Tuesday, August 14, 2001

I have to apologize to the readers and Raffi for not being so active in posting, but as I said in my very first post, I will be posting every now and then when something noteworthy happens. I have been working on a few interesting things to share with you, one of which is with my July 14th posting when I asked the readers what are the pros and cons of living outside Armenia, as many people here think that things are much greener on the outside (feel free to continue commenting on this if you wish). I have had the letters I�ve received from you on that subject translated and am getting response letters from the locals. The results my be quite enlightening and should give most a better grasp on reality. I�ll have to ask Raffi if it�s okay to post my findings here, as it�s going to be very long and for some it may be too much to read. We'll see.

So here is the next assignment for those that are interested. I�m not going to share my opinion on this right now, as I don�t want to put any ideas in your head. What I am asking you as someone living outside of Armenia and Artsakh is what you think the pros and cons of combating "the traditional stereotype of women..." which it appears that the UN thinks is a problem (see snippet of article below). I�ll be asking the same question to the local population on a more formal level, as in the past this issue has come up quite a bit, being male, doing my own laundry, cleaning, cooking and other domestic chores (you can only imagine those conversations, which I will add to my overall findings when I report them to you). I guess I will be asking locals if there was a change, what they would like that change to be and the end result. How it will affect children, the family and things of that nature. Maybe those who were around before the women's rights movement in the US and other parts of the world really kicked in, what life was like then and what it has become now. Was it what you expected? You can write to me at: ara_manoogian@yahoo.com

Calgary Herald
August 11, 2001

The UN quietly wages war on religion: Does this respected body
suppress monotheism in order to regulate global values?

BY: Joe Woodard

{parts omitted]

The Czech Republic has been criticized for "over-protective attitudes
toward pregnancy and motherhood," and Armenia has been told to use
its schools and media to combat "the traditional stereotype of women
'in the noble role of mother'."

Tuesday, August 07, 2001

Yesterday in Martuni I attended the quarterly meeting where our elected Member of Parliament (MP) has to report what he is doing for the people who put him in power. It started out with him informing us of the new laws that have been adopted, complaints that he has addressed on behalf of the people and then on to questions and answers. The hot topic was pensions. The biggest complaint was that there are many people who receive a pension of 6,000 dram (about $11), and on the other end of the pension scale, a few who receive 46,000 dram (about $83). The official government figure for cost of minimal food per month to provide a balanced diet is between 25,000 dram and 30,000 dram (about $55). So how do these people with the less than 25,000 dram pensions survive? According to some of the people in the hall, they really don't. Many become a burden on their families. Those who don't have families, in some cases live on bread and water only. So what is going to be done about this? According to the MP, he is going to bring up the subject in Parliament for discussion. However, he did add that today's government is very poor and may not have the resources to pay more. The other hot topic was the lack of jobs, especially for young people. As a result, many people are looking to seasonal work in Russia, which in the end could result in permanent relocation. The MP was really unable to give any answer to this question and said that he would have to refer it to the Minister of Economy. So that night I was pondering these questions, to see what we, the Armenians of the Diaspora could do to help. As for the pension question, what is needed for these people is money. For a self-sustaining nation, there needs to be a tax base to provide financial resources. With the present lack of jobs, there is little tax revenue. This situation is really a losing combination where everyone is affected, young and old. I would say that we should start a pension fund in the Diaspora to temporarily address this problem, but from my past experiences with trying to raise funds in America for educational projects here and the lack of interest, we would get no place and it would just be a waste of time. The real answer is stimulating the economy. A friend of mine is bringing a group of serious business people to Armenia and Artsakh in October/November to investigate investing in the economy. Perhaps we can get some electronics' assembly factory or some other business going here in Martuni to employ some people. For those who are in business and interested in investing in the economy in Armenia and/or Artsakh or know someone who is, I encourage you to e-mail my friend Harout Bronozian at: hbenviro@ix.netcom.com to get involved. For those interested in donating to a supplemental pension fund for the city of Martuni, you can contact me. Yes, those residing in America can even deduct it from their taxes, as it would go through a California 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, which is also registered here in Artsakh for just such things.