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Thursday, May 31, 2012




Our eyes are not equipped to see everything.

Our brain perceives only a fraction reality.

Comprehension deals with fractions, not wholes.


If only we could doubt when we are sure!


Perhaps sanity consists in coming to terms

with your own brand of insanity.


The source of all self-inflicted misery:

the need to love and be loved.


Friday, June 01, 2012




There is no limit to how dumb a smart Armenian can be.

Because I was brainwashed to believe Armenians are smart,

I thought I was being smart even I behaved like an inbred moron.


“A good man is hard to find,”

reads the title of a famous American short story.

What about a good Armenian?

In case you didn’t know, they exist;

I have met one or two of them myself.


In a commentary in this morning’s paper

I read that American intellectuals

have been seduced by big money

(Wall Street, lobbyists, Obama).

My first thought as an Armenian:

So what else is new?


I would like to read a history of philosophy

that is as accessible to laymen as

“There is nothing new under the sun,”

“My poverty is proof of my honesty,”

“I think therefore I am,”

“Workers of the world unite,

you have nothing to lose but your chains,”

“Hell is other people.”


Saturday, June 02, 2012




Take yourself seriously and no one else will.


If a billion people believe in one thing

and another billion in another,

the chances are neither side is right.


Prejudice speaks louder than reason

even when it whispers.


Tip O’Neill on Clinton: “Women go wet.”


Carl Sandburg: “The past is a bucket of ashes.”




“The function of a jury is to decide

which side has the better lawyer.”


“Science is our only source of knowledge.

Metaphysics is empty verbiage.”


“Metaphysical systems are more vulnerable to boredom

than to disproof.”


“…as desirable as someone else’s wife.”


“He is such a nobody that

when he goes out of a room

it feels as though someone came in.”


“When you are young,

you pull up your own 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.”


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Sunday, June 3, 2012




If I am wrong,

why so many are with me?

And if I am right,

why so many are against me?


The brainwashed will never be with me

for the simple reason that they believe – as I did –

everything they are told by priests, schoolteachers, and scoutmasters.

I remember as a teenager

when I first met someone who spoke as I do today

I dismissed him as a megalomaniacal eccentric

on the verge of insanity.


The politically ambitious will never agree with me either

because in an authoritarian environment

they know instinctively there is no future in dissent

which they equate with treason.

They believe to be – or rather, they are brainwashed to believe

they stand for God and Country

and anyone who is against them

must be on the side of the Devil and the enemy.


In politics instinct speaks louder than reason.

That’s the only way to explain the success of dictators like Hitler,

or for that matter, our own speechifiers and charlatans

who pretend to be right

even when they are criminally and catastrophically wrong.

#Monday, June 04, 2012




“Where many other nations perished, we survived!’ – implying,

we must be doing something right.

What exactly did we do right?

We allowed them to legally rape our daughters and kidnap our sons.

We survived, yes, but at what cost?

That’s a question we don’t like to ask

perhaps because the answer is too depressing.


We survived – if that’s what you want to call it –

only to die by the million –

and I am not just talking about massacres now.

What’s done is done.

Let bygones be bygones.

The question we must ask at this point is:

In what way the conditions of our survival

radically altered our character as a nation?

What if we survived only to be subservient to alien commissars

and our own agha babas?


We praise freedom even as we bury it.

We speak of independence even as we go down on our knees

in fear of our own executioners.

If that’s survival, I want not part of it.


No need to lament our dead

when it is the living that are in need of our tears.


Tuesday, June 05, 2012




The Turks refuse to recognize the Genocide

for a number of reasons, beginning with the fact that

they are brainwashed to believe

they belong to a great and noble race of men

known as the Turanic race

(known only to them and no one else

and invented by Kemal, who like all dictators ,

felt fully qualified to rewrite not only history

and the laws of the land but also biology).

It follows, the descendants of such a noble race

are “incapable of committing atrocities” (Erdogan).


Turks know that the dead cannot testify

and the survivors are living proof of the fact

there was no extermination or a plan to exterminate

(which is how genocide is defined).


They also know if they plead guilty as charged

they stand to lose not only face

but also billions in reparations

as well as vast tracts of land.


Last but not least, they know that truth may be on our side

but the world is on theirs because all imperial powers

as well as nations with imperial ambitions,

including the most civilized and progressive,

have at one time or another committed

unspeakable crimes against defenseless civilians.


All this is known not only to the Turkish leadership

but also our own Turcocentric academics and ghazetajis

whose central concern is neither justice

nor documenting crimes against humanity

but covering up the incompetence and blunders

of our own leadership.


Wednesday, June 06, 2012




You cannot reason with the brainwashed.

Neither can you reason with an imam, rabbi, or bishop.

What does that mean in practical terms?

Simply this:

if you are accused of murder one

(cold-blooded and premeditated)

and you are innocent,

at the end you will be found guilty.


Where others see men of God,

I see cold-blooded killers.


Instead of brainwashing children,

religious leaders should engage with one another

and reach a consensus

beginning with the following three assertions:

(i) all dogmas are inherently wrong;

(ii) the will of God is an unknown quantity; and

(iii) to doubt is more human than to be certain.


At the root of all wars and massacres

you will find certainties that are not only false

but also criminally and catastrophically absurd.


After asserting all men are brothers,

they choose to behave like Cain.


What contradictions?


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“A good man is hard to find,”

reads the title of a famous American short story.

What about a good Armenian?

In case you didn’t know, they exist;

I have met one or two of them myself.

Արա, ձեր բախտը շա՜տ է բերել, ես դեռ կյանքում չեմ հանդիպել մի կենտ «լավ հայի»:

Այստեղից կարելի՞ է եզրակացնել, որ ինձնից բացի, անխտիր բոլոր հայերը որպես ասուն սրիկա են, իսկ որպես անասուն՝ խոզ:

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Thursday, June 07, 2012




A failed nation is defined as one

... that has not been successful in reconciling

its internal factions.

It follows, notwithstanding our many assets

(high IQ, progressive, adaptable, first nation this, first nation that)

we are a failed nation

very much like Somalia, Sudan, Liberia, and Syria.


What’s the use of being smart

if we are too stupid to reach a consensus?

What the hell is the use of doing a thousand things

if we cannot do that which must be done?

And when I say “we” I mean not only our leaders

but also those who support them.

If our leaders divide us

it’s because we allow them to do so.

We are as responsible as they are.


Sooner or later all internal divisions

lead to massacre – both “red” and “white.”

And speaking of massacre,

you may have noticed that

when I made a short list of our assets,

I included our genocide

(“first nation to experience genocide in the 20th century"),

which of course is not an asset but a liability

and the worst failure that a nation can experience.

# Friday, June 08, 2012




To say philosophy is useless is to imply

philomoronism is a superior discipline.


The only reason the number of my blunders

has been going down steadily is that

so is the variety and frequency of my activities.

The dead don’t make mistakes.

As for the frequency and variety of my written comments:

more often than not what I do is speak in defense of Socrates

and against the jury that condemned him to death.


If you want to get ahead in our environment

study the art of kissing ass.

You need no other qualifications.


The greatest source of error is self-assessed infallibility.


Saturday, June 09, 2012




We are told the 1% create jobs.

What we are not told is where would the 1% be

without the blood and sweat of the 99%?

And even important:

who would wipe their asses

when they are too young and too old?




If I am predictable

it’s because I am consistently against

recycling propaganda,

promoting subservience,

and legitimizing prejudice.

