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Old 24.05.2008, 18:14   #1
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Default shop talk

Thursday, May 22, 2008
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MORE SHOP TALK
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After the Genocide, the greatest calamity that has befallen Armenians is the Turcocentric ghazetaji who can think of Armenians only as victims of Turks. In my view, however, long before Armenians were victimized by Turks, they were victimized by their fellow Armenians, and they continue to be to this day.
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To allow only one side of the story to be told and repeated again and again for a century is another way of moronizing a nation.
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You want to play it safe? Be a dupe among dupes and a fool among fools.
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The real challenge for a writer is not to be deep or original but to deserve and earn his readers’ trust. As for depth and originality: the Bible and Plato have exhausted these branches of literary endeavor.
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T.S. Eliot: “For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”
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Friday, May 23, 2008
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FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
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Forgiveness is not something that one gives and the other takes. Forgiveness is a gift that enhances our understanding of our fellow men and our own evil impulses.
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To question the validity of an assertion is not the same as asserting its contradiction.
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In everything we write, we confess. In everything that we analyze, we analyze ourselves.
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One advantage in having a strange name is that telemarketers have trouble pronouncing it so that you feel justified in saying “Nobody by that name here.”
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Genocide, even the death of a single innocent human being, is too important to be contaminated by propaganda. This may well explain my instinctive hostility towards our Turcocentric ghazetajis.
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Bertrand Russell: “Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.”
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William Goldman: “Life isn’t fair. It’s just fairer than death, that’s all.
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Saturday, May 24, 2008
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HISTORIANS
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Nationalism and historiography might as well be mutually exclusive concepts. What’s uppermost in the mind of a nationalist historian is the welfare of the nation even if it means the total destruction and ruin of its enemies. Nationalism reveals more about the mindset of a nationalist and less about the past. Don’t get me wrong. We can learn a great deal from nationalist historians -- a great deal except the truth. Great historians like Gibbon, Spengler, and Toynbee, who write about civilizations rather than nations, are invariably critical of their own.
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How do you go about civilizing a nation? You don’t civilize it by repeating over and over again "the first nation to accept Christianity" or "the first nation to experience genocide in the 20th century." You civilize it by detribalizing its political parties, making its institutions more responsive and accountable to the public, and its media more tolerant of criticism and dissent. That’s how you civilize a nation.
(Who says I speak of problems but not of solutions?)
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"You repeat yourself," I am told once in a while by critics. I suspect if I were to write a thousand times "We are the first nation to convert to Christianity," or "the first nation to experience genocide in the 20th century," nobody would complain. And why? Probably because both lines appear to be saying something positive about us, though I fail to see what’s positive about being massacred in the 20th or any other century for that matter.
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