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Old 22.09.2010, 15:04   #181
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Sunday, September 19, 2010
**********************************************
JUDGE AND JURY
***************************************
Don't believe anything I say until and unless you see it with your own eyes and experience it on your own skin.
*
It seems what I say matters only to those of my readers who disagree with me and would like to see me silenced. To the rest, I repeat that which is obvious.
*
No one in the history of mankind has ever been all things to all men. Naregatsi had his critics, Gandhi his assassin, and Christ his Judas.
*
I hold a mirror up to them and when they don't like what they see, they blame it on me instead of themselves.
*
Our religion teaches us to love our enemies, including fellow Armenians who may not agree with us. I wonder if any one of our speechifiers and sermonizers has ever expanded on this theme.
*
One of my gentle readers accused me the other day of trying to advance a “personal agenda.” I suggest speaking in defense of free speech is not a personal but a human agenda. But I don't expect my dehumanized readers to see this.
*
Why is it that a dehumanized Armenian allows the Turk within to assume the role of both judge and jury?
*
Remember, even what you think is not what you really think but only the echo of a shadow. A thousand invisible forces stand between you and reality which is as elusive as an incomprehensible metaphysical abstraction.
*
Because we don't know everything, we operate on partial evidence. Only fascists silence dissenting voices to cover up that part of the evidence that is against them. As a result their verdict is bound to be overturned by a higher court.
#
Monday, September 20, 2010
**********************************************
NO MAN IS AN ISLAND
***************************************
Because a few non-representative Armenians challenged the might of the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the last century, countless Armenians were slaughtered, starved, and deported.
If I have a problem, you have a problem.
None of us is an island.
No one can say “Your problem is not my problem. Go and peddle your wares elsewhere.”
*
It has been said of China that it is a country of “a million truths.”
It could be said of us that we are a people of a thousand and one half-truths, and sometimes a half-truth can be as dangerous as a big lie.
*
It is a mistake to ascribe the slaughter of two generations of our ablest writers to Turks and Russians because on both occasions Armenian traitors played a key role. Raffi is right: in all our defeats and catastrophes search for the Armenian traitor. The only thing that has remained constant in our culture is our propensity for treason.
Because I say this, am I a hostile witness whose testimony should be dismissed because it is based on inadmissible evidence?
We can learn from history only if we know it.
*
The chances are those who pretend to know better know nothing because they allow their little knowledge to blind them; and when the blind lead the blind...
*
Toynbee on Russians:
“As heir of an Orthodox Christian cultural heritage, they could not find the practice of totalitarianism either unfamiliar or shocking.”
I see parallels where others pretend to see nothing.
When the blind...
*
Armenian fascism is the elephant in the room.
#
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
**********************************************
HOW DO I KNOW I AM RIGHT?
***************************************
I don't!
Mine is not an open and shut case.
My evidence is circumstantial and based on hearsay.
What I know with some degree of certainty is that
(one) where there is a power structure,
there will be propaganda,
and where there is propaganda,
there will be dupes;
(two) where there is an authority figure
there will be subservient subjects
who cannot think for themselves ;
(three) between dupes and dissidents
I will always be on the side of dissidents;
(four) where there are victims and victimizers,
I will refuse to join the ranks of the victimizers.
*
And now from the general to the specific:
when it comes to our political bosses
I choose to be on the side of Hagop Baronian
(in whose eyes they are no better than
loud-mouth irresponsible charlatans);
Yervant Odian (who portrayed them
as sh*t-disturbers forever in need of financial support);
and Gostan Zarian (who described them
as useless mediocrities whose greatest enemy is free speech).
*
When it comes to our historians,
I agree with Naregatsi who consistently and stubbornly refused
to play the blame-game and focused instead
on his own failings and shortcomings.
When it comes to nationalism
I am on the side of many 20th-century eminent thinkers,
among them Arnold Toynbee and Roland Barthes
(who described it as one of the three pillars of fascism
(the other two being anti-intellectualism and anti-semitism).
*
Judges pronounce a man guilty
based on the evidence. And yet, again and again
innocent men have been found guilty and condemned to death.
This is especially true in case of political prisoners
under totalitarian regimes.
*
I have read books written by Turkish scholars
that assert Armenians are liars, traitors, and terrorists
who killed many innocent civilians,
and more recently, equally innocent diplomats
who were not even born before World War I
and cannot thus be held responsible
of any crimes against humanity.
I have also read books by Armenian scholars
who portray Turks as bloodthirsty Asiatic barbarians
guilty of countless atrocities
against unarmed and innocent women and children.
*
What is an outsider to think?
My guess is, he will trust neither side and
he will dismiss both Turks and Armenians
biased and unreliable witnesses.
After which he will conclude
he has better things to do than waste his time
getting involved in a controversy
that has lasted almost a century
with no prospect of consensus in sight.
His final verdict may well be
“A plague on both your houses!”
and once more the Turks will win.
#
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
**********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
***************************************
The best way not to solve a problem is to say more research is needed.
*
To be part of a power structure means to be prepared to do anything to advance your position in it, knowing that if you don't do it someone else will.
*
What is the significance of the cosmos with its countless stars, planets and vast distances if not to remind us of our insignificance?
*
We like to say power corrupts. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that only the corrupt seek it.
*
Whenever during a walk I see an ant on the sidewalk, I am careful not to step on it. But sometimes I get tired of being careful. In the eyes of the powerful we are no better than ants. And in the eyeds of God...
*
Only propaganda has all the answers.
*
A cheerful thought: Any day now, and in cosmic time, in less than a fraction of a second, we will all be dead and all our problems will be buried with us.
#
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Old 25.09.2010, 15:52   #182
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Thursday, September 23, 2010
**********************************************
ON CHARITY
***************************************
Had I been a contemporary of Baronian and Odian, I wouldn't have written a single line. Either that or I would have written love stories. Which is what I did at first. For nearly a decade I wrote nothing but love stories.
*
When I think of my past blunders I feel like digging a hole and burying myself in it.
I am always a little surprised when I see an adult laughing.
I suspect Alzheimer's can't be all bad.
*
I write as I do because no one dares to say what must be said.
Those who say we need solutions imply that when it comes to our problems our writers have been of no use. Zarian is right: they say that to cover up their own uselessness and fear of free speech.
Not only do they say we need solutions, they also teach children to view critics as unpatriotic witnesses.
When they don't like what you say -- because what you say may threaten to expose their own uselessness – they say: “We don't need critics. We need solutions.” That's their way of saying “Shut up!”
*
This morning on the radio: “How can you tell if, instead of supporting charities, your charity money supports fund-raisers?”
Canadians dare to ask such questions because they believe in free speech. Once upon a time we did too.
A hundred years ago Odian made savage fun of our fund-raisers.
Who dares to question the ethics of our charitable organizations today?
Next time you make a contribution to a charity, don't be afraid to ask questions. Remember, it is your right to know. Asking questions may well be the most important contribution you can make.
*
Ask questions but don't believe everything you are told.
Honesty has never been a priority in our culture.
What culture?
If you want culture, get a tub of yogurt. You will find more culture there than in all our cultural foundations combined.
#
Friday, September 24, 2010
**********************************************
DEAD END
***************************************
Because I was critical of Armenians, I acquired several Turkish friends.
And because I became critical of Turks, I lost them.
Easy come, easy go.
*
That's another thing Armenians share with Turks: intolerance of criticism.
As long as they remain intolerant, reason will find no opening in their negotiations, and without reason there can be no dialogue, no compromise, and no consensus.
*
After saying they are for democracy and human rights, both Turks and Armenians suppress dissent.
Both delude themselves when they assert moral superiority.
Who believes them?
Only themselves.
*
Asserting the reality of the Genocide and denying it has become an industry among them. Both sides refuse to see the obvious, namely that, they were so blinded by hatred of the other that they slaughtered indiscriminately whenever they had the upper hand. But because Turks were a majority, Armenian victims outnumbered Turkish victims.
*
How to live in peace with their history?
They can't.
Hence their tendency to rewrite it.
*
Free speech is a meaningless commodity to those who don't know what freedom is and whose conception of speech consists in saying “Yes, sir!”
*
Armenians and Turks may reach a consensus only on the day they see reflection of themselves in the other. Until then their history will stand still.
*
For an Armenian, the idea that he may be as bad as a Turk is so repellent that it might as well be treason and blasphemy.
The same applies to Turks.
You may now draw your own conclusions.
#
Saturday, September 25, 2010
**********************************************
QUOTATIONS
***************************************
Fidel Castro: “Obama is not Nixon who was a cynic. Neither is he Reagan who was an imbecile.”
*
A Vatican insider: “Half of the Vatican is homosexual. So is the Pope, I think.”
*
Ingrid Betancourt: “There are things you do because you have to. You don't always calculate the consequences. And sometimes you do very stupid things because of that.”
*
John Adams: “Neither philosophy, nor religion, nor morality, nor wisdom, nor interest will ever govern nations or parties against their vanity, their pride, their resentment or revenge, or their avarice or ambition.”
#
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Old 29.09.2010, 22:59   #183
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quote

