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Old 23.04.2011, 15:39   #241
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Saturday, April 23, 2011
*******************************************
ROLE MODELS
***********************************************
Where would Christians be without Jesus,
or Muslims without Mohammed,
or Communists without Marx,
or Catholics without the popes,
or Protestants without Luther?
The men at the top matter.
A divided leadership will spawn a divided community.
Where the leadership is mediocre,
excellence will be outlawed.
Under a dishonest leadership,
charlatanism will be the common currency.
*
“You are consistently negative.”
All criticism and dissent is – including your own.
There are ten negatives in the Ten Commandments.
If I am negative it may be because
I have the Good Lord as my guide and role model.
But if you prefer positive,
read my book on Armenian history and culture
which could be subtitled “A Thousand and One Positive Things
About Armenian History and Culture.”
*
“You repeat yourself!”
So do Panchoonies:
“Mi kich pogh oughargetsek”
(Send us a little money).
Even the Good Lord repeats Himself:
“Where there is no vision the people perish.”
“Where the blind lead the blind,
both shall fall into the ditch.”
#

Thursday, April 21, 2011
*******************************************
POLITICIANS
***********************************************
To say, “Our politicians don’t lie”
is as transparent a falsehood as saying
“I owe my birth to immaculate conception.”
Even if you believe it,
you may have some trouble convincing others.
*
Reality (or God) tells us all men are brothers.
Politicians tell us the only good enemy is a dead enemy.
*
Even those who agree that all politicians lie
see nothing wrong in allowing them
to control our educational system.
*
The average dupe – and it makes no difference
whether he is Russian or Prussian,
Hottentot or Patagonian, Armenian or Turk –
would rather go to war and kill or die
rather than give up his infantile beliefs.
This may suggest that all wars
are clashes between two figments
created by habitual liars.
*
Where God and patriotism enter,
reality exits.
*
To be against free speech is to be for liars.
*
Two synonymous sentences:
Once upon a time barbers were surgeons.
Once upon a time politicians led nations.
#
Friday, April 22, 2011
*******************************************
DO THE MATH
***********************************************
Did you know that there are more Armenians today
than there Mongols, Libyans, and Icelanders combined?
– and I am not counting half of Turkey
which is half-Armenian.
You don’t believe me?
Look it up and do the math.
*
Solutions?
We have no use for them.
What we need – what we really need today
is not solutions but someone with Kemalist ambitions.
Solving problems is a language we don’t speak.
*
To justify our unwillingness to solve our problems
we count our liabilities the way others count their assets:
we are few,
we are landlocked,
we are surrounded by bloodthirsty barbarians…
As for political and religious dogmatism,
intolerance, divisions, censorship,
violations of human rights, corruption, and incompetence:
we ignore them as if they were irrelevant factors
beyond our control.
*
The Armenian character is not a poorly defined abstraction
but an expression of how we treat one another.
#
Saturday, April 23, 2011
*******************************************
ROLE MODELS
***********************************************
Where would Christians be without Jesus,
or Muslims without Mohammed,
or Communists without Marx,
or Catholics without the popes,
or Protestants without Luther?
The men at the top matter.
A divided leadership will spawn a divided community.
Where the leadership is mediocre,
excellence will be outlawed.
Under a dishonest leadership,
charlatanism will be the common currency.
*
“You are consistently negative.”
All criticism and dissent is – including your own.
There are ten negatives in the Ten Commandments.
If I am negative it may be because
I have the Good Lord as my guide and role model.
But if you prefer positive,
read my book on Armenian history and culture
which could be subtitled “A Thousand and One Positive Things
About Armenian History and Culture.”
*
“You repeat yourself!”
So do Panchoonies:
“Mi kich pogh oughargetsek”
(Send us a little money).
Even the Good Lord repeats Himself:
“Where there is no vision the people perish.”
“Where the blind lead the blind,
both shall fall into the ditch.”
#
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Old 27.04.2011, 14:56   #242
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Sunday, April 24, 2011
*******************************************
HERITAGE
***********************************************
The Turkish take on the Genocide:
“We taught them a lesson they will never forget.”
A crime against humanity?
Hell no!
An exercise in promoting wisdom?
Damn right!
*
What a book one could write
on the dangers of self-assessment!
*
Another case in point:
They view Ottomanism as a progressive and civilizing force
even after they themselves rejected every aspect of it –
from the fez and the shalvar
to the alphabet and the power structure.
That’s the trouble with all brainwashed dupes:
they can’t tell the different between making sense
and making asses of themselves.
*
We share with them
an intolerance of dissent and contradiction –
an obvious part of our common heritage.
*
It is easy to remove the tangible;
much more difficult to reform the invisible.
#
Monday, April 25, 2011
*******************************************
REFLECTIONS
***********************************************
The more I write
the less I hope to change anything.
*
The USSR did not collapse
because of what Solzhenitsyn,
among many others, wrote,
or because of what the Pope of Rome or
President Reagan said or did.
The USSR collapsed because it was rotten.
Nations and empires are not killed,
they commit suicide.
*
The Albanians have survived
and very probably will continue to survive.
That’s not what matters.
What matters is, who gives a damn
whether they survive or not?
The Albanians maybe, but who else?
*
A nation is judged not by its past but by its future;
and more precisely,
by what it can contribute to mankind.
#
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
*******************************************
NOTES & COMMENTS
***********************************************
There are two kinds of people:
those who help you to live
and those who help you to die.
*
When the Turks first set foot on Armenian soil
they numbered less than 140,000.
*
Only one Armenian in ten thousand knows our history
and we meet him every day.
*
Nationalist historians adapt facts to their ideology.
A fact that cannot be adapted is discarded.
*
A midget can defeat two giants
if the giants are divided; all he has to do is
wait until the giants wear each other out
and bleed to death.
*
Question: Do I have to read ten thousand books
in order to know all there is to know
about our history and culture?
Answer: No. Just take a good look at yourself in the mirror.
*
If you are kind, they will love you and ignore you.
If you are mean, they will hate you and remember you.
If you are honest, they will crucify you,
#
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
*******************************************
NOTES & COMMENTS
***********************************************
It should be obvious by now that autocratic rulers
don’t have much respect for their subjects.
It would be even more accurate to say that
they don’t give a damn about them.
