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Sat, Aug 17, 2013 at 7:41 AM

7:41 AM

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From [email protected]

To ara baliozian



As far as I know, none of my critics is an investigative reporter;

and I have every reason to suspect most of them

are no better than brainwashed ignoramuses

like myself whose mantra was:

Who the hell do you think you are

to question the honesty and wisdom of bishops and benefactors –

men of God and capital (make it, Capital and god)?


By the time I could afford to say

“There is some shit / I will not eat,”

I was no better than a middle-aged

wholesale dealer in chauvinist crapola.


I know now that writing for Armenians is a waste of time

and our writers – all 599 (or is it 722) of them –

have made no difference.

I envy Armenian writers who write for an odar audience.

Consider Raffi Khachadourian who contributes regularly

fascinating essays to the NEW YORKER.

His last essay about tavlu was published about a month ago.

I did not read it but I suspect millions around the world did.


If only I could convince myself writing about subjects

in which Armenians are not even mentioned.

But then, in what way writing about tavlu is different

from writing about the eternal snows of Ararat

or nightingales serenading the moon?


In our environment to survive as a writer

is to write not about what you see in broad daylight at high noon

but to behave like a blind man in a dark room

looking for a black hat that does not exist.

I repeat myself?

Maybe, but only to those who read everything I write religiously.




Not only is he easily corruptible,

he enjoys being corrupted.

He considers it a privilege and an honor.

He is flattered to be thought of

as worthy of corruption.

But perhaps I speak of myself

as a young man.


I am fully aware of the fact that

my status is that of a perennial loser and failure –

very much like my people.

That may well be why I understand them better

than those who make all kinds of absurd claims

on their behalf – smart, compassionate, progressive,

civilized, generous, law-abiding, lovers of freedom,

and so on and so forth.

These claims have been made so frequently

that they are now taken for granted

and anyone who dares to question them

is dismissed as “a piece of sh*t who

doesn’t have Ararat in his heart.”


When death enters in the final act,

it’s a tragedy. In that sense we are all actors in a tragedy

even when we think of ourselves as comedians.


If I can write a readable line a day,

a good sentence once a month

or a quotable line once a year,

I am satisfied.




A nation can be victimized by its own corrupt leaders

as surely as by an alien tyrant.




My first reaction on reading a line

written by an Armenian

is to detect its hidden dishonesty.

That maybe because respect for truth

is not exactly our strong suit.

Neither was it to our most recent

role models, environments, and masters:

Turks, Soviets, the Levant, and America.




Four Armenian taboo subjects:

Dialogue, compromise, consensus, solidarity.

Four popular subjects as defined

by our political parties and Turcocentric ghazetajis:

Turks, Turks, Turks and Turks.




The encounter of two words or ideas

that have never met before –

this according to an old Indian definition.

An example that comes readily to mind:

“An Armenian

who does not have

Ararat in his heart

Is a piece of sh*t.”

There you have it:

the encounter of the purest (eternal snows)

and the filthiest (a bad Armenian).


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Because the plea of insanity is not an option,

they speak of political, economic, social and cultural conditions

beyond their control.

Ask them why they keep dividing and subdividing the nation,

they will say it’s the opposition that does that.

Ask them why they hate to assume responsibility,

and they will call you “a piece of sh*t who doesn’t have

Mt. Ararat in his heart.”




In a democracy there is always a remote possibility

that the right thing will be said and done.




Gide is right: writing gets progressively more difficult.

Mann is also right when he says writing is difficult

especially for a writer.




To write prose and verse that is as accessible

as “to be or not to be,”

“Our Father who art in heaven,” and

“There is nothing new under the sun.”




Everything that needs to be said has been said.

All we can do now is quote, paraphrase, abridge, repeat,

and when necessary, expand.




If my enemy’s enemy is my friend,

what about his friends?

Who would have thought Turks

would have more friends in Washington than us,

even after millions of dollars wasted on politicians?




Some people are born equipped for life.

I wasn't. Never learned how.

Never felt at home in the world.

Who represents Armenians more:

our fat-bellied bosses, bishops, and benefuctors

or our starving poets?




It will take time, they say,

assuming time to be on their side.

It wasn't in the Ottoman Empire.

Neither was it in the USSR and the Middle East,

nor even in our own beloved homeland.




Making money: I can’t imagine anything more degrading.

The only reason I made money was to quit making money.




A headline in this morning’s paper reads:

“Access to justice in Canada ‘abysmal’ law group report says.”

So is everywhere else, alas!





without any doubt, two books that changed the world

and almost everyone in it.


Who reads Hegel today?

Only a handful of academics

who do not always agree on what he said

or meant to say.

And yet Hegel fully qualifies as one

of the most influential philosophers of all time

if only because Marx is unthinkable without him.


What did Dante and Shakespeare change?

Only the lives of a few translators.

There are twenty-two published English translations

of Dante and a new one (by Clive James)

has just come out.


Hitler’s MEIN KAMPF and


which has been more influential?

The only thing I can say

with any degree of certainty is that,

like the Good Lord, the “word” moves

in mysterious ways

and literary merit is not one of them.




“In a forest it rains twice” (German saying).


There are some lines that once heard or read

are never forgotten.

Lines from movies:

“I am going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

“The cat is in the bag and the bag is in the river.”

“Gee, I wish we had one of those Doomsday machines.”


Closer to home:

“Treason and betrayal are in our blood” (Raffi).


“The end is another beginning” (Baruir Sevag).


“To the poor everyone is generous with advice.”


“Pigs never see the stars.”


“Truth is a language that if not spoken is forgotten” (Hagop Baronian).


“Every Armenian has another Armenian

whom he considers his mortal enemy” (Derenik Demirjian).


“You write a hit play

the same way that you write a flop” (Saroyan).


“Let us learn to be human by observing animals” (Aramais Sahakian).


“He was a very passionate man. He was an Armenian” (Chekhov).


“You must burn in order to enlighten” (Toumanian).




If we were introduced to our self as seen by others,

would we recognize him?




Can you win a political election

if you have the personality of a non-person

and the charisma of a robot?

That question has been answered in Armenia.




How can a non-Italian like David Chase,

creator/writer/producer of THE SOPRANOS,

know so much about Italians?

The answer: very much like Mario Puzo

he is Italian and his real name is DiCesare.

For more on the subject see DIFFICULT MEN

by Brett Martin (New York. 2013).




In her biography of SAUL STEINBERG (New York, 2012)

Deirdre Bair speaks of “Armenian noses,

one bigger than the other” (page 355).

I once heard one of our political activists say:

“Our political parties have played a key role

in the preservation of our identity in the Diaspora.”

If the case of our disappearing proboscis is an index,

they have been doing a lousy job.




Faith is not what it pretends to be.

Faith is an imaginary antidote to imaginary fears.




To readers who say they don’t always understand

my kind of writing, I say what I was told by adults

whenever I asked an inconvenient question:

“You will find out when you grow up.”




If we are an open book to others,

it may be because we brag too much.

Only idiots brag about what they don’t have.

Smart, progressive, Christian?

Don’t make me laugh!




In his last book MORTALITY (New York, 2012)

the late Christopher Hitchens regrets his early death

from cancer because, he writes, he will not have the pleasure

of reading “the obituaries of elderly villains

like Henry Kissinger and Joseph Ratzinger.”

I like that. I prefer honest hatred

to dishonest sermons on forgiveness and love.




When told to be more tolerant and positive, I say,

I refuse to entertain sentiments I don’t have.

In the name of what, may I ask?

To flatter the swollen egos of morally bankrupt nonentities?




“No one understands Turks as well as we do!”

