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Old 13.11.2010, 15:47   #196
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Thursday, November 11, 2010
****************************
BOOMERANG
************************************************
In my morning paper today, under a headline that reads, “Ambassador blasts Austria over treatment of Turks,” I read: “The Turkish ambassador accused Austria of treating his compatriots like a virus.” Further down he is quoted as having said to the Austrians: “You must learn to live together with other people. What's Austria's problem?”
Hear. hear!
*
Everything that you do unto others, shall be done unto you.
In life nobody gets away with nothing!
*
Are you easily offended by double-negatives.
I am not.
Greeks have been using double-negatives for millennia with no discernible ill effects.
For example: instead of saying “I have nothing,” (“Exo tipota”), they say “I don't have nothing” ("Then exo tipota").
Speaking for myself:
I prefer the Greek way. It may not make sense, but then in life, what does?
*
Today is Remembrance Day – a day we remember the end of World War I and our heroes who died in defense of our country and freedom.
Today is also a day in which we are encouraged to forget that our heroes also did some serial killing of their own.
#
Friday, November 12, 2010
****************************
SITUATION / ****UATION
************************************************
The shortest poem in the world?
“Adam
Had 'em.”
(Meaning, microbes.)
*
The shortest proverb in the world?
“Kirk, krik.”
(Turkish for “Forty, broken” -- in reference to the fact that most health problems begin at forty, that is, at the threshold of old age.)
*
One of my mother's favorite sayings was:
“Kimini chok chok,
Kimini hich yok.”
(Turkish for “Some folks have too much, other folks have nothing.”)
Karl Marx in a nutshell.
*
Turks knew their onions, alright!
They conquered and ruled over many lands, and came into contact with many people and as many cultures; and because they were in a position to choose, they chose the very best – the most beautiful girls for their harems, the strongest boys as Janissaries, the most competent and gifted architects, artists, and musicians.
How much of Turkish culture is Turkish?
My guess is, no more than 1%.
*
How much of Armenian culture is Armenian?
When I compare our contemporary music, architecture, and literature to that of our Golden Age (5th Century AD) and Silver Age (late 19th Century), my guess is less than 1%.
No one wants to admit it but the evidence is irrefutable on this point: we are a nation of rejects and mediocrities -- fornicators who sermonize on chastity, enemy agents who speechify on patriotism, and blood****ers who raise funds for the needy.
*
It is not only Turks who are to blame, however. Before them the Byzantine Greeks did the same; and more recently the Soviets. Some of the greatest military and political leaders of the Byzantine Empire were not Greek but Armenian. Very much like Turks and Byzantine Greeks, the Soviets kept the best for themselves (Anastas Mikoyan and his brother Artem of MiG fame, Aram Khachaturian, among many others) and in successive purges systematically eliminated anyone and everyone who dared to be more Armenian and less Soviet.
*
I say these things not because I am a cynic out to promote defeatism and despair but to point out the fact that our genocide in an ongoing process that began long before we surrendered our destiny into the hands of the Turks. Unless we understand this very obvious fact and we segregate the goats from the sheep, we are doomed.
#
Saturday, November 13, 2010
****************************
DEPROGRAMMING
************************************************
One of the hardest things in life
is convincing a dupe that he is a fool.
*
If you don't understand yourself,
the chances are you will misunderstand everyone else.
*
If a truth contradicts another truth,
both must be lies.
*
A French thinker (may have been Voltaire) once said,
if it weren't for the miracles in the Bible,
there would be many more Christians.
Religion and magic are incompatible concepts.
*
When two belief systems clash,
their adherents would be justified in saying:
“I believe, therefore I am wrong.”
*
To those of my readers who are willing to share their wisdom with me,
may I be so bold as to suggest that
I am old enough to learn from my own mistakes,
thank you very much.
*
I should like to see academic fields
on “Armenian anti-Armenianism” and
“the flora and fauna of the Armenian psyche.”
*
If I were to write a history of our literature,
I would have to conclude it with the words:
“After surviving bloodthirsty sultans and murderous commissars,
Armenian literature expired under our bosses, bishops, and benefactors.”
#
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Old 17.11.2010, 16:37   #197
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Sunday, November 14, 2010
****************************
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
************************************************
In a dishonest environment nothing is as severely punished as honesty.
Socrates, Christ, Luther, Gandhi, Martin Luther King:
what was their offense?
By being honest they exposed the dishonesty of those in power.
*
What is criminal in dissent?
What else but the daring to suggest that
when the mighty of this world speak in the name of truth or God
(whom they neither know nor understand) they lie.
They say all men are brothers
but they divide mankind into those who are for them
and those who are against them.
They say God is love
but they behave as thought He hated infidels unto death.
They speak of eternal life
but what they say has the stench of death
(if not of the body than of the spirit).
*
Only damn fools persecute and kill in the name of love.
Only charlatans invent dogmas that legitimize intolerance.
If I could, I would replace the word “God”
with “the Powers that be,”
and if I knew how to pray,
I would introduce my prayers with the words:
“To whom it may or may not concern.”
#
Monday, November 15, 2010
****************************
SUMMING UP
************************************************
We disagree for two important reasons:
(one) we use only an extremely small fraction of our brain; and
(two) we perceive only an extremely small fraction of reality.
Science tells us the eye is like a camera, it takes in an infinite number of details (countless droplets of water, for instance), but the brain is satisfied to see only a single occurrence (rain).
*
Disagreements will always outnumber agreements; and the agreements will likely be of the a priori kind – that is, judgments rendered before the evidence is in, or decisions based on predisposition and prejudice.
We will be predisposed to agree with friends and disagree with enemies even when friends are wrong and enemies are right.
We will be predisposed to say “Yes, sir!" to those we view as our betters, and to say “No way!” to those we believe to be against us.
Catholics will trust the judgment of the Pope as surely as Muslims will chant “Allawa akhbar! with their imams.
As a result, our judgments will be based more on hearsay and less on admissible evidence.
*
It is the absence of admissible evidence that makes wars and massacres possible. We may have the semblance of law, order, and peace where we live (only a small fraction of the world) but anarchy, insurrection, and war in the world.
The men at the top may be fully aware of what I am saying here but in politics and diplomacy self-interest and power will invariably trump reason and common sense.
*
On the day mankind is civilized, all men that place self-interest or their own powers and privileges above reason and the common good will be perceived and treated as enemies of mankind.
But as long as we place our trust more on charlatans and crooks and less on that most valuable of all possessions that God or nature has bestowed on us (our brain) we will have wars and massacres, and the first victims of our lies and misconceptions will be peacemakers and dissidents – Socrates, Christ, Gandhi, Solzhenitsyn.
*
THE MOUSE IN THE ROOM
************************************
A cartoon: two elephants having a drink as one says to the other: “Notice how everyone is avoiding the mouse in the room.”
*
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
**********************************************
Gore Vidal in a recent interview:
“What I like about Montaigne is that he devoted one of his greatest essays on lying, which is the American malady. If we go down crashing one day, it's because everybody lies about everything.” (NEW STATESMAN, October 11, 2010, page 27.)
#
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
****************************
POLITICALLY INCORRECT OPINIONS
************************************************
Those who are against abortion are as a rule for war
on the grounds that to kill the unborn is murder
but to kill the born is one's patriotic duty.
