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Old 24.03.2012, 15:18   #331
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Thursday, March 22, 2012
****************************************
JUST A THOUGHT
************************************
You would think that after more than a thousand years
of defeats, massacres, and subservience to alien tyrants,
our leaders would have enough sense to say,
“Let us give solidarity a try for a change –
we may have better luck that way.”
It must be obvious by now that propaganda moronizes
not only the people but also blinds the leadership.
*
A regime that terrorizes will view dissent
as a crime against humanity.
*
To see connections that have been carefully covered up:
that’s one of the functions of detectives and critics.
*
There is a familiar type of Armenian
who is cunning enough to know that
one way to have the last word
is to make himself so repellent that
anyone with the minimum sense of hygiene
will do his utmost to stay as far away from him as possible.
#
Friday, March 23, 2012
******************************************
NEOLOGISMS
*********************************
“santorum”: a byproduct of anal intercourse.
*
“To die on the job” or
“To take the Nelson Rockefeller option”:
death by orgasm.
*
POETRY
**********************
Marx’s “religion is the opium of the people”
is preceded by
“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed,
the heart of a heatless world,
and the soul of a soulless condition.”
Now, that’s what I call real poetry!
*
DIALOGUE, ARMENIAN STYLE
*****************************************
Not all dialogues end in consensus by means of compromise.
Some end in death.
Case in point:
Shane to Wilson:
“I’ve heard about you.”
“What have you heard, Shane?”
“That you are a low-down Yankee liar.”
“Prove it.”
Another example will be found in
Hemingway’s long short story THE KILLERS.
#
Saturday, March 24, 2012
*******************************************
OBSERVATIONS
***************************
From the persecution of heretics
to the massacre of defenseless civilians:
infallibility may be said to be the source of all violence.
*
Neither the sultan nor the pope
ever thought of himself as prone to error.
*
Where there are leaders and followers
there will be charlatans and dupes.
*
One could say that the role of god in history
has been to legitimize crimes against humanity.
Or, where god enters, the devil is sure to follow.
*
Religions are the greatest enemies of god.
*
If willingness to kill and die
in the name of an illusion or lie
is a sure symptom of insanity,
it follows our planet must be
the insane asylum of the solar system.
#
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Old 28.03.2012, 15:23   #332
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Sunday, March 25, 2012
********************************************
MEDITATIONS
*******************************
A Canadian poetess on publishers:
“After you have been screwed in all possible ways
you run into someone who has read the KAMA SUTRA.”
This observation applies to so many situations in life.
Nay life itself for that matter, and more particularly
to dealing with fellow Armenians.
... *
It’s when you think you are too smart to be taken in
that you swallow the bait hook, line and sinker.
*
The world belongs to bullies, bull****ters, and brown-nosers.
The surest way of exposing your limitations
is by pretending to be better than you are.
*
All talk of reparations and annexation of historic lands
is no better than a Ponzi scheme. There is a Madoff in all our Panchoonies and Turcocentric ghazetajis.
Don’t get me wrong.
Mention of Hai Tahd scares the **** out of Turks.
But that’s all it does. All they have to do is take a shower
and they feel clean again.
*
The only way to be happy in this world
is to be deaf to silent screams.
*
When an old man falls in love
it’s never with an old woman but with a much younger one.
So much for the spiritual content of love.
*
Whenever I am tempted to take myself seriously
I can always rely on one of my Armenian readers
to bring me down to earth and to my senses.
To them I am eternally grateful.
#
Monday, March 26, 2012
**************************************
WARS
************************
All wars are just wars against an unjust enemy.
... *
The sanctity of life?
Don’t make me laugh.
The very same people who are against abortion
are also for war.
*
The only way to keep your sanity in an insane world:
take nothing seriously beginning with yourself.
*
Is it His absence or presence
that I feel more intensely?
#
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
****************************************
FROM DUST TO DUST
***********************************
All your life you try to do what’s right
and you end up doing what’s wrong.
That’s the only way to explain
the hemlock, the crucifixion, and the assassination –
Socrates, Christ, and Gandhi.
*
Every idea generates its own contradiction.
For every believer there will be a non-believer;
and to complicate matters even more,
some non-believers will parade as believers and vice versa.
*
Hitler was a man of vision
whose idea of heaven was hell
to Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and many others.
*
Where there is love there will be hatred.
For every positive there will be a negative
and the result will be zero or death or nothingness.
From dust to dust.
*
The world is full of idiots who think
(if you will forgive the overstatement)
they are smart enough to know what must be done
and they go right ahead and do it.
Think of our revolutionaries in the Ottoman Empire…
*
Philosophers and historians have tried to explain these paradoxes
and so far they have failed to reach a consensus –
very much like our own thinkers whose existence (like that of god) has so far eluded a universally valid proof.
*
What am I driving at?
I am not sure.
Perhaps this:
If you sit on your ass and do nothing
or if you choose to die for a noble cause,
nothing will change and the world will go on
as before and as it has always done.
*
An ant may impress another ant
but not a pedestrian.
#
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
*************************************
LET US REASON TOGETHER
*********************************************
The 1% do not have to lie in order to deceive;
all they have to do is withhold the evidence.
First and foremost they are cover-up artists.
*
The greatest sin is allowing oneself
to be deceived, brainwashed, and systematically moronized.
*
The system is foolproof because
we are moronized with our own consent.
*
“Thou shalt not be deceived”
is not in the Decalogue because Moses was with the 1%.
*
The secret ambition of the 99% is to join the 1%.
It is this hope or ambition more than anything else
that keeps them in chains.
*
The 1% does not manufacture chains;
they hire the 99% for the job.
Schoolteachers and priests are first and foremost
hirelings of the 1%.
*
All great assertions have direct references
to this self-evident truth –
from “The Kingdom of God is within you,”
to “You have nothing to lose but your chains.”
*
You don’t need middle-men to tell you
what’s what and who’s who.
*
The hidden message of “I think therefore I am” is:
To repeat someone else’s thought
is to abdicate one’s right to exist as a human being.