Oshagan once bragged. My question is:

What did we do with our superior brand

of knowledge and understanding except

wait until it was too late?


PEZEVENGS (corrected version)


There is a type of self-assessed “authentic” Armenian,

born and raised in the shadow of Mt. Ararat,

who views diasporan Armenians with Turkish surnames

as second-class citizens or “white niggers”

in need of his political and cultural guidance.


Thoroughly stupefied, brainwashed and

moronizedby Kremlin propaganda

this so-called first-class pure-blooded specimen

whose preferred medium is Russian

operates on the assumption that

the USSR was a more civilized place

than the Ottoman Empire

and Stalin a morally superior butcher

than the Sultan and Talaat.


Therefore, in solidarity with

my Dajgahayer (Turkish-Armenian)

brothers and sisters

I plan to change my surname

from Baliozian to Baliozoghlu.


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We are a nation that has suffered genocide.

Delete the Genocide from our history

and our collective profile would disintegrate

into fragments or tribes that have been

loyal and obedient servants to first-class swine.


It addition to a profile the Genocide has also given us

a rallying point, not to say full-time jobs

to scholars, teachers, Turcocentric ghazetajis,

fund-raisers, Genocide-Recognition tax collectors,

activists, lobbyists, and memoirists.


Don’t misunderstand me.

I am not implying we should be grateful to the perps.

I am only saying let’s give the Devil his due.


All professions, we are told,

are “conspiracies against the laity.”

We have all heard of cynics

who use someone else’s crucifixion

to make a comfortable living.

The blame-gave is the favorite sport

of our leadership.

Zohrab tells us it is a mistake

to confront our problems

with lamentation.


I am not casting aspersions.

All I am saying is

as human beings

we share the frailties of our species.

We are not a morally superior nation.

But we are a nation.





That may be because my critics

keep calling me a “denialist.”


You expect me to believe you are

a dedicated and selfless patriot?

But my belief system tells me

“the better they classify themselves,

the worse they are.”


You want to know what I think of Arabs

and Muslims in general?

All I know about them is that

they want to be loved by the world

even as they hate one another unto death.

Could something similar be said of us?


You say everything I say about Armenians

proves that I don’t know them,

I don’t understand them,

I can’t stand them.

So what’s wrong with that?

The people have consistently rejected,

even betrayed and starved our writers.

If you don’t like the word justice,

how about retaliation?

Unless of course you are one of those

who can dish it out but can’t take it.




An American mayor on TV

when told she doesn’t behave like a politician:

“That’s because I am not a politician.

I am a public servant.”




To read the unwritten and to hear the unsaid

are the beginning of all wisdom.




When an honest man disagrees with me

I begin by questioning the validity of my own convictions.

But when a crook disagrees with me

I feel vindicated.




Turks have produced their share of dissidents

because they know what compulsive and habitual liars

their politicians and academics are.




So does our reality!




Did he use poison gas against his own people,

including women and children?

An irrelevant question.

He is guilty as hell because

his father is his role model.

He thinks he can save the nation

by reducing its cities to rubble.

He enjoys the support of imams and Putin.

Like all dictators, including their Muslim variants,

he is a natural-born killer.




“…and because it was a religious war,

there were no survivors.”




There are divisions everywhere,

even within the family unit.

A healthy family is one in which

divisions are reconciled by means

of mutual tolerance, understanding,

compromise and consensus.


Divisions are symptoms of failure in leadership.

Reconciling differences is one

of the most important functions of the state.


To assume that you can stifle discontent

and impose harmony by force or massacre

is an Ottoman misconception.


Compromise and consensus don’t happen on their own.

They are man-made. In politics

they are results of competent statesmanship.


The Syrian leadership had several decades

during which to reconcile its internal conflicts and differences.

It failed to do so.

What’s happening today is a consequence of that failure.


The blame-game explains nothing.

Its sole aim is to deny failure and reject responsibility.


Honesty is a universal and invisible empire.

We are either its citizens or cowardly liars

who refuse to face facts and deal with reality.


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On the radio this morning

when asked if he believes in immortality,

a self-described “Christian agnostic” replied:

“Only in the sense that my DNA will survive

in my children and grandchildren.”




Once upon a time I sought the company

of fellow Armenians.

Now I avoid them.

Ignorance is a luxury only the young can afford.




There are two Bibles:

God’s (written)

and the Devil’s (unwritten).

The first is used for sermons.




Leonard Bernstein to Glenn Gould

after he played

Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto:

“You played so beautifully in the cadenza

that I almost came in my pants.”




I have already lived twice as long

as the average Armenian writer.

That’s long enough for me.




If Assad is on our side,

he can no wrong.

If the rebels are against us

they can do nothing right.

The mindset of tribal people

without a moral compass.




Because I diagnosed him

as a sado-masochistic fascist

and an advanced case of narcissism,

he refuses to talk to me.

Instead of gratitude for saving him

from many trips to the shrink,

I am treated as a hostile witness.

But then, no one has ever said

gratitude is our strong suit.




Some readers refuse to share their wisdom with me.

They only say “You know nothing and understand even less,”

or words to that effect.

Throughout our millennial history

our writers have been misunderstood, ignored,

rejected, abused, starved, even betrayed

and murdered by the people and their representatives.

So they can dish it out but they can’t take it?




There is a park, a lake, and a river a block from my house.

To prevent anyone from crapping on my grave

I have decided to have my ashes scattered in one of them.




Two thousand years ago

-- give and take a decade or two –

England was part of the Roman Empire.

Who could have predicted then

that from the ashes of one empire

another would rise?


What will the world look like

two thousand years from now?

If the Turks acquired an empire of their own,

why not the Zulus?


What if after long centuries

of degradation, darkness, and filth

a new generation of Armenians says enough is enough!

We want our own place in the sun.

We want to choose our own allies

and, with their cooperation and help,

our own empire?


As I write, we are witnessing the gradual collapse

of the American and Russian empires.

Who will replace them?

Can anyone guess?

When it comes to the rise and fall of empires,

your guess or anyone else’s is as good as mine.


To say we will never have an empire of our own

is as absurd as to say we will.

I choose to say neither.

What I say is, in the realm of possibilities

nothing is impossible.

Or, in the words of Jean-Paul Sartre:

“As far as men go, it is not what they are that interests me,

but what they can become.”


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As a child I had the IQ of a parrot

and the understanding of an ape.


More often than not

lies make more sense than the truth.


Fiction is more predictable than reality.


We will never know all the consequences

of our actions and words.


A child will believe everything he is told

by an adult.


Superstitions acquired in childhood

are never abandoned.


Children educated by rabbis, imams, and bishops

will grow up to be Jewish, Muslim, and Christian respectively.


Human conflicts begin in the cradle

and end in the grave.


There is no law that says

it is criminal to deceive children.


Wars and massacres are planned and executed

by ruthless operators who speak in the name of God

that is merciful and compassionate.


Whoever said Planet Earth is the insane asylum

of a distant galaxy knew what he was saying.


Am I right or wrong?

I don’t know and I don’t care to know.

My past is an encyclopedia of blunders:

one more will make no difference.




We are perennial dupes because

we are satisfied with easy explanations.

Turks massacred us because they are evil.

We are a progressive nation because

we were first to convert to Christianity.

We are smart because

“it takes seven Jews to fool an Armenian.”

Russians are our Big Brothers.


All these explanations that have acquired

the status of slogans can be easily torn to shreds

by anyone with a single-digit IQ

and a superficial knowledge of history.


Case in point:

what’s the use of being smart in the market place

if we are idiots in politics?