*
The trouble with our brown-nosers is that
they wear the brown on their nose
as if it were a certificate of loyalty
and a badge of honor.
*
Do you have to be brave to be a hero?
No, just honest.
*
If Armenia is a puppet of Russia today,
it is up to our leadership to convince the Russians
that a free and independent Armenia
will be in a much better position to make a contribution
to their welfare.
*
The real scandal is not that Armenian political parties
have no respect for free speech
but that no one, not even our pundits and academics,
who ought to know better, give a damn,
as if it were fire on the other side of the river.
*
You spend half a lifetime to figure out your fellow men
and the other half in avoiding them.
#
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Old 30.04.2011, 15:22   #243
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Thursday, April 28, 2011
*******************************************
NOTES & COMMENTS
***********************************************
Because I try to understand Turks as human beings
as opposed to bloodthirsty Asiatic barbarians,
I am accused of justifying the Genocide.
Nothing and no one can justify
the murder of a single innocent human being.
To understand and explain is not to justify.
If an Almighty and All-loving God
allows such a murder to take place,
it is up to us to understand it.
*
Arabs today are as angry with their own
corrupt, autocratic, and incompetent leaders
as with their own past subservience and cowardice.
My dissent has similar roots.
I write less against our leadership
and more against my own cowardly conformism.
*
Nations lie as surely as compulsive liars.
*
Nationalist historians rewrite history
to cover up past blunders and
to legitimize future ones.
*
Wars represent the triumph of the gut over the brain.
#
Friday, April 29, 2011
*******************************************
WISDOM
***********************************************
True wisdom begins on the day you say to yourself:
“I thought I understood everything.
I know now that I understand nothing!”
*
To understand politics,
read a book on organized crime.
*
Politics has created more criminals than the Mafia.
*
If brainwashing were declared a crime against humanity,
as it should be,
which one of our speechifiers, sermonizers, and ghazetajis
would escape hanging?
#
Saturday, April 30, 2011
***************************************
ENEMIES OF MANKIND
*****************************************
We have inherited two sets of contradictory ideas:
the ideas that animate our literature –
from Khorenatsi and Naregatsi to Raffi and Zarian -- and
the ideas of our dividers,
namely sermonizers and speechifiers
who speak in the name of God and capital
(make it Capital and god).
*
Our bosses, bishops, and benefactors
make a comfortable living, thank you very much.
Our writers are unemployed and unemployable misfits.
*
Our writers maintain unity is strength.
Our dividers agree but only during the day;
at night they turn into grave-diggers.
*
Once during a heated argument
with a self-righteous member of the party,
I heard him say:
“Mistakes? Sure we have made them.
We don’t claim to be infallible.
We are human beings.”
What he failed to add is that
like all human beings
their first instinct is to cover up their mistakes
and to silence anyone who dares to expose them.
*
Talk of God has been around for millions of years,
but it is only recently that popes, imams, and rabbis
assert monopoly on the subject, and doing so
they divide mankind as surely
as our leaders divide the nation.
Some day all dividers will be seen
as the true enemies of mankind.
#
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Old 04.05.2011, 15:25   #244
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Sunday, May 01, 2011
***********************************
LEADERS
************************
The difference between
a democratically elected leader
and an autocratic one is that
the first are endlessly cross-examined
by the press and the opposition,
and the second surrounds himself
with yes-men and brown-nosers.
*
Freedom to an autocratic leaders means
the freedom to oppress, silence, and murder
defenseless civilians.
*
Closer to home:
our leaders divide the nation
not because they are men of principle
who place ideals above the interests of the people;
they divide because they love their own powers and privileges
above all else.
*
If we have leaders who lie to us,
why shouldn’t we have writers
willing to speak the truth?
I am not saying all writers are honest men.
What I am saying is that
most of our ablest writers
were murdered, exiled, and silenced
by autocratic regimes.
*
Leaders behave like criminals because
they can get away with it, or rather,
because the people allow them to get away with it.
*
Most of our misfortunes are rooted in subservience.
Dissent increases independence in others.
Dissent is positive.
Subservience is negative.
#
Monday, May 02, 2011
****************************************
TO MY SWEET ARMENIA
******************************************
When his genocide book was unanimously ignored
by our academics, a friend (a career diplomat)
referred to them as “our Genocide mafia.”
Who would have thought that some day
the Genocide would become a “territory”
(in organized crime parlance)
and anyone who dares to muscle in it
would acquire the status of a non-person.
*
I am a stranger in a strange land,
and I feel more so among my fellow Armenians.
Last time I visited an Armenian community center
I promised to return in twenty-five years.
Now I have another reason not to live that long.
*
When the USSR collapsed
and Armenia’s borders opened up,
Armenians poured out by the thousand
and by the million.
*
“Yes im anoush Hayastani…”
It is not generally known that
Charents wrote that line
inspired not by Armenia’s "sweetness"
but by a similar poem on Russia by Pushkin.
#
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
**********************************************
REFLECTIONS
**************************************
No French king or Russian czar or Bolshevik commissar or fascist dictator, or pope, imam, and rabbi has ever declared publicly that he is in the business of moronizing innocent civilians. Don’t expect our own leaders to do so.
*
Did any one of our revolutionaries at the turn of the last century ever ask himself the following question: “If we carry on as we have been, what are the chances that the people may suffer?”
*
The only reason Osama bin Laden did not behave like Genghis Khan, Hitler, and Stalin is that he didn’t have their power.
*
Solutions are not inventions or discoveries like the theories of Newton or Einstein that revolutionized physics and cosmology. Solutions begin with the realization that we have been on the wrong track; and we can solve a problem only when we understand it; and it is up to us whether to use our brains or to run around like a chicken whose neck has been cut off.
*
All you need to do is allow reality to be your guide, not the empty rhetoric of speechifiers and sermonizers.
*
A kind reader once called me a philosopher. I am nothing of the kind. I am only a scribbler. You don’t need a Ph.D. to be honest with yourself and your fellow men.
*
The idea that we are few is linked to the fact that most Armenians do not care to be identified as Armenians.
#
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
*************************************
AS I SEE IT
**************************
Several friends have urged me to change my name.
I have not done so because I don’t think of myself
as a commercially viable commodity.
