Showing posts from 2010

Lettre 32: Gago and the watch

Yeghegnadzor, Saturday, June-05-10 When I first met Gago a few years back, he was in the middle of the street, directing traffic in downtown Yeghegnadzor. When Gago tried to tell me where to walk, I did not quite understand until some passers-by quietly explained that Gago was just a friendly soul who wandered the downtown area and meant no harm to anyone. I have since always enjoyed seeing him clown around, smiling and laughing with everybody. It is about a year ago that Gago approached me to say he needed a waterproof watch so that he could bathe with it on. I told him I would look for one and, if I found one, I would bring it to him. Every time I ran into Gago in downtown Yeghegnadzor, he reminded me about the watch, and when I returned to Armenia last March, he had not forgotten. When he saw me, he said: Bari Kaloust, im zhamatsouytsu our e? (Welcome back. Where is my watch?) I had brought an old watch from Ottawa and gave it to him. His eyes lit up. He quickly examined it and sa…

Letter 31: The Legend of Yeghegis (revised; see Letter 33)

Yeghegnadzor, Sunday, April-25-10

see revised "Letter 33"
Antoine S. Terjanian
Went there to move mountains
To read all my letters from Armenia, click on

 Yeghegnadzor changed names several times. It was also named Migoyan (after Anastase Migoyan the former President of the USSR) and his statue is still standing in the middle of the town’s central park, but historically, it was known as ‘Yeghegik’ (little reed).

Lettre 30: 'Pourquoi, si les Arméniens sont des gens intelligents, n'arrivent-ils pas à développer leur pays?'

Yeghegnadzor, dimanche, 13 septembre 2009

Une amie Belge qui réside en Suisse et qui comme moi aime habiter la montagne vient de me poser les deux questions suivantes, à la suite de sa visite en Arménie :

Je serais curieuse de savoir ce que vous répondriez à 2 questions qu'on m'a posé :
1) Pourquoi, si les Arméniens sont des gens intelligents, n'arrivent-ils à développer leur pays?
Réponse rapide : Parce qu’il est difficile de développer en vitesse un pays enclavé, en conflit avec deux des pays qui l’enclavent.

Mais avant de répondre en détail, j’avoue me sentir mal à l’aise pour répondre à cette première question, car avec le ‘si’ elle semble donner l’impression que les Arméniens ‘prétendent’ être ‘intelligents’.

J’aimerais tout de suite écarter cette hypothèse en vous offrant pour commencer une traduction de quelques vers du poème de Parouyr Sevak (assassiné par le KGB en 1971 sur la route que vous avez prise pour venir chez nous – vous auriez remarqué une stèle en granit…

Letter 29: The Neighbour’s Family

Sunday, June-28-09
When we first bought our house in 2003, one neighbour, in his early fifties, did not seem too happy to have us as his new neighbours. He had been using the abandoned house to store his beehives in the winter and he guarded the orchard like his own.
Their house was down the hill from us. His eldest daughter, Armenouhi, had married Tigran and moved to Aghavnadzor, the village on the mountain across from us on the west side of the old Silk Road. His son Armen had just married Lusineh, from Mozrov, another village that we can also see from our house, which is very close to the Nakhijevan border. They had a new-born baby and lived with the parents, together with a younger daughter, Hamovik, who was finishing high school.
At the time, our neighbour had offered to do all the work to finish our house, but when we visited his house and saw the poor state of repair and finishing, we diplomatically declined. I learned at the time from his wife, Nshkhar, that some “diasporan benef…