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Old 15.06.2011, 14:58   #256
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Sunday, June 12, 2011
*****************************
TRAVELS IN SPACE AND TIME
*********************************************
That’s the title of a book by Dr. Noubar Janoyan:
(Jamportoutiun Jamanagi yev Daradsoutian michov).
Does anyone know him?
I would like to have his e-mail address
in order to let him know how much I am enjoying it.
The book was published by Grakan Etalon in Yerevan.
It’s a collection of stories, anecdotes, and encounters
with fellow Armenians in the Homeland and the Diaspora.
It does not shrink from exposing the dark side
of our collective existence.
It is written in East Armenian.
I suspect Dr. Janoyan had it translated from his West-Armenian
(he was born in Iraq and now lives in Glendale).
The prose is eminently readable and accessible.
It deserves to be a best-seller.
#
Monday, June 13, 2011
*****************************
IDEAS THAT HAVE ENHANCED
MY AWARENESS OF REALITY
*********************************************
The following quotations are from Toynbee who was a historian as well as a metahistorian – that is, a philosopher of history.
*****************************************************
*
“…authorities are not to be taken at their word, as if they were infallible oracles of gospel truth.”
*
“Society is the total network of relations between human beings. The components of society are thus not human beings but relations between them.”
*
“When prophets disagree, are we to give credit to either of their opposing voices?”
*
“When top-dog sees a heaven, under-dog will see a hell.”
*
“…the orthodoxy that they idnetified with their own faith and a heresey that they identified with the ideology of their adversaries.”
*
“The apotheosis of the community spells slavery for individual beings.”
*
“Man is not an angel, and in seeking to be one, he deprives himself of something that is essential to his being.”
*
“A monument in a museum is one that has been desecrated and sterilized.”
*
“A reputation for scholarliness is expendable, and it is a scholar’s duty to risk it.”
*
“In art, in illuminating antithesis to practical life, there is more to be made out of failure than out of success.”
*
“There is no such thing as a human organization that can be established securely through being made weather-proof against the all-disintegrating action of time.”
#
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
*****************************
CORRECT ME,
IF I AM WRONG
*********************************************
Monkeys, we are told, have three enemies:
pythons, leopards, and eagles;
and according to recent studies,
they have a distinctive alarm call for each.
Men, by contrast,
have developed a much more sophisticated communication system,
but they have lost the ability to recognize an enemy
when they see one.
*
Murder in one dimension
means suicide in another.
By committing genocide,
Turks lost the ability to tell the difference
between truth and lies,
right and wrong, and
democracy and fascism –
hence, their apotheosis of Kemal.
*
In a recent commentary
I incorrectly stated that Turks
outnumbered Armenians 40 to 1.
One of my gentle Turkish readers
took it upon himself to question
the accuracy of my math and
even the existence of my sources.
I am now willing to reconsider my figures.
*
If we take into account
only Armenian revolutionaries
versus the perpetrators of the Genocide
(namely, the regime and the regularly army
augmented by Kurds and criminals
released from prison for the occasion)
the ratio would be closer to 400 to 1.
I say this because no one,
not even the most loyal and fanatic Turkish nationalist
would dare to suggest that unarmed civilians –
women, children, and old men –
could be thought of by any stretch of the imagination
as posing a threat to the terrirotial integrity of the nation
or the stability of the regime,
which was the rationale for the Genocide
as well as the context in which
the 40 to 1 ratio was stated.
Correct me if I am wrong.
#
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
*****************************
THEM AND US
*********************************************
We may never succeed in convincing Turks
that they are guilty of genocide.
We may, however, have better luck
in convincing them that
there is no such thing as a Turk
and that many so-called Turks
have Armenian blood.
One reason this aspect of their identity
has been ignored or not emphasized enough is that
it is repellent to both them and us
who like to proceed on the false assumption that
explanations are good
only when they flatter our collective ego.
*
The discovery of DNA is the most convincing argument
against nationalism.
*
All talk of pure blood is impure nonsense.
*
Translation is a difficult art to master
because every culture creates its own semantic atmosphere
in which words carry their own baggage.
#
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Old 18.06.2011, 15:41   #257
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Thursday, June 16, 2011
*****************************
FASCIST PHOBIAS
*********************************************
Genocide: they relished the action
but are afraid of the word.
*
If you think we are different, think again.
We trusted Talaat, Stalin, and Hitler
but we silence anyone
who dares to question our judgment.
*
My most faithful readers are readers
who find me unreasonable, unbearable, and unreadable.
*
We are all entitled to make two big mistakes,
the first of which is being born.
#
Friday, June 17, 2011
*****************************
ON FAITH
*********************************************
A Turkish Kemalist writer
has published a book of nearly 900 pages
(copiousy footnoted and annotated)
in which he proves to his satisfaction
that the Armenian Genocide is a pack of lies,
it never happened.
Which at least proves one thing:
one can prove anything
by quoting passages from carefully selected sources.
*
There are lines in the Bible
that justify war, massacre, and genocide.
Eery jihadist and terrorist is convinced
God to be on his side.
Any Catholic theologian could easily produce
a tome of a thousand pages proving
all other religions to be heresies
and inventions of the Devil.
*
This may suggest that faith
is the most dangerous obstacle
to reason, common sense and decency,
and to subscribe to a belief system,
any belief system,
is the first step to becoming a dupe,
and worse, to applying for membership
in a criminal gang.
