Tuesday, December 31, 2002

The murder of Tigran Nagdalyan, Armenia's main television channel chief is very sad.

The people here were expecting such things only after Kocharyan was re-elected, but I guess they were wrong in their estimates of when such things would happen and I fear they are right as what we can expect next.

Though it�s a tragedy when anyone is killed, I get the feeling this murder and the ones to follow are a direct result of the law and system failing the greater population.

"Those for whom a human life is of no value, who are restless at Armenia's stability and progress, who paid no heed to the festive mood of the people, have thrown down a gauntlet to the whole of Armenian society," President Robert Kocharyan said in a statement handed to Reuters by his press service.

What Kocharyan is referring to as stability and progress I fear is only on paper and this tragedy could be a direct result of that house of cards they have built which looks like it may soon collapse.

I hope that Kocharyan has the sense to see this as a wake-up call and take appropriate measures to correct his governmental actions and policies that could have brought this on and may bring other such murders in the future.

You may think that Ara is just talking nonsense, but mark my words, history will one day reveal that what I am saying is true.

My condolences to Tigran�s family, friends and the people whose lives he touched in a positive way. I�m sure they will miss him dearly.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

I just posted on the Ara Manoogian forum chapter 3 of Shahan Natalie�s �The Turks and Us�. It is titled �INEVITABILITY OF THE ARMENIAN STRUGGLE �.

This chapter addresses some of the faults of the Armenians for not preventing the genocides we faced when we had the power to do so. It�s a real wake-up call for us today to learn from our past so it will not be repeated.

For those of you who are new to the logs, I am posting chapters from a book by author Shahan Natalie titled "The Turks and Us".

Natalie was the mastermind behind the terminations of the young Turk leaders and their collaborators who were responsible for the 1915 Armenian Genocide and were in the process of planning a second genocide on the people of Artsakh. In this book, Natalie shares first hand observations as to what happened during and after the genocide.
I just finished watching Ararat. I don�t know what to make of it as it was the Russian version. Yes you heard it right, Russian version. And the overdub sounded like the same person that does all the overdubs for most of the movies they show on Russian television.

From what I could gather, it looked like an okay movie, but I guess I need to get my hands on an English version to really appreciate its full meaning.

I also watched a few old Armenian movies, one being �01-99�. Now that is a classic that I just can�t get sick of. If you don�t know which one that is, it�s about a guy (Frunzig) that is suppose to deliver a small canister of wine to some guy whose telephone number is 01-99. On the way he gets drunk and collapses on the side of the road and is found by a passing car and all he can say is �01-99� which the passers by mistaken for the car that must have hit him.

It�s really quite cold and today the wood that was delivered was all cut up and my room is now really quite warm and cozy.
Just as I decided to go to Yerevan, I decided to return home to Artsakh.

I just got in to Martuni about an hour ago and as you might expect, the return trip home was quite an adventure. I wont write about it now as I have to get some sleep and also make a few calls and get an estimate for some minor body work on my car. Not that it matters, the scrape on the side of my car was clearly not my fault and the cops in Goris were really nice to me and the chief offered to pay for the damage that someone else caused (though I think the guy is related to him in some way).

Anyway, I got home to a house and dog that really missed me. My room was 0.9c. My wood had been delivered, but not cut up yet, so I�m improvising on heating my room. It�s up to 16.1c and I think I should at least get it up to 18c before I go to sleep. I guess things are warming up as the refrigerator just turned back on.

Oh and Harout, how will life be without our puppies, Snoopy and Santa's Little Helper?

Friday, December 27, 2002

The Lake Sevan Adventure

Today Harout and I went to look for a rubber raft for my fish-farm in Artsakh.

We headed out late as I had to go find the HOM storage depot, which I did find and picked up Vagif Stepanian�s wheelchair.

So at 2:30 PM we left Yerevan in the direction of Lake Sevan.

On the way we got stopped at the Lake Sevan police checkpoint and in my best Western-Armenian I asked the cop how he was. Harout looking very Diaspora with his video camera got the cop to smile at us and tell me that they have much respect for us and to have a nice day.

So we arrived to the shore of Lake Sevan and I have to tell you that it was quite beautiful today.

The first real village that was accessible from our side of the road as not quite as accessible as I thought, as the road itself had not been cleared and I got us stuck in the snow.

Harout got out and started to push the car. A little bit of salt under the tires (I don�t know it this helped) and we freed the car.

We didn�t enter that village and stopped next to a couple of people that were from the village and asked them if they knew of anyone that may be selling a rubber raft. They told us no, but we may find a raft in Vartenis. I asked how far it was and they told me 20 to 30 kilometers.

We drove on and along the way stopped and asked people that were selling fish.

At about 20 kilometers, we spotted a couple of really cute puppies playing on the side of the road. Both Harout and I thought that they were just too adorable and I asked Harout if he wanted a puppy? He said that his uncle wanted a dog and I said that I too would not mind a puppy and asked him if I should turn back around so we could pick them up? Harout thought about it and without saying anything, waved me to keep going, but I knew that he really wanted one. So all the way, I kept talking about the puppies and how I hope they will make it through this really harsh winter.

We came to a village that in the road had a huge ditch with water running through it and I tried to stop, but the road was total ice and we drove right over it. I stopped the car and didn�t really notice any damage, but did notice that all the built up ice on the car had fallen off. A man from that village also looked under my car and told me it looked okay.

I asked the man if he knew about anyone selling a rubber raft and he said that there was no one like that in his village, but directly across the lake in the village of Dzovag Kyugh they would have something like that. I asked him how far that was and he said it�s just passed Vartenis, which is 60 kilometers away. Wait a second, 20+ kilometers away, Vartenis was 20 to 30 kilometers. I guess distance for someone of foot is not the same to someone in a car.

I want to mention also the condition of this road we were driving on. First of all, it is not the usual road that people take when going to Vartenis, so it�s not at all cleared of snow in some places and I have to tell you that at times if I didn�t have 280 horsepower under my foot to speed passed those points, we would have been stuck for sure.

So we drove on for another 60 kilometers and arrived to Vartenis. There I asked about a rubber raft and they said that no such person that I could find at that hour and should wait until morning (it was 5:30 PM). I asked the people in Vartenis if they knew about Dzovakyugh and maybe a raft being there and they agreed that my chances there would be better.

We drove on and not too far out of Vartenis, I stopped at a gas station to ask where Dzovakyugh was. I pulled up and honked my horn. The kid inside came out a minute or so later after we watched him through the window bundling all up. I asked him about Dzovag Kyugh and he said the road beside his station was the entrance. We thanked him a drove on.

As we were driving up the main road to Dzovag Kyugh I told Harout that I had better find a raft here after all we have been through or else I�ll get really mad and when I get mad, I�m not fun to be around and maybe we should get Vagif�s wheelchair out of the trunk and put it in the car so he could sit back there. Harout looked a bit concerned and I guess started to pray or something.

First people we saw at the entrance of the village we asked about a rubber raft and the relayed what we asked to some man that was walking in the direction of the village.

The man walks over to our car and asked what it was that we needed. I told him and he said that he asked again as he could not believe that we would be looking for such a raft as he had one he needed to sell. I asked him if we could see it and he said yes, but we needed to go to his brother�s house to get some valves for it and a pump.

We drove into the village and got what he needed. Then on to his house, which was on the outskirts of the village and the road there was quite covered in snow and he was concerned that our car could not make it to his house.

We drove on and at about 100 meters from his house, our car got kind of stuck, so I backed it up to the road we were on and we walked.

In his basement, he uncovered a very used but somewhat large raft. He told me in advance that it has a couple of holes, but they can be fixed by someone that fixes inner-tubes. He pumped it up and we found 2 small holes.

I asked him how much he wanted for the raft and he asked him how much I would like to pay for it. I told him I have never purchased a used raft and I�m sure he has never sold a raft, so he is going to have to decide.

He said that this was going to be a very sad New Year for him and his 4 children as they had no money and this by chance encounter was something very special. He invited us in to a cup of coffee and to talk.

We went into his house where his 2 daughters (one 14 and the other 9) made us coffee. He apologized for the blackened walls in the room they live in and told us that during Levon Ter Pedrosyan�s time of being president of Armenia, there was no heating materials for that first winter and they had to heat the house with transformer oil (which is used to cool transformers). He said the oil blackened the walls and also took its toll on their health. We didn�t see a wife in the house and I really didn�t want to ask.

Someone called us out to move the car since it was blocking the road. We went out and after seeing the road to his house, I decided to trying to drive it in.

I got a running start and made it to his front door. He told me that even Niva�s (little 4WD jeeps) have had trouble doing this.

So we talked price and I told him from the start that he name the price, I�m not going to haggle with him and if the price is okay with me, I�ll take it. He told me that such a boat is probably worth in this condition $150 (which is not really true since I knew a new boat with a motor, which his does not have is around $250), but since this is our first encounter and he wants to be friends with us, he will give it me to for $80. I asked him how much that would be in dram and we agreed to 45,000.

I pulled out the money and you had to see the look on his daughters faces. Compared to what they looked like when we first walked (though I think that maybe they didn�t know what to make of Harout was the reason for the puzzled look) and then, was a huge difference. They would now have some food on the table for New Years.

We all went into the basement to roll up the raft and the girls were helping their dad to put the raft in a couple of sacks so we could put it in the back of my car without getting the car dirty.

I exchanged phone numbers with our new friend and we turned him down for an invitation to dinner and a warm place to stay since this was said to be the worst day as far as weather goes and the people I stay with advised me not to go today so I really had to get back or else they were going to think the worst had happened to me.

