Ephraim Abramov: "Writing about Karabakh events requires emotional strength"
Several days ago, with the support of the Israel-Azerbaijan International Association (AzIz), presentation of the novel written by director and playwright Ephraim Abramov and poet Leyla Begim "Black Snowdrops", as well as Gunel Anar's "Karabakh Stories" was held in Prague. Yesterday, the Moscow Jewish Museum of Tolerance hosted the event dedicated to the Khojaly tragedy. Ephraim Abramov discussed the book about the Karabakh events in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- Is the "Black Snowdrops" novel about the events in Khojaly?
- We often emphasize that Holocaust is the history of Israel; I think that the events that happened Khojaly aren't even history, those are events of today, which we must remember, so that this tragedy will never happen again. President of Israel Reuven Rivlin sain in the UN that the events in Khojaly are a genocide. There's a phrase in the Bible - "Next year - in Jerusalem!" - and I hope that next year we will meet in Shusha.
I usually write love lyrics, poetic things, scenarios about love. Last year, a wonderful poet, playwrighter, my friend and co-author Leyla Begim, who lives in the Czech Republic, called me and said that literature contest on Khojaly topic was announced - it was times to 25th anniversary of those events. Leyla and I already wrote seven plays, one of them is dedicated to the Karabakh events. It's called "Dreaming Boys". It's shown in the Baku Youth Theater and has huge success.
All facts included in the "Black Snowdrops" are real, but we came up with plot line. The events take place in our days in Amsterdam. This is a story about 11-year-old girl, who was blinded during the events in Khojaly; 25 years have passed, she became a famous poetess, but she is tormented by nightmares, so she goes to psychotherapist.
At the same time, her brother - famous journalist - tries to show the international community that it's impossible to leave those who committed crimes in Khojaly unpunished, that it's necessary to bring perpetrators of that massacre to justice. He goes to London to meet with one of famous human rights defenders, but dies in a car accident.
Then psychotherapist, who turns out to be Azerbaijani, goes to London himself to finish what heroine's brother couldn't. Later, it turns out that someone tries to stop heroes of the story.
- Why all those events take place in Europe?
- There was an idea that psychotherapist should live there for a long time under a different name. This story takes place in Amsterdam, but right now we're thinking about shooting a feature film, and we decided to move the story to Prague. It'll be much cheaper. I hope Barrandov Film will support us in some way, help us both technically and with human resources.
This novel has already been published in many places, translated into several languages. It's published in English, Russian, Azerbaijani and Czech.
- Will you continue to work on the Nagorno-Karabakh topic?
- I'm afraid I won't. I just don't have enough emotional strength. Leyla Begim lives in the Czech Republic, I live in Israel, we're actively working together, and have already received hundreds of reviews. Many people can't finish reading this story - they begin to cry. Anton Pavlovich Chekhov said that if you don't worry about your hero, then no one will. Sometimes I try to read this story again, I think that maybe I would like to correct something. But I can't finish it, it's too emotional for me.
It will be very hard to continue this topic. But I promised myself that while I'm still alive, as long as I have strength, as long as I can, we'll make a film based on this story. There is already a group, we're all cinematographers; I hope that we'll be supported and financed.