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  1. #151
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    Aug 2004


    Sunday, August 05, 2012
    One way to sum our past is to say that
    we are victims of hit-and-run accidents
    all of which could have been avoided
    had we behaved more defensively –
    or rather, had our leadership etc.
    The overwhelming majority of Armenians today
    are predisposed to doubt an honest witness
    and to believe everything they are told by our 1%.
    The main function of all educational systems
    is to create dupes by convincing them that
    as dupes they will go farther and accomplish more in life
    than as individuals who operate on the false assumption that
    they are fully equipped to think for themselves.
    You may have noticed that
    when an Armenian makes it in the odar world,
    he stays away from the unholy tangle of Armenian affairs.
    This may suggest that our affairs are conducted
    not by our best but our worst.
    Some people will do anything for money
    especially if they find themselves on the verge of starvation,
    say, like Armenians scribblers.
    I once met a hireling of a benefactor
    who wanted me to translate a volume of his verse.
    I once even met a benefactor
    who wanted me to write his memoirs.
    On still another occasion I met a novelist
    who was the secretary of a bishop.
    Not only did this character take himself seriously
    but he also expected me to do so.
    Wonders never cease!
    Monday, August 06, 2012
    ************************************************** *
    “Treason and betrayal are in our blood,” said Raffi.
    He was a man of courage, daring, and integrity.
    In modern parlance, he had cojones.
    Compared to him I am no better than an orthodox coward.
    The worst thing that I have said about us is
    “subservience is in our blood.”
    Which, if you think about it, boils down to the same thing.
    If you say “Yes, sir!” to anyone with authority,
    will you ever dare to say “No, sir!”
    when he orders you to betray your brother?
    Did we ever behead any one of our kings?
    Did we ever condemn to death any one of our collaborators?
    When Stalin reinstated Etchmiadzin
    he did so for a pragmatic reason:
    he ordered the Catholicos to bless the war against Hitler
    and to encourage the youth to volunteer
    instead of deserting the army;
    and the Catholicos did what he was told.
    He went further.
    Under Gorbachev he (the Catholicos)
    opposed independence.
    Perhaps the Genocide was only a warning
    which so far we have failed to heed.
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012
    They say Americans are money-obsessed.
    What about Russians?
    Both Tolstoy and Dostoevsky died shortly after
    family arguments over money.
    After a stormy scene over money in Chekhov’s UNCLE VANYA,
    a character says:
    “The row they made this morning – and shooting, too – a regular disgrace!”
    To which another comments:
    “Yes…a subject worthy of the brush of Aivazovsky.”
    We have all heard of man’s original sin.
    What about God’s original sin?
    Instead of creating good men,
    He created bloodthirsty barbarians.
    Nobody knows.
    Nobody will ever know.
    Sometimes it is easier to die for one’s country
    than to live in it.
    Perhaps I write too much.
    Nobody will ever say I have read everything he has written –
    not even I.
    Wednesday, August 08, 2012
    My mother believed everything she read in the papers
    except what I wrote in them. As for me, I believe nothing,
    including what I write.
    To believe is a verb in whose proximity
    I feel inadequate, alien, and thoroughly ill-at-ease.
    To me a holy book is only a perennial best-seller
    written, re-written, edited, and re-edited by mediocrities
    whose number one concern is not truth but power.
    Saw for the third time AMARCORD, my favorite Fellini.
    Most of it is based not on reminiscence but
    (according to his friends) is pure fantasy.
    It was filmed not in Rimini, where Fellini was born and raised
    but in a studio in Rome.
    In Mavis Gallant’s DIARY, written in Madrid
    and recently published in the NEW YORKER, I read:
    “The children masturbate
    the way children in other countries skip rope or roller-skate.
    Spanish parents must consider it like teething –
    they take no notice whatever.”

  2. #152
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    Aug 2004


    Thursday, August 09, 2012
    We think that we think but we don’t think;
    and when we speak
    we speak more like parrots than reasonable beings.
    Our ideas are not ours but someone else’s.
    Marx said he was not a Marxist,
    and yet the world is full of them.
    Christ never said he was a Christian,
    and yet there are billions of them all over the world.
    I am all for free speech and against censorship.
    That doesn’t mean I support pornographers or, for that matter,
    imams who promise 73 virgins to sex-starved teenagers;
    or habitual, compulsive, and dogmatic liars
    who control our educational system.
    I am for gun control;
    that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to have a gun
    when confronted by a violent intruder or drug-crazed addict.
    There are Armenians today who support Basher Assad.
    There were Armenians in the Ottoman Empire
    who on the eve of the Genocide were pro-Turkish.
    There were pro-Nazi Armenians
    who fought against Bolshevik Armenians during World War II.
    Life is full of contradictions that cannot be reconciled.
    What’s the answer?
    I wish I knew.
    All I can say is, let’s begin by refusing to identify thinking
    with recycling someone else’s propaganda
    especially when that someone else is an enemy.
    Friday, August 10, 2012
    Armenians from the Middle East come in all sizes and shapes
    but they all share on thing in common: anti-Americanism.
    In their view American presidents like FDR and Truman
    have killed more innocent civilians
    than Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, and Attila the Hun combined.
    Pearl Harbor, 9/11, the War of Troy: they were all plotted, provoked,
    and executed by Americans.
    The Serpent in the Garden?
    A CIA agent in disguise.
    Many years ago one of our elder statesmen warned me:
    “An Armenian from the Middle East
    will walk past an elementary school
    and forever after brag about his university degree.”
    As recently as last week,
    because I dared to adopt a critical stance towards Basher al-Assad
    I was dismissed as a dupe who has been brainwashed by Western media.
    I have no illusions about America.
    I have fewer illusions about the rest of the world,
    including Greece, where I was born and raised,
    Italy where I was educated,
    Canada where I now live,
    and Armenia, my so-called homeland
    which i don't plan to visit.
    If they hate America why do they live in America?
    Their pat answer:
    They don’t hate America.
    They love Americans.
    What they hate is American politics.
    What if American politics enjoys the support of the majority?
    The sad truth is they hate America,
    they hate Americans,
    and what they hate even more are fellow Armenians
    who dare to disagree with them.
    I speak from experience.
    Saturday, August 11, 2012
    Whenever my critics run out of arguments
    they accuse me of hating my fellow Armenians,
    to which charge I don’t mind pleading guilty.
    I will go further and say that
    when it comes to hatred
    I don’t single out Armenians.
    I hate the hateful regardless of nationality.
    I hate all fanatics who pretend to be moderates.
    I hate double-talk.
    I hate child-molesting priests and fornicating bishops
    who preach chastity.
    I hate moral morons who think dissent is a crime against humanity.
    I hate bullies.
    I hate intolerance.
    I hate dogmatists who operate on the assumption that
    anyone who refuses to share their prejudices,
    misconceptions and fallacies deserves to die.
    Unlike my critics, most of whom are no doubt good Christians,
    I don’t love my enemies. I can’t!
    And I don’t mind admitting that
    I consider that a failing on my part,
    and I look forward to the day when
    I will love everybody,
    but I also know that the chances of that happening
    might as well be nil.
    I am no angel and I remember to have read somewhere that
    when a man tries to be an angel
    he runs the risk of losing something much more valuable,
    namely his humanity.
    I plead guilty to the charge that
    as a human being I am vulnerable to all the weaknesses
    that flesh is heir to.
    But I will say this in my defense.
    I have at no time asserted moral superiority.
    I leave that to my critics.

