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Old 21.07.2010, 16:32   #1
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July 18, 2010
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SULTANISM
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Whenever I understand something I didn't understand before, I am seized by an irresistible urge to share it. I can see why this peculiarity of mine can irritate the hell out of some readers who understand everything.
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No one can be as ignorant as the man who is convinced he knows all he needs to know, and what he doesn't know is either irrelevant or not worth knowing.
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"I don't trust him.”
"Why not?”
"He is a bad man.”
"Why is he bad?”
"He thinks he is a good Armenian.”
"Can't a good Armenian be a good man?”
"Not if he feels the need to advertise it. A truly honest man does not advertise himself as such even when he is accused of dishonesty. Besides, goodness and honesty are universal concepts. They don't need a national label. To identify someone as a “good German” or a “good Turk” is to imply the rest of them are bad.”
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Great nations need big lies; small nations need bigger lies.
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In Herman Melville I come across a new word: “sultanism,” meaning the exercise of power with a touch of sadistic pleasure.
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A mediocrity will be subservient to any regime or power structure that gives him a regular salary, or a title, or a uniform, or the license to persecute better men than himself. There it is: the root of our sultanism.
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July 19, 2010
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CONFESSIONS OF AN ALIENATED ARMENIAN
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Racism consists in ascribing the crimes of the few on the entire nation or race. And because I am critical of Armenians (not all of them but a small fraction – see below) I am called a racist by functional illiterates who equate criticism with racism and dissent with treason. It follows, Stalin was right when he silenced dissenters. What's next? Heil Hitler?
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Armenians may be divided into three distinct groups: the assimilated (who no longer identify themselves as Armenian), the alienated (who stay away from Armenian affairs, community centers, churches, schools, and demonstrations -- I count myself among them), and the dupes who believe everything they are told because they are brought up to believe thinking for oneself is a capital offense bordering on treason.
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The Armenian version of the Jewish incantation “Next year in Jerusalem!” -- “Next year in Los Angeles!”
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A reasonable man does not give matches to children with the warning not to start a fire. Likewise, a reasonable God does not give free will to man with the warning not to taste the fruit from the tree of knowledge. It follows, an Almighty and All-knowing God cannot be said to be reasonable; either that or His reason is our unreason.
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When two adversaries negotiate, it is advisable that neither side engage in verbal abuse. That's one reason why I am all for friendly relations with Turks.
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If an Armenian cannot negotiate with a fellow Armenian or be reasonable with those he disagrees with, what are his chances of reaching a consensus with the Turks?
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I have a Turkish friends who believes the Armenian Genocide is a fiction of our collective imagination. And I believe Turks are dupes of their own state propaganda. That doesn't stop us from being friends. There is no rule that says friends must be carbon copies of each other. Neither is there a rule that says today's friend cannot be tomorrow's enemy and vice versa – yesterday's enemy cannot be today's friend. But there is a rule that says you can get more out of a friend than out of an enemy.
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July 20, 2010
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READING
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In an interview with Vasily Grossman's daughter, when asked, “Which of your father's works do you most admire and why?”
She replies: “GOOD WISHES – his account of the two months he spent in Armenia in late 1961. This is his kindest, most good-natured work.”
Further down we are informed that GOOD WISHES will be translated and published next year. (NEW STATESMAN. London, 21 June 2010, page 49.)
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In LE POINT (Paris: 24 June 2010, page 85), I read a glowing review of a crime novel by Nairi Nahapetian (identified as an Iranian writer) titled QUI A TUE L'AYATOLLAH KANUNI? [Who Killed Ayatollah Kanuni?]
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Here is a good subtitle for a book on the history of Armenian literature:
"From Casting Pearls Before Swine to Sticking Pins into Sacred Cows."
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Hugh Trevor-Roper in THE LAST DAYS OF HITLER:
“The competitive servility of a court is always odious;
combined with eloquent humbug, it is nauseating.”
We will grow up as a nation on the day we produce writers capable of writing such a sentence.
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“MENDOZA: I am a brigand: I live by robbing the rich.
TANNER: I am a gentleman: I live by robbing the poor.”
Shaw, MAN AND SUPERMAN (1903)
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“He knows nothing, and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.”
Shaw, MAJOR BARBARA (1907)
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July 21, 2010
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COMMENTS
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Think of the human brain as a musical instrument that is perpetually out of tune with reality; and think of faith as an illusion whose aim is to convince us it is in tune.
Hence the popularity of belief systems.
All men of faith will agree with me with only one proviso:
they will say, all faiths are indeed illusions except mine.
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In Colette I read the following exchange:
“She pays for things: she doesn't give.”
“American style?”
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Since God is incomprehensible (“His ways are not ours”) whatever you say about Him, especially if it makes perfect sense to you, is bound to be wrong.
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There must be a special place in hell for people who deceive, exploit, mislead, and sometimes even molest innocent dupes who look up to them for guidance.
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It is said that a little learning is a dangerous thing; but having met several Armenian academics, I tend to think a lot of learning can be lethal.
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I have heard some Armenians say we should forgive the Turks, but I have never heard an Armenian say we should forgive our fellow Armenians.
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