*
The best answer to the question:
“Who the hell do you think you are?” is
“You are full of ****, that’s who I am.”
#
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Old 31.03.2012, 15:39   #333
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Thursday, March 29, 2012
****************************************
RESIGNATION
******************************
Writers from Khorenatsi to Naregatsi, and more recently from Abovian to Zarian wrote to save the nation -- until they realized no one can save someone who doesn’t want to be saved.
*
When asked why I write, I say I write to kill time or I write because writing has become a habit. I doubt if I have changed anyone’s mind. If I have succeeded in anything it’s making enemies.
*
Reality holds all the cards. Compared to reality, arguments, even the best by the most competent philosophers, are no better than empty verbiage.
*
Some can read the writing on the wall; others prefer to behave like functional illiterates. To each his own.
*
We are born and we die. The same applies to tribes, nations, and empires. What goes on between birth and death we call life, and life consists in a series of hopes and disappointments, minor victories and major catastrophes.
*
When a man is on the wrong path, reality steps in; and reality is like a herd of elephants and we are no better than ants.
#
Friday, March 30, 2012
************************************
ON TURCOCENTRISM
*********************************************
For 600 years Turks played a central role in our collective existence.
There is no reason why they should continue to do so.
As for Genocide Recognition:
it should be obvious by now even to the most naïve
that in politics and international diplomacy
“truth” and “lies” are relative terms.
We may have a far better chance to succeed
if we choose toe present a united front during presidential elections.
But if we continue to divide our votes more or less evenly
between Republican and Democratic candidates,
then we have as much chance of success
as a snowball in hell.
If our Turcocentric ghazetajis do not stress
or even mention this aspect of our struggle,
it’s not because they are not aware of it
but because they are propagandists of the establishment
and their real aim is not justice
but to cover up the corruption, incompetence, and divisiveness
of our leaders whose first and most important priority
is to maintain their own powers, privileges, and titles (“chairs”)
as opposed to serving the interests of the community.
By covering up the divide-and-rule tactics of our leaders
and by ignoring their violations of human rights –
among them that of free speech and dissent –
our panchoonies and ghazetajis have freely chosen to behave
like our former masters – sultans and commissars –
they are thus a greater obstacle to achieving genocide recognition
than the pro-Turkish block in Washington.
#
Saturday, March 31, 2012
*********************************************
IF…
*********************
If in crimes of passion it’s “cherchez la femme,”
in crimes against humanity it’s
faith and patriotism – two of the most sinister words
in any language.
*
If Naregatsi’s LAMENTATION has a moral it is this:
We are as guilty of the crimes committed against us
as the perpetrators.
*
If you are a writer and if you are objective
in your assessment of our present situation,
no need to promote yourself.
Your enemies will do that for you free of charge;
as for friends – assuming you have any –
you will discover that most of them
will pretend they have never heard of you.
*
Why is it so hard for an Armenian to speak the truth?
Is it because the truth is unspeakable?
Or is it because he has been so thoroughly brainwashed
as to equate truth with treason?
#
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Old 04.04.2012, 15:49   #334
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Sunday, April 01, 2012
************************************
ARE WE A GREAT NATION?
****************************************
Some troubles fall on you when
... you least expect them
like a thief in the night.
The Genocide was not one of them.
A series of massacres had already taken place
making Turkish intentions abundantly clear.
Now then, what does that tell you
about our leadership
that clung to the absurd notion that
the Turks wouldn’t dare to finish the job
because the West wouldn’t allow it?
*
And now that the Obama administration
has refused to use the G word,
what are our prospects?
How many more millions of dollars
do we have to waste on politicians
to whom truth and honesty might as well be
words in an alien and incomprehensible tongue?
Do we give up?
No, of course not!
Instead we assign the job
to a dream-team of lawyers
willing to work pro bono,
and we concentrate all our efforts
on improving conditions in the Homeland
where, as I write, another genocide is taking place –
genocide by exodus.
*
Notwithstanding our propaganda,
we are not a great nation;
neither are we a people like any other people.
Once upon a time we were slaves;
we are now slaves of former slaves.
We have committed the worst blunders
that a nation can commit.
There is only one thing left for us to do now:
not to repeat the same blunders.
#
Monday, April 02, 2012
******************************************
GUILTY AS CHARGED
***************************************
They Ottomanized us to the same degree that we Armenianized them (in the sense that they no longer look like mongrelized Mongols) with one important difference: whereas they borrowed the best from us, we assimilated the worst -- namely their contempt for human rights, intolerance of dissent, and subservience as the only proof of good citizenship -- a good Armenian is one who says “Yes, sir!” to his leaders.
Our tribal leaders may say all kinds of nasty thing about one another but that option is not open to the ignorant masses.
*
Don’t think of me as a witness who speaks the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; but as someone who is reacting to an unbearable reality. You are free to agree or disagree with me. All I ask is that you take my testimony under consideration.
*
Once in a while a reader writes to express his agreement. But so far none of our leaders has gone as far as acknowledging my existence, which suggests I may well be on the right path.
*
All our great men – from Abovian to Zarian and from Khrimian Hairik to Komitas – were victims of our own brown-nosing mediocrities. I am not implying I too am great. All I am saying is that I am on their side. If that’s a crime against humanity, I gladly plead guilty as charged.
#
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
*************************************
HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE
***********************************
We are responsible for everything that happens to us – not when it happens (by which time it may be too late) but before, when we engaged in wishful thinking based on false assumptions – “Talaat is not like the Sultan,” “the West is one our side,” “the Russians are our big brothers.”
*
We are not the scum of the earth even if we have been treated as if we were not only by alien tyrants but also our own. What could be more cynical than equating patriotism with subservience to a gang of incompetent charlatans on the grounds that they know best what’s good for the nation?
*
Sartre said “Hell is other people.”
He is right.
Hell is other people even when they happen to be brothers.
In our case, especially!...
#
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
***********************************
A LOSE/LOSE PROPOSITION
***************************************
To be an Armenian writer means,
if you are wrong they will disagree with you;
and if you are right they will hate you.
*
COMPROMISE
***************************
If there is a word for compromise in Armenian
I wonder why it is seldom or never used.