*
What shapes our worldview is less
an objective study of reality and more
the educational system within which we were brought up.
*
Literature is a waste of time.
No writer has ever changed a damn thing.
Marx?
If he did change things he made them worse.
The same could be said of all prophets and reformers.
*
What has our literature changed?
As long ago as the 5th century AD
our writers (among them Khorenatsi and Yeghishé)
exposed the dangers inherent in a divided kingdom.
A millennium and a half later,
After many military defeats,
and a series of massacres and a genocide,
we continue to stand divided.
*
Why do I write?
The more relevant question is:
Why do they divide?
*
I share my ideas
the way a beggar shares the few crusts of bread
cast in his direction by fat men.
#
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Old 07.05.2011, 15:17   #245
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Thursday, May 05, 2011
****************************************
GOD AND COUNTRY
***************************************
I am not in the business of changing anyone’s mind,
only expressing agreement with those
who have already changed theirs
by successfully discarding their prejudices and superstitions.
*
God and Country:
if we judge a tree by its fruit,
why is it wrong to judge faith and patriotism
by their number of innocent victims?
*
To be honest in our case means
to reject all assertions that flatter our collective image.
*
Anyone can change water into wine
if he waits until the guests are so drunk
that they can’t tell the difference between one and the other.
Likewise, anyone can change military defeat to moral victory
if he first convinces the people that
God is on their side and God is invincible.
*
When military and religious leaders speak
in the name of God and Country, they lie.
*
We understand many things
but not everything, especially not
the most important things.
*
To expose lies is not the same as to know the truth.
*
A lie is a lie and dying for it will not make it less of a lie.
*
There is nothing new under the sun.
Everything I have said so far has been said before
if not by Greek philosophers than by Zen masters.
#
Friday, May 06, 2011
****************************************
VARIATIONS
ON A FAMILIAR THEME
***************************************
Because we have nothing to brag about
we brag about our survival.
We have survived, yes.
So have our divisions
and divisions are weapons of mass destruction.
*
Dinosaurs perished but scorpions survived.
The only reason they don’t brag about it is that
they are not brainwashed to do so.
*
How do you deprogram a nation?
You can’t!
Our writers have been trying for fifteen hundred years
and they have failed.
*
Between literature and propaganda
we have always chosen propaganda
for the same reason that a fool
prefers to believe he is smart.
*
A long series of defeats, massacres and
centuries of subservience to alien scum
have taught us nothing.
Even on the eve of the Genocide our leadership was divided.
*
Our leaders are our gravediggers.
*
Solidarity is not in our DNA.
Which is why we must be born again
as a different species – namely, human beings.
*
You think I am wrong and you are right?
You may have our bosses, bishops, and benefactors on your side
but I have fifteen hundred years of our literature on mine.
#
Saturday, May 07, 2011
****************************************
HUMBUGGERY
***************************************
Free and independent Armenia is a hoax
and as empty an illusion as the brotherhood of nations
under the Soviets.
*
Under the Soviets undesirables were sent to Siberia.
Today they lead an anonymous existence
in a suburb of Paris, Los Angeles, and Istanbul.
The more things change…
*
Our editors publish an endless series of anti-Turkish polemics
that so far have produced not a single red cent in reparation
or a single square inch of our historic homeland;
and they refuse to publish me
on the grounds that I write “polemics,”
and publishing polemics, they tell me,
is against their editorial policy.
*
The captain goes down with the ship?
Not always.
In our case the captain is the first to abandon ship.
#
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Old 11.05.2011, 16:25   #246
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Monday, May 09, 2011
****************************************
WHAT IF?
***************************************
What if I am wrong? That is always a possibility. On the day I assert infallibility, then I will be not just wrong, but catastrophically wrong!
*
If you like to speculate, here is another “what if” question that is much more serious and universal: What if the comforts organized religions and faith provide are exposed as empty illusions?
*
After centuries of oppression and authoritarian rule millions of Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa have suddenly discovered the benefits of democracy: Would anyone dare to ask “What if they are wrong?” Because in the final analysis that’s all I have been asking for my fellow countrymen: democracy, free speech, and respect for human rights.
*
Here is another “What if”: What if the incompetence and dishonesty of our own leadership have done as much harm to the integrity of the nation as the criminal conduct of our former alien masters?
*
About free speech: it can be abused, yes, certainly. So can censorship, the manipulation of the media and the educational system.
#
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
****************************************
GUESSES
***************************************
Some questions don’t have answers, only guesses.
*
Even when writers realize they can change nothing, they continue to write. Why?
*
If a pebble can start an avalanche, why can’t the right word at the right time and place start a revolution?
*
If they can lie for no good reason at all, why can’t I speak the truth for a good reason?
*
Why did God create the world? To break the monotony of silence, boredom, and nothingness?
*
If they know what must be done, why don’t they do it
*
Do they hate to admit they have been wrong out of fear they may not be forgiven?
*
Unlike Raskolnikov, not all murderers go down on their knees and confess – this is especially true of career criminals and
If they can get away with it – and so far they have – they will continue to lie, abuse, mislead, and deceive.
#


Tuesday, May 10, 2011
****************************************
FASCISTS
***************************************
Authoritarian rulers – fascists for short –
view free speech as a crime against humanity
and state-sanctioned murder of defenseless civilians
as law and order.
*
Fascism may also be defined
as a declaration of war by a regime
against its own people.
*
In a fascist environment
intellectuals are like canaries in a mine.
Where there is a scarcity of canaries
there will be an abundance of chickens, toads, and rats.
*
Turks are the favorite subject of our editors and academics.
Our leadership is a subject they avoid discussing
perhaps because it is not easy speaking of a bordello madam
as if she were a virgin.
*
It is safe to assume that the number of moral victories
in a nation’s history is equal
to the number of military defeats.
*
Where criminals are in charge
the law of the jungle will be
the law of the land.
#
Message flagged
Sunday, May 8, 2011 11:56:48 AM
Sunday, May 08, 2011
****************************************
TRUE OR FALSE?
***************************************
Organized religions teach us to believe
there is more life in death.
*
A heroic death is infinitely more admirable
than a degraded life.
Remember this next time you brag about survival.
*
The world is too preoccupied
with its own welfare and survival
to care much about our own.
I doubt if the death of the last Armenian
will make a single headline anywhere.
