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  1. #16
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    Sunday, April 17, 2011
    *******************************************
    TRUST
    ***********************************************
    True patriotism consists in being honest
    with oneself and one’s fellow countrymen,
    not in saying “Yes, sir!” to those who pretend to know better
    but who have been consistently wrong in the past.
    A citizen is not a soldier.
    But after World War II even soldiers
    are not compelled to say “Yes, sir!” to all orders.
    *
    Politics is not an exact science.
    In a democracy, everything a politician says
    is open to criticism and contradiction.
    That is why for every politician who says one thing
    there will be another who will say the opposite.
    *
    Readers who accuse me of hating
    my fellow Armenians and myself
    never mention the deep contempt they themselves have
    for anyone who dares to disagree with them.
    Do they speak of hatred because they feel unloved?
    And if they are unloved,
    do they ever ask whether or not
    they deserve anyone’s love?
    *
    All our misfortunes may be traced to misplaced trust.
    We trusted the Turks as our masters for 600 years.
    We trusted them so much that
    they called us their “most faithful millet [ethnic minority]”
    That “most faithful” bothers the hell out of me.
    Why couldn’t we have been like all the others –
    Greeks, Arabs, Jews, Assyrians, Bulgarians,
    Albanians, and Kurds – among others?
    Why did we have to be their “most faithful” bitch?
    We trusted Talaat, Stalin, and Hitler.
    We trusted the Great Powers of the West
    as we trusted our own leaders
    who were not there when we needed them most.
    They had a plan B only for themselves.
    *
    In America today we trust any presidential candidate
    who promises to recognize the reality of our genocide
    even when after they are elected they refuse to use the “g” word.
    And now, our leaders expect us to trust them again
    when they rewrite history and represent themselves
    as statesmen of vision who can do no wrong.
    #
    Monday, April 18, 2011
    *******************************************
    A COMEDY OF ERRORS
    ***********************************************
    When the USSR collapsed
    Stalinists were unanimous in blaming it on Solzhenitsyn,
    as if a single or, for that matter,
    a thousand unarmed civilians
    could challenge and defeat a military colossus.
    *
    The USSR collapsed because
    the lies of the Kremlin were exposed;
    and when lies are exposed,
    the reality principle asserts itself.
    *
    If so far we have survived
    it’s because the lies of our enemies
    are bigger than our own.
    We have nothing to brag about.
    God is not on our side.
    We are not as smart as we think we are.
    Our history is a disaster area and
    our leadership is a farce.
    #
    Tuesday, April 19, 2011
    *******************************************
    ANOTHER WITNESS
    ***********************************************
    If you think I am an eccentric with whose opinions
    very few responsible Armenians would agree,
    allow me to quote a witness that may well be
    less vulnerable to similar charges.
    “Our teachers are self-satisfied ignoramuses.
    Our clergy love commerce more than learning.
    Our leaders behave more like wolves than shepherds.”
    I am paraphrasing from memory
    a few lines from the “Lamentation” of Khorenatsi,
    a historian of the 5th century
    when Armenia was at the apex of its Golden Age
    as opposed to the nadir of its decline and disintegration.
    *
    More recently, a friend writes:
    “Our community is dying.
    It’s a case of cold-blooded murder
    and the killers are the very same individuals
    who parade as our saviors.”
    *
    Another correspondent informs me:
    “Ours is a case of terminal cancer.”
    *
    If you say, “We survived Khorenatsi
    and we will survive you and your
    gloom-and-doom friends and correspondents,”
    all I can say is:
    Yes, in the Ottoman Empire we survived as slaves
    for 600 years; and we are surviving today as dupes.
    I call that kind of survival worse than death.
    #
    Wednesday, April 20, 2011
    *******************************************
    BEING POSITIVE
    ***********************************************
    Turks and Armenians disagree on many things
    but they agree on one thing – that the other
    is an infidel dog.
    We could build on that!
    #

  2. #17
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    Saturday, April 23, 2011
    *******************************************
    ROLE MODELS
    ***********************************************
    Where would Christians be without Jesus,
    or Muslims without Mohammed,
    or Communists without Marx,
    or Catholics without the popes,
    or Protestants without Luther?
    The men at the top matter.
    A divided leadership will spawn a divided community.
    Where the leadership is mediocre,
    excellence will be outlawed.
    Under a dishonest leadership,
    charlatanism will be the common currency.
    *
    “You are consistently negative.”
    All criticism and dissent is – including your own.
    There are ten negatives in the Ten Commandments.
    If I am negative it may be because
    I have the Good Lord as my guide and role model.
    But if you prefer positive,
    read my book on Armenian history and culture
    which could be subtitled “A Thousand and One Positive Things
    About Armenian History and Culture.”
    *
    “You repeat yourself!”
    So do Panchoonies:
    “Mi kich pogh oughargetsek”
    (Send us a little money).
    Even the Good Lord repeats Himself:
    “Where there is no vision the people perish.”
    “Where the blind lead the blind,
    both shall fall into the ditch.”
    #

  3. #18
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    Thursday, April 21, 2011
    *******************************************
    POLITICIANS
    ***********************************************
    To say, “Our politicians don’t lie”
    is as transparent a falsehood as saying
    “I owe my birth to immaculate conception.”
    Even if you believe it,
    you may have some trouble convincing others.
    *
    Reality (or God) tells us all men are brothers.
    Politicians tell us the only good enemy is a dead enemy.
    *
    Even those who agree that all politicians lie
    see nothing wrong in allowing them
    to control our educational system.
    *
    The average dupe – and it makes no difference
    whether he is Russian or Prussian,
    Hottentot or Patagonian, Armenian or Turk –
    would rather go to war and kill or die
    rather than give up his infantile beliefs.
    This may suggest that all wars
    are clashes between two figments
    created by habitual liars.
    *
    Where God and patriotism enter,
    reality exits.
    *
    To be against free speech is to be for liars.
    *
    Two synonymous sentences:
    Once upon a time barbers were surgeons.
    Once upon a time politicians led nations.
    #