If being unpredictable means

adopting the opposite disposition,

I solemnly swear here and now

never to be unpredictable.




The worst thing I can say about women is that

they are like men.


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Sunday, June 10, 2012




A man who kills in the name of God

worships the Devil.


You are not brainwashed for your own good;

you are brainwashed to better serve their interests.


Failure is the key to success,

and success on one level

may spell ruin in another.


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

and I will tell you, if you get it, you will be disappointed.


Too big to fail or too insignificant to survive? – like kings…


Monday, June 11, 2012




If I were a wealthy man

I would be surrounded by brown-nosers.

Ah! the privileges of poverty!


“If you don’t like the message, shoot the messenger!”

That indeed is the philosophy of all authoritarian rulers.

Did I say philosophy?

Make it philomoronism.


The destiny of all organizations

is to become a mafia.


Where there is power

the devil is sure to be in charge.


It took mankind many centuries to conclude that

kings don’t rule by the will of God.

It may take many more centuries for mankind to realize that

men who speak in the name of God

engage in charlatanism.


Believers have doubts as surely as

skeptics thirst for certainties.

Is there life after death?

Nobody knows.

Speaking for myself,

I think the universe is too complex and magnificent

piece of machinery

to end with a whimper.

But that may well be wishful thinking on my part.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012




If you define patriotism as love of homeland,

how do you define homeland?

Speaking for myself I would define it

as anywhere I am allowed to work and make a living.

If thousands of Armenians have emigrated to Turkey,

does that mean Turkey is now their homeland?

A good question for which I don’t have an easy answer.

I only know that when

facts contradict theories,

you discard the theories and keep the facts.

Next question:

Is Armenia our homeland

if it’s at the mercy of former KGB agents

and Bolshevik mafias?

Another good question.

Speaking for myself,

I would have a better chance to survive in Turkey.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012




To speak of Turks and Armenians

is to engage in fiction.

There are no Turks and Armenians.

There are only mongrelized Mongols

and bastardized Armenians.

The rest is nationalist propaganda

and all talk of “pure blood” is fascist nonsense.


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Thursday, June 14, 2012




Historians are first and foremost

propagandists of state-sponsored lies.

With them presumption of guilt or innocence comes first,

selection of evidence after.


Writing is easy.

Deleting – that’s where creativity and originality move in.


To know when to shut up:

birthplace of all masterpieces.


All organized religions have failed.

If they continue to have followers

it's because any meaning,

even when meaningless,

is better than no meaning.


Strong convictions are the surest symptoms

of weak minds.


Friday, June 15, 2012




Canadians and Americans appear to be obsessed

with their unemployment rates,

not to say corruption and incompetence in high places.

I have been watching Armenian news on TV

for more than ten years now

and I don’t remember a single mention

of unemployment, corruption, and incompetence.

All I see is a bunch of bureaucrats or “suits”

(also identified as “kheyars,” meaning cucumbers)

in official ceremonies,

children and teenagers singing and dancing,

and the rich variety of delicacies served at banquets.



Turks are so busy being proud of their Turkishness

that they pretend to be offended

when massacres are mentioned.

And we are so proud of our Armenishness

that we consider unemployment, corruption, and incompetence

alien concept not worth mentioning.



We are not so much a divided nation

as a broken one – a broken one, moreover,

that refuses to mend itself

though it has all the means to do so.



Saturday, June 16, 2012





Burma has its San Suu Kyi,

Tibet its Dalai Lama,

Tunisia its Buazizi,

Egypt its Muslim Brotherhood,

and once upon a time we had Khrimian Hairik

who dared to say No to the Czar.

Whom do we have today?

Only empty suits, brown-nosing wheeler-dealers,

and gutless nonentities whose #1 concern is #1.

This is true not only of the Homeland

but also the Diaspora.

That’s what a thousand years of subservience has done to us.

We lament our million-and-half every year on April 24.

We should lament our loss of manhood every day.


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Sunday, June 17, 2012




People change.

Nations change.

Consider the Chinese:

from communists to capitalists in a single generation.

Consider the Mongols:

who is afraid of them today?

Consider the Yanks:

from happy-go-lucky under Eisenhower and “I Love Lucy”

to the post-Vietnam, Watergate, and “All in the Family” generation.


What about us?

We too have changed – but only two words in our national anthem

(from “Tshvar ander" to “azad angakh”).

What else?

I don’t know.

You tell me!

I am all ears.

If our 99% are taken in by our 1%

it may be because they want to be taken in.

They demand to be duped.

They beg to be duped.

They are grateful to their deceivers.

The Sultan is dead.

Long live Putin!


Monday, June 18, 2012




Reality is a jungle

and we are as backward and naïve as jungle tribes.

Our friends have been our worst enemies

and our flatterers our most dangerous liars.

For every truth we have invented a Big Lie.


Zohrab trusted Talaat.

Mikoyan trusted Stalin.

Gulbenkian left only 5% of his wealth to us,

and who can blame him?


Raffi is right.

We don’t have an aristocracy.

We don’t have elites.

Even our best and brightest were taken in by riffraff.

If I see the dark side of things

it’s because I have earned the right.


Because I refuse to flatter your ego,

am I then your enemy?

#Tuesday, June 19, 2012




Napoleon Bonaparte:

I suspect at least one of his contemporaries saying:

“With a name like that he will never amount to anything!”


No more wars?

Only if you eradicate the Big Lies of the 1%

and the idiocy of the 99%.


You can argue against half-truths

but not against Big Lies.


I have been exposed to so much Armenian venom

that I have every reason to suspect

among ten Armenians

nine are sure to be Turks.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012




The aim of all propaganda is to assert superiority:

my god, or king, or nation, or race (blood)

is better than yours.


Propaganda cannot be outlawed

because everyone practices it.


When a transgression enjoys universal approval

it ceases to be a transgression.


Anything that places a distance between reality and us

leads to insanity.


The real danger in propaganda is not that

it legitimizes prejudice, intolerance, and lies

but that it leads to collective insanity.


Germans under Hitler experienced collective insanity

as surely as the Chinese under Mao,

Italians under Mussolini,

Soviets under Stalin…

and in general, all people

under authoritarian or undemocratic rulers.


Propaganda and sanity are mutually exclusive concepts.


Religious wars in Europe

(one of which lasted a hundred years)

may be seen as eruptions of collective insanity.


Moral: If it makes you feel good,

take a second look,

and if you see nothing wrong, take a third look…

and a fourth... until you unmask the deception.


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Thursday, June 21, 2012




Is coffee good for you?

Yes. No. Maybe. No one knows.

There are, it seems, a thousand ingredients in coffee.

How many of them are good and how many bad?

Remains to be seen.

Who would have thought such a simple question

would have so many complicated answers?

But there are more complications

that have nothing to do with coffee itself.

Those who say coffee is bad

also say that coffee drinkers are prone to acquire other

bad habits – such as smoking, drinking, and a sedentary life.

So that even after determining the nature

of the thousand ingredients it may be necessary to factor in

personality traits.


Is nationalism good or bad?

Is democracy better than monarchy?

Do angels and demons exist?

What about God and the Devil?

Is there life after death?

Was there life before birth?


When asked what he thought of Armenians,

George Bernard Shaw is quoted as having said –

I am now paraphrasing:

“Armenians are a great people

provided they are periodically massacred.”

So much for the usefulness of answers

provided by great intellects.