*
Lenin and Stalin served as role models
to many more Armenians than Tolstoy and Solzhenitsyn.
There is more Sultanism in our leadership
than Armenianism.
*
For every Armenian who knows better
there will be at least two who know best
and four who know all there is to know.
In such an environment,
writers will be useless
and literature irrelevant –
except for such trashy lines as
“Forget your mother /
But do not forget your mother tongue.”
(I did not plan to quote this line on Mother’s Day.
Call it pure coincidence.)
#



















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Old 14.05.2011, 15:14   #247
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Thursday, May 12, 2011
****************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
***************************************
“Be more positive,” means
“Cover up the negative.”
*
We all have doubts except the brainwashed.
*
Every boss, bishop, and benefactor is for solidarity
but only under his own leadership.
*
In our environment you can tell how honest a man is
by the number of crooks that are ganged up against him.
*
One man’s arsenic is another’s elixir.
The absence of financial and institutional support
may paralyze others but it stimulates me.
*
In his novel, A PARTISAN'S DAUGHTER (New York, 2008)
Louis de Bernieres writes about “an emperor
who blinded all his prisoners except for one in every hundred,
who was supposed to lead the others home,
and when the opposing king saw what had happened to his troops,
he died of the shock.”
What he doesn't say is that both the emperor
(Basil II Bulgaroktonus [Bulgar-slayer])
and the Bulgarian king (Czar Samuel)
were of Armenian descent.
For more details, see my book,
THE ARMENIANS: THEIR HISTORY AND CULTURE
(New York, 1981).
#
Friday, May 13, 2011
****************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
***************************************
Nothing is more alien and incomprehensible to an Armenian
than his own identity.
*
It would have been nothing short of a miracle
if after long centuries under ruthless tyrants
we had maintained a single trace of our original identity.
*
Our ancestors are as distant from us
as Zulus and Neanderthals.
*
I say things that thirty years ago
I would have been afraid to think.
*
After they make enough money
they think they can buy immortality
as if it were a product on the market.
*
“I am a very serious man,” Donald trump asserted
in a recent televised interview.
I can’t imagine a serious man making such a claim.
*
A man with heart problems to his cardiologist:
“Why do you always insist on speaking about my heart?
What about my stomach, liver, lungs, and pancreas?
Why don’t you emphasize the positive for a change?”
#
Saturday, May 14, 2011
****************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
***************************************
Everybody can be brainwashed.
A high IQ is no defense.
It is almost as if evolution had instilled in us
a predisposition for lies.
*
The brainwashed are unreachable.
Their first instinct is to brainwash you – that is to say,
to re-create you in their own image.
*
At the root of all deception is the absurd idea
that we are the center of the world.
*
If no one deceives us,
we deceive ourselves.
*
Am I saying we are as bad as Turks?
No.
What I am saying is:
Let us not confuse military inferiority
with moral superiority.
#
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Old 18.05.2011, 15:17   #248
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Sunday, May 15, 2011
****************************************
NOBODY’S BITCH
***************************************
A writer is nobody’s bitch.
*
It could be said of us that
the best stay away
and the worst stick around;
and if I stick around
it’s because we deserve it.
*
People who say “I don’t read fiction,”
fail to realize that the greatest fiction of all
is their conception of reality.
*
Democracy is not just a political system
or power structure;
democracy is a way of life.
*
To spend a lifetime serving an arrogant and cruel master
means to assume that both arrogance and cruelty
are not only an integral part of the human condition
but also desirable qualities in a man of authority.
*
It is a writer’s duty to remind those
who speak in the name of God and capital
(make it, Capital and god)
that they are first and foremost
public servants.
#
Monday, May 16, 2011
****************************************
THE PROSTITUTION OF THE PRESS
************************************************
If an Armenian is dumb enough to think
he can survive as a writer,
he must be in need of advice,
or so I have been given to understand
by concerned “friends” and elder statesmen
on more than one occasion.
What kind of advice?
Elementary, my dear Watson.
Instead of kicking ass,
he should learn to kiss it.
The penalty for refusing to do so
is alienation and unemployment.
*
Once upon a time
our vodanavorjis wrote odes to the Sultan.
It is an illusion to think that the Sultan is dead.
*
A hundred years ago Krikor Zohrab spoke
of the prostitution of our press.
Our bosses and benefactors rely on the press
to publicize their good deeds
but are too dumb to see that by prostituting it
they foul their own nest.
*
We may think we live in America
but in reality we continue to be subjects
of the Ottoman Empire.
Have I said this before?
Never mind.
If anything is worth saying
it’s worth repeating.
Besides, I happen to be an addict of reiteration
and habits are easier to keep than to give up.
#
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
****************************************
THE SCUM OF THE EARTH
************************************************
It is not the best who seek power, privilege and prestige
but the worst.
Elites are the scum of the earth.
*
My targets are not Armenians
but dupes of all nations.
*
There is no business like the brainwashing business
compared to which organized crime
is an amateur enterprise in addition to being
a risky proposition.
*
One reason why Turks are a popular subject in our press
is that they can be discussed without reference
to our bosses, bishops, and benefactors.
But discussing Armenians without mentioning
bosses, bishops, and benefactors
is like discussing the Napoleonic wars without Napoleon.
*
Only people who say nothing don’t repeat themselves –
but then, one would be justified in asserting that
nothing is what they repeat.
*
Make no mistake about it:
there is a Ben Ali, Mubarak, Assad, and Gadhafi
in all undemocratic leaders,
including our own.
#
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
****************************************
A DANGEROUS ILLUSION
************************************************
To cover up a crime is a crime.
To repeat a lie is a lie.
To be afraid of free speech is cowardice.
*
During the televised Watergate hearings
I remember the following exchange with a Soviet citizen:
“What’s Watergate about?”
“The president lied.”
“So what? They lie to us all the time.”
*
Some of my most devastating lines –
lines like “There is a Turk in all of us.”
“Some of our leaders are Turks.”
“Subservience is in our blood.” –
are not mine but verbatim quotations
from our elder statesmen.
*
Secrecy is totalitarian.
The concentration camps under Hitler
and the Gulag under Stalin were exposed
long after the damage was done.
