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  1. #31
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    Sunday, June 05, 2011
    *****************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    ******************************************
    To a sensitive person
    life is a traumatic experience.
    *
    A line from a film
    (I no longer remember which):
    “Mortal wounds don’t hurt.”
    *
    Three arguments against nationalism:
    (1)“I only know the skin of the earth /
    And that it has no name” (Pablo Neruda).
    (2) If God is our Father,
    all men are brothers.
    (3)The alternative to nationalism is war
    and the massacre of defenseless civilians.
    *
    Because I refuse to say “Yes, sir!”
    they call me arrogant.
    It never even occurs to them
    to consider the possibility that
    arrogance may also be defined as a need
    to hear the words “Yes, sir!”
    when the more appropriate response would be
    “No, sir!”
    *
    Just remembered the source of the line
    about mortal wounds: Otto Preminger’s EXODUS.
    #
    Monday, June 06, 2011
    *****************************
    ON LEADERSHIP
    *****************************
    Where others say “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition,”
    we say “Lord have mercy and drop your pants.”
    *
    If the majority rules and the majority is dumb –
    I will let you draw your own conclusions.
    *
    The regime in Yerevan cannot be toppled
    because it has Russian support.
    The regime in the Diaspora is so diffuse and fragmented
    that it survives as a shadow – visible but untouchable.
    *
    Like all authoritarian structures,
    both regimes share one important feature in common:
    they are intolerant of dissent.
    They have systematically alienated and silenced
    the intellectual class to such a degree that
    even the Turks are ahead of us in literary achievements.
    *
    Even the Turks!
    I can’t imagine a worse insult to our diginity as a nation.
    As for our foreign policy:
    it can be summed up in three monosyllables:
    Turks, Turks, and Turks.
    *
    Speaking of leadership:
    The stupidity of Turkish leadership
    is surpassed only by its cruelty.
    *
    Turks deny the reality of the Genocide
    even as they violate the human rightrs of the Kurds.
    And having done so
    they expect the European Union to believe
    they are a democracy.
    Which may suggest either their IQ is negative
    or they don’t know the meaning of the word.
    #
    Tuesday, June 07, 2011
    *****************************
    THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION
    *********************************************
    In the Old Testament, God orders the Jews
    to exterminate not only their enemies
    but also the cattle that belongs to them.
    (For more on this subject,
    see Bertrand Russell’s WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN.)
    *
    After agreeing that God is our Father,
    “people of the Book”
    (Jews, Christians, and Muslims)
    proceed to massacre one another
    in the name of God.
    Explain that to me, if you can.
    *
    Peguy was a devout Catholic
    and Sartre a dogmatic atheist.
    I love both for their honesty.
    Honest men can also disagree
    and even contradict one another.
    *
    Chekhov said he did not know the answer
    to the most important question,
    and if he said he did
    he would be fooling his readers.
    *
    Talk of God or gods has been around
    for much longer than organized religions,
    all of which assert a monopoly on the subject.
    *
    Nietzsce said organized religions are based on myths
    very similar to those of ancient civilizations.
    *
    “Men cannot create a single worm,
    yet he has created ten thousand gods.”
    I no longer remember the source of this quotation
    which I consider to be one of the most insightful observations
    on the subject.
    *
    A thousand Gothic cathedrals
    and as many golden-domed mosques or temples
    do not and cannot prove the existence of God,
    only the powerful hold that myths have
    on the minds of men, and the overwhelming need
    to unbderstand and explain
    that which is destined to remain incomprehensible
    *
    Myths are neither lies nor truths.
    At best they may be said to be half-lies or half-truths;
    and in that sense they are an expression
    of man’s insatiable hunger
    and blind acceptance of propaganda.
    #
    Wednesday, June 08, 2011
    *****************************
    ON MIRACLES
    *********************************************
    As children we are brought up to rate
    tribal loyalty above honesty,
    and bias above objectivity.
    Who believes what a Turk says about Turks?
