Saturday, May 31, 2003

Ten years ago today, I was in Yerevan making arrangements for transportation and permits for my first visit to Artsakh.

Ten year. I can�t believe how quickly time is passing.

Today was the 1 day anniversary of Souren�s death. This morning we visited his cemetery and then went to his house for a meal.

There was an old man in attendance who you would think was maybe 75, but in fact was 90 years old. He made mention at the cemetery that in life everyone is entitled to 2 meters of earth, meaning ones cemetery plot.

Friday, May 30, 2003

I just got home from Souren�s funeral. It was one of those funerals that you feel was natural and sincere.

They wished Souren a safe journey to the after-life, sending with him news to his son and daughter who had died before him.

Just a little background on Souren and who he was.

Souren was a man that I can say was honest and clean. Everything he had he obtained on his own with hard work and honesty. Not to say that his generation or today�s generation does not have that potential, but it seems to be quite rare.

Souren was the brother of my first surrogate mother I had in Artsakh and the uncle of the mayor. His sister like he I have known since I first came to Martuni and can say from first hand experience is also honest, sincere and clean.

Anyway, we will miss Souren and as they say here, may the soil he is covered in be light.

Last word on our reader Orhan (since I don�t want to give him too much credit).

The shock of his deception I think I�m now over, though that bad experience I don�t think I will ever forget and in the future will probably be much more suspicious of Turks who claim to love me.

Orhan I�m very hurt that you lied to me and already am missing you. If you were truly sincere about wanting to build that bridge between Armenians and Azeris, I really think we could have done some big things together. Maybe you would have been awarded some great prize for your work. I guess I�ll just have to move forward without you.

Anyway, I was reading the California Courier Online, May 29, 2003 commentary (one of my favorite readings) about House Resolution 193.

What I found interesting was Turkey's Ambassador, Faruk Logoglu, sent a letter to all members of the House Judiciary Committee denying the facts of the Armenian Genocide and stating, "the time is for dialogue, not for one-sided pronouncements on history."

As Harout stated in his commentary �It is amazing how fast Turkish officials run for cover or support �dialogue,� the minute they sense that they are in trouble. In an attachment to his letter, the Ambassador tried incredibly to convince the Members of Congress that adopting this resolution would �surely affect the on going dialogue between Turkey and Armenia and the process of reconciliation between the two countries and peoples.��

I guess the Ambassador is not in tune with what his general population is feeling, or like Harout said, is ready to toss out the �dialogue" card to hold of the enviable, the truth coming out and genocide recognition. The truth is that many Turks are not interested in talking, they are interested in Armenian blood.

As for Orhan, I�m saddened to know that if in fact he is ready to play the war card, he and his fellow war-mongers will inevitably jump into the pit of death if and when they try to attack us and it really will sadden me more to learn that just maybe the bullet that puts an end to his demented life will be fired by some weapon that I am holding.

For those of you who would like to send your condolences to Orxan Huseyinli before his untimely and self-inflicted death, you may do so by writing to: and please be sure to cc me a copy so I can later pass your kind words on to his next of kin.

Well this is all I will write about Orhan and as far as I�m concerned, he is already dead. No more Orhan stories on Cilicia.

Well I�ve got to take a quick nap and then get back to the stone factory. I have some samples I have to get ready to send with someone that is going to Australia tomorrow.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

What a productive and fulfilling day!!!

This morning I woke up with the roosters and walked to work.

Then at noon, I walked home and then back to work and then back home at 7 PM.

I got home all sweaty and sticky and I have to tell you what a great feeling that is. There is nothing like a good physical workout. Just the walking was a total of 9 miles.

After a quick shower, I dressed up to go pay my respects to Souren, an 81 year old neighbor who passed away yesterday.

At the wake, the women were inside the house with Souren and the men outside talking.

I had mentioned to a couple of people about my recent encounter with Orhan and one man told me that Turks are not fighters and we really have very little to worry about.

He said that Armenians in general are good fighters and if they know they have to fight to survive from the start of a battle, they always win.

He went on to say that we should remember that in the history of the Soviet Union�s army, there were about 20 Marshals (In American terms, this would be a 5 star general). Of the 20 marshals, 4 of them were Armenian and of those 4, all of them were from Artsakh (one from Shushi, one from Hadrut and 2 from the same village in the Shahumian region).

