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Thursday, November 10, 2011




There are no new or original ideas.

We are all in the recycling business.

I like to believe I have at no time recycled fascist crap

in the name of patriotism or religion.


Faith is gut-driven.

So are dogmas.

Where the brain is marginalized,

disaster is sure to follow.


Where there is faith,

there will be intolerance.

Where there are dogmas,

there will be heresies.

Where there are heretics,

there will be persecution.

You may now draw your own conclusions –

or confusions.

Your choice.


Friday, November 11, 2011




Where there is power

there will be propaganda;

and where there is propaganda

there will be lies.


We are told again and again that

our Church played a key role

in the survival of the nation.

Listen to Raffi:

“Our clergymen preached patience to us

thus promoting subservience to the point of slavery…

they have always been against individual freedom.”


As recently as the collapse of the Soviet Union,

the Catholicos of Etchmiadzin opposed independence.


In Manuel Sarlisyantz’s A MODERN HISTORY

OF TRANSCAUCASIAN ARMENIA (Leiden, 1975, page 326)

we read:

“The pro-Soviet Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan was, in 1944,

appointed from Etchmiadzin to be

Prelate of the Armenian Church in North America.

He endorsed Communism as ‘leading to a Christian ideal’

and had written that

'what the clergy is…on the spiritual level,

the Communist Party is on the worldly level

of politics and economics.'”


TO COMMUNISM, [London, 1942, page 29].)


Saturday, November 12, 2011




Very early this morning

when I was half asleep

I heard someone say on the radio:

“We havent’ had democracy in 20 years.”

And I thought, we haven’t had it for 2000.


More often than not

our choice is not between truth and lies

but between big lies and bigger ones.


The cowardice of the many

and the stupidity of the few:

that’s the only way to explain our past.

The rest is propaganda.


And now that I have spoken the truth

I deserve a horse with which to gallop off

in all directions

in a cloud of dust.


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Sunday, November 13, 2011




Pick a man, any man, from the gutter,

give him a title and a regular salary,

and forever after he will say

he never had it so good.

One reason I write as I do is that

I was spared that kind of treatment.

I was born in the gutter and my guess is

I will die in it.

I am not complaining.

Things could have been much worse.

What saved me was pure luck.

No one ever bothered to give me a title.

As for salary:

what I was offered was never above minimum wage.

Had it been above minimum wage

I may have chosen a different path

and I would now be on my way to the devil.


Monday, November 14, 2011




There are advantages

to being a third-rate minor scribbler

living in the middle of nowhere.

To begin with you are left alone.

Your readers are so few in number

that if you alienate one of them

it doesn’t feel like you have lost

half of your income from royalties.


By contrast, consider the case

of an Armenian-American academic

with a regular salary and a captive audience.

Not only will he be careful

not to say anything that may be construed

as critical of God and capital

(make it Capital and god) in general

and benefactors in particular

(one of whom may be subsidizing his “chair”)

but also anyone who may be remotely connected with them.

In short, he will support the status quo

and pretend we never had it so good

because we are in the best of hands.


During the Ottoman and Soviet eras

our poets wrote odes and panegyrics

to sultans and commissars.

Habits die hard.

“Treason is in our blood,” said Raffi.

So is cowardice.

Hence the scarcity of dissidents

and the overabundance of brown-nosers.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011




“You call yourself a dissident?”

said a (Soviet-Armenian) writer from Paris.

“Did they throw you out of your home and homeland?”

No, they didn’t because they couldn’t.

I was born and raised on foreign soil

and my home was mine, not theirs.

The contempt in his voice was such that

I understood why in their eyes

we will never rise above the status of “aghber.”


Because I try to be honest and objective

I am dismissed as pro-Turkish by some of my readers

as if being dishonest were an integral part

of the Armenian identity.


I must get used to the idea that

some of my fellow Armenians are so wrong

that they challenge all concepts of wrongness,

so that one could say they are not even wrong!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


THE 99%


There is no such thing as a belief system

without childhood indoctrination.

Eliminate indoctrination and the chances are

a belief system will collapse

into an abyss of absurdities.


It can truly be said of dupes that

they are the 99%.


On the radio this morning:

“Pakistan today is ruled by criminals.”

An American pundit:

“Almost everyone in Washington is on the take.”


He who admits to being a dupe

will not admit to being a coward, a liar, and an idiot.


Workers of the world unite?

Even better:

Dupes, idiots, and victims of the world…


What belief systems do is

convince idiots they are smart,

barbarians they are civilized,

and the scum of the earth they are the Chosen.


You think I am being cynical?

Allow me to confide in you:

Reality is worse!


Sigmund Freud: “The first human

who hurled an insult instead of a stone

was the founder of civilization.”


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Thursday, November 17, 2011





How sweet was it to the poet

who wrote that line?

After being betrayed to the authorities

by his fellow Armenians,

he committed suicide

by banging his head against the wall.

Many others were shot in the neck

or driven to Siberia.

If you say all that happened in a different era

and under a different regime, I say,

regimes may change

but the scum always rises to the top.


There is a sultan and a commissar in all of us.

If we ever undertake the task of

de-Ottomanizing and de-Stalinizing ourselves,

how many of those who are in power today

would remain in power?


If you are one of those readers

who think I have been consistently wrong

in my judgment of my fellow countrymen,

all I am prepared to say in my defense is,

I have at no time violated anyone’s human right of free speech.

Can you say the same about the status quo

in whose defense you speak?


Friday, November 18, 2011




Do we have a constitution?

What does it say about free speech?

Is it for it or against it?

If it’s for it,

why is it that some of our ablest intellectuals

live in exile?

What about a Supreme Court?

Do we have one?

Who are its members?

What do we know about them?

Are they for or against fundamental human rights?

Do we have dissidents?

How many?

Who are they?

How many members of the present administration

are former KGB agents?


We are told most American senators and congressmen

are millionaires, sometimes even multimillionaires.

What about their Armenian counterparts?

Do we have anything resembling

the Occupy Wall Street movement in Yerevan?


A few years ago the Canadian spy agency

called me and said they were going to send someone

to interrogate me about our present situation.

I said I was the wrong man for such an undertaking;

it would be a waste of their valubale time;

I was only a distant observer;

I knew little or nothing about specifics.

They disagreed.

They said they read my commentaries in the Armenian press

and they considered me an expert on the subject.

An excpert?

An expert!

They must be joking.

They were not joking.

If they were interested in names

I could be of no use to them

because I didn’t even know someone who knew someone.

What kind of expert was I

if I had more questions than answers?


And if so far I have made no effort to know more

it maybe because in this case

ignorance may indeed be bliss.


Saturday, November 19, 2011




Canadian literature is rumoured to be dreary.

By contrast, Armenian literature is not even rumoured

to be defunct or non-existent.


One advantage in being non-existent is that

no one bothers to spread the rumour that it is trash.


The only people who take Armenian literature seriously

are Armenian writers who take themselves seriously.


The central concern of Armenian writers

who take themselves seriously

is to expose the mediocrity of all others.


“Yes im anoush Hayastani.”

I should like to see one of our poets producing a sonnet

titled “To my sweet fellow countrymen.”


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Thursday, November 24, 2011




To how many women we could say:

I love you with all my heart

and I shall continue loving you to the end of my days,

but not you as you are,

but you as a figment of my own imagination.




Charlie Chaplin asked Truman Capote

to read the manuscript of his memoirs

with the eyes of a professional writer.

When Capote did and reported back with a list of suggestions,

Chaplin said: "Get the hell out of my sight!"




To avoid grief, conflict, misery and suffering,

do nothing and be nobody. Or simply, imitate the dead.

That’s what most Oriental wisdom boils down to.

But since life is only an extremely tiny interval of light

in the darkness of non-being,

it should be as different from death as we can make it

even if in the process we experience confusion and misery.


