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Old 17.10.2009, 18:22   #166
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Thursday, October 15, 2009
************************************
THE SOURCE OF ALL EVIL
****************************************************
Rabbis, imams, sultans and their Christian counterparts in the West: They may believe they speak in the name of God but they speak in the name of a figment of their imagination in which they are, if not God, than one with the Almighty. What makes them powerful is their connection with the collective unconscious, and the unconscious is the source of all evil.
*
You begin to think for yourself only on the day you begin to see the Big Lie that is at the root of all propaganda lines.
*
Call a military defeat a moral victory and you've got yourself a win-win proposition; which may suggest that, in addition to being the first nation to convert to Christianity, we may also qualify as the first nation to be taken in by the "massals" of spin doctors.
*
We have been careless in our choice of enemies and even more careless in our choice of friends who can be even more dangerous than enemies. Our leaders did not massacre us, true, they only made us more vulnerable to massacres.
*
There has been so much oppression, injustice, and slavery in the world that one is tempted to conclude God may not always be on the side of equality, liberty, and fraternity.
#
Friday, October 16, 2009
************************************
REVIEWING THE ****UATION
****************************************************
The Jews worshiped Jehovah,
the Greeks Jupiter,
the Russians Jugashvili,
and the Yanks the Almighty –
and I don't mean the Good Lord.
If you see progress here,
I must be blind.
*
The Turks are a nasty folk,
and so am I
because I refuse to be bamboozled.
*
Sartre was an atheist.
He believed in freedom
but supported Stalin, Mao, and Castro,
not exactly friends of freedom.
Sartre's master was Heidegger
whose master was Hitler.
*
In the Ottoman Empire
we were brainwashed
to be loyal subjects of the Sultan.
In the Soviet Union
we were brainwashed to be good comrades
and to kill and die for the Union,
but mostly to die.
We are now being brainwashed
by the brainwashed
to believe we are in good hands.
Now then, go ahead and say
you see a light at the end of the tunnel,
because speaking for myself,
I don't even see a tunnel --
probably because I am blind.
#
Saturday, October 17, 2009
************************************
SONGS OF THE BLEEDING THROAT
****************************************************
Because history is the propaganda of the victor, we have made of it the consolation of the loser. Our revolutionaries assert they were not terrorists, they were freedom fighters. Americans are familiar with that line and they don't buy it. That's why when it comes to Genocide recognition they side with the Turks. They have other reasons. Imperial powers have neither friends nor enemies, only interests, and American interests are not on our side. We are of no use to them – except in time of elections when they are more than willing to tell us what we want to hear and we are more than willing to believe them. Being dupes comes naturally to us. It might as well be a habit, an addiction, a gorilla on our collective back impossible to shake off. Americans know this. So do our own leaders, whose lies are as bare-faced as those of Yanks running for office.
*
The average book on Turkish atrocities is another atrocity. In our efforts to paint them all black and ourselves all white, we succeed only in exposing our propaganda and damaging our credibility.
I am reading a new book on the Genocide in which our deportations during World War I are compared to the Japanese deportations in America during World War II. There are ”loaded” comparisons as surely as there are loaded questions and as such they should be inadmissible, and those who make them ought to know better. It would be fairer to compare the treatment of Blacks and Indians in America with the treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
*
So far no book by an Armenian comes close to explaining why a writer of Siamanto's stature hated life in America so much that he preferred to return to Istanbul knowing full well that he could be butchered. Which he was. Or why an intellectual like Roupen Sevag, a medical doctor by profession and another victim of the Genocide, defended the Turks to his German fiancée when she was critical of them and wanted to convince him to move to Europe.
*
Speaking of Oshagan, Zarian writes somewhere that when writers like him speak of Homeland they don't mean Armenia but Istanbul. Several decades before the massacres, Raffi warned the Ottoman Empire was no place for Armenians. And notwithstanding Zarian's own repeated warnings that Soviet Armenia was no place for Armenians, American-educated Totovents and Sorbonne-educated Zabel Yessayan returned to Armenia only to perish in Stalin's Gulags. If our ablest intellectuals behave like dupes, why should we be surprised that there are still Armenians who trust our wheeler-dealers who try to brainwash us into believing we are in good hands and we have nothing to worry about?
#
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Old 21.10.2009, 19:18   #167
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Sunday, October 18, 2009
************************************
WE NEVER LEARN
****************************************************
”We may think of Turks as backward Asiatic slobs,” Shahan Shahnour warns us somewhere, ”but make no mistake about it: when it comes to Armenians, they can be very, very calculating and methodical.”
If the intention of the Protocols was to pit the Diaspora against the Homeland, it was must be declared a brilliant coup -- judging by the Diaspora's venomous opposition to the regime in Yerevan.
*
The Turks are now imposing punitive taxation on their media barons critical of the regime. It seems they respect a free press as much as we do.
I will never forget the conversation I once had with the publisher of a bilingual (English-Armenian) weekly in Los Angeles. He began by informing me that he had received a call from the secretary of a national benefactor.
”What did he want?” I asked, smelling a rat.
”He demanded why I go on publishing you,” was his reply.
”And you said?”
”I said I edit only the Armenian section, someone else handles the English section.”
”Did he buy that?”
I guess he didn't because shortly thereafter I was fired with no explanation, severance pay, or even a thank you note for my decade -long pro bono weekly contributions of book reviews, commentaries, and translations.
#
Monday, October 19, 2009
************************************
COMMENTS
****************************************************
”Deal may end Turkish-Armenian friction,” reads the headline of a commentary on the Protocols by a British pundit. So far however it has succeeded only in increasing Diaspora-Homeland friction.
*
According to a British diplomat, also quoted in today's paper: ”Africans as a whole are not only not averse to cutting off their nose to spite their face; they regard such an operation as a triumph of cosmetic surgery.”
My first thought: That makes two of us.
*
If you can't explain the inexplicable, what's the use of writing?
*
Every morning on waking up sometimes I fail to remind myself that the sun does not rise to hear me crowing.
#
Tuesday, 20 October, 2009
***********************************************
MAKING CONNECTIONS
*************************************
”A dog starved at his master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.” (William Blake)
*
To understand history means to see the connecting tissue that binds two apparently unrelated occurrences. Naregatsi's lamentations and a thousand years of subservience. Abovian's suicide and the Genocide. Tolstoy's excommunication and the Russian revolution. The persecution of dissenters and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
*
Perhaps one reason we don't behead our ”kings” is that they know how to flatter our vanity. Example: We are a young nation and the oldest civilization.
*
If on occasion I insult my fellow Armenians it may be because so far flattery has not worked for us.
*
If they massacred us because they hated us, does that justify our own hatred for them? What if hatred is toxic to our understanding of our enemies, or for that matter of our friends, and ultimately of ourselves and reality?
*
I never say anything about others that I am not prepared to say about myself. It is through my own failings that I recognize them in others.
#
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
****************************************
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
********************************************************
Someone voices an opinion, another develops it, a third sees an idea in it, and a fourth formulates a general theory. That's how human thought is advanced. But where there is intolerance, there will be censorship, and where there is censorship, progress will be arrested, creativity aborted, and man moronized.
*
I too am a survivor – not of Turkish atrocities but of moronized fellow countrymen.
*
All men are created equal, but some men are in a better position to say one thing, do the opposite, and get away with murder.
*
Like most men I was educated to be a dupe, but unlike most men I continued to be one even in my advanced years. When an Armenian writer from Beirut once told me he had given up writing because several of his masterpieces had burned during the civil war in Beirut, I believed him. But when I mentioned this to another writer from Beirut, I was told that's a favorite cliché of Beirutsi intellectuals – to blame the non-existence of their works on the war.
*
What we need is an Armenian Human Rights Commission that will expose our dismal human rights record. We are either for human rights or against it. If we are against it, we must be for Levantine charlatanism, Soviet brutality, and Asiatic barbarism.
*
We have a veritable alphabet soup of organizations and bureaucracies run by Levantine wheeler-dealers in the Diaspora and former commissars in the Homeland. What we don't have and need badly is a Human Rights Commission.
Bureaucrats are bureaucrats regardless of nationality. Unchecked by watchdog agencies, they will grab as much power as they can. But what I find even more repellent than power-hungry bureaucrats is the silence of our academics and intellectuals. Mart bidi ch'ellank.
*
I wonder, do Turks have a Human Rights Commission? If they don't, in what way are we different from them? If they do, is it conceivable that they are more civilized than we are? Something to think about.
#
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Old 28.10.2009, 18:22   #168
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Sunday, October 25, 2009
****************************************
OPTIONS
********************************************************
A slave has two options: to obey or to die. An Armenian writer's position today is not much different: he either says ”yes, sir!” to our bosses, bishops, benefactors and their flunkies or he starves.
*
Like commissars, readers who are against criticism can be nasty critics and excellent executioners.
*
If you have been taken in by fools, you can't be as smart as you think you are. Now then, consider the number of times we have been taken in by the empty verbiage of promises and treaties of the West, our Big Brothers to the North, and American presidential candidates. I suspect if fools of the world had their own United Nations and we applied for membership, we would be rejected as surely as Turks are today by the EU on the grounds that we are not smart enough to be one of them.
*
If I am the only one who writes as I do, that doesn't mean I am also the only one who thinks as I do.
*
If you disagree with those who speak in the name of God and Country, you will be accused of speaking in the name of the Devil and in defense of treason. And dupes being dupes (present company suspected) will be against you.
*
What if I am wrong?
O how I wish I were!
*
”The unspoken message of everything he wrote was his conviction that far from being the smartest people on earth, his fellow countrymen were the dumbest.”
I would welcome this verdict in my obituary.
*
Words and actions have consequences; so do silence and inaction.
#
Monday, October 26, 2009
****************************************
GOLDEN APPLES
********************************************************
One reason I write as I do is to celebrate the fact that I am no longer dependent on the charity of swine. Another is that no one gives a damn. In the kind of environment we have created for ourselves, the status of Armenian writers is (in the expression of Southern hillbillies) lower than a snake's belly full of buckshot.
*
And speaking of hillbillies: There was once and was not an old peasant by the name of Abou Hassan who had a worn out pair of shoes he wanted to get rid of. First he flings them out the window and they come flying right back in – compliments of an irate passerby. Next he takes a long walk and hurls them into a lake. Again they are returned to him by a furious fisherman. Finally he decides to bury them in his backyard. But as he gets busy digging a hole under cover of darkness, he is spied on by a nosy neighbor who thinks old man Abou is trying to hide his valuables...