And if we are idiots in politics

what’s the use of being smart anywhere else?


Turks are evil?

Can you name a nation that has not committed massacres?

And if you can’t name one,

consider Syria and the fact that

most Armenians support the massacres.


As for Russians being our brothers:

Russians are nobody’s brothers,

not even their own.




In their initial phase

my greatest blunders appeared to me

as triumphs of logic and common sense.


When the distribution of wealth is uneven

there will be benefactors;

and where there are benefactors

brown-nosers will prosper.


In a dishonest environment

honesty will be perceived as a capital offense.

Common sense may be against me

but history is with me.


To say we need solutions

is to conspire with habitual and compulsive liars.


One of our most cherished ideas:

If you can blame it on others,

why assume responsibility?


In political and religious propaganda

lies make more sense than the truth.

What is the truth?

I don’t know and I may never know it.

I am neither a prophet nor a messiah.

I am only a scribbler whose sole function is

exposing lies and liars.




Which is worse or more damaging

to the economy of a nation :

street crime or dishonest chief executive officers?




Which is worse or more damaging

to our survival as a nation:

what the Turks did to us at the turn of the last century

or what our own political leadership has been doing to us

for the last two thousand years?




Charlatans are long-winded.

Be brief. If what you say makes sense

you don’t need a defense attorney.




We preach “freedom or death”

but practice life at all cost,

no matter how degraded and dehumanized.




Like everyone else I was born stupid

and I was educated to say “yes, sir!” to idiots

until I realized that stupidity is

neither an asset nor a terminal condition.


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Loyalty or subservience to the leadership

is not a definition of patriotism but of fascism.


The only good thing about life is that

it is above ground.


Sometimes we forget that Assad sits

on a “throne of blood,” like Macbeth,

and reality is catching up with him

as it tends todo sooner or later with all of us.


If someone whose judgment I don't trust

were to agree with me,

I would disagree with myself.


Andrea De Carlo: "He tells me to follow my instinct.

But what if I have two of them?"




If you like proverbs you will love


Compiled by C, Doyle, W. Mieder & F.R. Shapiro

(London: Yale University Press, 2012).

Some samples follow:


“The best man for the job

may be a woman.”


“If you aren’t the lead dog,

the scenery never changes.”


“Life is a shit sandwich:

the more bread you have,

the less shit you eat.”




Next time you speak of Obama, ask yourself:

Would Romney have been a better choice?


To brainwash children means to train them

to say “Yes, sir!” instead of “Hell, no!”


Cherish your enemies,

you may learn more from them

than from your friends.


Our most dangerous enemy is not the Turk

but the Turk within us.


I find it very difficult to love my fellow men

after reading my morning paper.




Whenever I am told “Nobody’s perfect”

(meaning “Shut the f*ck up!”) I say:

“Dzour nesdink, shidag khossink.”

In other words: our own imperfections

should not prevent us from discussing

our own motherf*ckers.


My contempt for loud-mouth Armenians from the Levant

is not mine but that of a Levantine elder statesmen

who once told me:

“They walk past an elementary school

and brag about their university degrees.”


Neither is my antipathy for Islam mine

but that of Sunnis and Shias

for one another.


You cannot deceive God,

not even a non-existent God

because God is another word for Reality.


The right word at the right time

can be as effective as a hammer-blow to the head.


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Since I have no political ambitions

I don’t mind admitting that

I have been wrong most of my life

and I am probably wrong today.

If to be right means to kill someone

I’d much rather be wrong.


My favorite illusion:

As human being most people are equipped

to see the light of reason.


Addicts of the blame-game

refuse to believe that we have played a key role

in our history and we continue to do so today.


Anonymous: “History does not repeat itself,

but it rhymes.”




A friend of mine once wrote a book


but was careful to quote and discuss

mostly friendly witnesses.


I committed a worse blunder:

I wrote a book on Armenian history

from which I excluded anything

that may be remotely classified as negative;

and what’s even more repellent to me now,

I never thought of what I was writing

as propaganda. Like all idiots and dupes

I believed it was my patriotic duty

to treat my readers as idiots and dupes.


Assad’s crime we are told is using poison gas

to kill his own people.

What we are not told is that

his blunder consisted in having made no effort

to reconcile and unite his fragmented nation.


I think it was Talleyrand who once said to Napoleon:

“It was worse than a crime, Sire, it was a blunder.”




There is one past but there are

ten thousand historians.




There are two basic approaches to the study of history:

objective and hysterical.





We were divided by Turks;

we were divided by Bolsheviks;

and we are now being divided by our own

Ottomanized, Stalinized, and moronized bureaucraps (sic).





Never fight your enemies if you can divide them.

Remember the Armenians.





After you moronize them

you can even convince them to be

just about the smartest people on earth.




Many readers disagree with me.

That does not surprise me in the least.

In human affairs disagreement is the rule

rather than the exception.


Lawyers and politicians disagree all the time;

so do bishops and imams; and in our case

bishops (Etchmiadznagan) and bishops (Anteliassagan).


More often than not however,

disagreements are rooted not in ideas

but in sources of income, or power and prestige.

We live in a world where ideas have become

as relevant as the song of a non-existent bird

in an imaginary forest.


Speaking of our ruling classes,

and more specifically our neo-commissars

and crypto-Panchoonies: they have discovered

a new way of dealing with their critics:

they refuse to acknowledge their existence;

and it seems to work provided of course

you ignore the high assimilation rate in the Diaspora

and the exodus in the Homeland.

Criticizing them might as well be an exercise in futility;

and exposing their would be like trying to kill a man

who is committing suicide.

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He hated the Irish, beginning with Spencer Tracy.

In his recently published CONVERSATIONS he explains:

“Seven hundred years of bitter oppression

changed their character, gave them

that passive meanness and cunning.”


By contrast, he loved Hungarians:

“I love Hungarians to the point of sex!

I almost get a hard-on when I hear a Hungarian accent;

I am so crazy about them.”


On Israelis: “The only time they make good music

is when Zubin Mehta, a Hindu, comes to conduct.”


On Coppola: “THE GODFATHER is the glorification

of a bunch of bums who never existed.”


More to follow….




On intellectuals:

“They are the biggest pushovers.

They love power.

They cluster around whatever golden boy,

or man, is in power and begin to justify it.”


On writers:

“I don’t like Dostoevsky.

Tolstoy is my writer.

Gogol is my writer.

I’m not a Joyce guy…”


On women:

“They are another race.

You can’t tell them the truth.

You have to lie.”


On Russians:

“They have terrible taste.

They are a people of genius;

and they are very literal.

They are ‘machine-made.’

Poor people.”


On American journalists: ‘

“Cocksuckers with typewriters.”


On Laurence Olivier:

“He was so in love with his own image

it was terribly hard for him

to resist going down on himself.”





That’s the only way to explain why so far

Christians have failed to convert Muslims

and vice versa.


Both bishops and imams agree that

when it comes to brainwashing

children are more receptive candidates;

and what’s even more outrageous,

they call it education.


The overwhelming majority of people

are born, live, and die as dupes.


I judge the importance of a book

by the number of prejudices and preconceptions

it exposes and shatters beyond repair.


An honest Christian will be honest

only in the eyes of his co-religionists.

An honest infidel or hetanos is an oxymoron.


An Armenian has no use for writers.

He is a man of action who understands everything

and knows nothing – or is it the other way around?


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The eternal snow of Mt. Ararat .

Nightingales serenading the moon.

I leave these things to our versifiers.

The written word is my main source of inspiration.

When I agree with something,

I compose a variation.

When I disagree,

I improvise a contradiction.

When I read an irresistible passage,

I quote it.

