Friday, August 30, 2002

If war broke out, would we be ready? I�ve been asked that question so many times and I keep telling people if it happens, then we will deal with it and see what happens.

Not to frighten anyone, but today I was able to see for myself if war broke out what would happen. I say this as today war broke out and everyone under the age of 45 was called to report to their assigned base. Since I�m not yet a citizen, I just watched as everyone was rushed off to their respective bases to be armed.

I was very impressed as the readiness of our army and if today was not a surprise drill (which we randomly have once or twice a year to test our readyness), Azerbaijan would have been hurting for sure.

The guns I saw rolling out today, I certainly didn�t see during the early 1990�s. Besides all the tanks, there were some very big and impressive cannons, rockets and other neat toys that are made to inflict damage to our enemy. I guess all that equipment, combined with the discipline our army possesses today is what makes it the second most powerful internationally recognized army in the region (though I would guess it really is the most powerful if you count the size and small territory it needs to defend, but it would be politically incorrect for Washington to give us first place).

I can now say to all of you who have asked in the past about if war broke out that yes, if war did break out we would be ready and for that reason, I don�t think war will break out.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

A couple of days ago my visitors from Jerusalem returned to Yerevan. They arrived at 5:30 AM and after a four-hour nap, we headed out to tour a couple of churches.

Our first stop was Gandzasar. I had been to Gandzasar a couple of months ago with a group of students from California, but really didn�t go inside or look around. This time one of my visitors was Fr. Isahag, thus this made the visit more official. We found Der Hovanness who met with us and gave us a tour of the church. Incredible what they have done to restore Gandzasar. The tour by Der Hovanness was also very interesting and though I had been to Gandzasar half a dozen times, this was the first tour I had been on with Der Hovanness who showed us all the ins and outs. It was very enjoyable.

For those of you who don�t know the story of Gandzasar in relation to the war, it was the church that was attacked from all sides and when the people felt that they were going to loose to the invading Turks, started to flee. The story goes that they only returned because the Der Hyr of the church, Der Hovanness, refused to give up, picked up an AK-47 and alone began fighting the Turks. The people seeing that Der Hovanness was ready to fight to the death, felt shameful and returned to fight along side this very brave spiritual leader. Though they lost someone to shelling during that defense, they were able to hold off the Turks until reinforcements were able to come in and drive the attackers away.

We finished our visit with a meal of homegrown everything and discussed his work and the condition of the church. He told us that the seminary they are building will be ready by September of next year. Der Hovanness is not only the spiritual leader for Gandzasar, but also supervising construction and making sure that the grounds are kept in order and the road receives the needed repairs so visitors can visit year round.

I asked him how they finance the church, knowing well that they are a financially poor church. He said that they do it somehow with the help of God and an occasional visitor who gives a gift. He said that the biggest problem right now is the road that needs to be repaired every couple of days in the way of grading and filling holes with gravel. The cost of such a job is around $100 each time. If they had asphalt, it would take care of most of their road problems. I know that when I was last in the states a couple of years ago, there was a group of families from Glendale that were talking about financing that road and when I asked him if they ever contacted him or the diocese, he said he had not heard anything. I guess I�ll have to drop Der Arshag who is the Der Hyr at St. James in L.A. an e-mail and have him contact those people to see if they are still interested.

From Gandzasar, we drove to Dadivank in the Martakert region. Again, an incredible place and one that is really shaping up. They are in the process if restoring it and doing a great job.

We got back to Martuni really late and after a meal at the Mayor�s house, went home and crashed.

The next day my visitors left for Goris to go visit Armen Sinanian, the Stolebearer who was shot and almost killed by an Israeli exploding bullet (the kind that are internationally illegal to use) in the Church of the Nativity standoff last April. He is in Goris I guess visiting family and is planning on returning to Jerusalem soon to continue his work.

Monday, August 26, 2002

If your wondering why I have not been logging as often or answer my e-mails as quick as I use to, it�s because ARMENIAN HISTORY HAS REPEATED ITSELF IN ARTSAKH.

At the Diaspora conference I made contact with an investment group who are interested in working with me to develop the information technology (IT) field here in Artsakh.

We feel that being a land-locked country, the best suited industry is IT. It has no boarders and can employ many people with decent paying jobs.