Friday, November 25, 2011




The official Kemalist classification of Armenians

as “Christian Turks” is patently absurd

in view of the fact that we are devoid

of both Christian charity and Turkish solidarity.


What motivates us to assess ourselves

as smart, progressive, compassionate, and God’s chosen

is the suspicion that we may be none of these things.


One of the worst things that can happen to a nation

is to believe in its own propaganda;

and one of the worst things that can happen to a leader

is to become a dupe of his own lies.

Speaking for myself,

I committed my worst blunders

after convincing myself that I knew better

and anyone who dared to contradict me

was a damn fool.


When it comes to women,

not only boys will be boys

but also men of all ages.

Hence the saying,

“The brain of a man is the body of a naked woman.”




Even after 30 books and over a thousand articles,

stories, and essays in periodicals and newspapers

I hesitate to identify myself as a writer

because more often than not I am asked:

"How come I have never heard of you?"

to which I am tempted to reply:

"Next time you visit your public library

check and see how many names you recognize

besides Shakespeare’s and Hemingway’s?"




I can’t imagine Mozart at the age of thirty saying:

"I have composed enough. I am quitting."

I have no doubt whatever in my mind that

Mozart would have gone on composing

even at the age of 80, very much like Verdi.

Likewise, I can’t imagine God saying,

"I have created the universe and enough is enough!"

What if, even as I write these lines,

God is busy creating other universes

in other dimensions?


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Sunday, November 27, 2011




I cannot think of a single important decision or judgment

that I have made in the past

that did not contain a 99% margin of error.

Let that be a warning to all those with whom

I share my wisdom.


What do the Pope of Rome and Stalin have in common?



When asked to name my favorite Armenian dish,

I identify myself as a vegetarian.

When told there are many delicious vegetarian dishes

in our cuisine,

I say I prefer to keep my answers to that subject short

because all talk of pilaf and shish-kebab bores me stiff.


And speaking of questions:

I don’t remember a single interview

with an African-American writer

in which mention was ever made of chicken and watermelon.


A question I have never been asked:

“On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate our leadership?”

The obvious answer is minus one, of course!


Monday, November 28, 2011


Why is it that some very smart and learned Armenians

confuse anti-charlatanism with anti-Armenianism?

Why is it that some very cunning Armenians

in their defense of their own selfish, narrow interests

voice reasons worthy of an inbred moron?


When it comes to Genocide recognition

the American question is not whether it is true or false but

“What’s in it for us?”

Call that cynicism if you like.

They call it pragmatism.


Whenever I write for Armenians

I remind myself that I am breaking the commandment:

“Thou shalt not share your wisdom

with wiser men than yourself.”


Wisdom and serenity are mutually exclusive concepts.

You can’t be serene in a world of lunatics

who think you are the lunatic.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011


It is a universally shared human weakness

to prefer flattery to criticism,

but it is adangerous addiction

to prefer lies to truth.


On a radio program on children’s poetry this

morning, I overheard the following quotation:

“There is some shit / I will not eat!” That’s

what I call good poetry – rhythm, music, and

words that once heard are never forgotten.


Belief systems have nothing

to do with reality and everything to do with the

power to shape our perception of reality.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011





By Vahan Vahanian (Jansezian).

Los Angeles. 2011. 255 pages.

(In Armenian)


“I am told I go to extremes in my assertions,

to which I say, What are words for?"

The labyrinth of Armenian life in Los Angeles

is Vahan Vahanian’s territory

and he has as many stories to relate as Scheherazade.

His style is brief, to the point,blunt.

He takes no prisoners.

“With the dollar, a man who signs his name with an X

is treated as a philosopher.

Without the dollar a genius is shunned as a lunatic…”

“That’s the way it is in America.

Novelties aplenty,

real-estate developments everywhere,

institutionalized larceny rampant,

refinement an absent factor.”

Vahanian is not afraid to step on toes or,

for that matter, to kick balls.

A man after my own heart.

As the editor/publisher of a newspaper

that is distributed freely,

neither is he afraid to alienate a fraction of his audience.

He speaks of a woman who tells him

her aim in life is to have more of everything –

“more fun, more money, more jewelry and more sex with younger men…”

“In Los Angeles there is neither brotherhood nor friendship.”

Phony intellectuals, exhibitionists, megalomaniacs, and womanizers

are a dime a dozen.

Vahanian may speak of depressing things

but he does so with a friendly smile

and his smile is infectious.

“Every other Armenian you meet these days

has political ambitions.

If Raffi Hovannisian and Jirair Libaridian made it,

why can’t I?”

And there is the self-appointed genius with literary ambitions:

“Did you get my article?”

“When are you going to print it?”

“No editorial changes, please!”

“How much are you going to pay me?”

If to say what must be said were music,

Vahan Vahanian would be our Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms.

(For more information, write to newarmenia ).


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Thursday, December 01, 2011


What can you possibly know about a country

if you have never tried to make a living there?

What can you possibly know about the human condition

if you have at no time been dependent

on the charity of swine?

For 25 years I had to produce pseudo-Saroyanesque trash

in order to make minimum wage.

The reason why I write as I do today is that

I have declared my financial independence

and, with it, to write as I please

without fear of retaliation.

I may not be a “good” Armenian

as defined by our Ottomanized, Sovietized, and Americanized

wheeler-dealers but I like to believe

I fully qualify as a born-again human being.


Friday, December 02, 2011


A lie is like a deadly virus.

Left unattended it will poison and kill its speaker

as well as his dupes,

families as well as communities,

tribes as well as nations,

empires as well as civilizations.


Saturday, December 03, 2011


After listening to the patriotic spiel

of a fellow passenger on a train,

Tolstoy is quoted as having said:

“As long as there are men like you

we will have wars and massacres.”

Likewise, as long as there are organized religions

we will have prejudice, intolerance,

and crimes against humanity.


The true enemies of God

are men who speak in His name.


Tolerance means not only to be open to new ideas,

including ideas that contradict our own,

but also to welcome and cherish them.


If we admit there is some truth in all belief systems,

we must also admit that truth is not in a single god

but in all gods; or, in Gandhi’s words:

“If God is Truth even atheists are believers

because they believe in God’s non-existence.”


God is either on no one’s side or on everybody’s side.

To say, like the Nazis, “God is with us,”

is not theology but pathology.

(For more on this subject,

see Toynbee’s STUDY OF HISTORY, volume x.)


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Sunday, December 04, 2011




Thomas Mann on creativity:

“By creation we understand

not making something out of nothing

but rather the kindling of spirit in matter.”

It must have been an extremely painful

and degrading experience for Mann

to realize that

a morally and intellectually inferior contemporary of his

could be superior to him in the business of kindling….”


Wars are fought in the name of certainties,

which may suggest that

(a) all certainties have contradictions, and

(b) all certainties may well be inventions of the devil.


Organized religions create an environment

in which voicing contradictions is called heresy,

and heresy is thought of as a capital offense

punishable by death or eternal hellfire.


What Marx said on politics applies to religions:

“Whatever class is in power

dictates the moral code which will support it

and keep it in existence.”

Some day when mankind awakens,

religions will be seen as collective nightmares.


Monday, December 05, 2011




My morning paper informs me

Russians call their present rulers

“crooks and thieves.”

If our own rulers are also “crooks and thieves,”

I suspect they are a better class

of “crooks and thieves,”

and by better I don’t mean morally superior

but smarter – more greedy, ruthless and cunning.

I say this on the grounds that

as far as I know no one has ever dared

to accuse Armenians

of being dumber than Russians.


On the positive side:

I don’t know about you

but I am having a lot of fun

following the slow suicide of the Republican party

in the United States.


Tuesday, December 06, 2011




On rereading the ten pages

that I wrote last night

in a burst of inspiration

I search in vain for the one or two lines

that may or may not be worth publishing.


When you preach to the converted

the temptation to believe in what you say

becomes irresistible.


Follow youR dream

until it turns into a nightmare –

as dreams have a tendency of doing.