    Friday, April 22, 2011
    *******************************************
    DO THE MATH
    ***********************************************
    Did you know that there are more Armenians today
    than there Mongols, Libyans, and Icelanders combined?
    – and I am not counting half of Turkey
    which is half-Armenian.
    You don’t believe me?
    Look it up and do the math.
    *
    Solutions?
    We have no use for them.
    What we need – what we really need today
    is not solutions but someone with Kemalist ambitions.
    Solving problems is a language we don’t speak.
    *
    To justify our unwillingness to solve our problems
    we count our liabilities the way others count their assets:
    we are few,
    we are landlocked,
    we are surrounded by bloodthirsty barbarians…
    As for political and religious dogmatism,
    intolerance, divisions, censorship,
    violations of human rights, corruption, and incompetence:
    we ignore them as if they were irrelevant factors
    beyond our control.
    *
    The Armenian character is not a poorly defined abstraction
    but an expression of how we treat one another.
    #

  4. #19
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    Sunday, April 24, 2011
    *******************************************
    HERITAGE
    ***********************************************
    The Turkish take on the Genocide:
    “We taught them a lesson they will never forget.”
    A crime against humanity?
    Hell no!
    An exercise in promoting wisdom?
    Damn right!
    *
    What a book one could write
    on the dangers of self-assessment!
    *
    Another case in point:
    They view Ottomanism as a progressive and civilizing force
    even after they themselves rejected every aspect of it –
    from the fez and the shalvar
    to the alphabet and the power structure.
    That’s the trouble with all brainwashed dupes:
    they can’t tell the different between making sense
    and making asses of themselves.
    *
    We share with them
    an intolerance of dissent and contradiction –
    an obvious part of our common heritage.
    *
    It is easy to remove the tangible;
    much more difficult to reform the invisible.
    #
    Monday, April 25, 2011
    *******************************************
    REFLECTIONS
    ***********************************************
    The more I write
    the less I hope to change anything.
    *
    The USSR did not collapse
    because of what Solzhenitsyn,
    among many others, wrote,
    or because of what the Pope of Rome or
    President Reagan said or did.
    The USSR collapsed because it was rotten.
    Nations and empires are not killed,
    they commit suicide.
    *
    The Albanians have survived
    and very probably will continue to survive.
    That’s not what matters.
    What matters is, who gives a damn
    whether they survive or not?
    The Albanians maybe, but who else?
    *
    A nation is judged not by its past but by its future;
    and more precisely,
    by what it can contribute to mankind.
    #
    Tuesday, April 26, 2011
    *******************************************
    NOTES & COMMENTS
    ***********************************************
    There are two kinds of people:
    those who help you to live
    and those who help you to die.
    *
    When the Turks first set foot on Armenian soil
    they numbered less than 140,000.
    *
    Only one Armenian in ten thousand knows our history
    and we meet him every day.
    *
    Nationalist historians adapt facts to their ideology.
    A fact that cannot be adapted is discarded.
    *
    A midget can defeat two giants
    if the giants are divided; all he has to do is
    wait until the giants wear each other out
    and bleed to death.
    *
    Question: Do I have to read ten thousand books
    in order to know all there is to know
    about our history and culture?
    Answer: No. Just take a good look at yourself in the mirror.
    *
    If you are kind, they will love you and ignore you.
    If you are mean, they will hate you and remember you.
    If you are honest, they will crucify you,
    #
    Wednesday, April 27, 2011
    *******************************************
    NOTES & COMMENTS
    ***********************************************
    It should be obvious by now that autocratic rulers
    don’t have much respect for their subjects.
    It would be even more accurate to say that
    they don’t give a damn about them.
    *
    The trouble with our brown-nosers is that
    they wear the brown on their nose
    as if it were a certificate of loyalty
    and a badge of honor.
    *
    Do you have to be brave to be a hero?
    No, just honest.
    *
    If Armenia is a puppet of Russia today,
    it is up to our leadership to convince the Russians
    that a free and independent Armenia
    will be in a much better position to make a contribution
    to their welfare.
    *
    The real scandal is not that Armenian political parties
    have no respect for free speech
    but that no one, not even our pundits and academics,
    who ought to know better, give a damn,
    as if it were fire on the other side of the river.
    *
    You spend half a lifetime to figure out your fellow men
    and the other half in avoiding them.
    #

  5. #20
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    Thursday, April 28, 2011
    *******************************************
    NOTES & COMMENTS
    ***********************************************
    Because I try to understand Turks as human beings
    as opposed to bloodthirsty Asiatic barbarians,
    I am accused of justifying the Genocide.
    Nothing and no one can justify
    the murder of a single innocent human being.
    To understand and explain is not to justify.
    If an Almighty and All-loving God
    allows such a murder to take place,
    it is up to us to understand it.
    *
    Arabs today are as angry with their own
    corrupt, autocratic, and incompetent leaders
    as with their own past subservience and cowardice.
    My dissent has similar roots.
    I write less against our leadership
    and more against my own cowardly conformism.
    *
    Nations lie as surely as compulsive liars.
    *
    Nationalist historians rewrite history
    to cover up past blunders and
    to legitimize future ones.
    *
    Wars represent the triumph of the gut over the brain.
    #
    Friday, April 29, 2011
    *******************************************
    WISDOM
    ***********************************************
    True wisdom begins on the day you say to yourself:
    “I thought I understood everything.
    I know now that I understand nothing!”
    *
    To understand politics,
    read a book on organized crime.
    *
    Politics has created more criminals than the Mafia.
    *
    If brainwashing were declared a crime against humanity,
    as it should be,
    which one of our speechifiers, sermonizers, and ghazetajis
    would escape hanging?
    #
    Saturday, April 30, 2011
    ***************************************
    ENEMIES OF MANKIND
    *****************************************
    We have inherited two sets of contradictory ideas:
    the ideas that animate our literature –
    from Khorenatsi and Naregatsi to Raffi and Zarian -- and
    the ideas of our dividers,
    namely sermonizers and speechifiers
    who speak in the name of God and capital
    (make it Capital and god).
    *
    Our bosses, bishops, and benefactors
    make a comfortable living, thank you very much.
    Our writers are unemployed and unemployable misfits.
    *
    Our writers maintain unity is strength.
    Our dividers agree but only during the day;
    at night they turn into grave-diggers.
    *
    Once during a heated argument
    with a self-righteous member of the party,
    I heard him say:
    “Mistakes? Sure we have made them.
    We don’t claim to be infallible.
    We are human beings.”
    What he failed to add is that
    like all human beings
    their first instinct is to cover up their mistakes
    and to silence anyone who dares to expose them.
    *
    Talk of God has been around for millions of years,
    but it is only recently that popes, imams, and rabbis
    assert monopoly on the subject, and doing so
    they divide mankind as surely
    as our leaders divide the nation.
    Some day all dividers will be seen
    as the true enemies of mankind.
    #