One person commented that I can no longer blame Kocharian for not coming to any agreements with Aliev as like Kocharian, I too have failed with Orhan. Well I guess Robert and I now have something in common.

Well tomorrow is Souren�s funeral, which means that I have to drive to work in the morning and then rush home at 11:15 to take a quick shower, dress up and then drive over to Souren�s house so I can take his widow, sister and any other elderly women to the cemetery.

Man am I soooo tired right now. It feels great!!! Too bad I�m driving tomorrow :(

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

As I mentioned in my last log that an Azeri reader of ours and I were planning on a possible program to get university students to talk on a non-confrontational level, just to get some dialog going.

I want to share with you the following e-mails I got from our reader in Baku Orxan Huseyinli, a 19 year old university student.

I had run the above mentioned idea across Orxan to see what he though and he wrote:

Hi Ara! how are you? i m well 10x! i liked your plan! i think we can chat together between azeri and armenian students and we can discuss the problem between us! i liked your plan! i have some friends who want to discuss this problem! so i wait you! i m waiting your answer! and your project! with greatest love :Orhan!

I responded:

Hi Orhan,

Plan? I really don�t have a plan yet, but I think between the two of us we can come up with something.

I guess first we really need to decide what it is that we want to accomplish and then a plan can be formulated to help facilitate what we desire.

The following is my list of what I would like to accomplish:

1. Everyone to understand that we are all human beings.
2. Everyone has a right to a free and fair life.
3. People need to be sensitive to other people needs.
4. People need to respect others religions and culture.
5. War does not accomplish anything and in a war there are no winners.

I think these topics are very general and could be a starting point for some kind of dialog between our students.

Some rules that need to be applied and respected are:

1. Everyone has the right to their opinion.
2. For this forum, we don�t discuss the conflicts that we have had in the past, as my feeling is we are working to create a positive dialog and discussing the conflict from the start will only build more wall between us. We first have to have a positive dialog and then when we think we are ready, we can start to talk about all the conflicts, understand them so they wont happen again and then move on.

Now down to the point of if we can do this or not? I know from my side here, there is no one that will stand in my way of doing this. They big question is if from your side they will let you do this. Remember, you live there and if for some reason this will cause you problems with your government, I will understand that you can�t do this. If you have no problems in terms of being harassed, then I see no reason why we can�t move forward.

Please get back to me with what you think of my general ideas and tell me what you would like to change and add.



Orhan wrote me back today:

Hi Ara! you said that you dont like the war! yeah?! ok ! so i will say that from all azeri young mans! Nagorno Karabakh is azeri region! and armenia was occupied that region from azerbaijan! killed a lot of people(children,whomens,old mens) and we will return back our regin with war way! and belive me , all azeries waht to return his own region with war way! you said the war is bad think! cuz you didnt war for your region! armenians werent kill and werent died for land! they were killed all time turks! in turkey and in azerbaijan! so wait for me! so wait for azeri turks! wait for azeri soldiers! we all are deady for second war! wait for us! we will kill all armenians! and we will return back our lands! our motherlamd-Karabakh! our heart! our blood-Karabakh! bye!
With gretest killing wishes one of the azerbaijanian killer! killer who wants to kill only armenians!

Well I guess that this means we were never able to get the project off the ground and that love that Orhan had for me was only for my dead Armenian body.

Well the following is my response to Orhan that I wont bother sending to him since he reads our log:

Dear Orhan,

I�m saddened that you were unwilling to accept my hand of friendship I have offered you and understand that me being ethic Armenian is what stands in your way from honestly loving me as you had once said you did.

I am further saddened that you find war is the only answer to resolve the conflict we are presently facing, though that too I understand since the Turkish people have a history of wanting to kill Armenians and why should I expect this to change now?

I do want to tell you that if you and your fellow Turkic people decide to start another war with us, as much as I dislike war, I will have no choice and defend my home and people in any way I can.

I hope for your sake that one day you and your people will learn that war is not the answer to problems and like I told you before, in war there are no winners.


Well readers and all those governments that have been trying to get us to sit down at the negotiating table to come up with a peace plan. Here is another example of who the Turkic people are.

This should also give you a good idea why this conflict broke out in the first place. Armenians and Turks can not live on the same land together as like we saw in 1915 and then again in 1988, there are too many Turkic people like Orhan who are thirsty for Armenian blood.
A reader of who lives in Baku and I are planning to put together a program where Azeri and Armenian university students interact on a non-political level in hopes of finding some common ground.