*
SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY
********************************************
We slept with the enemy for 600 years –
600 long years during which
instead of making history
we acquired bad habits,
subservience being one of them.
Subservience to top dogs
even when they are s.o.b.s,
and contempt for underdogs
even when they are our brothers.
Subservience to bosses, bishops, and benefactors,
contempt for scribblers.
Subservience to lies,
contempt for the truth.
#
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Old 07.04.2012, 15:51   #335
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Thursday, April 05, 2012
***************************************
C’EST LA VIE
*****************************
We are seduced by a glance and a smile
and by the time we realize we have been taken in,
it’s too late – we find ourselves in a hole
with only one option: to dig deeper.
*
I once worked with a cute blonde
who didn’t say much and what she said
was more often than not a quotation from the movies.
In an interview, Updike once said Errol Flynn
had been a greater influence than Jesus.
*
How many of our deepest convictions are quotations of clichés
based on hearsay evidence by dupes and compulsive liars?
*
One man’s hero is another’s villain.
General Antranik is a hero to us
and a villain to Azeris who believe
he massacred innocent and defenseless civilians.
Who is right?
*
When there are two sides to a story,
the chances are both are wrong.
*
Which belief system is right and which wrong?
Does it matter when all belief systems
are manipulated by cunning operators
whose number one concern is number one?
#
Friday, April 06, 2012
************************************
ON SECOND THOUGHT
*************************************
It is not ideas and belief systems that I criticize
but their propaganda.
It would be even more accurate to say that
I expose killers who feel justified to murder those
who disagree with them.
I attack speechifiers and sermonizers
who legitimize intolerance and hatred
in the name of God and love.
*
What is intolerance if not fear of truth?
What could be more absurd than opposing lies with bigger lies?
Isn’t that what popes, imams, and rabbis to?
Read the Old Testament and
count the number of murders, wars, and massacres.
Review the history of Islam.
Consider the abuses of nationalism
and the crimes committed in the name
of colonialism, communism, and the brotherhood of all men.
*
The real atheist is not he
who questions or doubts the existence of God.
The real atheist is he who kills in the name of God.
Who are the enemies of dissent?
if not killers who hide themselves behind pious platitudes
that convinces only dupes.
Isn’t it the quintessence of double-talk
to divide the community and the nation
and to ignore the Biblical injunction
“A house divided against itself cannot stand”?
And as if that weren’t enough,
to brag about our genius for survival.
A house in ruins may exist,
but can it survive?
#
Saturday, April 07, 2012
***********************************
ON MODERATION...
AMONG OTHER THINGS
*************************************
If women are less warlike than men
it may be because they know how easily men are seduced by,
among other things, empty verbiage.
*
Greeks praised moderation above all other virtues,
and yet their history is an endless catalogue of wars –
and whenever they ran out of enemies,
they fought one another
until they were themselves defeated, conquered, and colonized
by Macedonians, Romans, and Turks – that’s what I call
a steady decline and degeneration of enemies.
So much for progress.
*
What about us?
Because our history is a nightmare
we like to modify it by nationalist propaganda –
that is to say, transparent lies.
*
If you ever get close to one of our so-called leaders,
you may be shocked to discover that
what he says publicly stands in direct contradiction
to what he says privately.
That’s another way of saying,
they are habitual compulsive liars.
When it comes to being brainwashed,
it takes one to know one…
and I bear scars to prove it.
#
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Old 11.04.2012, 15:13   #336
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012
******************************************
GOD AND COUNTRY
*********************************
We are a nation whose 99% has been thoroughly brainwashed
to fear and respect its 1% -- in the name of God and Country of course.
If it’s not the Sultan, it’s Stalin,
and if it’s not Stalin, it’s former KGB agents.
*
When we were children,
reality was what we saw at the movies,
not what we lived.
It is the same with most adults today:
propaganda is their only reality.
*
It is not at all unusual for a smart Armenian
to be a moral moron,
or for an academic to be a careerist creep.
*
If patriotism were a virtue,
it would improve men instead of making them willing to kill others
simply because they believe what he believes.
*
You cannot share your understanding with someone
who operates on the assumption that he already knows and understand
all he needs to know and understand
or someone who respects a wealthy rug merchant more
than a poor poet.
#
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
*****************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
**********************************
On several occasions I was successful in having something
... that I wanted very badly…with catastrophic results.
*
We are the offspring of a nation
that has spent most of its millennial existence
brown-nosing some of the worst scum on earth.
Now then, go ahead and speak to me of Armenian self-esteem.
*
It doesn’t take much to convince people
they are on the side of angels
and their enemies in cahoots with the devil.
*
From writers they demand instant solutions;
from sermonizers and speechifiers only clichés and platitudes
and after they have had their fill
they come back for more.
*
Some questions are better answered with another question.
Case in point:
when asked how many bosses, bishops, and benefactors I have known,
I say: “Why don’t you ask me
how many sultans I have known?”
*
Unlike Americans, we don’t have a silent majority;
what we have is a brainwashed or alienated majority.
#
Monday, April 09, 2012
***************************************
CONFESSIONS
***************************************************
Crooks outnumber honest men among us
as well as the rest of the world.
Honesty has never been a profitable line of work.
When I consented to recycle propaganda – that is,
to lie and deceive my readers – I was paid minimum wage.
When I saw the light and realized I was on my way to the devil,
I became an abominable no-man.
*
I once had a friend who made a comfortable living
as a goussagtsagan (a partisan activist), oussouchits (schoolteacher),
and, to compound the felony even further,
the secretary of an archbishop.
He died of cancer.
I am not implying Armenians are carcinogenic agents,
or working for Armenians is to condemn oneself to an early grave.
I am just stating facts as I observed them.
Do with them what you will.
*
I have been a crook as well as an honest man,
and take my word for it, being honest is no picnic.
I foresee the day when I will write the following message:
“Dear friend: I have so few friends left that
if I lose you I will have none.”
Which reminds me of Garabents’s famous last words
as reported to me by a mutual acquaintance:
“I die alone.”