We headed back towards Yerevan, which was another 160 kilometers, turning off at one wrong place, but finally getting to Yerevan at around 9:30 PM.

We went to Cactus Mexican restaurant, stuffed our faces with some decent food and a strawberry margarita (it�s been 3 years since I�ve had one of those, but they have no effect on me since I can now drink Vodka without it having any effect on me (nothing at all to be proud of)).

On the way to Harout�s place, I took a short cut, which is a hill that goes up the side of the main post office on Saryan and before we entered that hill, Harout pointed out that it was a sheet of ice and a Fiat was sliding back down as it had attempted going up it. I waited for it to come down, punch the gas pedal and up we went it with the car almost stopping at the top. We laughed at what the guy in the Fait must have been saying while we were going up the hill and more so when we made it up and drove out of sight.

For it to be one of the coldest days of the year and probably one of the days that most people stayed home, Harout and I had a great adventure that we will remember for a long time to come.

Harout, I just want you to remember that the puppies and what becomes of them are on your karma account.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

It�s Christmas!!!

Today was just like any other day in Armenia since Christmas is not celebrated until January 6th.

I did some shopping and lots of running around.

Tonight I got together with Harout (H.A. Der Hova) and his cousin (the guy that got the raw burger, but not the guy at Pizza Di Roma and the hair).

We went out for Chinese food at a restaurant on Gomidas. It was great, but the proportions were way too big. We stuffed our faces and there was still stuff left over.

Well it�s really cold out and I�m told that there is a really big storm moving in. I�m not looking forward to it as I really would like to spend New Years in Artsakh, but fear that it just may not happen.
Tonight was the big x-mas party with Nune and I have to tell you right off the bat that I was wrong again. Bottom line is that I was blinded by hunger that day and it turns out that Nune was in fact our Lena.

I really figured it out when someone who was at the Hovnanian x-mas party tonight told me while I was bragging about my x-mas party at Nune�s friends place that Nune was at the Hovnanian party.

Well it was a great gathering and was at Alex house. We ate, drank and had some great bonding time.

We finished as I had to drive Lena home and guess what? IT�S SNOWING and is really cold.

I read in the Armenian papers today that on the 22nd to the 23rd, on the road from Goris to Yerevan, 35 to 40 cars were stuck and covered in snow and 160 people had to be rescued. Well I don�t want to keep saying this, but I think I really in love with my car and its jeep like features. To this if I was driving my old car it would have been 163 people that needed to be saved.

I think my plans to go back to Artsakh is going to be delayed, as there is a big big storm coming in and it�s expected to be worse.

I wonder if Lena will run into Nune at the airport since they are both going to Italy for the New Year?

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Wow, my first internet caf� experience and what a great little caf� it is. 400 dram an hour I would have been willing to pay just for the heating. And the best thing is that the caf� is directly across the street from the Frank Muller store, which means that after H.A. and I go watch shopping, we can cross the street in our suits and log about our experience.

I know I should avoid police stories, but this one I think is worth logging about.

I got stopped by officer I don�t knowian (badge #0270) for allegedly not turning on my directional signal
while making a lane change.

He asked me for my documents and asked me if my California drivers license was my license. I said yes and he said okay.

So he argued with me about me making a lane change and I said to begin with, there are no lane markers to constitute a lane. I said that when he gets out there with a bucket of paint and marks the road, we can discuss his claim of me not making a correct lane change. He asked me if I was refering to my laws again (America�s)? He asked me with a big smile if they made me clean the window film on my car? I then knew that I had saw this guy during my visit to the impound yard and this is the reason he didn�t hastle me over not having an international license.

He argued a bit more and when I told him to write a ticket so I could go, he said this time he would forgive me. I didn�t thank him, took my documents and drove off.

So today I ended up spending most of the day (until 6:45 PM) at the mechanics, where they did a bunch of welding work on the exhaust system. It cost me a whopping 2,500 dram (less than $5).

Since I was hungry, I decided to go to Artbridge and guess who I ran into there? I really could not believe my eyes and thought that my eyes were playing tricks on me, but this time for sure it was none other than Nune Y.

Since they were so busy and there were no tables available, I asked this girl who was sitting with Nune if I could join them. I used my best American-Armenian accent so they would feel sorry for this poor Diaspora Armenian and guess what? Well since I�m writing this log, no be bad body guard jumped me and dragged me off the bathroom for a head bashing.

So I joined Nune and I think her P.R. person Liana. They were having cauliflower soup and broccoli pasta. I ordered the same instead of a steak since I think that Nune is a vegetarian and I didn�t want for her to be turned off of me on our first �date�.

Nune gave me her phone number and invited me over to her friends house for x-mas eve. So if anyone is planning on inviting me, too late, I spending X-mas eve with Nune!!!

Well tomorrow is a work day and I have to make arangements to pick up Vagif�s wheelchair.

I also want to point out that after talking to a bunch of people today, my coming to Yerevan yesterday was very risky as Armenia has not seen weather like this for a long time. I may also be stuck here for a while as we are expecting a big storm on X-mas eve/day.

I just checked the history list of where this computer has been surfing and I just want to say that after reading it, I wanted to put on rubber gloves or maybe a huge condom over my entire body so I would not catch anything. I can�t imagine anyone wanting to surf porn and really can't understand how anyone can do it in public.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

I�ve been up since noon yesterday and I think after being up for 36 hours this would be a good time to go to sleep.

My sleep pattern has been off since I've been researching my next forum item which also has a very good chance to make it in the papers.

So what have I been doing for those 36 hours?

Well at 6 AM I decided that if I was going to make it to Yerevan and if I waited for the weather to clear, I was never going to get here. So at 6:15 AM, I got in my car and headed to Stepanagert. Not to say the weather was bad, but I can say it was not good and it took me over an hour to get to Stepanagert.

My friend that was planning on going with earlier in the week, had work to do early next week, so could not go with me.

He insisted that I don�t go alone, since the road would be icy and the more weight in the car the better it would stick to the road,

I went to the bus station, and picked up a couple of passengers, who shared in paying for the gas.

We left Stepanagsert at 10 AM and half way between Stepanagert and Sisian, my car started to act as of one of the spark plugs where not working. So at the Sisian check-point, I had someone check to see if we had a bad sparkplug.

All the sparkplugs checked out okay. I knew if it was not the sparkplugs, then it had to be the injectors. Most probably gas with water and dirt is the culprit.

Fortunately, this is not the first time and the last time I worked with the mechanic on cleaning out the system and injectors with the help of the Yerevan injector specialist, via my cell phone.

I asked the guy that checked my sparkplugs if he had access to an air compressor and if he had the wrenches to take out the injectors. The work "injectors" prompted a worried look on his face and he gave me news that he had never in his life worked on injectors and has no idea as to what they look like or even where they are found. I assured him that I could tell him how to do it.

He said that we should drive in to the city of Sisian and got to Slavic�s garage where there is a compressor.

We drive the 6 kilometers to Sisian, which was so beautiful and looked so holiday like. I wash I had taken pictures, but the road was so slick that I could not stop or else I would possibly get stuck.

We got to Slavic�s garage and in a couple of hours we cleaned the whole fuel system and also Slavic, being an auto electrician fixed an on going problem with my starter, which was caused by a loose wire.

I paid Slaivc 4,000 dram (less than $8) and he and the crew pointed me in the direction of the main road (via the short road that we didn�t come in on) and pushed my car so we could get rolling in the snow.

We took a wrong turn and were redirected but warned that the road had not been cleared since it started to snow a couple of days ago and my car world probably get stuck.

Nonsense, my car can out drive any jeep and sure enough, on the road there were a couple of stuck jeeps, but my car just kept going all the way to the main road.

We drove on and on the way we ran into a couple of people I knew who were quite concerned with the road condition and were planning on camping out until they came and cleared the road. I told them no thanks, I have a passenger that is leaving for Moscow in the morning and were continuing on.

I�ve never in my life encountered blizzard like winds like the ones I drove through. My car was totally unaffected, as if on was on a Sunday drive to the mall. I wish I could say the same for the wedding party with the decorations attached to their car.

Traffic came to a stop at one point as the Iranian trucks that travel our roads were stuck and they had done a good job of blocking the road. I got out in this blizzard to help with lighting so they could fit their chains on.

After a 20 minute delay, a Jeep belonging to the Artsakh Minister of Internal Affairs came driving by me and worked his way through the trucks with me following close behind.

We can to a second jam of Iranian trucks and after a 5 minute wait again the MIF Jeep made a trail and before I could follow, a Volga 24 with summer tires cut in front of me, slid and got stuck on the bumper of one of those big bad Iranian trucks. Well I hope the big black crease in that guys white car will serve as a reminder to not cut me off again.

We made our way to Yerevan by 8:30 and in the last hour of our trip, the exhaust pipe which I guess I hit on a rock or something, cracked and caused our car to sound like a formula one race car. It was not exactly the most pleasant sound after all we had been through.

I have to say that besides the bad gas and the injector problem, I was really impressed with my car and the supper safe ride it provided me in such hazardous conditions.

I think I�m going to be staying in Armenia for Christmas and then as soon as the weather clears, I�ll head back home.

Oh, I got a donation from an organization called HOM of one wheelchair for our aid recipient Vagif, the guy I wrote about who spends his days sitting in a wagon. I want to thank JD for the offer to purchase him one, which started my search that yielded this find.