Sometimes we get so involved

in defending ourselves that

we lose awareness of the damage

we inflict on our adversaries.

That’s one way to explain our genocide –

and please note,

to explain does not mean to justify.


Wednesday, December 07, 2011




We have had so much history rammed down our throats

that we haven't yet had a chance to digest it.

We are a nation suffering from chronic constipation.


My country right or wrong

and myself right or wrong

might as well be synonymous.


More often than not "I am right, you are wrong," means:

My self-interest or ego is more important than yours.


On the origin of the universe:

was it an accident?

was it by design?

was it designed to look like an accident?


Who benefits?


Armenians with their perennial demands

of Genocide recognition and territorial claims

are like sheep preaching vegetarianism

in a world run by wolves.


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Thursday, December 08, 2011




A good line once read is never forgotten.

It is my ambition in life to produce such a line.

Call me a megalomaniac.


In our environment agreement means

sharing the same bias.


When a man sees the light

he assume everyone else is blind.


I once met a born again

who thought I was a dead man walking.


Because I did not worship his God

he thught I worshipped the Devil.


Whenever I see the photo of an Armenian writer

in the company of a boss or bishop,

I can't help thinking,

"There goes the neighborhood."


To those who say I repeat myself:

Only if you insist on reading me –

for which many thanks!


Friday, December 09, 2011




The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

I am informed this morning on the radio,

is the most widely translated document in the world;

also (my guess) the most ignored.

Has it been translated into Armenian, I wonder.

I am not casting aspersions;

only sharing my ignorance and need for answers.


Bias is universal.

Resistance to bias

a slowly and painfully acquired asset.


All nationalists are brought up to believe

they are all white and their enemies all black.

When in fact they are not even gray but brown --

the color of @#$%.


Crude, you say.

So is life.

We have no choice but to deal with it

on its own terms.


My parents survived the Turks.

I am now busy trying to survive my fellow Armenians.


Saturday, December 10, 2011




What we need is a revolution

and I don’t believe in revolutions.

At best we may get reforms

but if the past is an index

we have no reason for optimism.


Subtract the brown-nosers, the yes-men,

the hirelings, the brainwashed, the dupes,

the alienated and assimilated,

we may be closer to the 50%

rather than the 99%.


We are no longer at the mercy of our enemies

but of a far more invincible and insidious adversary:

our own leadership.

Our Wall Street is in the convolutions of our cortex.


The only way to describe our situation is to say that

we are committing slow-motion suicide

by self-inflicted ten thousand cuts.

In that sense one could even say that

Turks were more merciful than

our own bosses, bishops, and benefactors.


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Thursday, December 15, 2011




The only time what you say offends no one

is when you say nothing.


In our environment the fools speak, shout, sing,

speechify and sermonize

and the wise are silent.


This year too I made several new friends

and twice as many enemies.


Armenian friends are a sometime thing,

but Armenian enemies, like diamonds, are forever.


Scientists claim they are very close

to discovering the “god particle”

that will explain what has been incomprehensible so far.

We may be almost there but no cigar.


When I was young and ambitious

I wanted to write “literature.”

All I hope to do now is produce an honest line.


Friday, December 16, 2011




Reading a new biography of Tolstoy

is like visiting an old friend.

After cross-examining theologians of the Orthodox Church,

Tolstoy notes in his diary:

“The Church, from the present day

all the way back to the third century,

is one long series of lies, cruelty and deception.”


by Rosamund Bartlett (New York, 2011, page 278).




That’s the title of a Mongolian film.

I enjoy foreign films because

they tell much more than a story;

they also show how the other half lives.




When the 99% assert their right,

they call it class-warfare.

When the 1% get richer

they call them “job creators.”

Which raises the question:

If they are job-creators

why is it that the unemployment rate

hasen't been going down?




If you want to know more about a political party,

speak to its opposition,

because everything a partisan says

will be contaminated by partisan propaganda.


Saturday, December 17, 2011




We should be careful not to contaminate God

with human attributes or

to create God in our own image.

God does not have to exist in order to rule.

That’s the true meaning of being Almighty.


Money is power,

and power means manipulating the law,

and manipulating the law means

getting away with murder.

When they don’tlegitimize slaughter by declaring war,

the 1% suck the blood of the innocent and the weak.

Remember the Ottoman Empire

or any empire for that matter.

Not that nations are morally superior.


Where there is power,

there will also be abuse of power

and it makes no difference whether the man at the top

is a sultan or an imam or a pope

acting in the name of a merciful and compassionate Allah.


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Sunday, December 18, 2011




One reason why I classify myself as

a 5th-class Armenian celebrity is that

4th-class celebrities sometimes ask for my help

in order to catapult themselves into 3rd-class status.


When I insulted our bishops,

I galvanized the Church against me.

When I insulted our bosses,

I galvanized our brainwashed dupes.

And when I insulted our benefactors,

I galvanized our brown-nosers.

And now that there is no one left

to insult and galvanize I feel disoriented.

If I knew how to pray,I would say,

“Give me somebody!”

Please note that I am now talking about our 1%

who may or may not be aware with my existence.

As for the 99%:

if you were to mention my name in their presence,

they would probably say, “Who the &@#$ is he?”


Monday, December 19, 2011




To those who say, “To criticize is easy,” I say:

Don’t think of me as a critic

but as someone who is trying to keep alive

an old Armenian tradition that goes back

to the 5th-century AD – that of dissent.


North Korean leader Kim Jong II is dead.

Who is going to miss him?

Only brainwashed Koreans.

Next question:

Which one of our bosses, bishops, and benefactors

will be missed?


There is a natural tendency in all oppressed people

to resent not the oppressor

but his next-door neighbor.

All Armenians carry within them

the seeds of anti-Armenianism.


A Muslim scholar in Canada

has written a book critical of Islam

and now lives in fear of assassination.



"A single wolf is a dog,

a pack of wolves is a mafia."


"Suffering is a bad companion

but an excellent teacher."



Tuesday, December 20, 2011




Propaganda is conceived by second-raters,

recycled by third-raters,

and believed by fourth-raters.


I was taught humility by arrogant fools

whose true intent was to intimidate and moronize me

in the name of God and Country.


All nations and empires begin as a small tribe.

God did not create many Chinese or Turks

and only a handful of Armenians.

The different between them and us is that

throughout our history and especially

during the last fifteen centuries,

we have been systematically massacred, raped,

and coerced into assimilation by a variety of people,

including our fellow Armenians.

This is not something you will be taught by our historians who,

like all historians, have a tendency to cover up and ignore

the most important aspects of the past.

Whoever said “Nothing gets ignored as easily as the essential,”

knew what he was saying.


Our Toumanian is right when he said

“You must burn in order to enlighten.”

The Tunisian fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi

did exactly that a year ago:

he set himself aflame providing the spark

that ignited the Arab Spring.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011




The problem with ascribing all our

problems, defeats, tragedies and

catastrophes on outside agencies is that

this allows us to adopt a passive stance

and do nothing,

in other words:

to be dependent on the goodwill of others --

including those who may or may not be

favorably disposed towards us, which means

to surrender our destiny as a nation into

foreign hands, which,

according to an old Armenian saying,

"will harvest nothing but thorns."

The common sense of our peasants

contains more wisdom than the calculations

of our self-assessed cunning political leaders.


If present-day Greeks share anything in common

with their illustrious ancestors of ancient Greece,

it is not with the likes of Socrates, Plato and Diogenes,

but with those who persecuted them.

What about us?

What do we share with

Abovian, Baronian, Bakounts, Massikian and Zarian?


With those who betrayed and silenced them?



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Thursday, December 22, 2011




Love has inspired many songs

but we owe our wars, revolutions, and massacres

-- that is to say history – to hatred.

Hatred plays a much more important role in life than love

or any other factor you care to mention,

including indifference and boredom.