*
In case you were born yesterday and are not familiar with the name,
allow me to inform you that Hagop Garabents (also Jack Karapetian)
was a broadcaster for Voice of America
and a popular novelist who did his utmost to offend no one.
As far as I know he had no enemies
and he was the darling of the establishment.
Another one of his famous lines worth quoting is:
“Once upon a time we shed our blood for freedom.
We are now afraid of free speech.”
#
Sunday, April 08, 2012
**************************************
LIARS
***************************
People never tell you what they really think.
They may avoid lying about little things
(“it’s raining,” “it’s 4:30 PM,” ”I am hungry”),
but in important matters,
as religion and politics,
or belief systems and ideologies,
they might as well be habitual and compulsive liars.
*
This is especially true of men with power.
It took the popes of Rome several centuries
to admit they had been wrong in their treatment of Galileo.
Neither the popes nor his cardinals and bishops
will ever admit they “doubt their faith seven times every day”
(according to an old Italian saying).
Marx said he was not a Marxist
thus admitting he did not think of himself
as the creator of an infallible belief system.
By contrast, Stalin behaved, very much like the popes of Rome,
as if he were infallible.
The difference between Marx and Stalin is that
Marx was powerless, unlike Stalin, who ruled an empire.
Moral: the greater the power, the bigger the lies.
*
We like to explain and justify our divisions and blunders
by saying “we are a people like any other people,”
“we all make mistakes,”
“there are divisions everywhere," and so on.
By that we mean, if popes, imams, and commissars lie and deceive,
why should we be different?
But I maintain there is a difference, and a big one,
between liars who deceiver other liars,
and liars who deceive victims
in order to deceive and victimize them all over again.
#
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Old 14.04.2012, 16:04   #337
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Saturday, April 14, 2012
*******************************************
DUPES
**********************
“Idol-makers don’t believe in idols,”
says a Chinese proverb.
Something similar could be said of politicians.
Do politicians believe in their own propaganda?
I doubt it.
Did Hitler really believe Jews to belong to an inferior race?
Whenever it was pointed out to him
that one of his aides had Jewish blood, he would reply:
“If true, he will try twice as hard to prove his loyalty,”
or words to that effect.
Goering had a similar reaction: he would say,
“I decide who is and is not a Jew.”
A dupe, by contrast, is one who believes what he is told
even when what he is told is propaganda.
*
A politician’s primary concern is power,
not truth and ideas. He will say and do anything
that will legitimize and enhance his power.
The Pope may doubt his faith seven times a day,
but a dupe never.
A dupe is brainwashed to believe
“Mussolini ha sempre ragione”
(Mussolini is always right);
in the same way that a good Catholic
is brought up to believe the Pope is infallible,
and a patriotic Armenian is brainwashed to believe
a nationalist historian’s version of the past
is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,
and anyone who does not share his convictions
is a pro-Turkish traitor.
There you have the roots of our
disagreements, divisions, decline, and degeneration.
#
Saturday, April 14, 2012
***************************************
HISTORIANS
***********************************
One of the best books on Armenian history
that I remember to have read many years ago
was by Armenian historian who was also
a Tashnak leader.
*
When asked what history’s verdict would be on him,
Churchill is said to have replied:
“That’s doesn’t worry me because I plan to write it.”
And he did.
And it was a best-seller.
And he was awarded the Nobel Prize.
*
Had Hitler won World War II,
MEIN KAMPF would have been one of the most widely translated
and used textbooks in schools.
*
Once when I published an interview with a Tashnak leader
(may the Good Lord have mercy on his soul),
a Ramgavar leader (ditto) wrote an angry letter to the editor
in which he exposed me as a dupe
and the Tashnak leader as a charlatan.
Whereupon the Tashnak leader,
in another letter to the editor,
dismissed the Ramgavar as a Stalinist stooge.
*
For an Armenian to believe an Armenian historian
is as bad as for a Turk to believe a Turkish historian.
*
Textbooks written by nationalist historians
might as well be conspiracies of liars.
*
Who takes nationalist historians seriously?
“All professions are conspiracies against the laity” (G.B. Shaw).
“There is a ****er born every day,” or is it every minute?
Writing textbooks is a racket like any other,
and having written one myself, I plead guilty as charged.
#
Saturday, April 14, 2012
******************************************
INSANITY
*****************************
What’s a plea of insanity to murderers,
patriotism is to political leaders.
Greed for power, never!
Love of God, Country or King, always!
*
In a democratic environment,
political leaders are classified as public servants.
In an authoritarian or anti-democratic regime
the men at the top behave as masters
and as if that weren’t preposterous enough,
they also claim to be infallible
for the simple reason that
they represent God on earth.
Dictators don’t claim to represent God because,
like Roman emperors, they classify themselves as gods.
You may now guess to which category
our own leaders belong.
*
Ajarian, the foremost expert on the Armenian language
used to say, “Who among us can claim to know
the Armenian language?”
The same could be said of Armenian history.
*
Even in a democracy our political leaders behave
like our masters who can do no wrong.
They can do no wrong even when they divide the community,
which amounts to saying,
even as they plot the destruction of the nation.
#
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Old 18.04.2012, 15:54   #338
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Default seeing things

Sunday, April 15, 2012
*************************************
SEEING THINGS
*******************************
Even after they systematically raped our daughters
and brainwashed our boys to kill and die
in their imperialist wars
we continued to be their “most faithful ethnic minority.”
Individuals like Krikor Zohrab and Roupen Sevak
persisted in believing that deep down
Turks were nice people who meant no harm to Armenians
and we could safely trust our collective destiny
into their hands.
If they had any doubts on that score
they did not share them with the people.
Even our political and intellectual leaders were dupes.
*
On more than one occasion
I have been told by angry readers:
“What did you expect them to do?
Urge the people to abandon their 'babenagan douner'
(ancestral homes)?”
Why not, may I ask, if the alternative was
wholesale massacre and deportation into the desert?
*
Once when I reviewed the memoirs of a Russian KGB agent
in which he stated that several of our political leaders
(among them Tashnaks) were KGB plants,
an insider berated me for blabbering about things
I knew nothing about and understood even less?
