Jump to content

Recommended Posts

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most books remain unpublished,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.


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 279
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

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.


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 sucked 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?


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!


Link to post
Share on other sites

Saturday, April 23, 2011




Where would Christians be without Jesus,

or Muslims without Mohammed,

or Communists without Marx,

or Catholics without the popes,

or Protestants without Luther?

The men at the top matter.

A divided leadership will spawn a divided community.

Where the leadership is mediocre,

excellence will be outlawed.

Under a dishonest leadership,

charlatanism will be the common currency.


“You are consistently negative.”

All criticism and dissent is – including your own.

There are ten negatives in the Ten Commandments.

If I am negative it may be because

I have the Good Lord as my guide and role model.

But if you prefer positive,

read my book on Armenian history and culture

which could be subtitled “A Thousand and One Positive Things

About Armenian History and Culture.”


“You repeat yourself!”

So do Panchoonies:

“Mi kich pogh oughargetsek”

(Send us a little money).

Even the Good Lord repeats Himself:

“Where there is no vision the people perish.”

“Where the blind lead the blind,

both shall fall into the ditch.”


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thursday, April 21, 2011




To say, “Our politicians don’t lie”

is as transparent a falsehood as saying

“I owe my birth to immaculate conception.”

Even if you believe it,

you may have some trouble convincing others.


Reality (or God) tells us all men are brothers.

Politicians tell us the only good enemy is a dead enemy.


Even those who agree that all politicians lie

see nothing wrong in allowing them

to control our educational system.


The average dupe – and it makes no difference

whether he is Russian or Prussian,

Hottentot or Patagonian, Armenian or Turk –

would rather go to war and kill or die

rather than give up his infantile beliefs.

This may suggest that all wars

are clashes between two figments

created by habitual liars.


Where God and patriotism enter,

reality exits.


To be against free speech is to be for liars.


Two synonymous sentences:

Once upon a time barbers were surgeons.

Once upon a time politicians led nations.


Friday, April 22, 2011




Did you know that there are more Armenians today

than there Mongols, Libyans, and Icelanders combined?

– and I am not counting half of Turkey

which is half-Armenian.

You don’t believe me?

Look it up and do the math.



We have no use for them.

What we need – what we really need today

is not solutions but someone with Kemalist ambitions.

Solving problems is a language we don’t speak.


To justify our unwillingness to solve our problems

we count our liabilities the way others count their assets:

we are few,

we are landlocked,

we are surrounded by bloodthirsty barbarians…

As for political and religious dogmatism,

intolerance, divisions, censorship,

violations of human rights, corruption, and incompetence:

we ignore them as if they were irrelevant factors

beyond our control.


The Armenian character is not a poorly defined abstraction

but an expression of how we treat one another.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sunday, April 24, 2011




The Turkish take on the Genocide:

“We taught them a lesson they will never forget.”

A crime against humanity?

Hell no!

An exercise in promoting wisdom?

Damn right!


What a book one could write

on the dangers of self-assessment!


Another case in point:

They view Ottomanism as a progressive and civilizing force

even after they themselves rejected every aspect of it –

from the fez and the shalvar

to the alphabet and the power structure.

That’s the trouble with all brainwashed dupes:

they can’t tell the different between making sense

and making asses of themselves.


We share with them

an intolerance of dissent and contradiction –

an obvious part of our common heritage.


It is easy to remove the tangible;

much more difficult to reform the invisible.


Monday, April 25, 2011




The more I write

the less I hope to change anything.


The USSR did not collapse

because of what Solzhenitsyn,

among many others, wrote,

or because of what the Pope of Rome or

President Reagan said or did.

The USSR collapsed because it was rotten.

Nations and empires are not killed,

they commit suicide.


The Albanians have survived

and very probably will continue to survive.

That’s not what matters.

What matters is, who gives a damn

whether they survive or not?

The Albanians maybe, but who else?


A nation is judged not by its past but by its future;

and more precisely,

by what it can contribute to mankind.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011




There are two kinds of people:

those who help you to live

and those who help you to die.


