I’ll Give You Your Damn Historians, Erdogan

Editor’s Note: This poem was written directly in response to recent statements denying the Armenian Genocide from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the recent G20 summit in Argentina. In response to a question from a journalist of Armenian origin, Erdogan said: “Turkey cannot be blamed of having committed a genocide against the Armenians. On the question of genocide, please let’s leave the discussions to the Historians and let’s listen to what the Historians have to say.”

Our peoples bodies are pulled to our land from all around the earth

you cannot take the blood and bones and dirt from outside-inside someone

what does it mean erdogan that you fight for palestine but you have your own palestine
that you take refugees but not the ones you have made
what does it mean that history has been re-written
that the oppressor has won
and the oppressor has run

what is a mountain of skulls when
your real success is
the grand children can’t speak armenian
it feels foreign on their tongue

like their own soil
like the blood and the bones and the dirt

and every year to silence us
you say
bring out the historians
where are the historians
and we say we have the historians!
we are the historians
we will come
we will come!

so i have studied a hundred years
i have built the PhD and the bibliography
i have built the archive and the repertoire
but the historians cannot come
there is no convening
there is no dialogue
how i hate the word
there is no peace.

no justice
no peace

we are exiled even from our own memory,
from our mourning
the dead cannot pass
and the living remain unfree

and i study the books
and i perfect the argument
and i learn the liberation from the dirtied hands
and i speak like a nice girl
and i yell like a mean one
and i pour over pages
pour over pages
pour over pages
we poured over pages

i have now become your historian
i have yelled their names
and I have stitched back their limbs
and
i have asked my family to not forget
i have poured over history no one
is interested in
bc there is no oil
or bases there
because they say
what is done is done

it is never done

what does it say to ask for recognition from your oppressor
to say yes sir
no ma’am

prove it they say

and every year we say
we will come
we will come

Sophia Armen

Sophia Armen

Sophia Armen is an organizer, scholar and co-founder of SWANA Alliance, a grass roots organization for justice for West Asian and North African peoples.
Sophia Armen

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7 Comments

  1. What’s very disturbing is erdogan a hatred to anyone not Turkish or Muslim, bizarre considering his greatgrandmother was Armenian.
    He is one sick mod.

  2. I am beyond words, as a University student who is a part of the Armenian diaspora your words are truly inspiring. Thank you for you work and your strength. We will remember, we will rise

  3. Concise, powerful, passionate and true. A great rebuttal to those who would denigrate a proud people, and their history, for political expediency and power.!!!!! Truth will out in the end.

  4. Sophia, it was deeply touching. I cried. You belong in Armenian spaces like the Armenian Weekly. May you live long and give a lot.

  5. This piece struck a chord with me. As a fellow Armenian, I’m grateful to you, Sophia, for taking my feelings and conveying them in a way that resonates with so many others out there. I keep sharing this piece!

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