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About arabaliozian

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  1. Sunday, December 09, 2012 *************************************** CHAPTER & VERSE ******************************* Speaking of an elder statesman, Puzant Granian (may he rest in peace) once said to me: “He was so naïve that I once heard him say 'Churchill does not lie.'" There you have it in four words: the fallacy of our revolutionaries: “The West does not lie.” * Poor Armenian revolutionaries. After 600 years of subservience to a bloodthirsty tyrant what did they know about politics and diplomacy – that is to say, the real world? * But the more relevant question to be asked is: “What have they learned?” And if they have learned nothing, can they even lead a dog to the nearest fire hydrant? Can they even read and understand what they are reading? * Last Saturday I saw on Armenian television another one of our dime-a-dozen elder statesmen bragging about our translation of the Bible – “the Queen of translations.” Instead of bragging he should have asked: What have we learned from the Bible? Do we read it? And if we read it, can we understand what it says? * “When the blind lead the blind both shall fall into the ditch.” “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” “Without vision the people perish.” “By their fruits ye shall know them.” “Put not your trust in princes.” “A fool’s mouth is his destruction.” “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.” “The wages of sin is death.” And I could go on and on… # Monday, December 10, 2012 *************************************** LABELS *********************** After millennia of wars, deportations, abductions, rapes, and mixed marriages, mankind has been so thoroughly bastardized that whenever I am introduced to a fellow Armenian, I ask myself: what do I share in common with this fellow? And more often than not the answer is “Nothing!” His mother tongue and mine may be the same but his favorite medium is Russian and mine is English. * It has been said that if the history of mankind were 24 hours long, we may be able to trace our ancestry for a few seconds or even a minute or two, but beyond that it’s Bagratunis and Mamikonians (Jews and Chinese respectively). * If a man does business with Armenians or lives in an Armenian neighborhood and doesn’t know who and what he is, he will identify himself as an Armenian. The same applies to Turks, Americans, Australians, and in general all other tribes, nations, and empires. * We are Christians not because Christianity is the best religion or it makes more sense than all the others, but because that was the only religion we were taught as children. * The only legitimate and verifiable label I recognize is “human being,” and so few qualify. As for Homo sapiens: since what we don’t know outweighs what we know a million to one, a more accurate label would be Homo ignoramus. * Speaking for myself: I have said this before and it bears repeating: on a good day I can trace my ancestry all the way back to my father. * You have every right to find me unreadable. I rate objective judgment above flattery and propaganda. # Wednesday, December 12, 2012 ************************************** LEADERS ********************* My ambition in life: to convince my enemies that we have many more reasons to be the best of friends. (This tactic doesn’t always work with Armenians.) * Every time you say “Yes, sir!” to a liar, you dig a deeper hole for the truth. * Every time you put your trust on a bad leader, you raise another obstacle on the path of a good leader. * Let others speechify and sermonize about our heroes and martyrs. I will continue to write about blunders and their innocent victims. * It has been said that a competent leader is first and foremost a consensus seeker. You may now draw your own conclusions. * Let’s not fool ourselves: our leadership is as keen on divide-and-rule tactics as our worst enemies. * A divided nation is on its way to the devil. Only idiots refuse to see this. And when idiots are in charge the result may be another genocide. # Wednesday, December 12, 2012 ****************************************** LITERATURE & POLITICS ********************************** Reason tells us there is strength in unity. It follows; reason has at no time played a central role in our political affairs. * It can truly be said of us that our literature has shaped nothing and no one except a handful of scribblers, versifiers, daydreamers, and mental masturbators. * What has been the role of our political leaders? The answer is and must be that of gravediggers. * “Let us not deceive ourselves” is a favorite line of mine. But even as I write I go on deceiving myself into thinking my words may be read, and if read may make a difference. * I am told I am too extreme and inflexible in my views, intolerant of alternative ideas, reluctant to engage in dialogue, unable to compromise. Which raises the question: Is compromise possible with charlatans who do not even acknowledge your existence? Or with wheeler-dealers who have silenced far better men than myself? Can one negotiate from a position of non-existence? * So many readers disagree with me that whenever on those rare occasions someone agrees with me my first reaction is to think I must have said something wrong. * Our educational system is at the mercy of dupes of former dupes whose most important project is to create a new generation of dupes. * If the Genocide taught us nothing it only means that we are unteachable. #
  2. Thursday, April 05, 2012 *************************************** C’EST LA VIE ***************************** We are seduced by a glance and a smile and by the time we realize we have been taken in, it’s too late – we find ourselves in a hole with only one option: to dig deeper. * I once worked with a cute blonde who didn’t say much and what she said was more often than not a quotation from the movies. In an interview, Updike once said Errol Flynn had been a greater influence than Jesus. * How many of our deepest convictions are quotations of clichés based on hearsay evidence by dupes and compulsive liars? * One man’s hero is another’s villain. General Antranik is a hero to us and a villain to Azeris who believe he massacred innocent and defenseless civilians. Who is right? * When there are two sides to a story, the chances are both are wrong. * Which belief system is right and which wrong? Does it matter when all belief systems are manipulated by cunning operators whose number one concern is number one? # Friday, April 06, 2012 ************************************ ON SECOND THOUGHT ************************************* It