*
Armenian writers and Abou Hassan's worn out shoes share one thing in common: they are not easy to get rid of. Systematically murdered by the likes of Talaat and Stalin, silenced and starved by our bosses, bishops, and benefactors, they refuse to be cast aside, drowned, and buried.
Why?
To what end?
For what purpose?
*
In Nicholson Baker's latest novel, THE ANTHOLOGIST (New York, 2009) I come across the following three lines from a poem by Coventry Patmore that may provide a tentative answer:
”When all its work is done, the lie shall rot;
The truth is great and shall prevail,
When none cares whether it prevail or not.”
*
Armenian fables have a traditional ending that goes something like this:
”Three golden apples fell from heaven: the first for the teller of the tale, the second for those who heard it, and the third for those who understood it.”
What happens to the third golden apple when no one understands the hidden message of the story?
*
We are told people deserve their leaders. The same applies to their writers. If we no longer have writers like Abovian, Raffi, and Zabel Yessayan it may be because we are buried beneath a Mt. Ararat of rotten apples.
#
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
****************************************
MINOU
********************************************************
When a little girl by the name of Minou Drouet published a volume of verse and was hailed as a prodigy by the French press, Cocteau said: ”Every child is a genius except Minou Drouet.” And sure enough, she was never heard from again.
*
No one is born mediocre. Mediocrity is premeditated, planned, advertised, and promoted on the grounds that we need factory hands to build cars, construction workers to raise sky-scrapers; we need janitors and garbage collectors more than we need prophets; and above all, we need dupes willing and eager to fight and die for us in the name of patriotism.
*
A coward thinks he deserves a medal for slicing a watermelon; and my guess is, bullies like Bush Jr. and his vice think they deserve to be treated like saviors of the nation for their tough talk.
*
Those who have been exposed to only one side of the story as children, will find it very difficult to believe there may be another side as adults.
*
Who is more guilty: our enemies who slaughtered us or our friends who, for all practical purposes, they might as well have issued an invitation to the slaughter? As for our revolutionaries: all they appear to have learned from their blunders is to make fiery speeches.
#
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
****************************************
PATHOLOGY
********************************************************
To hate, to really hate,
means to hate even those
who do not share your hatred.
That's the way our Turcocentric ghazetajis hate.
You can recognize a Turcocentric ghazetaji
by the fact that he writes only against Turks,
and he hates because he has been taught to hate.
He is following orders.
He has been told
Turks are the source of all evil.
As for the arrogance,
the incompetence,
and the stupidity of our bosses:
what arrogance?
What incompetence?
What stupidity?
What bosses?
A dog, it is said, knows his master,
but not his master's master.
Once, when I tried to explain
the dangers of pathological hatred
to one of our ghazetajis, he said:
”But all I am doing is
trying to defend our interests.”
Why is it that with defenders like him
I feel more threatened?
If you live in a world of illusions,
reality becomes a source of dread.
And because I speak of reality
I am identified as an enemy,
and worse, as pro-Turkish.
#
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Old 31.10.2009, 16:54   #169
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Thursday, October 29, 2009
****************************************
COMMENTS
********************************************************
”Education is a womb-to-tomb activity. The person who isn't educating himself is obviously dead.” From INTERVIEWS WITH NORTHROP FRYE (Toronto, 2008, page 68.)
*
I remember to have read somewhere, it is easy to resurrect a corpse; much more difficult to raise the brain-dead.
*
In a recent issue of THE NEW YORKER (Oct. 21, 2009) there is a portrait of Nikki Finke, a Hollywood columnist, where we read that she ”portrays many of the town's leaders as jackasses who elbow underlings aside to hog the spotlight... downsize underlings while lining their own pockets, and generally besmirch the fabric of civilization.”
*
Our problems are universal, with one difference: we don't like talking about them and whenever someone dares to do so, we shut him up in the name of patriotism, of course!
*
Our emperors have no clothes because what they need to hide is so tiny that it might as well be invisible to the naked eye.
*
Armenians are incomprehensible not because they are too complex but because they are absurd.
*
Is writing for Armenians some kind of anomaly or a complex in need of psychological therapy? I am not sure. Judging by the number of writers we have produced and the zero effect they have had on the direction of our collective existence, it must surely qualify as an exercise in futility and a total waste of time. Perhaps one reason I go on writing is to remind our jackasses that they can't fool all the people all the time, and if there is only one they can't fool today, there may be two tomorrow.
*
I am told there are readers who can't stand the sight of my name on their computer screen. I have an instant solution to that problem: it's called the Spam button. You don't know about it? Ask a child.
*
Ajarian, the foremost authority on the Armenian language, is quoted as having said: ”Who among us can pretend to know the Armenian language?”
#
Friday, October 30, 2009
****************************************
OTTOMANISM AND ARMENIANISM
********************************************************
”If you have them at your mercy and they are in no position to retaliate, be merciless!” That's the Ottoman way. The Armenian way? About the same. If on occasion I show no mercy in my dealings with our jackasses, it's for a good reason: to let them have a taste of their own venom.
*
”Before they start accusing me of sins I have never even dreamed to commit, let me plead guilty to all of them to satisfy their blood lust.” This may well have been Naregatsi's state of mind when he sat down to compose his LAMENTATION. And judging by the astonishing number of sins he enumerates, the 11th century must have been our Golden Age of Backbiting.
*
It is written: ”Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Armenian translation: ”If he is innocent and you are guilty, stone the bugger to death before he has a chance to expose you.”
*
There is an inflexible law in our collective existence: ”The better you get, the worst they treat you.” You want evidence? Make a list of our best writers and consider the manner of their deaths. And remember to include Talaat's and Stalin's victims because they were betrayed by their fellow Armenians. Americans treat their dogs with greater kindness. My guess is, the reason why we have a veritable alphabet soup of cultural and charitable foundations is to cover up our philistinism and Ottomanism.
#
Saturday, October 31, 2009
****************************************
IN PRAISE OF THE OPPOSITION
********************************************************
Only the insecure read to have their prejudices reinforced.
As a Catholic I enjoyed reading books that were on the Index.
I was taught to believe Turks were bloodthirsty savages. I now have Turkish friends with whom I enjoy exchanging views – something I cannot say about my fellow Armenians.
After a brief stay in New York City, an anti-Semite friend of the family from Greece paid us a visit. ”I saw quite a few Jews there,” he said at one point. ”Guess what. They are people like you and me!”
I have met several Armenians, among them a poet and a businessman, who on visiting Turkey, they became infatuated with Turks. I have also met Armenians who after visiting the Homeland and on their return to America, they went down on their knees and, like the Polish Pope, kissed the tarmac.
I have learned more about Tashnaks by reading Ramgavars and vice versa.
I am a liberal who enjoys reading the NATIONAL REVIEW, and one of my favorite contemporary American writers is Buckley's son, Christopher.
Friends justify your blunders and cover up your failings, they thus do more harm than good. I have learned more about myself by reading my critics. Perhaps one reason we have been going backwards as a community is our collective fear of criticism and dissent.
Mart bidi ch'ellank!
#
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Old 14.08.2010, 18:15   #170
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Thursday, August 12, 2010
************************************
REBUTTAL
*************************************
After reading my memos, one of my Turkish friends, himself the author of a fat denialist tome, has written a detailed rebuttal which I stop reading when I run into the kind of fallacy that is bound to undermine the validity of everything that follows in addition to demolishing his much vaunted objectivity.
*
My good friend seems to be saying that truth is on the side of big battalions. If revolutionaries win, he explains, they are heroes. But if they lose, they are criminals guilty of a capital offense and as such they deserve to die, and not just they but also their women, children, parents, and everyone else that shares their ethnic origin. That's because in time of war it is not always easy to separate the sheep from the goats even when the sheep may outnumber the goats.
*
Another implication that comes across loud and clear is that, if the overwhelming majority of Western historians assert the reality of the Genocide, it may be because (one) they, unlike my good friend, haven't done their homework, and (two) like most of their Armenian counterparts, they have an anti-Turkish bias. It follows, only historians who deny the reality of the Genocide are true historians. The rest are dupes of Armenian propaganda.
*
Another curious point that I noted about my good friend is that he doesn't like proverbial sayings and he dismisses their wisdom as old wives' tales. I disagree. I love words of wisdom, especially when they challenge my fundamental assumptions and expose my prejudices and bias. I believe a single proverb is worth more than a thousand documents whose relevance and authenticity may well be bogus. Which is why I cannot resist the temptation of quoting the following passage from the TALMUD that I read early this morning:
“Let the honor of thy fellow be as dear to thee as thine own. Be not easily angered. Repent one day before thy death. And keep warm at the fire of the sages, but beware of their glowing coal lest thou be scorched: for their bite is the bite of a jackal, and their sting the sting of a scorpion, and their hiss the hiss of a serpent – moreover all their words are like coals of fire.”
#
Friday, August 13, 2010
************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*************************************
Let's get one thing straight: I am not anti-social. Rather, it is society that is anti-individual. And if I am not active in the community it may be because the community has no use for the likes of me and it prefers to deal, support, and compensate bearded hoodlums armed to the teeth with guitars and braying like jackasses, or idiots who hit a ball with a stick. I don't see why I should moronize myself to please my moronized fellow men.
*
Throughout history man has hated in the name of love, committed injustice in the name of justice, and professed dedication to truth in the name of a Big Lie. Which is why after centuries and millennia Jews and Christians, Protestants and Catholics, supporters and opponents of capital punishment, abortion, and war, have failed to resolve their differences.
*
An Armenian has two sets of enemies, Turks and Armenians, and of the two, he hates Armenians more.
*
Eventually all thinking Armenians will have to ask themselves the question: What if it is not God at whose right hand we sit but the Devil?
*
I am willing to concede that all my observations on Armenians are also confessions.
*
“Where there is a trough, there will be swine.”
Likewise, where there is a benefactor, there will be brown-nosers.
And where there is propaganda, there will bedupes and one or more dissidents.
*
No matter how good the theory, there will be another that will contradict it.
*
The American illusion: “We may not be very smart but with the dollar we can hire the best brains.”
*
What if in the next life – if there is one -- the final questions will remain unanswered?
#
Saturday, August 14, 2010
************************************
TH RELIGION OF DENIAL
*************************************
Assertions are not made in a vacuum but within a context of unspoken assumptions whose absurdity may be hidden to insiders but as clearly visible to outsiders as a city set on a hill. In what follows I will list a handful of these assumptions made by our denialist friends.