*
To trust the judgment of another –
as Germans did under Hitler,
as Russians did under Stalin,
and as Turks did under Kemal --
is to abdicate one’s humanity.
#
Saturday, June 18, 2011
*****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*********************************************
Truth is a lie you believe in.
*
This morning on the radio
I heard a politician use the word “dichotomy”
and I remembered Mark Twain’s definition
of cauliflower:
“A cabbage with a college education.”
*
We mourn our victims
and we brag about our survival:
am I the only one who see a contradiction here?
*
The disrepute of our political parties is such
that smart partisans pretend to be non-partisan –
like wolves in sheep’s clothing.
*
Never say I have a dream
when what you have is a nightmare in the making.
*
We use our brain to demolish our adversaries
and our gut to justify ourselves.
*
Why is it that dogs that kill
are invariably described by their owners as "friendly,"
and serial killers are described
as "nice" by their neighbors?
*
Being an Armenian writer
amounts to being a shoemaker in a country
where everyone prefers to go barefoot.
#
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Old 22.06.2011, 14:58   #258
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Sunday, June 19, 2011
*****************************
THEM AND US (II)
*********************************************
We are brought up to believe
we are better than Turks,
in the same way that Turks are brought up
to believe they are better than Armenians.
In our treatment of intellectuals, however,
we might as well be identical twins.
They massacred our intellectuals
in time of war; and in our Soviet phase,
we massacred intellectuals in time of peace.
*
Why target intellectuals?
Because the only way to deceive and mislead the people
is by silencing intellectuals
who collectively suffer from a neurotic compulsion
to speak the truth even if doing so
may spell their total ruin and destruction.
*
Another thing we have learned from Turks
is to blame others for all our problems
even if in the process we may run the risk
of abdicating our humanity.
I therefore feel justified in maintaining that
deep down somewhere we (Armenians and Turks) are one and the same –
a fact that may become a certainty
when our respective DNAs are compared.
*
We either come to terms with this reality
or we continue to project that which is evil in us
on the other thus implying
one should not mess around with perfection –
an implication that has the double demerit
of being both absurd and ridiculous.
#
Monday, June 20, 2011
*****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*********************************************
A reasonable Armenian is as rare
as a Turk who has not beem brainwashed.
*
Tolerance: the ability to see some truth even in lies.
*
Anyone with the brain of an ape
and the tongue of a parrot
can recycle propaganda.
*
I don’t believe everything I write
but I wish I did.
*
I wear the insults of anonymous cowards like a badge.
*
There are no happy endings in life.
For everyone who preaches love
there are ten who preach hatred
and a hundred who practice it.
*
Noobar Janoian: “The opposite of fear is love.”
*
Italian saying: "Fratelli, flagelli."
(Free translation: "The wrath of brothers,
the wrath of whips.")
*
Flaubert: "Stupidity is something immovable,
you can’t try to attack it without being broken by it."
#
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
*****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*********************************************
When they say it was Armenians who massacred Turks,
what they really mean is that
a single Turk killed by Armenians
matters much more to them
than a thousand Armenians slaughtered by Turks.
That’s because they view the slaughter of infidels
not as a crime against humanity
but as a patriotic as well as a religious duty.
*
When I was a child in Greece we used to say,
“Do you take me for an American?” – meaning,
“Do you take me for an idiot?”
It was only on the day they elected Nixon as president
that I realized there was more to Yanks
than Yankee-Doodle-Dandy.
Likewise, it was on the day they awarded
the Nobel Prize to Pamuk that I realized
there was more to Turks than massacres.
*
I have said “Yes, sir!”
and I have said “No, sir!”
and No, sir! is more fun.
There may be no money in it, granted,
but I’d rather be dirt poor and free
than a slave, a dupe, and a brown-noser
with a regular income.
#
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
*****************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*********************************************
The phoniest line in the world:
“Your call is important to us.”
*
The ugliest words in the English language:
“Press one…press two…press three…press four…”
at which point I hang up.
*
To cover up his true status
“Homo ignoramus” classifies himself
as “Homo sapiens.”
*
If some people have no interest in knowing themselves
it may be because they already know enough to know
that they are not worth knowing.
*
Why is it that some very smart and learned Armenians
confuse anti-charlatanism with anti-Armenianism?
Why is it that some very cunning Armenians
in their defense of their own selfish, narrow interests
will voice reasons worthy of an inbred moron?
*
A problem is like an illness.
The first step is to diagnose it correctly.
But if you choose to ignore it,
you may promote it from a minor nuisance
to a terminal affliction.
#
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Old 25.06.2011, 15:38   #259
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Friday, June 24, 2011
*****************************
THEM AND US (III)
*********************************************
As long as there are Armenians,
Turks will never be able to convince the world
they are a progressive and civilized nation
incapable of behaving like bloodthirsty Asiatic barbarians;
and as long as there are Kurds,
democracy and Turks will be perceived as
mutually exclusive concepts.
*
Americans will never use the word “genocide”
in reference to Armenians so long as Turks tell them:
“We did to our Armenians
what you did to your Indians.”
*
Tell me your favorite sport
and I will tell you who you are.
What’s ping pong to the Chinese,
hockey is to Canadians,
baseball is to Yanks,
massacre is to Turks,
and the blame-game is to Armenians.
*
Silencing dissent is a band-aid solution.
*
“An insult unanswered is the parent of many others.”
*
Cicero: “Do not hold the delusion that
your advancement is accomplished
by crushing others.”
