Armenia as a Free Nation

Running head:  Armenia as a Free Nation

Armenia as a Free Nation
Linda Iguidbashian Dean
Walsh College
ECN 523
Summer 2013

Abstract

            Armenia has transitioned from being a republic of the United Socialist Soviet Republic (USSR) in 1991 to being a democracy with active political parties that is striving to be a free trade nation as part of the European Union in 2013. The new republic’s government is organized around having a President, Prime Minister, a Parliament, and a court system. They have gone from having corrupt elections to fair elections with multiple political parties. They were admitted into the World Trade Organization in 2002 after a great deal of turmoil.

            The way in which they privatized, allowed monopolies and business cartels to take control of the import/export industries and allowed Russia to take control of their energy, telecommunications, and transportation sectors. The agriculture sector has had its problems with production causing food inflation. There is a significant shadow economy. There has been a 10% flight of Armenians out of their country in hopes for a better life and protection of their civil rights.

            Even with all these problems, the Republic of Armenia (RA) has made great strides in improving its economy and human development. They are now tackling corruption in order to gain trading rights with the European Union.

Table of Contents

Abstract 2

Table of Contents. 3

Introduction. 4

Background Information. 4

History of Armenia. 5

Armenia Today. 6

Political System.. 7

Corruption in Presidential Politics. 8

Economic System.. 9

Signs of Corruption in Trade. 10

Signs of Inefficiency in Agriculture. 11

Issues of Migration. 12

Current Trends and Statistics. 12

Analysis. 13

Conclusions. 13

References. 14

Introduction

Armenia became a sovereign nation in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In the transition from a centrally controlled soviet republic to a democracy, poverty and corruption ensued as privatization led to monopolies by business cartels. Armenia is dependent on Russia in their energy, telecommunications, and transportation sectors due to loan forgiveness they received. In 2009, Armenia could no longer support the cost of maintaining a fixed currency exchange rate of 305 drams to a U.S. Dollar and changed their currency to floating. Their currency depreciated and is currently worth 406 drams to a U.S. Dollar.

The government has anti-corruption policies in play in order for Armenia to become a dynamic market oriented environment. Armenia has the goal of becoming a new EU member-state. Their strategy against corruption involves having a vibrate political system with multiple parties which will promote competiveness and representation. Armenia is in an interesting situation in that there are millions of Armenians outside of Armenia due to the Diaspora that began during World War I. The Diaspora Armenians have been providing financial support, mostly in U.S. Dollars. The 2009 economic downturn saw a reduction in international support. The question now is, can Armenia keep her talent, or will they migrate away?

Background Information

            The following sections provide background information about Armenia. A historical perspective is presented along with where the country is today. A summary of the political and economic systems are presented. Corruption in politics and trade are discussed. Large numbers of people have migrated out of Armenia as there have been shortages of food and jobs.

History of Armenia

The Armenian people trace their heritage to the Hittites in the ninth century B. C. According to Movses Khorenatzi, “the first chieftain of Armenia was Haik, who vanquished the Tyrant Belus of Babylonia and occupied vast territory extending from the Caspian to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, and from Pontus to the boundaries of Assyria.” (Mahdesian, 1917)

Armenia is mountainous, containing Mount Ararat, the biblical resting place of Noah’s Ark. The land is rich in mineral wealth of gold, silver, copper, iron, lead, marble, saltpetre, quicksilver and sulphur. In the valleys, where the temperature rises very high, grow plane-trees, poplars, peach, mulberry, rice, melons, olives, figs, grapes, tobacco and cotton. (Mahdesian, 1917).

The Armenian language is an early branch of the Indo-European language. The Armenians are Aryan. The Armenian translation of the bible from Greek was the first book in Armenia in 433 A.D and is considered the most accurate translation. Armenia translated many Greek writings and was one of the first nations to use the Guttenburg Press.

The Armenian nation is the first to adopt Christianity in 301. The Armenian throughout history have been zealots for Christianity, support for the Crusades, and are the founders of the Apostolic Christian church. During WWI, the Ottoman Empire killed of over one million Armenians and forced deportation (Diaspora) of Armenians throughout the world.

The Armenians are well known for their commerce, artistic talent, architecture, and education. Armenia is situated as a gateway between Europe and Asia. Being in a crossroad, Armenia has been dominated and ruled over by the Romans, Byzantine, Arab, Persians, Ottoman Empire, and the Soviet Union. (CIA, 2013)

Armenia Today

Armenia is in Southwestern Asia, also called the Caucasus Mountain region. Armenia boarders with Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east and south, and Iran to the south. Armenia has long standing conflicts with Turkey over the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, or the Turkish deportation of Armenians in WW I. Armenia is in conflict with Azerbaijan over the region called Nagorno-Karabakh where the predominantly local Armenian community took possession of the region in the 1990s which includes land historically belonging to Azerbaijan.

Per the CIA Factbook, Armenia comprises 29,743 sq km, ranks 143 in size, and is slightly smaller than Maryland. The terrain is highland with mountains, little forest land, fast flowing rivers, good soil in Aras River valley. Land use is 14.47% arable (suitable for crops), 1.8% permanent crops, and 83.74% other. Renewable water resources are 7.77 cu km with a 2.86 cu km/yr freshwater withdrawal. Current environmental issues are (CIA, 2013):

soil pollution from toxic chemicals such as DDT; the energy crisis of the 1990s led to deforestation when citizens scavenged for firewood; pollution of Hrazdan (Razdan) and Aras Rivers; the draining of Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan), a result of its use as a source for hydropower, threatens drinking water supplies; restart of Metsamor nuclear power plant in spite of its location in a seismically active zone

The population is slightly less than 3 million people with the median age of 32.9 years. Yerevan is the capital with 1.116 million people (2011). Total population is 0.89 males/females. Life expectancy at birth is 73.75 years and ranks 119th.

Armenia is land locked. Natural resources are small deposits of gold, copper, molybdenum, zinc, bauxite. The boarders with Turkey and Azerbaijan are closed.

