Monday, December 31, 2001

The following is a message I got from one of our log readers. I wanted to share it with you all as it really tells it like it is not only in Armenia, but in the world today. I bolded the part that directly relates to Armenia, though in reality it all relates to Armenia, just the names in print are different.

Hi Ara,

I read Clinton�s speech. I think it was good speech, but hardly anything enlightening. I am very glad that such a high profile person made that speech, but many people have said these same things over the years. In fact, Chamski and others were saying this very loudly
while Clinton was so enthusiastically climbing the political ladder. Too bad he is not in power any longer. That is the problem, there is no one in power now that is saying the same things. Blair and Bush are only talking about �stamping out evil�. They do not have the courage to say the things that Clinton hinted at in his speech:

��if you don't want to live with barbed wire around your children and grandchildren for the next hundred years, then it's not enough to defeat the terrorist. We have to make a world where there are far fewer terrorists, where there are fewer potential terrorists and more partners. And that responsibility falls primarily upon the wealthy nations, to spread the benefits and shrink the burdens.�

That is the real problem: if they did say these things, they would not last too long. It is �big business� with its very shortsighted and self-absorbed objectives that decide the policies of the Western nations. Leaders such as Bush and Blair are �leaders� because of the support that they have received from the business world.

I liked Clinton�s closing remark.

�So that's what I want you to think about. It's great that your kids will live to be ninety years old but I don't want it to be behind barbed wire. It's great that we're gonna have all these benefits of the modern world, but I don't want you to feel like you're emotional prisoners. And I don't want you to look at people who look different from you and see a potential enemy instead of a fellow traveler. We can make the world of our dreams for our children, but since it's a world without walls, it will have to be a home for all our children.�

On another note, this AIDS thing in the FSU scares me.

�And lest you think it's an African problem, the fastest growing rates of AIDS are in the former Soviet Union, on Europe's backdoor.�

The problem is only just starting in Armenia. It is all linked to poverty, which forces women into prostitution. We have to do something about this or we will be in big trouble. We Armenians delude ourselves into believing that we are a saintly people. We can not fathom the fact that, yes, our girls are forced to prostitution and our men don�t have the moral fortitude to not take advantage of the situation.

I thought Clinton's comment about Iran was right on because the CIA destroyed democracy in Iran when it organized a coup and then supported the Shaw. This is well document and not even denied by the US.

�Same thing is true in Iran: the government's very anti-Western, but the people aren't, in part because they have real elections and real votes, and the only time that real democracy is thwarted is when their own people do it, so they don't blame us. So we should be
advancing democracy and human rights and once a country makes a decision to be more open and free, we should help them be more successful. Elections are only part of the job.�

Sunday, December 30, 2001

Well it appears that I�m quite the linguist and didn�t even realize it. Tonight I went to dinner at the Mayor�s house and following dinner, we sat and watched an annual Russian talent contest. As the contest was going, the Mayor�s daughter was asking me how much of the show I was understanding and then told me to name off all the words I knew in Russian. It started with colors and ended with auto parts and household appliances. I came up with 101 words in no time and could have come up with another 101 words with no problem. I gave her an assignment to remember all the words I called out, write them down and translate them into English. So it seems that I�ll be spending my New Years here in Martuni with the Mayor�s family. I�ll drop into a few places, but for the most part, I�ll have dinner at his house and be with his family to welcome in the New Year. I guess I�m now an intricate part of his family, as when I was trying to decide on if to go to Stepanagert this year or stay in Martuni, his mother was concerned as who was going to kill the turkey. She is too old to do it anymore and a couple of years ago taught me how to do it, as no one else in the family can get themselves up to doing it. So when it looked like I was going to maybe go to Stepanagert, she was trying to figure out who she could ask to kill it. Well thank goodness for her sake I will be here for New Years and tomorrow at 11 a.m., I have to go sharpen the ax and read old Tom his last rights.
Just a really quick posting. I was watching BBC World and they had a special presentation of a Richard Dimbleby Lecture called �The Struggle For the Soul of The 21st Century�. Former US President, Bill Clinton, presented the lecture in London on 14 December 2001. His speech considers what is happening in the war against terrorism, and calls for a long-term strategy to address underlying problems in the countries involved. During the lecture ex-President Clinton revisits the themes of his speech at Warwick University in December 2000. I highly recommend visiting Richard Dimbleby Lecture site and reading the transcript, as there was so much that he said which I believe applies to what Armenia and Artsakh need to consider as the direction to take in regards to social, economic and educational reforms and why.