  3. #153
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    Sunday, August 12, 2012
    After visiting the Homeland during the Soviet era
    a friend reported the following exchange:
    “Why all the fuss about Watergate?”
    “The President lied.”
    “So what? – they lie to us all the time.”
    We are a nation of a thousand and one Watergates
    but so far not a single book on the subject,
    not a single public hearing, impeachments, trial,
    guilty verdict and incarceration.
    I am now talking about both the Homeland and the Diaspora.
    Our “Nixons” and their gangs of co-conspirators
    continue to be in charge of our destiny as a nation.
    Faith and superstition,
    knowledge and ignorance,
    lies and truth:
    they might as well be Siamese twins.
    I don’t spin theories.
    I speak of historic reality.
    If you elevate your intellectual superiority to a dogma
    you condemn yourself to learn nothing.
    Every transgression comes with its own inbuilt punishment.
    God is too big, mighty, and important
    to sit in judgment over all your petty little disgusting sins.
    He neither judges nor punishes.
    He relegates all that to you.
    Monday, August 13, 2012
    Whenever we say “I believe”
    we should teach ourselves to add
    “I could be wrong.”
    Certainties are the source of all evil.
    Honesty is an unwelcome intruder
    because it exposes cowardly charlatans
    who love to project the image
    of fearless men of integrity.
    I could be wrong…
    To be popular means to be harmless –
    to pretend to love everybody
    even when you can’t stand the buggers.
    Am I right or wrong?
    I am not sure.
    At best I may suspect I am moving in the right direction
    if only because I am in the company of far better men than myself –
    from Socrates to Solzhenitsyn.
    Tuesday, August 14, 2012
    You cannot civilize the civilized
    (also called the syphilized).
    You have a better chance with barbarians.
    Financial bankruptcy is invariably preceded by moral bankruptcy.
    History provides us with so many examples –
    from the Roman Empire to the USSR and the USA;
    and closer to home, the Mekhitarist order.
    Tyrants from Hitler to Assad
    would rather see their country reduced to rubble
    than give up power.
    (How to explain the quiet exit of Sultan Abdulhamid II? –
    a bloodthirsty tyrant if there ever was one.)
    An alcoholic odar academic in need of cash
    once wrote a book titled ARMENIA: CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION
    with the financial support of an Armenian foundation --
    the wealthiest foundation on earth, it has been said;
    and to this day there are Armenians who take the title literally.
    There are two kinds of phonies:
    those who try to expose the phony in themselves and in others,
    and those who identify it with patriotism.
    Wednesday, August 15, 2012
    To write for Armenians means
    to write for readers who know better.
    As an Armenian I try to understand my fellow Armenians
    beginning with myself.
    As an Armenian writer I do my utmost to be objective
    and to say what I think.
    To say what you think may not be a crime against humanity
    but it is treated as one.
    To be an Armenian writer means
    to be exploited by the 1%
    and oppressed by the 99%.
    As a nation that has lived in oppression
    for most of its collective existence
    we assume oppression to be
    an integral part of the human condition.
    Nothing comes easier to a nation
    that has experienced a series of massacres
    than to engage in verbal massacre --
    all in the name of patriotism of course.
    I don’t write in the name of patriotism.
    I write in the name if common sense and decency
    which recognize no cultural and political boundaries.
    Smoking is bad for you.
    Everyone knows that including smokers.
    Divisions are bad for a nation.
    Everyone knows that,
    including our dividers.

  4. #154
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    Aug 2004
    Q/A**************************** Q: “Every Armenian writer I have read has something positive to say about us, except you. Why do you want to be so different?”A: “Why do you insist on a unanimous decision?”*For 600 years they were our role models. That indeed is our real tragedy!*In the ghetto where I was born and raised nobody ever quoted Naregatsi or Raffi, but everyone quoted Turkish sayings, like “Damla damla gueul olur,” (Drop by drop a lake is made), and “Chok ghareshterma, bokhou chekar” (Don’t stir things up too much, you may expose the crap). To which charge I am more than willing to plead guilty.*If you want a dealer in rose-jam, listen to our sermonizers and speechifiers. They are better at moronizing the nation in the name of patriotism.#Friday, August 17, 2012*********************************** TOO MANY CHIEFSNO INDIANS********************************** Wolves, lions, zebras, and ants: they know instinctively they have a better chance to survive as a group than as individuals. That’s because they have studied biology and they know all there is to know about the law of the jungle. Compared to them we might as well be functional illiterates and inbred morons; or jackasses destined to carry someone else’s load.*Civilized people execute their traitors and collaborators. How many of them have we executed so far?*In their own narratives our bosses, bishops, and benefactors are our saviors. We have been blessed with more saviors than traitors – or is it the other way around?*We swim in a sea of uncertainties. We have many narratives but not a single definition.*I don’t spin theories. I speak of historic reality.#Saturday, August 18, 2012************************************** OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN******************************************** * Sartre is right: to believe that you believe doesn’t make you a believer. Likewise, to believe that you don’t believe doesn’t make you an atheist. The true atheist is he who, after saying God is merciful, engages in cannibalism; and I challenge you to name a single organized religion that has not persecuted heretics.*I don’t believe in believers or, for that matter, in non-believers. Even the most fanatic atheist is fully aware of the fact that he is and he has always been at the mercy of an invisible and incomprehensible power against which or Whom he is himself powerless.*I have given up arguing with believers. Protestants are better equipped to deal with Catholics, and Muslims are better equipped to deal with both. I don’t have a dog in their fight. And when it comes to God I have more questions than answers. *If God is great why did he create men whose most noteworthy contribution to civilization has been the slaughter of defenseless civilians?#

