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Old 24.09.2008, 18:21   #1
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Sunday, September 21, 2008
About Frank Westerman's ARARAT, we read the following in THE SPECTATOR (London, August 30, 2008): “...a book of stupendous richness and complexity, a cornucopia or jumbled facts about geology, history, and since, woven into personal memoirs and travelogue that combines stories with information about religious belief, academic rivalry, portraits of fellow travellers, mountaineering history, politics, personalities and an abundance of lesser uncategorisable side-detail.” The author is described as “a clever, talented 43-year-old Dutchman of Puritan stock, [who] from his early twenties ceased to pray...and [whose] books have won important literary prizes.”
On the genesis of the book: “He first saw Ararat, the great mountain-volcano, from the Soviet side. It seemed to pull him.”
Monday, September 22, 2008
Our Turcocentric ghazetajis, international lawyers, eminent historians, and statesmen tell us we have a very strong case against the Turks, provided the necessary amount of funds is forthcoming. Deep in a dark corner of my mind however I cannot help suspecting that the nation is being victimized for the second time. Consider some of the relevant facts in the matter. Our politicians have been of no political use to us. Lawyers will be on the side of anyone who pays them for their services. No one trusts in the judgment of nationalist historians except their brainwashed dupes. As for ghazetajis, the less said about them the better. And now a question: Why is it that the only time these gentlemen develop a consensus is when they want to raise funds?
Whenever I hear talk of tradition or traditional values, I think of Winston Churchill's retort to an English admiral: “Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash.” And Mahler's dictum: “There is no such thing as tradition. There is only stupidity and genius.”
I am not pro-Turkish. Neither am I anti-Armenian. I am for human beings regardless of race, color and creed, and against hoodlums, ditto.
There are two main schools of Armenian literary criticism: the first consists in calling the writer a damn fool, and the second in stating that what he says is a lot of crap.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I call them that because they tell us where we were, where we are, and where we are heading. And I for one never get tired of rereading them.
“What kind of people are we? What kind of leadership is this? Instead of compassion, mutual contempt. Instead of reason blind instinct. Instead of common sense, fanaticism. They speak of the cross and nail us to it again as they speak.”
Poet, novelist, critic, editor.
“All our religious, political, and cultural institutions share a single aim, the survival of the nation. If the nation perishes, neither Echmiadzin nor Antelias, not even God in his heaven, can be of any help to us.”
Statesman. Last Prime Minister of the Republic of
“We Armenians are products of the tribal mentality of Turks and Kurds, and this tribal mentality remains stubbornly rooted even among our leaders and elites.”
Statesman, literary scholar, educator.
“A familiar figure in our collective existence is the prosperous and arrogant community leader who, by obstructing the path of all those who wish to reform
and improve our conditions, perpetuates a status quo whose sole aim is his own personal profit and aggrandizement.”
Athor, editor.
“The Armenian Diaspora is losing its character. Our language, our literature, and our traditions are degenerating. Even our religious leaders have abandoned their calling and turned into cunning wheeler-dealers. Our publications thrive on meaningless controversies. I see charlatanism and cheap chauvinism everywhere
but not a single trace of self-sacrifice and dedication to principles and ideals. What's happening to us? Where are we heading? Quo vadis, O Armenian people?
Author, editor, critic.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Because some Turks enjoy reading me, I am accused of anti-Armenianism; and because some Armenians enjoy reading Akcam and Pamuk, they are accused of insulting Turkishness. And this according to bureaucrats who take their marching orders from politicians, for whom honesty is a hostile concepts and truth enemy propaganda.
Praise I suspect because it makes me blind to my own failings. Criticism, even when motivated by prejudice, ignorance, or revenge, I welcome because it makes me stop and think, even if the interruption lasts no more than a fraction of a second.
A publisher once sent me a review copy of an Armenian WHO'S WHO in which the average entry on benefactors was seven times longer than the entries on writers. I did not review it. Let the benefactors review it, I thought, with their calculating machines.
Is there such a thing as a Supreme Court in Armenia? Who are the Justices? Does anyone know their names? Why is it that they never make headlines in our press? As things stand, not only are they anonymous but also invisible, and they might as well be non-existent.
There is a type of Turcocentric Armenian who judges his fellow Armenians by how much they hate Turks. To him the ideal Armenian is he whose favorite breakfast drink is neither coffee nor orange juice but Turkish blood.
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