CNN International to Feature the Defense of Musa Dagh

CNN International will feature this weekend a report covering the heroic defense of Musa Dagh during the Armenian Genocide. The segment, produced by Yerkir Media for broadcast on CNN, will mark the 95th anniversary of the famed resistance against the Turkish army in 1915.

Reporting the story will be Yerkir Media correspondent Gayane Avetisyan. It will feature footage from a recent commemoration of the anniversary in Armenia, as well as interviews with Musa-Dagh descendants living in Armenia.

Armenian communities around the world that trace their heritage to this once thriving city in Asia Minor celebrate the anniversary every year, with a unique festival and reenactments of the resistance.  Of the hundreds of villages, towns, and cities across the Ottoman Empire whose Armenian population was ordered removed to the Syrian desert, Musa Dagh was one of only four sites where Armenians organized a defense of their community against the deportation edicts issued by the Young Turk regime beginning in April 1915.

By the time the Armenians of the six villages at the base of Musa Dagh were instructed to evict their homes, the inhabitants had grown suspicious of the government’s ultimate intentions and chose instead to retreat up the mountain and to defy the evacuation order. Musa Dagh, or the Mountain of Moses, stood on the Mediterranean Sea south of the coastal town of Alexandretta (modern-day Iskenderun) and west of ancient Antioch.

With a few hundred rifles and the entire store of provisions from their villages, the Armenians on Musa Dagh put up a fierce resistance against a number of attempts by the regular Turkish army to flush them out. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Armenians had little expectations of surviving the siege of the mountain when food stocks were depleted after a month.

Their only hope was a chance rescue by an Allied vessel that might be patrolling the Mediterranean coast. When two large banners hoisted by the Armenians were sighted by a passing French warship, swimmers went out to meet it. Eventually five Allied ships moved in to transport the entire population of men, women, and children, more than four thousand in all.

The Armenians of Musa Dagh had endured for fifty three days from July 21 to September 12, 1915. They were disembarked at Port Said in Egypt and remained in Allied refugee camps until the end of World War I when they returned to their homes. As part of the district of Alexandretta, or Hatay, Musa Dagh remained under French Mandate until 1939. The Musa Dagh Armenians abandoned their villages for a second, and final, time when the area was annexed by Turkey.

In the face of the complete decimation of the Armenian communities of the Ottoman Empire, Musa Dagh became a symbol of the Armenian will to survive. Of the three other sites where Armenians defied the deportation orders, Shabin Karahissar, Urfa, and Van, only the Armenians of Van were rescued when the siege of their city was lifted by an advancing Russian army. The Armenians of Urfa and Shabin Karahissar were either massacred or deported. Musa Dagh stood as the sole instance where the Western Allies at war with the Ottomans averted the death of a community during the Armenian Genocide.

The CNN segment on this positive moment in a dark history will air on CNN International on the following dates and times:

  • Friday, Oct. 22: 10:30PM PST
  • Saturday, Oct. 23: 6:30 AM PST
  • Sunday, Oct. 24: 6:30 PM PST
  • Monday, Oct. 25: 1:30 AM PST
  • Tuesday, Oct. 26: 8:30 PM PST

It will also be available online Monday at http://www.cnn.com/worldview

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22 Comments

  1. Sevag said:

    Went to CNN to find it but couldnt. Is there another place to see this report? To bad i missed it!!

    • Admin said:

      There was a mistake in the dates. We have just corrected them. The show will air this weekend. See article for correct dates.

  2. Roxann Petzold said:

    We don’t get CNN International here and I tried to find it on the CNN World schedule but couldn’t.

  3. Souzan Paladin said:

    I as a daughter of a nation that was sent to annihilation by Ottoman Empire, it is very important to see glimpse of those tragic events. The fight and heroic liberation of few thousand Armenians on the hills of Musa Dag is inspirational story. Thank you for coverage.

  4. Simon G said:

    The Turks couldn’t change our believes so they stole our history and most of our lands.

    • ARA said:

      Well said- Right on- They did do that-and still do. The nerve of them to hold a prayer let alone destroy our old cities, graves, churches and cathedrals. well- we will get it back-some day!

  5. Vigen said:

    Unfortunately we won’t be able to watch this program here is US through Charter, Direct TV or any other similar broadcasters.

  6. Leila P said:

    Shame on US broadcasters for not airing a part of history. Thank you for posting this on your website, my grandfather is in the photo, first row fourth from left.

  7. Nishan Nalbandian said:

    Its time our story is told and there are thousands. The time will come when our voice is heard and our rights in our land are repossessed.

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  9. ARA said:

    I searched and searched-the channel and guides on our Verizon FIOS and tv- no suchg program shows up for this documentary- We are on the east coast-what is different here. Our Channel Guide for CNN international is 105- the CNN International show- do they have different programming for us or what? I found none-trying to watch and or record

  10. Etwart said:

    I tried everything to find it. There is no such show on CNN. Please get ur info correctly Asbarez.

    • Allen Yekikan said:

      @Atwart its not on CNN its on CNN international. Unless you receive that channel in your lineup you will not see it or find any information on it. As noted in the piece it does say that the video will be available online on Monday. Furthermore, just as it did with the CNN World View piece on Tatev, Asbarez will be sharing the video on its website as well.

  11. Kevork Nazarian said:

    For many days now I’m searching to find the program, there is no way to do so. is this a hoax?
    why can’t you provide the video to the public to see.

  12. Antica said:

    Is it true that “The Defense of Musa Dagh” will not be telecast in the United States, and that the only way we can view it is on the CNN Worldview website? If so, why is that, who is responsible for censoring it in the U.S. , and who can we write to in to express our objections?

  13. Angelos Tsirimokos said:

    Coincidentally, I read Franz Werfel’s novel on that epic event last week. Shame on France for having handed back Alexandretta to Kemal’s Turkey!

  14. Tiana said:

    If you can’t find the TV presentation, which we couldn’t, click on the hyperlink at the end of the above article.
    It will take you to the online web site. Make sure that you have the latest version of Flash Player or Quick Time or whatever your computer requires to see video. The program is online.

    As Antica wrote above, it is very possible that there is censorship in the US as to viewing on TV. If so, what happened to free press?!

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