Ps. For those loggers that are planning on being in town on the 25th, I taking invitations.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Well it really looks official. Winter is here and I get the feeling that before it starts to warm up, it�s going to get really cold.

My pipes were frozen yesterday so I didn�t get to take a shower. I was able to recover 3 liters of water, which I planned on using today to bathe with (reminds me of the good old days in Yerevan 1991 to 1994). Fortunately for me the temperature got up to 4c and the water started to flow. I took advantage of the situation and took a nice long HOT shower and filled up any bottles I had with water.

I had planned on going to Yerevan to participate in the celebration of Garegin Nzhdeh birthday, but due to the snow, the road conditions are not all that great. So I guess the Nzhdeh celebrations will have to go on without me.

I�m thinking that it would not be so bad to go out and get another chicken to fry up in the deep fryer. Not exactly the most healthy way to eat, but it�s not like I cook this way all the time. I need to get some buttermilk so I can make a really thick batter.
Fried chicken has lost it charm, not to mention its flavor, which has made its presents in my clothes. So with that, just maybe I�ll stick to only French fries, which I�ve become a master at making.

Tonight I was watching Armenian T.V. and there was an old Armenian film (black and white), which I caught the last 30 minutes of. It was about shepherds who a government investigator was investigating the loss of a sheep. It was really interesting to see Armenia as it use to be and one of the interesting messages in the film was that we should put government to one side and remember that Armenia belongs to all of us. I wish I had seen the whole thing and taped it, as the message was very powerful.

One other thing that was interesting in the film and I�m not sure if accurate or Soviet propaganda was there was mention of America and the man that created the atomic bomb that Japan was bombed with. The guy said that it was one man who won the war against Japan. He went on to say that the same man was believed to be able to make a bigger and more powerful bomb but didn�t and was put on trial by the United States for refusing to make it. This kind of history I�m really out of touch with, so if there is anyone that knows about this subject, please enlighten me.

Well it�s still snowing and it looks like my Yerevan trip is going to not happen until after the New Years. I was really hoping to spend at least Christmas with the other loggers (since it really is a holiday that is not celebrated here) and then make my way back to Artsakh for New Years.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Tonight was fried chicken night!!!

Last Sunday when I was in Stepanagert, I purchased a deep fryer/cooker/steamer. Tonight I cooked up some fried chicken, French fries and onion rings. This little miracle set me back a whole 8,000 dram (about $15).

I have to tell you it�s been almost 3 years since I�ve tasted fried chicken and as I was chomping at the bones, I could feel my cholesterol count rising.

It certainly was a welcome change from the usual baked chicken. The locals that joined me for this unique dining experience loved the taste, texture and speed at which the meal was prepared.

I fear that I�ve introduced a not so healthy delicacy to Martuni and I hope that it does not catch on or else we may have some future candidate for heart problems. Come to think of it, this will only add to their bad habits of eating such things as cooked pork fat with garlic.

When we finished up, I fried up the potato skins and fed them to my dog Juhka. He loved them.

Monday, December 16, 2002

I just posted on the Ara Manoogian forum chapter 2 of Shahan Natalie�s �The Turks and Us�. It is titled �IDEOLOGY OF THE ARMENIAN STRUGGLE�.

For those of you who are new to the logs, I am posting chapters from a book by author Shahan Natalie titled "The Turks and Us".

Natalie was the mastermind behind the terminations of the young Turk leaders and their collaborators who were responsible for the 1915 Armenian Genocide and were in the process of planning a second genocide on the people of Artsakh. In this book, Natalie shares first hand observations as to what happened during and after the genocide.

Sunday, December 15, 2002


After 5 days of no power, our power was restored. This all thanks to a collective effort from the electric company, assisted by the army.

In those 5 days, I was busy with wiring up my neighbors houses with light. My generator ran on a somewhat regular schedule, sundown until 1 AM.

Other than the telephone center, we were the only ones with light. It was quite strange to drive through a dark town and then come home to a neighborhood with porch-lights on.

I could tell that with a combination of the cold and no power, people were not in such a festive mood.

Anyway, a big thank you to everyone evolved in working to restoring power to our region. I know at the next meal, there will be a special toast to all of you.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

This is not the best time to log as I just came from my neighbor�s house after the 2 of us just finished consuming 4 bottles of Areni wine.

Anyways, we still have no power and the neighborhood is dark, as if no one lives here. The only houses are 3 houses, which is my neighbor across the street and my contactor, who lives about 90 meters down the street.

The latest on the power is that it could take a minimal of 4 days before maybe we see power.

Tomorrow, we are adding 2 more houses to our electrical network.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

All this talk of snow in Yerevan is very interesting, but maybe you will find my talk of snow in Martuni a bit more interesting (just kidding).

Snow is a natural occurrence and for most people and is connected to the holiday season.

Well like in Yerevan, it snowed here in Martuni and snowed and snowed and snowed�

I could hear my neighbor�s children giggling at the sight of snow this morning. They were all excited and could not get enough of it

I guess what makes my story a bit more interesting is that the snow started a couple of days ago and the storm that it came in on also took out a bunch of high-voltage power poles that brings in power to Martuni and part of the region.

The power poles are located on a mountain top and with the snow, winds and ice, it�s very difficult for the equipment needed to get in there to replace the poles.

So 27 hours ago, the power went out. I was working at the time and my lap-top battery died at some point, so I went onto my rechargeable POWER SOURCE Multi-Volt Output with LED Display that I brought with me from America a few years ago. Well when that died, I went to bed.

So this morning I was waiting for the power to come on and it didn�t. I called the Mayor on his cell phone and he told me that we could expect the power to be restored that evening.

Well being that it was the 10th of the month, which is the day we transfer money to each of our 15 people that get aid from a few of our readers, I had to resort to getting out of my warm bed (a big thank you to the person that came up with woodstoves, because my electric heater is useless in situations like this), get dressed up really warm and go down to my car to plug in my power inverter so I could print out the transfer sheets for the aid.

So picture this, I�m sitting in the back of my Mercedes with the engine running and the heat blasting, working and charging the lap-top and then unplugging the lap-top and plugging in my bubble-jet printer (the inverter can�t take the load of both) to print out the transfer slips.

Outside the snow is just coming down like you can�t believe.

So I finished and pulled my car out of the garage, onto the dirt road and it�s just sliding around everywhere. I won�t bore you with the details of getting stuck in a snow-drift and all the neighbors coming out to push me up a hill, but will say I made it to the bank.

I find the banks front door locked. The guard tells me that they are closed until the power comes on, but lets me in and I go up stairs and drop off the transfer-slips with the bank manager, who told me that when the power comes on, she will make the transfers.

Seeing that this was not some light snow-storm and after the experience with my car getting stuck due to having summer tires, I called a friend of mine in Stepanagert who has an auto-parts store to see if he had winter-tires for my car. He told me yes, but they are going fast as there is a mad rush for winter tires today. He asks me if he should hold them for me and I tell him defiantly. I tell him that I�m going to make my way over to Stepanagert, but I�m not sure if I�ll make it since I don�t know what the road it like. He tells me to call him if I can�t make it so he can sell the tire to someone else and will get m more for me when I can make it.

I head out and man was it dangerous. The road was so icy and I experienced fish-tailing like I�ve never seen before. After a slow ride, I made it to the auto-parts store, where I purchased 4 snow tires, new sparkplugs and motor oil. The total came out to $214, which was less than I was expecting to pay. The tires are the kind that can have nails that dig into ice added (which I think I�m going to do).

I went to the tire-changing service which was so busy. They told me to come back in 2 hours, which I did and got the tires changed, which made a huge difference.

I went and paid for my internet service which for the special phone-line and internet service came out to a little over $10 this month :)

I drove back to Martuni and got in at 8 PM to find it dark. I drove to the Mayor�s house and learned that the power poles that need to be replaced will be replaced at some point and they are estimating that power will be restored in 3 days!!!

So here I am with almost all my batteries dead and were talking 3 days. I really feel sorry for the people that had their houses remodeled and were going to use electricity to heat. Those people have gone to stay with friends and relatives that have woodstoves or the lucky ones that have natural gas.

Well after a couple of cups of tea, I went home, found my contractor (who just went to bed since there was nothing else to do) and we got to work on digging out my emergency generator which was covered in snow. I parked the Mercedes as close as I could so we could light the generator as we chipped away at the ice and got it all cleaned up.

We took the battery out of the Mercedes and after a couple of minutes, the generator, which has not been run for a year, fired up.

We ran a cable to my house and there you have it, I was back in business and set for the 3 days wait.

Tomorrow, we are going to run cables to the other neighbors houses since my generator is 20 kilowatts.

Monday, December 09, 2002

Today was a day to relax, stay home and keep warm after being away for a couple of days on business (I was in Stepanagert).

The temperature didn�t go above -0.5c (below freezing) today and I only went out to bring in firewood.

Everything outside is frozen in this beautiful crystal clear coating of frozen rainwater. All my Pomegranate trees look like they are made of glass. The Persimmon trees still have fruit on them and they look so beautiful in their frozen state.

If it�s still this cold tomorrow (which I think it will be), I�ll go out when there is some good lighting and take some pictures which I�ll post (if they come out good), so you can see this natural beauty.
The latest posting on the Ara Manoogian Forum is:

�Artsakh Government Forces Citizens to Donate to North-South Road�
I just posted on the Ara Manoogian Forum, chapter one of Shahan Natalie�s The Turks and Us, titled "THE CAUSES FOR ALL OUR TRAGEDIES ARE OTHERS."

