Ballad for a Beleaguered Land


The video for Turkish pop star Tarkan's song "Uyan."

Imagine if Justin Timberlake or Usher was still wildly popular...in 2018...and you might have some idea about the Tarkan phenomenon. Turkey's "Prince of Pop" has been breaking hearts and turning out hits for well over a decade, and last fall he capitalized on his stardom by releasing a single to benefit the campaign by the Doğa Derneği (Nature Association) to stop construction of the Ilısu Dam.

Environmentalists won a round against the controversial dam last week, when a high court revoked the State Waterworks Authority's jurisdiction over the project. Opponents say building the dam would drown the town of Hasankeyf in southeastern Turkey, displacing some 50,000 people and flooding historic ruins.

Tarkan visited Hasankeyf last year (scroll down for English) to help inaugurate the Doğa Derneği effort and later released a new song on the topic, "Uyan" (Wake Up), that was available only with a magazine published by the organization. The lyrics, roughly translated, go something like this:

Wake Up

Two eyes two fountains
Calling out to all of us
Find a remedy to this illness
Come rescue me they say
Like a broken bird with broken wings
This stranger cries blood inside
Before throwing me to the fire
Ask your conscience they say

Wake up wake up wake up wake up
Put your hand on your heart before it's too late
Don't say this road's end is the hill
If you believe, we can cross mountains

Wake up wake up my friend wake up
Put your hand on your heart before it's too late
It's possible we can bring it about
Everything is possible if you believe

Like this it came like this it goes
Don't say and don't be deceived
Who knows, maybe it's worth it
Don't give up the best truth
Open your eyes look and see
Don't deceive yourself my rose
Your heart also burns
Above all be an example to your fire

Wake up wake up wake up wake up
Put your hand on your heart before it's too late
Don't say this road's end is the hill
If you believe, we can cross mountains

Wake up wake up my friend wake up
Put your hand on your heart before it's too late
It's possible we can bring it about
Everything is possible if you believe

Our place our homeland our earth
Eternally vanishing
Our home our nest our only hearth
Going from the hand

Wake up wake up wake up wake up
Put your hand on your heart before it's too late

So, what do you say, J.T.? Beyonce? Kanye? There are a lot of environmental issues out there that a hit song wouldn't hurt.

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Tags: Dams | Music | Turkey

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