*
To speak of organized religions objectively
is to be politically incorrect
and nothing gives me more pleasure
than to infuriate fascists – both political and religious.
*
Most believers (regardless of their belief system)
are convinced that anyone who is not a member of their club
must be either a heretic or an infidel.
*
It is a serious error in judgment
to dismiss idiots as irrelevant.
I take idiots seriously
because I take the study of history seriously.
*
If you have power and God on your side,
reason and tolerance become subversive commodities.
*
A history of human rights in a religious context
would be an endless catalogs of crimes against humanity.
One is therefore justified in suspecting that
to subscribe to a belief system
is to be a dupe and an idiot,
and a dangerous idiot at that – judging
by the number of victims
that religions have generated.
#
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
All propaganda is open to criticism
except our propaganda.
*
God created man in His own image --
except Hitler, Stalin, Talaat, serial killers, rapists,
child molesters, racists, liars, dupes...
Is that 99% or 98% of mankind?
*
I take myself seriously only when others do.
Deep inside somewhere I am flattered
when I am silenced by our bosses, bishops, benefactors,
and their hirelings.
*
As an underdog I hate no one but top dogs;
and I feel sorry for dupes who, like dogs,
will be grateful to anyone who feeds them,
thus allowing their brains
to become an extension of their intestines.
*
Nobody but Armenians believe
in the Armenian version of history.
The same applies to Turks, Americans, Zulus,
Patagonians, Bolsheviks, capitalists...
*
History may be defined as a big lie told by top dogs
and believed by dupes with single-digit IQs.
#
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Old 20.11.2010, 15:45   #198
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Thursday, November 18, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
When I hear a lie I instinctively guess the truth that contradicts it.
The more outrageous the lie, the more obvious the truth.
One reason I never run out of things to say
is the fact that we swim in an ocean of lies.
*
Asked to define art and its function in society,
a Brazilian painter is quoted as having said:
“I don't know. All I know is this:
art is art, or it's sh*t.”
*
One of our elder statesmen
once mentioned a distant cousin of his in Paris
who had slept with Brigitte Bardot,
implying we Armenians have another thing to brag about.
*
What if the universe, as we know it,
is only a short footnote on the main text of existence?
*
I don't believe in prophetic dreams.
But I do believe that on some subconscious level
we may grasp the meaning of our past and where it's taking us.
*
By dying we return to our pre-born state.
We continue to exist as atoms but not as consciousness.
*
Wealth enslaves man as surely as poverty.
*
One nation's dream may be another's nightmare.
*
Some of the most offensive e-mails I have received
are from academics – men with degrees in degradation.
*
It takes less than 25 years (or a single generation)
to Americanize an Armenian.
Now imagine what 600 years (or 24 generations)
in the Ottoman Empire may have done to us!
What if the Genocide is only a small fraction of the total damage?
#
Friday, November 19, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
When asked why he robs banks,
a gangster is quoted as having said:
“Because that's where the money is.”
If you were to ask one of our fund-raisers
or Turcocnetric ghazetajis
why he speaks of reparations,
my guess is, he will give you the same answer.
*
When a reader insults me anonymously
I know I have hit paydirt and I dig deeper.
Intolerance is my favorite muse.
*
We are told our problems are not ours but the world's.
It is our duty therefore to educate and reform the rest of mankind,
beginning with Turks.
To which I can only repeat the words of the Duke of Wellington:
“If you believe that, you will be anything!”
*
You don't agree with me?
Our bosses, bishops, and benefactors
don't always agree with one another either.
Why should we?
*
If as an Armenian writer you can go on speaking
after you have been silenced
and surviving after you have been starved,
you have earned the right to repeat
Jimmy Cagney's famous last words in WHITE HEAT:
“Top of the world, ma!”
*
I like to quote famous men,
including gangsters and imperialist warmongers,
to underline the fact that not everything I say
springs from my own narrow and biased view of reality.
#
Saturday, November 20, 2010
****************************
SUMMING UP (II)
************************************************
What I really write about when I write about Armenians is the human condition.
Why do men behave as they do?
Why do they believe and think as they do?
What are the hidden forces that shape their character and motivate their actions?
*
Nazis in Germany, Bolsheviks in the USSR, Fascists in Italy and Spain, proud Yanks in America who believe America to be “the land of the brave and the free”:
I maintain they are all dupes of state propaganda.
In “Rule Brittania” Brits sing “An Englishman cannot be a slave.”
And Armenians, who have been slaves for most of their historic existence, think by replacing the words “teshvar, ander”* in their national anthem with “azad, angakh”** they cease to be slaves.
*
I believe the function of propaganda is to enslave men, and the function of literature is to liberate them by exposing lies and illusions.
Everything I write has a single unspoken message: “If you want to be free, become aware of your present dehumanized condition of subservience.”
If you allow others to shape your thoughts, you cease to be who you really are and become a parrot; and parrots can say and repeat only two words, “Yes, master!”
God (if He exists) does not enslave men, men do, especially men who speak in the name of God – make it, especially men who lie in the name of God.
*
Once upon a time our betters were sultans and commissars, which amounts to saying, our betters were the worst scum on earth. And if you believe this is no longer the case, you will believe anything!
=======================================
(*) “Miserable, without a master.”
(**) “Free, independent.”
#
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Old 24.11.2010, 15:53   #199
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Sunday, November 21, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
“You don't know how to develop ideas,” writes a reader. “You should take a course in writing.”
I have more critics than a dog has fleas.
You want developed ideas?
Read our Turcocentric ghazetajis and listen to our speechifiers: they have been developing their idea(s) since the turn of the last century.
*
“After they walk past an elementary school (or is it a kindergarten?) they brag about their degrees from prestigious universities,” one of our elder statesmen (may he rest in peace) once told me.
If our elder statesmen spoke publicly as they speak privately, I would have fewer fleas.
That's politics for you: it makes liars out of honest men.
*
“Why do you persevere if you know you can't win?”
Because I am an Armenian.
*
We were subservient to our Turkish masters for six hundred years. Is that reason enough for us to be subservient to our own masters for six thousand years?
*
I have been a dupe and I have engaged in charlatanism. That's why I have nothing but contempt for both charlatans and dupes.
*
How many times were you wrong when you thought you were right?
Never? Brother, you are in deep sh*t!
*
If you think oppression, injustice, and lies are alien concepts that apply only to others, i suggest you take a good look at yourself in the mirror.
*
What we don't know far exceeds what we know. On the day we see the light we may also see that what we called knowledge was another word for darkness.
*
Because I am Armenian, my former friends outnumber my present friends a hundred to one.
*
The dupe who recycles crapola and the smart operator who deals in the same commodity because that's how he makes a comfortable living: the world is full of them.
*
I have yet to meet a self-assessed “better” or “more patriotic” Armenian who was not certifiable.
*
With age comes wisdom. But not in politics.
#
Monday, November 22, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
If most Turks and Armenians think alike it's because they trust their “betters.”
Moral I: Trust no one's judgment but your own.
Moral II: Only the worst pretend to be better.
*
If we judge men not by their words (speeches, sermons, dogmas) but by the number of their victims, we shall have no choice but to conclude that popes and imams are worse than serial killers.
*
Popes pretend to be better than imams and vice versa, and they are believed by their followers and dupes. As for their Armenian counterparts: the less said about them the better.
