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Old 02.05.2009, 18:53   #106
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Thursday, April 30, 2009
********************************************
ON INTELLECTUALS
**************************************
Intellectuals are a nuisance to the rich and parasites to the poor. But their real enemies are neither the poor nor the rich but intellectuals.
*
ON TURCOCENTRISM
**********************************
The unspoken message of our Turcocentric ghazetajis seems to be, the keys to the Gates of Heaven will be ours only after we do to them what they did to us. These ghazetajis are the true offspring of our revolutionaries in the Ottoman Empire who promised heaven and delivered hell.
*
ENEMIES
**********************
We are our greatest enemies. I can prove this by saying I have done more harm to myself than all my enemies combined.
*
CRITICS
************************
Socrates and Jesus had them, and as everyone knows by now, saints have been the most consistently and universally abused people on earth.
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ON AUTHORITY
**********************
Respect for authority is the source of all evil.
*
ON REVOLUTION
**********************************
Revolutions are less about justice or the distribution of wealth, and more about the distribution of power, and power will be abused regardless of who is at the top. For the slave, it makes no difference if his master is Turk or Armenian.
#
Friday, May 1, 2009
********************************************
SIGNS
**************************************
Everything is as it should be. I never had it so good. The surest warnings of an impending catastrophe.
*
You say I always see the dark side of things. I say someone has to. Paranoiacs have enemies too. And who said pessimists are always wrong?
*
You cannot hide your ignorance. It is your most transparent possession.
*
When an Armenian defeats another Armenian, it is the nation that loses.
*
A lie is like a deadly virus. Left unattended it will poison and kill its promoter as well as his dupes, families as well as communities, tribes as well as nations, empires as well as civilizations.
*
In democracies, dissidents like Bernard Shaw and Bertrand Russell were (and still are) universally respected, sometimes even Nobelized. We all know what happened to dissidents in the USSR. I venture to suggest, we Armenians (judging by the number of writers we have betrayed, silenced, starved and driven to suicide) are more like Stalinists than the British.
#
Friday, May 1, 2009
********************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
**************************************
We all make mistakes, especially the infallible.
*
The brainwashed never question their infallibility.
*
The brainwashed cannot speak for themselves, neither can they think, they can only follow orders, or, like monkeys, dance to the tune of an invisible organ-grinder.
*
The 5th century AD was our Golden Age, the 20th century our Stone Age.
*
When the old fight, it is the young who die.
When the rich fight, it is the poor who die.
If it were up to the old and the rich to do the dying,
we would have no more wars.
*
Where there is an Armenian church there will also be a wealthy merchant with a guilty conscience.
#
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Old 06.05.2009, 19:16   #107
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Sunday, May 3, 2009
***********************************
WHAT IS LITERATURE?
**********************************************
There is no consensus on the subject. Some say the function of literature is to understand reality. Others, to introduce or enhance moral standards. To educate, explain, and instruct. To fight corruption and injustice. To expose prejudices. To see beauty and eternity in a blade of grass.
Dissidents believe the function of literature is to question authority. Those in authority disagree: they say writers should behave like a chorus singing hymns to their infallibility, greatness, integrity, vision, and glory.
It has also been said what literature does is to make "sh*t look like rose jam" (Jean Genet).
Speaking for myself, I believe the first and most important function of literature is not to bore the reader.
And speaking of sh*t and rose jam: I am reminded of Saroyan defending his one-dimensional depiction of Armenian characters in his fiction by saying he had only “stylized” them -- probably meaning that he had done to Armenians what Leonardo had done to Mona Lisa, or what Balthus had done to his street scenes: that is to say, introduced something that is not present in reality.
*
Monday, May 4, 2009
****************************************
AMERICANS AND GENOCIDE
*************************************
Hugo Chavez: “Columbus was the commander of an invasion that resulted in the greatest genocide the world has ever known.”
Now you know why American presidents promise but they hesitate to deliver. All the Turks have to do is tell them, “Armenians are our Indians.”
*
A WOMAN ON WOMEN
***********************************
Colette on feminists: “I would put them all in a harem.”
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CIORAN ON THE FRENCH
**************************************
“They prefer an elegant lie to a clumsily expressed truth.”
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ON SACRED COWS
*********************************
The only thing they are good for is shish kebab.
#
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
*****************************************
NOTES AND COMMENTS
*************************************
To understand how easy it is to be wrong, all I have to do is review my past, and I don't mean my distant past. I mean yesterday.
*
There is more to being Armenian than hating Turks and lamenting our martyrs. Looking backward is useful only if we learn from our blunders. What have we learned so far?
Life isn't fair?
Big fish eat small fish?
Politicians speak with a forked tongue?
But then, are we fair to one another?
Are our big fish vegetarian?
Are our politicians honest?
Don't make me laugh.
*
Truth may well be beyond our reach, but honesty is not.
#
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
*****************************************
THE INSULTED AND THE INJURED
**************************************************
One of the most astonishing things about human nature, Dostoevsky tells us, is that it can get used to anything.
For a thousand years we were ruled by tribal kings, princes, and nakharars. For six hundred years we were the obedient subjects of sultans and more recently of ruthless commissars. Today we find ourselves at the mercy of empty suits and bearded charlatans who rule by delivering empty verbiage and whose role models are not statesmen or men of faith but “crocodiles” (Chekhov). And whenever someone takes it upon himself to point this out, he is either starved or silenced permanently. And here I could make a long list of names from Abovian (who committed suicide) to Zarian (who for all practical purposes was buried alive).
Have I said this before? Why shouldn't I say it again, if what I and many others before me have said has so far failed to register on our collective consciousness?