A Vatican insider

himself a faggot ?
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Old 02.10.2010, 15:32   #184
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Thursday, September 30, 2010
**********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
***************************************
Social aberrations like racism, fascism, and more recently, political correctness, are as a rule so gradual that the average dupe and conformist (but I repeat myself) submits to them the way he submits to winter cold and summer heat.
*
Why is it that religions are against conflict between classes and for warfare between states?
*
Whenever they tell you “We had no choice,” they lie. Subservient subjects may not have a choice but decision-makers do.
*
There is a core of truth in all religions, but instead of emphasizing the core, religious leaders emphasize such aberrations as intimidation, mumbo jumbo, and the collection plate. In Brecht's words: “Grub first, then ethics.”
*
Where truths are covered up, lies rush in; and where lies become the common currency, wars and massacres are sure to follow.
*
Sooner or later all our organizations turn into fund-raising agencies.
*
If both sides are to blame, why feel the need to support one side against the other? If in judgment impartiality matters, why assume the role of a pro-bono lawyer?
*
God and the Devil are man-made classifications. So are heaven hell. As they say of hallucinations: “It's all in your head.”
*
There are people out there whose sole aim in life is to exploit, deceive, and mislead their fellow men, and most of them are not crooks but pillars of society.
*
Nationalism is good in so far as it stands in opposition to the many abuses of imperialism. Nationalism is bad in so far as it legitimizes fascism, whose abuses and crimes outnumber those of imperial powers. Compare the Hamidian massacres (committed in the name of Ottoman imperialism) with the Genocide (whose perpetrators where Turkish nationalists).
*
Don't be taken in by our own nationalists. If they appear harmless today it's because they are without power.
#
Friday, October 1, 2010
**********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
***************************************
Toynbee's definition of God: “Absolute Reality approached anthropomorphically.”
My translation: The Unknowable and Inomprhensible as a bearded grandfatherly type.
*
As a boy I could not imagine anyone taking a dislike at me. As an old man I live in solitude because I have no desire to foist my unclean presence on others.
*
Violations of human rights, crimes against humanity, oppression, and lies are universal aberrations and none of us can plead not guilty – none except brainwashed nationalists who have 20/20 vision when they judge others and are blind when they assess themselves.
*
He who worships his ego can worship nothing else.
*
One reason Marie Antoinette was beheaded is that she thought bread could be easily replaced with brioche. A similar fate awaits those who think propaganda can replace free speech.
*
You want to do the right thing? Follow the example of Socrates and Jesus as opposed to that of their executioners.
*
In CASSELL'S FOREIGN WORDS AND PHRASES (London, 2000) I read the following: “Cantaloupe: a small, round, ribbed musk melon, from Cantaluppi, a papal estate near Rome, where it was first introduced from Armenia.”
#
Saturday, October 2, 2010
**********************************************
STICKS AND STONES
***************************************
“What have you got against the Armenian people?”
“Wrong question. Ask instead what have the Armenian people got against writers?”
“The Armenian people worship their writers. If you go to Armenia, you will see monuments, museums, and libraries dedicated to them.”
“That's only after they were dead and buried.”
*
Yesterday on the radio when asked “How would you like to be remembered after you die?” David Suzuki replied: “I don't give a sh*t what they say about me after I am dead and buried.”
*
“What you write annoys the hell out of me.”
“Use your delete button. To be read by the likes of you is as pleasant an experience as falling in the crapper.”
*
Nobody is ever duped for his own good.
*
Where there is power there will also be mumbo jumbo.
*
If you want to have an idea of infinity, think of human ignorance.
*
If my critics were pennies, I would be a wealthy man.
*
A definition of government: “A disease masquerading as its own cure.”
*
“Be more constructive!”
“You want constructive? What you need is standup comedians.”
#
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Old 09.10.2010, 15:34   #185
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Sunday, October 3, 2010
**********************************************
ON DISSENT
***************************************
One reason why dissident Armenians are thought to be a tiny and non-representative minority is that they are not organized and they don't have a propaganda machinery with which to broadcast their opposition. Every alienated and assimilated Armenian is a dissident. It is the partisans and superpatriots that are a minority, and it is their intolerance that is at the root of dissent, alienation, and asssimilation (or “sbidak chart” = white massacre).
*
It is an illusion and a dangerous one to think that we know all we need to know to do what must be done and we have no use for dialogue with those who disagree with us. I would go as far as saying that we owe the Genocide to this kind of arrogant mindset.
*
You can silence dissent but you can't bury the truth. Not even a tyrant with the power of a thousand Stalins can do that.
*
Popularity, fame and fortune are false gods that you worship at your own peril.
*
Being cannot imagine nothingness and vice versa: nothingness (or death) cannot imagine being (or life after death).
*
In his REBEL LAND: UNRAVELING THE RIDDLE OF HISTORY (London, 2010), Christopher de Bellaigue (an English writer and a former Turcophile and Kemalist who has spent a number of years in Istanbul but who has finally seen the light) writes: “To the west, on the other side of the Turkish border, there rises the glowing, incandescent, inaccessible past: Mount Ararat, Armenia's eternal symbol, in enemy's hands.”
Only a born-again human being could produce such a sentence.
#
Monday, October 4, 2010
**********************************************
ON THE UNIVERSAL NEED TO BELIEVE
************************************************
Some people believe in politicians because some people will believe anything.
And some people will believe anything because there is a dupe in all of us.
Consider the number of gods mankind has invented and believed.
Did our Savior really save us?
Before you answer that question, think of the countless innocent victims of wars and massacres.
About the Fall of Man:
What kind of loving God would penalize not only the perpetrator but also all his children, grandchildren, and descendants “from here to eternity”?
And what was the perp's crime, may I ask?
Tasting the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge (as opposed to sticking to what? -- trees of ignorance?)
Mankind fell because of that victimless crime?
What could be more cruel and unusual punishment?
Why couldn't He see that planting that damn tree in the middle of the Garden was a blunder on His part?
Why couldn't He see that placing a serpent in the Garden was entrapment?
No wonder the majority of mankind are infidels.
What am I driving at?
Only this: Once you establish yourself as an authority figure, you can get away with all kinds of nonsense because you can always rely on the fact that most people are dupes, or in American parlance, there is a ****er born every minute.
One reason why political and religious leaders see eye to eye is that they are both in the same line of business, namely, that of swindling, bamboozling, flimflamming, and hoodwinking the ignorant masses who will believe anything!
#
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
**********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
In Ovid's METAMORPHOSES (AD 8) we read:
“...creatures whose nature is wild and fierce, Armenian tigers and raging lions, bears and wolves delight in butchered food.”
*
All men are brothers – except my critics.
My critics are more than my brothers.
They are what I was.
There is no falsehood that I have not subscribed to or even recycled as an adult.
*
If at times I am merciless it’s because life has been even more merciless to us collectively. Compared to how tough life can be, I don’t even qualify as a marshmallow.
*
Perhaps we are too obsessed with the past to focus on our present problems.
In some perverse way the Turks continue to be in charge of our destiny.
We have not yet emancipated from our Ottoman phase.
*
An Armenian hates Turk because they massacred his ancestors. An Armenian will also hate his fellow Armenians because they are not as wise or as infallible as he is. And because I write as I do I have been told on several occasions that I hate not only my fellow Armenians but also myself.
*
At one time or another we have all practiced false modesty; also false vulnerability – pretending to be outraged or offended when in fact we didn't give a damn one way or another.
*
The wrong answer will be readily accepted if it flatters one's ego.
*
Samuel Butler (NOTEBOOKS): “What is faith but a kind of betting or speculation after all? It should be: ‘I bet my Redeemer liveth.’”
#
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
**********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
If you want something very badly you will be disappointed regardless of the outcome.
*
More about the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge: Who among us has not been tempted to disobey an order, especially one that doesn't make any sense? And please don't tell me the Good Lord who knows everything didn't know this.
*
The superpatriot who will do anything for his country except give up his little luxuries in the Diaspora; and the superpatriot who will gladly live in the Homeland provided he can afford a villa in the countryside and a condo in Yerevan.
*
To all those who at one time or another have attacked or insulted me, I say:
“Thank you for being a source of inspiration to me. Next time you see a reference to your person in one of my comments, please rest assured that you are not an incipient paranoiac.”
*
An Armenian fool will never agree with his Turkish counterpart. On the day fools cease to represent us, we may have a better chance to come to terms with one another.
#
Thursday, October 7, 2010
**********************************************
A REMARKABLE FILM
************************************************
Las night I watched Robert Guediguian's JOURNEY TO ARMENIA, a film that raises some important questions -- among them:
Why is it that the best features of the Soviet system have been abolished and the worst have been retained?
Why is it that Stalin (and his mustache) continue to be the role model of men whose job it is to enforce the law (in a lawless land)?
Why is it that these outrages become apparent only to outsiders but are accepted as inevitable facts of life to the natives?
Why is it that most Diasporan Armenians instinctively conspire with the regime to cover up that which should be exposed?
*
My tentative answer to that last question is:
That's what they have been brainwashed to do by their bosses, bishops, and benefactors.
We deserve better.
The poor and the powerless in the Homeland deserve better.
I say to all Armenians who speak or write about the Homeland:
Please, let's cut out the buffoonery.
Let's behave like responsible citizens.
Honesty and objectivity are not unpatriotic.
On the contrary!
Very much on the contrary.
*
This is a remarkable film achieved by disarmingly unremarkable means. While watching it I was reminded of an observation made by an English traveller at the turn of the last century: “What magnificent landscape, what miserable people!” -- or words to that effect.
#
Friday, October 8, 2010
**********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
When you read the Greeks you realize they have settled most arguments, and yet people go on arguing.
*
Eminent thinkers and great statesmen have called the United States “a mistake,” and England “a nation of shopkeepers.” I have every reason to suspect these gentlemen would have serious problems trying to accept our own assessment of ourselves as first nation this and first nation that.
*
My Credo would begin with the words: “I believe in the Unknowable and the Incomprehensible, the source of all good and evil. I believe nothing that popes, imams, rabbis, and the mobs that follow them, say. I would believe them only if they were to admit openly that what they say they believe is motivated less by love of truth and more by wishful thinking.”
*
Toynbee on patience: “A capacity to suffer fools gladly and to do this with gusto, not as a martyrdom, but as a fine art which the practitioner can practice with zest.”
*
More about popes, imams, and rabbis: I agree with all of them when they say the others are charlatans. With one difference: I wouldn't call them infidel dogs or heretics in league with the Devil. I would, however, call them dupes.
#
Saturday, October 9, 2010
**********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
God must love moral morons – He has made so many of them.
*
There is a tendency in all of us to say yes to the status quo even when its architects and supporters are cretins.
*
Education, ideas, culture, environment, climate, cuisine, friends and many other factors combine to shape our character and worldview – also and especially the amount of sh*t we were exposed to in our formative years.
*
The rich like to believe their wealth is a blessing from the Good Lord. The poor know they are blood****ing crooks who overprice their product and underpay their workers.
*
When a chauvinist who recycles crap says: “Criticism must be constructive!” what he really means is: “If recycling crap is good enough for me, how dare you think otherwise?”
*
I don’t read to have my ego massaged or prejudices reinforced, but for the exactly opposite reason.
*
Dostoevsky began his literary career as a liberal and became a conservative. By contrast, Thomas Mann began as a conservative right-wing nationalist and ended as a left-wing liberal. I enjoy reading both. I enjoy them even when they express views with which I am in complete disagreement.
#
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Old 13.10.2010, 15:36   #186
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Sunday, October 10, 2010
**********************************************
PROPAGANDA & DISSENT
************************************************
For eight years I worked in an insurance company that employed thousands.
What did they produce?
Nothing. Only paperwork.
What did they sell?
The certainty that if you die tomorrow or next year, your family will be awarded a goodly sum – depending on the amount of insurance you bought and provided you paid your monthly, quarterly, or annual premiums.
There is money in certainty no matter how unfounded and false.
There is none in doubt no matter how justified.
*
People hate uncertainty perhaps because there is so much of it in life.
They need to be told there is life after death -- even eternal bliss provided you do what you are told.
Propaganda (be it religious or political) pays because it deals in certainties and it is constructive in so far as it speaks of dreams -- even as it delivers nightmares. Propaganda promises the millennium -- that is, peace and prosperity for a thousand years, even as it delivers war, the concentration camp, and the Gulag.
By contrast, all dissent can do is expose lies.
What could be more negative and destructive?
*
The best dissent can do is question and doubt, thus replacing optimism and hope with pessimism, despair, and anxiety.
Once in a while I get letters asking me, sometimes even begging me, to be more positive and constructive – never more objective and truthful.
I regret to say I am in no position to promise eternal bliss or, for that matter, seventy-three virgins. And yet, that's what the average dupe wants me to do – to deliver empty promises, illusions, and lies.
That may explain why propagandists are amply compensated with power and money and dissenters are ostracized, persecuted, silenced, sometimes even tortured, starved, and killed.
#
Monday, October 11, 2010
**********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
Nowadays almost everyone has either written a book or is busy writing one. When asked to identify my racket, I say I am a retired church organist. A writer has as much prestige today as a mental masturbator.
*
You can behead kings and assassinate heads of state but there isn't much you can do to a faceless and anonymous bureaucrat who may exercise more power on you than any king of head of state.
*
The greatest blunder committed by Turks at the turn of the last century was to think that a tiny and non-representative group of misguided young fools with their heads in the clouds could be a threat to the survival of the Empire.