*
Speaking of George W. Bush's memoirs, a pundit in today's Op-Ed page writes: “Many presidents go a little loco.” So do many popes, imams, kings, emperors, czars, and chiefs.
*
“What would you have done in their place?”
How should I know? I don't even know what my own place is. I am in a search mode. And I am so busy trying to be honest in a dishonest world that I have no interest in imagining myself as a crook.
#
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
The difference between them and us is that they have several dissidents, among them an internationally known Nobel Prize winner...
Among us, dissidents are as popular as Talaat, Kemal, and the Sultan combined.
*
They have one set of leaders.
With us it's more chiefs than Indians.
Some things are worth repeating – in case I have said this before.
*
If you have nothing to lose, you speak the truth.
The greater the possession at risk, the bigger the lies.
*
Whenever I am attacked or insulted anonymously
I add cowardice to our long list of failings.
*
“Your call is important to us.”
Translation: “Why don't you shut the f*ck up!”
*
The language of the poor is down to earth, simple, limited in vocabulary. Its sole aim is survival.
The language of the rich is subtle, rich, versatile. Its aim is deception.
*
Seek for the hidden contradiction and you will find it.
*
We either admit our failings or we cling to them by covering them up.
*
Our heads may disagree but our feet take us to the same destination. No exceptions to this rule.
*
We don't have a word for “gentleman” probably because we have so few of them.
What about "a man of honor"?
That's what mafiosi call their godfathers.
*
In an environment where the official line is being positive, being negative becomes as irresistible as the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.
*
In defense of his self-interest, a smart Armenian will go as far as pretending to be deaf, dumb, and stupid.
Americans have given freedom a bad name. Armenians have done the same to self-interest.
*
Louis XIV once said: “I almost had to wait.”
#
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
****************************
LAW AND DISORDER
************************************************
In the same way that some chief executive officers on Wall Street make more money than the President of the United States, some Indian chiefs and councilors (82 of them to be exact) make more money than the Prime Minister's annual salary of $317,574, according to a published report today.
When asked by reporters how come, a spokesman for the chiefs is quoted as having said, “We don't discuss such matters with the media.”
I have had less diplomatic reactions by some of our own chiefs.
*
There is a hyena in all top dogs.
*
Abuse of power comes naturally to top dogs; and assuming a passive stances means allowing them to reinsert the knife and give it another twist.
*
Dissent is a necessary ingredient if only because it introduces a touch of objectivity and balance. Suppression or absence of dissent is invariably followed by disaster.
Because the Catholic Church failed to assess its performance objectively it spawned Martin Luther and a succession of wars and massacres; and because the Reformation failed to do the same, it spawned televangelism.
Closer to home: ...but I will let you draw your own conclusions.
#
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Old 27.11.2010, 16:13   #200
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Thursday, November 25, 2010
****************************
DIARY
************************************************
After a silence of more than half-a-century, a call from an old friend (now in his 80s) .
It soon becomes apparent that he has been too busy in community affairs – church, politics, sports, fund-raising – to have read a single line I have written.
I doubt if I will hear from him again.
Why did he call?
He didn't say and I didn't ask.
Whatever the reason, it couldn't have been nostalgia.
*
Monster snowflakes.
Winter is here.
We may now look forward to Spring.
*
Reading three books:
a biography of Lesley Blanch – the author of one of the most fascinating books of all time: THE SABRES OF PARADISE, about the Caucasus, which I have read three time and I look forward to reading again if and when our library replaces its lost or discarded copy;
Antonia Fraser's MUST YOU GO? -- MY LIFE WITH HAROLD PINTER (I have read several of his plays but none of her books);
and the memoirs of Christopher's Hitchens.
In all three books there is talk of encounters with many celebrities, including kings and queens, even emperors and empresses.
*
How many celebrities have I known? None. Only a letter from Saroyan and another from Lawrence Durrell (Zarian's name is mentioned in both).
Saroyan knew Zarian but “couldn't figure him out.”
By contrast Durrell understood Zarian and wrote about him more insightfully than any Armenian I have ever read.
*
Because we rate money above ideas, we treat our benefactors as kings and we starve our writers. If I am slightly overweight it's because I have enjoyed the financial support of the Canadian government – and not because I am an agent of the CIA, Mossad, Grey Wolves, or the KGB -- as my critics have alleged at one time or another.
I remember once when Zarian's name came up, one of our elder statesmen who paraded as an eminent teacher, poet, and critic, accused Zarian of being a KGB agent – and this in his efforts to convince me that translating Zarian was a waste of time; I should translate him instead.
#
Friday, November 26, 2010
****************************
DIARY
************************************************
“Did you ever write about what that priest did to us?” my sister wanted to know last night.
“I didn't.”
“Why not?”
I had no answer.
Because I wanted to forget about it.
But how can I?
*
It happened almost a year ago.
In accordance with her wishes, Mother was cremated.
When asked to bless her grave, the Armenian priest refused.
“It's against our rules,” he explained. “We don't believe in cremation.”
My guess is, his refusal had another reason.
He knew as an Armenian writer I work for nothing and I would probably pay him less than minimum wage. I suspect that because immediately after he added, “I cannot do it unless I ask permission from the bishop,” thus implying exceptions are made, especially if the ashes belong to an Oriental carpet dealer – there are several of them in the neighborhood.
It would have taken him less than a minute to call the bishop, but I guess neither Mother nor my sister (both, unlike me, devout church-goers) deserved the courtesy of a phone call.
#
Saturday, November 27, 2010
****************************
REVIEWING THE SITUATION
************************************************
Privately they brag: “We taught Armenians a lesson they will never forget.”
Publicly they assert: “It was Armenians who slaughtered Turks.”
You want to unmask compulsive liars?
Nothing easier.
Think the opposite of what they say.
*
When we speak, we confess.
With every word we utter we say “Guilty as charged, your Honor.”
*
“Among ten men nine are sure to be women,” Turks confess.
Hence the slaughter of unarmed women and children.
*
What matters is not that I have only two readers three of whom would like to see me silenced.
What matters, what really matters, is that I am no longer dependent on benefactors (“the charity of swine”) and editors, about whom one could say: “Among ten Armenian editors, nine are sure to have been Ottomanized or Sovietized.”
*
What really matters is that even if I have only one reader today and if – repeat if! -- what I say is worth reading, I may have two tomorrow; and if I have two, I may have more-- if not the day after than next month or year. Not because time is on my side, but because time is on no one's side.
*
I don't paint a pretty picture, granted.
If pretty is what you want listen to our speechifiers and read our Turcocentric ghazetajis, all of whom make a comfortable living – thank you very much – by dishing out what you want to hear and read.
*
What matters is not that I don't have a high opinion of these gentlemen.
What really matters is that neither do they. Hence their subservience and cowardice.
Hence their habit of saying one thing publicly and the exact opposite privately.
#
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Old 01.12.2010, 15:42   #201
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Sunday, November 28, 2010
****************************
DIARY
************************************************
Antonia Fraser in her Pinter diary: “I need a $60,000 loan."
Even the wealthy have financial problems.
Ask a chief executive officer on Wall Street why the fat bonuses and he will probably make a list of all those things he can't afford.
*
To tell right from wrong is easy. What's hard is why under certain conditions right becomes wrong and vice versa.
*
On my way to the library yesterday, a black fellow walking in the same direction but on the opposite sidewalk wanted to know if had “any food.” “Sorry,” I said, “just books.”