  5. #155
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    Sunday, August 19, 2012
    If no one writes as I do it’s not because
    I am an original writer, far from it.
    As a matter of fact, everything I say
    is a paraphrase, a quotation, or a variation on a theme
    stated by far better men than myself.
    Case in point: many years ago, I remember,
    speaking of a national benefactor
    one of our elder statesmen said to me:
    “As a product of the Ottoman Empire
    he is no better than a frustrated sultan.”
    A few years later when I had to deal with the hirelings
    of this benefactor I remembered my elder statesman’s words
    and saw the truth in his theory.
    Once, again many years ago, when
    in the presence of an Armenian academic --
    an honest man for a change --
    when I said Armenians are smart,
    he came very close to losing his temper.
    It took me a while to realize that
    far from being smart, most Armenians are damn fools.
    If Armenians like to assess themselves as smart
    it may be because no fool will ever identify himself as a fool,
    or a dupe as a dupe, or an idiot as an idiot.
    I will go further and say that when it comes to politics
    we fully qualify as inbred morons
    for the simple reason that
    for most of our collective existence
    we have allowed ourselves to be divided, oppressed,
    and occasionally massacred by relative morons.
    And for saying that I have been described
    as an ignoramus who hates himself
    and projects his hatred onto his fellow countrymen.
    There is some truth in that.
    All analysis begins with self-analysis,
    in the same way that all propaganda is carefully tailored
    to flatter the ego of dupes.
    History provides us with so many examples!
    Even when they behaved like bloodthirsty barbarians
    Germans were brainwashed to believe
    they belonged to a superior race.
    The Soviets were brainwashed to believe
    they were the most progressive,
    and anyone who dared to question that absurd assertion
    was either shot in the neck or ended in the Gulag.
    The only reason I am still alive today is that,
    as a Canadian citizen I am beyond the jurisdiction
    of our pseudo-sultans and neo-commissars.
    Monday, August 20, 2012
    Not everyone who speaks in the name of God
    is a messenger of God,
    and he who speaks in the name of Capital
    is a messenger of the Devil
    even when he builds cathedrals.
    It is not at all unusual for a very smart Armenian
    to say some very dumb things.
    Our spirit of contradiction is so highly developed that
    when a Turk disagrees with me
    I ascribe it to a distant Armenian in his family tree.
    If you paraphrase Socrates
    be prepared to be judged by individuals
    who will behave like members of the jury
    that condemned him to death.
    Christ is recrucified every day by Christians.
    (In case you haven’t guessed already,
    I am now paraphrasing Dostoevsky and Kazantzakis.)
    Tuesday, August 21, 2012
    The Pope may doubt his faith seven times a day
    (according to an old Italian proverb)
    but he will never admit it.
    He will go further and assert,
    in matter of faith he is never wrong.
    No one will ever say he is the proud offspring
    of former commissars or KGB agents
    for the same reason that no king
    will ever admit to being the offspring
    of ruthless killers and rapists,
    no priest will ever admit to being a child molester,
    and no democratically elected head of state
    will ever admit to being better at making promises
    than delivering them.
    The 1% has ruled by deception
    and continues to do so to this day
    because it can always count
    on the ignorance, stupidity, and cowardice of the 99% --
    in case you thought I had a dog in that fight.
    Wednesday, August 22, 2012
    When I was young
    I too had an opinion on every conceivable subject
    including subjects I knew nothing about.
    As a child I thought,
    or rather was brought up to think,
    if the Pope of Rome,
    all his cardinals and bishops,
    and billions of Catholics
    believe in the existence of God,
    who am I to deny it?
    As a teenager I thought
    if great leaders like Stalin and Mikoyan,
    and millions of Russians
    and great intellectuals like George Bernard Shaw
    are communists, who am I to side with blood-sucking capitalists?
    Besides, what have capitalists done for me,
    a slum-dweller, that I should side with them?
    I know now that we live in a world where
    everybody is wrong and
    there is no such thing as an infallible belief system.
    It is the quintessence of evil to say
    I am right and everyone who thinks otherwise is wrong
    therefore my enemy,
    and it is my duty to be against him
    and when necessary to kill him
    because to kill in the name of God and Country
    is not a crime but a sacred duty.
    I know now that if God exists
    He does not take sides.
    If He stood by and did nothing
    when His only son was crucified,
    why should He side with a nonentity like me?
    If God did not lift a finger to stop the massacre
    of millions of innocent civilians by bloodthirsty barbarians,
    can we really say He is always right?

