WOMEN’S DAY 2014

I trust most of you will be taking a minute to think of your sisters-in-spirit around the world on March 8 which happens to be international women’s day.  In that spirit, I invite you to join me in watching the documentary “Scraps of Life,” the inspirational story of a group of Chilean women during the time of Pinochet’s dictatorial regime. This is a free screening at the Capitol Theatre in Arlington on Friday, March 14th at 7 pm. Please visit our facebook page for details: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1089704082

Umuyorum ki “Uluslararası Kadınlar Günü” olarak anılan 8 Mart günü, dünyanın her bir tarafındaki kadın kardeşlerimizi–dertleriyle, dilekleriyle, demek isteyip de diyemedikleriyle–hep beraber anacağımız bir gün olacaktır. O günün anısına bağlı olarak, hepinizi ve ilgilenen tüm arkadaşlarınızı (ister kadın, ister erkek olsun), 14 Mart akşamı Arlington Capitol Theatre’da “Scraps of Life” (Hayattan Artakalanlar) belgeselini beraber seyretmeye davet ediyorum. Augusto Pinochet’nin diktatörlük rejimi altında yaşamış olan bir grup Şili’li kadının hikåyesini anlatan bu belgesel hakkında daha fazla bilgi için: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1089704082

Սիրելի Պոսթընցի ընկերներ,

Կոնճան է գրողը: Վստահ եմ որ ձեզմէ շատերը վայրկեան մը պիտի տրամադրէք աշխարհի չորս կողմը հոգով ձեր բոլոր քոյրերուն մասին մտածելու համար Մարտի 8-ին՝ Կանանց Միջազգային Օրուան առթիւ: Այդ նոյն ոգով, կը հրաւիրեմ ձեզի հետս վաւերագրական ֆիլմ մը դիտելու՝ “Scraps of Life”, որ Փինոչեթին բռնապետութեան ժամանակուայ խումբ մը չիլէացի կանանց ներշնչող պատմութիւնն է: Ձրի ներկայացում մըն է սա՝ Arlington, Capitol Theatre, Ուրբաթ օրը՝ Մարտի 14-ին, երեկոյեան ժամը 7-ին: Այցելէք Facebook-ի մեր էջը մանրամասներուն համար: https://www.facebook.com/events/473691046086952/

Սիրելի Բոստոնցի ընկերներ,
Գոնջան է գրում Ձեզ: Վստահ եմ որ Ձեզանից շատերը մի րոպե տրամադրելու եք աշխարհի չորս կողմը հոգով Ձեր բոլոր քույրերի մասին մտածելու համար մարտի 8-ին՝ Կանանց միջազգային օրվա առիթով: Այդ իսկ ոգով հրաւիրում եմ Ձեզ հետս վավերագրական ֆիլմ նայելու՝ “Scraps of Life”, որ Պինոչետի բռնապետության ժամանակվա մի խումբ չիլեացի կանանց ներշնչող պատմությունն է: Անվճար ներկայացում է սա՝ Arlington-ում, Capitol Theatre, ուրբաթ օրը՝ մարտի 14-ին, երեկոյան ժամը 7-ին: Այցելեք Facebook-ի մեր էջը մանրամասների համար: https://www.facebook.com/events/473691046086952/

What Hrant Dink means to me…

(reposting from January 20, 2013)

I admit I’ve been a bit of an idealist most of my life…the kind of title that has made me the subject of derision among my closest friends and family.  Family members have been known to gift me with humorous postcards, books and the like on peacemakers, Buddhists and others, pulling my leg and insinuating that I should stop being such an idealist, that I should come out of my own utopia and join the real world. And yet I don’t think I ever will…

You see, I spent the weekend going through a bunch of video clips on Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor who was murdered in İstanbul 7 years ago.  As the date of his commemoration inched closer over the past couple of weeks, I kept thinking of something I had heard him say…not in person but on a piece of digital video…I was compelled to look for it and so I searched through half a dozen discs and finally found what I was looking for:  During a videotaped discussion on the campus of Boğaziçi University in İstanbul (I cannot locate the specific date), an audience member asks him one of those long winded questions ending with a quizzical question on whether he (Dink) still believed in utopias. Here’s his answer:

“In fact my utopias are still alive and well…and they will continue until the day I die…and then, even continue on through my grand children.”[1]

Dink has been dead for seven long years.  His murder remains shamelessly unsolved…And yet his words and ideals have spearheaded a movement in Turkey where turning back is not an option.  Millions of people have been reexamining not only their nation’s history, but their own ancestral histories, as well as those belonging to millions of Armenians who had once called Anatolia home.  And it is through that kind of searching and probing that all of Turkey’s people, whether Armenian, Turkish or any other ethnicity, will be paving the road to better and unified tomorrows. Utopia you might ask? Maybe so…

And so, I thank you Hrant Dink for making me believe that being an idealist and a dreamer for utopias is nothing to sneer at.



