IN THEIR VERY OWN WORDS

Read here what the people interviewed have to say in the film.

 

 

 

 

 

SAMVEL KARAPETIAN, Research on Armenian Architecture

The government of Gamsakhurdia started a new anti-Armenian hysteria. Under Shevardnadze it was continued more quietly but not less actively. And now this lap, if I may say so, was handed over to Saakashvili and he pursues it proudly. For years the negative role to erase all our (Armenian) traces in Georgia was played by the Georgian Patriarch, Ilia II. A man who had been in prison for theft. Someone as chance would have it, who has nothing to do with religion. And someone completely irrational.

Erasing khtatshkars and inscriptions does not erase the Armenian presence here. There are thousands of records. Luckily all was photographed and kept. To what extent do you have to be primitive to take your hammer and erase Armenian inscriptions! How blind do you have to be! To be as miserable as Georgian politicians and clergy today… I don't know if Georgia has ever been in a more miserable position. Destroying blindly part of its culture, because it is Armenian. Day and night they are busy erasing it. But all facts are recorded. And all these facts will tomorrow work against them. They are digging a pit for themselves. This pit has become a precipice and they will fall into this precipice. It is not possible otherwise. They dare try standing next to civilized nations. With their policy this is impossible! All will be paid back. All will be put back in its place.

   

 

 

 

H.E. Most Rev. Msgr. CLAUDIO GUGEROTTI, Apostolic Nuncio for Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan

Another unsolved problem of great importance is how to register the Catholic Church. And it's the same problem as other churches who are not Georgian Orthodox Churches are facing in this country. This shortcoming has already been criticized by the Council of Europe. Now they tried to… to rewrite the civil code. But so far we have no idea how we will progress with this issue. It is difficult, if not impossible to register the historic Churches of Georgia. We hope that we will be able to discuss this issue at the earliest.

We have been waiting for a solution for over 10 years. I believe that it is high time to solve this problem. It started with the Catholic Church, with the Minister's of Foreign Affairs invitation to sign an agreement. And when our Minister arrived, the former Georgian government refused to sign. So we are still poised in a situation, unacceptable from a human point of view. And from the point of view of international law.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

KHATSHATUR GEVORGYAN, painter and public figure

The Georgian Church of the Holy Trinity is still under construction. It will be the biggest in Georgia . Its objective is to unite the nation. What used to be in its place? The Armenian Church of Notre Dame. But it was destroyed in 1937. And the place was transformed into a park. A cinema was built, a kindergarten, the boy scouts house. And, in 1962, the school No. 98. True, the school was mainly frequented by Armenian pupils. But it was a Russian school. All Armenian children from here were going to this school. Alas, in order to enlarge the territory of the church… The school was levelled in just a few days. Razed to the ground. The remains are over there. Please.

Who was buried here!? Our great Armenians! The Beibutians. The Generals Beibutian. Our great wealthy ones.

When I remember the graves, I remain perplex. What happened? My grandfather was buried here. My grandmother was buried here. Grandfather Hovanes and grandmother Nina. I don't understand what is happening. Why did it have to be like this?

I will never forget when the bulldozers started destroying the graves. Thousands of bones were pulled out… They were tearing them out and throwing them away somewhere in the mountains. The sad and tragic remains. I saw them lay the foundations for school No. 98. The corpses were piled up. Recent cadavers still wearing their clothes. What to say? It is hard to remember.

 

 

 

 

 

Man from Kimbirda, Javakhk

We know history well. This nation has not had its own architecture. The whole Georgian architecture is founded on Armenian architecture. In the centuries 5-6-7 , no Georgian churches existed. Armenians and Georgians were doing mass together in the Armenian language. Armenians stuck to the roots of their old church while some nations only support Armenians today on the foundation of the old church. It is the same today. As if it were their own country, They come together with the Prime Minister… Try understanding why (Georgian) clergy is coming in the company of the Prime Minister.

We don't have any bad feelings against other nations or governments. But if a nation today wants to invade even your home, You have to defend your home, right? And not only your home but your neighbor's home and co-citizen's too.

