Pinar Aksu: Fun and painful memories of Glasgow Red Road flats

GMT 12:25 Wednesday ,16 April 2014

 Migrant Voice - Pinar Aksu: Fun and painful memories of Glasgow Red Road flats

Pinar Aksu

History. That is something very important for all of the people who are seeking safety in UK. Sometimes, its better when history is not remembered and forgotten but then at times it is the history that reminds us of who we are. When I think of areas in Glasgow, such as Red Road flats, Sighthill, Knightswood and many more flats, I think about the stories of those who lived there. The people who witnessed pains and joys. I think about the people seeking safety who went through cold nights, worrying about their safety and the future of their children. I think about the refugees who continued living there for many years after getting their leave to remain papers. I think about the community which was created around the flats for many years until they were decided to be demolished and moved around different parts of the city. Latest news of Red Road flats not being demolished at the opening ceremony of 2014 Commonwealth Games made me really happy. The history of the people who are living and have lived there will respectfully fall into its destiny without being watched by the world. I have fun and painful memories of Red Road flats. When I used to volunteer with a community group, we used the Red Road flats as a meeting point: 28th floor was our space. At winters, the building used to shake. It was scary at first, but by time you get used to it. It becomes a normal aspect of your life and you don’t fear the wind. I always say Red Road flats is a small country with its own policy and borders. One of the buildings was used for people seeking safety. Every time I went there, there was a weird feeling inside me. Each floor represented different countries and departments. One thing I had noticed was the hope in people's eyes. The bond created between each person was amazing. It was the bond of shared experience. Everyone understood each other's pain and hope. Few of my good friends used to live there. The younger ones really liked the flats since they had ‘lots of different friends’ and they could play all day feeling safe. Then I've seen the parents; the strong and inspirational parents. The parents who stayed strong no matter what they've been through. The parents who ‘needed’ to stay strong for their children. I used to stay in one of the oldest flats of Glasgow. I could easily say it was the best 11 years of my life. I felt safe. I had many friends who were really nice to me. My parents were happy as they've managed to form a small community. I used to hear bad rumours about the flats we lived in. But again, it was us who experienced the life of living in a flat and I have never experienced anything bad. Our neighbours were true friends with great bonds formed by years of shared experience. This era ended as flats had started to be demolished. We all moved. Everyone was separated. Life continued without some of my lovely friends and neighbours. It was like history repeating itself. We have migrated again, from one place to another. This time, we have migrated with good memories and strong bonds. Who knows, we might migrate again, allowing us to shape and form of who we are from the experience of what we have seen and witnessed. Pinar Aksu is originally from Turkey and has been living in Scotland for the past 13 years. She has a BA in Community Development and is currently involved in many different community projects in Glasgow and Edinburgh - Xchange Scotland, Active Inquiry and World Spirit. Her twitter account is @pinar_5A


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