[1] Please note that I have taken the liberty of translating Dink’s response from Turkish

The time to speak is now…

This is a short summary of the interviews conducted with some of the participants of the Boston-based group TAWA (Turkish-Armenian Women’s Alliance) between September 2012 and May 2013. The group was led by Gonca Sönmez-Poole who is responsible for the one-on-one interviews conducted apart from the group’s own, private meetings. More to come…

THE MAN BY THE BOSPHORUS

It’s now been a few months since the infamous “Gezi park” protests spread like wild fire through some parts of Turkey and made the headlines on most of the major dailies around the world. Journalists, both domestic and international, have written that first draft of history, as the saying goes…and Turkey has once again escaped (albeit barely) being forever ostracized from the European Union despite its unacceptable standards in quelling civilian unrest. It seems that, somewhere during the heated conversations and negotiations between the Turkish foreign ministry and the European Union officials, the damage done to the country’s international reputation was somewhat recovered.

While the intensity and shock of those first few weeks have subsided, my thoughts do trail back to those days back in late May/early June when I attended the Hrant Dink Memorial Workshop in Istanbul.  As I walked out from the conference hall certain streets and avenues were being closed off and the protestors’ noises were intensifying. I jumped into the first cab I could hail.  In a matter of minutes, there appeared a sea of protestors, a majority of them carrying the red and white Turkish flag and I couldn’t help but notice that a good number of them were also carrying the emblems of the opposition party, CHP.  Even though it may be sound thinking to disregard this particular political connotation, I remember thinking about the sheer quantity of those flags and asking myself: “If I were to organize a sit-in against the cutting of trees for the building of a shopping mall in my favorite park, would I instinctively wrap myself up in the nation’s or my party’s flag?” But then I considered the protestors’ anger and rage against the Turkish prime minister and thought: “Does the act of standing in defiance against a particular government or a prime minister require the carrying of a flag?” Or “Was there a danger brewing from across the country’s borders that made people fear for losing their flag, their nation, their country?” As I kept pondering these questions in the following days and weeks, the protests spread across the country, wounding thousands and tragically taking the lives of five (as of July 24) people.  The lethargic way the media had responded in the first few days improved somewhat. That said, I found myself switching between three or four channels at a time in order to get a realistic picture, since most of the newspapers and media outlets in Turkey prefer a “selective” way of reporting the news, very much in line with the direction of their respective bosses and their pro or anti-government biases.

Throughout those weeks, using his own brand of hubris and bravado, the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan continued to offend and alienate many, including some who had initially supported him and his party. By the time he got on a plane for his North Africa trip, he had called the protestors (i.e. a better portion of Istanbul citizens who had clearly articulated their unease over his plans to erect yet another shopping mall at the park in question) “a bunch of riff raff,” had offended a good number of Turkish people who consume alcohol by implying anyone who enjoys a drink or two is considered an “alcoholic,” and, breaking all standards of democracy and decency, he had declared that if the protestors did not retreat, he certainly had the other fifty percent of the country on his side and that he could unleash them as needed!

At around the same time, the opposition party tried its best to prove they would not use the Gezi protests to their political advantage.  And as the international media kept up the interest of its readers and viewers with headlines such as “the week that changed Turkey,” I kept thinking if Turkey had indeed changed… and if so, how would that translate into making Turkey a better place for all its citizens, not only the young, educated, considerably urban youth that dominated the headlines by making their distaste of a particular government as visible as possible. Whether this particular new generation (not to mention the various other groups who attached themselves to this movement through genuine interest as well as ulterior motives) did indeed write the first draft of a new and improved Turkey, remains to be seen.  But I simply cannot get myself to elevate what has been dubbed as the “Gezi spirit” to the realm of a “game-changer,” at least not yet.  That is because of the last image I remember from my recent visit to Istanbul, an image of a man I spotted by the Bosphorus strait.