#
Saturday, June 25, 2011
*******************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*******************************
I understand Turks
because I understand Armenians,
and I understand both
because I understand myself.
As for Armenians and Turks:
they understand only the misdeeds of the opposition.
*
Because they want to forget what I say,
they tell me I repeat myself.
*
When asked what had been
the most important day in his life,
Napoleon is said to have replied:
"The day of my first communion."
My own first communion was such a forgettable event
that the only thing I remember about it
is the above quote (probably apocryphal) by Napoleon.
#
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Old 29.06.2011, 15:00   #260
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Sunday, June 26, 2011
*****************************************
TWO OBSERVATIONS
************************************
The most convincing evidence of their guilt
is the fact that they have developed a propaganda machinery,
an educational system,
and a legal apparatus denying the charge of genocide.
Who believes them?
Not even Turks, except the brainwashed, of course,
who will believe anything if only because
they have no choice in the matter.
*
If Hitler had won World War II
there would now be an entire generation of Germans
committed to the belief that
he was a great statesman,
a progressive and civilizing force,
a man of vision,
and a warrior equal in stature
to Alexander the Great, Caesar, and Napoleon.
In short, he would be to Germans
what Kemal is to the Turks today.
#
Monday, June 27, 2011
*****************************************
WAS KEMAL A DENIALIST?
************************************
Not only was he not a denialist,
he also had some of the perpetrators
arrested, tried, and executed.
*
For more on this subject,
see THE COURT MARTIAL PROCEEDINGS
OF THE MILITARY TRIBUNAL 1919-1922,
compiled by Vahakn Dadrian and Taner Akcam
(Istanbul: Bilgi University Press, 733 pages, 2010).
*
This much said let me add that
Kemal’s motives may not have been
love of justice or sympathy for the victims.
It is reasonable to assume that
like all men of power
his main concern was to keep and increase his power
and the only way he could do that
was by eliminating his Ittihadist competition.
#
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
*****************************************
NOTES & COMMENTS
************************************
Never say “I was deceived.”
Say instead “I allowed myself to be deceived.”
*
To need something badly
is to make oneself vulnerable to deception.
*
Nations make mistakes as surely as individuals
if only because they are ruled by individuals.
*
What matters is not how big your mistakes are
but what you do with them.
*
To behave like bloodthirsty barbarians
and to pretend to be civilized
is to compound the felony.
*
The shortest distance between ignorance and wisdom
is a painful blunder.
#
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
*****************************************
DR NOOBAR JANOIAN SPEAKS
************************************
In his TRAVELS IN TIME AND SPACE
Dr Janoian speaks of a conversation he once had
with a Vietnamese patient.
When asked what was it exactly
that made North Vietnam resist
and ultimately defeat a military colossus
like the United States,
his patient explains that Vietnam
has always resisted and defeated all occupiers,
among them the Chinese, the Japanese, and the French.
The difference between the South and the North,
he goes on to explain, is that
the leaders of the North were
men of principle and ideals,
unlike their counterparts in the South,
who were no better than thieves and bandits.
An honest and dedicated leadership
inspires solidarity and self-sacrifice in the people, he adds,
and a corrupt leadership promotes
divisions, disloyalty, opportunism, and treason.
*
We may now have a free and independent homeland,
the good doctor reflects in the final paragraph of the story,
but our leaders are less like the leaders of North Vietnam
and more like the leaders of South Vietnam –
no better than thieves and bandits.
#
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Old 02.07.2011, 15:22   #261
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Thursday, June 30, 2011
*****************************************
TWO OBSERVATIONS
************************************
ON LIMITATIONS
*********************
We all go through a period in our lives
when the sky is the limit.
But sooner or later
the painful realization sinks in:
we can’t even reach the ceiling
of our solitary confinement.
*
CRITICS
*********************
It makes no difference whether you are
a failure or a success,
the number of critics will remain constant.
What may change is their caliber.
As a failure you will be trashed by trash.
As a success you will be trashed
by a better class of trash.
#
Friday, July 01, 2011
*****************************************
FREEDOM
*******************************
According to Kant,
freedom “enlarges the usefulness of other faculties.”
It follows, where there is no freedom of speech,
powers of perception and understanding of reality
are damaged.
*
To classify ourselves as civilized,
we compare ourselves to barbarians.
The question is:
has a barbarian ever classified him as a barbarian?
*
The Turks now have a dissenting school of thought.
Where is ours?
What happens on the day barbarians overtake us?
*
A hundred years ago
we were faced with extinction
not because we rebelled against tyranny
but because for 600 years we were subservient to scum.
*
As for our so-called heroic revolutionaries:
their remedy was worse than the disease.
Beheading is not a cure for a headache.
*
For 600 years we were at the mercy
of bloodthirsty barbarians.
We are now afraid of scarecrows.
*
Our reality is a nightmare
from which we refuse to wake up.
#
Saturday, July 02, 2011
*****************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*******************************
In Turks I see all our failings magnified.
*
To the average dupe,
silencing intellectuals is a concept of such irrelevance
that it doesn’t even register on his consciousness.
*
I am fully aware of the fact that by writing about idiots
I endow them with a dignity they don’t deserve.
*
The unspoken slogan of all fascists and criminals in general:
“If you can get away with it, do it.”
*
“Treason and betrayal are in our blood,” said Raffi.
So is fascism.
