“Grandma’s Tattoos” screened in the European Parliament

On Monday 17th June, 2013, the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) co-organized the “Grandma’s Tattoos” movie screening in the presence of 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).

120 attendants were present – a very diverse audience of old and young women and men. After the Welcoming and short introduction of EAFJD President Kaspar Karampetian, “Grandma’s Tattoos” was screened. The audience was electrified, and emotionally touched, from the subject matter – of Armenian girls and women abducted and enslaved during the Armenian Genocide, and marked by tattoos as the properties of their captors.

After the screening, MEP Cecilia Wikström, and director Suzanne Khardalian responded to the questions of the audience. Questions about the violation of women in wartime, and not only, the shame and humiliation carried with it. MEP Cecilia Wikström mentioned 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.

Director Suzanne Khardalian informed the audience that her aunt Lucia – 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 feels “lucky”, 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, MEP Carl Schlyter, in his closing remarks mentioned that the fate of women, especially during, mass crimes, during both World Wars, and even before and after shall be told to the coming generations, and that we shall be vigilant against such acts, as to never be repeated again.

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