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Like Raffi logged, I now have my own forum for posting my political and social views that are not part of daily life here in Armenia.

From time to time I will post something and let you know in the logs that there is something new there and those of you interested can click on the link and go read my latest post.

For those of you that are interested in Armenian history written on the subject of the first Armenian Genocide of the 20th century in Western Armenia and Artsakh, I am posting chapters from Shahan Natalie�s �The Turks and Us�. I�ll post a random chapter every couple of weeks (the first one I�ll post on Sunday).

So far I have posted the Introduction, Shahan Natalie�s Concise Biography and CONCORDANCE.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

For the last week, one of our aid recipients Raya has been asking me to come for a visit, but with my busy schedule I have been putting it off.

Tonight I went over for dinner and a long conversation at Raya�s, which was filled with so many thank yous to me and her sponsor JD.

I asked her if life is better in the area of her economic condition and she said that she can�t without crying tell me how good she feels in that area of her life now. She said she no longer has worries about where her next meal will come from and now eats healthy.

She told me she owes nothing to anyone and has also been able to buy a new pair of slippers and winter socks.

She told me that she does not know how she survived for as long as she did on what she received. She said that for her 40 years of service as a legal clerk she gets a 6,600 dram (about $12) a month pension which only pays for electricity, telephone, water and trash service. The pension of a little over 5,000 dram she gets for the loss of her only son in the war paid for the most basic food (cooking oil, bread, macaroni, rice, ect.). She had almost forgotten what meat tasted like.

I had mentioned to her about Rosa Myrig and her blood pressure and she said "that woman is like a stone." She went on to say that she lost one son, but Rosa Myrig lost all three of her sons and for her to still be alive after that shows remarkable straight. She said that the only thing that Rosa Myrig has that she does not have is a husband and if something happened to her (Raya) it could be weeks before someone finds her. It was very clear that she feels very alone.

One of the many things Raya said was that she thought it would be an interesting experiment to take someone like the President, give him 6,600 dram and tell him to live for a month and see what happens.

As we were talking I got a call from Rosa Myrig, who I had been trying unsuccessfully to contact. She told me that she had not seen the doctor yet. I told her I would arrange to have him brought to her house tomorrow and she said no, I�m not ready yet. She did tell me that her blood pressure shot up again (170/80). I said that I hope that she is ready tomorrow and said that I will come over tomorrow to see her, at which time I will convince her to see the doctor (I hope). Raya spoke with Rosa Myrig and was giving her advice of herbs and plants that she should make into teas that may help her blood pressure. I was very cute to listen to two little old ladies sharing their home remedies.

I finished my visit and Raya gave me a bag full of preserves, bottled tomatoes and 10 farm-fresh eggs from her chickens to take home with me. She said she felt sorry for me as I don�t have my mother here to look after me and as a mother herself, it�s the least I could do as if her son was in the same situation, she would want someone to look after him too.
Last night I went to Rosa Myrig and Hurant�s house for my monthly visit and dinner.

On my way there I ran into a neighbor of mine who was also on her way to see Rosa Myrig and informed me that Rosa Myrig is having some very bad spells of high blood pressure.

We arrived to Rosa Myrig�s house to find her laying down on the couch.

I asked Rosa Myrig what had happened and she told me that the night before her blood pressure was up to 200/80 and it felt like her whole right side was made of wood as she could not move that side of her at all.

The neighbor who arrived with me came to take Rosa Myrig�s blood pressure and the reading was 140/80. An improvement, but still not good.

I asked Rosa Myrig what brought on all this and she told me that on the 21st, she was unexpectedly visited by a film crew who are making a film about the Artsakh movement and war and they interviewed her. She said the interview was very upsetting and since then her blood pressure has been up.

She said that since that interview she knew she needed to see a doctor, but feared that they would find something seriously wrong with her and would keep her in the hospital for observation, something she does not want.

I insisted that she sees the doctor today and didn�t tell her but think that maybe her 200/80 the night before and the symptoms she experienced could have been a light stroke. I hope I�m wrong.

So what was this interview all about?

Well on the 21st, another of our aid recipients Era was also visited unexpectedly and while they were interviewing Era, one of her neighbors found me coming out of the Karabagh Telecom office after paying my cell phone bill and told me about the film crew at Era�s house and it would be a good idea if I go there to see what they are doing.

When I arrived to Era�s house they were filming and asking some very upsetting questions.

With them was also an assistant to the regional mister who was taking the film crew around and a journalist from the Artsakh government television Norig, who was also asking questions.

Era was very upset and having problems controlling her emotions. The director was not backing off with the questions and it seemed that he was intentionally trying to get her to cry for the camera.

Era apologized to the director for not being able to control her emotions and he said there was no need, it was good, people need to see that she suffers.

She pointed out to him that many of the things she was telling him were upsetting because she had forgotten them and only now were they coming out again.

She like Rosa Myrig mentioned, if she knew they were coming, she would have had some time to prepare herself so she could better deal with the interview. He said no, he wanted raw emotions like she was giving.

She told many stories that I had never heard. She mentioned Monte Melkonian and his significance in the movement. She also talked about Saribek Mardirosyan, the man who also was very active and died in the same skirmish as Monte did.

Era was asked by the director if she was proud of what her husband had done and she said no, I am mad at him as look at our condition today. The director said you don�t mean that and she said yes I do. I would feel it was worth him and my 2 sons who gave their lives to this movement if things were right, but look at the people who ended up in power and look how they take care of us? They have been making promises to fix my house for many years (looking to the assistant to the regional minister), but look at my house, I can�t even go upstairs as we have plastic where there is suppose to be glass. She went on with a whole list of problems that they recorded, but I�m sure will end up on the cutting-room floor.

The director asked Era if I was her son and she said no, he is not my biological son, but he is like a son to me. She went on to tell him that if it was not for me, she would probably not be home right now and would instead be roaming the streets collecting firewood. She told them that I was the one that keeps her house in tact as appose to the government and they should be interviewing me to see what I can tell them about what life is like for them. The director agreed and before I was to be interviewed, he had me stand in the background picking persimmons off of Era�s tree while she was being interviewed.

So after I finished picking persimmons and a few close-up shots, I noticed the director and his friendliness with me got a bit cold. It was as if he had talked to someone while they were filming me and was told that I should not be interviewed (I suspect the regional minister�s assistant who does not care too much for me or my opinions (I wonder why?)). So I didn�t get interviewed and there was no explanation why (no big deal, everything I would have said would not have even made it to the cutting-room to be cut).

Era insisted that they have tea before leaving and I got an opportunity to find out more about what they were doing.

It seems that the minister of defense is making some film about the Artsakh movement and it will be shown in 60+ countries. I guess they are trying to show to the Diaspora that Karabagh Armenians are a proud people and after the war, we are taking care of ourselves.

I asked the director if they had already interviewed Saribek Mardirosyan�s widow? He asked who that was and I pointed out that Era had told them about him and he being one of the very first people who practically started the movement. He said is his widow educated and can she talk well? I told him that she use to be a judge (before someone paid a bribe to someone on the President�s staff so they could replace her) and is very intelligent. He said that he must interview her. I told him that I would call her and he said that he was going to a village and would be coming back in 2 days and to have her waiting. Our guest finished their tea and left.

I visited Saribek�s widow Lilia later that night and told her the news of the film people wanting to interview her.

She told me that she had talked to Era and said that the director basically told what she could and could not say. She said that I have nothing nice to say and they wont let me say what I would want to say.

I told her that she should speak her mind and I would make it a point to be there during the interview. Who knows, maybe I could be the guy in the background stacking firewood during the interview like Hurant was during Rosa Myrig�s interview?

Lilia agreed but said that if the regional minister has some influence on who they will be interviewing, then they will not come. If he wanted them to interview her, they would have seen her without my telling them about her.

Well 2 days later I waited all day at home for Lilia to call me to let me know they arrived and there was no call. They didn�t show up like they said they would.

So what do we need to do about this situation? I guess first we need to make sure that Rosa Myrig gets her blood pressure under control. Then I think a letter from me to the minister of defense is defiantly in order.

Monday, December 02, 2002

Enough already with the power-failures!!!

Last night the power went out and so did the heat. When I woke this morning it was freezing in my room (50f), which for some people may not be cold, but for me it�s really cold.

The power was restored at about 8 AM and before the temperature had a chance to rise, it went out again, coming back and going out all morning.

I decided not to wait until it got warm and bundled up and in the snow (which is still falling now) went to my upper storage area, got the marble slabs that go under my woodstove (they were very cold and I forgot to wear gloves � Ouch), the woodstove and a sack of wood.

I installed the stove, put in a couple of pieces of wood, put some scraps of paper in and then went to the kitchen to get some matches.

In the kitchen I went to the drawer where I keep the matches and found there were no matches. I guess my smoking friends over the summer had used them all up.

So I plugged in the hotplate (thank goodness the power was on) and with just the right materials, I was able to get a fire lit, take it to the woodstove and light it on the first try!!!

Well as I write this, the stove is burning away and my room is warming up.

Bring on the power-failures cause I�m ready for them (I bet we wont have another power-failure for the rest of winter).

Mental note: Get matches from the store or make scraps out of old underwear with shoe-polish on them to light on hotplate.
Here's a little word of advice. NEVER take a shower, when there's going to be a power-failure. You'll find yourself screaming for dear life, with shampoo in your eyes, and soap all over your body, wondering just what the heck is going on, while trying to turn off the hot water knob, after accidentally shutting off the cold water and almost scalding your skin with superheated H20 in a fury of confusion. Trust me, it happens more often than not, and it's not pleasant.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

What a great way to welcome in December!!!

