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  1. #196
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    as i see it

    Thursday, January 24, 2013
    **************************************
    WHY DO I GO ON WRITING?
    ************************************
    That’s a question I ask myself again and again
    and I always come up with an answer
    that may make sense to me
    but no one else.
    *
    I write to settle a score, beginning with myself.
    I feel partly responsible for our leadership.
    I supported it for a number of years.
    I kissed its ass when I should have kicked it.
    *
    Our divisions go so far back in history
    that they have become invulnerable to dissent and criticism.
    It is also true that if a system is rotten
    it will fall if not tomorrow than the day after.
    Isn’t that what happened to monarchy, fascism, and Stalinism?
    *
    The reason our divisions have survived is that
    we have lived on the margins of history;
    and they have not so much survived as they have become,
    in Toynbee’s classification, fossilized.
    They are dead men walking.
    Case in point: by failing to unite the Armenian vote in America,
    our leadership has condemned itself to be a silent scream.
    No American presidential candidate will ever take us seriously
    so long as we divide our vote evenly
    between Republicans and Democrats.
    *
    As for our Turcocentric ghazetajis
    who pretend to be defenders of the Cause:
    so far all they have succeeded in doing
    is drive the Cause to a dead end.
    Their unspoken or real aim is not to get justice
    but to cover up the incompetence
    of the empty suits they work for.
    *
    A final note on Turks:
    they are not all butchers and murderers;
    they have their share of both as surely as
    we have our share of traitors, collaborators,
    and cover-up artists,
    #
    Friday, January 25, 2013
    *****************************************
    PARADOX
    ***********************
    We think with someone else’s thoughts
    and we believe by adopting someone else’s belief system.
    When it comes to the two most important things in life –
    thinking and believing,
    or that which makes us human --
    we are more like apes than men.
    I think therefore I am not.
    *
    Our disagreements and conflicts are not ours
    but someone else’s.
    Neither are our wars.
    Only our victims may be said to be ours.
    *
    Absurdity is not a philosophical abstraction;
    it is embedded in our daily existence.
    *
    Question all certainties.
    Reject all dogmatic assertions.
    And never forget that what you borrow
    is not yours.
    #
    Saturday, January 26, 2013
    ***************************************
    AS I SEE IT
    ***************************
    Our most popular school of criticism
    consists in slinging mud (such as pro-Turkish)
    hoping some of it will stick.
    *
    Identifying blunders in others can be useful
    only if it may help us identify our own.
    *
    Thirst for fame is the surest symptom of mediocrity.
    *
    Only pathological liars with political ambitions
    rewrite history in order to project a positive image.
    *
    A book is called bad or dangerous if it proves
    what you believe to be true is a lie.
    #

  2. #197
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    Wednesday, January 30, 2013
    *****************************************
    SMART ARMENIANS
    **********************************
    A smart Armenian is first and foremost
    a self-assessed Armenian and in all self-assessments
    propaganda speaks louder than reality.
    *
    Whenever I speak of reality
    I am accused of being pro-Turkish probably because
    for 600 years our reality was not ours but theirs.
    When it came to the most important decisions in life,
    it was they who made them.
    We had no choice but to say “Yes, sir!”
    They dished it out and we took it.
    And when our revolutionaries decided to change that,
    we all know what happened next: reality turned against us.
    *
    How long before we create our own reality?
    My only tentative answer: I may not live long enough to see it.
    *
    I have dealt with many self-assessed smart Armenians
    and they were all idiots.
    So was I for most of my life.
    Everything I say about Armenians is based on self-analysis.
    *
    Gentle reader: If you think what I say does not apply to you
    because you are different, I am more than willing to apologize.
    Every rule has its exceptions.
    I have even heard it said that it is exceptions
    that certify the legitimacy of a rule.
    My hope is that really smart Armenians
    will decide to step forward and get involved
    in our community affairs instead of conducting
    an underground existence.
    *
    Did I say really smart Armenians?
    Strike that. Make it honest Armenians.
    Because it doesn’t take a high IQ to see that
    we are on the wrong path and on our way to the devil.
    *
    A warning: If you are an honest Armenian
    and decide to be pro-active, don’t be surprised
    if accusations of pro-Turkish sympathies are hurled against you
    by moronized self-assessed Armenians.
    #
    Monday, January 28, 2013
    ****************************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    **************************************
    Propaganda is as addictive as nicotine, alcohol, and opium.
    *
    The hidden message in all propaganda is,
    what you think is right
    and anyone who dares to disagree with you
    is an enemy agent.
    *
    Now Barabbas was a publisher
    and Cain a fascist.
    *
    Speechifiers and sermonizers end up believing
    in their own speeches and sermons.
    Arguing with them is like trying to enlighten a source of light.
    *
    There are times when I get so depressed
    by my fellow countrymen that
    the thought of death cheers me up.
    *
    Dissent means questioning the integrity of individuals
    who believe in their own infallibility.
    *
    Propaganda sticks to children like crazy glue.
    #
    Tuesday, January 29, 2013
    ************************************
    IRRELEVANCE
    ********************************
    Even in a land of the brave and the free
    there will be cowards and slaves;
    and if not slaves to human masters
    than slaves to ignorance, prejudice, and lies.
    *
    Our men at the top know that
    the best way to avoid international scrutiny
    is by achieving irrelevance,
    and irrelevance is thrust on some
    as greatness is thrust on others.
    *
    Who after all gives a damn about Armenia?
    Not even Armenians.
    Who gives a damn about our 1,500,000?
    Not even Obama.
    Who gives a damn about our ongoing “white genocide”
    (exodus from the Homeland and assimilation in the Diaspora)?
    Not even our superpatriots
    who prefer to speechify about the eternal snows of Mt. Ararat.
    *
    God’s existence is as great a mystery to me
    as the Devil’s?
    #
    Wednesday, January 30, 2013
    *****************************************
    JESUS, MARX, FREUD
    ********************************
    All of Freud may be said to be an expansion
    of the Biblical dictum:
    “The Kingdom of God is within you.”
    Or, the resolution of all your inner conflicts and contradictions
    are in your unconscious.
    *
    When Marx said “I am not a Marxist,”
    he was in a way questioning the legitimacy of all ideologies
    or closed systems of thought.
    *
    Einstein proved that all our fundamental assumptions
    about time and space are wrong;
    nothing is what it seems;
    a great deal of reality may be comprehensible
    but not everything.
    There are things we may never understand and explain.
    *
    What has been the most important contribution
    America has made to the world?
    Double-talk.
    To assert “All men are created equal,”
    and with the full cooperation of the Church
    to legitimize slavery.
    *
    What about Armenian contributions?
    Inbred morons pretending to be smart.
    *
    If the Kingdom of God is within you,
    so is the Empire of the Devil.
    #