*
The problem with speechifiers and sermonizes is that they don't even recycle their own crap. What they do is recycle someone else's who did the same. What they say has therefore as much value as the evidence of a comatose parrot.
*
You cannot change that which you hate: that may explain my failure. Perhaps what we need is not critics but messiahs. Anyone interested in being crucified?
*
A partisan thinks it is his patriotic duty to defend everything his party does and to agree with everything the boss says. But I happen to be of the opinion that the Pope is not infallible, Mussolini was not always right, and Suleiman the Magnificent was not magnificent. I further believe the Good Lord has given us a brain with which to think and judge for ourselves, and there is nothing praiseworthy in subservience even when it is promoted in the name of discipline, loyalty, patriotism, and truth.
#
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
**********************************************
NARRATIVES
************************************************
For every narrative there is a counter-narrative.
*
Our perception of reality is limited.
The human eye, like the eye of a camera, can take in countless details, but the human mind can select and focus only on a limited number of them.
In the Soviet era, for example, the Kremlin provided its own narrative and dissidents like Solzhenitsyn provided a counter-narrative. And for a good number of years, or until Khrushchev's withering speech against the cult of personality, the dissidents' counter-narrative was dismissed by most Sovietologists as reactionary propaganda subsidized and disseminated by the capitalist West.
*
Another case of narrative and counter-narrative is the Turkish version of the Genocide. According to the Turkish official narrative, our genocide is fiction. But according to such dissidents as Pamuk and Akcam, the official narrative is state propaganda.
*
The central concern of our official narrative today is the Genocide. If we had a counter-narrative, its central concern would be democracy and human rights.
We may not have a counter-narrative today, but we had one at the turn of the last century and two of its most important exponents were Baronian and Odian, both of whom are now identified as humorists. Their main concern, however, was neither to entertain nor to amuse their readers, but to expose our moral bankruptcy.
*
Why is it that we had a counter-narrative in the Ottoman Empire but not today in the land of the brave and the free?
The answer is: Under the Sultan, our bosses, bishops, and benefactors did not have the power to control the press.
*
Moral I:
Where there is only one narrative, it can be asserted with some degree of certainty that the counter-narrative has been suppressed.
*
Moral II:
Where crooks and liars are in charge, the press will be controlled; and where the press is controlled, the fundamental human right of free speech will be violated.
#
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
**********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
There are those who say if you believe in a Big Lie, that lie ceases to be a lie. I am not one of them. I don't believe in faith as magic because i don't believe in magic.
*
What happened to us was not inevitable. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar who is too arrogant to admit that like the rest of mankind he too is prone to error.
*
I may sound like an angry young man but I am in fact a serene old man who has come to terms with his own limitations.
Everything I say contains a silent mea culpa.
I don't accuse, I confess.
And by confessing I hope to achieve a higher degree of serenity.
Consider that a symptom of my Catholic upbringing.
*
There are many little truths in all organized ideologies and religions, but their core is a Big Lie.
*
Truth has never been a central concern of organizations.
Power, yes.
Truth, never!
*
Truth is a metaphysical abstraction with no counterpart in reality. And of reality we are equipped to perceive only tiny fractions. Which is why no two men will ever agree on everything.
*
I don't write to be popular.
I believe there is more merit in unpopularity than in fame and fortune.
And I rate indifference to fame above fame.
*
Did you know that Mongolia's population is 2.7 million? – which means there are many more mongoloids than Mongols – meant to say, many more Armenians.
#
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Old 16.10.2010, 15:40   #187
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Thursday, October 14, 2010
**********************************************
WOUNDED ANIMALS
************************************************
To the gentle reader who described me as “a wounded animal,” I say:
If centuries of abject subservience to brutal regimes have not left permanent scars on your soul (if you will forgive the overstatement) you must be a superman.
And if you claim to have at no time been mortally wounded by your fellow Armenians, you must be a habitual liar.
Since I have never met a superman and I have met many liars, I have no choice but to assume you are one of those liars who will say anything to assert their superiority over their fellow Armenians.
*
In this morning's paper there is a long article on Armenian criminals in America. Its first paragraph reads:
“A vast network of Armenian gangsters and their associates used phantom health care clinics and other means to try to cheat the government medical insurance program Medicare out of $163 million US, the largest fraud by one criminal enterprise in the program's history, U.S. Authorities said Wednesday.”
We are further informed that an Armenian criminal boss is known as a “vor,” probably because all he does is sit on his fat posterior and let his underlings do the dirty work.
*
The questions to be asked at this point are:
Is there a single former Soviet citizen today who does not bear permanent scars inflicted on his soul by the Stalinist system?
How many “vors” are there in the Yerevan bureaucracy today?
What are the chances that an honest Armenian will emerge from the swamp and reach the top? -- or is that a utopian daydream on my part?
#
Friday, October 15, 2010
**********************************************
NOTES ON OBJECTIVITY
AND DISSENT
************************************************
Objectivity is an asset, not a liability.
*
Where there is an absence of objectivity,
blunders are sure to follow.
*
To see things as they are
is better than to think of them as we would like them to be.
*
A Christian can't be objective about Christianity
in the same way that a Taliban mullah
can't be objective about Islam.
*
To say that in matters of faith objectivity is irrelevant
is to surrender reason to the forces of darkness
– the source of all violence.
*
Dissent does not have to be infallible in order to be necessary.
*
Power without dissent digs its own grave.
*
Our intolerance of dissent is a legacy
of our Ottoman and Stalinist past.
*
Only the brain-dead are against dissent and free speech.
*
When the brain-dead lead the brain-dead
they don't fall into the ditch
because their skeletons are already buried there.
*
Men of power do not welcome dissidents;
they prefer dupes with a negative IQ
whose favorite expression is “Yes, sir!”
#
Saturday, October 16, 2010
**********************************************
FUND-RAISERS
& RELATED ATROCITIES
************************************************
No activity has been more abused among us
than fund-raising.
*
To say of someone that he has the integrity of a fund-raiser
amount to calling him white trash.
*
The greatest beneficiaries of fun-raising
are the fund-raisers themselves.
*
I have yet to meet a fund-raiser
who placed the welfare of the people
above his own fat income.
*
I loathe fund-raisers as much as I loathe pimps --
and I say this with the full awareness
that I am being unfair to pimps.
*
Which reminds me of the line:
“Please, don't tell my mother I am a lawyer:
she thinks I am a pimp.”
*
Shakespeare: “Let's begin by killing all the lawyers.”
*
Dante: If he didn't dedicate an entire circle
in his INFERNO to lawyers, he should have.
*
To the lawyers and fund-raisers on this forum
(if there are any) I say:
“Present company suspected.”
*
I rest my case.
Nothing further, your Honor.
#
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Old 20.10.2010, 17:15   #188
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Sunday, October 17, 2010
**********************************************
LIARS AND MEGALOMANIACS
************************************************
When what I say is ignored or rejected,
I have no choice but to repeat myself in the hope that
I may have better luck next time.
After all, Rome wasn't built in one day.
*
I agree with our revolutionaries in so far as
they said enough is enough!
After six hundred years of subservience
we have earned the right to revolt.
I disagree with them – and do so violently – in so far as
they were the first to abandon ship.
*
For saying the obvious,
I am now told I am wrong by individuals
whose incompetence is exceeded only
by their cowardice.
*
In the eyes of the infallible,
you will be right only when you parrot their lies.
*
If you can't convert them, make them mad.
That's my motto.
An Armenian writer is judged
by the number of enemies he makes.
The more, the merrier.
*
What have they learned from their failures?
Nothing. Less than nothing!
Only to rewrite history – which is another thing
they share with Turks.
*
Never parrot the line or recycle the propaganda
of individuals who consider themselves infallible
(they are liars)
or pretend to speak in the name of the Almighty
(they are megalomaniacs).
#
Monday, October 18, 2010
**********************************************
BIAS VERSUS OBJECTIVITY
************************************************
After disagreeing with my views on objectivity,
a reader writes to support the thesis that bias is inevitable and objectivity impossible.
Objectivity, like truth, may indeed be unattainable.
That, however, does not mean we cannot travel in its direction;
or bias is a terminal condition, and once biased, always biased.
*
Consider the following cases of bias:
Germans asserting they belong to a superior race,
and Jews believing they are the Chosen People.
Now contrast these two cases of bias with Toynbee's objective assertion that both Germans and Jews owe their fictional privileged status to no one but to their own narcissism.
*
Closer to home:
I know what it means to be brainwashed (and therefore biased),
and I also know what it means to replace bias with objectivity.
As a child I was biased.
As an adult I have become more objective.
*
Some Turks believe the Genocide to be a fiction of our imagination, and that it was not Turks who massacred Armenians, but the other way around.
By contrast, Armenians believe Turks massacred as many as two million Armenians.
Now suppose these Turks and Armenians appeal to a panel of outsiders with no ax to grind to study the matter and report back. And suppose after a year of deliberation and consultation with experts in the field, this panel reports back and submits its findings, after which Turks are willing to concede that as many as 300,000 Armenians may have been massacred, and Armenians are willing to lower the number of victims from 2 million to 1.5 million. We can conclude that both sides have taken a step in the right direction.
*
And now suppose that a hundred years hence the study of history will be so refined and developed that there will no longer be Armenian and Turkish, or for that matter, Russian or American, history textbooks but a single textbook agreed upon by a panel of international academics. I suggest such a textbook will have taken still another step in the direction of objectivity.
*
Bias may be said to be of two kinds: the kind that is a Big Lie (which can be exposed) and the kind that is inevitable (which can be corrected).
As things stand, all textbooks by nationalist historians – be they Turkish, Armenian, or Hottentot – are no better than propaganda whose intent is to legitimize a power structure, deceive the people, and brainwash children in order to prepare them to fight another war.
#
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
**********************************************
OBJECTION!
************************************************
One of my gentle readers has taken it upon himself to straighten me out on the subject of lawyers by sending me a three line message which contains one insult and two curses.
Zarian is right: “An Armenian's tongue can be sharper than a Turk's yataghan.”
Since this is the first time I hear from this reader -- (let's call him Jack S. Avanakian not because I don't want to identify him but because I did not burden my memory with his name), I should be flattered in the knowledge that he agrees – or at least he does not disagree – with everything else I have been saying. But flattered, I am not!
I may not believe in curses, but neither do I welcome them.
May I assure Jack S. Avanakian and all lawyers in general that they have had a bad press long before I was born, and insulting me will do nothing to improve matters.
*
In my time I have dealt with several lawyers – probably more than my share – and one of them was indeed a fine gentleman (may he rest in peace) perhaps because there are good men everywhere, including Turks.
If I emphasize the dark side of things -- if I choose to expose the negative, as opposed to extolling the positive -- it may be because as an Armenian I refuse to adopt Saroyan (who pretended to love mankind but couldn't stand his own children) as a role model.
*
There are good lawyers as there are honest politicians out there somewhere. That, however, does not diminish the accuracy and relevance of Raymond Chandler's unforgettable observation, “The room was as dark as the prospects of an honest politician.” And if I have nothing good to say about them it's because we Armenians collectively have been perennial double victims of alien as well as our own political leadership.
*
Speaking of politicians: the fact that a great many of them are lawyers doesn't make them more palatable to my taste. But that's neither here nor there. What I find most repellent about lawyers is that they care more about the Law and less about Justice. And what has been the contribution of the Law in history – from the execution of Socrates and the Crucifixion of Christ to such more recent crimes against humanity as our Genocide, the Holocaust of the Jews, the countless violations of human rights against the Blacks in America, and the Gulag in the USSR (all of which were committed in the name of the Law)?
Throughout history, the Law has always acted as an arm of those in power (be they capitalists or commissars) even when they were no better than crminals.
*
If Jack S. Avanakian is not careful he may provoke me into saying that lawyers have been as bad as those whose interests they serve and whose powers they defend and legitimize. Sultan Abdulhamid II, Talaat, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao may be dead and buried but their offspring can always rely on lawyers to defend them even if they are as guilty as serial killers.
*
It would be no exaggeration to say that at the root of all injustice there will be a lawyer. And if there is more justice today in both Russia and the United States it's because of dissident writers like Solzhenitsyn and preachers like Martin Luther King, not lawyers.
#
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
**********************************************
REFLECTIOONS
************************************************
If at the end of an argument neither side has moved an inch, they must be either Turks or Armenians.
*
You want to be a writer? Write a single honest line and you will be attacked by so many charlatans that you will spend the rest of your life replying to them and in the process exposing their dishonesty. Yes! -- all it takes is a single honest line.
*
We are told love is better than hatred. What we are not told is that it is wrong to love that which is deserving of our hate – things like lies, prejudice, greed, war, and massacre.
*
We are taught to love our homeland and fellow countrymen. What we are not taught is that singling them out as more deserving of our love than all others may have some undesirable consequences – among them xenophobia, chauvinism, racism, double-talk, cynicism, and ignorance of the world.
*
There is nothing wrong in being wrong. But there is something horribly wrong pretending to be infallible.
*
Philip Roth had to write PORTRNOY'S COMPLAINT to be hated by his fellow Jews. All an Armenian writer has to do is to say 2+2=4.
*
It's good to know that I live in a country where capital punishment by crucifixion or the death of a thousand cuts have been abolished. But as Antranik Zaroukian says somewhere, you can always rely on your fellow countrymen to find another equally painful method of execution.
#