He seemed a bit off, slightly disheveled and was rummaging through the recyclable bins, and this is what was inscribed on his t-shirt:  “Hop dedik, karşında Türk var!”  That means something to the effect of “Stop right there, you got a Turk in front of you!”  Is there not something that goes beyond the average national pride in that saying? Is there not something a bit offensive, a bit aggressive and, if it goes unchecked, a bit dangerous in that way of thinking?  To me, the answer to that question is an unequivocal yes.

And that is why, in my humble opinion, until and unless this kind of mentality—whether in the tone of a prime minister’s haughty tone of addressing his opponents, the latter’s fervent desire to find comfort through nationalism on every occasion, or on the shirt of a random man on his morning walk—is erased from the hearts and minds of the entire country of Turkey, no “Gezi spirit” will suffice in bringing Turkey into a truly new and improved future.

 

 

 

 

 

Eating my own words on social media!

As someone who has spoken against the ills of social media, I am now ready to admit that the benefits of such internet sites may outweigh the costs. The reason being that I’ve been in Istanbul for a week now visiting family and trying to follow what exactly is going on ever since police started using tear gas and water cannons on peaceful protestors opposed to the downing of trees in Taksim’s Gezi Park. The story was so slow in coming from mainstream media in the early stages that I was glued to my connections on facebook to get to the heart of the matter.  And I continue to do so, especially after Turkey’s prime minister spoke out against social media in the same breath as he called the protestors a bunch of “capulcu”s (freeloader, hoodlum or any such low-class good-for-nothings)!
Here’s a well-written and interesting article I’ve found through my links on facebook:
And may I ask, why is it that the deputy PM Arinc spoke warmly about the death of the second casualty of the recent events but failed to mention the very first one: Mehmet Ayvalitas, barely 20 years old.  Is it because he was a member of Redhack (socialist hackers network) or because he was trampled to death by an unknown speeding car?

Evil then and now

Boston has been through a lot lately, and so has the city of Watertown. The effects of the evil that grew in the minds of the Tsarnaev brothers are bound to stay with those who were locked in their homes during the manhunt of April 19. But that was hardly the end of it. On April 24, with most residents hardly over the shock of the bombings, the Armenian communities in and around Watertown had to recalibrate their hearts and minds to honor the memories of their ancestors who perished during the genocide of 1915.

Although I recently wrote about the need to dislodge “the elephant” (the Armenian genocide) and welcome “the dialogue” for Armenian-Turkish relations, I personally cannot forget the evil that engulfed Armenians during that time, or the subsequent trauma inherited by the survivors and their descendants. So I would like to share some comments I have collected from my interviews with several of the TAWA (Turkish-Armenian Women’s Alliance) women concerning Armenian-Turkish history.

Tsoleen Sarian says, “I think we’re angry because we don’t know better, we don’t know how to get over this; we don’t, we can’t find our voice to educate and explain, we can only react…although we want this recognition, what comes next [is] that dark, gray area which is so unknown that everyone just stays out of that.”

Ayşe Kaya Fırat says, “It is impossible to reverse the course of things…They might say that they want material things—like they want land—but even if they were given those things, they wouldn’t be relieved…the pain won’t go away…They would like it to be acknowledged, and obviously there would be consequences under international law…but even [if] that were to happen, they wouldn’t be happy; there’s nothing to be happy about this event…it’s pain that we have to suffer together.”

Laura Bilazarian-Purutyan says, “If an individual has an injustice in their life, whether as a victim or a perpetrator…in order to move on from it and not have that experience own their life and their future and dictate all [their] decisions going forward, [the events of 1915 have] to unpack and shed light on that experience…otherwise, [it will be] like putting a rug over it, but it’s still this mountain in the middle of the room with a rug over it…rather than moving the rug and looking at it, and letting it fall apart and over time be cleaned up…It’s just not going to get cleaned up without acknowledgment.”

Zeren Earls says, “If the Turkish government could possibly say we know it, it happened, it was wartime…sorry, let’s move on—but they’re not saying that; they are denying, so it’s the denial which then forces them to reflect it in their own storybooks, or verbally telling their kids in whatever way they do to perpetuate the story.”