is not ideas and belief systems that I criticize but their propaganda. It would be even more accurate to say that I expose killers who feel justified to murder those who disagree with them. I attack speechifiers and sermonizers who legitimize intolerance and hatred in the name of God and love. * What is intolerance if not fear of truth? What could be more absurd than opposing lies with bigger lies? Isn’t that what popes, imams, and rabbis to? Read the Old Testament and count the number of murders, wars, and massacres. Review the history of Islam. Consider the abuses of nationalism and the crimes committed in the name of colonialism, communism, and the brotherhood of all men. * The real atheist is not he who questions or doubts the existence of God. The real atheist is he who kills in the name of God. Who are the enemies of dissent? if not killers who hide themselves behind pious platitudes that convinces only dupes. Isn’t it the quintessence of double-talk to divide the community and the nation and to ignore the Biblical injunction “A house divided against itself cannot stand”? And as if that weren’t enough, to brag about our genius for survival. A house in ruins may exist, but can it survive? # Saturday, April 07, 2012 *********************************** ON MODERATION... AMONG OTHER THINGS ************************************* If women are less warlike than men it may be because they know how easily men are seduced by, among other things, empty verbiage. * Greeks praised moderation above all other virtues, and yet their history is an endless catalogue of wars – and whenever they ran out of enemies, they fought one another until they were themselves defeated, conquered, and colonized by Macedonians, Romans, and Turks – that’s what I call a steady decline and degeneration of enemies. So much for progress. * What about us? Because our history is a nightmare we like to modify it by nationalist propaganda – that is to say, transparent lies. * If you ever get close to one of our so-called leaders, you may be shocked to discover that what he says publicly stands in direct contradiction to what he says privately. That’s another way of saying, they are habitual compulsive liars. When it comes to being brainwashed, it takes one to know one… and I bear scars to prove it. #
  3. Sunday, March 06, 2011 ******************************************** PHOBIAS...AMONG OTHER THINGS *************************************************** 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 ******************************************** REFERENCES *************************************************** 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 AND THE SHOW WENT ON: CULTURAL LIFE IN NAZI-OCCUPIED PARIS, 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 LESS THAN HUMAN: WHY WE DEMEAN, ENSLAVE, AND EXTERMINATE OTHERS, 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, is titled RISE THE EUPHRATES. # Tuesday, March 08, 2011 ******************************************** ON IDENTITY *************************************************** 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. * In a review of ERNEST GELLNER: AN INTELLECTUAL BIOGRAPHY 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 ******************************************** THEM AND US *************************************************** 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. #
  4. Thursday, October 14, 2010 ********************************************** WOUNDED ANIMALS ************************************************ To the gentle reader who described me as “a wounded animal,” I say: If centuries of abject subservience to brutal regimes have not left permanent scars on your soul (if you will forgive the overstatement) you must be a superman. And if you claim to have at no time been mortally wounded by your fellow Armenians, you must be a habitual liar. Since I have never met a superman and I have met many liars, I have no choice but to assume you are one of those liars who will say anything to assert their superiority over their fellow Armenians. * In this morning's paper there is a long article on Armenian criminals in America. Its first paragraph reads: “A vast network of Armenian gangsters and their associates used phantom health care clinics and other means to try to cheat the government medical insurance program Medicare out of $163 million US, the largest fraud by one criminal enterprise in the program's history, U.S. Authorities said Wednesday.” We are further informed that an Armenian criminal boss is known as a “vor,” probably because all he does is sit on his fat posterior and let his underlings do the dirty work. * The questions to be asked at this point are: Is there a single former Soviet citizen today who does not bear permanent scars inflicted on his soul by the Stalinist system? How many “vors” are there in the Yerevan bureaucracy today? What are the chances that an honest Armenian will emerge from the swamp and reach the top? -- or is that a utopian daydream on my part? # Friday, October 15, 2010 ********************************************** NOTES ON OBJECTIVITY AND DISSENT ************************************************ Objectivity is an asset, not a liability. * Where there is an absence of objectivity, blunders are sure to follow. * To see things as they are is better than to think of them as we would like them to be. * A Christian can't be objective about Christianity in the same way that a Taliban mullah can't be objective about Islam. * To say that in matters of faith objectivity is irrelevant is to surrender reason to the forces of darkness – the source of all violence. * Dissent does not have to be infallible in order to be necessary. * Power without dissent digs its own grave. * Our intolerance of dissent is a legacy of our Ottoman and Stalinist past. * Only the brain-dead are against dissent and free speech. * When the brain-dead lead the brain-dead they don't fall into the ditch because their skeletons are already buried there. * Men of power do not welcome dissidents; they prefer dupes with a negative IQ whose favorite expression is “Yes, sir!” # Saturday, October 16, 2010 ********************************************** FUND-RAISERS & RELATED ATROCITIES ************************************************ No activity has been more abused among us than fund-raising. * To say of someone that he has the integrity of a fund-raiser amount to calling him white trash. * The greatest beneficiaries of fun-raising are the fund-raisers themselves. * I have yet to meet a fund-raiser who placed the welfare of the people above his own fat income. * I loathe fund-raisers as much as I loathe pimps -- and I say this with the full awareness that I am being unfair to pimps. * Which reminds me of the line: “Please, don't tell my mother I am a lawyer: she thinks I am a pimp.” * Shakespeare: “Let's begin by killing all the lawyers.” * Dante: If he didn't dedicate an entire circle in his INFERNO to lawyers, he should have. * To the lawyers and fund-raisers on this forum (if there are any) I say: “Present company suspected.” * I rest my case. Nothing further, your Honor. #
