Friday, January 05, 2007

Tomorrow we will be paying a visit to Haygazyan village in the most Southern part of Lachin.

I was in Stepangert yesterday as I had a meeting with the President of Parliament, Ashot. For years he has been my contact person in government only because he understands what I am saying and can get me a meeting with right people in just matter of minutes. Ashot is what I would call one of a few people at the top who really think about the people.

Ashot and I discussed a number of issues, the most important being the condition of Lachin and the need for major change. I told Ashot of our upcoming visit to Haygazyan and Hale villages to help the 16 families who remain there.

I told Ashot that once we assess the situation on the ground and can formulate a clear picture of what needs to be done to complete the task of electrification in the shortest period of time, we are going to work very hard to raise the funds in the Diaspora and carry out the work ourselves.

Ashot called the Prime Minister and briefed him as to what we were doing and our plan to help the people finally obtain electricity in their villages. The PM instructed Ashot to put me in touch with the people who are responsible for electrification so I can meet with them to see what they have planned so we don’t duplicate their work. Ashot gave me the name and number, which I called and was told that they are always in and whenever I want to meet to call. We will meet on Monday and I will invite the Mayor of Haygazyan to be present at the meeting, so he can not only interject where needed, but can report back to the people in the village.

I have to tell you that I know the assistant to the person in charge of who I am to meet with and will tell you that he is a distant relative of mine. My great-great-grandfather on my father’s side left his village in 1850 at the age of 11 after having a fight with his oldest brother. He headed for Tbilisi and ended up settling in Dilijan. Arnold’s mother as well as Arnold is a distant cousin. Arnold is also one of the PM’s yes-men (that’s how he has kept his job this whole time) and for the most part what I will hear in the meeting on Monday will be empty promises, thus whatever we do will have to be everything needed figuring the government will not provide anything for the electrification of Haygazyan and the 4 neighboring villages.

I’m now off to do some shopping for tomorrow. I’ve spoken to the Mayor of Haygazyan who said that for our celebration of the birth of Christ, the villagers will be fishing and they will also slaughter a couple of pigs. We will bring with us the bread, wine, salt, rice, vodka, beer, soft-drinks, Jermuk and all the other fixing for our meal together.

All the gifts for the 26 children have been wrapped in Christmas paper, with each one of their names written on them. Of course this is going to be the highlight of the visit, seeing the paper flying everywhere when the kids open up their gifts.

While I was in Stepanagert, I went to the internet café that is behind the President’s building and downloaded all the stories in Armenian regarding Lachin and printed out 20 copies to give to all our “employees.” I’ve already given 3 of our 16 employees’ copies and I can tell you that not one of the have heard of what is going on in Lachin.

While in Stepanagert I had a by-chance meeting with a longtime activist who if he can, will also be joining us on the 6th to see with his own eyes what is going on. He had heard about many of the problems, but was not sure what could be done. I told him about our project that deals with law issues and he agreed like many that if the law worked for the benefit of the people, many things here and in Armenia would change for the better.

Well I better get going. I’ve got lots to do until tomorrow.

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