I love to quote.

i love to read books of quotations.

So much so that I have myself compiled two of them:


the other (much more extensive) in manuscript form.


As for originality:

How much of Plato is Socrates?

How much Socrates owes to the pre-Socratics

most of whose works have survived, if at all, in fragments.


It was Hemingway who once said:

“Minor writers plagiarize. Major writers steal.”

And sure enough, at one time or another all major writers

have been accused of being plagiarists –

Sartre, Garcia Marquez, Toynbee, Zarian...


Toynbee once described himself as someone

who moves old furniture around.

Garcia Marquez’s style has been traced back

to the 1001 ARABIAN NIGHTS and Faulkner.

An American academic, Stern by name

(that’s the only thing I remember about him)

once wrote a book in which he traced all of Sartre’s ideas

to predecessors.

It was Oshagan who accused Zarian.

Need i say more?....




On Nietzsche:

When asked what he thought of Nietzsche,

Jules Renard is said to have replied:

"There are too many useless letters in his name."


On Heidegger:

The son-of-a-bitch was a Nazi

who fell in love with one of his students

who happened to be a Jewess.




In his THE ITALIANS, Luigi Barzini writes:

"There comes a day in every man's life

when he realizes his leaders are loathsome imbeciles."




I repeat myself because I write counter-propaganda.

If propaganda repeats itself, what choice do I have?


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Everyone speaks of freedom of religion

as if it were a good thing,

a mark of progress and civilization.

What if what will civilize the world

is not freedom of religion

but freedom of dissent and heresy?

But as long as rabbis, bishops and imams

are allowed the freedom

to poison the minds of children

we will have wars and massacres.


Why is this so difficult to understand?

Empires decline and fall

not when its prostitutes, pimps,

thieves and degenerates prosper

but when its spiritually superior individuals

(self-assessed of course) assume leadership positions.


Moral I: Freedom of religion is freedom to enslave.


Moral II: Freedom to brainwash children

is a crime against humanity.




We have a school of thought that says

Christianity was a bad choice for us.

We should have converted to Islam.

The unmistakable implication being,

since we cannot change the past,

we cannot change our present and future.

What’s done is done and it cannot be undone.

It is our jagadakir (destiny) therefore

to remain perennial losers.

Let us therefore, in legal parlance,

drop our pants and bend over to whoever is on top –

be he a shah, pasha, padishah, sultan or commissar.


But I maintain our problem is not our choice of religion.

Our problem is ignorance of the world,

divisiveness, corruption, incompetence, treason,

and intolerance of any idea

that may shatter our image as la crème de la crème

and expose us as la crème de la scum.




On our present situation:

Losers at the mercy of other losers.




The 1% are cold-blooded swine

who think they will not burn in hell

because hell is their own invention.




We know that Sultan Abdulhamid II’s mother

was Armenian. We also know that Talaat himself

was probably part-Armenian.

What we don’t know is

how many of our own present leaders are Turks.




Is the Internet making us smarter or dumber?

I don’t know. All I know is that

if an ape uses it he will not be born-again

as a human being.




Tina Brown on Bashar-al-Assad:

“A creepy, lisping, giraffe-necked liar.”




I don’t read and reread LOLITA

to be enlightened or instructed.

I read it because it is compulsively readable –

from the first (“fire of my loins”)

to the last sentence.




There is a general in every solider

(according to Napoleon),

a pope in every seminarian,

a master in every slave,

a capitalist in every proletarian,

and (according to a schoolteacher)

a Turk in every Armenian.


Nothing disarms a man

with a highly developed spirit of contradiction

than agreement.


We read so many obituaries

and hear of so many deaths when we are alive

that we end up thinking of ourselves

almost as immortal.


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Our problems were thrust on us by others. We reject their solutions on our own.


Only the rotten succeed in a corrupt environment.


The greater the political control of schools, libraries, newspapers, community centers and churches, the greater the number of yes-men and dupes.


The challenge is to speak of serious things without taking oneself seriously; to be critical of others and even more critical of ourselves.


In a totalitarian environment to say your ambition is to succeed as a writer is like saying as a virgin it is your ambition to be a bordello madam.


When wolves are in charge, sheep will be useful only as lunch.




In one of his essays

George Orwell speaks of

“the corrosive digestive juices

of the British imperial leviathan.”

You may now have a better understanding

of the depths of our own degradation.


Elsewhere he speaks of

“the smelly little orthodoxies

contending for our souls.”




There is an old saying:

“When you’re down, the only way is up.”

Like all rules this one too has its exceptions:



The Greek jury that condemned Socrates to death;

the men who crucified Christ;

the solitary Hindu who assassinated Gandhi:

they all shared one thing in common:

they were brainwashed to believe

the gods, truth, and historic necessity were on their side.


If you brainwash children to believe

in the myth of the Holy Trinity,

they will be inclined to believe in many other trinities

like liberté, fraternité, egalité;

thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis;

Marx, Engels, Lenin…


A nation that hates together stays together.


Judge a tree by its fruit and a propaganda line

by the number of its victims.


I quote to enhance my credibility.

What the hell does an Armenian scribbler know?

An odar author, that’s different.

Prof. Hamalian on Zarian,

after reading my translations:

“He writes like one of my bright students.”


Academics: they all proceed from the assumption

that they know better.

Question: With over a thousand Armenian academics

in America alone, why is it that our collective existence

is in such a mess?




Certainties are the source of all evil.

But I could be wrong…


Has anyone ever said

I could be wrong

but let’s divide the community anyway?

Or, I could be wrong

but let’s go to war …


To some a belief system is nothing

but a source of income and power.


Where there are idols

there are idol-makers.

Where there are dupes

there are deceivers.

I think it was Luther who said:

“The God of Christians (meaning Catholics)

is an idol.”


What is patriotism?

In theory, love of God and Country.

In practice, to brainwash children

and manipulate adults.


We should teach our children to say

“I could be wrong.”


Socrates was condemned to death

because he spoke in defense of doubt and uncertainty.

“Of the gods,” said he, “we know nothing!”


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To write also means to repeat

what has been said and forgotten;

to shout that which is whispered;

and to expose that which is covered up.

As for solutions to our problems:

I can only say and repeat:

solutions, like the Kingdom of God,

are within you.


Be honest with yourself and others

even when to be honest means

to be outnumbered a thousand to one.


Thou shalt not deceive yourself,

especially when the deception is disguised

as tradition, the laws of the land,

or the word of a king, pope, or

some other phony representative of god on earth:

in short, propaganda.


If belief systems don’t tell us

not to be dupes of propaganda

it may be because that would be like

digging their own graves.

But I maintain being a dupe

is one of the most dangerous transgressions.

Wars and massacres are perpetrated

by dupes whose sole justification has been,

“I was following orders,” or

I trusted the word of god as spoken

by a rabbi, imam, or bishop.





The Russians are our Big Brothers

only in the sense that for 600 years

Turks were our Big Brothers.

So was Cain to Abel.


When you are young

you pull up your pants

and go wherever you want to go.

But when you are old

someone else pulls up your pants

and takes you where you don’t want to go.

I am now paraphrasing the Bible

which may suggest it is not the Word of God

but of men with a credibility problem.


Lies that flatter are infinitely more dangerous

than mad dogs, venomous snakes, and mad elephants.




There is a type of holier-than-thou reader

who likes to point out the fact that

my criticism of Armenians is nothing

but a projection of my own shortcomings.

Such a reader is convinced he knows better

because he is better.

His unspoken aim is not to understand reality

but to explain it in such a way

as to prove his moral and intellectual superiority;

and to prove it to others

in order to convince himself.