  5. arabaliozian


    July 10, 2010 ********************** EXPLAINING THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE **************************************************** “If the Almighty is Perfect, why did He create an imperfect world?” As an imperfect being living in an imperfect world, my imperfect answer is: When you do something for the first time, even if it as simple a task as hammering a nail to the wall, something is bound to go wrong. Maybe the world as we know it is a first experiment, and He will do better next time. Dissatisfied with my answer? I plead extenuating circumstances on the grounds that it is my first try. Give me a few years or decades of reflection and I may do better. In the meantime, may I offer a first-time historic instance that ended in disaster: our Revolution at the turn of the last century in the Ottoman Empire. * Now an explanation as to why I repeat myself: my aim in life is to repeat a handful – no more than three or four – ideas so often as to make them as undeniable as clichés. # July 11, 2010 ********************** ADDICTIONS **************************************************** According to Alcoholics' Anonymous, once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. The same applies to belief systems, or, in the words of a theologian: “You may let go of God, but God will never let you go.” Once a Muslim, always a Muslim. Once a Christian, always a Christian. And once a Bolshevik... How to recognize a Bolshevik when you run into one? Easy! Whenever Stalin's crimes come up in conversation, he will mention McCarthy, as if to say, “So you think Americans are better?” He forgets that McCarthy killed no one, whereas Stalin's victims number in the millions, among them the best and the brightest. * Belief systems are not easy to discard because they have deep roots in our subconscious – roots that were planted when we were children by men with ulterior motives – men who were more committed to power than to love, truth, and compassion. * A belief system that develops an oligarchy, ritual, tradition, and coercion under the guise of education, is one that has lost its essence and become superstition – less love of God and more fear of God, less progress in understanding the Incomprehensible and more a pact with the Devil. That's the only way to explain the persecution and torture of heretics, suicidal terrorists who kill innocent civilians, priests who sexually abuse children, and bishops who look the other way because they are more concerned with the reputation (that is, the power and prestige) of the Church and less with compassion for the victim. * Am I judging an institution by its aberrations? I don't think so. Rather, I am assessing an institution's true intent by the mindset and character of its leadership. But what I find even more offensive about organized religions is their claim of monopoly on truth. All men are no longer brothers; and if they are, half of them are Cains. When Cain slew Abel, he acted on his own, independently of any belief system. Which means, if there is a killer in all of us, the least religion can do is to refrain from legitimizing and encouraging it. But perhaps that's too much to ask? # July 12, 2010 ********************** DOGS, PIGS, AND JACKASSES **************************************************** If the caravan were to stop every time a dog barks, it would never reach its destination. * I love reading books on rules. You have to, if you want to break them. * About our benefactors: I don't grudge their money. I grudge their values on the grounds that a jackass is in no position to appreciate the aroma of rose jam. * I have never met a capitalist. But once, in a community center, I observed from a safe distance a specimen who was surrounded by a phalanx of hangers-on. You can tell a lot about a man by the kind of brown-nosers he attracts. * Jesus and Marx agree on nothing except capitalists. Jesus said they will never make it to heaven, and Marx called them bloodsucking pigs who fleece even fleas. * Plato, himself a wealthy man, explains somewhere that crooks will always be wealthier than honest men because they will use honest as well as dishonest means to amass their fortune. Whereas honest men will use only honest means. # July 13, 2010 ********************** REFLECTIONS **************************************************** When you voice an idea to someone who doesn’t have any of his own, he is sure to disagree with you. * More often than not our disagreements are not between two conflicting ideas but between an idea and recycled propaganda. * We blabber so much about Ottoman massacres that we completely ignore our own massacre of ideas. * In his NAKED LUNCH, William Burroughs quotes a doctor saying: “Baboons always attack the weakest party in an altercation. Quite right too. We must never forget our glorious simian heritage.” * A biologist friend once said to me: “You don’t need psychology, philosophy, sociology or anthropology to understand and explain Armenians: all you need is zoology.” * Imagine a sardine in a pool of sharks. And now, imagine an honest member of the Party. * I once met an Armenian who went out of his way to make himself hateful, after which he accused me of hating Armenians. #
