Friday, November 15, 2013

Islamicized Armenians?

Marash Girl was interested to read the following in the Armenian Weekly:  "In early November, the Hrant Dink Foundation held a conference on “Islamicized Armenians” at the Istanbul Bosphorus University, breaking one more taboo in Turkey. Islamicized Armenians were hitherto a hidden reality, a secret known by many, but which couldn’t be revealed to anyone, whispered behind closed doors but filed in government intelligence offices, and it finally broke free into the public."  The article went on to say that both oral histories and academic papers were used during the discussion.

Marash Girl was particularly interested because, in the 1970's, she and her team of interviewers, under the auspices of the Armenian Library and Museum of America, had taped interviews of over 100 survivors of the Armenian Genocide.  If there ever was any discussion of Islamisization or marriage to a Muslim, the tape had to be turned off, and the admission to the interviewer remain unidentified.

To this day, Marash Girl remembers turning off the tape recorder to hear the tears and shame with which an Armenian Christian woman admitted that her sister had, in order to save her life and the life of her loved ones, married a Turk and had a family.

Marash Girl's father Peter used to relate the fact that if there was ever  love and marriage between a Turk and an Armenian, the couple would never survive . . . they would be murdered in their bed on their wedding night.  By whom? Marash Girl asked.  By the Turks or the Armenians?  Marash Girl's father did not know the answer, although he implied -- or did he actually state -- that it could come from either side.

1 comment:

  1. The answer should be obvious given the teachings in the two respective religions.
    Of course, dad was too young to draw that distinction. He was 10 when he arrived on these shores. At that age his soul had already been saturated with the normalcy of starvation, death, and mayhem. I asked him, when I was a prepubescent teen, and had begun to grasp the terror of The Great Depression under FDR's administration, whether starting a business in 1932, the year of his high school graduation, at the age of 19, whether prospects of success filled him with an angst, a dread. He said, "No, of course not, because I knew nobody was trying to kill me. I knew, deep down, that if I worked 12 hours/day, 6 days/week everything would be fine."