For Immediate Release
Wednesday, February 16, 2021
Media Contact: Vic Gerami
Judy Saryan Reveals why she’s Banding Together with Vic Gerami’s Elite Team of Executive Producers Backing one of 2022’s Most Anticipated New Documentary Films: Motherland
Business leader, CNBC & CNN Commentator, Feminist, Philanthropist and Armenian-American Renaissance Woman Bears Humanitarian Soul in telling why she’s Helping to Produce Motherland
As Motherland spotlights the continuing genocide at the hands of Azerbaijan and its allies against Armenians in Artsakh/Nagorno Karabakh, Judy Saryan recalls a harsh realization she experienced during an adolescent conversation 55 years ago: It’s easier to make people look away from crimes against humanity than persuading them to look forward through current events to avoid future genocides. Now, that lesson and Saryan’s unremitting passion for human rights and the plight of vulnerable, indigenous people combine with a cinematic storytelling moment whose time has come.
‘Vic Gerami's film, Motherland, presents the aggressors in their true light. His determined efforts are crucial if we are to support human rights, protect the rights of indigenous people, and support emerging democracies in a region rife with corruption. The indigenous people are the only ones who will care for the land and protect it for future generations.’
— Judy Saryan
LOS ANGELES— Prominent business and community leader, feminist activist, and philanthropist, Judy Saryan has teamed up with the acclaimed producers of Motherland, a much-anticipated, feature-length documentary film that’s expected to blow the lid off of Azerbaijan’s concerted campaign of violence, deception and burgeoning genocide against the Armenian civilians of Artsakh. Saryan will assume the role of development producer for the film. Her extraordinary work and activism with various organizations such as the Armenian International Women's Association (AIWA), National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, and Democracy Today, makes her a uniquely qualified and dynamic new member of the Motherland team.
“I feel very fortunate to have someone of Judy’s caliber on our team. She is the complete package and then some. A highly successful businesswoman, a feminist and activist fighting for the marginalized, a writer and editor who not only knows the value of cultural heritage, but does the work to preserve it,” Vic Gerami, the film’s creator and director. ‘Judy takes Motherland’s team to new heights.”
As a prominent figure in the financial services industry, most recently at Eaton Vance Management, where she was vice president and portfolio manager, she has been called upon numerous times to provide financial commentary for the media. Saryan has presented her market analyses live on premier cable news outlets, such as CNBC and CNN.
“Ever since September 2020, Armenians have suffered not only because of the devastating war in Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh, but because Azerbaijan and Turkey, the perpetrators of the war, blanketed the media with misinformation and disinformation about what was happening,’ said Saryan.
Like all Predators, Predatory Nations Attack the Vulnerable when no one’s Looking
Saryan continued, “The narrative was controlled by the aggressors who brutally attacked the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia during the global pandemic, committing war crime after war crime, including crimes against the people and the environment. How is it that the illegal use of white phosphorus by the Azerbaijani army to destroy Armenian forests and cause horrendous burns, has been largely left out of the media narrative?”
As she put it during an address at the Armenian Memorial in April last year, “Ever since September, 2020, Armenians have suffered not only because of the devastating war in Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh, but because we were overwhelmed by misinformation and disinformation… The narrative was controlled by the aggressors who brutally attacked the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh [also known as Artsakh]…
“The Azerbaijani army, side by side with Turkey which has the second largest NATO army, bombed civilian targets including homes, schools, and religious centers including the Cathedral of Shushi. The Azerbaijanis continue to hold many POW’s, among them, civilians despite the November, 2020 ceasefire which called for the release of all prisoners of war. Human Rights Watch attested to the torture and murder of prisoners. Mutilations and murder perpetrated by Azerbaijani soldiers of elderly Armenian women and men circulated on social media. Despite all of these human rights violations, the narrative continues to be dominated by the criminal regime.
Never Time to forget about Genocide
During her landmark Armenian Memorial speech of 2021, Judy Saryan revealed a seminal, however subtle moment early along a life path of achievement and championing the cause of protecting humanity’s most vulnerable, which has most recently landed her as a member of Motherland’s select group of producers.
In her own words:
“When I was 13 years old, in response to my presentation in class about the Genocide of the Armenians in their ancestral homeland in Turkey, my friend asked me why I focused on the past. ‘It happened so many years ago,’ she said. ‘Surely, it’s time to forget about it.’ At the time in 1967, the Genocide was recent history, barely fifty years in the past.
“Ever since the 1890’s, Turkey and its predecessor the Ottoman Empire, have perpetrated extreme violence against the indigenous Armenian population; however, it’s not only the Armenians who have been targeted. Over the years, the victims of Turkish state sanctioned racism have included the Assyrians and the Greeks. They have been either murdered or expelled.
From 1915-1923, one and a half million Armenians, which accounted for about three quarters of the indigenous Armenian population, along with Assyrians and Greeks, were murdered in what was then known as the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish Republic was founded on the expropriated land, homes, and businesses of Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks.
