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Screening of “Lost Birds” at Fresno State April 7

FRESNO — The CineCulture Series and the Armenian Studies Program at California State University, Fresno, are sponsoring a special screening of the film Lost Birds at 5:30PM on Friday, April 7, in the Leon and Pete Peters Educational Auditorium (west end of the SaveMart Center, near Shaw and Woodrow Aves.), on the Fresno State campus.

Directors Ela Alyamac and Arda Perdeci will be flying to Fresno from Turkey to be the discussants at the screening of their movie.

Set against the backdrop of the First World War in a small Armenian village in Ottoman Anatolia, Lost Birds is a historical fairy tale told through the eyes of a young brother and sister left behind in the 1915 Armenian genocide.

Lost Birds is the first film made in Turkey to depict the Armenian Genocide of 1915. It was brought to the screen by the five years of work, persistence, and courage of filmmakers Aren Perdeci and Ela Alyamac, who share writing and directing credits. Lost Birds handles the task of telling a very dramatic story in a fairy tale narrative and this leads the audience to feel something magical yet so real at the same time.

Bedo and Maryam’s happy home life is torn apart when their grandfather is apprehended and taken away by soldiers. Now, forbidden to go outside by their mother, one morning, the two children sneak away to play in their secret cave. But, when they return, they find their home and the entire village empty. Together, with the wounded bird they have been nursing back to health, the children embark on a perilous journey to find their mother.

Admission is free and the event is open to the public. Free parking is available at any of the adjacent Fresno State parking lots (near the corner of Shaw and Woodrow Avenues).

For more information about the presentation please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669, or visit our website at www.fresnostate.edu/armenianstudies.

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/03/screening-lost-birds-fresno-state-april-7/

Presentation by Dr. Keith David Watenpaugh: “The Drowned, the Saved and the Forgotten: Genocide and the Foundations of Modern Humanitarianism”

FRESNO — Dr. Keith David Watenpaugh (University of California, Davis), will give a presentation on “ The Drowned, the Saved and the Forgotten: Genocide and the Foundations of Modern Humanitarianism ” at 7:30PM on Tuesday, April 4, in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191, on the Fresno State campus.

The lecture is part of the Armenian Studies Program Spring 2017 Lecture Series and is supported by the Leon S. Peters Foundation. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of History, the Islamic Studies Speaker Series, and the College of Social Sciences.

Genocide is unparalleled in its horror. It is the ultimate crime against humanity, but it is also a problem of humanity that evokes a problem for humanity. In this talk, drawn from his award-winning book, Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism (2015) Keith David Watenpaugh examines the particular questions that arise when the problem of humanity motivating a problem for humanity is the crime of genocide. Examining international humanitarian responses to the genocide of the Ottoman Armenians (1915-1922), he argues that modern humanitarianism and genocide have a complex and intertwined history that has shaped the critical modern concepts of humanitarian neutrality, humanitarian governance and the role of justice in relief, and Human Rights-based development.

Professor Keith David Watenpaugh studies the history, theory, and practice of human rights and humanitarianism and directs the Human Rights Studies Program at University of California, Davis. Author of the award-winning Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism and Being Modern in the Middle East, he has published frequently in scholarly journals. Dr. Watenpaugh is the recipient of fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council, and he is immediate past-president of the Syrian Studies Foundation. He also directs a global project supported by the Carnegie Corporation and the Open Society Foundations to address the higher education needs of Syrian refugee university students.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking is available, using parking code 273703 (use the code in kiosks in the parking area to receive the permit) at Fresno State Lots P5 and P6, near the University Business Center, Fresno State.

For more information about the lecture please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669, or visit our website at www.fresnostate.edu/armenianstudies.

Article source: http://massispost.com/2017/03/presentation-dr-keith-david-watenpaugh-drowned-saved-forgotten-genocide-foundations-modern-humanitarianism/

The Story of Aurora is Now in Turkish

ISTANBUL — A long-forgotten book and a long-lost screenplay about one of the most well-known figures of Armenian Genocide is now in Turkish. Edited by writer Anthony Slide and presented with a foreword by Atom Egoyan, Aurora contains an annotated reprint of Aurora Mardiganian’s original account “Ravished Armenia and the Story of Aurora Mardiganian” and for the first time, the full screenplay of the 1918 feature film “Auction of Souls”.

