Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Standing In Line . . .

Last night,  Marash Girl was one of many Armenians who gathered to hear Taner Akçam, (Professor of Armenian Studies at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts)  give a talk at the Armenian Church on Brattle Street in Cambridge, the talk entitled, "Giving Voice to the Voiceless: Armenian Genocide Survivors and the Aleppo Rescue House of the League of Nations" (summary to follow, hopefully tomorrow).  Preceding the talk was a, what else? chicken and pilaf dinner, a dinner for which we were to stand in line to get our meal.  Marash Girl's friends all rushed up to the line, but she stayed seated.  "Why are you sitting," they asked;"Come on up with us before the food runs out." She sat.  "I'll wait; if there's no food left, there's no food left."  "Why?" they asked.  "I'll try to explain it tomorrow in my blog post," she answered.

At last, when there were only two folks left standing in line, Marash Girl got up and, yes, walked over to the food table, actually standing in line herself for several minutes behind a fellow she had never met.  Typical of her style, she started a conversation with this fellow, or at least with the back of the head of this fellow who was standing in line in front of her.  

"I hate to stand in line for food," she told the back of his head.  "Especially with other Armenians; it reminds me of the days in Marash that my father spoke of, when there was no food except for the food that the missionaries were offering the hungry Armenians, the food that Armenian folks had to stand in long lines for, waiting and hoping that they made it up to the table before the food was done." 

"That's exactly why I came up now, to stand at the end of the line when it was no longer a line; I've heard those stories too, growing up! I'm Armenian from Iran," he said.

Marash Girl continued.  "My father would never stand in line for food. When he was a little boy in Marash,  his mother told him that she would rather have him go hungry than beg for food.  That's what standing in line, waiting (and hoping) for food meant to him.  Begging.  And I guess that goes for me, too."


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