“I can't write novels like Dostoevsky,” Oshagan is quoted as having said, “because we Armenians don't have Dostoevskian characters.” But what is the history of our nation with all its unspeakable betrayals, degradations, and suffering if not a character straight out of Dostoevsky?
#
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Old 13.05.2009, 18:48   #108
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Sunday, May 10, 2009
*****************************************
EXPLANATIONS
**************************************************
There is a type of liar who after lying repeatedly ends up believing in his own lies.
That's one way to explain the popularity of sermonizers and speechifiers.
*
Avedik Issahakian: “A wealthy man is nothing but a thief who has not yet been caught.” Perhaps because he does his thieving in a land whose legislators are themselves thieves.
*
Puzant Granian: “We have many national benefactors but not a single national writer.” That may be because benefactors prefer lies and flattery – that is to say, speechifiers, sermonizers, and brown-nosers.
*
Writers like Siamanto and Totovents could not stand life in America and returned to Istanbul under Talaat and to Yerevan under Stalin respectively only to be arrested and slaughtered, probably because they found the prospect of being dependent on the charity of swine worse than death.
*
The overwhelming majority of our writers agree in telling us that if we want to get at the roots of our misfortunes we must look within and that the blame-game is a Big Lie. Which means, our Turcocentric ghazetajis are no better than cretins whose sole aim in life is to moronize the people -- not a particularly demanding enterprise when dealing with a nation that has been brutalized by millennial oppression by some of the most ruthless and bloodthirsty regimes in the history of the world.
#
Monday, May 11, 2009
*****************************************
OF CABBAGES AND KINGS
**************************************************
We should treat Turks as friends if only because it is easier to negotiate with friends than with enemies. If so far we have failed to do that it may be because we cannot even treat our brothers as friends. When was the last time an Armenian trusted another Armenian?
*
According to Lobo Antunes, a celebrated contemporary Portuguese writer, the only way to write is “to imagine yourself naked, smelling of formaldehyde, flat on your back in a marble tub, waiting for them to cut open your ribs with a huge pair of scissors.”
A man after my own heart.
I too believe to write any other way is to recycle propaganda.
*
If you play poker with a king and you win his kingdom, don't be surprised if he says, “Off with his head!”
*
I envy the rich for being in a position to deliver the line, “Talk to my lawyer!”
*
And speaking of the rich: It is said of one of our national benefactors that whenever someone approached him directly with a request for financial support, he would say, “Talk to my people.”
*
Self-deception is escape from reality, and those who deceive themselves might as well be open invitations to deceivers.
#
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
*****************************************
MART BIDI CH'ELLANK
**************************************************
Do you want to understand Turks? Think of an Armenian with power.
*
The ideal dupe is someone who has been brought up to believe he is smart, he is progressive, and he is beyond criticism. Whereas a really smart person is more like Socrates who knew more than anyone else but who pretended to know nothing.
*
If I repeat myself it may be because I hope to have better luck with the next generation. Call me an optimist. In this line of work you have to be a little crazy to carry on.
*
What is the difference between literature and trash? The trash gets printed.
*
Our brainwashed dupes today are more pro-establishment than our bosses, bishops, and benefactors, in the same way that our oligarchs in the Homeland are more capitalist than Wall Street.
#
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
*****************************************
MART BIDI CH'ELLANK / II
**************************************************
Our struggle, our real struggle, is not against men but against an abstraction that is lighter than a feather but weighs on us like a mountain: our history.
Millennial oppression has so thoroughly dehumanized us that we can no longer act, we can only react blindly, and whenever we react blindly we do so not only against our own interests but also against reason itself.
Consider our genocide as a case in point: we didn't have to predict it in order to take evasive action. All we had to do is listen to the countless warnings of foreign observers, missionaries, and our own insiders within the Ottoman administration.
And consider what's happening today: our literature, our religion, and reason itself are unanimous in warning us that the only way to divide a house is by tearing it down. And yet...(the two saddest words in the English language, it has been said) we continue to waste millions by constructing two schools, two houses of worship, and two community centers when one would be not only sufficient but also the right thing to do.
We all know what happens to the blind leading the blind, let alone to the blind, deaf, and dumb leading the blind, deaf, and dumb who have somehow managed to convince themselves that not only they are smarter than anyone else but also that God Almighty Himself is on their side.
#
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Old 16.05.2009, 18:17   #109
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Thursday, May 14, 2009
*****************************************
MART BIDI CH'ELLANK / III
**************************************************
To say, “We don't need critics, we need solutions,” is another way of saying, we don't give a damn about our literature and its central message.
To self-assessed enlightened readers who like to say, “Why should I waste my time with second-raters when I can read Plato, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky?” I say, our writers may indeed be second-raters compared to the three gentlemen mentioned above, but they have come up with first-rate solutions.
*
Naregatsi's solution paraphrased: “If you want to understand the source of your problems, look within, examine your conscience, analyze yourself.” It follows, the blame-game of our Turcocentric ghazetajis and speechifiers is a sham if only because after a century of verbiage and venom, it has failed to resurrect a single victim or annex a single square inch of soil. But even if some day in the near or distant future we are successful in getting an apology, a billion dollars, and our historic lands, problems like corruption and incompetence in high places, and such iniquities as destitution, prostitution, alienation, and assimilation will not go away.
*
The solution of writers from Yeghishé (5th century AD) to Charents (20th century) paraphrased: “Where dividers enter, death follows.”
