My ancestors were Armenian survivors of oppression who immigrated to Iran in the 19th century, settling in the city of Mashhad. It is a documented fact that a group of leaders from the Ottoman Empire embarked on a campaign to systematically remove the longstanding Armenian population from their own region, where my ancestors coexisted peacefully and had no involvement in World War I. Nearly 1.5 million Armenians were killed in cold blood in a span of seven years. The Armenian Genocide has finally been brought to the screen in the film The Promise, thanks to its Producer, UC Berkeley graduate and Bay Area native Eric Esrailian, who successfully brought attention to the genocide by combining the historical tragedy with a love story in a throwback to classical cinema, directed by Terry George (Reservation Road). The Promise is set at the roots of the ottoman empire’s downfall following a love triangle between Mikael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac) a student of medicine, his lover Ana Khesarian (Charlotte le Bon) and Chris Myers (Christian Bale) an American reporter. This is an important film that deserves your attention because it’s been over 125 years and the genocide is still denied. The viewing of this film will flash a light upon the Turkish government who has not taken responsibility for their horrific actions.
Mentioned in an archived article of the New York Times, “In the United States, a powerful Armenian community centered in Los Angeles has been pressing for years for Congress to condemn the Armenian genocide. Turkey, which cut military ties to France over a similar action, has reacted with angry threats. A bill to that effect nearly passed in the fall of 2007, gaining a majority of co-sponsors and passing a committee vote. But the Bush administration, noting that Turkey is a critical ally — more than 70 per cent of the military air supplies for Iraq go through the Incirlik airbase there — pressed for the bill to be withdrawn, and it was.” For the United States to condemn the Armenian genocide is against their interests overseas. The contemporary Turkish government in the modern-day has laws in play where citizens will be punished if they accuse the Turkish of any wrong-doing. The fallacious, contradicting and hypocritical reactions by the Turks only further support the claims for their cover-up. The term genocide wasn’t created until the 1940s, but that doesn’t mean genocidal activity didn’t occur, where a government planned an attack on an entire population.
The origins of the Armenian genocide are rooted in the downfall of the Ottoman Empire. What the Nazi Germans did to the Jewish in the holocaust is equivalent to what the Turks did to the Armenians in the genocide. In 1914, the Turks entered World War I on the side of Germany and the Armenians sided with Russians. The Germans and the Turks lost a battle to the Russian forces. Mass killings of Armenians were ordered by the Turkish government with decrees for deportations. The annihilation of Armenians under the ottoman empire occurred several years prior to the genocide that began in 1915. There were massacres from 1894-1897. The Turks were aware that the banishment of Armenians was the beginning of their death sentences. Armenians were tortured in concentration camps and killed in grave numbers due to exhaustion and starvation. Studies show that there were over 2.1 million Armenians living in the ottoman empire in 1915 and there were less than 400,000 by 1923.