POEM FOR EVERYONE

(Amenapoem)

By Yeghishe Charents,
Translated by Ara Baliozian


PROLOGUE

I - poet of Hayastan -
Fogbound land
Haunted by death -
I now sing
To all!
I sing
Once more
But why must I sing alone?
I, alone, and not they -
Who lived through and overpowered
These rough stormy days.
Under the sun, in the dust.
On foggy days dripping wet.
They strive, combat, and toil
In the grime of the soil.
And like sweat they flow
On the face of the earth -
As the wind hurls them hither and thither
And joins and mingles one with the other.
You may not be aware
That every humble workman
That toils hard all day long -
Carries in his iron lungs
A hundred, a thousand songs.
If you weren't aware of this
Hearken to my voice then,
Open your ears wide!
- For this world of ours
They are the only true bards!
And do you know what they sing?
What they sing and fashion? -
Songs of steel they sing,
Songs of fire and ardor.
They sing -
And their song
Towers over time
Immense, secure -
Their song -
The world -
Behold!
Polytonal songs,
Fabulous,
Marvelous.
Miraculous songs.
Greetings, exalted companion!
Miner!
Digger!
Baker!...
Yes!
Why should I sing alone?
Let all of them sing!
To all, to all, to all!
And why should he sing alone?
He alone - Nairi's Boghos -
Why not Ivan, Yousuf, Chung-Fu?
Who - brothers all under the skin -
Have known each other for years.
Haven't you heard? -
A Hun-yun from Tibet today
Can fly to Rashid, Petrograd. Tiflis
Or, like a windswept autumn leaf
A Garo - or Hugo for that matter -
Can fly and reach
Marseilles, Yerevan, Tifllis,
Peking, Chicago, Cairo.
O, for some time now
The earth has changed
Into a short, tiny street
Yes, for some time now
From yellow-tinged Peking
A Chung-Fu can extend his hand
All the way to Nork and say:
Comrade Boghos, good day!
Why should he sing alone?
Let all men burst into song.
Let the whole world burst into song.
And chant!
And ring
And carol!