I�ve been working for the last few months to find out about getting us a license to set up a high-speed two-way satellite connection and have recently learned that as of Friday, it would be of no use to apply for such a license as we would only get the run around and empty promises.

Mediamax�s article dated 13 Feb 2002 reads: �According to Nagorno Karabakh Prime Minister Arnold Abrahamian, by decision of the Karabakh Government, `Karabakh Telecom` has been issued a license for telecommunication activities for a period of 30 years and has also been deprived of the right to monopoly in this sphere.�

Though the article is inaccurate as to Arnold Abrahamian being the Prime Minister, which he is not (he is the former Minister of Economy and presently an advisor to the Prime Minister), it clearly sates that `Karabakh Telecom` has no monopoly. The President himself has even stated this, assuring us that we would not make the same mistake as Armenia did with ArmenTel.

During my investigating licensing, I found out that the closed joint-stock company `Karabagh-Telecom`, which functions under the aegis of the famous Lebanese company TMF, has been issued a license by the Minister of Economy which has a condition that restricts the NKR government from issuing any other telecommunication licenses, thus creating a monopoly. Yes, history has repeated itself and yes, as of today, TMF has a monopoly on telecommunication in Artsakh just like ArmenTel does in Armenia.

We presently have two internet providers in Artsakh who were the pioneers to bring internet to Artsakh. They have to renew their licenses within the next 10 months, but have so far have been given the run around by the government. My provider has told me during one of my complaint calls about the service being down again that I should go talk to the President and tell him to get his act together and correct this major mistake so my provider can give me reliable service with a satellite connection instead of being dependent on ArmenTel�s unreliable connection.

I guess the two-hour meeting I need to have with the President to discuss issues is going to take a little longer than what I had planned.

Friday, August 23, 2002

A few months ago, I registered Punik Publishing here in Artsakh.

Punik Publishing's mission is to translate to English, French and Russian, out of print and hard to find books that we believe have value and significance to the reader as to help better understand the situation we find ourselves in today.

Punik Publishing is proud to announce the release of what we believe is the most relevant historic writing on the present day Artsakh conflict.

Shahan Natalie's Turkism from Angora to Baku and The Turks and Us were originally published in Armenian as separate volumes in 1928. The present English translation is intended to give today's reader, in one volume and with augmented notes, an insightful analysis of the neighboring Turkic governments' true national interests and desires at the time of writing. It is a forceful and timely reminder that, although the Turkish leaders profess to have changed their posture over the last century, their relentless aim and systematic program to deny the actions of their predecessors, to discredit their victims' claims, and to rid themselves once and for all their "Armenian Problem" has remained the same.

With the conflict in the historic and present-day Armenian territory of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh) and the ongoing negotiations for a settlement with Azerbaijan, it is even more imperative for the Armenian people as a whole to understand the consequences of compromise when it comes time to truly talk peace at the negotiating table.

As the government representatives of Armenia and Turkey seek reconciliation, with the aim of normalizing relations and developing much needed mutual economic ties, it would seem that Armenia is once again playing the na�ve pawn to world powers, who, in the interest of their own gains, are encouraging the minority nation of the Southern Caucasus to dismiss her past and look only to the future, while dangerously ignoring the warning that history forgotten will always repeat itself.

For those of you wondering who is Shahan Natalie, it remains for you to read the introduction to The Turks and Us and find out the significant role he played in shaping 20th century Armenian history.

Copies of The Turks and Us can be obtained at Books stores can obtain multiple copies by e-mailing
Here is the translation of Rosa Myrig's letter to her sponsor that I thought may inspire some of you to get involved:

Artsakh, City of Martuni
R. Martirosyan St, No. 5
Hrand Arseni Dadanyan
Roza Sergeyi Dadanyan

We, two spouses, together with our three sons, relocated to our birthplace Karabagh from Baku on December 26 1988.

Our three sons:
Artur Hranti Dadanyan was born on 15 June 1960
Yuri Hranti Dadanyan was born on 2 June 1962
Armen Hranti Dadanyan was born on 19 June 1971

How good it was, how happy we felt to be saved from the Turks and come here. The reason for our moving was the well-known Karabagh movement. Our sons said, "Let's go." Our happy days of protecting the land of Karabagh did not last long. Day by day the situation worsened, the horrific war began during which our three sons were killed also - Arthur and Yuri on the same day, 2 March 1991; and Armen on 23 July 1992.

