Friday, June 22, 2012

The first of several Hasankeyf ingatherings

The first Hasankeyf ingathering took place May 26-29, drawing participants from Batman, Istanbul, Muğla, and Düzce, in addition to local residents. It was a diverse group of teachers, students, journalists, merchants, and social entrepreneurs of varied cultural backgrounds – Arab, Kurdish, Turkish, Iranian, American, Spanish, etc.
The many plants and flowers are a main attraction in spring

Our long walks through the canyons and along the river started early, between 5 and 7am, depending on how eager we were to catch the soft light of morning or catch up on sleep. Local organizers Fırat Argun, Ömer Güzel, and Emin Bulut led us through the canyons, along the river and to surrounding villages. Along the way, they described the culinary and medicinal uses of plants, noted the special prayers and petitions made at the various tombs and mausoleums scattered across the landscape, and shared their favorite “secret gardens” and caves.

Tea and long conversations in Karaköy/Reşiye Village
In the afternoons, participants explored the town in small groups and took breaks to sit and talk at Has Bahçe, the Doğa Derneği office, or one of the local tea houses. These conversations generated a number of excellent ideas for future gatherings – from thematically focused tours and meetings (archaeology, geology, photography, film, etc.); to art and photography exhibits in local shops, cafes, and restaurants; to more active use of social media to collect and share information/ideas during the next ingathering (to be held September 6-9).
Early morning interview with shepherd

This recent ingathering was fortunate to count among its participants a number of journalists who have since published articles about the town’s struggle to survive:

Fares, a senior member of the local artisan and merchant

Early morning interview with goats
We would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to Hasankeyf Has Bahçe, Batman Turizm Derneği, Batman Gazetesi, and the residents of Hasankeyf-Batman for their help and support.

The next Hasankeyf ingathering will be September 6-9. Stay tuned for details. If you happen to be in the area, come hang out at Has Bahçe any time. Hasankeyf offers a unique atmosphere for both observers and non-observers, particularly during Ramadan.

Visit to Karaköy Elementary School