Artur

Latest from writer Ara Baliozian

305 posts in this topic

Those who do not know... a little information about author himself :)

Ara Baliozian is one of the greatest Armenian contemporary writers, but unfortunately most Armenians do not know about him or his works. He has published close to 20 books over the last 20 years and is acclaimed highly by the foreign media, like Gosdan Zarian and Shahan Shahnour before him, which goes to prove that our anti-establishment writers are not rejected because of the literary quality of their works, but only because of their ideas and their criticism of the Armenian establishment. Armenian papers used to publish his commentaries/book reviews, but lately he has been ignored by most of them (Armenian Life Weekly and New Life [Nor Gyank] which had been publishing his writings for years, among other papers, have been turning down his works lately). He is sixty years old, and lives in seclusion and poverty in Ontario, Canada.

"Armenian by ancestry, Canadian writer Ara Baliozian was born in Athens, Greece, and educated in Venice, Italy. Widely published in English and Armenian, he has been awarded many prizes and grants for his literary work. He is a regular to many publications in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. His books include THE GREEK POETESS AND OTHER WRITINGS, ARMENIA OBSERVED: AN ANTHOLOGY, FRAGMENTED DREAMS: ARMENIANS IN DIASPORA, and the best-selling study THE ARMENIANS: THEIR HISTORY AND CULTURE. His translations of such Armenian classics as Krikor Zohrab, Zabel Yessayan, and Gosdan Zarian have been described as "valuable", "eloquent", "brilliant" contributions to world literature. He has himself been translated into French, German, Greek, Spanish, and Armenian."

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Артур, а как ты относишся к пораженчеству? Не важно кто это, писатель или кто либо. Я имею ввиду - к пораженческим настроениям, к призывам забыть прошлое. Забыть резню к примеру.

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Im tpavorutyunn el ayd mardu ayspes kochvats steghtsagortsutyunic bavakan bacasakan e. Erevum e, vor na bacardzak patkeracum chuni hayeric u nranc het kapvats iroghutyunneric. Hivandaginutyun u aghavaghvatsutyun hogebanakan u mardkayin - es tesak baner es zgum, erb kardum es ayd ... iski chgitem vonc kochem. Sa kliner handurzheli, ete aysqan molerandutyamb ayd mardn iren chgovazder amboghj internetov mek. Vnas e talis.

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if i am wrong, correct me, but do not silence me.

if you expose my errors you attack my credibility -- which is a writer's most valuable possession. but if you silence me you violate my human rights and expose yourself as an intolerant, pro-fascist commissar./ ara

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and stop waving the flag.

a flag-waver is a ridiculous creature in these parts..../ara baliozian

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FREE SPEECH

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

He who violates my human right of free speech

is in no position to determine his degree of guilt or innocence.

If it were up to fascists to judge themselves,

they would be unanimous in pronouncing their victims guilty.

*

Has anyone ever bothered to see

how many times the expression "human rights"

or "free speech" occurs in the many speeches

delivered by the likes of Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin?

*

If you think today what you thought ten years ago,

or if you still believe everything

your schoolteacher or parish priest taught you,

you can be sure of one thing:

the last ten years of your life

have been a waste of time

because you have learned nothing.

*

The sons and daughters of well-known Armenian writers

that I have met or heard from

prefer solitude to the proximity of their fellow Armenians.

That may be because they know something

most Armenians don’t -- namely: to survive

in our environment one must either lie

or be penalized for his honesty.

*

Those who have violated my human right of free speech

are convinced they are better men than myself;

and they are better if only because

they are closer to God or the Truth.

Some of them have even delivered lectures to me

on good Armenianism.

They seem to be totally unaware of the fact that

only certified morons assume that

God, Truth, and good Armenianism have only one definition:

their own.

*

Those who conducted the purges in the USSR

during which our ablest writers were silenced

(some of them permanently)

were not bloodthirsty savages

or born killers or criminals.

They were law-abiding citizens.

