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Sunday, October 28, 2012

********************************************

ON POLITICIANS

*****************************

If you trust them,

you deserve them.

*

ON HISTORIANS

****************************

There are two kinds:

those who deal in facts

and those who deal in fiction;

and of the two,

those who deal in fiction

are the most widely read and taught in schools.

*

WHAT WE SHARE

******************************

As children we have all been brainwashed,

but as adults to remain brainwashed

is a decision we make freely and on our own.

*

IF

************

If you speak the truth to fools and liars,

they will all you a criminal

guilty of a capital offense.

Two familiar cases from the past:

Socrates and Jesus.

And if you say things like that don’t happen any more,

I will have no choice but to remind you

that persecution and injustice have been

and continue to be

routine occurrences in history.

To be an Armenian among Turks during World War I;

a Jew in Europe during World War II;

a dissident in the USSR;

a Sunni among Shias and vice versa;

a Hindu among Muslims and vice versa

after Partition in India;

a Black man in America;

and last but far from least,

to be Armenian among Armenians.

I rest my case.

Nothing further Your Honor!

#

Monday, October 29, 2012

***************************************

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER

***************************************

Fools and dupes (but I repeat myself)

outnumber those who can think for themselves

a thousand to one.

It is they (fools and dupes) who make wars possible,

revolutions a necessity,

and collateral damage

(meaning the death of countless innocent civilians)

an inevitable fact of life

like tsunamis, volcanoes, and earthquakes.

*

If I speak about dupes and fools

with some degree of authority

it’s because I have been one most of my life

and to some degree I continue to be one

because I think I can reason with them

and convince them being subservient to authority

and believing in their lies

is an aberration, a crime against humanity,

and an insult to God;

and when I speak of God I don’t mean

the God of priests, imams, and rabbis,

but as a point of reference,

an abstraction like infinity and eternity,

and an unknown and unknowable entity or power

that has endowed us with a brain

with which to think for ourselves

as opposed to parroting the propaganda line

of a sultan, king, emperor, and commissar –

compulsive and habitual liars all

and as such the source of all evil.

*

You want solutions to our problems?

Begin by believing nothing you are told,

including what you just read.

#

DEFINITIONS

*****************************

Prejudice: infatuation with one’s own ignorance.

*

Wisdom: awareness of one’s own limitations.

*

Patriotism: collective narcissism.

*

Barbarism: a room without a single book in it.

#

INTERVIEW

**************************

Q: How would you define a man?

A: A man is he who views reality on its own terms

as opposed through the filter of an organized religion or ideology.

Q: What’s wrong with religions and ideologies?

A: They are the source of all lies and violence – that is to say, evil.

Q: Are you saying Christianity is evil?

A: In so far it has justified, legitimized, and promoted

intolerance, prejudice, persecution, war and massacre, yes.

Q: I am a Christian and I have persecuted or killed no one.

A: That’s because you have lived on the margins of history –

a privileged position that allows you to assert moral superiority;

and to assert moral superiority is almost to justify war and massacre,

which amounts to saying, if the morally superior kills the morally inferior

he does so in the name of God or justice.

There is no greater liar than he who speaks in the name of God.

Q: Do you believe in God?

A: I believe in the Unknown and the Unknowable,

the source of all good and evil. Historically speaking

that’s what all men believed before the invention of gods,

which happens to be an extremely recent development.

Q: Am I right in assuming you don’t believe in progress?

A: Technological progress, yes; moral progress, no!

The last century has been the most morally degenerate century of mankind –

more wars, massacres, and genocides

than in all other centuries combined.

*

(To be continued.)

#

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I don’t write to entertain. I write to understand and explain reality, especially when reality is against us.

Thursday, November 01, 2012******************************************** INTERVIEW (II)*********************************** Q: Is nationalism an ideology?A: One of the worst.Q: As bad as fascism?A: Nationalism and fascism might as well be as synonymous as job-provider and blood-sucker.Q: What have you got against Romney?A: He is a hollow man. He’ll say and do anything to be president. He is as greedy about money as he is about power. Such men are the least qualified to be leaders – I am now paraphrasing Plato. He says in one of his dialogues: The more power a man wants the least qualified he is to handle it.Q: Do you believe in good and bad nations or in just and unjust wars?A: I believe in neither nations nor wars. They are fictions created by propagandists. Like Homer’s ILIAD.Q: Was Homer a propagandist?A: One of the greatest. He wrote about a war fought in defense of a floozy’s honor.Q: What about World War II?A: World War II was a direct result of World War I and to portray the Allies as the good guys is to cover up what went on in the 19th century -- imperialism, racism, slavery, the ruthless exploitation of natives and workers in general. Gandhi was right when he described the British in India as “a satanic force" -- a reminder of the fact that it was the Devil who created the 1% in his own image.# INTERVIEW (III)*************************************** Q: Let’s speak of books, beginning with your favorite writers.A: Too many to list here and I doubt if I can readily remember all of them.Q: Let’s begin with your first favorite writer.A: Dostoevky.Q: Which one of his books you read first?A: THE GAMBLER.Q: After THE GMABLER?A: CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD, THE IDIOT, THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV…I read everything I could lay my hands on.I read them all with the impetuous greed of a teenager.Q: Have you reread them recently?A: I have tried…without much success.Q: How come?A: I first read them in Italian and Greek. In English they sound…less authentic, alien, depersonalized…Q: What impressed you most about Dostoevsky?A: His penetration of the human psyche. He humanized even ax-murderers of defenceless old ladies and child-molesters not by diminishing their responsibility but by emphasizing the forces that drove them to commit these horrible crimes.Q: Speaking of child-molesters: Do yoou think Nabokov’s LOLITA is an autobiographical work?A: Yes, of course, but only in the sense that Nabokov experienced the same feelings and thoughts as his central character. And it is to be noted that it is not Humbert Humbert who seduces Lolita but the other war around. Most readers miss that detail as I did when I first read it. Humbert is not a child-molester; it is Lolita who is a seducer of adults. Another point that is often missed: It is Humbert Humbert who pays dearly for his crimes, not Lolita.Q: Have you reread the book recently?A: Yes, several times and each time with an enhanced awareness of its many secret and subtle complexities and allusions.#INTERVIEW (IV)*************************************** Q: I know what you think about Romney – A: Wrong word!Q: Which one?A: "Think." He is not worth thinking about.Q: Could you expand on that?A: The man is so desperate that he is now promising “change” or rather the “hope” for change. Sounds familiar? He figures if it worked for the opposition four years ago it may work for him. A clear-cut case of transparent plagiarism. And he is promising not only seventeen million jobs, but “good” jobs, beginning with his own of course.Q: What about his policy on taxes.A: It’s not “if” but “when” he raises them he will call them “fees” or he will explain by saying the figures of the previous administration were doctored or cooked (figures always are) and that to balance the budget more drastic measures are required.Q: What do you think – sorry, wrong word again – about Ryan?A: A devout Catholic who owes his intellectual development (make it paralysis) to Ayn Rand -- a notorious atheist charlatan. Q: Is there anything we Armenians can learn from Americans?A: Learn from them? We could teach them.Q: Teach them? What exactly?A: Until very recently (in my own lifetime, as a matter of fact) American politics was dominated by WASPs: Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt – they were all White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Not any more! We were in the same place from the beginning -- with our Mamikonians and Bagratunis (Chinese and Jews respectively). One way to describe our politics is to say that it is a farce titled not ABEL AND CAIN, but CAIN AND CAIN.#

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Sunday, November 04, 2012******************************************** INTERVIEW (V): ************************* ON NATIONALISM************************************************ Q: In our first conversation you said you are against ideologies beginning with nationalism. What’s wrong with nationalism?A: To begin with, nationalism divides mankind into them and us, and to do so it invents lies.Q: Is it a lie to say Turks and Azeris are our enemies?A: It is, yes, and an obvious one at that if only because half of them may well be half Armenian; and I doubt very much if there exists a single pure-blooded Armenian today. I have met Armenians who assert they are direct descendants of the Mamikonians, Bagratunis, and Dikran the Great. Q: So have I? What’s wrong with that?A: But none of these gentlemen was Armenian. I suggest nationalists are products of a politically controlled educational system. I further suggest politics and education are mutually exclusive concepts. A politically controlled education may even be said to be the opposite of education because it perverts the meaning of the most important words – such as right and wrong, good and evil, justice and injustice.Q: You lost me there.A: Cases in point. We all know that killing is wrong and yet we are taught to believe killing the enemy in the name of God and Country is not only right but the sacred duty of all law-abiding citizens.Q: But when attacked, what are our options?A: We defend ourselves, of course. We don’t have to be brainwashed to do that. It comes naturally.Q: So you are saying in some cases killing is right?A: I am also saying to kill in self-defense is one thing, to be predisposed to kill another. Eliminate predisposition and you may eliminate half of all wars. Listen, we are not here to solve all of mankind’s problems. If we succeed in taking a single step in the right direction we may earn the right to say, mission accomplished.# INTERVIEW (VI)*************************************** METAPHYSICS************************************ Q: Is death an end or a new beginning?A: Neither.Q: It has to be one or the other.A: Man is a recycling contraption, very much like Planet Earth, the Solar System, the Milky Way, and the Cosmos. The Sun will incinerate our planet and we will end up in a Black Hole and emerge as another galaxy or planet which will evolve a new flora and fauna. Nothing will be added or subtracted. Everything will be recycled.Q: Are you saying metaphysics is physics?A: Exactly! And there are no theories and assumptions in what I am saying. I speak of observable and verifiable facts. If the cosmos were a book, our planetary system would be no better than a comma in it.Q: What is God’s place in your system?A: God is Unknown and Unknowable, and everyone who speaks in His name is either a charlatan or a compulsive liar.Q: What if he believes in what he says?A: In Sartre’s formula: “We may believe that we believe but we don’t believe.”Q: Are you an atheist?A: No! An agnostic. I know my limitations. I don’t claim to know that which I don’t know and have no way of knowing.Q: What about prophets and saints? Were they all charlatans?A: No. I prefer to think of them as men and women who have been misunderstood and misinterpreted in their own time, and overestimated by posterity.Q: What about Moses and his Ten Commandments? Charlatan? Liar?A: A politically ambitious leader and liberator or revolutionary. Also the most frequently ignored preacher. “Thou shalt not kill!” Do we really need a prophet to tell us that? And why is it that we have more killers today than at any other time in the history of mankind?Q: What about Jesus?A: I agree with Tolstoy, Gandhi, and the overwhelming majority of mankind including Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists: he was a great teacher but not the Son of God.# INTERVIEW (VII)**************************************** THE WRITING LIFE****************************** Q: You have been writing for Armenians now…for how many years?A: Thirty give and take a decade or two.Q: Tell us some of your challenges, experiences, problems, disappointments…A: Where to begin?Q: I remember once you called one of your critics an “inbred moron.”A: That was meant as a compliment. He deserved much worse descriptive terms; and he was not a critic but a kibitzer and a self-assessed expert on any give subject – a familiar type among us. I remember once when I mentioned Zarian, one of our so-called “experts” on Armenian literature thought I was speaking of Nairi Zarian: a notorious Bolshevik mediocrity. He had never heard of the other one.Q: Am I right in assuming critics are not your favorite readers?A: Critics I don’t mind. It is commissars that I can’t stand.Q: Define commissar.A: Anyone who assume to be in a better position to know what’s good for the community and the nation and based on that absurd assumption he proceeds to issue guidelines; or anyone who assume only an idiot would adopt Armenian literature as a career – since there is no money in it. As the offspring of Levantine “starving Armenians,” we have a natural tendency to overestimate the value of the profit motive. In the United States, for instance, Zarian himself was thought to be a CIA agent; and when he returned to Soviet Armenia, where he spent his final years, it was rumored that he had become a KGB agent. I have myself been accused of being not only in the pay of the CIA and the KGB but also of the Mossad and the Grey Wolves. Some of my readers may be loud-mouth idiots but they are idiots with a rich imagination.Q: If there is no money in literature, how do you survive?A: On my savings. For ten years I worked at a variety of jobs -- from factory hand to church organist. But my greatest asset is my lifestyle – bread and books, and the books I get free of charge from the public library.#INTERVIEW (VIII)************************************* WHO IS A GOOD ARMENIAN?****************************************** Q: You have been writing now for how many years?A: About thirty.Q: And you have published how many books?A: About thirty too.Q: How many commentaries?A: Let’s say about a thousand – glor hashiv.Q: And yet you have not yet achieved the status of a popular writer.A: Why stop there? In the eyes of some I don’t even qualify as a piece of sh*t.Q: How do you explain that?A: Explanations work only with reasonable men.Q: I like to think of myself as a reasonable person.A: Sorry, I didn’t have you in mind. What I meant to say is, I doubt if my explanation will make sense to the majority of our readers.Q: Let’s have it anyway – you never know…A: The trouble with us is that we were at no time de-Ottomanized or de-Stalinized in the way in which Germans were de-Nazified after World War II. As a result we continue to be at the mercy of individuals – be they leaders, speechifiers, sermonizers, schoolteachers and academics – who continue to think and operate with the old brain. One of our elder statesmen once confided to me that some of our most influential people in our communities are in fact Turks who speak Armenian fluently.Q: Was he serious?A: Dead serious. He even lowered his voice even though there was no one around.Q: Do you believe what he said?A: It makes no difference to me if a leader is a Turk or Armenian so long as he is a decent human being. When I deal with an Armenian I don’t ask myself if he is a good Armenian. What I ask myself is, is he an honest man? Can I trust him? Does he mean what he says? I have said this before and it bears repeating: I’d much rather deal with an honest Turk than a dishonest Armenian.#