Today we had our first snowfall.

To say the least, it�s very cold outside and I did my best to stay home, keep warm, write and relax.

The electric heater is working overtime and tomorrow I�ll put back in the woodstove as it will do a better job of heating and wont be effected by power-failures (like the one were having right now due to a windstorm).

I want to thank my last visitor Vahe, who left for me some new thermal underwear and a really nice army-green wool blanket. They are coming in very handy right now.

I rented a building in the center of town to use as our temporary office until the new office complex is built at our industrial park site next year.

My Accountant was very happy that we got this building as she had been working at home and I too work at home so it has been a real problem getting things done over the phone, especially since the phones don�t work all that well.

The other nice thing about this new building is that in the next month it will have natural gas, so heating it this winter will be very easy and economical.

Friday, November 29, 2002

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I turned down an invitation to dinner in Yerevan at Raffi and Zabel�s house.

I did take the invitation to a friend�s house in Stepanagert for Turkey and other yummy things.

On the way to my friends house, I went on a hunt for some pies and cakes, driving all over Stepanagert to find a bakery. I finally was directed to go to the main shooga where there is shop in that area that deals in fresh cakes.

I parked my car and on foot made my way up the street, finding the bakery/store, but my hopes to find a pumpkin pie was not realized.

The girls at the bakery were enjoying my visit and making recommendations of what to buy and not to buy. One of the cakes I wanted, the girl told me she would not recommend and in fact would not sell it to me because it�s so bad.

As they were adding up everything, I went to bring my car closer to load my big box of cake and a couple bottles of wine. When I walked back in, one of the girls said to the girl adding the damage, �Oh, your man is back�. She said, �My man, no, I don�t have a man yet�.

I thanked the girls for their help and drove to my friends house.

So here were the only 2 Armenians from America, his wife, child and a couple of local guests (his wife�s father and cousin) of his sitting and eating what I would guess was a 6 pound turkey which in my opinion was so much tastier than any turkey I�ve had in America.

My friend was educating his local guests on some of the thanksgiving customs and I was saying the toast of thanks.

I think the local guest got a kick out of the whole thing and will say that they were really impressed with my friend telling how big the turkeys are in America.

We had with our meal 60 proof mulberry vodka (which I usually don�t drink) and homemade really good, I mean really good red wine. To say the least, I got a bit intoxicated.

Our meal was finished with homemade pumpkin preserves topped with crushed walnuts, the cakes I brought and tea.

Though I had already decided this year that thanksgiving was not a big deal and I would do without it, I would like to thank my friend for calling me and inviting me to his family thanksgiving dinner. It was a good chance for me to reflect on life and all the things we have to be thankful for. I really enjoyed myself.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

In an attempt to write something positive about life here Artsakh, I want to draw your attention to this website dedicated to our good friend and supporter of Artsakh freedom uncle Heydar Aliyev. This is a man that President Goulkasyan should give one of those gold metals (or a few, since there seems to be a surplus of them) that he passes out like raisins a few times a year. Uncle Heydar had been working overtime to destabilize Azerbaijan since he has been in power and from what his fan club site states, he�s been doing a fantastic job at it.For those of you who wish that Artsakh have a better chance to truly become a recognized country independent of Azerbaijan, please send your kind words of support and lots of money to uncle Heydar and his son Ilham so they continue their benevolent work for the betterment of our country.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

The other night I was chatting with Shooshig and being the straight shooter she is, she came out and said that my logs have been very negative these last few weeks and there is a good chance that I'm giving people the wrong impression of life here.

She added that knowing me, life is not all that bad here as my logs seem to reflect, or else I would not be living here.

Well Shooshig, your right, life here is not all that bad when comparing it with life in America.

So to help illustrate for you how good things are here, I've come up with a comparison chart if things that are important to me so you can see how good things really are here.

1. Pollution:
Los Angeles: Very bad
Martuni: None
2. Safe drinking water:
Los Angeles: Bottled and expensive
Martuni: Spring water from the faucet
3. Security
Los Angeles: Keep your doors locked at all times and keep a loaded gun under your poillow
Martuni: Door locks, what's that?
4. Time for friends and family:
Los Angeles: Whenever your not working or sleeping (which is very rare)
Martuni: Whenever you feel like it and even when you don't feel like it
5. Food:
Los Angeles: Tainted with preservatives.
Martuni: All natural (since we can't afford preservatives)
6. Life expectancy:
Los Angeles: If you survive drive-by shootings, muggings and terrorist attacks, 20 years less than what you could expect to live if you were living in Martuni.
Martuni: Old.

In short, life is really good here for all the right reasons and once we get over the minor issue that we face today, life here will be great!!!

Monday, November 25, 2002

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Last night I give news to our latest aid recipient of his receiving aid. Vagif was born normal, but during his childhood was sick and was medicated incorrectly in his spine, which destroyed his nervous system and he is now bound to a wagon (since they can't afford a wheelchair).

His sister, who is his primary caregiver, never married because of the burden of having to care for her brother. She was relived and said that though it will not cure him, the money is welcomed relief.

After I got off the phone with the sister, I got a call from someone reporting a person in a very desperate situation. I agreed to meet with that person today, and just finished my interview with them a few minutes ago.

This person is our even more recent aid recipient, who I�m covering with my own money her aid until I can find her a permanent sponsor.

Victoria Myrig is quite old (late 70�s). She was widowed in 1972 and had 2 sons. She came from Baku is 1988.

Victoria Myrig�s youngest son Valaric, a few years after his fathers death was attacked by some Turks and sustained trauma, which until his death 10 days ago, had him in and out of mental hospitals.

Victoria Myrig�s son did not die from his mental condition, but is believed to have died from a beating and starvation while in the care of the Stepanagert mental hospital, as his body was covered in bruises and he was abnormally thin. Victoria Myrig told me that her son had in the past escaped from the hospital and made his way home, reporting to her of his mistreatment in the hospital.

Victoria Myrig�s eldest son Vladic was a professional tank operator and at the start of the liberation movement, freed his brother from the mental hospital in Baku and made his way to Artsakh.

He was one of the early volunteers in the Artsakh army and as of 2 years ago was serving in the army. He was wounded 4 times during the war.

Two years ago, Vladic went to Jardar to visit a commander who just returned from Yerevan where he had an eye removed. At the table the drinks were flowing as they usually do and Vladic and the others got quite drunk.

Vladic returned to Martuni where from his drinking so much and it being a hot day wanted to drink water.

He went to the main government building where there are drinking fountains to find that they were turned off. He asked the guard for some water and the guard refused the drunk, who after a few choice words, the guard called the police who hauled off Vladic to jail.

In jail, Vladic was beaten severely, resulting in him having to be hospitalized due to damage he sustained to his lower organs. One of his organs had to be removed.

I remember when this incident happened, as it was quite a stink at the time and the chief of police was quite concerned as to what was going to happen to him, but later things died down and I didn�t hear anything else about it.

Because of his injuries, Vladic was no longer able to perform his duties and was effectively fired. He receives no pension from the Army or any government assistance and is unable to work.

For the last 2 years, Victoria Myrig and Vladic have been living off of Victoria Myrig�s 5,600 monthly pension.

Victoria Myrig will be going to the bank on Tuesday to receive her first $50 and then on the 10th of each month thereafter, as the rest of our aid recipients do.

She told me that this $50 and the next will go to help pay for the 40th day of her son Valaric�s passing.

She is going to instruct Vladic to write a request to our NGO which deals with social issues to see if we can at very least resolve the issue of Vladic�s pension from the army for his years of service.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

I returned to Artsakh yesterday and pulled into Stepanagert around 4 PM.

After taking care of some business and eating dinner at a friends house, I headed to Marturni.

As I was not 5 kilometers out of Aghdam, I noticed my oil-pressure gage doing some funny things. I kept watching it go up and down and then it went to zero.

I immediately stopped the car and checked under the hood to see oil everywhere. I looked under the car to see that I must have hit the bottom of the car and damaged the oil-pan, which oil was running from.

It was dark, and the closest sign of life was to my left, where there is an Azeri village.

The Azeri village was really not an option, since between us was a land-mine field. I waited and in about 3 minutes, I saw a car coming from the direction of Martuni.

I signaled to the car with my flashlight and it stopped. It was a cop car on its way to Stepanagert.

They radioed to Martuni:

Cop: Martuni, can you hear me?
Martuni: I can hear you.
Cop: Call Tompates (that�s my neighbor�s nickname) and tell him that Ara�s Mercedes is broken down 3 kilometers from the Bertashen crossroad in the direction of Aghdam and needs a be towed.
Martuni: Will do.

I thanked the cops and they continued on.

A couple of people stopped to see if they could help and told me that they would drive to my neighbor�s house just in case the police could not get in touch with them and let him know I am waiting for him.

In about a half-hour, Vitalic showed up with tow strap. It took us about an hour to tow the car, which we took to the body shop where in the morning, they will fix the oil-pan and also make a skid-plate, so next time the oil-pan will have a fighting change against the occasional pothole I encounter.
Police story #288

I got pulled over for no apparent reason again.

