Saturday, March 01, 2003


Tonight I had an unexpected encounter with a high-ranking government official at a friend�s house while we were watching the Armenian news on television.

It was all pro-Kocharian propaganda again. We watched some doctor saying something to the extent that when you go to the hospital, you want to find an experienced doctor to operate on you. In the same way, when it comes to your president, you want to have an experienced president.

I asked if this doctor works for the President's wife, who recently bought one of the privatized hospitals in Armenia?

This high-ranking government official got on the defensive and asked me if I didn�t understand what the doctor was saying and would it not be better to go to an experienced doctor? He then went on to add that the whole point was that Kocharian is experienced and Demirchian is not.

I told him that my question was not who had experience, but if that doctor works for Kocharian�s wife, the woman who recently privatized a hospital in Armenia?

So this government official continues to rant and rave and finishes with saying �Kocharian will get elected, finished!!!�

At that moment, I wanted to laugh and at the same time cry. Here I was sitting with a Kocharian government official who was telling me that it is decided that Kocharian will be president and he made it clear that there will be no alternative.

Though I had planned on changing the subject as I didn�t see any point in arguing with this guy, he turned to someone else in the room and asked if he had seen the news yesterday and how Demerchian is so stupid, he did not know who the royal family in some country was and is now being tutored.

Well, my plan to change the subject, failed, as I asked him if he thought that Kocharian was that worldly when he first became president and knew everything? I told him that it seemed very immature and almost childish to take such cheep shots at Demirchian on Kocharian�s television station. He said that Demirchian has taken cheep shots at Kocharian. I told him that if Kocharian has lowered himself to the same level as Demirchian, then this tells me that he is no better and we should take that as a warning.

The conversation heated up and he started to talk about all that Kocharian had done over the last 5 years.

I countered his comments of the huge economic growth as being reported, but we all know good and well that it�s all a matter of reporting big numbers that only exist on paper.

He asked me if I was a citizen and if I could vote, who would I vote for? I told him I would abstain as I feel Kocharian and Demirchian are not fit to run Armenia as it should be run. I said that our big problem today is that Kocharian and before that TerPedrosian has not allowed a real leader to run for president. He said that this is another subject and I said no, this is the real subject and biggest problem today, a few people deciding who will run our country.

The conversation went on for another 30 minutes, with me not backing down and he trying to find some common ground.

One thing I really didn�t care for was his comments of �your America does this� and �we don�t do things that way here�.

I told him that this overall condition is not fitting for our people, as they are educated and do have a sophisticated way of thinking. He said this life is not so bad and very fitting for us. I asked about the people who are starving and he asked what people I�m talking about? I said the people who want to work, but who have been deprived the opportunity to do so by our corrupt system. He said what system am I talking about?

I went on to tell him about how our system works, of which he could not argue that I was making up anything and he could only agree and said that �it�s the same in America�. I asked him what he was talking about? He said that he has seen it in the movies and movies must reflect at least 10% of what really goes on in America.

I told him that I was in business in America and never has anything happened to me or anyone I know that regularly happen here. I said that if they made movies that told the real way things work in America, no one would go see them.

The conversation ended at some point and I could see that my sermon once again had its effect on this man who didn�t get to where he is at by being honest. If he got the message that just maybe what he is doing is harmful to the future of his country, then the hour I spent listening and talking was well worth it.

One thing I will say is that there is no such thing as a bad Armenian. At worst, they are a little bit lost and it�s just a matter of getting them back on track.

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