Saturday, June 23, 2012




Where there is power,

there will be criminals.

My guess is – and it’s only a guess

because there are no statistics:

the criminal rate on Wall Street, the Kremlin, and the Vatican

are about the same.


Speak truth to power?

What nonsense!

Power knows already.

The challenge – the real challenge -- is

convincing the 99%,

which amounts to saying

unbrainwashing the brainwashed.


Saturday, June 23, 2012




Cosmologists tell us planets, stars, and galaxies are born and die.

In a billion years or so the earth will be incinerated by the sun

and our solar system and eventually our galaxy (the Milky Way)

will enter a black hole and emerge as a new galaxy

with its own stars, solar system, and planets.

Perhaps this has happened many times before

and it is happening elsewhere even as I write.

Perhaps in the next cycle the Ottoman Empire will be

an Armenian Empire and we will do to them

what they did to us.

I for one wouldn’t be surprised if in another cycle

Hitler dies of inanition in an Israeli concentration camp

and Stalin freezes to death in a Siberian gulag.

And these things may happen immediately after we die,

because to die means to enter a timeless realm

wherein a fraction of a second is as long as a billion years.

You don’t believe me?

Too good to be true?

Listen to a cosmologist and see how much of what

he says, assumes or supposes rings true

and how much like pure fantasy.


If God exists He must be just.

And when I speak of divine justice

I mean the kind of justice beside which

human justice is as nothing!


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Sunday, June 24, 2012




Belief systems are useful in so far as they expose

the fallacies of other belief systems,

but dangerous when they assert orthodoxy or monopoly.

Marxism was useful in so far as it exposed the fallacies

of feudalism and capitalism but dead wrong

when it legitimized crimes against humanity.

Something similar could be said of Christianity and Islam

whose innocent victims are without number.


We have no choice but to come to terms with the fact that

what we know, what we can know,

is only a tiny fraction of what we don’t know.

Metaphysical systems may allow us to travel from A to B,

sometimes even from C to D,

but we will never make it to XYZ.


All belief systems are like the Tower of Babel:

sooner or later they will collapse

like the World Trade Center on 9/11.


Monday, June 25, 2012




Propaganda is invisible to the brainwashed.


Dissent is a crime only in a state

whose legislators are criminals.


In the NEW YORKER (June 18, 2012) I read:

“Greeks invented democracy;

they invented tragedy too.

The problem is that in recent years

they haven’t invented much of anything.”

What about us?

What’s our next “first”?

What if we have run out of them?


I may not know better

but I may see something you cannot see.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012




Everything I say is guesswork.

I leave truth to our imams, commissars, and their dupes.


For more than a thousand years

the ancient Greeks believed in non-existent gods

and built magnificent temples in their honor.

Which may suggest that a god doesn’t need to exist

in order to be believed and worshipped?


We emphasize the importance of good manners to our children;

also the necessity to murder the enemy in time of war.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012




“Black is beautiful.”

“Armenians are smart.”

“Jews are the Chosen People.”

These assessments have as much validity or objectivity

as their contradictions.


Slogans maybe defined as lies

with political ambitions.

“Separate but equal.”

“Russians are our Big Brothers.”


My favorite slogans are the ones

that are contradicted by other slogans:

“All men are brothers.”

“Homo homini lupus”

(Man is wolf to other men).


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Thursday, June 28, 2012




Justice may be blind but she has a sensitive nose

and can smell the unwashed.

Remember that next time you decide to take a wealthy man to court.


The wealthy are so used to having their asses kissed

that they now expect you to also tell the world they smell like roses.

And you will be surprised how many are more than willing

to grab the opportunity.


A gentle reader writes: "If, as you say,

Armenian literature is a dead end,

why not give up writing?"

I write for two totally non-literary reasons:

To fight boredom and to acquire friends;

and with every book I have published,

I have acquired a new friend;

also (alas!) two enemies.


Friday, June 29, 2012



**************************************************************There is God;

there are men who represent Him on earth;

and there are the unwashed

whose sole option is to say “Yes, sir!”

There you have it:

as good a definition of Ottomanism and Armenianism as any.


What is Turcocentrism?

Like all –isms it is a closed system of thought

that legitimizes prejudice, intolerance, and hatred,


The aim of all –isms is to moronize.


The stated aim of patriotism is to promote love of Country

(not necessarily fellow countrymen).

Its unstated aim: to hate and kill the enemy.

Which is what moronized Turks did to us.

Which is also why they refuse – make it, they can’t –

plead guilty as charged.


What is historicism?

In my morning paper today

I read the following quotation by Napoleon Bonaparte:

“History is the version of past events

that people decided to agree upon.”

There you have it:

as good a definition of historicism as any.


What is the true aim of literature?

To unbrainwash the unwashed.


Saturday, June 30, 2012




Can a writer who belongs to a failed nation by a success?

Cioran, Ionesco, Adamov, Nabokov:

if they are respected names today

it’s because they gave up their homeland and their mother tongue

and adopted French or English as their medium.


In order to survive, our crème de la crème

had no choice but to kiss the ass of our crème de la scum.



In my dealings with our Turcocentric scholars and ghazetajis

I have noticed that their greatest enemy is not the Turk

but an Armenian who dares to question their methods,

doubt their efficacy, question their messianism,

and expose their true intent

which is not justice but covering up

the cowardice, dishonesty, and incompetence

of our ruling classes.


To be powerless may not be a crime

but it is treated as if it were a capital offense.


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Sunday, July 01, 2012




If we cannot learn from our mistakes,

who is going to teach us?

Has anyone ever taught us anything?

The Great Powers of the West?

The only thing we can learn from them

is double-talk and deception.

Isn’t that what they did to us

at the turn of the last century?

They promised their support

but when we needed them most

they assumed the role of passive spectators.

The Russian, our so-called Big Brothers?

Don’t make me laugh!

All they have done so far is

purge our best and brightest thus reducing us

to the status of perennial brown-nosers.

The Yanks?

They can’t even speak the G word

because they are afraid to alienate the criminals.

Turkish friendship means more to them

than the slaughter of countless innocent civilians.

And speaking of countless victims:

Very probably they have themselves slaughtered as many,

If not more of them, as their friends, the Turks.

As for Turks themselves:

give them half a chance and they will tear us to shreds,

feast on our carcass,

after which they will plead not guilty

by reason of manifest destiny.

Are we then condemned to remain

cowardly nonentities without cojones?

As if that weren’t bad enough,

we like to make a spectacle of ourselves

by bragging about our highly developed survival tactics.

You call that survival?

I call it dragging out a shameless existence.


Now you know why I will never be a popular Armenian writer.

I am the bearer of bad tiding because

I refuse to flatter, lie, misrepresent, and mislead.


Monday, July 02, 2012





Four words – that’s all I need to sum up his life:

All talk -- no action.

What did he talk about?

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

I have too much respect for the law

to meddle into matters that are none of my business.

In the eyes of his friends he may be the wisest Athenian.

I am not sure about that.

What kind of wisdom is it

that drives you to an early grave, may I ask?

They say he was unjustly accused.

Let them say what they want.

I for one will not question the integrity of our justice system,

which, as far as I am concerned,

is the most advanced in the world.

Sometimes I am asked if he was gay.

I don’t think so.

In his youth he was a passionate lover,

but gradually he lost interest in sex.

He preferred the company of men.

That’s all I have to say on the subject.


Tuesday, July 03, 2012




“If you can’t change things,

why even bother to speak of change?”