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INTERVIEW (IX)*********************************** ON GENOCIDE RECOGNITION OR TURCOCENTRISM************************************** Q: If you were to condense your message in a single sentence, what would it be?A: We are not who we think we are, neither is the world what we think it is.Q: Isn’t ignorance of the self and the world a more or less universal condition?A: It is, yes, but as always there are degrees of ignorance. In our case it is more rather than less.Q: In what way our understanding of the world is different from anyone else’s? A: To begin with we rely too much on the propaganda of our speechifiers and sermonizers and less on our intellectuals. Case in point: Had we followed Raffi’s advice when he said the Ottoman Empire is no place for us because they have no respect for human life there, we would have avoided the Genocide.Q: How do we explain our exaggerated reliance on propaganda?A: Ignorance or innocence compounded by anti-intellectualism.Q: In what way are we different from Jews, among many others, who suffered similar fates?A: Jews are far ahead of us in their alliances. While Americans are ready to defend them against their enemies in the Middle East, they (Americans) have consistently refused even to acknowledge the reality of our genocide.Q: How do we overcome American anti-Armenianism?A: Not an easy question with an easy answer. All I know is that we are wasting valuable resources on genocide recognition. A genocide is like a city set on a hill; it cannot be hidden or covered up forever. We have many other serious and pressing problems in both the Homeland and the Diaspora. I grew up in a ghetto among survivors. They were less Turcocentric than Armenians in the United States and Canada today.I have every reason to suspect Turcocentrism – the fallacy that all our problems begin and end with Turks – is an illusion promoted by our ruling classes whose central concern is not to demand justice but to cover up their own corruption and incompetence.# INTERVIEW (X)************************************ TWO PROBLEMS**************************** Q: We all agree that we have problems –A: And that’s the only thing we agree on.Q: What we don’t agree on is their solutions even when the solutions make perfect sense. Divisions versus solidarity, for instance, or a free press versus a controlled press. Can you explain that?A: We are a tribal people. Our first loyalty is to the tribe or chief and not the nation which is an abstraction.Q: All nations, or even empires for that matter, begin as tribes and gradually evolve to nations. Why are we an exception to this rule?A: Some say it’s our geography – mountains and valleys, isolation during long winters, over forty more or less mutually incomprehensible dialects.Q: Do you buy that?A: No, I don’t. In the 19th century the Caucasian tribes to the north of us united under Shamyl the Avar and successfully resisted Russian expansion for several decades. But eventually they too were torn asunder by tribal loyalties, treason, and betrayal – a chapter of which is beautifully dramatized by Tolstoy in his novella and final work of fiction titled HADJI MURAD. Our Raffi may indeed be right. What makes Armenian solidarity an unattainable goal is less our geography and more our propensity for treason and betrayal.Q: Second problem, which may well be an extension of the first: a free press versus a controlled press. We all agree that a free press is more democratic and progressive than a controlled press, and yet –A: Ah! “And yet!” the two saddest words in the English language it has been said. The irony here is that our press enjoyed greater freedom in the Ottoman Empire. Baronian and Odian are unthinkable in today’s Armenian-American environment. Baruir Massikian, their only legitimate successor in the 20th-century Armenian diasporadied a thoroughly disappointed, bitter, and angry man. When a delegation of Armenian elders visited his deathbed and appealed to him to leave his considerable wealth – he was a successful lawyer in Egypt, and a bachelor– to the Armenian Educational Foundation, he said he’d much rather leave it to a Cairo bordello.#TO UNDERSTAND ANOTHER IS TO UNDERSTAND MYSELF********************************************** CHINA THROUGH CHINESE EYES************************************************ “How do you see the future of China?”“Fear, worry, deception, distress, collapse.”*“We will die slowly and miserably.”*“No hope for political reform. There will be bloodshed.”*“Idiots will cause more and more people to emigrate.”*“There are too many books to read, too many people to meet, too many fun things to do. China, stay away from me.”*“When the Chinese begin to reflect on their mistakes, then China’s ‘good future’ begins.”*“China’s future will be the opposite of the present.”**Sixty years of systematic brainwashing means that at least two generations of people will continue to suffer from spiritual pollution.”#From NEW STATESMAN (London, 19-25 October, 2012): an issue dedicated to China today.)#

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Sunday, November 11, 2012*************************************** INTERVIEW (XI)****************************** ON HISTORY AND HISTORIANS******************************************** Q: How do you define a good historian?A: A historian who is critical of his own tribe, nation, or civilization.Q: Do such historians exist?A: Of course. In the 20th century there are Spengler of THE DECLINE OF THE WEST and Toynbee of A STUDY OF HISTORY.Q: Don’t they have their own critics?A: They probably have more critics than all the others combined.Q: How do you explain that?A: The obvious answer is, it may be because they have more readers than the others.Q: What about us? Do we have historians we can trust?A: We do have some historians who have been critical of our rulers and institutions. Khorenatsi comes to mind, not so much his HISTORY but his LAMENTATION.Q: And more recently?A: Most of our historians today rely more on official documents and eyewitness accounts and less on their own narrative hoping thus to avoid charges of nationalism. Such historians ignore the fact that both documents and testimonies – legally called utterances – are also vulnerable to bias.Q: Whom do we believe?A: Let’s leave belief to imams and bishops. Trust would be a more accurate word.Q: Whom do we trust then?A: If as Armenians we were to trust more our own historians, we may have to confront Turks who very much like us trust their own and reject all others as deceivers.Q: Are we to infer from what you say that we should question the reality of our genocide?A: To question it, probably not. To modify it, maybe.Q: Modify it in what sense? How?A: Only in the sense that it may not have been murder one (cold-blooded and premeditated) but somewhere between murder two and manslaughter.Q: What do you believe?A: Let’s say I tend to support the version that will allow both sides to compromise and develop a consensus. I am afraid truth and justice are utopian concepts beyond the reach of the human race to which some of us may or may not belong.Q: So many “may”s and so many doubts.A: If there is one thing about which I can speak with a minimum degree of certainty is that certainties are the source of all evil. Show me a man who believes in his own certainties and I will show a charlatan in cahoots with the devil.# INTERVIEW (XII)****************************************ON THE IRRESISTIBLE CHARM OF ARMENIANS*********************************************** Q: “The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable.” Can you guess the source of this quotation?A: Oscar Wilde on the English aristocracy.Q: Wrong! Ara Baliozian on Armenians. What did you mean by that?A: I had in mind ghazetajis and their avid readers whose favorite subject is Turks.Q: “An ignoramus who is an expert on any given subject.”A: That sounds like me and I will not retract it. Every other day I have to deal with a reader whose sole ambition in life seems to be to assert his superior knowledge and understanding; but whose worldview has not changed since he was exposed to the platitudes of elementary schoolteachers and parish priests.Q: You don’t like Armenians very much, do you?A: I love the overwhelming majority of Armenians who are alienated, assimilated, and stay away from our community centers, churches, and interminable internecine conflicts;and I loathe people (regardless of nationality) who are convinced a good man is one who kisses ass – and kissing ass has been our destiny ever since we became subservient to foreign tyrants.Q: This ought to arouse our compassion rather than contempt.A: Have you seen Armenians at banquets? – the way they eat, sing and dance and the way they listen to the verbal garbage dished out by speechifiers who are out to sell them still another book on the massacres? But let a write make an objective observation and they cannibalize him. I am not complaining. I consider myself a lucky man. I have survived. Far better men than myself were butchered because they were betrayed to the authorities, and when they were not betrayed they were insulted, ignored, and starved. Any more questions?Q: …A: And now let us pray.# INTERVIEW (XIII)******************************************* CRITICS************************ Q: What’s your answer to those who say you repeat yourself?A: Stop reading me.Q: What about, you are consistently negative?A: It is our reality that is negative. I would be engaging in propaganda if I were to misrepresent it.Q: You write about Armenians but you are not an Armenian writer because you write in English.A: Armenian, English: these are only labels. Literature is not a national enterprise. Dostoevsky is unthinkable without Dickens. Gandhi was influenced by Ruskin and Thoreau (an English and an American writer respectively). Chekhov was influenced by Maupassant, and our own Zohrab by Chekhov. Naregatsi is unthinkable without the Bible. Plato and Marx shaped the literature of many nations.Q: You had an Armenian education. Why do you write in English?A: When I came to Canada I soon realized that no one was remotely interested in an Armenian writer, not even Armenians.Q: Zarian wrote in Armenian in America.A: That was during the Golden Age of Armenian-American literature. In my time we had already entered the Garbage Age. But even Zarian had trouble surviving in America. Not only did they refuse to publish him they also spread the rumor that he was a madman. He returned to Soviet Armenia where he was ignored and murdered – or so he believed until the day he died.Q: Speaking of Soviets: Why do you call some of your critics commissars?A: Because they issue guidelines. Individuals who would never dare to tell a bus driver or a plumber or a garbage collector how to go about their business take it upon themselves to tell me what and how to write. For every writer we are blessed with two or even twenty-two commissars. Mart bidi ch’ellank.Q: Why don’t you write more like Saroyan?A: Saroyan wrote what he thought and felt. So do I. Beyond that we share nothing in common. He was a great writer; I am a total and hopeless mediocrity. But tell me: what has Saroyan changed in our communities? Near the end of his life, when invited to visit an Armenian community center in Detroit, he said no thanks. Last time I was invited to an Armenian community center I promised to return in twenty-five years. You might say that’s another thing I share with Saroyan.Q: What’s that?A: An intolerance of shish-kebab and pilaf joints.Q: What’s your favorite food?A: Bread and olives.#INTERVIEW (XIV)***************************************** TURCOCENTRISM*********************************** Q: What is Turcocentrism?A: Turcocentrism consists in placing Turks at the center of our consciousness. For 600 years we had no choice in the matter. We have a choice today but we continue to think our central concern is to teach Turks the rules of civilized conduct even as we wallow in our own Ottomanism and Bolshevism.Q: Is there anything we can do about that?A: All problems have solutions and all solutions begin with an awareness of the problem. This is where our politicians and intellectuals have failed us. Intellectuals? Strike that. I should have said academics.Q: What is the difference?A: Academics are first and foremost careerists. They never say anything that may be against their own interests. As for politicians – or rather partisans and panchoonies – their most important project is to brainwash us into thinking we never had it so good because we are in the best of hands.Q: What is the difference between an academic and an intellectual?A: An intellectual is one who dedicates his life to ideas, that is to say, literature.Q: What is literature?A: The art of saying what must be said; the art of understanding and explaining reality. Literature is first and foremost criticism and criticism consists in exposing contradiction.Q: Such as?A: The rich and the poor. The capitalist and the proletarian. The 1% versus the 99%. Job creators versus bloodsuckers.Q: How do we reconcile these contradictions?A: Speaking for myself, I do not consider wealth or money as the source of all evil. The source of all evil is power. Which is why Marxism has also been defined as the capitalism of the state. This is also why the oppressed in communist countries are justified in saying once upon a time they were slaves, they are now slaves of former slaves.#