*
If I repeat myself it may be because sometimes with the deaf I don't have a choice. If on the other hand, you say “Naregatsi, Yeghishé, and Charents are dead men and their solutions are as defunct as they are. We need new thinking, we need creative brains.” I say, if by new solutions you mean verbal formulas like abracadabra, you will never find them. And if by creative thinking you mean a messiah, you are barking up the wrong tree because no one in his right mind will volunteer to be crucified by brainless dupes.
#
Friday, May 15, 2009
*******************************
OUTSIDERS
**************************************************
What has been the influence of Armenian literature on Armenian history?
That's an easy question with an obvious answer:
Nothing, zero, nada, nil, vochinch.
What has been the influence of Socrates on Greek history?
Same answer.
Socrates influenced only other philosophers and no one else. After Socrates, Greek history went into a steady decline never to recover its former glory.
What has been the influence of Christianity on the West?
The destruction of classical cultures, the introduction of dogmatism, intolerance, the Dark Ages, twenty centuries of internecine wars and slaughter, the Crusades, persecution of heretics, the Inquisition, and more recently, televangelists and a child-molesting clergy – that is to say, moral bankruptcy.
Christianity may have influenced artists like Michelangelo, thinkers like St. Thomas Aquinas, composers like J.S. Bach, and poets like Dante, but not kings, politicians, and in general those in charge of human affairs, who went about their business as if Christ had never been born.
What am I driving at?
Oh! nothing much. Only this: men are swine who have no use for common sense and decency. Keep that in mind and you will have no more unanswered questions.
Why do I go on writing?
Habit. Also to let our charlatans know that there is at least one Armenian who refuses to be their dupe, whatever the hell that's worth...probably no more than a second's insomnia.
#
Saturday, May 16, 2009
*******************************
A LITANY OF LIES
**************************************************
“Because we were a small Christian island in a vast Muslim sea” -- I am now paraphrasing our party line -- “we were set upon and victimized by a wide assortment of imperialist barbarians on the warpath.”
In other words, we are without blame. It's the fault of our geography and religious faith.
Rubbish!
To begin with, in the Middle Ages, Armenians were the most highly paid mercenaries in the region. Some of the most ruthless emperors and generals in the Byzantine Empire were of Armenian descent. We were at no time an “island” since Georgia to the north was also Christian. Furthermore, throughout our historic existence, we have served our masters, be they Christian, pagan, atheist, Muslim, fascist, and Bolshevik, with greater zeal than we have defended our own interests. Or, as Raffi puts it: “Whenever we have been invaded by Persian, Greek, Arab, Seljuk, or Mongol armies, these armies have advanced under the leadership of an Armenian. Armenians have always fought side by side with the enemy against their own people.” Elsewhere, “Where Armenian blood flows, look for an Armenian hatchet.”
Why these distortions and lies?
Because everybody does it.
Americans and Turks may not speak the same language but they share the same grammar – that of power. Where would America be today without its systematic extermination of the natives and the cheap labor of slaves who died by the million while being transported from Africa?
Here is how Nigoghos Sarafian sums up our past: “Our history is a litany of lamentation, anxiety, horror, and massacre. Also deception and abysmal naiveté mixed with the smoke of incense and the sound of sacred chants.”
#
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Old 20.05.2009, 19:10   #110
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Sunday, May 17, 2009
*******************************
UNTITLED
**************************************************
Einstein didn't believe in God and when he said so publicly he received death threats. This may lead one to suspect that love of God can make a killer out of a law-abiding citizen.
*
I was brought up as a devout Catholic and when I first met an atheist I was sure he wasn't what he pretended to be because if he were he would be a dangerous madman, which he wasn't.
*
Both Napoleon and Dostoevsky thought belief in God is necessary for the people because if God didn't exist “everything would be permissible” (Dostoevsky) and “the poor would butcher the rich” (Napoleon), which of course is nonsense because Napoleon ruled with the help of a mighty police force, and what sent Dostoevsky to Siberia for five years was not God but the Czar.
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God must exist because something (in this case the universe) cannot come out of nothing. But that doesn't answer the question whether or not God cares to get involved in human affairs, because so far He has behaved like an absentee landlord. What kind of loving Father would allow the rape and murder of an innocent child?
*
We are told we cannot understand God because His mind works in mysterious ways. If so, then there isn't much we can do except to say “of the gods we know nothing” (Socrates) and go about our business as if He didn't give a damn.
*
Some of my readers may not be aware of the fact that there can be such a thing as an atheist religion. Buddhism, for instance, as popular in the East as Christianity in the West, is an atheist religion. I also suspect there are many Christians out there who are not aware of the fact that a good Christian can also be an atheist (Tolstoy was one).
#
Monday, May 18, 2009
*******************************
OPPRESSORS
**************************************************
We have survived our oppressors only at the cost of becoming our own oppressors.
*
“The Kingdom of God is within you,” we are told by the Scriptures. So is the kingdom of knowledge, according to Socrates, and by knowledge he did not mean such things as the capital of Egypt or the distance between Sparta and Troy (which is information) but the ability to tell right from wrong.
*
“Let us reason together,” we are also told by the Scriptures. But so far we have consistently preferred to “unreason” against one another. What am I driving at? Nothing much. Only this: the blame-game is for idiots.
*
Because I like to quote Socrates and the Scriptures (“A house divided against itself cannot stand,” “Where there is no vision the people perish”) I am told I hate myself. If true, I suppose something similar could be said of Socrates and Jesus. In his APOLOGIA, Plato tells us Socrates almost challenged, not to say provoked, the Athenian jury to condemn him to death. And Jesus knew what Judas was up to but did nothing to stop him. Does that mean their executioners were not idiots?
