Life in progress.
Change in progress.
Cleaning in progress.
I AM LEAVING…
Gentrification in progress.
I AM MOVING…
Regenerate the area.
I AM DALSTON…
This is new.
Come here now.
Just passing by.
I USED TO BE DALSTON.
Transition in progress.
Past, present, future.
I AM STILL DALSTON…
Degeneration in progress.
In the beginning was the word:
– Almanya’ya means “to Germany”. (Background: Germany was the first and best/ (only) known European country name, when the first guest workers from Turkey went to Germany to work in the the late 1960ies) Thus it should be no surprize where the name for immigrant in Turkish derives from. “Almanci” means guest worker/immigrant who went to Europe to work in the 60ies to the 80ies. As people going to Europe to work or study from Turkey today will never be named “almanci” as that was a time specific phenomenon. As the endings cı, ci, cu, cü, çı, çi, çu, çü are endings for words indicating professions. The ending ‘-ci’ in the word “almanci” changes the word “alman” (meaning= German) to a person specifically working in Germany or in Europe. The profession thus becomes the country these Turks have taken work in. To elaborate on this: for instance the professions simit-ci (a person who sells simit, the Turkish bagelly bread), fırın-cı (a baker), çöp-cü (refuse collector/garbage man), süt-çü (milk man) et.c.
My tiny self-invented word/terminology is “Almanya’ya”(to Germany) / “Alman yaya” (German pedestrian).. And although I am not sure how to present or where to even put the apostrophes or the splitting of the word/words my aim is to re-make the word “almanci” in a dynamic and self emancipatory way. And I am not sure what the word fully means yet.. Coming from the inside of the “almanci” community: namely from me!! Instead of being named as an ‘almanci’ by people who stayed in Turkey, therefore it is not a word the migrant uses to name himself.
This word was accidentially ‘coined’ while writing another of my countless pieces on migration. And I suddenly saw the word “Almanya’ya” screeming that it was walking. It was endlessly walking and running away from the paper. Its unstoppable. “Almanya’ya” indicates a dynamism, a decision albeit due to societal/economical/(political) reasoning the “Almanci” word is mostly used derogatively by Turks from Turkey no matter any social class. Almanya’ya (could be explained as embodying a strong skill to decide for one’s own life and future. It can liberate the negative connotation of the stereotypized villager from Anatolia who was never schooled or learned any manners). As if the ‘almanyaya’ has a direction, even going to Germany by foot. I might be all wrong and the word definitely needs more help and elaboration to be able to walk steadily and to be proud on its own, naming himself! The migrant names herself as “gurbetci” meaning a person who has taken work somewhere far away from his place of origin. For a person who has money such an initiative would lead to moving. as moving is then the right word, but being a “gurbetci” normally starts alone. Its usually the man who goes away to work and then he sends money back to his family. (he usually ends up with a Danish/German wife..and forgets his wife. meantime he actively makes half Turkish babies..) Im not sure if this word really is anything special, but to me it definitely speaks of something yet unveiled. It has a spark.
Having one of our in depth conversations with my friend Anne just yesterday, I have come to understand that I actually grew up without any adequate/suitable role models. All this was unveiled as we were talking about all the unveiling Denmark should have had in regards to the hardships of being a woman in a country where you are constantly told that there is nothing to be critical about in regards to the gender roles, misogyny obtained by women themselves, shaming of women in regards to appearance, class and race since we have equality of genders written into our laws. Still being a girl and a woman was not easy growing up in a Denmark where even dressing up a bit was seen as being shameful…
I really enjoy these conversations with Anne we both grew up in Denmark, but also both fled it and then coincidentally met each other here in London. We are mostly short of breath as there is so many things we didnt have the chance to talk about growing up there. Feeling that we were too different to fit in, but I am not sure I even understood this back then. But the unveiling and our awareness and the language we create around these issues of a country seemingly cool and relaxed from the outside have taken forever it seems. On a personal level as well as a whole modern times country being rated for its happiness and cool designs. Everyone’s eyes are upon us, yet no one has the slightest idea what really goes on in Denmark; A country without a past it seems, a country without political correctness and an unwillingness to change very old habits, rhetorics as well words, songs, baking ingredients, candy and children’s books with outdated stereotypes of long gone colonial figures.
For years I never once stopped to really ponder or to question the word ‘kolonial-afdelingen'(direct translation: department of colonial goods/real translation: department of dry goods(sugar, vanilla, flour etc.). Getting verbal inquiries from my Turkish born ex-husband around my choice of words when going shopping for groceries..