Political System

The Republic of Armenia gained her independence from the Soviet Union on September 21, 1991. There are 11 administrative divisions (provinces). The constitution was adopted by nationwide referendum on 5 July 1995; amendments adopted 27 November 2005. They have a civil law system but have not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt. (CIA, 2013)

The chief of state is President Serzh Sargsaian (since 9 April 2008). The Prime Minister is Tigran Sargsian, and the Council of Ministers are appointed by the prime minister. The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term). The Prime Minister is appointed by the president based on majority or plurality support in the parliament. President Sargsian was reelected with 58.6% of the vote from the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) in 2013.(CIA, 2013)

The legislative branch, National Assemble (Parliament) has 131 seats; members elected by popular vote, 90 members elected by party list and 41 by direct vote; to serve five-year terms. The last election was held on 6 May 2012. The election results by party is: Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) 44%, Prosperous Armenia 30.1%, Armenian National Congress (ANC) 7.1%, Heritage Party 5.8%, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF, Dashnak) 5.7%, Rule of Law 5.5%, other 1.8%; seats by party – RPA 69, Prosperous Armenia 37, ANC 7, Heritage Party 5, ARF (Dashnak) 5, Rule of Law 6, independent 2. (CIA, 2013)

The judicial branch courts are Court of Cassation (consists of the court chairman and organized into a criminal chamber and a civil and administrative chamber, each with a court chairman and 2 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges).  Court of Cassation judges nominated by the Judicial Council, a 9-member body of selected judges and legal scholars; judges appointed by the president; Constitutional Court judges – 4 appointed by the president, and 5 elected by National Assembly; judges of both courts can serve until retirement at age 65. Subordinate courts consist of two Courts of Appeal (for civil cases and for criminal and military cases); district courts; Administrative Court. (CIA, 2013)

Corruption in Presidential Politics

There was much turmoil among the political parties in Armenia. The first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan, served from 1991 to 1998. He led the country through the Nagorno-Karabakh War with neighboring Azerbaijan in which Armenia took control of the region. He was forced to resign on February 3, 1998 for a) his authoritarian rule over the Armenian Revolutionary Federation which he banned and jailed it’s leadership on the grounds that the party had foreign-based leadership, b) allegations of rigging the 1996 election caused massive protests that were suppressed by military force, and c) for advocating a compromised settlement of the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh in September 1997 which would have returned most Armenian-controlled Azerbaijani territories around Karabakh and lifted the Azerbaijani and Turkish blockades of Armenia. Ter-Petrosyan founded the Armenian National Congress which includes a dozen of the political parties and NGOs.

Robert Kocharyan was elected president on March 30, 1998. The election’s main rival Karen Demirchyan, parliament speaker, was gunned down in Parliament along with Vezgen Sargsyan, then Prime Minister on October 27, 1999. (CNN, 1999). In 2003, Kocharyan defected Stepan Demirchayan (son of Karen Demirchayan) after two elections. In both rounds, electoral observers from Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) reported significant amounts of electoral fraud.

The February 19, 2008 election of Serge Sargsyan (backed by Kocharyan) against Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Artur Baghdassaryan, was considers valid by OSCE and other organizations. Campaign rhetoric centered around theft, corruption and monopolies. After the election, Ter-Petrosyan organized demonstrations in Yeravan’s Freedom Square. The demonstration lasted until March 1st when Armenian Special Forces used excessive force to disband an estimated 150,000 person spontaneous demonstration at the French Embassy. Protesters were arrested and convicted, 8 protesters and 2 police were killed, and Kocharyan ordered a 20 day state of emergency and enacted laws banning freedom of assembly. (Human Rights Watch, 2009)

Economic System

Armenia accession to the World Trade Organization was approved on 10 December 2002 and was finalized on February 5, 2003. Negotiations has started in 1993. “Starting from 1997 and thereafter frequent changes in the government and consequent changes of concerned officials caused disruptions in the negotiation process as well as in domestic activities. In some cases, additional requirements were demanded by the members due to the delays.” (WTO, 2010)

The 2010 Trade Policy Review by the WTO has the following findings in the Summary Observations (WTO, 2010):

(1) Armenia has a liberal trade policy with average applied tariff at 2.7%, among the lowest of WTO members. It grants MFN and national treatment to foreign investors.

(2) Economic stability along with foreign remittances and investment from the large Armenian Diaspora lead to high levels of economic growth up until the global financial crises hit Armenia in 2009. There are problems noted in the implementation of institutional and regulatory reforms.

(5) Between 2003 and 2008, the Armenian economy almost doubled in real terms with the main driver being domestic consumption fuelled by remittances from aboard and improved productivity. GDP reached nearly US$12 billion and GDP per capita US$3,684 in 2008.

(6) Since 2003, agriculture grew less rapidly and fell from 28% of the economy in 2003 to 18% in 2003, still employing almost half of the workforce. Manufacturing declined in relative importance as services grew strongly to reach nearly three quarter of GDP in 2008. Within the services sector, construction grew most rapidly reaching 30% of GDP in 2008.

(7) An economic downturn occurred in 2009. The global financial crisis of the world economy reduced remittances and foreign investments. This caused a drop in property prices and investment in the construction industry. Overall economic growth went from 7% in 2008 to about -15% in 2009.

(8) The Armenian Central Bank is independent and kept inflation in check at 4% during 2003 to 2009. The Armenian dram was allowed to float. Fiscal deficit was kept reasonably low and public debt decreased significantly as a percentage of GDP although both indicators worsened in 2009.

(9) Overall trade is about 43% of GDP and Armenia has a large deficit in trade in both goods and services (at 25% of GDP). The trade deficit increased due to strong domestic demand and the loss of competitiveness of Armenian exports as large foreign exchange inflows caused the dram to appreciate.

Signs of Corruption in Trade

The 2010 Trade Policy Review by the WTO shows signs of corruption within Armenia’s import and export industry. For example, “customs clearance is perceived by users as relatively slow and subject to a certain amount of corruption.” (WTO, 2010) Under-declaration of import values is a persistent problem that explains why transaction value is often not accepted for customs valuation. Importer have the right to appeal decisions of the customs authority and to use bank guarantees to cover duties in cases where documentation is incomplete. Certain imports are affected by a business licensing system applied to a list of economic activities, such as pharmacies and pharmaceuticals. Some of these licenses are non-automatic and only granted with the approval of a licensing commission. Exporters are hindered by having to provide certification of origin which are costly and complicated.

There is a Constitutional ban on foreigners owning land in Armenia. Investors are protected from adverse changes in legislation and from nationalization of property by the State. Foreign Direct Investment comes primarily from Russia and the EU. Armenia has nine trade agreements in force with other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS, former republics of the USSR).

Signs of Inefficiency in Agriculture

In January 2011, a cost of living crisis emerged amid skyrocketing food prices and a drop in agricultural production. Prices for many basic foodstuffs have outstripped the official 9.7-percent inflation rate. For example, potatoes in Yeravan grocery stores by late 2010 had risen by 150 percent, meat by 30 percent, and cheese by at least 80 percent. (Grigoryan, 2011) The government response was to promote a new agriculture minister, 62-year-old Sergo Karapetian, who has served as chairman of the board and general director of the food processing company Artfood since 1996. Consumers’ Union of Armenia Chairperson Armen Poghasian says the economic policy is damaging. Armenia’s farmers should be granted financial benefits such as lower fees for water usage, prices for land and lower tax rates.

