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Old 01.12.2007, 17:45   #31
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Originally Posted by nucleusfermi View Post
It's very nice reading your writings "arabaliozian", you seem to be a very patriotic Armenian, I too love my country much, but I do always think how much better it would be if we had no boundaries at all, we'll be integrated one day for sure, I'm not at all relegating your views friend, I appreciate them intensively, I also face similar "Islamocentric" and Muslim Appeasing political writers and leaders here in India, may I offer you one suggestion friend, there is a character named "CHANAKYA" in world history, who played a major role to defeat "Alexander's prime might Seleacus Nicator" and ensured "ChandraGupta Maurya's" victory which our western friends never accepted anywhere. You should search more about him and you'll be awarded which you want. At least when I be among those kinds of "Pundits" you talked about, I rely over "CHANAKYA'S" principles. Hope I might be of some help, thanks for reading.
i appreciate your suggestion. may i add that Mahatma Gandhi has influenced more than any other western thinker.../ara
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Old 05.12.2007, 17:09   #32
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Sunday, December 02, 2007
************************************************
ON OUR PROBLEMS
**************************************
In a recent widely circulated commentary I read a list of our problems so long that it reminded me of the celebrated Stanislaw Lec aphorism “No snowflake in the avalanche ever feels responsible.”
If, instead of making long lists of problems we concentrate on those who create them, we may end up with Avedik Issahakian’s triad: “earthquakes, bloodthirsty neighbors, and brainless leaders.”
Problems like corruption, divisions that make no sense and serve no purpose, intolerance, xenophobia, Turcocentrism, incompetence, exodus from the Homeland, assimilation in the Diaspora, cultural decline, an appalling rate of unemployment, poverty, absence of solidarity, among others, have a single source: the undemocratic character of our institutions or the absence of accountability in our leadership.
In an authoritarian environment (and I say authoritarian to avoid saying Ottoman) problems will be explained and justified by saying they are extensions of political conditions and environmental factors beyond our control.
A partisan press will at no time shoulder responsibility so long as it can blame it on the opposition. Those who divide us will even go as far as saying they divide us for our own good, to save us from the evil plans of their adversaries.
Where there is no free press, problems will proliferate until they become an avalanche, which will be explained as an act of god, and those responsible will emerge as innocent as a snowflake.
Now, suppose a small group of pundits come together and issue a number of recommendations, who will listen to them? Who will even acknowledge their existence?
Brainless leaders? Rather, brainy enough to make number one their number one concern and make it look like they are dedicated to the challenging task of saving the nation.
*
Speaking of our problems: you will find a pretty good list in Khorenatsi’s “Lamentation” written fifteen centuries ago. Which may suggest that it is not unawareness of our problems that makes them hard to solve but irresponsible leaders who might as well be deaf, dumb, dim, dull, and dense.
#
Monday, December 03, 2007
***********************************************
DENIALISM
*******************
Those who are at the root of our problems will at no time admit we, or rather they, have problems, and if they have them, they can be solved, and if they can be solved it is up to them to solve them. Denialism is a favored word of ours provided of course it’s of the Turkish variant. As for Armenian denialism: we don’t even acknowledge its existence.
*
THE FASCIST AND THE PHILOSOPHER
*********************************************************
The Fascist general who drove Miguel de Unamuno out of his university at gunpoint in 1936 is said to have screamed “Death to Intelligence,” and “Long live Death.” Shortly thereafter Unamuno had a heart attack and died.
*
OTTOMAN WISDOM
********************************
Ours is the wisdom of former slaves whose secret ambition is to emulate their former masters.
*
ON APOLOGY
***************************
It’s easy to apologize after you step on someone’s foot. But how do you apologize for leading a million and half innocent human beings to the slaughterhouse? That’s why neither their leadership nor ours will ever apologize to the people.
*
NATIONALISM (i)
*************************************
My land, my people, my home, my rivers, my lakes, valleys and mountains, my backyard, my chickens. But never – never! – my blunders.
*
NATIONALISM (ii)
*******************************
They brag about our victories and blame our defeats on others. If it were up to our propagandists, we would be the only nation on earth that has never committed a blunder or lost a single war.
#
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
*******************************************
MY PARTISAN FRIEND AND I
*****************************************
“You call us dividers as if that’s all we have done,” an angry friend tells me during a recent telephone conversation, and goes on: “Why don’t you ever mention the many positive contributions we have made to the community and the nation?”
I say nothing. I have learned never to contradict an angry Armenian.
Dear friend, if you are reading these lines, I would invite you to consider the case of the butler who after serving his master faithfully for fifty years, he poisons him. At his trial and in his defense he says to the judge: “Your Honor, the prosecution and its witnesses speak of me as if I were a murderer. I suggest that is a gross distortion of my character.”
Or consider the case of a surgeon who kills a patient in a botched operation. When taken to court he says: “I have performed many successful operations. There are hundreds of people alive today because of me. And here I am being treated as a common criminal.”
What I am trying to say is that we all have a role to play in the community. We all make a living for our positive contributions. No one gets a raise or a medal for his blinders or crimes. And when a man, after being a law-abiding citizen all his life, breaks the law, he has no choice but to pay the penalty.
I don’t believe in capital punishment but I would gladly make an exception in the case of a political boss whose number one concern is number one. As for a political leader who declares a war he cannot win, I say impeachment is too good for him. I believe the only honorable course of action for such a leader is to follow Hitler’s example and shoot himself. Finally, I urge you to consider the case of revolutionaries who rise against an empire they cannot topple and as a result of their failure millions of innocent civilians die...
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Old 08.12.2007, 17:37   #33
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Wednesday, December 05, 2007
*******************************************
VISIBLE & INVISIBLE ARMENIANS
**************************************************
You cannot argue with someone who is in a position to silence you. He has much more to lose than an argument. He stands to lose his infallibility. And no one can make an ass of himself as surely as he who thinks himself to be infallible.
*
I have said this before and it bears repeating: the need to assert superiority is the surest symptom of inferiority.
*
The only way for the inferior to come to terms with himself is to think he is better than others; and the only way to reach that objective is by being his own dupe. The problem with dupes is that they feel justified in deceiving others, as if to say, if deception is good enough for me, it should be good enough for you too.
*
To confuse visible Armenians (fund-raisers, speechifiers, ghazetajis, wheeler-dealers) with their invisible counterparts would be like confusing la crиme de la scum with la crиme de la crиme. I know many hard working, decent Armenians who have never delivered a speech or made a headline in any one of our papers; Armenians who do not pretend to know and understand more than they do; Armenians who have not written a single line for publication.
*
It is better to do nothing than to do the wrong thing. It is better to know nothing than to know the wrong thing.
#
Thursday, December 06, 2007
************ ********* ********* ********* *******
OF JACKASSES