*
According to an international watchdog group,
political parties and the media
are two of the most corrupt institutions in the world.
To put it more bluntly:
our "betters" are the worst scum on earth
and anyone who defends them
is either a brown-nosing dupe
or a brainwashed pervert.
#
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Old 06.07.2011, 15:01   #262
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Sunday, July 03, 2011
*****************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*******************************
ON PATRIOTISM
************************
Love of homeland should never be confused
with loyalty to a regime,
or its propaganda, that is to say, lies.
*
ON WORDS
******************
As a medium of communication,
the spoken or written word is better equipped
to expose lies than to assert truths.
*
ON BS
*********************
It is only very recently that a friend pointed out to me
that both belief system and bull sh*t have identical initials.
*
ON CONTROVERSIES
*****************************
In all controversies there is a natural tendency
to go to extremes with the inevitable result that
moderation and objectivity are seen as treason.
*
ON METAPHYSICS
*******************************
To exist and to imagine non-existence
is as difficult as to non-exist and to imagine existence.
*
ON WOMEN
***********************
Women have played a very important role in my life.
The reason I don’t write about them is that
the wounds are too deep.
*
ON DEATH
************************
Death is a privilege reserved only for the dying;
all others are condemned to live.
*
ON PHILOSOPHY
**********************************
Everyone has a philosophy (in American parlance)
only when the line that separates philosophy (love of wisdom)
from philomoronism is either blurred or deleted.
*
MORE ON WOMEN
****************************
Freud said he had no answer to the question:
"What do women want?”
Shaw said women want the same things as men.
Neither Freud nor Shaw, or for that matter,
neither men nor women know what they really want
and what to do with it when they get it.
#
Monday, July 04, 2011
*****************************************
ON JUSTICE
*******************************
A headline in today’s paper reads:
“Turkey officially recognizes Libyan rebels.”
A hundred years ago they massacred their own.
They now recognize and support someone else’s.
*
Has anybody ever said,
“I plead guilty to the charge of genocide?”
Talaat was assassinated.
Stalin died in bed.
Hitler committed suicide.
Genghis Khan openly declared:
“My great pleasure is killing my enemies
and raping their women.”
Had they been arrested and tried,
would they have admitted violating anyone’s human rights?
In their own eyes they were statesmen of vision
who deserved universal respect and admiration.
*
If you have the power to rewrite history,
you also have the power to find the guilty innocent
and the innocent guilty.
Why should we be surprised if
after a century of trying
we have not yet seen a single red cent
or a single square inch of soil in reparations?
#
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
*****************************************
THAT WHICH WE SHARE
*******************************
To begin with, we share 600 years of coexistence.
*
They silence their dissenters.
So do we.
*
They confuse patriotism or love of homeland
with loyalty to a regime or ideology,
that is to say, a propaganda line
adopted by wheeler-dealers whose central concern
is neither consensus nor the welfare of the people
but their own powers and privileges.
Can we really say we are different?
*
They deal with controversial issues
by adopting a dogmatic stance.
So do we.
*
They are tribal.
So are we.
Don’t take my word for it.
Listen to Nikol Aghbalian (1873-1947),
an eminent statesman, literary scholar, and educator:
“We Armenians are products of the tribal mentality of Turks
and Kurds and this tribal mentality remains stubbornly rooted
even in our leaders and elites.”
*
We accuse them of crimes against humanity.
So do they.
*
On a personal level:
the insults leveled at me by both Armenians and Turks
have been so similar that they might as well have emanated
from the same source.
*
They rewrite history.
So do we.
If you have any lingering doubts on the subject,
have a casual conversation with a Catholic, Protestant,
Anteliassagan, Etchmiadznagan, and an atheist.
*
They brainwash their children.
So do we.
*
They cover up their crimes.
We cover up our blunders.
*
If the Ottoman Empire had been an Armenian Empire
and the Turks within it one of the minorities,
I have every reason to suspect
we would have done to them what they did to us.
#
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
*****************************************
OBSERVATIONS
*******************************
Our greatest problem:
our refusal to forget what we have learned
from our former masters and role models.
Collective amnesia or Alzheimer’s may well be
our only salvation.
*
We were sheep;
they were wolves;
and we didn’t see it coming?
Figure that one out, if you can.
*
Were we blind?
Can we really say
our sight has been restored?
#
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Old 09.07.2011, 15:17   #263
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Thursday, July 07, 2011
*****************************************
OBSERVATIONS
*******************************
Sometimes understanding consists
in the sudden realization that
those you trust and respect most
are the least worthy of your trust and respect.
*
More often than not the least trustworthy people
are those whose honesty you are not even allowed to question.
It is not that they are as bad as you
as that they are infinitely different and worse.
*
An exposed lie reorganizes the world.
*
I respect both Marx and Freud
as pioneers in their respective fields of inquiry,
but consider their differences:
Marx would have accused Freud
of using a pseudo-science of his own fabrication
to adjust the individual to an unjust,
dehumanized and essentially evil social order.
In his turn, Freud would have accused Marx
of Jewish messianism and a total inability to predict
the consequences of his own theories
which were fated to be far more dangerous,
lethal, and evil than all the abuses of capitalism.
And the irony is that both would be right.
#
Friday, July 08, 2011
*****************************************
DANCING WITH THE DEVIL
*******************************
There are dead-end situations in life
that one ignores at one’s own peril.