Friday, December 28, 2001

I�ve been so busy these last few weeks that I really have not had time to write, though I have had so much to write about. I mean even now my time is limited, so I�ll be brief. December 25th, came and went. One little boy had seen on the news that the American�s were celebrating something on December 25th and asked me what that was all about? I told him and he said no, Christ was born on January 6th. I told him that he was probably right, but you know American�s, they sometimes get things backwards and this was one of those things I guess. So maybe I�ll get into the Christmas mood On the 6th. I�m expecting visitor�s around that time, so I would hope that will motivate me. As I�m always reporting on the weather, all I can say is that it�s been great. Warm enough that my laundry is still only taking a day to dry. I saw on the news about the snow they are getting in New York (burr). I guess I really have nothing to complain about. I�m doing some last minute things around my house before winter really sets in. I had almost a ton of cement left from summer and so it does not get ruined this winter from moisture (last year I lost 2 tons that way), I had concrete laid a couple of days ago in my garage area so that when it starts to rain and I park my car, I wont step in mud when getting out (should have done this last year). I�m also having a reinforced concrete belt installed on top of the walls of my new office and the second floor addition, so not only will it be seismically more stable, but so I can have prefabricated cement slabs installed on it as a roof and 3rd floor balcony. So the cement will be used and I�ll be ready for winter. I have so many offers for New Years, I�m still not sure where I�ll spend it. I know it wont be Yerevan. My choices are Mardakert, Martuni, Shushi and Stepanagert. I�ve made no commitments to anyone and maybe I should just stay home and do nothing but relax, I don�t know. Well if I happen not to post anything before New Years, I wish all our readers and the other loggers a very Happy New Year.

Monday, December 17, 2001

Not to bore anyone, but this mornings Khash was the best I have had. I learned so much about Khash today that I guess I could write a book about it (well maybe more like a pamphlet, but will spare you). Anyway I learned that Khash is not made just of cow feet, but can also have cow stomach, tail and whatever else you would care to toss in the pot. They also make Khash from pig. The grandfather of the house I went to is a veteran at eating Khash and was reminiscing how he use to leave the house a 6 a.m. to go to Aghdam for Khash. He said he use to live there for 5 years (late 30�s, early 40�s) and had lots of friends who would invite him. We ate with a spoon, but the grandfather ate with his hands. He told me that it tastes much better that way. I guess one advantage I see is that when you get Khash oil on your hands (which I do even when eating with a spoon), it�s like superglue. If your eating with your hands, you have an excuse to lick it off before it starts to stick. I guess next time he invites me for Khash, I�ll try it his way. I suspect that maybe this is more a Muslim way of eating Khash.
This morning I have a reason to get an early start. Just before sunrise, I have to go to a friend�s house for Khash (boiled cow feet soup). Now that the weather is starting to get cold (the morning low is 40.8f) and New Years is nearing (more cows will be slaughtered), Khash will be a weekly occurrence for me. Not to say that I�m a fan of Khash, but I�ve never turned down an invitation to join a bunch of guys sitting next to a wood stove on a cold winters morning, eating boiled cow feet soup and drinking vodka (can life get any better than this?). The breaking of bread and adding of flavors (fresh garlic, vinegar and salt) is an indescribable almost religious experience which I recommend everyone participates in at least once. I�m not much of a drinker, but when it comes to Khash, once my stomach is lined with a thick layer of cow feet oil, vodka is not that difficult to swallow. Tradition calls for drinking an odd number of glasses and my limit is 3 half shots (25 grams each). Not to upset anyone, but I�ve been led to believe that eating of Khash is a men only deal (this is what I�ve observed). Not to say that woman don't sneak a taste here or there, but I suspect the usual jealous comments they make like �how could you eat that stuff, YUK� would indicate that they are hoping we will eat a little less, leaving more for them to eat or maybe use to wax the floor with when we leave. Well I�ve got to get going so I wont be late. I�m not sure what happens if you eat Khash after the sun comes up and I�m sure not going to find out today.

