly one year from the day when I and the boys met: March 15. We celebrated it at the hamam nearby the house, one of the most unlikely and humble (and economic) in Istanbul. But the managers are very nice and the massager knows how to do his work. And then there's a family atmosphere. Moritz, the new German flatmate, was very excited by the idea and, as between low walls of a small neighborhood hamam, as first hamam experience seemed to appreciate. Çağdaş and Özhan were well shaken by the hands of the masseur, and also my joints, I must say, they sang loudly. This can be also a way to celebrate friendship.

Surprises --- March - 12 - 2009 - ISTANBUL (TURKEY)

Wow, what evening yesterday! The place was truly legendary, with some memorable pictures hung on the walls, photos of revolutions of '900 in every corner of the planet. People were motivated and affectionate. And couldn't miss in the repertoire of Bandista a version of "O bella ciao" and they surprised me (as usual) asking me to go up on the stage and sing the verses in Italian.
The concert was over around midnight and then we continued up to 3 to dance on a repertoire several times tested, as the dj was Ceyhun. It seems that our favourite group is the Bratsch, right?
Around 5 we went to the house of Gökçesu who had preceded us at home. She had offered to host at least 7 people among the group from Istanbul. However, once in front of the house, the phone line seemed hopelessly unavailable (or she was asleep). After nearly half an hour of attempts, passed on the street in the cold (Ankara is at 850 meters over the sea level!), came a guy with a motorbike (at 5.30 am) and said: "You are the Bandista?": a miracle! He was the fellow of Gökçesu and luckily he could open the door. We even slept 3 hours this morning and we took a bus back to Istanbul at 10 am (900 km in 2 days).

Fikrim --- March - 11 - 2009 - ANKARA (TURKEY)

The concert of Bandista is about to begin. We are in a place called "Fikrim" that means "my idea". And it means a lot. This is my first time in Ankara. And this is only the first of 2 travels I will make this month.
All the friends arrived, everything is ready. There's no table empty anymore. The glasses are full, the lights softly low, the hearts joyful.
Everybody are enough excited, the show is about to begin. Are you ready?

Woman --- March - 08 - 2009 - ISTANBUL (TURKEY)

I would like to reconcile with you, woman (not one in particular). Find a place in the world where to say the words "sorry" and "I still trust in you" can make them eternal.
The signs drawed with the chalk on the asphalt by the little girls were washed by the rain. Where we traced a sign, there is only mud that drops down from the hill.
Even if it is not easy to believe, I had more respect for you than for myself.
May arrive early forgetfulness on our pain. And hope may prevail on our same old fears.
May arrive early the day when we will meet again.
"Woman", John Lennon:
<<Woman I can hardly express,
My mixed emotion at my thoughtlessness,
After all I'm forever in your debt,
And woman I will try express,
My inner feelings and thankfullness,
For showing me the meaning of success,
oooh well, well,
oooh well, well,
Woman I know you understand
The little child inside the man,
Please remember my life is in your hands,
And woman hold me close to your heart,

Pink sprouts and little girls --- March - 07 - 2009 - ISTANBUL (TURKEY)

Today, telling the truth, it rains. But since some days ago you can feel the signs of spring. You know how I realized it? Not because the temperature is now stable at 15 degrees, not because some trees are already putting the sprouts, not because everything around me and inside me seems to be about to be born again, but because the little girls in the street nearby the house began to mark with chalk on the asphalt the squares of their games.
Two nights ago we occupied the headquarters of the Faculty of Letters of "Istanbul University". A few hundred people, I was the only foreigner. They were years, I have heard, that they have not occupied. The protest was against the Turkish law "50d", which includes cuts to higher education and limited opportunities to pursue a career for university graduates. Italy and Turkey are 2 twin countries, right?

Laura among whirling dervishes --- March - 03 - 2009 - ISTANBUL (TURKEY)

And then suddenly find ourselves among old friends and wonder what happened in the meantime. Is this what they call life? Sometimes. Turn back and not recognize what you have been until yesterday. Feel lost, sometimes it happens.
Laura was in Istanbul. Natale was also with her, what nice and funny people! She told me without talking about what we were and what we still are. And about the one that I must soon return to be. And the best gift was the surprise on her face walking through the streets of the city, inside the mosques or the Harem at Topkapı, along the Bosphorus, dancing at a concert or simply by eating fish on the quayside.
But surprise as while observing the whirling dervishes, maybe I do not remember.
And these are lessons that I found in these days in a book of poems by Rumi, the Sufi mystic.
"The lamps are different / but the Light is the same. / So many garish lamps in the dying brain's lamp shop / forget about them. / Concentrate on essence, concentrate on Light".

