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Old 05.01.2011, 15:08   #211
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Saturday, January 1, 2011
We search for meaning in a meaningless world
and when we can't find it, we invent it
driven by the same urge that a drowning man
is said to cling to a serpent.
Life is made unbearable by ignoramuses
who make a comfortable living
by pretending to know better.
For every economist who says one thing
there will be another who says the exact opposite.
Mankind has always been at the mercy of a majority of dupes
and a minority of flim-flam artists
whose number one concern is number one.
No one has ever seen the mind of God
or the soul of man but theologians and psychologists
pretend to understand and explain both.
Socrates and Jesus did not write a single line
but ten thousand books have been written about them.
Logicians don't agree on the rules of logic
and philosophers can't explain why things exist.
Dupes of the world unite,
the light you pretend to have seen
is only the mirage of a black hat in a dark room.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
If you are paid by the line,
resist the temptation of being long-winded.
If you deal in propaganda,
be honest enough not to pretend to believe everything you say.
If you are a Turcocentric ghazetaji
or a member of the Genocide mafia
(i.e. academics whose field is massacres)
it would enhance your credibility if once or twice a year
you were to admit that not all Turks are bloodthirsty savages
and not all Armenians are civilized.
If you are a brown-noser
have the decency not to say it smells like roses.
Monday, January 3, 2011
We rewrite history for a number of reasosns, among them:
to cover up blunders;
to misrepresent military defeats as moral victories;
to prepare the nation for another war;
to play the favorite sport of nationalist historians
and their dupes – namely, the blame-game.
To project a better image of ourselves,
and since none of us is perfect,
we can all use some cosmetic surgery.
If we judge men not by their words but by their actions,
how do we judge men like, say, our activists,
who do nothing but speechify and raise funds?
Turks believe Kurds to be disguised Armenians
in the same way that Egyptians today
believe recent shark attack in the Red Sea
are the actions of Mossad agents
disguised as man-eating sharks.
Even as we say and repeat all men are brothers,
we fabricate ten thousand lies, fallacies, and misconceptions
to prove that most men are our enemies,
including our own brothers.
The secret ambition of all rulers
is to have subjects who are such simpletons that
they will believe everything they are told.
To our bosses, bishops, and benefactors,
a thinking Armenian might as well be as dangerous
as a bloodthirsty Turk with a yataghan
let loose in a crowd of unarmed giaours.
In America even criminals use the Constitution to their advantage.
Is that option available to the innocent in Armenia?
More questions:
Do we have a constitution?
And if we do, how much of it is empty verbiage –
is it 99% or 98%?
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
The world as we know it
and the life as we experience it
cannot be the beginning and end of all things.
What makes me say that is neither faith nor logic
but wishful thinking.
A gloomy view of life and death?
Maybe, but also the only one I can entertain
without running the risk of making a damn fool of myself.
The two theological assertions that make sense to me are:
“Of the gods we know nothing” (Socrates) and
“The kingdom of God is within you” (Jesus).
Ten thousand speeches and ten thousand sermons
delivered by the greatest speechifiers and sermonizers of all time
are not worth a single statement by an honest man.
How to recognize an honest man?
Both Socrates and Jesus were dirt poor
and were condemned to death by bullies
parading as political and religious leaders.
And now from the sublime to the ridiculous:
“Our political parties have been of no political use to us.
Their greatest enemy is free speech” (Zarian).
That to me is the only assertion worth making about Armenians.
The rest is propaganda.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
For a thousand years we dreamt of freedom;
and now that we are free,
we have succeeded only in turning a blessing to a curse.
And this is especially true of the Diaspora.
By emphasizing one aspect of an occurrence and ignoring another,
one can speak the truth and lie at the same time.
Loyalty for the powerful by the powerless
is the foundation of fascism.
Under fascism free speech is defined
as the right to recycle propaganda.
Patriotism does not mean supporting the leadership
or being subservient to it.
It is this very misconception that is at the root of all massacres.
Fascism may be abolished but fascists live.
Marxism in a nutshell:
There is a slave in all of us.
The capitalist is a slave to his capital
as the exploited or unemployed worker is to his poverty.
And both are slaves to dead matter.
If there is a God and He is Almighty,
I can't imagine Him to be cruel.
And yet, look at history.
God may be incomprehensible but history is not.
When I read a bad writer
I can't help thinking that either his prose is unreadable
or I suffered a stroke in my sleep.
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Old 08.01.2011, 16:19   #212
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Thursday, January 6, 2011
In a recent issue of LE POINT (Paris: December 2, 2010) I read that Mario Monicelli, one of my favoried Italian directors, has committed suicide (“by defenestration from a hospital window”) at the age of 95.
In the same issue there is talk of a contemporary Syrian poetess by the name of Maram al-Masri who has translated into French (from the Arabic) a collection of her own verse titled SOULS WITH NAKED FEET. She is identified as a social worker in the suburbs of Paris and her poems are said to be testimonies of “abused, insulted, raped, sequestered, and abandoned women.”
I have retranslated from the French two samples of her poems.
First marriage at 16.
Eight children at 27.
First divorce at 30.
Why does my dad
beat my mom?
She doesn't know
how to iron shirts.
When I grow up
I will know
how to iron shirts.
I wish we had more poets like al-Masri as opposed to the kind of vodanavorjis who produced Bolshevik-chauvinist inspired nonsense that earned Sylva Kaputikian her Stalin Prize, or the hermetic verbiage by the likes of Krikor Beledian and Garo Armenian.
“The demonization of Israel – will it ever end?” writes Bernard-Henri Levy in a commentary in the same issue. Jews, he writes, are the only people in the history of mankind who have known nothing but totalitarian and tyrannical regimes but who have freely chosen a democratic form of government from the very beginning.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Certainties driven by faith are illusions (a euphemism for lies).
It should be a crime punishable by law to say or imply,
my imam is a man of God,
but your pope is a baloney artist, or vice versa.
Plato believed in the existence of universal ideas.
Aristotle, who was his student, did not.
Schopenhauer believed Hegel to be
one of the greatest charlatans that ever lived.
Marx (who changed the political map of the world) was a Hegelian.
This may suggest, charlatans enjoy a greater degree of credibility
than honest men.
It is safe to assume that whenever a man begins a sentence with the words
“I believe,” he either deceives himself or is about to deceive others.
Othello believed Desdemona to have been unfaithful to him.
Result: after murdering her, he committed suicide.
More recently, our own revolutionaries believed
the Great Powers of the West would never allow the Ottoman authorities to massacre unarmed Armenian civilians.
So much so that at one point they even challenged the Sultan to massacre.