In 1915, during the deportation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, Aurora was a 14-year-old girl from Çemisgezek. She witnessed horrible events, destruction of her people, and lost her family and relatives one after another. And yet, she managed to survive despite the physical and mental torment. This was just one of those many survival experiences, except that there was a twist, which makes it very unique. Her story was published and then used as the basis of a feature film in which she starred herself.

Two years after her survival, she arrived in the United States and recounted her story to the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief. This story was interpreted by her legal guardian Henry L. Gates, and after being published with the title of “Ravished Armenia”, it was presented to the film producers in Hollywood. And so, Aurora, without fully understanding what’s going on, had to go through her trauma and remember that tragedy before the cameras over and over again.

Anthony Slide, the editor of our book, dwells on this very matter: while they were presenting Aurora’s eyewitness account as popular entertainment for the average American audience, her already wounded soul got more and more damaged. She was forced to make public appearances at each film screening across the United Stated. She was being exhibited. When it became too much for her to handle, Aurora’s look-alikes were hired.

Curiously enough, only some fragmented frames survived from a film that was once a blockbuster and broke box-office records. So, just like Armenians, the film had disappeared from sight. And so did Aurora. Yet, since 2016, Aurora’s memory is being honored through an international humanitarian award named after her, the Aurora Prize For Awakening Humanity.

While tracing Aurora and the lost film, Anthony Slide draws our attention to a historical tragedy which was condemned to be forgotten, as well as to an evanescent production in the film history.

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/03/story-aurora-now-turkish/

Armenian American Museum Unveils Animated Concept Design Video

GLENDALE — The Armenian American Museum unveiled a new animated tour video of the cultural and educational center’s concept design, providing a first look at the project’s iconic design and ambitious program.

The animated video tour begins with an aerial view of the Armenian American Museum in the proposed Downtown Glendale location adjacent to the Central Library and Americana at Brand. The tour continues with the interior of the Museum, revealing the grand lobby, state-of-the-art auditorium, and exhibition halls, where Museum officials plan to feature permanent exhibitions on the Armenian American experience and traveling exhibitions on diverse cultures and subject matters that will engage all audiences. The video concludes with an evening shot featuring the rooftop sculpture garden and Museum exterior.

The vision for the Armenian American Museum is a cultural campus that enriches the community, educates the public on the Armenian American story, and empowers individuals to embrace cultural diversity and speak out against prejudice.
Museum and City officials are on schedule to complete the concept design, traffic, parking, economic, and environmental studies in time for the consideration of the ground lease agreement by the Glendale City Council during the fourth quarter of 2017.

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/03/armenian-american-museum-unveils-animated-concept-design-video/

Armenian Genocide Awareness Campaign Billboards: A Message of Peace to Turkey

BOSTON — Peace of Art’s 2017 campaign of Genocide awareness has began. In commemoration of the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, starting March 10th to April 30th 2017, on seven locations Rte. 1A in Lynn, Rte. 1 in Malden, 495 in Methuen, and on April 1st on South East Expressway Boston MA.

Peace of Art www.peaceofart.org will display a message of peace on electronic billboards, calling on the international community to recognize the first genocide of the 20th century, the Armenian Genocide.

Daniel Varoujan Hejinian, Peace of Art president, explained “April 2017 is the month of remembrance of the Holocaust and all genocides in the world, and on this occasion we are calling on Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide by honoring the memory of the innocent victims of all genocides. The billboards reflect the historical moment, when His Holiness Karekin II, together with Pope Francis on behalf of the Armenian and Catholic community worldwide, released doves soaring towards Mt. Ararat, sending a message of peace to Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide.”

Every year since 1996, Hejinian has been displaying the Armenian Genocide commemorative billboards. In 2003 Peace of Art, Inc., began to sponsor the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Billboards. In 2015, Peace of Art, Inc. launched its Armenian Genocide Centennial awareness billboard campaign, “100 Billboards for 100 Years of Genocide,” in the U.S. and Canada to commemorate not only the victims of the Armenian Genocide but also the victims of all genocides.