Because if you don’t say the right thing

you may end up kissing the wrong ass.

There you have it:

our millennial history in a nutshell.


Worth remembering:

the so-called “Great Powers of the West,”

Russians, Turks, and Yanks, among many others,

are first and foremost their own worst enemies;

and empires fall not because

they can no longer defend their borders

against a more powerful enemy

but because of internal conflicts, decline, and generation.


To those who are brainwashed to think

if better nations than us are divided,

divisions must be an inevitable fact of life;

therefore we must be on the right path.

I ask: Who benefits from this line of thought?

Only the corrupt and the incompetent.

To which I can only say,

if kissing ass is your aim in life,

be my guest.


Wednesday, July 04, 2012




There is not a single big truth

but only many small truths

and twice as many big lies.


Too big to fail?

What nonsense!

Empires rise and fall,

and when they fall,

people are liberated from the grip

of bloodthirsty parasites.


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Thursday, July 05, 2012




“There is something rotten in the State of Denmark.”

That’s one way to sum up the central message of our literature

from Khorenatsi and Yeghishe

to Raffi, Baronian, Odian, Zarian, and Massikian.


As for the contrary view,

it goes something like this:

“We are a people like any other people.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with us.

But there is something horribly wrong with our scribblers

who do nothing but bitch simply because

their readers are too smart to be taken in by their bullshit.”


To which I can only say:

“If you believe that, you will believe anything,

including the Big Lie that

our 1% 'ha sempre ragione”'(is always right),

and we never had it so good

because we are in the best of hands."


There is no limit to how blind our 99% can be

and how effective our 1% has been

in their systematic and organized effort

to control our educational system

and to brainwash our defenders of the faith.




For more details see my


and Naregatsi’s LAMENTATIONS.




No need to take everything I say literally

or seriously, or as the last word on the subject,

but only as a tiny piece in a vast mosaic or

a single line in a long narrative.


Friday, July 06, 2012




The body language of some of my critics is so unfriendly

that I have every reason to suspect

if they and I had been citizens of the USSR

they would have denounced me to the KGB –

in the name of patriotism and loyalty to the regime, of course.

Which is why I am suspicious of both patriotism and loyalty

and I consider them not as assets but as liabilities.




Great wealth and atheism might as well be synonymous.

The fact that our benefactors build churches

is proof only of the fact that they think they can bribe God –

they can manipulate Him

the way they manipulate their workers and hirelings.

To me that’s worst than atheism – it is blasphemy.


Saturday, July 07, 2012




A line from a Polish movie:

“The law is the law even when it is unjust.”


According to some observers,

drone attacks create more terrorists.


As the West argues endlessly for or against intervention in Syria,

al-Qaeda has decided unilaterally for intervention.

My guess is, on the day al-Qaeda joins the dissenters in Russia and China,

it may even enjoy American support.


If your favorite sport is the blame-game,

don’t be surprised if you run into someone

whose favorite sport is “blame the victim.”


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Wednesday, July 11, 2012




If I were to make a list of all my blunders,

I could write an encyclopedia on the subject,

and the first entry would be

my decision to write for Armenians.


Writing for Armenians is like

sending memos on strategy to Napoleon

or teaching counterpoint to Bach.


In the land of the insane,

can you plead not guilty by reason of insanity?


After I drop dead some of my readers

(no more than a dozen) may remember me

as a grouch who hated everyone

beginning with his fellow Armenians.

But if you were to ask anyone

who has been personally acquainted with me or met me,

you will be told I am as timid, withdrawn, and unassertive

as a sardine in a pool of sharks.

I have relatives who live no more than a couple of blocks from me

who haven’t seen me in years.


What I have been saying to our 1% is this:

You may moronize most of the 99% most of the time

but you cannot moronize all of the 99% all the time.

There will always be one who will object,

and where there is one there will be another.


Monday, July 09, 2012




To justify their imperialist ambitions,

Americans have invented the concept of Manifest Destiny.

To justify our status as losers,

we have swallowed the concept of fatalism or jagadakir –

literally, written on our forehead.

It was our fate (jagadakir) to be slaughtered by the million.

Therefore, there was nothing we could have done to prevent it.


Whenever our 1% wants to justify its blunders or incompetence

it evokes the very convenient concept of jagadakir.

It is the same today.

To justify their total inability to prevent our “White Genocide”

(assimilation in the Diaspora and exodus in the Homeland)

our leadership is united in evoking

the philomoronic concepts of cultural, historical, and economic forces

beyond their control.

They expect us to believe they are all for solidarity

but our fate or the Will of God is against it.


If we are to believe our 1%,

nations may be divided into two:

those whose manifest destiny is to win

and those who manifest destiny is to lose.

You may not guess to which category we belong

and why is it that there is absolutely nothing wrong with our 1%.


For every philosophy there is a philomoronism

and of the two philomoronism will be more readily accepted by dupes.

#Tuesday, July 10, 2012




There are atheists in all walks of life,

in all lines of work,

and in all places of worship

beginning with the Vatican

and not excluding Etchmiadzin.



“Banks are not too big to fail,

but bankers are too big to jail.”


Speaking of the 1% in general:

What could be more criminal than

the slaughter of countless innocent civilians?

And yet, sometimes it is treated as if it were

a necessary step in establishing and maintaining law and order.


Why is it that the demand

for a peaceful and fair distribution of wealth

is called “class warfare”?


Speaking of the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians:

Was the Genocide premeditated, planned and inevitable?

If yes, was our 1% blind not to see it coming?

As a nation today, do we go on living in darkness?


Why is it that whenever I try to be honest and objective

I am treated as if I were guilty of treason and betrayal?

In another time and place, and under a different regime

I would be arrested, tried, found guilty, and shot –

all in the name of law, order, and justice, of course!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012




The 1% invented both class and warfare

and they now accuse the 99% of class warfare.

In psychology that’s known as projection.

By projecting the evil that is within onto others,

one exorcises it.


I wonder if the scientists who discovered the God particle

believe in God.


If I am or appear to be a heartless son of a bitch

it may be because I believe with Bismarck

that the only way to deal with a pirate

is to be a pirate and a half.


If I survived World War II and the Civil War in Greece,

it was by pure luck.

I cannot brag about it.

But I can brag about the fact that

I have survived countless Armenian verbal assaults.


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Thursday, July 12, 2012




There are no more Armenians.

Once upon a time, yes.

But not any more.

What we have now are

Ottomanized and Sovietized Armenians.

Also Levantinized and Americanized Armenians.

But authentic Armenians?

They belong to the irrevocable and distant past.

They are the Armenians who built our churches,

composed our folk songs and liturgical music;

and like Naregatsi, when in trouble,

they blamed no one but themselves.

They were honest, unassuming, creative.

They are now greedy, arrogant, sterile, and hollow.

To quote Zarian:

Danger, danger, danger!


Friday, July 13, 2012




Make it brief.

Make it simple.

Make it accessible.

Avoid academic verbiage like dichotomy and existentialism,

or words that are not in the Bible or Plato.

Paraphrase and steal when necessary,

if the alternative is footnotes longer than your text.

Don’t give the reader a chance to get bored.

Life is boring enough.

So are speechifiers and sermonizers

who speak in defense

of their powers, privileges, and source of income.

Readers who are against you

will be against you even if you combine

the reasoning skills of Socrates

with the eloquence of Cicero.

An Armenian who has made up his mind

is an immovable object.