*
Our books are based on authentic evidence. By contrast, books of the opposition are based on hearsay, old wives' tales, and forgeries.
*
Some of our key documents are of Armenian origin, and when an Armenian is on our side, he is an honest man; but when he is against us, he is a charlatan, a crook, and a liar whose testimony should be dismissed as inadmissible.
*
The authority of the state is sacrosanct. To challenge it is to incur its wrath.
*
If the authority of the state is sacrosanct, its assertions cannot be questioned. If the present regime says there was no genocide, there was no genocide. End of story.
*
When Talaat and Co. challenged the divine authority of the Sultan, they were right to do so. When Kemal did the same to Talaat and Co., he too was right. But when Armenians did the same, they were guilty of a capital offense and what followed was justified retaliation with some inevitable peripheral casualties.
#

Sunday, August 8, 2010
************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*************************************
The thought that writing for Armenians is a waste of time never leaves me.
*
I am all for tolerance, but I am myself tolerant only when drunk. Koestler may be right. What the world needs is a tolerance pill, if only to numb the crocodilian brain in us.
*
If in the next life (assuming there is one) the riddle of life and death is solved, will we say, “But of course, I should have guessed!” or will we say, “I should never have guessed this!”
*
When after World War II the victorious Allies decided to reduce Germany to a shadow of itself, they divided it into two. We don't need anyone to divide us into two; we can divide ourselves into twenty-two on our own.
*
When asked why he had hardly moved from his house for twelve years, Vladimir Horowitz is quoted as having said: “You don't like my house?” And when asked why he plays Clementi Sonatas, he replies: “You don't like Clementi?”
The other day a reader wanted to know if I was priest. I should have pulled a Horowitz on him and said, “You don't like priests?”
*
And speaking of rabbis, in the TALMUD I read: “He that does not increase shall cease, he that does not learn deserves to die, and he that puts the crown to his own use shall perish.”
Tough buggers, those old rabbis.
*
Anonymous: “The drowning man has no fear of rain.”
*
Avedik Issahakian: “The rich reap the fruit, the poor pluck the thorn.”
#
Monday, August 9, 2010
************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*************************************
Everyone in Washington is on the take.
So what else is new?
The American Congress is the best Congress money can buy.
Why don't you tell me something I don't know?
What about us? Do you think we are morally superior? What about our bosses, bishops, and benefactors? Are they all gentlemen?
What kind of people assert moral superiority?
Only the scum of the earth.
*
When we brag about survival, let us not forget that treason and betrayal also qualify as survival tactics.
*
What if life after death is as different as being is from nothingness?
*
Every time a man speaks the truth he makes a thousand enemies; that’s because for every bitter truth there are a thousand sweet lies and as many dupes who hate to give up their illusions.
*
Men of reason may compromise and reach a consensus. Reason has at no time played a central role in Armenian affairs. The gut, yes. The brain, no!
*
The secret ambition of every windbag is to be a fire-breathing dragon.
*
Propaganda is a tree that needs the manure of rhetoric. Truth can stand on its own even in the middle of a desert.
#
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
************************************
GOOD MEN
*************************************
After reading my memos, one of my Turkish friends accuses me of anti-Turkish bias. I try to explain to him that my “bias” is not against people in general regardless of race, color, and creed, but against regimes, and more specifically, against individuals who formulate criminal policies and their underlings who implement them because not implementing them would mean loss of power, prestige, title, and income.
*
There are good men everywhere, granted. But good men cease to be good when they become dupes of leaders who abuse their power.
*
Speaking of good men: I owe my very existence to a kind Turkish cop who warned my father's family of the coming catastrophe, even when this warning, if exposed, would have cost him his job or even his life.
#
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
************************************
READING
*************************************
What makes Andre Agassi's AUTOBIOGRAPHY compulsively readable is its colloquial style and searing honesty. At one point he identifies his father as an Armenian from Iran who curses in Assyrian (probably because Assyrian sounds more menacing). Speaking of an opponent he writes: “His serve is uncannily accurate. If he misses, it's only by a bee's dick.”
Agassi writes like someone who has been in hell and back. The moral of his story seems to me, never do what someone else wants you to do even if by following his instructions may take you to the top of the world and into the bed of the likes of Brooke Shields and Barbra Streisand (which at the time was rumored to be less a May-December than an AD and BC affair).
*
Some of my readers inform me that I am a pessimist, probably because I have a grim view of our present reality. Others tell me I am an optimist, probably because they think I write hoping I can make a difference or change things. These contradictory reactions confirm my own view of myself as someone who thinks as a pessimist but works as an optimist. As for changing things: to entertain such an illusion would be less optimism and more megalomania bordering on insanity. The only thing I want to accomplish is to give insomnia to our charlatans and blood****ers, and I shall consider my mission accomplished even if the insomnia lasts no more than a fraction of a second.
*
Once upon a time, about 2000 years ago (give and take a decade or two) there lived a Roman emperor by the name of Vespasian (no, he was not of Armenian descent). He was a good emperor -- much better than average, according to most historians. But since the Senators didn’t like some of his policies, they demoted him to Supervisor of Public Urinals. Vespasian was not in any way offended or discouraged. He said to his staff, “I intend to discharge my duties as Supervisor of Public Urinals as competently and diligently as I discharged my duties as emperor.”
To this day Italians use his name instead of giovanni (john). To say “I am going to pay a visit to Vespasian,” means I am going to the john.
I think of Vespasian often perhaps because what keeps me going is the thought that, if my detractors are right and I am in fact nothing but an extremely minor scribbler, I will at least be an honest one.
#

Thursday, August 5, 2010
************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*************************************
One reason I am overly critical of Armenians is that I see too many of my own failings in them.
*
It is not that like all nations or human institutions tribal people are sometimes wrong; rather, they can do nothing right. Everything they do contributes to their disintegration.
*
A pundit is useless to an audience of superpundits.
*
Capitalism is morally superior to Communism if only because greed for money is less lethal than greed for power.
*
More often than not bias is expressed in the selection of facts rather than in their misinterpretation.
*
Jean Rostand: “There are some persons we could not cut down to size without diminishing ourselves as well.”
*
Thomas Hardy: “More life may tickle out of men through fear than through a gaping wound.”
*
Anonymous: “Skinheads have more hair than brains.”
*
Anonymous: “A friend in need is history.”
#
Friday, August 6, 2010
************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*************************************
The difference between verbiage and garbage is that garbage may be recycled and verbiage cannot because it may contain dangerous contaminants.
*
Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923): “Non-rational beliefs are more important in spurring men to action than logical demonstration.”
It is also true that non-rational beliefs generate masters of persuasion who speak in the name of reason and common sense. Aquinas learned more from Aristotle and less from the prophets.
*
According to Pavese, who killed himself because an American starlet did not return his love: “One does not kill oneself for love or a woman, but because love – any love – reveals us in our nakedness, our misery, our vulnerability, our nothingness.”
*
Pascal: “The 'I' is hateful.”
Fichte: “For he who still has a self – in him assuredly there is nothing good.”
It follows, if the “I” or the “self” or the individual is nothing, the state must be everything. Hence the universal appeal of patriotism, nationalism, fascism, and ultimately war and massacre.
I am reminded of Erdogan's dictum: “Muslims don't commit genocide.”
That's because Muslims act in the name of an all “merciful” and “compassionate” Allah. Or rather, their actions are not theirs but Allah's. Now then, go ahead, accuse the Almighty of criminal conduct.
*
It is the questions that cannot be answered that are asked again and again. And it is the incomprehensible and inexplicable that generates the greatest number of explanations.
*
Where there is censorship, seek to be among the silenced.
*
Andre Agassi in his AUTOBIOGRAPHY: “Life will throw everything but the kitchen sink in your path, and then it will throw the kitchen sink.”
If life does that to his kind, imagine if you can what it does to the rest of us.
#
Saturday, August 7, 2010
************************************
A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE
*************************************
Our revolutionaries in the Ottoman Empire had little knowledge of the Great Powers, little knowledge of the Ottoman temperament, little knowledge of the consequences of their actions, little knowledge of politics, history, and diplomacy, and no knowledge at all of the proposition that a leader is first and foremost a servant of the people and a revolution without popular support is doomed to fail. And they appear to have learned not little but nothing.
*
The Ottomanized and Sovietized Armenian today is as merciless as his prototypes. With one difference: he doesn't have a license to kill. But in every other respect he might as well be an agent of the Sultan or the Kremlin.
*
When a man selects his evidence, seek for the truth in the unselected fraction.
*
The true intention of Turkish denialists is not to convince the jury but to instill the shadow of a doubt in a single juror, because that's all they need for a mistrial.
*
More often than not our disagreements are not between two conflicting ideas but between an idea and nothing, and I consider recycled propaganda less than nothing.
*
Imagine a sardine in a pool of sharks. Imagine an honest Armenian.
*
Rosa Luxemburg: “Freedom means freedom to those who think differently.”
*
Amu Djoleto (African poet):
“What you expect me to sing, I will not,
What you do not expect me to croak, I will.”
#

August 1, 2010
**********************
#4 MEMO TO MY TURKISH FRIENDS:
ON NATIONALISM
****************************************************
What nationalism does is to create an a priori positive image of one's nation (“my country, right or wrong”) and to automatically reject anything that may be remotely negative.
Nationalism is less an ideology and more a pathology – a pathology if only in the sense that it divides mankind into us and them, Abels and Cains, friends and enemies -- the kind of enemies that, if you don't kill them first, they will kill you. As a result, murder one is classified as self-defense or at worst justified manslaughter.
*
My nationalist Turkish friends expect me to believe their version of the past as gospel truth and to reject the version of my own nationalist brothers as a pack of distortions and lies. And because I have been critical of our nationalists too, they think I am on their side and I qualify as an honorary Turk.
I am told some of them even quote me in their writings, websites, and speeches to buttress their denialist position. Which may suggest that they are so hungry for evidence that they are even willing to fabricate it.
*
What they miss is that my anti-nationalism targets not just Armenian nationalists but all nationalists, including theirs.
Their bias is such that it makes them blind to the reality of their position.
In their view it was not Turks but Armenians who committed atrocities against unarmed civilians. The bones in the desert are not Armenian but Turkish bones. Talaat is not a criminal but a statesman of vision who did not deserve to be gunned down like a dog in the street by a deranged Armenian assassin.
*
A final comment on the myth of Armeno-Turkish coexistence in the Ottoman Empire.