  6. #156
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    Thursday, August 23, 2012
    Where there is abuse of power there will be victims.
    Where there are victims there will be victimizers.
    Where there are victimizers there will be dissent.
    Where there are fascists there will be violations of human rights.
    Under Stalin we had Stalinists
    who were brainwashed to believe
    they were not fascists but patriots.
    Under Hitler we had pro-Nazi anti-Semites.
    And under Putin today we have Putinists.
    Even Talaat had his share of Armenian supporters,
    among them Zohrab, himself a highly sophisticated
    and brilliant intellectual, political leader, diplomat and writer.
    Sometimes I am asked:
    What would you have done in their place?
    -- meaning Armenians in fascist regimes.
    My answer: I don’t know.
    Very probably I would have done
    what they did – i.e. taken the easy and safe way out:
    be a Nazi under Hitler, a Stalinists under Stalin, and so on.
    But having done so I wouldn’t expect future generations
    to look up to me as a hero or a role model
    or a lover of freedom and a defender of human rights,
    or a noble specimen of humanity.
    The problem with fascists is that
    they dig their own graves with their own hands
    and expect the rest of the world to look up to them
    as morally superior.
    I don’t spin theories.
    I speak of historic reality.
    If you lie down with dogs,
    you will get up with fleas.
    Friday, August 24, 2012
    The aim of philosophy is to introduce meaning
    into a meaningless world.
    The aim of religion is to introduce cannibalism.
    Remember: no one has ever killed anyone
    in the name of Socrates or Spinoza.
    What makes the 1% smart is greed.
    What makes the 99% dumb is cowardice.
    The bloodthirsty disposition of the few
    and the cowardice of the many:
    there you have it – an abridged history of mankind.
    Trying to make a good impression on others
    by pretending to be better than we are
    might as well be an admission of inferiority.
    Saturday, August 25, 2012
    POLITICS 101
    If a political leader cannot see the coming catastrophe,
    what is he good for? – besides making bombastic statements
    about past achievements?
    We are so hungry for past achievements that
    we even brag about being the first nation in the 20th century
    to be targeted for genocide.
    Has anyone ever bragged about being run over by a truck?
    Once upon a time I too was a patriot.
    I looked up to our leaders
    the way Turks look up today to Ataturk,
    the way the Soviets looked up to Stalin
    and Germans to Hitler.
    But I am no longer a child.
    Propaganda explains nothing.
    Its sole aim is to convince and persuade
    by avoiding all explanations.
    Nationalism is a game in which
    victory invariably goes to the strong,
    never to the just.
    I am against chauvinism for two reasons:
    when we emphasize the positive in us
    and cover up the negative,
    we run the risk of deceiving ourselves.
    But when we do the same to others,
    we may make friends,
    and we need friends more than we need
    self-satisfied blind men
    who pretend to have 20/20 vision.
    If our leaders could not see through
    the likes of Talaat, Stalin, Hitler,
    and more recently, Assad,
    they might as well have been blind,
    and “when the blind lead the blind
    both shall fall into the ditch,”
    which is exactly where we are today – the ditch,
    compliments of our “betters.”

  7. #157
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    Sunday, August 26, 2012******************************************* CONFESSIONS OF AN EX-MORON********************************************* *** One of the worst things that can happen to a man is to be dependent on the charity of swine. If you have never been there, consider yourself the luckiest man on earth.*There is more hatred than love in what I write, or so I am told. To which I say, surely I can’t be the only game in town. There must be many others more favorably disposed towards our “betters.” Let them be the good cops to my bad cop.*For 600 years we were dependent on the charity of swine. We were even grateful and loyal to them. Even after they legally abducted, converted, and brainwashed our boys to kill and die in their imperialist wars; even after they raped our daughters and used them as concubines and whores, our gratitude and loyalty never wavered. On the eve of the Genocide they called us their “most loyal ethnic minority.” What did that get us, may I ask? So you still think if I am kinder to our swine they will have a better chance to see the light and change their ways?*If our “betters” go about their business with the shameless arrogance of bloodthirsty oppressors it may because they know something we don’t know, namely: if they control the educational system and the press they can convince even the dumbest people on earth to think they are the smartest. I speak from experience. Even as I went about committing some of my worst blunders, I did so with the awareness that as the offspring of the smartest nation on earth I could do no wrong.#Monday, August 27, 2012************************************** FROM MY NOTEBOOKS***************************************As soon as I am tempted to take myself seriously one of my patriotic readers takes it upon himself to remind me that no one gives a damn about what I think or say. I am grateful to these readers. One of the worst things that can happen to an Armenian writer is to think that like the rest of mankind he deserves to live.*Even the smartest Armenian will speak like an idiot if he has been brainwashed as a child.*Love is like alcohol: after intoxication, hangover; after blissful harmony, ulcer; after heaven, hell.#Tuesday, August 28, 2012********************************** CHARLATANS*********************To see the invisible and to understand the incomprehensible: we all share that ambition, but somewhere along the line some of us give up and pretend to be satisfied with answers fabricated by charlatans – popes, imams, rabbis who, unable to convince one another, brainwash defenseless children in the name of education.*We have the rare gift of saying a great many things except that which must be said. *The brainwashed cannot speak for themselves.*Fascism cannot be defeated with arguments. It took a world war to defeat fascism and even then it was only a temporary victory. There are more fascist regimes today than there are democracies, and there are fascists even in democracies. They may not call themselves fascists but they are as fascist as the fascists under Mussolini who was said to be “always right” (“Mussolini ha sempre ragione”)very much like popes, imams, and rabbis.#Wednesday, August 29, 2012************************************** RATS****************** We now know something we didn’t know until last night: When “Mrs. 1%” fell sick “Mr. 1%” took good care of her. It follows, the 1% know how to take care of their own and make it look like they do this out of Christian charity and compassion.*Fascism may also be defined as the encounter of useful idiots with moral morons.*I have every reason to suspect communists of all nations now pray for a Republican victory because then the chances of a Russian-style revolution in America may be greatly improved.*Writes David Brooks in THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Romney attended Harvard, studying business, law, classics and philosophy, though intellectually his first love was always tax avoidance.”*One of my favorite cases of mixed metaphors goes something like this: “Mr. Speaker, I smell a rat; I see him forming in the air and darkening the sky; but I’ll nip him in the bud.”#