When the Turks first set foot on Armenian soil

they numbered less than 140,000.


Only one Armenian in ten thousand knows our history

and we meet him every day.


Nationalist historians adapt facts to their ideology.

A fact that cannot be adapted is discarded.


A midget can defeat two giants

if the giants are divided; all he has to do is

wait until the giants wear each other out

and bleed to death.


Question: Do I have to read ten thousand books

in order to know all there is to know

about our history and culture?

Answer: No. Just take a good look at yourself in the mirror.


If you are kind, they will love you and ignore you.

If you are mean, they will hate you and remember you.

If you are honest, they will crucify you,


Wednesday, April 27, 2011




It should be obvious by now that autocratic rulers

don’t have much respect for their subjects.

It would be even more accurate to say that

they don’t give a damn about them.


The trouble with our brown-nosers is that

they wear the brown on their nose

as if it were a certificate of loyalty

and a badge of honor.


Do you have to be brave to be a hero?

No, just honest.


If Armenia is a puppet of Russia today,

it is up to our leadership to convince the Russians

that a free and independent Armenia

will be in a much better position to make a contribution

to their welfare.


The real scandal is not that Armenian political parties

have no respect for free speech

but that no one, not even our pundits and academics,

who ought to know better, give a damn,

as if it were fire on the other side of the river.


You spend half a lifetime to figure out your fellow men

and the other half in avoiding them.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thursday, April 28, 2011




Because I try to understand Turks as human beings

as opposed to bloodthirsty Asiatic barbarians,

I am accused of justifying the Genocide.

Nothing and no one can justify

the murder of a single innocent human being.

To understand and explain is not to justify.

If an Almighty and All-loving God

allows such a murder to take place,

it is up to us to understand it.


Arabs today are as angry with their own

corrupt, autocratic, and incompetent leaders

as with their own past subservience and cowardice.

My dissent has similar roots.

I write less against our leadership

and more against my own cowardly conformism.


Nations lie as surely as compulsive liars.


Nationalist historians rewrite history

to cover up past blunders and

to legitimize future ones.


Wars represent the triumph of the gut over the brain.


Friday, April 29, 2011




True wisdom begins on the day you say to yourself:

“I thought I understood everything.

I know now that I understand nothing!”


To understand politics,

read a book on organized crime.


Politics has created more criminals than the Mafia.


If brainwashing were declared a crime against humanity,

as it should be,

which one of our speechifiers, sermonizers, and ghazetajis

would escape hanging?


Saturday, April 30, 2011




We have inherited two sets of contradictory ideas:

the ideas that animate our literature –

from Khorenatsi and Naregatsi to Raffi and Zarian -- and

the ideas of our dividers,

namely sermonizers and speechifiers

who speak in the name of God and capital

(make it Capital and god).


Our bosses, bishops, and benefactors

make a comfortable living, thank you very much.

Our writers are unemployed and unemployable misfits.


Our writers maintain unity is strength.

Our dividers agree but only during the day;

at night they turn into grave-diggers.


Once during a heated argument

with a self-righteous member of the party,

I heard him say:

“Mistakes? Sure we have made them.

We don’t claim to be infallible.

We are human beings.”

What he failed to add is that

like all human beings

their first instinct is to cover up their mistakes

and to silence anyone who dares to expose them.


Talk of God has been around for millions of years,

but it is only recently that popes, imams, and rabbis

assert monopoly on the subject, and doing so

they divide mankind as surely

as our leaders divide the nation.

Some day all dividers will be seen

as the true enemies of mankind.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sunday, May 01, 2011




The difference between

a democratically elected leader

and an autocratic one is that

the first are endlessly cross-examined

by the press and the opposition,

and the second surrounds himself

with yes-men and brown-nosers.


Freedom to an autocratic leaders means

the freedom to oppress, silence, and murder

defenseless civilians.


Closer to home:

our leaders divide the nation

not because they are men of principle

who place ideals above the interests of the people;

they divide because they love their own powers and privileges

above all else.


