A Person of Interest

Tom Mooradian, Armenian Repatriate

This is Part 1 of A Person of Interest. Read Part 2 here.

Once my feet had touched American soil there was a sense of relief. A cathartic sensation never before or since experienced flushed my veins. My nightmare in the USSR was over. I was a free man – free from the Soviet sham, from the terror one suffers as a citizen of a totalitarian state. I was no longer in the clutches of the KGB.

Or was I? How naïve I had been back then. How naïve I am.

When the KGB stepped out of their shadowy nooks and abandoned their imbecilic stratagem to unmask me as a “sleeper”, a “tool of the capitalists”, I asked them why the continuous surveillance. Why were their agents following me? I never got a satisfactory answer.

Those thirteen years behind the Iron Curtain are now history. Those thirteen years without a single Christmas…or Easter…or letter or parcel that had not been opened. I lived in a Soviet Republic that desecrated over 1000 churches and padlocked the doors or used the religious edifices as shortage space.

How tragic it all was…for it did not have to be as history reveals. Today the terror of the night is but mist and the fear to live is blotted forever.

But as sweet as it has been to return home, there were bitter moments of gloom and despair. My battle left me with scars.

You, dear reader, ask… “Where is the sequel to The Repatriate? “You have left us in limbo,” writes a reader. “…the story is incomplete.”

As proud as I am of my country and of the American people, the treatment afforded me upon return made no sense to me at the time. I understood the “hate mail” and I understood why some employers were terse, even rude, when they learned of my past, but…Depression had set in and I took long walks. Friends had lives of their own. I was broke and miserable.

As I strolled on a street in southwest Detroit, a well-dressed man approached me. “Aren’t you Tom Mooradian?”

I was caught off guard. I thought for a second that he may have been a classmate of mine or a basketball fan who recognized me. I was wrong on both counts. He said, “I’m from the FBI.”

The announcement startled me. The agent continued, “My director would like to talk to you… Do you have any time on your hands?”

I looked at him, smiled and replied, “If you have been following me all these weeks you know I have nothing but time on my hands.”

The agent raised his hand. A black sedan came out of nowhere, stopped at the curb and the agent opened the door for me, inviting me to get in. Once we were seated, the driver headed toward the Federal Building.

As the car sped toward our destination, I broke the deep silence in the car with a nervous laugh. The agent asked, “Want to share that with me?”

I had nothing to lose, so I said, “For a moment, I thought I was back in Moscow.”

The agent smiled and said, “No. …No. We don’t play the game the way they do.”

I would soon learn that they did.

This is Part 1 of A Person of Interest. Read Part 2 here.

 

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bookTom Mooradian was one of 151 Americans who traveled to Soviet Armenia to repatriate during the 1940’s. Thought to be a spy by the KGB, Tom miraculously survived 13 years behind the Iron Curtain winning the hearts of the Soviets through his basketball prowess.  Filled with political drama, romance, and intrigue, Tom’s autobiography, The Repatriate reads like a novel, and will have you guessing how Tom managed to return to America alive.
The Second Edition is now available on Kindle and in Paperback!

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