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Saturday, November 17, 2012************************************ INTERVIEW (XV)******************************************* CONTRADICTIONS******************************** Q: What are some of your favorite contradictions or absurdities?A: Where to begin? Imams controlling women’s fashion. Popes getting involved in the bedrooms of the nation. Armenians who love their country but hate their fellow countrymen. Americans who are against abortion but for war. Academics with the mindset of Oriental carpet dealers. Men who pretend to belong to a superior race but who don’t even qualify as the scum of the earth.Q: How do you explain these contradictions?A: Only one possible explanation:Homo sapiens is full of sh*t .#Friday, November 16, 2012********************************* INTERVIEW (XVI)********************************* MYTHS******************************Q: Shall we discuss more of our fallacies, misconceptions, and contradictions?A: How many?Q: One or two.A: How about three or four?Q: Deal!A: We are few. We are survivors. We owe our survival to the generosity of our benefactors and the dedication of our clergy…Q: Not true?A: Lies!Q: Aren’t we few – compared to Turks?A: God did not create many Turks and few Armenians. We are not few. It is our assimilation rate that is high. And if Turks are many it’s because they are a mosaic of nations, like Americans. I once met a lady who spoke Armenian but identified herself as a Turk. She must have had an Armenian grandmother. There are thousands, perhaps even millions, like her in Turkey today. Turks are if not half-Armenian than half Greek, Albanian, Jewish, Assyrian, Arab, and so on. But then all nations are mosaics,Q: Including Armenians?A: Yes.Q: What do you say to Armenians who trace their ancestry all the way back to the Bagradunis and Mamikonians?A: I say there never was such a thing as a pure-blooded king, emperor, czar, or dictator. Once upon time they were all ambitious upstarts and bastards, very much like our own Byzantine emperors. Our Mamikonians were of Chinese descent, according to Khorenatsi; and our Bagratunis identified themselves as Jews. Pure blood is a myth created by charlatans and perpetuated by racists like Hitler who was not German but Austrian.Q: What about the generosity of our benefactors? Shouldn’t we be grateful to them? A: No, in so far as by supporting one side against another they legitimize and perpetuate divisions. The same applies to our political bosses and bishops. They might as well be foreign agents whose secret mission is to bankrupt the nation – morally as well as financially.A: Who profits by our divisions? Q: Those in power. We are dying the death of a thousand self-inflicted cuts. Hence the myth, we are survivors.#FROM MY NOTEBOOKS************************************** When an Armenian is goodhe is very good;but when he is badhe is horrid.*Between a proud Armenianand a humble human being,which would you choose?*Why is it that some very smart Armenians use their brains to speak and behave like inbred morons?*Our history is clear on one point: we love our writers provided they are dead and buried. As they used to say in the Old West: “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”*I understand subservience to Turks – they were ruthless and bloodthirsty buggers. I understand subservience to Russians – ditto. But subservience to Armenians? Does anyone have an answer?*If I were a schoolteacher I would begin every lesson with the words: “Remember to say I don’t know and I don’t understand at least once every day.”*I once heard a Kurd on the radio speaking about Kurdish identity and culture the same way that an Armenian does about Armenian identity and culture. As a matter of fact I thought he was an Armenian until the end when the announcer identified him as a Kurd.#

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Sunday, November 18, 2012************************************** DARK AGES************************* After its Dark Ages the West had its Renaissance.We never had one. Our Dark Ages never came to an end. To those who say we are a wounded nation surrounded by powerful enemies,we need to be more positive in our assessment of the present situation, I say: Let’s have the truth even if it opens more wounds. We are a tough bunch. We can take it. We took it from the Turks for 600 years and from the Bolsheviks for more than 60. If being positive means covering up the criminal conduct of our dividers in the Diaspora and KGB agents in the Homeland, let us at least have the common decency not to fool ourselves into thinking we never had it so good because we are in the best of hands. We are neither “azad” nor “angakh"; and we are worse than “tshvar” and “ander.” We are at the mercy of bloodsuckers who will be satisfied only if they drink our blood and reduce us to the status of a carrion.# SMART ARMENIANS******************************* Smart Armenians are a dime-a-dozen. Honest Armenians? No comment. Smart Armenians who are honest? I know they exist because I have met one or two myself.*Where does obedience end and subservience begin?*In one of his celebrated wartime speeches Churchill spoke of the beginning of the end. If an end has a beginning, it must also have a middle and an end. Where are we? Can you guess?*We need the Russians. What we don’t need is their kleptocrats. We need our own even less. That’s the solution to our problems. Solutions are a dime a dozen. Implementation is everything! Next time you hear someone say “We need solutions,” classify him under idiots.*Abraham Lincoln: “America will never be destroyed from the outside.” You may now guess the sentence that follows. America and Armenia share much more than a few letters of the alphabet.*The unspoken principle of our ruling classes: “Preach vegetarianism, practice cannibalism.”*An objective history of Armenia: Will it ever be written?And if written, published?And if published read? And if read not discarded into the nearest waste paper basket after the first page?#BROTHERS************************ You and I are brothers if only because we were both brainwashed to believe we are what we are not. Let me begin at the beginning. Like everyone else I too was brainwashed by the scum of the earth to believe I am la crème de la crème. And more precisely I was educated as a Catholic. Millions of others were educated as Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Bolshevik atheists and so on. Not only were we all brainwashed but also taught to look up to our abusers as teachers and role models who allowed us entry into an exclusive and privileged club and to look down on the rest of mankind as poor buggers on their way to the devil. As Armenians we were taught to believe Turks are bloodthirsty barbarians and as Turks they were taught to believe whatever the hell they were taught to believeand to be proud of it. However, both history and science tell us after thousands of years of wars, rapes, abductions, slavery, and intermarriage, there is no such thing as a Turk or an Armenian, or a Palestinian and a Jew, but only dupes who were brainwashed to believe what they obviously were not.#REFLECTIONS OF A LOSER************************************** Once upon a time I used to get a great many letters by snail-mail most of which began with the words: “Sorry if I am late…” followed by a transparent lie. No one ever dared to say “I had better things to do than waste my valuable time on a loser.” *If success as a nation in our case means achieving solidarity, progress, peace, and prosperity, call me an orthodox pessimist. *If the Genocide failed to teach us solidarity, nothing can! If I am a pessimist it’s because I have been disappointed too many times. *I can’t imagine a day when I will come to terms with our Bolshevik brothers in the Homeland who operate on the assumption that they know better because they are more authentic Armenians. Neither can I imagine a day when I will see our Levantine dividers in the Diaspora as dedicated patriots, which is what they think – or are brainwashed to think -- they are. *And, by the way, when I speak of solidarity I don’t simply means coexistence with our brothers (fellow Armenians) but also with our half-brothers (Turks and Azeris). *Now then, gentle reader, is there any conceivable way in which you can come close to convincing me that we have the chance of a snowball in hell to succeed as a nation?#

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

**************************************

IMMORTALITY

****************************

Yesterday I achieved immortality in the eyes of a reader:

I called him an idiot.

*

A SORE LOSER

************************

Romney is now complaining that Obama won

because he promised all kinds of freebies to Latinos,

and other minorities.

As for him, he promised nothing except

not to raise taxes on the 1%

and to look the other way as they transfer their money

to Swiss and offshore banks.

*

THE BLAME-GAME REVISITED

****************************************

We have been taught by charlatans to believe

we are a progressive nation

because we were first to convert to Christianity.

We now have another set of charlatans who tell us

Christianity is at the root of our decline as a nation.

You want to know what I think?

I think truth and charlatanism

are mutually exclusive concepts.

*

TRIANGULATION

**********************************

When I want to know more about Tashnaks

I speak with a Ramgavar and vice versa.

I prefer a contradiction to a big lie.

*

IDEAS

***********************

“A man with an idea is my enemy,” said Napoleon.

Armenians are different.

They welcome a new idea

as long as it’s theirs.

#

LET MY PEOPLE GO

*******************************

We are told, following independence

1,500,000 Armenians emigrated from their homeland to America

and a number of other countries including Turkey;

and they did this on their own initiative

without the political guidance of a Moses-like leader

who went up to the Pharaoh in Egypt land and said,

“Let my people go.”

And I cannot help thinking that

if a similar number of Armenians had emigrated

from the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the last century

we would now have fewer victims to lament.

*

Moral: Left to their own devices,

people will make wiser decisions

than so-called patriotic

and charismatic speechifiers and sermonizers.

I would go further and say,

our leaders may well have been at the root

of all our misfortunes.

*

Wars, revolutions, counter-revolutions, massacres,

mass deportations, purges, systematic violations of human rights:

they can all be traced to a megalomaniac,

that is to say, a psychologically damaged ego

that pretends to know better

or to speak, if not in the name of Allah

than in the name of truth

or what’s best for the people.

*

Next time such a specimen visits your community,

my advice is to stay away from him

because he is either a vampire or a grave-diggers

or probably both at once.

#

ON LITERATURE

****************************

The chances are what you were taught to believe as a child

you will continue to believe as an adult.

That’s the only way to explain why

the West is predominantly Christian

and the Middle East Muslim.

*

A hundred or a thousand great writers

cannot undo the damage done to the human brain

by a single mediocre schoolteacher, parish priest, mullah, or rabbi.

The brainwashed cannot be unwashed by reason alone.

*

Under all authoritarian systems

literature is systematically purged and distorted.

If so far Armenian literature has failed

to detribalize the nation

it’s for this reason and this reason alone.

*

Those who have been in charge of our literature

(from academics to commissars of culture)

have systematically perverted its central message.

Naregatsi is not just a religious mystic

but also an astute political commentator.

When he make a long list of his sins, failings, and aberrations

(“a wicked servant, an abusive contradicter” and so on)

he speaks not only for himself but also the nation

and its leadership.

*

There is a tragic dimension in Baronian, Odian, and Massikian’s satire.

It exposes the moral bankruptcy and degeneration

of our bosses, bishops, and benefactors.

*

Perhaps what I am trying to say here is that

it will take more than a messiah or a dozen of them

to put us on the right path.

If our genocide failed to teach us anything, what can?

Surely not the verbiage of a vodanaVORji or a medaVORagan.

