Armenian Genocide (05:35)
The Turkish state denies having deported and massacred 1.5 million Armenians. Their descendants are committed to telling their story. Switzerland-Armenia Association co-president Sarkis Shahinian describes becoming involved in the cause as an adolescent; his father survived deportation as an infant.
In 1915, 7,448 Armenians living in the city were deported and massacred—as occurred in thousands of villages and towns in the region. Shahinian's father wanted to tell their story but his mother tried to literally bury the past.
Systematic Ethnic Cleansing (04:21)
The Young Turks felt their unity threatened by the Armenian identity and removed ancient Christian communities from Anatolia in 1915. Marginalized for centuries, they had long demanded civil and religious rights. Renowned poet Daniel Varoujan was among the first deported.
Studying Genocide (04:56)
The Young Turks were methodical and swift in deportations and massacres. Some Turks, Kurds and Greeks hid children at personal risk. Using documents recorded between 1917 and 1920, historian Raymond Kervorkian has identified former Armenian communities, deportation routes, and extermination sites.
Armenian Cultural Loss (02:28)
Armenian musician and musicologist Komitas was deported and his library destroyed. He was saved from death by international contacts, but suffered a mental breakdown and isolated himself in a Paris hospital until his death.
Collective Post-Traumatic Stress Response (05:07)
During forced marches, tens of thousands of Armenian women and children died of dehydration, hunger, and disease, or were massacred. Young survivors tried to forget their language and culture. Janin Altounian explains how she inherited her parents' emotional pain.
Monastery of Sanahin (05:57)
Shahinian's love of medieval architecture brought him to Armenia. In the 11th century, 500 monks lived, worked and studied in the Sanahin Monastery. He discusses its form in artistic, cultural, religious and symbolic terms.
Armenian Religious Art (02:48)
Shahinian discusses how cultural expression evolved from paganism to Christianity, after which it was persecuted under Ottoman rule.
Cultural and Religious Desecrations (02:40)
Armenian churches are being destroyed in Georgia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. In 2006, the Azerbaijan army leveled the cemetery in Julfa to build a rifle range. Samuel Karapetian has traveled throughout the region documenting Armenian monuments before their destruction.
Matenadaran Library (01:55)
Thousands of medieval Armenian manuscripts smuggled to safety during the genocide are being restored in Yerevan.
Remembering Armenia (03:29)
Half the Armenian population died during the genocide. Every year on April 24, descendants parade in Erevan. Turkish officials responsible remain unpunished to avoid undermining the Turkish republic's foundations and ideology. Achieving ethnic homogeneity enabled Turkey to secure its borders.
Call for Historical Justice (03:37)
Historian Yves Ternon explains that recognizing the Armenian genocide would affect the Turkish identity and require the Turkish government to face reparations and property claims. However, it must do so in order to become a functioning democracy.
Mount Ararat (02:32)
Today, Armenia's national symbol belongs to Turkey. In 1920, genocide survivors asked the USSR for protection; the Soviet presence lasted until 1991. Shahinian discusses his interest in the ruined medieval city Ani, also in Turkey.
Ottoman Empire Skeletons (02:32)
Shahinian felt frustrated and impotent, having to ask permission to visit Ani across the Turkish border. Turkey had to annihilate Assyrian, Kurdish and Armenian national conscience to found its republic. He will continue fighting justice for the Armenian people.
Credits: Armenia: An Open Wound (01:36)
Credits: Armenia: An Open Wound
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