  6. #21
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    Sunday, May 01, 2011
    ***********************************
    LEADERS
    ************************
    The difference between
    a democratically elected leader
    and an autocratic one is that
    the first are endlessly cross-examined
    by the press and the opposition,
    and the second surrounds himself
    with yes-men and brown-nosers.
    *
    Freedom to an autocratic leaders means
    the freedom to oppress, silence, and murder
    defenseless civilians.
    *
    Closer to home:
    our leaders divide the nation
    not because they are men of principle
    who place ideals above the interests of the people;
    they divide because they love their own powers and privileges
    above all else.
    *
    If we have leaders who lie to us,
    why shouldn’t we have writers
    willing to speak the truth?
    I am not saying all writers are honest men.
    What I am saying is that
    most of our ablest writers
    were murdered, exiled, and silenced
    by autocratic regimes.
    *
    Leaders behave like criminals because
    they can get away with it, or rather,
    because the people allow them to get away with it.
    *
    Most of our misfortunes are rooted in subservience.
    Dissent increases independence in others.
    Dissent is positive.
    Subservience is negative.
    #
    Monday, May 02, 2011
    ****************************************
    TO MY SWEET ARMENIA
    ******************************************
    When his genocide book was unanimously ignored
    by our academics, a friend (a career diplomat)
    referred to them as “our Genocide mafia.”
    Who would have thought that some day
    the Genocide would become a “territory”
    (in organized crime parlance)
    and anyone who dares to muscle in it
    would acquire the status of a non-person.
    *
    I am a stranger in a strange land,
    and I feel more so among my fellow Armenians.
    Last time I visited an Armenian community center
    I promised to return in twenty-five years.
    Now I have another reason not to live that long.
    *
    When the USSR collapsed
    and Armenia’s borders opened up,
    Armenians poured out by the thousand
    and by the million.
    *
    “Yes im anoush Hayastani…”
    It is not generally known that
    Charents wrote that line
    inspired not by Armenia’s "sweetness"
    but by a similar poem on Russia by Pushkin.
    #
    Tuesday, May 03, 2011
    **********************************************
    REFLECTIONS
    **************************************
    No French king or Russian czar or Bolshevik commissar or fascist dictator, or pope, imam, and rabbi has ever declared publicly that he is in the business of moronizing innocent civilians. Don’t expect our own leaders to do so.
    *
    Did any one of our revolutionaries at the turn of the last century ever ask himself the following question: “If we carry on as we have been, what are the chances that the people may suffer?”
    *
    The only reason Osama bin Laden did not behave like Genghis Khan, Hitler, and Stalin is that he didn’t have their power.
    *
    Solutions are not inventions or discoveries like the theories of Newton or Einstein that revolutionized physics and cosmology. Solutions begin with the realization that we have been on the wrong track; and we can solve a problem only when we understand it; and it is up to us whether to use our brains or to run around like a chicken whose neck has been cut off.
    *
    All you need to do is allow reality to be your guide, not the empty rhetoric of speechifiers and sermonizers.
    *
    A kind reader once called me a philosopher. I am nothing of the kind. I am only a scribbler. You don’t need a Ph.D. to be honest with yourself and your fellow men.
    *
    The idea that we are few is linked to the fact that most Armenians do not care to be identified as Armenians.
    #
    Wednesday, May 04, 2011
    *************************************
    AS I SEE IT
    **************************
    Several friends have urged me to change my name.
    I have not done so because I don’t think of myself
    as a commercially viable commodity.
    *
    What shapes our worldview is less
    an objective study of reality and more
    the educational system within which we were brought up.
    *
    Literature is a waste of time.
    No writer has ever changed a damn thing.
    Marx?
    If he did change things he made them worse.
    The same could be said of all prophets and reformers.
    *
    What has our literature changed?
    As long ago as the 5th century AD
    our writers (among them Khorenatsi and Yeghishé)
    exposed the dangers inherent in a divided kingdom.
    A millennium and a half later,
    After many military defeats,
    and a series of massacres and a genocide,
    we continue to stand divided.
    *
    Why do I write?
    The more relevant question is:
    Why do they divide?
    *
    I share my ideas
    the way a beggar shares the few crusts of bread
    cast in his direction by fat men.
    #