How could they have thought to be 100% right
when they were in fact 100% wrong?
One way to answer that question is to say that
they were blinded by faith or rather by their own b.s.
I also suspect they were not and could not have been 100% sure
because they had a Plan B for themselves.
Which may suggest that even when deceivers believe in their own lies,
there is always a residue of unspoken doubt in them.
Hence the old sayings “Idol-makers do not believe in idols,”
and “Even the Pope doubts his faith seven times a day.”
For many centuries millions of people believed kings ruled by the grace of God.
Man, we are told, has created and believed in ten thousand gods.
In a historic context, faith cannot be said to have been an asset to mankind
but the most misleading and dangerous liability.
We should teach ourselves to say,
“Because I believe it, it cannot be true.”
Instead of saying what I believe is true,
and what you believe is a lie,
we should teach ourselves to say,
“We are both dupes at the mercy of deceivers
who are themselves dupes
of their own illusions, arrogance, stupidity, and greed for power.”
We should teach ourselves to say,
“I believe that I believe but I don't believe” (Sartre),
and “The function of philosophy is to introduce doubt
where there are only certainties” (Bertrand Russell).
Finally, if you say “If all belief systems are wrong,
so must be your own unbelief.”
To which I can only reply:
“Like fire and water, faith is a good servant but a bad master.”
Friday, January 7, 2011
You have been writing for three decades now:
what have you accomplished?
Why go on then?
In the name of consistency.
The era of messiahs may be over
but they go on waiting, why?
In the name of consistency rather than hope.
Why do you keep writing about Armenians?
I don't write about Armenians,
I write against myself and dupes in general –
the world is full of them.
As I see it, our choice is between being objective about ourselves
or being exterminated by either “red” or “white”massacre
(that is, alienation and assimilation).
Anonymous: “A clear conscience is a soft pillow.”
Vahram Papazian: “To be indifferent to crime is to conspire with criminals.”
The Armenian identity
is an extension of the Armenian experience
and the Armenian experience
is a collective possession
as opposed to an individual acquisition.
None of us is in a position to assert,
“My experience is pure gold, yours counterfeit.”
Every Armenian – from the most assimilated
(who doesn’t even want to identify himself as an Armenian)
to the most dedicated chauvinist –
may be said to be the custodian
of a facet of the Armenian experience and identity.
And some day if and when we are allowed
to cross-examine assimilated Armenians,
we may discover that their alienation was a direct result
of the fact that at one time or another they were seen by
so-called authentic Armenians
as deviations from the norm.
It follows, self-assessed authentic Armenians
may well be at the very root of all our problems –
from dogmatism and intolerance
to tribalism and Ottomanism.
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Old 12.01.2011, 15:38   #213
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Saturday, January 8, 2011
The shortest book in the world:
Pragmatism always asks: What is the practical or cash value of an idea?
If nothing or negative, it may be safely ignored. Hence the official American reluctance to use the G word. The “cash” value of Armenian friendship is less than the value of Turkish loyalty in the Middle East.
Armenian academics are quintessential pragmatists. They would never write a single line against God and capital – make it, Capital and god; and when I say god, I mean of course the god of imams and bishops.
What if the first thing we say after we die is neither “I was right,” or “I was wrong,” but nothing?
We have nothing to fear from God, but everything to fear from men who speak in His name.
For a thousand years we were not allowed to shape our destiny. We know now that our so-called declaration of independence changed nothing.
Because for more than a thousand years we have been abused by alien tyrannies, we assume abuse and tyranny to be an integral part of the human condition, very much like death and taxes.
Whoever said “friends are God's apology for relatives,” knew what he was saying. Whenever I think of my relatives, I look forward to Alzheimer's.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Real education begins
after you drop out or graduate.
God is an absentee landlord.
We remind ourselves of this fact whenever we say
“Our Father, Who art in heaven.”
You may not be Samson
and she may not be Delilah
but the only thing
you will get from her for nothing
is a haircut.
Gandhi on the British in India:
“A satanic force.”
Churchill on Gandhi:
“A malignant subversive fanatic,”
“a thoroughly evil force,”
and “the most successful humbug.”
Even our betters don't always know better,
and sometimes what they pretend to know
may well be worse than ignorance.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
A headline in my morning paper reads:
“Oldest known winery unearthed in Armenia.”
We now have anoither thing to brag about:
we are the offspring of winos.
I was brought up to respect my elders and I did,
until I became an elder myself.
To speak of God amounts to translating an incomprehensible text
into a non-existent language.
To judge a religion by its scriptures
or an ideology by its political platform
is as absurd as judging a man by his intentions
as opposed to his actions.
Religions and ideologies should be judged by their history.
Every time a man speaks the truth
he makes a thousand enemies;
that’s because for every bitter truth
there are a thousand sweet lies
and as many dupes who hate to give up their illusions.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
...But it bears repeating.
A revolution in which the revolutionaries survive
but the people perish by the million.
A status quo in which the offspring
of the very same revolutionaries
now say to the offspring of the victims:
“We promise to get even with the Turks
provided we have your financial support.”
“In politics,” it has been said,
“lies are called promises.”
In the Homeland, rule by mafia.
In the Diaspora, rule by fund-raisers.
A nation of sheep
deserves wolves as leaders.
Our collective IQ is negative.
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Old 15.01.2011, 15:50   #214
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Thursday, January 13, 2011
Once, a few years ago, when i pointed out to some children what they were doing was dangerous, I heard one of them saying, “You can't tell me what to do, you are not my father.”
What a difference, I thought, between their ways and ours.
I was brought up to respect my elders even when I did not respect them, even when I sensed they were throwing their weight around -- perhaps because I didn't know – I was never taught to see the line that separates respect from subservience.
Respect is earned.
Subservience is imposed by the powerful over the weak, or by bullies over cowards.
In the early chapters of memoirs by Jewish celebrities in America mention is invariably made of bullies who insulted, humiliated, and beat them up on the grounds that they were the offspring of Christ-killers.
I spent my childhood in an Armenian ghetto in Greece and I too was beaten up by bullies – not Greek bullies but Armenian bullies.
When I grew up I dismissed and forgot these painful early experiences because I was taught to believe Armenians were civilized, compassionate, and innocent victims of bloodthirsty barbarians. I even wrote a dozen books recycling this propaganda line.
I know now that we are not what we pretend to be.
I also know now why Zarian said, “Our political parties have been of no political use to us, their greatest enemy is free speech.”
Free speech is our enemy because it threatens to expose our “betters” as bullies and ourselves as cowards.
The truth is, we have been abused and intimidated into subservience for such a long time by alien bullies that we assume intimidation and subservience to be an integral part of the human condition.
