An hour portrait of 94-year-old Zaroohe Najarian that explores the major turning points of this Armenian woman's life. She survives the genocide of her people in World War I, grows up in a Beirut orphanage, immigrates to America, works in a sweatshop, and defies convention to be with her "true love."
Her unselfconscious physicality and remarkable capacity for happiness bring dignity to her aging whether she is singing to her great grandson or tending her garden which she has made into the "ayki" of her childhood. Zaroohe is a model for surviving tragedy and hardships without bitterness. In her refusal to be sad she becomes the universal grandmother to us all.
Karina Epperlein's educational documentary explores the life of Zaroohe Najarian, an Armenian woman who survives the genocide of her people in 1915. From the simple details of Najarian's everyday life comes the extraordinary story of an inspirational woman.
Murder and expulsion of Turkish Armenians by the Ottoman Empire under Abdülhamid II in 189496 and by the Young Turk government in 191516. In 1894, when the Armenians began agitating for territorial autonomy and protesting against high taxes, Ottoman troops and Kurdish tribesmen killed thousands. In 1896, hoping to call attention to their plight, Armenian revolutionaries seized the Ottoman Bank in Istanbul. Mobs of Muslim Turks, abetted by elements of the government, killed more than 50,000 Armenians in response. Sporadic killings occurred over the next two decades. In response to Russia's use of Armenian troops against the Ottomans in World War I (191418), the government deported 1.75 million Armenians south to Syria and Mesopotamia, in the course of which some 600,000 Armenians were killed or died of starvation.