My Grandmother, Fethiye Çetin
Metis Fiction
13 x 19.5 cm, 120 pp
ISBN No. 975-342-492-2

1st Print: December 2004
7th Print: February 2007
Fethiye Çetin
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About the Author
Former spokeswoman of the minorities commission of Istanbul Bar Association, Fethiye Çetin was born in Elazığ-Maden. She graduated from the Faculty of Law at Ankara University. As a member of the Istanbul Bar Association’s Executive Board for Human Rights, and spokesperson for the Working Group on Minority Rights, she has been active in the freedom of expression and minority rights struggle. She has acted as Hrant Dink’s lawyer throughout his Agos article trials and currently represents his family in the murder case. Her book, Anneannem (My Grandmother, 2004) received Prix Armenia 2006 in France.
Fethiye Çetin
My Grandmother


Rights sold / published by:
Armenian: Paruyr Sevak
English: Verso
French: l’Aube
Greek: Patakis
Italian: Alet
Syria: Aravelk (in Armenian)

Fethiye Çetin did not know for years that her grandmother was one of the thousands of children who survived the death marches, who were once Armenian and Christian but had to live the rest of their lives as Turkish and Muslim. Heranush, alias Seher, confided the devastating memories of her childhood to her granddaughter after over 60 years of silence. Çetin was able to contact her grandmother’s relatives and fill the gaps in her story only after her death.
       With its crystal clear narration, this heartbreaking memoir is Çetin’s homage to the memory of her grandmother and others who have similarly led hidden lives. But it is also a move away from barren disputes over terminology and statistics: 300,000 killed? 800,000 killed? 1 million killed? Genocide? Ethnic cleansing? An unfortunate side effect of civil war? Such arguments, Çetin says, "hide the lives and deaths of individuals and do nothing to encourage people to listen."
Necmiye Alpay, Virgül, January 2005
"Fethiye Çetin’s My Grandmother clearly reveals the curing potential in the perfect incision of a terrifying old wound. Meanwhile settling a debt owed to a dear grandmother’s truth that was kept in the dark, a debt owed by all those who are currently alive."
Hande Öğüt, Radikal Kitap Eki, 14 January 2004
"Çetin conveys the dimensions of normalized fascism through different historicities where people were forced ‘side’ with the two opponent camps of ‘us’ or ‘them’ – through her grandmother’s recollections (1915) and through the experiences of her youth (1980). Thus she historicizes the current day while rendering history current. She presents one of the most delicate taboos that shapes our political and cultural life, the Armenian problem, by narrating her grandmother’s story in homage to her and dissects an issue we are rendered oblivious to."
Whenever I remember the January of that year I get the shivers; I feel the cold in my deepest core, an ache takes hold of me. When she wanted to describe great suffering, my mother used to put her hand on her left breast and say, "Here, right here, there is a place which is one continuous ache." So, I too, feel a gnawing, continuous ache in the depths of my heart.
       The freezing courtyard of the mosque is surrounded by a wall of huge, dark old stones. In the middle is the big "musalla" stone, so cold that just to look at it makes me shiver; and on it is a coffin. The "musalla" and its supporting base are both made of enormous blocks of stone. The stone under the coffin is so cold that I fear my hand would get stuck if I touched it. I keep away. It is as if all this, the giant walls, the stones, have all been designed to make the human being feel helpless, abject... Click for more 

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