Blowing up the Danube

The concert in Linz is over. It was funny to blow the crowd up in Linz, in a concert hall on the banks of the Danube. Ah, the beloved Danube: here I am back. Funny to blow people up on Anatolian rhythms and hip-hop with the contrabass and the Turks living here who show solidarity to me by a fellow, after concert. "Thanks, but I am not Turkish, I am Italian", "ah, never mind, not makes much difference, you're our brother". Italians and Turks in the area have made the same life, unskilled immigrant. The Bosnians also I have seen that have made the same road. After 20 years of emigration from Bosnia, the most popular sausage in Austria is now the "Bosner", which is passing "kebap" and "pizza". Even Austria sliding to intolerance, it gives a break from xenofobia at lunch...
Photos of the concert coming soon...
In a few hours in Milan. Then Rome and Bari. In 1 week back to Istanbul.

Marginalized Italy

Tomorrow I go to Austria. Sultan Tunc and his band will play at "Linz Fest" on sunday evening. I will play the contrabass. It's the first concert of the new band and we start right strong, we will do our best. Ali is still in Cyprus and has not been able to leave, so we play without him.
This May is about to end. A May of hard work and encouraging answers. Head down and work hard without asking many questions about the future.  A fast pace kept me away more than usual from the website. Now it is to keep this pace until the end of July but at the same time continue the work of the story-telling of this effort and this time in Istanbul.
A few days ago I received an e-mail that struck me, I was delighted but also made me sad. Caterina wrote me, an Italian girl from Sicily, studying in Bologna, who spent a semester of study within the Erasmus project in Istanbul. And in recent months we have met. One evening last December we had a dinner at home with some friends and a home screening of "Isti'mariyah".
These are the main passages of the e-mail (in Italian in original).

Recurring dream

Tonight I had a dream, or rather this morning. I was reminded I dreamed it because the phone suddenly rang and I woke up with this dream in the mind. Perhaps this is the first time I write one of my dream on this diary. But such a dream it happens to me at times. Now the story.
I was returning home, alone, in a place that is supposed to be Tarlabaşı, our neighborhood here in Istanbul. I also walk fast because in my mind the boys, my flatmates, they are playing football behind our house. And I, of course, I want to take part.

Hayde, Ali, come zurück presto!

It seems incredible, but the contrabass is back fully in the center of my life. For several weeks we are working hard to prepare for a concert in Linz, Austria. I'm playing with Sultan Tunç. In these last 2 weeks preceding the concert we will add some percussion and a solo instrument.
Meanwhile Tunç, Ali and I have worked on musics arrangement.
The rehearsal room is perhaps one of the most charming room with view in Istanbul (even if you discover many). However, it is a room that overlooks from the third floor of a building directly on the Galata tower.
A characteristic of this musical group is multilingualism. Tunç and Ali are 2 Turks born in Germany. But when they speak together Tunç preferably begins the talk in Turkish, Ali in German. The other answers with the given language. Until the end of the sentence, then both return to their preferred language. I follow their speeches and in the meantime I can exercise both Turkish and German. But if they want a proper response from me, they must be satisfied by English, they know this.
But after work, in leisure time, multilingualism reaches embarrassing levels. The best a few days ago. After a snack in a bar down the street, Tunç has proposed: "Zu drink buono çay?" that would mean: "we take a good tea?", in German, English, Italian and Turkish. So started the game to make sentence in 4 languages.

Migration: the Italian colonialism in North Africa. Open letter of Bélaïd Abrika to the Algerian President Bouteflika

A period of 11 days has passed from the last page of the diary. Meanwhile in Istanbul was the heat, and we went directly from a timid spring in a shameless summer. The site has some other new changes and there will be other in a short time, starting from the side banners that lead directly to some works. But I will go into details soon.
Meanwhile yesterday in Italy were approved with confidence by the Chamber of Deputies three amendments on the draft law on security. The text introduces the crime of clandestinity and provides for the payment of 200 € for the residence permit. Is then confirmed the extension, up to six months of periods spent in CIE, the "welcome" and identification centers, up to one hundred days. Provided, then the introduction of the patrols, done by normal citizens.
On May 7, for the first time in history, a patrol boat of the Italian Coast Guard and the "Guardia di Finanza" brought back to Libya migrants intercepted in the Channel of Sicily  while crossing from Africa to Europe, for precision 227 migrants. The Italian interior minister has used triumphalistic tone: "It is a breakthrough in the fight against illegal immigration".