If I have said this before, it bears repeating.
Friday, January 14, 2011
There was a time when I wrote nothing but fiction.
That's when I worked in factories, department stores,
and insurance companies and came into contact
with a rich variety of characters.
It was at the head office of a large insurance company
that I met and worked with a foul-mouthed young divorcee
who was fond of delivering lines like
“Let me sit in your lap and we'll talk about the first thing that comes up.”
She inspired me to write a novella titled SEMIRAMIS
which was accepted for publication in an American periodical
but never saw the light of day
because the periodical went out of business.
When I sent it to a literary agent in New York,
I received a letter that said in effect:
“The story you have submitted is better suited
for university periodicals with which we don't deal.”
Later when I submitted it to ARARAT,
a literary quarterly published in New York,
the editor rejected it with a single line that stated
“We don't publish pornography.”
All this happened decades ago
and I lost track of my real-life Semiramis.
As for the editor, he died three years ago,
may the Good lord have mercy on his soul.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
A headline in this morning's paper reads:
“Tunisian president flees amid rioting.”
That will never happen in Armenia for two reasons:
old men, women, and children don't riot;
like Turks, the Russians will exterminate the people
before they even consider submitting to their will.
A writer conducts a war on three fronts:
against the prejudices of the ignorant and brainwashed masses;
against the diabolical cunning of the competition;
and against the ruthless intolerance of those in power.
Any day now I expect a new translation of the Old Testament
to have a footnote identifying the Serpent in the Garden in GENESIS
as a Mossad agent.
One of the worst mistakes an Armenian can make
is to confuse Turkish venom with Armenian voki.
Men of reason may compromise and reach a consensus.
Reason has at no time played a central role in Armenian affairs.
Prejudices are stonewalls erected to obstruct the path of reason.
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Old 19.01.2011, 15:33   #215
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Sunday, January 16, 2011
Don't believe everything you read in the papers or books -- including holy scriptures. Likewise, don't believe everything you are told by men who pretend to know better including so-called experts because for every expert there will be another who will say the exact opposite.
There is patriotism and there is voodoo patriotism.
Voodoo patriotism may be defined as the fallacy that says “My country, right or wrong,” which is not patriotism but fascism, and fascism is not based on political science (an oxymoron if there ever was one) but on voodoo.
We wallow in superstitions of all kinds and call it science or faith. That's because mankind has not yet emerged from its primitive state and finds voodoo more accessible and flattering to its powers of comprehension than science, which is based on verifiable facts reached by objective judgment.
When two experts in the same field contradict each other and make no effort to compromise and reach a consensus, laymen may be justified in concluding they are both engaged in voodoo.
There is a strong element of voodoo in all organized religions.
The epidemic of child-molesting priests is an extension of the superstitious belief that as men of God, clergymen can do no wrong.
When capitalists and communists disagree and make no effort to compromise and reach a consensus, it is safe to assume their economic theories are more voodoo than science.
All organized religions believe all other religions to be voodoo and they are all right.
Our present economic malaise is a result not of real economic theories but of voodoo economics.
The objective and irrefutable truth is, imams, popes, and rabbis care more about their own powers and privileges than about God, perhaps because deep down somewhere they know God to be beyond their or anyone else's reach.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Reading Thomas Mann's DIARY 1918-1939.
His observations on his fellow Germans could also apply to us.
“The German desire for legend and for myth, which runs counter to truth and counter to intellectual honesty.”
“The German spirit wallows in the manure of myth.”
“The Germans' hatred of truth.”
“We no longer have real history, but only mock semblances and degenerate epilogues, counterfeit history.”
“...hatred for common sense and progress.”
His comment on C.G. Jung applies to our own academics:
“He is an example of the irresistible tendency of people's thinking to bend itself to the times. He swims with the current. He is intelligent, but not admirable.”
“Charming young chaps” are as ubiquitous in Mann's diary as little girls in Nabokov's novels.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
More Quotations from
Thomas Mann's DIARY 1918-1939.
On Beethoven's MISSA SOLEMNIS:
“Great beauty of the Sanctus; the rest inaccessible.”
On Peguy:
“A spiritual forerunner of fascism.”
On Christianity:
“An abject and servile religion of the lowly.”
On a novel by Sinclair Lewis:
"Too horribly true to life and therefore very powerful.”
On Spengler:
“A hyena of history.”
On “an ugly anonymous” letter:
“The vile depths to which the world will perhaps descend...”
Only one very brief reference to Hegel, and three references to Verdi's REQUIEM (“great music”).
Ten thousand biblical miracles don't impress me as much as the existence of the universe does.
Since theologians have so far (after two millennia) failed to reach a consensus,
it is safe to assume that only God is qualified to speak about God.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
There is only one issue about which we are not divided: Turks.
We see them as bloodthirsty barbarians,
they see themselves as avenging angels.
Who is right?
Our revolutionaries see themselves as heroes,
Zarian saw them as useless cowards who are afraid of free speech.
What a book one could write on the dangers of self-assessment!
If we judge Christians or Muslims by their holy scriptures and sermons,
they stand for love, tolerance and compassion.
And yet, there is more intolerance and hatred in their history.
Love and hatred come from a deeper place than commandments and scriptures. One does not have to be a psychoanalyst or a philosopher to see that
“white man speaks with a forked tongue,”
and sermons only “add hypocrisy to our previous list vices” (Bertrand Russell).
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Old 22.01.2011, 15:45   #216
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Thursday, January 20, 2011
Some of the most progressive and civilized democracies in the West
share the same problem in common:
corruption in high places.
But if we are to believe our Turcocentric ghazetajis,
Turks are our only problem – a problem
they think they can solve by barking at them – a solution
that after one hundred years
has not generated a single red cent or a single inch of soil.
Insults are my most reliable source of inspiration.
Anger is my favorite muse.
Imagine a blind man trying to enlighten an audience with 20/20 vision:
that's what it feels like writing for Armenians.
The central concern of our leadership is not to lead
but to shield their fraction of the community from reality.
Born and raised as a subservient underdog,
I don't have any sympathy or respect for top dogs or leaders.
To me they are no better than white trash.
Dealing with them is almost like experiencing
what it must have been like living in the USSR and the Ottoman Empire.
I've had it with diplomatic double-talk.
Since I have nothing,
what can I possibly lose?
More lines from Mann's DIARY:
“Read Brecht with increasing distaste.”
“Young American men not particularly appealing.”
“Impotent hatred must not consume me.”
Friday, January 21, 2011
Where money enters, temptation is sure to follow;
and where there is temptation, sooner or later someone is sure to give in to it;
and when someone gives in, others are sure to follow.
