Friday, July 04, 2008

Armenian film maker saves the world from nuclear holocaust

How many of you were glued to your television on November 20, 1983, as Lawrence endured fallout from the blasts of nuclear missiles that struck neighboring Kansas City?

I want to share with you a historical fact about the ABC television movie that became one of the most watched and most controversial events of the decade, “The Day After”.

In President Ronald Reagan’s memoirs, “The Day After” played a huge role in preventing a full out nuclear war with Russia. The President had practically ordered a nuclear strike, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff could not convince him of an alternative plan of action.

It seems that Robert Papazian’s office was contacted by Washington in mid-October of 1983 to get a copy of the not-yet-released movie for Reagan to see. After working all night to meet Washington’s deadline of “TOMORROW”, a copy was delivered to the White House the following day.

Reagan and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were so taken by what they saw (it was so powerful that it depressed Reagan), that the President had a copy of the movie sent off to the Kremlin with a message saying that they couldn’t let something like this happen.

Immediately after the broadcast of the movie on November 20, 1983, Ted Koppel hosted a live panel discussion where Dr. Carl Sagan presented the vivid analogy that the arms race between the U.S. and Soviet Union was akin to “two men standing waist deep in gasoline -- one with three matches and the other with five.”

When Reagan signed the Intermediate Range Weapons Agreement at Reykjavik (in 1986) with Gorbachev, Papazian’s office received a telegram from his administration that said, “Don't think your movie didn't have any part of this, because it did.”

So there you have it, we were so close to the beginning of the end and our godsend was a brilliant Armenian television producer named Robert A. Papazian.

This is a man who I think is at very least worthy of an award from the Armenian Nation. Someone should write Serzh Sargsyan and tell him. Papazian is the kind of person we should be celebrating and bragging about to the world. He also proves that one man (Armenian or not) can really move mountains with his actions. A lesson that we should all learn from.

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