#

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Sunday, November 25, 2012*********************************** TO THINK MEANS TO THINK AGAINST ONESELF***********************************************As an Armenian I have no interest whatever in knowing that once upon a time we were, or we had the potential to be, a great nation. I don’t feel the need to assert superiority over any man and such need I consider racist megalomania. Once upon a time we may have had the chance to achieve greatness. If we lost that chance it may be because we are losers. Now the ambition of every loser is to be a winner in order to lord it over other losers. I want no part of that farce. All I want as a human being is to do the best I can without deceiving anyone beginning with myself.*The world is a rotten place inhabited by rotten people. Unless you have something to say against yourself, say nothing.*Honest men can be wrong too. But the dishonest, even when right, they are wrong because they exploit that single instance of honesty to enhance their credibility.*My ambition, my real ambition is to be neither popular nor great but not to give a damn about popularity and greatness.*A criminal lawyer pleading not guilty for his client who happens to be a sadistic serial killer is less dangerous to me than an academic who recycles state propaganda.*If you say the wrong thing some people will disagree with you; but if you say the right thing, many more. That’s because at all times and everywhere the brainwashed outnumber those who can think for themselves.*All power structures (be they democratic or totalitarian) support the freedom to brainwash,#Monday, November 26, 2012******************************************** ZEN AND THE ART OF KICKING ASS******************************************* Heidegger, one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century -- some say the greatest – was a member of the Nazi Party. *If the Gulbenkian Foundation (the wealthiest foundation in the world, it has been said) had not awarded a hefty grant to Prof. David Marshall Lang, would he have written a book titled ARMENIA: CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION? *Why do you think the favorite subjects of our own academics today are the Middle Ages and the Massacres? And speaking of massacres: we all know what happens to a Turkish academic who dares to speak of the recent past with any degree of honesty and objectivity. *Imagine if you can a Soviet professor of economics under Stalin teaching the superiority of the free enterprise system or an American professor in the McCarthy era teaching DAS KAPITAL.*Every academic has a sign hanging down his neck that says, “For Sale.” If on occasion I am rude, crude, or offensive it’s because Zen masters tell us kicking ass is a far more effective tool of enlightenment than kissing ass. Brown-nosers are better at teaching subservience. But I have selfish reasons for favoring the Zen method. An insulted Armenian has the memory of an elephant, and I don’t mind asserting with some degree of certainty, even pride, that I have by now insulted enough Armenians to guarantee my immortality.#Tuesday, November 27, 2012********************************* NOTES & COMMENTS**************************************** Because I was a dupe I thought I had all the right answers.*I have dealt with too many self-satisfied idiots who thought they were my betters to be even remotely tempted to assert superiority over anyone.*Whenever I entertain a positive thought about my fellow men and myself events conspire to prove me wrong.*I am much more interested in finding reasons for co-existence with our enemies than in asserting our moral superiority over them.*To say, I am an Armenian therefore I am smart is as bad as saying: I am a loser therefore I am a winner.*All belief systems rely on a propaganda line that is both convincing and flattering to one’s ego.*No matter how hard I try I cannot convince myself that to be positive means to cover up the negative.#Wednesday, November 28, 2012********************************************** ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES**************************************When those in power kill, exile, jail or silence anyone who dares to challenge their authority, they do so not only to punish the transgressor but also to intimidate all others to mind their own business. *On the day the first heretic was tortured, my guess is more than one boy or girl decided to leave theology to theologians. On the day Gandhi was assassinated I suspect more than one Indian mother was overheard advising her son to leave politics to politicians. No doubt something similar happened on the day Socrates was condemned to death, Jesus was crucified, and Joan of Arc burned at the stake. *That’s one way to explain why some animals evolved into sheep and others into wolves; also why at all times and everywhere there are more soldiers than philosophers; and why yes-men and academics outnumber dissidents and intellectuals a thousand to one.*No emperor, king, or czar, ever said to think is a criminal offense or against the laws of the land, but their actions, the policies they adopted and implemented, and the laws they enacted and enforced made that abundantly clear. Leave thinking not only to the 1% but also to the 1% of the 1%. *In his STUDY OF HISTORY, Toynbee explains that during the Ottoman era sultans thought of themselves as shepherds and their subjects as sheep; which may explain why Jesus is represented as a lamb. Unmask a pope and expose the sultan. Unmask a speechifier and sermonizer and expose the Judas.#

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

****************************************

LA CRÈME DE LA SCUM

***********************************

If our political leaders in both the Homeland and Diaspora

saw themselves as we see them,

they would wither away and die a slow lingering death.

If they appear to be completely comfortable in their own skin

it may be because they have a different image of themselves.

Consider the oligarchs in the Homeland:

I have every reason to suspect

they see themselves as honorable gentlemen

that history has thrust

into their present position of responsibility

which they are discharging to the best of their abilities.

Unlike their predecessors and role models – Stalin

and his henchmen, among them Mikoyan –

they are not serial killers,

and butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths

or anywhere else for that matter.

*

And I can’t help thinking of myself

when young and brainwashed.

I saw our bosses, bishops, and benefactors

in a completely different light.

Saw? Strike that. Make it,

I was brainwashed to see;

and no man can be as blind, deaf and dumb

as the brainwashed, especially when he is brainwashed to believe

he is not just smart and patriotic

but that rarest of all beings:

an Armenian dedicated to the cause of justice,

an idealist willing to die for his cause,

knowing full well that the chances of that happening

are so remote that it doesn’t even occur to him

to contemplate the possibility that he may well be

an orthodox coward whose number once concern is number one.

Or, as the Turkish saying (probably of Armenian provenance) has it:

“Among ten men nine are sure to be women.”

*

Let us catch up with reality by admitting the inadmissible:

the Soviet Union and the Levant

have produced a species of Homo sapiens

that ought to be a source of embarrassment

to all men with a minimum sense of decency.

*

This may explain why Armenians survive

only in the Levant and the former USSR.

Anywhere else they shed their identity and assimilate.

And they assimilate not because

of “cultural, economic, and political conditions beyond our control,”

but because they see the light.

*

To those who say there are some things

that should not be said in public, I say:

our actions speak louder than words.

Who we are, what we are and how we behave

are like a city set on a hill: they can’t be hidden.

Besides, what I am saying,

has been said before by far better men than myself.

I am not here to speak the unspeakable

but to paraphrase, repeat, and remind readers

who might as well be advanced cases

of artificially induced Alzheimer’s.

#

Friday, November 30, 2012

********************************************

THE MOST BEASTLY MADNESS

*******************************************

When the rich fight it is the poor who die.

When the old fight it is the young who die.

When fanatics fight it is the moderates who die.

When the mighty of this world fight

it is the powerless who die.

When the insane die…you may now finish that sentence.

*

As for American corporations:

they don’t fight because they are not people.

They let African-Americans and Latinos

do the fighting and dying for them.

(Romney, you are wrong again!)

*

In his Notebooks, Leonardo da Vinci,

who painted war scenes and invented war machines,

calls wars “pazzia bestialissima” (the most beastly madness).

*

We are told the war of Troy was fought

because a dickhead raped or fornicated with a floozy.

WWI was fought because an empty suit

(or should I say wardrobe)

was assassinated by a crazy Balkan anarchist.

World War II was fought because of World War I

which was meant to end all wars.

And more recently, consider the wars

in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Consider the Crusades and the colonial wars

conducted by the so-called civilized West

against native tribes in Africa, America, and Australia.

*

There is no such thing as a just war.

Even so-called defensive wars inevitably lead

to the commission of crimes against humanity,

such as the deportation or forced exodus

of innocent civilians which, if not ethnic cleansing,

might as well be damn close to it.

*

As soon as a war is fought

(won or lost, it makes no difference)

an entire class of men – from poets and ghazetajis

to military historians, diplomats, and wheeler-dealers, make it politicians)

start brainwashing the masses into believing

“our” side was absolutely right and

“their” side dead wrong.

*

To say with Marx that all wars have an economic reason

is to cover up the greed of a ruling class

that has the morality of cannibals

and the tactics of a pack of wolves.

#

Saturday, December 01, 2012

********************************************

CONFESSION

***********************

All dupes pretend to know better.

I am not casting aspersions.

I am speaking about myself when young.

*

CASTING ASPERSIONS

*******************************

I have dealt with enough bosses, bishops, and archbishops,

also benefactors and their flunkeys and hirelings,

to know that they think they have reached

such brilliant, perhaps even unattainable, heights of eminence

that no one in his right mind would dare to question their integrity,

of which they have none.

As for our former and present commissars in the Homeland:

I would place them in the same category

as pirates and pickpockets.

*

MORE ASPERSIONS

*****************************

All careerists are brown-nosers who know instinctively

whose ass to kiss and whose to kick.

*

The 99% are easily duped by the 1%;

but even the 1% has its 99%.

*

With old age comes wisdom.

Call no Armenian a friend

until he is dead and buried.

#

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December 2, 2012****************************************** ARE WE OUTNUMBERED?***************************************When I speak to an Armenian I am never sure if I am speaking to him or to his schoolteacher. I have no use for academics who spin massals and try to convince me that that once upon a time we were a great nation. What I am more interested in is knowing why have we fallen so low? Is military defeat the only reason of our moral and intellectual bankruptcy? If yes, why are we afraid to admit it? Do the bastards outnumber us a thousand to one?*When an Armenian sees the light, it can truly be said of him that he becomes a born again cadaver.*An Armenian philosophical assertion: I am smart, therefore I can pretend to know better.*When I read a writer I want to read someone smarter than I am; and, if not smarter than more ruthless in his treatment of our failings and contradictions. *To all our future critics I say: Don’t you worry about our sensibilities. We can take it. We are tough mothers. We took it from the Turks for 600 years; we can take whatever a scribbler can dish out.#Monday, December 03, 2012**************************************** SHOP TALK******************** You want to survive as a writer in our environment? Kissing ass is not enough. You must also say it smells like roses. You want to be perceived as a patriot? Loving your country is not enough. You must also be subservient to the leadership. Teach yourself to say “Yes, sir!” even when the right answer is “Nuts!” You want to be perceived as wise, tolerant, and virtuous? It is not enough to be these things. You must also make it abundantly clear that you owe everything to the wisdom, tolerance, and virtues of our bosses, bishops, benefactors and their buffoons, namely hirelings, hangers on, flunkeys, and brown-nosers. You want to solve our problems? Pretend we have none. You want to be popular? Convince yourself and others we never had it so good because we are in the best of hands. You want me to explain why I do none of these things and yet I have survived? The answer is I have done all these things, that’s why I speak with some authority on the subject. As for my survival: to die the death of a thousand cuts may also appear as survival up to the 999th cut. You want evidence? Read a history of our literature and may God have mercy on your soul, if there is a God and you have a soul.#Tuesday, December 04, 2012************************************** CAN WE LEARN FROM HISTORY?************************************************** We all know what the Turks did to us. What we need to know now is what we did or failed to do. Relax! I am not trying to assign guilt. I just want to learn from our blunders if only because I don’t want to see them repeated. *We all make mistakes. No use covering them up. To do so in an effort to appear infallible convinces no one. *Where did we go wrong? Was our blind trust in the West justified? Was the Genocide inevitable? Was it our “jagadakir” (written on our forehead)? If yes, why didn’t we see it coming? *Far from being passive victims, we did adopt and implement a policy. Did we have leaders who advocated less passion and more reason? What made us choose passion and reject reason? Who among us would dare to suggest that passion in time of crisis is a better guide to action than reason? *Obviously, as human beings we behaved as human beings, that is to say, prone to error. If we committed errors, let’s name them. We learn nothing by asserting it was all someone else’s fault. Because even as I write these lines history is repeating itself. We are experiencing another genocide – exodus from the Homeland and assimilation in the Diaspora. Do we repeat ourselves by saying we are not to blame because we are doing what must be done?#Wednesday, December 05, 2012***************************************** THE BRAINS & THE BRAINLESS************************************** We now have a generation of brainless political activists who believe they are the brains of the people. If they are the brains of the people, does that mean the people are brainless? What else, may I ask? *Our activists may be smart enough to think they have brains of the people but not smart enough to see the implications of what they are saying. So what else is new? *Another question: How much brains does it take to lead the brainless? Obviously, hardly any. Nothing further your Honor. *You may have noticed that when an Armenian assesses himself as smart, he also gives himself the license to speak and act like a certified moron. *If the people are brainless, it follows they will be stupid enough to believe everything they are told. *Still another question: If our political activists shed their blood for freedom, as they claim to have done, why is it that they are now afraid of free speech? (This final question comes with the compliments of the late Jack Karapetian, a.k.a. Hakop Karapients, distinguished author and broadcaster. *During the last century we have suffered two calamities, the other being an educational system and a press controlled by political activists. This is as true of the Homeland as it is of the Diaspora. We now also have a generation of dupes who believe everything they are told.#