Saturday, December 15, 2001

When Raffi M and Shoosh from our �Diaspora log� wrote about the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Committee (TARC), I felt that what I have been keeping to myself should be finally said. I�ve never before in my life really had aspiration to get involved in politics until after I moved here. Even the politics I get involved with in the real world of politics could not really be considered much of anything. I guess being a student of �controversial� Armenian history and my direct way of thinking have always turned me off to the idea of standing up in public and sharing my ideas (Raffi had to pull teeth to get me to log light non-offensive stuff on Cilicia). I don�t belong or really support any Armenian political movements. I support the idea of a united Armenia and things that are good for the future of the Armenian nation. I guess the first real public political move I made, which still could not be considered anything close to real politics, has to be in connection with the TARC. Why I am telling you this now is that, though TARC has been disbanded, I think there are unresolved issues connected to that whole fiasco that really should be dealt with.

I didn�t really hear about the formation of TARC until quite some time following its birth. As soon as I did learn about what TARC was supposedly going to attempt to do and after discussing it with my intellectual friends here (they knew more about TARC then I did), I decided to write a letter to Van Krikorian. I know Van through a friend of mine in Armenia and felt that maybe if I wrote a non-offensive letter to him, not only would he reply (everyone I knew at the time that wrote only got nasty responses), but he would take my suggestions into consideration. I was interested in answers to questions that the press was not providing, and I was genuinely concerned of the possible outcome not only to the Armenian cause, but also to AAA and Van himself. I guess my answer from him reflects that he understood what I was trying to say (at least I thought). I want to share with you my correspondences with Van, which I didn�t post on Groong or send off to any papers, as I didn�t want to give the Turks any insight as to what was shared with him so they could be ready to counter what I was saying (not that I was really saying anything special). I�ve taken the liberty of editing out irrelevant parts to make it easer for you to read.

August 20, 2001

Dear Van,

I'm writing you in regards to the Reconciliation Commission, as you're the only person I personally know involved and wanted to ask some questions and share with you some very real concerns.

Not to say that I would be any less concerned, but now that I live here, I, along with the other people who are here, are the ones at the greatest risk of coming under fire from Turkey and Azerbaijan, and I feel we have the most to lose if things went wrong with the Commission's efforts. I would expect with that understanding that our interests would come first from your side of the Reconciliation Commission. Everything I have read from both sides so far don't really indicate this. Maybe I have not read everything, so please enlighten me.

My questions are as follows (if you don't have time to answer them, I'm okay with anyone on your behalf to answer them):

1. Whose idea was this commission?

2. How was it determined who would serve on the commission?

3. Is the Armenian government involved in any way? I get the feeling from what I have read that the Turkish government determined who would represent their side, but Vartan Oskanian's statement implies that Armenia's MFA has nothing to do with the commission. Logic would say that if the MFA has nothing to do with it, then the government has nothing to do with it, right?

4. Who are the members from the Turkish side? I'm sure this information was published someplace, but for some reason I guess not in anything I have so far read, other than Greg Arzoomanian's letter, where he mentions that those representing Turkey's interests are people that are " participants of the Turkish government's campaign of denial of
the Armenian Genocide." So I guess with that said, what can we expect to accomplish? Volkan sounds like really bad news and a hired gun, don't you think?

5. What is the mission of the commission?

This commission in a way reminds me of a story by the writer and political activist Shahan Natalie about the ARF's 9th General Congress, which convened in Yerevan from September 27 to the end of October 1919. On the Congress agenda was placed the issue of retribution against those principally responsible for the Great Atrocity. Natalie experienced here the first serious embitterment of his political life, when some of the delegates deemed this policy wrong, rationalizing that the newly created Armenian Republic needed Turkey's friendship (such justifications have proliferated today also, within the new Armenian Republic). Natalie had added that one of the reasons many of the Bureau members, specifically Simon Vratsian, Ruben Ter Minasian, and Ruben Darbinian, were in favor of this policy and didn't quite understand his strong objections to such a friendship with Turkey, was that unlike Natalie, and one other member (I believe Grigor Merjanov), they had not experienced and witnessed first hand what the Turks had done in Western-Armenia and didn't understand to what extent they (the Turks) would go to accomplish their goal.

To have even a better understanding today who the Turks are and how the Armenian people feel towards them, I've done quite a bit of research here in Artsakh on that subject. I can so far conclude from what families I've spoken with, who have for generations lived with the Azerbajani's feel, that they (Turkic people) will never admit to the genocide and echo Natalie�s warnings, that you can never trust a Turk as one of their national desires is to rid the earth of all Armenians. More so, there are people that really feel Armenians who negotiate with Turks are even more dangerous than the Turks themselves, as there has to date never come anything good and usually something very bad from such negotiations (maybe this sounds hard-core, but so far history has not been able to disprove these statements).
I hope and pray that this commission is not another attempt from Turkey and the US to weaken or delay our efforts to finally ascertaining true recognition of the Armenian Genocide that we have been working towards for so many years and have never been so close to accomplish.

