Thursday, July 24, 2003

I think that it's not at all silly or unfair to write long logs about people giving things for free and people going out of their way to do something nice for another person. Since I too believe we needed a break from the darker side of life in Armenia and to prevent Madlene from throwing herself off the Kevian Bridge (Arthur and Ozzie can thank me later), I'm committing the next 5 logs (not counting this one) to document the less talked about side of life here in Armenia. The side of life here that prevents me from packing my bags and moving to some other part of the world and dropping the "ian" from my name part of life.

For those wondering how to measure positive progress here in Armenia, here is one way.

This year the US H.R. 2800, FOREIGN OPERATIONS, EXPORTFINANCING AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2004 will provide only $70 million in aid to Armenia (though President Bush and I had requested that it be $20.5 million less, but as always no one seems to be listening to what we have to say).

In past years US aid to Armenia has been much higher and by being higher, there was less of an incentive for Armenians to learn how to fish.

Our goal should be to eliminate this need from the US all together.

Though this does not directly relate to life in Armenia, I want to point out what aid our neighbors are to get from the US in 2004 to show how much worse off they are (though I�m a believer that we should never compare ourselves to others and only measure good and bad from what we know good and bad really are).

- $2.6 billion in military and economic assistance to Israel as well as $50 million to support the resettlement of Jewish refugees.

- $1.9 billion to Egypt and over $450 million to Jordan, both critical allies of the United States.

- $35 million for Lebanon to support the American educational institutions and the excellent USAID mission there (in an attempt to win over the people, though in my opinion this is a waste of good tax dollars that should be sent to Israel instead so they can drop more bombs in Lebanon in an attempt to try ascertain the same goal, though this too would fail).

So you see, in respect to US aid, Armenia is doing better than it was in the past and like I said, less is good in this case.

Now if we could get USAID to fund a program to build public toilets throughout the country, things will really be good!!! Maybe I should submit an unsolicited project to them and Raffi can be our cheerleader behind those thick tall walls to get it approved.

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