Boredom and indifference may be said to be ahistorical

only in the sense that they allow hatred to shape reality.

Boredom and indifference victimize no one,

they only allow victimizers a free hand.


A man of power believes history to be on his side.

But history does not takes sides.

Even a solitary, unarmed and anonymous street fruit-vendor

has the power to topple brutal regimes like dominoes.

It is all a matter of time,

and in cosmic terms, a fraction of a second.

Only Almighty God is secure in His place

and He doesn’t even have to exist in order to rule.


Friday, December 23, 2011




The average Armenian is an idiot

who has been brainwashed to believe he is smart.

If you can’t see this clearly

it may be because you have been systematically moronized.

And if you think I am different

I will be more than happy to quote Flaubert:

The average Armenian “c’est moi.”


I have collected so many grievances against my fellow men

that I am beginning to suspect Alzheimer’s may well be

a blessing in disguise.


If it weren’t for past grievances

not only Armenian would live in peace with Turk

but also with fellow Armenian.

Maybe that’s what mankind needs:

a drug that will kill bad memories

without damaging any other vital organ.


Armenia is the site of the Garden of Eden

with one difference:

in the original Garden humans outnumbered reptiles….


Saturday, December 24, 2011




Authority will never sanction anything

that may question its legitimacy.

One could even say authority and intolerance

might as well be one and the same.

To speak of the tolerance

of a boss, bishops, or benefactor is

like speaking of the shadow of a black hat

in a dark room.




Cesare Pavese: “One does not kill oneself for love or a woman,

but because love – any love – reveals us

in our nakedness, our misery, our vulnerability, our nothingness.”

It is to be noted that Pavese, an Italian novelist,

fell in love with an American actress,

was rejected, and killed himself.




Imperialism may be justified on the grounds that

if we don’t do it to them they will do it to us;

and as everyone must know by now,

in politics and world affairs in general

it is not always the best man that wins.

History provides us with many examples

of this aberration,

beginning with Turks versus Armenians,

or for that matter, the rest of the world versus Armenians.


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Sunday, December 25, 2011




The victims of politicians

outnumber the victims of criminals.


There are two gods:

the god of priests and the other one.

We know a great deal about the first,

nothing about the other.


Turks are brainwashed to believe

they are noble specimens of humanity

to the same degree

that we are brainwashed to believe

we are smart.

Why should we be surprised

if the encounter of these two big lies

resulted in massacres?


I should like to read an interview

with a political or religious leader

that begins with the question:

“Let’s cut the crap, shall we?”


“What the hell happened to you?”

would be my first question

to one of our bosses, bishops, and benefactors.


Violence works but only at first.

Lies convince but only dupes.


Monday, December 26, 2011




Sometimes I am misunderstood

not because I am difficult to understand

but because the brainwashing has been

too systematic, thorough, and successful.


To speak of the “Red” Genocide

in order to cover up the “White” one,

or to speak of past violations of human rights

in order to cover up present ones:

what could be more horribly cynical?

Or rather: what could be

more quintessentially Armenian?


Animals defend their territory.

Men do too. But men also defend

their prestige, pride, vanity,

prejudices and ignorance.


Speaking with a forked tongue

comes naturally to most lawyers, politicians,

statesmen, religious leaders, businessmen, and so on.

And the higher their position in the hierarchy

the more transparent their double-talk.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011




There are two kinds of actions:

planned and spontaneous.

The Tunisian fruit vendor’s self-immolation

was spontaneous;

the actions of our revoltuionaries

at the turn of the last century in the Ottoman Empire

were planned.

The first was a success beyond anyone’s imagination;

the second resulted in one of the greatest disasters

in the history of mankind.


History is unpredictable.

God laughs at man’s plans and calculations.

The selfless act has a much better chance to succeed,

and sometimes to succeed beyond anyone’s imagination,

than the cold-blooded, carefully planned and calculated act.


Marx thought he had discovered the way history works

and he created the nightmare of communist regimes.

When Jesus said “the kingdom of God is within you,”

he should have added,

“so is the empire of the Devil.”


“Existence is a vicious abstraction,”

Bertrand Russell tells us; which means

our actions will inevitably end

in an existential labyrinth of consequences

whose end result will be totally unpredictable.


Elsewhere Russell writes:

“Since men tend to value present pleasures

more than pleasures in the future,

the wise man will exercise prudence and self-restraint.”

He should have added, “by which time the wise man

may be too old to get it up.”


Moral: No matter what you decide to do,

you may regret it.

Bouazisi did not live long enough

to witness his final victory.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011




Anyone who is committed to an ideology or religion

will have his own version of the past.

Believers are natural-born revisionists.


All political parties,

regardless of nationality and ideology,

have a tendency to promise more than they can deliver;

sometimes they even promise heaven and deliver hell.


It is only natural for those who are part of the problem

to pretend not to see the solution.


Never insult an Armenian writer:

being one is insult enough.


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Sunday, January 01, 2012





To readers who are brought up to believe

it is a writer’s function to instruct, to entertain,

and to be original, I say,

he who has been brainwashed as a child

cannot be open to instruction.

My aim is not to entertain but the exact opposite:

to make you aware of your own degradation.

As for being original:

in so far as I speak

of the origins of your degradation,

I am being original

even when I bore or irritate

the hell out of you by repeating myself.


Don’t think of me as a writer.

Think of me as a counter-propagandist.

As for readers who like to inform me

that I know nothing and I understand even less,

I say: I ascribe that to Armenians like you

who refuse to share their knowledge and understanding

with the rest of us.

Knowledge and understanding are not things to keep,

like money, but things to share, like love.

And if after reading this

you decide to continue reading me,

have the decency not to bitch

and make unreasonable demands on me.

But if you do, don’t be surprised if I ignore you.


Monday, January 02, 2012





Einstein: “I am a deeply religious nonbeliever.”


You can be a born-again believer

as well as non-believer.

You can be a born-again anything.

The only thing you cannot be

is a born-again cadaver.


All men of faith are convinced

of the 10,000 gods that men have created

9,999 are phonies.


Men of faith believe non-believers will go to hell

because they denied the existence of the Almighty.

Now then, if an ant or a worm were to deny my own existence

would I step on it?

Would such denial even register on my consciousness?


May I also add that I am not the forgiving type.

My greatest hope is that

anyone who has ever done me any dirt

will burn in hell for all eternity


Tuesday, January 03, 2012





The two things that make a line unforgettable are

(one) once read it is never forgotten, and

(two) it’s like a key that unlocks a door

to reveal not another room but a new horizon.


“Fascism is not defined by the number of its victims,

but by the way it kills them.”


“…the anonymous desirability of all flesh.”


[To write about genius is] “to retrace in detail

the history of a liberation.”


“I plunged into humility to evade humiliation.”


“To love is to hate the same enemy.”


“I turned rebel later only through having pushed submissiveness

to the extreme.”


“The ascetic is a man rich enough

to choose his poverty freely.”


“Psychoanalysis has no principles.”


“…for no man is ever anything but a swindle.”


“Human life begins on the other side of despair.”


“Mysticism suits displaced persons

and superfluous children.”


Wednesday, January 04, 2012




The secret aim of our political leaders

is to be better charlatans.


I once heard one of them say:

“I have said this before, many times,

and I am going to say it again!”

And I thought, has anyone ever accused him

of repeating himself?


“If you are with me you are a friend.

If you are against me you are an enemy.”

Provided of course your judgement is infallible.


The support of a writer

by a political party is as good as a kiss of death.


Blood may well be thicker than water

but common sense goes farther than chauvinist crapola

and common decency is superior to mumbo jumbo.


A charming man does not waste his charm

on someone he considers useless to him.


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Thursday, January 05, 2012




Don’t believe everything you hear.

Don’t believe everything you read.

But above all,

don’t believe everything you believe.

Remember, the Greeks believed in Zeus

and they were just about the smarted people

that ever lived.


Actions have consequences;

so do inactions.