"Chitarra pigra" --- February - 27 - 2009 - ISTANBUL (TURKEY)

"Chitarra pigra" means "lazy guitar". It is a musical instrument that does not exist. Indeed not: it exists.  Ömür invented it. It is not even a guitar and a bağlama. It has the handle of the bağlama, but the rest is an invention of Ömür. Has no harmonic box, but an amplification system. The name is "lazy guitar" because the tuning of the three double strings allows him to create major chords on the same key, without further efforts.
Ömür has started 2 months ago the military service in Turkey. Tomorrow he will leave again to the barracks. But in these few days of permission, he returned to Istanbul to make his girlfriend happy and has found time to organize a concert for his band, "Hariçten Gazelciler". At night, around 3, while removing the stage, after the concert, I came to embrace him. He has embraced me strongly and put his face against mine. He said: "I am a soldier, I have no more a guitar in hand, but a rifle. I have to kill before they kill me". It is strange in 2009 to hear still these speeches. But here we are in Turkey, not in the mind of a naive young man with so many western dreams, illusions, and even more especially no contact with the reality of the real world.

Still life --- February - 25 - 2009 - ISTANBUL (TURKEY)

I returned on the shores of the Bosphorus. I'm not back here alone, I have come in company, with the contrabass. Now my heart is definitively in Istanbul, following that for which my home is where the contrabass is.
The idea of travel by land and by ferry from Bari to Greece was forcibly replaced by a flight from Milan, due to a series of strikes by maritime transport in Greece.
The trip to Italy was a short but kilometric one, as usual. Milan-Naples-Bari-Milan. And I have not even stopped in Rome.
What deserves to be remembered for this trip? Francesca, who has just entered the house of viale Bligny 42, a day that was mine. She tells me that: "it is not that you may have overestimated in the past that person?"... and again: "she is just a girl, you can not expect anything else, maybe the problem is you that you are afraid of a real woman".
Armando then reads cards to me and splits me in 3 characters: the mentor, the lover and the artist. And with one hand on my shoulder quotes Silvio Rodriguez, the price of being oneself, one's own solitude, but also the awareness of our limitations, our borders, to know what we are and what we want and what we will stand for.

"El precio de ser uno mismo" --- February - 21 - 2009 - NAPLES (ITALY)

Here I am back in Italy. Perhaps it is not a visit, but just a quick step. I have to embark as soon as possible, within 2 days, in Bari, and reach Istanbul within the 25th. So I just have time to review the best friends for a coffee and anything else. 
Yesterday, just arrived in town, I joined the parade of the "Zero Waste Alliance", which these days has been hosting a meeting with delegations from around the world on waste management. Obviously the institutions don't take part in the workshops, locked in their "envy" or "complicity". 
Leading the parade was father Alex Zanotelli, a legendary figure unknown to the Italian television mass odience. But after all is from beneath the ashes that the fire that sleeps will burn tomorrow. 

Save souls --- February - 16 - 2009 - BERLIN (GERMANY)

If my life is like a film, my soundtrack today might be "Save souls" by Fabrizio De Andre'. Some verses nail me without hope of escape: "I spied myself self-deluding and failing, aborting children as the dreams, I saw myself crying in a mirror of snow, I saw myself laughing, I saw myself departing watched from behind my shoulders". It's snowing today. Despite this I was awakened by the voices of children playing in the garden of the school under the window of the house of Ali, the Turkish boy grew up in Berlin that is hosting me. For a while I hear a voice still unknown, but those familiar voices. But then it was only a dream and I returned in myself. In the afternoon I made a visit to the zoo. But many animals were in their holes or indoors. But there was one that really had fun: Knut! Yes, the famous ex-baby polar bear born at the zoo in Berlin. We had so much fantasy on this little big puppy and now at the end he was really before my eyes. Knut, come away with me, now we are free, we are save souls in flight over the world...

"Anime Salve"
, Fabrizio De Andre':
<<Mille anni al mondo mille
ancora che bell'inganno sei anima mia e che bello il mio tempo che

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