In a Turkish town that had 10,000 Armenians, now there is only one

Chris Bohjalian's Idyll Banter

A woman I met last month in southeastern Turkey is going to die, probably sometime soon. Asiya’s death will not be covered by any news service, and for all but a few people in her small village of Chunkush, she will not be missed. Even the relatives who love her will probably think to themselves, well, she was 98 years old. Or 99. Or, if she survives until 2015, somewhere in the neighborhood of a century. She will have lived a long life.

When I met Asiya in May, her daughter brought me strong Kurdish tea and fresh strawberries from their yard, and when I return to her village someday and find that she has indeed passed away, I suspect I’m going to weep.

Why cry for a woman I met but once, who lived a long life and who couldn’t understand a word I said? Who spoke only Turkish…

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