Issues of Migration

Official data reports that 49,660 citizens left Armenia permanently in 2012. From 2005 to 2012, 204,000 people have left for good according to the Armenian National Statistical Service, roughly 10 percent of the 2012 population of 2.97 million people. France is the number one destination of choice, followed by Austria, Germany and Poland. The EU currently spends over 9.71 million Euros on seven migration programs to focus on social problems faced by migrants like the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF program and the Armenian State Migration Board for strengthening migration management. Gallup poll shows the reason for migration is hopes to improve living conditions, a better future for their children, and a desire for a stronger defense of their civil rights. At a March 18, 2013 meeting with media, President Serzh Sargsyan “blamed the problem of emigration on Armenians alleged refusal to recognize their successes”. He criticized media outlets for “talking about the very worst [things] and only blackening the picture” (Grigoryan, 2013)

Current Trends and Statistics

The Armenian government is moving rapidly toward integration with the European Union (EU), and Yerevan could well be on track to initial an Association Agreement and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the bloc at a summit of Eastern Partnership countries in Vilnius in November 2013. (2013, Coalson).

Armenia’s GDP is $19.97 Billion (2012 est), GDP real growth rate is 7.2% (2012 est) , GDP per capita PPP is $5,900 in (2012 est). The GDP composition by sector in 2012 (estimate) is 21.1% agriculture, 37.7% industry, and 41.2% services. (CIA, 2013) Other indicators are unemployment rate of 15.7%, exports of $US124.51 Million, and imports of  $US368.13 Million. (www.tradingeconomics.com/armenia/indicators)

Analysis

Life in Armenia is pretty difficult with high inflation (8.9%), high unemployment (15.7%), and a large informal economy estimated by the IMF at 35% of GDP (IMF, 2013). During privatization, Armenian democracy and free trade lost ground to monopolies and business cartels who are using the import/export system to launder money out of the country and to create a system of bribery through licensing. There was corruption in the elections and authoritative leadership which arrested dissenters. Russia was able to take advantage of Armenia’s debt and create monopolies for their oil and gas companies, telecommunications, and transportation system. In 2009, the global recession caused a financial crisis and capital flight out of the booming construction sector. The agriculture sector was under-performing causing food inflation. The dram currency had to be converted from being fixed to the US Dollar to floating, allowing it to devaluate. International political challenges with Turkey and Azerbaijan makes it difficult to establish trade and threatens the security of their citizens. There has been large migration out of the country, estimated at 10% of the population.

Anti-corruption policies by the Republic of Armenia government is close to creating trade relations with the European Union. This change in alliance does put them in a riskier situation with Russia and Azerbaijan.

Conclusions

Armenia has come a long way since the break-up of the Soviet Union. They still have a ways to go in receiving the trust of their citizens. Historically, they have been a quarrelsome lot, so it’s not surprising there are tensions in the region. The Armenia Diaspora still provides a safety net and an interest in having a homeland worth cherishing. There is a rich history and a strong Christian faith that has allowed the nation to survive unbelievable odds.

References

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). (2013). The World Factbook: Armenia. Retrieved August 25, 2013 from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/am.html

CNN. (1999, October 17). Armenia’s Prime Minister Killed in Parliament Shooting. Retrieved August 26, 2013 from http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/europe/9910/27/armenia.04/#r

Coalson, R.(2013, August 2). Armenia Walks Tightrope Between Russia and EU. Retrieved August 26, 2013 from http://www.eurasianet.org/node/67339

Grigoryan, M. (2011, January 11). Armenia: Yeravan Grapples with Runaway Food Prices. Eurasianet.org. Retrieved August 26, 2013 from http://www.eurasianet.org/node/62690

Grigoryan, M. (2013, June 21). Armenia: How Welcoming Will Be the EU’s Embrace?. Eurasianet.org. Retrieved August 26, 2013 from http://www.eurasianet.org/node/67158

Human Rights Watch. (2009, February, 25). Armenia: Skewed Prosecution Over 2008 Clashes. Retrieved August 26, 2013 from http://www.hrw.org/news/2009/02/24/armenia-skewed-prosecution-over-2008-clashes

Mahdesian, A. (1917, April). Armenia, Her Culture and Aspirations. The Journal of Race Development, Vol. 7. No. 4. pp. 448-466. Retreived July 16, 2013 from http://www.jstor.org/stable/29738214

            Republic of Armenia (RA). (2009). ANTI-CORRUPTION STRATEGY AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION ACTION PLAN FOR 2009-2012. Retrieved September 2, 2013 from http://www.gov.am/files/docs/437.pdf

World Trade Organization (WTO). (2010, March 2). TRADE POLICY REVIEW Report by the Secretariat ARMENIA. Retrieved August 26, 2013 from http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/s228-00_e.doc

I Love Lithium. You Might Too.

I love Lithium. Finally, my brain and my thoughts are running at the same speed. I can listen and follow a conversation and answer back. Without Lithium, my mind analyzes what is said and I’m lost in my thoughts. I also have a hard time memorizing. If I can figure out how something works, I’m good.

It was so frustrating. Everyone thought I was smart, but I couldn’t read. I seemed to try but I lost focus. I wasn’t following the conversation. It was like a learning disability.

Well, let me tell you, first you say something interesting and it made me think of something else. As I think of something else, I think of yet something even more interesting. Within a minute, I have totally analyzed your problem and have a solution. You have gone on and made your point. I am very embarrassed that I missed what you were saying.

Here is the kicker. The quick thinking has an ugly name in the medical community. It is called psychotic thinking. You jump from one thought to the next. I was diagnosed bipolar or manic-depressive after a PTSD incident. So, being super smart means I am mentally ill. Go figure.

I was a “normal” person until I had my incident. I was sleep deprived with a little daughter. I had stress at work and my family hated my husband. At work, I was given a job that needed to be completed by Friday. I worked day and night and tried to sleep under my desk. My husband and daughter were mad because I wasn’t coming home. By Friday morning, I had to leave work. They called a morning meeting for me to tell them how to proceed. I was so exhausted I broke down crying. I don’t know how I got home.

The stage was set. I couldn’t get my sleep back. My blood pressure was 160/100 which kept me from being able to sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking. I was getting maybe two hours of sleep a night. A month of that and I finally snapped. Mikel started to look like his father to me. The manager who caused the crisis was a family friend , which made Mikel hostile towards the man. He was very mean to me.

In the hospital, I was despondent for days. I remember having a non-verbal conversation with a guy using hand gestures and single word comments. It made me feel that God was in control and I’d be okay. They gave me Haldol and Lithium and I slowly snapped out of it. Since Lithium worked to restore my mind, I was downgraded from schizophrenic to bipolar.