  3. #198
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    Thursday, January 31, 2013
    **********
    …AND SO IT GOES
    **********
    The aim of politics is power.
    The aim of literature is understanding reality.
    When the two meet, literature loses.
    And when literature loses,
    murder, war, and massacre become inevitable.
    *
    Writers are dreamers?
    Yes, but only in so far as they think
    they can survive in a fascist environment.
    *
    The attitude of the average dupe towards literature?
    “He is a writer? An Armenian writer?
    He must be a daydreamer.
    Let’s have some fun with him.”
    *
    Armenians are different from Turks?
    In their treatment of dissent
    they might as well be identical twins.
    *
    Dupes rate the lies of propaganda
    above the truths of literature.
    *
    One reason why our dividers are more popular
    than our dissidents is that
    the IQ of the average Armenian is a negative digit;
    which is why he is constantly reminded he is smart.
    *
    One of my most dedicated readers is a
    Second-Amendment gun nut and racist
    who thinks he fully qualifies as a commissar culture
    and based on that assumption
    he issues daily memoranda
    reminding me that unless I follow instructions
    I will never amount to anything.
    *
    When reason meets prejudice,
    reason is bound to lose.
    So what else is new?
    Mart bidi ch’ellank.
    #
    Friday, February 01, 2013
    **********
    AS I SEE IT
    **********
    Some lies are so transparent that
    they might as well be confessions.
    *
    There are no more deep truths,
    only platitudes in fancy uniforms.
    *
    There are Armenians today who are pro-Assad.
    I have met some of them myself.
    What’s next?– being pro-Talaat?
    *
    To those who demand that I explain my explanations,
    I say: I have already done so in the past
    and I will again in the future.
    *
    Toynbee:“Comprehension sometimes consists
    in just a correct understanding of questions
    that are unanswerable."
    #
    Saturday, February 02, 2013
    **********
    ON OUR 1%
    **********
    Why did Raffi say “we are sheep without a shepherd”?
    Why did Avedik Issahakian call our leaders “brainless”?
    And why did Zarian call them “useless”?
    Were all three wrong or dupes of enemy propaganda?
    *
    Baruir Massikian, a successful lawyer in Egypt
    in addition to being a brilliant writer:
    as he lay dying in hospital he was approached
    by a delegation community leaders
    who suggested he leave his considerable wealth
    (he was a bachelor) to an Armenian educational foundation.
    His reply:“I’d much rather leave it to a Cairo bordello.”
    Was he anti-Armenian or pro-Turkish?– two charges
    that are leveled against anyone
    who dares to refuse being a dupe.
    *
    Why do our academics prefer to write
    about the Middle Ages and the Genocide?
    And why is it that whenever someone tries to expose
    the corruption and incompetence of our 1%
    he is insulted by our superpatriots
    and experts on any given subject?
    *
    Please note that I am only asking questions.
    I am not making dogmatic assertions whose sole intent is
    to divide the community into members of the club
    and alienated degenerates.
    *
    I repeat myself and the 1% does not?
    *
    In the opinion page of my local morning paper
    a pundit begins his commentary with the following words:
    “We live, breathe and exist in an age of apocalyptic uncertainty.”
    If you were to ask one of our pro-establishment propagandists,
    my guess is he would say:
    “We never had it so good
    because we are in the best of hands.”
    #

  4. #199
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    Sunday, February 03, 2013

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

    DEAD END

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

    If I criticize the 1%

    it’s because I am on the side of the 99%.

    If I don’t enjoy the support of the 99%

    it may be because the secret ambition of most of them

    is to join the 1%.

    *

    Freedom of religion also means

    the freedom to brainwash children.

    If we don’t see the harm in that

    it’s because we live in a world

    in which subservience is valued more than freedom,

    intolerance more than tolerance,

    revenge more than justice,

    and ultimately war and massacre

    more than peace and coexistence.

    *

    On the day we learn to think for ourselves

    we may have a better chance to achieve solidarity

    not only with our brothers

    but also with our enemies.

    *

    Always treat today’s enemy

    as if he were tomorrow’s friend.

    *

    If I am different it’s only because I rely

    more on my own thinking than on the thinking of

    empty suits and bearded charlatans

    who make a comfortable living by deceiving

    the defenceless and the ignorant.

    #

    Monday, February 04, 2013

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

    SOUND BITES

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

    If Christianity has legitimized

    intolerance, persecution, torture, war and massacre,

    can we really say “There are good religions?”

    *

    I don’t believe in optimism.

    Hell, I don’t even believe in pessimism.

    In pessimism we construct a narrative that makes sense.

    But evil is incomprehensible.

    So is reality. That’s why every historian

    creates his own version of the past.

    *

    Does it make sense to say what’s theirs is bad

    and what’s ours is good

    when that’s exactly what they say too?

    *

    If you make a list of writers who preferred exile

    to life in their own homeland,

    you may end up with a who’s who is contemporary literature.

    *

    Our reality is so unbearable that my objectivity

    is sometimes confused with self-hatred.

    *

    “When we kill them it’s good;

    when they kills us it’s bad.”

    What’s the difference between this mindset

    and the one expressed by an African tribal chieftain

    quoted by C.G. Jung in his memoirs:

    “When my enemy steals my wives, it’s bad;

    when I steal his it’s good.”

    *

    To those who say “I don’t agree with you.

    Human beings are better than that; so is life.”

    All I can say is: “Enjoy your innocence (or is it ignorance?)

    while you can. It won’t last.”

    *

    How often do I find myself saying:

    “I would have agreed with you thirty years ago.”

    #

    Tuesday, February 05, 2013

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

    COMMISSARS OF CULTURE

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

    Q: Who are they? Could we have a definition?

    A: They are Armenians who know what must be said and done

    but who want someone else to do it for them.

    Q: Why?

    A: The obvious answer is, they don’t know.

    They only pretend to know. They are bluffing.

    Just like their role models in the USSR who trusted Stalin

    more than Solzhenitsyn. Our commissars today trust more

    our bosses, bishops, and benefactors than our writers.

    Q: Why do they?

    A: My guess is they believe literature to be a dead end.

    No money in it. No power. No future.

    Our history is clear on this point:

    To write for Armenians is a waste of time.

    Q: Knowing this you go on writing, why?

    A: A good question, but I have a better one for you:

    Why do Armenians who are brought up to believe

    they are smart, progressive and civilized

    choose to behave like inbred morons

    when it comes to politics and collective action?

    More precisely, why do they support our dividers

    and grave-diggers?

    Q: You must have an answer to that question.

    A: I don’t! Unless of course we say they behave like morons

    because they are in fact morons.

    Q: I wouldn’t describe that as a diplomatic explanation.

    A: Literature is not diplomacy. Neither is it a profitable enterprise

    unless of course you decide to write

    about the Middle Ages and the massacres.

    But that’s a subject for another conversation.

    #

    Wednesday, February 06, 2013

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

    ON BEING AN ARMENIAN WRITER

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

    Q: What are some of the positives and negatives

    in being an Armenian writer?

    A: Positives? None! Negatives? To begin with

    you work for nothing;

    you are treated like an unemployed and unemployable misfit,

    a mental masturbator;

    morons take it upon themselves to tell you

    what to write and how to write it;

    and worst of all, you are dependent on the charity of swine.