************ ********* *********
In America the higher your rise on the greasy pole the more of your posterior you expose. The average American today probably knows more about the Clintons than about his next-door neighbors. What do I know about our own leaders? Just their names and sometimes not even that. “I once called the Catholicos in Etchmiadzin,” a friend tells me, “and it was the KGB that answered.” When a Ramgavar semi-boss once promised to pay me a goodly sum if I undertook the task of writing profiles of prominent Ramgavars, I informed him I didn’t even know who they were, neither was I interested to know. Speaking of bosses, I am reminded of another incident with one of our national benefactors – let’s call him Jack S. Avanakian – who wanted me to translate his father’s youthful diary. “I translate only literary works,” I explained and added: “I am not aware of anyone by the name of Avanakian who has written a single line worth translating.” On the subject of jackasses: Did you know that our writers refer to one another as “boys”? I once heard an 80-year old writer say about Zarian: “I knew him – he was a good degha!” This was at a convention of Armenian writers (my first and last) during which I heard another writer refer to a national benefactor as “baron.” “Baron Jack S. Avanakian would not be interested in supporting such a project,” said he. I was a newcomer then and the thought occurred to me that I had landed not only on a different continent but also on another planet.
#
Friday, December 07, 2007
*********************************************
FROM THE NOTEBOOKS
OF A PESSIMIST
************************************
The two most incompatible things in the world: dishonesty and sunlight.
*
You ask me if I would be willing to die for my country. Allow me to introduce my answer by saying, the only reason my country has not yet killed me is that I have been beyond its reach.
*
In an English literary magazine I read a book review by a historian that ends with the words: “How many policy-makers know their history well enough to learn from its lessons?” I should like to see such a sentence produced by one of our dime-a-dozen pundits who are masters of the blame-game.
*
“I heard you have become a pessimist,” an old friend whom I have not seen for fifty years tells me. And I reflect that where illusions and lies are dominant, truth and reality will be anathema. When Krikor Zohrab predicted the Genocide, they said, “Zohrab effendi is exaggerating.” And because I question the honesty of our pundits and propagandists, I am thought of as a pessimist.
#
Saturday, December 08, 2007
******************************************
DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH
************************************************
Propaganda is cunningly tailored to have (i) mass appeal, (ii) to be accessible to the average dupe, and (iii) to flatter his ego. By contrast, understanding reality or getting at the truth is an infinitely more demanding and sometimes even painful enterprise. Consider as a case in point the word survival as used by our propagandists. The nation survived, granted, but its best brains did not; neither did the best part of our own critical faculties. That is why when someone like Zarian, Shahnour, or Massikian tries to explain what really happened to us, we turn against him. That is also why I have trouble reaching Armenians who confuse ideology with theology, or politics with religion. Faith or a closed system of thought cannot be shaken by common sense and logic. Faith can only be replaced by another faith or closed system of thought. To put it differently, explanations work only with people with open minds. Hence the sorry spectacle of a sanctimonious prick or dealer in chauvinist crapola parading as a leader of men, defender of the faith, and savior of the nation.
#
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Old 12.12.2007, 17:42   #34
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Sunday, December 09, 2007
******************************************
THE 11TH COMMANDMENT
**************************************
Organized religions are popular for the same reason that Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini were: people hate to think for themselves. Shaw once said that he has made a fortune and enjoys an international reputation as a clever man because he takes the trouble to think for himself once or twice a year.
*
Everything that is popular is based on a misconception, which is also why astrology is popular too.
*
Organized religions contradict one another – Christians and Muslims believe in an Almighty God; Buddhists don’t. That doesn’t mean one is right and the other wrong. That only means, if God exists, you must live your life as if He didn’t, because God will not do your thinking for you for the simple reason that He has given you a brain, which happens to be a valuable piece of equipment that is a miracle of design as mysterious and incomprehensible as the universe itself.
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The hardest thing about writing is convincing philistines that you are worth listening to.
*
Because I refuse to be a fool among fools I am called all kinds of nasty names, including infidel and atheist.
*
Once upon a time we trusted our destiny on dividers, sultans, commissars, and charlatans (both foreign and domestic) and when things started going wrong we blamed it on bloodthirsty neighbors, bad location, and the Almighty Himself, never on our brainless leaders and their dupes, namely ourselves.
*
My favorite 11th commandment: Thou shalt be self-reliant.
*
God does not sermonize or speechify; mullahs, priests, and charlatans do that.
*
We have become a bunch of whiners -- compliments of our nationalist historians and Turcocentric pundits who are masters of the blame game.
*
Thou shalt not ask God to do your thinking for you.
#
Monday, December 10, 2007
**********************************************
QUESTIONS / ANSWERS
***************************************
Q: Do you classify yourself as a good Armenian?
A: Frankly, I am so busy trying to be an honest man that I don’t even think about being an Armenian, let alone a good one.
Q: What do you say to readers who are outraged by what you write?
A: I say, Relax! We have survived centuries of oppression by brutal tyrants, countless wars, massacres, deportation, destitution, life in alien slums…we can survive the opinions of a minor scribbler who may well be, in your own estimation, a misguided fool.
Q: What it’s like writing for Armenians?
A: A butcher delivering a lecture to an audience of brain surgeons may be in a better position to answer that question.
Q: Do you think you have had any influence on our policy-makers?
A: Hell no! Even if I were a thousand times smarter and lived as long as Methuselah I doubt if I could change the mind of a single dupe who is brainwashed to believe he is too smart to be deceived.
Q: What’s the hardest thing about being honest?
A: Trying not to give in to the temptation of being dishonest and remembering all those instances in the past when I failed.
Q: Any projects?
A: Many.
Q: Such as?
A: A dictionary of Armenian misconceptions, which I will never write because it may well be as long as WAR AND PEACE and THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV combined.
#
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
************************************************
THE TRAGEDY OF OEDIPUS
*********************************************
If Armenians and their endless petty little problems bore you, join the club. If I go on writing about them it’s not because I am overly fond of them or would like to solve their problems (no one can do that except themselves) but because I want to understand my fellow men. To be bored with Armenians means to be bored with mankind, and ultimately with oneself.
*
We are a microcosm. If we are a failure as a nation, so is mankind. The history of mankind is a disaster area because the average man is a dupe at the mercy of megalomaniacal, self-satisfied frauds who will say and do anything in defense of their powers and privileges. The list of sultans, kings, presidents, popes, and chief executive officers who abused their positions of trust or preached virtue and practiced vice stretches to infinity.
*
Athens executed Socrates, Florence exiled Dante, Russia excommunicated Tolstoy, India assassinated Gandhi. You may now draw your own conclusions.
*
When charlatans and dupes conspire, they end up praising honesty and burying honest men.
*
To say that God punishes men for their transgressions is to misrepresent reality. It is man that punishes himself. The real tragedy of Oedipus is not that he killed his father and had sex with his mother but that he thought by blinding himself he could avoid seeing reality.
#
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
*************************************************
CONFESSIONS OF A LIBERAL
****************************************
In one of his books Ben Bagdikian says that conservatives like Murdoch, Conrad Black, and Buckley control most of the media in America, and yet they bitch about the liberal media. Something similar could be said about our own pro-establishment right wingers, who control not only our media but also our community centers, schools, university chairs, and institutions. Hence the misconception that we never had it so good because we are in good hands. As for the one or two minor problems, like our mafia democracy in the Homeland: they will fix themselves in twenty or thirty years. What about dissenting voices? What dissenting voices? I don’t hear them. They don’t hear them because they have been ruthlessly and systematically silenced.
