The music group “OD ensemble”, or to give it its full name, “Orta’k Dogu” is back in the news offering a touching song about refugees, or rather, as spoken by refugees.

The Turkish name of the group is a wordplay on “Middle East” and “Common East”. They aspire to living together in a Middle East shared by its mosaic of peoples. The name of the group already hints at its composition. Its members are grouped around Tarık Aslan, a Syrian musician currently living in Istanbul.

I particularly wish to share a number that moved us at Kedistan: “Mülteci Makamı”, (Migrant Mâqam).

The song’s lyrics and music are by Hussain Hajj’a. The final part, in Turkish, is aimed at the people attacking refugees in Turkey, as Rabia Mine wrote in her latest article, “In Syria, Turkish soldiers are getting killed all the time and, every time, rather than questioning what the Turkish army is doing over there, Turkish people aim their anger at Syrian refugees who fled the war.”

The video is subtitled in English but for the full irony in the text, think in these terms:

in your squares, streets and avenues
if we are beggars, we offer our apologies

in your workplaces, workshops and fields
if we work illegally, we offer our apologies

if our corpses hit your shores, coasts or beaches,
we offer our apologies

Who am I to complain, may the gods preserve me
we are drowning in crocodile tears

I am just a refugee

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Naz Oke
REDACTION | Journaliste
Chat de gouttière sans frontières. Journalisme à l'Université de Marmara. Architecture à l'Université de Mimar Sinan, Istanbul.