ANTELIAS–During a gathering organized at the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia on July 1–His Holiness Aram I decorated internationally acclaimed and distinguished filmmaker and the director of the internationally celebrated film ARARAT–Atom Egoyan–and his wife–actress Arsinee Khandjian.
Political and community representatives of Lebanon–ambassadors–ministers–and representatives of Armenian community organizations comprised the audience. The presence of the former president of Lebanon and key political leaders gave a special character to the event.
Two well-known Armenian TV journalists Paula Yakoubian and Neshan Der Haroutyounian–served as Masters of Ceremonies.
Dr. Joe Pirri from Switzerland–professor of theater and communications–described Egoyan as an internationally acclaimed filmmaker–and Khandjian as a distinguished actress.
Lebanese Parliament deputy Misbah El-Ahdab–spoke of the Armenian Genocide as an unforgettable tragedy–emphasizing the renaissance of the Armenian people in the Middle East and in the Diaspora.
Former minister and the president of the Socialist Party–Deputy Walid Jumblatt–speaking about human rights–referred to all genocidal activities taking place in the Middle East and around the world.
During his remarks–His Holiness Aram I spoke about justice. "All the religions of the world claim that justice is at the heart of their teachings and beliefs. Political–economic and social ideologies and systems emphasize the crucial importance of justice for political progress–economic prosperity and social development. Cultures and civilizations underscore in different ways and forms the centrality of justice. Yet justice still remains too far from human life . . . and continues to cause so much joy and suffering–hope and hopelessness–life and death."
Referring to the lessons of history–Catholicos Aram I stated: "History reminds us that it is simply impossible to establish global governance if it is not based on justice. The bitter experience of nations indicates that comprehensive and real security and peace remain unattainable goals–if they are not sustained by principles and values of justice and human rights."
Addressing Egoyan–the Catholicos said: "Through your recent movie–ARARAT–you remind the international community of the critical urgency of justice; you remind humanity that your nation–the Armenian nation–is a victim of [the absence of] justice and its human rights remain violated. Furthermore–you remind the people of this world that neither the attempts aimed at revitalizing history–nor denial of truth; neither geopolitical interests nor arrogance of power can erase from the collective memory of a nation–a well organized and systematically executed genocide against a nation."
At the end of his remarks–His Holiness decorated Atom Egoyan and his wife Arsinee Khandjian with the "Saint Mesrob Mashdots" medal of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia.
Egoyan and Khandjian thanked His Holiness and reaffirmed their devotion to the Armenian Cause–noting that it is a cause of justice–thus a noble cause.