Los Angeles -- Today is the last day of the ARPA International Film Festival. I usually cover this lovely ethnic festival in the heart of Hollywood but this year has been a year of many deadlines and a few moments to plan. However I felt it would be a good idea to share my personal thoughts on this charming slice of Armenian life here in the South Land.
Arpa, for those who are curious as to why an Armenian film festival is titled with such an exotic name, according to Wikipedia, is a river that runs through Armenia and Azerbaijan's Nakhichevan exclave. It originates in the Vayots Dzor province of Armenia and is as a left tributary of the Aras.
Armenia is truly a crucible of multi civilizations at the foothills of Europe and the Middle East. Her people were persecuted and dispersed throughout the region and many parts of the world in later years. The first genocide of the 20th Century perpetrated at the dawn of the First World War was the Armenian Genocide, which 30 years later became the template of the Nazi Genocide of European Jewry as well as other people deemed inferior and threatening.
Yet this festival has never spewed the rancor and heated clarion calls of revenge like many other people who have sought to rectify the wrongs and crimes committed against them. Instead it has sought healing, forgiveness, self awareness, inclusion and celebration of the human spirit from the harmony of its heart to the prowess of its intellect. Justice served between the anvil of mercy and the gavel of judgement.
In view of the Beirut and Paris bombings by the terror group ISIS or ISIL what better way to spend a weekend refuting the religious intolerance and racial hatred that was fed by a blind religious ideology to the beauty of life and the wanton political idolatry to the theology of faith.
If you do anything today visit Arpa at the Egyptian Theater and if you are unable to do so visit their website at http://www.arpafilmfestival.com. And maybe you too will find that river of life that flows in the heart of all of us touching our lives in ways we dare to imagine and in ways never imagined before until now.
Maybe then we will "He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore." Isaiah 2:4
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