Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Illogic of Narrow Thinking

I want to relate a story that is occurring in an area of Armenia that I think is rather indicative of how things often tend to operate in this country.

During Soviet times, Lake Sevan was planned to be drained in order to provide a greater area for farming, an idiotic notion in and of itself. Though the plan was never carried out, the lake was at least partially drained. You can still clearly see where the banks of the lake used to be, and it's not an insignificant level. It was drained so much that a small island with a church on it near the shore became a peninsula.

Now, 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia has decided that it wants to raise the level of the lake in an attempt to both restore its former glory and solve some of the massive ecological problems the lake faces (regardless of the fact that raising the lake isn't going to really do much to solve those problems, whereas cleaning it would). Actually, this has been going on for a few years now, and one of the primary roads around the lake that connects the surrounding towns and villages has finally been nearly overtaken by the lake. So, of course, they've decided to raise the level of the road, a seemingly worthy goal right? Guess how long this road is expected to last before the lake overtakes it again?

5 years.

When asked what will happen after 5 years, people will simply answer that they'll just raise the road again. Instead of, you know, nipping the problem in the bud and changing the road's route or building it high enough to begin with.

But that's not all. During Soviet times, and even after the end of the USSR, many businesses were built up around the lake at its lowered level, from small restaurants to a large Best Western hotel. As of this point, there's no plan that I've been able to discern as to what will happen to these businesses except that they'll be swallowed up by the lake, displacing the owners (I'm sure the Best Western has enough pull to prevent this happening to it, or may simply not be in danger as much as I think it is). But that's irrelevant, right? Because now the glorious Lake Sevan will be back!


Oh Armenia, I love you but you're so silly sometimes.

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