Two cases in point:
our position in the Ottoman Empire,
and our present malaise
(divisions, alienation, intolerance of free speech…
among other aberrations).
It is a cowardly illusion to think that
if a dead end situation is ignored,
it will go away.
*
I can recognize a dead end situation when I see one
because I have been in one for a good number years –
since 1975 to be exact, that’s when my firs book,
titled THE ARMENIANS, appeared.
My only consolation is that so far
my failure has harmed no one but myself.
*
How to explain the collapse of the Soviet Union?
Some say it was the Polish Pope.
Others name Reagan.
My own preferred candidate is Gorbachev and his glasnost.
One reason I prefer Gorbachev is that
I believe empires and power structures in general
are not killed, they commit suicide.
Which is what we have been doing –
death by a thousand self-inflicted cuts.
#
Saturday, July 09, 2011
*****************************************
OBSERVATIONS
*******************************
You want to know what Turks are really like?
Be an Armenian.
You want to know what Armenians are really like?
Be a writer.
*
Divisions?
There are divisions everywhere;
also sermonizers preaching “All men are brothers.”
*
We shout our certainties in public
but we whisper our doubts
in the solitary confinement of our souls
even when there is more truth in them.
*
Memo to a reader:
Either read me with an open mind
or don't read me at all.
And remember, the first victim of a closed mind is yourself.
*
If wrong, I can always rely on my readers to correct me.
I can even rely on them to correct me when I am right –
especially when I am right.
#
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Old 13.07.2011, 15:01   #264
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Sunday, July 10, 2011
*****************************************
POLITICS
*******************************
You tell them what they want to hear
and when things don’t work out as planned,
you blame it on the opposition
or factors beyond your control.
If you promise them heaven
and you deliver hell,
you can always blame it on God – if, that is,
you run out of unpredictable hostile factors;
or, in the words of Louis XIV:
“Has God forgotten what I have done for Him?”
*
Everyone has his way of judging people and nations.
I judge them by the manner in which they treat writers.
History provides us with many precedents,
the most recent being Talaat’s Turkey
Stalin’s Soviet Union,
and our own faceless flunkies
who operate anonymously
from behind closed doors.
*
Being an Armenian writer
amounts to being a shoemaker in a country
where everyone prefers to go barefoot.
#
Monday, July 11, 2011
*****************************************
DESPAIR
*******************************
Edmund Burk:
“Do not despair,
but if you do,
work on in despair.”
*
Separating a nation from its myths and propaganda
is harder than separating Siamese twin –
an operation that requires a team of expert surgeons.
I can’t even stand the sight of blood on TV.
I apologize whenever I step on an ant.
*
If I cannot convince Armenians to do
what’s in their own best interest,
how can I, or anyone else for that matter,
convince Turks to do what’s against their own interest?
*
To Turks we are no better than “Indians.”
To our own leadership, we might as well be “white niggers.”
*
They control the media, the educational system,
the church, and the community centers.
What do I have in my favor?
Only a touch of common sense – the least common
of all faculties, it has been said,
and so it appears to be.
*
Our tribal chiefs agree only on one thing:
to silence dissent.
*
A hundred years ago we were slaves.
We are now slaves of former slaves.
#
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
*****************************************
PATTERN
*******************************
When Hitler lost the war,
and shortly before he committed suicide,
he blamed it on his people,
the very same people he had brainwashed to believe
they were la crème de la crème.
*
Like most Armenian children
who had an Armenian education
I too was brought up to believe
we were just about the smartest people on earth.
I know now that the very same people
who brainwashed us to believe that
have been and continue to be
the instruments of our destruction.
This to me is now as clear as daylight
and as inevitable as night follows day.
#
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
*****************************************
WHY I LOVE
BERTRAND RUSSELL
*******************************
ON ENVY
********************
“Instead of deriving pleasure from what he has,
[the envious person] derives pain from what others have.”
*
ON MARRIAGE
*********************
“Often and often, a marriage hardly differs from prostitution,
except being harder to escape from.”
*
ON SERMONIZERS
****************************
“The human race has not hitherto discovered
any method of eradicating moral defects;
preaching and exhortation only add hypocrisy
to the previous list of vices.”
#
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Old 16.07.2011, 15:08   #265
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Thursday, July 14, 2011
*****************************************
ON KEMAL (III)
********************
In asserting the reality of the Armenian genocide
I am not relying on Armenian historians and
eyewitness accounts by foreign diplomats and observers,
but Kemal’s own treatment of the perpetrators.
So that when brainwashed Turks call Armenians liars,
they unknowingly also apply the same label on Kemal,
who may indeed have been one
but not in his treatment of the Ittihadist criminals.
The only other alternative is accusing Kemal
of gross incompetence, not to say criminal conduct,
in his persecution, prosecution, and execution
of high-ranking military and political leaders
whose actions were based on the firm belief that
they were following orders and acting
in the best interest of the nation.
Because if these gentlemen were innocent,
as Turkish denialists maintain,
then it goes without saying that
Kemal got away with murder.
#
Friday, July 15, 2011
*****************************************
NOTES / COMMENTS
******************************
Every day something happens to remind me
that I am not the center of the universe
and every day I choose to ignore the evidence.
*
You may have noticed that
people are more willing to help you
if in the process they can also help themselves.
*
Originality: to be unpredictable and inevitable at the same time.
*
Everybody wants to be rich and famous.
I have come to terms with my own obscurity and poverty
because I see no merit in being like everyone else.
