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Genocide Survivor Videos

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  • Genocide Survivor Videos

    I'd like to start a collection of videos from accounts of Genocide Survivors. I'm sure there is a lot of content out on the internet, and it would be great if people can help populate this thread. I'll start with these that are taken from a documentary.

    http://flic.kr/p/7CAq1T

    http://flic.kr/p/7CECPW


    The following is the extraordinary testimony of the late Hagop H. Asadourian (1903-2003) recorded on April 24, 2003 in New York City on the occasion of the 88th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. He was 100 years old at the time.





    "Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it." ~Malcolm X

  • #2
    Re: Genocide Survivor Videos

    Originally posted by KanadaHye
    I'd like to start a collection of videos from accounts of Genocide Survivors.
    All the ones I've seen have never come close to being satisfactory. There is always the understandable vagueness about places and dates, and they sound overly rehearsed because the stories having being recounted many times over the decades and have probably evolved into what the tellers think their audience wants to hear.

    Though maybe they are all unsatisfactory to me because I know what the ideal account could be like. In the mid 1990s I tried to record the memories of one survivor, a man named Israel Pilikian. He must have been one of the last adult survivors (I think he was born in 1901), but his story was extraordinary because it covered EVERYTHING - every aspect of the Armenian Genocide was reflected in what he went through - and he was old enough to have witnessed the events through adult eyes.

    He was from a fairly wealthy family from a village near Adapazar in western Turkey, was deported with them in 1915, ending up in the deserts of northern Syria (apparently they were going to be massacred one night but it snowed in the desert, and the (?) Kurds saw that as an omen and so gave them food instead), then meeting up with a survivor from Zeitun, then travelling to Iraq with him where he managed to survive until the end of the war, then working with the British army there for a while, then when the war ended returning to his home in Adapazar (with his sister I think but nobody else since all the rest of his family had been killed), but being forced to leave again in 1920 when the Greek invasion failed, then ending in Cyprus (by way of Greece I think, and getting a Nansen passport) and being forced to leave Cyprus and come to Britain after the Turkish invasion in the 1970s. Thanks to those travels he could speak Armenian, Turkish, Arabic and Greek - but not much English (to learn a fifth language so late in life was too much). I met him when he was in hospital and, with his son as translator, learned the basic outline of his story. It was very detailed and encompassed so much that it could clearly be a text-book account of the Armenian Genocide if he was properly interviewed.

    Alas, I suggested to an Armenian who was involved in TV production that maybe he would like to help, and provide a second DV video camera to film it properly. The whole attempt was a complete failure. I flew specially to London to film Mr Pilikian, but that Armenian producer was 4 hours late, meaning it was the evening before we could start the interview. Israel was then in a nursing home, and all the meeting rooms were closed in the evening so it had to be filmed in his room, whuch was full of electrical equipment that made a buzzing interference on the soundtrack. Worse was to come - I almost immediately lost control of the questions as it turned into an Armenian only conversation. I has worked out in advance a schedule to cover his entire story, marking out how long we should roughly spend on each section of it in order to cover everything. The idiot producer completely ignored all that preparation. After three hours of filming, in which he asked all the questions, Israel was too tired to continue and we stopped. "How far through the schedule have we got?" I asked. "Oh, we haven't actually got to the point where he left his village yet!" was the reply. For three hours that cretin had done nothing but ask Israel about things he could remember about his village life back then. Nothing at all about his experiences during the genocide had been recorded! I think my distrust of the ability of Armenians to record and present things properly began that day.

    Israel died a few months later and his story remained unrecorded.
    Plenipotentiary meow!

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    • #3
      Re: Genocide Survivor Videos

      Oh, because of that risk of survivors stories being elaborated and changed over the years to the extent that they are no longer true reminisances, when I met Israel in hospital I asked him a sort of test question to see how good his memory was. When I heard he was from Adapazar I asked him if he remembered any Hemshinli villages in that area (I knew that there were some). He said that he did remember them - that the local Armenians had called them "Laz", but knew that they had Armenian origins. Nobody had asked him that in all those 80 years since 1915, but he still remembered it - which proved how good his memory was.
      Plenipotentiary meow!

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      • #4
        Re: Genocide Survivor Videos

        Originally posted by bell-the-cat View Post
        All the ones I've seen have never come close to being satisfactory. There is always the understandable vagueness about places and dates, and they sound overly rehearsed because the stories having being recounted many times over the decades and have probably evolved into what the tellers think their audience wants to hear.
        Perhaps, but which story is ever told to its exact account? Add to that the trauma that the survivors experienced at such a young age since they were mere children at the time.
        "Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it." ~Malcolm X

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