Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Istanbul Graffitti, Turkey

The government does an admirable job of keeping the city clean. There’s little graffiti of the normal sordid repetitive north american kind. The sad fact about graffiti is that some of the artist are really talented and because there is so much schlock the best of the best getting painted over by the clean freaks.  That said there was some lovely street art in an area of the city which the locals are trying very hard to save from a shopping mall hotel complex.  Right now the area has that Left Bank Paris flavour that spawns real artistic and intellectual creativity.
The struggle that’s going on in Istanbul today was immortalized by Joni Mitchel’s song that said “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”  The struggle over the park with a fight between police and locals at Taksim Square was the same competition of ideology - high rise mentality versus trees. There’s no ’third space’ in Istanbul. The Taksim park which my new Friend, Deborah had been through was also the subject of a very fine art work which we saw at the Istanbul Modern Museum.  One day bulldozers came in and the next students stood before them. This was followed by politicians who couldn’t be arrested taking a stand against the police and bull dozers. Then hundreds of thousands joined in including footballers who were famous.  There was tear gas and the normal cast of suspects and then the police left.  The park remains.  It’s a lovely place.  I love ‘green space’ or ’third spaces’ in these great cities.
Vancouver has its famous Stanley Park, loved and used by all the city. The encroachment there is not by bulldozers since we’ve been fortunate to keep them out. Increasingly addicts and alcoholics who spend their rent cheques on drugs are sleeping rough in the park and threatening to burn the place down with their open fires.  Recently a Downtown Eastside Park was taken over by a tent city, claiming allegiance to Occupy, which in New York was a wholly different phenomena than this tent city.
Urban planning and city dynamics are strained always with the history of riots in Byzantine Constantinople as just evidence of the age old conflicts that arise in cities.  In Montreal the graft and corruption of the city officials these last few years in Canada made the middle east look like choir boys. Millions of dollars were pocketed by city officials to allow all manner of abuse of the French Canadian population and it’s city.  The “enquiry’ , as so many such enquiries are  continues, but is limited and most likely the real kingpins will continue their graft and corruption while their cronies get away to do dirt another day.  In Vancouver the Portland Hotel Society had such a case of gross corruption and abuse of public funding but got off with loss of job and keeping of million dollar homes bought with the noney that was supposed to go to the homeless.
I couldn’t at my age be ‘holier than thou’ with the corruption cases I heard of in Istanbul because we have our own. However our graft isn’t covered up by ‘religious claims’ but just seen as white collar crime.  In Istanbul, probably because so many people among the radical Moslem population are so poorly educated the leadership can claim to be acting for god when indeed they’re just serving their own lust and greed. Apparently some palace is being built with public funds by the outwardly pious.  Istanbul needs a dose of our ‘televangelists’ who were caught literally with their pants down and hands in the cookie jar.  The trouble is the Imans as we seen with the Charlie Hebno killing have convinced the populace that ‘transparency’ isn’t good for Allah, whereas I believe ‘we’re as sick as our secrets’ and can only have good politicians with ‘open society’.  Otherwise psychopaths will continue to masquerade as saints while stealing from the children, the widows, the poor and the old.  Istanbul seems to be having this problem on a larger scale than Vancouver. But Vancouver is young and 2 million whereas Istanbul is 12 million.  The more the merrier when it comes to ‘white collar crime’ .
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1 comment:

Rose-Marie said...

Thank you William for this post and I hope you are doing just fine ....
I had the happy opportunity to see a little bit of Istanbul years ago, and fell in love with it. Old fashioned did fit my advanced age, and then such a beautiful crowd ... I had never seen that. Enjoyed all I saw. May God bless this population with much living Faith in our Lord and healing from the consequences of their past!
Blessings to you and your family! Rose-marie