  7. #22
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    Thursday, May 05, 2011
    ****************************************
    GOD AND COUNTRY
    ***************************************
    I am not in the business of changing anyone’s mind,
    only expressing agreement with those
    who have already changed theirs
    by successfully discarding their prejudices and superstitions.
    *
    God and Country:
    if we judge a tree by its fruit,
    why is it wrong to judge faith and patriotism
    by their number of innocent victims?
    *
    To be honest in our case means
    to reject all assertions that flatter our collective image.
    *
    Anyone can change water into wine
    if he waits until the guests are so drunk
    that they can’t tell the difference between one and the other.
    Likewise, anyone can change military defeat to moral victory
    if he first convinces the people that
    God is on their side and God is invincible.
    *
    When military and religious leaders speak
    in the name of God and Country, they lie.
    *
    We understand many things
    but not everything, especially not
    the most important things.
    *
    To expose lies is not the same as to know the truth.
    *
    A lie is a lie and dying for it will not make it less of a lie.
    *
    There is nothing new under the sun.
    Everything I have said so far has been said before
    if not by Greek philosophers than by Zen masters.
    #
    Friday, May 06, 2011
    ****************************************
    VARIATIONS
    ON A FAMILIAR THEME
    ***************************************
    Because we have nothing to brag about
    we brag about our survival.
    We have survived, yes.
    So have our divisions
    and divisions are weapons of mass destruction.
    *
    Dinosaurs perished but scorpions survived.
    The only reason they don’t brag about it is that
    they are not brainwashed to do so.
    *
    How do you deprogram a nation?
    You can’t!
    Our writers have been trying for fifteen hundred years
    and they have failed.
    *
    Between literature and propaganda
    we have always chosen propaganda
    for the same reason that a fool
    prefers to believe he is smart.
    *
    A long series of defeats, massacres and
    centuries of subservience to alien scum
    have taught us nothing.
    Even on the eve of the Genocide our leadership was divided.
    *
    Our leaders are our gravediggers.
    *
    Solidarity is not in our DNA.
    Which is why we must be born again
    as a different species – namely, human beings.
    *
    You think I am wrong and you are right?
    You may have our bosses, bishops, and benefactors on your side
    but I have fifteen hundred years of our literature on mine.
    #
    Saturday, May 07, 2011
    ****************************************
    HUMBUGGERY
    ***************************************
    Free and independent Armenia is a hoax
    and as empty an illusion as the brotherhood of nations
    under the Soviets.
    *
    Under the Soviets undesirables were sent to Siberia.
    Today they lead an anonymous existence
    in a suburb of Paris, Los Angeles, and Istanbul.
    The more things change…
    *
    Our editors publish an endless series of anti-Turkish polemics
    that so far have produced not a single red cent in reparation
    or a single square inch of our historic homeland;
    and they refuse to publish me
    on the grounds that I write “polemics,”
    and publishing polemics, they tell me,
    is against their editorial policy.
    *
    The captain goes down with the ship?
    Not always.
    In our case the captain is the first to abandon ship.
    #

  8. #23
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    Monday, May 09, 2011
    ****************************************
    WHAT IF?
    ***************************************
    What if I am wrong? That is always a possibility. On the day I assert infallibility, then I will be not just wrong, but catastrophically wrong!
    *
    If you like to speculate, here is another “what if” question that is much more serious and universal: What if the comforts organized religions and faith provide are exposed as empty illusions?
    *
    After centuries of oppression and authoritarian rule millions of Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa have suddenly discovered the benefits of democracy: Would anyone dare to ask “What if they are wrong?” Because in the final analysis that’s all I have been asking for my fellow countrymen: democracy, free speech, and respect for human rights.
    *
    Here is another “What if”: What if the incompetence and dishonesty of our own leadership have done as much harm to the integrity of the nation as the criminal conduct of our former alien masters?
    *
    About free speech: it can be abused, yes, certainly. So can censorship, the manipulation of the media and the educational system.
    #
    Wednesday, May 11, 2011
    ****************************************
    GUESSES
    ***************************************
    Some questions don’t have answers, only guesses.
    *
    Even when writers realize they can change nothing, they continue to write. Why?
    *
    If a pebble can start an avalanche, why can’t the right word at the right time and place start a revolution?
    *
    If they can lie for no good reason at all, why can’t I speak the truth for a good reason?
    *
    Why did God create the world? To break the monotony of silence, boredom, and nothingness?
    *
    If they know what must be done, why don’t they do it
    *
    Do they hate to admit they have been wrong out of fear they may not be forgiven?
    *
    Unlike Raskolnikov, not all murderers go down on their knees and confess – this is especially true of career criminals and
    If they can get away with it – and so far they have – they will continue to lie, abuse, mislead, and deceive.
    #
    Tuesday, May 10, 2011
    ****************************************
    FASCISTS
    ***************************************
    Authoritarian rulers – fascists for short –
    view free speech as a crime against humanity
    and state-sanctioned murder of defenseless civilians
    as law and order.
    *
    Fascism may also be defined
    as a declaration of war by a regime
    against its own people.
    *
    In a fascist environment
    intellectuals are like canaries in a mine.
    Where there is a scarcity of canaries
    there will be an abundance of chickens, toads, and rats.
    *
    Turks are the favorite subject of our editors and academics.
    Our leadership is a subject they avoid discussing
    perhaps because it is not easy speaking of a bordello madam
    as if she were a virgin.
    *
    It is safe to assume that the number of moral victories
    in a nation’s history is equal
    to the number of military defeats.
    *
    Where criminals are in charge
    the law of the jungle will be
    the law of the land.
    #
    Message flagged
    Sunday, May 8, 2011 11:56:48 AM
    Sunday, May 08, 2011
    ****************************************
    TRUE OR FALSE?
    ***************************************
    Organized religions teach us to believe
    there is more life in death.
    *
    A heroic death is infinitely more admirable
    than a degraded life.
    Remember this next time you brag about survival.
    *
    The world is too preoccupied
    with its own welfare and survival
    to care much about our own.
    I doubt if the death of the last Armenian
    will make a single headline anywhere.
    *
    Lenin and Stalin served as role models
    to many more Armenians than Tolstoy and Solzhenitsyn.
    There is more Sultanism in our leadership
    than Armenianism.
    *
    For every Armenian who knows better
    there will be at least two who know best
    and four who know all there is to know.
    In such an environment,
    writers will be useless
    and literature irrelevant –
    except for such trashy lines as
    “Forget your mother /
    But do not forget your mother tongue.”
    (I did not plan to quote this line on Mother’s Day.
    Call it pure coincidence.)
    #