What if, he said, these so-called former KGB agents
could be of greater use to us?
Leave it to an Armenian to see things
that are not there.
#
Monday, April 16, 2012
***************************************
WHAT I (DON’T) BELIEVE
****************************************
Ideologies and religions – belief systems, in short –
claim to have found a path to truth or god;
and anyone who dares to disagree
must be classified as a heretic,
and as such, an enemy –
and an enemy not only of the belief system
but also of mankind.;
and based on that blatantly false assumption
they proceed to divide civilizations, societies,
empires, nations, and communities.
There you have the root of all evil,
beginning with intolerance, persecution,
and ultimately war and massacre.
*
I am not voicing a theory here.
I am simply stating facts available to anyone
who has eyes to see, ears to hear, and brains to think –
and not to think that he is thinking
but simply to say, if you add 2 to 2
what you get is neither 5 or 22 but 4.
*
If you believe god is one,
or three in one, or, for that matter, four in one –
why should that be a good enough reason
to torture and kill another
who believes the right numbers are five in one?
And yet…
*
The stated aim of all belief systems is to save mankind;
their unstated aim, however, is the destruction of the world.
*
Man is born in sin, we are told.
So are belief systems – born in arrogance
that leads to greed for power.
I don’t believe in belief systems.
#
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
********************************************
STATUS QUO
*****************************
A nation that has lived in darkness for a thousand years
will prefer to go on living in darkness for another thousand years
if the alternative is to see the light.
*
My aim is not to solve our problems
but to say and repeat the obvious
... when the obvious is ignored or forgotten.
*
My aim is not to provide answers to the most important questions
but to question the honesty of those who pretend to have them.
*
If I can place a small distance – even if it is a fraction of an inch –
between us and our certainties -- that is to say lies –
I shall consider my mission accomplished.
*
A religion of love will practice hatred;
and a religion of intolerance will practice intolerance.
A nation that brags about its high IQ
will be subservient to morons,
both foreign and domestic.
*
In the eyes of pragmatists,
daydreamers are contemptible jerks.
In the eyes of our leaders,
writers will be mental masturbators.
*
To solve a problem,
you must first acknowledge its existence.
You may now draw your own conclusions.
#
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
*******************************************************
STATUS QUO (II)
*****************************************
We have many brilliant minds in all fields of human endeavor
but not a single brilliant idea.
Our ablest academics study the past (medievalism and massacrism)
but none of them seems to be interested in our present and future.
I wonder why.
Is it because somewhere very deep inside
they have given up on us?
Or is it because there is no money in it?
*
Our benefactors and panchoonies spend millions
building schools, churches, and community centers
as if raising wall mattered much more than promoting solidarity.
*
Solidarity with us is very much like Mark Twain’s weather.
Every speechifier and sermonizer loves to quote Charents’s final message
(“Oh! Armenian people, your salvation etc.”)
but nobody does a damn thing.
*
“Where there is no vision the people perish” –
and we are perishing in both the Homeland and Diaspora –
by exodus and alienation respectively,
both of which have clearly definable socio-economic reasons
that can be isolated, named, and prevented.
But no one seems to give a damn!
The very same activists who speak of patriotism during the day
turn into gravediggers under cover of darkness.
*
Solidarity is not a commodity you can buy on the marketplace.
Neither is it tax deductible.
Could that be one reason why it is not popular
with our bosses, bishops, and benefactors?
I am not casting aspersions, just wondering…
#



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Old 21.04.2012, 16:02   #339
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Default breakdown

Thursday, April 19, 2012
****************************************
BREAKDOWN IN LEADERSHIP
**********************************************
A headline in my morning paper reads:
“Soldier blames breakdown in leadership.”
How many of our historians have ever dared to use that expression –
“breakdown in leadership” – to explain any one
of our divisions, defeats, and catastrophes…
or, for that matter,
our status as perennial losers?
*
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF
***************************************
You want something badly
and after getting it you are disappointed,
after which you want something else badly –
and so it goes.
It is almost as if we were programmed
not to learn from history.
#
Saturday, April 21, 2012
*************************************
PATRIOTISM, ARMENIAN STYLE
**********************************************
In our context, patriotism does not mean love of homeland;
patriotism means hatred of the same enemy,
beginning with Armenians who dare to disagree with us.
*
No one can be as dumb as a self-assessed smart Armenian.
*
When cornered about our divisiveness,
among other self-inflicted wounds,
we like to say there are divisions everywhere,
or we are a people like any other people.
Are we really?
We may be as dumb as most of them
but can we really claim to be as smart as some of them?
*
Never underestimate the cunning of a dumb Armenian
or the stupidity of a smart one.
*
The rich should be taxed more
not because they can afford it,
or because they exploit the poor
by overpricing their products or services.
but because they are jerks.
#
Saturday, April 21, 2012
**************************************
OBSERVATIONS
*******************************
Shakespeare wrote about royalty for royalty.
With us it’s losers writing for losers.
*
My guess is – and this is only a guess –
more people have died in Armenia
than anywhere else in the world.
*
Has anyone ever heard one of our chic Bolsheviks say,
“I was wrong about Stalin”?
An infallible leadership will generate infallible citizens.
*
Instead of recycling Saroyan I recycle Zarian:
there you have the root of my failure.
*
To be misunderstood is a routine experience with me.
So much so that whenever I am understood
I begin to suspect what I write has no merit
because all I do is state the obvious.
#
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Old 25.04.2012, 15:37   #340
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Default double-talk

Sunday, April 22, 2012
****************************************
DOUBLE-TALK
*********************************
All our great writers,
from Khorenatsi to Raffi,
and from Abovian to Zarian,
have been sources of embarrassment to our leaders
(in the sense that they have exposed their shortcomings)
who must now pretend to be on the side of our literature.
*
In the parable of the camel and the eye of the needle,
Jesus equates financial success with moral failure.
I am not implying our benefactors are liars and degenerates,
only suggesting that they too,
like the rest of us poor moprtals,
are not beyond engaging in occasional double-talk.