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    Thursday, August 30, 2012
    In any given group victims outnumber their bullies;
    and yet, bullies are allowed the freedom to victimize.
    It took slaves and workers long centuries
    to unite against their masters and exploiters
    only to develop their own set of bullies –
    more tyrannical, more ruthless, more bloodthirsty.
    Why did it take women thousands of years
    to assert their rights?
    Even as I write these lines today
    most women spend more time, money and energy
    to make themselves more desirable to their oppressors
    than to develop the kind of solidarity
    that will give them the strength to assert equality with men.
    And finally, consider the 99% versus the 1%.
    In an enlightened society the 1% would probably be in jail;
    and yet, they are allowed the freedom to sermonize and speechify
    in the name of God and Country,
    or freedom and prosperity.
    One may be justified in suspecting that
    what motivates most men and women
    is not common sense and decency
    or even self-interest but
    cowardice, greed, and ignorance.
    Friday, August 31, 2012
    Don’t believe everything you are told.
    Believe even less everything you read.
    The aim of human communication is deception.
    This is not a personal prejudice but a universal truth.
    It has been said and repeated by far better men than myself,
    among them Socrates who went further and said
    people (including the 1%) use words
    with total unawareness of their meaning.
    Turks don’t view the Genocide as a tragedy
    or a crime against humanity
    but as a military victory to celebrate
    and brag about among themselves.
    (“We taught them a lesson they’ll never forget!”)
    Armenians don’t view treason and betrayal
    as a capital offense but as a necessary means for survival.
    To some degree we are all perverts and liars,
    and to say otherwise is the height of self-deception.
    You think I enjoy being the bearer of bad tidings?
    I think of myself as an objective observer
    and an interpreter of reality.
    As for the world at large:
    the consensus seems to be:
    Let bygones be bygones.
    Concentrate on the future.
    What’s done is done and cannot be undone.
    Asvadz medz eh!
    Not an original slogan, granted.
    But what’s the use of originality if it can fix nothing?
    Saturday, September 01, 2012
    ************************************************** *
    A megalomaniac with an inferiority complex.
    That’s me.
    I write for Armenians who hate to read
    because they know better.
    Armenians who brag about
    their highly developed instinct for survival
    even as they dig the nation’s grave.
    Whoever said “At the beginning was the word,
    at the end garbage,” sure knew what he was talking about.
    Neither Khorenatsi nor Naregatsi,
    neither Raffi nor Zarian were successful in toppling
    the thick impenetrable wall that stands
    between our men of contemplation
    and our men of action – writers and politicians.
    “Our political parties have been of no political use to us;
    their greatest enemy is free speech”(Zarian).
    The average Armenian dupe is convinced
    nothing and no one can fool him,
    not even the combined cunning of seven Genoese
    (the smartest Italians, it has been said)
    seven Greeks, and seven Jews.
    And yet he is taken in by partisan slogans
    whose sole aim is to divide the nation.
    To divide and rule.
    That’s enemy action.
    It follows, as night follows day,
    and as sunset follows sunrise,
    our partisan patriots are our enemies.
    Now then, go ahead and contradict that.

  9. #159
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    Sunday, September 02, 2012
    Freedom to a bully means
    the freedom to bully the weak and defenseless.
    Freedom to a racist means
    the freedom to view a fraction of his fellow men
    as inferior and himself as superior.
    To a capitalist it means the freedom to exploit.
    To a tyrant it means the freedom
    to oppress, enslave, and when necessary, to slaughter.
    Until very recently, in my own lifetime as a matter of fact,
    “Anglo-Saxon democracy” in the Southern States
    freedom meant classifying “Jews, Catholics, and niggers”
    as alien, hostile, and undesirable minorities,
    that is to say, the scum of the earth.
    It is not enough to say what must be said;
    you must also be careful to say it to the right person.
    In that sense, all our writers have been preaching
    to the deaf, dumb, and stupid.
    Freedom is not the only word open to abuse however.
    All important words – truth, justice, equality, objectivity…
    among many others – can be easily perverted
    to mean the opposite of what they really mean.
    To a nationalist historian, objectivity means
    to cover up the negative and to emphasize the positive,
    and if there are no positives, to invent them.
    To subscribe to an ideology or belief system means
    to abdicate one’s common sense and reason,
    and to accept a Big Lie as the Truth.
    Patriotism in our context means love of one’s country
    and hatred of one’s fellow countrymen beginning with those
    who dare to disagree with us.
    And speaking of Catholics:
    An Irish priest to a little schoolgirl:
    “Tell me, daughter, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
    “A prostitute.”
    “What’s that you said?”
    “I said a prostitute, Father.”
    “Thank God for that. I thought you said a Protestant.”
    Monday, September 03, 2012
    Speaking of words and their meanings:
    When we speak of nationalism
    what we really mean is tribalism.
    In our context freedom means only the freedom
    to choose a foreign master.
    Patriotism means loyalty to a gang of partisans
    and “mi kich pogh” panchoonies.
    And what is our anti-Americanism
    if not disguised pro-Bolshevism?
    When an Armenian says to another Armenian
    “I disagree with you,” what he really means is
    my brainwashers disagree with your brainwashers.
    Or, it is not we who disagree
    but our bosses and bishops.
    Which may suggest,
    even our disagreements are not our own;
    or to paraphrase Zarian,
    even our trash has not been picked up from our own backyard.
    I know I am on the right path
    when what I think today
    stands in direct contradiction
    to what I was brought up to believe yesterday.
    Zohrab is right: Subservience corrupts everything it touches,
    including the noblest virtues.
    When near in the end of his life
    Charents dared to speak of solidarity
    he was careful to hide his message in a poem so cunningly
    that only his most loyal friends could locate it, and – you guessed it –
    it was one of them who betrayed him to the authorities.
    Tuesday, September 04, 2012
    Don’t think of me as someone who knows better.
    Think of me as someone who provides a perspective
    that contradicts a propaganda line.
    How to recognize a propaganda line?
    Easy! A propaganda line emanates from a power structure
    and all power structures rely on a class of individuals
    who make a more or less comfortable living
    by misleading the people:
    schoolteachers, priests, sermonizers, speechifiers, and the press.
    Another peculiarity of propaganda is that
    there will invariably be another propaganda line
    that contradicts it; and by contradiction
    I mean not only abstractions but facts.
    (Genocide? What genocide? It never happened.
    It’s a fiction of our imagination.)
    All power structures have the means to silence dissent.
    By contrast dissent is powerless as well as solitary and unprofitable.
    Consider the case of our own dissenters.
    Most if not all of them were silenced, starved, ostracized,
    betrayed to the authorities or murdered in cold blood.
    The Romans had a legal principle that said
    the surest way of identifying the guilty party is by asking
    “Who benefits by the crime?”
    Dissent is not and cannot be a crime
    (though more often than not it is treated as a capital offense)
    because there are no beneficiaries, only losers – namely,
    the dupes of propaganda and the dissenters themselves.
    In America today there are two propaganda lines
    that contradict each other,
    and there are dissenters who say
    it is not politicians that control events but corporations.
    In our own Homeland and Diaspora
    there is a propaganda line that says
    we never had it so good
    because we are in the best of hands,
    and there are dissenters who say
    our power structures are rotten
    and we are experiencing not one
    but two self-inflicted genocides:
    assimilation in the Diaspora
    and exodus in the Homeland.
    Who is right and who wrong?
    Up to you to decide.
    And there you have another difference
    between propaganda and dissent:
    dissent gives you a choice.
    Propaganda does not.
    Wednesday, September 05, 2012
    I don't trust the judgment of the powerful and the rich.
    The greater the wealth, the emptier the suit.
    In an environment where benefactors are kings,
    only brown-nosers prosper.

