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Old 02.03.2011, 15:51   #226
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Sunday, February 27, 2011
Cross-breeding is one of the benefits of being defeated and conquered by multiple races, and cross-breeding may well be at the root of our survival.
They Ottomanized us to the same degree that we Armenianized them.
The same could be said of Romans, Greeks, Persians, Mongols, Tatars and Arabs among others.
In the Armenian ghetto where i was born and raised,
Armenians came in all sizes and shapes --
hook-nosed, large-headed, dark-skinned, beady-eyed...
It is said of Genghis Khan that he had so many wives and concubines
that according to English geneticists
his direct descendants today number sixteen million.
Add to that the descendants of his generals, lieutenants, and soldiers,
and the number may reach closer to a billion.
For more on this subject, see Ian Frazier, TRAVELS IN SIBERIA,
(New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010, page 122).
Cross-breeding may also explain our endless internecine conflicts.
We are not a collection of tribes but races.
Solidarity is not in our DNA.
Like cats and dogs we are driven less by reason and more by biology.
To brag about our survival therefore makes as much sense
as to brag about the fact that we are neither kangaroos nor worms.
These things are hidden from us because
no one wants to be the bearer of bad tidings.
But I believe it is by confronting the dark side of things
that we may see the light. In the same way that
to treat a disease you need a correct diagnosis.
You cannot cure cancer by pretending it's insomnia.
Monday, February 28, 2011
What triggered the Arab uprising in North Africa and the Middle East
was not the ideas of a philosopher or the words of a poet
(ideas promoting democracy and words praising freedom
have been around for thousands of years)
but the self-immolation of a poor and unknown Tunisian street vendor.
Which may suggest that criticism and dissent do not overthrow tyrants.
Ideas move in a metaphysical realm that has no point of contact with reality.
Writers are not prophets but at best only canaries in a mine.
Rousseau and Voltaire did not convince the French to rise
and behead their king and queen, hunger and humiliation did.
Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov did not end or
even initiate the disintegration of the USSR
but the incompetence and lies of the commissars did.
Subservience to tyrants may not be an ideal condition
but people appear to have an astonishing degree of tolerance for it.
Whether I fall silent or go on writing
will make no difference in the long run.
To my critics and to our editors who have classified me
as an enemy of the people and a traitor to the cause, i say:
"Relax! I am not a threat to anyone.
Our destiny is not dependent on what I or anyone else writes
or what you print because we are all dead men walking."
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
An Arab-style Armenian uprising is unlikely
because we have been so thoroughly and effectively
scattered, alienated, mongrelized, and some would say, moronized
(if you will forgive my French) that to paraphrase Mark Twain,
consensus is something we all like to talk about
but nobody does a damn thing.
Another negative factor:
We don't confront a single Ben Ali, Mubarak, or Gadhafi
but a host of nameless and faceless bureaucrats
who work behind the scenes and are thus unidentifiable and inaccessible.
Our future leaders will probably spring from their ranks,
which means, even if things change they will stay the same.
O how I wish I were wrong!
What did really change after our revolution in the Ottoman Empire?
Instead of being massacred by Talaat
we were purged by Stalin.
Different players, same results.
Why is it that we know the number of victims in the Ottomine Empire
but not in the USSR?
Why should a Soviet tyrant be different from an Ottoman tyrant?
Or, for that matter, an Armenian tyrant?
An Ottomanized or Sovietized Armenian may well be
more Ottoman than the Sultan,
and more Stalinist than Stalin.
Lenin once said:
"A bourgeois is a bourgeoi regardless of nationality."
So is a tyrant.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Our Turcocentric ghazetajis have reduced our recent history
to the chronicle of an unsettled score.
Not a single spark of creativity!
Like people who are said to be more Catholic than the Pope,
they are more victims than survivors of massacres.
I was born and raised among survivors
and though most of them were illiterate,
they knew better than to blabber endlessly
about reparations and recognition.
When wise men speak
you search for wisdom even in their banalities.
When a fool speaks the exact opposite happens:
even if what he says contains a pearl of wisom,
you have eyes only for the banalities.
Revolutions fail because they kill the dog
but not the dog's master.
An Armenian uprising?
It may come -- if it comes -- via China and Russia...
Life after death?
If there is one, it may be so different from life as we know it
that we may fail to see any connection between the two.
Why is it that inter-tribal conflict have a longer lifespan
than warfare between nations?
Some day Turks and Armenians may be friends but
Armenians and Armenians?
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Old 05.03.2011, 15:54   #227
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Thursday, March 03, 2011
They brag about our heroes but they are afraid of free speech.
They hate to be called cowards but they don't mind behaving like gutless worms
on the assumption that if the people are stupid enough to believe in their propaganda
they will be stupid enough not to see their cowardice.
That's the way it is with all autocratic regimes:
they demand heroism in action and cowardice in thought;
and what is even more astonishing, they get it.
350,000 Armenians died in World War II.
How many dared to raise their voice against Stalin and his commissars?
Armenians who say they are for democracy
and Turks who refuse to recognize the Genocide
are dupes who believe all politicians are liars except their own.
They believe it is their duty as good citizens
to believe what they are told,
especially if what they are told flatters their vanity.
It is this kind of aberration that allows
the Ben Alis, Mubaraks, and Gadhafis of this world
not only to hang on to power long after they have outlived their usefulness
but also to establish dynasties like the Bourbeons and Romanovs
and to rule their nation to the end of time.
Friday, March 04, 2011
To be for democracy and to be against free speech is a contradiction.
If you can't see this you must be blind...and
when the blind lead the blind both shall fall into the ditch.
As a critic I am willing to admit that I can be wrong
because I am only a human being.
If you think as a moderator you can assert infallibility
you must be an arrogant fool.
Turks ruled by intimidation and got away with it for 600 years.
Are Turks your role models?
Do you know
(a) who will handle the distribution and
(b) what is his cut?
If you have a closed mind
your criticism is without merit.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
In today's paper I read Russians are more afraid of the police than of criminals.
The situation in Armenia is not mentioned
probably because no one gives a damn about Armenians,
not even Armenians.