*
To love a harmless enemy – nothing easier.
To love an enemy who slashes burns, and rapes?
When asked that question, Tolstoy is said to have replied:
“Things like that don’t happen every day.”
I know better because I read my morning paper.
*
It is the mightiest of this world who take ideas seriously,
but only ideas that are against them.
*
Indifference is the best revenge.
#
Monday, April 23, 2012
********************************************
DECLINE AND FALL
*********************************
No one can be as ungodly as men who speak in His name –
and I am not thinking only of imams…
*
An adult who repeats what he was taught as a child:
that to me is one of the surest and most unmistakable symptoms of retardation.
*
Everything has been explained by far better men than myself.
What I have written so far might as well be footnotes to a footnote.
*
Even the mightiest empires decline and fall.
Even the most creative cultures stagnate and degenerate.
We call our degeneration survival and we brag about it.
*
If being against organized religions means
rejecting Gregorian chant, Bach’s Cantatas, Mozart’s REQUIEM,
Negro spirituals, and our sharagans,
then I am more Catholic than the Pope.
#
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
*****************************************
AN EXPLANATION
*************************************
Turks say the Genocide never happened.
It’s a figment of our collective imagination.
Americans are afraid to use the G word.
What’s happening here?
To those who don’t understand, allow me to explain.
*
Both Turks and Americans are guilty of massacres.
Very probably they have killed an equal number of innocent civilians:
the first to preserve their empire,
the second to raise it.
As imperial powers they speak the language of top dogs
which might as well be incomprehensible to underdogs.
They have neither friends nor enemies, only interests.
Arguing with them is a waste of time.
They will never see the world as we see it.
We may be successful in convincing isolated voices
here and there, now and then,
but we don’t have enough money to convince the majority.
In politics and international diplomacy,
right and wrong might as well be irrelevant commodities.
*
There is only one way out of this impasse:
to vote as a block.
On the day American candidates realize
We have the power to make or break them,
we may have a better chance to be heard.
Until then we might as well be a voice in the wilderness.
*
The Jewish vote is a deciding factor in American politics
because Jews are better at presenting a united front.
I feel justified therefore in suggesting that
our leadership – our lord and masters,
or bosses, bishops and benefactors,
or the gang that can’t shoot straight …call them what you will –
are as guilty as denialists because
instead of uniting the community
they have polarized and paralized it.
Very much like Turks and Yanks
they have allowed their interests, or powers and privileges,
to speak louder than the interests of the nation.
That indeed is the root of our status as perennial losers.
*
Dostoevsky is right:
“You can’t imagine how powerful a single man can be.”
Or, for that matter, a single community or nation,
when it speaks with one voice.
#
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
****************************************
DIARY
*************************
Two new books that I look forward to reading:
ANTON CHEKHOV: A BROTHER’S MEMOIR by Mikhail Chekhov, and
MEMORIES OF CHEKHOV: ACCOUNTS OF THE WRITER FROM HIS FAMILY, FRIENDS AND CONTEMPORARIES, edited by Peter Sekirin.
*
Watched a lovely French film titled SEQUINS in which one of the central characters is named Mrs. Melkonian whose son Ishkhan dies in a car accident.
*
My definition of hell: to be dependent on the charity of swine.
*
Obese people dig their own grave with a fork; writers with their pen.
*
In our environment patriotism is sometimes confused with shish-kebabism.
*
Brahms used prostitutes. In his old age Gandhi was obsessed with his sexuality and slept with naked teenagers to test his resistance to temptation.
*
Cats hate the water but love fish: hence their tolerance of man.
*
During World War II READER’S DIGEST rejected contributions by Thomas Mann and Bertolt Brecht.
*
Thomas Mann loved Walt Disney. So do I but I prefer Warner Brothers’ Bugs Bunny.
*
The disagreement of fools: depressing rather than irritating.
#




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Old 28.04.2012, 15:48   #341
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Thursday, April 26, 2012
****************************************
TRUTH IS ONE,
LIES MANY
***************************
Where power enters, lies are sure to follow.
*
We all praise knowledge and understanding
but prefer to practice ignorance and misunderstanding.
*
An ideology of brotherhood is used to sow murderous enmity,
and a religion of love and compassion is exploited
to legitimize intolerance, hatred, and massacre.
*
What are wars and revolutions –
revolutions that replace czars with commissars,
and kings with dictators – if not gigantic movements
based on ignorance and misunderstanding?
*
We praise Greek contributions to world civilization
and we forget that the real Greece is not represented by Socrates
but by those who condemned him to death.
Philosophers may praise Socrates
but the average man in the street prefers to behave
like a member of his jury and an executioner.
*
Notwithstanding the countless crimes committed by religious leaders,
we – the majority at any rate – continue to take their dogmas seriously.
*
Is God one or many?
We don’t know.
Nobody does.
But we do know that reality is numberless.
*
When two men confront each other
and both say “I am right, you are wrong,”
the chances are both are not just wrong but dead wrong.
*
He who speaks does not know
and he who is silent is ignorant.
*
At the beginning was the word,
at the end garbage?
What difference does it make if the purpose of words
is to hide meaning?
#
Saturday, April 28, 2012
***********************************
WHAT IF?
***********************
What if “our betters” are in fact our worst?
*
If I am right, why is it that so many are against me?
And if I am wrong, why is it that so many are with me?
Wrong questions.
In our context, or placed in a historic context,
right or wrong might as well be irrelevant.
To be or not to be: that indeed is the right question..
*
The 99% are losers because they are disorganized, leaderless, and divided.
Workers of the world have failed to unite
because they have been divided by lies
(among them nationalism) devised by the 1%.
*
We have failed to unite because survival is our main concern.
To be on the safe side we have been willing to say “Yes, sir!”
to any power structure that promised to be on our side.
In the USSR we were more Bolshevik than the Russians.
In the Ottoman Empire even our best and brightest
were more Ottoman than Turks.
Consider the ease with which Armenians in America are Americanized.
*
We lament our martyrs with total unawareness of the fact that
they are “ours” – in the sense that they are victims
of our own ignorance, blindness, and fanaticism.