#
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
*******************************
DEMOCRACY
**************************************************
On the radio, three professors of philosophy arguing about democracy. Where philosophers disagree, lawyers enter; and where lawyers enter, big money casts the deciding vote. Hence boom-and-bust capitalism in America, and kleptocracy in Armenia.
*
Spengler on democracy:
“A small number of superior heads, whose names are very likely not the best known, settle everything, while below them are the great mass of second-rate politicians selected through a provincially-conceived franchise to keep alive the illusion of popular self-determination.”
*
I once asked the son of our local mayor if he plans to go into politics. “It's not up to me,” he replied. “It's up to the people on King Street.” (Our King Street is the equivalent of Wall Street in New York.)
*
Since I can't hang them, I write about them.
*
If you have enough money for bread and books, making more of it is a waste of time.
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To be a man of faith means to reject all evidence to the contrary regardless of its merits.
*
In our belief systems we resemble parrots, and in our defense of these belief systems, we behave more like cannibals.
#
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
*******************************
CONSENSUS
**************************************************
We will promote ourselves from tribalism to nationalism, and from nationalism to multiculturalism – because whether we like it or not we not only live in a multicultural world but we are ourselves multicultural – on the day our “betters” adopt the mantra “the principle of solidarity is not negotiable,” which translated into dollars and cents means, consensus is more important than dead-end discord and strife, and consensus does not mean agreement on all points but only agreement to advance in the same direction.
*
I have never met an anti-Semite who was not as bad as his distorted image of Jews.
*
I am more than suspicious of all claims of moral superiority, especially of the self-assessed kind, which is always symptomatic of moral inferiority.
*
My question is: Why is it that some Armenians who have been fully aware of corrupt practices in the Homeland from day one are heard from only when they are personally stung by them? Don't they know that by keeping silent they actively legitimize the very same system whose victims they now claim to be? What about the countless other victims, who cannot afford lawyers, are in no position to make headlines, and whose sole alternatives are either emigration or prostitution?
#
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Old 23.05.2009, 18:18   #111
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Thursday, May 21, 2009
*******************************
IDIOTS
**************************************************
On child-molesting priests, the official defense of the Catholic Church goes something like this: Sexual molestation of defenseless children is not a crime but a sin that required repentance followed by forgiveness and renewal. The degradation and damage to the child is not taken into consideration because less relevant or real than the sin of the priest. Leave it to theologians and lawyers to explain and justify criminal conduct.
*
When we speak of the blunders and crimes of the Vatican, one of the first instances that comes to mind is the persecution of Galileo Galilei. It took centuries for the Vatican to admit error. It may take many more centuries for the Church to realize that covering up the “sins” of the clergy was even a bigger crime because it amounted to issuing a license for abuse.
*
The world will be a better place on the day theologians concentrate their efforts in exposing the shortcomings of their own belief systems as opposed to asserting moral and intellectual superiority with arguments that convince no one but themselves and their dupes.
*
If the Pope doubts his faith seven times every day, as Italians are fond of saying, let him say so if only because in matters of faith doubt is more civilized than certainty.
*
And if God is infallible, why did He create an imperfect world in which man's inhumanity to man is a constant and war and massacre are routine occurrences? To those who say wars and massacres are men's doing, not God's, because God has given men free will that allows them to choose between good and evil; I say, the free will argument may apply to the victimizer, not the victim. Given the choice, who would freely choose to be the victim of self-righteous idiots?
#
Friday, May 22, 2009
*******************************
WHAT I BELIEVE
**************************************************
I believe God is not who we think He is, and when we speak in His name, we lie.
I believe with Socrates that “of the gods we know nothing.”
I believe with Gandhi that God is Truth provided we agree that none of us knows the truth or is in a position to grasp all of Reality, only a fraction of it.
I believe the Bible is not “the word of God,” but a search for truth, which is endless.
I believe with Tolstoy that “the Kingdom of God” is within us and to look for it in heaven or anywhere else is a waste of time.
I believe to speak of God as if He were not the Unknown and the Unknowable is to try to make comprehensible that which is incomprehensible by bringing it down to our own level.
I believe when Popes, Imams, and capitalists speak in the name of their conception of God it is impossible to tell to what extent they identify God with their own power and I believe power corrupts everything it touches.
I also believe with Socrates, Christ, and Tolstoy that poverty is the surest proof of honesty.
#
Saturday, May 23, 2009
*******************************
MAYBE
**************************************************
If no one in a position of power speaks as I do, it may be because I have nothing to defend but my fundamental human right of free speech.
*
If you think I am the bearer of bad tidings, it may be because you prefer your illusions to my reality, which may well be another illusion.
*
During the Soviet era, I remember, one of our elder statesmen wrote me an angry letter in which he said, “How dare you criticize the Homeland. Saroyan never did. You think you are better than Saroyan?” To which I could only say: “Far better men than Saroyan have been critical of the Soviets, including a good number of Soviets.” That may have been good enough to shut him up for a while but not to convince him, because shortly before he died he sent me a venomous missile.
*
We are not what we think we are. Our identity revolves around this fact and the way we fail to come to terms with it. Which amounts to saying, our identity is as intangible as the shadow of a black hat as reflected in an invisible mirror in a dark room.
*
To believe a nation's own version of its past amounts to believing a criminal's plea of not guilty.
*
If a ruthless serial killer were to write his memoirs, you can be sure of one thing: he would portray himself as a victim rather than a victimizer.
#


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Old 27.05.2009, 19:16   #112
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Sunday, May 24, 2009
*******************************
A LIE EXPOSED
**************************************************
We have been exposed to the lie that we are smart for such a long time and so often that we now believe it to be a self-evident truth.