My quarrel is not with God Whom i neither know nor understand,
but with the god of popes, imams, and rabbis.
Truth may also be defined as a lie that you believe in.
Stalin, Mao, and Franco died in bed.
Gadhafi ruled for 43 years.
Those who are in power today cannot tell with any degree of certainty
how long they are going to last.
But they will never forget the wisdom of the old Chinese saying:
"No banquet under heaven is endless."
The central preoccupation of Armenian intellectuals today
is how to get closer to the money tree and
to obstruct the path of those with similar ambitions.
I remember once when I insulted one of our national benefactors
in the presence of several academics,
there was a stunned silence as though I had a committed a capital offense.
The Turks say, "Among ten men nine or sure to be women."
I suspect in our case eleven would be a more accurate esdtimate.
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Old 09.03.2011, 15:43   #228
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Sunday, March 06, 2011
Is Islamophobia -- that is, fear of Islam -- as irrational as say
agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) or homophobia (fear of gays)?
What about fear of child molesters, fear of organized crime,
or fear of serial killers?
Why is it that they do not qualify as phobias
in need of psychiatric treatment?
Who in his right mind would befriend
a serial killer, a mafioso, or a child molester
in the name of tolerance or political correctness?
Now then, if Muslims have killed many more innocent civilians
than serial killers,
why should Islamophobia be thought of as
neurotic, irrational, unjustified, or, for that matter, politically incorrect?
I look forward to the day when political correctness
will be seen as semantic fascism.
Everyone has a book in him, we are told.
What we are not told is that
most books remain unpublished,
and if published unread,
and if read forgotten.
Men who don't understand themselves call women incomprehensible.
More and more frequently now i find myself saying,
"I don't remember."
If it's the onset of Alzheimer's, it is more than welcome
because my unpleasant memories far outnumber the pleasant ones,
and nothing would give me more pleasure than to erase them.
Whoever defined happiness as a "bad memory"
knew what he was talking about.
Monday, March 07, 2011
In eveything I read I see direct or hidden references to Armenians.
The situation in Lybia, for instances, reminds me of the fact that
no matter how corrupt and incompetent a leader,
he will have loyal supporters willing to kill and die for him.
I am also reminded of the fact that Sylva Kaputikian,
winner of the Stalin Prize,
even after the collapse of the USSR
openly declared pride in having been a member of the Communist Party.
While reading a review of Alan Riding's
dealing with French collaboration with Nazis
and the purges that followed under De Gaulle,
I reflect that we were at no time de-Ottomanized or de-Stalinized.
As a result there are still Armenians today who believe
Russians to be our Big Brothers notwithstanding the fact that as a nation
we could be their grand-grandfathers.
In the latest issue of the NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
I read a review of Carol Edgarian's THREE STAGES OF AMAZEMENT
and another of David Livingstone Smith's
whose subtitle reads:
"A philosopher argues that dehumanization is necessary
for genocide, slavery and slaughter to take hold."
According to Smith,
"dehumanization is rooted in human nature, not culture."
Which simply means, Turks massacred us
not because they are bloodthirsty Asiatic barbarians,
but because they are human beings, like the rest of us.
Toynbee would agree.
In one of his many references to Turks and Armenians
he writes that under certain conditions
even the most civilized people on earth
will behave like Turks -- that is,
if they follow their instinbct and ignore their reason.
In the review of Carol Edgarian's novel,
we are reminded that her first book, published 17 years ago,
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
David Hume on history:
"Its chief use is only to discover the constant and universal principles of human natur."
It follows, to identify Turks as bloodthirsty Asiatic barbarians
and ourselves as progressive, Christian, Westernized, civilized, and so on...
is as valid as to speak of superior and inferior races,
or Germans and Jews as defined by the Nazis.
by John A. Hall, I read:
"Gellner seems to have regarded his Jewish identity
as an obstacle to be overcome rather than an inheritance to be cherished."
Something similar could be said of our identity.
Gellner on tradition:
"...bullsh*t, servility, vested interests, arbitrariness, empty ritual" --
in short: mumbo jumbo.
What we need more than anything today
is an objective assessment of our reality and not
more Turcocentrism, lamentation, and blame-game.
We don't need bosses, bishops, and benefactors to tell us
who we are and what to think.
As long as we look up to them for guidance
we are no better than dogs who know their master
but not their master's master.
Our identity is not a set of assets handed down to us by our ancestors
(who may have been more confused than we are)
but a garbage dump of liabilities.
Now then, go right ahead and think I am wrong
because I refuse to flatter your vanity.
There is a misprint in "In God We Trust."
The letter "l" in "God" has been inadvertently deleted.
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
When accused of sleeping with German soldiers during World War II,
a French actress is reported to have declared:
"My soul is French but my ass is international."
My answer to those of my readers who accuse me
of being anti-Armenian and even pro-Turkish, I say:
"My soul is Armenian but i write
(please note, i am not saying "my pen is")
... but I write as a human being.
I refuse to apply for membership
in a club, cabal, party, or organization
for the simple reason that i refuse to be coerced into writing
what someone else wants me to write.
Anyone is free to disagre with me on the grounds that
he is a better Armenian
and some of the most thoroughly Ottomanized and Sovietized Armenians have done so.
I have yet to see an Armenian willing to concede to another Armenian
that he is not a superior specimen who knows better.
It has been said that ideologies attract the best as well as the worst.
In our case, the worst far outnumber the best, alas!
Our men at the top know their business.
They choose their hirelings carefully.
They take a nobody, brainwash him,
give him a regular salary and a title,
and watch him turn into a parrot
who will repeat what he is told.
Speaking of World War II and Germans:
Hitler began his political career by blaming Germany's problems on Jews,
and he ended it by blaming the Germans.
That's the way it is with fascists:
they will blame everyone but themselves.
They are never wrong because they are infallible.
I will never forget the elder statesman
who blamed all our problems on "non-partisan Armenians."
When informed I was, like my father before me, a non-partisan, he said:
"I thought you were one of us."
And that was the end of our friendship.
