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Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

Back to Ararat

  • Rating: ****
  • Audience: High School to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $690.00
  • Date: Copyright 1988. Released 1989.
  • Descriptors: Armenia - History. Turkey - History. Genocide.
  • Production Information: Live action, Film transfer. Produced by PeA Holmquist. Sponsored by Swedish Television, Swedish Film Institute. Color. Armenian, English. Dubbed. Subtitled. 100 min.
  • Production Company: HB PeA Holmquist Film
  • Available from: First Run/Icarus Films 153 Waverly Pl., 6th Floor New York, NY 10014 (212)243-0600
  • Cataloging: 956.62 Armenian massacres, 1915-1923
  • Print Entry #: 2:883
  • Reviewer: Terry Erb

    "They have quenched their thirst with Armenian blood." These words are hauntingly spoken by a survivor of the Armenian genocide (1915-1917) in this rather somber video. Events such as genocide, war, and holocausts can never be presented in a pleasing fashion; by their nature, they must evoke disgust. This video portrays the tenacious struggles of the survivors and their descendants to keep alive Armenian culture, traditions, and social structures around the world.

    In early 1915, the Ottoman Empire was losing ground in its conflict with Russia, and blamed it on neighboring Armenia. As a result, Turkey decided to "relocate" 2 million people. They were driven from their homes and forced to march through the deserts of Anatolia to Syria. Before the march even began, thousands of Armenians were killed by Turkish soldiers. A total of one and a half million Armenians died at the hands of the Turks.

    This documentary concentrates on the anguish caused by the Armenian diaspora, presenting thoughtful interviews with Armenians scattered throughout the world. It is amazing to see how Armenian culture has survived almost intact over the past 70 years. Obviously, the producers were also impressed; the program emphasizes how traditions were kept alive through Armenian schools, cultural centers, churches, and intramarriage.

    In an attempt at fairness, the video makes an effort to present the Turkish version of the history of the massacre. In spite of the fact that the European Parliament condemned Turkey for the genocide, the country refuses to accept blame. They maintain that the Armenians were conspiring against the Ottoman empire; instead of planting crops, Turkey maintains, Armenians were fomenting revolution, and war and famine were the inevitable reasons for the "relocation." The video is not as sympathetic to the Turkish claims as to the Armenian point of view - which is understandable.

    There are no other video documentaries available on this subject. With the recent problems in Soviet Armenia, and because Turkey is a NATO member, this documentary is being made available at a critical time in modern history. Any library that wishes to offer a complete world history collection cannot ignore this video.

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