    A: Aren’t you afraid that by using angry words

    you may run the risk of undermining your own objectivity?

    A: I am more than willing to take that chance.

    Those who are against me will be against me

    even if I were to speak like an angel.

    And I have every reason to suspect

    if so far Armenian writers have been ignored

    it’s because they were afraid to go down into the gutter

    where our self-appointed “betters” and their dupes live.

    Some day if these gentlemen are unmasked,

    they will be exposed as bottom-of-the-barrel

    egomaniacal sociopaths and bullies

    who operate on the assumption that

    they know better and our only option is to say “Yes sir!”

    Q: "The Sultan is dead, long live the Sultan?"

    A: That’s true for Ottomanized Armenians.

    For Sovietized Armenians it’s “Stalin is dead,

    long live our commissars!”

    Q: Do you see a light at the end of the tunnel?

    A: For me, no! For those who may follow me, maybe.

    You never know…anything is possible.

    And they say I am a pessimist.

    What the hell do they know?

    #

  5. #200
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    writers

    Thursday, February 07, 2013
    ***************************************
    NAMING NAMES
    *****************************
    Q: You never name names. Why?
    A: In our environment naming names doesn’t work.
    Q: What do you mean it doesn’t work?
    A: Last time someone named names he was taken to court,
    his sources evaporated, he was found guilty, he suffered a stroke,
    and shortly thereafter he died.
    Q: His sources evaporated, how?
    A: They refused to testify in court.
    Q: Why?
    A: Obviously they didn’t want to lose their only source
    of financial support.
    Q: I see.
    A: That’s the way it has always been in our environment:
    those in power and the establishment in general
    have been invulnerable. This was true
    even in the Ottoman Empire and the Soviet Union.
    Even on the eve of the Genocide there were
    Armenians – and I don’t mean dupes --
    who worked for the Ottoman and Soviet administrations,
    which means they supported the Sultan and the Young Turks.
    Krikor Zohrab, an eminent lawyer, diplomat,
    and intellectual leader was one of them –
    he was a close friend and supporter of Talaat
    who had him murdered in cold blood.
    I am myself personally acquainted with writers
    who make a comfortable living as secretaries of bishops.
    Do you think they will even consider testifying
    against their only source of income
    and start looking for another job?
    Who would hire them?
    Armenian writers are not exactly in great demand
    in today’s marketplace. But all that is theory.
    In reality it has never happened.
    We don’t have a system or cultural environment
    that supports individuals who place truth or principle
    above self-interest. And we have always had
    ruthless manipulators willing to take advantage of this situation.
    #
    Friday, February 08, 2013
    ***************************************
    ON READING
    **************************
    Q: What are some of the books you have reread more than twice?
    A: Lesley Blanch’s SABRES OF PARADISE,
    Toynbee’s RECONSIDERATIONS (volume xii of his STUDY OF HISTORY),
    and Sartre’s WORDS.
    Q: A strange trio.
    A: I forgot Nabokov’s LOLITA, and of course Zarian
    whom I have translated into English,
    and to translate a book is equivalent to rereading
    it ten times if not more. There may be others
    but these are the ones that come readily to mind at the moment.
    Q: What is it about Zarian that fascinates you?
    A: His daring and uncanny ability to say
    what you almost think…and his unique grasp of reality.
    Q: What about books that have changed your worldview?
    A: Dostoevsky’s IDIOT, Turgenev’s FATHERS AND SONS,
    and Suzuki’s INTRODUCTION TO ZEN BUDDHISM,
    all of which I read as a teenager --
    and Plato’s DIALOGUES. Also Shaw’s plays,
    or rather their prefaces which are longer than the plays themselves.
    And Thomas Mann’s MAGIC MOUNTAIN.
    Q: Do you have a favorite genre?
    A: All of them – fiction, essays, biographies, memoirs, diaries,
    conversations, crime novels, encyclopedias…
    everything but poetry. I don’t remember to have ever read
    a collection of verse from beginning to end.
    Isolated poems now and then, here and there,
    but Milton, Dante, and T.S. Eliot, no!
    As for Pushkin: I might as well be deaf, dumb, and blind.
    I have always suspected that in poetry
    manner is more important than substance.
    Q: Do you think Armenians read enough?
    A: Somewhere Zarian says that what Armenians preferred to read
    at the turn of the century in Istanbul were best-sellers
    like Zevaco and Eugene Sue – whom no one reads these days.
    I know Armenians who love books for purely cosmetic reasons,
    to make an impression on visitors.
    I am beginning to suspect an Armenians’ greatest enemy
    is neither the Turk nor his fellow Armenian
    but the written word.
    #
    Saturday, February 09, 2013
    **************************************
    FROM CRADLE TO GRAVE
    **********************************
    Gandhi once said you can evaluate a civilization
    by the manner in which it treats its animals –
    and, I would add, its writers.
    If you make a list of our writers
    you will be astonished to discover
    an astonishing number of them
    were either silenced, ignored and exiled or
    betrayed to the authorities,
    murdered and committed suicide.
    *
    Armenia has been called “the cradle of civilization”
    by an Irish academic who enjoyed the financial support
    of the Gulbenkian Foundation,
    the wealthiest foundation in the world, it has been said.
    But it would be even more accurate to call it its grave.
    *
    And speaking of Gulbenkian:
    Why did he leave only 7% of his wealth to Armenians?
    Did he know something we don’t know?
    Did he guess that if he were to leave
    all his wealth to Armenians,
    93% of it would end up in the wrong pockets?
    I am not casting aspersions,
    just asking question and searching for answers.
    #

