Really, it’s not just the people who do not trust the government, but the government who does not trust its people as well…
(I’m normally not very negative, but a ride to and from Gyumri with a Russian-minded brainwashed taxi driver is enough to anger any intelligent individual who has studied history, majored in psychology and is thoroughly Armenian oriented.)
While the former is common practice around the world, the latter provides a rather bleak view as to what this country has become. It has no lack of proper individuals, but is also overrun with petty thieves and incomprehensible men. With one breath the taxi driver will complain about how the government’s actions push out the potential Diaspora connections, while his next breath will be to utter prices double or triple what the cost should be. It’s no wonder the government is forced to rely on Spanish and other European labourers to build its roads, knowing full well that the local population is keen on pocketing the money and stealing the resources, reducing the quality of work done and costing the government twice the amount budgeted to repair these intentional “mistakes” made.
“The best of our boys are leaving, searching for their luck on foreign lands…” This song rings quite true for our people. Truly, I believe that most individuals who manage to grab a position will be as merciless in their abuse of power and wealth as the locals accuse the current “oligarchs”.
I can’t say I agree with any of the actions taken in this country, but I can say that I am beginning to understand. This country is a country. This country does have jobs. This country might be lacking money, but an increase in export, particularly through the digital, will help alleviate that problem. The government is a government, albeit rough around the edges and heavily controlled by foreign forces, as well as having grown up with a Soviet mind which means as either sheep or fox (foxes in this case, the people still yearning for Soviet days of little work and lots of ruplees but nothing to spend on are the sheep).
What this country lacks is the working man, aka the ashkhadaser in Armenian. Don’t blame the government when you sit at home for years and don’t even try to find anything, albeit for minimum wage, which is currently about $125. Perhaps drop that blasted cigarette habit as well and there might be some cash left in the pocket, considering the average 2 pack a day smoker spends a minimum of $50 a month on the cheapest labels, which amounts to half their pay if they are paid at minimum. Instead, buying 2 loaves of bread a day and perhaps a bit of cheese would be a more efficient way of spending that also feeds you and the family. A lot of things are very cheap in this country and cutting out bad habits such as smoking and drinking could in fact serve to build up the nation instead of letting it disintegrate through poverty and smoking-related disease…
Today’s my rant… However! We met with a rather extraordinary sight last night. A young man who loved his country and refused to leave for Russia or Europe or the States, who drove a taxi and didn’t allow his customers to smoke and took us home for free. I’m still scratching my head over this bizarre sight. Furthermore, this rather strangely amazing man was about 24 years old, not interested in marriage and preferred his town life in Artashat to the bustle of the city. He drove total strangers home before returning to pick up his family to drive them home in Yerevan before he himself returned to his home in Artashat.
Perhaps there is hope for this country…. After all, a single rose breaking through hard ground signals the end of Winter and the onset of Spring and the life it heralds.