Though I don�t envision reconciliation or some peace plan to be signed as a result of our efforts, I think it�s important that our generation (via the common people without some middle-man with his or her own agenda) learn to talk to each other. We also all need to understand our past so the bad stuff that has been going on for the last few hundred year will not be repeated in the future and just maybe with that lesson, we can collectively create some working form of stability in this part of the world.

Work is going well and now that we are cutting stone, I�m getting small orders from the natives. I guess there is an untapped market here for good quality granite tiles. Maybe with the help of my new friends in Azerbaijan, I can export there too?

Monday, May 26, 2003

Yesterday my cabinet-maker and I went out to my lake to take measurements for the furniture he will build for my dacha.

Though I find most places in Artsakh to be restful, there is something about water that is the most relaxing, not to mention my lake is quite secluded and off the beaten path, meaning that people don�t bother me there.

I know I�m dreaming, but I�m really hoping that as soon as I decide on what I�m going to have made in terms of furniture, it will be ready in a month so this year I will be able to go to my lake on weekends to just relax.

The heavy rains we have been experiencing this last week has caused quite a bit of crop damage and the fields upstream from my lake, which are the most fertile in all of Artsakh are underwater and the level of my lake is up quite a bit.

This also means that like last year, all that wheat that was growing in those fields upstream has been washed into my lake to feed my fish, which may mean the truck loads of feed I was going to dump into the lake could be drastically reduced. They should think about planting rice in those fields instead of wheat and garden vegetable.

The stone factory is working well and so far it�s been smooth sailing. Let�s hope it continues to be this easy.

Next month, as soon as we catch up on the orders we have, I�m going to have to send samples abroad to see if we can secure some contracts to export our tiles.

Well I�m off to the chicken farm to pick-up a sack of chicken heads for the puppies who are now 4 months old and turning into quite the guard-dogs I was hoping they would.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

�Who Wants to be a Millionaire� has made it Armenia and I�m watching it right now.

The show is one big television commercial for a bunch of sponsors. ArmenTel is their main sponsor. A sip of Armenian Real coffee is what every round starts with. Metropol Hotel got their name blurted out as well as some water company gave a gift basket to one of the contestants that won 8,000 dram. The big prize is 5 million dram (about $9,000).

The music is the same as heard in the US as well as the graphics, lighting, look of the studio (though it looks to be bit smaller as far as audience) and the only real difference is it�s all in Armenian.

This girl named Rosanna was able to answer the starting question in 1.8 seconds and then the first question that even I could answer, she got wrong. How embarrassing.

The weather today was not all that great (very heavy rain) and I learned that it has caused some crop damage to the fields in the Martuni region.

For those wondering, my logs are a great deal shorter these days not because I have nothing to write about, but because I have some big things in the works and if they materialize, I�ll tell you all about them.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Well guess what? Where cutting stone!!!

Yes, were up and running and I have to tell you that I was not expecting things to really go so well today.

When I brought my engineer from Stepanagert to put the final touches on the main saw, 20 minutes into our work, the power went out.

I called the mayor who told me that the power to the entire city would be out until 5 PM.

So we did everything we could and at 3 PM, the power came on and we fired up the saw.

Not to drag this log out since you can only write so much about cutting stone, but I have to tell you that I’m very pleased with the results of the work everyone has put in on our equipment.

I also got an invitation to dinner from the CRS people, who came to Martuni today to do an inspection of the new water system.

I only had time to sit with them for tea and would like to report that the city of Martuni now has the potential of having water 24 hors a day.

Anyway, I’m really tired and need to now check my e-mail and then get some sleep. It’s been a long day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

The last time I was in Stepanagert, I went to Vesta Electronics to purchase some batteries and while there I noticed a Moulinex juicer for 9,000 dram (about $15). I asked to take a closer look and asked if it was the real thing or some copy, since the word France was printed on the box and the price was way too low? The salesman told me it was the real thing, but for that price there is no guarantee if it breaks.

I figured for the price it was worth the risk and purchased it. Only after using it for the first time yesterday, I figured out that the �Made in P.R.C. France� must mean that the Peoples Republic of China is now part of France. On top of that, what I thought I read �Moulinex� in a fancy script reads �Moulimax�. The juicer is not the greatest quality, but it seems to work, so I really have no complaints.

