?The truth is that the life of an individual is not more interesting than the life of a whole nation. And another truth is that not everyone is able to describe his/her life the way great writers do.? This was my father?s first response to my request of knowing more about his past life.
My father, Ruben Aslanian, was born on April 12 the year 1951 in a small village of Abkhazia called Mteesoubanee. Abkhazia was part of the Georgia republic during the mid nineteenth century and Georgia was one of the fourteen republics of the outdated Soviet Union. The village my father lived in does not have anything in common with the villages of the present time. One of the main differences is that those villages were extremely far away from the main cities. Another major distinctions is the fact that the roads of those villages were not clean and covered up with asphalt and the houses were not provided with electrician, phone or water supply system. Villagers had to get water from either a river or a well that they had built and for light at nights, they had the candles. There was one store for the whole village, which was selling casual items such as soap, candles, matches, canned food and so on.
Each village had a kolkhoz which where large fields owned by the government. Villagers were working on these fields and selling the product to the government in a low price almost without charge. Except working on the kolkhoz, every villager had a field of his individual, which was about as big as 3000 square meters that needed care. The government owed these fields as well, which belonged to the villagers for as long as they lived in the same area. The difference between those fields and the kolkhoz was the villager?s chose of either selling the product or keeping it to themselves.
Villagers did not even have passports. The government would not give them passports on purpose because they did not want them to leave the villages and try to go live in cities. Without a passport, one could not get a visa of a city and without visa; one could not find a job. This system forced people who were born in villages to either live their whole life in the same village or move to another village. In any case, villagers were not able to survive in cities. In other words, if someone had the luck to be born as a villager he had to die one too.
? I have my own rules and ideas about how life should be. That was the main reason I had so many problems and difficult situations to deal with in my life.? Since his youngest age, my father was in love with justice. He did not follow the canon of weak and powerful and he treated all people equally. Once when he was about five years old, he was playing in the yard of his grandfather with the three-year-old cousin of his. Suddenly the neighbor?s kid, same age as my father, came over with a stick and started hitting the little one. My father got another stick and began hitting the neighbor?s son until the left with tears in his eyes. He came back with his grandma, who was yelling at my father and except that, my father?s grandfather punished him and asked him to leave. My father went to the bushes and started crying out of offence. ?As a little kid back then, I was thinking that they were so unfair and except that they did not let me be fair either.? After a while, his grandpa came and admitted that he saw everything and that my father was right but he had to punish him so they would not get into a conflict with the neighbors. From his grandfather?s words, my father was finally relived.
Petros was his grandfather?s name and he did not love my father as much, as he loved my father?s younger brother named Rafik. Petros thought Rafik looked more like himself and my father looked more like Aik Kakulian, the grandfather from the mother?s side. Petros used to call my father Kakul to insult him, something that bothered my father a lot. ?After the situation with the neighbor kid, I was hopping my Petros will finally stop calling me Kakul, but I was wrong. For Petros, I was Kakul until the end of his life. Back then, I did not want to be Kakul, now I would be happy to hear that word again.?
My father always had the ability of making others love and respect him. In his eighteenth year, he had to attend the army. The guys that were soldiers before him wanted to take over the youngest once, as they called them, by making them obey. They had very high expectations, that where not possible to accomplish. They asked my father to dig out a hole that would be two by two meters and two more meters deep. He had to be done by the end of the night. He started digging till he became very tired and could not even move. They warned him once to start digging again but he refused. One of them came closer and punched him right in face. My father got very angry. He raised the digger and broke it on his shoulder. He kept on hitting him until all the rest of the group gathered up and put my father in circle. They started hitting him all together. My father, full of blood running from almost every part of his body, barely broke the chain of their bodies and run into the forest where they lost his site. In the general of the army, while calling the names of the soldiers, noticed that Ruben Aslanian was missing. At that time my father was at a corner spying on them. The general asked where he is. Someone from the two-year-served group stretched the truth and when explaining what had happened. The general said that everyone of the two-year-served group would go to prison if they will not find Ruben Aslanian by the end of this day. When my father decided to appear they were all in panic. The general asked where he was. My father, realizing that the future of all those soldiers was in his hands, said that he fall through a crag and lost his consciousness. After that situation he never had a problem in the army again, for the rest of his serving period.
When my father came out of the army, he went to the military school. He was working as a police man while studying to become an interrogator. He was always very just, no matter what the status of the prisoner was. Once he found the nephew of a Georgian minister, with two Moldavians, guilty about a drug deal. He wrote a conviction for all three of them, while they warned him to leave the nephew of the minister out of the deal. After that they let the nephew leave illegally and were searching for a way to put my father in the prison. My father understood that they had launch a was against him and it was time for him to resign.
One year latter, the real war began. During 1995, after the disintegrate of the Soviet Union, Abkhazians asked for their independence for the Georgians. Georgians did not like agree and they tried conquer Abkhazians. All the prisoners were freed and walking on streets armed. They purpose of that was to have a bigger army but criminals never change. Their goal was to revenge the people that put them in the prison and ruined their lives. Unfortunately, one of those people was my own father. Like a picture in my mind, I still remember the criminal with a mask holding a gun against my father?s head. I remember my father begging them to not do anything in front of his children and my mother trying to pull us away so we would not be witnesses of the murder of out own father. Fortunately, they did not kill my father. I do not now the reason. I still think that it was the God?s will, because otherwise I just can not explain it. The next day, I found myself in a plain flying out of my motherland to be safe.
?I always remember my house, my garden, my neighbors, and every single city of Abkhazia, where I spent a long time of my life. I want to admit that I live much wealthier life now in America, than back in Abkhazia. The point of our life is not about been rich; the point if this life is, in my opinion, is to wake up in the morning and be able to see beloved relatives and friends. This is not only my misfortune; this is the disaster of every human been that, in his or her middle ages, looses his or her surroundings of a life time.?