Saturday, April 30, 2005

The weather today as great!!! The sun was out shining and being that it was so nice, I decided to make my rounds on foot and visit friends.

I made my way to the other side of Martuni, finding Vartan the truck diver who has one leg. He was working on this truck which had a leak in the radiator.

Vartan was a gunner during the war on a light tank known as a BMP II. In his last battle which he lost his leg, Vartan’s BMP, came under attack by over 10 Azeri tanks and BMP’s. By the time the battle was over, most of the Azeri arsenal had been hit and disabled by Vartan, but not before Vartan got hit. I didn’t hear this story from Vartan, who I’ve never heard talking about the war, but from someone who was there and saw Vartan’s last battle.

To me, Vartan is an amazing person. For as long as I’ve known Vartan, he has been driving this same 16 ton dump truck, working almost every weather-permitting day of the year to bring building materials, grain, firewood and does not complain about the very low pension he gets for his disability since he has created a job for himself that earns enough to live off of, though he is always struggling to find tires that are not too worn out from the army to use on his truck (the bad roads here eat tires).

After my visit with Vartan, I went to visit a friend who is having knee problems. The problem has something to do with calcium buildup between the joints.

As I was visiting, the television was turned on the local Artsakh channel which had a program documenting the war.

My friend didn’t seem to be bothered by the reminder of the war, to which my friend had lost many immediate family members, but did mind that those “heroes” being talked about, who are talked about every week. The point was that those heroes of yesteryears are people who are promoting their names today to lessen the impact of the bad economic and political things they doing now.

We remembered some of the mistakes of the past, like the many towns and villages that were not destroyed by the war, but were destroyed later by the greed of a few, some being those heroes we see on television every week.

I saw someone on television I know quite well who made General after the war and immediately remembered a story someone told me a few days ago (as we walked to the cemetery to lay Arpi to rest) about the capture during the war in 1993 of an installation that helps to prevent crop damaging hail. It was brought to Martuni from Aghdam and had everything you needed, including the instruction books. This General, who was a commander at the time, ordered to have the trailer the hail preventing system was installed in to be gutted and turned into a bath for the troops in Kevorkavan. To the protest of the guy that told me the story, arguing that this kind of thing will be very hard to come by later (to this day no such system is found in Artsakh) and is worth millions, the trailer was turned into a portable bath and shortly there after back into a trailer to transport goods. I could write a book in itself about this General, with all the things him and his friends have done and are doing today for their own personal gains at the expense of our future.

The point is that in this world, there are too many people who are only interested obtaining a lifestyle of excessive wealth and the price we are paying for this is widespread poverty and hardship for the majority of the world.

After visiting with my friend with the knee problem, I headed home.

On the way, I ran into a woman who asked if I was Ara Manoogian? I said yes to which she started to thank me for helping her and her children over the years and me being their hope. I asked her who she was since I didn’t recognize her face. After she told me, I knew her name as one of the people who our reader JD helps out. She blessed me and the person who sends them money (JD) for all we have done for her and her children during their greatest time of need has made their lives more bearable. She said a whole bunch nice things about her wish for us to live long happy lives to which I wished the same to her and her family.

Yes it was a typical day in Martuni. As always, I am witness to the good and bad of life in these parts of the world.

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