What we have endured for eleven years only the father of those three knows, and also God, and my three children when I join them. I suffered greatly, lost my health, my mind was disturbed by memories; but somehow restraining myself, focusing myself, I dealt with it all. Why? Because my Arthur was married. He has one son, Ruslan, and one daughter Elina (who is afflicted with epilepsy). We are pensioners. It is clear that we have financial difficulty, but somehow we take it in stride. What can we do? To whom shall we apply so that the situation changes? And so restrained, humble, respectful and accommodating, we count the days - when we will die and how.

Our black fate would have strangled us completely were there not on earth caring, concerned, patriotic, Armenian-loving hereic boys, such as the dear, esteemed JD. On 8 August 2002 I went to my sons' cemetery (which I do every day). When I came home, my blood pressure was elevated and I went to bed, when the telephone rang. "Roza Myrig, take your identification and come to the bank." I said, "I can't today. I'll come tomorrow." And I did that; I went there - if it is not shameful, I can say that like a surprise they presented me with $1,000. Until today I have not emerged from my emotions and feelings. I think I am in a dream. But at the same time I am proud that my sons have accomplished their purpose, to protect their native land, but they did not reach the rest of their desires. And I, their mother, am bearing all of that alone. I do not wish this dreadful fortune on anyone. Once again we express our profound thanks to JD, that dear, esteemed person who cared about us.

At the same time, I very much ask and await your brief letter with all the details, your address, your profession, about your family. I would like to correspond with you so we can get acquainted. If it is possible, your visit here with us, and I will host you however I am able.

I await your letter, and kiss you and all the members of your family.
Please write, we are waiting.
Hrant Arseni and Roza Sergeyi Dadanyan
Karabagh, Martuni City

Please forgive my health condition. I was going to write to you sooner. Please forgive me. 19 August 2002

Her sponsor wrote back:


About one month ago, I read on the internet Ara's letter concerning you, your husband and your sons. I was shocked that no helping hand had been extended by the diaspora to you and your husband. I was embarrassed by our lack of compassion and generosity. You have given everything to keep the land Armenian, an accomplishment for which all who call themselves Armenian are proud, yet we do not seek the honor of protecting you or your husband from the consequences of war. For this I am truly ashamed. You ask my forgiveness for sending a letter "late"; I seek yours for not sending help for 11 years.


Tuesday, August 20, 2002

I just got finished visiting with a worker from the bank who came to my house to see if I could help her. With her was her very cute daughter who recently graduated from the university.

She told me her hardship story of having a total household income of 40,000 dram (less than $80) a month and having 6 people trying to survive from that amount. I knew that I would be getting such visits, but not one from a bank worker who knows exactly how much and to who we are helping.

I told her that so far we have selected 11 people to be recipients of help from our sponsors and I have hopes by years end we will have 100 people receiving such aid. I further explained to her that she would probably not fall within the 100 people, as they are primarily going to be people who have no children, unable to work and thus no future.

What her able body family needs is employment or business opportunities, which is what I�m always trying to create. Unfortunately, there are well over 4,000 people who are in the same situation as this woman just in the city of Martuni.

BTW, have any of you considered sponsoring someone here or passing on this idea to someone you know would be capable of doing this? I know none of you have, as I have no new takers. This really is not all that difficult to do and is only $50 a month to help out a fellow human who was not as lucky as most of us are.

Monday, August 19, 2002

I went to Yerevan for a few days with the Mayor and his family on their summer vacation.

On the way, I was telling the Mayor about Lena�s experience in Georgia and what she learned about the police having to have a daily permit for the area they work in. I told him the next time we get stopped I�m going to ask to see their permit. He asked me if I had heard about the arrests of over 100 traffic police officers? It seems that they had been photographed taking bribes and all at once, they were gathered up and off to jail. Sure as can be, the whole trip was without ever getting stopped. In fact on the way to Yerevan, we didn�t see one traffic cop. In Yerevan, I saw a couple of traffic cops, but didn�t notice them stopping anyone. Just standing there looking scared and confused (no exaggeration). I guess when your buddies get caught for something illegal, you think twice before making the same mistake. Let�s see how long this will last.

