Armenian-Egyptians Commemorate 'Genocide' Against Their Ancestors

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Cairo, Egypt
April 23, 2015

Egyptians of Armenian descent commemorated the centenary anniversary of the massacres committed against their ancestors by the Ottoman Empire in the First World War. Dozens of spectators examined photographs, artifacts and books that tell the story of the mass killings in 1915 as well as the Armenian diaspora around the world. The exhibition was organized by The Armenian Club in Cairo.

The Armenian community in Egypt, which was formed mainly of people who fled the killings by Ottoman Turks, dwindled in the 1950s, as many non-Arabs left the country under the weight of nationalization policies conducted by President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Around 8,000 Armenians live in Egypt today according to an interviewed activist.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Various of young women in traditional Armenian garbs
Various of spectators examining artefacts that belonged to Armenian refugees
Various of event attendees eating traditional Armenian snacks

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Garen Garbouyan, A young Armenian-Egyptian taking part in commemoration
00:30 – 01:14
“This event is being held because April 24 is nearing. This year is the 100th anniversary of the genocide. On this occasion, we are holding several consecutive events. In this celebration, we are introducing people to the old four Arminian provinces. We are showing how people used to dress in each province, as well as what people there used to eat and the activities they did. I am here today because my ancestors fled the massacre and came by boats to Port Said.”

Various of embroidered artefacts
Tilt down of icon with inscription in Armenian

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Marlo Zamanian, Armenian-Egyptian attending the exhibition

01:35 – 01:52
“My mother’s grandfather was forced to flee in 1915. He fled the massacres; his parents were able to flee the massacres and eventually reached Egypt.”

Various/ Close-up of artefacts
Wide of spectator examining a poster
Close-up/ Zoom out of necklace
Various of map featuring the massacres against Armenians
Various of exhibited items

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Marlo Zamanian, Armenian-Egyptian attending the exhibition
02:41 – 03:16
“My mother says that her father used to say… [LAUGH] that on a day in April – on April 24, 1915 – that the Turks knocked on their door. They come from a province called Kharpet. The Turks knocked on their door and took my mother’s grandfather who never returned. They took him to an unknown location. This was their end. My mother’s grandmother was able to rescue her children. She had a boy and two girls. She was able to leave and take them with her.”

Various of photographs depicting people who were killed in the massacres
Various of exhibition items and photographs

Close-up of a comb. NAT Sound (Arabic) 03:56 – 04:04
“This is from 1909. Look at the design.”

Wide of two girls wearing traditional costumes and holding a metal artefact

Close-up of metal artefact. NAT Sound (Arabic) 04:09 – 04:14
"This is the goblet I was talking about. It was used to fill water.” Close-up pf traditional puppet

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Marlo Zamanian, Armenian-Egyptian attending the exhibition
04:21 – 04:42
“We thank Egypt as well as the entire Arab homeland. This was the closest area to us, the [Armenian] migrants. From the desert of Deir al-Zor, we entered Syria and Lebanon. Other people fled to Greece. I feel that Arab countries were more welcoming towards than Europe.”

Various of event attendees having traditional snacks
Various of books about the Armenian genocide

Cutaways of Armen Mazloumian, An Egyptian-Armenian activist working on commemorating the Armenian genocide

SOUNDBITE Armen Mazloumian, An Egyptian-Armenian activist working on commemorating the Armenian genocide
05:29 – 06:23
“My grandfather’s family was a leading a decent life in Turkey. They were among the prominent merchants who traded in figs and pureblood horses in Turkey. His father and brothers were all killed in the massacres. He was young and another family smuggled him to Greece. In Greece, he worked for several years at the harbour with Onassis. As you know, Onassis became one of the world’s billionaires. Afterwards, my grandfather came to Egypt where lived and worked. He owned Nassibian film studio.”

Cutaways of Armen Mazloumian, An Egyptian-Armenian activist working on commemorating the Armenian genocide

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Armen Mazloumian, An Egyptian-Armenian activist working on commemorating the Armenian genocide
06:24 – 06:48
“Currently, about 8,000 Armenians live in Egypt. Their number was more than 50,000 during the 1940s and 1950s, but most of them immigrated to Armenia -- they returned to Armenia – as well as Europe, America and Australia.”

Cutaways of Viken Gezmiziyan, The head of the Armenian Charitable Society in Cairo

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Viken Gezmiziyan, The head of the Armenian Charitable Society in Cairo
06:56 – 07:10
“The method to slaughter [Armenians] is the same as the one that is being deployed by ISIS. They were lined up and killed with knives. The target was extermination; to make that area devoid of Armenians.”

Cutaways of Viken Gezmiziyan, The head of the Armenian Charitable Society in Cairo

Wide of man contemplating ‘Genocide Map’

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Viken Gezmiziyan, The head of the Armenian Charitable Society in Cairo
07:25 – 07:50
“There are about 3 million people living in present-day Armenia, while 9 million [Armenians] live outside. These 9 million did not appear out of nowhere. Our ancestors fled Armenia, and therefore Armenians were displaced in the entire world. Yet, some say that the massacres did not take place. Each one of us Armenians has a story to tell and knows how his grandfather fled the massacres. We see this as a problem.”

Cutaways of Mohamad Rifaat al-Imam, Head of History Department at the University of Damanhour

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Mohamad Rifaat al-Imam, Head of History Department at the University of Damanhour
08:06 – 08:47

“The Armenian issue surfaced in 1878, as a result of Article 61 of the treaty of Berlin, which stipulated the implementation of reforms in ‘Armenistan’, or Ottoman Armenia in eastern Anatolia. Ottoman authorities refused to carry out these reforms. Armenians then had to resort to revolutionary action to pressure Europe and the Ottoman Empire to implement Article 61.”

Cutaways of Mohamad Rifaat al-Imam, Head of History Department at the University of Damanhour

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Mohamad Rifaat al-Imam, Head of History Department at the University of Damanhour
09:11 – 09:43
“If Turkey to recognizes the massacres, it would have to return eastern Anatolia as well as all the funds, the assets and real estates that were confiscated from Armenians. Turkey would have to spend huge amounts of money as indemnities to the Armenian people who succumbed to a genocide, which the entire world is heading to recognize.”

Shotlist