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    Thursday, September 06, 2012




    For ever opinion, theory, ideology, and belief system there is another that contradicts it. Communism versus capitalism. Theism versus atheism. Imperialism versus nationalism. Which is right? *We tend to think in terms of generalities, abstractions, and carefully selected facts – and that’s where we go wrong: in our selection of evidence. *What are the arguments for imperialism? For 600 years the Middle East lived in relative harmony. But after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire there followed a long series of internecine wars with no end in sight. Something similar happened after the collapse of the Soviet Union. *What are the arguments against nationalism? Divisions tend to generate more divisions and internecine conflicts can be as bloody as imperialist wars (Syria being a present-day case in point). *What is the difference between communism and capitalism? As the old joke has it: Under capitalism man exploits man. Under communism it’s the other way around. Or, as they used to say in Poland: “Once upon a time we were slaves. We are now slaves of former slaves.” *The truth is, there is no Truth, only Big lies and dupes.


    Friday, September 07, 2012




    The reason why I like to make the truth as unpalatable as I can is that only then our dupes may decide to emerge from the cesspool in which they have been swimming. *Very early in my career as a writer I realized the only way to survive in this business is to kiss ass and say it smells like roses. *I know now why as a child I was lied to about Armenians: the truth is too unspeakable. *As an adult I was promised minimum wage (actually less) provided I wrote and translated what I was told by mediocrities that operated on the assumption it is a writer’s duty to emphasize the positive and cover up the negative, that is to say, to lie and deceive. *When I finally decided to speak the truth, I was silenced and became an enemy of the people. On more than one occasion I have been accused of being a hireling of foreign powers including the regime in Ankara. *We are so addicted to lies that anything that does not flatter our collective ego is rejected as enemy action. *May the Lord have mercy on our soul – if there is a Lord and we have a soul


    Saturday, September 08, 2012




    Chauvinists are not born but made, and what makes them is systematic indoctrination at a vulnerable age. *What is the difference between an Armenian and a Turkish chauvinist? Only the identity of their brainwashers. In all other respects they might as well be Siamese. *Where there is chauvinism there will be deportations, wars and massacres. *“All men by nature desire to know” Aristotle tells us.He should have added, except chauvinists who prefer to wallow in their own cliches ignorance. *A chauvinist’s most important ideas revolve around slogans and recycled propaganda and his favorite two words are “Yes, sir!”*“My country, right or wrong!” “My love of my country is good. My enemy’s love for his country is bad.” “If you don’t have Ararat in your heart you are no better than a piece of sh*t," (or so I was informed the other day by one of my gentle readers). “Forget your mother but do not forget your mother tongue.”And to think that there are actually self-assessed smart people who take this kind of nonsense seriously.*The Jesuits --masters of indoctrination--had a slogan of their own: “Give me a child and I will raise him to believe anything!” And so it is. *To speak truth to stupid is to dig your own grave.


  11. #161
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    Aug 2004


    Wednesday, September 12, 2012
    What do you gain
    if in your effort to be positive
    you cover up the negative?
    What do you gain
    if you replace greed for money (capitalism)
    with greed for power (communism)
    if the number of victims
    (the poor and the powerless)
    remains constant?
    History does not repeat itself;
    it’s human nature that stays the same.
    Propaganda makes a critic’s job easy
    by telling him where the bodies are buried.
    First nation to adopt Christianity in the 4th century;
    first nation to adopt atheism in the 20th.
    A man’s wisdom may also be judged
    by the number of fools he counts as his enemies.