We stayed in a village on the outskirts of Yerevan with the Mayor�s sister and her family. They are from Baku and are one of the more fortunate ones who were warned by their Azeri friends as to what the Armenian were going to be facing and were able to trade houses with an Azeri family living in the house they now live in. They left Baku just before the real problems started.

The highlight of the trip for the Mayor�s kids was Water World. For me it was in interesting experience, as it seems the day we were there, quite a number of the well to do were also there. You can tell who they are from their big bellies and cellular phones. There were also some of the less well off who were skinny and swam in their underwear. What was interesting is that irregardless of what social class you come from, during that time that we were all swimming together, we were all equals and all having fun together.

In the village the weather was so nice that I decided I would sleep outside. One night at 4 AM, I was woken by a dog barking and for some reason could not fall back to sleep. I laid there thinking about the day before and a visit we had with the Mayor�s wife�s aunt.

The aunt and her husband live in the town of Noubarashen, which is right next to Erebuni. They are refugees from Baku and live in an apartment that they share with 3 other families. The husband is a mechanic and was working for the trolley repair plant near Noubarashen and told me that someone from Lebanon recently privatized the repair depot, laid-off all the workers and had turned it into a coffee grinding plant.

I asked him where they repair the trolleys now and he said that there are still 2 other repair depots, but there is word that they too will be privatized and converted to something other than what they are now.

It seems that for the last couple of years, the government has been planning the removal of parts of the electrical transportation system and this year was successful in having a few kilometers of the rail removed, claiming low usage as being the reason for no longer having a need for it. Though some have argued to discontinue the service in those areas, but leave the rail system in, the tracks were still removed. This reminds me of Los Angeles in the 1960�s and the oil and tire companies that were able to successfully influence the removal of the electrical transportation system, thus increasing the need of fuel and tires. 30 years later, Los Angeles realized that they needed electrical transportation and have spent millions and millions of dollars to put back in what the oil and tire companies were able to convince them to take out.

Well guess what? Armenia is facing the same game, but to me it�s worse. I guess you have to be here to know, but I�ll say this much without exaggeration. The same people who have their hands on the controls that steer which direction our country goes in happen to also be the fuel monopolist.

With Armenia being land-locked and having no oil producing resources, yet having a surplus of electricity and the whole world steering in the direction of environmentally friendly transportation, which Armenia already has (for now), this whole thing is makes no sense at all.

I also noticed the other day that there are places that the electrical busses use to run, that the cable they use has been removed.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Our discussion on the Baron Der issue in the holy land has bared results. One of our readers who writes for a Hebrew language paper in Israel took the initiative to write an article to further heighten public awareness of what is going. I think it would be appropriate to thank our log reader Sariel Birnmaum for a job well done.

The following is an English translation of the highlights that Sariel prepared so the readers of Cilicia could read her article:

Rage among Armenian communities in the world because land seizures for the separation wall in Jerusalem
�HATSOFE� 09-08-02

By Sariel Birnbaum

Israeli Defense forces is about to establish in the area of an Armenian monastery a wall which will separate Beth-Lehem and Jerusalem. This issue wages a storm among Armenian communities through the world.

This land, called Baron Der, includes many caves, graves and 1600 old olive trees. And a building used by Armenian clergy. ...

According to the Patriarchy, in August 2001 the IDF destroyed the monastery wall and caused enormous damage to the church�s property there, estimated by hundred thousands dollars .

(a photo of the area).

The government of Armenia, along with Armenian Church and Armenian organizations in USA decided to begin pressures campaign against Israel in order to convince her to withdraw the seizure decision. The majority of Armenians today live in communities all around the world �

The Armenian National Committee of America shows conspicuously in its web-site the Israeli planned measures, and offers its members to send protest letters to secretary of state Powel and Israeli embassy in Washington. The surfers in the many Armenian web-sites show anger for the insult of church�s property and the Israeli despise of the holy site.

...there is a fear that this issue will encourage the streams among the Armenian community in Jerusalem to cut the ties from Israel and get closer to Palestinian position...the response of IDF spokesman: The Armenian Church appealed the Supreme
Court. The state�s response was not submitted yet.

