A VILLAGE IN REVOLT AGAINST DISINTEGRATION

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A VILLAGE IN REVOLT AGAINST DISINTEGRATION

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Kemah Kardere Köyü'nün 1950 ve 1960'lı yıllarda kaderine boyun eğmeyip köye su getirme, ağaçlandırma, erozyonla mücadele, aydınlanma ve kalkınma için büyük mücadeleler verdiği o zor yıllarda; yolu Kardere Köyü ile kesişen ve bu mücadelenin bir döneminde etkin bir şekilde rol alan Kanada'nın ilk kadın diplomatı, Kardere Köyü Derneğinin fahri üyesi bayan Elizabeth MacCallum'un, Dernek yönetimi ile birlikte hazırladıkları ve "A VILLAGE IN REVOLT AGAINST DISINTEGRATION" 'Dağılmaya Karşı Ayaklanma Halinde Olan Bir Köy' adı altında yayınlanan tarihi raporu, orjinal haliyle sizlerle paylaşıyoruz.


Abdullah Bozdemir
Kardere.com

 

 

A VILLAGE IN REVOLT AGAINST DISINTEGRATION

An Account of the work of the Kardere Village Development Society to mid- August 1964


At the request of the Comminity Development Section of the State Planning Organization this report was prepared in Istanbul in August 1964 by Elizabeth P. MacCallum with the aid of the president and members of the Kardere Village Development Society.

NOTE : The village of Kardere, formerly called Upper Ihtik, is administratively bound to Kemah in the province of Erzincan.

 

        Villagers with o city adress

      On the afternoon of Saturday August 8, 1964 the Community Development Society of Kardere, a village administratively to the county town of Kemah in the province of Erzincan, formally opened a clubroom in the small but spotless and sunny first-floor apartment overlooking a crowded road in the Galata section of İstanbul. Here its fresh blue-and white singboard with the inscription "Kemah - Yukarı İhtik (Kardere) Köyünü Kalkındırma Derneği Merkezi" * now catches the eye of pedestrians, many of whom are villagers themselves. In more than one sense the sign stands for something new, for few if any of the passers-by have yet seen in Istanbul another sign denoting the presence of a society devoted to the interests of a single village, no matter how many there may be for samall towns. Such village societies do exist in the city, of course, but for the most part they still meet, as the members of the Kardere society have done hitherto, in private homes or in halls hired for particular occasions, and they must let the home address of a member of the executive committee serve as the mailing address of the society as a wole.

      In the past the Karderelis would perhaps have regarded the establisment of permanent headquarters, even in a low-rental area of the city, as a sinful waste of their hard-earned contributions. Today it is recogmized to be a necessity forced on the society by the cuccess of its own activities. To maintain the pace of development it is more than ever necessary now to have unity, of the kind that grows out of free, informal and frequent conversation, reated every day until every member has understood what is hapening and remedies for difficulties have been jointly discovered and applied. For the Kardere society problems have multiplied to keep pace with an expanding development programme. Now that members have a place where they can meet every day to talk, there is less danger that the verve with which they have conducted their activities in the past may give way to bafflement as new challenges to their strength of purpose are encounttered. Members tend to congregate in the new centre as a matter of course as soon as the day's work is done, and over glasses of hot tea courage and inventiveness reassert themselves.

* Headquarters of the Kardere Village Development Society. The former name of the village was Upper Ihtik.


        The society

      The Kardere community development society was founded in the village on February 1, 1951 thirteen years ago. Already the drift to the city was pronounced, and xx many of those accustomed to serving on the executive committee moved to Istanbul. A branch of the society was therefore established in the metropolis in 1959. But the main strength of the society had so obviously shifted to Istanbul that in 1960 authority to make decisions binding on the whole membership was frankly vested in the group in the city. This has continued to be the position ever since. The group in the village regards itself as a branch of the main society. All members are committed to the same goals, and the physical distance that separates city and village is no threat to moral solidarity. Members come and go between cent re and branch, and membership of the two sections is interchangeable.

