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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg

Apr 23, 2017

A new movie has just been released, 'The Promise', set against the background of World War I dealing with the program by The Ottoman Turks to exterminate the Armenians.

This was a cinematic project dear to the late Kirk Kerkorian, perhaps best known for his Las Vegas hotel and casino connections and his ownership of MGM, but himself an Armenian for whom the massacre was not just some tale of history.

But in this reprise of interview conducted for the 100th anniversary of the Massacre two years ago, KGNU's Claudia Cragg speaks with Lou Ureneck, a former Deputy Managing Editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer on his book 'The Great Fire', @smyrnafire.

The events covered, Ureneck explains, constituted the final episode of what he terms "the 20th Century’s first genocide" — the slaughter of three million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians of the Ottoman Empire.

The massacre occurred as warships of the great powers stood by — the United States, Great Britain, France and Italy. The deaths of hundreds of thousands seemed inevitable until a minister, who happened to be an American, staged a bold rescue with the help of a courageous naval officer.

Now, he says, the mostly forgotten story of one of the great humanitarian acts of history gets told. (Please note: this is not the same tale of individuals as in 'The Promise' which also features many acts of bravery and heroism in a rather more generally fictitious mode.)