It isn't!
Some of us may be smart in the marketplace, but when it comes to such far more important matters as defending our fundamental human rights, we might as well be just about the dumbest people on earth.
*
Our leaders are to us what the Pope is to Catholics – infallible. This is what our nationalist historians tell us and this is what, as Orthodox dupes, we believe.
*
If theology is a branch of science fiction, Armenian history is pure fiction.
*
For six hundred years we were at the mercy of Turks. The unspoken message of our Turcocentric ghazetajis today is, we still are....
*
Since I don't have any political ambitions, I refuse to say “Yes, sir!” to idiots.
#
Monday, May 25, 2009
*******************************
FREE PRESS
**************************************************
We don't have a free press. We never had one. But that's not the real scandal. The real scandal is that no one seems to care. No one seems to know that a community without a free press is a blind and deaf community. And I am not talking about the Homeland now. I am talking about the Diaspora.
Once, when an editor exposed the corrupt practices of one of our political parties, he was nearly beaten to death. The perpetrators were never caught. Which may suggest that, when it comes to silencing critics, we go about it with professional efficiency and know-how. We expect this sort of thing to happen in the Homeland where a free press is an anomaly. But not in the Diaspora, and definitely not in a democratic environment.
How do they get away with it? Easy! The very same people who are in the business of silencing dissent also keep telling us we are smart, we are progressive, we are civilized, we are freedom-loving, when in reality, we are nothing of the kind.
“You speak of corruption,” a friend, himself a writer, once said to me. “Do you have any evidence?” That's when he harbored political ambitions. Shortly thereafter he called again to say that his latest commentary had been censored and he was planning to take legal action. Did he? I don't know. But I do know that he quit writing.
About a month ago I watched a televised speech by an official from the Homeland (a former member of the Party) in which I heard a great deal of palaver about the importance of preserving our mother tongue, the bane of mixed marriages, the primacy of Etchmiadzin and so on and so forth. But not a single word on human rights. Judging by the prolonged applause, no one seemed to have noticed that.
Smart, civilized, progressive, freedom-loving?
Don't make me laugh!
#
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
*******************************
PROFILES IN COURAGE
**************************************************
Readers who know little or nothing about Armenian literature call me brave for writing as I do.
I am nothing of the kind.
Raffi (1835-1888) was brave when he said, “There is more profit in defending the interests of wolves against sheep than the other way around,” and, “The fiercest enemies of critics are those who serve tyrants.” A notorious Kurdish assassin was hired to have him silenced permanently.
Zarian (1885-1969) was brave for exposing the moral bankruptcy of the Soviet regime long before Solzhenitsyn did, returned to Yerevan, where, some say, he was murdered.
Bakounts (1899-1937) was brave when he described the regime as a “disease,” was arrested, jailed, tortured, and shot.
Shahnour (1904-1974) was brave when he said, “An Armenian's indifference for the collective good of the people is a thick, impenetrable shield which dulls and neutralizes his soul. What insufferable rottenness, especially when he is educated.”
Aramais Sahakian (b. 1936) was brave when he said “Let us learn to be human by observing animals.”
And I could go on and on...
Compared to them I am no better than a scarecrow whose words carry as much weight as an ant's fart.
As for those who insult me on the Internet, they are no better than faceless, gutless, anonymous scum.
#
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
*****************************************
WHAT I DON'T BELIEVE
************************************
After saying and repeating “All men are created equal,” Americans look down at the rest of mankind, including the majority of their fellow Americans because they happen to belong to a different race or nationality.
If Americans can deceive themselves, why can't we?
If all nationalist historians place the demands of propaganda above objectivity, why should we be the only exceptions?
Why shouldn't we say and repeat, in our failings we are like everyone else, but in every other respect we are unique, that is to say, superior?
Why shouldn't we brag about our small and ephemeral empire under Dikran the Great and call our military defeats moral victories?
If reality is against us, why shouldn't we invent a lie and repeat it until it acquires the sheen of a self-evident truth?
If we are dupes, why can't we brainwash ourselves into believing we are just about the smartest people on earth and it takes seven Jews to fool an Armenian?
As for our writers who tell us a different story, who cares what a few malcontents think?
*
I don't believe in small or harmless lies because they may lead to big and dangerous lies.
The American belief in their own invincible military might led to the disaster in Vietnam. And their belief in their superior brand of democracy may lead to more tragedies in the Middle East, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
*
I think of a childhood friend who believed in cigarette commercials, became a chain-smoker, and is now dying of terminal cancer.
*
A headline in one of our weeklies today reads: “Armenian police vow to end attacks on journalists.” To which I can only say, “If you believe that, you will believe anything!”
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Old 30.05.2009, 17:54   #113
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Thursday, May 28, 2009
*****************************************
ALAS!
************************************
You want to be a benefactor? Making a million or a billion is the easy part. What's hard is the realization that all they want is your money, and when they look at you they don't see a face but a dollar sign.
You want to be a boss or bishop? Nothing to it. You start by saying “Yes, sir!” to the idiots who are ahead of you and the chances are you will have no trouble filling vacancies all the way to the top.
You want to be a writer? You have two options: (one) to write what they want to read, and (two) to write what you think. If you choose the first option, they may do you the favor of printing you; if the second, you may be free to live in the gulag of your choice.
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Literature: a field of human endeavor in which even the Turks are ahead of us.
*
Journalism: ditto, alas!
*
In a letter to the editor in our local paper today I read the following: “The general public, poorly educated for the most part and in many cases barely literate, is bamboozled by the media and lulled by game shows and sports extravaganzas.”
