In April 2012, Roberto Epple who dedicated his life to the struggle against dams came to Hasankeyf with his caravan and his best supporter his wife Michelle! Roberto is the founder of the European Rivers Network, now he is traveling around the world and meets with activists against dams.
Roberto did a presentation about their struggles and their success to stopping dam projects. Every struggle he explains created new hopes on Hasankeyf people. Then he invited us to join an activity with thousands people in Europe. The event was jumping to the rivers in the same day and time with different countries in Europe, a “Big Jump” to celebrate the living rivers! We all decided to jump to Tigris River to celebrate its life!
The Big Jump organization in Hasankeyf started 4-5 days before the event with invitations. We called firstly all our friends and volunteers in local, then everybody we know in closest cities like Diyarbakir, Batman, Mardin, Siirt. We sent the invitation to local press and we call them in day before the event to informing again.
Day before the event, our volunteers and young friends from Hasankeyf came to help us to make banners. We wrote in Turkish “Let Rivers Run Free” and in English “Let Tigris River Run Free”. A local artist painted us the logo of the event for our last banner. The preparations hold late into the night and in the end we celebrated the completion of the banner job with cakes and pastries made by volunteers and some fresh fruits.
The Big Jump day arrived! We knew that after the event our house will be full of jumpers, friends, so we made all morning more pastries and cakes for our guests. Approaching the event time we were ready with our colorful banners, photographers, press releases and of course jumpers increasing in number every moment. Our walk started from the old bazaar street until the meeting square, we passed through the bazaar holding our banners and inviting Hasankeyf people to the jump.
Photographers started to take pictures of every moment; a group picture was taken in the meeting point with all jumpers.
The time to reach the Tigris River became! We walked more excited, more passionate in the rural road; we crossed under the stupendous old bridge of Artuqids. We reached the jumping point, one more big picture by all jumpers were taken; foots wading in the river and holding all banners. Everybody waited patiently until 4pm, on other hand we were making the press statements to the local press and news agencies.
Just before 4pm, all jumpers looked to Hasankeyf Castle and amazing view of the city, everybody were ready to run and jump. We all together counted down, 3-2-1 and the Big Jump in Hasankeyf! More than 30 people in Hasankeyf run and jumped at the same time with thousands in all around the Europe!
We jumped more for photographers and naturally for fun, then became the time for going back to house and check all pictures, taste all deserts, fruits waiting for us.
Pictures were amazing! Meeting with all friends, all supporters of Hasankeyf in our balcony were amazing even though under the burning sun.
We jumped to the Tigris River to show the negative influences of dams. We jumped to the Tigris River to come together with rivers. We jumped to the Tigris River to STOP the ILISU DAM. We jumped to the Tigris River to nominate HASANKEYF and TIGRIS VALLEY for UNESCO World Heritage Status. We jumped to the Tigris River for Freedom to all rivers in the world.
Doğa Derneği Hasankeyf Office Manager