The expression "banality of evil" fits them like a glove.

They did not see themselves as evil.

They were hard-working, dedicated, idealistic stiffs

acting in the name of duty, patriotism,

law and order and progress.

What happened to their offspring? I wonder….

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Mr.,

If we’re talking ‘bout freedom of speech then guess I’m free to express my opinion don’t you think so? And would you please be that kind to not tell me should I wave Armenian Flag or not.

Meanwhile kindly note that there’s no pro-fascicm issue at all but simply Armenian. True Armenian if you want. Thank you for your kindest attention so far.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2003

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

A writer’s job consists in reducing

a complex, multidimensional reality

into a series of easily accessible one-liners – an operation

that can be as challenging as organizing an unruly mob

into a disciplined army willing to obey your commands.

Which may explain why most writers

suffer from a Napoleonic complex.

*

And speaking of complexes:

almost everyone I have been reading about recently

has been analyzed. I have never been near an analyst

and I doubt very much if I ever will find myself

in the same room with one.

What could he tell me that I don’t already know?

And what could I tell him?

Where would I begin?

I am misunderstood and spat upon by hoodlums?

Who isn’t?

Who hasn’t been?

Homer, it is said, was kicked out of seven villages,

all of which, after he died, claimed to be his birthplace.

To this day no one knows where he was born or,

for that matter, buried.

*

For a hundred years after his death,

J.S. Bach was neglected and almost forgotten.

Even his own sons, professional musicians all,

thought of him as a hopelessly old-fashioned composer

who deserved to be buried and ignored.

*

And if I were to say to my analyst:

"Most of my problems stem from the fact that

I was born an Armenian," he would reply:

"I was born a Jew. Only Turks are after your ass.

The whole world is after ours."

And I wouldn’t be surprised in the least

if his final line would be:

"When and where shall I see you next?

And how much do you charge an hour?"

*

Whenever I see an odar

joining one of our discussion forums on the internet

I would like to post the following message:

"Welcome to this forum, dear friend.

Please remember to ignore the hooligans among us.

They represent no one but themselves."

*

It must be obvious by now that

one doesn’t have to be a Turk in order to behave like one.

Nothing comes easier to an Ottomanized Armenian

than to behave like a Turk with the certainty that

he is discharging his duty as a patriotic Armenian.

The same applies to Sovietized Armenians.

*

An Armenian leader whose number one priority

is not uniting the nation should be declared a gravedigger.

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Mr.,

If we’re talking ‘bout freedom of speech then guess I’m free to express my opinion don’t you think so? And would you please be that kind to not tell me should I wave Armenian Flag or not.

Meanwhile kindly note that there’s no pro-fascicm issue at all but simply Armenian. True Armenian if you want. Thank you for your kindest attention so far.

don't use the flag to cover your nakedness.

there is a saying here: patriotism is the last refuge of rascals.

all fascists preach patriotism.

and i am old enough to recognize a fascist when i see one. / ara

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I wrote "Armenian" if you noticed... Whatever, I'm not gonna continue this discussion any longer. Kindly be informed that I edit some of my previous messages for it's absolutely not my purpose to hurt you somehow. Meanwhile I keep my opinion the same.

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Mr. Baliozian, it`s true, flag shouldn`t be used to cover one`s nackedness. But sometimes this flag is the last thing that one may have, because everything else was taken away from him. So sometimes there may be a need to look behind the flag. You, for example, are being far too socialst and also oikumenically humanistic in your speeches. We understand that this is the legacy of Canada adopted by you (or vice versa) - the fact is that your socialist liberal tolerant humanistic ignorant-approached state ideas are being expressed in what you say. Now it is quite possible to accuse you of being a nacked person hidden behind another flag (sort of), nowtimes Canadian. But your surname will still remain Baliozian. There is something I`d like to suggest to you - get to a good Christian church, read the Bible, repent. Ad God will teach you how to find your way to Him and through Him - to your homeland as well. Respect, G.A.[Reverend Justice]

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sorry, my good reverend friend, but i happen to be allergic to sermonizers and speechifiers... / ara

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Friday, August 29, 2003

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

Everyone has his way of judging people and nations.

