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Old 25.11.2009, 19:05   #1
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Sunday, November 22, 2009
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ON INDEPENDENCE
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Simon Rodriguez is a 19th-century South-American writer and educator who could have had Armenians in mind when he wrote: “We are independent but not free. Something must be done for these poor people, who have become less free than before. Before, they had a shepherd king who did not eat them until they were dead. Now the first to show up eats them alive.”
On education: “Teach children to be curious so they learn to obey their own minds rather than obeying authorities the way the narrow-minded do, or obeying custom the way the stupid do. He who knows nothing, anyone can fool. He who has nothing, anyone can buy.”
*
ON JUSTICE
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We should speak about the Genocide less to demand justice and more to remind ourselves where we live. Justice is a noble goal but it is not always attainable.
*
YANKS
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You want to know why Americans refuse to recognize the Genocide? Read their history and their treatment of Blacks, Indians, and Latinos; or listen to their music; or watch their gangster movies in which the criminals are the heroes.
*
PIERRE BOULEZ SPEAKS
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On funerals: “It's depressing to revive a part of your life that's dead. I am not one who goes to funerals for enjoyment.”
On patriotism: “I heard too many of Petain's disgusting speeches during the Occupation to give patriotism a single thought.”
#
Monday, November 23, 2009
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ON KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
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The worst thing that can happen to a nation is for its brainless(*) to assume they are the brains of the people.
*
First they assumed to be smart – which was a serious blunder.
Then they assumed to know better – another serious blunder.
And now they spend most of their time and energy covering up both blunders – which is the greatest blunder of all, because it keeps them so busy that they don't have the time to identify and focus on our present problems.
*
The solution is obvious:
the first step is to admit they are not as smart as they think they are. But even if they were, that doesn't mean they are without limitations. Even the wisest men on earth don't know and understand everything.
*
To be smart or to know better does not mean to understand reality. No one can truly say he understands all of reality. The very best we can do is understand a small fraction of it.
*
When asked why things exist, all scientists and philosophers can say is, existence “is just one of those things,” which translated into dollars and cents means “we don't have a clue.” Which also means, to know a great many things does not mean to know the most important things. Or, to be the best Oriental carpet dealer in the world does not mean to know how to lead a dog to the nearest fire hydrant or to catch a cold in a flu epidemic.
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(*) Avedik Issahakian's characterization of our leadership.
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009
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GEOGRAPHY
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To those who blame our misfortunes not on our rotten leadership but on geography, consider the following passage from Eduardo Galeano's MIRRORS, which may best be described as history stripped of all propaganda.
After decapitating everyone who had taken part in the Boxer rebellion in China at the turn of the last century, we read, “Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Russia, Japan, and the United States...sliced up China as if it were a pizza, and each took ports, lands, and cities that the phantasmal Chinese dynasty bestowed upon them as concessions for periods of up to ninety-nine years.”
Closer to home, consider the case of the natives in America, Mexico, and Canada who were too busy slaughtering one another to present a united front to the handful of white men who ended up slaughtering them. Now then, tell me, what part did their geography play in their defeat and subjection?
*
Elsewhere, Galeano identified Heinrich Goering, father of the Nazi Hermann, as “one of the perpetrators of the first genocide of the 20th century.” The victims are identified as the Hereros of Namibia. The order for their annihilation, we are told, was issued and carried out in 1904. And, “Of every four Hereros, three were killed, by cannon fire or the desert sun.”
If you don't know who the Hereros are and where Namibia is, no matter. Very probably, my guess is, the Hereros, like so many Canadians I have met, don't know either who the Armenians are and where Armenia is.
#
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
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MORE FROM GALEANO
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Armenians are not mentioned in the index of Eduardo Galeano's MIRRORS but are discussed on page 300, where we read:
“The Ottoman Empire was falling to pieces and the Armenians paid the price. While the First World War thundered on, government-sponsored butchery did away with half of the Armenians in Turkey:
homes ransacked and burned,
columns of people fleeing without clothes, water, or anything else,
women raped in town squares in broad daylight,
mutilated bodies floating on the rivers.
Whoever escaped thirst or hunger or cold died by the knife or the bullet. Or the gallows. Or by smoke: in the Syrian desert, Armenians driven out of Turkey were forced into caves and suffocated with smoke, in what foreshadowed the Nazi gas chambers to come.
“Twenty years later, Hitler and his advisers were planning the invasion of Poland. Weighing the pros and cons, Hitler realized there would be protests, diplomatic outrage, loud complaints, but he was certain the noise would not last. And to prove his point, he asked:
“Who remembers the Armenians?”
*
Galeano is identified as “one of Latin America's most distinguished writers [whose] work has been translated into twenty-eight languages."
I have every reason to suspect if MIRRORS is ever translated into Turkish, this passage quoted above will be omitted. But if it isn't and the translator is an Armenian, he will be accused of insulting Turkish honor, arrested, tried, found guilty, and condemned to ninety-nine years in prison.
Lord have mercy on honest witnesses for they shall never be forgiven by crooks.
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