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Old 29.05.2010, 15:44   #1
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Default Blunders

May 27, 2010
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ON BLUNDERS,
AMONG OTHER THINGS
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The number of blunders I have committed are so many that I could compile an encyclopedia on the subject. It is true that so far I have not started a revolution, declared a war, or ordered a massacre of civilians, but that's because I was never in a position to do so.
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Several readers have pointed out that my testimony cannot be relied on because as a neglected or ignored writer I am a traumatized witness. I am more than willing to plead guilty as charged. But if these very same readers imply that six centuries of Ottoman oppression followed by massacres and dispersion have not traumatized us, they deceive themselves. Either that or they have been so thoroughly dehumanized that it doesn't even occur to them that they may be in denial.
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From zero to hero is a possibility; from zero to zero is a probability.
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Is it conceivable that the only thing we have learned from our Ottoman and Bolshevik experiences is intolerance?
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There is more than one way to assert one's superior brand of patriotism, but going down into the gutter is not one of them.
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We analyze Turks as if our aim in life were to improve them, and we avoid analyzing ourselves on the grounds that one should not fix what ain't broken. Why else would our dime-a-dozen Turcocentric ghazetajis spend more time exposing foreign misconduct and ignoring our own?
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If you lie down with a dog you may get up with fleas, it is said. Likewise, if you lie down with an Armenian you may get up with a Turk.
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May 28, 2010
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ART FOR ART'S SAKE
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Since far better men than myself have written about our problems without any tangible results, what I write should be classified under art for art's sake, or entertainment, or even a waste of time.
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To those who say, “Tell us something we don't know,” I say: “Nothing that is true is ever new” (Shaw). And to those who say, “You don't know how to write,” I say: “That may or may not be true because more often than not what I do is paraphrase or quote readers like you or better men than myself.”
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It's astonishing how many decent people allow their paycheck to dictate their code of ethics and to ignore the fact that "grub first then ethics" is no ethics.
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Sometimes a man reveals himself less by what he says and more by what he does not say.
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Man is unpredictable even to himself.
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Intellectuals may be divided into two categories: defenders of the status quo (or, in the words of a French philosopher, "guard dogs") and dissidents. It goes without saying that the guard dogs enjoy the full support of those in power, and the dissidents are ostracized, alienated, and, whenever possible, silenced, starved, poisoned, or shot.
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Was Naregatsi a guard dog or a dissident? Hard to say. He was quintessentially non-political. He concentrated on himself as a sinner. He blamed no one but his own evil inclinations. If he were a contemporary and if he took it upon himself to write about our genocide, my guess is he wouldn't even mention the Turks. He would say what a born-again, Bible-thumping, fundamentalist Armenian friend of mine in his 80s once said to me: "Armenians were massacred because they were evil and they deserved to be punished by God."
To which I can only say: “What about the perpetrators? Where they morally superior? If not, why were they not punished?”
But since theologians have an answer for everything, they would say, “God's ways are not our ways.”
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May 29, 2010
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READING SPENGLER AND TOYNBEE
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We have many poets but not a single philosopher.
As a result, we may know how we feel but we don't know why.
We have many historians but not a single meta-historian or philosopher of history. As a result, we may know what happened but we don't know what were the forces that brought about the catastrophe.
Which may also explain why successive American administrations, after promising to recognize our genocide, refuse to do so.
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We know we are divided but we don't know why because the reasons may be buried in our subconscious.
Listen to two metahistorians and their tentative explanations:
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Oswald Spengler: “Real historical vision belongs to the domain of significances in which the crucial words are not 'correct' and 'erroneous' but 'deep' and 'shallow.'”
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“Vision is to be carefully distinguished from seeing.”
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“All genuine historical work is philosophy, unless it is mere ant-industry.”
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Arnold Toynbee: “The penalty that conflicting wills bring upon themselves by frustrating one another is thus not merely their own dethronement; it is the re-enthronement of the Subconscious Psyche.”
In other words, when unreason (or the subconscious) replaces reason, the consequences can be not only catastrophic but also incomprehensible. It follows, our so-called survival may not be what we think it is but the death of a thousand cuts, all of them self-inflicted.
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