I look forward to your reply,

Ara Manoogian

On September 7, 2001 Joan Abblet of the Armenian Assembly forwarded me a letter from Van.

Dear Ara,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, and I appreciate the personal nature of your letter.

I am recommending some background materials (see below) which will answer many of your questions and are on the Assembly's web site. Nobody is suggesting that our work is going to be easy or that there are any guarantees. But, all of our work toward international recognition of the Genocide is geared toward Turkey coming to terms with the Genocide and its consequences. If we did not think the Commission had a chance of helping to meet that goal, we wouldn't be there.

Best regards,

Van Krikorian

The following are available at:

I then replied to Joan Ablett (since it looked like she was the one doing all the writing for Van) on September 30, 2001:

Dear Mrs. Ablett,

I'm sorry to get back to you so late, but with the crisis in the US, my time has been occupied on my investments in the states. Now that they are somewhat under control, I've had time to visit your site and found that the available materials found there do not answer all my questions. Maybe you can find the time to sit down and answer them yourself.

1. Whose idea was this commission?

2. How was it determined who would serve on the commission?

3. Is the Armenian government involved in any way?

Ara Manoogian

I never received a reply from Joan or Van.

In closing what I would like to say echoes what Raffi Meneshian said in his log which is that Van and the others that were on the TARC need to give us some answers as to why they let this go as far as they did. I also feel that the lack of trust that people have towards their judgment makes them less effective than what is needed at the Assembly today. I personally feel that if those people who served on the TARC and are connected with the Assembly really are dedicated to the Armenian cause, then they would find it appropriate to take a vacation from their duties at the Assembly, and new people should be put in their place to aggressively get things back up to speed and on track. It would be unfair to say that the Assembly is responsible for the modifications made to 907, but it appears that they didn�t even try hard enough to prevent the changes that were made. If one day bullets, rockets and other American-provided projectiles rain down on us and threaten the lives of our people, you can be sure while were defending ourselves I�ll be cursing Van and the people at the Assembly for all their good intentions that went bad because they were misguided. I hope that this log didn�t offend anyone, but sometimes the truth does that.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

An economic opportunity was created in Artsakh thanks to a donor who I will not name by name, since I have not asked permission to make a public announcement about this. I will say that this is the donor that Madlene had mentioned in her log some time ago, that she was going to purchase beddings at the shooga in Yervan which would then be presented to the preschool in Shushi. She had decided that it would make more sense to have the beddings made here in Artsakh and asked me to investigate the possibilities. Well as you can imagine, that option was realized and now there are a few women who were sitting at home with nothing to do, now working away and having no time to watch Brazilian soap opera�s that are translated into Russian, which BTW not only give them a chance to escape from reality, but also yearn to have that same life (very sad). So with the lead seamstress, we took a trip to Stepanagert a couple of days ago to purchase the materials needed, all but the wool, which it looks like I have found in a neighboring village (this too is good for the village economy). So thanks to the donor and Madlene, the little kids of the Shushi preschool will have new beddings and a few families that found an economic opportunity will have a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I know the lead seamstress is having her teeth fixed with the money she earns, which is causing her much pain. The others will pay their debts to the stores they purchase their food from (everyone here has them and that will make the store owner happy) and maybe have enough left to get some gifts to give their children that winter Babig will leave for them on New Years. One other thing I want to mention is that we are paying them a little more than what they asked for so they will pay income tax, which will make the government happy too. What might seem like an insignificant gesture to some, has such huge effect on our peoples lives. I mean Madlene could have taken the easy road and just got the stuff in Yerevan, which would have helped Russian, Iranian or maybe even Turkish markets. Instead she took this opportunity to maximize the benefit this donor provided. A big THANK YOU to the donor and Madlene from all of us here in Artsakh!!!

Since it seems I have started the trend of reporting the weather, let me say that it�s been great!!! The low is around 50f and the high today was around 55f. From what I�ve been told, it should not start to cool down until after New Years. Now I need to think about some new trends to start. Any ideas?