PART ONE

- July 1914, Yerevan-
Yerevan.
Astafian Street.
On the road.
Deep in thoughts,
Boghos,
A workman, advances.
Under the broiling sun.
Weary and exhausted.
He walks along.
It is stifling hot.
Summer. High noon.
The oppressive air.
The dusty road.
Urged on by his thoughts
Boghos hurries along.
Heat and dust;
Oppressive - as always.
Everywhere -
Icy, water,
Grapes,
Wine.
People. Carts. People.
And no one can guess
That on Astafian Street now,
A miracle will come to pass . . . .
And the miracle - it was very simple . . .
Suddenly a drop of sweat
From the workman's forehead
(As urged on by the heat he hurried along)
Fell in the dust on the road.
It fell and for an instant
Reflected the infinite space
And the sun - a distant spark.
And suddenly from that drop of sweat.
That had fallen in the dust -
Countless armies rose!
Immense, audacious, fearless . . . .
Soldiers by the million rose,
Warriors of iron and bronze -
Toilers all like Boghos
Without hope, without arms.
They suddenly rose
From the dust of the road -
Fearless warriors by the million
Mighty men at arms.
Swords blazed and sabres shone,
Brave voices burst into song,
Red flags and crimson flags
Flew and rippled with frenzy.
It happened on Astafian Street
Under the broiling hot sun
As workman Boghos advanced
His eyes fixed in the distance.
No one, but no one saw.
It happened in a single instant.
Then - the wheels of a cart crunched
On the dusty, oppressive road.
(Let me explain this miracle
By mentioning that
Boghos was on his way
To see an old friend
Who had spoken to him
Of events of enormous import
That were about to take place
And that the hour of the great struggle
Was . . . .)
Yerevan.
Astafian Street.
Dormant repose.
Dust in the eyes.
A quiet. peaceful town.
And "Ayi! Ayi! Ay!!"
The braying
Of an ass,
To an ass,
By an ass . . . .
Lazy.
Slow.
A drowsy ass.
Like a pleasant dream -
Hot,
Sun,
Summer dust -
Yerevan,
Yerevan,
Yerevan . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
And innkeeper Hamo
Grumbled about the heat,
Longing for the light,
Sweet breeze of spring . . . .
The world was a dusty road
Where lived
A Hamo,
A Garo,
A Boghos.
As in a dream Hamo saw
In the sunny distant road
Himself - Hamo
Perched on the sun
Feet dangling
Humming a song . . . .
And mentally counting
- Eleven . . . . twelve . . . thirteen . . . .
The wine of the sun flows . . .
But business is slow . . .
Soon it will be evening -
And he will go home
To return
Once more
On the morrow . . . .
The sun will rise again,
The heat will be oppressive
And in that heavy torpor
Will anyone ask
For wine and liquor?
Such were the dreams
Of drowsy, weary Hamo;
The world - a hot dusty, road,
- Morning,
Noon,
And night . . . .
Innkeeper Hamo's soul was blind
To such things as miracles
And when they came and said "War!" -
He did not budge and inch.
He did not hear, or feel, or grasp.
Was it like a wedding perhaps? -
Where red wine would flow and flow
Without measure . . . . without end . . . .
And when evening came
And he rose to go home
He heard everyone shout:
- War. War! War!


PART TWO

Did you hear?
They rose -
Huge armies, ironclad.
Did you hear?
They rose-
In battlefields
Around the globe.
They rose
And they marched
From the Urals to the Carpathians
And from the Carpathians to Erzerum,
And from Erzerum - to Tripoli and Rome.
They came from all directions -
Turks,
Italians,
Indians,
Georgians,
Russians,
Shetlanders,
Armenians,
Tartars.
Circassians,
Chinese,
From New York they came,
From the islands of Tahiti
And from distant Baghdad -
They came -
And they came
Like windswept dust
From London - Peking.
Kars,
Sarikamish -
Like dust they came
In a raging storm.
And they roared -
"Vo-vo-vo - Vo-vo" -
Dry-throated cannon -
"Vo"
"Vo-vo" -
Morning,
Noon,
And night.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

And it was thus
Soldiers by the million
Confronted one another -
From Baghdad to Berlin.
Paramushir,
And from Berlin to Calais
And Dover
Verdun
Lyon.
From many worlds
And many shores
From New York to Peking
From the Urals to Milan.
Thus it was
That the world mingled
From one end to the other
And entire cities of flesh
Confronted one another.
Under the broiling hot rays
Of the nearby sun
The earth seemed to rot
Like a stinking carrion.
Thus it was
Didn't you hear?
Didn't you see in your dark heart
That thousands perished
In a single black night.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


PART THREE

Yerevan.
Astafian Street.
Innkeeper Hamo in his chair.
Autumn.
Rain.
Fog.
The road - toothless mouth
Is now filled with refugees -
On the wet sidewalks,
Endless files of refugees.

Thus it was
That innkeeper Hamo
Longed for the light
Sweet breeze of spring.
And he thought:
The Russians by now
Must have reached Baghdad -
Why
Have these people
Escaped from Bitlis,
From Mush, from Baghdad?
Why are they here
And not in Bitlis. Bassen -
Has not
Invincible Antranik
Marched into Erzerum? . . . .
With these thoughts in his head
Hamo went home to relax
As an orphan lay dying
On the sidewalk by his inn.
Thus it was.
Innkeeper Hamo
Did not even see Boghos,
Now a soldier,
Reach Paramushir . . . .
And when business was slow
To keep himself awake
He sang again and again
"My beloved Hairenik . . . ."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


PART FOUR

Yerevan.
That is to say - Nairi.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Crossroads of continents
Where East and West meet
Stands ancient Nairi -
A blood-stained
Question mark
Erect
Like a dream
Driven deep into past -
Is that not Nairi? . . . . .

The days are flying
Days of fire -
Flying fast . . . .
Shall I grasp your soul
And hurl it
like an iron disk -
Hurl it into the future . . . .
They are now
Re-building the world -
Re-building it
Street by street -
A Muscovite workman
By the name of Ivan,
A Chung-Fu,
A Hans,
A Boghos -
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


EPILOGUE

Now -
Everywhere -
Can you hear?
Bells ringing . . . .
Ringing with defiance!
I tell you the world has become
A street of universal joy
And a Chung-Fu from Peking
Drinks and shouts
-To your health, Boghos!
And if my bright hopes
Were to turn to ashes
I shall continue to sing
Hosannas to you
Mighty iron-brother!
And if these days of fire
Were to end in disaster
I shall continue to sing -
Sing your glorious deeds
I - a feeble
Final voice . . . .


--
YEGHISHE CHARENTS (1897-1937): The foremost poet of the Soviet era. He
completed his studies in Moscow and was greatly influenced by such
Russian writers as Pushkin and Mayakovsky. He produced with equal ease
lyric, rhapsodic, satirical and epic poems. He died as a victim of the
Stalinist purges. __

--
Ara Baliozian was born in Athens, Greece and received his education
in Venice, Italy. He lives in Ontario, Canada and writes in
Armenian and English and has published over 20 books of his
works. He has translated works from Armenian writers, such as
Grigor Zohrab, Zabel Yessayan, and Kostan Zarian into English.