De te fabula narratur

I returned to Istanbul. Now more than a week ago. There are so many things happened in those days. The Bandista have released their first album, "De te fabula narratur", beautiful, extraordinary and legendary. Bernardo came to visit me. And Istanbul gave its best in these days and he has enriched it with his unconventional cheerfulness. 
The first of May we took to the streets to demonstrate and even this was a day of those will not forget. The prefect of Istanbul had refused permission for the event, as is the case since 1977 when 26 people lost their lives in Taksim square, of which 5 by bullets fired by who knows who and the other because of the crowd fleeing. This year, for the first time, several thousand protesters, after a bargaining occurred in the course of the event, were able to gain the square for a few hours, as a symbolic act. But we were locked in a section of the protest that at the end was charged savagely by the police who fired teargas and used water cannons to disperse the crowds. 
A few hours later we managed to reach the area of Taksim square and the Bandista have inspired the crowd with their revolutionary songs. 
On the evening of May 2 there was a concert of presentation of the album. An unforgettable evening ended in the morning as Istanbul style.

O bella ciao --- April - 26 - 2009 - NAPLES (ITALY)

Give me back Istanbul. Give me back my room, my bed on the ground, my peanuts and my can of beer before sleeping, reading the latest things, writing about the last surge of bitterness. Give me back the breeze and Bosphorus. Give me back the sounds from the street outside the window. Give me back my friends and the people who now care of me. Give me back a place where to be happy is not a fault, nor a reminder of what was not and could be.
Of the 4 corners of the heart (of many more) I have said a few days ago, Istanbul, Berlin and Naples have been touched in a few days. Tomorrow we return to Istanbul, the present to which I grasped. The past is Naples. Berlin, perhaps the future.
The Bandista end today their new cd. Everything is ready for the first of May. Their fresh musicality, libertarian and unconscious, broke through even here in Naples. Yesterday they have enchanted the square in front of "Orientale" university playing at full night in the crowd. Also "O bella ciao", the only version that yesterday, April 25 in Italy, I heard.

Rabbit in the cylinder --- April - 24 - 2009 - BERLIN (GERMANY)

The travel in Berlin has found the rabbit in the cylinder. It's still there inside, but if you thread your hand there, you can touch its velvety fur. Today we would be due back to Istanbul, however we are still here. We did not find cheap flights and fate has pushed us towards Naples. Infact, much cheaper stopping in Naples for 2 days than to go directly Berlin-Istanbul, at least this week. So tomorrow Tunç and I will flight to Naples and join the Bandista and Luca and all the other friends. For the celebrations of the day of Liberation we will be there!! Then on the 27th we will fly back together to Istanbul.
Meanwhile, let the space now to the second surprise of this trip in Berlin. I have bought a photocamera: this is the Berlin photo gallery:


4 corners of my heart --- April - 22 - 2009 - BERLIN (GERMANY)

Massinissa Guermah, 8 years after his death, after a barbaric and cowardly murder. Belaïd Abrika, among the main spokesman of the Citizen Movement of Aarch of Kabylia in Algeria, wrote to me in those days. I'm translating the lengthy letter from the French, or rather a bitter outlet. Soon be published on the site.
Meanwhile, last April 10 were held presidential elections in Algeria. According to Interior Minister Zerhouni 74% of eligible voters voted. According to the opposition that has promoted a mass boycott of the vote, only 18% would have voted. It's amazing, but this is the applicant in Algeria over the past 10 years. Therefore, the bloodthirsty and corrupt Bouteflika has won once again. The Western can stay calm, gas will continue to flow from Algeria up to the homes of their citizens and in their pockets, the Algerian people are ready for the Libyan coast to leave behind a country unbearable looking for a miracle in just a few miles of sea before Lampedusa.

Pinar and Buccaneer: the Italian shame --- April - 20 - 2009 - MARBURG (GERMANY)

The weekend on the French-German border flew away. Only the time to wish to Annik a wonderful rebirth in her new city, with her new job and her new life. A funny encounter with Gültekin and Franz, 2 friends I met in Istanbul who live around there, members of the band Divan, here's their delightful video: Sofra.
I am now back with Tunç and soon we move to the house of his parents, in Stadtallendorf. Then tomorrow we go to Berlin for the final stage of the German tour.
This morning in Frankfurt, I bought an Italian newspaper, the first I read on paper since last February, and was shocked. The news run very well on the internet, I have no problem to follow the Italian news, but some layout on the paper also helps to understand many things.

