BRUSSELS—On Monday June 17, the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) co-organized the screening of the documentary, “Grandma’s Tattoos” with Swedish – Armenian director Suzanne Khardalian in the European Parliament.
The screening was co-hosted by two Swedish Members of the Euroepan Parliament, Carl Schlyter (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance) and Cecilia Wikström (Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe).
A very diverse audience of more than 120 people attended the screening. Following welcoming remarks and introduction by EAFJD President Kaspar Karampetian, “Grandma’s Tattoos” was screened. The audience was electrified, and emotionally touched by the film, which chronicles the plight Armenian girls and women abducted and enslaved during the Armenian Genocide, and marked by tattoos as the properties of their captors.
After the screening, European Parliament member Cecilia Wikström, and director Suzanne Khardalian responded to the questions of the audience. Questions ranged from the violation of women in wartime to the shame and humiliation carried with it. Wikström said that “a woman’s body is a battleship” and expressed her concerns about violated women, and that the EU Parliament should send a strong message against it.
Khardalian told the audience that her aunt Lucia –the main character in the documentary – did not have the chance to see the movie, since she passed away before the completion of the movie. However, the director said she is “fortunate,” only because a significant number of Armenian women had already been interviewed by her, as if they were “waiting to tell their stories before leaving this world.”
Khardalian mentioned that like her grandmother, “I also feel violated and ashamed because the stigma of rape passed on from generation to generation”.
Co-host of the screening, European Parliament member Carl Schlyter, in his closing remarks said that the fate of women during both World Wars, and even before and after must be told to the coming generations, and stressed the need for vigilance against such acts, so they are not repeated.