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Thursday, December 06, 2012************************************* ELIMINATION*********************************** Who is responsible for the present global economic crisis? If you say that’s not an easy question to answer, I say: Nonsense! Let’s proceed by the method of elimination. It wasn’t you and me. It wasn’t plumbers and taxi drivers. It wasn’t the homeless, the poor, and the unemployed. Neither was it the middle classes. That takes care of the 99%. See what I mean?*Who is responsible for the Genocide? That’s an easy one if only because our academics have published a thousand books on the subject.What about the books of their academics? What academics? You mean hirelings of the régime, brown-nosers of the state, Kemalist charlatans. *Who is responsible for the mass exodus from the Homeland or “white massacre”? Surely not the Armenian whose sole aim in life is to work and provide for his family! *Who is responsible for the high rate of assimilation in the Diaspora? That’s an easy one too if you happen to be a brainwashed dupe: “cultural, political, and economic conditions beyond our control.”*Moral I: Don’t believe everything you are told. Moral II: Bastards know how to take care of their own.#Friday, December 07, 2012************************************ INVESTIGATIONS************************ Whenever I say anything remotely critical of Armenians I am accused of hating myself, as if it were the patriotic duty of every Armenian to be a narcissist.*Our problem, our real problem is not assimilation but dehumanization, which may happen in New York City as surely as in Yerevan. *You may have noticed that fund-raisers don’t like speaking about corruption. That would be like biting the goose that lays the golden egg. *We have not beheaded a single king. I consider that to be a serious failing on our part. *National benefactors die disappointed men. Partly their fault. They like to surround themselves with brown-nosers,and after 600 years of subservience to Turks we easily qualify as the best brown-nosers money can buy. I am now paraphrasing one of our elder statesmen, in case you thought I was an investigative reporter. *Investigative reporters cost money. They have expenses. We can’t afford them. We can afford bishops and archbishops by the dozen but not a single investigative reporter. For most of my dissenting view I rely on the wisdom and experience of our elder statesmen (may they rest in peace).#Saturday, December 08, 2012*************************************** INVESTIGATIONS (II)*********************************** Has anyone ever bothered to calculate the millions we could save if we had one cathedral instead of two, or one church instead of four? -- millions with which to feed the hungry and house the homeless? *A cathedral or a church is first and foremost a house of God. We believe in the same God (or in the absence of the same God, if you are an atheist); we read the same Bible; we sing the same hymns or sharagans. We all agree that God is neither a Catholic nor a Protestant, or for that matter, neither an Etchmiadznagan nor an Anteliassagan. *Let’s adopt a gradual approach. Let’s reduce the number of churches to one in which we could have a separate service for each denomination, so that members of one denomination coming in would meet members of the opposition going out, which may give them an opportunity to realize that they are not much different from one another notwithstanding the lies of our dime-a-dozen shit-disturbing propagandists -- if you will forgive my French.*Speaking of lies: I was brought up as a Catholic and I was taught to believe Martin Luther had divided the Church in order to fornicate with a nun. *And speaking of fornication: An Irish Catholic priest to a little girl after Sunday school: “Tell me child, what do you want to be when you grow up?” “A prostitute.” “What did you say?” “A prostitute.” “Thank God for that. I thought you said a Protestant.” *Moral I: To divide a community is almost to commit “white massacre.” Moral II: If we have a single house of God as opposed to four we may cease being a joke in the eyes of the world.#

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Sunday, December 16, 2012************************************* ANTI-PROPAGANDA******************************** Kafka in his DIARY: “What have I in common with Jews?” If you have ever asked the same question in reference to your fellow countrymen, welcome to the club. *Biologically speaking, we are as much Christian Turks as they are Muslim Armenians. *An Armenian who says he loves his fellow Armenians is either a liar or William Saroyan. *Michael (GREEN HAT) Arlen put it best when he said to his son Michael (PASSAGE TO ARARAT) Arlen: “Armenians are lovely people but stay away from them.” *An Armenian who hates his fellow Armenians can’t be all bad. *An Armenian doesn’t want to know. He wants to know better for purely one-upmanship reasons. *If ever I go back to writing fiction I will remember to use the line: “I am proud to my Armenian ancestry, said Kurdoglnanian.” *Propaganda moronizes even the smartest. Hence the phenomenon of a smart Armenianwho voices views and opinions worthy of a retard. *In both the Ottoman Empire and the USSR we were brainwashed to believe we lived in the best of all possible worlds. Are things much different in America today? *History does not repeat itself. It stays the same. *My ambition: to say what everybody knows but doesn’t want to admit it.*Beware of good Armenians. Some of my worst enemies are Armenians who think they are better Armenians.#Monday, December 17, 2012*************************************** AS I SEE IT*********************** The homeless, the hungry, the unemployed: let others look after them. We prefer bloodsuckers, thieves, deceivers, and fugitives from justice. *To meet an Armenian is to meet a foreigner. *Kachaturian in music, Zarian in literature. If the first is better known it’s because he wrote dances and lullabies. *If the Turk that resides within us and the Turk who lives in Turkey were to meet, they wouldn’t recognize each other. *No Armenian can be as ignorant as the Armenian who pretends to know all there is to know about Armenians. *We have probably invented and spoken more lies about ourselves than all other nations combined. *Power corrupts. So does weakness. We are a proof of that. *A reader writes: “You don’t know what you are saying. I visited Armenia recently and everybody I met was nice.” Behold the birth of an expert!*Sooner or later all closed systems of thought are perverted. If they preach love, they practice hatred. If they preach peace, they go on the warpath. If they preach love of country,they practice hatred of fellow countrymen.#Tuesday, December 18, 2012************************************ MEMO TO A WRITER****************************** You want to play it safe? Easy! Write about nightingales serenading the moon and the eternal snows of Mt. Ararat. Consider all other subjects as no-man’s land that you enter at your own risk.*For most of my life I could not tell the difference between subservience and respect for authority. I recycled chauvinist crap with a clear conscience. I thought of myself as a future role model and not as a brown-noser and a coward. I trusted my elders. I surrendered my mind and soul to them the way my predecessors trusted theirs to the Sultan and Stalin.*A line worth remembering: “In politics all abstract terms conceal treachery.”*In both capitalism and communism the only thing you really own is your death.#Wednesday, December 19, 2012******************************************** TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY************************************** What I have been trying to explain, without much success it seems, is that unlike tsunamis, hurricanes, and earthquakes our misfortunes were not one-sided affairs. It wasn’t all the Sultan’s or Stalin’s fault. We had something to do with them if only because we didn’t see them coming; or rather, we didn’t want to see them, and “to the blind everything is sudden.” *Until we realize and admit the extent of our contribution to our misfortunes, defeats, and catastrophes we condemn ourselves to understand nothing about the world in which we live, our enemies, and ultimately ourselves. *Is there anything we could have done to prevent any one of our tragedies? Strike that question. Let us ask instead, is there anything we can do today to minimize the damage perpetrated by the “white massacre” (namely, exodus from the Homeland and assimilation in the Diaspora)? Because if there is and so far we have done nothing, it follows we are at the mercy of men who are not just incompetent and corrupt but also our worst enemies. *Speaking of earthquakes: I remember an American pundit saying “Earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings do;” and a Soviet bureaucrat from Moscow (with an Armenian surname) on TV explaining the Earthquake in Armenia with the words: “We don’t control building codes in the republics.” They control every single line published in newspapers and periodicals but not building codes that may kill thousands.#

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

*****************************************

ON SUBSERVIENCE…

AMONG OTHER THINGS.

*************************************

Subservience is subservience no matter how you slice it.

It makes no difference whether you are subservient

to a Turk, Russian, or any one

of our bosses, bishops, or benefactors.

The free Armenian who is neither alienated nor assimilated

is an absurdity, he doesn’t exist,

he is a fiction of someone fertile imagination.

An Armenian needs his subservience

the way others need their freedom.

*

To be a good Armenian means

to recycle the propaganda line

of a dogmatic ideology, orthodoxy or mafia

even when the propaganda line happens to be

no better than verbal vomit.

*

“This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,”

translated into Armenian reads:

“This is the beginning of a lifelong feud.”

*

To be a Turk to Turks:

that’s the secret ambition of Armenians

who are proud to identify themselves as patriotic Armenians.

*

As far as I know no Armenian poet has ever written a poem

titled “To my sweet fellow Armenians.”

#

Friday, December 21, 2012

*************************************

THE UGLY ARMENIAN

***********************************

If you are an Armenian from the Middle East

don’t read what follows.

It may not be flattering to your colossal ego.

*

An Armenian from the Middle East

knows all there is to know about

Armenians, Turks, Jews, Arabs, and Americans.

What he doesn’t know can’t be worth knowing.

He is born to explain, not to understand.

As a result, on the day he dies

he will be as ignorant as on the day he was born.

*

I have no doubt whatever in my mind

there are Armenians from the Middle East

who know their limitations

but I have yet to meet one.

*

One difference between Armenians and Americans is that

Americans have published a best-selling book

titled THE UGLY AMERICAN.

*

Between a general who is caught in adultery

and another who burns down and levels

towns and villages in distant places,

I am all for dedicating a monument in a city park

to the fornicator.

*

Say yes or no but always leave some room

for the unknown and the unknowable

because that’s God’s dwelling place.

*

Propaganda flatters, therefore it is wrong.

As yanks are fond of saying after delivering a cliché,

“That’s my philosophy.”

*

Dogmatic assertions can’t be right

because they demand not only agreement

but also subservience.

*

At the turn of the last century in the Ottoman Empire

we were paranoids in reverse – we saw friends everywhere

but didn’t see the mortal enemy next door.

#

Saturday, December 22, 2012

*******************************************

WHY I AM AGAINST PATRIOTISM

*******************************************

First and foremost because

some of the worst crimes against humanity

were committed in the name of patriotism.

*

Patriotism means to place more value

on a fraction of mankind than on mankind as a whole.

*

To be a patriot means to trust the judgment and integrity

of politicians, that is to say, individuals

that history has exposed again and against

as habitual and compulsive liars.

*

To trust habitual and compulsive liars means

to abdicate not only one’s responsibility

but also logic, common sense and decency.

That is to say, to be not human but subhuman –

a dupe, a vessel of lies and prejudices whose aim is

not to enhance life but death.

*

To be a patriot means to admit

our understanding of reality is so limited and defective

that we need others to tell us what to think and understand

even when these others are corrupt and incompetent,

that is to say, no better than the rest of us.

*

Patriotism can’t be right if only because

everybody says my patriotism is better than yours

and no one has ever said my patriotism is second class

but yours is first class.

*

Speaking as an Armenian I could go on and say

I have 1,500,000 more reasons but I doubt very much

if that will convince any one of our patriots

to give up his patriotism.

It may even have the opposite effect.

#

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

*************************************

HISTORY

**************************

What do we really know about our past

and more particularly about the 600 years

in the Ottoman Empire

that preceded the Genocide?

We know that we coexisted with the Turks

very much like our concubines in their harems,

our janissaries in their armies

and our ablest men in their bureaucracy.