Sunday, December 09, 2001

The weather has been great these last few days. I guess it can be said that Martuni is one of the hottest places in Artsakh. Our low has been around 47F. and the high has been in the upper 60�s. I wish I could say that I�m enjoying this weather, but being that I have had a light case of the flu for over a week, and today I�ve started to cough is not a good sign. I�ve been taking multivitamins for a couple of months and discovered today they have only 60mg of vitamin C. I went to the pharmacy to get some additional C. The pharmacist asked me if I would like that in a powder or injection form? I was thinking that if I inject, my arm was going to look like I was shooting up drugs, so I picked the powder. A 30-day supply cost me 600 drams (a little more than a $1). I�m also drinking hot tea with 100% pure honey for the cough. They say the honey I have, which is from Hadrout, is like an herbal medicine and should rid me of it. I hope they�re right. Last year I coughed from December to July. I know that couldn�t have been good for me, and I�m not going to have a repeat performance this year.

So you may ask what I have been up to these last weeks, being that I have not logged for a while? Last week I had an interesting encounter with a government investigator. I really should not talk about it, as the root of what he was investigating is kind of on the negative side of things. All us loggers have been trying not to over emphasize such things as there are so many people out there to do that already. What you read in the press about human rights violations every now and then are in many cases most likely true. Many of us who live here have one time or another witnessed them. Until now I myself have never written about any of them or reported them publicly, but as the others can verify, have in most cases intervened on behalf of the voiceless victims as the Armenian-American badge pinned on my chest gets results. In this particular case, if things work out as I would like to see, it could put our government and more so the President of Armenia, Robert Kocharyan in a very positive light. With that much said, I can�t leave you hanging there wondering what I could be talking about. Let me start by saying that this is a long story which I did my best to shorten, and for those of you that are bothered by the subject of child exploitation, you should read no further.

Last week I received a call from the Mayor of Martuni to tell me that the following day a government investigator was coming from Stepanagert to see me, and that I was to come to the main government building in Martuni in the morning. He was not sure what it was concerning, but said that he was also to meet with the head of the bank and the assistant to the regional minister, and the name of someone that we had tried to have prosecuted for child exploitation had come up. I could not imagine why they would want to see me, but knew that I had done nothing wrong other than help the police collect evidence last year, and this October tried to help them bring the case to some conclusion.

The next morning I went to the Mayor�s office and waited to be called on. At about 11 a.m. we got a call from the assistant of the regional minister to come to his office. The Mayor joined me. We walked in and were introduced to the government investigator, who told me that he had been sent to investigate a complaint that was sent to the president of Armenia about us. The 4-page complaint drew a very dark picture of me. The Mayor read the letter out loud, and the flavor of the letter was quite flattering but only half true. The fact that I was being accused of calling the shots of how this case was to be handled was true. Their fear that I wanted to kidnap their adopted daughter and use her for my personal pleasures or for prostitution didn�t correspond with the evidence we had already collected. As the mayor continued to read, the investigator looked uncomfortable looking at me, as it appeared he was believing what was being said. It�s strange when you only hear one side of the story, an inaccurate one at that and how you must feel, I told him.

I took out of my pocket a copy of our video evidence, which I had gathered in February of 2000, after being tipped off by the Mayor that the girl in question who was born with a deformed hand, had been sent off by her adopted father to Yerevan to beg in the shooga. She had been adopted from an orphanage in Gumri by a family who already had two biological sons, and after interviewing merchants at the shooga, it became quite clear why she had been adopted. She had spent over 4 years with her adopted grandmother, showing off her hand to people and asking for money. The grandmother was known to the shooga and was a veteran to begging there for over 10 years. According to the person who had reported to the Mayor what was going on (the family�s neighbor), the adopted father was heard screaming at his mother that she has been a whore her whole life , that she needs to take the child back to Yerevan and do what she does best, and send $300 a month to him or else.

So to make this long story shorter, I was not only able to collect video evidence of them begging and the grandmother acting abusive towards the girl and others around her, but I was able to sit them both in a car without any legal authority and bring them back to Martuni to face the chief of police. The evening when we got back to Martuni, I had a professional cameraman waiting, who documented the chief of police and me questioning everyone. I left for the US a few days later, as I had already delayed my trip by a week because of this case and made it clear that we must enforce Article 225: Occupying oneself with wandering or begging, or leading a life of waywardness is punishable by imprisonment for a term of one up to two years, or by corrective (rehabilitative) labor, for the same period of time. and Article 231: Involving minors in criminal acts, drunkenness, and waywardness, as well as abusing minors with the purpose of leading a parasitic life, are punishable by imprisonment of up to five years and by expulsion for a term from one to five years, or without expulsion. The chief agreed.