And when I say damage I have in mind
both the suffering inflicted on the victims
and the disintegration of the regime.
*
It’s a dangerous illusion to think
we can solve our problems
by brainwashing the next generation
and suppressing dissent.
*
Sometimes I am accused of hating Armenians and myself,
when in fact I hate only cowards
who are afraid of free speech;
I loathe only fools who pretend to know better;
and I have nothing but contempt for dupes
who believe everything they are told.
#
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Old 21.05.2011, 15:32   #249
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Thursday, May 19, 2011
****************************************
ANSWERS
************************************************
The only way to make progress in one’s thinking is
by constantly questioning one’s most fundamental assumptions.
It’s because most Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and Christians
assume their belief system to be the only true one
that they feel morally justified in massacring the competition.
*
Reality has countless layers of meaning.
By carefully selecting a handful of them
one can prove anything.
*
After we die we shall have all the answers,
provided we consider the total absence of answers
also an answer.
#
Friday, May 20, 2011
****************************************
NOTES AND COMMENTS
************************************************
A fatally flawed assumption:
If God knows everything, it follows,
those who speak in His name know better.
*
All men of authority lie when they pretend to know
that which is unknowable.
If believers outnumber non-believers
it's be because crooks outnumber honest men.
*
Those who disagree with us are not always wrong.
*
To be powerless is an open invitation to abuse.
*
The more ignorant the people
the more authoritarian and blind the leadership.
*
The longer I live the more truth I see in the saying:
“Once upon a time we were slaves.
We are now slaves of former slaves.”
*
Even the Turks are ahead of us
if only because they have internationally recognized dissidents
and all we have are Turcocentric ghazetajis by the dozen
who know how to break eggs
but so far have failed to serve a single decent omelet.
#
Saturday, May 21, 2011
****************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
************************************************
The Arab Spring must be a source of dread to our leaders.
It can’t be pleasant to contemplate one's own demise.
You can’t fool all the people all the time.
No banquet under heaven is endless.
*
Speaking of funerals:
My favorite funeral marches are
the slow movement of Beethoven’s Eroica,
the first movement of Mahler’s 5th Symphony,
and Siegfried’s funeral in the final act of Wagner’s RING
(which was also Hitler’s favorite) besides which
the orgasmic crescendo in TRISTAN UND ISOLDE
is sentimental hogwash.
*
One of the most unforgettable lines in Italian poetry
is Ungaretti’s “Ed a subito sera”
(And suddenly it’s evening)
meaning, old age and death.
*
It has been observed that
what holds us together is the Genocide.
Does that mean on the day the Genocide is recognized
the glue that holds us together will dry up?
#
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Old 24.05.2011, 15:21   #250
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Sunday, May 22, 2011
****************************************
DIARY
************************************************
Last night I started watching THE LARK FARM by the Taviani brothers, based on the novel by Antonia Arslan, but could not finish it. Gave up after the first beheading. Too violent. Too close to home. Violence in American films doesn’t bother me in the least. I have even enjoyed Tarantino’s KILL BILL. But the violence in THE LARK FARM I found unbearable.
Now I know why some well-meaning and decent Turks deny the reality of the Genocide. Too painful to admit it.
The Holocaust was a much more impersonal, almost bureaucratic operation. By contrast those who carried out the Genocide were personally acquainted with their victims in the same way that Talaat knew Zohrab who at one point even risked his own life to save him from the secret police of the Sultan.
There is another point effectively captured by the Taviani brothers. The extermination of the Armenians must be thorough and include the children; otherwise they will come back for revenge.
The fear of Armenian terrorism is present today in every Turk who ventures abroad.
They scattered us to the four corners of the world and now they are faced with the possibility of sudden death without warning.
I will never forget my first encounter with a Turk who identified himself as a Cypriote but did so with so much hesitation that he left no doubt as to his real identity.
#
Monday, May 23, 2011
****************************************
WHAT MUST BE DONE
************************************************
The solutions to our problems are not hidden from us.
To state a problem clearly means to have its solution
staring back at us.
*
We are divided:
Solidarity is the solution.
We are weak:
There is strength in unity.
Our divisions are rooted in ancient dogmas and prejudices:
Teaching tolerance should be a priority in our schools.
We are at the mercy of corrupt and incompetent leaders:
It is our duty to hold them accountable
and to question their competence and integrity
in letters to the editor,
phone calls to their secretaries, hirelings,
assorted brown-nosers and hangers on;
and most important of all,
to withhold our support
by returning all letters that end
with Panchoonie’s punch line:
“Mi kich pogh oughargetsek”
(Send us a little money).
*
Turning the other cheek to someone who is morally irresponsible
is a waste of time.
*
To say God is great and to do the Devil’s work
is to blaspheme.
God is great exactly because He has endowed us
with a brain with which to think for ourselves.
*
The Decalogue of a contemporary Moses would repeat ten times
the commandment:
“Thou shall not be a dupe.”
#
Translations from
JULES RENARD’S JOURNALS: 1887-1910
(Paris: NRF, 1965, 1424 pages)
**********************************
Why should I give a damn about a thinker
who can’t explain the universe to me?
*
A talented honest man is as rare
as a man of genius.
*
What happens to all the tears that we don’t shed?
*
A fat man parading his belly
as if it were a wind instrument.
*
"This will be enough to pay for your cigarettes."
"Yes, but only because I don’t smoke."
*
I hesitate to walk behind a woman
afraid she may think I am following her.
*
In the garden I lower my eyes
not to scare the bird in the nest.
*
Migraine: this must be what Christ meant
when he spoke of his crown of thorns.
*
It’s so very easy for a woman
to make herself desirable.
No need to be attractive or very young.
All she has to do is extend her palm in a certain manner
and a man will be more than happy to place his heart there.
*
"How are you today?"
"Much better, thank you."
"You weren’t feeling well?"
There I was, pretending to be concerned
about the health of a fellow whose obituary
would have barely registered on my consciousness.
*
My sister is proud of the fact that
unlike her brother she is a believer.
*
He is for freedom but he happens to be such a nonentity
that I for one would prefer to share my life with slaves.
*
To write is almost always to lie.
*
I don’t disturb the cat sleeping on my desk.
Instead, I go out for a walk.
*
If I acquired everything I ever wanted,
immediately I would feel as though I had nothing.
