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Keep the Promise, Tell the World

Special for the Armenian Weekly

The highly anticipated film The Promise will be released in theaters this weekend, in what many see as the culmination of decades-long efforts to get mainstream American recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Of course, a film may not be as powerful as the United States President acknowledging that a genocide did, in fact, take place, but can be considered a victory on a smaller—but important— scale; a victory that will surely make a lasting difference.

The theatrical poster for ‘The Promise’ (Photo: Survival Pictures)

The Promise was funded by the will of the late Armenian-American billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, who made sure that throughout all of his great accomplishments as a businessman, his lasting legacy would be as the man who made this project a reality.

Protests against the film came even before The Promise’s release, as many—mostly Turkish deniers—gave the film negative ratings. The actors, director, and all those involved with the film have done their best, however, appear in the mainstream press to emphasize the cultural importance of the film. Just the fact that the all of the proceeds of the film will be donated to various charities proves the power of The Promise and what it means to the public. The decision to donate is unprecedented in Hollywood and further proves that everyone involved in the making of this film is doing it not for the money, but for the lasting legacy it can have.

I recently watched an interview of the two award winnings actors Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac, the leads of this film, on a CBS morning show. Both actors, who are highly respected in the industry and have had great success as leads of critically and financially successful blockbusters, had little to no knowledge about the Armenian Genocide before being a part of the film.

I did not find it all that surprising. But what made a lasting impression on me was that in that interview, both Bale and Isaac talked about the shock and sympathy they felt after learning about our story and the pride they felt about starring in the film that told that story. They spoke about how they felt they had a duty to tell American people—as well as the rest of the world—the “story of the Armenian people.”

Director Terry George has come out and said that he would like The Promise to be used as a historically educational film presented in schools when teaching the Armenian Genocide. Everyone that is a part of this film has done their best to talk about the meaning behind it and the importance of recognition for not only the Armenian people, but for all of humanity.

Throughout all the years that I have attended protests for genocide recognition, or marched as a scout into the Massachusetts State House and stood as our Governor spoke about the importance of recognition. There was one moment, though,  that made me truly feel I accomplished something that personally made me feel like I made a difference. Two years ago, on the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, I was blessed to have the opportunity be a guest on Boston’s top Hip Hop/Rap radio station Jamn’ 945.5, where I was interning at the time, and speak live on air not only about the Armenian Genocide, but about its ongoing denial.  There, I felt I did a service to my people by getting that chance to speak to tens of thousands of listeners on a hip hop radio station, who otherwise probably would have no idea about the plight of our people.

I cannot speak for all those Armenians that live in the United States, but I can speak for myself. I grew up learning about the Armenian Genocide and the horrors of 1915. I grew up understanding how every year, our President—no matter who may be standing in that position—refuses to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and refers to it only as “mass-killings.” I grew up knowing I had an obligation that was given to us by our parents, Armenian teachers, priests, and community members, to keep a promise to continue to advocate for Armenian Genocide recognition.

If you educate one person, they will pass on that information and the beautiful cycle of awareness will continue.

This weekend tell your friends, tell your co-workers, your neighbors—heck, tell a random person on the street. Tell them to go and watch this film.

Tell them to tell the world our story.

Tell them to keep the promise.

 

 

5 Comments on Keep the Promise, Tell the World

  1. My husband & I along with many of the Merrimack Valley Armenians filled the theater at the Loop to see The Promise. It was very moving. I hope that everyone who goes, stays to see the facts following the movie. This should also be stressed to everyone. They are very reviling points of the Armenian Genocide. Most people leave right when the credits are rolling on the screen.
    I, personally am a first generation French Canadien, where I grew up in a wonderful family atmosphere. Both my parents immigrated from the Province of Quebec, Canada. I married an Armenian man who immigrated to the US from Marseille, France. I met him at an Armenian Olympic in Providence, RI. It was amazing to see so many Armenians enjoying each other and the music of their culture. I loved it too. On our 10th wedding anniversary, we took are two sons (10 & 12) to spend the weekend in Providence, RI with all our Armenian Friends. It was wonderful to reminisce the events of 10 years ago. The boys were in awe. The older boys took them in hand and we didn’t see them until lunch & dinner. It solidified there Armenian Heritage. Armenians cherish their children in so many amazing ways. Their support for their children are above reproach. The French Canadiens love their children too, but the Armenians show it publicly and with great love. The Armenian nation will NEVER die.
    Both our sons played for the Homenetmen Soccer Club and had the privilege of representing the US Armenian Olympic Soccer Team in Beriut in 2001. They stopped in Marseille, France to visit their Uncle before going to Beriut. They are well versed in French. Between the English, French, and what little Armenian they knew, they had a wonderful experience. My younger son plays the dumbeg and sings many Armenian songs. Both boys speak a little Armenian, and both speak fluent French.

  2. avatar Sylva~MD~Poetry // April 23, 2017 at 4:30 am // Reply

    Kirk Kerkorian and His “PROMISE”
    Yes, Kirk, You “DID IT”

    Kirk …
    You are with us watching your film.
    I can see you acting with the actors, praising them,
    You promised to your nation
    You will actuate their dreams…
    And your Promise became factual and true,
    No-one can deny ~~~ No-one can say no.

    Kirk …,
    You did late…
    THUS, YOU “DID IT”
    Delay wasn’t in your hands
    You were ignored and pushed away,
    In spite having enormous power!
    But you insisted, planned, to do
    Before you sighed!

    Kirk …,
    We are with you, always with you
    You actuated each Armenian wishes
    By your immortal, actual screen.

    Kirk …,
    Congrats, congrats…
    Rest in heaven,
    Rest in peace with all genocided Armenians
    Those who left this unfair earth with open hands
    Calling God to save them,
    God couldn’t reach, and save his believers
    From, barbaric, savage hands,
    You arrived to give smiling power
    To your unlucky, artful nation…
    To exhale their pains by your “PROMISE.”
    We are all lacrimating with happy tears.

    Kirk …,
    You not only made us happy,
    But all the innocents who are in heaven now with you.
    Sing, dance with them,
    Say, “I DID IT”
    Kirk… Live in peace …

    (C) Sylva Portoian, M.D.
    April 24, 2017
    written instantly

  3. avatar Donna Marie Coyle // April 23, 2017 at 10:27 am // Reply

    An epic movie filled with facts from 1915 and creative storytelling.
    Now more can be told, to see, and hear. The story is huge all happening during the Great War and before.

  4. avatar Debra DeSocio // April 23, 2017 at 6:49 pm // Reply

    Kirk Kerkorian’s The Promise, reflects a historically accurate portrayal of what Armenian’s endured from approximately 1914 through 1918. The genocide of 1915 is true to fact. The story is interwoven with drama, love, violence and life.

    The atrocities of the Armenian genocide have finally made it to the big screen. This film represents a new beginning in the discussion of not only the Armenian genocide , but the possibilities that exist for a repeat of human abuse, that unchecked will have the same result.

    It must be noted that all proceeds from this film will be donated to charity.

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