All my efforts are now concentrated

on being readable. As for saving the nation:

I leave that to our bosses, bishops, benefactors

and dime-a-dozen superpatriots

with messianic ambitions.




One way to define them is to say

they are men who know what must be said

but consistently and unanimously avoid

doing what must be done.




It is not enough to say we did nothing wrong.

Did we do anything right?

Even more to the point:

Can we even tell right from wrong?




Members of the Tea Party in America

are the offspring of individuals

who in the second half of the 19th century

fought a bloody civil war –

some say the bloodiest in history –

in defense of slavery.

They remind me of our

bosses, bishops, and benefactors

who, to save the nation, they divide it.




There is an old Armenian saying:

“He is so smart he even knows

where the devil sleeps.”

The devil, my friends, sleeps where he resides

and he resides in our hearts.




Am I saying anything

you don’t already know?


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In a recent issue of TIME magazine

there is an interview with Andre Agassi

in which Armenians and massacres are not mentioned.


The best thing Saroyan ever said about the Genocide is that

he felt sorry for the Turks.


Now you may understand why I refer to

Genocide ghazetajis, Hai Tahd activists and fund-raisers

as Turcocentric crackpots.


There is a baloney artist in all politicians

and ours are no exception.




Thinking against oneself

is one of the cardinal virtues.


Politicians and honesty are

mutually exclusive concepts.


To believe when you are right

you have God and Truth on your side

is to be a potential assassin and terrorist.




We all have our share of limitations

with one difference: some of us

are infatuated with them.

Erasmus of Rotterdam was right when he said:

“Everyone loves the smell of his own sh*t.”


The need to be understood

always exceeds the need to understand.


Where lawyers and politicians enter,

injustice and lies are sure to follow.


Never contradict a politician or a lawyer:

remember, they are professionals.


To my anti-American friends

from the Middle East I say:

“I agree with you provided you also agree with me

when I say the rest of the world is no better.”


Nobody ever said to be an honest man among crooks

comes without a price.


I don’t always like or agree with what I say

but once I put down 2+2=

I have no choice but to say 4.




There is a type of reader

(and I have my share of them)

who is programmed to disagree and reject

anything that is not recycled propaganda.

Such a reader doesn’t even bother or begin

to understand what’s being said.

He just hangs a label on you

and forever after identifies you

as the lowest form of animal life –

namely, an Armenian

who doesn’t love all Armenians

and hate all Turks.

Such a reader is convinced

anyone who has more power or money

must know better.

He is Bolshevik in his pragmatism,

capitalist in his value system,

and Catholic in his dogmatism.


Reply, Reply All or Forward | More




In a recent issue of TIME magazine

there is an interview with Andre Agassi

in which Armenians and massacres are not mentioned.


The best thing Saroyan ever said about the Genocide is that

he felt sorry for the Turks.


Now you may understand why I refer to

Genocide ghazetajis, Hai Tahd activists and fund-raisers

as Turcocentric crackpots.


There is a baloney artist in all politicians

and ours are no exception.




Thinking against oneself

is one of the cardinal virtues.


Politicians and honesty are

mutually exclusive concepts.


To believe when you are right

you have God and Truth on your side

is to be a potential assassin and terrorist.




We all have our share of limitations

with one difference: some of us

are infatuated with them.

Erasmus of Rotterdam was right when he said:

“Everyone loves the smell of his own sh*t.”


The need to be understood

always exceeds the need to understand.


Where lawyers and politicians enter,

injustice and lies are sure to follow.


Never contradict a politician or a lawyer:

remember, they are professionals.


To my anti-American friends

from the Middle East I say:

“I agree with you provided you also agree with me

when I say the rest of the world is no better.”


Nobody ever said to be an honest man among crooks

comes without a price.


I don’t always like or agree with what I say

but once I put down 2+2=

I have no choice but to say 4.




There is a type of reader

(and I have my share of them)

who is programmed to disagree and reject

anything that is not recycled propaganda.

Such a reader doesn’t even bother or begin

to understand what’s being said.

He just hangs a label on you

and forever after identifies you

as the lowest form of animal life –

namely, an Armenian

who doesn’t love all Armenians

and hate all Turks.

Such a reader is convinced

anyone who has more power or money

must know better.

He is Bolshevik in his pragmatism,

capitalist in his value system,

and Catholic in his dogmatism.


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Loyalty or subservience to authority

is not patriotism but fascism.


My guess is, we produce

more speechifiers, sermonizers and pundits

per capita than any other nation on earth.


Who speaks today in the name of the people,

and when I say people I mean

not the dead but the living.


The most important questions in life

are destined to remain unanswered.

Even belief systems that pretend

to have all the answers

are willing to acknowledge this fact.

There is a well-known story about a theologian

who on informing the Pope that he had written

a 1000-page treatise explaining the mystery

of the Holy Trinity was ordered to “burn it!”




Until very recently I wasn’t aware of the fact

that fund-raising is a profitable enterprise

and that some chief executive officers

of charitable organizations

are paid million-dollar salaries.


Wee are more civilized.

Our charitable organizations

don’t have chief executive officers;

even more to the point,

they are accountable only to God,

which in practice, means no one.


Question: Do CEOs of charitable organizations

contribute to charitable organizations?




On the day Azeris open their borders

we will bleed from three open wounds:

East, West, and North.


At the present rate of exodus,

they will not have to fight us

to reoccupy their lands,

they will just walk in.


I am a comfort to our enemies?

What about our dividers?

What is their message?

Let me guess:

“No need to kill us,

we plan to commit suicide.”

What else?


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Men in a position of power need flattery

as much as a starving man needs bread.

Their intolerance and hatred of dissent

is rooted in vanity and not

in some kind of ideological opposition.

They don’t give a damn about ideas and ideologies

which they consider a waste of time.

To them intellectuals are no better than children

and ideas their invisible toys or

verbal hallucinations or ghosts

and they don’t believe in ghosts.

Words are good only when they glorify

and flatter their egos.

In their own eyes power is a blessing from God.

It follows, whatever they do

bears God’s seal of approval.

Hence degenerate rulers

and moronic multimillionaires

operating on the assumption

they are the uncrowned kings of the community.


History is clear on this point.

Power drives men mad.

Power is not a blessing but a curse.

At the turn of the last century

in the Ottoman Empire the sultan

had a thousand concubines

and as many versifiers,

among them Armenians,

singing his praises.


Talaat was more enlightened.

He counted among his friends

several intellectuals

among them our own Zohrab.

But as soon as he acquired power

he had Zohrab assassinated.

Napoleon put it best when he said

“A man with an idea is my enemy.”




Turcocentrism may also be defined

as an ideology that says

we are not the architects of our destiny.

It follows, the only logical explanation

of our misfortunes is: “Shit happens.”


Consider earthquakes as a case in point.

What we are not told is that

according to experts

“Earthquakes don’t kill people; buildings do.”


Nothing comes more naturally

to a compulsive and habitual liar than

to cover up and to lie.


The priority of all businessmen is profit.

The more profit the better.

Likewise, the priority of all politicians

regardless of race, color and creed is power –

the more power the merrier,

even if it means the destruction of the nation.


Our dealers in chauvinist crapola

expect us to believe

what applies to all politicians

does not apply to our own

who rule and divide by the grace of God.




To me, the ultimate odar (foreigner)

is the Ottomanized and Sovietized Armenian.




We have survived – no one denies that –

but survived as what?




Armenians who classify themselves as the best,

sooner or later expose themselves as the worst.


“We are a people like any other people.”

“Don’t flatter yourself.”