I judge them by the manner in which they treat writers.

History provides us with many precedents,

the most recent being Talaat’s Turkey and Stalin’s USSR.

And then there are the faceless flunkies

of our bosses, bishops and benefactors

who operate anonymously behind closed doors.

*

In the eyes of many Armenians,

especially those in authority,

the status of an Armenian writer is no better

than that of white trash.

To those who say what’s wrong with the way in which

writers like Oshagan, Shant and Garabents were treated?

I say, wrong question. None of these writers

qualifies as a dissident.

Whenever they discussed our problems

they tended to ascribe them to the people

rather than its leadership on whose goodwill

they were dependent.

Consider instead the treatment accorded

to Zarian, Shahnour and Massikian.

And consider the fate of many young writers

who gave up at an early stage of their career

because they saw the writing on the wall.

Result: Armenian literature has been reduced to a cemetery.

*

Why is it that dogs that kill

are invariably described by their owners as "friendly?"

and serial killers are described

as "nice" by their neighbors?

*

Being an Armenian writer

amounts to being a shoemaker in a country

where everyone prefers to go barefoot.

*

In a land of bloodsuckers,

gravediggers will prosper.

*

Armenian saying

(as quoted by Saroyan’s wife in her memoirs):

"If I tell you la, you should understand lalablue."

*

If you rely too much on your authority, money, or charm,

prepare yourself to confront someone

who will defy all three.

As the Greeks knew:

hubris is an open invitation to nemesis.

*

If you decide to adopt a fighting stance,

be prepared to lose some battles.

Which is better than the alternative:

defeat, degradation, despair and death.

*

Italian saying: "Fratelli, flagelli."

(Free translation: "The wrath of brothers,

the wrath of whips.")

*

Gerald Durrell’s memoir MY FAMILY

AND OTHER ANIMALS (1956) contains

an unforgettable and hilarious portrait of

Gostan Zarian.

Gerald Durrell: not to be confused

with his better-known brother Lawrence

(THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET)

who also wrote extensively about Zarian.

*

Though she discusses many celebrities in her memoirs,

Saroyan’s wife (Carol Matthau) doesn’t even mention Marlon Brando

who knew both her and her daughter intimately.

Neither does she mention Saroyan’s autobiographical novels

in which she plays a prominent but not always a positive role.

*

On the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther’s King famous

"I have a dream" speech in Washington,

I imagine myself in Yerevan facing a large crowd of Armenians:

What would I say?

What else but "I have a nightmare!"

*

I don’t agree with a reality that makes crooks wealthy

and honest men poor, and because I speak

of this reality, some of my readers hate me

as if I were responsible for everything that has gone wrong

in their lives.

*

If some people have no interest in knowing themselves

it may be because they already know enough to know

that they are not worth knowing.

*

After reading the biographies and memoirs of celebrities

I have reached the conclusion that

some failures are happier than some successes.

Fame and fortune appear as necessary conditions of happiness

only in the eyes of those who have neither.

*

Among Armenians it is not always clear

who is trying to educate whom.

*

None of us can claim to know and understand everything.

But since we are all products of a unique set

of conditions and experiences,

we may know something the other doesn’t.

You may have noticed by now that

when Armenians get together

their number one priority is not to learn from one another

but to insult and, whenever they can, to silence anyone

who dares to disagree with them.

This is not conducive to solidarity and progress

but to disintegration and darkness.

Hence the old adage: "Mart bidi chellank!"

or: we shall never acquire the status of human beings.

And why?

Perhaps because we are more interest in politics and power

than in literature and truth.

And we are more interested in power

because we were deprived of it during most of our history.

The question is:

can we acquire power by violating

one another’s human right of free speech?

