Monday, October 11, 2004

Gosh I really miss the old days of logging about the weather. Life for me was so much simpler then and so uneventful.

Not that I’m sorry that things in the homeland have gone from bad to worse, but when there are people who can’t swallow the pill called reality, without having an allergic reaction, it makes life for me a bit worse than what it really is. Maybe it’s my problem of having an allergic reaction to expecting people to be more in tune and accepting of reality without becoming defensive.

Anyway, with that said, the following is not another happy story of some great wedding, or birthday party, no my friends, this is another one of those depressing stories of injustice, that have become common in Armenia and Artsakh.

Tonight I went to visit a friend of mine who wanted my advice on starting a shoe and clothing store in Martuni. I have written about this friend, who was the person that Vahram Parseghyan, President Kocharian’s current controller had solicited funds from the Diaspora back in 1999 for an immediate surgery that he allegedly needed, but in fact didn’t. To kick-start your memory if you have not placed this story, it is the story that involved the late Mesrop Srpazan.

Anyway, after advising my friend not to take the risk to start such a store, because of today’s economic reality, the fact that when Martuni was economically well off, no such a store existed. He agreed, as what I told him only reaffirmed his own fears and echoed what others had told him.

My friend excused himself, to go to the store to get something, leaving his mother and I to talk.

I asked her how she was and she said she was not well at all.

To remind those that are new to the logs, this woman during the war had lost her oldest son, then her husband, followed by her youngest son 40 days later at a New Years celebration, when he was hit by bullet that fell to earth after shot in the air to bring in the New Year. And this happened while sleeping in the arms of my friend, who didn’t know that he had been hit.

My friend’s mother, Era, told me that she is very thankful for the sponsor she had (the same reader that sponsors Rosa Myrig (in all he sponsors 10 people)). Era said that it pays for much needed medicine, which keeps her alive. She said without that help, she knows she would be dead.

Era said that she wanted to write a letter to the President, as there are many issues that need to be resolved. She said her only fear is that she has heard that letters from citizens never make it to the President’s desk and are promptly given an answer of they have received the letter and are looking into the matter. She said she already wrote a letter to the President a few years ago, which still has not been answered.

She went on to tell me some of the things that she needs resolved.

She said for one thing, she lost her husband and 2 sons in the war, but she only gets a pension for loosing her husband. She said for her loss of him, she was getting 16,500 dram a month, which was raised to something like 21,000 dram a month in August and then last month, was reduced to something like 19,500. She said that when she got less than what she was expecting, she didn’t know which debts not to pay. She said that they not only cut her pension, but cut everyones. She went on to say that at least they should give her compensation for loosing her eldest son, as he was killed in battle. Though her younger who was 12 years old when he was killed on New Years by an Armenian bullet and was not officially registered as a solider, during the war, on his horse, use to take food and water to the front line. He was also used as a messenger to take word from headquarters to the front line. In short, he was no less a solider and in many ways did more than those on the front.

Then she went on to the condition of her house. She said that as a family that lost family to the war, they are entitled to having their house renovated. She said that over the years they have come out to her house a thousand times to survey, but until now, of the $3,000 which is suppose to be allocated for the work needed, only $1,000 was given, which was not enough to build an indoor bathroom. She had to sell parts off of an old truck that belonged to her husband to cover the shortfall. BTW, she sleeps in the kitchen, as her bedroom and in fact all the bedrooms on the second floor have mold damage in the walls, making them uninhabitable.

She said that she also has a debt that her son defaulted on at the bank from a few years back, which went to court and the court relieved him of the interest, leaving a balance of about $2,000, which he has $4 a month withheld from his paycheck each month. The loan was to renovate part of their house so he could get married, which he did and then later divorced as he was suffering from stress and his bride could not longer live with him.

Her son works as a clerk in the government finance office in Martuni and was making $36 a month, which was or is going to be increased to $50 month. He smokes and that money is enough to cover his habit. He too take medicine to deal with depression and stress, which I didn’t even ask where that money comes from.

He recently planted a small orchard of pomegranate trees, which he said in a few years will provide him with an income.

She went on to say that they are entitled to 3 hectors of land, and when they went to inquire what land is available, they were told there is none and if she can show them where there is, they will give it to her. She said that yesterday near Martuni, 2 people were injured while walking in the unplanted fields, one lost his leg, the other may loose his sight. She said that now they want me to send my son off to look for land that no one is planting? Those fields that are not planted have land mines. He is all I have left and is going no where near those fields. She went on to say that there is not 3 hectors of land for her, but the President, regional ministers and so on each have over 100 hectors of land to plant (the former regional minister has 350 hecotors and the present has at least 155 hectors).

She finished by saying that her son wants to get married and start a family, but she does not have money to give him a wedding. She said that all she wants is a grandchild and said that when she visits with her relatives who have grandchildren, she walks home and cries, as she does not have one, nor does she have hope of having one in the future. She said, what is the point of this big house my husband built. Who will she leave it to? Life is all about family and having children so they can give you grandchildren to carry on the family name. She said that this is really all she wants, even if that child is for some reason sick, she would be okay with it, just so long as it is hers to love.

No comments:

Post a Comment