“We are a people like any other people.”

“Don’t flatter yourself.

Even our greatest intellectuals and poets,

like Zohrab and Charents, were dupes

of enemy propaganda.”

“What would you have done in their place?”

“Probably what they did and having done so

I would deserve universal ridicule and contempt.”




I will never forget the angry letter

one of our elder statesmen sent me

after reading one of my anti-Soviet tirades:

“Saroyan loves the regime.

You think you are smarter than Saroyan?”




You say I simplify complexities?

What does propaganda do?

What is propaganda if not the mother tongue

of self-satisfied idiots and their dupes?




“You repeat yourself.”

“Not as often as our propagandists.”


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Sartre: “It is the rich man who is virtuous

and wants everyone else to be.

His values are a defense if the status quo.”


Everyone is against dividers,

but everyone seems to be for the status quo,

especially if he belongs to the privileged classes –

namely bosses, bishops, benefactors and their assorted hirelings and dupes.


Who is a good Armenian?

“An Armenian who has Mt. Ararat in his heart,”

-- whatever the hell that means.


I am not a Biblical scholar

but the scholars I have consulted inform me

the Bible does not mention “Mt. Ararat.”

It says “mountains of Urartu,”

of which there are about a thousand

and most of them are not in Armenia.




For a good number of years

my sole ambition in life

was to be a brown-nosier.

It took me quite a few years

to realize it was a bad choice –

and bad not on moral grounds

but bad because

the competition was too stiff.





The difference between you and me

is that you like to brag

and I don’t.




Some readers,

among them former friends,

disagree with me for an

understandably compelling reason:

they are financially dependent

on the charity of swine.

They may preach freedom

but they are afraid

not only of free speech

but also of fellow Armenians

who engage in it.


Our political and religious leaders

are neither God’s nor people’s servants;

they are our Lords and Masters.

Deviate an inch

and you are shish-kebab!


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A SKETCH OF MY LIFE*************************************

In my formative years

I was carefully brought up to be a garbage can

Of prejudices, lies, and propaganda.

If I understand my fellow Armenians today

it may be because once upon a time

I was one of them

and I refuse to pretend otherwise.


It was very late in life

that I realized deep inside somewhere

I harbored a human being.


I wasted most of my life

trying to please individuals

whom I now classify as somewhere between

moral riffraff and the scum of the earth.


When I say I loathe dupes

what I really mean is that

I loathe the dupe in me.

The only thing I am willing to brag about

is the fact that in my childhood

I experienced homelessness, destitution,

war, and discrimination in an alien environment.


Did I survive?

Who can really tell?

I feel more like that English soldier

on the battlefield who,

when informed by his king that he was wounded,

replied: “Nay, Sire, I am dead.”




To live in oppression means to believe in things

that you don’t and to trust the judgment of individuals

with the morality of pimps.

As a nation we have lived in oppression

for so many centuries that

we are no longer in a position to tell

the difference between

freedom and oppression.

Hence the saying:

“Once upon a time we were slaves;

we are now slaves of former slaves.”

Progress is our least important product.


One of the most useful tools

in criminal investigations is to ask:

“Who benefits?”

Who benefits from our divisions?


“A bourgeois is a bourgeois

regardless of nationality,” Lenin said.

So is a divider, a charlatan, and a deceiver.


“You repeat yourself.”

So do our dealers in chauvinist crapola.


I don’t write to achieve fame, fortune,

and immortality.

I write to share my understanding.




I believe in the Incomprehensible,

the Unknowable and in the commandment

“Thou shalt not bear false witness.

As for “Thou shalt not kill”:

I believe a system that has legitimized

the burning of heretics and more recently

war and massacre is an invention of the Devil.

The rest is metaphysics, mumbo jumbo,

propaganda, and taxation without representation.


My aim in life is not to achieve

fame, fortune, and greatness

but to be less dishonest.


As the offspring of perennial losers,

I have a soft spot for all losers

even when they are identified as the enemy.




If Gogol and Kafka were to come back to life and collaborate on a book about reality in present-day Armenia, the result would be Denis Donikian’s VIDURES or AGHPASTAN, in Ruzanna Vartanian’s excellent Armenian translation (403 pages, Yerevan, 2013).

Aghpastan, literally Trashland, is a biting satire and a horror story written with withering wit that utilizes many genres and styles reminiscent of James Joyce.


During a walk two friends discover the corpse of a woman in a garbage dump, an obvious victim of foul play.

“I know who she is,” one of them says. “I recognize her by her hair and the undamaged side of her face. We should go to the cops.”

The other is outraged.

“The cops! The cops? Can you picture me walking into a police station? Walking in is easy. The trick is coming out. And sometimes you never come out.”

“But it is against the law not to report a murder. If we ignore this murder and another murder next day, what happens if you or I are the next victims? If you and I and everybody else ignores a murder we become a nation of amnesiacs at the mercy of others.”

“Maybe so -- but what happens if we are detained by the police? And when I say detained I don’t mean for an hour or a day but for months. Think of my piglets: what happens to them?”

The conclusion is obvious: “Aghpastan” has become a country that swims in crime, criminals, executioners, and their victims.


The book begins and ends with the same two words: “Der Voghormia” (Lord have mercy).



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  • 2 weeks later...




Q: Raffi writes about bad as well as good Armenians.

You write only about the bad. Why?

A: Raffi was a great writer and a good man.

Obviously I am not qualified to tie his shoes.

Q: If propaganda is bad, why so many engage in it?

A: So many also engage in adultery, drugs,

smoking, war and massacre.

You see, like you, I have more questions than answers.

Q: Is it true that you love Turks and hate Armenians?

A: I hate all liars and dupes regardless of nationality.

Q: Why are you against patriotism?

A: Because the ultimate aim of all patriotism is slaughter.

I therefore say: F*** politicians who motivated by lust for power

invent conflicts and brainwash the brainless.




Leaders are first and foremost moronizing agents.

The world is being systematically moronized today

by Americans as surely as

the Middle East and the Balkans were moronized

by the Ottomans and the Soviet republics

were sodomized by the Russians.


What we think of ourselves

is never the same as what others think of us.

In that sense we are not much different from the groupie

who once declared:

“I am not a groupie! I don’t have sex with the boys.

I don’t use my body. I only do blow jobs.”


The secret ambition of all victims is to be a victimizer.

This may explain why an Armenian

is another Armenian’s Turk.


Where propaganda is over-developed,

literature will be under-developed,

and in our case, non-existent!




Please note that I hate neither myself

nor my fellow countrymen.

What I really hate is the Turk in all of us

and when I speak of Turks

I don’t mean Turks as they are

but as they appear to be in our history

and collective experience.




I don’t write for readers who know better.

I write for readers who know as much as I did

when I was a dupe.




We all share the same illusion:

namely, that people will judge us by our propaganda

and not by our history.




There is nothing wrong in admiring great writers

provided you remind yourself that

even the great ones, like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky,

had their share of contradictions

which they could not resolve.




A patriotic Armenian,

like a patriotic Turk,

knows very little or almost nothing

about the history of his nation

and most of what he knows is a lie.




Arrogance and ignorance

are at the root of all infallible assertions.




Compared to non-existence,

existence lasts no more than a fraction of a second.




Thomas Mann is right.

Hitler was not an alien creature but “a brother.”

There is a Sultan and a Talaat in all of us.




I have so few friends that if I were to lose one

I would be friendless.




I have been hired and fired many times

but I have never hired and fired anyone.





There is a natural tendency

in all speechifiers and sermonizers

to underestimate the value

of dialogue, compromise, and consensus.