Can we acquire strength by dividing ourselves?

Can we improve our condition in any way

by hurling insults at one another?

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Saturday, August 30, 2003

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

No matter how rotten the status quo,

it will have its supporters and defenders.

From Nero and Caligula to Idid Amin Dada and Saddam:

they all had their supporters and beneficiaries.

*

A regime does not need majority support to survive.

All it needs is a ruthless elite,

a minority of supporters (or priviligentsia),

and an apathetic or intimidated majority.

*

Consider our present situation,

or the regime in Yerevan and

the garbage dump of the Diaspora.

Who profits?

The mafias in the Homeland

and the academics in the Diaspora.

The academics can always count

on the political and financial support of our elites

provided they concentrate on the Middles Ages

and the Massacres and ignore our present problems

by pretending we have none

or if we have any, time will solve them

if not in two than in three generations.

*

Why are you so tough on your fellow Armenians?

I am asked once in a while by concerned readers.

I am not tough on Armenians.

I am tough on deceivers, dividers, and bloodsuckers

regardless of nationality.

I am tough on all victimizers.

Now then, identify yourself please.

Are you a victimizer or a victim?

If you are a victim, why do you object

to my speaking up against your tormentors?

*

Why is it that some very smart and learned Armenians

confuse anti-charlatanism with anti-Armenianism?

Why is it that some very cunning Armenians

in their defense of their own selfish, narrow interest

will voice reasons worthy of an inbred moron?

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Saturday, August 30, 2003

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

No matter how rotten the status quo,

it will have its supporters and defenders.

From Nero and Caligula to Idid Amin Dada and Saddam:

they all had their supporters and beneficiaries.

*

A regime does not need majority support to survive.

All it needs is a ruthless elite,

a minority of supporters (or priviligentsia),

and an apathetic or intimidated majority.

*

Consider our present situation,

or the regime in Yerevan and

the garbage dump of the Diaspora.

Who profits?

The mafias in the Homeland

and the academics in the Diaspora.

The academics can always count

on the political and financial support of our elites

provided they concentrate on the Middles Ages

and the Massacres and ignore our present problems

by pretending we have none

or if we have any, time will solve them

if not in two than in three generations.

*

Why are you so tough on your fellow Armenians?

I am asked once in a while by concerned readers.

I am not tough on Armenians.

I am tough on deceivers, dividers, and bloodsuckers

regardless of nationality.

I am tough on all victimizers.

Now then, identify yourself please.

Are you a victimizer or a victim?

If you are a victim, why do you object

to my speaking up against your tormentors?

*

Why is it that some very smart and learned Armenians

confuse anti-charlatanism with anti-Armenianism?

Why is it that some very cunning Armenians

in their defense of their own selfish, narrow interest

will voice reasons worthy of an inbred moron?

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Tuesday, September 02, 2003

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

BODY LANGUAGE

Ideas too have a body language –

the vocabulary they employ,

the choice of clichés or their avoidance,

their tempo and tonality…

in short: to a skilled reader

an idea can be as transparent

as the confession of a guilty butler in an English mystery.

*

MEAN WOMEN

A mean woman can teach a man

more about his vulnerabilities and limitations

than a thousand yataghan-wielding Turks.

If you survive such a specimen

you can survive anything!

*

PROBLEMS

A problem is like an illness.

The first step is to diagnose it correctly.

But if you pretend it doesn’t exist,

you guarantee its deterioration from a minor nuisance

to a terminal disease.

*

FLAUBERT

An Arab blessing (as quoted by Flaubert in a letter from Cairo):

"I wish you all kinds of prosperity, especially a long prick!"

What’s next in line?

"May you deflower a hundred virgins"?

*

While in Cairo, Flaubert is said to have explored

the Armenian community.

I wonder if he discovered anything of interest.

*

Flaubert: "Stupidity is something immovable,

you can’t try to attack it without being broken by it."