This is as true of financial institution on Wall Street as of the Vatican.
I would like to be part of a movement
in which not only money does not change hands,
but also money-changers are unceremoniously driven out.
Claims of uniqueness are suspect
because they are invariably made to advertise assets,
and where assets are advertised, liabilities are sure to be covered up.
Never underestimate the ruthless cunning of top dogs.
What makes them who they are is not love of truth
but a propensity to lie and deceive.
Intolerance of dissent means tolerance of lies.
Where there is no free speech,
speech will contaminated with lies.
Where there is freedom to lie,
there will be no freedom to speak the truth.
More lines from Mann's DIARY:
“Some music. Charmed by pieces by Rossini and Chopin.”
“The blindness of these people [Germans] is monstrous.”
“The fifteen or sixteen capitalist arch-villains in the world who call the tune.”
In a 1939 entry: “Einstein visited.”
Not a word on what was said. Was it small talk? Somehow I have trouble imagining Mann and Einstein engaged in nothing but small talk at a time when the world was on the brink of another war.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
How to recognize a killer?
If he speaks like a commissar, he qualifies.
How to recognize a Turcocentric ghazetaji?
If he quotes Talaat and Hitler more often than Naregatsi and Hitler,
he is one.
Whenever I am accused of negativity, I am tempted to ask:
Are you a fund-raiser?
Do you have political ambitions?
If no, who brainwashed you?
Our problem is not (in Donald Rumsfeld's words)
“known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns,”
but “knowns” whose existence we refuse to acknowledge.
If Armenia had been an American-style democracy,
immediately after the Genocide there would have been hearings
in search for answers to the question:
What went wrong?
Who miscalculated?
Who, beside Talaat, must be held responsible?
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Old 26.01.2011, 15:37   #217
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Sunday, January 23, 2011
Speaking of one of our political bosses,
a friend – himself a poet – once said to him:
“He is a good man, a man we can trust.”
“I trust no one in politics,” I said.
“You don't know him as I do.
He loves literature and he respects writers.
He once told me poets are engineers of the soul.”
“He never said that,” I said.
“He said it to me.”
“He was quoting Stalin.”
We are a nation whose defenders of the faith
are themselves ignorant infidels.
Worth repeating and remembering:
Don't believe everything you read or you are told.
Everyone has an ax to grind – an ax aimed at your neck.
Never identify a regime, any regime, or power structure
with the Homeland.
Most of our disagreements and controversies
are rooted in two propaganda lines
which we have swallowed hook, line, and sinker.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Nothing comes more naturally to an Armenian bully than to assume, as a superpatriot he speaks in defense of the eternal snows of Mount Ararat.
“All you do is write,” such a specimen once told me.
To which I could only say:
“And what else have you been doing beside pulling your dick?”
I should write a book on the art of making enemies for life.
Armenians are smart?
A really smart person does not need to be told he is smart;
and the surest way to flatter the vanity of an imbecile
is to tell him he has the IQ of a genius.
“Among ten men nine are sure to be women,” Turks say.
This may explain why they relied on infidel boys
to do their fighting for them.
This may also explain why slaughtering defenseless women, children, and old men came naturally to them.
They say “Live and let live, that's my philosophy -- not that's my favorite cliché, platitude, or slogan, but philosophy.
In a democracy everyone is a philosopher.
Not a philomoron but a philosopher.
Nobody ever says “I believe in God, that's my theology,”
or “Smoking causes cancer, that's my oncology.”
An Armenian born in Iran and educated in Yerevan
became an instant celebrity last week.
He was in all the papers, on radio, and TV.
He killed a cop for no apparent reason.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
The “I” must be the most irrelevant part of our being.
We are born without it and we lose it when we die.
If only popes, imams, and rabbis were honest enough to admit
they don't deal in verifiable facts
but in unverifiable assumptions and theories
all of which may be open to error.
Or, like Socrates, to be modest enough to say,
“Of the gods we know nothing.”
As children we are taught to believe obedience to authority is a virtue.
As adults we learn that subservience to scum is an inevitable fact of life
that we challenge at our peril.
One positive aspect of computers is that
it makes inaccessible people accessible.
An Armenian will demand your agreement (meaning subservience)
even when he contradicts himself.
Anonymous: "It is easy to lust for fame,
much harder to achieve greatness."
Ideological truths become lies
when they justify violations of human rights,
the first of which is always freedom of speech.
Where there is censorship of ideas
there will be censorship of lives.
Next time you promote censorship,
ask yourself this question:
"Do I really want to legitimize murder
in the name of God and Country?"
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The work of an honest writer
tells the story of a liberation from the tyranny of fear,
the limitations of ignorance,
and the oppression of prejudice.
The aim of all propaganda is to legitimize prejudice
by means of such lies as “superior race,”
“the Chosen People,” and closer to home,
“first nation this, first nation that, “ -- lies
whose ultimate aim is to convince dupes
they are in the best of hands
and they never had it so good.
Even the most liberal and democratic power structures
will speak the truth only if it is in their own interest.
But since self-interest is a big lie,
and since truth and lies are mutually exclusive concepts,
it follows: even when nations speak the truth, they lie.
Either that or they use one truth to cover up many lies.
Where was God before the Big Bang?
The only possible answer:
in a dimension that is beyond
the time-space continuum – such as
the dimension of dreams, music, and mystical visions;
or the realm of Platonic ideas,
“the Kingdom of God” within us,
or the “satori” of Zen Buddhism.
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Old 29.01.2011, 15:35   #218
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Thursday, January 27, 2011
All our organizations (be they political, cultural, or religious)
have a HUAC (House Un-Armenian Activities Committee)
and a McCarthy of their own whose job it is
to separate the sheep from the goats,
the (brain)washed from the unwashed,
the dupes from those who can think for themselves,
the kind who drop their pants and say thank you
from the kind who for some unfathomable reason of their own
refuse to do so.
Dissidents are not born but made,
and what makes them are self-satisfied, power-hungry idiots
who pretend to know better.
One such specimen once promised a goodly sum
if I consented to write portraits of ADL leaders,
to which I could only say,
I didn't know any,
I had never heard of one,
and I wasn't even aware of their existence.
Some great men believed in Big Lies
for the same reason that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
of Sherlock Holmes fame believed in ghosts.
No job can be as demanding
as a job that any nonentity can perform.
That's because nonentities can be easily replaced
by other nonentities and the world is full of them.
Charlie Chan: “Truth, like football – receive many kicks
before reaching goal.”
Friday, January 28, 2011
Academics operate in a dog-eat-dog environment.
The competition is stiff.
The unspoken rules and commandments outnumber the spoken ones.