*
Patriotism: The bull from one village
refuses to look in the direction of a petite cow
from another village.
*
"That fellow over there is sure tough."
"Oh! Why?"
"He never says a thing."
*
I can’t imagine living in a world in which
there are no mysteries and surprises.
If God exists, he must be very bored.
#
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Old 28.05.2011, 15:27   #251
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Thursday, May 26, 2011
*****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
***************************************
I am predictable?
So is our propaganda.
On the day our propagandists become unpredictable,
so will I.
However, if your aim is to silence me,
I suggest you come up with a less predictable line.
*
Shahnour was a photographer,
Hamasdegh a shoemaker,
Oshagan a schoolteacher,
Nartuni a doctor…
and they were the lucky ones.
Many others were betrayed to the authorities and slaughtered.
By contrast, our academics make a comfortable living
and our imams are millionaires.
Who says crime doesn’t pay?
*
All that talk about cultural, political, and economic factors
beyond our control is hogwash.
We are control freaks
and we have been brainwashed to dig our own grave.
*
We are told “Earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings do.”
Question: How many of our masterbuilders
were charged with manslaughter?
*
We are told “Treason and ebtrayal are in our blood” (Raffi).
If so far none of our traitors
has been arrested, tried, found guilty, and hanged,
it may be because they continue to be in charge of our institutions,
including our justice system.
#
Friday, May 27, 2011
*****************************
WHAT MOTIVATES REVOLUTIONS
******************************************
To understand history
one must deal not only with the visible
but also with the invisible world –
that is, what goes on inside the human mind,
which is the source of all conflict and violence.
Historians now know that to understand history
It is not enough to know what happened.
It is also important to know “the unstated
(and sometimes unrecognized) reasons why
people do the things that they do.”
(HISTORY: A BRIEF INSIGHT by John H. Arnold, page 132.)
*
What did Armenians want at the turn of the last century
in th Ottoman Empire?
Respect for their fundamental human rights,
which the Turks took for treason – a crime punishable by death.
To say that Armenians were punished
because they made territorial demands is nonsense.
Revolutions are not fought out of greed for more acreage
but for human rights – case in point: the Arab Spring today.
*
And speaking of territorial integrity and Homeland:
Today even Turks are more than willing
to abandon their birthplace
and live abroad where they are allowed to work
and make a living
(which is also a fundamental human right);
in the same way that many Armenians
are more than willing to emigrate (some even to Turkey)
for the same reason.
#
Saturday, May 28, 2011
*****************************
FANATICS
******************************************
Call me a human rights fanatic.
I’d rather live in hell where my human rights are respected
than in a fascist paradise.
*
There are three kinds of writers:
pro-establishment,
anti-establishment,
and academics who write about subjects like
grammar, village life in the 18th-century, and the Middle Ages.
In that sense they may be classified as
the mules of our ecology.
*
One of our most dangerous misconceptions:
the idea that divisions in the name of tribal loyalty
are motivated by patriotism.
*
To those who say I have been silenced
because my ideas are subversive and dangerous, I say:
So were the ideas of our revolutionaries a hundred years ago;
so much so that they claimed 1,5 million victims.
*
Only in an Ottomanized and Sovietized environment
talk of human rights is seen as unpatriotic or subversive.
*
Tell them what they want to hear and they will agree with you.
Prove them wrong and they will tear you to shreds.
*
How easy it is to deceive millions.
How hard it is to reason with a dupe.
#
MEMO TO A DENIALIST TURK
********************************************************
like all brainwashed chauvinist dupes
you like to believe in the infallibility of your leadership.
which is a belief not shared by your own leaders.
that's why the Young Turks overthrew the Sultan;
that's why Kemal overthrew the Young Turks;
that's why Kurds hate you today;
that's why many Turks have left Turkey and survive as garbage collectors in Europe; and
and that's why you don't qualify as members of the EU.
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Old 01.06.2011, 14:55   #252
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Sunday, May 29, 2011
*****************************
LET US REASON TOGETHER
******************************************
Nations and empires need dupes more
than they need dissidents.
*
If “the Kingdom of God is within you,”
it follows loyalty to a power structure or regime or authority figure
is treason.
*
To “give unto Caesar” does not mean
to trust or to believe in Caesar.
*
If to expose our contradictions is negative,
does that mean to speak of massacres is positive?
#
Monday, May 30, 2011
*****************************
LIES AND LIARS
******************************************
Until he was ousted by the Young Turks,
the Sultan was the supreme religious leader
of the Muslim world as well as
the political leader of the Ottoman Empire.
He thus combined the power of the Pope
and that of the President of the United States.
Now then, imagine if you can,
a pope or a president saying
he needs a harem of a thousand concubines
to better serve God and the people.
Why should we be surprised if Turkish denialists believe
all politicians lie except their own,
all academics are for hire except their own,
and all propagandists deceive the people except their own?
*
Turkish children are brought up to believe in lies
for the simple reason that if they admit the facts,
Turkey stands to lose
several Armenian provinces,
billions of dollars in repratations,
and their mask as a civilized and progressive nation.
The threat of even one of these three prospects
would make a compulsive and a habitual liar
out of an honest man.
*
Because the Serbians arrested Ratko Mladic,
a war criminal who massacred 8000 Muslims,
“the European prospects of Serbia are now brighter than ever,”
according to a WASHINGTON POST editorial.
To my Turkish readers I say:
Let that be a lesson to you.
#
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
*****************************
HOW TO REASON WITH A TURK
******************************************
It can't be done.
Don't even try!
It's a waste of time.
*
A Turk believes he can defeat
reason, common sense, reality itself
with the same daring that his ancestors
defeated their adversaries.
He chooses to ignore the fact that
the Ottoman Empire is dead, buried,
and cannot be resurrected.
*
There are two easy ways to win an argument alla Turca:
by ignoring the arguments of the opposition,
and by repeating the same argument
even after it has been exposed as
untenable, outgrageous irrational, and absurd.
*
It is a mistake to think that Armenians were punished
because they revolted against the Turks.
The undeniable fact is,
the central authority was so rotten
that everyone within the Empire,
including Turks themselves,
revolted against it.
*
Armenians were selected for speciasl treatment
simply because they were there
and they made themselves an easy and convenient target.