  6. March 11, 2010 *************************************************** TOYNBEE ******************************************* One reason I love to read and reread Toynbee (sometimes more than twice) is that so much of what he says, and the authorities he quotes, are anti-authoritarian and apply not only to me personally but also to mankind in general, including – or should I say, especially – to Armenians. Random examples follow: Volney: “The source of man's calamities reside within him; he carries them in his heart.” Saint Cyrian: “If the foreign enemy were to cease from troubling, would Roman really be able to live at peace with Roman?” Rabbi Agus: “'Uniqueness' as an innate quality of being is exclusive in character, invidious in intent, invariably offensive.” Walter Bagehot: “The very institutions which most aid at step number one are precisely those which most impede at step number two.” In Toynbee's own words: “Progress would not have been the rarity it is if the early food had not been the late poison.” And I think of our own political parties whose step number one was love of freedom, and step number two fear or hatred of free speech.” Our own Garabents put it more succinctly when he said: “Once upon a time we fought and shed our blood for freedom. We are now afraid of free speech.” And to think that Garabents was a thoroughly pro-establishment writer beloved by all. Another quality that makes Toynbee attractive to me personally is that he quotes the Bible (and he does so frequently – more frequently than any other historian I have read) not as a believer but as a non-believer. In his own words: “I believe that the answers to the questions that matter most to us can be found only beyond the reason's limits, if they can be found at all.” Please note that final “if.” When asked why he had devoted thirty years of his life to the writing of his magnum opus, STUDY OF HISTORY, Toynbee is said to have replied with a single word: “Curiosity.” # March 12, 2010 *************************************************** BLUNT TALK ******************************************* “The United States was not the golden land of opportunity people thought it was. Blacks were oppressed. The poor were downtrodden. The press told lies. Truth existed nowhere. Everyone was motivated by money.” (THE SHOT, by Philip Kerr. New York, 2000, page 62). Blunt talk. That's what I like. I wish we had more of it. * People who are afraid of open spaces are said to suffer from agoraphobia, a word that combines two Greek words – agora (space) and phobia (fear). It seems to me, collectively, we suffer from alithophobia (fear of truth) and pragmatophobia (fear of reality). Which may well be why there are a great many people out there who don't believe us even when we speak the truth, probably because they think we suffer from psematolatria (the worship of lies). Next time you hear or read one of our pundits or “patriotards” (baloney artists parading as community leaders), I urge you to keep these words in mind even if you can't find them in any dictionary for the simple reason that I just made them up. * Please note that Philip Kerr, the author of the above quotation, is not a historian, sociologist, or academic, but a writer of thrillers who was greatly influenced by Raymond Chandler, the only American writer I have enjoyed reading three times – see especially his FAREWELL, MY LOVELY. Like Chandler, Kerr has a brilliant sense of humor. At one point, for instance, his central character, who happens to be a professional assassin, says: “I'm the real careful type. Ava Gardner offered to suck my c*ock I'd probably ask what was in it for me.” * The only other American writer I have read three time is Hemingway -- not his novels but his short story “The Killers.” I don't mention LOLITA because Nabokov was less American and more Russian cosmopolitan. # March 13, 2010 *************************************************** REFLECTIONS ******************************************* My two ambitions in life as a writer: (one) to explain why many Armenians are alienated, and (two) to expose the arrogance and incompetence of those who alienate them in the name of patriotism. * If rabbis, imams, and bishops were to renounce their monopoly on truth, would the number of their followers go up or down? Hard to say. But one thing we can say with certainty: they would be promoting tolerance instead of intolerance. * As a reader, I prefer bad dialogue to good descriptions. I should like to read a work of fiction that begins with the words: “In what follows, I will not speak of the appearance and wardrobe of my characters on the assumption that what's most important about them will emerge in what they say.” * The trouble with some of my critics is that they don’t consider me worthy of criticism. Instead, they insist that I either give up writing or change my views in such a manner as to jibe with theirs. In short, they demand that I become a disciple and an echo. Their disciple and their echo! My critics are not literary critics in the usual sense of these words, but messianic figures whose message is “Abandon your ways and follow me, for I am the only path to wisdom and salvation.” To such an Armenian to say anything but “Yes, master!” would be heresy leading to eternal damnation and hellfire. #
  7. arabaliozian


    01/07/10 ********************************** ARMENIAN ANTI-SEMITISM *************************************************** You may have noticed that some of our anti-Semites prefer to identify themselves as anti-Zionists probably because they know anti-Semitism to be an undeniable prejudice with a long history; whereas anti-Zionism is a recent geopolitical development, and as everyone knows by now, in politics it is legitimate to take sides. What these gentlemen ignore is the fact that whenever Israel is mentioned, the number of our pundits on Middle-East politics suddenly goes up dramatically. Armenians who know little or nothing about their own history expect us to believe they know all there is to know about the complexities of the Middle East, on the assumption that their interlocutors must be even more ignorant than they. These Armenians, it seems, miss the good old days when Jews allowed themselves to be persecuted and exterminated. What they are against is sh*t-disturbing Zionists who made a mess of things. I see parallels here between what our anti-Zionists think of Jews and what Turks thought of Armenians at the turn of the last century. “When Armenians were loyal subjects of the Ottoman Empire – when, that is, they allowed us to fornicate with their daughters and to conscript their boys to fight and die in defense of the Empire -- we had nothing against them. We got along just fine. But then, some politically ambitious whipper-snappers had the temerity to make territorial demands on us. Don't blame us for what happened. Blame these greedy and ungrateful bastards who did not appreciate enough the protection, prosperity and all the freedoms they enjoyed in the Empire. We are not prejudiced. Never were. We are not racists. We love everyone and hate no one. But justice is justice and the law is the law.” # 01/08/10 ********************************** SHISH-KEBAB *************************************************** Freedom of speech means the freedom of breaking taboos, casting down idols, and shish-kebabing sacred cows. We are denied the fundamental human right of free speech because, when sacred cows are in charge, the first thing they do is to criminalize the consumption of shish-kebab and to legitimize the practice of cannibalism. * The more ignorant the speaker, the more dogmatic his pronouncements. * Armenians argue not to reach