The Dove's Brief

Ania Karen Hadjian
There are words that are not to be named. Genocide is one of them. “The Dove’s Brief,” a one-man theater piece staged in Buenos Aires, directed and played by Daniel Ritto, seeks to reverse this historical injustice and the general ignorance about the event, with renewed vocation of justice. The play strives to show that by silencing a concept, a historical truth, the muted voices of countless victims that human history has claimed for centuries are also silenced.
The stage is bare. There is just an Armenian flag in the middle, leaning against the heavy curtain. On one side, there is one issue of the Agos newspaper and the portrait of Talaat Pasha, that will witness the one-man play centered on the figure of Hrant Dink, who comes back from the death to tell us his life, his relentless search for recognition and justice, his childhood and, above everything, his love for Rakel, the woman who was by his side during his life.
Before that, there is an extensive and detailed account by writer Osvaldo Bayer about the most horrific massacres in history: the European atrocities in Africa; the genocide of America’s aboriginal nations during the Spanish conquest; the “Desert’s Conquest” in Argentina, a massacre of aboriginal peoples by the state of the newly-born Argentina that abhorred its indigenous past; the Jewish Holocaust, and the killings during the last Argentine military dictatorship, whose history is also marked by blood and state-sponsored terror. In an interview with Argentine newspaper Página 12, Bayer says the play seeks to “rescue the values of civil courage” and compares Dink with Rodolfo Walsh, an Argentine writer murdered by the aforementioned military regime in the 1970’s.
Embodied by Ritto, Dink introduces us to his life to scream one truth. He introduces us to his life from his death, to reinforce what is already known and is silenced: the denied genocide and lack of freedom of expression in the 21st century. “The Dove’s Brief” wants it to be known. It wants it to be screamed, even – if need be – by spectators themselves, harangued by Dink’s ghost, who enters and exits the stage and walks among the rows of seats, interacting with the incomprehensibly denied truth of the Armenian nation.
Argentine-Armenian community member Eduard Kozanlian approached Ritto and Bayer with the idea and acted as historical advisor, with the goal of spreading the word about the Dink case in Buenos Aires, a city with a strong Armenian presence, with a community that’s very active for the recognition of the Armenian genocide.
“The Dove’s Brief” is a play that seeks to create alarm in the face of negationism, that seeks to prevent convoluted language from unmaking truths, and that history’s invisible dead receive proper burial, so that the Armenian nation’s and so many other’s mourning comes to an end.

"Agos," May 11, 2012

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