Joyce Van Dyke says, “I know I had a conversation long ago…in college, where somebody I was talking to said that the genocide didn’t happen…and I remember being in this very fraught situation with this person…it’s happening to me right now as I’m recalling it…The minute he said that, I felt my palms tingling, and I looked down and my palms had broken out in beads of sweat, a thing that’s never happened to me before or since…my palms are tingling right now just to remember this; whenever I sort of recall this event, that’s what happens to me….beads of sweat, and I don’t sweat much.”

Some of the TAWA participants have dealt with the memory of 1915 through works of art. For example, playwright Joyce Van Dyke, in The Deported: A Dream Play, created two female characters, both survivors of 1915; one is based on Joyce’s grandmother, Elmas Sarajian Boyajian. The reaction to Joyce’s play was mixed, including negativity expressed by some Armenians who didn’t appreciate the fact that the play raised issues of reconciliation as well as recognition. The play’s third act features a dreamlike sequence, with a potential scene of reconciliation at some undetermined time in the future. When I asked Joyce why it was important for her to write this third act, this was her answer:

“It was like breaking through into light somehow, or into life…In a way, the play is about how you live…how you live on…how you find a way to live when you know something has happened to you like this; and so it could not, for me, just end with these people releasing parts of their story and then dying…I mean, there had to be, there had to be something beyond that, it had to go somewhere…it had to have an impact somehow.”

As a Turkish American reading Joyce’s script and then watching the play, I felt a connection to what Joyce was trying to achieve with her art; and that’s probably why I was inspired to start the TAWA group. I was pressed to reconsider my reasons just the other day when a highly educated Armenian American academic questioned the validity of what I am trying to achieve with TAWA: wasn’t the basic point that a genocide had taken place in the Ottoman Empire, one where at least one million Ottoman citizens of Armenian heritage had been deported, massacred, or left to die, along with their cultural heritage and ties to their homeland in Anatolia? The answer to that question is undoubtedly yes! But here’s a second question: Is that all there is to explore, understand, and carry into the future by Armenians as well as Turks? I’m hoping the answer is no. I can’t speak for all Armenians and Turks around the world, but I believe the TAWA women can carry more than one truth at a time in their brains. Whether we can do that, without diminishing the memory of a huge number of Armenians who were killed or dispersed around the world because of the evil committed in 1915, is a challenge well worth the effort.

And finally, nothing I have said here should reduce the importance of paying respect to Armenians who, just like Joyce’s grandmother, should be remembered well beyond 1915. This was her response when I asked what she would say to her now deceased grandmother if she had the chance:

“I wish I could tell her that I remember that I never saw her cry, and that I saw her laugh many times, and that I don’t understand how she could have been the person that she was…[I] thought that all the time about her when I was growing up, all the time I was in her presence; I used to be just astounded to be in her presence and to think, how can you make food and set the table and…mend your clothes and just be a normal person…after what you went through? How can you maintain yourself, how can you maintain your composure, how can you not be insane?…How can you be a good person that does constructive things?…I never said that to her, ever, ever—and that was my governing feeling about her my whole life.”

One of the worst evils in history fell upon the Armenians in 1915, but the ones who were able to survive marched on, and against all odds, have maintained their language, culture, and traditions while making significant contributions to the world, as I witness in and around Boston every day. And just as the city of Boston was determined to stay strong after the evil we witnessed on Marathon Monday, that process of survival alone is a testament to the indestructible spirit of humanity, exemplified not only by Armenians of a hundred years ago, but by Armenians right here and right now.

 

First Meetings

Turkish-Armenian relations have “complicated” written all over them. For starters, I must say that I’m careful about choosing which nationality to begin with when I use Armenian and Turkish in the same breath. Should I say Armenian-Turkish, Turkish-Armenian, Armeno-Turkish…? I remember dealing with this conundrum six years ago while assisting with a particular rapprochement among the two communities led by a third party. I recall that some participants were uneasy about the sequencing of nationalities.

But fast-forward a few years: when I picked the acronym TAWA (Turkish-Armenian Women’s Alliance) several months ago for the women’s group I started, there wasn’t a peep from anyone. Maybe because I told them it was a play on the word tava (Turkish for “pan”), and because we have more than a few foodies in the group, TAWA was easy to swallow. Or maybe, just maybe these relations I’m referring to have been changing for the better, thanks to a new wave of thinkers and doers, leading the way for a starkly different and more positive future.

