Nobody takes Uncle Fuat’s complaints seriously. Some say he is neurotic, some accuse him of being tiresome or hypochondriac; some even go too far to say that it was his way of attracting atttion. He moves heaven and earth to find a cure for his disease. One cold winter day, for instance, in the middle of a particularly dull game of rummikub with some other retirees, he suddenly feels this heavy pounding on his chest. He knocks over his rack, stands up, pays the bill and leaves the teahouse on the corner of Stettiner and Bellermann. He hastily makes his way to his one-room apartment in Wedding, puts on his corduroy suit, fetches his passport and some money from the vault, and crosses the East Berlin border. As he is having a tour of the Palast der Republik, he pretends to faint, thinking that the best doctors in the country would be stationed there. When the doctor, who treats him, says, “You are totally all right, Sir,” he begs him in his cranky German: “I am sick Herr Doctor, you are a people’s man, this is a people’s republic, help a fellow human being!” The doctor looks at him perplexed, he says something like, “If you are interested in an asylum application, I can direct you to the relevant officer.” Uncle Fuat panics for a moment, and doesn’t insist. But then he looks directly into doctor’s eyes, and – speaking in Turkish – he says: “Fuck your people’s republic! You also turned out to be crooks, fucking reds!” And he makes his way back to West Berlin with his incurable disease.
WORDS Deniz Aslan
PHOTOGRAPH Arda Funda