My Grandmother - A Memoir

New Internationalist, June 2008 | Go to article overview

My Grandmother - A Memoir


My Grandmother - A memoir by Fethlye Çetin Translation and introduction by Maureen Freely (Verso ISBN 9781 84467 169 4)

Every family has its secrets. So does every nation. But Turkey's official secret remains extraordinarily potent because public references to the massive event that occurred 93 years ago are forbidden.

Fethiye Çetin's memoir of her grandmother is at one level a simple affair: a warm and vivid portrait of a person with whom she enjoyed a close bond. So close in fact, that it was only to Çetin that grandmother Seher could begin to tell her true story. That her name was not Seher but Heranu, that she was born a Christian nota Muslim; that most of the male members of her family were massacred in 1915 while she and other female relatives were sent on a 'death march'. In other words, though these words are never used, that she was a victim of Turkey's genocide against its own Armenian population. She was saved - after a fashion - by being ripped from her mother's arms by a Turkish gendarme who adopted her. …

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