Ara: What seems to be the problem?
Cop: Office bla bla blaian, may I see your documents?
Ara: Here you go.
Cop: Your drivers license is expired.
Ara: I know, but they allow me to drive with it anyway.
Cop: No, you can only drive with it after 1 year of it being issued.
Ara: I know, but here they let me drive with it. If you want, call your chief and ask him.
Cop: Step out of the car and let�s go call him together and ask.
Ara: (gets out of the car) Okay.
Cop: (as the two of them walk to cop car) What will the chief say?
Ara: He will tell you that it�s okay for me to drive and to let me go.
Cop: You look like an honest person (hands back Ara his documents), have a nice day.
It�s been 10 days since we have had internet service in Artsakh and according to the announcement below, I guess it had something to do with Azerbaijan.

Announcement # 12/02

Dear Valued Subscriber,

At last we are up and operating the Internet service.

We finally managed to overcome the intentional and deliberate obstacles imposed on us, and we have started again delivering the quality Internet that you have got used to.

Karabakh Telecom sincerely thanks you for your patience that has proved to be a great support to us during this temporary ordeal.

We are proud to have you among the list of our esteemed subscribers.

Best regards,

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Well, I find myself in Yerevan.

Today was Patrick�s 7th day of his passing and I attended a memorial service at Saghmosavank.

It was well attended and being there finally made this whole thing real. I guess until then, I had not really accepted Patrick�s death. It also provided some closure of many those who attended.

One thing I want to say about Patrick and I felt that in terms of Armenians who do things for the betterment of the Armenian nation, Patrick was like the equivalent of 1,000 people in the effect that Patrick�s work has had.

In short and not to belittle my own work here, Patrick and his work up until now has had a much broader effect on Armenia than most of ours. If this helps you to get a better idea one of the major things that Patrick was doing, he was THE EU�s representative at the Ministry of Agriculture of which many of the Agricultural projects and developments in Armenia were funded. He also helped start ACBA, which is a very successful agricultural collective bank that has helped thousands of farmers here in Armenia.

Patrick will be missed and well remembered by the people who his life�s work effected. I also hope that people who knew him or know of him, will not only remember him, but follow his example of what one person can do to be part of the solution of the global challenges that we all our facing. Patrick certainly did his share and then some.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Internet hell continues!!!!

This log is coming to you thanks to my back-up relay to blogger.

Anyway, it may be a couple of days before I have a connection or should I say that all of Artsakh has a connection again. This also means that I don�t have access to e-mail, so for anyone that is waiting for a reply from me, I�ll get something off to you when I have a connection again.

My information is a little iffy right now, but word has it that thanks to Azerbaijan and their complaints to Moscow, our satellite connection has been cut off.

Raffi called me tonight to tell me about Patrick�s death. I won�t say that I didn�t believe him, but I guess I didn�t want to believe him. I guess shock is just the only way to describe the way I am feeling.

I told Raffi that I would bring all the digital pictures I have of Patrick to Yerevan when I come. I hope they will help us heal and remember all the good times we had with him.

I will say that Patrick and I were not really close, not because we were not close, but Patrick and my schedules were not quite in sync, so we saw very little of each-other.

One thing I will miss from Patrick is many of the times we would talk, the attention he would give me when I would answer his question of which government officials have I made uncomfortable since the last time we met.

I in turn was always happy to hear about his very noble and very very useful work he was doing in Armenia that has had a major impact on the lives of so many people here.

I guess it�s been a couple of hours since the news of his passing and all I can say is Patrick, what you have done in your life will never be forgotten. You will always be someone that I will remember and admire.

Let it be know that from this point forward, when I deal with the issues I deal with here and make some official uncomfortable, I will remember that little smirk you use to get on your face.

I�ll miss you a bunch and I hope that we will see the day that we all get to hang out together again and reminisce of the old day.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Today was a really productive day.

Work on automation changes at the factory are in full swing. We should be done with the main saw on Monday.

Yesterday we replaced the railroad track that the main table moves on which was crooked and today we finished all the welding work on the main saw.

Tomorrow we will lay a new cement floor and in the next couple of days the new waste-water recovery pool will be done, which means that we will be reusing the water for cutting and also be able to recover all the nice green granite sand, which will be sold by the kilo.

I got word today that my request for my 1.1 hector (2+ acres) 25 year land lease was approved. This means my industrial park project will start right away (before the weather changes) and the first phase will be the main building for granite production which will house all of the new equipment which is being built, with the first piece due to be delivered in 2 months.

There is enough room at this location to house all project I start. The location is also great as it is only 500 meters from my house, which will allow me to run cables for telephones and surveillance equipment right to my home-office, which means in the winter, I can literally roll out of bed or better yet, stay in bed and work. Can life get any better?

There is so much work to do and so many jobs should be created as a result of this latest development. I already have people coming to me to give them a job.

I guess this also means that my logging and internet time will be cut into big time :(

I also want to thank one of our reader from the Eastern US for offering to help someone in need here in Martuni with a $50 a month donation. Now that the season of giving is near, I hope that other people will be infected with such ideas.

Friday, November 08, 2002

It seems that my connection problems for basic internet are solved.

As for my phone connection problems being solved, that�s a totally different story.

My local line is still not working and it seems the only way I can call my neighbor is on my cell phone which cost me 1 dram per second. Just last month alone, I spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 dram on local calls that my 840 dram a month local phone should have taken care of.

It seems that the US and Russian governments have conformed to Azeribaijan demands to block calls to 3747 which is our country code.

I found this out the hard way when my internet connection was down and I had to talk to Mama Manoogian.

I called her and told her to call me back. I did this as it costs me to call the US somewhere in the neighborhood of 98 cents to $1.28 per minute, while calling here from the US is as low as 18 cents per minute.

After waiting for an hour, I called her back and learned that she had called 10 times and kept getting a busy signal on all my phones.

It was good to hear her voice, but at $1+ per minute the conversation only lasted 5 minutes :(

I e-mailed a couple of friends to try to call me and they too had the same experience. One mentioned that Azeribaijan had made demands to cut off our code and I guess America did just that.

I guess this one is not in my power to change on a local level, but hope that our people in America will deal with it so we can get our code back up and running.

One thing I will say is in our hands is this new Arab provider who will now profit from our code from being blocked has blocked most internet access to chat and services that allows one to talk on the internet for free. Netscape IM is not working (this was my live link to my family and friends in the world), nor does Yahoo games, which was a place I use to spend time playing backgammon with Turkish students from Turkey while chatting with them about their culture so I could better understand who our neighbors are.

I guess it�s our Arab providers hope that people will resort to making phone calls and paying their high prices for telecommunications that they have blocked services on the internet. Well no sir, I�m not going to put an extra dram in your Arab pocket. I�m going back to my old ways when I didn�t have any phone or T.V. and just spend more relaxing time to myself reading (via the internet). You may think you have found a loophole to create a monopoly on telecommunication, but if there is a way if ridding us of your presents from our country, you can be sure I will find it. I will also do my best not to make calls on my cell phone that can be avoided by just walking to my neighbor�s house and talking to them face to face. I would rather catch a cold doing that than giving you any extra money that you don�t deserve. Okay, maybe a little extra money from me would be worth not catching a cold, but let it be known I�m paying it in protest!!!!

Thursday, November 07, 2002

I thought that Artsakh was exempt to this, but for the last 4 days I�ve been going through internet hell!!!

It seems that in order to upgrade and improve their service, my provider KTSurf has added modems which are of higher speed but require a clean phone line. The problem comes from my Stepanagert phone line which is basically a 40 kilometer long extension cord which results in a not so great line every now and then.

For the last 4 or 5 days I�ve been calling my provider and the cable people to see what is going to be done to improve the line quality (which only recently got worse due to the last rain storm).

I�ve talked to every one that works in the cable department and all have told me that they are working on it and the problem should be resolved by today (this was in reference to 3 days ago and then 2 days ago and also today), but no improvement was made. There was even one person that told me they have done everything they can and basically I will just have to live with it.

Since you are reading this it�s obvious that I have been able to log on and this thanks to Naira in the cable department, who was the first voice I heard over a clear line. She asked me if I could hear her and I was so wooed by her sweat CLEAR voice that my bad mood improved and I thanked her over and over again as if she had just saved my life.

Naira told me that if I have any problems to call her. I�ll have to send her flowers and a thank you card so the others in her office, especially the person who told me to live with the connection, can see that when you provide good service, people do appreciate it.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

I got a new Jhuka garbage disposal unit a couple of weeks ago and it really works great!!! It�s Armenian made and was a gift from a friend of mine, who had three of them and the Jhuka model being the smallest, was almost disposed by the other two models, which are many times larger.

Jhuka is 6 years old and for his size, he is said to have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, so I�ll get lots of use out of him. I feel really good about this new addition to my household, as no longer do any leftovers go in the trash after they turn green in my refrigerator, by which time even chickens wont touch them.

Jhuka is also very intelligent. He really can tell the difference between someone nice and someone with evil tendencies. So far he has not missed the mark and has barked at one of my neighbors who is a cop.

If you haven�t figured it out yet, Jhuka is a dog.

The reason I was given Jhuka was that his owner acquired some �Aluby� fighting Shepard dogs. These are very big and very jealous dogs that didn�t like it when Jhuka would eat and on a couple of occasions, Jhuka had to be saved from death by these dogs that are trained to kill. For that reason, his owner felt it best that Jhuka move to Martuni, before he became a meal.

Though Jhuka is Russian understanding, he seems to understand what I�m saying in Armenian, especially when I call him to a meal.

Jhuka loves to dance around, bark and most of all, belch. I sometimes get concerned, as he eats so fast, he starts to choke, belches and then seems to be fine again.

