Armenian Women of the Genocide

Lauren Chardukian
Hye Sharzhoom Staff Writer

Men. Men write history, men fight in history, men make history. The role of women is relatively less mentioned. However on Sunday, October 19, 2014, the Ararat Foundation organized an event, “The Armenian Genocide and Armenian Women of 1915,” dedicated to the Armenian Genocide Centennial, and shedding light on the many who may have been forgotten and overlooked.

The evening began with emcee Serpouhie Messerlian introducing Nune Avetisyan, who recited a poem in Armenian. Dr. Garabet Moumdjian, a historian specializing in the Middle East and Ottoman Empire presented a unique angle of the Armenian Genocide, discussing the “hidden Armenians,” who were kidnapped and married to Kurdish or Turkish men. Many women and orphans lost their identity by force, as they were sold or raised in non-Armenian environments. Those who were not kidnapped held the responsibility of educating and caring for the surviving children.

Bared Maronian, director of the film “Orphans of The Genocide,” was the second guest speaker of the day. Attention was drawn to the orphans through his film clips. His current project, “Women of 1915,” will show the plight of the Armenian women and the non-Armenian women who helped them.

One striking woman was Leola Sassouni, who after giving birth, went out to fight in the Battle of Sardarabad. She also dedicated time towards taking care of Armenian orphans. The captivating stories of women such as Sassouni will be featured in this film, giving the women of the past an opportunity to voice their story.

Kay Mouradian concluded the talks with her inspirational story of producing the film, “My Mother’s Voice.” The process began with first writing a novel, which was followed up by a powerpoint presentation, after which she finally decided to make a film about her mother’s Genocide story.  “My Mother’s Voice” was screened for the audience, which told the story of Mouradian’s mother, Flora Munushian, who lost her family, moved to the United States, and married a man she had only seen through a photograph.

The event also included musical performances by Arthur Hakobyan, Salpy Kerkonian, and Salpy Mailyan.