      The main hope of the society is that by its own efforts and with the cooperation of government authorities it can eventually create conditions in the village which will enable all who wish to do so to live in independence and reasonable comfort at home in Kardere instead of being forced, often for years at a time, to work for strangers in uncongenial surroundings in the distant city, far from their loved ones and the land which has come down to them from their forebears. For an aim as close to their desires as this, villagers working in the city are willing to make substantial financial sacrifices to aid the society, while those who remain in the village stand ready at all times to do physical work required by the agreed programme The dual base of the society, surprisingly enough, has thus proved to be one of the sources of its unusual cohesiveness and strength, because it ensures the two different types of aid any development society needs from its members.

      The chief aim of the society is still very far from realization. Almost half the people of the village, including most of the men, are living in the city, often in much less congenial surroundings than they would enjoy at home. There have been 700 names of living persons on the village rolls but never more than 500 in residence in the village, even in the busiest seasons. In the slack winter months the total drops below 400. Thus in the early spring of 1964 there were estimated to be in the village 120 infants and children of pre-school age, 64 boys and girls in school, 150 women and girls no longer in school and 50 men and boys who have left school – a total of 384. In August 1964 about 80 members of the society (the members are all men) were working in Istanbul, of whom “at least 99 per cent” would have preferred to be in Kardere.

     
Villages that are disintegrating and headed toward extinction or near-extinction have statistics like these to quote. But in the case of Kardere a different inference is to be drawn. The figures do reflect the extent of the problem the society has set itself to solve. But when the work of the society is examined one can understand why it is that the migration trend will soon be reserved.

     
Some generations ago Kardere was prosperous, with fields and vineyards, draught animals, flocks and herds. From a forest on the heights above the village the people derived both lumber and fuel, and orchards provided all the fruit the village could consume. The story is still told of a girl who saved herself during a Kurdish raid by taking to the orchards, swinging her way to safety a tree at a time, her feet never touching the ground once till she reached the neighbouring village almost a mile away. That  mile is nearly bare of trees today, and the forest on the heights above disappeared generations ago. In the last century and a half much of the soil of the village plateau has been washed away. The fields are stony, the earth is relatively poor. The farmer whose great great grandfather reaped 20 grains sown now considers himself reasonably fortune if he gets a return of 8 or even 6. Some years he may reap only 3. That is why so many villagers today must push their way through crowded streets, serving strangers in the smoky atmosphere of İstanbul, instead of living like yeomen on their own land at home, with their children around them, breathing the clear mountain air. But the plateau, and the site of the old forest, and the little stream in the valley around the soulder of the hill are still there and ask only for human attention, in return for which they will give the villagers what they most need. That is why the Kardere Village Development Society exists.

      It was in the hope of securing more water for their fields, as the first step toward rehabilitation, that the society was founded in 1951 with an executive committee composed of the Nahiye Müdürü (the director of the village district administration), the local teacher, nine farmers and two grocers. Members began paying monthly dues, and what they gave was put by thriftily for use in the future when enough had been saved to make action possible. Current expenses were kept to a minimum. In eight years income totaled 6,591.49 TL. and expenditures only 1,154.82 TL. leaving an unexpected balance of 5,436.67 TL. in the treasury.  At this rate it was not clear that anything effective could be done in the near future to provide any substantial increase of the water supply. But the society kept on quietly and did not give up.

      In 1959, very suddenly, something happened to place the activities of the society on a different level. In the next five years the bank balance shot up from 5,436.67 TL. to 45,195.72 TL. despite the fact that in the same period expenditures had totaled 18,504.96 TL. as compared with 1,154.82 TL. during the eight years preceding.

      What caused the different? And what has the society accomplished in the past five years in return for the great increase in expenditure?

      Much depends on leadership

      The infusion of new strength into the society was the direct result of acquiring an intelligent young leader, a son of the village but born and educated in Istanbul, who is receptive to modern ideas, has some knowledge of electrical equipment and machinery and is fitted by temperament for work requiring a high degree of social intelligence, foresight, tenacity, patience and good humour.

      Because both his parents were born and brought up in Kardere and an uncle was one of the founders  and the first president of the society, the home in which Orhan Bozdemir grew up entertained a stream of visitors from the village and he was familliar with its conditions of life and its modes of though. In 1959, while doing his military service in Erzincan, he fell into the habit of going up Kardere Whenever he had leave. Bound to he village by many ties of kindship and friendship, he regarded himself as a member of the community and the village accepted him in the sama sense.