You don’t believe me?
Read Naregatsi’s LAMENTATIONS (in which he portrays himself
as “an abusive contradicter ever active in satanic inventions”
(or lies, for short).
Read Zarian (“Armenians survive by cannibalizing one another”).
Read Raffi (“Where Armenian blood flows, search for the Armenian hatchet.”)
If our literature has a central message, this is it:
Our martyrs are our victims.
#
Saturday, April 28, 2012
*******************************************
PROFESSIONAL SECRETS
************************************
Write a page.
Keep the best line,
discard the rest.
*
Dissatisfied with what you have written?
Delete the first and last paragraphs. (Chekhov).
*
Dissatisfied with the final sentence?
Italicize a word in it. (Kenneth Tynan)
*
Your selection of words
is more important than your ideas. (Paul Valery)
*
On the subject of ideas: there are no new ones.
We are all in the business of recycling what has been said before
by far better men than ourselves.
*
Originality is an illusion.
Clarity is your most important asset.
*
Please note that none of the above is mine.
I have cited only the sources that I remember.
#




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Old 02.05.2012, 15:17   #342
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Wednesday, May 02, 2012
**************************************
FOSSILS
*********************
Where literature is controlled and free speech suppressed
propaganda becomes the only mode of perceiving reality.
Where everyone thinks alike (thinks? wrong verb)
no one thinks.
To say “yes, sir!” is not to think.
*
We have become a nation (wrong noun) of non-thinking simpletons
who believe they are not just smart
but seven times smarter than Jews.
*
I repeat myself?
Where lies are repeated seventy-seven times,
I see nothing wrong in repeating myself seven times.
*
Everything I have been saying has been said before
by far better men than myself?
If they behave like Panchoonies,
why shouldn’t I recycle Odian seven times?
*
What do Jesus, Marx, and Freud have in common?
They were teachers (rabbis) who didn’t believe in rabbis.
To use Toynbee’s terminology:
they were teachers who rejected fossils;
unlike us who are zombies at the mercy of fossils.
#
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
**************************
SAROYAN AND I
********************************
I envy Saroyan – no, not his fame and fortune –
but because nobody ever told him to write like Saroyan.
*
Saroyan wrote to entertain his American audience.
I write to torment my Armenian audience –
assuming of course I have one.
*
Saroyan was Armenian.
So am i.
beyond that I doubt if we share anything else in common.
*
As for Michael Arlen – both Father and Son –
they might as well be from an alien planet.
#
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
***************************************
ON THE POSITIVE SIDE
***********************************
We are not a divided nation;
we are a broken nation.
Being divided with us cannot be said to be
a bad habit or even an incurable addiction
but a character trait,
and character is destiny.
If you think I am being negative, think again.
If what I say is true,
truth is bound to set us free –
free from all the lies that have kept us divided
and continue to divide us today
with no end in sight.
#
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
*****************************************
DARK AGES
**************************
Christianity has been described as a religion
that allows a class of men –
from popes to televangelists –
to make a comfortable living
by exploiting someone else’s crucifixion.
Something similar could be said
of our Turcocentric ghazetajis and scholars
who write about massacres.
Some day historians will name our past –
from the beginning to the present and foreseeable future –
our Dark Ages.
#





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Old 05.05.2012, 15:46   #343
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Thursday, May 03, 2012
******************************************
GARBAGE CAN
***********************
The average Catholic trusts the Pope much more
than his critics, among them Catholic theologians
who dare to question the dogma of papal infallibility. ,
The average German trusted Hitler;
the average Russian trusted Stalin;
the average Italian trusted Mussolini.
The average Greek of the 5th century BC
believed Socrates to be a criminal
guilty of a capital offense.
Closer to home, the average Armenian –
and by average I mean anyone who has not yet mastered
the art of thinking for himself,
is convinced it is his patriotic duty to trust the judgment
of bosses, bishops, and benefactors
and to question the integrity of dissenters
who may well be agents of the
CIA, the KGB, the Grey Wolves, or the Mossad
(I now speak from personal experience).
When it comes to ideas,
the average man – regardless of race, color, and creed –
is not so much a moron as a garbage can.
#
Saturday, May 05, 2012
*************************************
A CAPITAL OFFENSE
*******************************
We don’t know much about the Greek jury
that condemned Socrates to death,
but we do know that they were members
of a civilized, enlightened, and progressive community
who believed in false gods,
which happens to be the charge
they brought against Socrates.
*
Gods have always been and continue to
be the business – make it, the racket – of the 1%,
namely popes, imams, rabbis, among others –
who if they had their way,
they would gladly condemn one another to death.
And they would be right to do so.
*
Moral: Those who pretend to be our “betters”
may well be our worst.
#
Saturday, May 05, 2012
*******************************************
THIS AND THAT
***************************
There is no end to the tricks
that the 1% plays on the 99%.
When they say peace
they mean prepare for war.
When they say communism
they mean the capitalism of the state.
When they speak of brotherhood
they mean the Cain-and-Abel variant.
*
My aim in life:
to give the bastards insomnia
even if the insomnia lasts no more
than a fraction of a second.
*
In writing being irresistible is better
than being reasonable.
As for being both:
that would be like issuing invitations
to your own execution.
*
If you don’t know where to begin,
begin in the middle or even the end.
If what you say makes sense
it doesn’t matter where you begin.
#




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Old 09.05.2012, 14:56   #344
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Sunday, May 06, 2012
*************************************
RELIGION & LITERATURE
*******************************************
If god is in everything we know and see,
where is the devil?
*
Religion is a business like any other
and far more profitable than most.
That's why for every writer we have,
we have a hundred priests.
*
When a religion of love legitimizes
intolerance, hatred, and ultimately war and massacre,
it becomes an instrument of the devil.
*
The greatest argument against religion
is other religions.
*
Contemporary Armenian literature
may be summed up in two sentences:
(one) it says many things except that which must be said, and
(two) it takes money more seriously than ideas.
*
If the kingdom of god is within us,
is the empire of the devil around us?