Gandhi once called the British Empire “satanic.” As far as I know, no one in his right mind has ever described the Ottoman Empire as more civilized and humane than the British Empire. And if some day an ultra-nationalist Turkish historian somewhere calls the regime of the sultans “angelic,” that should be seen as irrefutable evidence of the fact that nationalism is less an ideology and more a pathology, and as such in need of medical treatment rather than philosophical refutation.
#
August 2, 2010
**********************
GROUPS
****************************************************
“On your own you can do nothing. You must join a group,” I am told again and again.
Join a group? How can I if my aim in life is to expose the moral bankruptcy of all groups?
*
What Shaw said of professions (that they are “conspiracies against the laity”) applies to groups regardless of credo, ideology, or political orientation.
*
Speaking of Zarian, a Tashnak editor once wrote to a fellow Tashnak:
“If we publish him he may come to our side.
When he didn't, not only was he silenced but also rumored to be unpredictable, unreliable, untrustworthy, and mad.
Later when the Soviets promised to publish him, he believed them and by the time he realized he had been taken in, it was too late. He spent his final years as an outcast in his own homeland and died with the conviction that he had been killed.
*
In their efforts to assert their own intellectual superiority and moral integrity, our mediocrities now spread the rumor that Zarian was an agent of both the CIA and the KGB.
I too have been accused to being an agent of, among others, the Mossad and the Grey Wolves. To which I can only repeat the words of Socrates: “My poverty is proof of my honesty.”
*
Sooner or later all groups become criminal conspiracies.
*
The longevity of a group or belief system guarantees nothing. Astrology has been with us longer than any organized religion.
*
Where there is a belief system that asserts monopoly on truth, there will also be deceivers and dupes.
*
Where faith enters, lies and prejudices are sure to follow.
*
What needs to be glorified is not faith but doubt.
*
The destiny of blind men is to be at the mercy of other blind men who will invariably lead them into the ditch.
*
A member of a party is like a dog who knows his master but not his master's master.
#
August 3, 2010
**********************
#5 MEMO
TO MY TURKISH FRIENDS
****************************************************
You dare to speak of six centuries of peaceful Armeno-Turkish coexistence in the Ottoman Empire. You forget that during this so-called brotherly co-existence you raped our daughters and forced them into concubinage; and you abducted our sons and forced them to kill and die in your imperialist wars of conquest. You did these things legally of course because your legal system was rotten.
*
Times change and laws change but you continue to think with the old Ottomanized brain, hence the absurd notion that, like the Sultan before them, both Talaat and Kemal represented the Almighty on earth and as such they could do no wrong, and anyone who says otherwise is guilty of treason and deserves to die.
*
A man can get used to anything. You got used to your own vileness and we got used to our own cowardly subservience. In that sense, the Ottoman Empire was not the blessing you like to believe it was, but a curse to both of us.
And if we massacred you whenever we had the upper hand it may be because as your subjects, we adopted and put into practice the values and methods of our masters. Before you blame us, blame yourself.
*
In one of his Anatolian travelogues Lord Kinross, a notorious Turcophile and the future author of a mammoth biography of Kemal, quotes an old Turkish peasant as having said: “We taught the Armenians a lesson the will never forget.” This illiterate peasant understood what educated, modernized, denialist scholars pretend not to understand today, namely that, what you did to us can neither be forgotten nor forgiven or, for that matter, covered up.
#
August 4, 2010
**********************
DIARY
****************************************************
Reading the TALMUD. Some good lines in it. “Love work, hate lordship, and seek no intimacy with the ruling powers.”
*
A hundred years ago our writers knew how to deal with our bosses, bishops, and benefactors. We appear to have lost the art and with it our cojones. The offspring of our revolutionaries now refer to one another as “boys” and to our benefactors as “baron.” The only lesson they appear to have learned from their experience in the Ottoman Empire is respect for authority and everyone in its neighborhood even if they are no better than yes-men, brown-nosers, and the scum of the earth. Hence the saying, “Once upon a time we were slaves. We are now slaves of former slaves.” And this in the land of the brave and the free.
*
Because I am critical of Armenians, my Turkish friends think I must be blind to their shortcomings. I will not apologize for disappointing them.
*
Yesterday’s friend may be (and often is) today’s enemy, but today’s enemy will never be tomorrow’s friend.
*
If you are wrong, they may forgive you. But if you are right, they will silence you.
*
In the late 1860s Dostoevsky wrote: “Russian thought is preparing a grandiose renovation for the entire world…and this will occur in about a century – that’s my passionate belief.”
There you have it: one of the greatest writers of all times confusing wishful thinking with prophecy -- all in the name of faith and patriotism, of course.
*
In a dictionary, I read the following definition:
“Party politics: Politics conducted only through the machinery of the party and against people’s interests generally.”
#

July 29, 2010
**********************
MEMO TO MY TURKISH FRIENDS
****************************************************
You say it was Armenians who slaughtered Turks.
How so, if
(one) we were tiny islands in a vast Turkish sea;
(two) we were not allowed to bear arms; and
(three) we now live on foreign soil and you live in your homeland which was ours long before it was yours.
*
Armenians are guilty of slaughtering Turks?
There are literally thousands of articles published in the international press that speak of Armenian massacres and deportations in Turkey during World War I some of which have been compiled and published as books. Now then, show me a single article published outside Turkey in which it is stated that it was Armenians who massacred and deported Turks.
*
I understand and even sympathize with your loyalty to your tribe, but I suggest a man is judged more by his loyalty to principles of justice and fair play and less by his loyalty to a regime.
*
Speaking of man and criteria of judgment, I am reminded of the old Turkish saying: “Among ten men nine are sure to be women.”
And speaking of loyalty: I would add that loyalty to a regime is at the root of all fascism.
*
And now let us consider the following scenario: A united Armenia (miracles happen) declares war against a divided, weakened, and demoralized Turkey (after all, even mighty empires fall and vanish from the annals of history) and commits crimes against humanity by slaughtering and deporting innocent Turkish civilians. I assure you there will be honest Armenians (and I like to believe I would be among them) who will denounce the perpetrators in the same way that there are today many honest Turks who have raised their voices against Turkish denialists: you see, we are more alike than you think, with one difference: there are many more of you, which also means more criminals, more fanatics, more liars, and more dupes of propaganda.
*
On a number of occasions I have been asked by Turkish friends: “If we tried to exterminate Armenians, how come there are so many of you around the world?”
To which I can only say: millions of Jews are alive today all over the world as well as in Israel. Does that mean the Holocaust is a lie?
*
Another question: Suppose the Ottoman Empire were an Armenian Empire and suppose Turks were a minority in it. And suppose after six long centuries of Armenian oppression some Turks decided to rise against their oppressors: Would you call them freedom fighters, heroic revolutionaries, or terrorists?
You say the Ottoman Empire did not oppress its minorities. Then explain why even the Turks rose against the Sultan? And if you say Talaat was not a fascist guilty of genocide, then explain why he ran away to Berlin?
*
A final note on truth and propaganda:
Where there are conflicting interests, truth may be difficult to establish, unlike propaganda which is easily identified and defined because it supports one set of interests against another – in addition to flattering the collective ego.
Who needs flattery?
My answer: Maybe the “nine women” mentioned in the Turkish saying quoted above, but surely not the “tenth man.”
#
July 30, 2010
**********************
#2 MEMO TO MY TURKISH FRIENDS
****************************************************
You say, “For 600 years Armenians and Turks lived in peace. But suddenly, for no apparent reason, and a time when Turkey was fighting for its own very survival, you decided to side with our enemies and engaged in acts of terrorism within Turkey, thus giving Turks no choice but to take decisive action against you, which is what any state would have done.”
*
What you say contains a number of misconceptions, distortions, and fallacies.
Our revolutionaries were a handful of young idealists.
They did not represent the people.
None of them was democratically elected.
The deportations and atrocities undertaken by the Turkish state
did not target them but innocent law-abiding civilians.
As for Armenian soldiers who fought with the Russians:
again, they did so with no support whatever
from the Armenian people within Turkey.
Besides, no one is accusing the Turks
of killing Armenian soldiers on the battlefield.
*
Now, about the myth (a euphemism for the Big Lie)
of Armeno-Turkish coexistence:
throughout history all oppressors invariably adopt
a paternalist stance towards the oppressed.
They see themselves not as oppressors or masters
but as benefactors and protectors of their subjects;
and they are outraged at any show of discontent or dissent
which they view as ingratitude.
They are convinced the order established by them
has been ordained by the Almighty
and anyone who refuses to accept that self-evident truth
deserves to die.
To tyrants, exploiters, and imperialists,
all revolt is incomprehensible and unjustified.
*
However, the real issue here is not the psychology of oppressors
but why did the Turks target defenseless and law-abiding Armenians?
The obvious answer is,
they adopted a racist stance towards them.
When the American ambassador pointed out to Talaat
that he was targeting friendly Armenians,
Talaat said: “After what we have done to them,
all Armenians will be our enemies.”
Talaat understood and admitted
what you refuse to understand and admit,
perhaps because you continue to think and feel as oppressors.
You think the order established by your military victory
should be seen as a final verdict without appeal
because ordained by Allah.
You are completely blind to the fact that
your military victory was also a moral catastrophe.
*
And if you say, atrocities and deportations
are inevitable consequences of war,
yes, I agree. No one denies that either.
If Armenians see you as Asiatic barbarians
it is less for what you have done to them
and more for denying its reality.
#
July 31, 2010
**********************
#3 MEMO TO MY TURKISH FRIENDS
****************************************************
You say,
“In our place you would have done the same thing.”
To which I can only say, and in our place
you would be reacting the same way.
Which means, we may be members of different tribes
but the same race – namely, the human race.
It also means we share more things in common
than we like to think. And yet,
we pretend otherwise
and we expect others to believe us
perhaps because we don't have as high an opinion of them
as we have of ourselves.
This pretense is baseless
because we might as well be transparent.
We both have a highly developed critical sense
when we deal with others, especially those we label as enemies,
and lack objectivity when it comes to ourselves.
You think the world needs you
more than it needs us, and we think
in the long run justice and truth are bound to prevail.
You cannot fool all the people all the time.
We both believe God or truth to be on our side,
thus reducing the mystery of existence to a game.
But life is not a game.
Not only today's victor may be tomorrow's loser
but also because victory on one level
may be defeat on another.
A criminal who believes he is innocent
because he is a law-abiding citizen
will commit the same crime again and again
until he is caught, arrested, tried, and found guilty.