*
The ambition of all authority figures is
to appear infallible in the same way that
the ambition of every scarecrow is to terrorize.
*
Freud's grand-daughter is reported to have said:
"The 20th Century produced two major charlatans:
Hitler and Freud."
My first thought:
Her legal claim on the Freud estate
and a fraction of his royalties must have been rejected
by a court of law.
(In this connection see also Aram Saroyan's memoir
of his father, LAST RITES).
#
Saturday, July 16, 2011
*****************************************
RE-READING TOYNBEE
********************************************
ON OUR FAVORITE SPORT:
THE BLAME-GAME
**********************************
“It is always easier both intellectually and morally, to debit one’s ills to the account of some outside agency than to ascribe the responsibility to oneself.”
*
ON UNDERSTANDING
*********************************
“Comprehension sometimes consists in just a correct understanding of questions that are unanswerable.”
*
CONNECTIONS
********************************
“Every human being now alive has links, however tenuous, not only with every one of his contemporaries, but also with every other human being that ever lived.”
*
“In this sense human history is one single seamless web, and any dissection of it is an arbitrary misrepresentation of Reality.”
*
ON WAR
*******************
“It is part of the nature of war, once started, to get out of hand; and many belligerents who have made war ‘justly’ at the start have drifted into commission of injustice before the end of the story.”
*
ON REFORM
***********************
“I do not know of any human society in which drastic social reform has not been overdue at every stage of its history.”
*
ON IRREVERANCE
******************************
“I am convinced that irreverence, where irreverence is due, is one of the cardinal virtues.”
*
ON DEATH
*****************************
“Death limits life’s liabilities. This boon that death confers is supremely valuable, and ought therefore to be immensely consoling.”
#
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Old 20.07.2011, 15:31   #266
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Sunday, July 17, 2011
*****************************************
IDEAS
********************************************
There are synonymous ideas as surely
as there are synonymous words.
Case in point:
Saint-Simon: “My self-esteem has always increased
in direct proportion to the damage
I was doing to my reputation.”
Tolstoy: “The higher I rise in the eyes of the world,
the lower I sink in my own.”
*
People with money assume they are wiser
because if they don’t know or understand something
they can always hire someone who does.
*
I have two kinds of critics:
those who say I am wrong when I am right,
and those who tell me I am useless
and reading me is a waste of time.
Both agree on one thing:
I should be more positive by adopting them
as my role models.
#
Monday, July 18, 2011
*****************************************
NOTES & COMMENTS
********************************************
LIES
***************
The easiest lies to expose
are the ones we have ourselves professed in the past.
*
MACHO ETIQUETTE
*****************************
Hemingway’s last wife writes in a letter that
whenever she wanted to talk to him about a problem,
he would say: "I haven’t got time.
I have to go **** now."
*
HONESTY
**********************
If you decide to be honest
be prepared to acquire mortal enemies.
*
KNOWLEDGE
****************
Compared to what we don’t know,
what we know is such a tiny fraction that
we might as well be blind, deaf and dumb.
When Socrates said "The only thing I know
is that I don’t know," he was not being ironic,
he was stating a fact.
#
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
*****************************************
HUBRIS & NEMESIS
********************************************
Nemesis has finally caught up
with Robert Murdoch’s hubris.
We can now look forward
to the disintegration of his media empire
as fervently as the civilized world looked forward
to the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire
in the second half of the 19th Century.
*
My Turkish readers may not be aware of the fact
that at one point their diplomats
offered to apologize for their crimes against humanity
(i.e. the Genocide) provided
no further demands were made on them.
The Armenians rejected the offer
on the grounds that it would allow the Turks
to get away with murder.
*
If a World War III is ever declared,
I have every reason to suspect
the Turks will do to the Kurds
what they did to the Armenians during World War I.
That’s the problem with people
who get away with something.
They invariably come back to get away with more.
Which is what happened within Murdoch’s empire:
first they bribed a lowly cop or bureaucrat
and when they got away with it,
they went all the way to the top --
the head of Scotland Yard and the Prime Minister.
#
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
*****************************************
COMEUPPANCE
********************************************
If Talaat was innocent,
why did he run away to Berlin
where he met the fate of a mad dog?
*
As for Kemal: he died as an alcoholic,
which amounts to saying,
he condemned himself to death
by self-administered alcohol poisoning.
*
If some Turks hate Armenians
it’s because “it is characteristic of the human mind
to hate those he has injured” (Tacitus).
*
If “I think therefore I am,”
it follows
“If I don’t think therefore I am not”
or I exist only on a subhuman level,
which amounts to the same thing.
#
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Old 23.07.2011, 15:37   #267
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Thursday, July 21, 2011
*****************************************
TWO QUESTIONS,
ONE ANSWER
********************************************
Can you name a country
whose most profitable export has been war?
*
Can you name a country
whose greatest source of wealth has been
the indiscriminate slaughter of unarmed civilians?
*
The trouble with brainwashing people is that
you may be successful only with your own.
*
One reason Kemal has acquired heroic stature in Turkey
is that his predecessors were infinitely worse.
*
Wilkie Collins: “Nothing in this world is hidden forever.”
*
Sooner or later all Big Lies are exposed.
*
There are no hiding places from the truth.
#
Friday, July 22, 2011
*****************************************
RIFF-RAFF
********************************************
In my youth I was so abysmally naïve
that I believed I could count
on the support, friendship, and understanding
of the very same individuals
who were in the business of oppressing the people.