Last edited by arabaliozian; 20.10.2010 at 17:15.
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Old 23.10.2010, 15:33   #189
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Thursday, October 21, 2010
**********************************************
LAMENTATION
************************************************
The lies that flatter us
cease to be lies and don the vestments
of self-evident truths.
It is this that allows our phony patriots
to declare pride in their Armenianism
momentarily forgetting that our past
is nothing but a concatenation
of defeats, subservience, degradation, and massacre.
As for the empty boast, “We survived!”
I say, the worst, yes.
The best no!
Ottomanism and Sovietism, yes;
Armenianism (assuming such a thing exists,
and if it does we can recognize it when we see it)
certainly not!
*
Unhappy is the man
whose sole source of pride is propaganda;
and unhappy is the nation
whose leadership's central concern
is to moronize its children.
*
I sense the disintegration of our communities
by the fact that in the company of my fellow countrymen
I feel like a stranger in a strange land.
*
How many bishops, archbishops, and patriarchs do we have today?
I don't know and I don't care to know.
But I do know that you can count the number of intellectuals
on the fingers of one thumb.
There is money in charlatanism,
only unemployment, insults, and starvation
in dedication to ideas and principles.
#
Friday, October 22, 2010
**********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
There are less than 3 million Mongols in Mongolia today. But there are as many as 60 million Turks (former Mongols) in Turkey. There is only one rational explanation for this glaring disparity: rape and concubinage (legally sanctioned rape).
*
Has anyone ever read a Mongol poet or novelist? One is therefore justified in wondering to which fraction of his DNA does Orhan Pamuk owe his Nobel Prize?
*
I know now that everything I was taught as a child – except perhaps the rules of grammar – was wrong.
And speaking of grammar: There is a saying in French to the effect that even kings must obey the rules of grammar. And yet, Frederick the Great couldn't even speak German fluently, and the several books he authored (some with Voltaire's help) were written in French.
*
When we speak about the meaning of life, what we really mean of course is the meaning of death, or rather its meaninglessness.
*
Once upon a time when Turkey was discussed in diplomatic circles or in the international press, Armenians were also invariably mentioned. Just finished reading a long commentary on Turkey in the Op-Ed page of my morning paper in which Armenians are nowhere to be seen. We appear to have lost our relevance. Either that or we have ceased to be a political football.
*
If you pretend to know more than you do, sooner or later you will run into someone who will call your bluff and you will be caught with your pants down.
To rely too much on someone else's ignorance is an enterprise doomed to end in failure.
*
The older I grow the more frequently I catch myself saying “I don't know,” and “I don't understand.”
#
Saturday, October 23, 2010
**********************************************
LAMENTATION (II)
************************************************
To the same degree that they have been Armenianized,
we have been Ottomanized.
I see symptoms of this malaise
in all our institutions – be they political, cultural, and religious.
*
Nothing can be more depressing to me
than the spectacle of a childhood friend
turning into a hireling and mouthing the party line,
and doing so with the unshakable conviction
that he is serving the community and the nation.
So what if in the process he is also making a comfortable living?
Why shouldn't he?
Isn't it the duty of every responsible man
to provide for his family?
Why should there be a contradiction
between his duty as a husband and a father
and his patriotism?
*
Never underestimate the cunning of crooks
and their ability to behave like their own dream team
of defense lawyers.
*
For every dissident,
the Soviets had ten perhaps even a hundred commissars
and a thousand brainwashed citizens
who believed they were law-abiding citizens
and dissidents were criminals.
But ultimately what brought down the Soviet Union
was not dissent but lies.
*
When the best are marginalized,
it is the worst that reach the top.
And when that happens,
death is sure to follow.
#
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Old 27.10.2010, 15:38   #190
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Sunday, October 24, 2010
**********************************************
KILLERS
************************************************
The daring with which some readers challenge my views is exceeded only by the cowardice with which they say “Yes, sir!” to the most asinine lies that issue from the mouth of a boss, bishop, or benefactor.
That too may be said to be a symptom of our Ottomanism and Sovietism – or should I say, sultanism and Stalinism?
*
And speaking of sultans (may they all burn in hell!): when they demanded and got a thousand concubines, I wonder, did any one of their advisers, servants, or subjects raise as much as an eyebrow even when alone, in bed, in a dark room, after midnight, his head covered by a thick charshaf?
*
I remember once when I said something critical about a bishop, a gentle reader rebuked me with the words: “Remember, whatever he says or does, he never ceases being a man of God.”
So were the sultans – who were to Muslims what popes are to Catholics.
*
Turks believe it is the bloodthirsty and savage Armenians who massacred the law-abiding and peace-loving citizens of the Empire. That only proves that they have been so thoroughly brainwashed that they will believe anything!
*
This reminds me of the story about an Englishman who on seeing the Duke of Wellington in the street, went up to him and said: “Mr. Smith, I believe.” To which Wellington replied: “If you believe that, you will believe anything!”
And I say, if you believe the Sultan was a man of Allah, and Kemal (like Mussolini) “ha sempre ragione” (is always right) you will believe anything! And worse. Whenever a charlatan with a degree or title challenges you, you will not only drop your pants, but you will also bend over.
*
It's astonishing what a thousand years of subservience will do to a man. Unbelievable as it may seem, it may even remove surgically, painlessly, and without anesthetic, his cojones
*
If you think I am saying something that hasn't been said before, listen to Toynbee who wrote what follows half a century ago:
“In the life which Man has made for himself on Earth, his institutions, in contrast to his personal relations, are the veritable slums, and the taint of moral obliquity is still more distressing in the least ignoble of these social tenements of the Human Spirit – for instance, in the churches and academies – than in such unquestionably malignant institutions as Slavery and War.”
Translated into dollars and cents, this simply means: when it comes to lies, bishops and imams are worse than thieves and killers.
#
Monday, October 25, 2010
**********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
The ability to see only the dark side should be seen as an asset rather than a liability in an environment where everyone is brainwashed to see the bright side.
*
If you think I am mean, nasty, and disagreeable it may be because so far you have been exposed only to the flattery of our speechifiers and sermonizers. Speaking for myself: I believe nothing they say, and if I believe anything it's the exact opposite of what they say.
*
The aim of our educational system is to raise another generation willing to submit itself to taxation without representation.
*
There is nothing like power to awaken the Turk in us. I have yet to meet a boss, bishop, or benefactor whose secret ambition was not to be another Suleiman the Magnificent.
*
“You should change your last name – why go about bearing a Turkish label?” an old friend once demanded to know.
Change my name? I wouldn't think of it. When a telemarketer calls me on the phone and has trouble pronouncing it (and it's amazing how many of them do) I say, “Wrong number!” and hang up. It's a time-saver.
*
Mother Teresa lost her faith but kept it a secret. I suspect there is a Mother Teresa in all of us. We may have lost faith in our institutions and fellow Armenians but we like to pretend we never had it so good.
*
As children we were taught to memorize the territories conquered by Dikran the Great. What we were not taught: how much of his humanity he surrendered.
*
Mike Tyson on Hannibal: “He was very courageous. He rode elephants through Cartilage.”
#
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
**********************************************
THE WAY OF THE WORLD
************************************************
Nabokov in INVITATION TO A BEHEADING:
“...but as there is in the world not a single human being who can speak my language; or, more simply, not a single human who can speak; or, even more simply, not a single human...”
*
To those who accuse me of repeating myself and bitching too much, I plead extenuating circumstances. And to those who urge me to be more like Saroyan, may I remind them that Saroyan too was accused of repeating himself.
*
My father lost literally everything in two world wars – first time in the Ottoman Empire, second time in Greece. My mother was educated in an orphanage run by nuns; and I was educated by monks. I was born in a ghetto and now live in a slum – according to a real-estate agent who so informed my next-door neighbor when he wanted to sell his house.
*
Sooner or later we have no choice but to come to terms with reality, or with the fact that we can't be all things to all men, and it makes no difference if, like Saroyan, you love the whole world, or like myself, you are disposed to see only the dark side.
*
Speaking of love: It is not true that there is more hatred in me than there is love. I love many people – very probably as many as Saroyan. But most of those I love were either condemned to death (like Socrates and Christ), assassinated (like Gandhi), misunderstood (like Bach) or excommunicated or exiled (like Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Solzhenitsyn, and Zarian).
*
By contrast, Nabokov was born a millionaire and died as one thanks to a little slut called Lolita. But in between he experienced a revolution (during which he lost not only his fortune but also his father to assassins), exile, destitution, and rejection. He knew what he was talking about when he spoke of scarcity of humans in the world.
*
Blessed be the condemned to death, the assassinated, the misunderstood, rejected, marginalized. and persecuted, for they shall be rewarded with love and admiration in saecula saeculorum, amen!
#
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
**********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
“Fiscal accountability,” and “Hold them accountable”:
Two expressions I should like to see more often in our press.
*
Refuse to parrot a political line and make an enemy of all parrots.
*
The challenge all politicians face is to do the opposite of what they say and get away with it. Which is why the ideal community is a collection of idiots – which is what we were trained to be under the sultans and commissars and which is what we continue to be by habit, tradition, and culture.
*
In our environment, if you prove someone wrong, you make an enemy for life.
*
Because I speak of reality, I am ignored.
Because I speak of honesty, I am insulted.
Because I call self-assessed geniuses dupes, I am hated.
*
Toynbee on Russians: “As heirs, malgré eux, of an Orthodox Christian cultural heritage, they could not find the principle of 'totalitarianism' either unfamiliar or shocking.”
Something similar could be said of Catholics, Muslims, and Armenians.
*
Where bishops and imams are popular, free speech will be an alien concept.
Where there is too much talk of God, there will not be enough talk of human rights.
Where Allah is King, dissenters will be viewed as agents of the Devil.
*