  6. #201
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    Sunday, February 10, 2013
    ******************************************
    HOLY BOOKS
    **********************
    We all have our own.
    To some it’s the Bible,
    To others the Koran,
    to still others the UPANISHAD.
    In my twenties my holy book was
    Thomas Mann’s THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN
    in which there are endless arguments
    about all the important issues in life.
    The two fictional characters who engage in these arguments
    are Naphta (authoritarian, mystical, fascist)
    and Settembrini (a liberal humanist).
    The arguments are so convincingly done that
    at the end you cannot tell who is right and who wrong.
    *
    In my thirties my other holy book was
    Toynbee’s RECONSIDERATIONS
    (volume xii of his STUDY OF HISTORY)
    in which ideas about the past, that is to say life,
    are carefully analyzed and discussed at considerable length.
    *
    It is to be noted that Mann’s character of Naphta
    is based on the famous communist critic and philosopher Lukacz
    with whom he was personally acquainted
    (Lukacz was later to write a book on Mann);
    and in RECONSIDERATIONS Toynbee quotes
    many of his critics except Hugh Trevor-Roper
    whose attack on him was so ruthless and rude
    that its intent was not to question Toynbee’s ideas
    but to destroy him personally.
    *
    Also to be noted, both Mann and Toynbee
    were great readers of the Bible.
    Mann even wrote his longest book,
    the tetralogy JOSEPH AND HIS BROTHERS,
    based on an episode in GENESIS.
    *
    When told the Bible was written by the Holy Ghost,
    Shaw is said to have replied,
    “All books are written by the Holy Ghost.”
    What about LOLITA, one is tempted to ask.
    LOLITA too, Shaw would have replied
    (the book was published after his death)
    because THE SONG OF SONGS in the Old Testament
    fully qualifies as an erotic rhapsody in which,
    Hebrew scholars tell us,
    there is even talk of oral sex – obviously lost in translation.
    #
    Monday, February 11, 2013
    *************************************
    SOUND BITES
    ***************************
    *
    COMMON KNOWLEDGE
    *********************************
    “The small state, racked by internal dissension,
    invites the foreign conqueror.”
    This is a line that occurs in a short story by Mary McCarthy.
    I quote it to point out the fact that far from being
    the best and the brightest, we are a cliché known by all except us.
    That’s how cunningly and thoroughly we have been brainwashed.
    *
    SUICIDE
    ****************
    Instead of blabbering endlessly about murder,
    we should speak of suicide by a thousand self-inflicted cuts.
    *
    THE ENEMY
    ***********************
    He who is his own worst enemy
    does not need an enemy.
    *
    THE WAY OF THE COMMISSAR
    ****************************************
    You don’t like what he says?
    Shoot him.
    You can't shoot him?
    Silence him.
    You can’t silence him?
    Call him “son of a Turkish whore.”
    *
    TRANSLATION
    ***********************
    “A government by the people for the people.”
    Translation:
    “A government by the mafia for the mafia.”
    *
    WORDS
    ********************
    Instead of analyzing my words
    teach yourself to analyze your actions.
    Unawareness, according to Freud and Jung,
    is the source of all evil
    *
    PROPAGANDA
    **************************
    The real aim of propaganda is not to misrepresent lies as truths
    but to moronize the people,
    and the most effective way to moronize the people
    is to call them seven times smarter than Greeks and Jews.
    #
    Tuesday, February 12, 2013
    ***************************************
    CONTROL FREAKS
    ****************************
    The Pope telling Galileo what to think
    and imams telling women how to dress
    spring from the same source:
    ignorance, arrogance, and greed for power.
    *
    Unmask religion and expose the primitive in man.
    *
    If you cannot deal with reality,
    invent your own fiction.
    *
    A man of faith believes his faith to be infallible
    and with God on his side he can do no wrong.
    This fallacy has claimed more innocent lives than any other.
    *
    There are as many paths to God or Truth
    as there are human beings.
    To say otherwise is to legitimize intolerance
    and ultimately war and massacre.
    This is not theory but reality,
    that is to say, history.
    *
    The same applies to patriotism.
    There are as many variants of patriotism
    as there are patriots.
    To say, suggest, or imply that your kind of patriotism
    is better than mine or anyone else’s is to justify
    all kinds of aberrations, including crimes against humanity.
    *
    To say my faith, my God, my Truth and no other
    is to be on a path that leads not to God but to the Devil.
    #
    Wednesday, February 13, 2013
    *******************************************
    NOTES & COMMENTS
    *********************************
    The phoniest Armenians are those
    who never miss an opportunity
    to assert their superior brand of patriotism.
    *
    As children we are taught big lies
    and forbidden to speak little ones.
    *
    Because I expose contradictions
    I am told I hate myself.
    *
    The biggest lies are fractions of the truth.
    *
    In a trial by jury,
    the function of the jury is not to separate
    the guilty from the innocent
    but to decide which side
    has the more competent lawyer.
    *
    Nationalist historians are not liars;
    they only emphasize the positive
    and cover up the negative.
    I know how that’s done because I have done it myself.
    See my ARMENIANS: THEIR HISTORY & CULTURE.
    #

  7. #202
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    Thursday, February 14, 2013
    ***************************************
    WHO LOVES ARMENIANS?
    ****************************************
    In his youth Zarian loved Armenians
    because he saw himself as a messianic figure
    and his fellow Armenians as a crucified nation.
    In his old age he saw himself as a victim
    of intolerance and envy,
    and he died with the conviction that
    he had been murdered.
    *
    Saroyan loved the whole world including Armenians
    but he couldn’t stand his own family
    including his half-Armenian son and daughter.
    *
    Michael (GREEN HAT) Arlen loved his fellow Armenians too
    but he warned his half-Armenian son to stay away from them.
    The son followed his father’s advice
    with only one interruption
    that lasted long enough for him to write
    PASSAGE TO ARARAT that became a best-seller.
    *
    Because I hate myself, some of my critics tell me,
    I am in no position to love or understand my fellow Armenians,
    and armed with that conviction
    they feel justified in calling me “son of a Turkish whore,”
    among other abusive terms.
    *
    I have noticed that Armenians who speak endlessly of love
    are the least lovable specimens
    and though I have tried very hard to love them
    I have failed.
    But that’s my fault rather than theirs.
    #
    Saturday, February 16, 2013
    *****************************************
    LIES, BIG LIES, AND
    CONTRADICTIONS
    ************************************************** ***
    In politics don’t judge the man,
    judge the men behind the man.
    *
    The same Leonardo who said war is
    “pazzia bestialissima” (the most beastly madness)
    also designed war machines.
    *
    Even Jesus failed to unmask Judas
    until it was too late.
    *
    If Zohrab was Talaat’s dupe,
    who among us will dare to say
    he is nobody’s dupe?
    *
    One reason I keep coming back to dupes is that
    I have been one most of my life…
    with no end in sight.
    *
    If I were to make a list of Big Lies we believed in,
    I would begin with
    “The Turks would not dare to massacre us,” and end with
    “Russians are our Big Brothers.”
    *
    To preach love and legitimize hatred is a contradiction,
    and yet most religious leaders appear to be unaware of this fact.
    *
    Love of God (religion) and love of homeland (patriotism)
    have justified more crimes against humanity
    than hatred of the Devil.
    #
    Saturday, February 16, 2013
    ******************************************
    WHO LOVES ARMENIANS? (II)
    **************************************
    There are systems of ignorance as surely
    as there are systems of knowledge
    and we choose both by the degree of flattery they contain.
    *
    Christians believe they are worthy of the Crucifixion,
    Jews believe they are the Chosen,
    and Muslim believe non-Muslims to be “infidel dogs.”
    *
    What about Armenians?
    To begin with we don’t much care
    about Turks, Kurds, Azeris, Georgians,
    “onion-head” Russians, and the so-called “civilized West”
    which fought its lousy World War I
    instead of coming to our aid.
    Neither are we fond of Protestants and Catholics
    even when they happen to be fellow Armenians.
    Native-born Armenians look down at Diasporans (“aghber”) --
    I have myself been called “a piece of shit” by a fellow Armenian
    born and raised in the shadow of Mt. Ararat.
    *
    Who loves Armenians?
    Not even Armenians.
    As the popular refrain has it:
    “Mart bidi ch’ellank!”
    Literally: “We will never acquire the status of human beings.”
    #