This means that no matter what the Georgians want or don't want, The base of our church is strong. Look, how many of the youth are gathered here! The village is strong, The faith is strong and the youth is strong. That's why we don't have anything against other nations but we won't let any other nation come to Kimbirda. Be it for political reasons or ideological treason and invade us.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs. LAZAREV

Sarkis: - Did a lot of Armenians live here?
Mrs. Lazarev: - There were the Lazarevs, Oganovs, Vartanovs, Shakarovs, Berelovs, Arutinians.
Saris: - Are there any left now?
Mrs. Lazarev: - No, no one except us.
Sarkis: - Did they leave or did they change their names?
Mrs. Lazarev: - They are gone. No names, no sons and no grand-sons. Only the two sisters of us are left.
Sarkis: - And where did the local Armenians go?
Mrs. Lazarev: - They went nowhere. They all died.
Sarkis: - And so who is left?
Mrs. Lazarev: - The ones who are left, their sons and grand sons live in Tbilisi .
Sarkis: - Do they have a surname?
Mrs. Lazarev: - Actually, they all changed it. Shakarovs changed to Shakarashvili. Okanov changed to Alania, the mother's name. Armenian surnames are not “cool” anymore.
Sarkis: - Were they forced to change?
Mrs. Lazarev: - Of course. They would not let them (live in peace), no one liked them, because they lived better than anybody else. They lived well and were rich, they had trading centers, now they are not trading anymore, now the Georgians are trading. At every step a butka, butka (small shop). Now it is them.
Sarkis: - They were forced to change their names?
Mrs. Lazarev: - They changed the names, of course. Everyone changed. Only we did not. And the Oganovs. Everyone else did.

   

 

ANDRANIK MARGARIAN, Prime Minister of Armenia

At my meeting with the (Georgian) Prime Minister we decided to establish a working group. Additionally, we try to align the issues raised by us… With the existing legal framework of Georgia . Today there is no law on religion, but sooner or later Georgia will have to vote it. For a country on the way to integration in the European Union, this is mandatory. Since there is no such law in Georgia today, We have to resolve these issues within its existing legal framework. The matter is rather one for lawyers than for the Church or historians. Today we try to make some progress, At least until the necessary legal framework is established in Georgia .

   

 

 

 

MADAME KATIA

I cleaned it all. Do you see this up there? I couldn't reach. And this side too, it was all plastered.
Jeghische: - So that it would not show that is Armenian.
Katia: - So it would not show, and they could sell it.

The whole cemetery is like this.

And they are not even ashamed, when they dig and see a zinc coffin, they throw earth on it and bury their dead on top of the coffin.

Man: - Aren't they afraid of God?
Katia: - How would they know what God is? They don't. They make money. They talk about God to make money.

   

 

 

DAVID RSTAKYAN, leader of political party VIRK, Javakhk

I will say what our side, the Javakhk side, wants. The problem of problems as we consider it, is the conservation of Javakhk Armenians on this territory, on their land, their right to live, and to live a dignified life. Along this line we essentially think that we should not let the (Georgian) governments which come and go one after the other, change the demographic composition (of Javakhk). Serious efforts for these changes are under way.

We stated that our final aim was the preservation of Armenians. This is our aim. There are many ways. One is autonomy, another one can also be independence. If this government is not capable of resolving this all human and just purely human problem such as the preservation of Armenians on our territories, we are even prepared for self-determination.

   

 

 

 

 

HAYR ABGAR, former Deptuty Head of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, before being mutated back to Armenia due to security reasons

Tomorrow is a great day for this village. Almost the whole village will come to be christened. I had asked only for the children. But along with the children the parents are coming. We will have a problem for the godparents. I will ask our pilgrims doing the performance today, to become godparents.

There had been no priests in the village Akhkiorpi for 70 years. For understandable reasons during the Soviet years. The villagers were cut off from any spiritual support. Our presence today is also the Armenian Diocese's in Georgia presence. It brings along a new activity and breath. We are pleased with it, but our visit must not stop at this. A priest needs to be nominated for the region of Marneuli. To be based in our (Armenian) town of Shahumian . This priest shall visit the 7 surrounding villages. These 7 villages have a (Armenian) population of 12.000, all children of our Church. They have been neglected for years. Now we have to make good for our mistakes.

AND WHAT DO THE GEORGIANS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS?
SEE IT IN THE FILM.