In what follows I have made an attempt
to share my knowledge and understanding
of their character, values, and worldview.
Violations of human rights in both the Homeland and Diaspora
is a subject they avoid discussing
because it may question the integrity of individuals
on whose goodwill they depend.
Our historians study history
not to learn from it but to hone their skills
of their favorite sports, namely the blame-game.
Their unspoken message is:
(one) there is nothing wrong with us;
(two) we never had it so good;
(three) we are in the best of hands.
In a Western-style democracy
some of the most ferocious anti establishment critics
(like Bertrand Russell and Arnold J. Toynbee in England)
were themselves members of the aristocracy.
We don't have an aristocracy.
What we have are the offspring of victims
shaped by famine, poverty, and slum-life,
that is to say, individuals whose greatest ambition in life
is a steady income and a suburban existence.
In the 19th century we produced fearless intellectuals
like Raffi, Baronian, and Odian
who exposed the corruption and greed
of our establishment figures -- that is, bosses, bishops, and benefactors.
Even under Stalin we had intellectuals
who placed dedication to ideals and principles above their self-interest.
Today we have only academics
who live in fear of their own shadows.
To paraphrase an old Turkish saying:
Among ten Armenian academics
eleven are sure to be brown-nosers.
Their favorite topics of expertise are
Middle Ages, massacres, and anything else that is removed
from our present state of decline, degeneration, and disintegration.
During the Soviet era when they published their travel impressions of Yerevan,
they never dared to criticize anyone above hotel waiters.
They operate on two levels:
privately they are full of venom;
publicly they are all sugar and spice.
Their greatest enemy is neither intolerance nor corruption,
neither authoritarianism nor Ottomanism,
but the competition – anyone, that is,
who may be perceived as a threat to their position of eminence.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
An Armenian prefers his own ignorance
to someone else's knowledge.
If an idea flatters his vanity,
he will make it his own.
Tell a coward he comes from a long line of proud warriors
and he will bare his teeth and growl
next time he faces a mirror;
and when he slices a watermelon,
he will imagine it's a Turk.
Since he cannot defeat the Turk
he will exploit, insult, and humiliate a fellow Armenian.
You want proof?
Read a history of Armenian literature.
He is self-righteous, therefore infallible.
He is smart but he can't tell the difference
between a synonym and an antonym.
Neither can he tell the difference
between an insult and a compliment.
Example: “It takes seven Jews to fool an Armenian.”
And the synonymous assertion:
“After shaking hands with an Armenian,
count your fingers.”
He stresses the irrelevant at the expense of the essential.
Case in point:
He does his utmost to avoid asking questions like:
Has a thousand years of subservience to alien tyrants
changed our DNA?
If the answer is “It has not,”
how do we explain the contradictions outlined above?
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Old 02.02.2011, 16:46   #219
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Sunday, January 30, 2011
When I was young I was exposed to the wisdom of our elder statesmen.
Now that I am old I am exposed to the insults of the young.
But I shouldn't complain.
Compared to many others I have been the luckiest of men.
Very few Armenian writers were lucky enough to live past the age of forty;
and those who did, spent a good number of years in fear
of Siberian exile or starvation.
To the poor everyone is generous with advice, my mother used to say.
“Write more like Saroyan.”
“Be as critical as you can provided
you also amuse and entertain your readers, like Mark Twain.”
“Be more positive and constructive.”
The implication of this final line is that so far Armenian literature
has failed in its mission because Armenians remain as divided today
as they were a thousand years ago.
But I believe Armenians remain divided today
not because Armenian writers have failed
but because the dominant mindset of our leadership has been self-interest.
If it's good for me, my family, my party, or my tribe,
it must be good for the nation.
Even when they preach patriotism
they legitimize treason by dividing the nation into tribes.
They confuse nationalism with tribalism,
and ultimately Armenianism with Ottomanism.
No amount of sermons, speeches, editorials, and commentaries
can alter this fact and the only Armenians who cannot see this clearly
are the ones who have been so thoroughly brainwashed
that they have lost all ability to see, think, and speak for themselves.
Monday, January 31, 2011
There are Armenocentric Turkish ghazetajis
as surely as there are Turcocentric Armenian ghazetajis.
These gentlemen (if you will forgive the overstatement)
operate on the assumption that
they discharge their patriotic duty
whenever they emphasize the criminal conduct
and lies of the opposition.
On the day they fall silent,
Armenians and Turks may have a better chance
to reach a consensus and establish peaceful coexistence
that may well be of benefit to both.
One of our elder statesmen once wrote me a letter
in which he said that I had a better chance
to achieve fame and fortune as a writer
if I were to accept his advice on what to write and how to write it --
one such advice being, “Write more like Saroyan.”
Shortly before he died he informed me
that he had 43 unpublished manuscripts to his credit
and asked me if I would be willing to edit and revise them.
Moral of the story:
After shaking hands with an Armenian
willing to share his wisdom
count your fingers.
I have noticed that Armenians who have met Saroyan
on even one occasions
never call him Saroyan but Bill.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
A private blessing, religious faith becomes a collective nightmare
when it acquires a leader, dogmas,
commandments, rituals, and mumbo jumbo.
Where there is a leader
there will be power and authority.
Where there is power there will also be greed for more power.
This is as true of emperors, kings, and dictators
as it is of popes, imams, and rabbis.
And where there is greed for power
there will be wars and massacres.
This is not theory or anti-religious bias
but historic reality.
Historians speak of holy wars but not of holy massacres.
And yet, when Voltaire said,
“Because it was a religious war, there were no survivors,”
he knew what he was saying.
If you know the right words, even if you are blind,
you can lead men with 20/20 vision into the ditch.
The trick is to ascribe your words not to yourself
or to any man dead or alive,
but to God.
Faith moves mountains, we are told.
What we are not told is that
it can also slaughter millions
with a clear conscience.
Everything I say is open to error
because I speak as a man
and all men are prone to error.
But if I were to speak in the name of God
I would become infallible by proxy.
God does not contradict Himself.
But men do. And when men who speak in the name of God
contradict one another, it is safe to assume that
they speak not in the name of God but in the name of the Devil.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
According to an American pundit,
Americans are such “know-nothings” that
some of them quote lines from Marx's Communist Manifesto
thinking they are quoting the Constitution of the Unites States.
Even their congressmen and senators, it seems,
can't tell the difference between the Declaration of Independence
and the Constitution.
What about us?
Do we have a Constitution?
And if we do, who takes it seriously?
Can you quote a single line from it?
Is there a paragraph in it in defense
of the fundamental human right of free speech?
Why is it that whenever I am silenced
by an editor or forum moderator,
no one raises an objection?
