Thursday, November 17, 2011
Those of you who know storyteller Diane Edgecomb are aware of her devotion to the Kurdish people and the reverence and joy with which she shares their tales. I recently received the email post below from her. Please read it and assist her if possible. The task she is undertaking is a daunting one. Many hands will make the load lighter.
November 10, 2011
It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to you about the situation in Van, Turkey where another major earthquake just happened.
Van and Ercis (area most hit by the first quake), Turkey form the hub where I begin all of my storytelling journeys among the Kurdish people. They have been rocked by major earthquakes. Another one happened today. This last Sunday I was at a meeting of the New England Kurdish Community. There eyes were hollow with sorrow and they do not even know how to reach out with their fund raising efforts. They are new immigrants and they also have no country of their own to support any efforts.
The community is decimated by the way the Turkish government has interfered with humanitarian efforts. In an effort to make sure it has absolute control over this region, Turkey delayed relief efforts offered from Israel and other well-equipped countries for six crucial days. Family members of my friends texted from under the rubble "I am here, I am here" until they finally fell silent.
I have worked with these resilient and wonderful people for over ten years and am going to be heavily involved in trying to raise funds as quickly as possible. Tents are arriving for the homeless, but can you imagine living in a tent during a New England winter? Winters in the Kurdish region are much more fierce. They need wooden houses and my friend, Memet who is in the area, of his own determination and sense of service is already building these structures in a tremor free zone. I hope that some among you will consider helping in the effort I need to launch. Any help in any way is so appreciated.
If anyone has ties to any religious or other group that supports humanitarian aid and would ask on behalf of this cause, please please let me know. I can go anywhere to speak, show slides, and invite the Kurdish community whenever they are available. It is such a horrible situation. And it seems that everywhere I turn there is a cruel reminder. Yesterday driving home I saw a billboard "Can you imagine not having a home to go to?" I again imagined and also imagined winter descending.
Please let me know if you have any thoughts or ideas or can help in anyway.
PS here was the latest news on what people are suffering in the Kurdish region of Turkey today, hours after the second quake ....
"Riot police in the Kurdish region fired tear gas and used batons to disperse protesters angry at the state's relief efforts after the second earthquake in eastern Turkey in three weeks. Rescue teams searched for survivors after the 5.7 magnitude tremor on Wednesday night heaped misery on the predominantly Kurdish region where many people died following a major quake on October 23.
"How can you fire pepper spray on people who have already suffered so much?" said Abdulrahim Kaplan, 32. He had gone to the crisis center for a tent when police began firing tear gas, he said. "Our people are freezing. We are sleeping outside -- all seven of my family," he said, complaining bitterly over the alleged unfair distribution of tents. "Some people take five tents, some 10 and others get nothing. This is wrong." Thousands of families are living in makeshift camps with temperatures falling to freezing with the onset of winter. The latest tremor cut power to the area.