“If my friend were with us here, I would tell her that I am proud of the Armenians for standing up to Turkey, demanding acknowledgement and pursuing justice for the Genocide. Genocide recognition is not only about the Armenians and it’s not only about the past. We have a responsibility to learn from the past and not to sit idly by as Genocide is committed today.
All people deserve to be treated with dignity, especially minorities who have suffered from racism and are terrorized by tyrannical governments. During the 2020 war, President Erdogan of Turkey said that we are now finishing the job that our grandparents had started. In other words, the Genocide continues.
President Biden’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2021 represents a sea change in US foreign policy. The US government makes it clear that it will no longer appease the Republic of Turkey which was founded by Kemal Ataturk, a role model for Adolph Hitler. Turkey has proved itself to be an unreliable ally over and over again. The recent rhetoric from President Erdogan is chilling. ‘Turkey is not 780 thousand square kilometers for us; Turkey is everywhere for us,’ he said. ‘The messages we will give from Northern Cyprus concern not only the island but the whole world.”
Financial Industry Success Followed by an Unabashed Career Fighting for what’s Right
Saryan retired from her successful financial-industry career in order to pursue her passion for literature and the history of Armenian women's activism. Ten years ago, after watching a documentary entitled ‘Finding Zabel Yessayan,’ Saryan was determined to introduce this groundbreaking author’s legacy to a wider audience. She joined a group of women from the Armenian International Women's Association (AIWA), and together they arranged for the English translations of three of Yessayan’s works.
It would be an understatement to say that author Yessayan’s work influenced Saryan. The former’s writing eventually led her to walk away from the pinnacle of a financial industry career in order to take up her inspiration’s call to action.
“She bore witness to the most horrendous times in modern Armenian history and did not lose her courage to speak out in the face of danger,” Saryan said of the 19th century author, literary academic and Armenian woman of enlightenment. “The Armenians are the indigenous people of this land. They have lived in Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian highlands for over 2,500 years, yet the invading countries of Turkey and Azerbaijan have reframed the narrative claiming that they are the victims. The fact that the brutal aggressors can control the narrative, demonstrates the power of the corrupt leaders of Turkey and Azerbaijan, their military dominance supported by Western aid and compliance, and their money and lies to bribe leaders around the world.”
Judy Saryan, who is addition to her new role as a film producer, is the co-editor of the first English translation of Srpuhi Dussap's Mayda: Echoes of Protest (2020, AIWA), a novel originally published in 1883 advocating equal rights for women, is supporting the production of filmmaker-journalist and Los Angeles-based national radio host, Vic Gerami’s penetrating investigation into the global community’s impotent response to war crimes being committed on a daily basis by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s military. Saryan is proud to now be working side-by-side with Gerami and other filmmakers to lift the veil from the fact that Aliyev’s enablers include a cadre of regional allies led by Turkish forces under the control of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“Motherland is now in post-production, and without giving away our story, I can confidently say this film is turning out to be a chilling, visual human drama that pierces an opaque and terrifying situation in Artsakh,” said director and producer, Vic Gerami.
“I can’t wait to release ‘Motherland’ to worldwide audiences and expose the atrocities that are being committed against Artsakh, Armenia, and Armenian people in general,” added Gerami. ”Like most gruesome acts of its kind where the perpetuators don’t act alone, Azerbaijan and Turkey had facilitators and enablers, such as both countries' regional and strategic allies.”
The film’s list of high-profile supporters, participants and interviewees include Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Baroness Caroline Anne Cox, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA), Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Israeli-Russian Journalist Alexander Lapshin, Republic of Armenia High Commissioner of Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan, Head of ‘Bright Armenia’ Party Edmon Marukyan, Former Deputy Minister of Environment for the Republic of Armenia and Senior Advisor on Climate Change to the World Bank Group Dr. Irina Ghaplanyan, Co-Founder of Aznavour Foundation Nicolas Aznavour, CEO of Aznavour Foundation Kristina Aznavour, Professor Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Azerbaijani blogger and activist Mahammad Mirzali, and several Armenian journalists, veterans, and refugees.
‘Motherland’ has the support of leading organizations. The Grand Commander for the Knights of Vartan, Steve Adams, issued a directive on December 13, 2021, to all twenty-two lodges to support the film. Previously, Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, secured a symbolically important grant from the City of Los Angeles for the film. He congratulated Gerami, Geragos, and Motherland’s entire production team on recruiting Commissioner Kbushyan. ‘With the addition of Sam, this team continues to impress,’ said Councilman O'Farrell. ‘This film will help give much-needed attention to the injustices in Artsakh.’
Produced and directed by Los Angeles-based Armenian American journalist and activist, Vic Gerami, 'Motherland' is a new documentary, feature-length film about the genocidal assault and the violent ethnic cleansing that was unleashed September 27, 2020 by Azerbaijan and Turkey. The 90-minute documentary film focuses unwavering attention on the coordinated, systematic and wholly unprovoked genocidal attack and ethnic cleansing against the Armenians of Artsakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh.