*

SOCRATES

When asked where he came from,

Socrates is said to have replied:

"Not from Athens but from the world."

And yet, when he was condemned to death by the Athenians

and given an opportunity to escape,

he said he’d rather die in Athens than live anywhere else.

*

ON LIMITATIONS

We all go through a period in our lives

when the sky is the limit. But sooner or later

the painful realization sinks in:

we can’t even reach the ceiling of our solitary confinement.

*

CRITICS

It makes no difference whether you are a failure or a success,

the number of critics will remain constant.

What may change is their caliber.

As a failure you will be trashed by trash.

As a success you will be trashed by a better class of trash.

*

SAROYAN AND MAILER

In one of his books Saroyan mentions

Norman Mailer ("Norman who?")

only to dismiss him as an upstart.

In his latest book, THE SPOOKY ART:

SOME THOUGHTS ON WRITING (2003)

Mailer discusses many minor and major American writers

but doesn’t even mention Saroyan.

But in an isolated paragraph and

in reference to no one in particular, he writes:

"It’s the guys who pen wonderfully sweet books,

who are the real monsters.

You know – they kick the wife,

cuff the kids, and have the dog shrinking in horror.

Then their books come out:

‘X once again delights the reader with his sense of joy.’"

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BEETHOVEN’S SHADOW

When Vahe Berberian once suggested that

Beethoven’s somewhat overblown shadow

unfairly eclipsed the reputation and worth

of many other equally great composers,

among them Boccherini,

Paul Jungmann, the quintessential German –

blond, blue-eyed, intense, unsmiling – said,

one should not speak such nonsense

in the presence of children.

Forever after music was never discussed in his presence.

*

A TOUMANIAN FABLE ABRIDGED

Early one morning when the fox hears a rooster crowing,

he thinks: "Breakfast!"

When he is told by the rooster in the tree

that he is not alone but with a friend,

he thinks: "Lunch too!"

But when he finds out the friend is not

another rooster but a dog,

the words breakfast and lunch are replaced with

"Feet, do your stuff!"

*

NOTES / COMMENTS

Wisdom and serenity are mutually exclusive.

You can’t be serene in a world of madmen

who think you are the mad one.

*

Subtract imagination from love

and the result will be closer to contempt than affection.

*

Our experiences have a meaning

that is beyond our understanding.

Or: our understanding is an extension of experiences

whose meaning has escaped us.

*

There is a type of minor celebrity

who behaves like a major celebrity

in the hope of being confused with one.

There is also a type of nonentity

who wants you to believe he is a future celebrity.

*

Whenever I reply to a critic, I make an enemy;

and whenever I am not diplomatic enough

in my replies – diplomacy not being my field –

I make a mortal enemy.

*

How many of us would be alive today

if we had Armenian ayatollahs authorized

to issue fatwas (contracts) on anyone

who disagreed with them or

their interpretation of the Scriptures?

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AGAINST NATIONALISM

Once when I asked the nationality

of a dazzling beauty – a teenage waitress in the cafeteria

of a department store where I was employed as a stockboy –

she said: "Canadian."

When I asked for more details, she replied:

"Let’s see now, Irish, Polish, German, Cherokee,

French, Italian and Ukrainian."

FIRST COMMUNION

When asked what had been

the most important day in his life,

Napoleon is said to have replied:

"The day of my first communion."

My own first communion was such a forgettable event

that the only thing I remember about it

is the above quote (probably apocryphal) by Napoleon.

*

HUNGRY FOR NEWS?

A headline in one of our weeklies today reads:

"Famous in the Former Soviet Union

for the Power of His Jaws, Galstyan Tries New Career."

*

ON BIGOTS

Bigotry may also be defined as

allergy to common sense and reason.

In a state run by bigots all reasonable men

will be labeled as enemies of the people.

*

ROAD TO WISDOM

The shortest line between ignorance and wisdom

is a painful blunder.

