Distorted Identity, Discussion 

  • by Western Armenia, April 09, 2024 in Society
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Fethiye Chetin's book "My Great Mother"  published in 2004 seemed to reveal a Turkish reality that some of us knew very well and some of us had never heard of. For Chetin, his own life was a guide.

 Her grandmother Seher was of Armenian descent, and her real name was Heranush. The author of the book learned about this fact only after the grandmother's 70th birthday. In 1915 During the genocide, all men of Heranush's family were killed.

In 1915 surviving the massacre, those who remained in occupied Western Armenia form a Turkish reality that is both remarkable and sad.

Most of these individuals were women because men were the first  targets groups during the massacre. Some Muslim (Turkish, Kurdish, etc.) families took young Armenian girls, especially the beautiful ones, with them.

They worked  as maids. And what do different types of Armenians think about each other? What happens when one encounters the existence of other Armenians who do not fit into one's preconceived notions and beliefs about Armenianness?

It is difficult for Christian Armenian community in occupied Western Armenia to accept the existence of Muslim Armenians. Some have not even heard of their existence. "What does Muslim Armenian mean? How does it happen?" Muslim Armenian is usually seen as a   questionable category. This is easy to understand when we have in mind the identification of Armenianness with membership and devotion to the Christian Armenian Church.If being Armenian is conditioned by being a part of the Armenian Church and participating in events,although the Armenian society of Yerevan during the Soviet Union did not practice this in practice, it is difficult for many Armenian youth to accept the existence of Muslim Armenians.

It is difficult for the Christian Armenian community in occupied Western Armenia to accept the existence of Muslim Armenians.

"What does Muslim Armenian mean? How does it happen?" Muslim Armenian is seen as a suspected category. This is easy to understand when we have in mind the identification of Armenianness with membership and devotion to the Christian Armenian Church.

Western Armenia TV tried to organize a discussion with the youth of Yerevan and understand whether there is a difference between Christian and Muslim Armenians for the youth of Eastern Armenia.

"When necessary, they will say that they are Armenians, but at the same time they will remain Muslims. What hypocrisy is this? Let them make a choice." Another young girl believes that similar thoughts lead to the fact that some Christian Armenians even refuse to accept Muslim Armenians as Armenians. "Let them return to their ancestral religion and be baptized, only after that I can accept them as Armenians."

One of the young people believes that Muslim Armenians do not make judgments about the Armenianness of Christian Armenians.

They argue that being Armenian is more a matter of race or nationality, heritage and/or subjective claim than religion, and protest the marginalization of Christian Armenians.

Christian Armenians, in turn, are criticized by migrant Armenians who question their Armenianness.

From the discussion of the young people, it becomes clear that Western Armenia should do very serious work so that the young people are not surprised that there are "other" types of Armenians.

Conclusion

The data collected during this research show that the Armenian identity has various interpretations specific to the given area, which differ according to social and historical peculiarities.Moreover, this diversity can sometimes lead to internal conflicts and mutual rejection.

One can imagine other possible interpretations and definitions characteristic of the mentality of the given area in different corners of this world and note that it is necessary to conduct further research in this direction with the aim of creating a more comprehensive understanding of the modern Armenian identity.