Because I write as I do,

my patriotic friends pretend we have never met.




Perhaps to be an Armenian means

to be a survivor with a gaping wound.




One of the hardest things in life

is to convince the average idiot

that he is not a patriot but a dupe.




It could be said of our Turcocentric ghazetajis

that they are all bark and no bite.

Something similar could also be said

of Armenian literature from the Golden Age

to the present. As for our speechifiers and sermonizers:

they at least make a more or less comfortable living.


As a child I trusted adults if only because

whenever I asked an inconvenient

or difficulty question I was told

“You’ll find out when you grow up.”


In a recent issue of an Armenian academic periodical

I read the reviews of six recently published books,

five of them about the Genocide.


What’s being done to arrest or slow down

the present rate of assimilation in the Diaspora

and exodus from the Homeland?

I am grown up and I still don’t have

the answer to that question.

But if you do, please feel free to share it with us.





Is there a single Armenian

in a position of power today

whom you trust?

Someone you would go to for advice?

Someone you would vote for

if he were running for office?

Someone you don’t suspect of being

a former KGB, CIA or both?


Three sure ways of improving

a writer’s reputation of work:

verbal abuse, censorship, starvation.


Why are superstition and propaganda

more believable than science and knowledge?


Jews have acquired the reputation of a people

that enjoy mutual support.

The same cannot be said of Armenians.





If cathedrals are concrete and towering proofs

of man’s faith in the existence of God,

what are wars and massacres?


As for free will;

it may apply to the Napoleons

and Hitlers of the world

but not to the average soldier

who does the killing and dying;

and certainly not to the civilian casualties.


The question, the real question, is not

whether God exists or not

but whether He gives a damn!


Am I shaped by my past

or by my projects and hopes for the future?

After I answer metaphysical questions

I see more merit in their contradictions.


When the weak are led by the ruthless,

the result will be a succession of catastrophes,

that is to say, history as we know it.


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A single priest may brainwash

as many as a thousand children,

but a thousand bishops cannot convert

a single imam.

All victimizers are experts at least in one field:

in their choice of victims.


If you are an adult,

you know something about history,

and you are a nationalist,

you may safely declare yourself

a public nuisance and a retard.


If we were to judge a religion by its history,

who would dare to brag about

being a religious person?


I have never said none of our

bosses, bishops, and benefactors is an honest man.

What I have said is that

I never had the pleasure of meeting one.




As the offspring of perennial losers,

I tend to divide my fellow men

into masters and slaves,

or top dogs and underdogs.


I fear and respect top dogs

and I have as much respect for underdogs

as I have for myself, which is none.

That’s why my respect

for our bosses, bishops, and benefactors

knows no bound.

Sometimes I even go as far as classifying them

as architects of our collective destiny,

when in fact they have as much power

as a sardine in a pool of sharks;

and when speechify and sermonize

in the name of God and Country

what they really mean is

the KGB and the CIA.





If the winner is an enemy agent,

he has the charisma of a robot

and the eyes of a reptile, it’s rigged.




Notwithstanding the fact that

our writers have been consistently misunderstood,

rejected, starved, even betrayed

and murdered in cold blood,

there are boys and girls today

whose ambition is to be a writer.

There is a reasonable explanation

for this strange phenomenon:

ignorance of history.


The official version of our past

has been bowdlerized so drastically that

if reality and our school texts ever met

they wouldn’t recognize each other.


We have this in common with Turks:

we are junkies of state propaganda.

There are well-established academics today

(not all of them Turks)

who believe Talaat was a great statesman.


Talaat’s arrogance was such that

he dared to parade in the streets of Berlin

as if he were a universally respected royalty in exile.

Until reality caught up with him,

as it caught up with us

in successive waves of massacres

whose message we

(or rather our leadership)

chose to ignore.


The problem with compulsive and habitual liars is that

they end up believing in their lies.




My aim in life is to understand reality.

Your aim, if I understand it correctly,

is to assert some kind of superiority

motivated by patriotism,

which is also the aim

of all speechifiers, sermonizers,

and propagandists, who at

least get paid for their work,


You may have noticed by now

that I have a handful of favorite themes

on which I compose endless variations.

To those who accuse me of repeating myself

I plead guilty as charged.

My aim is not to achieve immortality

or even earn minimum wage,

but to speak of reality as I see it

and not as I am told to see it

by someone who may or may not be

a compulsive liar, a child molester,

or an inbred moron.


The trouble with Christianity

as an organized religion is that

99% of Christians were brainwashed as children.

The same applies to all organized religions:

they are organized to lie, deceive

and when necessary to kill and die

in defense of a god who has no need

of their protection.


We need to talk!


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After moronizing its own people America

is now engaged in moronizing the world.


Describe someone objectively

and deep inside somewhere

one of his defensive walls is bound to collapse.


Most of my critics are not idiots

but they appear to enjoy acting the part.


More often than not

when I try to solve a problem

I succeed only in compounding it.


My piano teacher taught me

the only way to learn a piece marked presto

is by playing it lento.


One way to be brilliant is

by writing a hundred different versions

of the same line and choosing the best.




A wolf and a vegetarian diet.

A closed mind and dialogue.

An Armenian and a Turk.

An Armenian and an Armenian.


What I write is free –

like cheese in a mousetrap.


American saying: “90% of everything is crap.”

Armenian translation: “99%.”




If the world were a room,

the U.S. would be the elephant in it.


If you assume to be right

you are automatically disqualified to engage in dialogue.


A liar’s best friend is another liar.


A snake’s ideal food is another snake.


Thirst for knowledge and thirst for blood

are mutually exclusive concepts.


A dupe cannot have an open mind.


When the Nazis said “Gott mit uns”

they meant of course the Devil.


I repeat myself?

What about our sermonizers, speechifiers,

and Turcocentric fanatics?


All corrupt regimes need enemies.

Hatred is a glue and all politicians need scapegoats.



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Popularity is overrated.

Neither Socrates nor Jesus was popular.

Bach was neglected for a hundred years.

Kafka was known only to a handful

of close friends.

Hegel’s last famous words:

“No one understood me except one,

and even he didn’t understand me.”

My guess is Elvis and the Beatles

made more money in a year than

Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms combined

throughout their lifetime.


Have I said this before?

No matter.

Some things are worth repeating.




The only way to be objective

is to see oneself through alien eyes.

The alternative is to view Catholics

through the eyes of the Pope,

the Soviets through the eyes of Stalin,

and the Chinese through the eye of Mao

on the grounds that these gentlemen know better.


One of the most important rules in dialogue:

neither side is allowed to say “Yes, sir!”


Ideas like “All men are created equal,”

should be judged by their history

and not by their intentions.


Archie Bunker is dead,

long live the Tea Party!





Where lawyers prosper, justice suffers.

The function of a jury, it has been said,

is to decide which side had the more competent

legal representation.


Where advertisers prosper,

the line that separates fact from illusion

will be blurred.


Where there is great wealth,

there will also be crooks.

Plato’s explanation for this phenomenon:

unlike honest men who will employ only honest means,

crooks will employ honest as well as dishonest means.


We live in a land of bankers, investment brokers,

public relations men, advertisers and lawyers.

It follows, we are in deep sh*t.




130 TALISMANS. By Kardash Onnig.

Foreword by Alexander Boccialini Shundi.

Illustrated. 2013. Published by Baraka

(P.O. Box 145, Stanfordville, NY 12581).


Are talismans, also known as “charms,” objects with mystical powers over evil or mumbo jumbo? My reason tells me they belong to the mumbo jumbo department of life, but my subconscious sings a different tune.