Peace of Art, Inc., is a non-profit educational organization registered with the Massachusetts Secretary of State, and tax exempt under section 501(C)(3). Founded in 2003 by the artist Daniel Varoujan Hejinian, Peace of Art uses art as an educational tool to bring awareness to the universal human condition and promote peaceful solutions to conflict. Peace of Art, Inc., is not associated with political or religious organizations, and it is focused on the global human condition.

Peace of Art is dedicated to the peace keepers and peace achievers around the world, and those who had the courage to place themselves on the line for the betterment of humanity.

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/03/armenian-genocide-awareness-campaign-billboards-message-peace-turkey/

Chris Cornell Releases Lyric Video for ‘The Promise’

Following some teasers early this week, Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell has shared his new solo track “The Promise.”

The song was penned for the new Christian Bale film also called The Promise — a historical drama that focuses on the Armenian genocide.

“There are a couple of really amazing documentaries about the Armenian genocide, and one of them was about the phenomenon that people who had literally minutes to grab what they could from their homes would take photos before anything else — before jewelry even,” Cornell explained to Rolling Stone. “I was really moved by that; the idea of what is most important to people in a crucial second.”

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/03/chris-cornell-releases-lyric-video-promise/

Chicago Sun Times: Poorly Acted ‘Ottoman Lieutenant’ Also Glosses Over Genocide

Richard Roeper
chicago.suntimes.com

The most objectionable thing about “The Ottoman Lieutenant” isn’t the flat acting or the cliché of a wartime romance triangle or the cheap and schmaltzy score.

It’s the revisionist history of the Armenian Genocide.

Set mostly in and around the Anatolia region of Turkey during World War I, “The Ottoman Lieutenant” almost completely glosses over the Empire’s systematic elimination of some 1.5 million Armenians, including women, children, the elderly and the infirm — an epic-scale atrocity the Turkish government denies to this day.

“The Russian invasion was upon us,” says the heroic nurse Lillie (Hera Hilmar), who narrates the story in a dreadful, monotone delivery.
“Some Armenian rebels joined the Russian forces to fight the Ottoman Army and all hell was breaking loose. … The rounding up of Armenian children and the elderly had begun.”

And after the “rounding up” came the death marches, the forced starvation, the rape — and the massacres. There’s barely a passing reference to any of that in this film.

The Icelandic actress Hera Hilmar affects a terrible American accent and gives a dull performance as Lillie, a fiercely independent free spirit from Philadelphia who sets out for Istanbul circa 1914 to provide medical supplies and lend her nursing skills to the local hospital.

Michiel Huisman (“Game of Thrones”) is the handsome and noble Lt. Ismail Veli, who at first regards Lillie disdainfully but quickly grows fond of her and then of course falls deeply in love with her. Josh Hartnett is the Christian missionary, Dr. Gresham, who skips over the “disdain” part for Lillie and quickly moves from affection to also falling for her.

And then there’s Sir Ben Kingsley, playing the founder of the hospital, who when introduced to Lillie bellows, “This is no place for a woman!” — but quickly becomes a father figure for her. Kingsley looks so bored with the proceedings one can almost see the paycheck in the pocket of his costume.

“The Ottoman Lieutenant” has legitimate production values and some powerful visuals. (Lillie’s voice-overs are accompanied by black-and-white stills that lend a verite touch.) A couple of action sequences are well staged.

That’s about it for the plus side.

At one point the not-so-good doctor sees Lillie just after she’s been with Lt. Veli. He holds her face in his hands, then recoils in horror and says, “My God, I can smell him!”

Yes, and we can smell the rancid coats of paint on this attempt to whitewash history.

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/03/chicago-sun-times-poorly-acted-ottoman-lieutenant-also-glosses-genocide/

They Shall Not Perish Documentary to Premier on US Public Television Stations

NEW YORK (broadwayworld.com) This April, public television stations across the country will premiere They Shall Not Perish: The Story of Near East Relief. The documentary is produced by Shant Mardirossian and award-winning writer/director George Billard. They Shall Not Perish details the unprecedented humanitarian efforts of thousands of Americans who saved a generation of orphans and refugees after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire during and after World War I.

The one-hour documentary film features the stories of American diplomats, missionaries and relief workers who, as witnesses to the Armenian Genocide, responded to a call to action and mobilized the largest non-governmental international humanitarian movement undertaken by American citizens. Motivated by nothing but a moral sense of duty, these men and women – among them industrialists, ambassadors, teachers, nurses, advertisers and Presidents – helped bring care and comfort to millions of suffering refugees in extremely harrowing circumstances.

