Alaniçi: a school as Şehitler Müzesi / Martyr’s Museum (4)

A school serves as Şehitler Müzesi, the Martyr’s Museum for Murataga, Sandallar and Atlilar where massacres took place in 1974. I passed this museum by surprise, on my way from the monument and mass grave of Murataga and Sandallar to the one in Atlilar. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a museum, maybe it is of rather recent date. It is quite small and somehow one of the saddest places I have ever been.
The school lies in a kind of courtyard where there is enough place to put your car. I was the only visitor that day and the day before me there was also only 1 visitor. As you can see on the picture, there are information boards on the left (in Turkish) and the right (in English) along the path to the Şehitler Müzesi and they are really good. Of course the perspective of the information is the Turkish Cypriot perspective; this is not the place for an interesting two-sided history. If you go to the Şehitler Müzesi, you look through the eyes of the locals of Murataga, Sandallar and Atlilar. As their perceptions are rarely found in the news or other sources of information, I found it very enrichening for a better understanding of why things are felt the way they are in Northern Cyprus.
The school of Murataga-Sandallar was not very old. Until 1958, children used to go to the mixed school of Alaniçi (in Greek: Pigi Peristerona). There had always been some pressure on the Turkish Cypriot children but the heavy troubles of 1958 chased all Turkish Cypriot children away and forced the last Turkish Cypriot inhabitants of Pigi Peristerona to leave and move to the smaller village of Murataga (in Greek: Maratha). Murataga welcomed the ‘refugees’ and built houses for them. At that time also a school and a mosque were made. Who could imagine that on August 14, 1974, 29 children (their names are in the picture) of that school would be killed, bulldozered and buried in mass graves?
However, what affected me most, was the guide of the museum himself… At the time of the massacre, most Turkish Cypriot men were in camps where the Greek Cypriots kept them as prisoner; some young men like himself had already gone to places where the fights took place, in his case Famagusta (in Turkish: Gazimagusa). While they were absent, the women, the children and the elderly were murdered. The men who survived and returned to Murataga, Sandallar and Atlilar, found out that they lost almost everybody. For the museum guide this meant: his mother, his five sisters and his brother – you can see them in the lower row on the picture to the right – and his aunt and her seven children. Only his father who was a prisoner at the time of the massacre, survived.
Now, this man is every day in a museum that – compared to museums in Amsterdam where I live – has hardly any visitors and he stays in that school alone facing the pictures of his murdered family members and all the other victims every day…
The museum has a video (Turkish only) about the event but I didn’t watch it.

If you are interested in the history of Cyprus, I do recommend the Şehitler Müzesi even though it might cover you with a blanket of sadness; it will highly contribute to your understanding of the Turkish Cypriot soul, and why they put safety first in all the negotiations with the Greek Cypriots.

The Şehitler Müzesi has published a book under the title: 1955 – 1974 Step by Step Genocide – Murataga – Atlilar – Sandallar. I bought the book and will tell you more about it in my next blog.

Make the world a better place (3)

make the world a better place (3)  make the world a better place (3)  Some cities are good at special Chrismas lightning, soms are less good. Amsterdam for example is not so good, not very creative in Christmas street lightning, but they also have the Amsterdam Light Festival (which is not the ordinary street lightning but specific enlightened art objects) and that is rather spectacular. Warsaw in Poland has very good designers for Christmas lights; look at the beautiful pictures. It gives class and style to the city and makes it a real joy to walk around:
  make the world a better place (3)  make the world a better place (3)Make the world a better place (3)
What amused me in Warsaw is that they also have this:
make the world a better place (3)     make the world a better place (3) Some wouldn’t call it class or style but the Polish citizens probably do. At least Warsaw is not afraid to combine these styles in the same street. And the children are happy with it!

Creating your dream (2)

creating your dream (2) vlinderado  Vlinderado is an entrepreneurs’ dream, and it is beautifull: www.vlinderado.nl . It started with the cultivation of the Anthurium plant in special variations in a place that most of the readers of this blog never heard about I guess: Waarland, a small village to the north of Alkmaar or for the non-Dutch readers: 40 miles north of Amsterdam. As a hobby, bouquets were made with the different species of Anthurium; and then the bouquets became an important part of the business itself. Isn’t the best business the business that starts because it has the love of our hearts and the focus of our minds? It is interesting, yet inspiring to see how businesses develop in the hands of passionate people.
And then the next step was made, another entrepreneur’s dream was realised: Vlinderado, a garden full of butterflies. It is guaranteed that you see many, very beautiful varieties. Visitors come from different countries, all tourists suddenly discover where the village of Waarland is. Go there too and enjoy!
creating your dream (2) vlinderado           creating your dream (2) vlinderado
Entrepreneurs creating their dream make us happy because we can enjoy what they create. They also inspire us to do the same: to make our own dreams come true!

 

 

Make the world a better place (2)

pavement5  pavement6  pavement7  pavement8 Wherever you go in Lisbon; beautiful pavements are all around or should I say: all under your feet! It is a joy to walk in this city. Still, many houses are neglected, old and falling apart. But people are working hard, renovating, rebuilding, all that is needed to make the houses – many of them monuments – look as beautiful as the pavements are. Then this city will be one big impressive treasure of different, yet unique styles. Lisbon has class and history, it shows in great refinement of details and in the gentle manners of its citizens. What a pleasure to be here 🙂

Make the world a better place….

pavement1    pavement2  pavement3  pavement4 Often, the idea to make the world a better place to live in, makes us think of great and revolutionary ideas. What I like about Lisbon is that they make the world a better place just by adding high quality details into daily life.
I don’t know where you live, but I guess the pavement in your city or village is just an ordinary thing; a bunch of stones, maybe low, maybe high quality stone but nevertheless: just stones. It does not really add to the quality of your life.Lisbon is different. The Portuguese understand that quality of life is experienced precisely through daily details like the pavement we walk on. Look at the pictures: aren’t they adorable? It is a joy to walk there! And it is clear that these pavements were made by craftsmen who really enjoyed to deliver a piece of art to the many customers they would have after finishing their job; thousands of passengers feel better just by trotting on the paths they laid. Thanks to all to visionaries to improve daily life!

Beware of the dog

6dec13 002  This is what we found in a fashion shop in Bonn, Germany: dogs guarding the place… So nice! It can be details, nothing to do with the clothes themselves but setting an idea, a trend, a mindset. It was, by the way, a men’s – maybe even young men’s shop. Somehow, I doubt whether this would be added to a shop for women although me myself I would love it. I would love even more a ‘beware of the cat’ thing, but that is a detail. The picture shows for me that shops can be creative and attractive more than with just the things they sell. Few (financial) means are used here but the design is beautiful and the effect is major! I love it…

Creating your dream

 Yesterday me and my colleagues visited this beautiful Dutch Park called Efteling, in January even more attractive as Winter Efteling. It started as a project in 1952 to create in real life what was designed by Anton Pieck in his rather romantic drawings: a park with fairy tales and fantasy houses and castles. I visited that park already as a small child with my parents with hundreds of other people. Nowadays, they are millions to come and see and enjoy, and the Efteling has grown, flourished and created so much more fairies and dreams. As an entrepreneur it is encouraging to see what can evolve from initiatives when creative people have a dream and dare to make that come true in reality. It must have been a very risk taking business for a person who’s core quality was drawing and designing, not running a park whatsoever. So my wishes for 2011 for everybody including myself is: create your dream and may millions enjoy it!