Toynbee on wealth: “In general, wealth is represented, not as a material boon to be envied and, if possible, expropriated, but a spiritual impediment to be deprecated.”
Translation: Poverty may not be a blessing, but wealth might as well be a curse.
#
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Old 27.10.2010, 21:13   #191
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es nkari mijin' du es te George W. Bush' ?
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Old 30.10.2010, 14:49   #192
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Thursday, October 28, 2010
**********************************************
UNDIPLOMATIC OBSERVATIONS
************************************************
It is written: “He who has the gold, defines the golden rule.”
*
It is also written: “Revolutions may change the men at the top, they don't change human nature.”
*
The economic crisis engineered under Bush and embraced by Obama proves one thing: Sooner or later both capitalism and communism degenerate into gangsterism.
*
Obama's mistake was to seek the advice of men from Wall Street to fix Wall Street on the grounds that it takes a thief to catch a thief. But in this case the thieves didn't get caught; they got away with more loot, that is, taxpayers' money.
Obama behaved like Shaw's “gentleman” who steals from the poor to help the rich.
*
I have myself been called all kinds of nasty names by our blood****ers and brown-nosers because I refuse to play the game by their rules – that is to say, to be one of them.
*
A disgruntled insider once told me, shortly after the Earthquake in Armenia, one of our fund-raisers in New York demanded and got $100,000 salary plus expenses; and I assume he transferred the collected funds to his counterpart in Yerevan, who distributed them to his own counterparts in the affected areas, and so on.
This may explain why, disgusted by this kind of “trickle-down” charity, 1.5 million Armenians decided to emigrate to America and Turkey, among other countries, in order to find employment and support their families back home.
*
To those who tell me I should be more diplomatic in what I write, I say: Diplomats are highly trained and skilled gentlemen who get paid good money for their work. Nobody is paying me to be diplomatic.
#
Friday, October 29, 2010
**********************************************
ON SURVIVAL
************************************************
Notwithstanding its countless blunders, dogmatism, intolerance and crimes against humanity, the Catholic Church has survived for two millennia. One reason why I don't rate our own survival as a worthy achievement worth mentioning or discussing. After all, the Ottoman Empire lasted longer than most empires.
*
Sometimes to survive means to be as bad or even worse than the competition. Cobras and scorpions owe their survival to their venom and not to their sweet disposition, altruism, and love of truth. To say therefore that we owe our survival (if that's what you want to call it) to our civic virtues, tolerance, and love of democracy, is to lie.
*
One reason I write short sentences and paragraphs is that I am afraid by the time I finish writing longer ones I may no longer have an audience. I am not implying I have one today – three or four readers an audience to not make – but they are better than no audience. Call it the consolation of a loser.
*
If an explanation is endorsed by a political party, it can't be right. Truth and politics are as mutually exclusive concepts as fire and water.
*
If I knew how to pray, I would say: “Please God, teach me how to forgive my own transgressions. Because then and only then I may learn to forgive those who transgress against me.”
#
Saturday, October 30, 2010
**********************************************
REFLECTIONS
************************************************
If it is the dury of every true patriot to sacrifice himself in defense of his fellow countrymen, how many of our revolutionaries qualify?
I am not casting aspersions (as they say in westerns), just asking an innocent question.
*
When a member of the Party criticizes me, he does so with the certainty and daring of a prophet with 20/20 vision. But when it comes to critizing his own Party, he becomes deaf, dumb, stupid, and brain-dead.
*
The offspring of the same revolutionaries who challenged a mighty empire a hundred years ago are now afraid to challenge the shadows of their own faceless and anonymous bosses.
What a great subject for a comedy!
*
If “War is hell,” and “Hell is other people” (Sartre), it follows, peace is hell too.
*
The only way to explain and reconcile the idea of an all-loving God and the murder of an innocent child, or for that matter, the senseless death of two or seven million innocent civilians, is to think of time (be it the lifetime of a human being or that of the universe itself) in relation to cosmic time or eternity, as only a fraction of a second.
#
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Old 03.11.2010, 15:00   #193
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Sunday, October 31, 2010
**********************************************
LESSONS
************************************************
The lesson to be learned from our genocide is not that Turks are bloodthirsty savages (under certain conditions even the most civilized people on earth will behave like a primitive savage tribe) but that
(one) those in power are not always morally superior or infallible;
(two) when exposed they are not always willing to admit their blunders or the magnitude of their crimes;
(three) they can always rely on a majority of dupes to believe them; and
(four) in such a climate dissenters will be identified as traitors and enemies.
*
To those who say the difference between Turks (Asiatic barbarians) and Germans (civilized) is that Germans, unlike Turks, admitted their guilt, I say:
Germans admitted their guilt because they lost the war.
Turks refuse to admit their guilt because they won, and because history is written by the victor.
Had the Germans won, the chances are I would now be writing these lines in German and I woud be parroting the official German denialist line; and what's even worse, you would believe everything I say the way a devout Catholic today believes in the encyclicals of the Pope on the grounds that the Pope is infallible and he speaks in the name of God.
*
It is not my intention here to suggest that we have no choice but to behave like dupes. If anything, I am saying the exact opposite, namely: there is a tendency in all of us to embrace a big lie as if it were a self-evident truth.
*
At all times and everywhere, truth is well hidden from us.
What is trumpeted is only a fraction of reality that might as well be a perversion of the truth, that is to say, it is a bare-faced lie delivered by crooks whose number one concern is number one, and whose number two concern is to cover up this obvious fact. The men at the top – be they popes, imams, kings, or statesmen, are liars and he who believes them is a damn fool who deserves to be taken to the cleaners, as we have been.
#
Monday, November 1, 2010
**********************************************
UNFORGETTABLE LINES
************************************************
There are some lines that once heard or read are never forgotten.
Some random samples follow:
*
Anonymous (French): “He who can kiss can bite.”
*
Anonymous (Chinese): “He who loses temper has wrong on his side.”
*
Socrates: “My poverty is proof of my honesty.”
*
Anonymous (Jewish): “Sleep fast, we need the pillows.”
*
Anonymous (Turkish): “When the house is finished, death enters.”
*
Anonymous (Turkish): "Among ten men nine are sure to be women.”
*
Anonymous (Armenian): “Cat play is mouse death.”
'
Dostoevsky: “Do you realize how powerful one man can be?”
*
Anonymous (Jewish): “A girl in good shape is often the reason why a man is in bad shape.”
*
Anonymous (Armenian): “To the poor everyone is generous with advice.”
*
Anonymous (Armenian): “Pigs never see the stars.”
*
Anonymous (Armenian):
“One Armenian eats one chicken;
two Armenians eat two chickens;
three Armenians eat each other.”
*
Anonymous (Armenian): “A dead jackass is not afraid of wolves.”
*
Anonymous (Armenian): “Soft words can break bones.”
*
If you have unforgettable lines of your own, let's have them.
I for one look forward to hearing from you.
#
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
**********************************************
A TRUE STORY
************************************************
Once, many years ago, when a friend took me to a community center, the two things that I noticed and remember to this day are,
(one) the famous Soviet-Armenian writer who was scheduled to deliver a lecture, stank like a skunk – no doubt having taken his regular yearly bath eleven months ago; and
(two) immediately after the question period, the national benefactor who was in the audience was surrounded by a phalanx of brown-nosers – to protect him (I heard later) from direct assaults by riffraff.
Whenever the benefactor made a public appearance (my friend explained later) people would go up to him and apply personally for a grant, that is, demand cash; to which the benefactor would invariably say, “Talk to my secretary.”
*
Because I spent most of my time in solitary confinement reading, I was told again and again that one may learn a great deal from books, but one may also learn different things not available in books by meeting people – most of which, I now think, not worth knowing.
*
There is a P.S. to this story:
Shortly after independence, the famous writer was murdered by the hit men of a mafia don in retaliation of the murder of his own son by the writer's son, who after the deed went underground and, as far as I know, has not surfaced since.
*
P.P.S.
The lecture at the community center was financed by the benefactor, which may suggest, some Armenians have so much money that they don't mind investing it on crooks parading as intellectuals and role models to future generations. Either that or they (benefactors) rely too much on the advice of secretaries who can't tell the difference between an honest man and a KGB agent.
#
BOOK REVIEW
****************************
1001 DAYS THAT SHAPED THE WORLD.
Edited by Peter Furtado.
960 pages. New York, 2008.
************************************************
Three randomly selected days discussed in this wrist-wrenching and lavishly illustrated tome are:
“May 1, 1274 – Beatrice Glimpsed (Beatrice Portinari inspires Dante's greatest work).”
“June 4, 1913 – Suffragette Trampled to Death.”
“January 2, 1973 – Abortion Legalized.”
*
Armenians are not mentioned.
Turks and Kurds, yes.
Armenians. no.
So much for first nation this and first nation that. Which may suggest that our propaganda is designed to deceive us and no one else.
But that's the way it is with all propaganda regardless of race, color, and creed.
No one but Jews believe they are the Chosen People.
No one but some Aryans believed they belonged to a Superior Race.
And until very recently, no one but Southern bigots believed in the superiority of “Anglo-Saxon democracy” and in the inferiority of Jews, Blacks, and Catholics – that is to say, the rest of the world.
Charity, it is said, begins at home.
So does deception, alas!
*
Closer to home:
Why is it that when people identify themselves as smart they behave like idiots?
Why is it that the lowest scum on earth identify themselves as “superior”?
If in a crime it's “cherchez la femme,” in propaganda it must be cherchez the self-evident truth that it tries to cover up.
#
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Old 06.11.2010, 14:43   #194
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Thursday, November 4, 2010
****************************
FACING FACTS
************************************************
When academics discuss the great achievements of Greece,
they mean of course ancient Greece.
They know, and they assume their readers also know,
that the only two thing modern Greeks
share with their ancient counterparts
is the territory and the language.
Nothing else!
During the last twenty-two centuries
Greeks have had so many conquerors –
from Macedonians and Romans