Replace “games” and “sports” with “atrocities” and “massacres” and you will have a fairly honest and objective assessment of our situation, alas!
#
Friday, May 29, 2009
*****************************************
ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM
AND PRO-MESSIANISM
************************************
On more than one occasion I have been attacked and insulted by readers on the grounds that so far I have failed to come up with the right verbal formula that will save the nation, as if such a formula ever existed in some yet undiscovered dimension and it was up to me to fetch it. Illusions, like fools, come in all sizes and shapes. There are still Russians today who believe in Stalin's propaganda line and call Solzhenitsyn a traitor, as there are Germans who are for Hitler and against Thomas Mann, who exposed Hitler's charlatanism. Fascism is not dead in Italy, neither is Maoism in China.
The ancients may not have known much about balanced diets but they knew that one way to kill a man was to condemn him to eat the same food for forty days. Hence the spectacle of dupes who after being fed the same propaganda line for a generation become living cadavers. I have yet to meet the Armenian dupe or Turcocentric ghazetaji who was not brain-dead.
Perhaps our anti-intellectualism is nothing but an extension of our pro-messianism.
And the problem with pro-messianism is that it completely ignores the fact that messiahs don't solve problems, they compound them by making unreasonable demands on us poor mortals – such as loving our enemies. The only Armenian I know who dared to speak of sympathy for the Turks was Saroyan. As for our sermonizers whose job it is to preach the message of our Savior: the less said about them better.
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Saturday, May 30, 2009
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VARIATIONS ON ABRACADABRA
************************************
At the end of his career as teacher and philosopher, Plato had every right to believe that he had been successful in solving most of mankind's problems, one of them being that rulers should also be philosophers. We know now that power and wisdom are mutually exclusive concepts and mankind prefers to be ruled not by philosophers but by philomorons.
When Marx toiled on his magnum opus in a London library writing against exploitation, did it ever occur to him that some day his ideas would be exploited by bloodthirsty barbarians who would victimize millions of innocent human beings? And to think that he was fully aware of the fact that for nearly two millennia mankind had exploited even the Word of God by reducing it to “opium" thus legitimizing the rule of the Devil.
What are ideas if not variations on abracadabra?
We like to say if it weren't for good men, mankind would be in a far worse shape. Maybe so. But what kind of consolation is that for the hungry, the sick, the dying, and the dead? Illusions are for the living and the favorite occupation of the living is to spin illusions. There you have it, a history of human thought in a single sentence.
#
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Old 03.06.2009, 19:22   #114
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Sunday, May 31, 2009
*****************************************
FUNNY BUSINESS
************************************
Almost every other day our local paper prints a letter critical of its editorial policy. By contrast, our weeklies pretend not to have a policy, or if they do, it has only two criteria: truth and excellence. I dare you not to see any humor in this.
*
At one time or another I have offended Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, dupes, fanatics, nationalists, communists, capitalists, racists, propagandists, lawyers, and chief executive officers, and by my rough estimate, several billion people. Why should I be surprised if so far I have failed to acquire the status of a best-selling author?
*
If I repeat myself it may be because no one minds repeating “I love you” to the person s/he loves. Why should you mind if I say and repeat, I hate charlatans, blood****ers, and idiots who parade as leaders of men? -- unless of course you are one of them.
*
I don't write about labels, I write about human beings and if most of them are Armenian it may be because I know them and myself better than I know the rest of mankind. I have at no time hidden the fact that in my formative years I was as big a dupe of our propaganda as those I now ridicule. You might say therefore that I attack and expose not just fools but also my former self.
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Truth sets you free only in theory. In practice it destroys an important fraction of your self. That is why it is ruthlessly shunned by most.
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Plot for a play: two characters agree to achieve perfection by exposing each other's failings, and they end up destroying themselves.
#
Monday, June 1, 2009
*****************************************
EDUCATION BY INDOCTRINATION
****************************************
Education by indoctrination should be a criminal offense. The only reason it isn't is that everybody does it and no one seems to mind.
*
There is in all of us an infantile need to believe in lies and when no one deceives us, we deceive ourselves.
*
As a child he was taught to speak the truth, and when the Turkish police came and wanted to know where was his uncle's hiding place, he said “In the well,” and he took them there.
*
When God asked Cain where was his brother Abel (as if He didn't know), Cain replied, “Am I then my brother's keeper?”
*
We are told violence in movies begets violence in life. What about intolerance in organized religions and ideologies? How many violent movies did Cain see? Was Genghis Khan influenced by John Wayne, and Napoleon by Brando?
*
The Republicans (most of them White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) are now calling the Hispanic Supreme Court nominee a “racist.” They forget that for more than a hundred years Supreme Court Justices (most of them WASPs) legitimized slavery and racism in America. These WASPs! – they sure know how to take care of their own. That may well be the secret of their success. You may now guess what is the secret of our failure.
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Question to our Turcocentric ghazetajis: “Does it ever occur to you that you may be barking up the wrong tree?”
#
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
*****************************************
SUCCESS
****************************************
Give a man the best education money can buy and a position of great responsibility and end up with an assh*le who thinks he deserves a fat bonus just for pulling his dick.
*
Some readers disagree with me not because they find my arguments defective but because they think I stand between them and their chances to achieve success.
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There is a saying in Hollywood: “Success is relative, the closer the relative, the greater the success.”
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If we think what we are told to think, are we (brain)dead or alive? And if we are alive, is our life worth living?
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When I hear someone use the word “culture” I immediately assume he means his particular brand of barbarism.
