In honor of Armenian Independence Day, on Sept. 21, the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center and The Genocide Education Project invite the community to a free screening of the film “The Promise” on Sept. 23.
The historical drama, set in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, stars Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte Le Bon.
The plot centers on a love triangle that develops between Mikael (Isaac), an Armenian medical student, Chris (Bale), a Paris-based American journalist, and Ana (Le Bon), an Armenian-born woman raised in France amid the horrors of World War I and the first genocide of the 20th century.
Armenians voted for independence from the Soviet Union on Sept. 21, 1991. This was actually the second independence of Armenia. The first occurred on May 28, 1918, and led to the formation of the First Republic of Armenia. This republic was then taken over by the USSR in 1920.
The Armenian Genocide was the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians, mostly citizens of the Ottoman Empire. The starting date is conventionally held to be April 24, 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities in Constantinople (now Istanbul) rounded up, arrested and deported 270 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders to the region of Ankara; the majority of them were eventually murdered.
The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases – the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and forced labor followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly and the infirm through death marches.
The annihilation of the Armenians by systematic and premeditated exterminations led Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin to coin the word “genocide” in 1943. The Armenian Genocide is acknowledged to have been the first modern genocide. It is the second most-studied genocide after the Holocaust.
“The Promise,” which is rated PG-13, will be shown on Sunday, Sept. 23, at 3 p.m. in the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center, 401 Elmgrove Ave., in Providence.
LEV POPLOW is a communications consultant who writes for the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center, in Providence. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.