...(some details about the Armenian Community in Jerusalem)

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Eleven and rising. That�s the number of people who are being sponsored by our readers. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU ALL SOOOOOO VERY MUCH!!!!

I�m now wearing my social worker hat and trying to figure out who will be the chosen ones. It�s really hard, as there are so many people who are in need. So many �Rosa Myrig�s� are out there and their pride is not helping me any to find them. I�ve learned that the ones that come forward to ask me for help are usually the ones that need it the least (though in reality, everyone could use a little help). I�m targeting the people who are hiding in their dilapidated homes, trying to show the world that they are okay, but are not. Those are the real �Rosa Myrig�s�.

Here is a little food for thought for those out there who are thinking of get involve: �Poor nutrition and starvation are horrible no matter who the victim, but with us, even us fat and happy Armenian Americans, word of starving, meat-deprived, elderly Armenian women hits home especially fast and hard. I think every American over 60's first reaction to the new word "Armenian" is that darn phrase, "starving Armenian". What is amazing to me is not that you organized help for Rosa, or that I responded, but that you didn't get hundreds of offers, not just two. I recognize that people in Artsakh are not starving, but neither do I assume that the poorest are getting adequate nutrition.�

So here is a calling to everyone to get involved. This could be a one time gift or it could mean that you �adopt� someone or a family. My goal this year is to secure regular sponsorship for minimum of 100 people. So far we have 11 so all that is left is 89+ people and I don�t care what it takes, I�m going to do it one way or another. If you know someone who does not read our logs and know that they are capable of helping and your not, your job is to lead them to our site and enlighten them. Send them an e-mail now while your sitting at your computer.

Well, I have to go to lunch at the Mayor�s house. I have 6 names already and at lunch we should come up with 3 more. Then it�s off to the bank to open the accounts. Wow, this is almost feeling like work. Thank goodness, I�m enjoying it.

Monday, August 12, 2002

I just got home from Slavik Sarkisyan�s birthday party and I was the only one drinking wine. The rest were drinking vodka. You got me how I found my way home. All I can say is thank God I was not driving.

Who is Slavik Sarkikyan? His is only one of the best known singers in Martuni and I believe that if he and his band had decent equipment, they would be know in the Armenian music industry.

Anyways, today was election day and guess who is going to be our President for the next 5 years? Yes, Goulkasyan again. I didn�t vote for him, not because he was not the best or worst candidate, but because I knew he was going to win, but I didn�t want 90% of the votes win to go to his head. Trust me, people don�t like him all that much, but he was really probably the best qualified candidate for the job this time around (sad but ture). Well let�s let him show what he can do, now that he claims he knows how to run a government. I hope he wont be offended when I call on him to tell him and tell him what I think he should do to make things better for our people.

You may be asking how did Ara vote? Well, remember that Oleg Yesayan, the President of Parliament said that I could consider myself a citizen? With that I told the people at the poling place that I wanted to vote according to what Oleg said and they let me.

Anyway, may I congratulate Goulkasyan on his re-election. May he make good on what he says he will do.

Hey Goulkasian, I don�t care if Rosa Myrig has someone taking care of her food needs now. Why don�t you gift her some new clothes or something and deliver it yourself in your new Toyota Jeep. If you do that, I�ll change my name and dye my hair green.

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Sorry for not logging this sooner, but I�ve been having connection problems and it seems that the telephone company can�t quite get my line between Martuni and Stepanagert tuned correctly.

Last night I went to Rosa Myrig�s house for dinner.

On my way over to her house, I ran into a red haired boy carrying 2 very heavy bags that each contained a watermelon. He was walking slow and I could tell was tired. I asked him where he was going with such a heavy load? He said he was going to Rosa Myrig�s house. I took one of the bags from him and we made our way to her house.

The last time Rosa Myrig and Hurant had watermelon was when I took one to them last week. Before that, the last time they could afford such a luxury was 4 years ago, when my neighbor had brought over a truckload and was selling them for almost half the price the stores were selling them for.

We sat down before dinner and talked about how they are doing. She suspected, but didn�t know for sure that I had arranged for the money she received and was waiting for me to come for a visit so she could ask.

She told about how she had gone to the bank without a clue as to why they were calling her and had figured that maybe the President had sent some gift, since who else would send money to her?

