“Don’t be such a Turkey!” “Um… O.K.”

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Do you see it?

When I was growing up, if someone called someone a “turkey” it was done with quite a bit of venom and bitterness and in such a way that such an insult was simply impossible to answer. It ended disputes. A kill shot. This always amazed me, and left me bewildered. Why would this ever be perceived as being so vicious? I would just laugh.

Meanwhile, back in the 1500s, guinea fowl were imported to Europe and then North America from the Anatolian peninsula, i.e., Turkey. These were called “turkeys” and that appellative was then used for the much larger North American fowl.

Meanwhile, a person from Turkey was said to be a Turk. But who even knows that? People just used “Turkey” as in “He’s a Turkey.” Intonation told the story: “He’s such a Turkey.”

All of these received usages were developed during the Ottoman Empire. Thus, a Turk was held to synonymous with a Muslim going on rampages of violent aggression to take over the world as they smashed into Europe so very many times. The Ottomans enslaved hundred of thousands of Europeans and left woe and destruction wherever they went.

“You’re such a Turkey.”

I never knew all that as a kid. I’m sure the Armenians can tell you all about it.

armenian genocide by ottoman empire

Lord, have mercy on us all. We all do this kind of thing all the time.

“Don’t be such a Turkey!” – “Um… O.K.”

3 Comments

Filed under Interreligious dialogue, Politics

3 responses to ““Don’t be such a Turkey!” “Um… O.K.”

  1. Gina Nakagawa

    In 2015, we hosted a young woman from Armenia for her senior year of high school. That was the 100th anniversary of the genocide. It was, indeed, a very difficult year for her.
    We became so close to her that she begged and pleaded that we. S come to see her land Last year we broke our cookie jar and made the trip. Armenia (or Hyastan as they call it) is an amazing country. From a large and powerful country in ancient times to the small, land-locked nation surrounded by aggressive enemies openly hell- bent on its complete destruction and the total eradication of its people is a very long and very tragic story.
    Please pray for Hystan and the Hyastani people. May God have mercy upon them and upon us all.

  2. sanfelipe007

    My good friend , EA Introduced me to his father. During the course of the day, his father reminded his son to be mindful of “the genocide.” Ea looked (to me), not mindful, but embarrassed that his father should bring this up. I managed to get clarification from my friend about it; the Armenian genocide. To my discredit, I did not strengthen my fried about it, to his father’s wishes.

  3. sanfelipe007

    You never know when you will called upon to “strengthen one another.”

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