Why is it that these editors and moderators
consider censorship a patriotic duty?
Is it some kind of conditioned reflex
that we acquired during a thousand years
of blind obedience to alien and brutal tyrants?
Do you have answers to these questions?
If yes, please let's have them.
Because I don't!
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Old 05.02.2011, 17:07   #220
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Thursday, February 3, 2011
In a commentary on recent political developments in Egypt
an Arab pundit writes:
“Entire generations of Arab children are raised to believe
that good citizens are measured by their loyalty to government
and that critical thinking is treasonous.”
To put it more bluntly:
Arabs are smart but they are systematically moronized
by their leadership.
So are we.
Elsewhere I read:
“Critics are measured more by their courage to be disliked,
by their capacity for dishing it out and taking the inevitable backlash.”
Or, “Tell me who your enemies are and I will tell you how good you are.”
And if you were to tell me you have no enemies,
I shall have no choice but to conclude that
you must be a person of great charm,
which, in Albert Camus' definition, is “sh*t.”
Friday, February 4, 2011
Q: Not many people like you. Why is that?
A: I am in no position to employ and compensate anyone. What I say has no cash value, and our dominant mindset is grub first than ethics.
Q: Would you describe yourself as a believer? If yes, what exactly do you believe in?
A: I believe there is an element of wishful thinking in all belief systems, and I believe where wishful thinking enters, reality exits. I believe truth and power to be mutually exclusive concepts. That's because where there is power there will also be a big lie and a big liar: this is as true of emperors, kings, and dictators as it is of popes, imams, and rabbis.
Q: What about a democratically elected head of state?
A: People vote for a politician on the basis of his promises; and in politics, promises and lies might as well be synonymous.
Q: What about an honest politician who makes an honest promise?
A: Promises deal with a future which is unpredictable. An honest politician knows this. That is why when he makes a promise, he lies.
Q: You have said you are in the business of exposing contradictions and lies. Do you believe by doing so you will solve our problems?
A: No, of course not. I believe solving problems is not and cannot be a one-sided process. If the will to solve problems is not there even a messiah will be useless.
Q: Are we doomed?
A: I don't know because I don't know if death is an end or a new beginning.
Q: Where was God before the Big Bang?
A: The same place we were before we were born.
Q: What is your aim in life?
A: To understand and explain reality knowing full well that the most important questions are unanswerable.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
When I say we are a people like any other people,
I don't just mean the so-called civilized nations of the West,
but also Russians, Turks, Kurds, and Gypsies.
And when I say Russians I don't mean
Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov and their fictional characters
but Bolsheviks.
When I say Turks I think of one of our elder statesmen
who once said to me:
“Some key players in our organizations are not Armenians but Turks.
They may speak Armenian fluently
and they may know more about us than we do,
but take my word for it, they are Turks.”
I also think of Puzant Granian,
a prolific writer, critic, poet, and activist,
who once said to me:
“There is a Turk in all of us.”
Speaking of Gypsies:
In Greece, where I grew up, we were called Turkish Gypsies.
You say we need solutions?
Two words: de-Ottomanize and de-Stalinize!
Sometimes I am urged to get an agent.
Allow me to explain why I don't have one:
No one in his right mind would be interested in earning
10% of nothing.
The difference between the Pope of Rome
and the average brainwashed Armenian:
the Pope is infallible and the Armenian is never wrong.
Where there is no vision
there will be a total absence of ideas – and worse –
an opposition to all ideas.
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Old 09.02.2011, 15:24   #221
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Sunday, February 6, 2011
To be a good Armenian it is not necessary to hate all Turks
including the dead and the unborn.
Likewise, patriotism does not mean to love all Armenians,
including crooks, liars, blood****ers,
and fornicators who preach chastity.
In politics and human affairs in general,
words are used to cover up the true intent of actions.
Under capitalism and communism,
to cover up exploitation and abuses of power respectively.
In Egypt today there is talk of an orderly transition
following thirty years of disorderly conduct.
I have been deceived and misled so many times by my “betters”
that I no longer trust anyone, including the trustworthy.
Divided we were defeated and massacred,
and divided we stand today.
Who says experience is a good teacher?
Germans were a disappointment to Thomas Mann
as Armenians were to Zarian,
as the French were to Sartre,
and as Greeks were to Kazantzakis –
the very same Greeks who shat on his grave.
Sartre loathed his fellow Frenchmen (including De Gaulle)
to such a degree that he embraced Stalin, Mao, and Castro.
In his diary of the 1930s Mann quotes a German bishop
who looked up to Hitler as a messianic figure.
I have been awarded several Canadian literary prizes and grants
but not a single Armenian one.
If I am ever awarded an Armenian prize I will say,
“I accept the cash but I reject the honor.”
Monday, February 7, 2011
As long as I wrote what was expected of me,
I was published in over a dozen Armenian newspapers
in Canada, United States, and the Middle East.
Sometimes I was even compensated for my work –
always less then minimum wage, of course,
but enough to cover a fraction of my expenses
such as stationery, postage stamps, and typewriter ribbons.
But on the day I decided to write what I wanted to write
and say what needed to be said,
I became an abominable no-man.
Newspapers sponsored by political parties
turned against me because I was against them.
Non-partisan papers turned against me
because their owners are capitalists
in whose eyes I am a Bolshevik.
And Bolsheviks in the Homeland classified me
as a reactionary hyena with a fountain pen.
Recently when asked
how much I would charge for reviewing a book,
I said “a million dollars.”
No one laughed. No one even smiled.
Money is a deadly serious subjects with us,
especially with those who have a great deal of it.
I write a page a day with my morning coffee in the kitchen
when I am alone and it is dark outside.
For many years I thought I was the only Ara Baliozian on the continent
until another Ara Baliozian in California made headlines in the papers
by murdering his wife.
Ever since then whenever my name comes up in some circles,
I am told, I am identified with the murderer.
When asked by a woman where I live,
I said I live in Ontario, Canada
(there is another Ontario in the United States)
and informed her that I was not related to the wife-killer.
I never heard from her again.
This woman knew instinctively what took me years to find out:
Never trust another Armenian,
especially when he assesses himself;
and if you think the worst of him,
you will be closer to the truth.
If Adam and Eve had been Armenian,
it would be said of Eve that she was a nymphomaniac,
of Adam that he was an adulterer,
and of the Serpent that he was
a writer who wrote not what was expected of him
but what he thought needed to be said.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
It follows: a patriotism that divides is treason.
When exposed, traitors identify themselves
as patriots of a superior brand.
Our dividers never say it is a good thing to divide the nation.
What they say is:
“We are for unity; it’s the other side that divides.”