*
There is a tendency in America to exaggerate the importance of words spoken in anger – Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic tirade when arrested for drunk driving, for instance. When angry we say things we don’t always mean. I have myself said many harsh things in anger even about my mother whom I love very much. That doesn’t make me anti-motherhood or for that matter, God forbid, anti-apple pie.
*
Speaking of motherhood: some Armenians look down at fellow Armenians who cannot speak their mother tongue. To them I ask: What’s the use of speaking Armenian if the sentiments you express are Ottoman?
*
I have been called a variety of names, none of them remotely close to honest. And yet, that has been my sole aim in life: to be an honest witness.
*
If you think you are a better Armenian, it is of course your privilege to do so and I will say nothing to disabuse you -- only warn you: if you expect all Armenians to agree with you, be prepared to be disappointed and end your days as a bitter old man.
*
As for our ultra-conservative Turcocentric pundits and their ubiquitous, predictable, and cliché-ridden commentaries: the only way to describe them is to say they are ideal instances of diarrhea of words and constipation of ideas.
*
As Brahms used to say on his way out from a party: “I apologize to anyone I may have neglected to offend.”
#
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Old 15.12.2007, 17:44   #35
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Thursday, December 13, 2007
************************************************
CAIN’S ANSWER
*********************************
Political lies have been with us for a long time. Even Plato discusses them in his Dialogues, which where written 2500 years ago.
*
No one lies as surely as he who speaks in the name of truth or God. In the Bible we read that God asked Cain where Abel was, the implication being that Cain knew something God did not. And Cain replied: “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9).
*
Speaking of lies, murder, and brotherhood: Our Turcocentric ghazetajis tell us they don’t hate Turks. Their sole aim, they say, is justice. But justice, like truth, is an abstraction. No one has ever laid eyes on it. Instead of abstractions, let’s speak of reality. The truth about reality is that we cannot speak about it, only fractions of it. That’s because we have only a limited number of words and reality has an infinite number of levels and complexities. That’s one reason why when we speak we lie.
*
Does that mean Cain did not kill Abel? No. Of course not! It only means we don’t know why Cain became a murderer. Was it envy? Why should envy lead to murder? What is envy? What has made us capable of envy? Or rather, who has instilled envy in man? For what purpose? The infinite number of complexities generates an equal number of questions until the final one, which is also Cain’s: We don’t know because we are not God’s keeper.
#
Friday, December 14, 2007
****************************************
FRAGMENTS
***********************************
When nine out of ten are unanimous in believing one thing, go with the tenth, for believing and thinking are mutually exclusive concepts.
*
I disagree with anyone who holds views that were mine thirty years ago; and if I don’t stand on ceremony with them it may be because I don’t stand on ceremony with myself.
*
The man who views the world and his fellow men in black and white terms, as opposed to shades of gray, will invariably classify himself as all white even when he is pitch black.
*
If character is destiny, as the ancient Greeks thought, the question we should ask is: To what extent our character as a nation has been shaped by 600 years of Ottoman oppression followed by 60 years of Bolshevik tyranny? If this question has so far gone unanswered it may be because our nationalists and masters of the blame-game have done their utmost to ignore or cover up that aspect of our identity.
#
Saturday, December 15, 2007
***********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
****************************************
Where charlatans are in charge,
honest men will be silenced.
Where ignoramuses are in charge,
knowledge will be outlawed.
Where the blind are in charge,
the one-eyed will be blinded.
*
I don’t tell you things I already know.
I tell you things that I discover as I write.
*
Why should I trust the judgment of underdogs whose sole ambition in life is to be top dogs so that they will have the pleasure of stepping on underdogs, even when the underdogs happen to be their brothers?
*
The worst mistake we can make is to assume that Comrade Panchoonie is a character in a satirical novel by Yervant Odian written a century ago. Every other day I get a letter from him that ends with the word “mi kich pogh…” something similar could be said of Hagop Baronian’s “honorable beggars.” Characters in great literary works live much longer than their creators. Or rather, great writers achieve immortality through the characters they create.
*
Our standards have fallen so low that every panchoonie, honorable beggar, and ghazetaji parades as a defender of the faith and the savior of the nation.
*
What if I am wrong? There is always that possibility, of course. In my defense I will say that if only the infallible were allowed to speak, the only voice would be that of the Pope of Rome, we would all be Catholics, and Latin would be the most widely spoken language in the world.
*
I.B. Singer: “I am not a vegetarian for the sake of my health, but for the health of the chickens. For animals, every day is Treblinka.”
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Old 19.12.2007, 18:07   #36
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Sunday, December 16, 2007
********************************************
THE DEATH OF SOCRATES
********************************************************
When the Greeks executed Socrates, they did not just kill a man but someone who represented the very best in Greek wisdom. To silence a thinker is like burning down a library.
*
The difference between an editor violating someone’s human right of free speech and a head of state ordering a massacre is one in degree. In both instances power is being abused at its maximum. Promote the editor (or a forum moderator) to head of state, and vice versa, demote a head of state to editor, and they will behave the same way.
*
Stalin or Hitler saying they have no use for intellectuals is the same as an architect saying he has no use for higher mathematics. The result will be buildings that collapse as surely as Stalin’s USSR and Nazi Germany did.
*
Hitler had no use for Jewish scientists. As a result, he lost to America some of Germany’s ablest minds, including Einstein. Had he been less of a racists, he would have won World War II and I would now be writing this in German. Toynbee is right: civilizations and empires are not killed, they commit suicide.
*
What our critics were saying about Levon Der Bedrossian and Robert Kocharian, they are now saying about each other; and if what they say is true, they both deserve the hangman’s noose.
*
Those who declare wars have a better chance to survive them than those who do the actual fighting.
#
Monday, December 17, 2007
********************************************
ILLUSIONS
******************************
“Nothing you say makes sense!” a reader writes; and another: “Tell us something we don’t know.” These two contradictory comments suggest that I may well be on the right track. But perhaps I am deluding myself.
*
I understand illusions. I have quite a few of them myself, as a matter of fact. I believe reason matters. I believe common sense is transferable. I believe explanations work. I think I may be able to make a difference. I like to hope where far better men than myself failed, I may succeed. Call it optimism run riot. Call it hubris. Whatever it is, it allows me to go on.
*
“You repeat yourself,” I am reminded once in a while. So do our Turcocentric pundits. So do our sermonizers who quote the Scriptures from hundreds of pulpits every Sunday. Has anyone ever dared to stand up and accuse them of repeating themselves? Once when I said as much in a commentary, the secretary of an archbishop wrote an angry letter to the editor in which she said: “How dare you, sir, comparing the trash you dish out [I am now abridging and paraphrasing] with the Holy Scriptures which happen to be the word of God?” My answer: Almost everything I write may be considered a paraphrase or variation on the Biblical dictum “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
*
Scratch a defender of the status quo and expose a hireling for whom the establishment is manna.
*
There are no new ideas, only subtle adjustments of old ones.