And Anne and I we run like race horses becoming exhausted yet energised by each others thoughts, ideas and theories around Denmark. We must meet again and understand ourselves and Denmark and see if there is anything we can change. We must start from somewhere yet we are scared to loose the ephemeral moments of “sweet” and intriguing revelations as our awarenesses start to shape us and our friendship. It becomes addictive. Yet can we remember to pass our experiences in a way that will be understood by Denmark, its women and taken up by already emerging queer subcultures?
Growing up in Denmark was never a queer thing although it was relaxed and women didnt really have to dress up, as it was seen as showing off and a vulgar thing rather than what it was; just dressing up or being feminine. In fact personally I would say feminine didnt really happen on a national level before I left and neoliberalism moved in with it’s exclusive and very expensive brands. Trying to teach women in Denmark to wear heals whilst still walking as if they are mere handball players in matching track suits. A picture of a horse comes to my mind briefly.
We find that, or at least my conclusions always are finding their ways into the Jante Law and how much any of these issues we do not know how to talk about in Denmark and which has been cleverly yet unspoken-ly hidden in the democratic and tolerant kingdom.
As we speak more revelations comes out; colonial times is our all time favourite; shedding light on yet another topic which has not lost its current and powerful position since the early nineties; Migrants! Is it possibly linked to a colonial past in Denmark?! could any of these past colonial experiences have affected Denmark negatively perhaps?! In such an extend that there are leftovers of such times inherent in modern Danish times today?! The eurocentric gaze that is a legacy from those days, might that be the silent visual racism deriving from seeing those very first ‘negroes’?! Could the resistance and denial of the migrants of the last 50 years have anything affiliated with colonial times?!
Last time we spoke new things were taken up.
At tale et fællessprog, som er skabt udfra et velinformeret og kritisk standpunkt.
Hvad der gør det svært at flytte tilbage til DK er ensomheden ( mest den på gaden) og hadet overfor folk der er kritiske, politiske og akademiske…
Vi skal helst være deskriptive og blive i det fællessprog, der kommer af det DK vi alle kender; Det gamle DK, hvor det at bande som en tyrk bruges til skamme når vi taler om både kvinder, LGBTI-segmentet samt dansk-tyrkere. Vores sprogbrug er ofte nedladende og det at være kritisk er ikke som i udlandet, istedet er kritik blot brok. Ord der ikke fører til nogen udvikling ej heller til nye alternative sprogbrug og tankemønstre.
Min ensomhed gemmer sig i sprogbrugen, i diskurserne, retorikken og dét at man bider sig fast i en slags tvangsagtig fokuséren og nedladenhed/shaming overfor alt der er anderledes. Janteloven arbejder på mange lag. Dét er den manglende sympati, empati, et fællesskab i det lokale i gadebillede, som jeg ønsker at være en del af. Dét er det faktum at ingen taler til dig, når du går ud ad din hoveddør. Det virker som om det universelle omkring dét at være menneske slet ikke findes på dansk og som om at vi har sovet i timen, imens resten af verden sad til historie, kulturforståelse og politisk korrekthed.
Før jeg tager på ferie til DK har jeg lyst til at mødes op med alle jeg kender, drikke kaffe på mine yndlingssteder, spise skoldhed yoghurtsuppe og kebab kl 3 om natten i Harringey, se udstillinger på Tate og på Whitechapel Gallery og cykle langs River Lea og ende op ved den Olympiske by ved Stratford. og når jeg så kommer hjem til London igen er jeg enormt spændt og kan slet ikke vente på alle de ting jeg så skal gøre påny. Og jeg keder mig aldrig, for den samme destination er forskellig hver eneste gang, idet jeg møder nye og åbne mennesker hver gang.
Jeg forsøger stadig at indkapsle og forstå ensomheden i DK og forstår at andre udstillinger jo også er at finde i København og at kaffen og samtalen efterfølgende også kan være ganske god og berigende dér. Dog er det efter kaffen at jeg indser at kunsten jeg så absolut ingen forbindelse har til det omkringliggende samfund i Kbh. Den er en niché og min ensomhed starter påny; men nu med en dyb nostalgi over noget tabt, noget der har været, og alligevel noget der aldrig helt har været dér…Noget der gør ondt og svier indeni.
Heldigvis ryster den lyseblå Victoria Line mig igennem og bringer mig tilbage til den hurtigere pace og åbenhed som London besidder. Jeg har på engelsk grund allerede set et queer lesbisk par, flere af afrikansk afstamning og kan endelig ånde lettet op; den danske ensomhed slutter her, hvor mine medsøstre og medborgere i andre farver tager imod mig med sætninger og samtaler der starter med ‘How are you?’