Case in point:

600 years of inaction under the Sultans.


God created believers as well as non-believers.

Now consider the case of a believer who kills

and a non-believer who is a pacifist.

On whose side will God be?


I am in no position to penalize anyone.

I just speak the truth and let

them suffer the consequences.

Did I say “the truth”?

Strike that.

Make it “my side of the story.”

Or even better,

“I just state the facts as I see them.”

I have no desire to be accused of megalomania

or of harbouring prophetic ambitions.


Friday, January 06, 2012




“A journalistic terrorist

of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.”

That’s how I am identified in a recent blog

by a gentle reader who probably thinks I am dead –

no doubt a clear-cut case of wishful thinking.


Never antagonize someone who can afford a better lawyer.

Even if you are 100% right

and he is 100% wrong, you will lose.

That’s justice, American style.


When the subject of the poor and unemployed

comes up in Yerevan, my guess is

members of the regime say:

“Let our ‘aghbers' of the Diaspora deal with them –

they can afford it,” or words to that effect.

To our ‘aghbers’ I therefore say:

what if all your charity does is

to postpone the final showdown

between the 99% and the 1%?

Your charity will make sense only if

an equal amount of effort is chanelled

into excposing the crooks and thieves.


Saturday, January 07, 2012




In a commentary titled “Eight nations are on the endangered list”

by Zbigniew Brzezinsky, we read the following about Georgia:

“American decline would leave this tiny Caucasian state

vulnerable to Russian political intimidation and military aggression.”

Elsewhere the Baltic states are also mentioned and discussed

but Armenia is ignored.

My first thought:

We have finally achieved a state of total irrelevance

in the eyes of the world.

Who gives a damn what happens to us?

Not even Armenians.


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Sunday, January 08, 2012





“I write all the time and

I never run out of things to say,”

one of our writers

(let’s call him Jack S. Avanakian)

once bragged to me.

“I can write about anything,” he went on.

“I can even write about not being able to write.”

Maybe so, I remember to have thought.

The question is, is what you write readable?

I for one have never heard anyone say.

“Last night I had some fun reading Jack S. Avanakian

and came across the following interesting line...”

Only the intellectually bankrupt brag.


One of the worst things that can happen to a man

is saying or even doing the wrong thing

with the conviction that it is the right thing.

And if you think that’s exactly my case,

allow me to remind you that

everything I say has been said before

by far better men than myself.

Originality is not one of my priorities.

My aim is to remind readers of things

they no longer remember or they prefer to forget.

Our educational system is designed to promote amnesia.

As a result we are a nation that suffers

from collective and self-induced

and departmentalized Alzheimer’s.

We have the memory of elephants

when it comes to what others have done to us,

but we pretend not to remember

what we have done to ourselves.

Which is where I come in.


Monday, January 09, 2012




If the thing you need most is money,

prepare yourself to be exploited.

If what you need is understanding

prepare yourself to be misunderstood.

If you need respect,

prepare yourself to be insulted.

What we need and what we get

might as well be black and white.


I believe there is life after that.

I have no doubt about that.

It’s one of the very few certainties that I cherish.

Just because I die,

it doesn’t mean everybody else does.

Life goes on.


If they have jackasses as leaders,

even the smartest people on earth

will be defeated by the dumbest.


The greatest obstacle to progress

is the sensible man who says:

"You cannot change human nature.

Nobody listens. Nobody gives a damn.

You are wasting your time."


Tuesday, January 10, 2012




“You don’t have to think,” propaganda tells us;

“I will do the thinking for you.

Because I can think and you can’t.

You are an ignoramus.

You are nothing.

You are what I tell you you are.”


It’s astonishing how many are taken in

by this line and willingly surrender

their most valuable possession

(the ability to think for themselves)

to megalomiacal and bloodthirsty charlatans.


By flattering our collective ego

(first nation this, first nation that,

God’s favourite, creative, progressive…)

propaganda dehumanizes us

by confiscating that which makes us human

by replacing “I think therefore I am” with

“I don’t think therefore I am a good Armenian.”

Instead of facts, propaganda gives us fiction;

instead of reality, fantasy;

instead of progress, paralysis and stagnation.


On the last page of Kafka’s TRIAL,

the central character

identified with the single letter K

is butchered “like a dog” and no one knows why.

Kafka doesn’t explain.

He provides no answers.

He didn’t have to.

K represent Germans, Spaniards, Russians, Jews, Armenians…

in short, 20th-century man

who was brainwashed and butchered in a ditch

for no reason at all.

That’s the real tragedy – our tragedy.

Not to die for a good cause

but to be butchered by anonymous executioners

working for faceless men

who operate on the assumption that

they know better because God is on their side.


Did I say God?

Make it the Devil!

There it is, the true meaning of propaganda:

“Speak in the name of God

and do the Devil’s work.”


Wednesday, January 11, 2012




An ideology or a religion should be judged

not by its dogmas and commandments

but by its propaganda:

the more propaganda the more lies.

The more systematic its indoctrination

or educational system

the more dishonest its assertions and certainties.

The more authority sources (holy scriptures and hierarchy)

the more fascist.

The more rituals the more mumbo jumbo.

The more monumental its architecture

the shakier its foundations

(remember the pyramids and

the construction of St. Peter’s in Rome).

The longer its history

the more uncertain its future.


If millions of Turks are brought up

to be proud of their identity,

then pride (not just theirs but all pride)

must be just about the phoniest means of achieving self-esteem.

I will go further and say,

where there is pride there must also be more reason for humility.

Where there is peace there must be a throne of blood.

The American Civil War is proof of the fact that

to defend democracy it is necessary to employ fascist means.


We are defined not by our assets

but by our liabilities – especially liabilities

that parade as assets.


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Thursday, January 12, 2012




Who are our political leaders?

What do I know about them?

I know more about Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann

than about our own leaders.

If I try hard enough I may remember a handful of names

but afterwards I do my best to forget them.

About leaders in the Homeland

I have been told by an insider that

they are former KGB agents.

True or false?

I don’t know and I care even less.

About leaders of the Diaspora:

I remember an elder statesman telling me

some of them were Turks

who spoke Armenian fluently

and knew all there was to know about us.

True or false?

Does anyone care?

I no longer have any illusions.

I know for a fact that even in the so-called

open democracies of the civilized West

politics is a filthy business.

I shudder to think about our Ottomanized Diaspora

and Sovietized Homeland.

Poor Armenia – forever an orphan

at the mercy of manipulators

who are themselves manipulated by alien interests,

like dogs who know their master

but not their master’s master.


Friday, January 13, 2012




Once upon a time almost everyone I met was older than I.

Now, almost everyone I meet is younger.


Once upon a time I had many questions

and I believed in the answers

that I was given by my betters.


Once upon a time I believed everything I read in the papers.

Now, I trust our editors as much as I trust

our bosses, bishops, and benefactors.


Once upon a time I loved to travel,

explore unfamiliar places and meet new people.

I now find solitary confinement preferable.


The world has become a strange place

but the strangest of all places is my own homeland

and the strangest of all people are my fellow countrymen.


If we don't know why things exist,

what can we really know?


One does not have to be an insurance broker

to know that heroes have a shorter life span than cowards.


Murder Inc. is a capitalist phenomenon.

Under communism murder becomes a monopoly of the state.


Saturday, January 14, 2012




If you want to know more about Armenians,

read about Turks.


Very early this morning,

in a 30-minute radio documentary on Turks,

I heard a pundit say:

“Subservience to the military and amnesia

come naturally to Turks.”


Their unspoken slogan, like ours:

“The Sultans are dead. Long live Ottomanism.”


So what else is new?

The more I peer into our collective unconscious,

the less I like what I see there.


To some of my readers I am an enemy

because they don’t like to see their reflection in the mirror

that I hold up to them.


No one has ever said

confronting oneself is a pleasant experience.