*
Very early this morning (5:07 to be exact) a Buddhist monk on the radio: “Salvation means avoiding the hell that we have made for ourselves.”
Makes perfect sense.
Hell is not an alien place. Hell is within us. Hell is a house that we have built for ourselves. We are its architect, contractor, digger of its foundations, bricklayer, painter, carpenter, plumber, electrician, carpet-layer, and decorator.
*
If for an Armenian, hell is another Armenian, it may be because some Armenians, like some Turks, have made it a lifetime project never to take a hard look at themselves in the mirror.
Where does Ottomanism end and Armenianism begin? When it comes to them and us, I have more questions than answers.
*
Be kind to your enemies, they will hate even more.
#
Monday, November 29, 2010
****************************
DIARY
************************************************
According to an article in our paper on the Hitchens/Blair televised debate, Christopher (GOD IS NOT GREAT) Hitchens believes organized religions have been a force for evil; and Tony Blair (a recent convert to Catholicism) believes atheists like Hitler and Stalin have done more harm than the Papacy, and that faith can be a force for good if it emphasizes not dogma but tolerance and understanding – thus implying so far it has failed to do so. Blair's view on faith reminds me of Dr. Johnson's remark on second marriages: “The triumph of hope over experience.”
*
Have you heard this one? An Irish Catholic priest asks a little girl: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“A prostitute,” she replies.
“Say that again?”
“A prostitute.”
“Thank God, I thought you said a Protestant.”
*
My question to popes, imams, and rabbis: “Why is it that you can convince millions but not one another? If you cannot reach a consensus, you are as bad as Armenians. With one difference: Armenians harm only themselves. You harm all of mankind when you legitimize intolerance, wars, and massacres.”
*
If not tomorrow or in ten years, and if not ten years, than a hundred years from now, a suicidal fanatic will detonate a nuclear device in a major city in the West. I say this to suggest that if World War III starts, it will be in the name of God.
*
And speaking of Armenians: I wonder if they are mentioned in the recent batch of documents released by WikiLeaks. It would be interesting to know what politicians think of us when they don't need our votes.
*
Turkish proverb as quoted by Hitchens in his memoirs: “When the axe came into the woods, many of the trees said: 'At least the handle is one of us.'”
If this is an apology for treason, it must be a translation from the Armenian.
*
I write as I do because I have read Zarian's posthumously published diaries, notebooks, and correspondence and I am not afraid to say publicly things that he dared to say only privately because he had a family to support.
#
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
****************************
DIARY
************************************************
The occupation by Israel of Arab lands has become an endless source of controversy in the international media and on discussion forums on the Internet, including our own. By contrast, only Armenians speak of the occupation of Armenian lands by Romans, Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, and Russians, among others. Why this imbalance in media attention? My only explanation: Hatred of Jews runs deeper than affection for Armenians.
*
Affection for Armenians? Why should the world have more of something which Armenians themselves have so very little of it?
Hatred of Jews? Bad choice of words. The politically “correct” word is anti-Zionism.
*
Everything that is evil in us I ascribe to Turks. It's only fair. We were their scapegoats a hundred years ago. They will be ours now for a thousand years.
*
How many absurd dogmas – like say, Papal infallibility – survive for the sake of consistency (which has been described as “the hobgoblin of small minds).
*
Speaking of hobgoblins: Are there any references to condoms in the Scriptures? Once upon a time Christians challenged the Might of the Roman Empire. They are now gibbering about condoms.
*
When the phone rings these days it's more likely to be a telemarketer. Gone are the good old days when senile vodanavorjis wanted me to translate their verse, or chic Bolsheviks tried to convince me that Russians were our big brothers.
#
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
In capitalist countries there are many government programs, organizations, and groups who look after the hungry, the homeless, and the unemployed. Lenin was against all of them because he explained charity does nothing but postpone the revolution.
One can say so much in a single line!
*
Our propaganda tells us we are better than Turks. But I am of the opinion that we are as bad as the rest of mankind, including Turks.
To those who say we can't be as bad as them because we have at no time committed the unspeakable crime of genocide, I say: “Let us not confuse military inferiority with moral superiority.”
*
God is our Father, we are His children, and all men are brothers. Unlike French grammarians, when God makes a rule, He makes them without exceptions.
All men are brothers is a knife that cuts both ways.
To my Turkish brothers who assert the Genocide is a big lie, I say our function is not to recycle state propaganda but to expose the lies of politicians, and to say or suggest that all politicians lie except Turkish politicians is to expose oneself as a dupe whose thinking has not yet emerged from its infantile stage. I am familiar with the type because the world is full of them and because I too believed everything I was told as a child.
#
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Old 04.12.2010, 15:35   #202
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Thursday, December 2, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
Nationalists are not born but made. Same with fanatics. And what makes them is education -- a euphemism for systematic brainwashing that starts at a very early age.
*
There is a natural tendency in all of us to “stick to our own kind.” There is an equally strong tendency to be intrigued (and attracted) by the strange, the alien, the unknown, and the “other.”
*
If Wittgenstein is right – and I have every reason to think he is – we may have answers to many questions but not to the most important ones. It follows, anyone who claims to have them is either a liar or a dupe who simply repeats what a liar told him.
For more on this subject, see LOGICOMIX: AN EPIC SEARCH FOR TRUTH by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou, Art by Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna (New York, 2009) which is less about Wittgenstein and more about Bertrand Russell, who was Wittgenstein's teacher.
LOGICOMIX has been described by critics as “breathtaking,” “a titanic artistic achievement,” “extraordinary,” “daring,” “engaging,” and most important of all, “accessible.”
*
In Antonia Fraser's diary, we read: “In the spring of 1985 Harold Pinter visited Turkey with Arthur Miller on behalf of PEN International, to protest against the imprisonment and torture of intellectuals. Their guide incidentally was a young writer called Orhan Pamuk.”
We further read here that Pinter's play “Mountain Language” was written after “he learnt that the Kurdish language was forbidden, even among Kurds themselves.”
To my Turkish friends who have written a thousand lines to prove that the Armenian genocide is a fiction of our imagination, I ask: “Have you ever written a single line against torture?”
#
Friday, December 3, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
Heine: “Whenever books are burnt, men, also in the end are burned!”
And whenever writers are silenced, tongues are also cut out.
The question we should ask is not “Where does Ottomanism end and Armenianism begin,” but “When will Ottomanism end?”
*
The ideal candidate for membership in an Armenian political party is a dupe who has not yet acquired the ability to think for himself.
*
Is the silent majority with me or against me? Neither. You don't have to be a Russell or Wittgenstein to see that you cannot be for or against someone whose existence you don't acknowledge. And when I say “me” I don't mean myself but our dissidents from Khorenatsi to Massikian whose ideas I recycle.
*
A man is shaped by his mistakes. Those who assert infallibility are monsters.
*
I hate to work for money. Hence the choice of my present job. Please note that I say job and not career.
*
While I lived in Athens and Venice it never occurred to me to say I was walking where Socrates and Plato, and Vivaldi, Thomas Mann, and Stravinsky had walked.
*
The disagreement of a single honest man means much more to me than the agreement of a thousand fools and ten thousand dupes.
*
In a dictionary, I read the following definition:
“Party politics: Politics conducted only through the machinery of the party, as against people’s interests generally.”
#
Friday, December 3, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
Power means first and foremost the power to brainwash.
