Foot­steps to a con­fronting past

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide - DAR­REN DEVLYN

FAM­ILY Foot­steps de­liv­ers the best kind of re­al­ity TV. It takes par­tic­i­pants out of their com­fort zone, but does not trade on ex­ploita­tion or rit­ual hu­mil­i­a­tion.

But the show does force peo­ple to con­front who they are and where they’re from.

The first episode of the sec­ond sea­son il­lus­trates the life Joanna Kam­bourian might be liv­ing if she’d been born and stayed in her an­ces­tral home­land, Ar­me­nia. Fam­ily Foot­steps, PG ABC1, Thurs­day, 8.30pm Trac­ing an­ces­try Du­ra­tion: 1 hour

We see Kam­bourian, who lives on the NSW coast, travel to Ar­me­nia to live with a men­tor fam­ily in the small vil­lage Ohana­van.

Kam­bourian’s great­est and most con­fronting chal­lenge came in ex­plor­ing her fam­ily’s dark past.

Kam­bourian, 30, is the first in her fam­ily to visit Ar­me­nia in 90 years. Her great grand­fa­ther left the vil­lage in shame and Kam­bourian is des­per­ate to find out whether her fam­ily can lay to rest the ghosts of the past.

Kam­bourian was over­come with emo­tion when vis­it­ing a geno­cide mu­seum. A his­to­rian told her that in 1915, un­der the cover of World War I, the Turks be­gan a sys­tem­atic geno­cide of Chris­tians and Ar­me­ni­ans in the Ot­toman Em­pire.

Kam­bourian’s great-grand­fa­ther was the sur­geon gen­eral in the Turk­ish army and to save his fam­ily he con­verted to Is­lam.

Kam­bourian learned how there was hon­our and dig­nity in re­fus­ing to con­vert, which is why her great­grand­fa­ther was made to feel he’d brought shame to the fam­ily.

Mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of her great­grand­fa­ther’s ac­tions, how­ever, lifts the veil of guilt. He is now seen as some­one who sim­ply did what he had to do to sur­vive.

‘‘It’s about res­o­lu­tion,’’ Kam­bourian says. ‘‘It (the trip to Ar­me­nia) has filled in a big hole I’ve felt for a long time’’.

Sadly her fa­ther died in May af­ter a pro­longed bat­tle with can­cer.

Res­o­lu­tion: Joanna Kam­bourian.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.