An Iranian Christian—Neither Here nor There
When I came to the United States as a college student in 1978, I didn’t know I wasn’t “white.” In those days, when I filled out forms, I was asked to check a box where one of the choices was “Caucasian.” On my mother’s side, my ancestors had always lived in the Caucasus Mountains of Armenia so, at 18, I naively figured that I must be as Caucasian as they come. The longer I lived here, though, the less “Caucasian” I became. I realized that as a Middle Eastern Christian, I was really an outsider to the Anglo world I married into. Even though I had Christian blood running in my veins that went back to Pentecost, I discovered that I was still considered “other” by most people around me. This had a profound impact on where I thought I belonged, which it turns out, is neither here nor there, literally.
Over “There”: My Grandmother Osanna
In 1915, at the height of the Armenian Genocide (see sidebar on page 20 of the September/October 2010 issue of Horizons magazine), she and her siblings escaped with their lives and walked into Iran as refugees. Indeed, God saved her and delivered her into the hands of the long-standing Armenian (i.e., Christian) community in the city of Tabriz. Many Armenian merchants lived in Tabriz at the time and they offered two gold coins to any Muslim who would bring a “live” Armenian to them, saving them from the massacres. This is how Osanna was saved and how God was with her. My grandmother meant the world to me because, in the face of terrible hardships, she personified the love that Jesus taught and shaped who I became.
To learn more about Noushin's journey as an Iranian Christian, read the full text of this article in the September/ October 2010 issue of Horizons.
Call 866/802-3635 or subscribe to Horizons or order the September/ October 2010 issue (HZN-10-240; $4 plus shipping).
Noushin Darya Framke joined the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1989. An elder from Newark Presbytery, she does advocacy work for people of color and works for a just peace in Israel/Palestine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo of Armenian refugees in Syria, 1915, Library of Congress.
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