*
I should like to meet an Armenian whose first impulse is to understand rather than to dismiss as absurd that which he makes no effort to understand.
#
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
********************************************
TYRANNY VERSUS DEMOCRACY
*******************************************************
A community or a nation is not a congregation that will sing the same tune in unison. There will always be discordant voices. Get used to them. Our degree of tolerance and civilization depends on the manner in which we handle dissent.
*
I have been rereading Herodotus. What a great storyteller he was! Speaking of a certain Greek city-state, he writes that its citizens preferred tyranny to freedom. Impossible, I thought. Who in his right mind would choose tyranny when he can live in freedom? And then I thought of my fellow countrymen and remembered the words of our progressive and enlightened citizens (self-assessed of course) who tell us we are not yet ready for democracy. If by “we” they mean our leaders, they may be right. If they mean a fraction of the people that have been brainwashed, ditto. But I have no doubt whatever in my mind that, given a choice, the overwhelming majority will choose to live in a democracy. You want proof? Consider Armenians in the United States and Canada who did not immigrate en masse to Armenia under Stalin.
*
After centuries of oppression we have accumulated vast stores of resentment, anger, and bitterness. Our leaders are aware of this. That is why they channel this suppressed fury in the direction of the Turks. What motivates them to do that is self-preservation.
*
The chances of the unthinkable happening will be diminished if we think about it. If the unthinkable did happen it is because those who thought about it were ignored. “Zohrab effendi is exaggerating,” they said…
*
There is a type of critic (make it, kibitzer) who is so blinded by his own brilliance that he does not mind making an ass of himself. But he is smart enough to do so anonymously and dumb enough to add cowardice to narcissism.
#
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
*****************************************
EITHER / OR
*******************************
If we are unique, that’s because every individual, tribe, nation, or for that matter, snowflake and grain of sand is unique. Whether this uniqueness is an asset or a liability I will let you decide, provided you don’t adopt one of our ubiquitous dealers of chauvinist crapola as your guide. Speaking for myself, I will say that our uniqueness is not what concerns me. What concerns me is our problems and there is nothing – repeat, nothing -- unique about them. Corruption, incompetence, divisiveness, authoritarianism, prejudice, and intolerance are as old as mankind. So is unawareness of them or self-deception. We either confront our shortcomings and make an honest effort to overcome them or we pretend there is nothing we can do because they are an integral part of the human condition. Again, speaking for myself, I am all for calling a spade a spade, a charlatan a phony and a wheeler-dealer not a man of vision or a noble specimen of humanity but a low-life and a bottom feeder.
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Old 22.12.2007, 17:48   #37
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Thursday, December 20, 2007
***************************************************
Just when I think I am done with Armenians and their problems, a new one comes up or an old one that demands a novel approach. Who gives a damn about Armenians and their problems, anyway? Not even Armenians, it seems. I dream of the day when I will exhaust the subject and start writing love stories, adventure yarns, and murder mysteries. I love murder mysteries. I have read hundreds of Simenons…
*
We all have our cross to bear. The smaller the nation, the heavier the cross.
*
If you want to convince a civilized man to behave like a barbarian, you tell him barbarians are at the gate even if there is no one there, and if there is one, he is either the gatekeeper or a harmless pilgrim.
*
Whenever I feel depressed, I console myself by saying that even those who hate me read me. Writers have this is common with women: they want to be irresistible.
*
Since there are no final answers, not even in science, every assertion is open to debate, provided of course the rules imposed on us by reason, common sense, common decency, and grammar are followed. And no one will ever succeed in convincing me that reason, common sense and decency, and grammar are anti-Armenian.
*
When I wrote flattering commentaries, I was published. When I wrote critical commentaries, I was published too. But when I started getting at the truth, I was silenced. Truth was my undoing.
*
I write for readers with an open mind. Not even the Good Lord can reach brainless idiots or, for that matter, brainy bastards. Consider the influence of the New Testament on the likes of Stalin (a seminarian) and his countless dupes, among them some very smart Armenians, like our own Anastas (ditto).
#
Friday, December 21, 2007
*******************************************
NAREGATSI
*********************************
He is one of those writers everyone praises but no one reads, except our academics who are unanimous in naming him our Dante and Shakespeare combined. But whereas every Italian and Englishman is brought up to learn a few lines from Dante and Shakespeare by heart, I have yet to meet the Armenian who can quote a single line from Naregatsi.
*
One reason Naregatsi is not a popular writer is that he cannot be said to be a cheerful fellow. His LAMENTATION is an endless catalogue of sins, failings, and vices. A typical passage reads: “I constantly have recourse to lies, / Never uttering the truth…/ I am diligent in malignant acts of ribaldry; / I am ever active in satanic inventions.”
*
In his INFERNO, Dante speaks of hell as if it were a real place. Naregatsi has a more modern, not to say, existential view on the subject. “Hell is me,” he seems to be saying. And if “hell is other people” (Sartre) it’s because there is a “me” in all of us. It follows, in the eyes of our holier-than-thou propagandists, Naregatsi is bad news. Because if we are as bad as Naregatsi tells us, then perhaps we deserved our fate. But Naregatsi does not write to promote self-loathing and despair. His final message is one of hope. Salvation is yours, he tells us, provided you plead guilty as charged and repent. Not exactly a condition that will be welcome by our charlatans who parade as paragons of virtue.
*
TWO FACTS
***********************
Naregatsi wrote in krapar (classical Armenian) but he is now available in both ashkharapar (the spoken idiom) and English (in an excellent translation by Mischa Kudian).
*
Naregatsi lived a thousand years ago, long before we were Ottomanized and Sovietized.
*
NARCISSISM
*******************************
One way to define our holier-than-thou sanctimonious pricks and dealers in chauvinist crapola is to say, they are jackasses who believe, when they bray, they sound better than Pavarotti singing “Nessun dorma.”
#
Saturday, December 22, 2007
**************************************************
MER HAIRENIK
TSHVAR, ANDER
***********************************
How much of what I say is right? As a prejudiced observer I cannot be a reliable judge. You tell me! But instead of asking whether I am right, say, How right are those I quote and paraphrase, beginning with the Biblical dictum (“A house divided against itself cannot stand”) and Toynbee’s (“Civilizations are not killed, they commit suicide”).
*
As masters of the blame-game, our denialists assert they had nothing to do with our misfortunes, which amounts to saying, they reject all responsibility in shaping our tragic destiny, thus implying their role in our history has been that of nonentities or absentee landlords.
*
Writing in the 5th century, Movses Khorenatsi speaks of our divided and corrupt leadership (see his LAMENTATION, not to be confused with Naregatsi’s, which was written in the 10th century). Writing in the 20th century we have two distinguished witnesses who support Khorenatsi’s verdict: Avedik Issahakian (“our brainless leaders”) and Zarian (“Our political parties have been of no political use to us. Their greatest enemy is free speech.”) In our own days, listen to what Kocharian and Levon Der Bedrossian are saying about each other.
*
If I repeat myself, it’s because I don’t have a phobia of repetition. If you do, I suggest you see a shrink. If you can’t afford one, stop reading me. Never say I speak of problems without suggesting any solutions. But if you reject my solution to your problem and continue to read me, I thank you. Have a nice day.
#
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Old 22.12.2007, 18:12   #38
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What kind of people are we? What kind of leadership is
this? Instead of compassion, mutual contempt.
Instead of
reason blind instinct. Instead of common sense,
fanaticism.