However, my life as I knew it was over.

  • This happened when I was 33 in the 1990s.
  • I was damaged goods and not allowed to take care of my precious daughter.
  • My condition was a family secret.
  • I lost all my jobs.
  • Life as I knew it was over.
  • Stigma won the day and poisoned my husband’s mind.

I am medicated to this day. I have also taken Seroquel for twenty years. I used to crash every three years. The body sometimes gets used to a med or it causes a side effect. I am fortunate to recently be put back on Lithium for the third time. I’ve been taken off due to hypothyroidism or high creatine level affecting my kidneys.

I am extremely sensitive to sleeplessness. Doctors say two days with little sleep is enough to make the mind become psychotic with rambling unfocused thoughts. This happens to everyone, but for me, it’s a warning sign to get sleep immediately.

I ask you, if everyone who is sleep deprived becomes psychotic, does that make everyone bipolar?

I think everyone should take Li on a preventive basis. It can clear up your thinking. Take some Li instead of having a cigarette and enjoy your cup of coffee. Let’s stop labelling people as mentally ill because they did not get a good night’s sleep or they’re smarter than you are.

Thanks to Lithium, my thoughts stay in line with the outside world. I love Lithium. You Might Too. There is a town west of Fort Worth, where this story takes place, with higher levels of Lithium in the water. There is less incidence of mental illness there.

When I was six, I tested off the charts in intelligence. My brain works very fast and I make connections most people don’t see. Being bipolar is a unique gift. Being dragged to the bottom and finding God there makes me humble, understanding, and optimistic because I see the possibilities.. Bipolar is a bless and I am an engineer.

(c) Copyright 2020 Linda Iggy Dean. All Rights Reserved.

Having a Daughter

I always pictured myself as a mother of three, like the family I was raised in. I figured any husband would do. I felt I didn’t have much say in who he was. My mom tolerated my dad. To me, he was the most wonderful person in the world. I was daddy’s little girl.

Children model their behavior based on how they perceive their parents. I was a spitting image of my mother, Rose Elenore Paulian. My mom was smart as a whip with a great sense of humor. Everyone loved Rosie. She had a dark streak of depression. I inherited it or learned it. I was simply Little Rosie. Both independent minded, I chose engineering instead of being a nurse or teacher.

I started my career as a computer engineer working on the F-16 Fighter Jet in Fort Worth Texas in August 1981, Rosie died October 1st. I decided I wanted to be married. Three men appeared. I picked a sweet man named Mikel Joe Harris from Chanute Kansas. I admit, I married him for his mother, Ella Mae Lindsey Harris.

Mikel’s dad Robert was an alcoholic. I had no idea of the meaning “Adult Child of an Alcoholic”. This means there is some quirk caused by a dysfunctional family. Mikel’s quirk was to protecting the woman of the family from their father. This would be our unduing since he will eventually protect our daughter from me and my bipolar disorder.

It took a year to get pregnant due to my weight and nervousness. There were already problems in our relationship. I loved Mikel but we weren’t well suited for each other. I grew up middle class and Mikel grew up poor. We were friends and I thought highly of him. He was brilliant. We didn’t have much in common. I moved in too quickly and we never became soulmates.

I got pregnant in the fall. We took a car camping trip to Kansas, Mossouri and Oklahoma in our Toyota van. I was already feeling different. I got the news when we got home. I was the happiest I could possibly be. I had no sickness. I would sit at my desk at Tandy Radio Shack with my feet on a box and my hands feeling the baby. I smoked ultra light Carleton cigarettes.

After 9 months, I took maternity leave and waited 10 days for this baby to decide to be born. We had a false alarm. The next day, I could tell it was starting for real. We were watching Bill Cosby Fatherhood as I timed the contractions. Apparently, Mikel didn’t notice me doing this. I made hamburgers for dinner. At about midnight, I said it was time to go. We took showers and we set off on our 45 minute drive to the hospital in south Fort Worth.

To make a long story short, it took 25 hours for the arrival of Jessica Lynn. She was beautiful and had a smart look about her. She had Mikel’s light brown hair and Linda’s face. She is pettie whereas Linda is tall and hearty. Jessica is Pitta and Linda is Kapha. She is Gemini and Linda is Cancer. Her daddy was smitten. She is very difference from me and always challenged me growing up. She grew into a beautiful woman who is as smart as her mother.

Watching Jessica be born was something Mikel should not have seen. The love relationship with me was destroyed. It was a rough delivery and Mikel swore he wouldn’t put me through that again. Everything between him and I became centered on the care of Jessica. Adult Child made Mike ignore me accept to take care of Jessica. It sounds petty but I was really cut off from the marriage I started with.

When Jessica was three, Tandy Radio Shack spun off Tandy Electronics. It was sold to AST Computers in California. I transferred from the hardware Operating System group to the software DeskMate group. My new bosses were horrible to me. It turned out to be a Hugh mistake. I was tasked with an impossible job to get done my Friday. By Friday, I snapped and started crying uncontrollably. This PTSD episode caused my bipolar disorder.

Jessica Lynn and Linda Iggy
Drawing by Jessica

(c) Copyright 2020 Linda Iggy Dean. All rights reserved.

Wish We Could Nominate Bernie for President

Joe Biden seems to have raped Tara Reade. Let us be clear what rape is, my definition. Rape is when a person is penetrated or violated against their will. There is trauma associated with the act of rape. I belief Tara Reade’s claims. She says she was penetrated by Joe’s fingers.

She shared her story with her mother, brother, and a neighbor. The probability is high that she is telling the truth and Joe Biden is lying and denying what he knows to be true. I don’t believe him, and I don’t like him for President when Bernie is so obviously the better candidate. Due to the Coronavirus, the Democratic Convention has been cancelled so we won’t have a chance to nominate Bernie Sanders.

There are examples of men who got the job but there was unethical behavior being tolerated. Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas both won seats on the Supreme Court. Joe Biden was the lead senator in the Thomas hearing.

John Edwards lost power when running for president. From the internet:

Nov. 12, 2013— — John Edwards was once a titan in the Democratic Party, one who, just seven years ago, was considered a top contender for the White House, until he was caught in one of the most sensational sex scandals in American history.”

This was only 7 years ago. We are in shock since our current president has sex abuse claims by 25 woman. As a survivor myself, 25 claims is just ridiculous, but one claim isn’t good in my opinion.

It is time for me to make known my two sexual violations. The first was at 17 as a college freshman at the outstanding University of Michigan Engineering school in 1977. I was working at the Burger King and my boss would not stop asking me out. After a month, I finally said okay. My virginity was lost on a country road between Tecumseh and Ann Arbor that night.

