Monday, June 8, 2015

Armenians, Kurds, and a Trip to Boston's South Station

The taxi arrived 10 minutes early.  

The driver's face was familiar, but not because he had driven them to Logan and South Station on numerous occasions.  No. He looked and sounded like so many of the Armenian men that Marash Girl and Marash Boy remember from their childhood! Because he spoke with a familiar accent,  Marash Girl felt comfortable querying, "May I ask where you're from?"  He answered, "I hope it won't offend you!"  So Marash Girl started guessing.  "Hayasdan?  Armenia?"  He said, "I know a lot of Armenians.  I eat Armenian food, and I even call an Armenian woman 'MAMA'."  So Marash Girl kept guessing. "Lebanon?  Syria? Egypt? Iraq?"  "Right there," he said.  "Turkey?"  "Yes!"  
"Türkce konuşuyorsunuz?Marash Girl asked.  
"Evet!" the driver replied.  

As it turned out, Memet (the driver) was from Diarbekir (Southeastern Anatolia) and had survived  a genocide himself, one committed by the Turkish government against his people -- the Kurds.  He speaks, reads and writes five languages although he never went to school. (His parents, as many Kurdish parents were wont to do, did not send him to school because they did not want him to be Turkified by attending Turkish schools and learning the  Turkish language and the Turkish take on history.) "My four brothers still live in Diarbekir.  They each have 14 children.  I have only two.  I guess I should return to Diarbekir and have 12 more!"  Marash Girl remembered that the Armenian women reportedly said (early in the 20th century), "When those Turks kill one, we'll bring two!"

Marash Girl asked if the Armenians in Diarbekir were fightiing alongside the PKK - Memt's answer -- "No.  The Armenians in Diarbekir are a bit confused.  You know that they too experienced genocide at the hands of the Turks."

Yes, Marash Girl knew that. Both Marash Girl's father and Marash Boy's mother were survivors from Marash of that very genocide, the Armenian Genocide which is commemorating its 100th year anniversary this year, 2015.

When Marash Girl and Marash Boy told Memet Kort that their parents were from Marash, Memet grinned:  "Oh," he exclaimed,  "they make the most delicious ice cream there!"


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