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Old 19.07.2008, 18:10   #1
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Thursday, July 17. 2008
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ILLUSIONS
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A headline in our paper this morning reads: “Saudi king calls for unity and reconciliation.” If kings can entertain illusions, why not Armenian scribblers?...
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Some Armenians believe if they lower Turks, they will raise themselves. Like most beliefs, this too is an illusion. People don't judge you by how much you hate your enemies, but by how well you treat your friends.
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What is the difference between an Armenian who uses his tongue like a yataghan and an executioner? The executioner thinks of himself as a law-and-order man. The Armenian believes his superior brand of patriotism allows him to engage in verbal massacre – the real thing being against the law...
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It is said that shortly before he died, Zohrab's assassin dictated an apology. He may have – he was a Kurd.
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Writing for a hostile audience can be more stimulating than writing for a friendly one. But nothing beats writing for Armenians.
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Speaking of Kurdish assassins: When a wealthy Armenian merchant hired a notorious Kurdish assassin to kill Raffi, the Kurd refused to carry out his assignment when he found out his target was only a harmless scribbler. Had the Kurd been an Armenian, I suspect the story would have had a different ending.
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Friday, July 18, 2008
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AS I SEE IT
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Empires are not born but made. Once upon a time all empires were a single obscure little tribe in some remote corner of the map. It takes a thousand right policy decisions for a tribe to become an empire, and it takes an equal number of wrong decision for a tribe to remain a tribe.
Whenever this subject comes up, I hear someone say, “We Armenians are peace-loving people, not greedy and bloodthirsty empire builders.”
Such an Armenian speaks with a forked tongue. I believe nothing he says because he does not speak, he parrots hearsay evidence. Such an Armenian will believe anything that flatters his vanity. In another context this very same Armenian will boast about the empire of Dikran the Great.
Don't get me wrong. I am not here to extol imperialism. I am only trying to understand and explain reality as objectively as I can without allowing the propaganda of politicians to contaminate my reason.
All politicians lie, including our own. Nothing unusual in that. Our historians, like most historians, lie too, and they lie to earn their pay. We hate to admit this for a number of reasons. We hate to admit that subservience has entered our bloodstream and rearranged our DNA. For many centuries we were subservient to foreign despots. We are now subservient to the lies of our wheeler-dealers even when they tell us they had nothing to do with our misfortunes. It was all written. Kismet. God is great, and God in His wisdom has willed it thus and so.
It has been said that Christianity replaced the human master (or king) with the divine master, and God is a king who doesn't have to exist in order to rule.
Again and again I am told to be more positive and to provide solutions. Does that mean lies are positive and truth negative? Does that mean objective judgment is suspect and propaganda patriotic?
A critic's job is not to kiss ass and say it smells like roses, but to expose contradictions, and more particularly, the lies of charlatans.
As for solutions: Do you then think all our writers have been doing during the last 1500 years is engage in mental masturbation? If you think that, all I can say is: May God have mercy on your soul, if there is a God and you have a soul.
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Saturday, July 19, 2008
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RONDO
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The biggest mistakes are the easiest to make.
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Even when historians agree on the facts or physics (time, place, numbers) they may disagree on the metaphysics (values, ethics, religious commandments). Some Muslims are brought up to believe killing infidels is not a crime against humanity but a religious duty. They may thus plead not guilty by reason of religious conviction, belief system, or metaphysical insanity.
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The rule is, if a politician and historian agree, they must be both wrong.
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Losing wars is not a crime. It can happen to the mightiest empires (remember the Yanks in Vietnam and the Soviets in Afghanistan). Peace-loving and civilized people may be enslaved by warlike barbarians. That too is not a crime. What is a crime, and a serious one, is, in legal parlance, dropping your pants and bending over. To the sultans we were their most loyal millet, and to the Bolsheviks we betrayed our ablest men. But that's not our greatest blunder either. Our greatest blunder,which is worse than a crime, is treating our own leaders as if they were sultans and commissars.
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Habits die hard. It may take more than a century to shake off habits acquired during millennia. For more on this subject, read Baronian and Odian – two men with cojones who spoke the truth as they saw it. Baronian was betrayed to the police and Odian died an alcoholic. And finally, consider the case of Gomidas Vartabed whose sole ambition in life was to revive our ancient melodies and harmonies. He too was betrayed to the authorities and eventually took refuge in insanity.
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