Ignore him.

An Armenian with Turcocentric views:

let the Turks deal with him.

State your case even if it means making enemies.

Remember, the average Armenian reader

(that is to say myself for most of my life)

is a dupe, a coward, and a barbarian

who owes his survival to bloodthirsty sultans

and murderous commissars.

As for popularity:

leave that to those engaged in politics and prostitution.

The rest is propaganda.


Saturday, July 14, 2012




With power comes responsibility.

Or so we are told.

But in reality the higher a man rises,

the greater the insanity.


We owe all wars, massacres, concentration camps, and gulags

to men who were successful in reaching the top.


Success in one field spells failure in another.

History provides us with so many examples!

The Bible, the most successful book ever written

and a perennial best-seller has created more innocent victims

than nuclear weapons.

In it we are told to judge a tree by its fruit.

If we do that we may have to conclude that

far from being the Word of God,

the Bible may well be the word of the competition.

Which is why I feel justified in saying,

Long live failure!


07.13.2012 11:54 epress.am

Հայ գրողը՝ իշխանությունների մասին. «Ինձ ատում են, որովհետև մտածում եմ նրանց ուզածի հակառակը»

Կանադայում բնակվող գրող, արվեստի քննադատ Արա Բալիոզյանի կարծիքով՝ Հայաստանի մեծագույն խնդիրն այն է, երկրում չկա խոսքի իրավունք, քանի որ առանց դրա հնարավոր չէ երկխոսություն և առաջընթաց:

«Մենք պետք է մեր ապագան կառուցենք, օրինակ, Շվեյցարիայի մոդելով, այլ ոչ թե Խորհրդային Միության, որտեղ խոսքի իրավունք չկար: Երկիրը թեև անկախացել է, բայց ազատ չէ իրականում մոսկովյան տիրապետությունից: Ռեժիմի գլխին կանգնած են նախկին ԿԳԲ-ի գործակալներ: Տարբերությունն այն է, որ Ստալինի օրոք կոռուպցիա էր իշխում, հիմա` և կոռուպցիա, և արտագաղթ», – Epress.am-ի հետ զրույցում ասել է Բալիոզյանը:

Նա խոսքով ` հայաստանցիների մոտ կա ազատության սխալ ընկալում. նրանք մտածում են, որ ազատությունը հակասում է իրենց տարածքային, տնտեսական, սոցիալական և մշակութային շահերին, իրականում ճիշտ հակառակը, ազատությունը ալֆան ու օմեգան է ցանկացած իրավունք պահպանելու համար:

Հետևելով հայաստանյան իրադարձություններին՝ գրողը նկատել է, որ մարդիկ հաճախ անհանդուրժող են իրենցից տարբեր մարդկանց հանդեպ, ինչը, ըստ նրա, բնորոշ չէ հայերին, այլ հետևանքն է իշխանության ճնշման կամ հատուկ է հրահրվում իշխանությունների կողմից:

«Ազգային սիմվոլները չարաշահելով` իշխանությունները փորձում են մարդկանց կույր դարձնել համամարդկային արժեքների հանդեպ: Նրանք սերմանում են վախ, ինչը հզոր զենք է մարդկանց հնազանդ պահելու համար: Մարդկանց արժեքներ են տրվում պատրաստի, ոչ թե նրանք ազատ են իրենց արժեքների ընտրության մեջ: Սա կարելի է ասել նաև Սփյուռքի հայերի մասին: Իռլանդական ասացվածք կա` Իռլանդիան լավ տեղ է մեռնելու համար, նույնն են զգում սփյուռքահայերը Հայաստանի հանդեպ: Եթե դու չես ընդունում իշխանական պրոպագանդան, դու դառնում ես թշնամի: Հայաստանում ինձ ատում են, որովհետև ես իմ անձի մասին մտածում եմ նրանց ուզածի ճիշտ հակառակը»,- ասել է Բալիոզյանը:

Ազատության հասնելու միակ ճանապարհը ցույց տալու համար մեր զրուցակիցը ցիտել է Հեգելի խոսքերը` իշխանությունը երբեք չի զիջի առանց արյունահեղության:

«Ես արյունահեղություն չեմ քարոզում, միայն հիշեցում եմ, որ իշխանության գլուխ կանգնած մարդիկ խրոնիկ սուտասաններ են և ամեն ինչի ընդունակ են իրենց աթոռը պահելու համար: Բայց եթե արաբական գարուն եղավ, ինչո՞ւ չի կարող հայկական գարուն սկսվել»,- ասել է գրողը:

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012




“Have you heard?”


“The miracle worker in Palestine who can raise the dead.”

“Big deal!”

“He can actually make a corpse rise and walk.”

“The world is full them.”

“Miracle workers?”

“No, walking cadavers.”




For everyone who dares to whisper the truth

there will be ten who will try to shout him down.


The rich have an excellent reason to believe in God.

God has been good to them.


Monday, July 16, 2012




In the eyes of our 1%,

we, the 99%,

need their guidance,

even if so far their guidance has been in the wrong direction –

towards massacres, genocide, alienation, assimilation, and exodus.

With such a 1%, who needs sultans and commissars?


We are smart?

Don’t make me laugh!

Our 1% are smart only when it comes to deceiving the 99%;

and our 99%, far from being smart, are probably dumber

than Germans under Hitler,

Russians under Stalin,

and Turks under Kemal.


If I ever say “throw the bums out,”

I have every reason to suspect

all honest bosses, bishops, and benefactors

(assuming there are any left)

will secretly agree with me.


Monday, July 16, 2012




It is not generally known that

serving one’s fellow men

can be as rewarding an experience

as deceiving and exploiting them.


Everybody wants to be somebody;

nobody wants to be a decent human being,

which, in the kind of world we live,

may well be the most ambitious dream to realize.


People who make careless statements

and when challenged proceed to defend them,

end up believing in their own falsehoods.

Arguing with them amounts to promoting fanaticism.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012




No one can be as deaf as the man

who likes the sound of his own voice.


What we call prophecy very often is nothing

but an objective interpretation of human nature.


Epictetus once said:

“Of the ten evils we fear, only one happens to us.”

He should have added:

Of the thousand and one evils we do not fear,

all thousand and one will happen to us.


Greed, lust, and fear will make the most cunning man

behave like a fool.


It is not enough to have the perception to see the truth,

the honesty to admit it,

and the courage to speak;

one must also have the cunning to survive it.


When a nation suffers a military defeat,

its poets begin to sing of past moral victories.


Always read with a concrete aim in mind – to solve a problem, to expose a lie, to demolish an enemy.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012




The 1% have more tricks up their sleeves

than the 99% have the imagination to see them.


Is the Genocide real or a figment of our imagination?

The 1% in both the United States and Turkey know it to be real.

As for the 99%:

(one) they are brought up to believe what they are told by the 1%, and

(two) they don’t give a damn.


Divine justice: the innocent are condemned to death

as surely as the guilty.


Imagine if you can our planet as seen from another galaxy.

Imagine further that on that speck of dust

there are billions of creatures all of whom think of themselves

as the center of the universe…


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translated by a.b.


Do you want to make a fortune? Be a doctor.

Do you want to dine and wine every day? Be a bishop.

Do you want to be shameless? Go into politics.

Do you want to be innocent? Be a child.

Do you want to be loved? Be an attractive floozy.

Do you want to know what despair is? Grow old.

Do you want to serve your country? Be a parasite.