In the US, all my family dogs understood only Armenian and I remember my dad telling me once the neighbor had asked him to teach him dog language, thinking that Armenian was some special language for dogs. I was thinking that maybe I should teach Jhuka English as it really is what could be classified as dog language and this way the locals would not know what I am telling Jhuka to do.

The wall is done for the most part. It really looks good and all that�s left to do is the street in front of the new wall needs to be widened and my driveway needs to be redone so when winter sets in, we wont have a repeat of what this last storm did. That should be done in a week (I hope).

Friday, November 01, 2002

These kind of stories I don�t like reporting, but to better give you an understanding of our social condition so you can understand the challenges we face and maybe find a way to be part of the solution, here goes.

It seems that a group of boy from the 8th grade were dragged into police headquarters and disciplined for paying for sexual services from one of their female classmates.

It seems that the girl had written a note to the boys in her class, offering her services for 500 dram (about 87 cents) and in her letter stating that she knows how to do everything and will teach them. She also told her neighbor that she knows he is poor, so for him there would be no charge.

The money she collected, somehow got to her I believe, older sister (here that could also apply to any female blood relative) who I�m told was very uncomfortable with what the girl had done and told the girl�s father.

The girl�s father learned who the boys were and confronted them and began to beat them.

It�s still a little sketchy, but it seems that he was dragged into police headquarters for his action and I�m guessing here, the police chief or his assistant learned what had happened and gathered up the boys and put them in jail (this information is pieced together from what I heard from different sources, but the final outcome was the boys too ended up in jail).

According to a witness who was standing outside the Prosecutor�s office, the boys were very sternly lectured (and loud so it could be heard on the street by the witness) by the chief of police for what they had done and too tell you the truth, at this point the final outcome is not important to my story so I wont get into what he said.

What is important to my story are two things.

First of all. Where did this 13 or 14 year old girl get the idea to prostitute herself to her classmates? I was told that her family is somewhat poor and she was doing it so she could get a new pair of winter shoes, but even then, I�m kind of having a hard time to understand why she would do this and where did she learn such things. Maybe all those Brazilian soaps that are being pumped into our homes? I don�t know.

The second thing that bothers me even more is that of the boys that were dragged into jail, 3 boys were never charged and their name was taken off the list of offenders.

The first one was a boy who I know his grandmother as working in a store as a clerk and from what I�m told, his parents are really nothing special. Maybe he has a relative who is connected, but again, I don�t know.

The second one is the son of the deputy chief of police. This bothers me, as what if the deputy�s son had done something worse (not that this is not bad)? And what does his son learn from breaking the law and then getting off? He learns at this young age, the law does not apply to him and others who know about this (which is most of the population in the Martuni region and now our readers) learn that if you have connections, you can do anything you want and get off (in more ways then one).

The third of the boys is none other than the chief of police�s son. The same person who was lecturing the boys of how wrong this is. The person who witnessed him lecturing the boys, commented on he should not be talking or if he insists on talking, he should have brought his son with him to the lecture.

I mean even in America, President Bush's daughter was caught purchasing beer with fake ID and had to face the music.

I guess this kind of thing should not shock me, as I�ve been here for so long and have documented so many cases like this, but something about this still really bugs the holly heck out of me.

Well all I will do at this point is add this to my very very long list of things that have happened here and in Armenia, where justice should have been served but was not. One day, hopefully sooner rather than later, this list of cases that are well documented will be concluded and justice will prevail and people can finally put closure to this very ugly time we are living in our history.
Tomorrow, the construction of my wall should be finished. When all is done, we will have replaced 90+ feet of wall that is 12 feet high and now has a 3 foot wide foundation. Nothing should be able to topple over this wall and I mean nothing. This new wall is of Armenian design, meaning that the top of the wall has upside down arches lining it. I�m also going to put lights at the peek of every other arch, which should really look nice.

The weather is really nice in the day and somewhat cold at night. My electric heater is working well, but by next month I really need to resolve my wood issue. My contactor tells me that I have enough wood to last me a month, which means next week my truck will roll to the forest and a few trees will give their live for the sake of me keeping warm this winter.

My small factory is still not quite finished with automation, but should be by next week (I hope). Not to put the cart ahead of the horse (or jackass in our case), but I�m already working on the layout of my new much larger factory, as one of the pieces of equipment that is being made, will not fit anywhere at my present factory and it's not worth investing in more building at that present location. This issue needs to be resolved within the next month, as winter is closing in on us and cement work will be impossible to do once the weather changes.

No new police stories. In fact, I didn�t see any police hanging out in the center today.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

I hope you haven�t had enough police stories, as today I once again log about a police stop here in Artsakh.

I was driving through the center of town here in Martuni and got stopped by one of our Martuni traffic cops.

Though he didn�t use a whistle, he did use a cane to signal me to stop. I stopped and he walked up to my car, introduced himself, like the procedure requires and asked to see my documents.

I presented my documents and as he was �looking them over� he apologized and said I only stopped you because today we have some visiting traffic police from Stepanagert to conduct a �raid� and have to check everyone�s documents to make sure they are in order and I have to make it look like I�m looking at your documents as they are watching me work. He finished and sent me on my way.

A little later I passed the center and our visitors from Stepanagert were still there and since I was driving slow so I could watch to see how they work, I had the privilege to observe a couple of cars that he signaled to stop, but they just kept on driving, ignoring him and not one of the cops did anything about it or seemed to really care.

I guess I�m not the only one that ignores the cops here and gets away with it.
I want to report that Miramx has finally put the trailer to Ararat on its web page. You can watch it at http://www.miramax.com/ararat/index.htmland once you are done please click on the "film info" tab and vote for the film (a 5 of course). It is extremely important that we help this film get the highest possible rating.

As an update, on the IMDB site which many of you may have visited and voted on (http://us.imdb.com/Title?0273435) the rating for the film has moved up considerably.

Lets keep the pressure on, since the Turks are working as well to bring it down.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

I think winter is closing in on us. Yes my dear readers, it�s that time of year and we are back to talking about the weather.

Today was kind of a nice day to start out with, but at 4 PM, the wind started to kick in and then rain.

Right now it's 10.4c outside, which is not that cold, but I get the feeling by morning, it will be much colder.

I have my electric heater going and have to start to plan the return of my woodstove, as there is ni sign that natural gas is going to make it into our neighborhood this year.

Monday, October 28, 2002

I was in Stepanagert today and for the first time in years it seems, I got stopped by a traffic cop who knew me.

This could not have been a worst time to pick to stop me, as I was in a supper rush and really was not in the mood to see what the cop had to tell me. With that feeling, I just ignored him and kept driving until I got to where I needed to get (which was not that far from where he wanted to stop me).

He walked up to my car and again, me not being in a talkative mood, I rolled down my window and presented my documents.

He didn�t take the documents and asked me why I was being so rude, not to stop and so on. I told him of my rush and my not being in a talkative mood.

He informed me that as of 3 days ago, a decision had been made that all rear-window sun visors and any window tint film, must be removed.

I asked him who came up with that rule and he said he got his orders from his chief who got it from the Minister of Internal Affairs.

I told him that I refused to lower the rear-window sun visor and remove the film from my windows as they protect me and my passengers from UV, which is known to contribute to skin cancer. He said that he knows this too, but he is just carrying out orders.

I sited the law of acceptable level of tint is 30% and my windows are only 20%. He said that is a Russian law that we use to follow, but now even 10% tint is illegal. He said that he had it on his car and was made to remove it.

I told him that you tell your boss that I refuse to comply with such an absurd decision and to have them call me to their office and I will further discuss the reason why and demand that they abolish such a stupid decision.

I guess I really must have been in a bad mood, as I continued to tell him that I will do one better than that and will go and visit the Minister of Internal Affairs myself, as if he is the one calling out this order, then he needs to have his head examined and I�ll be the one to tell him so.

As we spoke, my passenger pointed out a car that drove by with what I would guess had 50%+ black windows and asked the cop what about that car? The cop said that was a KGB car and they are allowed to have dark windows.

The poor cop who by this time was agreeing with everything I was saying just kept telling me that he is just doing his job and if I refuse, I refuse, but don�t talk so rude and take it out on him. He said he would be the messenger and tell his bosses if I want.

I said that he would be doing me a favor to write me a ticket so I would have a paper and a good reason to go visit the Minister, but he refused and said that he had a great deal of respect for me to write me a ticket.

I shook is hand and with rear-window visor raised and blackened widow film securely adhered, I dove off.

I went to pick up a friend who is visiting from America who 10 days ago had come to see me, but I had accidentally transposed a couple of numbers of my cell phone so he could not call me. He had stopped in to the government building and spoken to someone on the President�s staff, asking how he could find me. He was told that yea, there is a guy from California, but he comes and goes to Yerevan all the time and is not here now. Well I guess the President�s office keeps tabs on me, and yes, I was in Armenia at the time. Anyway, President�s office, rest assured, he finally found me and thank you for keeping my cellular phone number (which the President himself has) confidential. I do give you permission in the future to make a phone call to me to tell me that such a prominent Diaspora figure is in town looking for me so that when I tell them that you had the means to contact me, they wont draw such negative conclusions about you. You can also call me when the President needs sound advice and oh yea, when my turn come up to visit with the President since I am on the list, right?

So as I was talking to my guest, I could see from the building we were in that another cop car rolled up, walked up to my car and talked to my passenger. Then they drove off.