The stores are starting to fill up with fresh 100% all naturally grown vegetables, which will give me a chance to drink healthy freshly extracted juice made on my Moulimax, P.R.C. France juicer (until the motor burns up).

Last night my neighbors and I enjoyed all natural carrot juice and boy was it good!!!

Internet connection report. I�m now working on a 4,800 bps connection. Ouch!!! At this speed I can't get my Yahoo mail, so if you have e-mailed me and are waiting for an answer, please hang in there.
Today I had to go to the pension fund office to receive our register for my business, which we use to report our employees earning so we can pay into the pension fund.

Prior to singing for the register, I was told by law I have to keep this register for 70 years. I didn�t want to tell the worker that I only plan on being around for another 60 years, but instead told him I would do my best.

The big news as of day before yesterday is that the chief of police of Martuni has been removed from his post and as of today word is that the regional minister will also be removed. People are crediting me for this change, but the truth is that even though I have been telling both of them they wont work long and told the regional minister a few times I will have him removed, I didn't really do anything yet (other than a few minor comments to some official) since I understand the problem is not found so much at the regional level. The real problem is found at a much higher level and my sights are aimed for just a little bit bigger change than what we are seeing today.

Yesterday I finally watched Ararat in English. The first time I purchased it, it was in Russian and I really was not able to follow the story. All I will say is that for a movie that promotes the message of there was a genocide in 1915, it really does the job. As for it being a great movie that I can watch over and over again, it really does not do much for me. I mean don�t get me wrong, I plan on watching it a few time, as it�s very intense and to get the whole message on the first viewing is just not possible.

The weather report is that besides a little bit of rain everyday around 7 PM, the sun is out and I�m wearing short pants and am on foot whenever possible. I love this time of year!!!

As for my internet connection, it�s not quite yet 100% fixed, but at least my connection speed is now up to 12,000 bps.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

I�m not going to bore you with my connection problems, I�m just going to say that I still have them and that working with a 9,600bps connection is no fun at all. They tell me that come Monday, they will be dealing with this problem. I sure hope so.

We are within a matter of days away until we really start to cut stone. Yes, even I see that we are there. We worked all day Friday to finish putting on all the limit sensors on the main saw and whatever minor expected problems we could have encountered have finally passed. Monday or Tuesday should be the big day!!!

The weather has been great these last few days and I can feel that summer is just around the corner.

In the next couple of days, my cabinetmaker and I are going out to my lake where I am building a Dacha (a rest house). The building is just about finished and all that�s will be left is the furniture which I hope will be ready in the next month.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

My internet connection was down again today and I figured that from what the regional director of the phone company told me was coming true, no real connection until maybe Friday due to cable damage.

Well a call to the top person at Nargorno-Karabagh Telephone gave me hope with him saying that he will make sure I have a connection as "the customer comes first." A great policy and defiantly a new way of thinking in Artsakh and Armenia.

Anyway, I wont dwell on this issue to save you reading time, but will say that ever since that conversation, I've been getting the extra-royal treatment from the technical people and tonight's line failure was resolved within 10 minutes. Thanks Norair and Roman for your quick help.

Now that I have a connection again, I trying my best to catch up on my e-mail and also the news. It's amazing what one week of no connection can do.

I want to thank everyone who wrote to me with your concerns in regards to the gas station project and possible problems I could encounter. A bigger thanks to all the people who wrote and are interested in investing. As soon as I have more details and a business plan ready, I'll post it on the log.

Since it was mentioned in a few (this means more than 3) messages I got about a "gasoline mafia", I wanted to touch on this subject.

In the former Soviet Union, there appears to be on the news every now and then about different "mafias" controlling one industry or another and I'm sure such things do exist.

One thing that is magical about Artsakh and maybe even Armenia is that Diaspora-Armenians who respect people and the laws here are not bothered by such "mafias".

I think this is possible because such "mafias" really do admire and respect our innocence, honesty and cleanliness. In fact I've been told this from just such people in the past.

For that reason, I want to tell everyone that you really should not worry too much about me when I deal with such issues.

There is also another something that was only a couple days ago pointed out to me by some native teenagers. There are some people here in Artsakh and probably in Armenia that fear me.