If we have leaders who lie to us,

why shouldn’t we have writers

willing to speak the truth?

I am not saying all writers are honest men.

What I am saying is that

most of our ablest writers

were murdered, exiled, and silenced

by autocratic regimes.


Leaders behave like criminals because

they can get away with it, or rather,

because the people allow them to get away with it.


Most of our misfortunes are rooted in subservience.

Dissent increases independence in others.

Dissent is positive.

Subservience is negative.


Monday, May 02, 2011




When his genocide book was unanimously ignored

by our academics, a friend (a career diplomat)

referred to them as “our Genocide mafia.”

Who would have thought that some day

the Genocide would become a “territory”

(in organized crime parlance)

and anyone who dares to muscle in it

would acquire the status of a non-person.


I am a stranger in a strange land,

and I feel more so among my fellow Armenians.

Last time I visited an Armenian community center

I promised to return in twenty-five years.

Now I have another reason not to live that long.


When the USSR collapsed

and Armenia’s borders opened up,

Armenians poured out by the thousand

and by the million.


“Yes im anoush Hayastani…”

It is not generally known that

Charents wrote that line

inspired not by Armenia’s "sweetness"

but by a similar poem on Russia by Pushkin.


Tuesday, May 03, 2011




No French king or Russian czar or Bolshevik commissar or fascist dictator, or pope, imam, and rabbi has ever declared publicly that he is in the business of moronizing innocent civilians. Don’t expect our own leaders to do so.


Did any one of our revolutionaries at the turn of the last century ever ask himself the following question: “If we carry on as we have been, what are the chances that the people may suffer?”


The only reason Osama bin Laden did not behave like Genghis Khan, Hitler, and Stalin is that he didn’t have their power.


Solutions are not inventions or discoveries like the theories of Newton or Einstein that revolutionized physics and cosmology. Solutions begin with the realization that we have been on the wrong track; and we can solve a problem only when we understand it; and it is up to us whether to use our brains or to run around like a chicken whose neck has been cut off.


All you need to do is allow reality to be your guide, not the empty rhetoric of speechifiers and sermonizers.


A kind reader once called me a philosopher. I am nothing of the kind. I am only a scribbler. You don’t need a Ph.D. to be honest with yourself and your fellow men.


The idea that we are few is linked to the fact that most Armenians do not care to be identified as Armenians.


Wednesday, May 04, 2011




Several friends have urged me to change my name.

I have not done so because I don’t think of myself

as a commercially viable commodity.


What shapes our worldview is less

an objective study of reality and more

the educational system within which we were brought up.


Literature is a waste of time.

No writer has ever changed a damn thing.


If he did change things he made them worse.

The same could be said of all prophets and reformers.


What has our literature changed?

As long ago as the 5th century AD

our writers (among them Khorenatsi and Yeghishé)

exposed the dangers inherent in a divided kingdom.

A millennium and a half later,

After many military defeats,

and a series of massacres and a genocide,

we continue to stand divided.


Why do I write?

The more relevant question is:

Why do they divide?


I share my ideas

the way a beggar shares the few crusts of bread

cast in his direction by fat men.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thursday, May 05, 2011




I am not in the business of changing anyone’s mind,

only expressing agreement with those

who have already changed theirs

by successfully discarding their prejudices and superstitions.


God and Country:

if we judge a tree by its fruit,

why is it wrong to judge faith and patriotism

by their number of innocent victims?


To be honest in our case means

to reject all assertions that flatter our collective image.


Anyone can change water into wine

if he waits until the guests are so drunk

that they can’t tell the difference between one and the other.

Likewise, anyone can change military defeat to moral victory

if he first convinces the people that

God is on their side and God is invincible.


When military and religious leaders speak

in the name of God and Country, they lie.


We understand many things

but not everything, especially not

the most important things.


To expose lies is not the same as to know the truth.


A lie is a lie and dying for it will not make it less of a lie.


There is nothing new under the sun.

