Sunday, June 25, 2006

Is Armenia getting better or worse?

Over the last 10 years, I’ve gone from tourist to native in my way of thinking about Armenia’s condition.

I remember back in 1995 while spending time with close friends (including my Kavor Alec) and observing all the good things in Armenia. My observations we’re genuine and looking back at them now and what I was seeing, I really didn’t see anything wrong with Armenia at that time. It was the greatest place on Earth.

My native relatives who I visited often (one I was staying with at the tiem), did a good job of not talking about how bad things were in front of their guest (me) and the people I was hanging out with in the day for the most part were from America, Lebanon, France and the UK. The native crowd I would see occasionally via a friend from Lebanon were actors and when we got together, it was for a birthday party or live theater performance. Those were the good old days!!!

At that time we had limited access to electricity and water. There was no natural gas, but these were things that I thought everyone knew were temporary issue that would over time be resolved and were.

With all this in mind, how could I have any bad opinion of Armenia, when in a sense I was sheltered from reality? And of course in those days it would have been rude to tell your guest from America that things were bad. When you have a guest in your home, do you tell them all your problems?

I remember my friend Jeff K. and I talking and me mentioning what potential Armenia has and what a great place it is. He told me it was great that I see so much good here, but I’m a tourist in my way of seeing things and I have seen very little in terms of what life is really like in Armenia. He hoped that my view of things will last a long time for my sake, but knows that it will one day come to an end and I will start to see things for what they really are.

What I didn’t know and was somewhat sheltered from was what Jeff and my other friends saw first hand and happened when I was not present. The Artist friends and other natives were having problems surviving under the conditions Armenia was facing. Jeff and the others were helping them out any way they could and when you see things in those terms, ones finds it hard to see all the good I was seeing that was in fact not there.

When I was seeing tons of potential in Armenia, I was seeing it without having all the facts in hand. I was putting together a plan for a better future in my mind based on conditions that didn’t exist, being that I was being sheltered from reality.

Today I still believe that Armenia had lots of potential (and probably always will). I also believe that in order to tap into that potential there needs to be some major changes made to the system we have in place. Unlike my original way of thinking back in the early 1990’s of us having to stand by our President and supporting the decisions he makes since he was elected by the people to lead them, I believe that we have to support the laws that are in place (and rarely work). Those who break the laws should no longer be supported by anyone (especially the Diaspora). By supporting those who commit criminal acts, we become accessories to their crimes. In short, we have to stop supporting the Kocharian regime and turn our attention to those individuals and organizations that work towards straightening the Armenian judicial system so that no one is above the law.

The recent assassination of Karine Sargsian, the 37-year-old mother of three by some unknown criminal gang less than 20 meters from the Malatia-Sebastia Prosecutor’s office on Friday afternoon should tell us what Armenia has turned into. You really have to ask yourself if things in Armenia are getting better and what is needed to get things in place so that potential I see Armenia having can be tapped into.

What do you think about an open letter to Kocharian about justice for Karine Sargsian? I can tell you that this is a woman proabably was just getting by to keep food on the table for her three children. Those who killed her and orphaned those kids need to be found and put on trial. If there are any persons out there that want to help get people to write, please e-mail me at:

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