Friday, June 11, 2010

Amir Parsa: [Attempt at the Reconstruction] Fragment II

I was born in Tehran. My mother was made an orphan in 1915. She was saved by Arab nomads and a pasha who took a great liking to this wondrous and red-haired child. She was only four, and she lived with the nomads, in a tent. They would dress her up, put her hair in golden tresses. And they tattooed her face. An Armenian girl adopted by the Pasha. She does not even know her name at this point. All she knows is the sign of the cross. An Armenian couple appeared and knew that this must be an Armenian child. They take her to Alepp, in what is today modern Syria. One day, after years of her living with this couple, a woman appears and recognized her because of her red hair. She tells her her name. Your mother was my best friend, she says. You were born in Tokat. This is where she finds out about her real identity. She marries my father and they move to Iran. When she wanted to get married, they had to remove her tatoos. The tatoos that had been given her by the Arabs. The tattoos that had made her part of the tribe. She takes the name of my father. Patmagryan. I was born in Tehran, a child of the city, a child of the genocide. Like you, O child of the revolution.

Interruption, here. A voice. Protesting. Protesting, in her native language. Truth of that. A voice interrupting and intervening and protesting. I am not. This is not. This, is not…
(This is not my story. This is not an accurate fragment of my autobiography. The story you tell is that of one Eugénie Kushkérian. She is the one who was made an orphan. She is the one who was adopted by Arab nomads. She is the one who was taken in by an Armenian couple. She is the one who was subsequently taken in by the friend of her mother’s. She is the one who was taken to Aleppo. She was the one born in Tokat. She is the grandmother of Lola Koundakjian. I am not the child of Eugénie Kushkérian. I was born in Tehran to a woman who was born in New Julfa, among the descendents that Shah Abbas moved to the city. My father escaped the fangs of attacks in Turkey and moved to Iran. He became politically active and later settled in Tehran with my mother. I am not the child Eugénie Kushkérian. I am a child of the city. Like you. One voice among the many. One voice that will help you with my story. Voice of the lost ones and voice of the forgotten. Voice of redemptions and voice of rebirths. Another, among the voices of the portrait. I, even I, only another, among the voices for the attempt at reconstructing the portrait of Khanoom Patmagryan, I— )

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