But then, in what way was I different from Zohrab,
one of the smartest Armenians that ever lived,
who thought he could count on Talaat’s friendship?
*
Man will always invent an ideology or belief system
that will justify criminal conduct.
Which amounts to saying,
he will find a way to speak in the name of god
and do the devil’s work.
#
Saturday, July 23, 2011
*****************************************
RIFF-RAFF / II
********************************************
A headline in my morning paper reads:
“James Murdoch on hot seat.”
And why?
Because he may have lied
when he testified before a parliamentary committee.
So what else is new?
Everybody lies – from muggers to presidents.
If everybody lies, it follows,
nobody sees anything wrong in lying to liars.
That’s why Turks have been lying for a hundred years
and they will continue to lie to the end of time.
#
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Old 27.07.2011, 16:18   #268
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Sunday, July 24, 2011
*****************************************
ON POWER
********************************************
Power means first and foremost
the power to justify that which cannot be justified –
from dividing the community
to committing genocide.
*
Power allows the insane to accuse the sane of insanity.
*
My answer to those who question my habit
of posting critical comments on open forums:
If I am wrong, they can correct me.
If they are wrong, they should correct themselves.
*
Power means to view disagreement as a capital offense.
*
The first and most important measure
of all powerful men
is to convince their adversaries that
the best defense is subservience.
But I believe Dostoevsky when he said
even the weakest man
has unimaginable reserves of power within him.
*
There are no new ideas.
All we can do is to mention the forgotten,
to emphasize the marginalized,
and to expose the absurd.
#
Monday, July 25, 2011
*****************************************
THE LESSONS OF OSLO
********************************************
Life is unpredictable and trying to predict it
is a waste of time.
*
Never underestimate the barbarism of the civilized.
*
Sometimes our worst enemy is one of us.
*
There is a Turk in all of us –
and Norwegians are no exception.
#
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
*****************************************
COMMENTS
********************************************
How to win an argument Turkish style:
Make yourself so absurd and repellent that
your adversary will give up in disgust.
*
I look forward to the day
when I will be objective enough to view Armenia
as a foreign country and my fellow Armenians
not as my brothers but as foreigners.
*
“He doesn’t believe what he says”
is better than “he believes what he says.”
I’d much rather deal with a liar
than with someone willing to kill and die
in the name of a belief system –
that is to say, a Big Lie.
#
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
*****************************************
THE LAW OF THE JUNGLE
********************************************
When asked why he hates Germans,
a Jew is reported to have replied:
“I have seven million reasons.”
We may not have as many reasons,
but we have another: we are called liars
because we dare to speak the truth.
*
Talaat appears to be the role model of all war criminals.
First they run away to a foreign country
(as I write there are thirty of them in Canada alone)
and when they are identified, arrested, and brought to justice,
they plead not guilty.
They see themselves as patriots, not killers.
Like wolves, they view the slaughter of sheep
as an inevitable result of evolution.
#
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Old 30.07.2011, 15:50   #269
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Thursday, July 28, 2011
*****************************************
TURKS, KEMALISM,
& DEMOCRACY
********************************************
Unlike fascists in Italy who believed
“Mussolini ha sempre ragione,”
Turks don’t say “Kemal is always right!”
but they think and live as if he were.
He isn’t! -- if only because Kemalism and democracy
are mutually exclusive concepts.
*
Turks: who are they?
The unvarnished and de-Kemalized answer is:
a bunch of thoroughly mongrelized Mongols
who have been brainwashed to classify themselves as Turks,
in the same way that Armenians and Kurds within Turkey
are classified as “Christian Turks”
and “Mountain Turks” respectively.
I have met many Armenians from Turkey
but none of them has ever identified himself as a Christian Turk;
and I suspect the only time a Kurd identifies himself
as a “Mountain Turk” is when he applies for a job
in the civil service.
*
I live in Canada and I am a Canadian citizen
but whenever I am asked to identify my nationality,
I say “Armenian” and no one sees anything remotely disloyal
or questionable in that.
*
When Armenians build a community center in Canada,
they call it an Armenian Community Center.
What do Armenians and Kurds call
their community centers in Turkey?
But perhaps the right question is:
Are they allowed to build such centers?
*
It seems to me, Kemalist democracy
is more akin to fascism.
#
Friday, July 29, 2011
*****************************************
SOLUTIONS
********************************************
Here are three of them in the form of commandments:
Thou shalt not divide and rule.
Thou shalt not silence dissent.
Thou shalt not speechify and sermonize with a forked tongue.
*
Silencing dissent is a fascist tactic.
Dividing the community is enemy action.
Only deceivers speak with a forked tongue.
*
To my critics I ask:
Which part of what I have been saying
you don’t understand – or rather,
you pretend not to understand?
*
Recent developments in the Middle East suggest
the days of all undemocratic regimes are numbered.
*
That which is whispered today by a single dissident
shall be shouted by a chorus of enraged millions tomorrow.
*
Because we don’t know our history,
we don’t know when we repeat it.
#
Saturday, July 30, 2011
*****************************************
SEPARATING FACT FROM FICTION
********************************************
Nationalist historians, religious leaders, and
a politically controlled educational system conspire
to create not human beings
with the ability to think for themselves,
but dupes who parrot lies
and are willing to kill and die
in the name of God and Country.