And to think that these are the kind of people
who accuse me of repeating myself.
The spirit of contradiction in some Armenians
is so highly developed that
if you were to agree with them
they would disagree with you.
May I confess that I don’t always read my critics.
It is painful to the extreme reading thoughts
that I entertained as a child but rejected as an adult.
A religion that emphasizes dogma
at the expense of love, is an invention of the devil.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
“Egypt is not ready for democracy,” some say.
I have heard the same thing said about us:
“We (Armenians) are not ready for democracy.”
A nation with a long history of subservience
to ruthless and bloodthirsty tyrants
has no use for freedom and human rights?
The difference between a schoolyard bully
and someone like Mubarak is that
the bully is too smart to say,
“I do what I do as a favor to my victims.
They enjoy being bullied.
They love it.
It enhances their self-esteem.
It is the best solution to all their problems.”
When asked if it's true that Mubarak has amassed
a fortune of 70 billion dollars,
a Middle-East Pundit in Canada said:
“Much more than that. Much, much more!”
Hegel is right: “No one gives up power without a bloody fight.”
Armenians are not ready for democracy?
If they have brainwashed us to believe
we never had it so good
because we are in the best of hands,
they have a good chance to brainwash us to believe
freedom and human rights are inventions
of the corrupt and degenerate West
and anyone who speaks of democracy and free speech
is an enemy of the people.
This is what Ottoman sultans believed.
This is what Soviet commissars believed.
And this is what our bosses, bishops, and benefactor believe today.
“Armenians are not ready for democracy.”
If we are not ready for democracy,
why don't they educate us?
Why waste their time and our money
by trying to convince us they will get even with the Turks?
If you have answers to these questions,
I would like to have them.
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Thursday, February 10, 2011
Silvio Berlusconi: “Never in my life have I paid for sex.
I find it degrading to do so.”
He is right, of course. But only literally. Or is it legally?
People in his income bracket have “people”
who deal with the questionable aspects of transactions.
Give an honest man a title and a regular salary
and he will be as loyal to his boss as a dog to his master,
but a dog, who like all dogs,
knows his master
but not his master's master.
As a boy I had more friends than enemies.
As an adult I have many enemies and very few friends.
But whereas most of my former friends and present enemies
have titles and a regular salary,
I have been and remain an unemployed and unemployable misfit,
all because I speak more of human rights and less of massacres.
Among us talk of massacres is in,
all mention of human rights is out.
What's done and cannot be undone is in.
As for what's being done:
why mess with perfection?
Nothingness is the only perfection we will ever know.
Friday, February 11, 2011
For most of my life I thought, felt, spoke, and wrote as a dupe.
I know first hand how easy it is to be taken in by flattery.
“Superior race.”
“The Chosen People.”
“First nation...”
Bias is popular because it flatters.
Bias and lies are as close as bum and pants.
So are propaganda and prejudice.
Education is a hidden tool of oppression.
Flattery does not need proof.
Propaganda is not free speech,
but a license to lie.
Propaganda is as carefully premeditated and planned
as cold-blooded murder.
The rules of the game have changed.
Mubarak has now been exposed as a tyrant.
A violent crackdown would further expose him
as a bloodthirsty fascist guilty of crimes against humanity.
In which case he may run the risk of losing
both his freedom and his wealth.
He is between a rock and a hard place.
To put it more elegantly:
He is in deep sh*t and he knows it.
He also knows everybody else knows it.
Sooner or later and inevitably
all dictators must contemplate the following two questions:
Will I be shot and hanged like Mussolini?
Will I be cornered into committing suicide like Hitler?
Saturday, February 12, 2011
“No one knows what's going to happen next in Egypt,”
according to an editorial in today's paper.
Pundits who write editorials may not know, but historians do.
In the French Revolution the beheading of the king and queen
was only step one.
Like rats abandoning a sinking ship,
Mubarak's cronies will start their exodus –
unless of course they made a deal with the junta.
Revolutions only replace replace one set of rascals with another.
This is well known to historians but not to the masses
who are now too busy celebrating their victory –
probably on the grounds that a hollow victory
is better than a catastrophic defeat.
In Turkey 133 military officers have been arrested.
About 1600 Tunisians have landed on a tiny Sicilian island –
rats abandoning ship?
My only hope is hat “people power” will act like a virus
and infect not only Arab regimes in Africa and the Middle East
but also in China, Russia, and Armenia,
even if it means their victory will be hollow, as it is bound to be.
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Old 16.02.2011, 15:26   #223
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Sunday, February 13, 2011
Nothing infuriates me more than paying $40.00
to a fat-assed plumber for tightening a screw –
something I could have done myself in less than a minute.
But then what options do I have?
Whenever I try to fix something on my own
I make things worse.
There are times when I cannot help thinking that
by writing as I do I fix nothing.
I may even make things worse.
The words obstinacy and resistance immediately remind me
of an Armenian who has made up his mind and thinks
anyone who dares to disagree with him – or rather,
with the propaganda line he has swallowed hook, line, and sinker –
is either a Turk in disguise or a retard.
Perhaps that's also what happens to all “fixers”
who meddle in human affairs.
In the last century alone mankind has been the beneficiary
of a long line of fixers who made things worse.
Mussolini and Hitler come to mind,
also Stalin, Mao, Latino juntas, and last but far from least
our own glorious turn-of-the century revolutionary heroes.
Let us not be surprised therefore
if things get from bad to worse in Egypt.
Monday, February 14, 2011
To be read by readers who find me unreadable.
Judging by the number of insults hurled against me,
I must be doing something right.
They are, by definition, dissenters in words as well as in deeds.
And yet, ours seem to be afraid of free speech.
They talk endlessly about Turkish atrocities
but avoid all mention of censorship.
They use someone else's suffering
to cover up their own uselessness.
What saves them is their own insignificance.
“Wretched, isolated, demented people,
misled by a wild stupid band of adventurers
whom they take for mythical heroes.”
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Authoritarian regimes remain in power
so long as they systemically and successfully moronize their subjects.
Lincoln said, “You can't fool all the people all the time,”
because he was born and raised in a democracy.
Had he been born under an authoritarian regime,
he would have said, “You can't moronize all the people all the time.”
In a commentary in this morning's paper, I read:
“The democracy movement in Egypt is like a tiger
that has been living in a tiny cage for thirty years.”
They were sheep.
They are now born-again tigers.
All it took was the decision to think for themselves.
To be brainwashed and to be systematically moronized
are synonymous operations.
Most problems and their solutions
begin and end in the convolutions of our brains.
Authoritarian regimes are afraid of free speech
because it may expose them as systematic moronizers.