Our patriarch in Istanbul was the Sultan’s tax collector.

We know that some Armenians prospered

and others led a subhuman existence

very much like the Untouchables in India,

the Blacks in America,

the serfs in Russia,

and the very poor in England

(as anyone who has read Dickens knows).

What changed was the fact that

the children of prosperous Armenians

were sent to Europe to complete their education

and discovered a new life there.

They wanted more freedom and power

and were encouraged in their ambition by the West.

Our teenagers confused Europe’s verbal support

with military intervention and that was a fatal error

for which the people paid dearly.

Our revolutionaries were our “best and brightest”

very much like “the best and brightest” who justified

the American involvement in Vietnam.

With one important difference.

Whereas the Yanks are smart enough and secure enough

to admit their blunders (see McNamara’s memoirs on the subject)

we are too self-righteous, stubborn, and dogmatic to do so.

As a result the offspring of our revolutionaries

(or should I say blunderers) continue to portray themselves

as dedicated patriots who can do no wrong –

very much like their counterparts,

the Kemalists, in Turkey.

#

Monday, December 24, 2012

*******************************************

REALITY

******************

Reality is too big and complex a concept

to be grasped by a single mind, or, for that matter,

a single school of thought, ideology, religion,

political party or propaganda line.

*

After thousands of years of philosophical speculation

and scientific research we can’t even answer

the simplest of all questions – such as,

why things exist.

*

When one or both sides assert Truth or God

is on their side, paralysis is sure to follow.

The problem with Armenians and Turks is that

both their educational systems are politically controlled;

and when dupes meet

they can only parrot a propaganda line,

and two divergent propaganda lines can never meet.

#

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

*****************************************

HUMBUG

********************

He who says we need solutions to our problems

is a humbugger engaged in humbuggery.

You want solutions?

Read our writers beginning with Khorenatsi’s LAMENTATION.

You want the kind of leader who will guide us

out of the mess we are in?

Read philosophers from Plato to Sartre.

Even better, read the Scriptures

where you may even find a self-portrait.

*

“Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

*

“Like a dog that returns to his vomit

is a fool that repeats his folly.”

*

“Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?

There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

*

“He who despises the word will die.”

*

“A poor man is better than a liar.”

*

“Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity

than a man who is perverse in speech and is a fool.”

*

“A fool’s mouth is his ruin,

and his lips are a snare to himself.”

*

“He who states his case first seems right,

until the other comes and [cross-] examines him.”

*

“No respect is shown to the elders.

Woe to us, for we have sinned!

For this our heart has become sick,

and our eyes have grown dim.”

*

Dim?

Make it blind.

And when the blind lead the blind…”

So much for our bosses, bishops, benefactors

and their dupes

who believe we are in the best of hands.

#

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

******************************************

ON REVOLUTION

********************************

The French Revolution succeeded

because it was an essentially French affair –

French citizens against a French king.

The Russian Revolution succeeded for similar reasons.

The American Revolution succeeded

because it was a WASP uprising

against a distant WASP monarch.

Our revolution failed because we made demands

on an alien despot who was the political

as well as religious head of a disintergating empire.

*

To use the words of one of elder statesmen,

we weren’t just “a frog trying to rape an elephant,”

we were “infidel dogs” trying to f*ck “a wounded tiger.”

To paraphrase Voltaire,

and because it was a religious

as well as apolitical confrontation,

there were very few survivors.

*

This was clearly seen by foreign observers, diplomats,

and missionaries as well as our own bureaucrats

within the Ottoman administration,

but our revolutionaries chose to ignore their warnings.

*

But perhaps the most important difference

between our revolution and the others mentioned above

is the fact that ours was not a popular uprising;

but the uprising of a non-representative minority

within an ethnic minority --

in view of the fact that most Armenians within the Empire

were illiterate and lacked political awareness.

*

For more on this subject see

Pars Tuglaci, THE ROLE OF THE DADIAN FAMILY

IN OTTOMAN, SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, AND POLITICAL LIFE (Istanbul, 1993),

and my DEFINITIONS: A CRITICAL COMPANION

TO ARMENIAN HISTORY AND CULTURE (Kitchener, 1998).

#

Thursday, December 27, 2012

****************************************

YESTERDAY & TODAY

******************************

In America, yesterday’s hippies have become

today’s bankers and CEOs.

Something similar has happened to our revolutionaries:

yesterday’s idealists have become today’s businessmen.

*

“America’s business is business,”

a famous American once said.

More recently an even more famous American

(President John F. Kennedy) called businessmen sons of bitches.

The full quotation reads:

“My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches

but I never believed it till now.”

(See BARTLETT’S FAMILIAR QUOTATIONS, 2012 edition, page 786.)

*

One of our elder statesmen from the Middle East once told me:

Whenever the old revolutionaries met

with their younger counterparts,

they (the old) were treated liked losers and figures of fun.

*

Until our music and architecture acquire

the purity and universality of their medieval ancestors,

I will continue to think of Armenians

as Levantinized and Sovietized mongrels

or “Oreo” Armenians – that is,

Armenians on the outside,

Arabs, Turks, Russians, and Yanks on the inside.

*

Don’t think of honesty as a finished product

but as a work in progress – as a goal towards which

we either advance or retreat.

And so far I see nothing but retreat.

#

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Friday, December 28, 2012

********************************************

TO MY SWEET FELLOW ARMENIANS

*****************************************************

To how many of my fellow countrymen I could say:

“You are Armenian.

I am Armenian.

Therefore we have nothing in common.”

*

After Obama won the election

a young woman in the South was so angry that

when she found out her husband had not voted,

she ran him over with her SUV.”

My first thought on reading this story in my morning paper:

“She must have had some Armenian blood in her veins.”

Or, as Turgenev (who despised Dostoevky) would say,

“Straight out of Dostoevsky.”

*

Another story told by a Canadian-Armenian woman:

“I once met two elegantly dressed ladies in a supermarket

speaking Armenian. I approached them and said in Armenian:

‘You are Armenian?’ They immediately took a step backward

as if I were suffering from a contagious disease.”

And I remember to have thought:

They must have been from the Middle East,

who knew instinctively there is no such thing

as a friendly Armenian without ulterior motives.

*

Sometimes I am told I am consistently negative

about my fellow Armenians.

Others tell me I should write more like Saroyan

who despised his wife (whom he married twice)

and both his children.

#

Saturday, December 29, 2012

****************************************

TWO GENOCIDES

******************************

There are two genocides in our past

and the first one lasted 600 years

during which they re-created us in their own image.

I repeat, there are two genocides –

the remembered one and the unremembered or ignored one.

The documented and exposed one,

and the covered up and forgotten.

*

There is an entire library of material on the second genocide;

not even a whisper on the first.

No one can be as blind as the man who refuses to see.

Our blindness is a self-induced condition.

It is a blindness planned, organized, and implemented

by the pornography of our own phony patriotism and propaganda.

*

If we refuse to see the obvious

it’s because we are as guilty as the perpetrators.

We did not shape our history.

History shaped us.

And what shaped us more than any event or factor

is 600 years of subservience.

*

Nothing degrades and corrupts a man more

than subservience to a morally corrupt power.

Such subservience is worse than suicide.

In suicide only the body is killed.

In subservience, the spirit.

*

In the second genocide only our bodies were slaughtered.

In the first, our spirit.

Turks re-created us in their own image as surely

as God is said to have created us in His.

*

The 11th Commandment should read:

“Thou shalt not be subservient to any man.”

The Turks have programmed us to hate our fellow Armenians.

The massacre continues.

#

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

***************************************

IN BRIEF

******************

A party of truth cannot survive

Without a big lie.

*

If you can’t throw the bums out

you can change nothing.

*

If the Pope is a crook

can his bishops be honest men?

*

As long as we remain divided

the Sultan continues to rule.

*

We agree only on one thing,

to remain divided.

*

Turks conquered Armenia

not after winning a war

but after we lost many small battles.

*

A member of a party is like a dog

who knows his master

but not his master’s master.

*

A religious leader

is a religious leader

regardless of belief system.

A politician is a politician

regardless of nationality.

Believe nothing they say.

#

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

****************************************

AS I SEE IT

******************************

Never underestimate the cunning of your adversary

especially if you have been moronized into thinking

you are smart.

*

I rate understanding above hating the enemy.

I believe the more we understand

the closer we get to God,

including the God who stood by and did nothing

to stop the massacre of the innocent.

*

We have been shaped by our mountains and valleys,

and where there are no mountains we raise them;

and where there are no valleys, we dig them.

*

Let Americans speak of the American dream;

we can only speak of the nightmares we must avoid.

*

Teach yourself to say and repeat:

God did not make me a dupe;

I chose to be one.

*

In politics a whore has a better chance to succeed than a virgin.

A bordello madam would make an ideal candidate.

#

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

************************************

BON APPETIT

******************************

Let the world celebrate the New Year;

I have more important fish to fry –

and today I propose to fry our revolutionaries.

*

When revolutionaries become politicians

they turn into cannibals.

This is what happened in France;

this is what happened in Russia;

and this is what’s happening with us.

Hence Zarian’s dictum:

“Armenians survive by cannibalizing one another.

*

Among Armenians it is impossible to be

a member of a political party

without being a moronized fanatic.

There are so many lies to swallow

and so many blunders to cover up!

*

Consider the Ottoman Bank caper as a case in point.

As a child I was brainwashed to believe

it was a major coup even though our “heroes” survived

and the people paid a heavy price –

as many as 4000 innocent civilians (some say 6000)

were brutally massacred in retaliation.

*

I was led to believe it was a major success

because the whole world learned about our plight.

In other words, it was a success as a publicity stunt.

We raised the consciousness of the world.

And what did the world do

in the catastrophe that followed?

Nothing!

What is the world doing today a hundred years later?

Even President Obama is afraid to use the “G” word.

Some success!

Some publicity stunt!

#

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

**************************************

“AGHBER”

******************************

“You are a disgrace to the nation.”

“Was your grandmother a Turkish whore?”

“Why are you single? Are you a homosexual?”

“How much are they paying you to write as you do?”

“You are full of shit, Baliozoglu!”

“You are a tavajan.”

“Nobody reads you any more. So why don’t you shut up?”

“Nobody gives a damn what you think.”

“You call yourself an Armenian?”

*

No! As a matter of fact I don’t.

I do my utmost to avoid labels.

First and foremost I identify myself

as a human being,

and I consider all other identifications

accidents of history.

Let others use them like flags

with which to cover their nakedness.

#

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Thursday, January 03, 2013

*****************************************

CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE

**************************************

Turks read and quote me?

Let them!

I refuse to join a conspiracy of silence

by writing about “nightingales serenading

the moon and the stars” (Leo).

*

If we are the mercy of “Turks who speak Armenian fluently,”

(according to one of our elder statesmen)

who will benefit by my silence?

If we are experiencing another genocide (“sbidak chart”) –

that is to say, exodus from the Homeland

and assimilation in the Diaspora –

will my silence slow down or accelerate the process?

If in the eyes of our “betters”

we are no better than garbage (“aghber”) and “shits,”

I see nothing questionable in pointing out the fact that,

very much like the rest of us,

they could be wrong.

*

If the Turks know us better than we know ourselves –

after all, it was they who initiated and implemented

a policy of “divide and rule” --

what’s new in what I have been saying?

*

I don’t adjust what I think and write

to please this or that imaginary audience.

I deal with facts.

I deal with reality.

I don’t control reality.

I try to understand it.

*

When told to give them hell,

Truman is quoted as having said:

“I don’t do that. I speak the truth

and they think they are in hell.”

If that’s good enough for an American presidential candidate,

it ought to be good enough for a minor Armenian scribbler.

*

Covering up the blunders of our political and religious leaders

has nothing to do with patriotism

and everything to do with subservience and cowardice.

