19 February 2012, Sunday, 15:00
Missak Manouchian was born in Adana, in 1906. He lost all his family during the Genocide. He grew up in an orphanage in Syria and then immigrated to French. When the Nazis occupied Paris during World War II, he joined to an armored resistance organization; Partisan Irregular Riflemen (FTP: Francs-Tireurs Partisans) which was established by the French Communist Party. He was the military chief of FTP in Paris until he got arrested on November 16th, 1943. He fought side by side with Armenians, Jews, Italians, Rumanians, Hungarians, Spanish, Polish and French.
While the lawsuit was still going on, the collaborators prepared and posted ‘the Red Poster’ which contained xenophobic expressions to proclaim Manouchian and his comrades as traitors. On February 21st, 1944, Manouchian was executed by shooting with his 21 comrades in Valerian Hill. On the other hand, the Red Poster led to an unexpected reaction among the French. “They died for France!” People began to write this sentence on the poster using coal dust. The poster was a clear sign as the downfall of the collaborators’ efforts’ to break the resistance. Eventually, the Manouchian team became one of the most influential symbols of the French Resistance.
We watched Robert Guediguian’s movie, “L’Armee du Crime” (Army of Crime) on Sunday, February 19th, in order to remember the Manouchian team, the 23s and all the revolutionists, who fell for the sake of their struggle ‘for life’.