WATERTOWN – The documentary film “The Stateless Diplomat: Heroic Life of Diana Apcar,” by Mimi Malayan, will be shown at the Dorothy and Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts on Sunday, September 29 at 6 p.m.
A reception and opportunity to meet the director will take place after the screening.
The screening is organized by the Armenian Cultural Foundation with the co-sponsorship of the Amaras Art Alliance, Arlington International Film Festival, Armenian International Women’s Association, Armenian Museum of America, Armenian Women’s Welfare Association, National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, Project Save Armenian Photograph Archives, and the Tekeyan Cultural Association Greater Boston Chapter.
In 1890, an Armenian entrepreneur, Michael Apcar, brought his wife, an aspiring writer named Diana and their newborn daughter to Japan, a country that had recently opened to the world and was bursting with opportunities for new businesses. After two bankruptcies Michael suddenly died leaving Diana with debts and three children in a foreign land. She had to support her family and stabilize the business, eventually making it a success; yet she still wanted to focus her energy elsewhere.
Diana Apcar dedicated herself to the Armenian people, facing massacres in the Ottoman Empire from the 1890s to 1909, and then uprooting and annihilation through deportations and the killings of the Armenian Genocide beginning in 1915. Apcar pleaded the case of the Armenian people through letters, books and articles over a period of decades, and helped hundreds of Armenian refugees obtain temporary asylum in Japan before taking refuge in the United States.
This film tries to convey the pivotal moments in Apcar’s life: her awakening to the Armenian cause, her spiritual vision prompting her into activism, her mental collapse and frustration as she foresaw the Genocide, and her endless humanitarian work, personally aiding hundreds of Genocide survivors. The culmination of this work resulted in her appointment as Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia to Japan in 1920. This position barely lasted six months due to the Sovietization of Armenia.