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Old 12.03.2011, 15:33   #229
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Thursday, March 10, 2011
If I understand recent developments in cosmology,
we live in a multi-dimensional multi-universe
in which Big Bangs are routine occurrences.
Man may not live forever but the cosmos does,
and what are we if not tiny fragments of the cosmos?
For the first time in history Armenians in America are free.
But what are they doing with their freedom?
They either allow themselves and their offspring
to be brainwashed by propagandists
or they assimilate.
They have as much initiative to shape their destiny
as a grain of sand in a sandstorm.
All power structures rely on the support of dupes and idiots
who believe everything they are told.
Even after 43 years of incompetence, corruption, and greed
by an obviously deranged megalomaniac,
there are many Libyans today willing to kill and die for him.
Closer to home: there is no evidence to suggest
that we are smarter or better off than Libyans,
and judging by the number of our victims so far,
we may well be dumber and worse off.
Friday, March 11, 2011
We were defeated
because we were divided.
We were bastardized
because we were defeated and conquered.
We have been moronized
because we were divided, defeated,
conquered, bastardized, and brainwashed to believe
none of it is our fault
but must be ascribed
to geographic, political, economic, and cultural conditions
beyond our control.
Which of course is hogwash.
Everything begins and ends in the convolutions of our brains.
Which also means there is a way out.
Ours is not a verdict without appeal.
If our problems are of our own making,
so are their solutions.
The rest is propaganda –
The kind whose ultimate aim is to moronize.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Propaganda moronizes both the perp and his victim.
Has a single political leader ever identified himself as a moronizer?
Genghis Khan openly admitted that
nothing gave him as much pleasure as killing and raping.
There is a dormant Genghis Khan in all men of power.
We speak of political ambition and greed for power;
not of ambition and greed to serve.
We live in a world where even the chief executive officers
of charitable organizations demand and get paid millions.
The easiest thing in the world: to make mistakes.
The hardest: to admit them even to oneself.
It took the popes of Rome several centuries
to admit they had made a mistake in persecuting Galileo.
It may take them several more centuries
to admit they are not infallible.
Power also means a refusal to see
that which is clearly visible to others.
Stalin and Hitler never even considered pleading guilty
to a single murder.
No one likes minorities with unsettled scores in their midst.
Do we have such minorities in Armenia?
If we don’t, how come?
If we do, how to we handle them?
Does anyone know what happened to the Kurds in Karabagh?
Is anyone interested?
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Old 16.03.2011, 15:04   #230
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Sunday, March 13, 2011
If wrong, I can be corrected.
I don’t pretend to have all the facts
or to be infallible.
Neither do I pretend to know everything.
All my assertions are based
on theories, guesses, speculations, and assumptions
that may be exposed as false.
If you disagree with me, state your reasons.
However, if you choose to insult me
anonymously and from a safe distance,
you run the risk of being identified
as a cowardly loud-mouth dupe
who will believe everything he is told
by individuals who pretend to know better.
I am willing to concede that
if I had all the facts and knew everything
I would probably think otherwise.
If, on the other hand, you think you are right
because the majority is on your side,
may I remind you that majorities
have been known to be wrong and often are.
To enjoy majority support is meaningless.
Stalin in the USSR,
Hitler in Germany,
Mao in China,
Mussolini in Italy,
Mubarak in Egypt,
Ben Ali in Tunisia,
And Gafdhafi for 43 years in Libya
(to mention only a handful of names)
had the support of the majority.
There are still Armenians in America today
who believe Stalin was good to us.
There are still skinheads all over the world
who look up to Hitler as a great statesman.
I say and repeat: if wrong, I can be corrected.
By engaging in verbal abuse and name-calling
you convince no one
even if you are a boss
who speaks in the name of an ideology
(that may well be politically bankrupt);
even if you are a benefactor
who speaks in the name of capital
(before which every Armenian is brought up
to genuflect and osculate derrieres);
and even if you are a bishop
who speaks in the name of God
Who in His infinite wisdom
has consistently refused to get involved in our affairs.
Monday, March 14, 2011
If you think I represent everything
that is evil in Armenian life
and you represent everything that is good,
allow me to share my experience on the subject.
When I was young
I too was convinced I was better than others.
But as I grew older
I discovered that this type of self-assessment
became progressively more difficult.
I now count myself among the lowest of the low.
If it pleases you to think you are a better man than me,
be my guest. But allow me to warn you
that you live in a fool’s paradise
that is as ephemeral as the illusions of youth,
as baseless as the propaganda of fascist regimes,
and as phony as the promises of a politician.
Do I know better?
I am not sure.
But I do know that it makes good sense
to reject everything that flatters my ego.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
A rose is a rose.
So is a moron a moron
and we have our share of them.
With one difference:
ours think they are not just smart
but smarter than anyone else,
including their fellow Armenians.
They confuse propaganda with patriotism,
objective judgment with treason,
and Ottomanism with Armenianism.
More Bolshevik than Stalin,
more Catholic than the Pope,
more intolerant than the Sultan,
they rate themselves as true defenders of the faith.
This may explain why Turks have
internationally recognized and respected dissidents
and we have none.
That may also explain why
we had better writers under the Sultan
than we have today under our own bosses,
bishops, benefactors, and brown-nosers.
Hence the popular Armenian adage:
“Mart bidi ch’ellank.”
Freely translated and paraphrased:
“We will never amount to anything.”
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Dictatorship means first and foremost
to live in an environment
where an ordinary citizen with an average IQ
is not allowed to use his common sense
and to call a spade a spade.
Consider our genocide as a case in point;
we speak of it as if it were a great tragedy,
which it certainly was.
We never refer to it as a wake-up call.
For 600 years we adopted a passive stance.
We were brainwashed to believe
the men at the top knew better.
On the eve of the great tragedy
our own men at the top
(namely, our revolutionaries on the one hand
and our men within the Ottoman administration
on the other) failed to reach a consensus.
Instead of dialogue they engaged in two monologues
that never crossed.
Our situation today remains unchanged.
We have learned nothing.
We remain divided in the name of tribal loyalties
and continue to think of consensus
as if it was an irrelevant concept.