Do you want to be abused today and glorified tomorrow? Dedicate yourself to selfless intellectual labor.

Do you want to live a life of peace and contentment? Don't give a damn about anything.

Do you want to be refined and elegant? Be rich.

Do you want to be a devoted father to your daughters? Let them learn how to dance, sing, and play the piano.

Do you want to be civilized? Dismiss your fellow Armenians as barbarians.

Do you want to make a lot of money? Sell booze.

Do you want to be a writer? Starve!


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Saturday, July 21, 2012




“Tell me who your friends are…”

An obvious euphemism for

“Tell me whose ass you kiss

and I will tell you who you are,”

or rather, what propaganda line you recycle.

I am now paraphrasing one of our elder statesmen

(may the Good Lord have mercy on his soul).


I was born again as a human being

on the day I realized I could kick ass

instead of kissing it.


The Syrian 1% is disintegrating.

It’s always the same story.

They preach the 99% to fight unto death

in defense of God and Country,

but when death comes knocking at their door,

they run like headless chickens.


War is an attractive option only to those

who don’t have to do the killing and dying.


After the Golden Age comes the Silver Age,

and after the Silver Age comes the Age of Garbage,

which is where we happen to be today.

Now then, go ahead and brag about that!


Saturday, July 21, 2012




What motivates the wealthy (or the 1%)

is not greed but altruism – to create jobs

for little people (or the 99%).


Austerity measures are designed for the 99%

not the 1% who are too set in their ways to change or adapt.


Massacres are not always crimes against humanity

but necessary means for maintaining the territorial integrity

of an empire or nation.


What is the difference between a massacre and genocide?

It depends on the identity of the perpetrators and their victims.

If the perps are our friends

and the victims are politically irrelevant to our interests

it can’t be genocide.


There is an explanation behind every explanation.

Leave it to politicians (most of whom are lawyers)

to come up with reasons why

a bloodthirsty sadistic serial killer

should be declared not guilty

by reason of self-defense,

which happens to be a universal human right.

Case closed!






Translated by a.b.


Very early one morning

A mighty king was ceased by an urge

To see his realm

To visit and inspect

Every town and hamlet.

Orders than he issued

And with him arose

A retinue of servants,

Soldiers, carriages, and horses.


A few days later,

As the crowds roared

And as his Majesty

Made his triumphal entry

Through the gate

Of a distant town,

A humble townsman

Made a sudden exit

Through another gate

And he ran and he ran

Like a hunted beast he ran

Through forests and valleys

Through dark and uncharted regions.


“Hold it right there!”

Cried out a stranger

Standing in his path.

“What are you running away from?

Is it the law by any chance?

Are you perchance a bandit?

And if not a bandit, a murderer?”

“I am innocent, I swear,”

Said the townsman.

“Whatever bread I have eaten

I have earned with my own sweat.

I beg you let me explain

What I am running away from.

His Majesty the king, you see,

Is visiting my town.

Now then please understand

What I am about to say.

His Royal Highness

As everyone knows

Is a man of great might

But his brain alas

Is that of a child

I have heard it said

That the farther away

From such a king you stay

The better off you are.”


After hearing this

The stranger let him pass.

And the townsman once more

Took to his heels and ran

Through forests and valleys he ran

Through dark and uncharted region.



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Sunday, July 22, 2012




Why do some so-called normal individuals

go unhinged and commit massacres

on unarmed and innocent civilians?

The simple answer is and must be,

an accumulation of injuries inflicted on them by others

in the name of this or that

moral code or educational system, or law and order.

All I have to do to reach that conclusion is

to examine my own life – and by that I don’t mean

only the injuries that have been inflicted on me

but also the injuries that I have myself inflicted on others.


Monday, July 23, 2012




There are so many lies parading as truths

that truth has become a synonym of lie.


Power, real power, means

the power to kill and steal

and get away with it.


When the 99% do something wrong,

they are punished.

When the 1% do something wrong

they give themselves a fat bonus.


Kings, statesmen, popes, imams, rabbis:

they are as habitual and compulsive liars

as murderers and thieves.

Most of them are in fact murderers and thieves.


Heaven and hell are predictable places

we are told. But in life, heaven may change into hell

and vice versa without notice.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012




Absolute power creates morons.

Sultans, commissars, popes, imams:

the great their power,

the greater the number of dupes.


The number one concern of all power structures is power.

This is as true of America as it is

of Russia, China, Syria, and the Vatican.

The Pope has probably devoted more time,

resources, energy, and personnel

on his propaganda against contraception

than against child molestation.


Who understands Armenians?

Not even Armenians.

If Armenians can’t understand Armenians, who can?

Only God and He is not in the business

of sharing His understanding with us.


My advice to our enemies:

“You don’t kill a man who is committing suicide.”


Wednesday, July 25, 2012




Dedicated to my good friend Hagop Jelalian


In the Armenian ghetto

where I was born and raised,

I was brainwashed to believe

intermarriage meant sleeping with the enemy.

I know better now because

I appreciate the positive aspects of mixed marriages –

namely, the introduction of racial and religious tolerance.

And sure enough, some of our ablest and most progressive intellectuals,

from Abovian to Zarian,

and from Arlen to Saroyan,

married odars.


How to explain the popularity of intermarriage? –

about 80% in the United States, I am told.

A man is a man,

a woman is a woman,

and when the two meet, everything else –

moral and esthetic values,

political orientation, financial status,

religious and ethnic prejudices,

fly out the window.

What remains are a man, a woman

and the instinct to be fruitful and multiply.


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Saturday, July 26, 2012




When it comes to moral progress

(as opposed to technical progress)

mankind has not advanced a single inch.

That may be because

every organization, movements, or power structure

develops its own 1%.

This is as true of the Kremlin

as it is of the Vatican.

The reason why the Vatican has victimized

fewer innocent civilians than the Kremlin

is not moral superiority but military inferiority.

When the popes had the power

they were as ruthless in their persecution of heretics

as Stalin was in his treatment of dissidents.


Lenin said, “A bourgeois is a bourgeois

regardless of nationality.”

So is the 1%.


Saturday, July 28, 2012




Belief systems (from Capitalism to Communism

and from Christianity to Islam) are symptoms of collective insanity.

Which is why a far wiser man than myself

once remarked that Planet Earth

is the insane asylum of the Solar System –

or is it the Galaxy?


The phenomenal ease with which

the 1% has been successful

in deceiving and misleading the 99%!


Organized crime and organized religions

operate on similar lines.

Fear is their most important ingredient –

fear of hell, fear of Siberian exile, and in the case of the Mafia,

fear of assassination.


When I committed my greatest blunders

it didn’t even occur to me to question the logic of my actions.


Saturday, July 28, 2012




Everything and everyone has a price,

including the worthless.


Disgust defies eloquence;

that’s why the worst on man has not yet been said.


It is the fate of men who are more like women

to meet women who are more like men.


In thinking a moderate, in action a fanatic –

that is, if you want anything done.


We don’t make an effort to understand ourselves

but we expect others to understand us,

or rather, to misunderstand us favorably.


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Wednesday, August 01, 2012




The aim of thinkers

– be they scientists, philosophers, or intellectuals –

is not to entertain the public

but to solve problems.

To say therefore

we need solutions, is to imply that

all our thinkers were no better than mental masturbators.


In the eyes of fascists

the only way to qualify as a thinker

is to recycle their propaganda.


One of the greatest misfortunes that can befall a nation

is political and religious control of its educational system.