  8. #203
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    Sunday, February 17, 2013
    *****************************************
    US/THEM
    ****************************
    As a child I was told many things
    that as an adult I rejected.
    As a Catholic I was brought up to believe
    the only reason Martin Luther had divided the Church
    was to fornicate with a nun.
    *
    More often than not the hidden aim
    of all categories, differences, and labels
    is to assert some kind of phony superiority.
    *
    Shaw once said that the reason why
    he was successful in creating believable female characters
    is that he did not think of women as different from men.
    When the French say “Vive la difference!”
    I have every reason to suspect
    they have in mind only anatomical differences.
    *
    An old lady from Kharpert once told me
    they viewed women from Izmir (Smyrna) as sluts
    because they (Izmirtsis) used make-up;
    and a woman from Izmir once told me
    they view Kharpertsis as Kurds.
    For every label there will be a counter-label.
    *
    Native-born Armenians versus Diasporans
    (or aghber = white trash).
    As a non-native Armenian I suspect native-born Armenians
    to be former Bolsheviks, even Stalinists.
    *
    We are all brought up to look down on our fellow men
    for reasons that on closer inspection reveal themselves to be
    based on ignorance, prejudice, fear, and fallacies.
    I feel therefore justified to formulate
    the following categories of my own:
    human beings who view their fellow men and women as equals
    and dupes who suffer from a psychological aberration
    known as infantilism which consists
    in clinging to illusions, lies, and prejudices instilled in them
    when they could not yet think for themselves and
    whose hidden aim is to make them feel superior or privileged.
    #
    Monday, February 18, 2013
    *******************************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    *******************************
    Why is it that people who view abortion as murder
    don’t see war as murder?
    *
    The Enlightenment did not put an end to the Dark Ages;
    neither did Christianity expose false gods.
    *
    Whenever a reader calls me pro-Turkish
    I know he has run out of arguments.
    If memory serves, it was Goebbels who said:
    “Making noise is an effective means of opposition.”
    *
    As a pessimist I hate to be right.
    *
    Because I make Armenianism
    (its cheap, loathsome variant) look hateful,
    I am accused of hating myself.
    *
    Be a dupe, join a group.
    *
    The contempt of idiots and fanatics
    is as valuable an asset as the affection of good men.
    *
    When Jesus said “The Kingdom of God is within you,”
    the rabbis thought, there goes my bread and butter.
    *
    Among us success is harder to survive than failure.
    *
    In real life all stories have an unhappy ending
    if only because at the end everyone dies.
    #
    Tuesday, February 19, 2013
    *****************************************
    ON PATRIOTISM
    *************************************
    The most patriotic Armenian is neither
    the devout church-goer nor
    the dedicated partisan
    but an honest man.
    *
    If you can’t think of me as a critic
    (someone who exposes contradictions)
    think of me as the devil’s advocate.
    As far as I know no one has ever identified
    a devil’s advocate with the devil.
    *
    Where there is money there will be prostitution
    in one form or another;
    and where there is patriotism, there will be treason,
    and more often than not it will the real traitors
    who will accuse the real patriots of treason.
    *
    Armenians who criticize no one and nothing
    (except perhaps Turks and Kurds)
    will criticize critics and their favorite mode of criticism
    will be slinging mud in the hope that some of it may stick.
    *
    Our critics – and we have had our share of them –
    have made no difference in our collective existence
    probably because our idiots outnumber the rest 99 to 1.
    I may be wrong in this.
    The correct ratio may well be 98 to 2.
    #
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013
    ******************************************
    WHAT I HAVE BEEN SAYING
    **************************************
    “In their place I would have done a better job.”
    That’s not what I have been saying.
    What I have been saying is
    having committed blunders
    I would not spend the rest of my life
    trying to cover them up
    in an effort to project a positive image.
    Neither would I declare myself to have been
    a proud member of the Communist Party
    (as Sylva Kaputikian is said to have done).
    or any other party, for that matter.
    Or having divided the community
    I would not portray myself as a statesman of vision
    whose number one concern is the welfare of the nation.
    Neither would I judge a regime or a power structure
    by the number of privileges and powers it bestows on me
    and to hell with everyone else.
    As for brainwashing children into believing
    we never had it so good because we are in the best of hands:
    I would consider that adding insult to injury
    and raising another generation of brainwashed idiots.
    Now then, go ahead and accuse me
    of making too many demands on our “betters”
    who may not be perfect but are doing their best
    under difficult conditions:
    and if you believe that you will believe anything!
    #

  9. #204
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    Monday, March 25, 2013

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

    NOTES & COMMENTS

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

    If both sides believe Truth to be on their side

    it must be a Big Lie.

    If both sides believe God to be on their side,

    it must be the Devil.

    In a historic context Homo sapiens may be defined as

    a being who cannot tell the difference

    between God and the Devil.

    *

    Q: Is it true that you are more critical of Armenians

    than of Turks?

    A: As an Armenian I criticize Armenians.

    I leave to Turkish critics the task of criticizing their own.

    *

    When tyrants silence writers,

    they invariably target the best.

    *

    The reason I am a pessimist or see the dark side of things

    is that I refuse to be moronized by the 1%.

    *

    In murder it may be “cherchez la femme.”

    But in war and crimes against humanity

    it’s cherchez moral and intellectual hoodlums

    parading as statesmen.

    *

    The 99% don’t make history;

    they only suffer it.

    #

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

    NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS

    OR GENOCIDE BY OTHER MEANS

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

    Learning also means unlearning

    what you were taught as a child.

    Loving your people also means hating their enemies.

    The average dupe loves to brag about the lies

    he has been taught as a child

    and to ignore the evidence to the contrary.

    *

    We in Canada are brought up to brag about

    our multiculturalism and to forget that

    there was multiculturalism in the Ottoman Empire too;

    so much so that after 600 years of “brutal oppression”

    we produced literary giants like

    Baronian, Odian, Zabel Yessayan, and Zohrab.

    *

    Now then, name a single Canadian-born Armenian

    who is capable of writing a single decent line

    in his mother tongue.

    *

    I have heard smart Canadians define multiculturalism

    as “let them dance.” Obviously because

    they can read between the lines of their state propaganda

    better than outsiders like us.

    *

    In the obituary of the Nigerian author Chinua Achebe,

    I read the following this morning:

    “He spent much of his adult life in the United States

    but resisted literary honors from a government

    he refused to accept.”

    In other words, he refused to be taken in

    by a policy of genocide by other means.

    *

    If you want to read more about the many ways

    the 1% has of misleading, deceiving, confusing, bamboozling, flimflamming, exploiting, and hoodwinking the 99%

    read MYTHOLOGIES by Roland Barthes.

    #

    IDIOTS

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

    Armenians who say there are divisions everywhere

    are simply parroting the words of an idiot

    whose sole aim is to explain and justify

    his own powers and privileges.

    *

    There are divisions even in the most advanced democracies?

    It is equally true that, unlike us,

    advanced democracies have a centralized power structure

    because they have been successful

    in overcoming their tribalism,

    namely the misconception that

    my political party, my church, my backyard

    and my chickens matter more than all others.