*
To disagree with a Turk
is to understand where Armenian fanatics come from.
*
Kemal’s fallacy:
The idea that by eliminating the fez and the shalvar
The Turk could be de-Ottomanized.
Which amounts to saying,
what goes on inside a man’s mind
is an extension of his wardrobe.
No psychologist has ever dared to advance
such an insane theory.
If he did, he would be exposed as a charlatan and
his licence would be immediately revoked.
#
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
*****************************
NOTES AND COMMENTS
******************************************
We befriended the Turks under Talaat
and we called the Russians our big brothers under Stalin.
Now then, go ahead and say something positive
about our leadership.
*
If you have the majority on your side,
it makes no difference whether you are right or wrong.
This indeed is the rock on which stand
both democracy and fascism.
*
Nothing can be more fragile and unpredictable than life.
And yet, we take its permanence for granted.
Something similar could be said of the infallibility
of authority figures who are more prone to error
than the rest of us; and I don’t means errors
like marrying the wrong partner
or making a bad investment.
I mean errors in which thousands and millions die.
*
They massacred the Indians,
they enslaved millions of Africans,
they murdered one another
in one of the bloodiest civil wars in the history of mankind,
they allowed the rich to exploit the poor mercilessly,
they went to war and killed countless natives
in all four corners of the world,
and now they educate their children to be proud Americans.
*
I have been deceived so many times
that I no longer trust even my own judgment.
#
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Old 04.06.2011, 15:55   #253
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Thursday, June 02, 2011
*****************************
MEMO TO MY TURKISH READERS
******************************************
It doesn’t take much courage
to massacre defenseless old men, women, and children.
But it take courage to admit it.
Not only Turks have failed on that score
for nearly a century
but they could also qualify as just about
the most cowardly people on earth.
*
At all times and everywhere dupes outnumber those
who can think for themselves.
That’s because as children
we are brought up to believe
what our elders and betters tell us.
But you are no longer children.
That extenuating circumstance
is no longer available to you.
*
The aim of all slogans is to simplify complexities
in order to convince the simple-minded.
The slogan “Turkey for Turks”
immediately raises the questions:
Who is a Turk?
Does he exist?
Take a good look at yourself in the mirror:
if you don’t look like a Mongol you don’t qualify.

You don’t have to be a historian or a genealogist
to know that your family tree
has representatives of as many races, nations, and tribes
as your ancestors vanquished and raped.
You are probably more Kurd, Arab, Greek,
Serbian, Albanian, Egyptian, Hungarian,
Assyrian, and Armenian than Turk.
No need to take my word for it.
Have your DNA checked.
*
If Europe were to adopt the slogan
“Europe for Europeans,”
Turkey would be saddled with many more garbage collectors
than it needs; and providing for them
would probably bankrupt your economy,
assuming it is not already bankrupt.
*
All is not lost however.
You have a choice between being an authentic human being
or a bastardized phony Turk
and a dupe who believes what he is told
by politicians, nationalist historians, and propagandists,
that is to say professional charlatans
whose first and more important priority is their own power.
#
Friday, June 03, 2011
*****************************
A CITY SET ON A HILL
******************************************
These days no one pleads guilty to murder one.
Instead they plead “not guilty” by reason of insanity,
or even self-defense and
a myriad other extenuating circumstances.
Faced with a charge of genocide,
Turks go one better by accusing their accusers
of the very same crime
on the grounds that they may succeed
in raising a reasonable doubt in the mind
of a single member of the jury
who may well be a Turcophile
or even a murderer.
So far this tactic has worked.
The question is: can it work forever?
At this point three apposite quotations come to mind:
“No banquet under heaven is endless;”
“You can’t fool all the people all the time;” and
“A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
#
Saturday, June 04, 2011
*****************************
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE…
******************************************
When I posted comments critical of Armenians
I acquired several Turkish readers and friends.
When I gave the Turks the same treatment
I lost all of them.
Easy come, easy go.
*
When we served Turkish interests,
we were their “most loyal subjects.”
When we asserted our human rights,
we became their mortal enemies
and were targeted for extermination.
*
Today they abuse the human rights not only of Kurds
but also Turks -- among them
Pamuk (a Nobel-Prizer winner)
and Akcam (an internationally respected historian),
all in the name of Kemal Ataturk,
thus exposing him for what he really was –
a typical product of his time
and a fascist no different from Mussolini and Hitler.
But whereas Italy and Germany have renounced their past
and are now democracies,
Turkey continues to cling to its moreally bankrupt
and criminal values, principles, ideology, and methods.
The fez and shalvar have been outlawed
but Ottomanism continues to rule.
The Sultan is dead.
Long live Sultanism.
Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme sh*t.
#
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Old 08.06.2011, 15:30   #254
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Sunday, June 05, 2011
*****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
******************************************
To a sensitive person
life is a traumatic experience.
*
A line from a film
(I no longer remember which):
“Mortal wounds don’t hurt.”
*
Three arguments against nationalism:
(1)“I only know the skin of the earth /
And that it has no name” (Pablo Neruda).
(2) If God is our Father,
all men are brothers.
(3)The alternative to nationalism is war
and the massacre of defenseless civilians.
*
Because I refuse to say “Yes, sir!”
they call me arrogant.
It never even occurs to them
to consider the possibility that
arrogance may also be defined as a need
to hear the words “Yes, sir!”
when the more appropriate response would be
“No, sir!”
*
Just remembered the source of the line
about mortal wounds: Otto Preminger’s EXODUS.
#
Monday, June 06, 2011
*****************************
ON LEADERSHIP
*****************************
Where others say “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition,”
we say “Lord have mercy and drop your pants.”
*
If the majority rules and the majority is dumb –
I will let you draw your own conclusions.
*
The regime in Yerevan cannot be toppled
because it has Russian support.
The regime in the Diaspora is so diffuse and fragmented
that it survives as a shadow – visible but untouchable.
*
Like all authoritarian structures,
both regimes share one important feature in common:
they are intolerant of dissent.
They have systematically alienated and silenced
the intellectual class to such a degree that
even the Turks are ahead of us in literary achievements.
*
Even the Turks!
I can’t imagine a worse insult to our diginity as a nation.
