Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It happened that the cousin from Byurakan whom I wrote about at the end of the previous entry suffered a stroke around two hours after I left his home. Finding this out, we went to the Republican Hospital, located on Margaryan Street in Ajapnyak. Several family members who were gathered outside his room told us he had hit his head as he fell while suffering the stroke. Being in intensive care, and in a light coma, we weren’t able to see our friend and cousin.

Saying a temporary goodbye, Hasmik and I went to a hotel in the city center to meet several actor/singers from Poland, who were interested in old, traditional music, preferably from pagan times. “In Poland,” one of the young actors said, “Our traditional music is lost. Gone. It’s the same in all of Europe. If there’s a folk festival there, all Europeans can do is put on a costume and sing something that might sound like their old music. Here, in Armenia, you’re lucky that your traditional music is alive. I find it sad, though, that apparently none of the youth here seem to care about their old culture, that only older generations are doing anything. If this continues, your traditional music will end up like ours, in archives, museums, or worse, completely lost.”

After making arrangements for a hopeful trip to Poland, we parted ways and left for the opposition rally (hanrahavak) near the Matenadaran. Crowds were thick, similar to the rally I attended a few months back. I watched and listened to people shouting cheers for Levon Ter Petrosyan and calls for Serge Sargsyan to resign. A Karabagh war veteran I had seen recently repeated his story about having gone to Martuni, in Karabagh, and seeing four modern Italian tractors in one area, all funded by telethon money. “Couldn’t they have sent one or two of those to Armenia, maybe to Sissian, where people are living terribly?” he again lamented. “If war breaks out again, I’ll go and fight, but it sure won’t be for our leaders from Karabagh. They have to go. I’ll never forget what happened on March 1. And, this has become the norm. Haven’t you heard about the elections for district mayor in Yerevan? The same things were going on. Nobody but those in Serge’s party, or Prosperous Armenia, had a chance. As to Levon, I don’t hold a high opinion of him, but we need him, or anybody, to throw these guys out.”

After a short time at the rally, and feeling a little weak while finally succumbing to the strange, cold-related virus sweeping Yerevan, we grabbed a taxi and went home.

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