    *

    There are divisions everywhere?

    There are also rapists and murderers everywhere.

    Should we therefore accept them

    as inevitable facts of life

    and adopt a live and let live stance

    in the name of compassion, tolerance and patriotism?

    *

    There are divisions everywhere?

    There are also crooks and idiots everywhere.

    Does that mean we should allow them

    to be in charge of our collective destiny?

    #

    Wednesday, March 27, 2013

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

    MEMOS TO MYSELF

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

    Political leaders prefer dupes to dissidents.

    *

    The plea of not guilty may be available to dupes

    but not to their deceivers.

    *

    Power corrupts, weakness castrates.

    *

    On the art of writing: the less art the better.

    *

    To write too much is not a sin;

    to discard too little is.

    #

  10. #205
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    Thursday, March 28, 2013
    ****************************************
    WHEN I THOUGHT I KNEW
    **************************************
    When I thought I knew,
    I didn’t!
    *
    State a problem clearly
    and its solution will fall on your lap.
    *
    When it comes to solving our problems
    we may well be just about
    the dumbest people on earth.
    *
    In an anti-intellectual environment
    to call someone an intellectual is the same
    as identifying him as a mental masturbator,
    a parasite, and a daydreamer
    who knows nothing about real life.
    An Armenian may identify himself as a professor
    or an academic, but only a retard
    will call himself an intellectual.
    To those of my readers
    who dismiss me as an intellectual
    I therefore say, one does not have to be an intellectual,
    a vodanavorji, or anything else for that matter
    to recognize a jackass when he sees one.
    *
    To those who say “I know what I need to know,”
    I say: Knowledge is not and cannot be a final product
    but a work in progress.
    #
    Friday, March 29, 2013
    ************************************
    WHAT IF OUR BETTERS
    ARE OUR WORST?
    **************************************
    The problem with a drug addict
    is not his addiction
    but his refusal to kick the habit.
    Likewise, our problem is not
    the absence of solutions
    but the rejection of all solutions,
    one of them being solidarity.
    *
    Next time you hear someone parrot the line
    “what we need is solutions,”
    you may classify him
    as a habitual and compulsive liar.
    *
    More often than not we are not deceived;
    we consent to be deceived.
    We are brought up to believe we are smart
    to cover up our status as dupes of idiots.
    *
    We believe our “betters” to be la crème de la crème
    when in fact they are la crème de la scum.
    #
    Saturday, March 30, 2013
    ***************************************
    ON CROOKS AND LIARS
    *********************************
    An honest man cannot solve the problems of a crook.
    Neither can he solve the problems of a nation
    run by crooks.
    Which may explain why our literature
    has failed to solve a single problem,
    prevent a single death,
    expose a single liar.
    *
    Between an unprofitable truth and profitable lies,
    most men will choose lies.
    This may explain why nationalist historians
    outnumber the others a thousand to one.
    *
    To write about crooks and liars means
    never to run out of things to say.
    *
    My ambition: to say things nobody says
    and everybody thinks.
    *
    Like the last Ottoman sultans
    who had a thousand concubines in their harems,
    the average propagandist has a thousand lies.
    You want proof?
    Think the opposite of what a speechifier says
    and you may see more sense there.
    #

  11. #206
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    questions

    Monday, April 01, 2013
    *************************************
    TWO QUESTIONS
    ***********************
    Even after successive waves of Hamidian massacres
    in the Ottoman Empire and Stalinist purges in the USSR,
    Armenian writers like Siamanto and Totovents
    couldn’t stand life in America
    and returned to Istanbul and Yerevan respectively.
    Now then, my question is:
    How many of our writers now living in exile
    have returned to their homeland after Independence?
    Is it conceivable that there was more tolerance
    and freedom under the bloody Sultan
    and the iron rule of Stalin
    than under our own oligarchs?
    *
    I am personally acquainted with an Armenian writer in exile
    who is not allowed to visit his dying father in Yerevan.
    My second question is:
    Is it conceivable that our oligarchs
    are more commissars and less Armenian?
    Or more robots and less human beings?
    #
    Wednesday, April 03, 2013
    *******************************************
    ON LIFE, AFTERLIFE, AND
    RELATED ATROCITIES
    ************************************************
    On life after death:
    the chances are we will return to wherever it was
    that we came from before we were born.
    But that may not be the end of the story…
    *
    Nationalism teaches us to have 20/20 vision
    when it comes to our assets
    and pretend to be deaf, blind and stupid
    when it comes to our liabilities.
    *
    There is a natural tendency in all of us
    to subscribe to dogmas whose sole intent
    is to divide the community and to reject
    what common sense, decency, logic, and self-interest dictate.
    *
    To contradict is a temptation an Armenian cannot resist.
    *
    When we rely too much on our understanding
    we tend to forget or ignore the fact that,
    that which is incomprehensible
    may well be closer to the truth.
    #
    Tuesday, April 02, 2013
    ************************************
    CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
    ***************************************
    We owe our dogmas and divisions
    to individuals whose ultimate aim
    is the destruction of the nation;
    and if they are not aware of this
    it’s because they have allowed themselves
    to be moronized by their own propaganda.
    *
    We have bosses, bishops, and benefactors
    by the dozen and dupes by the thousand
    but not a single consensus seeker.
    *
    Nationalism also means
    to believe nothing you are told
    except flattery.
    *
    It took Turks 600 years to realize
    sultans were up to no good.
    It may take them a little longer to realize
    Kemalism is a morally and politically bankrupt ideology.
    *
    If there is a god,
    garbage collectors will go to heaven
    and politicians to hell.
    *
    Where there is subservience there will also be
    intimidation -- or bullies and cowards.
    #
    Wednesday, April 03, 2013
    *****************************************
    UNDERSTANDING THE ENEMY
    ******************************************
    We may understand why we hate our enemies
    but we don’t always understand why they hate us.
    *
    If we have trouble understanding our enemies
    it may be because we have been brainwashed
    to believe we are lovable;
    and we are lovable even when
    we behave like repulsive apes;
    and we are smart
    even when we speak like inbred morons.
    *
    We like to believe
    if our enemies hate us
    it’s because there must be something
    fundamentally wrong with them.
    Turks are bloodthirsty savages.
    In the eyes of Americans,
    Muslim terrorists are ignorant fanatics.
    *
    Instead of examining our conscience
    we blame others.
    We use the lies of our propaganda
    to reach a truth which is a bigger lie.
    *
    We forget that
    we are not as cute as we think we are.
    No one is.
    To take propaganda seriously
    means to moronize oneself.
    *
    Instead of wondering why
    Americans hate Muslims,
    Muslims should ask themselves
    why do Sunnis butcher Shias and vice versa?
    Instead of wondering why Turks hate Armenians,
    we should ask ourselves
    why does Armenian hate Armenian?
    *
    Why Muslim terrorists hate Americans unto death?
    Why did Americans hate one another unto death
    in their Civil War (in cosmic time, yesterday)?
    #
    Saturday, April 06, 2013
    ***************************************
    ON CHARM
    ******************************
    “Charm is shit!”
    I hate the man who said that.
    I should have said it first.
    *
    Death may be the end of the road for us
    but the road itself is without end.
    *
    Robert Frost:
    “And nothing to look backward to with pride
    And nothing to look forward to with hope.”
    Our history in two lines.
    *
    I am what my critics made me.
    *
    The 1% may be replaced but not toppled.
    *
    Beware of the man who is humble only before God.
    *
    Divide the enemy and the battle is half won.
    Let the enemy divide us and the war is lost.
    #
    Saturday, April 06, 2013
    *****************************************
    MEMOIRS OF A SURVIVOR
    **************************************
    Unmask an Armenian and expose
    a celebrity without recognition,
    a king without a crown,
    and a tyrant without power.
    *
    I remember once when I tried to arrange
    an interview with a minor Armenian celebrity,
    I was treated with such contempt that
    I cancelled the interview without notice
    and decided never to interview another Armenian again.
    *
    Success has this in common with power – it corrupts.
    *
    The offspring of survivors
    I am myself a survivor:
    my parents survived Turks;
    I survived Armenians.
    *
    In the official version of our recent story,
    the operation was a success but the patient died.
    *
    Recycled propaganda is verbal vomit.
    #
    Saturday, April 06, 2013
    **********************************
    WAR CRIMINALS
    ******************************
    Who is crazier – the Second Amendment gun nut
    or the unbalanced teenager or adult
    who kills defenceless children?
    Speaking for myself:
    I don’t know.
    Hard to say.
    *
    I suggest there is a mass murderer in all of us
    waiting for the right combination of circumstances
    to make an appearance.
    *
    Consider the frequency with which
    law-abiding patriotic citizens that have committed
    or cooperated in the commission
    of atrocities, massacres, and genocide in the past.
    How many of them surrendered
    and pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity?
    What about political, military, and religious leaders
    who legitimize and promote
    intolerance, hatred, and war or mass murder?
    Last but far from least:
    How many popes, imams, and rabbis
    have been identified as war criminals?
    I am not casting aspersions,
    just asking questions.
    #

