Saturday, November 27, 2004

I’ve come to Yerevan to be present at Monte Melkonian’s birthday celebrations, which finished yesterday at a play that was preformed in his honor.

The play was about a Diaspora Armenian from Fresno, who comes to participate in the Artsakh liberation movement, but his name was not Avo or Monte, but some other name that right now I can’t remember.

He meets his wife in Artsakh, they are married at Geghart. He becomes the commander of the forces in Martuni and then is killed. Sound a little bit familiar?

On the 25th, we visited Monte’s cemetery, where I saw many familiar faces of the past, many who have gotten quite grey. Time really is flying.

Before we arrived, Monte had a visitor from Artsakh, who left a large flower arrangement. The name on the arrangement was Samuel Babayan.

From Yeraplur, we went to a school which was close by that the principal is a long time childhood friend of a friend of Monte’s who had lived in America since the 1970’s. The reason we went to this school was not to plant 4 pine trees in front of it, but because the principal is working on changing the name if the school to Monte’s name.

The children of the school preformed for us various patriotic songs and recited. These were children that have truly done their homework as to who Monte was and represented.

Monte’s friend Alec said a few words to the children after they finished their program, thanking them for everything they have done and will do in the future and then as if I was speaking, he went tell the children that Monte was a very simple person in terms of material things and that though it may be nice to be financially rich and there needs to be rich people, if too many people are rich, then many more people will be poor. Though I’m not saying it as gently as Alec put it, you get the idea.

From the school, we went some dormitories that house refugees, where we distributed gifts of clothes to families the refugees that are living in the worst conditions.

On of the refugees who was #1 on the list of some 30 families, handed me back the bag we gave her and told me that the clothes we were offering her were of no use to her as she already has lots of clothes (she is the one with the burgundy scarf). She said that if we have a blanket, she would like that instead, adding that she is educated, had a good job and had lived a good life before all the changes. Unfortunately we had no blankets to pass out.

Once we finished passing out the gifts, we gave the dormitories two large cakes for them to celebrate Monte’s birthday.

Happy birthday Monte, there are people in the world that still remember you for who you were, what you did and some are even following your examples in hopes of making this world just a little bit more bearable.

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