As for our foreign policy:
it can be summed up in three monosyllables:
Turks, Turks, and Turks.
*
Speaking of leadership:
The stupidity of Turkish leadership
is surpassed only by its cruelty.
*
Turks deny the reality of the Genocide
even as they violate the human rightrs of the Kurds.
And having done so
they expect the European Union to believe
they are a democracy.
Which may suggest either their IQ is negative
or they don’t know the meaning of the word.
#
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
*****************************
THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION
*********************************************
In the Old Testament, God orders the Jews
to exterminate not only their enemies
but also the cattle that belongs to them.
(For more on this subject,
see Bertrand Russell’s WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN.)
*
After agreeing that God is our Father,
“people of the Book”
(Jews, Christians, and Muslims)
proceed to massacre one another
in the name of God.
Explain that to me, if you can.
*
Peguy was a devout Catholic
and Sartre a dogmatic atheist.
I love both for their honesty.
Honest men can also disagree
and even contradict one another.
*
Chekhov said he did not know the answer
to the most important question,
and if he said he did
he would be fooling his readers.
*
Talk of God or gods has been around
for much longer than organized religions,
all of which assert a monopoly on the subject.
*
Nietzsce said organized religions are based on myths
very similar to those of ancient civilizations.
*
“Men cannot create a single worm,
yet he has created ten thousand gods.”
I no longer remember the source of this quotation
which I consider to be one of the most insightful observations
on the subject.
*
A thousand Gothic cathedrals
and as many golden-domed mosques or temples
do not and cannot prove the existence of God,
only the powerful hold that myths have
on the minds of men, and the overwhelming need
to unbderstand and explain
that which is destined to remain incomprehensible
*
Myths are neither lies nor truths.
At best they may be said to be half-lies or half-truths;
and in that sense they are an expression
of man’s insatiable hunger
and blind acceptance of propaganda.
#
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
*****************************
ON MIRACLES
*********************************************
As children we are brought up to rate
tribal loyalty above honesty,
and bias above objectivity.
Who believes what a Turk says about Turks?
Only another Turk.
Who believes what an Armenian says about Armenians?
Only another Armenian.
To an Armenian,
a Turk appears as the offspring
of bloodthirsty Asiatic barbarians.
To a Turk,
an Armenian appears
as the lowest form of animal life.
To expect or hope that some day
Turks and Armenians will come to terms with one another
is to believe in miracles.
I write as I do because I believe in miracles.
I believe both Turks and Armenians
are capable of rating truth over lies,
honesty above dishonesty,
loyalty to the human race above loyalty to the tribe,
and justice over injustice.
It may take a thousand years
but it will happen.
It will happen if only because
peace is better than war,
and life is better than death.
#
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Old 11.06.2011, 15:32   #255
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Thursday, June 09, 2011
*****************************
ON TURKS (I)
*********************************************
Armenians are not Christian Turks.
Neither are Kurds Mountain Turks.
Armenians and Kurds have been around much longer than Turks.
And the chances are they will be around long after.
*
Freedom is a fundamental human right.
It is the right and duty of all oppressed people
to rise against their oppressors.
Which is what the Kurds are doing today;
and which is what Armenians
and Turks themselves did
(together with several other nations)
at the turn of the last century
in the Ottoman Empire.
*
At a critical point in their history, however,
Turks made the wrong decision by adopting the slogan
“Turkey for Turks,” which in reality meant
sultanism without the sultan,
fascism instead of democracy, and
massacre instead of compromise.
*
Had the Turks chosen multiculturalism
as opposed to monoculturalism,
they would now be a superpower
and a dominant force in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Because they went in the opposite direction
they are now vulnerable to Kurds
who will eventually bleed them to death
so that even a kick will be enough
to scatter the bones of the Ottoman skeleton.
*
Kemal may be the Father of modern Turkey
but he is also its gravedigger.
*
Moral I: Every idea has its contradiction
and sometimes the contradiction is closer to the truth.
*
Moral II: Free speech matters because
it exposes fallacies and it doubles our options,
thus allowing us to make the better of two choices.
*
Moral III: Even the best ideas become destructive
when implemented in the name of consistency.
*
Moral IV: Tolerance and flexible moderation are preferable
to inflexibe fanatcicism and intolerance.
#
Friday, June 10, 2011
*****************************
ON TURKS (II)
*********************************************
Because they betrayed us,
they accuse us of betraying them.
Because they massacred us,
they accuse us of massacring them.
Who believes them?
Only their own brainwashed dupes.
*
At the turn of the last century
both Turks and Armenians agreed on the fact that
Sultan Abdulhamid II was neither
a representative of Allah on earth
(as he pretended to be)
nor a benevolent dictator,
but a ruthless, degenerate tyrant
who oppressed Turks
and subjected Armenians
to successive waves of massacres.
*
With the full agreement and cooperation
of the Armenian political leadership,
the Young Turks deposed and exiled the Sultan,
after which they betrayed the Armenians
by adopting and implementing a policy of extermination
on the grounds that Armenians
(including unarmed women, children, and old men)
were a threat to the territorial integrity of the Empire.
*
Now then, go ahead and accuse Armenians
of betrayal and massacre,
and while doing so try to keep in mind that
Turks outnumbered Armenians forty to one.
#
Saturday, June 11, 2011
*****************************
ON TURKS (III)
*********************************************
Has anyone ever bothered to see
how many times the expression "human rights"
or "free speech" occurs in the many speeches
delivered by fascist leaders?
*
If you think today
what you thought ten years ago,
or if you still believe everything
your schoolteacher or imam taught you,
you can be sure of one thing:
the last ten years of your life
have been a waste of time
because you have learned nothing.
*
Where disagreement and dissent
are classified as criminal offenses,
the men at the top will be serial killers.
*
Wars, revolutions, and massacres
are also expressions of dissent and criticism.
*
The insane outnumber the sane
because reasonable men are in no position
to violate anyone's human right of free speech.
*
Where indoctrination is identified with education,
recycling propaganda will be identified with thinking.
*
No matter how corrupt, incompetent, and stupid,
a power structure will always have
its defenders, supporters, and dupes.
*
Whenever I am criticized by a brainwashed dupe,
I can only think of the Turkish expression:
“Yedii boka bak!” – if you will forgive my French.
#
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