He moved into my dorm room and wanted unprotected sex every night. Two months later, I was pregnant. Thanks to cold medicine, alcohol and a little pot, I miscarried my unwanted baby. I finally had the courage to tell him to leave me alone and I quit my job. I feared him and felt destroyed that I lost my virginity this way. He goes down in my book as “Joey the Rapist.”

My next rape occurred in Armenia in 1983 when I was 23. Two men were coming to events with us. One night, me and another young lady and the two men went for drinks. We were both mickey-finned and both raped. Mickey-fin is when a drink is spiked so that a woman cannot defend herself. I left first and was force to give oral sex.

Once I got home, I told my sister what happened. The Soviets had listening devices in the hotel rooms. The next morning, that man was missing his front teeth and was not seen again. I was ashamed but was satisfied that he paid for his crime. I was in a committed relationship and told my boyfriend what happened. He never said a word to me about it. What could he do?

On the ethical side of things, raping a woman is reason for a man to attack another man for the crime. All religions believe the man is to protect and cherish women. If you want to argue this, I ask you to argue with me about it. Having been raped twice, I could kill rather than let it happen again. God made me beautify and no rapist will get another chance at me. For me or any of my sisters. Watch Out.

Joey Biden’s interview with Mika Brzezinski (May 1st Morning Joe) was very telling. His defense is “find me the complaint form”. He called her coming forward as “irrelevant” I got so angry. I do not want my choice based on who violated fewer women. Bull Shit!

Bernie Sanders has the history and policies to make the right decisions. The debate between Biden and Sanders was obviously a win for Bernie. The Michigan primary was before the debate. That is a problem since Joey, creepy sleepy Joe, does not seem to have original ideas. For example, he has no idea about how to handle the current crisis in my opinion. My answer would be to stop Trump’s provoking China and ask the international community for help.

My call to action: Ask Bernie to be our next President of the United States of America!

(c) Copyright 2020 Linda Iggy Dean. All rights reserved.

Armenian Remembrance Day – April 24th, 1915

This is the story about the Armenian Genocide on April 24th, 1915. This happened 105 years ago. The story takes place on the evening before, April 23rd, 1915.

Today is Saturday. Good Friday was yesterday and tomorrow is Easter. Springtime is abuzz. Parties all day as the men discuss the state of the world. World War I is raging. The Armenian can either supporting the Ottoman Empire or align Armenia with the Russians to create an Armenian nation.

On this Saturday, the Turkish officers call all the men to a meeting. Most of the men are skeptical, but all must attend. The meeting is so that the Armenians can defend the Ottoman Empire. One of these men is Ohannes Iguidbashian, John, my grandfather.

Once all the men are in the church, the doors are barred. The soldiers pull out their guns. Pop Pop Pop. The gun fire went on until all the men were dead. John and all his friends, George, Krikor, Michael, are all gone.

This is the start of the Armenian Massacre, Holocaust, Genocide. The leaders in Constantinople (Istanbul) are killed first. Without their leaders, and their men, the woman and children are at the mercy of the Turkish warriors.

Now, Armenian women are thought to be special. She is revered for her lovely home and beautiful children. The Armenian faith in God is thought to be unshakable. Armenia is where the apostles and disciples went after Jesus’ death.

Armenia became the first Christian nation in 301 AD. Twelve years later, Roman emperor Constantine proclaimed the Edict of Milan, decreeing tolerance for Christians in the Roman Empire. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325; the Nicene Creed is professed by Christians.

The year 2020 marks the 105th Armenian Remembrance Day. The killing in 1915 went on for about 7 years .One and a half million Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians and Coptic’s were killed for their faith.

At the 100th anniversary in 2015, the church celebrated these souls becoming saints. Last October, when Trump allowed the Turks to wage war on the Kurdish people, the United States Congress finally recognized the Armenian Genocide in order to punish the Turkish aggression.

I don’t know what will be done in the USA, or world, now that Turkey has been held to account for her actions. What will their government do? The Kurdish people live on the southern border and occupy land in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. Turkey is doing to the Kurd’s what they did to the Armenians. Is there no one willing to stand up to the Turkish Government? As Hitler said, “Did they remember the Armenian?”

Some Kurd’s in 1915 played a role in the killing, but some also saved many Armenians. My family was sheltered and hidden by a Kurdish family. I would not be here if not for the Kurdish people. This makes me realize, God made sure that my family should live.

And, the Armenian people should live. I love being Armenian. We dance and sing, love life and God. Love our homeland near Mount Ararat and with wine making. My dad’s village, Arabkir was a textile town.

I do want my homeland back even though America is my home now. I will be faithful to my Armenian love of God and merriment and I also love the freedoms that used to be America. We must take our belief in God wherever we go. I despise murder, it’s not God’s plan for us.

Please recognize that the First Nations, American Indians, had their own Genocide by the European settlers. America now belongs to the Indians, and the immigrants. We still hold our roots even though we are in the American melting pot.

On this note, I raise my pinkies and sing “God Bless America, land that I love”

Bow, Madam Toastmaster.

Picture below: Four Generations, Roupen back row left. Hyeganoush front row right. Bill Bill Hanoum is Hyeganoush’s mother, front row left. Linda’s nickname was also Bill Bill. Man back row right could be Vahan or Levon.

(c) Copyright 2020 Linda Iggy Dean. All rights reserved.

How Roupen Came to America

 
 

I was fiddling around with a family tree. I tried doing a bottom to top tree. The bottom has the oldest generation you can know about. You then work upward with links for relations who you know about.

For reference, my dad Roupen came to the USA in 1950 and married my mom Rosie Eleanor Paulian. Roupen (or Rouben) had his mother Hyeganoush, her two brothers: Yervant, and Edward, and her two uncles: Levon and Vahan. Roupen’s Uncle Yervant got him into a Pharmacists school (because someone dropped out, racial preference in Baghdad Iraq) Great Uncle Vahan wrote a book about the history of Armenia. Great Uncle Levon was a doctor in the Ottoman Army (conscribed).

Roupen is/was Armenian. He came to the USA so that his children could be educated and could strive. Good job Daddy! You got a doctor, an engineer, and a gracious world traveler.

Roupen had family in Baghdad. I do not know what happened to them. Two uncles with two each children. The daughters made it to North America, the sons are lost to us. Bogosh (electrical engineer), and Arameak (don’t know his education level). The girls Astreg and Pauline made it to California and Toronto respectively.

 Anyway, here is my virtual attempt at a family tree. The blood lines travel threw the Woman instead of the Men. The woman can name them selves based on the Father and Mother. There are participants who effected the bloodline. For Example, Glee help me out when I left my then husband so that I had safety and home I needed. Richard also helped me and became my dear husband.