    Only another Turk.
    Who believes what an Armenian says about Armenians?
    Only another Armenian.
    To an Armenian,
    a Turk appears as the offspring
    of bloodthirsty Asiatic barbarians.
    To a Turk,
    an Armenian appears
    as the lowest form of animal life.
    To expect or hope that some day
    Turks and Armenians will come to terms with one another
    is to believe in miracles.
    I write as I do because I believe in miracles.
    I believe both Turks and Armenians
    are capable of rating truth over lies,
    honesty above dishonesty,
    loyalty to the human race above loyalty to the tribe,
    and justice over injustice.
    It may take a thousand years
    but it will happen.
    It will happen if only because
    peace is better than war,
    and life is better than death.
    #

  2. #32
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    Thursday, June 09, 2011
    *****************************
    ON TURKS (I)
    *********************************************
    Armenians are not Christian Turks.
    Neither are Kurds Mountain Turks.
    Armenians and Kurds have been around much longer than Turks.
    And the chances are they will be around long after.
    *
    Freedom is a fundamental human right.
    It is the right and duty of all oppressed people
    to rise against their oppressors.
    Which is what the Kurds are doing today;
    and which is what Armenians
    and Turks themselves did
    (together with several other nations)
    at the turn of the last century
    in the Ottoman Empire.
    *
    At a critical point in their history, however,
    Turks made the wrong decision by adopting the slogan
    “Turkey for Turks,” which in reality meant
    sultanism without the sultan,
    fascism instead of democracy, and
    massacre instead of compromise.
    *
    Had the Turks chosen multiculturalism
    as opposed to monoculturalism,
    they would now be a superpower
    and a dominant force in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
    Because they went in the opposite direction
    they are now vulnerable to Kurds
    who will eventually bleed them to death
    so that even a kick will be enough
    to scatter the bones of the Ottoman skeleton.
    *
    Kemal may be the Father of modern Turkey
    but he is also its gravedigger.
    *
    Moral I: Every idea has its contradiction
    and sometimes the contradiction is closer to the truth.
    *
    Moral II: Free speech matters because
    it exposes fallacies and it doubles our options,
    thus allowing us to make the better of two choices.
    *
    Moral III: Even the best ideas become destructive
    when implemented in the name of consistency.
    *
    Moral IV: Tolerance and flexible moderation are preferable
    to inflexibe fanatcicism and intolerance.
    #
    Friday, June 10, 2011
    *****************************
    ON TURKS (II)
    *********************************************
    Because they betrayed us,
    they accuse us of betraying them.
    Because they massacred us,
    they accuse us of massacring them.
    Who believes them?
    Only their own brainwashed dupes.
    *
    At the turn of the last century
    both Turks and Armenians agreed on the fact that
    Sultan Abdulhamid II was neither
    a representative of Allah on earth
    (as he pretended to be)
    nor a benevolent dictator,
    but a ruthless, degenerate tyrant
    who oppressed Turks
    and subjected Armenians
    to successive waves of massacres.
    *
    With the full agreement and cooperation
    of the Armenian political leadership,
    the Young Turks deposed and exiled the Sultan,
    after which they betrayed the Armenians
    by adopting and implementing a policy of extermination
    on the grounds that Armenians
    (including unarmed women, children, and old men)
    were a threat to the territorial integrity of the Empire.
    *
    Now then, go ahead and accuse Armenians
    of betrayal and massacre,
    and while doing so try to keep in mind that
    Turks outnumbered Armenians forty to one.
    #
    Saturday, June 11, 2011
    *****************************
    ON TURKS (III)
    *********************************************
    Has anyone ever bothered to see
    how many times the expression "human rights"
    or "free speech" occurs in the many speeches
    delivered by fascist leaders?
    *
    If you think today
    what you thought ten years ago,
    or if you still believe everything
    your schoolteacher or imam taught you,
    you can be sure of one thing:
    the last ten years of your life
    have been a waste of time
    because you have learned nothing.