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    more...

    Saturday, April 13, 2013

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

    SERMON

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

    In what way am I morally superior

    to a cold-blooded killer if I harbor a killer within me?

    In what way are Americans morally superior to Muslims

    if they (Americans) have killed more Muslims

    than Muslims have killed Americans?

    In what way Muslims are morally superior to Americans

    if the only reason they have killed fewer Americans

    is military inferiority?

    *

    Closer to home:

    we have been so busy exposing Turkish criminal conduct

    that our own moral status has become an alien dimension.

    As Zarian would say: “Danger, danger, danger!”

    *

    There is only one way to feel morally superior

    and that is (to echo Saroyan) by feeling sorry

    for the morally inferior.

    *

    The Scriptures tell us there is no difference

    between an adulterer and a man

    who lusts after another’s wife.

    Likewise there is no difference between a killer

    and a man who preaches hatred and revenge

    which he identifies as justice.

    *

    Perhaps what I have been trying to say here is

    we all swim in the same sh**!

    #

    Saturday, April 13, 2013

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

    THEOLOGY

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

    The aim of human speech

    is to say one thing

    and do the opposite:

    to say God is love and truth

    and to worship lies and the Devil;

    to say “Thou shalt not kill”

    and to go to war;

    to call Diasporan Armenians “aghber” (trash)

    and to behave like trash.

    Theologians and sermonizers are familiar with this phenomenon

    but prefer not to speak about it.

    *

    THERE WILL BE BLOOD

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

    As soon as the Kremlin realizes

    the present regime in Yerevan to be a liability,

    it will replace it with another.

    Will anything change?

    It remains to be seen.

    “No one gives up power without a bloody fight,”

    Hegel tells us.

    Is he right?

    We may have an answer soon.

    *

    DOES POWER CORRUPT?

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

    Power does not corrupt.

    It only exposes the corruption

    that was already there.

    *

    AMERICA AND ARMENIA

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

    Unhappy is the nation

    whose two most important sources of education are

    TV ads and state propaganda.

    #

    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS

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

    In life nothing works as planned.

    An honest autobiography would be

    a long list of disappointments.

    *

    My first book was a best-seller.

    My second book was banned.

    That’s when I knew I was on the right track.

    *

    We adopt a belief system because we are told

    all the others don’t make sense.

    *

    If you write in defense of dupes,

    deceivers will conspire against you.

    #

    REMEMBER!

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

    Patriotism is the favored word of tyrants.

    *

    Political parties need honest men

    as surely as religions need saints.

    *

    “A man of principle is a majority of one.”

    #

    Saturday, April 13, 2013

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

    SITUATION / SH*TUATION

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

    In the eyes of the world

    our regime in Yerevan has lost its virginity.

    The people are against it.

    But even if replaced

    nothing will change.

    *

    Believe nothing you are told.

    There are no good guys in politics.

    Power prostitutes.

    *

    Some of our greatest brains

    praised Lenin and Stalin.

    Even our best and brightest are no better

    than a bunch of dupes.

    *

    Where there is too much talk

    of freedom and independence,

    oppression is sure to follow.

    *

    Throughout our millennial history

    foreign tyrants have always relied

    on their Armenian collaborators

    to moronize the people.

    #

    TURCOCENTRISM REVISITED

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

    In Turcocentric circles I am know only as someone

    whom Turks like to quote.

    All I can say in my defense is that

    the Devil too can quote the Scriptures.

    Does that mean the Good Lord is pro-Devil?

    *

    I gladly admit to being not a Turcocentric

    but an Armenocentric writer.

    So were Baronian and Odian;

    or for that matter Zarian and Massikian;

    and before them Naregatsi

    who in his LAMENTATION blames no one

    but himself for his many failings and transgressions.

    *

    A human being is not a lump of clay

    at the mercy of forces beyond his control.

    The Turks did not recreate us in their own image.

    We consented to be recreated.

    That is worth repeating and emphasizing.

    We are what we have become

    because we chose freely to be who we are.

    The rest is propaganda

    and our favorite sport: the blame game.

    #

    DIARY

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

    “I enjoy reading you.”

    I am less interested in your enjoyment

    and more in your torment.

    I don’t write to entertain.

    Flattery is as irrelevant to me

    as the words of a brainless critics or dupe

    who believes what he is told

    especially what he is told

    flatters his ego.

    *

    In Deirdre Bair’s SAUL STEINBERG: A BIOGRAPHY

    I am informed that if you are depressed

    you can go to the nearest emergency

    and ask to see a shrink.

    This may be common knowledge but it’s news to me.

    *

    I remember once when asked by a French friend

    if I have ever been analyzed

    I said something to the effect that

    analysis is for the bourgeoisie

    and that as a perennial slum-dweller

    it has never even occurred to me

    to visit a shrink.

    I was astonished when he informed me that

    in France analysis is available to everyone

    free of charge.