a consensus by means of compromise but to settle a score with the Turks. * OUR TRAGEDY ************************* After a fatal accident, they never say, “Had I driven more defensively, my family would be alive today.” What they say and repeat is, “It was the other's fault. He is the guilty one!” # 01/09/10 ************************* OIL *************************************************** No one gives a damn about Muslims -- not even Muslims. What they really care about is the oil. As for us: Now, you tell me, why should anyone give a damn? Our cognac? I have tasted it. It tastes like arsenic. If visiting diplomats and foreign statesmen say they like it, it may be because they are compulsive liars. Either that or they have no taste. And the only reason some of them are willing to acknowledge our existence is that we stand between them and Azeri oil. As for members of the European Union willing to acknowledge the reality of our genocide: they do so because they need a reason to justify their anti-Turkish stance. On the day Turkey becomes an economically self-sufficient and viable state, they will open their arms to them. They may even drop their pants and bend over. That's politics for you. That's taking care of numero uno and to hell with truth, justice, human rights, and morality. There is a lesson for us here. Since no one gives a damn, we have no choice but to rely on one another. Amen. #
  8. Sunday, December 13, 2009 ********************************** THE “S” WORD ****************************************************** All this nonsense about needing solutions is a lot of b.s. Everyone knows that men of God and capital (make it Capital and god) know better. If they didn't, they wouldn't be where they are. Solutions doesn't even make it as the last item on their wish list. What they want and what they get from their brown-nosers and dupes is gratitude and subservience. * If a liar believes in his own lies, he will also assume he is a lover of truth. * In all of us ignorance exceeds knowledge, and most of what we know is based either on hearsay or is an extension of a belief system, that is to say, propaganda. * Whenever they can't blame it on the Turks and the West, they blame it on the opposition. They sure know how to cover their ass. * You cannot reason with the brainwashed. You can only try to deprogram them, which can be as difficult as changing a wolf to a lamb, and in our case, vice versa. * Benefactors like to parade as supporters of literature, but since their favorite reading matter is financial statements, they delegate the job to their brown-nosers. Which may explain the unbearable stench of mediocrity emanating from our contemporary literature. # Monday, December 14, 2009 ********************************** O CANADA ****************************************************** During a recent visit to an Armenian community center in Toronto, the Minister of Immigration delivered a speech in which he reminded his audience that the Canadian government had recognized the reality of the Armenian genocide, but that it also expected all Armenian-Canadians to be nice to Turks because Canada is a multicultural country, which means everyone must live in friendship and peace with everyone else. The audience responded with blank expressions. And I thought: How can we be nice to Turks if we cannot even be nice to our fellow Armenians? * In a recent issue of the NEW YORKER, Newt Gingrich was identified as “the Republican Party's putative sage.” Gingrich, it will be remembered, once named Kemal Atatürk as his role model. I have every reason to suspect that if he runs for president in 2012 and promises to recognize the Armenian genocide, Armenians will vote for him not because they believe in his promise but because they care much more about lower taxes than Genocide recognition. Never underestimate the cunning of greedy fools. * As a child whenever I did something wrong I was punished. And now that I am old I am silenced by the old and insulted by the young for exposing misconduct. Perhaps one reason I understand my fellow countrymen so well is that I am, very much like them, a perennial loser, with one noteworthy difference: I see no reason why I should fool myself and others into thinking otherwise. It is easy for a fool to fool himself, but more difficult to fool those who may well be smarter than he. * Today's quote in my morning paper is by Adlai Stevenson and it reads: “My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.” I am safe today, it is true. It is also true that I owe my safety not to my fellow Armenians but to my country of adoption. # Tuesday, December 15, 2009 ********************************** NOTES / COMMENTS ****************************************************** Moral superiority, especially the self-anointed kind, is such a cheap commodity that even the penniless can afford it. Even primitive Brazilian jungle tribes have myths whose sole aim is to assert their moral superiority. May I confess that I am so tired of being a morally superior loser that my secret ambition now is to be a morally inferior winner. * Only the brain-dead think they know and understand all they need to know and understand. Self-satisfaction is a tomb. * The brain-dead cannot think. They can only say “yes, sir!” to the unthinking. * Every civilized and progressive nation has a set of laws whose sole aim is to protect the people from their leaders. Since we never had such laws, most abuses of power in our institutions and bureaucracies have gone unexposed, and when exposed, unpunished. I tremble to think what will happen on the day the average patriotic Armenian discovers this fact. * You cannot argue with somebody who thinks you are nobody. * There are many forms of cowardice, surely one of the worst must be fear of free speech. * Every Armenian is infatuated with the aroma of his own b.s. #