They speak of the cross and nail us to it again as
they
speak.

ANTRANIK ZAROUKIAN
(1912-1989)
Poet, novelist, critic, editor.

*******************************************

All our religious, political, and cultural
institutions
share a single aim, the survival of the nation. If
the nation perishes, neither Echmiadzin nor Antelias,
not
even God in his heaven, can be of any help to us.

SIMON VRATSIAN
(1882-1969)
Statesman. Last Prime Minister of the Republic of
Armenia
(1918-1920).
***********************************************

We Armenians are products of the tribal mentality of
Turks
and Kurds, and this tribal mentality remains
stubbornly
rooted even among our leaders and elites.

NIGOL AGHBALIAN
(1873-1947)
Statesman, literary scholar, educator.

***************************************************

A familiar figure in our collective existence is the
prosperous and arrogant community leader who, by
obstructing the path of all those who wish to reform
and
improve our conditions, perpetuates a status quo whose
sole
aim is his own personal profit and aggrandizement.

LEVON PASHALIAN
(1868-1943)
Athor, editor.

**************************************************

The Armenian Diaspora is losing its character. Our
language, our literature, and our traditions are
degenerating. Even our religious leaders have
abandoned
their calling and turned into cunning wheeler-dealers.
Our
publications thrive on meaningless controversies.
I see charlatanism and cheap chauvinism everywhere
but not
a single trace of self-sacrifice
and dedication to principles and ideals. What's
happening
to us? Where are we heading?
Quo vadis, O Armenian people?

