Saturday, July 07, 2001

On July 4th, I decided to go to Yerevan to meet with some Diaspora friends so we could celebrate the 4th of July together at Hotel Armenia where the American Embassy had organized a gathering. I brought one of my Artsakh buddies, Gago, along with me, because he wanted to experience how a bunch of "Americans" celebrate their independence. Unfortunately, on the road, 156 kilometers outside of Stepanagert, my car broke down. For the first time in all these years, my car had to break down, and on the very day I was going to show my allegiance to old glory and celebrate her independence. Skipping the details of my car troubles, I'll simply say that I found a mechanic to treat this major problem and left the car with him for repairs. We agreed that it could take up to two weeks before I could reclaim it, and the mechanic gave me a receipt. As we were waiting for a bus or some other form of transportation to get to Yerevan, a car coming from the opposite direction stopped and out came Zabel (one of our cast members). She told me that she and her guests from America were on their way to Artsakh and instead of going all the way to Yerevan to be with friends on the 4th, we could spend it together. I thought to myself that I am now living in Artsakh, so what the heck was I thinking. I mean Americans don't observe May 9th, which is our independence day and in fact, they don't even recognize us as an independent nation. So until they celerate our independence day, why should I celebrate theirs? I also figured that without a car to get us back in addition to the time it would now take us to reach Yerevan, this was our best offer. So, Gago would just have to wait to see a bunch of drunk Americans celebrating their independence. There were already 4 passengers and a driver in this car that seats 5. To get to know each other a little better, 4 of us squeezed into the back and the driver and 2 people squeezed in the front. We drove on and made our way to Sisian, Datev, the Devil's Bridge, Gorris for a coffee break and then straight to Martuni. We got to my house at 1 a.m. on the 5th. I have to say that I think my day and Gago's experience with a bunch of "Americans" who came to visit our free and independent Artsakh to discover their roots was much better than any party that anyone could have thrown. This is what the 4th of July should be all about.

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