  9. Thursday, April 9, 2009 ******************************************** TO EACH HIS OWN ************************************ To us, the Genocide is a tragedy. To the Turks, it's an embarrassment. To American politicians running for office, a cash cow. To our own leadership, a distraction from present problems and their reluctance or inability to solve them. To our Turcocentric ghazetajis, an endless source of venom and an opportunity to play the blame-game as well as a chance to assert moral superiority. As for Turcophile historians who say it was the Armenians who massacred the Turks; I for one am not surprised. So what if after 600 years of subservience that gradually degenerated to brutal oppression, some Armenians took justice into their own hands? Would anyone dare to assert that, had the Ottoman Empire been an Armenian Empire and Turks an oppressed minority, they would have said, “Let bygones be bygones. Let us smoke the peace nargileh and forever after live like brothers?" * ON MORAL SUPERIORITY ********************************* We are told when God created angels and He gave them a free will, half of them turned into devils. It is therefore safe to assume that if sometime in the future the Good Lord were to give His angels another crack at freedom, another 50% of them would make the wrong choice. Which is why so far God in His infinite wisdom has not made the same mistake. Which is also why, when God wants to destroy a man, He gives him more power, because more power means greater freedom. * P.S. ***************** Yesterday I listed four books that I have read three times. I should have included another – Raymond Chandler's FAREWELL, MY LOVELY. * WORDS OF WISDOM ******************************** Chinese saying: “Extreme cleverness is as bad as stupidity.” # Friday, April 10, 2009 ******************************************** A MENSCHE ************************************ In his THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILIZATION, Robert Fisk dedicated an entire chapter to the Armenian genocide. He does the same with his latest book, THE AGE OF THE WARRIOR: SELECTED ESSAYS (New York, 2008). After tearing to shreds Turkish and “gutless” American denialists, among them President Bush, General Petraeus, ambassador Ryan Crocker, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, he turns his outrage on Armenians themselves. When an interviewer in Yerevan makes a reference to Turkey's “lack of democratization,” Fisk demands to know: “What about Armenia's pliant press? And why was it that present-day Armenia seemed to protest much less about twentieth-century's first Holocaust than the millions of Armenians in the diaspora, in the U.S., Canada, France, Britain, even Turkish intellectuals in Turkey itself?...Long live the Soviet Union.” A man after my own heart! # Saturday, April 11, 2009 ******************************************** THE USES AND ABUSES OF FAITH ************************************************* Whenever I replace the word “God” with “the Unknown and the Unknowable,” what I read makes either more sense or no sense at all – as in “God loves you.” If God loves us, His definition of love is more akin to hatred. * Most of mankind's problems, including our own, stem from the fact that those who have God or capital (make it, Capital or god) on their side, consider themselves beyond criticism. * When a man is devoid of honor, compassion, and understanding, he adopts race, color, and creed as criteria. * Faith is an essential ingredient in one's life, we are told. Maybe so. But what if faith allows us to call anyone who does not share our belief system an infidel dog who doesn't deserve to live? * What do I think of mysticism? Let me quote my favorite mystic, Saint Teresa of Avila: “It is the humblest among you who are the most perfect not those who are favored in prayer or with ecstasies.” #
  10. arabaliozian

    To Life

    Wednesday, December 24, 2008 **************************************** L'CHAIM ************************************************** In arithmetic, one plus one makes two. In life, the answer may be eleven or any other given number. * The Mekhitarist order was divided into two – the Venetian and Viennese branches. But I am told they have now decided to unite. The friend who communicates this news bulletin to me, remarks: “Now that they are both dead, they want to be buried together.” Which reminds me of the fact that while being “educated” by the Venetian branch, “Armenian solidarity” might as well have been a taboo subject. * Once upon a time there was a Chinese emperor whose ambition was to change the world. When he realized the world wasn't exactly in a cooperative frame of mind, he lowered his sight to trying to change his realm, then his circle of relatives and friends, and so on until he realized that he couldn't even change himself. * Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammad, came close to changing the world, whether for the better or worse remains to be seen. * In life, the unpleasant surprises outnumber the pleasant ones perhaps because man is more easily addicted to wishful thinking than objective judgment. # Thursday, December 25, 2008 **************************************** HO HO HO! ************************************************** Speaking of Galileo, Pope Benedict XVI is quoted as having said, he had helped “the faithful to better understand and contemplate with gratitude the Lord's works.” It seems to me, the far more important lesson to be learned from the most famous victim of the Inquisition is that faith can sometimes lead those in power into punishing the innocent and intimidating the rest into blind obedience. In other words, what happened to Galileo is not an injustice that belongs to the irrevocable past, but an aberration inherent in all organized religions. According to a cardinal, “Galileo Galilei was a man of faith who saw nature as a book authored by God.” The unmistakable implication being that those who speak in the name of God sometimes behave like functional illiterates. * Friends tell me I should not waste my time writing about nonentities. But what if these nonentities are in charge of our destiny? * Troubles come from unexpected directions, and like bullets, they hit you before you hear them coming because they travel faster than the speed of sound. * Anyone can get a lawyer. The trick is getting a good lawyer; and with a good lawyer you lose even when you win – when, that is, you get his bill. * I am fascinated by people who know or understand something that I don't; and I am repelled by people who believe things that I believed when I was a dupe. # Friday, December 26, 2008 **************************************** TWO BOOKS ************************************************** The two funniest books I read this year are Christopher Buckley's satirical novel, SUPREME COURTSHIP, and Shalom Auslander's FORESKIN'S LAMENT: A MEMOIR. Buckley's central character is a combination of Sarah Palin and Bugs Bunny (my favorite American of all time). I noted the presence of two Armenians: Setrakian, a prosecutor, and Harmookian, a senator. Auslander's name is Shalom but his memoir is more like a declaration of war against Jewish beliefs, scriptures, customs, traditions, and dietary laws. * We all view reality from a different angle. If we want to enhance our understanding of the world, we must first come to terms with the fact that what we see is not what we get because what we see is only a fraction of reality, and a fraction so minuscule