After a black cat crosses my path, I feel better if I find a penny on the sidewalk. Accuse me of being superstitious and I will deny it. Figure that one out if you can.

This illustrated booklet of 130 talismans is the latest opus by our Renaissance man of arts and letters, Onnig Kardash. Each talisman costs $400.00. If they weren’t beyond my income bracket I would love to buy a dozen of them (one for each room in the house) and forever after feel less vulnerable.

(For more information write to Transformer @gmail.com).


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Everything that needs to be said has been said. The role of our propaganda today is to deceive us into thinking everything that needs to be done is being done when in fact nothing is being done.



In our official version of the story the Genocide was inevitable. Which raises the question: if our leaders cannot foresee the inevitable, what are they good for besides raising funds?




“Make friends when you don’t need them.”


“You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince.”




If a closed mind makes you happy, by all means, follow your bliss. Only be warned. A fool’s happiness is a house without foundations.


In the eyes of some I am a self-hating Armenian because I refuse to rely on the support of men who could be useful to me – bosses, bishops, benefactors, their hirelings, hangers on and dupes. They fail to see the obvious: if I am against these gentlemen it is out of self-respect, and I suggest self-respect and self-hatred are mutually exclusive concepts.





If I had a choice between visiting Venice or Paris and the ugly little Greek slum where I was born and raised, I would choose the slum but I can’t because it’s no longer there – it was reduced to rubble by the Germans during World War II.


My doubts outnumber my certainties a thousand to one. I am one of those who feel guilty even when they say the right thing and do what must be done.


Judge an underdog by what he would do if he were a top dog.


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Tribal divisions are not a verdict without appeal.

All we need is a Mandela.

If Africans can do it, why can’t we?

To those who say,”

Why don’t you apply for the job?”

I say: I am a failure as a writer.

I would be a disaster as a political leader.

My job consists in telling it like it is.


Hell, we couldn’t even come up with an Ataturk.




I have been young

and I have been old

and old is better.


If you are young and you assume to be right,

you will be closer to the truth

if you assume to be not just wrong

but dead wrong; so wrong, in fact,

that you may have to spend the rest of your life

suffering the consequences of your blunder.


One advantage of old age is that

you exercise more freedom

in your choice of misery.


I write for dupes and idiots like myself

when young.




If you have trouble understanding why

successive American administrations

have refused to recognize the reality of the Genocide

here are some easily accessible explanations:

Even when dead wrong, might is right.

(Please note, I don’t make rules;

I only state them as I see them.)

Empires speaks a language

tribal people don’t understand.

Taking care of #1 is their #1 concern.

Regimes don’t have principles, only interests.

If you refuse to see the light

it may be because you prefer to live in darkness

(isn’t that what we did for 600 years?)

Ignorance is a heavy burden.

Lincoln was wrong.

You can fool all the people all the time.

Consider the long history of organized religions

According to Toynbee

(who quotes the Bible on almost every page he writes)

our demands were unreasonable.

It follows; the Turks did what they did

because they had no other choice.

To those who dismiss my short list

of explanations as bullshit,

allow me to quote another familiar proverb:

“Life is a shit sandwich.

The more bread you have

the less shit you eat.”




The Chinese pictograph for noise

is three women under the same roof –

or so I remember to have read somewhere.

The same word in an imaginary Armenian pictograph:

two men.


Homo sapiens? Hell, no!

Homo capable of being sapiens? Maybe.


Compared to nothingness

(before we were born and after we die)

being is an ephemeral dot so tiny

that it might as well be invisible to the naked eye.

One is almost tempted to say

the reason we exist is to experience

our own insignificance or nothingness.


When two selfish individuals meet,

they learn the importance of altruism.


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The Turkish line of defense is simplicity itself:

“We did to the Armenians what you did to your Indians.”


The only people who refuse to acknowledge

the finality of this statement are our fund-raisers and

Hai Tahd (Armenian Case) tax collectors.


If the Greeks in their Golden Age ...

found Socrates guilty of a capital offense

and executed him,

how dare we hope we can get justice

from a jury of convicted liars and cut-throats?




You say he was a great statesman?

Tell me, how many of our problems did he solve?

A statesman is first and foremost a man of action:

he formulates and implements policies

which he can do only after developing a consensus.


You say Armenians are ungovernable?

In that case a statesman’s function is

to make the ungovernable governable.

If he cannot do what must be done,

he is a failure or, at best, a man not of action

but of contemplation.

He is more like Naregatsi

and less like Gandhi, Churchill, and Mandela.


“He was a man of vision, a great patriot,

sincere in his commitments to ideals?”

So were Hitler, Mussolini, and Mustapha Kemal Ataturk.




When asked to name his favorite role model,

one of our intellectuals

(let’s call him Comrade Panchoonie)

named one of our benefactors

(let’s call him Jack S. Avanakian)

and was amply rewarded.




"A French whore is a whore.

A German whore is a whore.

A Greek whore is a whore.

But a whore who writes is an intellectual."




To the anonymous critic

who reads and curses everything I write:

“Are you the one I once called an inbred moron?”




I wouldn’t be surprised if they said:

“Let’s do to our Armenians

what the Americans did to their Indians.”

But I would be surprised

if one of our revolutionaries said:

“What if they do to us

what the Americans did to their Indians?”


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Some of my critics take pleasure in the knowledge

that I am a failure and a loser.

To them I say, that may well be why

I understand the nation.




It is true that our leaders have their share of admirers.

But then so did Nero, Genghis Khan, Hitler, Stalin,

Nixon, and Reagan.




Can you finish the following sentence?

“If the world is in deep shit today it’s because…”




Is it possible that I am the only one

who thinks the world would have been a better place

without Elvis and the Beatles?




What will happen next?

That which you least expect it.





To prove to a visiting Venetian painter

what the neck of a beheaded man really looks like,

Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent,

also known as the Lawgiver,

had a prisoner brought before him

and beheaded.

It is said that the Venetian painter

(one of the Bellini brothers)

was so shocked by the bloody spectacle

that he left that same night under cover of darkness.

That is the difference between that Venetian painter and us.

The Venetian left.

We stayed

We stayed even after Raffi warned us

the Ottoman Empire was no place for us

because Turks had no respect for human life.

We ignored Raffi's warning in the 19th century

as we ignore today Charents's final message

concerning our “salvation.”

By “we” I mean less the people

and more the leaders who speechify during the day

about survival and turn into gravediggers

under cover of darkness at night.


We are few.

We are weak.

We are vulnerable.

Therefore, we are divided.

Which is like saying:

“I think.

Therefore I am not.”




What is life if not

an endless series of disappointments?

A monster of human frailties,

my ambition was to achieve perfection.

I wanted to be the wealthiest man on earth

but never made more than minimum wage

with many intervals of unemployment.

As a writer I have failed again and again

to convince my readers that

the smartest man in business

may be an idiot in politics;

in the same way that

the loveliest woman in the world

worshipped from a distance

may be no better than a living corpse –

all because man is not yet equipped

to tell the difference between love and lust.

You want to know more about the human condition?

Take a good look at yourself in the mirror.




You want to develop your understanding?

Teach yourself to view things through alien eyes

including your worst enemy.


Don’t speak of your problems to a friend

unless of course you want to make him happy.

I remember once, many years ago,

when I mentioned a problem to a co-worker

– a cute little blonde – she cut me off

with the words: “I’ve got problems of my own.”


Wisdom can be found in the most unlikely places.


When I speak of a nation

I mean of course its leaders and their dupes.

The average law-abiding citizen

may not be as smart as his political leaders,

but he will be more honest.


Socrates is right: one can guess

how honest a man by his income.


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