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Old 04.06.2008, 17:49   #1
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Sunday, June 1, 2008
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ON CHURCH UNITY
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Whenever we speak of solidarity and church unity, we should consider the possibility that we may end up with an ayatollah rather than a pope in Etchmiadzin. But even if we are lucky enough to end up with a pope (a remote possibility that one) let's consider the contributions of the papacy to the world and more particularly to Italy: obscurantism (hence the Dark Ages) dogmatism, intolerance, the persecution of dissidents and heretics, crusades, religious wars (one of which lasted a hundred years) and more recently collaboration with fascist regimes and the mafia. I could also mention fornicating Renaissance popes and American cardinals who covered up and thus aided and abetted child molesting priests. All this assuming of course our church will act in complete freedom, as opposed to being subservient to the king, sultan, and more recently to the KGB (Etchmiadzin) and the CIA (Antelias).
If you think I speak as a hostile witness, listen to Raffi: “Instead of an elite or an aristocracy, we have merchants and clergymen. Merchants are trash. As for the clergy: they have always been against individual freedom.” Elsewhere: “Our clergymen preach patience to us thus promoting subservience to the point of slavery.” But “What's done is done. What we must do now is assess the damage and figure out how to avoid the next catastrophe.”
The next catastrophe, which is also a present catastrophe, is emigration from the Homeland and assimilation in the Diaspora, both of which amount to “white slaughter.” And what are our merchants and clergymen doing to combat this scandal? Preaching and promoting “law and order,” that is to say, subservience to authority. The more things change...
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A final word on solidarity: one must differentiate between the solidarity of a nation that is brainwashed by a supreme leader who may be more dangerous and evil than a serial killer, and the kind of solidarity that unites a nation with a common identity, culture, and purpose. I suggest it is a serious blunder to place our hopes of solidarity on a leader, party, clique, or mafia.
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June 2, 2008
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ABOUT KEMALISM (PART TWO)
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Kemal continues to be a taboo subject in Turkey. To say anything remotely critical of him is “to offend Turkishness.” which may result in being dragged to court like a common criminal. But since neither Giles Milton, author of PARADISE LOST; SMYRNA 1922 (London, 2008, 426 pages) nor his reviewer, Philip Mansel, author of one of the very best books on Constantinople, are Turkish citizens, they discuss freely and objectively the events surrounding the destruction of Smyrna.
About the so-called mysterious fire, Mansel writes: “Milton quotes eye-witnesses who saw Turkish soldiers pouring oil.”
About Kemal we read: while the burning, looting, raping, and killing were going on, Mustafa Kemal spent days up in a villa courting his future wife Latife Hanim, daughter of one of the many Turkish businessmen who had profited from 'infidel Izmir.'” We are further told that thousands of Greek and Armenian men of military age were deported into the interior “in theory to rebuild villages destroyed by the retreating Greek army: few returned.”
Mansel concludes his review by echoing the very same sentiments I voiced in my recent essay “About Kemalism.” He writes: “Kemal shows that, if nothing succeeds like success, it can also be true that nothing fails like success...If Izmir had retained even a fraction of its cosmopolitan population, it might have helped Turkey's entry into the European Union.” For more details, see THE SPECTATOR (London, 10 May 2008, page 40); or Spectator Magazine | World Politics & Current Events News and Discussion
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JUNE 3,1908
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UNITY (PART III)
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Dan Rather: “Our elected leaders will sometimes deceive us, and a free press that does not try to ferret out the truth is not worthy of the name.”
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W.G. Sebald (German writer): “How I wished that I belonged to a different nation.”
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“You quote too much,” Vahe Oshagan told me when we first met. If I do, it may be because we either learn from wiser men or allow ourselves to be brainwashed by fools. This may seem to be a simple enough choice. And yet, throughout history, people have invariably allowed themselves to be manipulated by charlatans.
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Armenians are hard to reform perhaps because every Armenian is convinced he is smart enough to know what's best for himself and the nation.
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What have the Jews learned from their holocaust? Never again! As for us, the only thing we seem to have learned is that Turks are bloodthirsty Asiatic barbarians. Result? Our pundits are now too busy trying to educate, civilize, and enlighten the Turks to have any time left to reform themselves, their fellow Armenians, and their gravediggers. Am I saying Armenians are fools? No. what I am saying is that they are worse than fools because they allow themselves to be deceived by idiots. Am I being negative? If I am, it may be because I lack the wisdom and forbearance to be positive or to see anything remotely positive in our present situation.
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When Vahe Oshagan's last collection of short stories was universally condemned as obscene, he was quoted as having said: “I am ashamed to be an Armenian.”
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June 4, 2008
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ON COLLECTIVE INFANTILISM
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Because I no longer think as I thought when I was ten, I am seen as a hostile witness.
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If we view our dividers as our leaders as opposed to our gravediggers, it may be because we are afraid to call a spade a spade, and because I refuse to call a spade anything else, I am accused of unArmenian activities.
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To convince the average Armenian dupe that our bosses, bishops, and benefactors are frauds and charlatans is as difficult today as to convince the average Turk that Kemalism (i.e. dogmatism, paternalism, authoritarianism) is inimical to true democracy and respect for fundamental human rights, and as such closer to fascism and barbarism than to civilization.
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We share this in common with Turks: we can't recognize fascism when we see it, especially when it wears a benevolent mask.
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To ask what's positive about our history is the same as asking what's positive about subservience; and subservience, according to Zohrab, corrupts even our virtues.
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What's positive about our history? Dikran the Great and his ephemeral empire? Dikran the Great was a loud-mouth and undisciplined coward who ran away from a small Roman legion whom he first mistook as ambassadors.
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There is nothing wrong with our critical faculties. If anything they are highly developed, but they are directed only at the world. Incapable to reforming ourselves, we are eager to undertake an easier project, that of reforming the world, most of which isn't even aware of our existence.
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