Last month I finally self-published my first zine on the Queer and Armenian-American identity. Check out the Etsy page or grab a copy for yourself!
Let’s talk about it! The interviewer asks a handful of “diverse” folks in New York what their view is on Hijab. The mixed consensus of non-hijabis on hijabis is important because it mirrors the fucking absurd policies that ban them and the absurd people whose opinions remain limited and influenced by these laws and pop culture. But at the end of the day, it’s not up to these people or their opinions whether or not it’s appropriate for women to cover themselves. Wear what you want for the right reasons and rock it!
It’s September 21st.
I turned 21 on the 10th.
This is my tribute to my father, Sarkis Mujukian, the youngest of seven siblings, who died seven days from my birthday, seven years ago.
– – – – – – –
Seven days Seven years
Seven years yesterday, I walked into that dark room your body lay
to say goodbye, felt your cheek, checked your beat
beat your chest, ran, screamed… dad, is dead.
Machine operated man. Pain no morphine could kill. Scars no creams can mask
Seven days before I turned fourteen.
You snatched one third of my soul when you crossed.
With tombs instead of balloons I can never
smell the roses without remembering frozen, glued bodies,
The only body whose told me I am good enough to be here.
Did you see your soul leave your body as sirens sounded
See the spirits you left behind
Or See the nights of glass shattering fights like Mama only saw
herself at the bottom of every bottle
Dad, I am not love sick, just think that love is shit.
Asoomen Allahu Akbar
Mamas asooma Anasooni Meka
Lachari Lakoti Meka
That I, I am the daughter of a jackass.
Never been hugged, want to fuck me I’ll fuck your teeth up.
I was so angry.
Each exhale was a stale stain
that said you’re dead. you’re gone.
I pour a whisper for myself
to remind us of the bitterness
of being born to die, you and I,
How are you gone if you live in my head?
Now it’s just me, been too weak
Watch the weeks die on my desk
rest your poor mind.
I could lie to psychiatrists
Better than I could lie to myself.
Wore sweaters to hide the
paintings on my wrists but today i bind my chest to hide
I am always hiding
Finding new bodies to jump into that will love me
Seven years it’s felt like self love is a war
But today, it is done.
Seven days ago I left a cigarette and a fig on your katchkar stone
And smeared it’s seeds, killed the grey and gold, life is in color again.
But it is still messy
Your death left seven seeds
to love myself
Fight the devils in my body you died in
I was your daughter but today
I am your son
I am 21.
I don’t know if you can hear me,
give me your hand.
Paint in oils of the land you fled
To come here
Tonight, I will pour myself
a legal glass of two dollar wine
With open eyes
And remember the parts of you that have bled into parts of me
That my Armenia did not die with you inside of you
Time to move and do, to dream
I am staying here tonight.
The end of you will be the beginning of me.
Credit: George Hagobiance
COMMENT BY ARAM in response to the poem “Dear White Radical Hipsters“:
I’ll agree about hipsters they really are a blister, but when you say we aren’t white that’s not alright, so here’s my plight all nice a tight. We are “white” aka, ‘Caucasian’ no matter what the hell an ignorant white-trash fuck says. Now I’m not you so I don’t know what you’ve been through, but it sounds like you’ve had issues with identity and other people. I myself and other Armenians view ourselves as Caucasian(“white”) because that’s what WE are. Ok rant/bad poetry/rap over. Bottom line is most middle-easterners are SEMITIC, Whereas us and turks are not. We’d be closed related to khazars, turkic peoples(through some intermixing) and maybe eastern slavs. That’s all I have to say as a person with deep cultural,geographical and historical interests of peoples.
Here’s my bad rap:
The battleship has sailed, I’ma blast you from space, make the past flash before your eyelashes, this is my space.
Alright, let’s get serious again.
First, I appreciate your input. We need these dialogs, even if we disagree.
I understand the place you’re coming from. As Armenians, we are raised believing strongly that we are white- pure Caucasians, actually- that we are superior to all other peoples, religions and countries, especially in our neighboring countries that happen to be in the Middle East. My mother has taught me, and still mentions this when we discuss our racial question, that there are three races in the world: black, white, and yellow.
Aram, you’re answering the wrong question. The question isn’t “are Armenians white?” but instead “why are Armenians white, what does white mean and what are its errors?”
Let’s look at whiteness. The term “white” was coined by white male “anthropologists” barely three centuries ago. Do you think their scientific background and instruments could have actually determined anything scientific or genetic that could have proved their experiments/ideas that were based off of hasty/orientalist/racist/simple assumptions of all the peoples in the world? How did they became universally consensual “facts” we still rely on today?
Also, do you think Latinos are black? Are they then white? Are Brown (Desi) people yellow? No. The shitty invention these idiots created obviously didn’t catch those that swam past the net. We don’t fit into the racial binary. Why do you think people had to “prove” their whiteness in court to settler colonists? Race isn’t real.
Next, Caucasian is a totally fucked up word that’s misused today; it’s a nice way of saying white, although it’s not politically correct, either. Being Caucasian doesn’t mean “white.” It means Caucus mountains, it means Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Northern Iran. In that case, are Persians white? They’re supposed to be one of the first “Aryans,” the true fucking white people. Really? I’ve seen Persians who look Desi, Arab, and generally just super Brown. Persians are not white; but they are also exactly like Armenians in the sense that they are proud to be the truest and the purest of white people. Let me just step aside and laugh for a few minutes. It sounds ridiculous. We need to get it out of our heads that being white isn’t being the best.