that it might as well be invisible to the naked eye. * There is a type of Armenian whose penetrating gaze sees and understands everything except the dimensions and depths of his own ignorance. * According to some eminent historians, the present conflict between the West and the Muslim world is “a clash of civilizations.” I disagree. Neither Bush and his gang of neo-cons, nor Saddam, Osama, and their brainwashed thugs represent anything remotely allied to civilization. Barbarism, yes. Civilization, no! # Saturday, December 27, 2008 **************************************** RECAP (II) ************************************************** From our millionaires, we want money. From our bishops, constant reminders of our moral superiority. From our fund-raisers, declarations of our generosity. From our people, credulity. From our writers, flattery. From our critics, silence. Armenians are complex and unpredictable? Nonsense! We are more predictable than Pavlov's salivating canines. * Where there is a free press, fascism doesn't stand a chance. One of the worst things that happened to America in the last century was Senator McCarthy. But McCarthy, unlike Franco, Mao, Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin, didn't kill anyone. Neither did he last as long for the simple reason that he was exposed as a bully by a free press. * Where there is no free press, or where there are barriers raised against the free flow of ideas (as that of “insulting Turkishness”), the people will be exposed to only one set of views. The result will be a society that is unhealthy and easily manipulated by those in power. This may explain why our bosses, bishops, and benefactors are unanimous in supporting our Turcocentric ghazetajis and in opposing dissent. * The trouble with any kind of barrier against free speech is that it tends to suppress legitimate criticism too and eventually creates a class of individuals who consider themselves beyond criticism. * If you say, Armenians don't like me on the grounds that I am consistently negative, my answer is, you mean I insult Armenishness? Is it being negative pointing out the obvious fact that, as members of the human race, we are as bad as the rest of mankind, including of course Turks, and that all suggestions of moral superiority are not just lies but asinine absurdities? * Where courage of one's convictions is equated with hostility or even treason, the result will be a generation of conformists, yes-men, and cowards afraid of their own shadows. #
  11. Նախկին հիմարի դիտարկումները Արա Բալիոզյան Եթե իսկապես վատ գրող եմ ինչպես ասում են ընթերցողներիս մի մասը, ինչու՞ են նեղություն քաշում ու կարդում գրածս, այն դեպքում երբ այդքան լավ գրող կա, նրաց մեջ հայրենասեր գիտնականներ, պատմաբաններ, հետազոտողներ, պոետներ... Ինչու՞ են հավատացյալները պատժում անհավատներին։ Գուցե որովհետև հավատացյալները կարծում են որ հավատում են, երբ իրականում չեն հավատում, և անհավատներին լռեցնելով հույս ունեն, որ կլռեցնեն սեփական կասկածները։ Սովետական տարիներին ապակենտրոն մտածողներին խոշտանգում էին, աքսորում ու գնդակահարում: Ավելացրե՞ց արդյոք դա Սովետական Միության կյանքը գեթ մեկ ակնթարթով։ Մեծ ազգերը ծնում են մեծ գրողներ։ Շեքսպիրը գրում էր թագավորների ու թագուհիների համար՝ ոչ ուղեղլվացած հիմարների ու նրանց տիկնանց։ Հայը երբեք չէր կարող ասել «չես կարող հիմարեցնել բոլոր մարդկանց, բոլոր ժամանակներում», որովհետև հայերը բարեհաջող կերպով հիմարեցվել են ավելի քան 1500 տարի։ Ի՞նչ պատահեց մեր Բագրատունիներին, որոնք մերժեցին սեփական ցեղն ու պնդեցին, որ Եբրաի ծագում ունեն ու սերում են Դավիթ Արքայի տոհմից։ Ի՞նչ պատահեց մեր Մամիկոնյաններին (չինական ծագումով), որոնք պնդում էին որ Ավարայրի ճակատամարտ են մղել, որն ըստ որոշ պատմաբանների, ոչ միայն օտարազգի, երբևէ տեղի չի ունեցել։ Ազգերը կարիք ունեն միթոսների, առասպելների։ Միայն պարտվողները կարիք ունեն ստերի։ Որքան ավելի ուղեղլվացած են, այնքան ավելի ցածր է IQ-ն, բարձր է անհանդուրժողականությունը, խորն է ամբարտավանությունը, և անսահման ֆանատիզմը: Ես կարող եմ ճանաչել ուղեղլվացած հիմարին։ Ինքս այդպիսին էի կյանքիս մեծ մասը։ Հարրի Թրումանը Ռիչարդ Նիքսոնի մասին. Չեմ կարծում որ այդ շուն շան որդին հասկանում է ճշմարտությունն ասելու և սուտ խոսելու տարբերությունը։
  12. Sunday, June 1, 2008 ********************************************* ON CHURCH UNITY ******************************** Whenever we speak of solidarity and church unity, we should consider the possibility that we may end up with an ayatollah rather than a pope in Etchmiadzin. But even if we are lucky enough to end up with a pope (a remote possibility that one) let's consider the contributions of the papacy to the world and more particularly to Italy: obscurantism (hence the Dark Ages) dogmatism, intolerance, the persecution of dissidents and heretics, crusades, religious wars (one of which lasted a hundred years) and more recently collaboration with fascist regimes and the mafia. I could also mention fornicating Renaissance popes and American cardinals who covered up and thus aided and abetted child molesting priests. All this assuming of course our church will act in complete freedom, as opposed to being subservient to the king, sultan, and more recently to the KGB (Etchmiadzin) and the CIA (Antelias). If you think I speak as a hostile witness, listen to Raffi: “Instead of an elite or an aristocracy, we have merchants and clergymen. Merchants are trash. As for the clergy: they have always been against individual freedom.” Elsewhere: “Our clergymen preach patience to us thus promoting subservience to the point of slavery.” But “What's done is done. What we must do now is assess the damage and figure out how to avoid the next catastrophe.” The next catastrophe, which is also a present catastrophe, is emigration from the Homeland and assimilation in the Diaspora, both of which amount to “white slaughter.” And what are our merchants and clergymen doing to combat this scandal? Preaching and promoting “law and order,” that is to say, subservience to authority. The more things change... * A final word on solidarity: one must differentiate between the solidarity of a nation that is brainwashed by a supreme leader who may be more dangerous and evil than a serial killer, and the kind of solidarity that unites a nation with a common identity, culture, and purpose. I suggest it is a serious blunder to place our hopes of solidarity on a leader, party, clique, or mafia. # June 2, 2008 ****************************************** ABOUT KEMALISM (PART TWO) **************************************************** Kemal continues to be a taboo subject in Turkey. To say anything remotely critical of him is “to offend Turkishness.” which may result in being dragged to court like a common criminal. But since neither Giles Milton, author of PARADISE LOST; SMYRNA 