Now I will take a huge chunk of the story out (not only is it upsetting, but very long) and say that by October of 2001, thanks to incompetence and corruption, the family had somehow evaded prosecution and were somewhere in Armenia. The big dilemma of what to do with the child when the court found the parents unfit was resolved thanks to a Srpazan who is running an Armenian boarding school in India, which is managed by the church and would take the child. Though I hated the idea of sending the child out of the country for any reason, the future of an orphan girl, let alone one that has a deformed hand and is used to exploiting her physical being is not promising. At least in India, she will get an excellent Armenian education and also thanks to a huge amount of money that the Indian government allocates for Armenians (which has to be spent there), she would also get her hand reconstructed, an opportunity to go to a good university, and a chance at a normal life. Maybe she would even one day return to Armenia.

So at that point I was given a deadline of October 15th to have her ready to go. I had the challenge to find the family, somehow get them back to Martuni and due to the deadline, with the help of the new police chief (the old one was removed, maybe because I met with the Prime Minister about this case and told him about how the old chief was not doing his job and need to be removed) and prosecutor, we would negotiate with the adoptive parents to voluntarily relinquish custody of the child to the church, and we wouldn�t press charges. I drove to Yerevan and within a couple of hours of my arrival I had found where they were living and called Martuni to send a policeman to bring them in.

The next morning a couple of policemen arrived and we went to look for the house, but due to poor street signage, we ended up going to the school the children were attending. The Principal called the oldest boy, who went with us and showed us the house. What�s interesting is that there is a short road from the school to the house, but the child only knew the longer road that went through the shooga, where I would speculate they beg after school. The adoptive father was not happy to see us, but after an hour of talking, he and his wife came with us. That evening we arrived in Martuni and unfortunately everyone was not ready to do their job. We led them to believe that the reason they had been called in was for an outstanding loan they had and the police chief told them to leave their passports so they would not leave Martuni until we resolved things.

The next day I met with the prosecutor, who agreed to our plan, but when we called for them to come to see us to talk, they had already left town. I contacted Srpazan, who told me not to worry, even though the girl is now 11 years old and that is the age limit to be admitted, for this case he will make an exception and take her next year, giving us time to do what we have to. At that point I figured I had a year and would continue this work after the New Year. Well, now that the adoptive father went off and wrote a letter to Kocharyan to complain, I guess I�ll get Kocharyan�s office to make Article 225 and Article 231 work. The investigator said that Kocharyan�s office was concerned about the letter, being that this family is from Armenia and is claiming to be harassed by the Karabagh government and Ara. Kocharyan has to take such claims very seriously as if the claim is true, and if Kocharyan does nothing, the adoptive father could take it to Kocharyan�s opposition and make him look bad. But now he has put in a position that he has to pursue the case to its conclusion, as now with Kocharyan having all the evidence in hand, if he does nothing about it and his opposition found out, it would be much worse.

The investigator told me after treating all of us to a very nice lunch and he was getting into his car to leave was that he came with 3 question that had to be answered, the 3rd one being who is Ara? He said with a firm handshake and smile on his face that they will be sure to know who Ara really is.

Let�s hope that the next time you hear about this subject, it will be me writing how I was at the airport sending off the little girl to a new and promising life

Saturday, December 01, 2001

Tonight I went to a friend�s birthday party in Spitagashen (White Village). The usual story of me and my family history came up and with it the story of my great-great-grandfather Kevork. At the table was a middle-aged man who turned out to also be a Manoogian and told me that in all of Artsakh, there were only two Manoogian families at the turn of the 19th century. He said that from the date of 1850, that would put him in the same generation of his great-grandfather who was from a family of 9 brothers. He said from what he knows, 3 of the bothers went to Armenia, 2 stayed in Artsakh and the other 4 he is not sure about. He said his older cousin knows their whole family history and can give a better idea as to the details, which was told to him by their great-grandfather who was 100 years old at the time of telling it (died when he was 104) and he was just a boy. Well my great-great-grandfather Kevork was from a family of 9 brothers, and depending on what information we get from their family history, DNA testing will be the final step to tell us if we finally found this branch of our family.