SHAVARSH MISSAKIAN
(1884-1957)
Author, editor, critic.
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Old 23.12.2007, 04:59   #39
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After reading page after page , Ara jan I decided to tell you that I enjoyed mainly the questions and answers section (Dec 10 ) and please do write a dictionary of misconceptions for those of us who are simple minded Armenians .
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Old 27.12.2007, 17:35   #40
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Sunday, December 23, 2007
**********************************************
HUMBUG
*****************
One of my gentle and anonymous readers, whose spelling leaves something to be desired, takes me to task for my ignorance of our history. “Armenian history,” he reminds me, “is an extremely complex topic,” and since I obviously do not know as much as he does, I should shut up about it. I am more than willing to concede that I don’t know all there is to know on the subject. But then who does, beside the Good Lord Himself, who so far has consistently refused to publish His version. As far as I know, no human being has ever dared to claim that after a lifetime of study he is now prepared to assert that he knows all there is to know about Armenian or any other history.
*
When after a lifetime of study Toynbee published his monumental ten-volume STUDY OF HISTORY, he was attacked and sometimes even verbally abused by an international array of historians who questioned the accuracy of his facts and the reliability of his conclusions. Dutch historians criticized him for his ignorance of Dutch history; Jewish historians tore him to shreds because he had dared to call Jews “fossils”; English historians dismissed him as a megalomaniacal mystic and charlatan; and Soviet historians treated him as a heretic because he did not share their faith in Marxism. It would be no exaggeration to say that both Spengler and Toynbee, the two greatest historians of the 20th century, have more critics than fans among their fellow historians.
*
Even when they deal in facts and nothing but facts, nationalist or ideologically committed historians lie because they select only those facts that support their particular thesis, and since the number of facts, documents, and eyewitness accounts is nearly infinite, they can do this without much difficulty.
*
Who takes nationalist historians seriously? Only themselves, their dupes, and the power structure within which they operate.
*
What matters about history is not how much we know or how many facts, documents, and eyewitness accounts we have at our disposal, but what have we learned from it. What have our nationalist or patriotic historians learned from our past? The very same thing that Turkish historians have learned: namely, to paint themselves all white and their adversaries all black.
*
History does not have to be the propaganda of the victor or the consolation of the loser. Our sympathies may be with the losers but that does not make their version of events more honest, objective, and impartial.
*
The aim of nationalist historians is not to learn but to teach. But teaching that is not preceded by learning is at best propaganda and at worst conditioning or brainwashing. Politics and history don’t mix. To allow politics or ideology to contaminate the study of history amounts to prostituting the past.
*
A final note on our revolutionaries: history judges us not by our intentions (remember the old adage: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”) but our actions; and actions have consequences. It follows, we should judge our revolutionaries not by their intentions but by the tragic consequences of their actions.
#
Monday, December 24, 2007
*************************************************
“I AM NOT A CROOK”
****************************************
If bad things happen to good people, let us ask ourselves:
How good are we?
How good are our “brainless leaders”? (Avedik Issahakian).
How good are their dupes who believe we never had it so good because we are in good hands?
How good are the alienated who stay away from Armenian affairs?
How good are the assimilated who have given up on us?
How good are our “best and brightest” who so far have failed to convince the world that our genocide is not a figment of our collective imagination?
How good are our intellectuals from Khorenatsi and Yeghishe (5th century) to Zarian and Massikian (in our own days) who have been unanimous in saying our leaders can’t even lead a dog to the nearest fire hydrant?
How good are our intellectuals and why should we believe them?
Well, what choice do we have? It’s either them or our politicians?
Are politicians capable of speaking the truth when they speak about themselves?
By the way, I don’t agree with Avedik Issahakian. Our leaders are not brainless. After all, they were brainy enough to have a plan B for themselves.
Believe in God, if you must, but believe no one else. Use your brain instead (if you will forgive the overstatement), and may the Good Lord have mercy on your soul (if you have one).
#
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
*********************************************
NOTES & COMMENTS
****************************************
To those of my readers who disagree with me, sometimes violently, I say: I hear you. I feel your pain. Once upon a time I too was brainwashed to think, or rather to feel, as you do. To learn to think, to think for oneself, which also means to think against oneself, is a painfully slow process. It takes time. Be patient with yourself and tolerant with those who try to reason with you. Evolution is a law of nature. Never say therefore you will not change, for that way lies stagnation, degeneration, and death.
*
Instead of saying, the great powers deceived us, we should ask, why did we behave like dupes? Instead of saying the Turks massacred us, we should ask ourselves, why did we surrender our fate into their hands for 600 years?
*
A man who is convinced he knows everything he needs to know is a case of arrested underdevelopment.
*
The more you deceive yourself the more transparent you become to others.
*
If you know 100 things and claim to know 101, sooner or later someone is sure to expose you as an ignoramus.
#
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
*********************************************
ANALYSIS
************************************
If you prefer fiction to fact, don’t read what follows because I plan to speak of reality, and reality in our case is seldom pretty.
*
If we are angry we have every right to be. Throughout our millennial history we have been ruled by foreign ruffians and domestic riffraff. My disagreement with my fellow Armenians begins when they take out this anger on fellow Armenians, and this without provocation -- unless you call a minor semantic or political disagreement a provocation – as if, throughout our long and happy existence we have known nothing but peace, harmony, and brotherhood among ourselves.
*
One does not have to be a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Freud to understand what I have said so far and what follows, namely that this vast store of accumulated resentment is not directed against our victimizers but against fellow victims, for the simple reason that our victimizers are either beyond our reach or, when within reach, they are invulnerable. This has been said by far better men than myself but it bears repeating: An Armenian’s worst enemy is not an odar but an Armenian, and this “other” Armenian is none other but himself.
*
On more than one occasion I have been told I have no right to speak of our problems unless I also propose a solution. This, needless to add, is a cheap rhetorical maneuver whose message is “Shut up!” To those of my readers who have not yet given up reading me so far, my suggested solution to the problem outlined above is a simple one: awareness. Because awareness of a problem is almost a solution.
*
If I were to describe an Armenian in a single sentence, I would say he is one who knows everything but understands nothing. As a result, his degree of awareness is that of a dinosaur. This may explain why Toynbee in his 10-volume STUDY OF HISTORY calls us “fossils,” like Jews. But whereas Jews were outraged and promptly rejected the label (see Maurice Samuel’s THE PROFESSOR AND THE FOSSIL), as far as i know, none of our professors rose to our defense. Is it because they secretly agreed with Toynbee? Either that or our professors are not in the habit of sharing their understand with us, probably because they know the torrents of verbal abuse that will be unleashed against them by our riffraff and their brainwashed dupes. Perhaps our real tragedy is not that we don’t understand but that we don’t want to understand, and that, I regret to say, is a problem that has no solution.
#
Thursday, December 27, 2007
**************************************************
POLITICS 101
*****************************
A regime, any regime, even a regime of swine, will have its supporters.
*
In America today only 50% of the people vote. When asked why he doesn’t vote, a wise man once replied: “I don’t believe in encouraging them.”
*
One thing I have learned about my fellow Armenians and myself: We are human beings like the rest of mankind. Anyone who says we are better is either a brown-noser or a damn fool.
*
Propaganda teaches us to overestimate ourselves and to underestimate our adversaries, which promotes the view that our leaders are shepherds and their leaders butchers. But then, where would butchers be without shepherds?
*
If we are what we have become it’s because of liars whose favorite sport is the blame-game.
*
Self-assessed smart Armenians will never agree with me because agreeing with me would amount to admitting they are fools who have been taken in by liars.
*
After calling them “enemies of the people,” fascist leaders silence their critics. It is always the same story. After confusing fact with fiction they commit unspeakable crimes against humanity with the full support of their dupes. This may explain why there are people today (not all of them Turks) who believe Talaat was a great leader and his victims traitors who deserved their fate. This may also explain why some of the greatest butchers in the history of mankind, from Caligula and Nero to Stalin and Hitler, had their supporters.
#
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Old 27.12.2007, 17:39   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevana View Post
After reading page after page , Ara jan I decided to tell you that I enjoyed mainly the questions and answers section (Dec 10 ) and please do write a dictionary of misconceptions for those of us who are simple minded Armenians .
about questions/answers:
i have already published a book of interviews.
about dictionaries: so far two of them...as for publishing a third: if i find more readers like you, maybe...
thanks for your comments. / ara
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Old 29.12.2007, 18:31   #42
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Friday, December 28, 2007
*************************************************
THEORY & PRACTICE
***********************************
The combined wisdom of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle has been wasted on Greeks. Greek history is a disaster area. The divided city-states of Greece were at each other’s throats for centuries until they were conquered and mongrelized by, among others, the Turks.
What remains of Buddha’s wisdom in countries like India, China, Korea, and Japan? Mostly superstition and ritual (for more details, see Arthur Koestler’s THE LOTUS & THE ROBOT).
Individual wisdom does not always translate to political know-how for a very simple reason: the pursuit of wisdom and greed for power are mutually exclusive concepts and antagonistic movements from which greed for power will invariably emerge the winner.
*
Because I share my understanding, I have become an enemy. A fool will reserve his agreement for men who tell him what he already knows and understands. That’s because, as a fool, he doesn’t understand that knowledge is an endless search.
*
If straight talk offends you, who is to blame but your ego?
*
Speaking of theory and practice, I read the following headline in our paper this morning: “Hindu Hardliners burn Christian churches, Christians retaliate and burn Hindu homes.”
#
Saturday, December 29, 2007
***************************************************
FEEDBACK
********************************
“If genocide means the systematic extermination of a nation, how come you are still around?” a Turkish reader wants to know.
No matter how systematic and efficiently carried out, a genocide is seldom successful. Even the Germans, the most efficient and systematic of nations, failed to exterminate Jews and Gypsies.
*
Another Turkish reader writes: “The Turks are too sloppy a people to have organized and carried out a policy of systematic extermination.”
It is equally true that Armenians are too divided to agree on anything. And yet, not only they agree on the reality of the genocide, they have also been successful in convincing an important fraction of the world to agree with them.
*
My quarrel with our genocide pundits is not that they misrepresent reality but that they live in the past. “Let the dead bury their dead,” we are told, especially at a time when the living are dying.
