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Old 11.11.2009, 19:22   #1
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Sunday, November 8, 2009
They don't brag about their culture
and they have a Nobel-Prize winner.
We brag about ours,
and what have we got?
Ask an Armenian to name a contemporary Armenian writer
and he will give you a dirty “Who-gives-a-damn?” look.
Will Safire (may he rest in peace) once said
Germans have a tendency “to look the other way
when moral values are threatened.”
Ask an Armenian
what a moral value is
and the chances are he will give you
a “What-the-hell-is-that?” look.
Ask him what a human right is
and he will give you a hostile “Don't-waste-my-time” look.
Ask him if we are civilized, progressive, and smart
and he will reply
“Of course we are!” with a look that says
“How dare you ask such a dumb question, you fool?”
After centuries of life under sultans and commissars,
we might as well be blind
to moral, aesthetic, and democratic values.
No use blaming others.
The fault is in us or rather
in our mini-sultans and neo-commissars.
All nationalists lie
when they speak about themselves
and their enemies.
“For a fool he sure is smart!” I used to think,
until I realized he was not the fool,
I was.
Monday, November 9, 2009
If a man marries seven times
it only means one thing:
he is a poor judge of feminine flesh.
Likewise, if a nation has been subservient
to alien tyrants for a thousand years,
it only means one thing:
its unspoken motto is not
“freedom or death”
but “survival at all cost.”
Instead of raising our children
to brag about our survival,
we should teach them honesty.
And since we don't have an Armenian word for honesty,
we should invent one.
The alternative is rewriting history
and engaging in double-talk.
No one likes liars.
Even liars prefer to deal with honest men.
We are divided because both sides
are too busy covering up their lies
to be honest with themselves,
their counterparts, and the people.
For an adult to believe in Santa is bad enough,
but what is infinitely worse
is to be an habitual and compulsive liar
and to brag about one's honesty and love of truth.
Question: Do you believe what the Turks did to the Armenians in 1915 was genocide?
Answer: I do.
Q: Do you believe it was a deliberately adopted and systematically implemented policy by the Turkish government?
A: No doubt about that. It was planned and executed in cold blood. The evidence -- the testimony of survivors, eyewitness accounts, historians who have studied the record, not all of them Armenian, some of them Turkish -- is overwhelming. Besides, no nation in the history of mankind has ever fabricated a genocide and believed in it for nearly a century.
Q: Do you know or have you ever met a survivor?
A: I grew up in a ghetto near Athens, Greece, populated by several thousand survivors. Most of them were not educated or literate. They didn't like to reminisce. Besides, they were engaged in the serious business of surviving World War II, the German occupation, blockade by the Allies, the Greek Civil War... The poverty was appalling. The housing a disaster area -- as bad as the worst slums in South America and India.
Q: Some say the so-called deportations were flight from the violence – true or false?
A: My father was a teenager in 1915 and he was lucky in that a friend of the family, a Turkish cop, warned the family of the coming deportations. He was able to flee the violence but only with the shirt on his back. My mother was only a tiny baby who ended up in an orphanage in Lebanon run by Catholic nuns.
Q: Do you think the Armenian genocide has had any impact on the world?
A: None whatever! There have been more genocides in the last century than at any other time in the history of mankind.
Q: In your opinion, what is the most important thing you have heard concerning the genocide?
A: The unimaginable cruelty of the sadistic criminals – and they were criminals – who carried out the deportations.
Q: Do you believe that the deportations and marches of Armenians in 1915 were deliberately designed by the Turkish government to lead to the death of the deportees, or do you believe that it was unintentional?
A: It was deliberate and intentional – no doubt about that. The only explanation I have is that, the Turks were convinced they were fighting for their own survival against overwhelming enemies from without as well as from within, among them the Armenians.
Q: What do you think is the most important thing that people can learn from the Genocide?
A: Like all belief systems and ideologies, nationalism can also be abused. It was in the name of nationalism that our revolutionaries challenged the might of the Ottoman Empire, and it was in the name of nationalism that the Young Turks thought the only way to defend the integrity of their nation was to exterminate the Armenians.
Q: What are your impressions of people who say it wasn't really a genocide?
A: People can be brainwashed to believe anything. Luckily not everyone is vulnerable to being brainwashed. There is now a generation of Turkish intellectuals that no longer believe what their politicians dictate.
Q: Did your mother or anyone you know who went through the genocide ever mention concentration camps, mass burnings, starvation or massacres?
A: Both my father and mother were among the lucky ones who did not witness or experience these things – except near starvation and abominable poverty in an alien environment.
Q: What is the single most important thing you would tell someone who questions the reality of the Armenian genocide?
A: Only this: state propaganda cannot be a reliable source of information.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
With reasonable men, reason is enough.
With children, repetition has a better chance.
No one can be as dumb
as he who has been brainwashed to believe he is smart.
According to Northrop Frye, the foremost Canadian authority on the Scriptures, the aim of the Bible is to expand human consciousness.
Philosophers are more modest than prophets. They don't pretend to speak in the name of God. No one has ever declared a war or tortured a fellow human being in defense of Plato's or Schopenhauer's theories.
The day man invented God,
he let loose the equivalent of ten thousand atomic bombs.
Who thinks of God as a weapon of mass destruction?
And yet...(the saddest words in the English language, it has been said).
For writing as I do, once upon a time I would have been sliced into ribbons and fed to the dogs by the Pope's henchmen.
Believing in miracles is bad enough.
Believing that man is worthy of them is worse.
To punish the guilty, sometimes Canadians send them back to their homeland.
I can't imagine a worse punishment.
Are we worthy of our martyrs?
What about our heroes?
Do we have them?
Every house in which I have lived has been torn down by either war or real-estate developers. My alma mater is now a motel. Which is almost like saying, my childhood sweetheart is now a bordello madam.
I have been a source of disappointment to everyone I have met, including myself, and I cannot decide whether that's an asset or a liability.
Good Armenians?
One in a thousand --
and I belong with the 999.
Eduardo Galeano in his MIRRORS writes: “Those who knew Leonardo said he never embraced a woman. Yet from his hand was born the most famous portrait of all times. A woman.”
“Queen Elizabeth of England and the Sun King of France ate with their hands. When Michel de Montaigne ate in a hurry, he bit his fingers.”
When an old Indian predicted a bad winter and was asked how he can tell, he replied: “White man make big wood pile.”
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