Motherland is gay Armenian-American activist and film-maker, Vic Gerami’s award-winning (34 awards so far) documentary about Azerbaijan and Turkey’s 2020 unprovoked genocidal attack on Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), a region of Armenia. This largely unreported massacre resulted in the deaths of over 5000 Armenians and was part of an ongoing campaign of hate, violence, and misinformation by the two nations against indigenous Armenians.
The ancient country of Armenia has had a complex history. The first nation in the world to adopt Christianity as its state religion, it’s situated between Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. Over one million Armenians were massacred by the Turks during the first World War. The eastern Armenian region of Artsakh, inhabited mostly by ethnic Armenians, is subject to a long-standing territorial dispute with Azerbaijan, who control surrounding areas. There have been several periods of conflict over the years. A twenty-year period of relative stability was shattered in 2020 by Azerbaijan and Turkey’s attack.
Gerami uses a combination of current and historic footage, sharp graphics, eye-witness interviews with both civilians and Armenian soldiers, and interviews with several US Congressmen/women to shine a light on one of the great unreported human rights tragedies of our times. His heartfelt documentary is beautifully shot, edited and narrated. Famous people of Armenian descent include Kim Kardashian and Cher, both of whom feature in the film. He connects the plight of the ethnic Armenians to the struggles queer people have had to be recognised and accepted. Some of the footage is very gruesome but necessary to question our indifference to what is going on in this region. The Artsakh invasion has been echoed by Russia’s more recent invasion of Ukraine. The difference in media coverage and international governmental condemnation between the two invasions is striking. The harsh reality is that Azerbaijan has important energy resources that the West needs whereas Armenia doesn’t. The West also supplies arms to oil-rich Azerbaijan, adding to the conflicts of interest.
We need to watch documentaries like this. Aggressive leaders like Turkey’s Erdogan and Azerbaijan’s Aliyev need to be monitored and kept in check, and global awareness of their actions is necessary to contain future atrocities.
“In the end, we remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends” Martin Luther King
PS Follow https://www.facebook.com/MotherlandDocFilm/ to see where the film is screening next
Queerguru’s Contributing Editor Ris Fatah is a successful fashion/luxury business consultant (when he can be bothered) who divides and wastes his time between London and Ibiza. He is a lover of all things queer, feminist, and human rights in general. @ris.fatah