Porto Riko'nun Kayıp Okulları ! The Disappearing Schools of Puerto Rico
Over the past three years, hundreds of schools have closed across Puerto Rico. Their ruins are among the most visible evidence of the island’s vicious circle of poor governance, neglect by Washington and environmental catastrophe.
- 18 Eylül 2019, Çarşamba 16:15
During the blazing summer of 2019, Puerto Rico was in tumult. Thousands of the islands’ residents marched shoulder to shoulder through cities. They sang, danced and demanded the ouster of the commonwealth’s negligent governor, Ricardo Rosselló — and, with him, the federal control board that holds economic power over the United States’ oldest remaining colony in the Americas.
The crowd’s ire was fueled in part by a sense of absence. Away from the echoing drums, down forgotten streets and across green mountains, the islands are emptying. Decades of abuse, austerity, corruption and now the ravages of climate change have triggered an exodus of people and money. As the summer wet season gives way to the wary hurricane watch of an ever-warmer fall, no evidence of this decline is more powerful than the islands’ hundreds of abandoned schools.
The photographer Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi and I spent weeks touring these monuments to neglect. Books and blackboards rotted in the humidity. Stray dogs made their beds beneath teachers’ desks. Some of the buildings had been left to addicts and thieves. In others, neighbors had refashioned empty classrooms into stables for horses, rabbits and pigs. Even in schools that remain in use, mold creeps, roofs are torn and gymnasiums sag like wet shoe boxes. Landslide-prone slopes loom, unrestrained, behind buildings filled with students.