  9. #24
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    Thursday, May 12, 2011
    ****************************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    ***************************************
    “Be more positive,” means
    “Cover up the negative.”
    *
    We all have doubts except the brainwashed.
    *
    Every boss, bishop, and benefactor is for solidarity
    but only under his own leadership.
    *
    In our environment you can tell how honest a man is
    by the number of crooks that are ganged up against him.
    *
    One man’s arsenic is another’s elixir.
    The absence of financial and institutional support
    may paralyze others but it stimulates me.
    *
    In his novel, A PARTISAN'S DAUGHTER (New York, 2008)
    Louis de Bernieres writes about “an emperor
    who blinded all his prisoners except for one in every hundred,
    who was supposed to lead the others home,
    and when the opposing king saw what had happened to his troops,
    he died of the shock.”
    What he doesn't say is that both the emperor
    (Basil II Bulgaroktonus [Bulgar-slayer])
    and the Bulgarian king (Czar Samuel)
    were of Armenian descent.
    For more details, see my book,
    THE ARMENIANS: THEIR HISTORY AND CULTURE
    (New York, 1981).
    #
    Friday, May 13, 2011
    ****************************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    ***************************************
    Nothing is more alien and incomprehensible to an Armenian
    than his own identity.
    *
    It would have been nothing short of a miracle
    if after long centuries under ruthless tyrants
    we had maintained a single trace of our original identity.
    *
    Our ancestors are as distant from us
    as Zulus and Neanderthals.
    *
    I say things that thirty years ago
    I would have been afraid to think.
    *
    After they make enough money
    they think they can buy immortality
    as if it were a product on the market.
    *
    “I am a very serious man,” Donald trump asserted
    in a recent televised interview.
    I can’t imagine a serious man making such a claim.
    *
    A man with heart problems to his cardiologist:
    “Why do you always insist on speaking about my heart?
    What about my stomach, liver, lungs, and pancreas?
    Why don’t you emphasize the positive for a change?”
    #
    Saturday, May 14, 2011
    ****************************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    ***************************************
    Everybody can be brainwashed.
    A high IQ is no defense.
    It is almost as if evolution had instilled in us
    a predisposition for lies.
    *
    The brainwashed are unreachable.
    Their first instinct is to brainwash you – that is to say,
    to re-create you in their own image.
    *
    At the root of all deception is the absurd idea
    that we are the center of the world.
    *
    If no one deceives us,
    we deceive ourselves.
    *
    Am I saying we are as bad as Turks?
    No.
    What I am saying is:
    Let us not confuse military inferiority
    with moral superiority.
    #

  10. #25
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    Sunday, May 15, 2011
    ****************************************
    NOBODY’S BITCH
    ***************************************
    A writer is nobody’s bitch.
    *
    It could be said of us that
    the best stay away
    and the worst stick around;
    and if I stick around
    it’s because we deserve it.
    *
    People who say “I don’t read fiction,”
    fail to realize that the greatest fiction of all
    is their conception of reality.
    *
    Democracy is not just a political system
    or power structure;
    democracy is a way of life.
    *
    To spend a lifetime serving an arrogant and cruel master
    means to assume that both arrogance and cruelty
    are not only an integral part of the human condition
    but also desirable qualities in a man of authority.
    *
    It is a writer’s duty to remind those
    who speak in the name of God and capital
    (make it, Capital and god)
    that they are first and foremost
    public servants.
    #
    Monday, May 16, 2011
    ****************************************
    THE PROSTITUTION OF THE PRESS
    ************************************************
    If an Armenian is dumb enough to think
    he can survive as a writer,
    he must be in need of advice,
    or so I have been given to understand
    by concerned “friends” and elder statesmen
    on more than one occasion.
    What kind of advice?
    Elementary, my dear Watson.
    Instead of kicking ass,
    he should learn to kiss it.
    The penalty for refusing to do so
    is alienation and unemployment.
    *
    Once upon a time
    our vodanavorjis wrote odes to the Sultan.
    It is an illusion to think that the Sultan is dead.
    *
    A hundred years ago Krikor Zohrab spoke
    of the prostitution of our press.
    Our bosses and benefactors rely on the press
    to publicize their good deeds
    but are too dumb to see that by prostituting it
    they foul their own nest.
    *
    We may think we live in America
    but in reality we continue to be subjects
    of the Ottoman Empire.
    Have I said this before?
    Never mind.
    If anything is worth saying
    it’s worth repeating.
    Besides, I happen to be an addict of reiteration
    and habits are easier to keep than to give up.
    #
    Tuesday, May 17, 2011
    ****************************************
    THE SCUM OF THE EARTH
    ************************************************
    It is not the best who seek power, privilege and prestige
    but the worst.
    Elites are the scum of the earth.
    *
    My targets are not Armenians
    but dupes of all nations.
    *
    There is no business like the brainwashing business
    compared to which organized crime
    is an amateur enterprise in addition to being
    a risky proposition.
    *
    One reason why Turks are a popular subject in our press
    is that they can be discussed without reference
    to our bosses, bishops, and benefactors.
    But discussing Armenians without mentioning
    bosses, bishops, and benefactors
    is like discussing the Napoleonic wars without Napoleon.
    *
    Only people who say nothing don’t repeat themselves –
    but then, one would be justified in asserting that
    nothing is what they repeat.
    *
    Make no mistake about it:
    there is a Ben Ali, Mubarak, Assad, and Gadhafi
    in all undemocratic leaders,
    including our own.
    #
    Wednesday, May 18, 2011
    ****************************************
    A DANGEROUS ILLUSION
    ************************************************
    To cover up a crime is a crime.
    To repeat a lie is a lie.
    To be afraid of free speech is cowardice.
    *
    During the televised Watergate hearings
    I remember the following exchange with a Soviet citizen:
    “What’s Watergate about?”
    “The president lied.”
    “So what? They lie to us all the time.”
    *
    Some of my most devastating lines –
    lines like “There is a Turk in all of us.”
    “Some of our leaders are Turks.”
    “Subservience is in our blood.” –
    are not mine but verbatim quotations
    from our elder statesmen.
    *
    Secrecy is totalitarian.
    The concentration camps under Hitler
    and the Gulag under Stalin were exposed
    long after the damage was done.
    And when I say damage I have in mind
    both the suffering inflicted on the victims
    and the disintegration of the regime.
    *
    It’s a dangerous illusion to think
    we can solve our problems
    by brainwashing the next generation
    and suppressing dissent.
    *
    Sometimes I am accused of hating Armenians and myself,
    when in fact I hate only cowards
    who are afraid of free speech;
    I loathe only fools who pretend to know better;
    and I have nothing but contempt for dupes
    who believe everything they are told.
    #

