I’m neither an ebru nor a tessera*; nor am I ‘a color of Anatolia!’

I’m neither an ebru nor a tessera*; nor am I ‘a color of Anatolia!’

May 6, 2011 by talin suciyan
Talin Suciyan

First you made me into a tessera in your mosaic of cultures just to be
able to put up with me. But soon you found that too static and then
you resorted to the image of ebru. Whether an ebru or a tessera, you
all agreed that I was ‘a color of Anatolia.’ Yet, I’m neither your
ebru nor your tessera, nor am I a color of your Anatolia. I know that
I can acquire a color only if I’m dead and gone, mute and traceless;
more colorful I become as you further destroy my history.

I’m neither your ebru nor your tessera, nor am I a color of your
Anatolia. ‘What are you then?’ you might ask. I’m the child of the
remnants of sword; the daughter of women whose bodies have been
ravaged; the daughter of a people which many times has been forced to
exile and whose traces have been erased throughout the last century
from the land it had lived in for millennia. I’m the daughter of a
people which has been captivated, alienated from itself, subjugated,
and whose existence as well as extermination have been denied, and
temples, schools, foundations, even the hearts and minds of its
members have been turned inside out. They call me a Turkish Armenian.

On April 24th an Armenian died (shot dead) in barracks. The Armenians
knew from their guts what that meant. But the minister for EU affairs
Egemen Bagis says that ‘our brother Sevak represents the colors of
Anatolia.’ Bagis is right; a dead Armenian is always ‘our brother!’
And yes, we do represent a color: A deep, bottomless black. An
infinite black!

Sevak’s pitch-black eyes are staring at us; Sevak is draped in the
blackest of all colors. Will you be able to look into those eyes
without that gibberish about food, folk songs, and brotherhood?

Don’t try to feel the suffering that has lasted a century. However,
you can understand the oppression we were subjected to at Sevak’s
funeral ceremony; how the church has been taken away from its
congregation and the funeral from its rightful owners; and just by
looking at the archbishop’s post-service speech, you can understand
how the Armenians remaining in Turkey have been sentenced to pay a
perennial price for their survival. Don’t expect us to talk any longer
for words stand in front of us and laugh mockingly as we try harder to
tell. Share in this loneliness.

* The two images that are most commonly used in the discourse of the
so-called ethno-cultural diversity in Turkey are ebru and mosaic. Ebru
is the art of paper marbling in which a special kind of paper is laid
onto the water in a square or a rectangular tank to ‘record’ the
intertwined figures and lines in different colors floating on the
surface. The other image envisions each ethnic group in the country as
a tessera, which, in combination with the others, creates a mosaic. In
both cases it is assumed that the artwork that comes into being
represents Turkey itself. (T.N.)

(This article has been published in Agos Weekly, Nr.787, translated by
Serhat Uyurkulak)

From: A. Papazian