 The Kirkjian clan is my dad’s mother Hyeganoush and the four uncles. Uncle Levon who worked in the Ottoman Empire as a doctor. He died in the war, but was able to help this young siblings afford to get out of Armenia (Arabkir province). They first sheltered by Kurdish friends. Then travelled threw Syria and on to Baghdad. That is the Kurkjian side of Roupen’s family.

 The Iguidbashian, father’s side, was murdered by the Turks. The village men were gathered into a church where they were shot down and murdered. That would be my Grandpa John (Ohhannes Iguidbashian).

 Roupen was about 40 when came to the states. He came by himself to study. His dream was to build a Pharmaceutical factory to make life saving medicines. Rosie’s father, Parnak (Paul) Paulian made him an offer he couldn’t refuse so that he’d marry the smart and very beautiful Rosie Paulian, my dear and lovable Mom.

 Rosie was the only lady that would let Roupen get his mother into America. Well, there are many, many stories for another day.

 For me, I could name myself (one example):

Linda Mariam Iguidbashian (given name) Rouben (as in the 12th son of Abraham, Coat of Many Colors reference) Dean (honoring my Husband).

 Have fun creating your own family tree. Sorry for no visuals, it is proving impossible to scan and attach the file at this time. Below is my much loved and always lovable Daddy, Abba, Father.

 Love Always,

Linda Iggy Dean

 

(c) Copyright 2020 Linda Iggy Dean. All rights reserved.

Love Armenian Style

2018 Toastmasters International Speech Contest Area and Division Competition, District 28

Dressed Armenian style belly dancing belt, wrist handkerchief

YEREVAN DARTZATS, IM EREBOONIE,

DOO MER NOR DAVIN, MER NOR ANI (1, YouTube)

This is the song about Armenia’s capital Yerevan which is compared to the 5th century kingdom fortress Ani. (2)

I am fond of my Armenians heritage. Armenia is in the Caucasus mountain region where Noah’s Arch landed on top of Mount Ararat. Also, Jesus’ disciples spread into this region after his death. They formed the Apostle church and Armenia became the first Christian nation in 301 After Death.

Ladies and gentlemen, I grew up in a very loving but confusing household. I am the daughter of an Armenian immigrant named Roupen from Baghdad who survived the killing of Christians in Turkey during WWI.  My dad came to America in 1950 when he was 37. My dad was a pharmacist, a closet doctor, and my teacher of philosophy. Dad didn’t believe in God or Christ.

My mom Rose grew up in Detroit during the Great Depression. She was a character, funny and delightful. She was raised in the Catholic church, but she wasn’t practicing her faith. Mom was a closet Catholic, that means you’re Catholic when it suits you.

Growing up in Detroit in the 1960’s was confusing; I had an atheist father and a closet Catholic mother. However, I was raised with lots of love. We loved Food. We loved Singing and Dancing, and I loved my philosophy lessons from my dad.

Let’s start with the Food

Mom would make mouth-watering rice pilaf, chicken, and fresh carrots every Sunday. Her secret was collecting the chicken broth each week for next week’s pilaf. She also made fresh yogurt using last week’s yogurt and a gallon of whole milk. My dad was a happy camper.

My job was to make the salad as my dad grew the vegetables in his garden. He planted parsley, onions and tomatoes. Parsley was its own food group to my dad. We had parsley potato salad, Not my favorite.

I spent hours separating the weeds from the parsley. I lost myself in the calm of that garden. I still love the feeling of dirt on my hands. If I had been raised in Armenia, I might have lived on a vineyard picking grapes and breathing fresh air. Instead, I was raised in the Motor City breathing exhaust fumes and dancing to Michael Jackson. DANCE

We Also Loved to Sing and Dance

My parents introduced me to music. My mom played the piano and she had a record player for her 78s. My dad sang in the choir. When I was 3, I fell in love with Louie Armstrong and his trumpet. I got to play the trumpet in 3rd grade. I loved blowing into my mouth piece after dinner. My parents loved how I practiced that they made me change to the clarinet when we moved to the suburbs.

I dreamed of being a singer. John Denver was my favorites. ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH, COLORADO.  I sang in the shower and had concerts with my car stereo. I tried to dance Armenian style, but I had two left feet.

I Loved Philosophy Lessons with My Dad

I grew up watching my dad fix toasters, modify lamps, and upholster furniture. Dad did his work in the garage. I would fetch his tools. I ran to the basement and back out to the garage. I watched him work and I could ask him any question that came to my mind. For example,

Linda: “Dad, should I get married??”

Dad: “Linda, if you are going to have children, you should get married”

Linda: “What if I don’t want children?”

Dad: “Oh, if you don’t want children, You don’t need to get married”

I confounded my dad when I lived with my boyfriend for 7 years. Dad did teach me how to think and be loving at the same time.

Closing

I had an unusual childhood, I was Armenian. My dad grew up in the middle east and distrusted religion.

Linda: “Dad, what about these stories about Jesus?”

Dad: “Religion just causes trouble, the stories about Jesus are made up”

Linda: “But Dad, he teaches to Love one another”

Dad: “Religion divides people, it is not good”

After many mistakes in my own life, I found God. I found the God of Love One Another. I was blessed to have a father, my dad, my Abba, who portrayed the God of Love even though he didn’t believe. He was thoughtful, gentle and kind. My dad was my teacher, and I learned how to Love Armenian Style.

References

(1) Yeravan Song words and music. Retrieved Feb 15, 2018 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbq66OCx8mE

(2) The city of Ani Turkey. Retrieved Feb 15, 2018 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ani

(c) Copyright 2020 Linda Iggy Dean. All Rights Reserved.

Love Yourself, Forgive Yourself, Be Yourself

JessGradCollege 038

Linda Dean, 28 Feb 2013, revised March 1, 2018

Purpose:

Loving and forgiving is crucial for healing yourself.

Introduction

You have Breast Cancer. I heard those words in 2012. Fear was my first reaction. Sadness and anger came soon after. Why is this happening to me? Fellow Toastmasters and honored guests, cancer is a life changing event. At first, you think it’s all over, this is what I’m going to die from. If that’s what you think, it will probably happen.

Instead, I decided to change my life for the better. I figured, if I had a direction that was truly valuable to the universe, the direction of my mind and soul would guide my body and the cancer wouldn’t have any place to grow. I came up with these three principles: 1) love yourself and others, 2) forgive yourself and others, and 3) live in the moment.

BODY

I had to first figure out why I got cancer. Physically, I smoked, I was overweight, I didn’t exercise, I ate a lot of processed food, and very few fruits and vegetables. Add age to this, and I had quite a few risk factors.