to Turks and Germans – that they have been
thoroughly bastardized.
*
Please note that I am not advocating racial purity.
What degrades and degenerates nations
is not mixed marriages
but subservience to the foreign conqueror,
which gradually evolves to
subservience to domestic wheeler-dealers
who speechify in the name of patriotism,
subservience to empty suits with fat bank accounts,
and subservience to fornicators who sermonize against sin.
*
Why do I say these things?
Simply to assert the fact that
not all Armenians are dupes
or cowards afraid to face reality.
There is hope in confronting challenges no matter how severe.
There is no hope in lies, illusions, flattery, and wishful thinking.
#
Friday, November 5, 2010
****************************
THREE STORIES / FIVE MORALS
************************************************
Because 2500 years ago the Greeks condemned a thinker to death,
he became the most celebrated philosopher of all time.
*
Because 2000 years ago they crucified an obscure preacher
-- so obscure in fact that most of his contemporaries were not even aware of his existence –
he acquired billions of followers from one and of the world to the other.
*
Because the Kremlin at the apex of its power tried to silence an unknown, unarmed and peace-loving dissident by exiling him to Siberia, he was awarded the Nobel Prize and is now generally recognized as the greatest Russian writer of the Soviet era.
*
Moral I: If you want to sell toothpaste, you spend millions advertising it in the media. But if you want to promote the ideas of a thinker, reformer, or dissident, you silence him.
*
Moral II: Fascists dig their own graves because they refuse to learn from history.
*
Moral III: The easy, convenient, or obvious solution may not always be the best solution.
*
Moral IV: If you think the right thoughts in the solitary confinement of your room, you will be overheard ten thousand miles away (according to an old Chinese proverb).
*
Moral V: Actions have unforeseen consequences not always to the advantage of the actors.
#
Saturday, November 6, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
Because I rated what I read above reality,
I fell into the same trap as Don Quixote and Madame Bovary.
That's my way of pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.
*
Leader: I can't think of another word with more sinister historic connotations.
Why say “leader” when we can say “public servant”?
*
The first known case of compounding a felony:
After planting that damn tree in the Garden,
He introduced the Serpent.
*
Recent economic and political developments in the United States have made it abundantly clear that capitalism means free enterprise for the poor and socialism for the rich.
*
Did you know that most of our kings were odars?
Our sons of bitches were not even ours!
*
Armenia the cradle of civilization?
There is something incongruous in grave-diggers speaking of cradles.
*
He thought diarrhea was a compulsive need to keep a diary.
*
All fascists operate on the assumption that if you deliver a lie in a loud voice and repeat it often enough, you may have a better chance to fool most of the people most of the time.
*
Something to look forward to:
a new book by Eric-Emmanuel titled
TO THINK THAT BEETHOVEN IS DEAD WHEN SO MANY MORONS LIVE.
*
To the question, “What is the difference between the rich and the poor?”
Hemingway is said to have replied "The rich have more money.”
What is the difference between winners and losers?
Winners know something losers don't, namely how to win.
We may enjoy more international support on the day we de-victimize ourselves.
#
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Old 10.11.2010, 15:26   #195
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Sunday, November 7, 2010
****************************
ON LEADERS AND LEADERSHIP
************************************************
There is a sheep and a goat in all of us.
We may believe what we are told
by those who know better
(or pretend to know better)
but we also entertain doubts.
*
We have more questions than answers
and no one has the final answers.
Leadership consists in dividing and deceiving.
*
Armenians and Turks share one important thing in common:
they are both dupes of their own leadership.
*
There are no good leaders;
only good public servants.
In an ideal world anyone with leadership qualities
(and I can't imagine a more repellent quality)
would be treated as a potential criminal in need of a shrink.
*
If as a community we are a disaster area today
it is because of the phenomenon known as
too-many-chiefs-and-no-Indians.
*
If there are two sides to every story,
there will also be leaders willing
to exploit the dupes of one side against the other.
Everything that is bad in life we owe to leaders;
and everything that is good to public servants.
*
As long as there are imams and popes
there will also be infidels.
What could be more oxymoronic as well as moronic
than to think the only way to assert one's own humanity
is by dehumanizing others?
*
Where am I going with this?
My aim is to understand that which is incomprehensible.
My ambition in life is to take a single step in the right direction
in a field without signs and without a center.
*
Mankind will always be at the mercy of leaders
willing to divide by stressing the interests of one side against the other.
If we could only teach ourselves
to think against ourselves.
*
To the self-righteous I say:
Get used to the idea that you may not be
as right as you think you are.
No one is – especially those who have no doubts.
In life, the questions will always outnumber the answers,
and the doubts will always outnumber the certainties.
To think otherwise is the source of all evil.
*
Who is a dupe?
If you think your leaders care more about you
than about their own powers and privileges, you qualify!
And may the Good Lord
(if He exists)
have mercy on your soul
(if you have one).
#
Monday, November 8, 2010
****************************
REFLECTIONS
************************************************
While reading an article on Istanbul written by two Canadian tourists, I was wondering if Armenians would be mentioned; and sure enough they were, but not by the tourists but by an Oriental carpet dealer trying to sell them a kilim. “Why,” he demands to know at one point, “don't more Americans visit? Is it because of the Armenians who died after the First World War?” -- implying, we all die sooner or later; no one lives forever; what's so special about these damn Armenians who are out to starve me?
*
Turks say we massacred them.
Why did we do that?
The obvious answer must be: Because after six hundred years of subservience we had had it up to here! And if that's not a good enough reason, I like to know what is.
*
We say they massacred us.
Why did they do that?
Again, the obvious and common-sense answer must be: They thought if we win, they will have to be subservient to us.
Subservience may be good enough for inferior races like the Armenians, but unthinkable for those born to rule.
Which may suggest that, no matter how you slice it, they were racists and what they did qualifies as a crime against humanity.
*
What if we too are racists?
If we are, it may be because we earned the right – when we let them rape our daughters and use our sons to satisfy their imperial greed by forcing them to kill and die in their own wars.
*
The difference between Turkish and Armenian racism is similar to that which exists between murder one and self-defense. The sentence for the first is life imprisonment, and for the second, not guilty (which of course is not the same as innocent).
*
Anyone who says or implies you don't have to think for yourself because I will tell you what to think on the grounds that I know better (and this is as true of our former rulers as it is today of our Ottomanized elites), uses persuasion as surely as a castrator uses a knife, and the organ he itches to delete is much more valuable than the other one.
*
Readers who would gladly see me destroyed urge me to be more constructive.
*
Armenians are not smart.
It is my ambition to repeat that as often as our propagandists say Armenians are smart.
There is no such thing as a smart dupe.
All dupes are dumb.
*
Wake up Armenians! You have nothing to lose but your nightmares.
#
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
****************************
THEORY AND PRACTICE
************************************************
If I keep things short it's because I am myself so easily bored by what I read that I have developed an acute phobia of boring my readers.
*
When fornicators preach chastity, they say: “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Why should anyone be allowed to make a comfortable living by doing the opposite of what he says?
Imagine a cop who delivers lectures on law and order during the day and turns into a serial killer at night.
Imagine a political leader who promises peace and prosperity for a thousand years and delivers war and pestilence.
On second thought, no need to imagine anything, just read a history of the 20th Century.
Imagine a lawyer – strike that! Bad example.
*
No one likes to be called a crook, especially crooks.
Likewise, no one likes to be called dumb, especially the dumb.
Everyone prefers to be called smart, including the dumb – especially the dumb.
Which may explain why we call ourselves smart.
Self-flattery is as Armenian as pilaf and shish-kebab.
*
A few years ago, one of my books, titled FRAGMENTED DREAMS (out of print now), was withdrawn from classrooms because some parents thought it may lower the self-esteem of their children.
Because I judge a nation by its history as opposed to its propaganda, I have acquired enemies among Turks as well as Armenians.
Some people (present company suspected) are so abysmally insecure that they think truth, instead of setting them free (as the Scriptures tell us) will shatter their image in their own eyes.
*
As for our academics who, even as I write, are busy shaping the character and worldview of the next generation: I am acquainted with several of them and they strike me as individuals who will say and do anything in exchange of a regular salary.
*
The problem with speechifiers is that after they deliver the same speech three or four times, they start believing in their own nonsense.
No one who submits his intelligence to individuals who don't have much of it themselves (namely, bosses, bishops, and benefactors) can claim to know better.
#
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
A reader once called me “a self-appointed critic,” as if popes and imams, or for that matter, commissars and our own Jack S. Avanakians are in the habit of appointing their own critics, and unless you have a license to practice, what you say ain't worth a sh*t.
*
Speaking of his fellow countrymen, Ben Hecht once said: “The American does not aspire to overthrow the thieves and oppressors half as much as he does to become one of them.”
If you have a single shred of evidence to suggest that we are morally superior, I would like to see it.
*
Do you remember the very first question you were asked as a child? I do! “Whom do you love more, your father or your mother?” That's when I began to suspect adults are nuts.
*
Sheep go where their shepherds take them; but there is a wolf in every man, as there is a Spartacus in every slave. This is a rule with only one exception: Armenians. The average Armenian dupe is a sheep in sheep's clothing.
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Writing for Armenians means making yourself vulnerable to the insults of readers who are equipped to understand only recycled crapola. Deviate an inch and run the risk of being called an idiot by idiots.
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If I continue to function today it's because I work for nothing and I can't be fired.
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Like all -isms Armenianism too has its deceivers and dupes. With one difference: our dupes don't consider themselves dupes because they think they are too smart to be dupes.
Well, I've got news for them!
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