We have replaced “Red” massacre
with its “White” variant – namely,
assimilation in the Diaspora,
exodus in the Homeland.
Our fundamental assumptions
and “truths” – we never had it so good,
we are in good hands,
the Russians are our big brothers –
are Big Lies; and the Bigger of all Lies:
respect for human rights,
free speech, and dialogue may be good
for the corrupt and degenerate West but not for us
because we are smarter and we know better.
I am not asking you to believe everything I say.
All I ask is that you consider the evidence.
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Old 19.03.2011, 14:32   #231
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Thursday, March 17, 2011
…And this is of great concern to the West
because where there are Arabs there is oil.
Where there are Armenians, however,
there are only rocks and unsettled scores.
We are less than useless to the West;
we are a nuisance.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there are pundits today
who think Turks should have done
a more thorough job on us.
I once met a born-again Armenian in his eighties
who said as much, adding
the Genocide had been God’s way of letting us know
that we don’t deserve to live.
And speaking of God:
The side with bigger guns in Libya is winning.
This may suggest that God doesn’t like to interfere
in human affairs.
We say God is great
in the hope He will be flattered and manipulated
into supporting our cause.
The status quo does not represent the will of God.
The reason Ben Ali and Mubarak fell
is that no regime is endless.
The regime in Yerevan will last
for as long as the regime in Moscow does
and no more.
We know and understand a great deal
except what is unknowable and incomprehensible
beside which what we know and understand
might as well be as nothing.
Friday, March 18, 2011
After every comment I make, I would like to add:
“Correct me, if I am wrong.”
In a world where everyone is proud
to be a Turk, Kurd, Jew, or Armenian
I prefer to be a humble human being
if only because humility is a virtue
and pride leads to arrogance.
A reader writes:
“The only thing I know about Armenian history
is that we were a great nation
and God was on our side.”
Insults are verbal massacres.
To insult a fellow Armenian or
anyone else for that matter
is to use words as yataghans.
Tell me who brainwashed you
and I will tell you who you are.
To our superpatriots I say:
Patriotism and respect for human rights
are not mutually exclusive concepts.
Homeland is where a man is allowed to work
and express his views freely.
I have nothing but contempt for the kind of patriot
who treats free speech
as an invention of the corrupt and degenerate West.
That’s not patriotism
but Ottomanism, Sovietism, and fascism.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Criticism is not enemy action;
dissent is not a capital offense;
human rights are not inventions of the degenerate West.
Question: Why is it that I was not taught these truths?
Answer: Because I had an Armenian education.
I was not brainwashed.
I was trained like a parrot.
Dehumanization comes naturally to a nation
that has lived under brutal regimes for a thousand years.
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Old 23.03.2011, 13:58   #232
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Sunday, March 20, 2011
You don’t like criticism and dissent?
Get over it.
Get used to it.
Get real.
Even God has His share of critics and dissenters.
You prefer yes-men?
May I remind you that all power structures,
including the most corrupt and criminal,
rely on yes-men.
Hitler and Stalin had them.
So did Genghis Khan and Timur the Lame.
Massacres and genocides are unthinkable without them.
And if, like every Tom, Dickhead and Harry,
you say you prefer those who are with you
to those who are against you,
may I ask in what way are you different
from the rest of mankind?
Tell me something I don’t know.
So what else is new?
What matters is not on whose side we are
but how we define good and evil.
When asked to define good and evil,
an African tribal chieftain
is quoted by C.G. Jung to have replied:
“When I steal my enemy’s wives, it’s good.
When he steals mine, it’s bad!”
If, on the other hand, you say
you prefer patriots to traitors,
consider what happened to German patriots
when Hitler lost World War II,
and what will happen to Gadhafi and his henchmen
after his regime collapses.
Today’s patriot may be tomorrow’s traitor
and today’s dissenter may be tomorrow’s hero
and role model. And if you think
you are never wrong in your judgment of your fellow men,
I say, every misguided fool thinks so too.
Monday, March 21, 2011
“My people love me!”
declared Gadhafi the other day
even as he was slaughtering a fraction of them.
Did he believe in his own lie?
The more relevant question is:
Can power and honesty coexist?
If Gadhafi is a compulsive liar,
what about popes, imams, and rabbis?
What could be more absurd than to say,
all political and religious leaders lie except our own?
Because truth is beyond men’s reach,
they will believe in a thousand lies
even after these lies have been exposed.
Mine is not a David-and-Goliath confrontation
but rather that of a horse-fly and a horse – make it,
a jackass.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
All our problems have solutions.
If we pretend otherwise
it’s because we have no use for them.
What we want,
what we need more than anything else is revenge.
It’s understandable.
What motivates a nation
that has been degraded, abused, and slaughtered
throughout most of its historic existence
is not reason but thirst for blood.
What drives us is not what’s good for us
but what’s bad for our enemies --
beginning with Armenians who disagree with us.
If only because these Armenians,
unlike our real enemies,
are within reach, defenseless,
and in no position to retaliate.
Armenian anti-Armenianism:
not exactly an original insight that one.
Rather, it’s an idea as old as Khorenatsi and Yeghishé
(historians of the 5th century).
According to Zarian, a more recent witness:
“Armenians survive by cannibalizing one another.”
And in case you ascribe that view
to an isolated and non-representative intellectual,
allow me to quote the lyrics of a popular song:
“One Armenian eats one chicken,
Two Armenians eat two chickens,
Three Armenians eat each other.”
As for our political parties
whose job it is to solve our problems:
all they do is legitimize dogmatism, intolerance,
and ultimately cannibalism.
After which they voice one of their favorite mantras:
“What we need is not criticism but solutions.”
And if you believe that,
you’ll believe anything!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
We all do.
There is nothing new under the sun.
Why single me out?
Am I saying something you don’t want to hear?
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
“Of the gods we know nothing!”
I wonder why is it that the charge of repetition
is never leveled against propagandists
who repeat not ideas – because they have none –
but slogans, clichés, inanities, and lies.
What drives them?
A thirst for justice?