    *

    Perhaps deep inside somewhere

    I continue to be a subject of the Ottoman Empire

    where the insane were treated like criminals.

    #

  13. #208
    Registered User
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    war

    Sunday, April 14, 2013
    *********************************
    ON WAR AND PEACE
    *************************************
    There are no just wars.
    A war in which innocent civilians die cannot be said to be just.
    *
    Countless wars have been fought since the beginning of time
    and in all of them there were winners and losers.
    *
    No nation on earth can assert military invincibility or,
    for that matter, moral superiority.
    Only Americans believe in their own moral superiority
    only Muslims believe in theirs, and so on...
    *
    If Americans and Jews were to behave like Turks did
    at the turn of the last century
    the world would witness a series of genocides
    on several continents.
    *
    Muslims may think they are invincible
    because they have Allah and oil on their side,
    in the same way that we (Armenians) thought
    we had the might of the Great Powers of Europe,
    plus God and the justice of our cause
    (freedom from oppression) on our side.
    It didn’t do us any good.
    It was all an empty illusion.
    *
    All political leaders (including Kemal, Arafat, and our own)
    are first and foremost baloney artists.
    They may successfully brainwash their dupes
    but they cannot fool reality.
    *
    If so far Americans and Jews have not behaved like Turks
    it may be because there is a difference between the autocratic East
    and the democratic West.
    *
    If Muslims want to coexist with their enemies
    they have no choice but to reject their undemocratic ways
    and realize that the concept of fundamental human rights
    is not an invention of the corrupt and decadent West.
    But even if it were, that does not make Muslims
    more progressive, civilized, and just in the eyes of the world.
    *
    Our choice is seldom between good and evil
    but between bad and worse;
    and sometimes even between worse and worst.
    #
    Hegel’s famous last words:
    “No one understood me except one,
    and even he didn’t understand me.”
    #
    The Nazis believed God to be on their side.
    So do jihadists today.
    The God of fanatics is the Devil.
    #
    ON MODERATION
    *******************************
    “Moderation in all things,” Greeks said
    even as they condemned Socrates to death.
    *
    For every believer there is a non-believer.
    Who is right?
    Neither.
    Who is wrong? Both.
    *
    Trust your friend but respect your enemy.
    *
    Modify your assertions with their contradictions.
    That may not be the best way to live
    but it is the only way to survive.
    #
    REFLECTIONS
    *********************************
    My real education began on the day I realized
    I was a brainwashed dupe and a self-satisfied idiot.
    *
    Words and reality (like ideas and God)
    move in two different dimensions that like parallel lines
    never meet (except in eternity).
    *
    Scientists tell us space has an end.
    What does this end look like?
    Is there some kind of invisible wall?
    What’s on the other side of the wall?
    *
    God is not a being, Thomas Aquinas tells us,
    but “being itself.”
    Whatever the hell does that mean?
    *
    Plato put it best when he said
    reality is like fire and words only shadows.
    *
    It is to be noted that after having a mystical experience
    Aquinas gave up writing and said something to the effect that
    all writing was no better than verbal trash.
    #

  14. #209
    Registered User
    Join Date
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    Saturday, April 20, 2013
    ******************************************
    BROTHERS
    **************************
    If you go against the dominant mindset of your time,
    you can’t go wrong.
    You may be a perennial reject
    but the chances are you will be closer to the truth
    than the crowd.
    *
    At the turn of the last century
    Turks thought the fewer Armenians the better.
    During World War II Germans had a similar disposition
    towards Jews.
    Remember the American slogan:
    “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”
    *
    One reason Americans did not exterminate Negroes is that
    Negroes played a key role in their economy.
    Closer to home: our own attitude
    towards our critics and dissidents:
    the fewer the better but none is best.
    (I speak from experience.)
    *
    All genocides begin in the hearts of men
    and we are no exception.
    Now then, go right ahead and assert moral superiority.
    #
    NOTES & COMMENTS
    *******************************
    Using profanities in an argument
    is like raising your voice to strengthen your position.
    It works only if your adversary is intimidated by noise.
    *
    I no longer search for the company of good men.
    If I can recognize and avoid the proximity of cold-blooded killers
    I am satisfied.
    *
    To those who accuse me of seeing only the dark side of our reality,
    I say: We have a long-standing literary tradition
    that prefers fiction to fact.
    Mine is a balancing act.
    *
    To lose a false friend is like defeating a dangerous enemy.
    *
    In the world of scholarship as in life
    the most valuable asset is a readiness
    to renounce a cherished idea.
    #
    NOTES / COMMENTS
    ************************************
    Individuals may admit their failings
    but nations never!
    All nations are habitual and compulsive liars.
    This is as true of Americans as it is of Russians;
    as true of Turks as it is of Armenians.
    *
    We like to say we had a Golden Age
    when the West was wallowing in its Dark Ages.
    The question we avoid asking is:
    Who is responsible for frittering away our heritage?
    *
    A new revolution or regime opens the path
    to a new class of mediocrities, opportunists,
    and bureaucrats – sharks for short.
    More often than not the difference
    between the old and the new is in name only.
    Scratch the label and expose the scum of the earth.
    #

  15. #210
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    canada
    Posts
    556

    variations

    Thursday, April 25, 2013
    *************************************
    VARIATIONS ON A FAMILIAR THEME
    ************************************************
    After behaving like swine
    they assert moral superiority.
    This is as true of nations and tribes
    as it is of empires;
    as true of the Ottoman Empire
    as it is of our own political parties and mafias.
    *
    When a fanatic says “God is on my side,”
    you can be sure of one thing:
    he can’t tell the difference
    between God and the Devil.
    *
    All belief systems are perversions.
    *
    Not to expose lies means
    being subservient to liars.
    #
    ONLY IN AMERICA
    ****************************
    In America if you fail as a writer
    you can make a comfortable living
    as a teacher of creative writing.
    *
    I don’t know what they do in Armenia
    but in the Diaspora you make yourself
    as invisible as possible – not to be the bud of jokes
    as a vodanavorji or a medavoragan
    (freely translated as versifier and assh*le).
    *
    ONLY IN ARMENIA
    ************************
    Where idiots are in charge,
    the smart will be persecuted.
    *
    Ours is a nation whose lunatic fringe
    is the dominant minority.
    *
    Literature is to the mind as water is to the thirsty
    and bread to the hungry.
    But some people experience neither thirst nor hunger
    because they are walking cadavers.
    *
    Politicians create enemies to cover up the fact that
    they are the real enemies.
    #
    ON EVIL
    & RELATED ATROCITIES
    *******************
    The only way to understand evil
    is to recognize it within us.
    Which is why the judgment of the self-righteous
    cannot be trusted – and who could be
    more self-righteous
    than bishops, imams, and rabbis
    who speak in the name of god?
    *
    One man’s god
    may be another’s devil.
    *
    To be diplomatic, tolerant, and civilized means
    to say the opposite of what you think and feel.
    *
    After I make an assertion
    I am haunted by its contradiction.
    *
    To be a writer means
    to be a re-writer.
    #

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