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Featuring a never-seen-before satellite image of a vandalized medieval cemetery at the Iranian-Azerbaijani border, “The New Tears of Araxes,” a five-minute film, tells the tragic story of thousands of ancient Armenian headstones flattened to the ground by the Azerbaijani authorities in Djulfa (Jugha), Nakhichevan.

On December 15, 2005, eyewitnesses across the River Araxes videotaped Azeri soldiers destroying Armenian burial monuments – khachkars (cross stones) – some as old as 1,500 years. Azerbaijani officials denied the vandalism, but banned European Parliament members from visiting the site in March of 2006. Only a few outside news sources tried to publicize the tragedy.

“The New Tears of Araxes” is written by Sarah Pickman, a University of Chicago student, who was the only American reporter to cover the tragedy when she interned for Archaeology Magazine. Producer and narrator Simon Maghakyan, who is among America’s top 20 college students according to USA TODAY (April 24, 2006), hopes the film will break a year of ignorance and silence. When asked why others should care, Maghakyan quotes Martin Luther King Jr. as saying, “Injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere.”

Music by Djivan Gasparian (Gladiator, The Passion of the Christ, Munich, Syriana); Digital sound track production by Transtar Entertainment Group; Photographs by Research on Armenian Architecture, and Argam Ayvazian; Footage of 2005 destruction by Tabriz’s Armenian Church, Iran; Satellite image by Digital Globe; Map by The Times, London. © Simon Maghakyan 2006.

The low resolution version is available at YouTube. High resolution DVD is available for free for educational purposes from [email protected].