*
A state that thinks only in terms of power and influence over others
is a dehumanized state. That is to say,
a state that has committed moral suicide.
Such a state doesn't have to be killed in order to die
because it is already dead.
I say this with grief in my heart
because it applies to the rest of the world as well,
including ourselves.
#
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Old 18.08.2010, 15:46   #171
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Sunday, August 15, 2010
************************************
EXPLAINING AND UNDERSTANDING
THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE
*************************************
We all swim in the same soup.
There is a Cain in all of us, including Abel.
Am I saying anything you don't already know?
*
Armenians and Turks will begin to understand one another only when they say, “In their place, we would have done the same thing.”
*
Armenians have no choice but to accept their degrading history of subservience to the same degree that Turks have no choice but to accept their role as oppressors; and of the two I find it difficult to decide which is more morally reprehensible.
*
Do you really want to know what I think of imperialism? True, I don't have first-hand knowledge of what it means to be the subject of an empire; but I have dealt with Ottomanized and Stalinized Armenians, and the best thing I can say about them is that, if they class themselves up two or three notches, they may qualify as the scum of the earth. That's the best thing I can say about oppression and subservience.
Let others believe the Ottoman Empire was a progressive and civilizing force. As they say, there is no accounting for tastes, it takes all kinds, and against stupidity even the Gods compete in vain.
*
What could be more preposterous than to suggest all the nations that rose against the regime of the sultans (and I am not excluding Turks themselves) during the last decades of the Empire's existence were wrong and the Sultan right?
*
Under pressure or when provoked, all people, even the most civilized, are capable of committing crimes against humanity. Now then, go ahead and say six hundred years of oppression does not qualify as provocation.
#
Monday, August 16, 2010
************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*************************************
Historian Nial Ferguson to the question, “Are we all doomed?”
“Definitely. The question is, will it be a bus this afternoon, or will I wheeze my last in some old folks' home, aged 90?” (London: NEW STATESMAN. July 26, 2010.)
*
Jean Rostand: “The world belongs to the superior second-raters.” And “Let a dictator perform an act of good sense, and people immediately hail him as a genius.”
Now you know all you need to know about Kemal's popularity. I speak as a “Christian Turk,” and I suspect the only people who will agree with me are “Mountain Turks.”
*
Turks are brought up to believe they are brave warriors – warriors who are now afraid of words – and the words that scares them the most are “Armenians” and “Kurds.” Compliments of Kemal.
*
La Rochefoucauld: “A man is never more easily deceived than when he believes he is deceiving others.”
*
Some day someone may write a history of Ottoman philosophy, but until then I will continue to think of Ottomanism and philosophy as mutually exclusive concepts.
*
La Rochefoucauld again: “It is only those who are despicable who fear being despised.”
*
The victor and the vanquished, the capitalist and the worker, the master and the slave, the boss and the hireling, the rich and the poor: relax the rule of law and they will tear one another to shreds.
*
If there are alienated Armenians today it's because they have had it up to here with Armenian nonsense. You may now guess why the best brains that Turkey has produced in recent times live in exile.
#
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
************************************
FROM EMPIRE TO NATION
*************************************
Because I am critical of my fellow Armenians, I am thought of as pro-Turkish by readers to whom labels are more important than human beings. Hence the fallacy: You are either with us or against us, and if you are against us the hangman's noose is too good for you.
*
The Ottoman Empire of the sultans was an octopus.
Kemal's Turkey is a monopus – all trunk, no limbs, forever at the mercy of tides. Rejected by Israel, it embraces Iran. It moves backwards thinking it has taken a step in the right direction.
*
The central and unspoken tenet of Kemalism is the refusal to come to terms with the fact that the nation was born from the rotten corpse of the Empire. It is a zombie not a phoenix. On the map, it looks like a castrated member – a dick whose cojones have been surgically removed. A Viagra induced erection that does not flag, neither can it connect, let alone penetrate, the object of its perennial desire – the West.
*
To be at the mercy of imperialists: what could be worse? -- except perhaps to be at the mercy of nationalists.
#
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
************************************
TURKS (II)
*************************************
The laws of the land are designed to legitimize the power structure and to support the ruling class even when the rulers happen to be cold-blooded sadistic serial killers.
*
The slave is brought up to feel guilty even when innocent. It's the other way with the master – his conscience has been atrophied, his sense of justice perverted; so much so that he can slay the innocent with the conviction that he is discharging his duty in the eyes of the Lord. There you have it: the roots of denialism.
*
I believe Turks when they plead not guilty to the charge of genocide. I also believe these Turks think and feel with the old Ottomanized brain. Deep in their hearts (if you will forgive the overstatement) they have the unshakable conviction that the sultans were always right (remember the Italian slogan, “Mussolini ha sempre ragione” = Mussolini is always right) and their(sultans') function in life was to carry out the will of the Almighty. The difference between the East and the West is that Mussolini was shot and hanged on a public square.
*
To speak of genocide in an Ottomanized context amounts to accusing the Lord of murder – an unthinkable blasphemy that in another time and place would have been seen as a capital offense. If the sultans came back to life today, they would issue a fatwa against all Armenians who utter the word genocide.
Let us therefore count our blessings!
#
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Old 21.08.2010, 15:43   #172
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Thursday, August 19, 2010
************************************
KEMALISM AND ITS FALLACIES
*************************************
The absence of the fez does not absolve the crimes committed with the presence of the fez.
Imagine the following scenario if you can:
A cold-blooded killer is arrested, tried, and pronounced guilty by a jury of his peers. When asked by the judge if he has anything to say, he replies: “How can I be guilty, your Honor, if after shooting my victim I threw my hat in the nearest trash can?”
*
The difference between East and West is that in the West reason and common sense enjoy more prestige than in the East.
The East: that's a place where after abolishing a hat they proceed to abolish not only reality but also reason itself.
*
Kemal was an alcoholic who sodomized boys and had sex with girls -- not exactly unheard of practices among his predecessors, the sultans.
Lies! Enemy propaganda! Calumnies!
But if true, in what way was he different from Catholic priests?
*
Genocide? What genocide?
It was a military victory.
Deportations and atrocities?
Collateral damage. All wars have them.
*
Armenians cannot be objective about Turks, granted.
Neither can Turks be objective about Armenians, themselves, and Kemal.
Some Catholic priests behaved like swine, true.
But as far as i know none of them is considered a role model to future generations. Their pictures don't hang in classrooms and government offices.
No monuments have been erected to them in public squares.
None of them rewrote history.
None of them ever dared to think that by discarding their biretta or, for that matter, their cassock, they could declare themselves beyond the reach of the law.
None of them entertained the absurd notion that discarding a ridiculous item from one's wardrobe had the magic power of changing one's moral values, character, and identity.
None of them would dream of calling Kurds “mountain Turks,” Armenians “Christian Turks,” and Hittites “proto-Turks.”
None of them has ever been called or will ever be recognized as the “father” of a nation.
#
Friday, August 20, 2010
************************************
ON CRITICISM AND PROPAGANDA
***********************************************
Between propaganda that flatters and criticism that exposes contradictions, the unthinking masses will always choose propaganda.
*
The Nazis asserted racial superiority to cover up their moral inferiority.
In propaganda always search for the failing that it attempts to hide.
The propaganda of the brainless will assert superior intelligence, and the propaganda of the barbarian a superior brand of civilization.
*
Our convictions are formed more by the heart and less by the head.
Prejudices are all guts and no brain.
*
Armenians and Turks spend too much time criticizing others and very little time criticizing themselves. Narcissism is in, objective judgment out. Hence one thousand speechifiers and not a single philosopher.
*
If we don't understand one another it may be because we don't understand ourselves; and the more exposed we are to propaganda the less we understand ourselves.
*
Propaganda raises a wall between us and reality. Its unspoken goal is to convince us that the aim of life is to kill and die in defense of charlatans who place their own powers and privileges above our own life and limbs.
#
Saturday, August 21, 2010
************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
***********************************************
When I was young I thought I had all the answers.
I know now that I don't even have the questions.
*
Fanatics would rather shoot the messenger
than understand the message.
*
To divide is bad enough,
but to divide in the name of a religion
that asserts “all men are brothers”
is the height of perversion.
*
It is not that I no longer believe in what politicians say,
I question the sanity of those who do.
*
Some of our patriots should be reminded once in a while
that patriotism and civility are not mutually exclusive concepts.
*
To speak the truth means to contradict
one Big Lie,
a hundred small lies,
and a thousand liars.
*
What is censorship
if not fear of being exposed
as a fool, a dupe, and a liar?
#
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Old 25.08.2010, 17:36   #173
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Sunday, August 22, 2010
************************************
ILLUSIONS
***********************************************
We all have illusions.
Mine is the belief that man is open to reason.
*
God did not create belief systems, men of vision did.
Men of vision see things that the rest of us cannot see.
They also hear words that the rest of us cannot hear.
It follows, when we speak of belief systems,
whatever we say will be based on hearsay,
and therefore inadmissible evidence.
*
“Where there is no vision the people perish,” we are told.
But where visions clash, the result will be the same.
Remember Voltaire's dictum:
“Since it was a religious war,
there were no survivors.”
*
One nation's vision may be another's nightmare.
*
Two recent books published in England:
50 PEOPLE WHO BUGGERED UP BRITAIN, and
THE DICTIONARY OF POLITICAL BULL****.
When, O when will our writers write less about massacres
and more about the b.s. of our buggers?
#
Monday, August 23, 2010
************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
***********************************************
How much of what you think is based on hearsay?
Next question: Can you tell the difference between the inadmissible and the unreasonable?
*
When hungry you don't think of the contents of a sausage.
Keep that in mind next time you fall in love.
*
Men fall in love with their convictions as surely as with a pair of shapely legs in nylons.
*
He who lies to himself cannot speak the truth to others.
*
To express their contempt for English cuisine, the French like to say that Joan of Arc “is the only thing the English have ever cooked properly.”
*
George Orwell (1903-1950), British author: "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible."
*
We are all assassins in the sense that if we are not legally guilty of murder, we are morally guilty of wishing someone dead.
*
Some of the most dangerous lies come to us as religious dogmas and ideological truths, sometimes even as undeniable facts.
*
All speechifiers and sermonizers speak with a forked tongue.
*
A writer cannot make readers think, he can only hope to underline their secret thoughts, thus letting them know there are others who think as they do.
*
If we had the power, would our enemies escape total extinction?