When I went to the car, I asked my passenger what had happened? He said the cops came up to the car and made mention of the new decision of lowering the visor and removing the film. He told them that we just got finished talking with another cop about this visor and film deal. They asked who it was and my passenger said that he didn�t know, but pointed to the cop car up the street. They said they would be right back, went to their car and I guess talked to the other cop on their radio and then drove off.

Well I need to add to my very long to-do list a meeting with the Minister of Internal Affairs so we can see who came up with this decision and what their logic is behind it. I wonder if they consulted with the Minister of Health before putting people at a greater risk of contracting skin cancer.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Today was day 2 of wall construction.

My wall that was blown down by the �tornado� has now been cleared by my bulldozer and the new foundation was dug out by my excavator.

This is a big construction job, as the wall is 45 feet long and 12 feet high. The new foundation is deeper, wider and is going to be using up lots of cement and stones.

As the workers were working, my contractor told me that we needed to bring a truck of river rocks for the foundation and the sooner the better as the weather is changing and if it gets too cold we can�t do cement work.

I volunteered to take a crew with our dump truck and my contractor suggested that I gather up the neighborhood kids and go to a nearby abandoned Azeri settlement, where there are tons of river rocks.

My contactor called over his son to gather up the kids and next thing I know, we were on our way.

We found a bombed out house that had a wall made of river rocks and dirt. At first we worked individually to load the rocks into the truck. My contactor�s son suggested that I move the truck closer so we could stand above the wall and not have to lift the rocks up so high to get them into the truck. Another kid suggested that we form a chain so were not getting in each others way and next thing I know the truck was half full and the wall was gone.

It was great to see that these kids (ages 12 to 14) working together and no one was acting like he was the boss. They understood that there was a job to be done and when I got tired, I knew they too had to be tired, but no one complained and just kept on working.

We returned to my house with a truck load of river rocks and you should have seen the smile on the face of my contractor. I could tell that he was as proud of our kids as I was.

All I can say is there really is hope and if these kids represent the next generation (which they do), we will have this country back on its feet one day and it will be strong and prosperous.

Well I have to take a shower and fall asleep (which wont be hard to do). I�m sure I�ll be sore in the morning.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

It seems that in my old age I have become more and more critical and less and less tolerable towards foreign elements that stuff their ideas down my countries throat. The following is a press release that seems to stomp on all my toes at once:

Harvard University
John F. Kennedy School of Government
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Contact: Doug Gavel, KSG Communications,
617) 495-8290
October 4, 2002

For Immediate Release

Kennedy School of Government Announces Manoukian Public Service Program for Armenia

CAMBRIDGE, MA -- Joseph S. Nye, dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, announced today the creation of a program to educate new leaders for the free and prosperous development of Armenia and the good of her citizens and countrymen around the world. The Manoukian Public Service Program for Armenia is supported by a gift from the Manoukian Foundation in London and will provide funds for three areas of collaboration:

* A degree program titled "Manoukian Public Service Fellowship;"
* An executive program titled "Manoukian Executive Education for Armenia;"
* A partnership between the Manoukian Foundation and the Kennedy School.

Ara�s comment: I just have a real problem with Harvard�s Kennedy School of Government educating our leaders to think the way they feel would create free and prosperous development for Armenia. What if the educators were wrong in their teachings and things got worse as a result? Would their families who live in the US be directly effected? Probably not.

"As Armenia emerges from the Soviet era and works to build a democratic and free market infrastructure, the training and support networks of those who will lead the new society will be tremendously important," said Nye. "We are grateful to the generosity and vision of Mr. Vatche Manoukian and Dr. Armen Sarkissian whose passionate commitment to education and to their homeland has led to this important new program. It will bring to the Kennedy School talented young people who will lead Armenia in the future, and current leaders who can reap immediate benefits for Armenia through their participation in our Executive Education Programs."

Ara�s comment: Is Nye hoping his program will train the new leaders of Armenia? Will Kocharian be one of his students?

The Manoukian Public Service Fellowship has been designed to help build leadership capacity for promising civil servants, government leaders, and/or nonprofit and NGO practitioners to help build a free and democratic society through advanced training and study at the Kennedy School. The fellowship will provide full tuition and cover fees, living expenses, and travel for a student to participate in either the one-year mid-career Master in Public Administration (MPA) program or the two-year Master in Public Policy (MPP) or Master of Public Administration/International Development (MPA/ID) programs. It will be available to current civil servants, government officials, nonprofit practitioners, or non-governmental organization leaders in Armenia, individuals of Armenian descent, or Armenian citizens of the world who early in their careers show promise for such leadership.

The Manoukian Executive Education for Armenia program will provide executive training to current Armenian officials charged with the daunting task of leading Armenia in the new era. In addition to funding participation by Armenians in regularly scheduled executive programs such as Leaders in Development; Managing Political and Economic Reform; The Practice of Trade: Economics, Negotiations and Rules; Global Financial Systems; and Infrastructure in a Market Economy, the Manoukian Foundation will also sponsor a special program in Cambridge, designed in consultation with the Manoukian Foundation and the EURASIA Centre at the University of Cambridge. Curriculum for this session will include both substantive and skill building topics. "Armenia's place in the world, as well as domestic concerns, will be of highest relevance to the design of the curriculum," stated Peter Zimmerman, senior associate dean for Executive Education.

Ara�s comment: So far I have not read one Armenian name (other than the people paying for the program) as far as the people leading this program that is planning on training our present and future leaders. It would be really interesting to know who the educators are and what they know about Armenian human nature and culture?

"The Kennedy School of Government's mission is to train world leaders and to contribute to the solution of global public policy challenges. We are honored to have begun this partnership and look forward to working together to employ educational resources and international bridge building to help the Armenian people into a new era of independence, freedom and prosperity," observed Nye.

Ara�s comment: This last sentence should read something like: �The Kennedy School of Government�s mission is to influence world leaders and create an atmosphere so the US government can control global public policy changes to best serve its interests. We are honored to have created this �partnership� and look forward to an opportunity in making the Armenian people around the world think that by working with us, they are working towards a new era of independence, freedom and prosperity,� said the spider to the fly.


"If a nation is seeking the power it needs outside of itself, then it is consciously preparing for its own defeat and collapse." - Garegin Nzhdeh

"Armenia is on a collision course to self-destruction." - Mama Manoogian
Well I got on line with the bad phone line. So it�s not only the phone line, but also the modems that my provider has. It almost sounds like the first modem in their bank is a fax machine and then the internet modem. I say this as the only way I have been able to get on is to call the internet connection on my cell phone which ties up what sounds like a fax to me and then let my computer call in and bingo, I�m on. I guess I�ll give my provider a call tomorrow and get to the bottom of things.
This log is being posted late as my great internet connection has been disrupted by the weather.

On the 21st of October, from I don�t know where, we suddenly had the worst weather I have ever seen in Martuni.

Was it a tornado? I�m not sure. I�ve never seen winds so strong.

Not just that, but rain and hail came down in such large amounts that the combination of wind and water had the strength to topple over one of the large walls that enclose my front yard.

On my porch, which is on the second floor, water had filled up. I figured the drain hole must be clogged so I took off my pants and went out in my underwear and bare feet to unclog it. The strangest thing, it was raining all around me, but not on me. I reached down to find the drain hole, but could not locate it. The water was really cold, so I went back inside and no sooner than I did that, the rain started to pour down on the water I was standing in. I thought the whole thing to be kind of strange, but didn�t figure out until after talking to some friends that we had been visited by a tornado and then only figured that I must have been at that moment standing in the center of it.

The power was cut for almost 24 hours and there were power lines down in our neighborhood.

After the storm had passed, I went out to check the damage to my house. The only thing besides the wall was a piece of tin from my roof, which my contactor quickly repaired.

The government sent out a surveying team on the 22nd to check damage to our neighborhood and my wall was added to the list. I�m told it should be repaired using money from an emergency fund. I�m glad to hear that such funding is available and if it comes or not, the wall is going to be replaced tomorrow if the weather is good.

So my internet connection is down, due to extra noise in the phone line (this started after the tornado). I called this morning to the phone center and they told me they would take care of it.

By 6 PM the problem was not resolved and when I called, they told me they fixed it. I told them it had not changed and they told me if it is not working, then how am I talking to them on that line? I told them the line works, but the extra noise prevents my internet connection from working. I�ve made a few more calls and there is still noise in the line. What a pain.

At 9 PM I talked to Nona the engineer at ArabTel (that�s what we all call the phone company now), who told me that they checked the line and it was not normal. She said that tomorrow morning they will work on the line and resolve the problem. I sure hope so.

Tonight on the news, the President talked about how all the different government offices are not working well and people are now writing to him as their only hope.

I�m glad he recognizes that there is a problem and I guess he is overwhelmed with so much work that he does not have time to see me. That list I must have been put on must be really long.

None the less, if the problem is that all the different government offices are not working well (which was part of my problem) and he was the president for the last 5 years, this means that he too is not working well since things got to this point.

Sounds to me like Mr. President needs to change his methods of running our country, but the big question is if he is capable of making such changes? I highly doubt it, but I�ll give him the benefit of the doubt and see what changes he is going to make in the next couple of weeks.

I have a prediction to make. There is a change being made in the tax office here in Martuni. The head of that office has been removed and was told he will be transferred to Stepanagert to work in a special department. I predict that the husband of the head of the finance department here in Martuni will be appointed to that post. If my prediction is correct, then I can accurately report on which day and time a bribe was paid to someone working in the President�s office and by who. If my prediction becomes reality, then I can help the President better understand why he had to get on T.V. and announce that his government is not working well.