Russell Crowe’s new film about Gallipoli, The Water Diviner, has offended many descendants of genocide survivors – Greeks and Armenians alike – through its false portrayal of the events during the period which the film is set. There has been public outrage on our Facebook page, and for that reason, we’ve drafted a letter which you may use to voice your opinion. You may address it to whomever you choose, however we have listed some recommendations at the bottom of the draft (see below) including Andrew Anastasios the screenwriter, and The Rabbitohs Rugby League team which Crowe is shareholder of, and which is currently chaired by a good friend of Crowe’s, Dr Nick Pappas. Let’s stand up and be a voice for our ancestors who were brutally massacred during that period!
The Greek Genocide: 1914-1923
I am writing this letter to express my shock at the false portrayal of historical events in the Russell Crowe film ‘The Water Diviner’. The film is presented as being ‘inspired by actual events’, but as a person whose family has been deeply affected by the genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Government during that period (1914-1923), I can say that the events in the movie are far from the truth. In fact, they are a gross distortion of it.
In May of 2013, the New South Wales Parliament officially recognised the mass killing of Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians during that period as an act of genocide. Similar recognitions have occurred throughout the world condemning the acts as genocide. Geoffrey Robertson QC has for years been calling on Turkey to recognize its past, using the term ‘genocide’ to describe the events. Turkey has continuously denied committing genocide, while the rest of the world has been calling for recognition.
So how can a film such as The Water Diviner be made? How can a film show the exact opposite? How can Russell Crowe direct a film in which he portrays Greeks as satanic, while he portrays the Turks as victims? Just two weeks before the ANZAC landings, some 32,000 indigenous Greeks living in the Gallipoli peninsula were forcibly deported by the Ottoman Turkish government, and many died of harsh conditions. Other Greeks of Asia Minor such as those from Livissi (today Kayakoy) were also victims of the genocidal campaign during that period. Ironically, the final scenes in the movie were shot at the current ghost town of Livissi, Turkey.
In 1919, the Greek Army was sent to the western Ottoman port city of Smyrna (Izmir) via a British mandate, to protect the remaining Christian population in Anatolia from further massacre. When Greek forces landed, the Christians saw them as liberators. During and after WW1, the international media widely reported Turkish massacres against Greeks and Armenians. The methods used included mass killings, death marches, rape, forced conversion to Islam and confiscation of property amongst others.
On April 24, 1915, just one day prior to the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli, the Ottoman government rounded up some 240 Armenian intellectuals and most were killed. By 1923, over half of the Armenian population (1.5 million people) was massacred, some 1 million Greeks, and several hundred thousand Assyrians. All these events were happening during the time period of the scenes depicted in The Water Diviner, yet Russell Crowe managed to paint the Turks as victims.
The Water Diviner is a film that offends the descendants of genocide victims and should therefore be condemned. If a film depicting Adolf Hitler as a hero and the Jews as terrorists were made, the reaction would be one of shock and outrage. Russell Crowe’s film is a distortion of history that only serves to appease Turkey and its continued agenda of genocide denial.
SEND EMAILS TO:
ANDREW ANASTASIOS: email@example.com
eOne PRODUCTION HOUSE: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS: email@example.com
WARNER BROTHERS: http://www.warnerbros.com/help/customer-service
THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER: email@example.com
NATIONAL FILM EDITOR. FAIRFAX MEDIA: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other ways to PROTEST include going to IMDB and ROTTEN TOMATOES and giving it a really low rating and leaving a negative comment.
ROTTEN TOMATOES: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_water_diviner/