Narrated by six-time Emmy award nominated actor Victor Garber, the film is set against a mix of historical footage, archival photographs and utilizes contemporary interviews from leading academic experts such as Taner Akçam, Peter Balakian and Keith David Watenpaugh. In addition, the letters of American officials, relief workers and orphans are brought to life through the voices of leading actors – Michael Aronov, Kathleen Chalfant, Dariush Kashani, Andrea Martin, Ron Rifkin, Tony Shalhoub and Kara Vedder – taking the audience on a journey from the depths of cruelty to the triumphs of survival.

Executive Producer Shant Mardirossian, inspired by his grandparents’ escape and survival during the genocide, says he produced this film “not just to remember those we lost in the genocide, but to shed light on an important chapter of American history when ordinary citizens stood together against a great injustice and saved the lives of 132,000 orphans.” These historic rescue efforts led to the formation of the Near East Relief – known today as the Near East Foundation – an organization that continues to help improve the lives of vulnerable communities and refugees throughout the Middle East and AFRICA by implementing innovative, community-led economic development initiatives.

With a focus on an often forgotten yet important chapter in American history, They Shall Not Perish challenges the notion of what values a nation should aspire to demonstrate, and raises the question of when and if humanitarian concerns should override strategic national interests. “Today, as we confront an exploding refugee crisis, it’s imperative that we consider the humanitarian consequences when formulating U.S. foreign policy”, says the film’s director, producer and writer George Billard.

Distributed nationally by 3 Roads Communications, They Shall Not Perish premieres on public television stations nationwide beginning April 1, 2017.

The official premiere and discussion with the filmmakers will take place on April 8, 2017 at the Times Center – 242 W 41st Street, New York, NY.

For details on purchasing tickets please visit www.neareast.org/theyshallnotperish or contact Andrea Crowley atacrowley@neareast.org or (315) 428-8670.

More information on the film, screenings and resources can be found at www.theyshallnotperish.com.

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/03/shall-not-perish-documentary-premier-us-public-television-stations/

Armenian Genocide Committee Announces April 24 March for Justice in LA

LOS ANGELES—The Armenian Genocide Committee calls upon all segments of our community to join together in a MARCH FOR JUSTICE on Monday, April 24, 2017 at 12pm from the Pan Pacific Park to the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles as we continue to fight for justice and against the denial of the Armenian Genocide. Organizational leaders in Southern California call upon the Armenian-American community to remain vigilant and active as we continue to voice our collective demands for justice.

It is our belief that our voices are most loudly and effectively heard when they are unified, and to that end, we proudly announce the continued cooperation of community organizations to organize and execute the commemorative activities and demands for justice for this year under the banner of the Armenian Genocide Committee (“AGC”) consisting of the organizations and entities listed below.

Armenian Genocide Committee:
Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America
Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church
Armenian Catholic Church of North America
Armenian Evangelical Union of North America
Armenian Revolutionary Federation
Armenian Democratic Liberal Party
Social Democrat Hunchak Party
Armenian General Benevolent Union – Western District
Armenian Relief Society – Western USA
Homenetmen Western U.S. Region
Armenian Youth Federation
Armenian Assembly of America
Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region
Armenian Council of America
Armenian Bar Association
Organization of Istanbul Armenians
United Armenian Council of Los Angeles
Committee for Armenian Students in Public Schools (CASPS)

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/03/armenian-genocide-committee-announces-april-24-march-justice-la/

Expert Explores Turkey’s Laws on Armenian Genocide-Era Dispossession Cases

WASHINGTON, DC — Dr. Ümit Kurt, a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, outlined the complex laws promulgated by Turkey to systematically dispossess Armenians of their properties during and after the Armenian Genocide, in a February 28 talk at George Washington University Law School.

“We were honored to partner with George Washington University Law School and Dean Susan Karamanian on the lecture by Dr. Ümit Kurt, which has revealed many important questions about Armenian property claims that the Armenian Legal Center for Justice and Human Rights will continue to systematically pursue,” Kate Nahapetian, Executive Director of the Armenian Legal Center noted.