Where there is amnesia

there will also be unspeakable memories.


They call us “Christian Turks,”

in the same way that the Yanks call their natives

“American Indians.”

The defeated have as much choice in identifying themselves

as dogs.


Solon, the Lawgiver (7th century BC)

in an address to the Athenians

(I quote and paraphrase from memory):

“Individually you may well be very smart

but collectively you behave like damn fools.”


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Friday, January 27, 2012




According to a pundit in my morning paper:

... “Obama is trying to gain a foothold in the Middle East via Turkey.”

My first thought:

Kiss ARG (American Recognition of the Genocide) goodbye.


According to another pundit:

“Russia today is ruled by petro-kleptocrats.”

Ditto with us, minus the “petro.”




The naked face of the 1%.

Eyeless men with a vision.

Insatiable carnivores parading as vegetarians.

They promise to solve the very same problems they created.

Imagine Turks promising to resurrect our dead.


Friday, January 27, 2012 / b




The best thing I can say about life is that

it happens only once.


In his last collection of essays titled ARGUABLY (Toronto, 2011) Christopher Hitchens writes:

“Turkey continues to lie about the massacre of the Armenians.”

Further down he adds he prefers

Ambassador Morgenthau’s “race murder”

to Raphael Limpkin’s “genocide”

because it’s “more dramatic and urgent.”


To have seen the light

is not a permanent condition but a transitory stage.


Where I saw the light

I now see shades of darkness.

Where I saw one meaning

I now see ambiguities.


Tell me what is it that you want more than anything else

and I will tell you not only will you be disappointed if you get it

but you will also miss the good old days when you didn’t have it.


Saturday, January 28, 2012




“Speak the truth and no one will believe you.”

That’s because we live in a world saturated with Big Lies

Armenians are smart.

Jews are the Chosen.

Germans are superior.

Christians are infidel dogs.

White man speaks with a forked tongue?

(That doesn’t mean Indian did not massacre Indian

in the absence of white men.)

Who believes in these lies?

Only dupes (the 99%) with a negative IQ.

You qualify?



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Sunday, February 05, 2012




There came a time when I became so disgusted with self-righteous Armenians that I was tempted to end everything I write with the words “I could be wrong.”


You want to know what’s the worse thing that can happen to a man? Being poor and dependent on the charity of swine.


My greatest disappointment? My career as an Armenian writer. Make it, my life as an Armenian.


May I confess I don’t understand everything? Sometimes I don’t even understand the things that I think I understand.


Thousands attended Thomas Mann’s lectures. Many more attended Hitler’s speeches. Which may suggest, at the beginning may have been the word, but at the end was garbage.


Why are you consistently negative? My aim is positive. Things never stay the same. They either get better or worse. By covering up our failings or by pretending they don’t exist, we advance further towards decline and degeneration. I could be wrong.


Monday, February 06, 2012




Every day something happens to remind me that God (if He exists) keeps telling me: “I don’t want to get involved. You are on your own.”


Both believers and non-believers have doubts. In that sense they are not black and white but shades of gray. They thus share more things in common than they think. They may not be brothers but they are cousins, very much like Sartre and Schweitzer, real-life cousins, great thinkers both, one an atheist, the other a theologian, and both great lovers of J.S. Bach.




A full page of the 12-18 January, 2012 issue of PARIS MATCH is devoted to Denis Donikian’s latest book, VIDURES (368 pages. 22 euros. Published by Actes Sud). It begins with the words: “Corruption, murders, censorship: this indeed is the present-day tragedy in Yerevan. But in France we prefer to speak of the past and to accuse Turkey of everything that is evil.” Gilles Martin-Chauffier (the author of this article) goes on to identify Denis Donikian as a writer in whose hand “the pen becomes a flame-thrower.” He goes on to equate all talk of genocide recognition as “getting angry at the offspring for the blood their grand-grandparents shed.” He concludes by saying “we wouldn’t even mention these things if Turkey had been an oil-producer. On the contrary, Turkey would now be a member of the European Union.”




Is our glass half-full or half-empty? I am willing to concede that it is half-full or even three-quarters full provided you agree with me that the contents are not fit for human consumption because they are polluted with carcinogenic agents whose first symptom is blindness.




What is the moral of Dickens’ GREAT EXPECTATIONS? According to Jonathan H. Grossman: “You will never fully comprehend the most important events in your life while they are happening. Any plans you make will not work out – and you may grow up to be a jerk.”


Wednesday, February 08, 2012




Turks are brought up to believe they are blameless. So are we. Blameless means morally superior and I for one do not believe in anyone’s moral superiority especially when it is self-assessed. Remember Orwell’s swine in ANIMAL FARM: they too believed to be morally superior -- “four legs good, two legs bad”; “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

Remember the Nazis and their claim of superiority. I for one find it extremely difficult to believe that a civilized and progressive nation that has produced some of the greatest and most influential thinker in the history of mankind would allow itself to be taken in by the charlatanism and bare-faced lies of a mediocre and repulsive speechifier – that is to say, a full-time compulsive liar – and allow this nonentity to bankrupt, degrade, humiliate, and ruin the nation. If I had read this scenario in a sci-fi novel I would have accused the writer of going too damn far. Nothing human is alien to me. For many years I too was brought up to believe we were morally superior. I know better today. Do I have a low opinion of my fellow Armenians? Yes, I do, beginning with myself.


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Thursday, February 09, 2012




Please don’t call me an Armenian writer. Call me anything you want but that. I can’t imagine a worst insult. Being identified as an Armenian writer is as bad as being called a lawyer (“Please don’t tell my mother I am a lawyer; she thinks I am a pimp.”) When asked to identify my racket, I say I am a retired church organist. More prestige in that, if you know what I am saying. Armenian writers are a dime a dozen and Armenian poets a nickel a gross. I have at no time thought of myself as a member of the club. As for being Armenian: I assure you I had nothing to do with it. It was an accident of birth. First and foremost I consider myself a human being. As for the writer part: I plead not guilty. I just say what I think. Everybody does that without running the risk of being insulted. If you think I am being eccentric in my demands, consider the case of Arab dictators. Does any one of them identify himself as a dictator, let alone a corrupt, megalomaniacal, bloodthirsty s.o.b.? I assert the same right of rejecting all offensive labels, and I thank you in advance for your cooperation. May the Good Lord (if He exists) have mercy on your soul (if you have one).


Friday, February 10, 2012




Where there are divisions, the blind shall lead the blind. This is as true of us and the U.S. (Civil War, the 1% versus the 99%) as it is of the rest of mankind (judging by the number of wars, revolutions, and related atrocities). Therefore, never say we are like everyone else. If we want to survive we must do better, much better!




In a world where everyone, including the shits -- especially the shits – are proud to be who they are, I loathe pride and find humility to the point of reducing myself to nothingness preferable.

To say I am a proud Armenian is to imply we never had it so good because we are in the best of hands. When I think of our present situation (make it, shituation) pride is the last word that comes to mind. Loathing? Much better!





Armenian anti-intellectualism has such deep roots in our collective psyche that even our academics are anti-intellectual. What makes me say that? Elementary, my dear Watson. Our academics are subservient to our bosses, bishops, and benefactors (the commissars of the Diaspora). That’s why none of them dares to say anything against God and capital (make it, Capital and god).


Saturday, February 11, 2012




“Every shut eye ain’t asleep.”

Not everyone who pleads insanity is insane.

Even cold-blooded murderers may plead self-defense.

Nothing is what it seems.

For every truth there are ten thousand lies.

Imagine a history of mankind without deceivers and dupes.

To enslave in the name of freedom

and to go to war in the name of peace:

these are not rare but routine occurrences.

When no one deceives us we deceive ourselves.

Even as I write I deceive myself into thinking

what I write may make a difference.


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Sunday, February 12, 2012




The ambition of every regime is to last a thousand years. They never make it. Their premature death is as certain as taxes. That’s because not matter how hard they try they can’t be successful in brainwashing everybody. This is as true of Turks as it is of Armenians.


