Sunday, October 07, 2007

Apologies to the underdog

A little over a week ago a group of people from Martuni, Shushi and Stepanagert paid a visit to the village of Haygazyan, which is located in Southern Kashatagh.

For those of you who have been following Martuni or Bust for the last year, you will remember that we paid a visit to Haygazyan and Hale villages on January 6th with Father Christmas to spread holiday joy to the children and monetary aid to the 16 families living there in the dark as the government had failed to provide them with electricity for almost 10 years (see: and

Our visit last week was to celebrate the electrification of the village and the allocation of a tractor, which was secured via an interest free 2-year loan the Shahan Natalie Family Foundation provided.

Though the celebration was wonderful, I learned that the pressure we put on the Kashatagh and Artsakh governments to fulfill their obligation of electrification came at a price to three other villages. It seems in an attempt to appease the Diaspora/native collective voice demands, the government did the right thing by helping the underdogs of Haygazyan and Hale, but in the process ended up depriving equally deserving underdogs in the villages of Kashunig, Vereni Kashunig and Marajur, who have also been waiting for 10 years in the dark and were going to receive their electricity this year.

I had a meeting with Ernist, the Kashatagh Governor in July regarding electrification of Haygazyan and at the same time brought up the subject of perusing former regional administrators of Kashatagh, especially the former governor who was Antranig Markaryanís in-law, who had basically stolen all of the money from the 2007 budget for the region and who presently holds a very good and lucrative government post in Armenia. I also added that minister Armo had stated in our January 7, 2007 meeting (see: that he had desired to review all projects in Kashatagh which equates to millions of dollars, but large parts of them have obviously been stolen. Armo said that though this was his desire, the President and Prime Minister at the time said that he was crazy to consider such a thing and declined his request. Governor Ernist's answer to me on pursuing the former governor and Armo's plan, which was not pursued under the former corrupt Gulkasyan administration, was that if we do that, 80 out of 100 people will have to face criminal charges and instead of disrupting what we have, we should forget the past and just move forward.

Well seeing how the electrification has come to Haygazyan and the price paid by Kashunig. Vereni Kashunig and Marajur villages, I think that the now Deputy Prime Minister Armo's desire of reviewing all work done in Kashatagh and making the people who have enriched their personal wealth via misappropriation of funds that were earmarked for the development of the region should be a priority of the new Artsakh government. Of course if this does not happen, then it means that the next 5 years are not going to be any different than what we have faced during the last 10 years and the human suffering our people have faced due to a corrupt government will continue until we start to think about the people and not the 80% of those who hold government posts who have and most probably will continue to enrich their lives at the price of what should reach the common citizens so their lives will improve.

On a bright note to this story, thanks to the electrification of Haygazyan, the village has been added to a program that teaches computer science to villages in the regions with computers provided by Friends of Armenia. This is a very popular class that is attended by young and old alike every Friday and Saturday.

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