Lately, I have been writing a set of posts about my early exposure to Islam – or anything remotely related to it (click here for a link to all posts of mine on that topic).
I am trying to get back in touch with how I came to learn about Islam – even if it was biased learning.
This is part of my effort to examine the potentially deep-seated views I may hold about M., his family, or his nation of birth, in my sub-textual reality or as the hard-core Freudian psychoanalysts might perhaps say, my id.
And it was this dredging effort, this effort to remember, that led me to turn to M. one day and ask, “canım, what did your mother say to you to get you to eat all of your food as a child?”
Of course my M., who was apparently the perfect child (which he annoyingly points out when we see screaming children throwing a tantrum in public or being too loud), explains that he never ever had a problem with this other than the times that he had pneumonia (you can read more about his childhood illness and the oxygen cure here).
During those bleak days, he told me, his mother would encourage him by saying in the sweetest of maternal voices, “canım, eat your food please, or it will go crying behind you!” Hmmm. I thought, “crying behind you.”
A bit of further explanation left no etymological data for analysis, and neither did a Google search. Was this rooted in some historic challenge to food availability? Unclear. Probably just the non-culture bound efforts of yet another mother attempting to get her kid to eat – one of millions around the world.
As I was engaged in my googling effort, M. turned to me and asked the obvious follow-up question to mine – “what about you, canım sweetheart, what did your mom say to you?” I sighed, put my laptop aside, and said “she told me to eat my New England boiled dinner without complaint and to remember the starving Armenians.” M. sat up, eyes wide – “no kidding!”
Nope, no kidding.
M continued, with a look of shock: “And what did you think about that – I mean – did you understand this was about the Armenian genocide?”
Sighing as I squinched my brain into looking-back mode, I said “honestly, no, I just had the sense that people were hungry, that there was some kind of a tragic emergency – akin to what was happening with the droughts in East Africa at that time, I suppose. I had no idea about the hotly-contested matter of whether or not there was genocide or not. It wasn’t until I met you and you explained the controversy when we saw that Armenian genocide poster in the Armenian district here that I put it all together.”
I was referring to the massive memorial billboard about the
some-say alleged atrocities committed during the Ottoman empire that M. and I had seen in the Armenian neighborhood where we do our weekly shopping for Turkish staples for our home (e.g. white cheese, really good olives, Tamek sour cherry jam, etc.) M. got out of the car, looked at it, and hoped that he would still be welcome in the neighborhood he has been visiting for years where he delights in shared Turkish language conversation with the Armenian owners of the shop we frequent.
At the mention of this, the Armenian genocide, Zenne, the nervous nellie puppet crawls into a teacup and plugs her ears, but not before saying, “I am very nervous, m’lady, about you even mentioning this g-word on a Turkish-American blog.”
So, in order to honor Zenne, and to stem the potential fallout from the Turkish blog censors, I’ll leave it at that, and just ask you – what did your parents say to get you to eat your food as a child?
- ‘Khloe And Lamar’: Khloe Is Torn After Lamar Gets Offer To Play In Turkey (huffingtonpost.com)
- Turkey Freezes Political and Military Relations with France Over Armenian Genocide Law (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- Kenne and Zenne keep me up all night (slowly-by-slowly.com)
- Subverting the Truth of Genocide (nytimes.com)
- French Highest Court Strikes Down Law Criminalizing Denial of Armenian Genocide (jonathanturley.org)