Which amounts to allowing compulsive and habitual liars

to tell our children what’s right and what’s wrong.


I have no illusions about democracies.

The Americanized American is as brainwashed

as the Sovietized Russian and

the Anglicized Englishman.


Wednesday, August 01, 2012




Patriotism teaches us to love our fellow Armenians

and to hate Turks, to which I can only say

I cannot be a patriot because

I love good Turks

and I hate bad Armenians.


Like all –isms, patriotism creates more enemies than friends.

Capitalism created communists,

and communism created

crooks, cannibals, and “crocodiles” (Chekhov).


There is a type of patriotic reader

who operates on the assumption that

he knows better,

he understand more,

and his belief system is morally superior.

Whenever informed by such a reader

that I am no better than a purveyor of bullshit,

I am reminded of a saying popular in Hollywood:

“It may be shit but it has integrity.”


Wednesday, August 01, 2012




When asked by journalists

what had made him to devote several decades of his life

to the writing of his 12-volume STUDY OF HISTORY,

Toynbee is said to have replied: “Curiosity.”

In his fascinating little book, PHNATOMS ON THE BOOKSHELVES,

Jacques Bonnet writes:

“In Victor Hugo’s play MARION DELORME, the king asks:

‘What is your reason for living?’

L’Angely replies: ‘Curiosity.’”


To our sermonizers and speechifiers

who preach love of God and Country I ask:

“How many Armenians have you alienated with your double-talk?”

And if you were to say my kind of writing may also alienate some Armenians,

all I can say is, “Good riddance!”


I am suspicious of Armenians

who after centuries of subservience to alien and bloodthirsty tyrants

assume subservience to be an integral part of the human condition.


I am suspicious of Armenians

who preach love but practice hatred.

Saroyan comes to mind.

He too preached love but hated his own children.


Above all I am suspicious of Armenians

who praise Armenian culture

but practice davul zurna, shish-kebab, and pilaf.


Wednesday, August 01, 2012




A sad day for American literature:

Gore Vidal is dead.


Saw a lovely Chinese film, THE ROAD HOME.


Most of the time I had tears in my eyes.


We cannot agree with one another

but we expect our enemies to agree with us.

Figure that one out if you can!


Armenians who are pro-Assad

on the grounds that he is pro-Armenian

should not be surprised at Turks

who raise monuments to Talaat and Kemal.


After assessing themselves as morally superior,

they assert moral superiority

but they succeed only in speaking with a forked tongue.

The malady of all sermonizers.


In one of his essays Aldous Huxley says

too much singing damages one’s critical faculties –

something to do with lack of oxygen in the brain.

He may have a point.

Beniamino Gigli was a fascist,

Pavarotti was blinded by his American success,

and Maria Callas by Onassis’s wealth.


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Thursday, August 02, 2012




Dissent also means

refusing to recycle a tyrant’s propaganda.


The hardest challenge a writer confronts

is to speak with his voice.

Until then all he can do is speak with someone else’s voice

or recycle someone else’s propaganda.


Writers come in all sizes and shapes.

But no writer in the history of mankind

has ever silenced a tyrant.


When tyrants go about their murderous task of silencing writers,

they invariably target the best.


After persecuting, terrorizing, torturing, and killing countless heretics,

popes assert infallibility.


The ruthless cunning of the 1%

is rivaled only by the ignorance, stupidity, and cowardice

of the 99%.


Friday, August 03, 2012




No one gives up power without a bloody fight,

Hegel tells us.

And so it is.

Consider what’s happening today in Syria.

And if the Popes of Rome

no longer persecute, torture, and burn heretics

it’s not because they saw the light and became non-violent;

but because it took countless massacres and wars

(one of which lasted a hundred years) to stop them.

But that’s not all it took.

It took powerful reformers

like Luther, kings, emperors, and dictators

like Henry VIII, Napoleon, and Mussolini

to check their abuses of power.

It took dissidents like Voltaire, Gibbon, Renan, Marx, and Nietzsche.

As a matter of fact, the Popes had many more dissidents

than Stalin, Hitler, and Mao combined.

If they continue to have followers today

it’s because men need belief systems

as alcoholics and drug addicts need their poison.

Man, it has been said, cannot create a single worm

but he has created ten thousand gods.

The very same people who rejected Jesus

believed in Madoff.

Figure that one out if you can.

Allawa akhbar!


Saturday, August 04, 2012




To our bosses I say:

Don’t tell me how much you have accomplished.

Tell me instead how many you have alienated.

To our fund-raisers I say:

Don’t tell me how many millions you have raised.

Tell me instead how much of it ended in the wrong pockets.

To our benefactors I say:

Don’t brag about the number of schools you have built.

Tell me instead what’s being taught there.

To our academics I say:

Don’t tell me how many books you have published.

Tell me instead who reads them?


In Chekhov’s UNCLE VANYA I read:

“The ganders will cackle a bit – and then they’ll leave off…

They’ll cackle and leave off…”


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Sunday, August 05, 2012




One way to sum our past is to say that

we are victims of hit-and-run accidents

all of which could have been avoided

had we behaved more defensively –

or rather, had our leadership etc.


The overwhelming majority of Armenians today

are predisposed to doubt an honest witness

and to believe everything they are told by our 1%.


The main function of all educational systems

is to create dupes by convincing them that

as dupes they will go farther and accomplish more in life

than as individuals who operate on the false assumption that

they are fully equipped to think for themselves.


You may have noticed that

when an Armenian makes it in the odar world,

he stays away from the unholy tangle of Armenian affairs.

This may suggest that our affairs are conducted

not by our best but our worst.


Some people will do anything for money

especially if they find themselves on the verge of starvation,

say, like Armenians scribblers.

I once met a hireling of a benefactor

who wanted me to translate a volume of his verse.

I once even met a benefactor

who wanted me to write his memoirs.

On still another occasion I met a novelist

who was the secretary of a bishop.

Not only did this character take himself seriously

but he also expected me to do so.

Wonders never cease!


Monday, August 06, 2012





“Treason and betrayal are in our blood,” said Raffi.

He was a man of courage, daring, and integrity.

In modern parlance, he had cojones.

Compared to him I am no better than an orthodox coward.

The worst thing that I have said about us is

“subservience is in our blood.”

Which, if you think about it, boils down to the same thing.

If you say “Yes, sir!” to anyone with authority,

will you ever dare to say “No, sir!”

when he orders you to betray your brother?


Did we ever behead any one of our kings?

Did we ever condemn to death any one of our collaborators?

When Stalin reinstated Etchmiadzin

he did so for a pragmatic reason:

he ordered the Catholicos to bless the war against Hitler

and to encourage the youth to volunteer

instead of deserting the army;

and the Catholicos did what he was told.

He went further.

Under Gorbachev he (the Catholicos)

opposed independence.


Perhaps the Genocide was only a warning

which so far we have failed to heed.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012




They say Americans are money-obsessed.

What about Russians?

Both Tolstoy and Dostoevsky died shortly after

family arguments over money.

After a stormy scene over money in Chekhov’s UNCLE VANYA,

a character says:

“The row they made this morning – and shooting, too – a regular disgrace!”

To which another comments:

“Yes…a subject worthy of the brush of Aivazovsky.”


We have all heard of man’s original sin.

What about God’s original sin?

Instead of creating good men,

He created bloodthirsty barbarians.


Nobody knows.

Nobody will ever know.


Sometimes it is easier to die for one’s country

than to live in it.