What about the injustice of violating someone’s free speech?
Nothing works as planned.
They must have known this.
Why else did they have a Plan B only for themselves?
Their heart was in the right place?
What about their brain?
Where was their brain?
Out to lunch?
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Old 26.03.2011, 14:34   #233
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Thursday, March 24, 2011
Let others recycle propaganda.
I will continue to use my reason and common sense
because I believe them to be valuable tools
even when they make me vulnerable
to charges of treason and betrayal
by Ottomanized and Sovietized dupes.
If the scriptures,
to which we all pretend to believe
to be the word of God,
clearly and unequivocally states
“A house divided against itself cannot stand,”
I shall have no choice but to call our leaders
the architects of our own destruction.
And if you say,
all rules have exceptions,
I say, greed for power, incompetence, stupidity, and corruption
that lead to defeat, massacre, and dispersion
are consequences not of rules but of aberrations.
No one is perfect?
I suggest, that idea does not justify dishonesty.
As imperfect beings
we have made our share of mistakes,
Let us therefore begin
by being honest enough to admit them,
instead of brainwashing generations of children
to believe we never had it so good
because we are in the best of hands.
Best of hands?
I have every reason to suspect,
it’s the worst of hands:
bishops who fornicate,
bosses with secret fascist agendas,
benefactors who harbor royalist ambitions,
and academics willing and eager to kiss
any posterior for a regular income.
Friday, March 25, 2011
“We have the leaders we deserve.”
“We are ungovernable.”
“Where there are two Armenians
there will be three opinions.”
We are all familiar with the story
of the two shipwrecked Armenians
on a desert island
who build three churches.
When asked by their rescuers
why a third church, they reply:
“That’s the one we don’t go to.”
I am not convinced.
To blame the people
is to victimize the victim all over again.
Solidarity is a function of the leadership
not of the masses.
If we remain divided today
it’s because there are among us deceivers
willing to place their careers
above the welfare of the nation.
To that end
they fabricate ideological and theological reasons
(reasons that most Armenians neither know nor understand,
and if they know and understand, they don’t remember)
and call their opponents heretics or infidels.
Mighty empires begin as a collection of tribes.
It takes a charismatic leader with vision
to unite them into a single force.
This is as true of the Athenian Empire
as it is true of all empires
from the Roman to the Ottoman.
Even our monastic orders
with identical belief systems and aims
like the Mekhitarists are sooner or later divided
and consigned to the dustbin of history.
It was Raffi who once described us
as a flock without a shepherd.
It would be more accurate to say
we are several flocks with as many wolves
as shepherds – wolves in sheep’s clothing.
“Mart bidi ch’ellank!”
Saturday, March 26, 2011
A reader writes:
“When someone speaks plainly
I sort of go into shock and
get somewhat disoriented.”
If I write plainly it’s because
I want to be honest, objective, and accessible.
I have nothing to hide,
no interests to defend,
and no prejudices to legitimize.
Our writers today cater
to a variety of readers
with specific demands.
They treat bishops as men of God
(therefore untouchable),
bosses as infallible
(therefore beyond criticism),
and benefactors as sacred cows
(therefore gifts from god).
As for objectivity and honesty:
they might as well be skunks
at a garden party.
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Old 30.03.2011, 14:27   #234
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Sunday, March 27, 2011
An article in the travel section
of our local paper informs me
that Estonians now have a museum
dedicated to the atrocities committed
against the people by the Soviet regime.
Do we have one?
If no, when are we going to have one?
Can we be really “azad” and “ungakh”
-- free and independent -- as long as
we are ruled by two sets of former KGB agents
– theirs and ours?
Monday, March 28, 2011
God has given us a brain
but our educational system teaches us not to use it.
A system may be foolproof but not crook-proof.
Our endless controversies and divisions
have nothing to do with right and wrong,
or orthodoxies and heresies.
If they disagree it’s because permanent disagreement
is to their advantage and the only way they know
how to defend and protect their powers and privileges.
As for the people they are meant to serve:
Let them eat cak(e).
The Arab revolutions that we are witnessing today
are organized and carried out by the young.
An Arab-style revolution in Armenia is unthinkable
because the regime in Yerevan encourages the young to emigrate,
and the young have done so by the million.
The buggers think of everything!
If an Armenian works for a boss, bishop, or benefactor
it goes without saying that he will be critical only of Turks.
Shaw is right: it’s a waste of time
arguing against a man’s source of income.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Patriotism does not mean love of homeland
and everything in it,
including the regime, the secret police
and its violations of human rights.
To accept the status quo as an inevitable fact of life
might as well be synonymous with treason
if only because it supports the victimizer
and ignores the victim;
in the same way that those who deny the Genocide
do so in support of the victimizer
at the expense of the victim.
There is an executioner in every dedicated patriot.
Unmask an Armenian and come face to face with a Turk.
It has happened to me more than once
that I became irrationally angry at the sight of someone
who reminded me of someone else
though I could not remember who.
This may suggest that the gut
has a longer memory than the brain.
There is a great deal that is hidden from us.
We are encouraged not to think for ourselves
on the ground that our “betters” are paid
to do our thinking for us.
The question is:
Who pays them to think as they do?
Under authoritarian regimes
to think is defined as not to think.
Remember Napoleon’s dictum:
“A man with an idea is my enemy.”
I repeat myself, granted.
But never as often as propagandists
who not only repeat themselves
but also brainwash other to do so,
and all in the name of patriotism.
Dissent is useful if only because
it makes us aware of the fact that
not everyone thinks alike,
and where everyone thinks alike
no one thinks.
Some days I receive so many hostile emails
that I have no choice but to conclude
my most faithful readers are my critics.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Like every Armenian dead or alive
I too have experienced on my own skin
the inhumanity and contempt that an Armenian has
for another Armenian.
No one can convince me that
we are civilized, intelligent, and compassionate.
It took history a thousand years to shape our identity
and it may take another thousand for us
to be born again as human beings.
What matters, however, is not our destination
but the road on which we choose to travel.
In the meantime it is important that we keep in mind
some facts about ourselves:
We are our own worst enemies.
