Sunday, March 16, 2003

Last night, as I was driving home from Stepanagert and passing Aghdam, I was thinking to myself why I am here and not in America?

It was not one of those �I�m tired of this place� kind of thought, but just a reflection of life here and life in America.

First let me tell a little bit about what has been going on here and then I�ll tell you what my thoughts on the above question to myself were.

So I found myself in Stepanagert for a couple of days, working on some new equipment for the stone factory. It has been quite a challenge to get machinists, engineers and parts suppliers motivated to work at a speed that meet my needs.

On top of this, I�m working with a couple of electrical engineers to manufacture electronic products for markets here, Armenia and the former CIS. For that project, I�m also working with a plastics company for the packaging of the products we have already built and future manufacturing of plastic parts we are presently getting from Armenia and Russia. I�m facing the same challenges with this project, as I am for the stone factory equipment.

Then there is the �disgruntled and eminent departure� of the Prime Minster of Armenia, who I understand could be replaced with the president of Grand Candy.

We add to this my purchasing a professional electric hair clipper from the only store I could find in Stepanagert that had one.

The store is owned by the head prosecutor, Mavrik Goulkasyan. This store is in a building that is near the main bus-station in Stepanagert that was once the center of a controversy of where did Mavrik get the money to build said building and when asked �with what was his building built with�, he answered �building materials.�

The issue was dropped when Mavrik published in an opposition paper an example of the President�s violation of the law and stated that he had some 60+ other such documented crimes committed by President Goulkasyan in his office. I think that�s called blackmail.

So I made my purchase at 5 PM and asked for a receipt. The woman who made the sale is the eldest daughter of the former chief of police in the Martuni region and who is now the director of one of Serg Sarkissyan�s (Minister of Defense of RA) wine factories that he owns in Artsakh. She asked if I could wait for a minute, as she had not turned on the receipt machine today. Once it was turned on, she asked me if the date made a difference? I told her no. Mind you this store is very busy and that machine is suppose to register all sales so that the store pays to the government VAT and income tax.

I get to Martuni and learn that a family that I take care of, who live in my neighborhood is being told that the water project which USAID if funding for the city of Martuni has cut their old pipe which as supplying water to their house and now they have to cut a trench 40cm deep and over 100 meters long and supply a new pipe, so they will have water. Being on the water committee, I remember something about no one resident having to run more than 50 meters of pipe.

So this is a sample of what I encounter in a 2 days period.

Now what were my thoughts of the question I asked myself about why I�m here and not in America?

Well, it seems that in America, when I lived there, things were very stable and life�s program was somewhat fixed. In short, in America, you live to one day die.

What I mean by this is that the common person (this included me), does his or her job day in and day out. We get old one day and retire. Then one day comes that we die. Everything in-between our birth and death in America is somewhat insignificant if you consider what is really going in the world outside of America.

Then you come to place like Armenia or Artsakh. This is a place that is hanging on a thread, and like so many places in the world, its survival and future is impacted in a positive and negative way, based on what a few people do.

It�s a country that is gradually being enslaved by western powers and Russia, not to mention it�s facing that same threat from Muslim neighbor�s, who for over a thousand years have been trying to (and at time has) rule over the people who live here.

So what is my role here? Well for one thing, I�m doing the same thing here that I was doing in America. I�m doing business. The difference is that the business I do here has a greater impact and is a counter force on everything I have written in this log.

My life here has so much more meaning, as by me being here and doing what I was doing in America, I am indirectly fighting against my brothers and sisters from being enslaved by not only foreign powers, but also by some very bad native powers, who if we turn a blind eye to, will do what they please with our people and our nation.

And while �Bush braces Americans for war�, you should think about if your life in the west is what you want it to be and if just maybe now is the time to make life really meaningful?

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