“In that man there’s a brave heart, a good brain, and great humanity,” he tells his wife. “He’s so big-hearted that both the aghas and the government are afraid of him. Terrified of him. There were 500 bandits in the mountains, but that didn’t bother the government. Why not? Because they were not generous, big-hearted men.”
as palavras de Kemal sobre o seu herói revolucionário, de um longo artigo do NY Times por ocasião da sua morte.
funeral de Kemal em Tesvikiye. ali no portão de entrada da elegante mesquita vi sentada a cigana vendedora de flores, ela própria cheia de flores, no lenço da cabeça e nas saias compridas. talvez estivesse descalça, mas já imagino. um pouco acima o plátano de Pamuk, do outro lado da rua um pequeno centro comercial luxuoso.
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sobre flower selling in Istanbul:
alienação cultural e feminina, a política do genocídio cultural e sexista, a normalização triste do mundo. a pena que tenho que as autoridades turcas (mas aqui podia pôr tantos outros nomes) não guardem este património como se de estátuas valiosíssimas se tratassem, cujo desaparecimento empobrece irremediavelmente não só a sua cidade como a humanidade em geral.
One distinguishing feature that the World Bank failed to mention is that workers in the informal economy are periodically hassled by the authorities to join in, pay, up, and get with the program. We read just today, for example, that the officials in Istanbul, Turkey, awarded a contract to Birikim Consultant Firm to build kiosks throughout the city that flowers sellers might rent. The city said the kiosks would be constructed at a considerable distance from existing flower stalls and that sellers would then be free either to keep on at their present locations or move to the new spots to sell. Sevim Songun’s intriguing article for the Hurriyet Daily News reports that “some 15 kiosks were recently set up near where Roma people sell flowers.” The vendors have complained they’re being pressured to move, and they choose not to. In part, they say, because in renting the kiosks they will have to commit to regular (and long) hours and fixed prices. Bargaining room, and sometimes barter, are characteristic of the informal economy, too, as are flexible schedules. “I am selling flowers to students,” said Emine Çetinbaşlar, one vendor. “Sometimes they do not have enough money, and I can prepare flowers for them for two Turkish Liras. Sometimes they do not have any money, and I still give them flowers, and they pay me whenever they get the money,” she told Songun.
There are an estimated 400 flower stalls in Istanbul, most of them operated by Roma.
Photo: Mehveş Konuk, for Hürriyet Daily News
According to the head of one flower seller’s group, some company officials “invited Roma flower-sellers” to consider the spiffier sales outlets, telling them “the female vendors would have to wear miniskirts and put on make-up if they wanted to work at the new kiosks.” Whether or not that requirement is true, it’s a hilarious fable of how captains of the formal economy struggle to get everybody on board and how, in the absence of other kinds of power, those in the informal economy use their wiles to struggle back. “The Istanbul municipality told the Daily News in a written statement that the street vendors were informed about the practices in the new kiosks, which include a dress code of black pants, a white T-shirt and an apron for the female sellers. ‘Wearing make-up is not compulsory, but the vendors are told it would be more suitable if they look clean, elegant and well-groomed,’ said the statement, adding that the renters should pay attention to the cleanliness of their kiosks as well.” What’s that sound we hear? It’s the progressives’ battle cry: Get clean! Get ”elegant”! And, hey, get grateful! Can you see, we’re trying to help!