  11. #26
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    Thursday, May 19, 2011
    ****************************************
    ANSWERS
    ************************************************
    The only way to make progress in one’s thinking is
    by constantly questioning one’s most fundamental assumptions.
    It’s because most Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and Christians
    assume their belief system to be the only true one
    that they feel morally justified in massacring the competition.
    *
    Reality has countless layers of meaning.
    By carefully selecting a handful of them
    one can prove anything.
    *
    After we die we shall have all the answers,
    provided we consider the total absence of answers
    also an answer.
    #
    Friday, May 20, 2011
    ****************************************
    NOTES AND COMMENTS
    ************************************************
    A fatally flawed assumption:
    If God knows everything, it follows,
    those who speak in His name know better.
    *
    All men of authority lie when they pretend to know
    that which is unknowable.
    If believers outnumber non-believers
    it's be because crooks outnumber honest men.
    *
    Those who disagree with us are not always wrong.
    *
    To be powerless is an open invitation to abuse.
    *
    The more ignorant the people
    the more authoritarian and blind the leadership.
    *
    The longer I live the more truth I see in the saying:
    “Once upon a time we were slaves.
    We are now slaves of former slaves.”
    *
    Even the Turks are ahead of us
    if only because they have internationally recognized dissidents
    and all we have are Turcocentric ghazetajis by the dozen
    who know how to break eggs
    but so far have failed to serve a single decent omelet.
    #
    Saturday, May 21, 2011
    ****************************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    ************************************************
    The Arab Spring must be a source of dread to our leaders.
    It can’t be pleasant to contemplate one's own demise.
    You can’t fool all the people all the time.
    No banquet under heaven is endless.
    *
    Speaking of funerals:
    My favorite funeral marches are
    the slow movement of Beethoven’s Eroica,
    the first movement of Mahler’s 5th Symphony,
    and Siegfried’s funeral in the final act of Wagner’s RING
    (which was also Hitler’s favorite) besides which
    the orgasmic crescendo in TRISTAN UND ISOLDE
    is sentimental hogwash.
    *
    One of the most unforgettable lines in Italian poetry
    is Ungaretti’s “Ed a subito sera”
    (And suddenly it’s evening)
    meaning, old age and death.
    *
    It has been observed that
    what holds us together is the Genocide.
    Does that mean on the day the Genocide is recognized
    the glue that holds us together will dry up?
    #

  12. #27
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    Sunday, May 22, 2011
    ****************************************
    DIARY
    ************************************************
    Last night I started watching THE LARK FARM by the Taviani brothers, based on the novel by Antonia Arslan, but could not finish it. Gave up after the first beheading. Too violent. Too close to home. Violence in American films doesn’t bother me in the least. I have even enjoyed Tarantino’s KILL BILL. But the violence in THE LARK FARM I found unbearable.
    Now I know why some well-meaning and decent Turks deny the reality of the Genocide. Too painful to admit it.
    The Holocaust was a much more impersonal, almost bureaucratic operation. By contrast those who carried out the Genocide were personally acquainted with their victims in the same way that Talaat knew Zohrab who at one point even risked his own life to save him from the secret police of the Sultan.
    There is another point effectively captured by the Taviani brothers. The extermination of the Armenians must be thorough and include the children; otherwise they will come back for revenge.
    The fear of Armenian terrorism is present today in every Turk who ventures abroad.
    They scattered us to the four corners of the world and now they are faced with the possibility of sudden death without warning.
    I will never forget my first encounter with a Turk who identified himself as a Cypriote but did so with so much hesitation that he left no doubt as to his real identity.
    #
    Monday, May 23, 2011
    ****************************************
    WHAT MUST BE DONE
    ************************************************
    The solutions to our problems are not hidden from us.
    To state a problem clearly means to have its solution
    staring back at us.
    *
    We are divided:
    Solidarity is the solution.
    We are weak:
    There is strength in unity.
    Our divisions are rooted in ancient dogmas and prejudices:
    Teaching tolerance should be a priority in our schools.
    We are at the mercy of corrupt and incompetent leaders:
    It is our duty to hold them accountable
    and to question their competence and integrity
    in letters to the editor,
    phone calls to their secretaries, hirelings,
    assorted brown-nosers and hangers on;
    and most important of all,
    to withhold our support
    by returning all letters that end
    with Panchoonie’s punch line:
    “Mi kich pogh oughargetsek”
    (Send us a little money).
    *
    Turning the other cheek to someone who is morally irresponsible
    is a waste of time.
    *
    To say God is great and to do the Devil’s work
    is to blaspheme.
    God is great exactly because He has endowed us
    with a brain with which to think for ourselves.
    *
    The Decalogue of a contemporary Moses would repeat ten times
    the commandment:
    “Thou shall not be a dupe.”
    #
    Translations from
    JULES RENARD’S JOURNALS: 1887-1910
    (Paris: NRF, 1965, 1424 pages)
    **********************************
    Why should I give a damn about a thinker
    who can’t explain the universe to me?
    *
    A talented honest man is as rare
    as a man of genius.
    *
    What happens to all the tears that we don’t shed?
    *
    A fat man parading his belly
    as if it were a wind instrument.
    *
    "This will be enough to pay for your cigarettes."
    "Yes, but only because I don’t smoke."
    *
    I hesitate to walk behind a woman
    afraid she may think I am following her.
    *
    In the garden I lower my eyes
    not to scare the bird in the nest.
    *
    Migraine: this must be what Christ meant
    when he spoke of his crown of thorns.
    *
    It’s so very easy for a woman
    to make herself desirable.
    No need to be attractive or very young.
    All she has to do is extend her palm in a certain manner
    and a man will be more than happy to place his heart there.
    *
    "How are you today?"
    "Much better, thank you."
    "You weren’t feeling well?"
    There I was, pretending to be concerned
    about the health of a fellow whose obituary
    would have barely registered on my consciousness.
    *
    My sister is proud of the fact that
    unlike her brother she is a believer.
    *
    He is for freedom but he happens to be such a nonentity
    that I for one would prefer to share my life with slaves.
    *
    To write is almost always to lie.
    *
    I don’t disturb the cat sleeping on my desk.
    Instead, I go out for a walk.
    *
    If I acquired everything I ever wanted,
    immediately I would feel as though I had nothing.
    *
    Patriotism: The bull from one village
    refuses to look in the direction of a petite cow
    from another village.
    *
    "That fellow over there is sure tough."
    "Oh! Why?"
    "He never says a thing."
    *
    I can’t imagine living in a world in which
    there are no mysteries and surprises.
    If God exists, he must be very bored.
    #