I think it goes deeper than this. I feel like I’ve spent my whole life hiding how I felt and what I thought. This behavior goes back to when I was a child. My older sister was constantly putting me down. No matter what I did, she always found a way to put me down. I was sure that anything I believed would be rejected by others. I was full of fear that people would not like who I really was. I smoked cigarettes as a diversion, so I wouldn’t explode.

Quitting smoking was my first act at loving myself. I was very angry with myself for smoking. I knew it made me feel exhausted and I was taking years off my life but for some reason, I couldn’t quit. I think I wasn’t valuing myself enough. I figured smoking would take years off my life, but now it was happening, and I couldn’t keep being ambivalent about myself. I decided instead I was worth loving and wanted to live.

————–

I’m working with an Ayurvedic physician to bring my body into balance. I swore off meat. My husband got hostile at this change since I’d threatened his food supply. During cancer treatment, extra protein is needed to heal. When I finished treatment, I started eating a plant-based diet and instantly started to feel better. It took a long while to give up cheese, ice cream, and milk in my cereal. I eventually found replacements.

I take the time to care for myself. I’ve learned some yoga and breathing exercises. I mediate to keep connected to my spirituality. Self touch is also important. I have a blast with my grish-na gloves and my Gau Sha stone.

  1. Love yourself and others. I now have an understanding that God is in each of us and is everywhere. God is the power of good. Evil springs up when you’re separated from Him. Stress results when you let the chatter of your ego control you.
IMG_5025

I love the others in my life. I came to realize that my family deeply loves me. If I died today, my daughter would be about the same age as I was when my mother passed away. My husband is already distrustful of medicine and doctors after his mother was cured of cancer and then died 2 years later. He would be angry and alone.

I recognized that I was in way over my head. I believe God gives you only what you can handle. I couldn’t go through this without Him or the support of a church in case things came out for the worst.

The Sunday before my surgery, we went to a new church. The sermon was on forgiveness.

————————

  1. Forgive yourself and others. Let go of all things hurtful to your soul. It doesn’t serve you, only hurts you. With God within, all things are possible. You don’t need to believe anyone’s negative interpretations.
  2. Meditation. I learned that meditating is a time to be silent to hear God’s message to you.

When I close my eyes, I see myself dancing and singing. Vibrant and alive. I don’t see myself running, but I do see myself hiking a beautiful countryside as I take in cool air and listening to the vibrations of all living things. Walking in the daylight and resting in the moonlight.

CLOSING

I came to my answers to the cancer questions after much research and soul searching. I caution that your answers are uniquely yours. If you are doing what feels right for you, then you’ve done all you can. You should never second guess. No “if I only would-a, could-a, should-a.” Stop it. You’ve done your best.

Someday, each of us will leave this earthly world. If you’ve walked this earth with God in your heart, each day is a blessing filled with joy and flavor. With such beauty, take loving care of yourself and every person put in your path.

Love concurs all. Love all, forgive all, and be your true self.

May peace be with you.

(c) Copyright 2020 Linda Iggy Dean. All Rights Reserved.

Born Free Speech (v2.1)

Iggythewriter.com

Born Free Speech

72 RRJL - Family at Grandma's graveVersion 2.1

February 24, 2018

Presented by Linda Iggy Dean

Born Free Speech

Background

Picture of Rouben, Rosie, John, and Linda Iguidbashian in Baghdad 1972 at Roupen’s grandmother’s grave site. Pauline Kurkjian (moved to Canada).

This speech is about 1st generation Armenian Americans born in Detroit. Rose Paulian was born in 1923 and worked hard in her father’s hotels. John and Linda were born in 1958 and 1960. They had an immigrant father Roupen.

Written for the Toastmasters International Speech Contest August 2018. 5 to 7 minutes. It must stand on its own. Introduction is:

Linda Iggy Dean, Born Free, Born Free, Linda Iggy Dean.

Speech

OPENING

Dressed like a village girl, belly dancing belt, wrist handkerchief, Kinda skip with left arm up to Shake hands with right.

I am the daughter of Armenian immigrants. My dad was born in the Ottoman Empire in 1913, before the start of the Armenian Genocide. My mom was born in a hotel in Detroit Michigan in 1923.

My dad wasn’t born free, he was born in a war zone. My mom was born free to work at the family business changing sheets and cleaning during the Great Depression.

Ladies and Gentlemen, America used to be the land of the immigrants. America meant freedom from oppression, freedom from religious wars, freedom to strive and be rewarded. I feel we have lost most of this freedom.

My parents, Roupen and Rosie, earned their freedom.

START ROUPEN

My dad was born to survive the Armenian Massacre. I grew up calling it a massacre because the term Genocide didn’t exist when it happened. Roupen’s father was killed in an Armenian church. His family received shelter from a Kurdish tribe. Infant Roupen was then carried to safety through Syria and on to Baghdad Iraq by his mother Hyganoush Kurkjian Iguidbashian. Her brother Levon, was a doctor in the Turkish Army was able to send them money for food and shelter.

In Baghdad, Roupen was free to get a high school diploma and do his mandatory 2 years in the Army. He hoped to be a doctor but was denied entrance into college. When a Muslim man didn’t show up for pharmacy school, Roupen’s Uncle Yervant slide him into the program. College was not a right in the middle east. The Christian quota system almost denied him the freedom of education.

Roupen wanted children but wanted them to be born free of oppression, He came to America when he was 37. He repeated college and married Rosie Paulian in Detroit.

START ROSIE

My mom Rosie was born in Detroit in 1923. She had beautiful brown eyes, a kind heart and a sense of humor. Rosie’s father Parnak bought his first hotel to house his wife, sister, and the seven orphaned children of his family. He became loved for helping Armenians relocate to Detroit. When WWII started, his hotel filled with people to work in the factories. Parnak bought many hotels and the family became wealthy.

Rosie worked in the hotels and went to Catholic school. She graduated high school and studied to be a teacher at Mary Grove college. She instead worked at JL Hudson’s in the silverware department since the teaching positions were too far away from Detroit.

Her father Parnak saw that she wasn’t marrying. The match makers saw Rosie and Roupen as a good couple, both older and very smart. Roupen had his pharmacy degree and Rosie was nearly 30 years old. They found freedom being together.

TRANSITION TO JOHN AND LINDA

My brother John and I are products of Detroit, a fine place to be in 1960. John, who passed out at the sight of blood in biology class, became a pediatric heart surgeon. He married a Swedish American.

I grew up watching my dad fix toasters. I fetched tools and learned how to take things apart. I thank my dad for my engineering side. I thank my mom for teaching me to cook. I became a computer engineer and an Ayurvedic vegan. Ayurveda is the ancient Indian medical system.

I have a beautiful daughter who is also an engineer, no broken toasters except for me. She is Armenian, Irish, and German. HA

CONCLUSION

If I had been born in Armenia, I might have lived on a vineyard picking grapes and breathing fresh air. Instead, I was raised in the Motor City breathing exhaust fumes and dancing to Michael Jackson. DANCE.