When I returned from Yerevan the other day, I brought with me the son of a friend who is from Artsakh, but live in Armenia.

The son wanted to visit his cousin who is serving in the army in Stepanagert.

We went to the base where the cousin is serving and it just so happens that on the day we went to visit the cousin with plans to see about getting permission to take the cousin out for pizza, they were waiting for the minister of defense who was due in a matter minutes for an inspection.

I had noticed the minister of defense's jeep parked up the street and figured we could wait until the inspection was over and then maybe get the cousin freed for an hour.

After a 5 minute wait, the minister of defense's jeep drove past the base and kept on driving.

We continued to wait and I noticed a little bit of a commotion with higher ranking officers looking out the gate to my car and then going back in.

At one point, the commander of the base pulled up and before entering the gate, got out of his jeep and told my friends son that our car was parked too close to the gate (I was sitting in the car, so I could only see he was not happy). I really didn't notice any restricted parking sign, but backed my car up the street a bit and we continued to wait.

Well since the minister of defense had not yet shown up and we were starving after waiting an hour, we left.

We returned the next day and met with the cousin a bit while waiting for the commander to give his approval.

While talking to the cousin, we learned that the day before while we were waiting, a high ranking commander who came out to look at my parked car had asked the people working the gate if anyone from my car had entered the base? It was asked out of some kind of fear and not curiosity.

The commander showed up while we were talking and wanted to know from the cousin if my friends son was related to his solider and looked to me and said that he knows I can't be related to him, as he knows me and then asked me if my car is the one that use to belong to another commander (my neighbor), that the minister of defense had gifted and I purchased from the commander?

Anyway, as we drove off, I asked my passengers why people fear me and who am I that anyone should fear? They told me that they didn't understand it either, but I should not feel bad about it as they and the common people don't fear me, it's only the people in government, law, law enforcement and the military that know if they did something wrong and I found out about it, I'm the one person that wont turn a blind eye and am capable of finding it, documenting it, exposing it and make sure it's corrected.

This is not really something I'm not all that proud of (because it does not make life here all that easy), but something I have to learn to live with, as I know it's in my genes and there's nothing I can do to change it.

Monday, May 12, 2003

I got back to Artsakh on the 7th and since my return, I�ve had no internet connection. Yes, technical complications at the phone company continues, but since this log is now posted, it�s obvious that it is a resolvable issue (though it�s still not working 100%). If anyone out there is waiting for an e-mail from me, hang in there, I�m told the connection should be normal soon.

Anyway, a report from my trip to Yerevan.

1. I was able at the last minute to find a saw to replace the saw for my stone factory that was damaged. This means that we should soon be cutting stone.

2. Serge was checked by a doctor and unfortunately for now, the technology in Armenia does not exist to restore his vision. I will be contacting a doctor in America to see if we can maybe send Serge to America for surgery, if such technology exists there.

3. Discovered that there really was nothing at all wrong with my car, and the problem was the gasoline they are selling in Artsakh. Will deal with this issue in a legal manor so that in the future I and my fellow residence can get a decent tank of gas and the people selling gasoline will understand their responsibility when selling gas (later in this log you can read about a conversation I had with one of the sellers and also a real business opportunity here in Artsakh).

So my return to Artsakh was really quite nice and took only four and a half hours, though it should have only taken three and a half hours, but we encountered snow in Saravan, Sisiyan and Goris. Yes, on May 7th, were still getting snow!!!

On May 8th, I returned to Martuni to learn from my operations director that one of my guards and fisherman who works on my lake where we are farming fish, had been caught removing fish and selling it on the side.

My operation director told me that the supervisor for the lake will go and forcefully confiscate the fisherman�s personal nets and then when he pays 100,000 dram to me in compensation, he will return the nets. As for the guard, we will not pay him and fire him since he admitted to selling fish that exceeded his salary. They were not interested in any harsher punishment because they felt sorry for him since he has 5 children.

I could not believe that my operations director would even suggest such solutions and told her that first of all, by confiscating the nets and then demanding a ransom is illegal and would make us no better than the corrupt system we are trying to change. As for the guard that needs to be punished, by letting him off the hook for theft, we send out a message to people that it�s okay to take advantage of me.