#

Friday, January 04, 2013

**************************************

THROW THE BUMS OUT

*********************************

People don’t divide themselves; leaders do –

political leaders in cahoots with religious leaders;

bosses and bishops.

and what motivates them is not love of God or Truth

but lust for power.

*

They say they divide us in the name of dogmas

that are far more important

than the survival of the nation

and the welfare of the people.

If you believe that

you will believe anything.

*

All politicians are compulsive and habitual liars

who promise heaven and deliver hell.

Only the brainwashed take them seriously

and a brainwashed Armenian is a moronized dupe

who believes he cannot be fooled

because he is smart.

Smart when it comes to selling Oriental rugs, maybe;

but a damn fool when it comes to politics, certainly!

*

To divide and undermine the integrity of the nation

is enemy action, therefore treason.

*

The ideal dupe is a child that cannot yet think for himself.

Hence schools run by political parties

on the theory that once brainwashed always a dupe.

There it is, an outline of our central problem.

The solution is obvious

and if you can’t see it it’s because you have been “educated”

to be blind. And when “the blind lead the blind

both shall fall into the ditch.”

#

Saturday, January 05, 2013

************************************

ON PROPAGANDA

*******************************

Propaganda dehumanizes as well as

moronizes its dupes.

*

The difference between someone

who thinks for himself

and another who recycles propaganda is that

the first is a human being, therefore fallible,

and the second is a parrot

who has no conception of right and wrong

and is therefore infallible.

I speak from experience.

I was brought up as a parrot

and remained one for most of my life.

*

One way to tell the difference

between a parrot and a human being

is by their vocabulary.

Parrots read from the same script,

deliver the same line,

and use similar phrases, expressions and verbal formulas,

one of them being:

“We owe our continued existence

to our heroic freedom fighters;

if it weren’t for them

there would be no Armenia today.”

*

Our Stalinists could say the same thing

with one significant difference.

Whereas we know 350,000 Armenian boys died

during World War II fighting the Germans,

we have no idea how many freedom fighters died

in World War I.

If that is a state secret

there must be a good reason for it.

What is the reason?

I ask because I don’t know.

As always I have more questions than answers.

*

Why is it that we know the number of innocent civilians

that were slaughtered in 1915

but we don’t know the number of our heroes that fell?

*

In the Ottoman Bank caper

about a dozen heroes took part

and about four perished;

we also know that about 4000 (some say 6000)

innocent civilians were slaughtered in retaliation.

The ratio here is 1000 civilians to one freedom fighter.

Next question: does this ratio hold true

for the next chapter of our history?

Again I have more questions than answers

and as always I look forward to being enlightened.

#

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Sunday, January 06, 2013

***********************************

WORK WITH ME

***********************

“What motivates you to write as you do

is self-hatred.”

There is some truth in that;

but hatred only of my former self

when I was a dupe and believed everything I was told

by my elders.

*

“How dare you blame the victims?”

I blame them only in so far as they allow themselves

to be victimized all over again by charlatans

who speak in the name of God and Country

but whose first and most important priority

is their own powers and privileges.

*

“You are an enemy of the nation.”

An enemy yes, but only of perennial losers

who speak with a forked tongue

and have consistently refused to learn from their blunders.

An enemy to them certainly,

but the best of friend to the ignorant,

the oppressed, the dupe,

and the slave who have been subservient

to brutal tyrants for so many centuries

that they can’t imagine

what it means to be free.

*

“I believe nothing you say!”

That’s because very much like me

you were “educated” to place your trust

on our dividers, that is to say gravediggers

who pretend to be unaware of the fact that

by dividing the community and the nation

they carry on a policy initiated and implemented

by sultans and commissars.

*

“Sometimes I have no idea what you blabber about endlessly.”

I can give you arguments,

cite historic precedents,

quote an international array of pundits, intellectuals, philosophers,

and even our own writers on our character as a people…

I can do all that and more

but what I cannot do is

give you understanding.

#

Monday, January 07, 2013

*****************************************

REFLECTIONS

**********************************

If I were to use a less rude and crude style of writing

when dealing with our foibles and failures

would I have a better chance of convincing some of my readers

that they are brainwashed dupes?

Maybe. I am not sure.

But I am sure of one thing.

It would be unspeakable arrogance on my part

to think I can say something that hasn’t been said before

by far better men than myself.

*

If I write the way I write it may be because

deep inside somewhere I have given up.

If 1500 years of literature failed to change a single iota

in our collective existence what chance do I have?

Think of what I write as another lamentation –

the lamentation of an unbeliever or an atheist

who believes in god but a god

who is unknowable and incomprehensible

and wants to stay that way.

*

I believe the best argument against the existence of god

is organized religions.

I know now that even if I were to speak

with the tongue of angels and prophets

I would make no difference because an Armenian

is first and foremost an impenetrable wall.

#

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

***********************************

ARMENIANS AND JEWS

***************************************

No one is beyond salvation.

But my guess is

if 1500 years of literature failed to save us,

only a messiah may have a better chance.

*

I once heard an Armenian lady say:

“I don’t care what everyone says.

Jesus was not a Jew but an Armenian.

They crucified him;

we were the first to accept him.”

*

A Jewish friend once said to me:

“You are lucky. Only Turks are after your ass.

The whole world is after ours.”

*

As a young man Zarian had messianic ambitions.

But in America they spread the rumor

that he was a madman.

In Armenia they silenced him.

We did not crucify him.

We buried him alive.

*

I once heard an Armenian Negro –

that’s right: a black Armenian from Africa

who spoke Armenian fluently say:

“Jews have a superior mutual support system.”

That’s common knowledge of course.

It is also common knowledge that

we speak about it all the time,

but nobody does a damn thing.

Talk is cheap.

Actions may boomerang.

*

Suppose a bishop were to sermonize on unity,

a member of the congregation would be justified in asking:

“Would you consider resigning your position

for the sake of unity?”

*

Some Armenians –

especially Armenians from the Middle East –

see Jews everywhere.

By contrast I see Armenians everywhere.

Officially there are no more than

a dozen Armenian families where I live

(population 500,000).

But whenever I open the telephone book

I see an Armenian on every page.

*

Our chief of police is an Armenian.

For many years our orchestral conductor

was also an Armenian.

I once wrote him a letter asking

if he would be willing to be interviewed –

that’s when I contributed regularly to several weeklies.

There was no reply.

#

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

*****************************************

THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW

*****************************************

All dupes identify themselves as patriots

and all idiots like to be called smart.

And that’s exactly what propaganda does:

it flatters as it moronizes.

*

I am not smart.

I just deviated from the conventional and narrow path

by a fraction of an inch and saw a different horizon.

*

An Armenian is another Armenian’s Turk.

If all Turks were to disappear tomorrow,

nothing would change.

*

If there are no atheists in foxholes it’s because

in foxholes one becomes a target of the unpredictable,

that is to say the Incomprehensible and the Unknowable,

which is as good a definition of God as any.

*

If “taxation without representation is tyranny,”

fund-raising without accounting is larceny.

*

The ambition of every sardine is to be a shark.

*

On the day I realized I could say what I think

(as opposed to parroting a propaganda line)

I felt as though I had discovered a new continent.

*

The only thing our political leaders have learned from history

is how to create a new generation of dupes and idiots.

#

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

****************************************

SURVIVORS

************************

To understand history

you must first understand the history of historians

and their criteria for selecting facts.

*

The Ottoman Empire on the eve of its collapse:

a regime of degenerate sultans,

ruthless bloodthirsty buggers

clinging to power by massacring innocent civilians

by the thousand.

Can you imagine anything more repulsive? –

except perhaps a regime of former KGB agents.

*

It is to be noted that sultans were both

political as well as religious leaders --

the equivalent of emperors and popes.

My question is:

why would a religious leader need a harem

of a thousand concubines most of them,

like himself, the offspring of “infidel dogs"?

*

The hardest thing in the world:

to be an Armenian without making enemies.

The easiest: to make enemies –

enemies who have no interest in understanding

what you are saying and why you are saying it.

What they hate more than anything else, it seems,

is your right to say what you think.

*

We fool ourselves when we say we are survivors.

The real survivors are the Sultan and Stalin.

#

Friday, January 11, 2013

************************************

NATIONAL HONOR

*******************************

When was the last time any one of our former KGB agents in the Homeland

and merchants in the Diaspora dared to utter the words “national honor”?

*

Thomas Jefferson: “Merchants have no country.

The mere spot they stand on

does not constitute so strong an attachment

as that from which they draw their gains.”

*

Now listen to our Raffi

saying the same thing with fewer words:

“Merchants are men without a country.

Profit is their only homeland.”

*

Instead of Goya Aivazovsky;

and instead of Shostakovich, Khachatourian.

*

Goethe: “Nothing is more terrible

than ignorance in action.”

*

If I am a second-rater it may be because

our first-raters have been systematically silenced

by KGB agents and merchants.

Armenian literature has been an endless war on two friends.

*

They don’t like what I say

because I don’t write what they think.

They think?

Strike that.

Make it, “they think they think.”

*

They resent me because I refuse to behave

like their unpaid secretary

taking down their unspoken words.

*

An American on America,

a Russian on Russia,

a German on Germany:

Don’t expect to hear the truth unless of course

they are dissidents:

Thoreau, Solzhenitsyn, Thomas Mann.

#

Saturday, January 12, 2013

************************************

FASCISTS

********************

When Hitler lost World War II

he blamed it on the German people.

That’s the way it is with all fascists –

they never make mistakes.

*

When Romney lost the election

he at no time blamed it on his ineptitude

and verbal blunders.

*

To this day our own revolutionaries expect us to believe

their operation was a success even if the patient died.

*

Turks worship Kemal and they have every right to:

after degenerate sultans any half-assed boozer and fornicator

would be seen as a great statesman worthy of universal adulation.

*

The common language of all political leaders is the same –

propaganda, based on the assumption that

the masses are so dumb that they will believe

anything they are told.

*

To this day Jews believe they are the Chosen;

Brits believe they were born to civilize the rest of the world;

and Armenians believe they are smart.

*

Speaking for myself:

I believe only idiots fall for a propaganda line

that flatters their vanity.

On the day this is understood,

mankind will be born again.

#

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

***********************************

ACTION

*********************

We didn’t have to rise against the Sultan

to topple him: the Young Turks were going to do that for us.

As for the Young Turks:

Kemal was going to deal with them

in his own time.

And Kemal had his own nemesis and killer: booze.

*

We were wrong again when more recently

we adopted Palestinians as our role models

and engaged in random acts of assassination.

*

When I say “we” I don’t mean the majority of the people

who after long centuries of subservience under brutal tyrants

learned to wait, but a non-representative group

of self-appointed “freedom fighters”

(in their own version of the story)

and terrorists (as others, not all of them odar, saw them).

*

For once history was on our side

but we were too blind to see it;

and “when the blind lead the blind…”

*

Moral: Sometimes inaction is the best action.

*

Moral II: “Nothing can be as terrible

as ignorance in action.”

#

Monday, January 14, 2013

**************************************

RECAPITULATING

*******************************

In politics and diplomacy

objective judgment is better than emotional involvement.

The Brits are right: there are no friends and enemies in politics;

only interests.

*

Anger is a short madness.

So is hatred and in general all emotions

that cloud and distort one’s judgment.

*

There are two kinds of leaders:

the competent and the incompetent.

Avedik Issahakian is right:

we have been cursed with earthquakes,

a bad neighborhood, and fools as leaders.

*

The astonishing ease with which a fool

will convince himself or

allow himself to be brainwashed to believe

he is smart.

*

Memo to our leaders:

Unless you study history and learn from your blunders,

you will be a curse not a blessing to you nation.

*

Our enemies, our real enemies are

neither Turks nor Russians

but Ottomanized and Sovietized Armenians.

