Friday, November 28, 2003

Hayastan All-Armeniam Fund Raises $6,072,557 for Artsakh’s North-South Highway

The Armenian Fund in their recent fund raising campaign has raised enough to construct over 40 kilometers of Artsakh’s North-South highway.

It was a collective effort that all Armenians from all over the world including persons from Armenia and Artsakh contributed to.

I watched the first 7 hours of the telethon and from what I could gather, $4,538.790 came from 31 major donors (contributions of over $5K), including $900K collected from France and $719K(?) from Armenia and Artsakh. The largest donors were Louise Manoogian Simone and Albert & Tove Boyajian, who each contributed $1 million. Around the 7th hour and at the point I fell asleep, the counter read $4,566,668.

What this would mean is that in 7 hours, separate from the 31 contributors, $28k was collected. I guess this does not make sense and it makes me wonder who was running the counter and why after 7 hours their total counter only reflected such a small amount?

Now I’m not sure if there were any other major contributions in the last 5 hours of the telethon, but if there were not, it would mean that $1.5 million was pledged from the remainder of the Armenians in the Diaspora. That sure is a small amount and reflects the lack of trust the Diaspora has for the fund.

Naira Melkoumyan, the executive director of the Armenian Fund and former minister of foreign affairs of NKR stated that $84k of the donations came from Artsakh and this is an indication that things are better in Artsakh and people are now able to start helping themselves. She forgot to mention that the only thing that is better in NKR is that the government’s system of forcing people to donate.

I was a bit disturbed by the testimony of a couple of Diaspora Armenians who had visited Artsakh and reported that they saw the road and what a great quality job they are doing. To my trained eye, these are people who probably came here for a week as guests of the government and have no clue on what a good quality road is, or after driving on bumpy dirt road for an hour and then driving on the new road, they felt a great improvement, thus their opinion. As a rule, you don’t lay asphalt down right after it rains (which I’ve witnessed happening quite often) or else you get a wavy, bumpy road that is susceptible to getting potholes, like the one we now have.

One guy made mention of how what you give to the road project goes 100% to that project. I don’t get that since from what I remember, it costs quite a bit to put on a telethon and to make a claim like that is a bit misleading. Anyway you look at it, the telethon has to be paid for and the right way to calculate what you raised is the total amount collected, minus the overall costs of putting on the telethon.

I’m really happy that the telethon is over and hope they will be able to collect all the pledges and will put all the money in the road and not a portion of it in their pockets.

One thing nice about the telethon is I got to see lots of people I know. Some of then I have not seen in years, some who have gotten older, grayer and if they were not introduced, I would not have recognized them. I wonder if I’m looking older?

I was also reminded that there really are many Armenians in the Diaspora who really do understand how important it is for us to have a healthy and prosperous nation. Thank about this. If we had this much support from the Diaspora with them knowing about the corruption, can you imagine what support we will get from the Diaspora when we can eradicate corruption?

Arthur Zakarian $50k; Joseph Dorian $50k; Ralph & Savey Tufenkian $10K; Mardirosus Manoukian $50k; Armenia/Artsakh($84k) $719k; Beta Investments & Contracts, Inc. - $10K; Hratch Kaprielian - $50K; Nigol Koulajian - $50K; Mr. and Mrs, George Pagoumian - $125K; Lola Harentz $5k; Philippe Khovbesserin - $5K; Albert & Tove Boyajian - $1 million; Armenian Society of LA-Iranahay - $77,790; Louise Manoogian Simone Foundation - $1 million; Arcady & Ira Ovanessian - $50K; Vahe & Veonic Karapetian - $30K; Kamo Avagumyan - $10K; Vahan & Nora Bezdikian - $10K; Arsen & Hasmik Baran - $10K; Samuel Aleqsanyan - $15K; France - $900K; AYF-Iran - $12K; G. Balyan - $10K; Simon Libarian - $5K; Koko and Levon Termengian - $20K; Vartanian-Topalian Foundation - $5K; Century Marble LLC - $20K; Varnat & Houri Melkonian - $10K; Charles & Julie Ghalian - $5K; Sosi Khachadourian Family - $5K, ARF - $10K; Harout & Nune Aghasarkissian - $10K; Tina Carolan - $10K; Berg and Belet Shahbazian - $100k

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