Dissidents are silenced because they expose the incompetence of the power structure and its so-called educational system, which is in reality a brainwashing apparatus.


When the USSR collapsed, its lies were exposed. The Civil Rights movement in the U.S. exposed the lies of racism. In our own days the lies of capitalism and the free enterprise (“greed is good”) are being exposed by the 99%. As for the lies of organized religions: they are in a sense one another’s most important dissenting voices and as such one another’s judge, jury, and hangman.


Diamonds may be forever, but regimes are only a sometime thing.


Monday, February 13, 2012





To say God is on our side is to imply our enemies are in cahoots with the Devil.


To say the actions of our revolutionaries in the Ottoman Empire were justified reactions to unbearable conditions is to imply for 600 years we behaved like “faithful servants” because we didn’t know any better or, under certain conditions, cowardice and ignorance can be morally justified.


To say that the exodus of 1,5000,000 Armenians from the Homeland is an inevitable consequence of unfortunate circumstances is to imply, under certain conditions, genocide is not a crime against humanity but an inevitable fact of life.


To say we are unique or better is to imply we have a license to invent a thousand little lies that will prove our Big Lie to be the truth, the only truth, and nothing but the truth.





First and foremost he is an apologist of the status quo. He has a seemingly reasonable explanation for every blunder and failing, which means he is an expert player of the blame-game. It follows, we never had it so good because we are in the best of hands and anyone who dares to say otherwise is a pro-Turkish s.o.b. who should be silenced and whenever possible squashed like a bug. He is so convinced that he is smart that even when he utters asinine inanities he does so with the conviction that he is delivering gems of wisdom worthy of a Socrates. He may never say he is infallible in his judgments but every fiber in his Armenian body tells a different story. He believes the so-called civilized and democratic West speaks with a forked tongue. We don’t! That’s because we are as pure as the driven snow, as innocent as an egg, and butter wouldn’t melt in our mouth…or anywhere else for that matter. Contradict him and make yourself vulnerable to a torrent of abuse worthy of a pirate. If you think I am exaggerating, think again. Because so far I have been describing myself as a young man. I do hope you were not as thoroughly brainwashed as I was.


Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012




There is a lot of talk about bullies in schoolyards these days.

What about bullies in politics, diplomacy, organized religions, bureaucracy, justice system, workplace...

If a man kills in the name of God,

who is the guilty party?

In the Old Testament God order a father to butcher his son.

And when His own son was being crucified,

did He lift a finger?

If bullying is cancer, power is its sole carcinogenic agent.


A headline in my morning paper today:

“Baseball bat a hit in China – as defensive weapon.”


Overheard: “How do you say pizza in Italian?”


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Thursday, February 16, 2012




It has been said that if you deal with fools

you run the risk of becoming one.

Is this a scientifically established fact

or a theory of uncertain provenance?

I don’t know. I am not sure.

Speaking for myself,

I am personally acquainted with a Turcocentric ghazetaji

who, when contradicted, behaves like a Turk

with total unawareness of the metamorphosis.


Politicians operate like lawyers: it is their job

to defend their side at any cost even if their

side or client happens to be a serial killer.

To this day Talaat, Mussolini, Stalin, and Hitler

have their friends in the same way that Lincoln,

FDR, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King have their



Friday, February 17, 2012


The 1% are job creators? Bullshit. If the 99% stopped buying the products and services provided by the 1%, the whole system would collapse.


Saturday, February 18, 2012




When we speak of the past

we tend to forget that what we speak about

is a carefully edited version of it –

as carefully and drastically edited as the official Turkish version

in which the atrocities committed against defenseless innocent civilians

are treated as justified military action

whose sole intent was to maintain the territorial integrity of the nation.

What could be more blameless?

What could be more exemplary and worthy of universal admiration?


We speak of the past in order to avoid speaking of the present –

which in many ways is as grim as the past.

Something similar happens in gossip:

to avoid speaking of our own failings

we speak about the failings of others.

To those so-called historians

in whose hands history has become the gossip of nations, I say:

So far you have been successful in fooling many people most of the time,

but no banquet under heaven is endless.


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Sunday, February 19, 2012




America will not recognize the Genocide as long as (one) we divide our votes evenly between Democrats and Republican, and (two) we call America’s enemies our friends (Russia, Iran, Syria) and America’s friends (Turks) our enemies. We may succeed in obtaining the support of individual senators and congressmen if we invest millions on them; but we will never budge the Administration. Everybody knows this, including our Panchoonies – especially our Panchoonies – who expect us to believe with enough money success will be inevitable. Money may buy the cooperation of pimps and whores but self-interest is what moves nations and empires. We are neither an empire nor a nation; at best we may identify ourselves as puppets and dupes who are easily taken in by the empty rhetoric (both foreign and domestic) of cynical manipulators who will say and do anything in defense of their own narrow and selfish interests.

For 600 years the Turks wanted us to believe they were our masters and protectors and we believed them – or, let’s say, we lived as though we did; in the same way that under the Soviets we believed the Russians to be our Big Brothers; and today we have placed our trust in former agents of the KGB. Before we demand friendship and brotherhood from others, let us teach ourselves to be real friends of our real brothers. There is no commandment that says “Thou shalt not be a dupe,” but that doesn’t being dupes is an inevitable fact of life imposed on us by the Good Lord.


Monday, February 20, 2012




When I say Turks may well be our best friends,

I don’t mean the present regime and its dupes.

What I have in mind are Turks who can think for themselves

and Turks who identify themselves as Turks

the way Americans identify themselves as Americans.

Turkey has its share of dissidents, critics, and hostile ethnic minorities

in the same way that America has its blacks, natives, Latinos,

and other minorities who don’t vote

or if they do, they vote to unseat the present administration.

Turkey is not a monolithic structure but a mosaic.

Remember that next time you are tempted to identify Turks

as direct descendants of Talaat who was himself anything but a Turk.


My guess is, as in all democracies, 50% of Turks don’t bother to vote

because they don’t trust politicians and their empty rhetoric.

And then there are the women who have no reason to support

a patriarchal status quo.


I suggest when it comes to concessions and compromises,

we may have a better chance to get them from friends

as opposed to enemies.

I say therefore let us not allow our hatred of the 1%

to contaminate our potential friendship with the 99%.

And to our Turcocentric ghazetajis and speechifiers I say:

Treat a man like an enemy and he will act as one.

Treat a man like a friend and you may have better results.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012




Only the silent are beyond criticism,

and sometimes not even they.


Opinions are a dime a dozen.

All the gold in the world can’t buy the truth.


Faith is 99% wishful thinking.


What if what’s happening in North Africa and the Middle East today happens in Russia? That’s the nightmare of the regime in Yerevan. They had their kicks. Time to pay the price.


All men of power believe truth to be on their side.

If they are not Stalinists they are crypto-Stalinists. Stalin lives. Nothing bad ever dies.


To the oversensitive, life is a succession of traumatic experiences.


To autocrats everywhere, freedom is a carcinogenic agent. So is justice to kleptocrats.


Living by the sword and ruling by fear are synonymous.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012




In everything I am about to say, I could be wrong.


Our destiny as a nation may change

on the day our bosses, bishops, and benefactors teach themselves to say,

“I could be wrong because as human beings

none of us is in a position to assert infallibility.”


A Tashnak leader once said to me:

“The source of all our misfortunes is the ‘chezok’ (non-partisan)

who contributes nothing to our collective existence.

He is neither black nor white.

Neither hot nor cold.

Neither for or against anything.”

When I informed him that I am a chezok,

so was my father because he was too busy trying to provide for his family i

n an alien environment in time of war, he said:

“I am sorry, I thought you were one of us.”

Please note that he didn’t say he was wrong in blaming our misfortunes on others

but only in thinking I was a member of the tribe, club, family, or mafia.