*

Q: The brainwashed: are they men or apes?

A: Apes who speak like parrots.

*

In an article dealing with the leadership

of native Indians in Canada I read the following words

in this morning’s paper:

“mismanagement, misappropriation, incompetence

and poor accountability.”

Poor Indians.

Poor Armenians.

#

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

*****************************************

CALLING A SPADE A SPADE

***********************************

All power structures engage in propaganda,

including the Catholic Church.

As a child I once met Cardinal Aghajanian

who handled Vatican’s propaganda department–

identified as “propagation of the faith.”

He was a sweet old man,

all smiles and small talk.

*

The aim of propaganda is to legitimize

political gangsterism

by moronizing the masses.

Like all Armenians I have been exposed

to my share of speechifiers

who engaged in partisan propaganda.

It didn’t even occur to me to question their integrity.

*

Propaganda and commercial advertising

might as well be twins.

The aim of advertising is to sell more products

by emphasizing the positive

and covering up the negative, like cancer in tobacco.

*

The hidden aim of political propaganda

is to raise another generation of killers.

*

Dupes of propaganda come in all sizes and shapes,

including highly intelligent men with impeccable credentials.

Two cases from the Vietnam era that come readily to mind:

George Romney (a governor as well as a presidential candidate,

very much like his son Mitt)

and Robert McNamara,

one of Kennedy’s “best and brightest.”

Romney admitted publicly to have been “brainwashed” (his word)

and McNamara acknowledged his blunder in his war memoirs.

*

Remember, no one can claim a monopoly on truth.

If you want to be born again as a human being

as opposed to a moronized dupe,

reassess periodically your fundamental assumptions

and the dogmas of your belief system.

#

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

****************************************

STATUS QUO

*************************

Three generations of our ablest men

have lived and died trying to solve our problems.

Result? We now have a generation of dupes

who believe we never had it so good

because we are in the best of hands

and that our greatest problem

is a handful of malcontents

whose sole aim in life is to promote gloom and doom,

pessimism, negativism, and defeatism.

*

And then there are the brainless who think

(if you will forgive the overstatement)

just because they have a computer

they are also entitled to have an opinion.

Or, in the words of an eminent Canadian poet

(may the Good Lord have mercy on his soul)

“just because they have an asshole,

they must also have an opinion.”

*

To say we are free to subscribe to a belief system

of our own choice even when it is a false one

is like saying we are free to choose slavery.

Or again, if I believe my lie to be the truth,

no one is in a position to tell me otherwise

because I know what’s best for myself.

*

When this kind of mentality because the dominant mindset,

genocide becomes not a possibility but a certainty.

*

When on the eve of the Genocide Zohrab warned

“This time they will slaughter us indiscriminately,”

they said “Zohrab effendi is exaggerating,”

thus implying they knew better.

What has changed?

#

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

**************************************

PHOBIA

**************************

Because I am against divisions and dividers

on the grounds that “a house divided against itself cannot stand,”

I am identified by some readers as an enemy

motivated by “self-hatred.”

The true aim of these “critics” is not to expose

contradictions or inconsistencies in what I say

but to discharge verbal manure –

in the words of one such critic from the Homeland:

“You are full of shit, Baliozoglu!”

*

The fact is, our dividers divide us

not because they think divisions are good for us

or because they believe in unassailable or infallible dogmas

but because that’s how they make a living.

Divisions are their bread and butter

in addition to being their sole source of power and prestige.

To attack their source of income

or to expose them as charlatans,

as they see me doing

is almost to condemn them to starvation.

*

If the “starving Armenian” is a cliché,

fear of starvation must be a phobia

shared by all dividers who must know

they can’t fool all the people all the time

and anyone who can think for himself

will sooner or later identify them

not as the saviors of the nation

but as its gravediggers.

#

Friday, January 18, 2013

****************************************

EXTRAPOLATING

**********************************

Our situation is not as bad as I have been describing it.

It’s much worse!

If for a hundred years after our genocide

we have failed to develop a consensus,

can we even dare to hope that some day

jihadists will come to terms with infidel dogs?

*

We live in a world where everyone thinks

everyone else has been brainwashed

and is therefore subhuman and beyond salvation.

In such an environment World War III,

that is to say, universal genocide becomes inevitable.

This is now as clear to me as daylight.

What is the solution?

There is none!

*

When the brainwashed meet the brainwashed

there can be no dialogue, compromise, and consensus.

And when Armenian meets Armenian –

you may now draw your own conclusions.

The verdict “mart bidi ch’ellank” applies to all mankind

and by the time our superpatriots realize

we are only a minor footnote in an unwritten text

it will is too late.

*

In a sense, a man of faith who believes in the next world

has already committed murder and suicide

in the name of a dehumanized god

that rules over a dehumanized mankind.

*

There is a 1952 French film titled

NOUS SOMMES TOUS DES ASSASSINS (We are all assassins).

If I remember correctly it dealt with the French Revolution

on one level and World War II on another.

I know now that it deals with the world in which we live.

#

Thursday, January 17, 2013

**************************************

PHOBIA

**************************

Because I am against divisions and dividers

on the grounds that “a house divided against itself cannot stand,”

I am identified by some readers as an enemy

motivated by “self-hatred.”

The true aim of these “critics” is not to expose

contradictions or inconsistencies in what I say

but to discharge verbal manure –

in the words of one such critic from the Homeland:

“You are full of shit, Baliozoglu!”

*

The fact is, our dividers divide us

not because they think divisions are good for us

or because they believe in unassailable or infallible dogmas

but because that’s how they make a living.

Divisions are their bread and butter

in addition to being their sole source of power and prestige.

To attack their source of income

or to expose them as charlatans,

as they see me doing

is almost to condemn them to starvation.

*

If the “starving Armenian” is a cliché,

fear of starvation must be a phobia

shared by all dividers who must know

they can’t fool all the people all the time

and anyone who can think for himself

will sooner or later identify them

not as the saviors of the nation

but as its gravediggers.

#

Friday, January 18, 2013

****************************************

EXTRAPOLATING

**********************************

Our situation is not as bad as I have been describing it.

It’s much worse!

If for a hundred years after our genocide

we have failed to develop a consensus,

can we even dare to hope that some day

jihadists will come to terms with infidel dogs?

*

We live in a world where everyone thinks

everyone else has been brainwashed

and is therefore subhuman and beyond salvation.

In such an environment World War III,

that is to say, universal genocide becomes inevitable.

This is now as clear to me as daylight.

What is the solution?

There is none!

*

When the brainwashed meet the brainwashed

there can be no dialogue, compromise, and consensus.

And when Armenian meets Armenian –

you may now draw your own conclusions.

The verdict “mart bidi ch’ellank” applies to all mankind

and by the time our superpatriots realize

we are only a minor footnote in an unwritten text

it will is too late.

*

In a sense, a man of faith who believes in the next world

has already committed murder and suicide

in the name of a dehumanized god

that rules over a dehumanized mankind.

*

There is a 1952 French film titled

NOUS SOMMES TOUS DES ASSASSINS (We are all assassins).

If I remember correctly it dealt with the French Revolution

on one level and World War II on another.

I know now that it deals with the world in which we live.

#

Saturday, January 19, 2013

*****************************************

NOTES & COMMENTS

*****************************

The shortest list in the world,

that of Armenian statesmen.

*

The least quoted document in the world:

the Armenian Constitution.

Speaking for myself,

I don’t even know if it has a single Amendment.

*

How many Armenians?

Hard to say.

What if most Armenians are ashamed

to identify themselves as Armenian?

*

More often than not Armenian readers disagree

less with my ideas and more with my right to think.

*

Where there is too much propaganda

there will be too little free speech.

*

Silence reason and usher in insanity.

Silence dissent and tyranny is sure to follow.

*

An Armenian is a white Negro to another Armenian.

*

Some of my readers want me to write

about the eternal snows of Mt. Ararat

and nightingales serenading the moon

so that they can safely ignore me.

*

Two recent books of great photographs:

KARSH: BEYOND THE CAMERA,

Selected with an Introduction and Commentary

by David Trevis,

and

KALOUST: RETROSPECTIVE (Toronto Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society).

#

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

***************************************

LIFE AND LITERATURE

**********************************

Sartre is right.

Literature saves no one.

As a boy I entertained messianic ambitions.

I know now that I cannot even make

a discernible contribution to its salvation.

*

All I have been doing so far is

drop a tiny pebble – or is it a feather – in the ocean

of our millennial literature.

*

Compared to the sum total of my predecessors –

from Khorenatsi to Naregatsi and from Abovian to Zarian –

I am nothing.

If they made no difference,

can I ever hope to do any better?

*

Why do I go on writing?

The only answer I can come up with is,

to kill time and in the process

to make a handful of friends

who see things as I do.

*

The human body consists of billions of tiny particles

working in harmony.

There is life after death provided

we don’t identify life as consciousness.

*

How much of “me” is in the cosmos?

Or rather, how much of the cosmos is within me?

Everything except my consciousness.

If asleep I keep only a fraction of my subconscious

(namely, the part that dreams)

dead I keep nothing

or the same degree of awareness before I was born.

*

Eternity exists but not as “I”

but as something entirely different.

How different?

We will have the answer to that question

only after we die.

#

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

******************************************

PARANOIA

**********************

For repeating what far better men than myself have said

in their effort to solve our problems

I am described as a pro-Turkish enemy.

*

They say nations have the leadership they deserve.

No one deserves our leaders except perhaps Turks.

*

Propaganda is the opium of the people.

*

Where the dominant mindset is shaped by propaganda,

there can be no progress, only gradual decline.

*

What a book one could write titled:

ARMENIANS: SLAVES, VICTIMS, DUPES.

*

To be infatuated with one’s own prejudices

is like compounding a felony.

*

The history of our literature is clear on this point:

We don’t hate those who deceive us,

only those who try to enlighten us.

#

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

******************************************

REFLECTIONS

****************************

There is nothing wrong in saying you were wrong.

It means you are willing to move in the right direction.

*

An unspoken Armenian motto:

“If you cannot reason, make a noise.”

*

A verbal avalanche is not always a valid counter-argument.

*

Depth and a facility with words

are mutually exclusive concepts.

*

In our environment the more arguments you win

the more enemies you make – enemies who will call you

pro-Turkish because they cannot think of a worst insult.

*

We owe all wars and massacres

to the propaganda of the 1%.

#

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

************************************

AS I SEE IT

************************

If I believe in the absence of God

I must also believe in His presence elsewhere.

*

In an environment where belief in propaganda is the norm,

criticism of propaganda will be seen as a capital offense.

*

When I said I had been a dupe most of my life,

a reader demanded: “How do you know you are not one today?”

I don’t, and the moment you help me unmask my deceiver

I may have a better chance to see the light.

*

The true atheist is not he who denies His existence

but he who speaks in His name.

*

Dupes come in all sizes and shapes.

In the latest issue of PARIS-MATCH I read the following headline:

“Even Steve Jobs, creator of Apple, was victimized by a medical charlatan.”

*

You can recognize a charlatan by the fact that

he proceeds from a position of infallibility.

#

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Պարոն Բալիոզյան,

ինչպե՞ս տառադարձել հայերեն Κωνσταντίνος Καβάφης- Կոնստանտ(դ)ինոս Կաբաֆի՞ս, թե՞ Կոնստանտ(դ)ինոս Կավաֆիս:

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Պարոն Բալիոզյան,

ինչպե՞ս տառադարձել հայերեն Κωνσταντίνος Καβάφης- Կոնստանտ(դ)ինոս Կաբաֆի՞ս, թե՞ Կոնստանտ(դ)ինոս Կավաֆիս:

ask his armenian translator: Hagop Jelalian: he is on Facebook. good luck! / ara

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