Husher (“Memories”)

By Musician and TV documentarian Avedis Ohanian, Review by Team Keghart

After decades of silence, forgetfulness and denial, the past 20 years have seen the publication of a veritable avalanche of information about the Genocide of Armenians by Turkey in 1915.
While documentation from Armenian and non-Armenian sources has poured in from around the globe, Armenian-Italians, other than Prof. Antonia Arslan, have remained relatively silent in documenting the tragic experiences of their forefathers. Thus, "Husher", the DVD by Italy-based musician and TV documentarian Avedis Ohanian, fills an important gap in our knowledge of the genocide. "Husher" has already won three major awards–the New York International Independent Film Festival, Best International Director of Documentary in Los Angeles, and Best International Political Documentary in New York.


"Lament for Adana"


By Musician and TV documentarian Avedis Ohanian, Review by Team Keghart

After decades of silence, forgetfulness and denial, the past 20 years have seen the publication of a veritable avalanche of information about the Genocide of Armenians by Turkey in 1915.
While documentation from Armenian and non-Armenian sources has poured in from around the globe, Armenian-Italians, other than Prof. Antonia Arslan, have remained relatively silent in documenting the tragic experiences of their forefathers. Thus, "Husher", the DVD by Italy-based musician and TV documentarian Avedis Ohanian, fills an important gap in our knowledge of the genocide. "Husher" has already won three major awards–the New York International Independent Film Festival, Best International Director of Documentary in Los Angeles, and Best International Political Documentary in New York.


"Lament for Adana"

What sets apart "Husher" from similar documentaries about the memories of the genocide survivors is that Ohanian’s project covers the memories ("husher" in Armenian) of five elderly Armenian-Italians–Hripsime Kondakjian (Erzroum), Ovsanna Kohleian, Karnig Nalbandian (Kharpert), Anahid Bezdigian (Moussa Dagh), and Raffaele Gianigian (Erzroum).
 
And what memories these five silver-haired survivors have! The beheading of Nalbandian’s mother and that of a priest, Bezdigian’s account of the Battle of Moussa Dagh and the rescue by the French Navy, the annihilation of 90 per cent of Malatya’s Armenian population, the waters of the Euphrates which couldn’t be used for drinking because of the Armenian corpses floating in the historic river, the rapes and the suicides
of Armenian girls and women…
 
Readers familiar with the Genocide of Armenians have seen many pictures of the Armenian dead, the skeletal remains of women and children, the gruesome caravans of deportees in the Syrian Desert, the batallions of Turkish soldiers doing their dirty work. Somehow, documentarian Ohanian has discovered scores of new photographs of the genocide. This, apart from the excellence of the program, makes "Husher" a valuable addition of the growing eyewitness testimonies of the genocide. Mr. Erdogan may theatrically take offense, declaring that his ancestors never committed genocide. He should watch and listen to what these Armenian-Italians have to say.
 
The eyewitness reports of the five elderly Armenians is book-ended by incisive comments by Prof. Antonia Aslan, Prof. Boghos Levon Zekiyan, Prof. Aldo Ferrari, and Bishop Shahen Sarkissian. The interviews, by Vahe Keshishian, are seamless and unintrusive.
 
Many dramatic moments from the interviews leave an indelible mark on the viewer’s memory. When interviewer Keshishian asks Gianigian why did the Turkish government undertake the genocide of Armenians, the Armenian survivor simply says, "They wanted historical Armenia without Armenians… it wasn’t for religious reasons…They just wanted to destroy the Armenian race."
 
Listening to Anahid Bezdigian sing "Lament for Adana" is almost unbearable, as the tears well in the elderly Armenian’s eyes but she keeps on singing bravely, remembering every word of the elegy she learned as a child. Bravo to her, to the other four survivors, to Prof. Arslan for introducing these "lost" Armenians, and bravo to Ohanian.

Copies of DVD may be obtained from:

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