  13. #28
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    Thursday, May 26, 2011
    *****************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    ***************************************
    I am predictable?
    So is our propaganda.
    On the day our propagandists become unpredictable,
    so will I.
    However, if your aim is to silence me,
    I suggest you come up with a less predictable line.
    *
    Shahnour was a photographer,
    Hamasdegh a shoemaker,
    Oshagan a schoolteacher,
    Nartuni a doctor…
    and they were the lucky ones.
    Many others were betrayed to the authorities and slaughtered.
    By contrast, our academics make a comfortable living
    and our imams are millionaires.
    Who says crime doesn’t pay?
    *
    All that talk about cultural, political, and economic factors
    beyond our control is hogwash.
    We are control freaks
    and we have been brainwashed to dig our own grave.
    *
    We are told “Earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings do.”
    Question: How many of our masterbuilders
    were charged with manslaughter?
    *
    We are told “Treason and ebtrayal are in our blood” (Raffi).
    If so far none of our traitors
    has been arrested, tried, found guilty, and hanged,
    it may be because they continue to be in charge of our institutions,
    including our justice system.
    #
    Friday, May 27, 2011
    *****************************
    WHAT MOTIVATES REVOLUTIONS
    ******************************************
    To understand history
    one must deal not only with the visible
    but also with the invisible world –
    that is, what goes on inside the human mind,
    which is the source of all conflict and violence.
    Historians now know that to understand history
    It is not enough to know what happened.
    It is also important to know “the unstated
    (and sometimes unrecognized) reasons why
    people do the things that they do.”
    (HISTORY: A BRIEF INSIGHT by John H. Arnold, page 132.)
    *
    What did Armenians want at the turn of the last century
    in th Ottoman Empire?
    Respect for their fundamental human rights,
    which the Turks took for treason – a crime punishable by death.
    To say that Armenians were punished
    because they made territorial demands is nonsense.
    Revolutions are not fought out of greed for more acreage
    but for human rights – case in point: the Arab Spring today.
    *
    And speaking of territorial integrity and Homeland:
    Today even Turks are more than willing
    to abandon their birthplace
    and live abroad where they are allowed to work
    and make a living
    (which is also a fundamental human right);
    in the same way that many Armenians
    are more than willing to emigrate (some even to Turkey)
    for the same reason.
    #
    Saturday, May 28, 2011
    *****************************
    FANATICS
    ******************************************
    Call me a human rights fanatic.
    I’d rather live in hell where my human rights are respected
    than in a fascist paradise.
    *
    There are three kinds of writers:
    pro-establishment,
    anti-establishment,
    and academics who write about subjects like
    grammar, village life in the 18th-century, and the Middle Ages.
    In that sense they may be classified as
    the mules of our ecology.
    *
    One of our most dangerous misconceptions:
    the idea that divisions in the name of tribal loyalty
    are motivated by patriotism.
    *
    To those who say I have been silenced
    because my ideas are subversive and dangerous, I say:
    So were the ideas of our revolutionaries a hundred years ago;
    so much so that they claimed 1,5 million victims.
    *
    Only in an Ottomanized and Sovietized environment
    talk of human rights is seen as unpatriotic or subversive.
    *
    Tell them what they want to hear and they will agree with you.
    Prove them wrong and they will tear you to shreds.
    *
    How easy it is to deceive millions.
    How hard it is to reason with a dupe.
    #
    MEMO TO A DENIALIST TURK
    ************************************************** ******
    like all brainwashed chauvinist dupes
    you like to believe in the infallibility of your leadership.
    which is a belief not shared by your own leaders.
    that's why the Young Turks overthrew the Sultan;
    that's why Kemal overthrew the Young Turks;
    that's why Kurds hate you today;
    that's why many Turks have left Turkey and survive as garbage collectors in Europe; and
    and that's why you don't qualify as members of the EU.