That said, a solid future can be built only on the shared trust of those who strive for it. And trust isn’t easy to come by in the sphere of Armenian-Turkish relations. Having dealt with the issue of trust in my earlier efforts within the Armenian and Turkish communities, I decided to inquire about the TAWA women’s first encounter with an Armenian or a Turkish person. Here’s a sample of their answers:

Ayşe Kaya Fırat said, “There was this micro-economy class that I was taking, and during the first class I had this lady sitting next to me…and we had this real nice connection from the beginning, and when in the first class our professor told us that he wanted a group project, she was the only person that I knew in the class, and we had a real nice connection and I thought of her right away…when we came to the second class in the same week, we started talking more about ourselves, obviously, and I remember the time she learned about me and my nationality, that was the last time she spoke to me in class; she said ‘I’m American-Armenian,’ and I said ‘I’m Turkish,’ and I thought it would go beyond that and we would ask other questions, but her facial expression was so different than I ever imagined—I had a hard time to understand what was going on…I asked a few questions, she didn’t respond; she just sat and then left the classroom afterwards…[it was a] striking experience.”

Tsoleen Sarian said, “I went to Merrimack College and I played volleyball; one of the basketball players was a Turkish boy from Turkey…so I hadn’t really talked to him, so I emailed him, and I was like ‘Oh hi, I’m Armenian,’ and he just had this awful response… basically it was like ‘This Turkish-Armenian question is all propaganda,’ and I was like… ‘Okay…just saying hi, but okay’…It was sad…and you know it was such an Irish Catholic school, so to have someone that’s not Irish and not Catholic and, you know, a little exotic—it wasn’t like I had gone to a very diverse school, so I wanted to have this conversation, and he just wasn’t interested.”

Zeren Earls said, “This began at a cocktail party. The conference—I don’t know what it was about, but it had nothing to do with Turks and Armenians. I was just wearing a nametag. A young woman came, saw my tag, and said, ‘What kind of a name is that?’ and I said ‘Turkish,’ so that opened the floodgates and I said, ‘Hold it, why are you attacking me for something that happened so many years ago? I wasn’t even around.’ He said, ‘Look at the Jews: they make sure that the Holocaust is never forgotten’…so I have these stories, you know; I don’t sit and dwell on them, but that’s what has made me cautious.”

Laura Bilazarian-Purutyan, who grew up in central Massachusetts, said she had never met a Turkish person until her college roommate from Switzerland mentioned a girl she knew named Dilek, a common Turkish name. Laura went on: “This Swiss girl, who knew that if [Dilek is] Turkish and I’m Armenian maybe we’re gonna have an issue here,…told me, ‘Dilek is really worried that you’ll hate her’…I probably regret not having confronted or engaged [Dilek]—I should say on some meaningful level—’cause the interesting thing was that it was up to me. It was up to me to do it, and I didn’t do it and it didn’t get done.”

Picking up on that last point of “getting it done,” I think that we, as the women of TAWA, have actually started to get it done. The question is, What is “it”? If it means engaging with each other, we certainly have started that. If it means finding a definable shared purpose and working on a collaborative project, we’re not quite there yet. And if it means agreeing on certain basic facts about our shared history, that’s a bit trickier; it needs to be handled gingerly, with both eyes open, and away from the shenanigans of doom-saying, hate-mongering and knee-jerking of all sorts and sizes. If we can avoid falling victim to such trappings, I believe we can find ways to make small yet substantial inroads into what those naysayers keep calling an “intractable” conflict.

 

Forget the Elephant—Just Look Around the Room!

You know the expression “the elephant in the room”? Of course you do! We’ve all used it. Whether we call it dialogue, rapprochement, track-two work, or any other method of conflict resolution relating to Armenian-Turkish relations, we have all used and abused this poor elephant, albeit for perfectly valid reasons. That’s because up until the last few years, the consensus—too easily dictated to us all—was this: it is nearly impossible for these two sides (I hate that word “sides”) to come to terms in this intractable (I hate that word, too) conflict unless the Turkish government were to officially acknowledge the Armenian genocide (and I hate the word “genocide” more than any other word).

Well, I humbly suggest the following scenario for all of those holding or participating in any meeting between any number of Turkish and Armenian people: acknowledge each other.