There is more fiction than fact in our history books.
The higher an Armenian rises
the deeper his contempt for his fellow Armenians.
We are a Christian nation in name only:
unmask an Armenian and expose the Turk
or the atheist for whom democracy and human rights
are alien and degenerate verbiage.
The rest is propaganda.
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Old 02.04.2011, 14:36   #235
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Thursday, March 31, 2011
The hardest thing in writing
is the search for the simplest words.
A lie that flatters
will be more popular
than a truth that hurts.
That’s why propaganda
is more popular than dissent.
It took me thirty years to realize
I had been brainwashed.
If you don’t think you have been brainwashed,
you have been.
Friday, April 01, 2011
Today’s champions of human rights,
Americans were yesterday’s champion violators
who probably claimed more victims
than Genghis Khan, Suleiman the Magnificent,
Talaat, and Stalin combined.
As for their victims (both Indians and Africans):
in their endless tribal wars and massacres
before the white man appeared on the scene,
they were champion victimizers in their own right.
History is not written but rewritten and
it is not white man alone
who speaks with a forked tongue.
Speaking of the European conquest of America,
Toynbee writes:
“As soon as they had accomplished their murderously romantic historical mission of clearing the North American barbarians out of the way, they themselves were swiftly ****ed back into the prosaic Main Street of a pullulating Middletown. The culture of this Middletown had lapsed into a conspicuous vulgarity and barbarism in the realm of Art.”
When two sets of barbarians clash, the result will not be a new civilization – though historians will be assigned the task of misrepresenting it as such.
Turks rewrite history?
Don’t we?
We do worse:
We pretend to care about the past to the point of obsession
in order to avoid thinking and assessing our present and future.
We have replaced Ottomanism with Turcocentrism.
What’s the difference?
Don’t ask me because I don’t know.
A question that our historians consistently avoid raising:
What has been our contribution to our own history --
besides providing victims to victimizers?
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Old 06.04.2011, 14:37   #236
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Sunday, April 03, 2011
If anyone out there is planning to publish a volume of graffiti,
I submit the following candidates for his consideration.
“Stay in school and learn to read and riot.”
“Aunt Jemima is an Uncle Tom.”
“No Easter this year – they found the body.”
“Old soldiers never die -- just young ones.”
“Hugh Hefner is a virgin.”
“War is good business – invest your sons.”
“Be realists, demand the impossible.”
“Watch out, ears have walls.”
“Chastity is its own punishment.”
“Support free enterprise -- legalize prostitution.”
“Wear contraceptives – the unborn will bless you.”
“James Baldwin eats watermelon.”
Monday, April 04, 2011
Every nation has its heroes
who are invariably outnumbered by its cowards,
and we are no exception.
Speaking for myself:
I have at no time identified myself as a hero.
On the contrary, on more than one occasion
I have declared myself to be an orthodox coward.
To those who insult me anonymously
and from a safe distance, I say:
Why do you hide your identity?
Is it shame or cowardice?
Shame of who you are?
Fear of retaliation?
If fear, I assure you, you have nothing to fear.
I have no interest in harming anyone.
I am not your enemy.
Harming you would amount to killing someone
who is committing suicide.
I suggest you have more reasons to fear yourself
because by behaving as you do,
you expose yourself as a shameless coward.
Zarian once said,
“An Armenian’s tongue can be sharper than a Turk’s yataghan.”
With one difference:
whereas Turks use the yataghan against their enemies,
we use it against ourselves.
As for those who expect me to believe
those who insult me are motivated by patriotism
and nothing else, I ask:
What could be more useless
than the patriotism of a shameless coward
who is afraid of his own shadow?
Why can’t we see this as clearly
as anyone with an average IQ?
The obvious answer is:
Because our average collective IQ
hovers somewhere between single-digit and negative.
Finally, allow me to share a professional secret with you.
The most lethal wound a reader can inflict on a writer
is not reading him.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Saw a classic of French cinema,
Most of the characters in it are nasty, even sadistic,
the acting is wooden,
the script clumsily put together,
the camera-work average.
What makes the film memorable are the central character
(a donkey, that after being repeatedly abused
is hit by a stray bullet and bleeds to death in the middle of nowhere)
and the music (Schubert).
I see so many parallels between Balthazar’s life
and our history – with one significant difference:
Balthazar is an adorable, saintly creature…
Which may suggest that survival comes at a price,
and it is not always the best that survive.
A system that develops a bureaucracy
is a system on its way to the devil.
That’s because in all bureaucracies
it is the ruthless and the cunning – that is to say,
the scum – that rises to the top.
The aim of comedy is to make us forget that
life is a tragedy.
“I love to read but I don’t have the time.”
The words of a self-satisfied imbecile
infatuated with his own ignorance.
Old age replaces desire with guilt.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
When asked why he no longer publishes me,
one of our partisan editors is quoted as having said:
“Because he writes garbage.”
I write about life as I have experienced it.
I write about my fellow men as I have known them.
To do otherwise –
to speak of my feelings and thoughts
based on what others have seen, experienced, and understood,
would be derivative and, in my view,
inadmissible because based on hearsay.
It is different with editors.
All editors have an editorial policy
set by the publisher or
whoever happens to be in authority.
If our bosses, bishops, and benefactors are unanimous
in thinking I write garbage,
an editor has no choice but to echo their views.
There are dissenting writers.
There are not and cannot be dissenting editors.
Nations that have won or lost wars
think victory and defeat have taught them valuable lessons.
In reality all they have learned
is either arrogance or subservience:
arrogance towards the defenseless,
subservience towards authority figures.
Am I saying anything you don’t already know?
I doubt it.
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Old 09.04.2011, 14:59   #237
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Thursday, April 07, 2011
The tribal Muslims of the Middle East and North Africa
are ahead of us.
They have finally discovered that
their greatest enemies are neither Jews nor Americans
but their own corrupt, incompetent, and authoritarian leaders
who portray themselves as father figures and role models.
For daring to say as much a few years ago,
I lost several close friends from the Middle East.