She was sitting down when the bank manager told her the amount. The bank manager told me yesterday that when she told her, Rosa Myrig began to cry. She wanted to know who, where and why they got this money. I had told the manager to just give the name and from where this person was from (since that�s all the information I have myself). Rosa Myrig told me that she had problems standing up and after sitting there a bit and getting over the shock went to the cashier to receive the money.

It was a biter-sweat moment. She said that this money can�t replace her sons, but it does lighten the load and worries they have.

I gave her a translation of the logs which she read out loud and though the basic story was correct (it�s the official story that everyone tells), they were not forced out of Baku. Their eldest son Arthur came to join the defense forces at the start of the struggle and they came 3 months later after settling their affairs. Their youngest son was serving in the Russian army in Russia at the time and deserted his post to come join his brothers. He also brought with him a close Russian friend of Arthur�s, who also participated.

Listening to Rosa Myrig read the logs was not easy. She would stop every now and then to cry. Though there is nothing that can compensate her for her loss, I could tell that this is something that she needed, the knowledge that total strangers know her story and they feel for her.

At dinner our first toast was to welcome me. The second was to our friend who sent them a very unexpected gift. The third toast as is tradition here in Artsakh was to those that have lost their life and spilled their blood for the defense of our country. Following toasts were to them, me, their family, my family and our future.

Just so you know, tonight we had soup (with meatballs and potatoes in it), tomatoes, cucumbers, green-peppers, cheese, yogurt, bread and lots of watermelon.

I�m now working on our next �Rosa Myrig� case. I think I�ll be going to the bank next week to open an account for her.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

A brief update on the Rosa Myrig situation.

Today, I got a call from the bank to let me know that our reader who said he would help Rosa Myrig and her husband Hurant had transferred money to an account I opened on Monday in her name. The amount that our reader gifted should last them well through the winter and then some.

I sent him an e-mail to thank him and he sent me a response telling me it was no big pain to do, instructing me to let him know when they need more.

The bank could not find Rosa Myrig at home to tell her to come pick up her money until 3 PM, as she had gone to the cemetery to visit her sons graves. She told them that she was tired and would go in the morning.

Just so you know, she has no idea what is waiting her at the bank. They only told her that she needed to come down and bring her passport.

I�ll post more about this as things develop.
Yesterday I sent off my third letter to the President in regards to my citizenship application. I will say in all fairness to the President that I believe that he has not yet been informed of this situation and want to believe that my letters are getting no further than Defense Council Secretary, Karen. Baburyan. For this reason, I have sent this strongly worded letter to him and hope that this time he will personally see it and respond in an appropriate manor. If not, I see no other choice than to have my influential friends here and in the Diaspora (meaning you and all the people I know who provide $$$ to Artsakh that the President seems to admire) flood the President�s office with letters to encourage him to resolve this issue. A few people who are not so fond of the President are trying to encourage me to release these letters to the voters here before the 11th. I guess I�ll play that one by ear.

7 August 2002

Esteemed Mr. President,

This is the third letter that I am writing to you regarding my application for Artsakh citizenship.

On 26 July 2002, I received a primitive, common and insulting letter signed by Defense Council Secretary K. Baburyan, in reply to my second letter to you and I am hopeful that this does not express Your opinion and thinking.

To recapitulate: In June 2000, NKR Prime Minister Anushavan Danielyan proposed to me to accept NKR citizenship, promising to do everything to bring the process to a positive conclusion. I accepted that proposal gladly, and in July 2000, I submitted my application for Artsakh citizenship addressed to You, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) together with all the necessary documents. To this they responded verbally that this process would take 3 to 6 months.

In August 2001, Mr. Sergey Nasibyan indicated to me that my application had been reviewed during the committee session to confirm the decision and had been sent to you in December 2000 for your signature.

After about one month of searching, I was able to locate my documents with Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) official Ararat Grigoryan, who indicated to me that they were waiting for a letter of agreement from the MFA, so they could complete this process and send the documents to You for signature. I immediately telephoned the MFA and had a phone conversation with Masis Mayilyan, who promised me to immediately send the requested letter to the MIA.