Also, I have to mention the way you worded your statement “We are “white” aka, ‘Caucasian’ no matter what the hell an ignorant white-trash fuck says.” says a lot about your alleged “whiteness.” You are distancing your own identity from this imagined white person’s.
Let’s look at geography. By “white” we’d mean non-European. So is Armenia in Europe? Armenians love to say they’re European; when non-Armenians call us Middle Eastern, we get offended and assert our territory. We are Christian. The first, in fact! Christians can’t be non-white! This is pathetic, also. I don’t count today’s Armenia as actual Armenia, and neither do most of us. It is in Turkey, Iran and Iraq. If not for genocide, Armenia would have been in the Middle East today. Historically, we have coexisted with Arabs and Persians. But today we are ashamed of our own history and geography that we want to become white.
So Wikipedia and Google Maps say that Armenia is not in the Middle East. But two feet from its border, there it is. However, the CIA World Fact Book claims Armenia is in the Middle East. Next, Wikipedia claims that Armenia is in “West Asia” which is coterminous with “Middle East.” Armenia is also in Asia Minor. You can look at it whichever way you want.
In American culture, Armenians are minorities. We are immigrants. This land was never ours, and we were not the colonizers or the explorers of it. We were the bodies and lands that were examined and categorized by European imperialists. We were an “exotic” and strange people in Asia Minor. And in America, we are hyphenated because we are not fully Americans. Toni Morrison said, “In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.”
In America, we seclude ourselves. We only associate with Armenian people. We all do the same things and have the same cultural limitations. We stick together and dominate entire cities to be together- why? We are outsiders; we are not accepted, we are not wanted, we are not known to others. This is how we survive, because we don’t want to assimilate into “American” (Western) or “Modern” (I hate this word but it actually means white/washed) culture.
Armenians are Visible Minorities. This means that if there was a crowd of white people and a random Armenian, she or he will stand out as “other.” Granted, some Armenians are entirely white-passing- it blows my mind each time. And other Armenians are Brown; I’ve met Armos who I thought were half black, full Arab, Latino, and even Indian.
Anyways, that’s my take on my racial identity. I don’t share the same experiences as my white neighbors or friends and sometimes they make me uncomfortable. I relate to people of color best because I can usually be myself in those communities and unafraid to rock my ethnicity. I don’t want it to be whitewashed; I’m Eastern and I’m proud as hell. You should always question these binary labels that you’ve been given. White does not represent me, and I’m not a good mascot for it.
I moved into college in northern California a few days ago.
I transferred from another university in southern California.
The school I transferred to is high in rankings- the ninth best public university in the U.S. And, well, the university I initially attended was not so great. Academics aside, it wasn’t a college town. Folks frequently dropped out to attend massage school or some other occupation. The campus or city wasn’t permitted to have sorority houses because municipal ordinances would have deemed it a brothel. In other words, I don’t know the college experience.
Right now, just several feet away from where I’m staying, a party is going on- people overflowing from the balcony, drunken boys screaming and cheering and drunken girls jabbering on. Right now, my housemate is still playing horribly crafted music about literally getting fucked and the act of fucking after I asked her to turn it down. I am binding the zines that people ordered online to mail it to them. I am getting my shit done before class starts next week.
The first few words my housemates uttered was immediately about sex. They have a lot of it, and they love to talk about it. When they asked me, I froze. It isn’t anyone’s business who or when I have sex or if I have sex at all. That is personal. I don’t broadcast my personal life to people I don’t know and I don’t care who the fuck you are. Second question: are you a lesbian? Stupid questions. And I digress.
The tension of college life is seamed with sex. Who’s that girl in the next apartment? Is she cute? Can I come over? Her face? I did it. How can I be more attractive? Well, there’s a 24-hour gym on campus, lucky us. Damn, I’m hungry, there’s a 24-hour eatery on campus. Damn, I hate studying. Let me cheat or take your notes because I was too hungover to actually attend class.
The big question is this: why the fuck are you here?
To get laid? To get away from your mommy and daddy? To experience “life”?
This is not life. This is not reality. This is a manufactured bubble. This is a comic strip of your life that the real world does not understand. Attending class on time isn’t an achievement. Having everything given to you and then bitching about not having things work isn’t either. This is who the world, as in your world, as in your parents, your teachers, and sometimes your government, caters to. All this effort and money for a perfect, safe bubble you will never learn anything in. But have your fun!
Learning is fucking fun. It is a privilege.
So why am I sitting in my room taking a break by writing how much I hate college culture while other students are next door filling their bellies with beer? Because I fucked up. I dropped out. I’ve been arrested twice. I’ve been lost and depressed. And now that I’ve been blessed again, I don’t know what to be depressed about anymore. It’s all here in my hands. I don’t understand what non-depression feels like. And this is it. I am a solid fucking line. I am here to do my work and learn the shit I have to to “change” the world. And I’d appreciate it if you fuckers would shut the fuck up and do the same.