“One of the many unsettled consequences of the Armenian Genocide is the status of the property once held by the Armenians. Dr. Kurt provided critical insight into the laws and practices of the Ottoman Empire as they related to the property of Armenians and their continuation under the Republic of Turkey. His work relied on important original sources and shed new light, in particular, on the liquidation of Armenian assets,” explained Susan Karamanian, Associate Dean for International and Comparative Legal Studies at George Washington University Law School, who hosted the talk.

In his talk, Dr. Kurt noted that the state-orchestrated plunder and impoverishment of victims was an integral aspect of the Armenian Genocide. “Despite widespread incidents of private plunder and corruption, there is no doubt that the seizure of Armenian property was primarily state-orchestrated genocide. . . . By losing all their … assets… [Armenians] were turned from existence to non-existence,” Dr. Kurt explained. The impoverishment of the victim ensured that they would not be able to return to their native lands and helped fund the genocide machine.

The dispossession did not stop after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, but continued into the new Turkish Republic. Dr. Kurt explained that both the Ottoman Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) and Turkish Republic’s Kemalist leaders concocted ways to make the illegal process of property confiscation look legal through complex laws, regulations and decrees.

For instance, the first act of the new Turkish Republic’s Kemalist government was to annul provisions meant to return properties to Armenians. The Kemalist government brought back the liquidation laws of the Ottoman perpetrators and even expanded them.

After the Lausanne Treaty was signed, which required the return of confiscated properties, Turkey created a virtual wall that prohibited Armenians’ return and ability to reclaim their assets, Dr. Kurt observed.

Convoluted laws and regulations were used, once again, to consolidate the fruits of the genocidal crime. Dr. Kurt focused on the US-Turkey Compensation Agreement of 1934 as an example of this. After the genocide, Armenians, who had not received Ottoman permission to become naturalized American citizens, were, for practical purposes, stripped of Turkish citizenship rights and prohibited from returning. However, when the United States tried to resolve their property claims through the US-Turkey Compensation Agreement of 1934, Turkey insisted that Armenian American claims be excluded, refusing to recognize their US citizenship. As a result, Americans of Armenian heritage were denied justice in both their adopted and native countries.

Dr. Kurt also touched on the issue of archival records, noting that the abandoned properties and liquidation commissions set up to dispose of Armenian properties kept meticulous records, but these records are still inaccessible. Dr. Kurt tried unsuccessfully for more than a year to gain access. He was able to publish one record from the commissions, which was maintained by an Armenian family, that detailed the properties down to the spoons and knives that were taken and to whom they were sold.

As for the Land Registry records, which are well-organized and can provide a detailed history to Armenian heirs of their families’ properties, Dr. Kurt explained that plans in 2005 to make them publicly accessible were quickly prohibited by Turkey’s National Security Committee.

Ümit Kurt received his Ph.D. from Clark University, History Department, in 2016. He got his MA and BA degrees in Turkey at Sabanci University and Middle East Technical University respectively. He taught in the Faculty of Arts and Science in Sabanci University and has been a visiting professor in the Armenian Studies Program at California State University. He has published numerous articles on confiscation of Armenian properties during the genocide. More details about Ottoman and Turkish laws surrounding the plunder of Armenian assets can be found in his latest book with Taner Akcam, The Spirit of the Laws: The Plunder of Wealth in the Armenian Genocide (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2015).

The Armenian Legal Center for Justice and Human Rights (ALC) fights to redress human rights violations emanating from the Armenian Genocide that continue to this day and undermine stability in a region that has for far too long been marred by policies founded on genocide, not human rights and justice. ALC promotes scholarship on the legal avenues for addressing the challenges emanating from the Armenian Genocide, in addition to pursuing cases in national and international courts, while promoting the protection of Armenian cultural heritage through the return of stolen properties and artifacts.

Video of the lecture will soon be posted on the ALC’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/armenianlegalcenter/

Article source: https://massispost.com/2017/03/expert-explores-turkeys-laws-armenian-genocide-era-dispossession-cases/

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'Genocide Monument'

Using the unrecognized Genocides of the past as a reason to keep vigilance on all current ones around the world. The iPhone app is now available free on the Apple App Store. The Android and Blackberry versions of 'Genocide Monument' are currently being funded for production.