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Şehrib­an Aslan and Zeynep Durgut, jour­nal­ists with the Jin News Agency, walked through the streets of Diyarbakır under threat of the coronavirus.

The wealthy protect themselves, the poor work for them

We criss-crossed the streets of Diyarbakır, observ­ing the prob­lems peo­ple are fac­ing and lis­ten­ing to their con­cerns. Diyarbakır res­i­dents react­ed and under­lined the fact no finan­cial aid was avail­able: “The wealthy pro­tect them­selves but the poor must work so the rich can earn mon­ey”.

First sig­nalled in Chi­na as the out­break of a new pan­dem­ic, the coro­n­avirus (Covid-19) con­tin­ues to spread across the world. Present in over 200 coun­tries, the coro­n­avirus was first spot­ted in Turkey on March 10. In one month, the num­ber of cas­es in Turkey has climbed to 50 thou­sand and deaths are in the thou­sands. Among the mea­sures tak­en, per­sons aged over 65 or under 20 years old were for­bid­den to go out­side. Still as part of these mea­sures, fol­low­ing a sud­den deci­sion by the Min­istry of the Inte­ri­or in the evening of April 10, a two-day cur­few was ordered, cov­er­ing the week­end in 30 cities and in Zongul­dak where the dis­ease affect­ing the lungs is high­ly preva­lent.

In the streets of Diyarbakır where we walked before the pro­hi­bi­tion, we observed the res­i­dents’ prob­lems and lis­tened to their concerns.

The usual crowds in the streets

In the streets we vis­it­ed at noon­time, we met women and chil­dren com­ing out of the post office. Many peo­ple, stand­ing in lines with­out main­tain­ing a pro­tec­tive dis­tance, were risk­ing their lives in order to obtain the very lim­it­ed aid they will receive. Mean­while, we also crossed paths with peo­ple wear­ing masks (obtained or home-made), ‑wrap­ping shawls over their nose or oth­ers wear­ing nei­ther masks nor gloves. We moved toward the mar­ket in the Diclekent neigh­bor­hood, dis­trict of Kayapı­nar. While we expect­ed to see less peo­ple in those streets, we were sur­prised to come across even more than usual.

Gloves and masks are removed and put on again many times!

When we reached the mar­ket, we not­ed that, although mer­chants at the stalls seemed to have tak­en some pre­cau­tions, these were obvi­ous­ly faulty and insuf­fi­cient. The peo­ple work­ing behind the stalls wore masks and gloves but removed them and put them back on again a num­ber of times. Thus, these pro­tec­tive items lost all usefulness.

Our situation is easy to understand”

When we approached a green­gro­cer and asked him how he was far­ing, he said “as you can see, our sit­u­a­tion is obvi­ous. We are forced to work from morn­ing till night, in the rain, the mud and the cold. We attempt to pro­tect our­selves and the cus­tomers too. We must wear gloves and masks, but that is not pos­si­ble, we must take them off and put them on again a num­ber of times dur­ing the day. I don’t know to what extent this can be con­sid­ered hygien­ic, but we try to be careful.”

The State works for the wealthy”

We approached a woman shop­per and asked her what she thought of the crowd in the mar­ket. “They tell us they have tak­en pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures but we can see today that these pre­cau­tions are use­less in the mar­ket. As long as there will be no cur­few, peo­ple will go on shop­ping and work­ing. The wealthy pro­tect them­selves, but the poor must work, earn­ing mon­ey for the rich. Today, I may also be a healthy car­ri­er, all those who are here buy­ing or sell­ing may be also, but we don’t know that. In this coun­try, the State works for the wealthy, but the sit­u­a­tion of the poor is obvi­ous” she said.

Yet, the State should concern itself with us…”

Dur­ing our exchanges an egg sell­er joined the con­ver­sa­tion and asked: “Nor­mal­ly we should stay at home and the State should sup­port us but, in this coun­try, every­thing is done back­wards. We are the ones who work and keep the State alive. I sell every day, in the mar­ket of a dif­fer­ent neigh­bor­hoods. Every day, we encounter thou­sands of peo­ple. Go ahead and try to pro­tect you­self! The bills, the rent pile up, how are we sup­posed to pay them?”

Everyone must see under what conditions we work”

We moved for­ward in the mar­ket and the mer­chants called to us: “Sis­ters, take our pic­ture, show our sit­u­a­tion so that every­one will see what plight is ours. They tell us to stay at home. If we stay at home, who will feed our chil­dren, who will pay our bills, our rent? In this coun­try, on the bank account of the poor, there is noth­ing but death.“

We not­ed the inten­si­ty with which these peo­ple were fear­ful of being unable to pay their rent, pow­er, nat­ur­al gas in the midst of this pan­dem­ic, and leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges – iknowiknowiknowblog.wordpress.com
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Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.