This may suggest that even well-educated Armenians
are predisposed to believe recycled enemy propaganda
and reject the judgment of a brother.
I call Muslims our enemies
if only because after a thousand years of coexistence
they have contributed nothing but misery
to our collective existence
and blind subservience to authority
to our character as a nation.
Friday, April 08, 2011
When asked that question,
I make it short and harmless by saying
writing has become a habit
and habits are easier to keep than to give up.
Why do I write?
I write because as a teenager
I fell in love with the 19tn-century Russians.
I write because I like to share
my understanding of reality.
I write to expose deceivers.
To achieve immortality?
Why should I care what happens to me
after I am dead and buried?
Why do I write?
There may be many other reasons.
There is always a difference between what we say
and what we really think.
I write because I cannot do anything else.
I write because I have done many others things
and I have failed in all of them.
I write because I hate to work for money.
Saturday, April 09, 2011
We have many problems which we will never solve
if we don’t teach ourselves to separate fact from fiction.
Like the rest of mankind
we are not as lovable as we think we are.
Saroyan’s “stylized” Armenians (his own qualifier)
may be cute and lovable
but according to the published memoirs of his wife and son,
Saroyan himself was far from lovable.
To the Russians we are known as “cowards.”
To the Greeks as “Turkish gypsies.”
To the French as “filthy.”
To the Italians as smarter than Jews – meaning,
worse than Jews and thus to be avoided in the marketplace.
To the Americans, as Middle-East variants of their native Indians.
The truth is, as poor and homeless displaced people
we were welcome nowhere, including our own homeland.
Armenian survivors of World War II who repatriated
were not only called “aghber”
but also treated like garbage.
Not that our Sovietized brothers and sisters
treated one another more humanely.
If they had, several generations of our ablest men
would have survived successive waves of Stalinist purges.
When I am expected to believe
Arabs of the Middle East welcomed survivors
of the Genocide with open arms,
forgive me if I find that hard to believe.
We are told many Armenian orphans were adopted
and treated kindly by their new parents.
What we are not told
how many of them were abused and raped.
We are told 97% of the population in Armenia is Armenian.
What we are not told
Why is it that minorities are practically non-existent there?
Is it because we are intolerant, unfriendly, clannish,
tribal, and hostile to all outsiders?
I will let you answer that question.
And if you think I write as I do
because I am driven by self-hatred,
please don’t tell me you are one of those
narcissistic Armenians who have been brainwashed to believe
since we are beyond criticism we can do no wrong.
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Old 13.04.2011, 14:12   #238
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Sunday, April 10, 2011
In John Buchan’s GREENMANTLE (1916)
the Young Turks are described as
“a collection of Jews and gypsies.”
True or false?
I don’t know and I don’t care.
What matters here is not their family tree
but the fact that some of our greatest intellectual
and political leaders trusted them.
It is not my intention to convince anyone
to think as I do, but only to show that
(one) recycling enemy propaganda
is not the only way to think, and
(two) just because someone speaks in the name of
patriotism, nationalism or some other noble cause,
it doesn’t necessarily follow he is right.
All enemies of democracy
speak in the name of an ideology.
No fascist has ever declared himself
to be anti-nationalist or anti-patriotic.
On the contrary,
some of the most celebrated proponents of patriotism
have been foreign intruders and outsiders.
Napoleon was not a Frenchman,
Stalin was not a Russian,
Hitler was not a German,
and one of our greatest symbols
of patriotism and heroism,
Vartan Mamigonian,
was not an Armenian.
Moral of the story:
what matters about a political leader
is not his dedication to a noble cause
but his respect for human rights, free speech, and democracy.
The rest is enemy propaganda.
Monday, April 11, 2011
“If you speak
you are kesh.
If you don’t speak
you are esh.”
I came across this charming haiku
in an Armenian website the other day.
I have been called both kesh and esh by readers
Who have somehow managed to convince themselves
they are better and wiser.
With age comes wisdom,
except when your aim is power,
in which case with age
comes more greed, prejudice,
ignorance, and intolerance.
We tend to look up to our bosses, bishops, and benefactors
on the grounds that they have more money and power.
In this context we consistently avoid asking the question,
What have these gentlemen done for us so far
except to divide, deceive, and lead us
to massacre, exile, and subservience?
Now then, I ask you ladies and gentlemen
(if you will forgive the overstatements)
what have our dissidents done
except trying to enhance our solidarity
and share their understanding with us.
Why should solidarity, tolerance, and understanding
be treated as failings or vices
and divisiveness, dogmatism, and intolerance
as desirable patriotic duties and virtues?
What makes you think your bishop
knows better than someone else’s pope, imam, or rabbi?
God is with us?
That was one of Hitler’s favorite slogans too.
Why is it that where God enters
intolerance follows, and with intolerance,
heresies, persecution, and death? –
the death of the spirit if not the body.
The scum rises to the top
even in democratic environments.
That’s because, as Plato explains somewhere:
honest men will use only honest means
to achieve their goals,
unlike crooks
who will use both honest and dishonest means.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
We are brought up to think
all belief systems are wrong except our own.
All politicians are crooks except our own.
All historians lie except our own.
We never had them.
Ours were freedom fighters.
All our wars were defensive wars.
All our defeats were moral victories.
This may suggest that
the aim of propaganda is not to inform
but to brainwash,
and the aim of educational systems
is not to educate but to moronize.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
As a child I thought of war, starvation, and homelessness
(all of which I experienced)
as inevitable facts of life.
I was brought up to believe in God
who in His infinite wisdom had a plan for me.
What exactly had been His plan
for those who did not survive?
That was a question I did not ask.
In my infantile eyes Almighty God made the decisions
and men had no choice but to say “Thank you, Lord!”
When as a teenager I met an adult
who spoke as I write today,
my initial impression was that he must be nuts.
How dare he question God’s wisdom?
I know now that what he was questioning
was not God’s wisdom or even His existence
but the judgment of those who speak in His name –
popes, imams, and rabbis
who in another era would condemn one another to death
as frauds, heretics, and blasphemers.