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We say Naregatsi is our Dante and Shakespeare combined, but whereas Italian and English children can quote lines from Dante and Shakespeare, I have yet to hear a single Armenian boy or girl, or adult for that matter, quote a single solitary line by Naregatsi.
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We brag about our culture but we prefer to speak about massacres, as if being massacred were a great achievement.
*
When your whole life is a big blunder, you hate like hell anyone who dares to suggest you may have made a mistake.
#
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
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DIPLOMACY 101
****************************************
The Turks know better what happened if only because they know both sides of the story, unlike us who know only our side. They have a better grasp of world history too if only because they ran an empire for six hundred years. Which means they speak a language that is accessible to other empires. All they have to say to the Americans is, “Armenians are our Indians,” and all Americans have to do is think: “What if in time of war when our very existence may well be in peril our ethnic minorities behave like the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I?” Which may also explain why the Soviets opposed all talk of Genocide recognition.
When our first foreign minister visited Ankara and mentioned the Genocide, the Turks said, “This man hates us. We can't negotiate with him.” Our president agreed and immediately replaced him. He understood that you can't call a man a murderer and a barbarian and expect him to behave like a civilized human being.
Were the Turks murderers and barbarians? Yes, of course. No doubt about that. Even the murder of a single innocent human being is an act of barbarism. But that's in civilian parlance which has nothing to do with the semantics of diplomacy.
If the Turks behaved like bloodthirsty barbarians, so did the rest of mankind before, during, and after our Tragedy. We cannot educate, reform, and persuade mankind into behaving like the civilizations they pretend to be. We can only deal with them in such a way as to defend and protect our interests. So far we have failed to do so perhaps because we are not as smart as we pretend to be.
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Old 04.06.2009, 16:33   #115
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"The Turks know better what happened if only because they know both sides of the story, unlike us who know only our side. They have a better grasp of world history too if only because they ran an empire for six hundred years. Which means they speak a language that is accessible to other empires. All they have to say to the Americans is, “Armenians are our Indians,” and all Americans have to do is think: “What if in time of war when our very existence may well be in peril our ethnic minorities behave like the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I?” Which may also explain why the Soviets opposed all talk of Genocide recognition.
When our first foreign minister visited Ankara and mentioned the Genocide, the Turks said, “This man hates us. We can't negotiate with him.” Our president agreed and immediately replaced him. He understood that you can't call a man a murderer and a barbarian and expect him to behave like a civilized human being.
Were the Turks murderers and barbarians? Yes, of course. No doubt about that. Even the murder of a single innocent human being is an act of barbarism. But that's in civilian parlance which has nothing to do with the semantics of diplomacy.
If the Turks behaved like bloodthirsty barbarians, so did the rest of mankind before, during, and after our Tragedy. We cannot educate, reform, and persuade mankind into behaving like the civilizations they pretend to be. We can only deal with them in such a way as to defend and protect our interests. So far we have failed to do so perhaps because we are not as smart as we pretend to be."
Oveall correct. But since there is no justice on this planet, all the kind and peacefull people of good will should gather together one day and massacre the bad bloodthirsty barbarians...
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Old 06.06.2009, 18:20   #116
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Thursday, June 4, 2009
*****************************************
ON PROPAGANDA AND RELATED ATROCITIES
*****************************************************************
Propagandists and their dupes are less like victimizers and victims and more like co-conspirators.
*
For every temptation to believe in a flattering lie there is a counter-urge to confront the truth no matter how unpleasant.
*
To suppress a truth does not mean to obliterate it.
*
If in crime it's cherchez la femme, in all verbal communication it's cherchez the unsaid or the covered up -- there it is, step one of deconstruction 101.
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I don't understand everything and I don't want to understand everything because I already understand enough; I also understand that there isn't one hell of a lot I can do with what I understand except to become more aware of my own powerlessness.
*
Our history makes one point very clear: in time of trouble, when we need them most, our political parties were nowhere to be seen. But in time of peace they are all over the place -- in schools, churches, community centers, and the media, speechifying, sermonizing, editorializing, organizing demonstrations, lobbying, and, above all, rewriting history in their efforts to cover up their blunders and inability to face facts and to come to grips with reality.
#
Friday, June 5, 2009
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FAITH AND IMAGINATION
****************************************
Since the ancients could not understand the solar system, in their wisdom, they invented or imagined one they could understand.
All systems of thought, all organized religions and ideologies, are efforts to reduce a complex and incomprehensible reality to our own level even if it means perverting it in the process. Hence the celebrated dictum: “Man cannot create a single worm, yet he has created ten thousand gods” -- and, one could add, for every god, ten thousand lies.
*
The human brain is a miracle more complex than a thousand computers combined. Its urge to understand and explain is as irresistible as the urge to procreate, and to procreate at all cost, even if it means procreating charlatans and dupes willing to kill and die in the name of a lie.
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God orders Abraham to butcher his son Isaac to prove his loyalty to Him. I challenge anyone to imagine a worst case of abuse of power.
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Is it possible to be honest and to speak of God or in His name? Even when Mother Teresa, that most exemplary of saints, lost her faith, she did not dare to say so openly when she was alive.
#
Saturday, June 6, 2009
*****************************************
STATUS QUO
****************************************
Solutions to problems are unwelcome where exposing past blunders is not an option. Our leadership seems to be saying, “We will consider the viability of your solutions provided you do not question our infallibility.” They ignore the obvious fact that had they been infallible we would have no problems.
*
“What would you have done in their place?” is one of those loaded questions that is raised again and again. If you say, “I would have done things differently,” they will say, “So you think you are smarter? Easy to say, harder to prove.”
