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Armenians didn’t arrive here by accident. ‘The Promise’ is largely why.


Armenians didn’t arrive here by accident. ‘The Promise’ is largely why.

The film, set on a backdrop of the Armenian Genocide, is a victory in a longstanding battle of denial.

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Thursday, Armenians have a reason to celebrate and reflect.

It’s when The Promise begins its wide release to theaters across the United States.

That the film will open is a feat all to its own.

The picture, financed by the late Fresno native Kirk Kerkorian, directed by Terry George (Hotel Rwanda, In the Name of the Father), and produced by Eric Esrailian, took a long and circuitous route to the cineplex.

The Promise stars Oscar Isaac (Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens), Christian Bale (American Psycho, The Dark Knight Trilogy) and Charlotte Le Bon (Yves Saint LaurentThe Hundred-Foot Journey) in a love triangle set behind the backdrop of World War I-era Ottoman Turkey. Isaac stars as Michael, a medical student who arrives to Constantinople, where he meets Christopher Myers (Bale) and Ana (Le Bon), an Armenian of Parisian upbringing.

The film follows the three as the Young Turk government leading the Ottoman Empire begins its campaign of mass deportation and annihilation of Christian Armenians.

Those vaguely familiar with the Armenian Genocide will note the appearance of James Cromwell as an uncanny representation of Henry Morgenthau, Sr., the American Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

I am a third generation Armenian American, the great-grandson of survivors of both the Armenian Genocide and the Hamidian Massacres (which preceded the Armenian Genocide just prior to the turn of the 20th Century).

Like many Armenians living in diaspora, I have made it a point to educate friends, family, and colleagues alike of the Armenian Genocide. It’s the reason my last name is spelled the way it is. It’s the reason I grew up in Fresno rather than along the placid waters of Lake Van.

For me and scores of others, The Promise offers a teaching tool that has never existed before.

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Alex Tavlian

Alex Tavlian is the owner of Sultana Media. Views expressed reflect those of the author only. He can be reached at

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