Perhaps I write too much.

Nobody will ever say I have read everything he has written –

not even I.


Wednesday, August 08, 2012




My mother believed everything she read in the papers

except what I wrote in them. As for me, I believe nothing,

including what I write.

To believe is a verb in whose proximity

I feel inadequate, alien, and thoroughly ill-at-ease.

To me a holy book is only a perennial best-seller

written, re-written, edited, and re-edited by mediocrities

whose number one concern is not truth but power.


Saw for the third time AMARCORD, my favorite Fellini.

Most of it is based not on reminiscence but

(according to his friends) is pure fantasy.

It was filmed not in Rimini, where Fellini was born and raised

but in a studio in Rome.


In Mavis Gallant’s DIARY, written in Madrid

and recently published in the NEW YORKER, I read:

“The children masturbate

the way children in other countries skip rope or roller-skate.

Spanish parents must consider it like teething –

they take no notice whatever.”


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Thursday, August 09, 2012




We think that we think but we don’t think;

and when we speak

we speak more like parrots than reasonable beings.

Our ideas are not ours but someone else’s.

Marx said he was not a Marxist,

and yet the world is full of them.

Christ never said he was a Christian,

and yet there are billions of them all over the world.


I am all for free speech and against censorship.

That doesn’t mean I support pornographers or, for that matter,

imams who promise 73 virgins to sex-starved teenagers;

or habitual, compulsive, and dogmatic liars

who control our educational system.


I am for gun control;

that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to have a gun

when confronted by a violent intruder or drug-crazed addict.


There are Armenians today who support Basher Assad.

There were Armenians in the Ottoman Empire

who on the eve of the Genocide were pro-Turkish.

There were pro-Nazi Armenians

who fought against Bolshevik Armenians during World War II.


Life is full of contradictions that cannot be reconciled.

What’s the answer?

I wish I knew.

All I can say is, let’s begin by refusing to identify thinking

with recycling someone else’s propaganda

especially when that someone else is an enemy.


Friday, August 10, 2012




Armenians from the Middle East come in all sizes and shapes

but they all share on thing in common: anti-Americanism.

In their view American presidents like FDR and Truman

have killed more innocent civilians

than Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, and Attila the Hun combined.

Pearl Harbor, 9/11, the War of Troy: they were all plotted, provoked,

and executed by Americans.

The Serpent in the Garden?

A CIA agent in disguise.


Many years ago one of our elder statesmen warned me:

“An Armenian from the Middle East

will walk past an elementary school

and forever after brag about his university degree.”


As recently as last week,

because I dared to adopt a critical stance towards Basher al-Assad

I was dismissed as a dupe who has been brainwashed by Western media.


I have no illusions about America.

I have fewer illusions about the rest of the world,

including Greece, where I was born and raised,

Italy where I was educated,

Canada where I now live,

and Armenia, my so-called homeland

which i don't plan to visit.


If they hate America why do they live in America?

Their pat answer:

They don’t hate America.

They love Americans.

What they hate is American politics.

What if American politics enjoys the support of the majority?


The sad truth is they hate America,

they hate Americans,

and what they hate even more are fellow Armenians

who dare to disagree with them.

I speak from experience.


Saturday, August 11, 2012




Whenever my critics run out of arguments

they accuse me of hating my fellow Armenians,

to which charge I don’t mind pleading guilty.

I will go further and say that

when it comes to hatred

I don’t single out Armenians.

I hate the hateful regardless of nationality.

I hate all fanatics who pretend to be moderates.

I hate double-talk.

I hate child-molesting priests and fornicating bishops

who preach chastity.

I hate moral morons who think dissent is a crime against humanity.

I hate bullies.

I hate intolerance.

I hate dogmatists who operate on the assumption that

anyone who refuses to share their prejudices,

misconceptions and fallacies deserves to die.

Unlike my critics, most of whom are no doubt good Christians,

I don’t love my enemies. I can’t!

And I don’t mind admitting that

I consider that a failing on my part,

and I look forward to the day when

I will love everybody,

but I also know that the chances of that happening

might as well be nil.

I am no angel and I remember to have read somewhere that

when a man tries to be an angel

he runs the risk of losing something much more valuable,

namely his humanity.

I plead guilty to the charge that

as a human being I am vulnerable to all the weaknesses

that flesh is heir to.

But I will say this in my defense.

I have at no time asserted moral superiority.

I leave that to my critics.


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Sunday, August 12, 2012






After visiting the Homeland during the Soviet era

a friend reported the following exchange:

“Why all the fuss about Watergate?”

“The President lied.”

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


We are a nation of a thousand and one Watergates

but so far not a single book on the subject,

not a single public hearing, impeachments, trial,

guilty verdict and incarceration.

I am now talking about both the Homeland and the Diaspora.


Our “Nixons” and their gangs of co-conspirators

continue to be in charge of our destiny as a nation.


Faith and superstition,

knowledge and ignorance,

lies and truth:

they might as well be Siamese twins.


I don’t spin theories.

I speak of historic reality.


If you elevate your intellectual superiority to a dogma

you condemn yourself to learn nothing.


Every transgression comes with its own inbuilt punishment.

God is too big, mighty, and important

to sit in judgment over all your petty little disgusting sins.

He neither judges nor punishes.

He relegates all that to you.


Monday, August 13, 2012




Whenever we say “I believe”

we should teach ourselves to add

“I could be wrong.”

Certainties are the source of all evil.


Honesty is an unwelcome intruder

because it exposes cowardly charlatans

who love to project the image

of fearless men of integrity.

I could be wrong…


To be popular means to be harmless –

to pretend to love everybody

even when you can’t stand the buggers.


Am I right or wrong?

I am not sure.

At best I may suspect I am moving in the right direction

if only because I am in the company of far better men than myself –

from Socrates to Solzhenitsyn.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012




You cannot civilize the civilized

(also called the syphilized).

You have a better chance with barbarians.


Financial bankruptcy is invariably preceded by moral bankruptcy.

History provides us with so many examples –

from the Roman Empire to the USSR and the USA;

and closer to home, the Mekhitarist order.


Tyrants from Hitler to Assad

would rather see their country reduced to rubble

than give up power.

(How to explain the quiet exit of Sultan Abdulhamid II? –

a bloodthirsty tyrant if there ever was one.)


An alcoholic odar academic in need of cash

once wrote a book titled ARMENIA: CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION

with the financial support of an Armenian foundation --

the wealthiest foundation on earth, it has been said;

and to this day there are Armenians who take the title literally.


There are two kinds of phonies:

those who try to expose the phony in themselves and in others,

and those who identify it with patriotism.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012




To write for Armenians means

to write for readers who know better.


As an Armenian I try to understand my fellow Armenians

beginning with myself.

As an Armenian writer I do my utmost to be objective

and to say what I think.


To say what you think may not be a crime against humanity

but it is treated as one.


To be an Armenian writer means

to be exploited by the 1%

and oppressed by the 99%.


As a nation that has lived in oppression

for most of its collective existence

we assume oppression to be

an integral part of the human condition.


Nothing comes easier to a nation

that has experienced a series of massacres

than to engage in verbal massacre --

all in the name of patriotism of course.


I don’t write in the name of patriotism.

I write in the name if common sense and decency

which recognize no cultural and political boundaries.


Smoking is bad for you.

Everyone knows that including smokers.

Divisions are bad for a nation.

Everyone knows that,

including our dividers.


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