PASADENA — On Friday, April 18, 2024, Massis Publishing hosted the US premiere of the documentary film “RED” at the AGBU Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Performing Arts Center in Pasadena.

“RED” is based on the groundbreaking book “Armenian Revolutionary Paramaz – Armenian Socialists and Genocide from Abdulhamid to Ittihat Terakki,” authored by Kadir Akın. The film delves into profound themes of justice and loyalty, exploring the intricate history and struggles of Armenian revolutionaries amidst the backdrop of the Armenian Genocide.

Prior to the premiere, Mr. Krikor Moloyan welcomed the audience on behalf of Massis Publishing. In a touching gesture, he presented the premiere of a song about Malatia Armenians Nazaret and Khatoun Der-Tavitian, composed and sung by their grandson, Harut Der-Tavitian. Moloyan encouraged the audience to remember their own ancestors, honor their resilience, and reflect upon their own perseverance.

Following the musical tribute, the documentary examined Paramaz’s statements, ideology, and activism, along with the Armenian Question in the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent Armenian Genocide, captivating the audience with its depth and relevance.

The screening was followed by remarks from the director, Kadir Akın, who expressed gratitude for being invited to the premiere. He highlighted the lack of awareness among Turkish intellectuals and the Armenian community in Turkey about this history as the primary motivation for writing “Armenian Revolutionary Paramaz” and directing the documentary RED.

Akın was particularly moved by Paramaz’s internationalist political stance during his defense at the Van Court in 1897. Paramaz emphasized the goal of living on equal terms with various ethnic groups and rejecting nationalism in favor of friendship with all peoples. He advocated for self-determination for all inhabitants of Armenia, emphasizing the importance of their own will and vote.

Akın acknowledged the challenges of prevailing prejudices in Turkey and aimed to broaden acceptance of Armenian history, including the genocide. He credited figures like Taner Akçam for their efforts in this regard.

Additionally, Akın recognized Garo Paylan’s advocacy for minority rights in Turkey and announced plans for a new documentary comparing historical Armenian deputies such as Hampartsoum Boyadjian with Paylan’s contemporary efforts.

In his closing remarks, Akın expressed hope for fostering friendship and understanding between peoples, citing examples of warmth he has experienced between communities in various places like Yerevan, Beirut, and Istanbul.

Former Turkish Parliamentarian, Mr. Garo Paylan, a founding member of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and a leading democracy activist in Turkey, emphasized the documentary’s importance in breaking down stereotypes entrenched in the Turkish public.

At the conclusion of the program, the audience engaged in a lively Q&A session with Mr. Akın and Mr. Paylan, further deepening their understanding of the issues presented in the film and the realities that Armenians and Armenia face today.

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