The St. Sarkis Church of Dallas Fort Worth hosted a sold out presentation of the “Women of 1915”, the documentary film of Bared Maronian, on Saturday April 14, 2018. The whole community was there to see the “epic journey of women survivors of the Armenian Genocide and the odyssey of the relentless human rights advocates who empowered them.”
This documentary differed from other Armenian Genocide films in that it showed the heroic measures some Armenian women had taken to survive and help others survive the heinous acts around them. These remarkable women, some of whom were highlighted in the documentary in older interviews, had spoken of their courage and perseverance and inspired their children and grandchildren to pursue excellence in their lives. Many examples were presented of these grandchildren, who had gained worldwide recognition in many fields including technology (like Steve Jobs), music, business and art.
The St. Sarkis community was familiar with “Women of 1915” and its documentary filmmaker Bared Maronian, because it had hosted the “Orphans of the Genocide” in Dallas previously. Both documentaries have helped publicize the Genocide to Armenians and non-Armenians alike, and have strengthened our resolve to achieve recognition of the Genocide worldwide.
Bared Maronian was grateful to all who had helped bring his documentaries to life, including Dr. Sarkis Kechejian, the Godfather of the St. Sarkis church. Mr. Maronian indicated that he came to realize that there were many women who had selflessly fought to save a child’s life at great peril to theirs. The plight and heroism of the Armenian women during the Genocide was matched by the courage of non-Armenian women represented in the documentary, who helped save many women and children during the Genocide. It is estimated that at least 150,000 women and children were able to come to the United States, making this country one of the most hospitable and humane countries for the Armenians. It was the hope of Mr. Maronian that highlighting the sacrifices and heroism demonstrated by many non-Armenian women will inspire their grandchildren to follow in the footsteps of their grandmothers in demanding justice for the Armenian Genocide victims.
The St. Sarkis Church Parish Council organized the screening of the "Women of 1915" with Lusine Meeks and Shevan Basmadjian leading the effort. Hamlet and Marla Sarokhanian graciously hosted Bared Maronian, and Annie Graham and Maral Aznavourian promoted ticket sales. Invitations were extended to many non-Armenian friends of the community to attend the event, eventually making it a sold-out performance.
The St. Sarkis community is no stranger to the ravages of the Genocide, but the documentary shed light on previously little known facts, including the untraditional display of heroism of many women by taking arms and fighting alongside men. These were women who had lost all their family members, and against all odds, had resolved to fight to prevent further annihilation of other families. There are inspirational examples of all their achievements detailed in the documentary.
St. Sarkis of DFW is grateful for Mr. Maronian’s vision and the dedication of the whole community to supporting all projects that inform and educate everyone about the Armenian Genocide.
Written by Mary Mukhtarian