Everything I have said so far has been said before

if not by Greek philosophers than by Zen masters.


Friday, May 06, 2011





Because we have nothing to brag about

we brag about our survival.

We have survived, yes.

So have our divisions

and divisions are weapons of mass destruction.


Dinosaurs perished but scorpions survived.

The only reason they don’t brag about it is that

they are not brainwashed to do so.


How do you deprogram a nation?

You can’t!

Our writers have been trying for fifteen hundred years

and they have failed.


Between literature and propaganda

we have always chosen propaganda

for the same reason that a fool

prefers to believe he is smart.


A long series of defeats, massacres and

centuries of subservience to alien scum

have taught us nothing.

Even on the eve of the Genocide our leadership was divided.


Our leaders are our gravediggers.


Solidarity is not in our DNA.

Which is why we must be born again

as a different species – namely, human beings.


You think I am wrong and you are right?

You may have our bosses, bishops, and benefactors on your side

but I have fifteen hundred years of our literature on mine.


Saturday, May 07, 2011




Free and independent Armenia is a hoax

and as empty an illusion as the brotherhood of nations

under the Soviets.


Under the Soviets undesirables were sent to Siberia.

Today they lead an anonymous existence

in a suburb of Paris, Los Angeles, and Istanbul.

The more things change…


Our editors publish an endless series of anti-Turkish polemics

that so far have produced not a single red cent in reparation

or a single square inch of our historic homeland;

and they refuse to publish me

on the grounds that I write “polemics,”

and publishing polemics, they tell me,

is against their editorial policy.


The captain goes down with the ship?

Not always.

In our case the captain is the first to abandon ship.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Monday, May 09, 2011




What if I am wrong? That is always a possibility. On the day I assert infallibility, then I will be not just wrong, but catastrophically wrong!


If you like to speculate, here is another “what if” question that is much more serious and universal: What if the comforts organized religions and faith provide are exposed as empty illusions?


After centuries of oppression and authoritarian rule millions of Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa have suddenly discovered the benefits of democracy: Would anyone dare to ask “What if they are wrong?” Because in the final analysis that’s all I have been asking for my fellow countrymen: democracy, free speech, and respect for human rights.


Here is another “What if”: What if the incompetence and dishonesty of our own leadership have done as much harm to the integrity of the nation as the criminal conduct of our former alien masters?


About free speech: it can be abused, yes, certainly. So can censorship, the manipulation of the media and the educational system.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011




Some questions don’t have answers, only guesses.


Even when writers realize they can change nothing, they continue to write. Why?


If a pebble can start an avalanche, why can’t the right word at the right time and place start a revolution?


If they can lie for no good reason at all, why can’t I speak the truth for a good reason?


Why did God create the world? To break the monotony of silence, boredom, and nothingness?


If they know what must be done, why don’t they do it


Do they hate to admit they have been wrong out of fear they may not be forgiven?


Unlike Raskolnikov, not all murderers go down on their knees and confess – this is especially true of career criminals and

If they can get away with it – and so far they have – they will continue to lie, abuse, mislead, and deceive.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011




Authoritarian rulers – fascists for short –

view free speech as a crime against humanity

and state-sanctioned murder of defenseless civilians

as law and order.


Fascism may also be defined

as a declaration of war by a regime

against its own people.


In a fascist environment

intellectuals are like canaries in a mine.

Where there is a scarcity of canaries

there will be an abundance of chickens, toads, and rats.


Turks are the favorite subject of our editors and academics.

Our leadership is a subject they avoid discussing

perhaps because it is not easy speaking of a bordello madam

as if she were a virgin.


It is safe to assume that the number of moral victories

in a nation’s history is equal

to the number of military defeats.


Where criminals are in charge

the law of the jungle will be

the law of the land.


Message flagged

Sunday, May 8, 2011 11:56:48 AM

Sunday, May 08, 2011




Organized religions teach us to believe

there is more life in death.


A heroic death is infinitely more admirable

than a degraded life.

Remember this next time you brag about survival.