What I prefer to say instead is: “Very probably I would have done what they did, with one difference: I wouldn't spend the rest of my life blaming others and pretending I am infallible even as I go about committing the same blunder over and over again.”
*
Our central problem today is a leadership that is incapable of doing what must be done because doing so would expose the past blunders of incompetent narcissists and their dupes who are infatuated with their own image.
*
What blunder am I talking about? That of dividing our greatest source of power and refusing to learn the lessons of history.
*
It takes two to tango. We have the leadership we deserve. Our tragedy, our real tragedy is centuries of hopeless subservience and the acquisition of layers upon layers of habits that spring from it, namely, our respect for authority even when this authority mimics Ottomanism and Sovietism.
*
Man's original sin is not tasting the fruit from the tree of knowledge but saying “Yes, sir!” not only to God (as Abraham did when ordered to cut his son's throat) but also to any impostor who speaks in His name.
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Old 06.06.2009, 18:22   #117
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Originally Posted by Hetanos View Post
Oveall correct. But since there is no justice on this planet, all the kind and peacefull people of good will should gather together one day and massacre the bad bloodthirsty barbarians...
but they would no longer be peaceful, yes?

in any case, i woould be the first to wish them good luck if they can swing it. / ara
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Old 09.06.2009, 16:25   #118
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but they would no longer be peaceful, yes?
they will become peacemakers just for couple of weeks
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Old 10.06.2009, 18:47   #119
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Sunday, June 7, 2009
*****************************************
LESSONS
****************************************
In his Anatolian impressions, Lord Kinross (the future biographer of Kemal) mentions meeting some elderly Turks who bragged about teaching us (Armenians) a lesson during World War I that we would never forget. One could say, it is now their turn to learn they can't get away with murder – though if it were up to me, I would be reluctant to teach them anything if only because people who cling to their ignorance will have to learn the hard way, and the longer it takes the harder the lesson is bound to be.
But then, consider the absurdity of our own situation. We are trying to teach the Turks a lesson that the mighty of this world have consistently refused to learn (hence their unpopularity, gradual disintegration and inevitable downfall) even as we go about refusing to learn a more obvious lesson, namely that a house divided against itself cannot stand (hence our status as perennial losers).
#
Monday, June 8, 2009
*****************************************
ON A NUMBER OF THINGS
****************************************
Intolerance is almost always a byproduct of a misguided idealism or a phony orthodoxy. But I am beginning to suspect that's not our problem. Our problem, our real problem, is mediocrity and its twin, opportunism.
*
We have a thousand voices supporting Genocide recognition but not a single whisper in defense of free speech.
*
Man thrives on good food, good sex, and bad ideas.
*
We speak like parrots, drink like fish, eat like pigs, fight like dragons, live in asphalt jungles, and we call ourselves civilized human beings.
*
If a better world is ever discovered in the universe, we will do to it what we did to America and its Indians.
*
Human nature continues to elude me. No matter how hard I try I cannot understand why millions of people are fascinated by individuals who hit a ball with a modified stick.
#
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
*****************************************
WITH MALICE TOWARD SOME,
WITH CHARITY FOR ALL
****************************************
My explanations are mine and no one else's. They apply only to my own brand of ignorance. If you agree with me, it may be because we share the same area of darkness. If you disagree with me, it may be because you are already in possession of your own explanations. In which case I can only warn you not to be taken in by flat-earth theories. Don't let appearances deceive you. The most obvious explanation may also be the most misleading. Remember, it is not the sun that revolves around the earth even if the Holy Scriptures (the Word of God) and the Pope of Rome said so and repeated for more than a thousand years. And if I repeat myself, it may be because I cannot reconcile myself to the fact that those who pretend to be wiser are no better than damn fools whose number one concern is not the welfare of the people but their infallibility, which is nothing but a mirage, an illusion, a figment of their imagination, and a Big Lie. We have been and continue to be at the mercy of bunglers who would rather preside over the destruction of the nation than give up even an invisible fraction of their powers and privileges.
#
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
*****************************************
THE SCUM OF THE EARTH
****************************************
If you lose a friend on account of political differences, it maybe because he wasn't a good friend to begin with. I speak from experience. I have lost several friends because in their view I was on the wrong side of a political issue and their side happened to be infallible. To them I say, “Good riddance!”
*
It is a mistake to identify patriotism with a specific regime. I have nothing against patriotism provided it is willing to expose the swine at the top. As for the kind of patriotism that sings of the eternal snows of Mt. Ararat, I can only say, “Nothing further, your Honor.”
*
Believers in one God (Christians, Muslims, Jews) should develop a consensus if they want to be believed.
*
I consider fascination with royalty a branch of zoology. The first and only thing I think when Prince Charles is mentioned is that he doesn't squeeze his own toothpaste on his toothbrush. The queen? She reminds of an aunt. As for the princesses: I am reminded of an old friend who when asked to name his favorite actor, he mentioned several familiar names. When asked to name his favorite actress, he said, “All of them!”
*
Stendhal: “All my life I have always seen what I imagined rather than reality.” There is an element of wishful thinking in all thinking. Propagandists know this and do their utmost to exploit it, and the more successful they are, the greater the distance between us and reality.
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Old 10.06.2009, 19:57   #120
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Very well said. They will become peacemakers and then will help to break that peace in every way they can.......
Lets call it not "breaking peace" but being slightly armed and very biased. Maximum what can happen afterwards: they gonna deny that anything has happened for 100 years. Then they will say that maybe something might've happened and despite the fact that there is nobody to ask they will gladly accept any eye witnesses and setup a historical commitee to find out the truth and punish the perpetrators... So far this method worked
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