This documentary deals with an old, and very sore, subject: the deaths, mostly between 1915 and 1918, of anywhere from several hundred thousand to perhaps 1.5 million Armenian civilians living in the eastern Anatolia region of Turkey during the rule of the "Young Turks" of the Ottoman Empire as World War I engulfed Europe. Featuring interviews with the leading experts in the field such as Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power and New York Times best-selling author, Peter Balakian, this film features never-before-seen historical footage of the events and key players of one of the greatest untold stories of the 20th century. Written by
This documentary is about the deportation, rape and murder of over a million Armenians in the early 20th century in the Ottoman Empire (headquartered in what's today modern Turkey). It's told through interviews, narration by Julianna Marguiles and photos (which are often very shocking). Surprisingly, there appears to be LOTS of documentation to prove that indeed these atrocities did happen during WWI. That this occurred is really not in question by anyone willing to look at this film or contemporary evidence--even from the post-WWI Turkish government.
I was interesting in seeing this documentary because unlike the mass genocide of other groups, the mass killing of the Armenians in the early 20th century is completely denied by the Turkish government today. They seem to behave as if a million of these folks just disappeared! I was surprised when I had a conversation with a Turkish-American--and he, too, was in complete denial about this mass murder...complete! But even today, the Turkish government becomes incensed when the genocide is mentioned at all and their allies cannot talk about it or risk the wrath of the folks in Turkey! Now I am NOT blaming Turks today for the murders--most of the folks who did this have been dead for almost a century. But those who CONTINUE to deny it today deserve some sort of blame for keeping this lie alive. I cannot understand WHY this is the case even today--more than 90 years later. People need to know about this crime and so I feel this sad documentary is must-see viewing for everyone--though you should probably not let younger kids see this due to the very graphic content. Exceptionally well-made and thorough.
I was amazed at the modern excuses, denials and minimizations shown in the film--and they are bound to strike you. One guy said it did not occur BUT if it had, the Armenians brought it on themselves for atrocities against the Muslims. Another said that the Armenians simply left the country--there were no killings. Another said "...whatever had to be done was done...but it was not genocide". Others objected to the term 'genocide' and preferred to call it a 'tragedy'!
Also, the film did talk about Armenian terrorism against Turks--particularly in the 1970s and 80s. The film did not attempt to hide this counter-attack decades later.
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