#
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
************************************
A READER WRITES
***********************************************
Some of my most ferocious critics are individuals who have not yet mastered the art of reading and understanding simple sentences in the English language. But I shouldn't complain. I also have readers who are not just with me but ahead of me. A case in point follows.
************************************************************
When I first stumbled on your 'reflections',
'notebooks' and 'diaries', I just couldn't help
wondering -- why is this fella trying, with such an
admirable persistence, to do what is so strongly
discouraged in Matthew 7:6 ?
[something to do with pearls and swine, i suspect].
What's the good of
devoting one's precious kilobytes to fighting the
revered ancient wisdom, just to get another
confirmation that the stuff between an Armenian's
squarehead's ears is immune to the 'virus' of the voice of
reason, and his hostility more toxic than the
most deadly roach poison advertised on TV ?
On second thought, however, I realized that was
indeed arrogant and unfair of me to think that
way, for which I apologize. In fact I've been
intending to email you with a little word of
encouragement for a while now, but, firstly, I wasn't sure
you really needed one, or expected any feedback.
In fact, what you say has never sounded to me "so
eccentric and odd that you might as well be an
enemy of the people". Rather, most of the points
you make would seem rather natural if prejudice and
irrationality were put aside, traditional
'taboos' broken, and viewing the situation from an
unbiased perspective, legitimized. But after you
wrote that you felt like a Muslim among Christians,
and like a giaour among jihadists, I
figured a little note that there is someone there
feeling the same way won't do you much harm, after all.
Secondly -- and that was the main reason for not
writing before -- I realized I hardly belonged to
your target audience, as I wasn't among those you
seemed to be trying to reach: reading your posts,
I just felt that agreeable and somewhat
mischievous pleasure of seeing the tenets of my heresy
professed by someone better suited for the
'mission'. It's not that I considered it as a real
heresy; but the truth is, and you know that better than
anyone, that the traditional thinking is so
deeply ingrained in Armenian communities that it is like
a computer virus: reality becomes twisted and
distorted in a way that reason and common sense are
seen as a heresy while religious obscurantism and
genocide fetishism are regarded as the norm. Only
running an antivirus program won't do in this
case: the only way of eradicating it is teaching
people to think for themselves, rather than just
blindly follow what has been drilled into them by the
propaganda, and that's exactly what you've been
trying to do.
Oxford professor Richard Dawkins once wrote that
"It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet
somebody who claims not to believe in evolution,
that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or
wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)." Later he
added that there is perhaps a fifth category,
which may belong under "insane" but which can be more
sympathetically characterized by a word like
tormented, bullied, or brainwashed. Sincere people
who are not ignorant, not stupid, and not wicked
can be cruelly torn, almost in two, between the
massive evidence of science on the one hand, and
their understanding of what their holy book tells
them on the other. It seems that this, mutatis
mutandis, obtains in Armenians: a great many people
who are not ignorant, not stupid, and not wicked
may not dare think for themselves under the
suffocating peer pressure from those who actually are
ignorant, stupid, and, more often than not,
wicked. Like those people who don't believe in
evolution because nobody has ever told them what
evolution is, many sincere an Armenian might not realize
that what they believe in is a prejudice and a
fallacy because no one dared to expose it as a
prejudice and a fallacy.
So it is indeed comforting that some have the
courage of challenging the traditional view.
However, it seems strange that most of your readers won't
engage in any meaningful discussion on this
subject. So keep on
posting your 'reflections', no matter what the
reaction of 'the ignorant, the stupid, and the
wicked' -- that's the only way of engaging a sheep's
brain into the long process of transformation into
that of a human being.
#
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
************************************
CRACKPOTS
***********************************************
The function of politicians is to convince the people that they are the most qualified members of the community to count chickens before they are hatched, even when – especially when – they are the least qualified. Recent history, including our own, provides many examples of this abortive claim.
*
Politicians can't learn because their central concern is asserting if not infallibility than the kind of superior wisdom that authorizes them to speak in terms of certainties. But the only thing that is certain in them is their lust for power.
*
When power enters the equation, catastrophe is sure to follow. That's because power acts on the brain like an intoxicant. Power is the opium of politicians.
*
A headline in this morning's Op-Ed page reads: “American leaders often make important decisions based on conjecture, questionable advice and blind faith.”
If this is true of democratically elected leaders, it must be doubly true of our own.
A typical passage of this commentary reads:
“How could such a careful and seasoned statesman [Eisenhower] have concocted such a crackpot scheme [the Bay of Pigs fiasco]?
*
World history, including our own, may be said to be a long catalog of crackpot schemes concocted by screwballs parading as our “betters.”
*
The universe was created not by a tender-loving God but a very tough hombre who can watch crackpots concocting catastrophes without lifting a finger.
#

A digitized version of the book “Zohrab: An Introduction”, selected and translated by Ara Baliozian (co-published by the National Association of Armenian Studies and Research), is a available on the Zohrab Center’s weblog.
Please download it here.

FOR a free copy of ZOHRAB: AN INTRODUCTION
go to Google.com,
type ZOHRAB: AN INTRODUCTION by Ara Baliozian,
and click on "digitized copy"

Last edited by arabaliozian; 25.08.2010 at 17:36.
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Old 28.08.2010, 15:44   #174
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Thursday, August 26, 2010
************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
***********************************************
Our body language is a medium that is more accessible to others than to ourselves.
*
Bolivar: “We have seen the light and it is not our desire to be thrust back into darkness.”
That's what I think when I think of my homeland. And my guess is there are millions out there who think and feel as I do.
*
Brazilian saying: “We progress at night when the politicians sleep.”
Judging by the amount of progress we have made, our politicians MUST suffer from chronic insomnia.
*
It took me a long time to realize that the -ian ending was not a guarantee of nobility.
*
Perhaps what I am trying to say is that it is possible to think about Turks without turning into one.
*
Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973), American politician: "You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake."
*
The truth is, no one likes to be told he is morally inferior to anyone; and to brag about moral superiority is the surest way of provoking universal contempt, and what's even worse, of forfeiting all credibility.
*
Some readers approach my writings as lovingly as a starving cannibal marinating a fat missionary.
*
Our knowledge is limited and our ignorance infinite. Only fools and fanatics forget this.
#
Friday, August 27, 2010
************************************
ISLAMOPHOBIA?
***********************************************
Irrational fear of Islam?
A complex? A prejudice?
Both?
Not so fast, my Muslim friends.
It seems to me Muslims have as many reasons to fear Islam
as the rest of us in the West.
*
Embedded gangs of terrorists among us plotting to destroy and kill indiscriminately.
Sharia law and its treatment of women.
Endless fratricidal Sunni-Shiah confrontations.
Deranged imams issuing fatwas and declaring jihads.
Blood****ing multi-billionaire desert kings.
Sex-starved suicidal fanatics.
The destruction of ancient religious monuments.
Fascist regimes.
Contempt for democracy and fundamental human rights.
Honor killings.
*
Accusing the West of Islamophobia makes as much sense as accusing a sardine swimming in a pool of sharks of sharkophobia.
#
Saturday, August 28, 2010
************************************
DECLINE AND FALL
***********************************************
Men of vision show the way,
their followers make signs that say “Dead End.”
*
Jesus and Marx were dissenters.
Their followers see no contradiction in being yes-men.
*
An organization can never live up to the original aim of its founder.
From Marx to Stalin, from Jesus to televangelists and child molesters:
all great movements begin as visions and end as bureaucracies,
and bureaucracies are mechanisms
that promote yes-men and unprincipled mediocrities.
*
The history of all movements
is one of gradual decline and disintegration.
*
In all organizations conformism is in, dissent out.
Where there is no dialogue there can be no progress.
*
All men of power pretend to be better than they are,
and eventually the worst end up parading as the best.
*
Bureaucrats are like dogs who know their master
but not their master's master.
*
Who governs Armenia today?
Clearly not the government.
Armenia's capital is not Yerevan but Moscow.
#
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Old 01.09.2010, 15:22   #175
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Sunday, August 29, 2010
************************************
AM I RIGHT OR WRONG?
***********************************************
That's up to the reader to decide.
I am not in the business of proving myself right
and my adversaries wrong.
All I am interested in doing is sharing my understanding.
If I were interested in proving myself right
I would write a thesis with footnotes and a bibliography.
But I leave that to academics
who tend to choose a subject and stick to it
to the end of their career.
No one in his right mind
would call writing for Armenians a career
or even a job. If I were to place it somewhere
it would have to be between a hobby
and a complete waste of time.
As a victim, what motivates me is less love of victims
and more hatred of victimizers,
especially the kind that begin by deceiving children
and end by sodomizing them – sometimes literally.
And if you think Armenians are morally superior
to Catholic priests, ask yourself:
Who drilled that nonsense into your head?
What motivates you to believe him, beside wishful thinking?
If some readers disagree with me,
it may be because so far they have failed
to deprogram themselves, which means
they continue to believe everything that happened to us
was someone else's fault
and our sole contribution to history
has been providing victims to alien tyrants.
#
Monday, August 30, 2010
************************************
ONE OR TWO THINGS ABOUT MYSELF
*************************************************
I have a phobia of boring the reader.
My secret ambition:
to write three-line essays as in a haiku.
*
The best Armenian joke I know:
bosses, bishops, benefactors.
*
Books I consider necessities, everything else a luxury.
Books I get free of charge from the public library;
luxuries from the dollar store.
*
Something to brag about:
I have never delivered a speech in my life;
and I have never heard a speech that didn't bore me.
*
I am beginning to think of death as liberation.
Writing for Armenians may have something to do with this.
*
The first time I met an honest Armenian,
I thought he was crazy.
*
Who will disagree with me if I say
to have an Armenian friend is to harbor a potential enemy?
*
I neither preach nor teach. I share.
There is an element of coercion in both preaching and teaching.
A preacher relies on a captive audience,
and a teacher on his own authority.
Sharing is between equals; it does not exploit or violate anyone's freedom.
*
Because Negro spirituals touch my soul
as deeply as our sharagans, my patriotism may well be suspect.
*
To be misunderstood is almost to suffer an injustice.
#
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
************************************
GREED
*************************************************
“We defeated fascism and communism,” American like to brag.
Maybe. But it is equally true that both fascism and communism helped them by committing suicide.
And Americans may be next.
*
According to a British pundit, “The banks lost money but the bankers made a fortune and now live in big mansions.”
But according to an American observer: “The salaries and bonuses of chief executive officers are less than 1% of the total."
Whom to believe?
