3 May 2008 | acaratzas
Koundouros' "1922" is an emblematic work on the Christian genocide in Anatolia
"1922" focuses on one episode of the treatment of mostly civilian Greeks captured by the forces of Kemal Ataturk; this is an emblematic event--a characteristic phase-- of the larger process, of the expulsion and genocide of the Christians of Anatolia (present day "Turkey").
The film has a painterly quality, not least because Koundouros is an artist and painter. And much like the scene in a painting, the reality this film reflects is that of the methodology used by the Kemalists to defile, humiliate and destroy-- in short to carry out the genocide of-- the Christian people of Anatolia. The murders and rapes depicted, under the scorching sun, were events not hidden, open for the world to see, yet few chose to take note of how 4-4.5 million (yes million, out of a total population of 11-12 million) Christians (Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians) in Anatolia in 1912, were reduced to less than 300,000 by 1923.
The denial of this genocide begins with the victims themselves. For years the "Catastrophe", as the Greeks called it, was discussed little, and depicted less. This film was banned from being shown in Greece for many years, for reasons that still bear investigation: it no doubt included the elements of cowardice, denial and the perceived imperative not to offend the perpetrators (sic!) in the guise of the successor Kemalist regimes in Anatolia.
Koundouros's "1922" is a profound and a psychologically very jarring work, and the feelings, questions and issues it generates still have not been faced, especially by the ruling elites of Greece itself (many of whom have taken to denial explicitly so as not to disrupt relations with the present Islamofascist "Turkish" regime).