My dad was born into a war and my mom was born into freedom and hard work. With United States laws, they became free.

It’s challenging being an immigrant in the U.S. these days. Too often, immigrants are seen through lenses of hatred. Most Armenians lost their homeland a hundred years ago due to conflicts between religions, or culture, or class, or levels of education.

I hope Americans can return to a time when people love each other even though we are all different. I believe we are all born Free, but hatred takes away that freedom. Are you born free, or born to hate, it’s your choice?

—-

878 words – (11 – 105 – 11 ) 127 = 750

PUT HAND OUT FOR THE CONTEST CHAIRPERSON

References

Free to Love FINAL Speech (was Born Free before)

Iggythewriter.com

72 LLR - Lillet, Linda playing tavlee

Version 1.0

February 20, 2018

Presented by Linda Iggy Dean

Born Free Speech

Background

Picture of Rose Paulian, Linda and Lillet Iguidbashian in 1972.

This speech uses the storytelling technique to make a point. It is a story of an 1st generation Armenian American growing up in Detroit in the 1960s. Written for the Toastmasters International Speech Contest August 2018. 5 to 7 minutes. It must stand on its own. Introduction is:

Linda Iggy Dean, Born Free, Born Free, Linda Iggy Dean.

Speech

OPENING

Dressed like a village girl, belly dancing belt, wrist handkerchief, Kinda skip with left arm up to Shake hands with right.

I am the daughter of Armenian immigrants. My dad came to America in 1950 from Baghdad. My mom’s family came during WWI. They fled the Armenian Genocide which started in 1915. My dad’s family was sheltered by a Kurdish tribe. Infant Roupen’s was then carried to safety through Syria and on to Baghdad Iraq. Roupen’s father was killed in an Armenian church.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a story about freedom. America used to be the land of the free. I hope she will be again but there is no guarantee. It’s a shame because real people want Real freedom.

Let me tell you about my mom and dad and how they became free.

START MOM

My mom Rose was born in Detroit in 1923. She hadd beautiful brown eyes, a kind heart and a sense of humor. Mom could make mouth-watering chicken, rice pilaf and fresh carrots every Sunday. Her secret was capturing fresh chicken broth for next week’s pilaf. She also made fresh yogurt from a gallon of whole milk and a cup of last weeks yogurt. My dad ate it up and lived to be 90. PAUSE

My nicknames were Little Rosie, chicken or pil-ah-gee (which means lover of pilaf.) My job was to make the salad as my dad grew the vegetables in his garden. I chopped, I peeled, and I diced. He planted parsley, onions and tomatoes. I spent hours separating the weeds from the parsley. Parsley was a food group in our house.

I lost myself in the calm of the garden. I still love the feeling of dirt on my hands. I became an Ayurvedic vegan so now I prefer nuts, fruits and my pilaf with vegetable broth.

If I had been raised in Armenia, I might have lived on a vineyard picking grapes and breathing fresh air. Instead, I was raised in the Motor City breathing exhaust fumes and dancing to Michael Jackson. DANCE

My parents introduced me to music. My mom played her 78s on her record player and my dad sang in the choir. When I was 3, I fell in love with Louie Armstrong and his trumpet. I wanted to be just like him. I then got to play the trumpet in 3rd grade. My bedroom was off the dining room. I loved blowing into my mouth piece after dinner. No one appreciated my practicing after dinner. HA HA

We moved from Detroit after the riots in 1967. Rev King had been killed and so had my step-grandfather in his dry-cleaning store. We stopped going to church. I eventually found my way to God in a Methodist church. I sang Amazing Grace and learned the Armenian Yerevan song,

YEREVAN DARTZATS, IM EREBOONIE,

DOO MER NOR DAVIN, MER NOR ANI (1, YouTube)

It means, Yerevan, capital of Armenian, became my Erebuni (Fortress)

You are my new divine, my new Ani. (Armenian capital in the 5th century)

147 words “Ani is a ruined medieval Armenian city now situated in Turkey’s province of Kars, next to the closed border with Armenia. Called the “City of 1001 Churches”,[7][10][11] Ani stood on various trade routes and its many religious buildings, palaces, and fortifications were amongst the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world.[12][13] At its height, the population of Ani probably was on the order of 100,000.[14][15]

Long ago renowned for its splendor and magnificence, Ani was sacked by the Mongols in 1236 and devastated in a 1319 earthquake, after which it was reduced to a village and gradually abandoned and largely forgotten by the seventeenth century.[16][15] Ani is a widely recognized cultural, religious, and national heritage symbol for Armenians.[17] According to Razmik Panossian, Ani is one of the most visible and ‘tangible’ symbols of past Armenian greatness and hence a source of pride.”[15

(2,Wikipedia)

START DAD

My dad grew up in Baghdad Iraq with his mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and two young uncles. . My dad hope to be a doctor. He finished high school but was denied entrance into college. When a Muslim man didn’t show up for pharmacy school, Roupen’s Uncle Yervant slide him into the program. A quota system was used to select Christians for advanced training.

Roupen wanted freedom., He came to America when he was 37. He repeated college and married Rosie Paulian in Detroit. Rosie was the first in her generation to graduate from college.

TRANSITION TO JOHN AND LINDA

My brother John and I are products of Detroit.  We were born free. John, who passed out at the sight of blood in biology class, became a pediatric heart surgeon. He treats baby hearts in Portland Oregon and has 3 Iguidbashian Swedish children.

I grew up watching my dad fix toasters. I fetched tools and learned how to take things apart. I thank my dad for my engineering genes and my love of dirt. I have a beautiful daughter who is also an engineer, no broken toasters except for me. She is Armenian, Irish, and German. HA

CONCLUSION

Armenians are unusual. We are the disciples of the Jesus’ apostles. My dad knew Turkish, Arabic, Armenian and German. He would also spit at the window if a driver cut him off. HA My mom taught me how to swear like an Armenian sailor. HA

It’s challenging being an immigrant in America. Too often, you are seen through lenses of hatred. Being Armenians, we lost my homeland a hundred years ago. Some say Armenians cannot be killed because our faith in God. We will always walk this earth because we are free.

I eventually found God in the Methodist, Unity and Armenian churches. I believe we should Love one another. We are all free to Love. Please join ME by being free, you were born that way!

950 –147 – ~20 words is~780 words

PUT HAND OUT FOR THE CONTEST CHAIRPERSON

References

(1) Yeravan Song words and music. Retrieved Feb 15, 2018 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbq66OCx8mE

(2) The city of Ani Turkey. Retrieved Feb 15, 2018 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ani

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