  12. #162
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    Aug 2004


    Saturday, September 15, 2012
    Sooner or later all ideologies and religions
    develop a power structure;
    and where power enters murder is sure to follow –
    not to say war and massacre.
    Religions may benefit individuals
    here and there, now and then
    but societies, never!
    Religions have been and continue to be
    as dangerous as biological and nuclear weapons.
    Freedom of religion means
    license to brainwash.
    Friday, September 14, 2012
    There are two ways of being popular
    in an environment dominated
    by charlatans and dupes:
    by inventing new lies and
    by recycling old ones.
    I don’t write for dupes.
    I write for readers who almost think as I do.
    Who takes Armenian writers seriously?
    Not even Armenian writers.
    Speaking for myself,
    I have nothing but contempt for writers
    who write about many things –
    from the Middle Ages to massacres –
    but carefully avoid our present problems.
    If everybody loved to play the same instrument
    we wouldn’t have an orchestra.
    An Armenian reader may agree with me
    on one or two points, but three points? –
    that would be like a minor miracle.
    Saturday, September 15, 2012
    Benefactors write checks, build schools and community centers;
    bishops sermonized in the name God;
    bosses speechify in the name of Country and Mount Ararat;
    and after leading a more or less comfortable life
    they die in bed.
    By contrast, successive generations of our writers
    have been reduced to the status of beggars,
    silenced, exiled, and murdered.
    Simply because they refused to engage in deception
    and to mislead the community into thinking
    they never had it so good
    because they are in the best of hands.
    And because I write as I do
    I have been called a Turk, an enemy of the people, and a shit.
    When in his eighties Zarian died in Yerevan
    after sustaining injuries in a fall,
    he was sure he had been pushed and murdered
    by agents of the State.
    When Baruir Massikian,
    a brilliant playwright, short story write and essayist,
    who was also a successful lawyer,
    was visited in his deathbed by a delegation of Panchoonies
    parading as concerned community leaders
    asked him to leave his wealth
    to the Armenian Educational Foundation,
    he said he’d much rather leave it
    to whores in a Cairo bordello.
    You may see me as a pessimist
    and a dealer in gloom and doom.
    I see myself as an honest witness
    who refuses to commit perjury.
    If that’s a crime,
    I am more than willing to plead guilty as charged,

  13. #163
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    Sunday, September 16, 2012************************************ SUNDAY SERMON***************************** Empires are not born but made, and what makes them is vision, without which, the Bible tells us, “the people perish.” *We have perished not because the land allotted to us was stony, the climate harsh, and our neighbors bloodthirsty,but because our leadership was without vision. *Empires have risen from the most unlikely places – even from deserts and islands. I am not an imperialist. I say these things to point out the fact that our nationalist historians are first and foremost propagandists whose sole aim in life is to mislead us into thinking we have nothing to worry about because our “betters” are noble and selfless specimens of humanity as opposed to being the scum of the earth. *You don’t believe me? Listen to Zarian: “Our political parties have been of no political use to us. Their greatest enemy is free speech.” And even more to the point: “Armenians survive by cannibalizing one another.” *Like empires, cannibals are not born but made and what makes them are leaders who place their own powers and privileges above the interests of the community and the nation.#Monday, September 17, 2012****************************************** A READER WRITES****************************** “You repeat yourself. You write too much. You have too many opinions. You are on too many forums.” *That’s because I have about a dozen readers half of whom either believe nothing I say or do not trust my judgment even when I say the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.To the rest I am old news because I say nothing that is new or original; I simply repeat, quote, or paraphrase better men than myself (to which charge I plead guilty as charged). *It follows I may or may not have one reader who may profit from what I say. My ambition in life is to have at least two readers before I die. On the day that happens I may consider making myself more useful in some other line of work, such as planting potatoes or bird-watching.#Tuesday, September 18, 2012************************************ WRONG QUESTIONS****************************** Do I have more enemies than friends? Wrong question. The right question is: Am I saying what must be said? *Do our fanatics outnumber our moderates? What about our dupes? Do they outnumber those who can think for themselves? Corrupt, incompetent or dishonest leaders: do they outnumber the honest ones? Do our dividers outnumber those who are of the opposite disposition? *If the alienated and assimilated outnumber those who “have Ararat in their hearts,” who is to blame? Speaking as an alienated Armenian who stays away from community centers, churches, and political parties: I hate all propagandists regardless of nationality so much so that I’d much rather deal with an honest Turk than a dishonest Armenian. I will go further and say I consider all honest men my brothers and all charlatans and crooks as my enemies. *Do our brainwashed dupes outnumber those who refuse to surrender their hearts and minds to partisans and panchoonies? To ask the right questions is the beginning of all wisdom.#Wednesday, September 19, 2012**************************************** ON BEING WRONG****************************** So what if I am wrong? Far better men than myself have been wrong. Think of Zohrab who saved Talaat’s life by risking his own. Think of our revolutionaries who on the eve of the Genocide challenged the Turks to massacre us. Think of Charents who allowed himself to be brainwashed by the Bolsheviks. Consider the case of Sylva Gaboudikyan of “Forget your mother” fame, who after the collapse of the Soviet Union declared “I am proud to have been a member of the Communist Party!” *If I am wrong I can be corrected. And I have been, many times. I am corrected even when I am right. When was the last time anyone dared to correct any one of our bosses, bishops, and benefactors? *You have nothing to fear from someone willing to admit his fallibility, and everything to fear from someone who speaks in the name of God, Country, and the eternal snows of Mt. Ararat.#

  14. #164
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    Saturday, September 22, 2012
    After telling us the Bible is the word of God
    and “a house divided against itself cannot stand,”
    they divide a house that is already divided
    between believers and non-believers.
    You say it’s impossible
    and I say doing what must be done
    creates its own energy and cunning.
    Even as they blabber endlessly
    about Turks and massacres
    they tell me I am being negative.
    Romney’s problem:
    a big mouth and a bigger foot.
    Saturday, September 22, 2012
    I am not sure about posterity.
    You and I may well be our only posterity.
    I have been depressed most of my life
    and I consider it an integral part of the human condition.
    Unlike most Americans
    I don’t think happiness or well-being to be a patriotic duty.
    I have never been near a shrink,
    nor taken a single pill.
    Only the occasional drink.
    I can’t imagine anyone not loving
    its mountains and rivers, lakes, valleys, and forests.
    Neither can I imagine anyone
    not hating the former KGB agents and commissars
    who are now in charge of it.
    Call it treason if you like.
    I call it rejection of all crypto-fascist propaganda.
    I call it refusal to be the dupe of thieving charlatans,
    and in that I am with the majority – namely
    all those who have voted with their feet and live abroad
    or they define homeland as anywhere on earth
    where they are allowed to work and provide for their families.
    Saturday, September 22, 2012
    Be aware of stupidity
    for it is the source of all evil.
    The problem with hatred is that
    it tends to metastasize.
    Hatred of the enemy
    turns brother against brother.
    More often than not
    our choice is not between good and evil
    but between the lesser of two evils.
    Details are important
    especially the ones you miss
    or refuse to see.
    “In the name of Allah
    the Compassionate, the Merciful,
    Owner of the Day of Judgment.”
    I quote from memory.
    I paraphrase. If wrong ascribe it to Alzheimer’s,
    not to blasphemy.
    It is hatred of the infidel
    that turns Shia against Sunni
    and Assad against his ownpeople.
    From the lyrics of a popular Armenian song:
    “An Armenian loves to eat (oudel)
    and he eats to hate (adel).”
    He who is blinded by hatred
    believes he has 20/20 vision
    and God is on his side.
    “I am not here to bring peace but a sword.
    If you don’t have a sword,
    sell your cloak and buy one.”
    If you can’t guess who said that,
    I suggest you read the Scriptures.
    And now let us pray!
    “Our Father Who art in Heaven…”

