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Old 09.05.2009, 18:08   #1
arabaliozian's Avatar
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Thursday, May 7, 2009
We may not have an aristocracy or an elite, but we have always had a ruling class or classes, even if more often than not they were not our real rulers but “their” puppets – and by “their” I mean our masters and oppressors, that is to say, the enemy.
We have always had dissidents too, even in our Golden Age (5th century AD), even if their word didn't carry much weight, and whenever not silenced by the likes of Talaat and Stalin, they were alienated by our “puppets” and ignored by the people.
Consider our situation today: our ruling classes have the power and the money. They control our churches, community centers, schools, and the press. They run bureaucracies. They subsidize the publication of textbooks which legitimize and promote their own version of the past that is as objective and honest as any state-sponsored version of the past taught in, say, Turkish or even American educational institutions.
What has been the contribution of our dissidents in our context? The same as that of the people – only victims.
There is an American political saying, “Let the best man win.” In our case the chances are the winner will be “the best man” only for the enemy and the worst for the rest of us. This may explain why our dissidents, very much like the people, have been and continue to be perennial losers.
Friday, May 8, 2009
A question that comes up again and again is:
“What would you have done in their place?”
One way to answer that question is by saying I am more worried about what I should be doing in my place: Should I join them in covering up their blunders and make a comfortable living, as most of my former friends and academics are doing? Or state honestly what I think, even if it means living in solitary confinement in my self-imposed gulag?
QUESTION: What if you are wrong?
ANSWER: There is always that possibility, of course. To say otherwise would be a declaration of infallibility, which, by the way, is what they imply when they blame all our misfortunes on others. Besides, I'd much rather be wrong as an honest man than right as a rascal. But assuming I am wrong: What's the harm done? I can always be corrected, insulted, silenced...and I have been -- insulted and silenced more often than corrected. But when the leadership is wrong the result may well be either a “red” or a “white” massacre, that is, alienation and assimilation in the Diaspora and exodus from the Homeland.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Sex was a taboo subject in the Ottoman Empire but the Sultan could have as many as a thousand houris in his hourihouse. As for our own mini-sultans: after leading the nation to defeat, oppression, and massacre, they dare to speechify and sermonize on patriotism to the rest of us.
How do I know my version of the story to be the only true one? I don't. But unless proven otherwise, I shall continue to assert what I understand to be an honest and objective assessment of our situation.
Am I saying anyone who disagrees with me is dishonest? No! He could also be an ignoramus.
Another word for lamentation for the sake of lamentation is self-pity, and the aim of self-pity is to invite others to pity us. If you don't believe me, listen to Zohrab: “One should confront the misfortunes of life not with despair and dejection but in the same way that one confronts the sudden arrival of an unwelcome guest – with a smiling face. We Armenians should sing and laugh more often in order to develop that degree of emotional health and intellectual balance without which we can achieve very little in this world. A nation that is given to lamentation will never amount to anything.”
And here is Zohrab again on propaganda: “My code of ethics: between the real and the imaginary, choose the real; between truth and falsehood, choose truth, at all times, everywhere.”
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