I called my legal advisor who quickly brought us up to speed on the law and later this week, I�ll be filing charges with the prosecutor�s office that when we prevail, the government will confiscate the fisherman�s nets and fine him something like 500 Rubles (I�m not sure how much this is in Drams, but would image not much). As for the guard, he has already been fired and is now facing theft charges, which I�m just going to let the legal system work and then react accordingly.

May 9th was victory day here in Artsakh (the equivalent to July 4th in America) and I made my way back to Stepanagert that night to be present at the celebrations.

We attended a concert which was held in front of the building the President works out of.

I ran into quite a few people including Jeff Ryan, a potter from America who is running, managing and teaching his trade to the people of Ningi (a village in the Martuni region).

So while Jeff and I were talking, a couple of Australian-Armenians walk up to us since they could hear us speaking English.

We talked to them for a while and the older of the two of them told us that they were not expecting Karabagh to be so non-militant and so open, free and joyful. I guess the younger of the two was into Armenian politics (he eluted to being a member of the Dashnag party and Lena later told me that many of the active Australian-Armenians are Dashnag�s), as he began to ask me political questions about the present day government.

I guess what I had to say was too much for him to digest and after my �democracy does not work in America, so how do you expect it to work here� sermon, the two of them excused themselves.

Besides the presents of the president and prime minister of Artsakh, we had to honor of the President of Armenia Robert Kocharian, who was accompanied by his minister of foreign affairs Vartan Oskanian. Vartan looked to be having fun as he appeared to be signing autographs.

When the fireworks started at 10 PM, and I turned to see if the government officials were enjoying the pyrotechnic display and found the podium they were standing on was abandoned.

The locals who were watching the officials when the fireworks started, told me that Goulkasian was the first to panic and started to run for cover in his building, followed close behind by Kocharian and the rest. I don�t know, but will say that Goulkasian made the right move, as there were so many people in the crowd commenting on how this would be an ideal time for someone to assassinate someone with all the fireworks going and it would be hard to determine where the shot came from. So if Goulkasian really ran for his building like a scared rabbit (as the people watching him says he did) and was thinking on the same level as the locals, then in my opinion, his actions were fully justified and understandable.

The celebration ended with Jeff and a few of my friends going off to have pizza and drinks.

Now for the conversation with the owner of the gas station.

So on the 8th, after returning to Stapanagert without really do anything to my car other than filling it up with real gasoline, I had a need for some more gas. I knew where not to go, but the big question was where can I go to find gasoline that was really gasoline?

I went to one of the places that I had not been to, but had heard that their gasoline was also bad, but figured that there really was no other option.

I pulled into the gas station and asked the attendant if their super gas was really super or not (like I was expecting him to tell me no, it was not, right?). So he said it was good and I told him to fill 40 liters.

I drove not 1 kilometer and it was clear that this gas was also no good.

I called the owner of the gas station on his cell phone and in a very nice way told him of this problem, which instead of him being understanding, he became very defensive.

He told me that he had no blame, as he purchases his gas from Stepanagert. I told him I didn�t know where he purchased his gas and all I knew was that I purchased my gas from him and since he sold me �super� gasoline, that�s what I expected.

He told me if I don�t like his gasoline, then I should not purchase it in the future.

You should also know that this person who owns the gas station in question is also the director and President of Agro-Bank here in Karabagh. He is also an owner in many of the wine factories in Artsakh.

Anyway, I told him in a not so nice tone of voice thank you and please don�t be angry at me for what I am going to do.

And what am I going to do? Well when I went to Yerevan, I took the liberty to collect gasoline samples from all the major gas stations in Stepanagert which I have sent off to have analyzed and at which time I will be contacting the owners of the gas stations individually when I get the results.

On top of this, I�m seriously considering opening up a gas station that sells only high quality gasoline. By doing this, the gas stations that sell non-burning gasoline will be forced to bring in real gas or loose business.

So here is your business investment opportunity. If you are interested in investing in a gas station in Artsakh, please e-mail me. I�m only looking for people who are interested in making money and expecting a return for their investment. I guarantee you there is a big market and this is one investment and business you can really be proud of. Also understand that were not talking about very much money, so small investors are encouraged to inquire (this means even people who have less than $100 to invest).