You see, I’ve been meeting with just such a Turkish and Armenian group for the past eight months, and the more I talk to them and the more they talk to each other, the more I realize that we don’t have to speak about the “elephant” in order to reach beyond the barriers of communication. We simply have to acknowledge each other. We have to acknowledge each and every one in the room, be curious about each other, and want to know something about what makes us all who we are. And so, at the expense of alienating a few players out there whose job it is to make or break high-level meetings at the top, I want to advocate for what I believe has the most power to move us along: connecting one person at a time. I would like to put forward a whole new mantra, and that is to forget the elephant and look around the room. And no, I do not mean forget the Armenian genocide or the events of 1915—but I believe that no fictional symbol, elephantine or not, can come close to representing what genocide is. So let’s forget the tired elephant phrase. Instead, what I’m suggesting is simply another tool, not among historians, not among diplomats, and certainly not among politicians. I suggest the simple tool of asking for each other’s stories and listening to them. I am appealing for all of us in the vast arena of Armenian-Turkish relations to extend a listening ear and to hear as many stories as we can about each other. I believe it is through those stories that we will learn what makes each of us the unique product of our backgrounds, our upbringings, our educations, and our social environments.

To make my case, I’d like to share with you a few snippets of the interviews I have conducted with some of the participants in the group I started last September.[1] Following our first meeting, I asked members of TAWA (Turkish-Armenian Women’s Alliance) about their future expectations regarding our group.

Tsoleen Sarian: “You know, just the fact that we’re here is so worthwhile to me, just the fact that I’ve gotten this far is excellent. I am so content and happy and anything is like a bonus, you know . . . because I have now met people and be able to sit around a table and I’ve never done that before, I’ve never even considered I wanted to do that before . . . it’s not even something I even looked into or searched out and to be able to do this is . . . I’m thrilled, I’m thrilled . . . I can’t change other people’s minds, I can’t explain centuries of history . . . I can’t do that, but if I can learn myself a little bit more and if I can grow in my understanding, then excellent . . . yeah.”

Zeren Earls: “It seems like an interesting group of women, progressive thinkers from different walks of life, and creates interesting conversation; and to this point, I haven’t really made an effort to get to know Armenian people, just because I’m not near them usually, and this gives an opportunity to find out who they are and what they’re doing in an environment that I feel would be useful to spend time with.”

Laura Bilazarian-Purutyan: “I would ask that people try to think of our meetings as a time of instruction for others as well as time for sharing of their own experience . . . so if the audience is learners and not just people hearing my experience, I think it changes how you frame and how much background you give . . . you might step back and say, well, if they’re gonna understand me, I need to help them understand where I came from, where I come from, where my parents come from.”

Ayşe Kaya Fırat: “I can’t just say ignore the past, you know, jump into the future and experience new things; that is not what I’m saying, but I believe we can be [a] great example for many other controversies, you know, between other nations . . . so if that was the goal, a lot of good, a lot of goodness can come out of that, right? So that’s what I’m thinking . . . I’m going beyond Armenians and Turks for God’s sake, let’s go to Africa together . . . you know, let’s change lives there you know, let’s fight with hunger, and you know goodness is good for everyone; it would heal me and, you know, people from both sides I think.”

Note that these comments came at the outset of this journey that TAWA began in September 2012, and it hasn’t been smooth sailing ever since. As the person in the middle of the process, I needed to not only keep track of the availability of a dozen busy women, but I had to listen and recognize their concerns and their sensitivities between meetings. And most important, I had to keep track and assess the mood and atmosphere of the group during and in between our gatherings. We did lose one participant due to her heavy work schedule, but twelve of us are still getting together, determined to carry on.  Here’s a preview of what I would like to share with you next, on the subject of history:

Laura Bilazarian-Purutyan: “I’m an Armenian, I’m a granddaughter of survivors . . . and I’m coming here . . . I am coming here as the granddaughter of survivors, and if I am . . . if I understand too deeply your perspective, do I give up something of my experience? I’m trying to hold on to their experience and honor it, but there is a problem on the table: you know it’s an ongoing problem of lack of recognition, and the communities, the Armenian community is not grappling with it, and the two nations are not grappling with it, and so . . . am I at risk of losing something in this conversation . . . honoring my grandparents?”

 


[1] Please note that no recording device was used during the off-record meetings with this group. The separate interviews were conducted with a partial group of participants on a voluntary basis. The quotes used are from those interviewed who have agreed to sign a release form, permitting the author to make their words public.