An Armenian may admit error in insignificant things

only to assert infallibility in big things.

Mart bidi ch’ellank.


In singling out a Tashnak leader I did not mean to exculpate the others.

We all swim in the same soup.

Throughout our millennial history

we have been at the mercy of infallible men –

kings, sultans, commissars, and today Panchoonies.

So much so that in the minds of our “betters”

infallibility is perceived as an integral part of leadership.

But I could be wrong.


Please note that I lied when I said I was non-partisan.

If truth be told, I am anti-partisan.


Do you really think I am being too tough on our bosses, bishops, and benefactors? Allow me to explain that I live in a tough neighborhood

and I happen to be in a very tough business – namely,

that of resurrecting cadavers.

But again, I could be wrong…


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Thursday, February 23, 2012





You have every right to oppose the regime in Yerevan that took away all your privileges and kicked you out of your beloved homeland, as I have every right to ask: “What exactly did you do in the Soviet era to earn your privileges?”




If he speaks in the name of God,

the chances are he is a practicing atheist.

If he speaks in the name of Country,

the chances are he is a traitor.

If he speaks in the name of law and order,

the chances are he is with the 1%.

Don’t get me wrong. I see nothing questionable

in God, Country, and law and order.

But I see something horribly wrong in big lies and small minds;

also in high ideals and low IQs.




Speaking of our aghbers: If you want to know what I would have done in their place, I will say: Very probably what they did, but having done so I wouldn’t parade as a superpatriot, a role model, or a man of integrity. Instead I would spend the rest of my life coming to terms with the fact that I was no better than a piece of shit.


Friday, February 24, 2012




When a reader disagrees with me, I rejoice in the knowledge that he took the trouble to read me and to understand what he read. For reading and understanding are rare virtues, especially for an Armenian who is convinced he already knows and understands everything.


In a corrupt environment, crooks are outnumbered only by their lawyers, victims, and dupes.


A regime that supports Syria will not hesitate to kill its own citizens after calling them terrorists.


The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the Devil are not two separate topographical entities with different boundaries, but one and the same.


Bias is universal. Resistance to bias is a slowly and painfully acquired habit.


Saturday, February 25, 2012




We have been moronized into thinking we are. But we aren’t.

What chance did we have to develop our brain power under sultans and commissars whose “faithful servants” and “useful idiots” we were?

How smart are we if we support institutions that are in the business of dividing the community?

“Our political leaders have been of no political use to us,” Zarian said. I will go further and say, they have been at the root of all our problems.

We don’t need leaders. What we need are public servants.

Notwithstanding the propaganda line of our Turcocentric ghazetajis, Turks are not our main problem. We are.

Or rather, our subservience is. Once upon a time we were slaves. We are now slaves of former slaves.

I say and repeat: We are not smart; we have been moronized!


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Sunday, February 26, 2012




“Almighty God, help me to love my fellow men regardless of whether or not they believe what I believe. Let me never call a man an infidel or heretic, even if he happens to be one, for he too is your handwork.”




We like to believe religious faith is a good thing notwithstanding the fact that historic evidence proves otherwise, which may suggest man values his illusions above reality.


OUR 1%


We have our 1% and its “useful idiots” -- with one difference: the idiots believe to be not just smart but smarter than anyone else.




To me the quintessence of moronism is to be found in a self-assessed Armenian genius.


An Armenian may think of himself as cunning as a fox even he is dumber than a jackass.


Monday, February 27, 2012




When something goes wrong, don’t blame people, blame human nature; and don’t blame human nature, blame reality -- and not just that part of reality which you perceive and understand (or think you do) but also the fraction that is beyond your perception and understanding.


As a rule men are held responsible for minor transgressions but not for major ones –murders, yes; wars, no; serial killing, yes; massacres and genocides, not always.


If you think I am being too critical of my fellow Armenians, my question to you is: Have you ever had a heart-to-heart talk with a Ramgavar (on Tashnaks)? Or with a Catholic (on Protestants)? Or with an Armenian who supports the status quo with one who is of the opposite disposition? Or are all your friends of the same political ideology and faith?


If you say all men must be held responsible for their actions, then I ask: Who is responsible for our divisions and all the misfortunes that resulted from them?


We may indeed be free agents; but we are also blind men who pretend to have 20/20 vision.


When it comes to democratic rule, Turks may indeed be ahead of us. This is not my opinion but that of the international press. Explain that if you can. So you think the world is blind and we know better? I say and repeat: Only an ass assesses himself and believes in his own assessment.


I don’t criticize Armenians because they have committed blunders. I criticize them because they keep committing the same blunders without realizing what they are doing. And why? Because they have been systematically moronized.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012




Ask an Armenian whether he is for or against the status quo and the chances are he will say he is against it because to be for it means to be for divisiveness, alienation in the Diaspora, and exodus from the Homeland, and ultimately “sbidak chart” (white massacre). Ask the same Armenian if he thinks we are in good hands and the chances are he will say we are. How to explain this contradiction? Most so-called patriotic Armenians are brought up to believe patriotism means subservience or loyalty to the leadership, totally unaware of the fact that in an undemocratic environment the word loyalty acquires a fascist dimension and dissent is equated with treason. Empires and nations have collapsed because of the people’s misguided sense of loyalty to corrupt and incompetent rulers. This is what happened in the USSR and this is what’s happening today in Syria. And to those who say we are not killing our own citizens and demolishing our own cities, all I can say is, no, not yet!


Wednesday, February 29, 2012




I have been wrong so many times that I no longer aim at being right; only at not being catastrophically wrong. As for being infallible, I leave that to our former KGB agents in the Homeland and chic Bolsheviks in the Diaspora.


The evidence may be against me but I refuse to believe that coming to terms with reality means being a dupe to deceivers.


If your sources on Armenian history have been Armenian, you might as well admit to yourself that you know nothing on the subject and you understand even less.


These days if a man can do two things at the same time – say, like chewing gum and farting – he is called as a Renaissance man.


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Thursday, March 01, 2012




No matter how you slice it,

you will always end up with the 1%

engaged in deceiving, misleading, and exploiting the 99%.

Take away the mumbo jumbo and

a so-called great or charismatic leader

will be exposed as an ordinary Joe like you and me

who is trying to do his best

and ends up doing the worst.

By mumbo jumbo I mean what goes on today in the United States – primaries: speeches, debates, TV ads, interviews…

So what is the solution?

There is none!

I like this sentence by Toynbee:

“Comprehension sometimes consists in just a correct understanding of questions that are unanswerable.”

Only to the brainwashed everything is as clear as daylight.


Friday, March 02, 2012




Our most fundamental assumptions may be invisible to us but they are clearly visible to others.


We are not all white, neither are our enemies all black. We are not even shades of gray. We are brown…


As I see it, the main function of our pundits, academics and ghazetajis is to convince the 99% that we owe our survival to our 1%. This may suggest the only contribution of our 99% to our history has been to provide victims.


If I succeed it will be only because I have added my inaudible whisper to the chorus of countless predecessors.


We are better at burying than resurrecting.


Berlusconi: “Am I faithful? Frequently.”


Saturday, March 03, 2012





Our Turcocentric ghazetajis love honest Turks like Orhan Pamuk and Taner Akcam but hate honest Armenians. In their eyes Turkish political leaders are the scum of the earth and their Armenian counterparts la crème de la crème.

In the eyes of their own people Genghis Khan, Timurlang, and Kemal are great men.

You want to know more about our own General Antranik?

Ask an Azeri or read an Azeri historian. You may not get the truth but you may have a more balanced view.

In the eyes of some Georgians (also Armenians and Russians) Stalin was a great leader.

Propaganda is a bad judge of character.

A hero is never a hero in the eyes of his victims.

In the eyes of some great men other great men are midgets. (See Churchill on Gandhi.)

Greatness, very much like success in Hollywood, is relative: the closer the relative, the greater the success.


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