To how many of my readers who insult me
on the grounds that they are smarter and better Armenians
I could say: “I know how you feel. I too was brainwashed once.”
I doubt if I will ever meet an Armenian
who has not been taken in by another Armenian.
Some day if the Rock of Gibraltar sinks,
it can be easily replaced with an Armenian
who has made up his mind.
I am told again and again to get involved in community affairs.
But I am involved.
I became involved when I decided to think for myself.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
In an interview published in LE POINT
(Paris: February 3, 2011, page 22),
when asked if French intellectuals exercise
any influence on national affairs,
Marine Le Pen replied:
“No. I think our intellectual elites are totally disconnected.”
The same cannot be said of our own intellectual elites
simply because we don't have them.
They don't exist.
They have been silenced, alienated, exiled, and marginalized
to the point of irrelevance.
Our speechifiers and pundits may quote
Charents's line on solidarity
but no one does a damn thing.
They operate on the assumption that
they can solve all our problems with speeches.
And as our problems get from bad to worse,
and from worse to worst,
they explain their failure by blaming it on the opposition.
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Thursday, February 17, 2011
An anonymous reader writes:
“The only reason why you keep posting your garbage on this forum
is that no editor in his right would publish you in his paper.”
My reply:
“For your information, editors who decide
what gets printed and what gets rejected
are not men of superior literary judgment
but cowardly idiots like you,
afraid to offend the sensibilities of their brainwashed readers
and potential advertisers on whose goodwill they depend.”
Friday, February 18, 2011
God has no reason to hide from us.
He is within us as well as around us.
If we are blind to His presence,
it's because we have failed to develop our faculties.
A dog's sense of smell is far superior to ours.
A cow has many more taste buds on its tongue.
Idiot savants have remarkable powers
of perception and calculation
incomprehensible to the average man with a normal IQ.
Rats can predict tsunamis and earthquakes better
than our most sophisticated instruments.
These achievement have been made
not by an act of will or choice
but by allowing nature to take its course.
Which may suggest our limitations are of our own making.
As children we are dependent on received ideas.
As adults we are predisposed to respect authority
even when authority is in the hands of liars and criminals
who pretend to know better.
Popes and imams: variations on the same theme:
fascist megalomania.
Crusades and jihads: premeditated, cold-blooded massacres
conceived by blood-thirsty barbarians
who speak in the name of God
even as they do the Devil's work.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Love: a biological malfunction that blurs the line
between reality and illusion.
One of the first questions
that an Armenian asks about another Armenian:
“What does he do for a living?”
Second question:
“How much does he make?”
In my case, the two answers are:
“He scribbles,” and “Nothing.”
“I think therefore I am?”
Not so fast.
If you are an Armenian, it would closer to the truth to say,
“I think, therefore I am not.”
If a Jew is ever elected president of the United States,
an extremist group will identify him
as a former agent of the Mossad
whose forefather was not Adam
but the Serpent.*
I have been taken in so many times by my fellow Armenians
that I now reserve my trust only for an Armenian
who speaks against his own interests –
not something that happens every day.
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Sunday, February 20, 2011
What is a writer deprived of free speech?
Worst than a gagged and hogtied Mideast Arab
at the mercy of corrupt potentates
so fearful of being exposed for what they really are
that they are willing to slaughter their own people.
As an Armenian writer – that is to say,
as an unemployed and unemployable misfit –
I respect everyone except those
who make no effort to earn my respect
not so much as a writer but as a human being;
and when I speak as an Armenian writer,
I do not speak of myself alone
but of all those who came before me
and were misunderstood, rejected,
betrayed to the authorities and
murdered in cold blood.
Armenian writers have been perennial scapegoats
of our Ottomanized and Sovietized leaders
and their brainwashed dupes.
In his efforts to explain and justify this state of affairs,
one of our elder statesmen once said to me:
“You speak as though you were the only writer
who has been unfairly treated.”
To which I had no choice but to reply:
“That is why I speak with the strength of many.
My question to you is: On whose side are you?”
I never heard from him again.
Shortly thereafter he died.
May God have mercy on his soul, if he had one.
Monday, February 21, 2011
“He is nuts!”
I once overheard one of our elder statesmen
say of another – both members of the same political party.
Which may suggest we are not just divided but also subdivided.
Even our divisions have divisions.
Armenian politics:
I can't imagine a more depressing subject.
Does anyone know or remember
when was the last time we had a single king
or head of state who was not the puppet
of an alien power structure?
If our elder statesmen have a low opinion of one another,
what is their opinion of the people?
“Sh*ts” and “assh*les” according to two friends
quoting two of our “statesmen.”
The Armenian equivalent of “cherchez la femme”
is “cherchez le Panchoonie” -- that is,
the bureaucrat who makes a comfortable living
by parroting someone else's propaganda line.
Which reminds me of Zarian's celebrated line:
“Even our garbage has not been picked up
from our own streets!”
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
We all agree that as Turks they behaved like Turks,
and as Armenians we behaved like Armenians.
Turks behaving like Turks we understand.
But what do we really mean when we say
Armenians behaving like Armenians?
Did we believe in our own propaganda?
Did we underestimate
the ruthless determination of the opposition
and God's indifference?
Did we confuse our wishful thinking or illusions with reality?
By emphasizing Turkish motives and responsibility
and ignoring or covering up our own,
we condemn ourselves to understand nothing.
Can we understand ourselves
without understanding others
and the world in which we live?
Whenever I speak with a member of a political party
I assume at least a fraction of what he says
is recycled propaganda, that is to say, a shameless lie.
No matter how deep runs my contempt
for some of my fellow Armenians,
it will never be as deep and venomous
as their contempt for all selfless intellectual labor.
The Human Condition
We walk like apes
Eat like cannibals
Talk like parrots
Fight like dragons
And call ourselves
Civilized human beings.
La condition humaine
Comme les singes nous marchons
Comme les cannibales nous mangeons
Comme les perroquets nous parlons
Comme les dragons nous nous battons
Et nous osons nous dire
Des êtres humains civilisés.
Little toadstools
On the lawn:
Reminders of Hiroshima.
De petits champignons vénéneux
Sur la pelouse :
Rappels d’Hiroshima.
When dreams
Come true/They turn
Into nightmares.
Lorsque les rêves
Se réalisent/Ils se transforment
En cauchemars.
Textes extraits de :
Armenian-American Poets: A Bilingual Anthology,
éd. et trad. Garig Basmadjian
(Détroit, Michigan: Alex Manoogian Cultural Fund of the Armenian General Benevolent Union, 1976).
Source :
Traductions : © Georges Festa – 02.2011
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