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Old 24.10.2009, 17:45   #1
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Thursday, October 22, 2009
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A BLAME-GAME SCENARIO
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On hearing one of our elder statesmen blame our misfortunes on “chezoks” or non-partisan Armenians, I wrote a commentary in which I identified my father as a chezok and explained that he had been too honest to engage in charlatanism, too busy trying to provide for his family in time of war in an alien environment, and too unassuming to associate himself with individuals who thought of themselves as the offspring of heroes engaged in the difficult task of saving the nation.
On reading this, our elder statesman telephoned and said one reason he had said that about chezoks was that he though I was a member of the Party. Had he known I wasn't, he wouldn't have said what he said. I didn't have the heart to tell him I was not a chezok, I was anti-partisan on the grounds that I considered our revolutionaries the source of most of our misfortunes.
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Finally a new book on the Genocide in which our revolutionaries are described as “a group of teenagers and twenty-somethings,” a “vicious political clique of terrorists” and “experts in deception and distortion.” The last two quotations are by John Roy Carlson (real name Avedis Derounian), a prominent Armenian-American journalist who witnessed the assassination of Tourian in 1933 in New York and wrote a best-selling book on fascist organization in America titled UNDER COVER.
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Our historians are consistent in describing Armenians as a "historically persecuted race…an orphan nation" that has experienced "massacres, atrocities, and massive destruction" (Dadrian). What they fail to explore is, to what extent our own tribalism, lack of solidarity, and incompetent leadership -- things that have been discussed at some length by our own chroniclers, novelists, essayists, and satirists -- were a contributing factor to our perennial status as losers and victims.
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Friday, October 23, 2009
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CONSOLATION MANTRAS
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We all make mistakes.
Tomorrow is another day.
Nobody's perfect.
Let bygones be bygones.
To each his own.
Easy come, easy go.
Forget about it.
This too shall pass. (A favorite of sufferers from chronic constipation).
Forgive and forget.
It takes all kinds.
We all die. (Once when I said that to a friend, he said: “Yes, but people like us die every day.”)
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De Gaulle once blamed his problems on the 254 (or is it 378?) varieties of cheeses the French eat. We are better off. So far no one has blamed our problems on pilaf and shish kebab.
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Propagandists don't believe in their own propaganda.
“The Pope doubts his faith seven times every day” (Italian saying).
“Idol-makers don't believe in idols” (Chinese saying).
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Why the need for Ten Commandments? It would have been simpler to instill in us the ability to discriminate right from wrong, or God from the Devil.
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Because I refuse to recycle chauvinist crapola, I am told I hate myself. That's Armenian logic for you. I wonder, what's Ottoman logic like? I don't know, but whatever it is, it can't be worse than Armenian logic.
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Success spoils people. Failure by contrast makes them tougher and wiser. Like all rules, this one too has its exceptions, namely, Armenians.
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One of my favorite lines in fiction: “And then something very unexpected happened.”
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Armenians don't mind long sermons against sin and longer speeches on patriotism. But when it comes to reading, they have a very short attention span. That's one reason why I write short sentences.
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Most people fail because they try to excel in someone else's field.
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Saturday, October 24, 2009
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KISS ME, I AM ARMENIAN
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Like love and hatred, ideologies and belief systems have a tendency to dehumanize men by reducing them to predictable clichés. That's because they create an environment wherein the men at the top behave like wolves and their followers like sheep.
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To be a leader consists in mastering the technique of flattering and manipulating.
Fools will believe anything they are told provided they are first brainwashed to believe they are too smart to be fooled.
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The Greeks brag about their past, the Yanks about their present. If you are disposed to brag, you will find something, anything, including military defeats by calling them moral victories, including being massacred by the million by calling it first genocide of the 20th century. I wouldn't be surprised if some day we hear of a jungle tribe in South America that brags about being the only tribe that believes in the divinity of ants and anacondas.
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In a world where everyone thinks he is the best, he is the chosen, he is superior to all others, our choice is either being like them or defending our humanity even if it means having more doubts than certainties.
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Though I have written a great deal about history, I am not a historian. But I can recognize a propagandist when I see one.
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We a small, peace-loving, civilized, landlocked country surrounded on all sides by warlike, bloodthirsty giants? Not quite. We were not always small and we were not always landlocked, and we were not always peace-loving.
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We are not so much a work in progress as a case of arrested development.
Kiss me, I am Armenian?
I will be grateful to my fellow countrymen if they don't kick me in the balls.
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