‘We are racing against time to bring much-needed attention to this humanitarian catastrophe and the imminent threat it poses to millions of innocent people,’ says Gerami.
‘Armenian and Artsakh people have a combined population of about three million; but Azerbaijan and Turkey have ninety million,’ he continues. ‘It’s a genuine David versus Goliath nightmare.’
21st Century Armenian Genocide in the Making
‘We are trying to prevent another Armenian Genocide,’ Gerami explains.
It took 106 years before the United States formally recognized the Armenian Genocide of 1915, which was committed by Ottoman Turks.
On April 24, 2021, President Joe Biden became the first US president to recognize the Armenian genocide, officially — and to recommit America to its promise to prevent such an atrocity against humanity ever occurring again.
Yet tragically, history is repeating itself. Turkey’s and Azerbaijan’s ongoing genocidal attack and ethnic cleansing against Armenians, as we’ve witnessed recently in Artsakh, is unrelenting.
Motherland tells the story of this ongoing and tragic chapter of human history as it was recently witnessed in Armenia and surrounding areas when Producer-Director Vic Gerami and his film crew capped a yearlong reporting and advocacy project by taking cameras on riveting location shoots near the scenes of what many are calling war crimes.
New Chapter in Regional Warfare
Azerbaijan, with declared assistance from Turkey, has launched a large-scale offensive against Artsakh. Employing thousands of Turkish-paid jihadist mercenaries airlifted from terrorist camps in Syria, Libya, and Pakistan, Azerbaijan’s war effort has been empowered by Erdogan to magnify the violence already being perpetrated by the Azerbaijani Army against innocent children, women and men who, previously, had lived peacefully for generations in Artsakh.
The 2020 invasion opened a new chapter in the history of regional warfare. The travesty has been marked by unmatched suffering anywhere on the planet today, which Artsakh’s civilian population currently endures on a daily basis. For 44 days, the world stood by, largely in silence, as more than 5,000 Armenians were massacred.
Vic Gerami is available for interviews. You can contact him at 310.880.8563 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Judy Saryan
Judy Saryan was born in Delaware and graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts with a major in economics and a concentration in music. She spent her career in the financial services industry, most recently at Eaton Vance Management, where she was vice president and portfolio manager. She has been called upon numerous times to provide financial commentary for the media, and she has been featured on CNBC and CNN. Saryan retired from her successful career in order to pursue her passion for literature and the history of Armenian women's activism. Ten years ago, after watching a documentary entitled Finding Zabel Yessayan, Saryan was determined to introduce this groundbreaking author’s legacy to a wider audience. She joined a group of women from the Armenian International Women's Association, AIWA, and together they arranged for the English translations of three of Yessayan’s works, The Gardens of Silihdar (2014), My Soul in Exile and Other Writings (2014), and In the Ruins (2016). Saryan is also co-editor of the first English translation of Srpuhi Dussap's Mayda: Echoes of Protest (2020, AIWA), a novel originally published in 1883 advocating equal rights for women. She serves on the boards of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, as well as Democracy Today.
About Vic Gerami
Vic Gerami is an award-winning journalist, columnist, media commentator, and the host of his prime-time headline news + politics radio program THE BLUNT POST with VIC (TBPV) on Independent + Progressive Radio KPFK 90.7 FM (Pacifica Network). Vic is also the editor + publisher of The Blunt Post.
Today reaching national, international audiences, Gerami first built a foundation of knowledge and skills by learning the media industry during his years at Frontiers Magazine, followed by positions at LA Weekly and Voice Media Group.
Gerami’s radio program, TBPV covers national, regional, and local headline news, politics, and current events, and Gerami offers analysis and commentary. He also interviews a high-profile member of Congress or other high-profile public figures on each show. His recent guests include Congressman Adam Schiff, Senator Bob Menendez, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Governor Howard Dean, Congresswoman Katie Porter, Congressman Brad Sherman, Congressman Mike Levin, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Congresswoman Judy Chu, LA District Attorney George Gascon, among many others. You can listen to all the interviews here.
Gerami is also a contributor for some of the most prominent publications in the nation, including Windy City Times, Bay Area Reporter, Armenian Mirror-Spectator, The Advocate, The Immigrant Magazine, GoWeHo, Destination Luxury, OUT Traveler, The Fight, and among others.
Gerami founded the Truth And Accountability League (TAAL), a 501©3 non-profit organization that advocates for Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and Armenia. TAAL monitors & addresses Armenophobia, extremism & bigotry around the globe on the level of media, including social media, public policy, academia, and intelligentsia.
The Wall Street Journal featured Gerami as a “leading gay activist” in its landmark 2008 coverage of opposition to Proposition 8, the ballot measure that for years denied same-sex couples in California the freedom to marry. In addition to his years of volunteer work as a leading advocate for marriage equality, Gerami served as a Planning Committee member for the historic Resist March in 2017.
In 2015, Gerami was referenced in the landmark Supreme Court civil rights case, Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court held in a 5–4 decision that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process and the Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Please click here for more information about Vic Gerami.