Project inception: Fall 2007: The ancient city of Hasankeyf, on the Tigris River, in Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, was doomed by the Turkish government to be drowned by the Ilisu Dam.Atlas Magazine and Turkish ecologists organized a train to protest this, The Hasankeyf Train. My old friend Celal Ögmen, at Kalamar Restaurant in Kumkapi, had wanted to send me to draw his mother’s village in Lake Van. Instead he bought me the last ticket on the train to a place I’d never suspected: Hasankeyf. Much of the art in this book appears in this section of the blog: ROCKING THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION IN HASANKEY
I did know them. They’re the ecology-loving, women’s rights-promoting, heritage-preserving, leftist celebrators of peace and freedom I’d been looking for since I moved to Turkey. My brethren!
I learned more about how dams dry out the country than I ever wanted to know, and all of it is true, borne out by Turkey’s worsening rural conditions and subsequent horrific overcrowding of its cities, primarily Istanbul, by families who can no longer be supported by the land.