There will be an answer --- April - 17 - 2009 - SAARBRÜCKEN (GERMANY)

Difficult to write and tell when the events are under an acceleration as in the past few days. Istanbul, then, is a city voted to surprises, unexpected, improvisation. So I had to wait this idle and quiet day on the banks of the Saar to summarize the recent events.
The Bandista have finished recording the new album. The mixing and mastering, the last 2 steps very  important steps in the processing of an album, will be made in Naples, in the “Beat Box studios”, among the best in the Italian underground scene. They leave on the 20th, Istanbul-Bari, low cost flight, then train to Naples: Özhan, Çağdaş, Ceyhun. What envy, I'd like me to be with them. Luca is waiting for them in Naples, and after some time I hope he is to join us in Istanbul.

Golden slumbers --- April - 10 - 2009 - ISTANBUL (TURKEY)

31 March 2009: around 200 migrants (or maybe more) missing off the Libyan coast, the world turns the other way its face. April 6 2009: 281 deaths from the earthquake in Italy: the whole world looks to Italy. Sorry, but I can not follow the mainstream.
To all the innocent deaths of these 2 tragedies, deaths that could be avoided that day in which there will be no thieves and no mafia to govern Italy.
I dedicate them all this Beatles song, "Golden slumbers":
<<Once there was a way to get back Homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a Lullabye
Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a Lullabye
Once there was a way to get back Homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a Lullabye>>

Unknown and unexpected shore --- April - 09 - 2009 - ISTANBUL (TURKEY)

In recent months, when the blog was still written in Italian, I had a couple of times to quote a passage from the book of Henry Laborit entitled "In praise of the escape". This is the famous passage:
<<The escape is often, when you are away from the coast, the only way to save the boat and crew. And moreover you will discover unknown shores sprout on the horizon of the waters calm returned. Unknown shores that will be forever ignored by those who have the illusory chance to follow the route of cargo and oil tankers, the route with no unexpected, tax by shipping companies. Perhaps you know that boat called "desire">>.
Well, it was a lawn in the campus of the Bosphorus University, a few days ago, but I realized that it seemed to me one of those unknown shores mentioned by Henry Laborit.

Kadıköy night songs --- April - 03 - 2009 - ISTANBUL (TURKEY)

It's almost 6 in the morning. It's a very long time since I don't write any lines on this web-site from Kadıköy. We are in the studios. The Bandista are recording their first album, finally. And it will be released in a few weeks. And so, they left home 5 days ago and, since then, they are working, playing, eating, living always here, no stop. We are only waiting for the muezzin to announce the sun rising, and then maybe they will sleep a few hours. Instead I will take the first ferryboat to the European side and get home. There I will sleep a few hours as well, and then ready for an appointment at 11.
Seçkin is already sleeping on the sofa, Özhan opened the couch and put the blankets, he will sleep there together wıth Çağdaş. Maybe Özgür will sleep on the chair. And me, I will be ready for the first ferry. But before the muezzin will sing, maybe there's time for recording another track for the bass. Everything started among these walls and alleys, here in Kadıköy. Everything really important, before happening, always waits for you to be here.


Saadet şimdi --- March - 29 - 2009 - ISTANBUL (TURKEY)

Daylight begins to lengthen in the street. Today children are more noisy than usual. They started early in the morning and still play without interruption. On their heads hundreds of waving flags with the inscription "Saadet Şimdi", "Happiness Now". It will be for this? Or who knows what they think of, looking at those flags. Easy to speak of "Happiness Now" to those who live in a hovel and are just gypsies at the margins of society. Perhaps their parents fell in the trap today, and really voted for this little islamist party. That is not here to offer, but to ask, in particular their vote. But children yet not think of these things. Perhaps today really have thought of their happiness, happiness now. And judging by their vitality, it seems that they know well the meaning of this word.
For my part, now that the house is empty because the guys are all in Izmit to vote and Moritz consumes in his room the last hours with his German girlfriend before she leaves Istanbul, I have tried to live my own happiness.
I was at the Sunday market in the neighborhood and I bought two fishes, which together formed a half kilo for 5 Turkish lira which is about € 2.5. I had lunch in the afternoon on the terrace with the warm sun of the end of March in Istanbul. Then I prepared a cigarette thinking about distant people, people that I loved, all of them, people who will soon be seeing, that will not be seeing anymore, perhaps. And of people who have passed only fleetingly and already gone.

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