Tracing the footsteps: A diary of the project V: “Portraits-3, Thessaloniki”

Part 5 of the travelogue by Özge Çelikaslan and Alper Şen of Artıkişler Collective is entitled “Portraits-3, Thessaloniki”. It includes the stories and narratives of migrants living in “Solidarity house”, an old house in Thessaloniki built by the Ottomans that was occupied by anarchist groups in order to establish a residency for migrants. In “Solidarity house" the residents are living and working collectively. “Portraits-3, Thessaloniki” is a collection of comments from a conversation Özge Çelikaslan and Alper Şen had with Reza:
“Human is a free one, he can do everything”

“Why the European states give six billion to Turkey, why does war happen? Questions are many but…What’s the right thing now, what can the migrants do here? It happens war somewhere, some people make a scoop. Why can’t we tell ourselves?”

The world is something with an end. Why are these things done, why are there smugglers? Many people have died on the sea… Money goes, goods go and then life goes…Why does it happen? I still don’t know.”

“I’ve seen many places in Turkey. I’ve seen many places in Greece. I’ve also seen Idomeni. Sometimes I make a song, tape music. You know what taping is… If I make my song here, I would have done something.”

“ Here is not good for a migrant, there is no job, no money, language is different. It’s hard to go to other countries. A smuggler asks for 1800-2000 Euros. No job. You live either in a camp or on the street. Your life will fade away. You’ll see after 10 years, there’s still nothing else, your life is wasted…This is so bad.”

“Those who steal billions of dollars are also stealing others’ right to live. Why? All these are greed, money, food, cigarettes…greed is everywhere.”

“The states make play, they’re playing with normal people as playing ball. Human is a free one, he can do everything…We can decline the states, the states can be ours. Otherwise states will do everything, war today, war tomorrow. Too bad.”

“We are all in Greek land, they shielded barb wires. It’s not in Macedonia. There are camps in Serbia. They caught my friend 5 times in Macedonia and sent him back to Greece. He is now in Idomeni, he can’t go anywhere.”

“This is Ahmet Kaya’s song “Agladikca”… I told this many times in Idomeni. There was an old guy staying with us, he was playing tar. Do you know what tar means? So my brother, what will be our end?”

The Residual project diary written by Özge Çelikaslan and Alper Şen will be continued with their notes, observations and images from their next station in Berlin…

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