Statistics can lie, of course. The average citizen can't afford to make his own statistics and must therefore rely on statisticians. What matters here – what needs to be carefully and objectively analyzed – is the mindset of the men at the top who focus on their welfare so much that every other consideration is ignored.
So what if millions lose their jobs?
So what if some losers commit suicide?
So what if it's bad public relations?
Bankers pay millions to their PR men: let them earn their keep and bury the problem in statistics, sophistries, and legalities.
*
If Obama loses it will be because he helped top dogs and ignored the plight of underdogs – the very same mindset that toppled fascism and communism.
Even assuming Obama is doing what must be done: his failure consists in his inability to convince the people; and when a politician failes in that department, nothing and no one can save him.
*
A headline in the Op-Ed page of my morning paper today reads: “Billionaires bankrolling U.S. Conservative movement.”
They are saved with taxpayers' money and they demand tax cuts for themselves.
They make so much money that they don't know what to do with it, and they want more! -- more for themselves and less for everyone else.
And they call Obama a communist and a fascist.
Toynbee is right: “Empires and nations are not killed: they commit suicide.”
#
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
************************************
REPUTATION AND SELF-ESTEEM
*************************************************
Whenever I exercise my critical faculties and my fundamental human right of free speech, I am told I besmirch our reputation in the eyes of the world.
Allow me to quote two eminent witness on the subject of reputation:
Saint-Simon: “My self-esteem has always increased in direct proportion to the damage I was doing to my reputation.”
Tolstoy: “The higher I rise in the opinion of others, the lower I sink in my own.”
*
It was during the Watergate hearings that I discovered the greatness of democracy.
*
We have swallowed the poison of murderous alien tyrants for such a long time that we confuse their absence with freedom, and our rotten paternalism as a mandate from heaven.
*
Who benefits when we cover up our contradictions? Surely not the people.
#
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Old 04.09.2010, 15:39   #176
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Thursday, September 2, 2010
************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*************************************************
They say “God is great!” and they imply “He is on our side.”
To believe the unbelievable is the source of all fanaticism.
*
The dinosaurs are the Titanics of evolution.
*
Sympathy is seldom extended to those who demand it.
*
Don't write what you think but what you really think,
especially if it is the opposite of what you think.
*
On the day my critics begin to agree with me,
I will start wondering if I have succumbed to senility.
*
Have I said this before? No matter.
If something is worth saying, it is worth repeating.
*
Whenever an adult delivers a cliché, I am tempted to ask:
How old were you when you first heard that line, five or seven?
*
Vanity, it has been said, has a voracious appetite,
which is why I dismiss as a lie any statement that flatters our collective ego.
*
A nationalist historian who believes in his own version of history
has a dupe for a reader.
*
"Makers of idols don't believe in them," says an old Chinese proverb,
and if Italians are to be believed, "Even the Pope doubts his faith
seven times every day."
#
Friday, September 3, 2010
************************************
SPECULATIONS
*************************************************
The number of atoms in the universe is constant.
Birth and death neither add nor subtract from the total.
In birth atoms are assembled and in death they are disassembled.
This cycle is repeated endlessly.
Life moves not from being to nothingness and vice versa
but from organization to disintegration and back to organization again.
*
The dead enter a timeless realm
in which a fraction of a second is as long as a million years.
The time before we were born or even before the universe existed
(or what cosmologists call the Big Bang)
is the realm of timelessness.
*
God exists not in the cosmos that is accessible to telescopes and microscopes
but in a different realm and dimension.
Examples of different dimensions are
the realms of such abstractions as numbers, dreams, or music.
*
In dreams being and nothingness are no longer contradictions
but parallel realms in which the dead live.
An infinite number of organisms also means
an infinite number of realms some of which may become accessible to us
only after we die.
#
Saturday, September 4, 2010
************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*************************************************
If you do the right thing they will laugh at you and say, “That fool doesn't know what's good for himself.”
*
The worst pretend to be better because that's the only way they know how to live with themselves.
*
If you don't know what I mean when I speak of “Ottomanized Armenians,” I suggest you take a good look at yourself in the mirror.
*
For the man who is tormented by painful memories, Alzheimer's must be bliss.
*
We are never told everything. We always get a carefully edited version of events, sentiments, ideas, and speculations.
*
To how many of my critics I could say, “I have at no time claimed to be a genius like you.”
*
Among the many signs held by opponents of the construction of a mosque near ground zero in New York City, I notice one that says “BOYCOTT TURKISH GOODS & PRODUCE.” (TIME, August 16, 2010, page 17.)
*
There is a tendency in all bullies and victimizers to choose the defenseless as their targets because it is less labor intensive.
#
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Old 08.09.2010, 15:34   #177
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Sunday, September 5, 2010
************************************
POWER
*************************************************
The need to believe is universal.
So is the need to manufacture evidence
in order to stress the truth of a specific belief system
that is in competition with many others.
To put it bluntly:
all religions and ideologies lie.
Likewise, all children are taught
to expose the lies of alien belief systems
and to cover up their own.
The first reaction of an organized society
to all alien or new belief systems is to reject them
not because they are lies
but because they threaten the legitimacy
of the status quo.
Regardless of what they profess to believe in,
all men of power are committed to only one thing, their power.
Even a belief system whose central tenet is love
will practice hatred in defense of the status quo.
To say that power corrupts
is to place the cart before the horse,
the effect before the cause,
the headline before the crime,
and not just “b” before “a”
but omega before alpha.
Power is cancer – make it,
terminal cancer of the soul.
#
Monday, September 6, 2010
************************************
MORE SPECULATIONS...
*************************************************
They believe God will provide them with seventy-three virgins.
They say “God is great!” and they mean “God is a pimp.”
When I think of all the things that are said and done in His name,
I have no choice but to conclude
He must be just about the most abused Being in the universe
and the crucifixion is not an isolated incident
but an ongoing process with no end in sight.
Is God a masochist?
Judging by the suffering that is inflicted on the innocent,
one could also conclude that He is sadist.
Do you really want to know what I really think?
I think as long as we are human beings,
even if endowed with the best human brain,
we will never know,
we will never understand,
and it is a waste of time to speculate.
#
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
************************************
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
*************************************************
If I ever meet Atom Egoyan I will ask him so far how many Armenians have submitted screenplays to him. I remember to have read somewhere that Mamoulian went out of his way to avoid helping Armenians. And I once met an Armenian conductor who swore to me he would never again invite an Armenian soloist to play with his orchestra.
*
When dealing with Armenians, it helps to have one eye shut -- both would be preferable of course.
*
I write not to change things but to understand them. Call me an addict of explanations. The harder the nut to crack the sweeter the kernel. To ignore our problems would be like pretending the elephant in the room is a French poodle.
*
May I suggest dividing the nation is not the only way to solve our problems.
*
Compulsive liars are believed only by perennial dupes and retards.
Armenians are smart?
Don't make me laugh!
*
Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, wars, massacres, incurable diseases, floods, serial killers and a thousand other misfortunes are God's way of saying “I refuse to get involved!”
#
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
************************************
GOD AND SATAN
*************************************************
One man's God is another's Satan.
*
The God of an American fundamentalist is as alien to me as a Muslim's Allah. Both share more features with Nazis and Bolsheviks than with decent human beings. There are moderate Muslims but they are not the ones who are making history today. They might as well be absentee landlords.
*
The aim of stoning a woman convicted of adultery is less to punish the guilty and more to terrorize the innocent. And they terrorize the innocent because they are themselves terrorized by the prospect of infidelity.
*
Muslims hate one another more than they hate the West. This has been said before and it bears repeating. Muslims have victimized more Muslims in wars, civil wars, and act of terrorism than the West.
*
Not all propagandists speak with a forked tongue. Some believe in their own lies. They are like murderers who not only plead insanity but are in fact insane.
#
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Old 11.09.2010, 15:40   #178
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Thursday, September 9, 2010
************************************
THEM AND US
*************************************************
“Plan to burn Qur'an is offensive,” reads the headline of a commentary in the Op-Ed page of my morning paper.
Maybe so, but what about another headline that says, “They [Muslims] burn the Qur'an every day with their actions.”
And sure enough, in the fourth paragraph of this commentary, our pundit writes: “There are Muslims who pervert their religion, literally called the path of peace, into a call to armed suppression of women and acts of terrorism.”
*
God may be great indeed, but He seems powerless against those who terrorize and kill in His name.
Are Christians better than Muslims?
No comment!
*
Toynbee: “It is always easier, both intellectually and morally, to debit one's ills to the account of some outside agency than to ascribe the responsibility to oneself.”
In other words, to play the blame-game and to paint ourselves all white and the opposition all black.
*
I thought I knew better when I knew nothing.
It takes knowledge and understanding to see the depths of evil that resides in our hearts. This may explain the popularity of ignorance.
#
Friday, September 10, 2010
************************************
CONSOLATION
*************************************************
Toynbee: “Death limits life's liabilities. This boon that death confers is supremely valuable, and ought to be immensely consoling.”
*
There is no evidence to suggest that life will make sense after death. If to die means to enter the realm of nothingness, then nothingness is the only perfection we will ever know.
*
A little learning is the source of all prejudice, conspiracy theories, and xenophobia.
Here is Toynbee's masterful explanation of this phenomenon:
“The danger lay in the opening which a rudimentary universal education gave for propaganda, and in the skill and unscrupousness with which this opportunity had been seized by salesmen for advertising their wares and by news agencies, pressure groups, political parties, and the public relations departments of firms and governments for selling their policies.”
*
The importance of education is constantly stressed to unsuspecting children. What is ignored is the fact that no matter how many degrees you acquire, the chances are you will end up working for an assh*le.”
#
Saturday, September 11, 2010
************************************
BOOKS
*************************************************
There are two kinds of writers: those whose ideas shape the future (not always for the better), and those whose ideas are buried and forgotten with them. To the first category belong Rousseau, Voltaire, Thoreau, and Marx; to the second category, our writers.
*
There are no new ideas. Everything we say has been said before. When told the Bible was written by the Holy Spirit, Shaw replied: “All books are written by the Holy Spirit.”
*
I for one don't believe in the holiness of holy books -- regardless of denomination – when I think of all the wars and massacres perpetrated in their name, not to mention the intolerance, the persecution of heretics, and the countless abuses... More often than not, it seems to me, a holy book is used as a license to kill.
*
Holy books might as well be synonymous with holy wars.
*
Sometimes serial killers plead not guilty by reason of insanity – they say it was God or Satan who ordered them to do what they did. Now then, if you count the victims of serial killers and the victims of religious leaders, you may conclude that the latter are far more dangerous.