*
Once upon a time we were brainwashed to believe
what the Pope is to Catholics,
the Sultan and Stalin were to the subjects of their respective empires
and anyone who dared to say otherwise
was declared guilty of a capital offense.
If I have been and continue to be subjected
to verbal abuse by readers
it's not because they disagree with me
but because I disagree with those
who brainwashed them.
Which means, we are the slaves of former slaves
who have brainwashed themselves to believe they are free.
*
Sometimes reality can be
more fantastic than science fiction.
#
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Old 08.12.2010, 16:04   #203
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Sunday, December 4, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
Bob Woodward in a recent interview: “I get up in the morning with the question: what are the bastards hiding?”
*
When I run out of things to say, I repeat myself, but not as often as our bosses, bishops, benefactors, and Turcocentric ghazetajis -- especially Turcocentric ghazetajis who, like me, have no choice but to speak about repellent things: Turks, in their cases; our leadership in mine.
*
It is a writer's duty to make sense. Unlike speechifiers, sermonizers, and propagandists, he is not allowed to be irrational.
*
An old Armenian composer once said to me: “I am grateful to all Armenians who refrained from obstructing my path.”
*
To say that I am an unpopular writer is to distort reality. The truth is, in the eyes of those who decide who is and is not popular, I don't even qualify as a writer -- a nuisance and a sh*t-disturber, maybe, but a writer, no!
*
Are we survivors as our propagandists like to tell us? The answer is, only in so far as the brain-dead and the comatose may be said to be alive.
#
Monday, December 5, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
With Russian military support, Iranian friendship, and American dollars, we are now masters of our own house. We never had it so good. So what if our best and brightest emigrate? So what if we don't have popular support? What matters is that we are no longer “tshvar, ander” but “azad, angakh!”
*
Once upon a time Turks were subjects of the Sultan. They are now children of Atatürk. They didn't lose an empire, they gained a papa.
*
The only thing our benefactors know about literature is that all writers are beggars.
*
When it comes to writers, what our leadership wants is not their ideas but their cojones surgically removed and presented to them on a platter; and the astonishing part is that most writers don't mind singing soprano.
*
Some of my Turkish friends think because I am critical of Armenians I must be anti-Armenian and pro-Turkish. It doesn't even occur to them to think that I may be against lies, intolerance, and corruption regardless of nationality.
#
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
Think of ideas – all ideas – as experiments,
because if you don't,
you may end up as a Catholic, a Bolshevik,
or even a suicidal Muslim terrorist.
That's what happens to people
who take what they think or believe seriously
with no margin of error, no humor, no doubt,
no objectivity...and no sense.
Claude Levi-Strauss may well be closer to the truth
when he says, there is no difference
between a primitive jungle tribe
that trusts its witch doctor
and a so-called 21st-century industrialized, civilized,
and progressive society
that takes its popes, imams, and rabbis seriously.
What matters about a man
is not what he thinks or believes
but what he questions and doubts –
beginning with his own religion.
Not “I think therefore I am,”
but “I doubt therefore I am a human being.”
#
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
Where there is freedom of speech there will also be freedom to recycle lies and propaganda – in other words, fascism without fascists.
*
As power increases the number of brain cells decreases: there is an algebraic equation to prove this fact but those in power have been against its publication – for obvious reasons.
*
For everyone who knows what he is talking about there are at least ten (some say ten thousand) who don't.
*
I know what I write makes a deep impression when old friends become new enemies.
*
Harold Pinter: “Life is beautiful but the world is Hell.”
*
Rumor has it that writers, and artists in general, are unreliable and solitary eccentrics, unlike political and military leaders who oppress, exploit, deceive, lie, declare wars and commit massacres. In an abnormal world the normal is seen as an aberration.
#
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Old 11.12.2010, 15:39   #204
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Thursday, December 9, 2010
****************************
SELF-RELIANCE
************************************************
In our environment money is used to stifle dissent and to subsidize propaganda. Truth is out.
Lies are in.
Flattery, yes.
Objective assessment, no!
Even worse: money is used to divide the intellectual class.
Brown-nosers are in.
Critics, let them eat cak (sic)!
We now have a generation of opportunistic careerists and cowards who calculate every word they speak. Will a wrong word or a misplaced comma offend anyone who may be in a position to advance my career?
In the words of an academic: “My family comes first.”
*
In this morning's paper I read: “A clown, a priest, an academic, and a convicted pedophile were among 25 Canadians arrested...”
My first thought: they arrest theirs, we promote ours.
Hence my loathing of bene****tors.
*
Remember: the men at the top don't always know better.
Respecting your elders does not mean ignoring the dictates of your own brain and its ability to tell right from wrong.
*
Do we have a word for self-reliance?
I am not sure. If we do, we seldom or never use it.
*
I agree with the wise man who said that we should treat our enemies as if they were destined to be future friends.
The reason I ignore this piece of excellence advice is that
I have acquired too many enemies and I don't have much of a future left.
#
Friday, December 10, 2010
****************************
QUESTIONS I HAVE BEEN ASKED
************************************************
Why do you write?
I write because that's my way of thanking all those writers I have read, enjoyed, and learned from.
Why do you write more about Armenian blunders and less about Turkish criminal conduct?
I write less about Turks because I don't want to muscle in the territory of our Turcocentric ghazetajis who make a comfortable living by writing about nothing else.
Are you anti-Armenian?
I am against idiots who pretend to be smart regardless of nationality.
Are you pro-Turkish?
I prefer an honest Turk to a dishonest Armenian. If that makes me pro-Turkish I am more than willing to plead guilty as charged.
You write about our divisions as if that were a capital offense. But isn't it true that there are divisions everywhere, including America?
America is a big country with many small divisions. We are a small country with many big divisions all of which have an incomprehensible origin buried in the distant past.
Are you an atheist?
On that subject I have more questions than answers. Does that make me an atheist?
You are more critical of Armenians than Turks. Why?
Turks have critics of their own, including one who is a Nobel Prize winner.
You have said you have more enemies than friends. Does that bother you?
Of course it does. But I have come to terms with that reality and with the fact that when I die the celebrants will outnumber the mourners.
You have said on more than one occasion that we are not smart. Do you really mean that?
What I have said is that we have many smart Oriental carpet dealers but idiots for leaders.
Don't we have a rich culture?
What we have is a culture of intolerance. We have consistently rejected our ablest intellects. We have created an environment in which creativity and originality cannot survive let alone develop.
Don't you ever get tired of writing as you do?
I get more tired of listening to lies.
#
Saturday, December 11, 2010
****************************
FILTH
************************************************
On the subject of our commissars, I once had the following exchange with one of our vodanavorjis:
“What makes you think he is a man we can trust?” I wanted to know.
“I once heard him say that poets are engineers of the soul,” she replied.
“He didn't say that.”
“He said it to me.”
“I meant, Stalin said that. Our commissar was quoting him.”
And I remembered the following lines from Zarian's TRAVELLER AND HIS ROAD:
“They are spitting on Raffi. They are spitting on Aharonian. They are spitting on Derian. And that with the borrowed spittle of Muscovite masters. Even their filth is second hand. Even their trash has not been picked up from our own streets. Danger, danger, danger!”
#
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Old 15.12.2010, 15:47   #205
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Sunday, December 12, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
When Socrates was mentioned in a discussion, a Soviet agent is reported to have said: “I regret to say, I am not acquainted with the gentleman.”