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

The Armenian Community (UK)
PO Box 32665
London, W14 0XT

5 May 2003


It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of James Miller
(aged 34), who was reportedly shot by the Israeli army while filming in
Rafa (Gaza) on 2 May, 2003. James was an award winning film producer
whose recent work included the BBC Correspondent program on the Armenian
Genocide, "Armenia: The Betrayed." To this day he was receiving letters
of appreciatioin for his work on "The Betrayed." According to his
colleague Fergal Keane, they were due to receive medals of honour in
Beirut for that film.

I was fortunate to have worked with James in Turkey for Correspondent.
He was truly moved by what he saw in Van and wanted to make more
documentaries on the Armenian Genocide. He is survived by a wife and
child. His loss will be felt by all.

Ara Sarafian
London, 5 May 2003

Saturday, May 03, 2003

I find myself in a not so smoky internet caf� in Yerevan.

Yes, my trip I planned for Yerevan happened yesterday and this only after towing my car to Stepanagert 3 days ago and only after working a whole day on trying to figure out what was wrong with my car.

Well it seems that my car would not start not because of some minor electrical problem due to the engine being washed and not because of obvious mechanical reasons, but because the super 93 octane gasoline was not 93 octane, nor did it really resemble gasoline.

We discovered that the gas was the problem only after having to have the starter rebuilt and also purchase a new battery, which the auto electrician had to take to his shop to charge. Since he was almost out of gas when he rushed over to my mechanics, we siphoned a couple liters of gas from my car for him and he discovered that his car didn�t work well at all.

So we drained the gas out of my car and got new �93 octane� gas, which with the new charged battery the car started right up.

We did everything we could to make the car right, but it still seemed to not work all that great, but was working to the point that we made it to Yerevan in 5 hours (though it should have taken 4 hours).

When we pulled in to Yerevan, I filled up the car to see how much gas it used and discovered that to used 70 liters (about 19 gallons) instead of the usual 55 liters (15 gallons).

So by the time we arrived, the car was almost not working and had very little power, which I drove to my Yerevan mechanic who was busy and only had time to change the oil since it was filled with whatever the �gasoline� didn�t burn and told me to come back later.

I should mention that I brought with me Serge, our aid recipient that was blinded during the war and his wife Sylva. I put him and his wife in a taxi to send him off to his relatives house to wait until Monday at which time I will take him to have his eyes checked to see if they can restore him sight.

Also with us was a woman who has lumps in her breasts. Madlene helped me to arange for her to get a breast examination at the Mammography center that Madlene use to direct. She was relieved to learn today that she does not have breast cancer, but does have some hormonal imbalance of some kind, which Madlene is going to give me the name of a really good doctor to see about helping with that problem.

So back to me at my mechanic�s garage here in Yerevan. We change the oil and my mechanic tells me to come back tomorrow and we will deal with all the other problems.

So I drive off and not a half our passes, my car begins to regain some of its power. In an hour, it�s driving 110 kilometers up hill. So it seems that the gasoline even from the good gas station in Stepanagert was not so good.

Last night I was over to Madlene�s house and saw Harout (DerHova) and a few other people.

Today I saw Raffi and though he has not yet announced his new job is, all I will say is that when he tells you what it is, you will understand that I am his counterpart.

Tonight a few of us also went out for dinner. Lena, Madlene, Arthur, Alex, ex-logger Vartan, Raffi and a few other people at Diamond pizza. Raffi and I shared a ham and pineapple pizza, and a spaghetti, both were really good.

Then we went to a going away party, which since I was really tired (and still am as I write this), didn�t stay and Vartan and I said our goodbyes.

I was going to mention that since I�ve been in Yerevan, I have had no encounters at all with the traffic police, but as I was coming home, I kind of made a wide right hand turn on a green right arrow in sight of a parked cop car.

The cop pulled me over and asked me for my documents.

He asked me where my drivers license was and I pointed out my California drivers license which he told me does not pass here.

I told him it does and asked him if he had a communication radio in his car, which he told me he did.

I told him to radio his headquarters, give my license number and ask them what they should do?

He asked me step out of the car to be out of Vartan�s earshot I guess, but Vartan joined us. He asked me why he should call his chief and so on and after a very short conversation he told me he didn�t have a radio (but the car did have an antenna and I�m sure a radio), he gave me back my documents and let me go, but reminded me that I did break the law (which I don�t dispute and would have without any problem accepted and paid any fine if he had written me up).

Anyway, as much as I like this internet caf�, it�s time to get some sleep.