*
To speak of Armenians only in the context of massacres: is that not a misrepresentation? Or, as Gramsci points out somewhere: Why would anyone care about a people known only as victims?
*
It is easy to make enemies, much more difficult to make friends. Our challenge is to convert our enemies to friends, and not to convert our brothers to enemies.
*
Civility and patriotism are not mutually exclusive concepts. Rules of civilized conduct apply even to superpatriots. So do rules of logic, common sense and decency. To say otherwise is to equate patriotism with barbarism.
#
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Old 02.01.2008, 18:07   #43
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Sunday, December 30, 2007
**********************************************
DAVID ANHAGHT
*********************************
As children we were taught that Armenian philosopher David Anhaght (6th century AD) was called “Invincible” because he never lost an argument. What were the central ideas of his philosophy? Did he support freedom or obedience to authority? Who gave him that sobriquet – his students or disciples? Why is it that he is not mentioned in any text on the history of philosophy – not even in a footnote? What was his favorite method of winning arguments -- quoting Plato, Aristotle, and the Scriptures? Raising his voice? Attacking his adversary’s ideas or person? Finally and most important of all: what’s the merit in winning an argument in defense of false ideas?
*
An organized religion becomes idolatry when obedience to God evolves to subservience to men who speak in His name?
*
If a messiah were to appear among us today, I suspect one of his most important messages to the world will be: “Verily I say unto you: When a man speaks in the name of God, it is the words of the Devil that issue from his mouth.”
#
Monday, December 31, 2007
************************************************
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
ON TURKISH DENIALISM
& RELATED ATROCITIES
****************************************
Q: How should we treat Turkish denialism?
A: With understanding. We should not speak of them as if they were bloodthirsty savages.
Q: But isn’t genocide a quintessentially bloodthirsty crime against humanity?
A: Yes, of course. But we should ascribe that crime where it belongs, namely, to their share of ruffians and cutthroats…and I hope you will agree with me when I say that all nations, including the most civilized, have their share of rapists and serial killers.
Q: Isn’t it equally true that not all nations deny their crimes against humanity?
A: Let us not confuse nations with regimes, and regimes with the people. We should not ascribe Turkish denialism to the nation or the people but to the foreign policy and educational system of the present regime. If many Turks reject the charge of genocide, it may be because most Turks, like most people, are dupes whose worldview is shaped by propaganda as opposed to rules imposed on us by objective judgment.
Q: If I understand you correctly, you are saying, Turks may plead not guilty by reason of ignorance?
A: What I am also saying, collective ignorance or patriotic bias is not an exclusively Turkish aberration.
Q: You also seem to be saying all nations and all people are more or less alike. In which case I must ask, how do we explain the fact that Turks are guilty of genocide but Armenians are not?
A: We explain it by saying, that is not a result of moral superiority but of military inferiority.
Q: On a related topic: you speak of Ottomanized Armenians. Could you define Ottomanization for us?
A: I would define it as the assimilation of Ottoman cultural values, such as the adoption of extreme views, even when these views are against our own interests. Case in point: our refusal to engage in dialogue with those who disagree with us, or to interpret disagreement as an expression of hostility or even hatred. Another case in point would be our painting Turks all black and Armenians all white thus undermining our own credibility in the eyes of the world. No one in his right mind believes Armenians are or could ever be all white for the simple reason that even saints are not all white.
Q: Final question: How do we go about de-Ottomanizing ourselves?
A: That’s almost like asking how do we de-programme a brainwashed person? There are no easy answers or methods. Education would be one way. Etiquette would be another. Suppose you believe in something with every single fiber in your body but you are not sure if your interlocutor shares your belief. If you make an assertion based on your belief and introduce or end it with the qualifier, I may be wrong about this, you may consider yourself de-Ottomanized as well as de-Stalinized.
Q: Why is it that a great many Armenians disagree with you?
A: If they do, it may be because I am wrong.
Q: Practicing what you preach?
A: That’s the very least I can do.
Q: I wish you a happy and creative New Year.
A: Thank you, and all the best to you too.
#
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
*****************************************
IT IS WRITTEN
***********************************
Fools who think they are smart: they are the curse of mankind. I am not surprised therefore when on rereading THE PROVERBS in the Old Testament, I notice that almost every other proverb deals with fools. God loves the poor, it is said, that is why He has created so many of them. If we assume that to be true (which I doubt), why then did He create so many fools when He obviously has nothing but contempt for them (if we assume the Scriptures to be His word)?
*
“Like a dog that returns to his vomit, is a fool that repeats his folly,” reads one proverb.
*
“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself,” reads another.
*
More random samples follow:
“A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the back of fools.”
*
“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”
*
“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.”
*
“A fool’s lips bring strife, and his mouth invites a flogging.”
*
“A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to himself.”
*
Questions:
Is a fool capable of admitting to being one?
What could be more foolish than trying to reason with fools?
While reading THE PROVERBS, has a fool ever thought, “It is about me that the Good Lord speaks.”
#
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
*********************************************
WHY WE DISAGREE
*********************************
Most Christians are Christians because they were born in a Christian country. The same applies to Muslims and Hindus. Environment plays a key role in determining our belief system. Different environments, educational systems, parents, experiences, role models, and encounters mean different worldviews. Most Tashnaks had Tashnak parents, likewise most Ramgavars and Communists. My father lost everything he owned in two separate occasions, World War I in Turkey and World War II in Greece. He was too busy trying to survive in an alien environment to have any time for politics. This may be only a partial explanation as to why I am suspicious of all political parties and ideologies. This may also be why I don’t expect anyone to agree with me, especially if agreement means recycling the same propaganda line. I am not in the business of recycling propaganda. If anything the opposite applies: I have made it my business to expose the lies of propaganda, the very same lies that are at the root of our internecine conflicts and divisions, not to say dogmatism and authoritarianism. Disagreement is both inevitable and natural; what is not natural is the implication that the neighborhood in which you were born and raised is better than someone else’s, which is almost as absurd as the suggestion that those who brainwashed you were better men than their counterparts on the other side of a mountain, river, sea or some other imaginary line. In my view brainwashing is a criminal offense and no good man would ever engage in such a nefarious activity. Since truth is destined to remain beyond our reach, let us agree that more often than not disagreements are clashes not between a truth and a lie but two half-truths and sometimes even two big lies.
#
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Old 05.01.2008, 18:05   #44
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Thursday, January 03, 2008
************************************************
ASKING QUESTIONS, GETTING ANSWERS
************************************************** ******
If you want to know the truth about the Catholic Church, don’t ask the Pope. This inevitably raises the question: If you can’t trust the Pope, whom can you trust? The answer is and must be: No one with power.
*
If you want to know more about Armenians, don’t ask an Armenian, who may know much more about Armenians than most odars. That’s because quantity of knowledge does not always translate to quality, or objectivity, reliability, and honesty. If you want to know the truth about Turks, would you ask a Turk?
*
If you want to know more about nationalism, the worst mistake you can make is to ask a nationalist. Ask instead the victims of nationalism, and if you are an Armenian, you don’t have to look for one. Ask yourself. Armenians have been the first major victims of nationalism in the 20th century.
*
John Stuart Mill: “No one but a fool, and only a fool of a peculiar description, feels offended by the acknowledgement that there are others whose opinion is entitled to a greater amount of consideration than his.” Translated into dollars and cents, this means: All men are created equal, but their opinions are not.
*
Speaking of the Pope and Christianity, I read the following question in a recent issue of THE SPECTATOR: “Where would Christianity be if Jesus had got 8 to 15 years with time off for good behavior?”
#
Friday, January 04, 2008
************************************************
AN ABYSMALLY NAПVE MISCONCEPTION
*******************************************************
In life we take many things for granted, beginning with life itself, and after life, the abysmally naпve misconception that our “betters” are better and what they say is more or less true because they are more or less honest men. In this context, however, when we speak in terms of more or less, the emphasis should be on less. To cover up the less and stress the more, leaders, all leaders, political as well as religious, like to speak in the name of God and Country, two entities that cannot speak for themselves.
*
Speaking of honesty and politicians: it is said that there is nothing as dark as the prospects of an honest politician, in the same way that nothing invites violence as surely as talk of non-violence.
*
Power, propaganda, deception, and violence or the threat of violence, are inseparable. As for speaking in the name of God: Who would dare to suggest that God is capable of contradicting Himself? And yet, all organized religions contradict one another.
*
Greed for power is a malady and an addiction much more dangerous than all other addictions combined because it affects not a single person but the nation and sometimes even the world. Which is why one is fully justified in saying that our “betters” far from being better may well be our worst. Which is also why the only good thing about political elections is that the losers outnumber the winners.
#
Saturday, January 05, 2008
************************************************
ON FAITH & RELATED ATROCITIES
*****************************************************
The hardest thing in life is to separate the real from what is not. To a believer, faith is more real than reality. By introducing meaning into our lives, faith makes us blind to reality. That’s one way to explain the ruthless and sadistic persecution of heretics, religious wars (one of which lasted a hundred years) and suicidal terrorists who think they will be rewarded with 72 virgins.
*
The best things in life are not always free. And sometimes we pay most for the things we get for nothing.
*
A dogmatist is one who thinks only God can tell him he is wrong, and he says this in the full knowledge that he is not important enough for the Good Lord to descend from the clouds in order to contradict him.
*
A fool knows that the best way to win an argument is to be so irrational, offensive, and vulgar that no one in his right mind would consider getting involved in his verbal filth. Never underestimate the cunning of fools. Since they have been fools all their lives they have developed all kinds of strategies of survival.
*
It is written: “Let a men meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.”
*
“An Armenian’s tongue can be sharper than a Turk’s yataghan,” Zarian tells us. In what way are we different from them if we do with our tongues what they did with their yataghans?
*
To recognize the fool that resides in all of us is the beginning of all wisdom.
#
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Old 05.01.2008, 18:14   #45
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AN INTERVIEW
*****************************************
Much of what you say is common and known facts but still when it is phrased bluntly it is not appreciated. How do you explain this? Is it something psychological?
Dupes and brainwashed partisans may refuse to see facts, but not Armenians with the minimum degree of common sense and decency.

