If you look beneath my skin tone, you will see
My indigenous Armenian marginalized reality
Granddaughter of pained survivor
1915 Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Turks

Black, brown, red, yellow skinned indigenous people
Share the same fate
Of genocide, displacement and racial hate.

It is not my people’s shame that Ottoman Turks
Wore necklaces of Armenian women nipples in 1915.
Just like American soldiers wore nipple necklaces
When they killed Native women in Sand Creek 1865.

Demented conquerors deny genocides
Offer no reparations, just fake history
Leaving millions of ghost spirits
Seeking justice.  

When I say that I am a Woman Of Color
I am sometimes ignored, mistrusted and
Mislabeled white by those who know little
About world history and geography  

Whiteness is just a construct
So many try to fit into for the privilege it accords
My indigenous origin, though not obviously visible
Survives inwardly in infinite depth 

My light skinned African American, Latina, Native, Asian
And mixed race sisters also face identity challenges,
But unlike them, I have no fixed category
Western Asian, Native of Near East?

Some WOC groups just put Arab and mistakenly
Leave out other Near/Middle Eastern peoples of color
I do not want to be other.
I want my WOC herstory included –

I arise indigenous Armenian
Birthed from sacred Mt. Ararat
Cultural identity of all Armenians Guardian spirit
Apricot blossomed Anatolian plain 

Ethereal duduk flute music
Wandering like Armenian refugees exiled
Forced death marches by Ottoman Turk murderers
Who savored the stench of 2 million dead

Stolen indigenous land and homes
Eastern Turkey is really Occupied Western Armenia
3,000 years of culture wiped out
Barb wired Mt.Ararat under Turkish control 

Escaped, terrorized Grandmother refugee
Hiding her secrets in the oven
Circles my inter-generational trauma
Displaced identity

I cringe when I am mislabeled European
Mistakenly connected to US slave past
My grandmother was a sex slave in a Turkish harem
The naked slave master whipping her tears 

Under pretext of holy jihad against Christians
Ottoman Turks tried to wipe out all Armenians
Armenian school teachers hung from mulberry trees
Police skinning Armenians alive screaming 

Traumatized refugee survivors came
Under Asian quota changed to white
So they could have homes prove they were ok
Real identity, there but not there  

Tried to bury past humiliation, shame
Under blending/passing,
While the spirits of raped slave brides
And stolen Armenian children keep surfacing

Lost memory of indigenous past
Offerings to river and tree Spirits
Little acknowledgement of whose
Genocided indigenous land we occupy now

In the US I am a light skinned woman of color privilege
I am not profiled, harassed or murdered by racists
But I am not in denial of my indigenous heritage
Have to constantly explain my non-white ancestry and responsibilities 

If you put me in the “white boat” you are just
Helping white supremacists who are afraid
Of dark-skinned people taking over and
Want to claim light skinned people of color as white.

I have jumped out of the boat
In solidarity with all indigenous freedom struggles
Hoping we can help each other resist assimilation
I welcome support to counter Turkey’s constant attempt to squash the truth

So called democratic US covers up and hides Turkey crimes of genocide
Who knows that US white controlled
Corporations doing business with Turkey
Like Coca Cola, Pfizer, GE and Lockheed
Lobby US Congress not to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide? 

I choose to elevate my ancestral truth
I resist assimilation to honor my ancestors
Who died to save Armenia 

Treasured interviews of Armenian Genocide survivors
Like Vartouhi with blue tattoo marks on her face
Signifying Kurdish abduction.(2)

My body damaged by bomb/mine explosions heavy metal
In 90’s when joined armed  self-defense struggle
To liberate Armenian Artsakh (Nagorno Karabagh) from Azeri control  (3)

Our blood soaked homeland

Far flung diaspora of exiled descendants
Swinging between language/culture
Connections/ disconnections
Remaining small Eastern Armenia Republic
Blockaded, impoverished, needing aid

Migrating storks still returning building
Magnificent 10ft rebirthing nests
Storks nests in our hearts
Opening and closing Armenia

  1. Armenians are now being driven out of Middle Eastern countries they fled to after the genocide like Syria, Iraq, by anti-Christian extremists. 
  2. Some Kurdish tribes helped Turks kill Armenians.
  3. Azerbaijan, an ally of Turkey, is currently attacking Armenians in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh)

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Anoush Ter Taulian

Anoush Ter Taulian is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley. In 1992, she decided to relocate to Artsakh where she volunteered in the liberation struggle alongside Monte Melkonian. She has depicted the Armenian struggle for freedom in poetry, paintings, videos, and radio. A lifelong activist speaking in schools, churches, and at anti-racism conferences, Anoush continues to bring up current attacks on Artsakh at indigenous, women’s, and political conferences.

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Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: Not Everyone Who Looks White is White