The world is too preoccupied

with its own welfare and survival

to care much about our own.

I doubt if the death of the last Armenian

will make a single headline anywhere.


Lenin and Stalin served as role models

to many more Armenians than Tolstoy and Solzhenitsyn.

There is more Sultanism in our leadership

than Armenianism.


For every Armenian who knows better

there will be at least two who know best

and four who know all there is to know.

In such an environment,

writers will be useless

and literature irrelevant –

except for such trashy lines as

“Forget your mother /

But do not forget your mother tongue.”

(I did not plan to quote this line on Mother’s Day.

Call it pure coincidence.)


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thursday, May 12, 2011




“Be more positive,” means

“Cover up the negative.”


We all have doubts except the brainwashed.


Every boss, bishop, and benefactor is for solidarity

but only under his own leadership.


In our environment you can tell how honest a man is

by the number of crooks that are ganged up against him.


One man’s arsenic is another’s elixir.

The absence of financial and institutional support

may paralyze others but it stimulates me.


In his novel, A PARTISAN'S DAUGHTER (New York, 2008)

Louis de Bernieres writes about “an emperor

who blinded all his prisoners except for one in every hundred,

who was supposed to lead the others home,

and when the opposing king saw what had happened to his troops,

he died of the shock.”

What he doesn't say is that both the emperor

(Basil II Bulgaroktonus [bulgar-slayer])

and the Bulgarian king (Czar Samuel)

were of Armenian descent.

For more details, see my book,


(New York, 1981).


Friday, May 13, 2011




Nothing is more alien and incomprehensible to an Armenian

than his own identity.


It would have been nothing short of a miracle

if after long centuries under ruthless tyrants

we had maintained a single trace of our original identity.


Our ancestors are as distant from us

as Zulus and Neanderthals.


I say things that thirty years ago

I would have been afraid to think.


After they make enough money

they think they can buy immortality

as if it were a product on the market.


“I am a very serious man,” Donald trump asserted

in a recent televised interview.

I can’t imagine a serious man making such a claim.


A man with heart problems to his cardiologist:

“Why do you always insist on speaking about my heart?

What about my stomach, liver, lungs, and pancreas?

Why don’t you emphasize the positive for a change?”


Saturday, May 14, 2011




Everybody can be brainwashed.

A high IQ is no defense.

It is almost as if evolution had instilled in us

a predisposition for lies.


The brainwashed are unreachable.

Their first instinct is to brainwash you – that is to say,

to re-create you in their own image.


At the root of all deception is the absurd idea

that we are the center of the world.


If no one deceives us,

we deceive ourselves.


Am I saying we are as bad as Turks?


What I am saying is:

Let us not confuse military inferiority

with moral superiority.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sunday, May 15, 2011




A writer is nobody’s bitch.


It could be said of us that

the best stay away

and the worst stick around;

and if I stick around

it’s because we deserve it.


People who say “I don’t read fiction,”

fail to realize that the greatest fiction of all

is their conception of reality.


Democracy is not just a political system

or power structure;

democracy is a way of life.


To spend a lifetime serving an arrogant and cruel master

means to assume that both arrogance and cruelty

are not only an integral part of the human condition

but also desirable qualities in a man of authority.


It is a writer’s duty to remind those

who speak in the name of God and capital

(make it, Capital and god)

that they are first and foremost

public servants.


Monday, May 16, 2011




If an Armenian is dumb enough to think

he can survive as a writer,

he must be in need of advice,

or so I have been given to understand

by concerned “friends” and elder statesmen

on more than one occasion.

What kind of advice?

Elementary, my dear Watson.

Instead of kicking ass,

he should learn to kiss it.

The penalty for refusing to do so

is alienation and unemployment.


Once upon a time

our vodanavorjis wrote odes to the Sultan.

It is an illusion to think that the Sultan is dead.


A hundred years ago Krikor Zohrab spoke

of the prostitution of our press.

Our bosses and benefactors rely on the press

to publicize their good deeds

but are too dumb to see that by prostituting it

they foul their own nest.