How many words do you need to describe a present day Armenian? Do you need to use the same vocabulary that used to describe an Armenian of the 1950s or 1920s?
There are basically two different species: The Ottomanized and Sovietized on the one hand and the born-again human beings.

Is there a magical way of solving the existing problems in Armenia? Has there been real diagnosis of the problems?
No magic is needed. Only an enlightened community.

Do you think a strong Armenia will remember the Armenian Diaspora or it will only care for the tax-payers?
I don’t have much trust in politicians and nations as much as individuals. I expect little or nothing from our politicians, whose ethics are lower than a snake’s belly full of buck shot.

What is the most effective way to support Armenia?
By refusing to support the corrupt.

You are known to express lots of ideas in few sentences, but don’t you think that sometimes details could shed more light on a particular subject?
Since I have published 30 books and written literally thousand of commentaries I find there is an overabundance of detail in my writings.

Young Armenians need to see things more clearly: how they can achieve this?
By reading more of our great writers as opposed our self-appointed pundits and academics who have no interest in our literature, only in our Middle Ages and in the massacres.

Do you think that we should work diplomatically with Arab or Islamic countries to explain them our historical presence in the area and encourage them to recognize the Genocide, or this is something that will automatically follow as the World recognizes the Genocide?
The alternative of being diplomatic is to be undiplomatic – not a viable option. As for Genocide recognition: Nations do whatever is in their own best interest. Ethics is for individuals not, it seems, for tribes, nations and empires. The British have a slogan: “We have neither friends nor enemies. Only interests”.

You have translated a lot of literature work into English. Do you think by translating Armenian works into Arabic we gain the attention of the Arabs? What kind of work should we translate?
The best works, of course. But as I said, don’t expect literary masterpieces to change a politician’s mind.
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