1922 (London, 2008, 426 pages) nor his reviewer, Philip Mansel, author of one of the very best books on Constantinople, are Turkish citizens, they discuss freely and objectively the events surrounding the destruction of Smyrna. About the so-called mysterious fire, Mansel writes: “Milton quotes eye-witnesses who saw Turkish soldiers pouring oil.” About Kemal we read: while the burning, looting, raping, and killing were going on, Mustafa Kemal spent days up in a villa courting his future wife Latife Hanim, daughter of one of the many Turkish businessmen who had profited from 'infidel Izmir.'” We are further told that thousands of Greek and Armenian men of military age were deported into the interior “in theory to rebuild villages destroyed by the retreating Greek army: few returned.” Mansel concludes his review by echoing the very same sentiments I voiced in my recent essay “About Kemalism.” He writes: “Kemal shows that, if nothing succeeds like success, it can also be true that nothing fails like success...If Izmir had retained even a fraction of its cosmopolitan population, it might have helped Turkey's entry into the European Union.” For more details, see THE SPECTATOR (London, 10 May 2008, page 40); or www.spectator.co.uk # JUNE 3,1908 **************************************** UNITY (PART III) ******************************* Dan Rather: “Our elected leaders will sometimes deceive us, and a free press that does not try to ferret out the truth is not worthy of the name.” * W.G. Sebald (German writer): “How I wished that I belonged to a different nation.” * “You quote too much,” Vahe Oshagan told me when we first met. If I do, it may be because we either learn from wiser men or allow ourselves to be brainwashed by fools. This may seem to be a simple enough choice. And yet, throughout history, people have invariably allowed themselves to be manipulated by charlatans. * Armenians are hard to reform perhaps because every Armenian is convinced he is smart enough to know what's best for himself and the nation. * What have the Jews learned from their holocaust? Never again! As for us, the only thing we seem to have learned is that Turks are bloodthirsty Asiatic barbarians. Result? Our pundits are now too busy trying to educate, civilize, and enlighten the Turks to have any time left to reform themselves, their fellow Armenians, and their gravediggers. Am I saying Armenians are fools? No. what I am saying is that they are worse than fools because they allow themselves to be deceived by idiots. Am I being negative? If I am, it may be because I lack the wisdom and forbearance to be positive or to see anything remotely positive in our present situation. * When Vahe Oshagan's last collection of short stories was universally condemned as obscene, he was quoted as having said: “I am ashamed to be an Armenian.” # June 4, 2008 ******************************************* ON COLLECTIVE INFANTILISM *************************************************** Because I no longer think as I thought when I was ten, I am seen as a hostile witness. * If we view our dividers as our leaders as opposed to our gravediggers, it may be because we are afraid to call a spade a spade, and because I refuse to call a spade anything else, I am accused of unArmenian activities. * To convince the average Armenian dupe that our bosses, bishops, and benefactors are frauds and charlatans is as difficult today as to convince the average Turk that Kemalism (i.e. dogmatism, paternalism, authoritarianism) is inimical to true democracy and respect for fundamental human rights, and as such closer to fascism and barbarism than to civilization. * We share this in common with Turks: we can't recognize fascism when we see it, especially when it wears a benevolent mask. * To ask what's positive about our history is the same as asking what's positive about subservience; and subservience, according to Zohrab, corrupts even our virtues. * What's positive about our history? Dikran the Great and his ephemeral empire? Dikran the Great was a loud-mouth and undisciplined coward who ran away from a small Roman legion whom he first mistook as ambassadors. * There is nothing wrong with our critical faculties. If anything they are highly developed, but they are directed only at the world. Incapable to reforming ourselves, we are eager to undertake an easier project, that of reforming the world, most of which isn't even aware of our existence. #
  13. UNFORGETTABLE LINES +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Pablo Neruda: "I know only the skin of the earth, and that it has no name." *** Arab proverb: "If an unlucky man went into business selling shrouds no one would die." *** Chekhov: "But perhaps the universe is suspended on the tooth of some monster." *** Balzac: "Love and hatred are emotions that feed on themselves, but of the two, hatred has a longer lifespan." *** Eugene Labiche: "Before doing someone a favor, make sure that he isn’t a madman." *** Brecht: "The world is God’s excrement." *** Heine: "I have never seen an ass who talked like a human being, but I have met many human beings who talked like asses." *** Winston Churchill [when told his fly was open]: "No matter. The dead bird does not leave the nest."
  14. A MOTHER’S HEART ******************************** By AVEDIK ISSAHAKIAN ************************************ There is an old tale About a boy An only son Who fell in love with a lass. * “You don’t love me, You never did,” said she to him. “But if you do, go then And fetch me your mother’s heart.” * Downcast and distraught The boy walked off And after shedding copious tears Came back to his love. * The girl was angry When she saw him thus And said, “Don’t you dare come back again Without your mother’s heart.” * The boy went and killed A mountain roe deer And offered its heart To the one he adored. * But again she was angry And said, “Get out of my sight. I told you what I want Is your mother’s heart.” * The boy went and killed His mother, and as he ran With her heart in his hand He slipped and fell. * “My dear child, My poor child,” Cried the mother’s heart, “Did you hurt yourself?” * (Translated by Ara Baliozian) #
  15. Raffi: "Collaboration [with the enemy] and betrayal are in our blood." Gostan Zarian: "Armenians survive by cannibalizing one another." Nigoghos Sarafian: "Our history is a litany of lamentation, anxiety, horror, and massacre. Also deception and abysmal naivete mixed with the smoke of incense and the sound of sacred chants." Shahan Shahnour: "The enemy is not the Turk but us." Yeghishe: "If a nation is ruled by two kings, both the kings and their subjects will perish."
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