*
Brainwash a decent man to believe that the fellow on the other side of an imaginary line, who may well be as decent as he, is a mortal enemy, and he will turn into a killer. Unlike Dr. Jekyll, you don't have to drink a potion to turn into Mr. Hyde. All you have to do is expose yourself to state propaganda.
*
Some day, when mankind is civilized, there will be a law that says, brainwashing children (sometimes also identified as education) is a crime against humanity.
*
To confuse ideology with theology: that’s another function of brainwashing. Theology legitimizes and promotes intolerance and hatred in the name of God or Truth. Odium theologicum is a well-known Latin expression that means: “The bitter hatred of rival theologians. There are no wars so sanguinary as holy wars, no persecution so relentless as religious persecution, no hatred so bitter as theological hatred.” (BREWER’S DICTIONARY OF PHRASE & FABLE, 16th edition, revised by Adrian Room, London: Cassell, 1999, page 841.)
*
Perhaps I should warn my readers that I don't write as a writer, or as an Armenian, or for that matter, as that most contemptible of all beings: an Armenian writer.
Once upon a time I did write as an Armenian writer -- a nightmarish experience I wouldn't wish on a Turk. I write instead as a human being who happens to be an Armenian – an identity imposed on me by circumstances beyond my control.
#
Monday, December 13, 2010
****************************
WORDS
************************************************
In his CRIME AND PUNISHMENT Dostoevsky quotes a long letter – a polite and courteous letter – and tears it to shreds by exposing the venom that is hidden between the lines.
Reading between the lines is an art.
Diplomacy sometimes consists in saying the opposite of what one means or thinks.
*
A study of TV commercials has found that 95% of them are either false or misleading.
*
The Chinese don't have a word for “no” -- “perhaps” is as far as they will go – neither do they have a word for “husband.” When a Chinese woman wants to say “my husband,” she says “my good for nothing.”
True or false?
I don't know. I am only paraphrasing what I remember to have read somewhere.
*
Writes Saroyan's wife in her memoirs: “When I say la, you must understand lalabloo.”
*
One reason I am thought of as anti-Armenian or even pro-Turkish is that when I say chick I don't mean chickpeas.
I mean what I say because I speak only for myself.
I represent no one and I work for no one.
I can't be fired or demoted.
And I can afford a paycut in my salary because I work for nothing.
#
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
If you have the power and the money,
you can go on with the deception indefinitely.
That's the only way to explain the continued existence
of rabbis, imams, and popes.
*
Faith can remove only those mountains
that were raised by our own fears, ignorance, and prejudices.
*
Identity is revealed not only in what we say,
but also in what we choose not to say.
To the discerning ear
silence can speak louder than a thousand speeches
delivered by a thousand stentorian speechifiers.
*
The ambition of every Armenian dunghill is to be Mt. Ararat.
*
The torch of truth burns many asses.
*
From nature’s point of view,
chastity is a far more dangerous sexual perversion
than all the others put together.
#
Wednesday, December15, 2010
*************************************************
WHAT I BELIEVE
******************************************
The aim of civilization is to civilize,
and the aim of religion is to make you a better person.
That's the positive view of reality.
To have a more balanced view however,
it is necessary to see the negative in the positive,
and vice versa.
Or to separate propaganda from fact.
*
Civilization is a jungle and religion has ruined many lives,
and i don't mean just the lives of heretics, infidels, and victims of religious wars (one of which lasted a hundred years), I mean...: see below.
*
If you are weak or defenseless,
you will be victimized by the strong (our history in a nutshell).
If you are young, you will be brainwashed by the old.
If you are innocent and inexperienced, you will be duped by the cunning.
If you are poor, you will be exploited by the rich.
And there will always be a rabbi, bishop, or imam
who will legitimize these aberrations in the name of the Almighty.
*
Benefactors and I share one important thing in common: generosity.
They are generous with money,
I am generous with unsolicited advice –
a kibitzer who doesn't know when to shut up.
*
“A man with an idea is my enemy,” said Napoleon.
A man with a thousand ideas must be a nightmare
to anyone with a Napoleonic complex.
*
I repeat myself because my aim is less to explain and educate
and more to deprogram the brainwashed.
*
A decent man will never murder another decent man.
But brainwash him to believe the other is his mortal enemy
and you will have a cold-blooded killer in your hands.
That's politics for you.
*
In our environment, selfless intellectual labor is so unpopular
that it might as well be some kind of self-inflicted insanity.
That may explain why I am a majority of one.
#
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Old 18.12.2010, 15:45   #206
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Thursday, December 16, 2010
********************************************
PHILOSOPHY
******************************
Our problem is not that we don't have the right answers,
but that, according Martin Heidegger, we don't even have the right questions.
What about Greek philosophy beginning with Socrates?
According to Plato, Socrates was better at asking questions
than at answering them;
and the most important questions he asked
remain unanswered to this day.
*
The real scandal is not that we don't yet have the right questions
but that so far we (including Heidegger himself who was a Nazi)
have been dependent on the answers of idiots.
*
Some of the best brains of the 20th century --
among them Russell, Whitehead, and Wittgenstein --
attempted to establish the rules of logic
but they failed to reach a consensus.
Assuming they will reach a consensus in fifty or a hundred years:
what are the chances that the world will abide by them?
*
If there can be one god,
why not a thousand gods? --
unless of course god is a fascist
whose most important number is One?
*
A fascist god is the only logical explanation
as to why so far mankind has been ruled
by so many bloodthirsty tyrants.
*
If god is a fascist, an atheist may be said to be
a member of the democratic opposition.
*
Nothing can be as dangerous as sanity in an insane world,
or honesty in a world run by swine.
#
Friday, December 17, 2010
********************************************
TRANSLATION
******************************
THE MAN WHO RAN AWAY FROM THE KING
******************************************************
BY AVEDIK ISSAHAKIAN
**********************************
Once upon a time
A mighty king
Decided to see his realm
To visit and inspect
Every town and village.
Orders then he issued
And with him arose
A retinue of servants,
Soldiers, carriages, and horses.
*
Days later
As the crowds roared
And as His Royal Majesty
Made a triumphal entry
Through the gate
Of a distant town
A humble townsman
Made a sudden exit
From another gate
And he ran and he ran
Like a hunted beast he ran
Through forests and valleys
Through dark and uncharted regions.
*
“Hold it right there!”
Cried out a stranger
Standing in his path.
“What's the rush, tell me.
Is it the law you are trying to evade?
Are you a bandit perchance
Or maybe a cold-blooded killer?"
“I am innocent, I swear,”
Said the townsman,
“What bread I have eaten
I have earned with my own sweat.
I beg you, let me explain
Why I am running so.
His Majesty the King, you see,
Is visiting my town.
Now then, please understand,
What I am about to say.
His Royal Highness,
As everyone knows,
Is a man of great might
But his brains, alas
Is that of a child.
I have heard it said
That the further away
From such a king you are
The better off you are.”
*
After hearing this
The stranger let him pass.
And the townsman
Took to his heels once more
And he ran and he ran
Like a hunted beast he ran
Through forests and valleys
Through dark and uncharted regions.
(1935)
#
Friday, December 17, 2010
********************************************
SCENARIO
***************************
Before we were born, we were only inanimate scattered atoms. After we die, we will revert to our previous state, before we are born again and so on until the solar system burns itself out, the cosmos collapses, and is followed by another Big Bang.