  14. #29
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    Sunday, May 29, 2011
    *****************************
    LET US REASON TOGETHER
    ******************************************
    Nations and empires need dupes more
    than they need dissidents.
    *
    If “the Kingdom of God is within you,”
    it follows loyalty to a power structure or regime or authority figure
    is treason.
    *
    To “give unto Caesar” does not mean
    to trust or to believe in Caesar.
    *
    If to expose our contradictions is negative,
    does that mean to speak of massacres is positive?
    #
    Monday, May 30, 2011
    *****************************
    LIES AND LIARS
    ******************************************
    Until he was ousted by the Young Turks,
    the Sultan was the supreme religious leader
    of the Muslim world as well as
    the political leader of the Ottoman Empire.
    He thus combined the power of the Pope
    and that of the President of the United States.
    Now then, imagine if you can,
    a pope or a president saying
    he needs a harem of a thousand concubines
    to better serve God and the people.
    Why should we be surprised if Turkish denialists believe
    all politicians lie except their own,
    all academics are for hire except their own,
    and all propagandists deceive the people except their own?
    *
    Turkish children are brought up to believe in lies
    for the simple reason that if they admit the facts,
    Turkey stands to lose
    several Armenian provinces,
    billions of dollars in repratations,
    and their mask as a civilized and progressive nation.
    The threat of even one of these three prospects
    would make a compulsive and a habitual liar
    out of an honest man.
    *
    Because the Serbians arrested Ratko Mladic,
    a war criminal who massacred 8000 Muslims,
    “the European prospects of Serbia are now brighter than ever,”
    according to a WASHINGTON POST editorial.
    To my Turkish readers I say:
    Let that be a lesson to you.
    #
    Tuesday, May 31, 2011
    *****************************
    HOW TO REASON WITH A TURK
    ******************************************
    It can't be done.
    Don't even try!
    It's a waste of time.
    *
    A Turk believes he can defeat
    reason, common sense, reality itself
    with the same daring that his ancestors
    defeated their adversaries.
    He chooses to ignore the fact that
    the Ottoman Empire is dead, buried,
    and cannot be resurrected.
    *
    There are two easy ways to win an argument alla Turca:
    by ignoring the arguments of the opposition,
    and by repeating the same argument
    even after it has been exposed as
    untenable, outgrageous irrational, and absurd.
    *
    It is a mistake to think that Armenians were punished
    because they revolted against the Turks.
    The undeniable fact is,
    the central authority was so rotten
    that everyone within the Empire,
    including Turks themselves,
    revolted against it.
    *
    Armenians were selected for speciasl treatment
    simply because they were there
    and they made themselves an easy and convenient target.
    *
    To disagree with a Turk
    is to understand where Armenian fanatics come from.
    *
    Kemal’s fallacy:
    The idea that by eliminating the fez and the shalvar
    The Turk could be de-Ottomanized.
    Which amounts to saying,
    what goes on inside a man’s mind
    is an extension of his wardrobe.
    No psychologist has ever dared to advance
    such an insane theory.
    If he did, he would be exposed as a charlatan and
    his licence would be immediately revoked.
    #
    Wednesday, June 01, 2011
    *****************************
    NOTES AND COMMENTS
    ******************************************
    We befriended the Turks under Talaat
    and we called the Russians our big brothers under Stalin.
    Now then, go ahead and say something positive
    about our leadership.
    *
    If you have the majority on your side,
    it makes no difference whether you are right or wrong.
    This indeed is the rock on which stand
    both democracy and fascism.
    *
    Nothing can be more fragile and unpredictable than life.
    And yet, we take its permanence for granted.
    Something similar could be said of the infallibility
    of authority figures who are more prone to error
    than the rest of us; and I don’t means errors
    like marrying the wrong partner
    or making a bad investment.
    I mean errors in which thousands and millions die.
    *
    They massacred the Indians,
    they enslaved millions of Africans,
    they murdered one another
    in one of the bloodiest civil wars in the history of mankind,
    they allowed the rich to exploit the poor mercilessly,
    they went to war and killed countless natives
    in all four corners of the world,
    and now they educate their children to be proud Americans.
    *
    I have been deceived so many times
    that I no longer trust even my own judgment.
    #

  15. #30
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    Thursday, June 02, 2011
    *****************************
    MEMO TO MY TURKISH READERS
    ******************************************
    It doesn’t take much courage
    to massacre defenseless old men, women, and children.
    But it take courage to admit it.
    Not only Turks have failed on that score
    for nearly a century
    but they could also qualify as just about
    the most cowardly people on earth.
    *
    At all times and everywhere dupes outnumber those
    who can think for themselves.
    That’s because as children
    we are brought up to believe
    what our elders and betters tell us.
    But you are no longer children.
    That extenuating circumstance
    is no longer available to you.
    *
    The aim of all slogans is to simplify complexities
    in order to convince the simple-minded.
    The slogan “Turkey for Turks”
    immediately raises the questions:
    Who is a Turk?
    Does he exist?
    Take a good look at yourself in the mirror:
    if you don’t look like a Mongol you don’t qualify.

    You don’t have to be a historian or a genealogist
    to know that your family tree
    has representatives of as many races, nations, and tribes
    as your ancestors vanquished and raped.
    You are probably more Kurd, Arab, Greek,
    Serbian, Albanian, Egyptian, Hungarian,
    Assyrian, and Armenian than Turk.
    No need to take my word for it.
    Have your DNA checked.
    *
    If Europe were to adopt the slogan
    “Europe for Europeans,”
    Turkey would be saddled with many more garbage collectors
    than it needs; and providing for them
    would probably bankrupt your economy,
    assuming it is not already bankrupt.
    *
    All is not lost however.
    You have a choice between being an authentic human being
    or a bastardized phony Turk
    and a dupe who believes what he is told
    by politicians, nationalist historians, and propagandists,
    that is to say professional charlatans
    whose first and more important priority is their own power.
    #
    Friday, June 03, 2011
    *****************************
    A CITY SET ON A HILL
    ******************************************
    These days no one pleads guilty to murder one.
    Instead they plead “not guilty” by reason of insanity,
    or even self-defense and
    a myriad other extenuating circumstances.
    Faced with a charge of genocide,
    Turks go one better by accusing their accusers
    of the very same crime
    on the grounds that they may succeed
    in raising a reasonable doubt in the mind
    of a single member of the jury
    who may well be a Turcophile
    or even a murderer.
    So far this tactic has worked.
    The question is: can it work forever?
    At this point three apposite quotations come to mind:
    “No banquet under heaven is endless;”
    “You can’t fool all the people all the time;” and
    “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
    #
    Saturday, June 04, 2011
    *****************************
    THE MORE THINGS CHANGE…
    ******************************************
    When I posted comments critical of Armenians
    I acquired several Turkish readers and friends.
    When I gave the Turks the same treatment
    I lost all of them.
    Easy come, easy go.
    *
    When we served Turkish interests,
    we were their “most loyal subjects.”
    When we asserted our human rights,
    we became their mortal enemies
    and were targeted for extermination.
    *
    Today they abuse the human rights not only of Kurds
    but also Turks -- among them
    Pamuk (a Nobel-Prizer winner)
    and Akcam (an internationally respected historian),
    all in the name of Kemal Ataturk,
    thus exposing him for what he really was –
    a typical product of his time
    and a fascist no different from Mussolini and Hitler.
    But whereas Italy and Germany have renounced their past
    and are now democracies,
    Turkey continues to cling to its moreally bankrupt
    and criminal values, principles, ideology, and methods.
    The fez and shalvar have been outlawed
    but Ottomanism continues to rule.
    The Sultan is dead.
    Long live Sultanism.
    Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme sh*t.
    #

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