Hanife Kannur, a Turkish Cypriot, was trapped in the Greek Cypriot Zone. She longed to join her husband on the Turkish side. Then a Greek Cypriot, prizing family over politics, helped Hanife and her baby boy to hide in his potato truck and sneak across the border. (Update on January 7th, 2019: The baby boy in Hanife’s story, Enver Kannur, is now president of the London Rotary Club.)
 
(English translation by Üstün Öngel)
After the prison camp
My husband stayed on the other side
We, in the Greek Cypriot village
Missing each other a lot
 
There was a Greek Cypriot selling potatoes
My husband asked him
If he can take us to him
Over the green line

One day the guy calls us
Be ready tomorrow, he says
We put our things in boxes
Get on the back of the potato truck
 
We hide ourselves between the potato cases
My son one and a half year old
Baby bottle in his mouth

Hiding at the back of the truck
A police stops us at the check point
Asks if anybody at the back
Scared like hell
 
One of the policemen comes
And pushes the potato cases
I push back the cases
Scared like hell
Thank god they don’t find us
 
We hid ourselves between the potato cases
My son one and a half year old
Baby bottle in his mouth

Original in Turkish:
Esir kampından sonra
Bizim bey diğer tarafa geçti
Biz kaldık rum köyünde
Özleye özleye
 
Patates satan bir rum vardı
Beyim dedi senden bir ricam var
Bana çocuklarımı eşimi
Getirir misin
 
Bir gün geldi rum arkadaşım
Yarın hazır olunuz dedi
Doldurduk valizleri
Bindik rum kamyonuna
 
Patates kasalarının
arasına saklandık
Bir buçuk yaşında oğlum
Biberonu ağzında
 
Patates kasalarının arasında
Durdurur polis
Sorar kim var arabada
Yüreğimiz ağzımızda
 
Bir polis gelir
Ve iter kasaları
Ben dayanırım kasalara
Elimiz ayağımız titrer
Ve şükür ki bizi görmediler
 
Patates kasalarının
arasına saklandık
Bir buçuk yaşında oğlum
Biberonu ağzında

 
Melodi Var Öngel – teaching artist, piano and vocal
Hanife Kannur – story source
Serkan Kaya – guitar
 
This song is part of the Songs Across Boundaries project. Melodi Var Ôngel interviewed Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and created documentary songs from their spoken words.