     Ayoung man of quick perceptiveness and marked good sense, he began asking questions that had the effect of stirring the villagers, ambition and their hope of making very much more rapid progress, through cooperative effort, to rehabilitate their community. At the first opportunity the villagers elected him to be president of the development society. He has continued in that office ever since. His work is in Istanbul, where he gives all his spare time freely to the work of the society. His vacations he spends in Kardere, with sleeves rolled up, sharing the physical labour required to carry out the society’s programme.

     He has accustomed the villagers to discussing and thinking about their common problems well in advance of the time when joint decisions must be made. Meanwhile responsibility is fairly shared among all who are old enough to carry it, so that there is a strong sense of personal nvolvement for everyone when a vote is finally required of them. The villagers are hard workers, deserving  of the praise they receive on this score, but all of them recognize the need for an irformed and devoted leader if they are ever to secure adequate returns for their labours.


      What the society has concerned itself with since 1959 :

a)      The drinking fountain

     The first thing the new president did in 1959 was to encourage the society to protect the supply of drinking – water from contamination and to construct a fountain for the convenience of both human beings and animals. Earthenware pipes were laid underground to bring water from the spring partay up the hill to a convenient, well-shaded spot in the village. Here a fountain of unusual and practical design was built. It has two lateral troughs, each provided with a separate tap. For the watering of animals. This no reservoir below the central spout impedes use of the fountain by human beings. Water from the central spout pours constantly through an iron grille at ground level into a sloped concrete conduit leading down to gardens and orchards below. Women and girls have only to set their pail and their pitchers on the grille below the spout and may stand at ease while the containers fill. The society provided the 30 bags of cement that were used, as well as the earthenwere pipes and the wages of skilled workers. The villagers cut the stone, contributed transport and the food of the skilled workers and performed all unskilled manual labour thamselves free of charge.

      
b)      The library

      One of the next undertakings was to give the village a library. For this the headquarters of the society, the room used by the Nahiye Müdürü until 1962, was pressed into service. The building was growing dilapidated but was still holding up. In it the society installed a stove, alarge table, chairs, benches, a pressure lamp and a radio and set about accumulating a supply of books for the shelves built along the wall. Appeals on the Ankara and Istanbul radios and an advertisement in A Konya newspaper brought some response. Members of the society donated books from their own libraries, and at one time or another books and pamphlets were contributed by the Department of Agricultere, the Forestry Branch, the Directorate of Soil Conservation (Topraksu), the central office of the 4-K Clube, The Turkish Language Association, the publication department of the American Board and the Building and Credit Bank. By 1964 the library had a total of over 450 books, pamphlets and periodicals classifield roughly as follows:

  •  Atatürk Section – 25
  • Citizenship – 10
  •  Law – 8
  • Religion – 8
  • Geography and related -15
  • Forest – 25
  • Soil conservation – 22
  • Water and its use – 14
  • Bee-keeping - 7
  • Poultry - raising – 7
  • Periodical publication  - 10
  •   Animal husbandry – 2
  • Home Veterinary – 4
  • Food production – 3
  • Furuits and vegetables – 7
  • Farming – 34
  • Work of 4-K Clubs – 2
  • Language study – 12
  • Stories for pre-school age – 15
  • History and historical novels – 40
  • Stories, plays and poetry for
  • Young people and adults - 120

      The rest of collection was made up duplicates and unclassified material.


      Even the town of Kemah does not possess a public reading-room as well equipped as this village library, although two of the neighbouring villages, in emulation of Kardere, have now started libraries of their own. Mean while teachers in the district, and in fact any responsible visitors, are made welcome in the Kardere library. Women and girls do not frequent the place, o course, but nothing prevents them from reading books taken out on loan by men and boys of the family if they so desire. It is in winter that the library is most in use, when the stove is lit and the raido turned on, or somebady reads aloud some book of general interest to farmers as the listeners sip their hot tea. Newspapers come occasionally and are passed from hand to hand in the library. What are enjoyed most, apparently, are the simplest and most practical texts describing modern farming operations of all kinds. Of these the library can never have too many.

      In August 1964 the society began renovating the building hitherto used both as the library and as its own branch headquarters. The walle of the new building are to be of stone, replacing sun-dried brick, and there is to be a pitched roof. A gift to the society of a strip of land adjoining the rear wall of the former building means that there will now be additional floor-space available.

 


to be continued...

 

Kaynak : Kemah Kardere Köyü Derneği
Tür : Kültür - Sanat Tarih : 26.05.2013
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