  15. #165
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    Sunday, September 23, 2012
    For 600 years we hated the Turks
    and we had every right to do so
    for what they did and kept doing to us,
    but we deceived them into thinking
    we loved them and we did such a good job of it
    that they named us their most loyal millet (ethnic minority).
    For 60 years we also hated
    the “onion-head” Russians
    but again we pretended to love them
    by calling them our “big brothers.”
    We went further. Much further.
    We betrayed and surrendered our ablest men
    to their murderers.
    And now that we have no one to deceive
    we deceive one another
    and we do such an excellent job of it
    that most Armenians in the Diaspora
    believe when native Armenians call them “aghber”
    they don’t mean “white trash,”
    but “brother.”
    We have become such habitual and expert liars that
    we believe in our own lies.
    Now you know why our 1% divides the 99%
    and gets away with it.
    They say they divide us
    because they are men of principle
    and gentlemen do not compromise on principles.
    The fact is they divide us out of fear.
    Fear of what we might do to them
    when we uncover the truth.
    After all, far more civilized and progressive nations than us
    have beheaded, executed, and assassinated their kings.
    The only reason we have done nothing of the kind so far is that
    we have been duped into thinking
    our leaders are not our enemies
    but our heroes and saviors.
    Armenians of the world unite.
    You have nothing to lose
    but your dividers and gravediggers..
    Monday, September 24, 2012
    One of our elder statesmen
    (may God have mercy on his soul,
    if there is a God and he had a soul)
    once wrote a book in which he blamed all our problems
    on chezoks (non-partisan Armenians).
    “They are neither hot nor cold,” said he.
    “They are neither for nor against anything.
    They don’t care.
    They are useless, aimless, and purposeless.
    They exist but they do not live…
    they are a dead weight…”
    and so on and so forth.
    You may have noticed that
    when our speechifiers get going,
    nothing can stopping them.
    Zarian knew what he was talking about when he said
    “An Armenian’s tongue is sharper than a Turk’s yataghan.”
    In my review of the book I said something to the effect that
    our dividers were the real source
    of all our problems, not chezoks.
    In his angry telephone call
    our statesman said, among other things:
    “I thought you were on our side.”
    “I am on nobody’s side,” was my answer,
    “if only because I have done no harm.”
    My father was a chezok
    not because he didn’t care
    but because he lost everything twice
    and I mean that literally:
    first time in 1915 during World War I in Turkey,
    second time in 1941 during World War II in Greece.
    As a result he spent all his time
    trying to make a living and provide for his family
    in alien and hostile environments.
    He died in his fifties and he looked ninety.
    He may not have been a great Armenian
    but he was an honest man.
    I wish I could say the same of our
    Ottomanized, Levantinized, Americanized, and Sovietized
    fellow countrymen who parade as first-class Armenians
    and expect the rest of us to look up to them
    as role models.
    Tuesday, September 25, 2012
    There are truth-seekers and there are propagandists.
    The aim of propagandists is power.
    The aim of truth-seekers is exposing lies.
    Propaganda has produced such monsters as
    the Nazi who believed to belong to a superior race;
    the Jew who believed to be God’s Chosen;
    the English sahib who saw himself as a civilizing agent;
    the child-molesting Catholic priest;
    and closer to home, the Armenian patriot
    with “Ararat in his heart”
    who views a fraction of his fellow Armenians as “white trash.”
    In America propaganda has produced the KKK
    and legitimized racism;
    in Russia the Big Brother (in the Orwellian sense of the words)
    and the commissar.
    By contrast truth-seekers have been solitary underdogs
    and victims of propagandists.
    Gandhi in India,
    Martin Luther King in America (both assassinated),
    Solzhenitsyn in Russia,
    Socrates in 5th-century BC Greece and
    Jesus in 1st-century Palestine.
    How to identify a propagandist?
    Easy! A propagandist is a member of an organized group
    with a clearly defined agenda
    which pretends to be on the side of truth
    but on closer inspection reveals itself to be Big Lie.
    If you are a member of such a group,
    look out brother, you may well be on your way to the Devil.
    I read the following quotation in my morning paper today:
    “He who knows others is wise.
    He who knows himself is enlightened.” Lao Tzu.
    Wednesday, September 26, 2012
    Do you really want to know
    why I write the way I write?
    I will tell you.
    I write the way I write in defense of all Armenians
    who were insulted and abused in the name
    of this or that brand of patriotism
    of which there are as many as there are Armenians.
    A Bolshevik’s patriotism, for instance,
    means not only love of homeland
    but also loyalty to the memory of Stalin.
    A nationalist’s patriotism bears all the earmarks
    of racism and fascism.
    I write in defense of all writers
    who were betrayed, silenced, exiled, butchered, or shot.
    I write to remind our Turcocentric ghazetajis and their dupes
    that it is wrong to gauge an Armenian’s patriotism
    by the degree of hatred he harbors against Turks.
    I write to say that I have nothing but contempt
    for the kind of Armenian who after perpetuating our problems
    tells me, “We need solutions, not critics.”
    My message to them is:
    “If you really need solutions, hang yourself!”
    I have no illusions about myself and my fellow Armenians.
    I am fully aware of the fact that
    I have as much influence on Armenian affairs
    as a grain of sand on the Saharan desert.
    But I write to set the record straight.

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