Friday, January 14, 2005

The HETQ special edition on homeless in Yerevan is on line at:

I got this e-mail from Onnik today and wanted to share it with you.

Another Homeless Death

Bash died in hospital. I still don't quite understand why or how.
Again, I have to say that for over a week that we spoke to him he was visible to everyone who passed by the crossroads of Abovian and Moscovian and they did nothing. Not the government including the populist Speaker of the Armenian Parliament, Artur Baghdasarian, who went to a concert within sight of the bomzh encampment, not the general public, not the Diaspora that remained in Armenia for the winter but who had too much money to spend alongside the new elite in the decadent, pretentious and quite retarded bars and restaurants of downtown and not the emergency medical services who were contacted by Edik.

In fact, if it weren't for MSF-France acting immediately I'd add that international organizations here also did nothing. Mission Armenia said they couldn't step in because their President was away and I received no response at all from World Vision. A few Diasporans outside of Armenia contacted us with offers of financial assistance but only MSF-France tried to do something with regards access to medical care on the ground.

So, Bash died and I assume, a dozen others will join him in the numbered pauper's grave dug right at the back of the Sovietashen cemetery each month until the spring and then, in December 2005, dozens more that have stepped in to take their place will risk ending up in the same place by Spring 2006.

And as there's no money in helping the homeless, nobody will. Of course, when it becomes possible to make money from doing so, the same old names that have monopolized funding Armenia in the six years that I have been here will once again come to the fore to reinvent themselves as champions of the oppressed. Still, bravo to MSF-France although their intervention was late because we rang them as a last resort. However, they responded that same day and probably spent 5-6 hours assessing and insuring that Bash was admitted into hospital. Without them, the hospitals would have continued to refuse to do so, just as the soup kitchens apparently refuse to feed them.

Not that any of this helped Bash, of course. He just merely lived a few more days longer than he might have.

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