#
Monday, May 07, 2012
*****************************************
LIES
*******************
All belief systems are big lies
because they pretend to provide answers to questions
that are unanswerable.
*
When is a question unanswerable?
When the answers are contradictions
that cannot be resolved.
*
Once when I quoted Erasmus of Rotterdam
in one of my commentaries
I was told I was being “vicious.”
*
To how many of my fellow Armenians I could say
what Tolstoy once said to a fellow passenger on a train:
“As long as there are people like you
we will have wars and massacres.”
*
What is patriotism if not the propaganda of individuals
who pretend to be our “betters”
but who are in fact our worst.
#
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
**********************************
WE ARE WHAT OUR ENEMIES MADE US
****************************************************
When Einstein said he did not believe in the god of the Jews
he was told to go back where he came from.
*
Most Christians are Christian because
they were brainwashed as children.
The same could be said
of Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists.
*
I was born and raised as a Catholic
and my greatest enemies were neither Jews nor Muslims
but Protestants, in the same way that a Sunni’s greatest enemies
are Shias and vice versa.
*
Popes, imams, and rabbis are not just liars
but enemies of mankind.
*
The astonishing ease with which idiots assume to know better
or to be better on the grounds that
their god is the only true god.
*
When Socrates said “of the gods we know nothing,”
he relied on his reason.
When Hegel, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Shaw, Russell, Sartre,
and many other celebrated thinkers rejected the Bible
as the word of god, they did so only after they saw the light
and were born again as human beings.
*
Gandhi: “I am not superstitious. I am a super-atheist.”
#
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
****************************************
MORE ON
RELIGION & LITERATURE
***********************************************
After reading my recent comments on religion and literature,
a gentle reader informs me:
“Hegel and Einstein were theists.”
So was Voltaire who said:
“Since it was a religious war there were no survivors.”
*
I doubt if God recognizes Himself
in men who speak in His name.
The Devil, maybe.
God? Hell no!
*
Among “The 100 Most Influential People in the World”
(TIME, April 30, 2012) there are two Turks
but not a single Armenian.
If there is one and I missed him,
I am prepared to be verbally lynched by our superpatriots
who are never wrong.
*
To be wrong – nothing new in that.
We all make mistakes.
But to be catastrophically wrong
with the certainty that you are absolutely right:
that’s difficult to admit
and impossible to come to terms with.
*
The greater the gap between what we think of ourselves
and what others think of us,
the greater the number of brainwashed dupes.
*
Palestinians have three mighty allies:
fanaticism, money from oil, and universal anti-Semitism.
Who cares about Armenians?
Not even Armenians.
#





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Old 16.05.2012, 15:15   #345
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Sunday, May 13, 2012
***************************************
WISDOM
*************************
Since life has an unhappy ending
(sometimes even an unhappy beginning and middle)
man has invented religion whose function is to cushion the blow of death
by making promises it is in no position to keep.
*
In metaphysics as in economics
it is always the 1% that makes a comfortable living
by exploiting the 99%.
*
I was educated by monks,
and I remember an older friend warning me:
“The problem with monks is that
they know little about the real world.”
And sure enough, these monks lost all their possessions
to a gang of crooks that promised to double the value of their assets
by making smart investments in a growing economy.
*
What do I know about the real world?
Very little—so little in fact that it might as well be nothing.
An angry woman once said to me:
“Yours is the kind of wisdom
that’s available to anyone with a library card.”
She was right.
Reading books – what could be easier?
Reading reality – that’s what’s separates the men from the boys,
and ultimately the deceivers from their dupes.
#
Monday, May 14, 2012
**************************************
METAPHYSICS
**********************
Truth shall set you free.
By contrast, propaganda shall poison the well,
shut the doors of perception,
and paralyze the mind.
*
If to recycle propaganda were a capital offense,
all dupes would plead not guilty by reason of insanity.
*
Whenever we say yes to lies,
we raise a wall between us and reality.
*
God knows everything, including all the phone numbers
in all the phone books of the world
even though he has no use for them.
*
A statement is absurd
when its contradiction makes as much or more sense.
*
God is love but prefers not to get involved in human affairs.
That’s the only way to explain the rape of children
and the massacre of innocent civilians.
*
We are not smart enough to understand God
but stupid enough to speak in His name.
#
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
**************************************
CIVICS 101
*******************************
ON DEMOCRACY
******************************
Democracy is a work in progress.
It creates an environment wherein dialogue, evolution, and progress
become possibilities.
By contrast, in all other forms of governance,
decline and degeneration become certainties.
What we have in Russia and Armenia today
is pseudo-democracy or a combination of oligarchy and kleptocracy.
Power is like money:
those who have it are never satisfied with what they have.
They want more…with no end in sight.
*
ON NATIONALISM
*******************************
We are not nationalists, we are tribalists.
Germans under Hitler were nationalists.
The first two letters of “Nazi” stand for nation.
When they sang “Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles,”
they meant the nation stands over the provinces.
When we sing our national anthem we say
(or used to until very recently):
“Our homeland, miserable and masterless,”
meaning without a single master or power structure.
*
ON TURKS
***************************
Even if Turks were to agree with all our demands,
that would not be the end of our problems.
Turks are not a solution, they are an obstacle
if only because we put too much faith in what they can do
and not enough faith in what we can do on our own.
We call Turks denialists.
So are we whenever we place all our eggs in a Turkish basket.
#
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*************************************
To know better does not mean to be less confused.
*
There is always a residue of unforgiveness in all forgiveness.
*
If an imam or bishop were to say
the sun rises in the east and sets in the west
I would do my utmost to prove him wrong.
*
At one time or another even the most civilized people on earth
have behaved like Turks.
That’s why on the Genocide issue Americans are pro-Turkish.
*
A truth cannot be repeated often enough.
A lie stated once is already too many times.
*
At the source of all atrocities there is a belief system
based on absurdities.
*
If I ever write my memoirs
I will begin with a chapter titled “Childhood and Youth,”
which will contain only two words:
“Good riddance.”
#






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