*
In an infinite number of cycles there is always a remote possibility that there will be another Socrates, another Napoleon, another American Revolution, and another you. To ask whether this is good or bad is like asking is reality good or bad?
*
Life is a process in which the living organism sheds atoms with every breath it takes. So that the cycle or process I described above, also sometimes referred to as reincarnation, happens even when we are alive. The atoms we shed do not vanish but are constantly reassembled into other living organisms. The world as we know it is itself a living organism that constantly dies and is resurrected. The atoms we have shed are already in the living creatures around us, including the birds that migrate to distant continents. Parts of you now live in a South-American rain forest, an African jungle, and a Siberian river or lake.
*
What is the role of God in all his?
So far I have been dealing with scientifically verifiable facts. All questions dealing with God must be referred to metaphysicians or theologians which is a discipline I am not qualified to speak about, except to say that when two theologians disagree or contradict one another – and they almost always do – it is safer to dismiss both as charlatans.
#
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Old 22.12.2010, 15:11   #207
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Sunday, December 19, 2010
********************************************
DEGENERATION
************************************
Science tells us “most evolutionary change has been degenerative” (J.B.S. Haldane), and “natural selection does not guarantee progress” (Julian Huxley).
It follows, survival in itself is meaningless and may even be a liability and a visible as well as unmistakable symptom of moral degeneration.
*
Armenian psychology has evolved not in freedom but in subservience, which means, more cunning and less intelligence, more greed for material possessions and less interest in spiritual attainments. Hence our contempt for selfless intellectual labor, which is shared even by our intellectual class -- that is, our academics.
*
The hungry man thinks of food, the sexually starved man of women, the poor of luxuries, and the slave of freedom -- but only after he has satisfied his primary needs, that is, food and sex, by which time he may have acquired the burden of providing for a family and keeping up with the Joneses.
*
Like most oppressed people, the Armenian tends to see freedom as the freedom to oppress. Which is why Stalin was a more ruthless tyrant than Ivan the Terrible; the French Revolutionaries were more bloodthirsty than kings, and American capitalists chose to see no contradiction between the assertion “All men are created equal,” and slavery.
*
A fund-raiser's assessment of reality: if it can raise funds, it's good; if it can't, it's bad. You may have noticed that fund-raisers are neither vegetarian nor lean, but carnivorous fat slobs. Lean fund-raisers are only the front men. It never pays to underestimate the cunning of degenerates.
#
Monday, December 20, 2010
********************************************
DEGENERATION (II)
************************************
When things get from bad to worse and from worse to unbearable, you stay away from them. This is seen as a positive development by those in charge of things on the grounds that one less malcontent means one less potential trouble-maker.
*
Alienate, silence, and eliminate all potential trouble-makers and you end up with a bunch of dupes who will believe anyone who speaks in the name of God or with the blessing of someone who speaks in the name of God.
*
When two men speak in the name of God and they contradict each other, it's not because one of them is right and the other wrong but because both are about to do the Devil's work.
*
Remember, some of the worst crimes in the history of mankind (among them our own genocide) were committed in the name of God.
*
Belief systems are a dime a dozen and dupes are without number.
*
Dupes are not born but made and what makes them is a compulsory educational system.
*
Being a dupe is an addiction acquired at a very early age and as such difficult to kick.
*
In a world where everyone is brought up to believe his is the only true God, either there are no false Gods or there are no Gods.
*
Belief systems exist because there are deceivers and there are dupes. Now then, go ahead and say, my belief system is better than yours because my God is the only true God, my religious leaders are not deceivers, and I am not a dupe.
#
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
********************************************
CHOPPED LIVER
************************************
Throughout our long history we have fought and died by the thousand and by the million in the armies of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, and more recently of the Soviet Union.
During World War II Armenians fought and died on both sides of the conflict.
In the 20th century alone Armenians have fought and died in Spain, France, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan (with both the Soviets and the Yanks).
But when during World War I we were being massacred by the thousand and the million, no one lifted a finger to help us; and to this day some of the very same people in whose service we fought and died are unwilling to use the G word because it would be against the interests of Turks who are allies – unlike us, whose status apparently does not even rise above that of chopped liver.
That, my friends, is what it means to be weak.
And as if our weakness weren't enough of a burden and a curse, our leaders in their wisdom continue to divide us even as they speechify and sermonize on self-sacrifice, patriotism and solidarity.
How to explain these inconsistencies, paradoxes, contradictions, and oxymorons?
Many years ago, in the ghetto, I had a friend who used to brag about the fact that his father knew more Turkish swearwords than anyone else. When really angry, my friend said, his father would go on cursing forever and it was like music to the ears (my friend took violin lessons).
In one of his Prefaces G.B. Shaw speaks of a similar virtuoso, who it seems, one day lost everything he owned in an accident, and all he could say was: “I cannot do justice to this situation.”
Neither can I.
#
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
********************************************
CHOPPED LIVER (II)
************************************
It is a fruitless undertaking and a complete waste of time to argue with someone who has programmed himself to disagree with you.
A man who has brainwashed himself cannot be deprogrammed.
*
Religion has been a source of comfort and joy to many?
Yes, of course – but not to the countless victims, including those who were massacred in the name of Allah.
*
I am sure Germans felt more than just comfortable in the belief that they belonged to a superior race. In the same way that Jews, Christians, and Muslims feel comfortable in the knowledge that theirs is the only True God and anyone who says otherwise is an infidel.
*
A belief system in itself and in isolation is harmless, of course. It becomes an instrument of the Devil only when it is organized and its leadership falls into the hands of arrogant, ambitious, and intolerant leaders.
*
Readers who are not satisfied with my arguments, urge me to reply to specific questions and to expand on others.
But everything I write is either a reply or an elaboration of a previous point.
As for answering all questions:
I cannot do that.
I don't have all the answers.
No one does – no one that is, except imams, popes, and rabbis, and if you believe them, you will believe anything, including the Big Lie that you know better on the grounds that your imam, bishop, or rabbi said so.
#
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Old 24.12.2010, 14:54   #208
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Thursday, December 23, 2010
********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************
Yanks speak of the American Dream.
We don't speak of the Armenian Dream
because we don't have one.
What we have in great abundance instead is nightmares.
*
Acknowledging blunders makes one humble, cautious, and wise.
Refusing to acknowledge them makes one arrogant, self-righteous, and stupid.
*
Whenever I see an anonymous insult
in a discussion forum on the Internet
I think he must be a bishop or the son of a bi-
shop.
*
The greatest misfortune that can befall a writer
is being born an Armenian.
The only benefit: no matter how many lies you expose,
you will never run out of them.
*
Emigration, alienation, assimilation, assassination:
they too are expressions of dissent.
*
Puzant Granian: “We have many national benefactors
but not a single national writer.”
*
Anonymous: “In his own home a mouse is a lion.”
*
Anonymous: “Patience is a tough tree that bears sweet fruit.”
*
Vahram Papazian: “The greater your worth
the greater the pleasure of the worthless to tear you down.”
#
Friday, December 24, 2010
********************************************
HUMBUG
************************************
The closer to the truth I get,
the more enemies I make.
*
For most of my life I thought my function as a writer was to inspire pride in my readers – even as I was degraded, insulted, lied to, and forced to flatter the colossal egos of megalomaniacal nonentities.