On 12 January 2002, Mr. S. Nasibian indicated to me that he was in possession of all the documents and that he was awaiting the letter of agreement from the MFA; and he promised that he would bring the issue for review in the next session of the government. After that, I met M. Mayilyan, who indicated that he was awaiting the report from the National Security Committee, and within a few hours of receiving said report he would send the letter of agreement to Mr. S. Nasibian.

On 11 February 2002, I contacted National Security Committee Chief, Mr. B. Sahakyan and learned that in addition to the above mentioned report, it was also necessary to receive 2 other reports, one of which was to come from the United States. Meanwhile, in May 2001 I had been informed that the MFA had requested information about me from the NKR representative in Washington and had received a reply with information as to the information of interest to them. After my telephone conversation with Mr. Sahakyan, I immediately contacted M. Mayilyan, asking him to send one copy of the above mentioned reply to the National Security Committee Chief, which he promised to do.

Regarding my request for citizenship, I applied a few times to National Assembly President, Mr. Oleg Yesayan, who assured me that there was no problem with this issue and that I could consider myself an NKR citizen. The last time he gave me that assurance was on 23 February 2002, when You had come with him to Martuni.

I do not consider it superfluous to note that, according to Article 14 of the NKR Constitution, the obtainment and termination of citizenship are determined by law. Persons of Armenian descent obtain citizenship by a simple sequence. If this is a simple sequence, then it is interesting to know what a "simple" sequence is.

From K. Baburyan's letter it appears that "in connection with constitutional changes related to citizenship, the NKR President's committee for granting NKR citizenship has not reviewed similar issues since July 1999. At present the NKR government is developing mechanisms for handing similar issues according to the NKR constitution presently in force."

It is at the very least amazing this specialist in jurisprudence is giving such a baseless response. Is it perhaps during the period of subjection to changes, in which the country has found itself over 3 years, not to say, that these changes according to Baburyan are not only being made, but have already been made? Therefore, what is the reason, that since July 1999, the Committee on Granting Citizenship Issues has not examined similar questions? Is it perhaps that the non-examination of similar questions is the basic reason for such prolongation and for delaying the resolution of this question?

I want to point out also that 3 American Armenians have already received NKR citizenship, and that I have also have the right to be an NKR citizen. And if You find that I am not worthy of it, I ask that you deny my request with valid reasoning, and not circumvent the question's essence by giving a response which says nothing.

Finally, I should add that it would be desirable to receive a response to my letter immediately, so that I have the opportunity to turn over the letters I have sent You and the answers You have given me to the international community, and particularly to the Diaspora Armenians, in anticipation of their impartial and fair-minded evaluation, and their moral and non-partisan assistance.


Ara Khachig Manoogian

Saturday, August 03, 2002

Today was my friend the Mayor�s wedding anniversary. I didn�t know this until after I dropped in to see him and suggested breaking our Sunday tradition of having khorovad�s and do it tonight instead. He agreed. As we were cutting up the meat, I jokingly said that today we will celebrate his birthday and he said how about if we celebrate my wedding anniversary. I agreed and asked him how many years have they been married. His wife said it has been 15 years. This is when I figured out that he was serious. Happy anniversary Artyom and Stela, may we celebrate many more anniversaries together.

Friday, August 02, 2002

Last night I went to dinner at Rosa Myrig�s house and picked up the figures I had asked her for in regards to how much food one needs per month. Her total per month per person came out to approximately $63.

It was interesting to see what they eat and what my neighbor the nutritionist said the government�s monthly recommend intake should be. It seems that Rosa Myrig and Hurant eat twice as much vegetables, eggs everyday, lots of potatoes, onions and sugar. I guess at their age (65 and 70 years old), these kinds of things they crave more.

As for the estimate the nutritionist came up with, it cost approximately $57.50 per person, per month.

The government official figure from Armenia is approximately $48.50 per person, per month.

You may notice that the average monthly income here which a government worker makes (about 20,000 dram ($38)) is not even enough to provide normal food for one person, let alone a family.

I called the bank this morning to see if Western Union is working here and sure as can be, it does.

When the transaction takes place, Rosa Myrig will be getting a call from the bank to tell her to come pick up the money. A very clean transaction and an example of how someone from the Diaspora can help someone living here with an assurance that their gift really does get to the person it is intended for.

More to come