The Fresno community filled the seats of the Leon and Pete Peters Educational Center Wednesday night, April 16, to watch the screening of the movie “Screamers,” which takes a look into Genocide and focuses more specifically on the Armenian Genocide. The film follows lead singer Serj Tankian, of the popular American band, “System of a Down,” and his quest to create awareness and promote the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, not only by the United States Government, but by the rest of the world and Turkey. The film follows the band members all the way to the nation’s capital in their quest to get the Genocide Recognition Resolution on to the floor of the House of Representatives for discussion.
“Screamers” provides evidence of the Genocide in Ottoman Turkey by showing testimonies of survivors of the Genocide, as well as many sad and truth telling photos. The Armenian Genocide was the first genocide of the 20th century and was even known by Hitler, who said, “Who remembers the annihilation of the Armenians?” prior to invading Poland in 1939. The film ends with the harsh realities of genocide in today’s world, showing footage of genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Darfur. It is something that is still occurring. Genocide must stop, that is the message.
The viewers also had the wonderful opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts with the director of the film, Carla Garapedian, an Emmy award winning director and producer who also anchored the BBC world news. Garapedian has produced many documentaries, going undercover to bring viewers hard-hitting facts. In “Children of a Secret State,” she documented starvation and cannibalism, among other things, in North Korea, and in the Emmy award winning “Beneath the Veil,” she documented the story of the life of women in Afghanistan (http://www.screamersmovie.com/new/indexcastandpodcarla.htm).
“She really has a passion for her work,” said Alice Bedrosian, “It is apparent in the way that she speaks about her films.” After the screening Garapedian signed posters and spoke with the people that watched the film.
“Screamers” features music and interviews with members of the band “System of a Down.” This heavy metal group, consisting of four members, is known for their strong views on controversial topics. Many of their lyrics have to deal with hypocrisy, democracy, and the Armenian Genocide. The band has a very large fan base consisting of both Armenian and non-Armenian fans. As seen in the film, “System of a Down” concerts have created awareness of the Armenian people and the Armenian Genocide.
“Their lyrics are very powerful,” said Jennifer Hamamjian, “It is amazing to think that all of their fans sing these songs about the Armenian Genocide and are aware of what they are referring to.” The members of “System of a Down” are very proud of their cultural background and they let it show.
The Armenian Students Organization worked hard to make this event successful. They sent out mailers and handed out flyers on campus as well as notifying local high school organizations and clubs. They also sold black wristbands that read NEVER AGAIN 1915 as a club fundraiser. It was a goal to get as many people as possible to view the movie, not only because we had the privilege of having the director come but also to publicize the campus Armenian Genocide Commemoration on April 24th.
Thank you to every one who came to support us for this special event.