Tuesday, February 10, 2004

America pushing it’s weight around in Armenia once again

As an “American”, I hate to see diplomatic immunity being a reason someone thinks they are beyond the law.

Today while driving into Yerevan from Lake Sevan, I was passed by a American Embassy Chevy 4X4 license number 01 D36 ARM, who was driving way beyond the speed limit and weaving in and out of traffic. At one point, the jeep was going 120 kilometers an hour in a zone that had signs that set the limit at 40 kilometers. This encounter took place at 13:45, a time where many children could potentially be crossing the street. A couple of days before I had seen an accident in that same area where the Niva 4x4 that was involved, if there was anyone sitting in the passengers seat was probably critically injured if not killed.

I happened to talk to Raffi Kojian a couple of hours after this encounter to see if he had an influence in informing the Ambassador of this and to warn the drivers to slow down a bit. He told me he would do what he could and told me that our conversation was being recorded, which in this case I was happy to hear so those that need to know could hear it straight from my mouth.

As American citizen, I feel that such aggressive behavior from American Embassy automobiles gives the natives the wrong impression of who and what America is in the region. It almost gives the impression that they think they are kings and own our country, which I’m sure is not a message they would want to be sending out.

Since there was only the driver in the jeep, I’m sure that it was just a local driver who was using his immunity to drive as he likes. Mr. Ambassador, please deal with this issue as the next time I encounter such driving, I’ll videotape it, confront the driver of the car and then publicly embarrass him/her and the embassy.

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