And when someone comes along
and exposes this simple fact,
he is labeled an enemy of the people
who fully deserves to be insulted, exiled,
jailed, silenced, or starved.
*
Some of my critics are convinced that
I am a pro-Turkish and anti-Armenian pornographer.
All because I deal with facts as opposed to fiction,
and I speak of reality
as opposed to recycling propaganda.
*
Among fanatics moderation is a risky business,
and among crooks honesty is a capital offense.
*
Sooner or later all belief systems and ideologies
are corrupted by ruthless and power-hungry mediocrities
who tell the people what they want to hear
and do what they want to do
even when what they tell the people is a lie
and even when what they want to do is criminal.
#
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Old 03.08.2011, 15:06   #270
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Sunday, July 31, 2011
*****************************************
ON INFALLIBILITY
********************************************
As the number of blunders goes up,
so do assertions of infallibility.
*
The greatest mistake is to think we are right
and those who disagree with us wrong.
*
Prove an infallible man wrong
and make an enemy for life.
*
Infallible men don’t learn
because they are in the business of teaching.
*
On the Genocide issue
Americans see Turks as reflections of themselves
and Armenians as white niggers.
*
Our political and religious leaders
praise solidarity with words
and bury it with actions.
*
Nothing can be transparently more dishonest
than to expose the crimes of our enemies
and to cover up our own blunders.
*
One of the most important functions
of all educational systems is to identify the enemy.
*
What holds a nation together
is the threatening presence of the enemy.
*
If the enemy dies,
so does the glue that holds the nation together.
*
The unspoken aim of all organized religions and ideologies
is to legitimize double-talk:
to say one thing and do the opposite.
*
I don’t write for the enjoyment of the reader.
Neither do I write to flatter.
I write to point out the fact that
no one is infallible,
we all make mistakes,
and the beginning of all wisdom is acknowledging them.
#
Monday, August 01, 2011
*****************************************
ON COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS
& FALLACIES
********************************************
Readers who know nothing about me
assume just because I criticize Turks
I must be pro-Armenian; or, again,
just because I criticize Armenians
I must be pro-Turkish.
These readers appear to live
in a one-dimensional either/or universe
in which the dominant colors are black and white.
It never even occurs to them that
criticism may be motivated
more by an objective assessment of facts
and less by means of nationalist bias.
*
If you tell me you know and understand
all you need to know and understand,
you give me no choice but to conclude that
your needs must be extremely narrow.
If you tell me reality is an open book to you,
you will corner me into saying
that may be because you read nothing but comic books.
There are more shadows than light in life,
and more shades of gray than black and white.
*
Whenever a historian asserts
he has figured out the past and how it works,
he is immediately attacked by other historians
as well as philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists,
and theologians who inform him in no uncertain terms
that his facts are all wrong,
his assumptions unjustified,
and his conclusions misguided.
*
For more on this subject, see Arnold J. Toynbee’s RECONSIDERATIONS,
volume xii of his STUDY OF HISTORY.
See also the critical fire aimed at Oswald Spengler
by, among others, Toynbee himself in the opus cited above.
*
To my uninformed readers, may I add that
Spengler and Toynbee are two of the greatest historians
of the past century.
May I also add that public opinion is shaped
less by great historians and more
by politicians, propagandists, and ghazetajis
who operate on the assumption that
a nation’s own version of its past is the only true one.
#
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
*****************************************
A TURKISH FRIEND
********************************************
Some Turks appear to be obsessed
with what they did to Armenians during World War I
as surely as some Armenians are.
They are Armenocentric to the same degree
that some Armenians are Turcocentric.
*
I have a Turkish friend
(he may no longer consider me a friend, but I do)
who has written a big book –
the biggest I know on the subject – in which
he attempts to prove that Armenians have
not only invented a genocide and
believed in it for almost a century
but they have also somehow succeeded in convincing
an important fraction of the civilized world,
including one of the greatest historians of all time
and several Nobel-Prize winners
(among them a Turkish one).
*
This friend of mine believes Talaat
was the best friend Armenians had;
and Kemal was a great statesman
who was never wrong (in his own words:
“he was right 99% of the time”).
*
By contrast, I was brought up to believe
Talaat was to Armenians what Hitler was to Jews.
All wrong! my Turkish friend is eager to inform me.
The only reason Talaat did what he did
is that Armenians returned his friendship
by trying to assassinate him.
But since (I assume) he could not arrest the perpetrators,
he took it out on defenseless civilians.
If attempted assassination were sufficient ground for genocide,
we would have genocides as frequently as soups du jour.
*
As for Kemal being a universally admired statesman
about whom even western historians have written
voluminous biographies:
my good friend may not be aware of the fact that
western historians have also written voluminous biographies
of Hitler and Stalin.
*
To my Turkish friends I say,
if I continue to call you a friend it’s because
(one) I don’t consider disagreement sufficient ground for divorce;
(two) I believe with Gandhi that no man is beyond redemption; and
(three) convictions, even belief systems,
are subject to error and change.
So that I for one will not be surprised in the least
if we become friends once more.
#
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
*****************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
********************************************
Them and us is a misleading classification
because there is a great deal of us in them
and vice versa.
*
To say that a question is unanswerable
is also an answer.
*
To convert to a religion or ideology
is to legitimize one’s status as a dupe.
*
The rich defend their privileges
with the same intensity as the starving search for food.
*
The difference between being infallible and 99% right
is about the same as the difference
between charity and a loan for 99 years.
#
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