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Old 16.04.2011, 14:02   #239
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Thursday, April 14, 2011
If we define friends as those who agree with us,
and enemies as those who disagree,
we shall have to conclude that
some of our best friends are Turks,
and some of our worst enemies are Armenians.
Our greatest enemy is not the Turk
but free speech.
Where free speech is the enemy
there will always be men at the top
who pretend to know better.
They may not be historians, economists, or philosophers,
but they will pretend their understanding
of history, economy, and philosophy to be superior
to anyone else’s, and there will always be others
willing to agree with them.
Even mighty empires are afraid of words.
Tyrants rule by inspiring fear in others
but they are themselves afraid of words.
In undemocratic environments
men are ruled by cowardly fools.
Friday, April 15, 2011
If the Americans refuse to recognize the reality of our genocide,
what are our chances of some day convincing the Turks to do so?
My guess is:
1 in 1,5 million.
If Americans who like to identify themselves
as champions of democracy, free speech and human rights
are afraid to use the “g” word,
what are our chances that some day
in the near or distant future
the Turks will include that word
in their dictionaries, encyclopedias, and textbooks?
This time I will let you do the guessing.
Third question:
What do Americans stand to lose in this context?
A friend in the Middle East?
What about Turks themselves?
What do they stand to lose?
The obvious answer is:
billions in reparations (money they don’t have)
and an important fraction of their real estate
which they stole from us 600 years ago
as, more recently,
Yanks stole America from the Indians,
“fair and square.”
At the turn of the last century,
our revolutionaries promised freedom and historic Armenia
but delivered death and pestilence.
Moral I:
If you make a promise you can’t deliver
your credibility is bound to sink lower
than a snake’s belly full of buckshot.
Moral II:
You fooled me once, shame on you.
You fooled me twice, shame on me.
You find what I say depressing?
Don’t blame me.
Blame reality.
I deal in facts, not fiction.
If you prefer fiction,
read romances with happy endings.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Who hates writers?
Where fascists enter
writers are silenced.
If you don’t believe me
it may be because you suffer from amnesia.
I suggest you refresh your memory
by reading a book on fascism
or a history of our literature.
In both the Ottoman Empire under Talaat
and the USSR under Stalin
our writers were the first victims.
And if you say,
“So you dare to think of yourself as a writer?”
I will reply:
“I don’t speak as a writer.
I speak as a witness
who refuses to be a dupe
and to recycle the propaganda
of our bosses, bishops, and benefactors
who speak in the name of God and capital
(make it, Capital and god);
and I speak as I do
because I refuse to believe God is a fascist.
Fascists are afraid of free speech
because they want everyone to believe
they are infallible and
they hate to be exposed as frauds.
God, by contrast, is afraid of nothing.
This may suggest that God,
unlike the god of popes, imams, and rabbis,
is neither a fascist nor a fraud,
and because I say so
it doesn’t necessarily follow
that I am in league with the Devil.
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Old 20.04.2011, 13:54   #240
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Sunday, April 17, 2011
True patriotism consists in being honest
with oneself and one’s fellow countrymen,
not in saying “Yes, sir!” to those who pretend to know better
but who have been consistently wrong in the past.
A citizen is not a soldier.
But after World War II even soldiers
are not compelled to say “Yes, sir!” to all orders.
Politics is not an exact science.
In a democracy, everything a politician says
is open to criticism and contradiction.
That is why for every politician who says one thing
there will be another who will say the opposite.
Readers who accuse me of hating
my fellow Armenians and myself
never mention the deep contempt they themselves have
for anyone who dares to disagree with them.
Do they speak of hatred because they feel unloved?
And if they are unloved,
do they ever ask whether or not
they deserve anyone’s love?
All our misfortunes may be traced to misplaced trust.
We trusted the Turks as our masters for 600 years.
We trusted them so much that
they called us their “most faithful millet [ethnic minority]”
That “most faithful” bothers the hell out of me.
Why couldn’t we have been like all the others –
Greeks, Arabs, Jews, Assyrians, Bulgarians,
Albanians, and Kurds – among others?
Why did we have to be their “most faithful” bitch?
We trusted Talaat, Stalin, and Hitler.
We trusted the Great Powers of the West
as we trusted our own leaders
who were not there when we needed them most.
They had a plan B only for themselves.
In America today we trust any presidential candidate
who promises to recognize the reality of our genocide
even when after they are elected they refuse to use the “g” word.
And now, our leaders expect us to trust them again
when they rewrite history and represent themselves
as statesmen of vision who can do no wrong.
Monday, April 18, 2011
When the USSR collapsed
Stalinists were unanimous in blaming it on Solzhenitsyn,
as if a single or, for that matter,
a thousand unarmed civilians
could challenge and defeat a military colossus.
The USSR collapsed because
the lies of the Kremlin were exposed;
and when lies are exposed,
the reality principle asserts itself.
If so far we have survived
it’s because the lies of our enemies
are bigger than our own.
We have nothing to brag about.
God is not on our side.
We are not as smart as we think we are.
Our history is a disaster area and
our leadership is a farce.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
If you think I am an eccentric with whose opinions
very few responsible Armenians would agree,
allow me to quote a witness that may well be
less vulnerable to similar charges.
“Our teachers are self-satisfied ignoramuses.
Our clergy love commerce more than learning.
Our leaders behave more like wolves than shepherds.”
I am paraphrasing from memory
a few lines from the “Lamentation” of Khorenatsi,
a historian of the 5th century
when Armenia was at the apex of its Golden Age
as opposed to the nadir of its decline and disintegration.
More recently, a friend writes:
“Our community is dying.
It’s a case of cold-blooded murder
and the killers are the very same individuals
who parade as our saviors.”
Another correspondent informs me:
“Ours is a case of terminal cancer.”
If you say, “We survived Khorenatsi
and we will survive you and your
gloom-and-doom friends and correspondents,”
all I can say is:
Yes, in the Ottoman Empire we survived as slaves
for 600 years; and we are surviving today as dupes.
I call that kind of survival worse than death.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Turks and Armenians disagree on many things
but they agree on one thing – that the other
is an infidel dog.
We could build on that!
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