*

Translations from

JULES RENARD’S JOURNALS: 1887-1910

(Paris: NRF, 1965, 1424 pages)

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

Why should I give a damn about a thinker

who can’t explain the universe to me?

*

A talented honest man is as rare

as a man of genius.

*

What happens to all the tears that we don’t shed?

*

A fat man parading his belly

as if it were a wind instrument.

*

"This will be enough to pay for your cigarettes."

"Yes, but only because I don’t smoke."

*

I hesitate to walk behind a woman

afraid she may think I am following her.

*

In the garden I lower my eyes

not to scare the bird in the nest.

*

Migraine: this must be what Christ meant

when he spoke of his crown of thorns.

*

It’s so very easy for a woman

to make herself desirable.

No need to be attractive or very young.

All she has to do is extend her palm in a certain manner

and a man will be more than happy to place his heart there.

*

"How are you today?"

"Much better, thank you."

"You weren’t feeling well?"

There I was, pretending to be concerned

about the health of a fellow whose obituary

would have barely registered on my consciousness.

*

My sister is proud of the fact that

unlike her brother she is a believer.

*

He is for freedom but he happens to be such a nonentity

that I for one would prefer to share my life with slaves.

*

To write is almost always to lie.

*

I don’t disturb the cat sleeping on my desk.

Instead, I go out for a walk.

*

If I acquired everything I ever wanted,

immediately I would feel as though I had nothing.

*

Patriotism: The bull from one village

refuses to look in the direction of a petite cow

from another village.

*

"That fellow over there is sure tough."

"Oh! Why?"

"He never says a thing."

*

I can’t imagine living in a world in which

there are no mysteries and surprises.

If God exists, he must be very bored.

*

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Wow! Да тут даже антиармянские стихи пишут!

У меня уже возникает вопрос - зачем азеры выбрали для своего сайта домен hayastan.com?

Сорри за оффтопик.

Арабалиоз(ян?).

Ваши стихи напоминают "творения" журналиста-неудачника.

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Лично я уже высказывала свое мнение об этом человечке балиозяне, с какими-то только ему ведомыми армянскими корнями. Высказывала всюду - и открыто и в приватах. Его гадкое присутствие среди армян - лежит не на моей совести, будь моя воля, я бы ему запретила вход на любой армянский сайт. Со мной прошу не связывать его присутствие на форуме.

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Saturday, September 06, 2003

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

DENIALISTS

Notwithstanding the overabundance

of documentary evidence and eyewitness accounts,

there are people out there – not all of them skinheads

but academics, diplomats, and political leaders –

who are convinced the Armenian Genocide

and the Jewish Holocaust

are figments of someone’s imagination.

How does one explain this paradox?

To cover up a murder is not easy.

To cover up the murder of millions?…

One could say that we are all infected

with some degree of bias, prejudice and propaganda.

Also, that self-interest as opposed to objective judgment

dominates human relationships and political policies.

No doubt these factors are real and perhaps even inevitable.

But I suspect there is another factor that is often ignored.

*

THE GUILT OF VICTIMS

Simenon, the author of over 500 books

(memoirs, diaries, novels, mystery stories)

had a pet theory and a favorite theme: namely,

the guilt of the victim and the innocence of the killer.

He believed that man kills not because he is evil

but because he is provoked beyond endurance by his victim.

If it were up to Simenon,

all premeditated murders would be classified

as justifiable homicides. Now then,

if someone with Simenon’s mindset

were to write the history of our genocide,

he would emphasize the positive in Turks

and the negative in us to such a degree that

after reading it the average layman would think

Armenians themselves engineered their own destruction

and that what happened was not genocide

but collective suicide.

*

+/-

One could write an entire anti-Armenian book

by quoting only Armenian sources

and a pro-Turkish book by quoting non-Turkish sources.

*

JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE

Whenever I read about a disgruntled employee

who goes on a killing rampage

I cannot help thinking that if his victims

were half as nasty as some of my bosses,

coworkers, and readers,

Simenon’s theory makes perfect sense.