*
To those who say we no longer live in the Middle Ages, I ask: Who ordered 9/11? Where does an imam get his authority?
*
I see a direct link between the overpopulation, poverty, and drug wars in Mexico and the Pope's dogmatic interdiction of birth control devices.
*
All religions have dogmas, and all dogmas legitimize intolerance, and ultimately the murder of innocent victims.
#
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Old 15.09.2010, 15:34   #179
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Sunday, September 12, 2010
************************************
SCORPIONS
*************************************************
Whenever I hear an Armenian bragging about survival, I consider it my duty to remind him that scorpions and spiders have survived too, you don't hear them bragging about it.
Our brainwashed phony patriots consider me unpatriotic because I dare to point out failings visible to everyone but themselves.
I don't like braggarts. No one does! And yet, we are taught to brag.
*
To be a slave of former slaves means to be paralyzed with fear not only of the master's shadow (who may well be dead and buried to begin with) but also of any idea that may be remotely connected with reality.
*
For almost a century now we have been clamoring for justice, and what have we accomplished?
We pretend to be for dialogue but only from a fixed position, which is an oxymoronic position visible to all except morons.
*
One of my gentle readers once described me as a “self-appointed critic,” as if critics qualify as such only when appointed by God or a representative of His on earth, say, like the Pope, the Sultan, or some other source of authority.
Because I dare to speak for no one but myself, they think I can safely be dismissed as an undesirable and unqualified interloper whose testimony should be ignored.
*
The problem with braggarts is that they are too satisfied with their own lies to be useful to anyone but themselves. Their unspoken motto seems to be, “Don't fix that which ain't broken,” or “One should not mess with perfection.”
*
Once, when I was accused of comparing Armenians to scorpions, I said I had no desire to insult scorpions who can always plead not guilty by reason of the fact that evolution had failed to endow them with a brain -- a plea which is not available to us.
#
Monday, September 13, 2010
************************************
DOGMAS
*************************************************
Taliban slogan: “Throw reason to the dogs.”
*
Taliban come in all sizes and shapes and there is a Taliban in all of us.
*
The higher you climb on the tree of knowledge,
the greater the area if ignorance that comes into view.
*
When they run out of arguments, they insult you. In a different time and place they would have you arrested on charges of treason. Let us therefore count our blessings.
*
Speaking as a layman, I find some scientific theories as incomprehensible as religious dogmas. The Big Bang is to me as unbelievable as the pandemonium and paraphernalia of fornicating Greek gods in whose name Socrates was arrested, tried, found guilty, and executed.
*
The Koran-burning controversy and the protests in Muslim countries have proved one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt: the true aim of Islamists everywhere is to intimidate and control the West the way they intimidate and control their women. And since in order to survive their women adopt a passive stance, they expect the West to do likewise. And they are outraged to the point of hysteria when it doesn't.
*
As for moderate Muslims: consider the case of the imam in New York who keeps saying, if he is not allowed to build a mosque near Ground Zero, Americans will make themselves vulnerable to a billion Muslims around the world bent on revenge.
#
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
************************************
IS GOD AN ARMENIAN?
*************************************************
They adopted the role of masters, which they assumed to be their manifest destiny, to the same degree that we adopted the role of slaves (and more recently, that of slaves of former slaves).
*
In reference to the Watergate scandals, Nixon once stated: “When the President does it, it's not illegal.”
The Turks now expect us to believe we are in no position to question or doubt the legality of their actions performed at a time when they were masters and we their slaves.
*
Some people are so addicted to brag that they will brag even about the fact that they massacred innocent and unarmed civilians (“We taught the Armenians a lesson they will never forget!”) and we brag about the fact that we are the first nation in the 20th century to be targeted for extermination.
*
The final act of this tragedy of illusions and lies has not yet played itself out. We are now told by our leaders they will see to it that justice is done, notwithstanding the fact that so far, and after a hundred years of trying, we have not seen a single red cent in reparations, or a single square inch of soil annexed, or a single victim resurrected.
*
Instead of doing what must be done or what is within their power to do (such as enhancing our solidarity, shedding their tribalism, or respecting our human rights) they promise to do what only God Almighty can do but so far has consistently refused to do.
*
Does God recognize the Genocide?
I for one cannot claim to read His mind.
I can only say that He allowed it to happen and it was done in His name.
*
To those who say I repeat myself, I say, I see nothing wrong in repeating my truths as often as they repeat their lies.
#
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
**********************************************
FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE
***************************************
Religions are popular not because they are true
but because they make sense
the way Leonardo's Mona Lisa makes sense to lovers of art,
Beethoven's 6th Symphony makes sense to lovers of music,
and algebra and trigonometry make sense to mathematicians.
The Greek myths made sense to the Greeks
to the same degree that Islam makes sense to Muslims,
Christianity to Christians, and atheism to atheists –
with one difference:
whereas there is only one trigonometry,
there are many religions that contradict one another.
*
It's astonishing how little men know
about the world around them and themselves.
A man's area of ignorance is infinitely greater
than his area of knowledge.
Men like Beethoven and Einstein may have know
everything there is to know about music and physics respectively
but little or nothing about many other subjects,
including, say, Armenian history and culture.
Even though I have myself written several books on the subject,
my own knowledge of our history and culture
may be said to be less than 0.01% of the total.
Which may explain why dupes outnumber the wise,
and even the wise are no better dupes.
Hence the number of great 20th-century
philosophers, writers, and Nobel-Prize winners
who were Catholics, atheists, Stalinists,
and members of the Nazi Party.
#


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Old 18.09.2010, 16:11   #180
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Thursday, September 16, 2010
**********************************************
THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND
***************************************
When a religion, or any movement for that matter, acquires a leader, it becomes authoritarian, which means, the authority of the leader becomes an issue of paramount importance, and those who dare to challenge it face death – either spiritual (by excommunication or expulsion) or literal (by fatwa).
*
One of the curses of authoritarian belief systems is their ruthless exploitation of fear. A God of love, compassion, and mercy does not rule by intimidation and blackmail. This may suggest that organized religions are inventions not of God but of the Devil.
*
When imams and popes preach love, they speak with a forked tongue. That's why only the naïve and the ignorant take them seriously. As in all organizations whose central concern is power, only unprincipled mediocrities, and ultimately blood****ers, killers, and child molesters are promoted.
*
We need rules and we need enforcers of rules, true, but history tells us some of the worst offenders and abusers of law and order have been the police.
*
Those who speak of another world are charlatans because we know nothing about it and what we pretend to know is nothing but a figment of our imagination.
As for the world in which we live: we know very little about it, and the only thing we know with some degree of certainty is that it is occupied by “weeds, rubble and vermin” (Nietzsche).
*
If a member of a party or organization were to tell me 1+1=2, I would immediately reach for my calculator to make sure I was not being bamboozled, hoodwinked, and flimflammed.
*
Herbert Butterfield: “The blindest of all the blind are those who are unable to examine their own presuppositions, and blithely imagine therefore that they do not posses them.”
#
Friday, September 17, 2010
**********************************************
SUCCESS
***************************************
At the age of thirty-one he was charged with sedition, arrested, tried, found guilty, condemned to death, and executed.
Was he a success or a failure?
More recently, as a teenager he joined a quartet of singers who composed their own songs, eventually achieved fame and fortune, and became, in his own words, “more popular that Jesus Christ.”
Was he a success or a failure?
*
To define success as achieving fame and fortune is the surest recipe for promoting failures. If failures outnumber successes a thousand to one today it's because children are brainwashed to believe their options are limited, and their options are defined by the inflexible laws of demand and supply. As a result, a less than mediocre lawyer, accountant, or dentist is equipped to make more money (the surest index of success, we are told) than say, a prophet who may alter our perception of reality for centuries to come.
*
Gulbenkian probably spent more money in a single day than J.S. Bach made throughout his life. If asked whether he would like to be Gulbenkian or Bach, my guess is, the average American (who may pronounce Bach Batch) will choose to be Gulbenkian.
*
Ask a mother, any mother, whether she would like to see her only son crucified at the age of thirty-one, my guess is, she will say she would much rather see him live to a ripe old age as a mediocre carpenter.
*
Early this morning, in Nabokov's INVITATION TO A BEHEADING, I read the following passage in which an executioner delivers the following line to a condemned man: “...you must not be childish. The public, and all of us, as representatives of the public, are interested only in your welfare – that must be obvious by now.”
It's always the same story: the very same people who urge you to follow a path that is not your own, pretend to have your best interest at heart.
*
To those who say not everybody can be a genius, allow me to recount the following anecdote. About fifty years ago, a little girl by the name of Minou Drouet published a book of poems that was immediately hailed as the work of a prodigy. Jean Cocteau's comment on this prodigy: “Every child is a genius except Minou Drouet.”
*
Every child is a genius because the Kingdom of God is within us.
#
Saturday, September 18, 2010
**********************************************
TWO ENEMIES
***************************************
To trust someone means to make yourself vulnerable to betrayal.
*
I have had some sinister experiences in the hands of authority figures who pretended to know better.
I have earned the right to trust no one.
*
If I am proud of anything it's the fact that what I write has no cash value – or so I am told by individuals who deal in cash.
*
Dealing with people who deal in cash:
I can't imagine anything more carcinogenic.
*
My guess is, in the next world – if there is one – money will be abolished. Which means the annual income of a prince and a pauper, or a benefactor and a poet will be the same.
*
I have written two kinds of books: propaganda and anti-propaganda, and of the two, the propaganda books have sold many more copies.
*
I did not set out to write propaganda books. I wrote such books at a time when I was led to believe it was my duty to lie in the name of patriotism; and when I lied I did not think of it as lying but as speaking a self-evident truth.
*
We are told, in science to be right means to be slightly wrong, because in science, as in many other disciplines, there are no final answers, and if there are, they are known only to God who so far has consistently refused to share them with us.
According to Karl Popper, scientific as well as political solutions “can never be more than provisional and are always open to improvement.”
There is no such thing as history, only historic interpretation.
And according to Sartre, “history must be constantly rewritten.”
*
What does it mean to be an Armenian?
First and foremost it means demanding justice for past injustices.
Let's demand justice by all means, but in the process let us not commit a greater injustice.
There is more to life than past crimes against humanity.
Let us not allow our obsession with Turks to turn us into pillars of salt.
We have enemies, no doubt about that. But we also have an enemy within, and of the two, the second can inflict more damage.
#
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