A freelance photographer Miriam Stanke lives and works between two cities Heidelberg, Deutschland and London, UK. However, photographs shown below present Miriam’s observations of another place, Eastern Anatolia.
You, River of my Tears is a series telling the story of Dersim, a distant mountainous zone of Eastern Anatolia, through which the Munzur river flows. The area delights with its pure beauty, which is astonishingly captured in Miriam’s pictures.
Anyhow, primarily this astounding site is an area of a continuous conflict between the Kurdish Alevis and Turkey. The struggle reached its peak in 1938, when ten thousand of heterodox Kurds were killed by Turkish military. Later on, during the second half of the 20th century, Dersim has not enjoyed the peace either.
It became a crucible of leftist political dissent and a significant centre for several communist movements. Till present day, the primary landscape of the Munzur valley serves as a one of the Turkish army headquarters. As Miriam explains: „The Dersim people’s dissent is pitted against state manipulation of local ways of living.The building of new Mosques - not part of Alevi culture - and countless dam and mining projects throughout the region, especially at the Munzur river, have provoked new clashes and caused further alienation.”
„The project captures glimpses of a society whose cultural and religious history, in its particular diversity and isolation, reveals itself not only in special prayers, rites, or structures of society today, but also in clear political actions for autonomy and equality and for the support and development of its own identity.” - she adds.