I speak neither as a partisan nor a propagandist.

I consider parties and propaganda the source

of all confrontation and conflict.

If anything I am anti-partisan.

I believe in emphasizing the negative in us

and the positive in our adversaries.

If more people did that we would have fewer wars

and more peaceful coexistence – and ultimately

the brotherhood of all men,

which happens to be the professed aim

of all organized religions.

Where there is conflict,

the chances that both sides will emerge winners

are next to nil. This is not a theory but a fact

based on our own historic experience.

Deny that if you can!

*

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Monday, September 08, 2003

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

PROPAGANDA AND LITERATURE

All our problems must be ascribed to our enemies,

propaganda tells us.

The enemy is us, literature reminds us.

And propaganda is more popular than literature

because no one likes to be told

he is a fool or a pervert bent on self-destruction.

*

"We are a wounded nation,"

I am reminded once in a while by our propagandists,

"and you don’t kick someone who is down," – thus

equating truth with a kick in the groin.

But truth is a kick only to those

who prefer to live in a world of lies.

*

Life is complex and our understanding of it limited.

Just when we believe we have figured things out

something happens to remind us we haven’t yet begun.

Which is why we need to share our understanding.

By contrast, propaganda tell us

we know all we need to know

and we understand what needs to be understood --

thus obstructing our path

to self-realization, development and progress.

*

Propagandists operate on the assumption that

most Armenians are uninformed yokels;

and the dogmatic arrogance with which

they assert their lies is such that

to challenge them would mean going down

into the gutter where they live.

Hence the reluctance of most Armenians to speak up.

*

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

You may hide from the rest of the world,

but to your conscience you will always remain an open book.

Cain killed Abel long before Moses and his Ten Commandments.

Even so, he was tormented by his conscience

to such a degree that he said:

"My punishment is greater than I can bear" (GENESIS, 4-8).

It is true that the voice of conscience

is not the only voice within us.

Vanity, greed, pride, fear, bias, self-interest, among others,

speak to us too and very often

conscience is the last one in line;

but it is there and it cannot be silenced.

*

ON NEGATIVE COMMENTARIES

Whenever a negative commentary appears

in the American press, we are immediately urged

to write letters to the editor and accuse

the author of the commentary of racism.

No one ever says:

"Let us consider the seriousness of the charge

and see if it contains particles of truth."

*

LIES

The easiest lies to expose in others

are the ones we have ourselves professed in the past.

*

MACHO ETIQUETTE

Hemingway’s last wife writes in a letter that

whenever she wanted to talk to him about a problem,

he would say: "I haven’t got time.

I have to go shit now."

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MEMOS TO A YOUNG WRITER

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

Before you write a line ask yourself:

Why would anyone be interested in reading it?

What if I bore my reader?

*

Avoid repulsive details in the name of realism

because very often what remains in the reader’s mind

forever after is that detail and nothing else.

*

If you decide to be honest

be prepared to acquire mortal enemies.

*

Never underestimate your audience.

Always assume there are at least two readers

who know as much as you do

and at least one who knows more.

This rule, like all rules, has its exception of course.

If you write for an Armenian audience

it is always safer to assume that

every one of your readers knows better,

understands more, speaks more languages,

has seen many more places and

is acquainted with many more individuals,

societies and cultures.

*

Do not mention Khachaturian, Mikoyan and Saroyan

on the same page. I for one avoid reading all such articles

on the assumption that if you have read one of them,

you have read them all.

*

Never think of yourself as a dispenser of wisdom.

Compared to what we don’t know,

what we know is such a tiny fraction that

we might as well be blind, deaf and dumb.

When Socrates said "The only thing I know

is that I don’t know," he was not being ironic,

he was stating a fact.

*

Writing is difficult only when you have nothing to say

and writing is easy only if you repeat yourself.

Writing is like life.

If your life is easy,

do not waste your time writing.

You can write later….

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