But then I saw the light and was born again as a human being,
after which things got from bad to worse.
There are no happy endings in Armenian literature.
If it's not TB, it's Turks;
if it's not Turks, it's commissars;
and if its not commissars
it's our own Ottomanized and Sovietized partisans and panchoonies.
*
I don't write to be controversial.
I write as a human being for readers who have shed their status as dehumanized dupes.
*
Here on earth money may perform miracles,
but in hell it can't even buy an ice cube.
*
Is there life after death?
The answer to that question is so valuable that its price is death.
#
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Old 29.12.2010, 14:56   #209
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Friday, December 25, 2010
********************************************
HUMBUG (II)
************************************
One of the professed aims of all believers is to make the world a better place, but they succeed only in butchering one another. You may have an explanation for this, but I don't.
*
May I state here and now and once and for all that I too am a believer, and I believe in the Unknowable and the Incomprehensible, and categorically reject anyone and everyone who says he speaks in the name of a comprehensible and knowable God.
*
We are told to judge a tree by its fruit. If we judge the Book by the number of innocent men and women it has victimized, we shall have to conclude that it is a tree not of knowledge and understanding but of prejudice, ignorance, intolerance, cruelty, exploitation, deception, and crimes against humanity.
*
And now from the sublime to the ridiculous: in all my life as a working stiff I have received four paychecks that have bounced and all four were from Armenian editors and publishers – that is to say, by the very same individuals who shape perceptions of reality.
This is either a meaningless coincidence or one pregnant with meaning. If the second, we have two choices: to cover up or to deny the reality of this meaning or to confront it.
I am all for confronting it.
*
Denialism is an aberration that consists in rejecting the reality of verifiable facts in the name of patriotism. It follows, both Armenian and Turkish denialism spring from the same source: namely, Ottomanism. Or as Nixon once put it: “When the President does it, it's not illegal.”
*
Once upon a time there was a mighty Persian king who hated the Greeks so much that he ordered one of his servants to say “Remember the Greeks” with every meal he served.
I see myself as that servant who with everything he writes he says, “Remember our crooks.”
*
I have seen the light and it is pitch-black darkness.
*
Roald Dahl's famous last words, “Ow, F*ck!”
#
Sunday, December 26, 2010
********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************
If you want to understand your fellow men,
their belief systems or religions is as good a starting point as any.
To begin with, there are “the people of the Book”
(meaning the Old Testament)
who identify themselves (in chronological order)
as Jews, Christians, and Muslims,
and who say they believe in the same God
but call one another infidels and heretics.
And then there are Buddhists who consider
all talk of God, messiahs, and prophets as so much stuff and nonsense.
If you can reconcile these inconsistencies and contradictions
you may – repeat, may – begin to understand your fellow men;
or more reasonably, to conclude that
trying to understand them is a waste of time.
#
Monday, December 27, 2010
********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************
We speak and behave as if we had nothing to do with our misfortunes, whereas I think we had everything to do with them.
*
When theory meets reality, one of them is bound to lose, and it's never reality.
*
When I committed my greatest blunders, it didn't even occur to me to think that I may be doing the wrong thing.
*
We are not what we pretend to be; we may even be the exact opposite.
*
The negative should be covered up? That would be like treating a disease by ignoring its symptoms.
*
Just because our chains are invisible it doesn't mean they don't exist.
*
To be an Armenian means to be the citizen of an alien empire. Fifteen centuries ago we could speak of Armenian identity and culture. Today we can only speak of a culture that has been thoroughly bastardized by alien influences – among them Ottoman, Soviet, and American.
*
There is more merit in being a humble human being than a proud Armenian. He who speaks of pride deals in lies.
*
An Armenian is more interested in settling scores than in discussing issues.
*
We pretend to understand others better than we understand ourselves.
#
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************
No one is immune to deception.
If smart men with the best education money can buy
and at the top of their game can be taken in
by the likes of Wall Street CEOs and Madoff,
who dares to assert immunity?
*
Trust a man if you must
but only if he speaks against his own interests and is dirt poor.
*
Philosophy after Plato,
music after Bach,
art after Leonardo:
what I see is not progress but degeneration.
Contemporary art is to me as phony as Madoff.
*
Turks are convinced they have been
misunderstood, misrepresented and maligned by the infidel West.
The Armenian genocide explains nothing because
to begin with it never happened.
What really happened was that
troublemakers within the Empire
(among them Armenians) started it
by assassinating Turks
and raping and massacring innocent Turkish civilians.
Everything that followed is now shrouded in the fog of war.
All talk of genocide is therefore politically motivated,
and politics is a filthy business
with one notable exception: Kemal.
*
To the overwhelming majority of well-educated and smart Turks,
Kemal is a combination of Washington, Lincoln, and Mahatma Gandhi.
#
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************
What keeps me going is propaganda.
I am like the plumber whose business card said:
“Your sh*t is my bread and butter.”
*
There are so many contradictory belief systems
that the first line of every credo should read:
“I believe in lies.”
*
My definition of lie:
“Any verbal expression that legitimizes intolerance
and ultimately war and massacre.”
*
No one has ever heard of a society
that has survived and prospered
because its leadership silenced dissenting voices.
*
Me a pessimist? No way!
It takes a large amount of foolish optimism
and colossal arrogance to aim at success
when far better men than myself have failed.
*
My greatest achievement so far:
I have survived fifty Canadian winters.
#
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Old 31.12.2010, 15:01   #210
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Thursday, December 30, 2010
********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************
What have we learned from our Soviet experience and the Genocide?
As far as I can see, nothing.
When it comes to free speech, our revolutionaries in the Diaspora are as intolerant as our commissars in the Homeland.
In their eyes silencing dissent is not a crime, dissent is.
They'd rather be wrong their way than right in someone else's.
All they care about is maintaining and whenever possible increasing their power even if it means hoodwinking, bamboozling, flimflamming, and brainwashing innocent civilians and their defenseless children.
In their thinking (or unthinking) when truth (that is, their ideology) speaks, lies should be silenced, in the same way that when the wise (that is, the boss) speaks, fools should hold their tongue.
*
“From the crucifixion of Christ to the excommunication of Spinoza: what have you learned from history?” I once asked my old friend, the rabbi.
His reply:
“Who are you to tell us how to deal with our criminals?”
Spoken like a true commissar and a revolutionary.
#
Friday, December 31, 2010
********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************
To those who hunger for solutions to our problems,
may I remind them that
great reformers like Jesus, Mohammad, and Marx,
who provided solutions to mankind's problems
and changed the world,
did not always change it for the better.
*
If the Kingdom of God is within us,
so are the solutions to all our problems.
*
The blame-game is not a solution,
neither is lamentation –
and that's what Turcocentrism is --
endless and fruitless talk of Turks and massacres.
*
Turcocentrism is the absence of all ideas
and the denial of all solutions.
In that sense it is more pathology than ideology –
a pathology that says we are beyond criticism
and free speech is our only enemy
(which happens to be the official Turkish line too).
*
I suggest we don't need reformers.
What we really need is a good look at ourselves in the mirror.
*
It takes great courage to see ourselves as we are.
*
Speaking of solutions:
Talaat and Atatürk, and before them Sultan Abdulhamid II,
had one for the Turks.
So did Hitler for the Germans.
#
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