We may think we live in America

but in reality we continue to be subjects

of the Ottoman Empire.

Have I said this before?

Never mind.

If anything is worth saying

it’s worth repeating.

Besides, I happen to be an addict of reiteration

and habits are easier to keep than to give up.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011




It is not the best who seek power, privilege and prestige

but the worst.

Elites are the scum of the earth.


My targets are not Armenians

but dupes of all nations.


There is no business like the brainwashing business

compared to which organized crime

is an amateur enterprise in addition to being

a risky proposition.


One reason why Turks are a popular subject in our press

is that they can be discussed without reference

to our bosses, bishops, and benefactors.

But discussing Armenians without mentioning

bosses, bishops, and benefactors

is like discussing the Napoleonic wars without Napoleon.


Only people who say nothing don’t repeat themselves –

but then, one would be justified in asserting that

nothing is what they repeat.


Make no mistake about it:

there is a Ben Ali, Mubarak, Assad, and Gadhafi

in all undemocratic leaders,

including our own.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011




To cover up a crime is a crime.

To repeat a lie is a lie.

To be afraid of free speech is cowardice.


During the televised Watergate hearings

I remember the following exchange with a Soviet citizen:

“What’s Watergate about?”

“The president lied.”

“So what? They lie to us all the time.”


Some of my most devastating lines –

lines like “There is a Turk in all of us.”

“Some of our leaders are Turks.”

“Subservience is in our blood.” –

are not mine but verbatim quotations

from our elder statesmen.


Secrecy is totalitarian.

The concentration camps under Hitler

and the Gulag under Stalin were exposed

long after the damage was done.

And when I say damage I have in mind

both the suffering inflicted on the victims

and the disintegration of the regime.


It’s a dangerous illusion to think

we can solve our problems

by brainwashing the next generation

and suppressing dissent.


Sometimes I am accused of hating Armenians and myself,

when in fact I hate only cowards

who are afraid of free speech;

I loathe only fools who pretend to know better;

and I have nothing but contempt for dupes

who believe everything they are told.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thursday, May 19, 2011




The only way to make progress in one’s thinking is

by constantly questioning one’s most fundamental assumptions.

It’s because most Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and Christians

assume their belief system to be the only true one

that they feel morally justified in massacring the competition.


Reality has countless layers of meaning.

By carefully selecting a handful of them

one can prove anything.


After we die we shall have all the answers,

provided we consider the total absence of answers

also an answer.


Friday, May 20, 2011




A fatally flawed assumption:

If God knows everything, it follows,

those who speak in His name know better.


All men of authority lie when they pretend to know

that which is unknowable.

If believers outnumber non-believers

it's be because crooks outnumber honest men.


Those who disagree with us are not always wrong.


To be powerless is an open invitation to abuse.


The more ignorant the people

the more authoritarian and blind the leadership.


The longer I live the more truth I see in the saying:

“Once upon a time we were slaves.

We are now slaves of former slaves.”


Even the Turks are ahead of us

if only because they have internationally recognized dissidents

and all we have are Turcocentric ghazetajis by the dozen

who know how to break eggs

but so far have failed to serve a single decent omelet.


Saturday, May 21, 2011




The Arab Spring must be a source of dread to our leaders.

It can’t be pleasant to contemplate one's own demise.

You can’t fool all the people all the time.

No banquet under heaven is endless.


Speaking of funerals:

My favorite funeral marches are

the slow movement of Beethoven’s Eroica,

the first movement of Mahler’s 5th Symphony,

and Siegfried’s funeral in the final act of Wagner’s RING

(which was also Hitler’s favorite) besides which

the orgasmic crescendo in TRISTAN UND ISOLDE

is sentimental hogwash.


One of the most unforgettable lines in Italian poetry

is Ungaretti’s “Ed a subito sera”

(And suddenly it’s evening)

meaning, old age and death.


It has been observed that

what holds us together is the Genocide.

Does that mean on the day the Genocide is recognized

the glue that holds us together will dry up?


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...