    *
    Where disagreement and dissent
    are classified as criminal offenses,
    the men at the top will be serial killers.
    *
    Wars, revolutions, and massacres
    are also expressions of dissent and criticism.
    *
    The insane outnumber the sane
    because reasonable men are in no position
    to violate anyone's human right of free speech.
    *
    Where indoctrination is identified with education,
    recycling propaganda will be identified with thinking.
    *
    No matter how corrupt, incompetent, and stupid,
    a power structure will always have
    its defenders, supporters, and dupes.
    *
    Whenever I am criticized by a brainwashed dupe,
    I can only think of the Turkish expression:
    “Yedii boka bak!” – if you will forgive my French.
    #

  3. #33
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    Sunday, June 12, 2011
    *****************************
    TRAVELS IN SPACE AND TIME
    *********************************************
    That’s the title of a book by Dr. Noubar Janoyan:
    (Jamportoutiun Jamanagi yev Daradsoutian michov).
    Does anyone know him?
    I would like to have his e-mail address
    in order to let him know how much I am enjoying it.
    The book was published by Grakan Etalon in Yerevan.
    It’s a collection of stories, anecdotes, and encounters
    with fellow Armenians in the Homeland and the Diaspora.
    It does not shrink from exposing the dark side
    of our collective existence.
    It is written in East Armenian.
    I suspect Dr. Janoyan had it translated from his West-Armenian
    (he was born in Iraq and now lives in Glendale).
    The prose is eminently readable and accessible.
    It deserves to be a best-seller.
    #
    Monday, June 13, 2011
    *****************************
    IDEAS THAT HAVE ENHANCED
    MY AWARENESS OF REALITY
    *********************************************
    The following quotations are from Toynbee who was a historian as well as a metahistorian – that is, a philosopher of history.
    ************************************************** ***
    *
    “…authorities are not to be taken at their word, as if they were infallible oracles of gospel truth.”
    *
    “Society is the total network of relations between human beings. The components of society are thus not human beings but relations between them.”
    *
    “When prophets disagree, are we to give credit to either of their opposing voices?”
    *
    “When top-dog sees a heaven, under-dog will see a hell.”
    *
    “…the orthodoxy that they idnetified with their own faith and a heresey that they identified with the ideology of their adversaries.”
    *
    “The apotheosis of the community spells slavery for individual beings.”
    *
    “Man is not an angel, and in seeking to be one, he deprives himself of something that is essential to his being.”
    *
    “A monument in a museum is one that has been desecrated and sterilized.”
    *
    “A reputation for scholarliness is expendable, and it is a scholar’s duty to risk it.”
    *
    “In art, in illuminating antithesis to practical life, there is more to be made out of failure than out of success.”
    *
    “There is no such thing as a human organization that can be established securely through being made weather-proof against the all-disintegrating action of time.”
    #
    Tuesday, June 14, 2011
    *****************************
    CORRECT ME,
    IF I AM WRONG
    *********************************************
    Monkeys, we are told, have three enemies:
    pythons, leopards, and eagles;
    and according to recent studies,
    they have a distinctive alarm call for each.
    Men, by contrast,
    have developed a much more sophisticated communication system,
    but they have lost the ability to recognize an enemy
    when they see one.
    *
    Murder in one dimension
    means suicide in another.
    By committing genocide,
    Turks lost the ability to tell the difference
    between truth and lies,
    right and wrong, and
    democracy and fascism –
    hence, their apotheosis of Kemal.
    *
    In a recent commentary
    I incorrectly stated that Turks
    outnumbered Armenians 40 to 1.
    One of my gentle Turkish readers
    took it upon himself to question
    the accuracy of my math and
    even the existence of my sources.
    I am now willing to reconsider my figures.
    *
    If we take into account
    only Armenian revolutionaries
    versus the perpetrators of the Genocide
    (namely, the regime and the regularly army
    augmented by Kurds and criminals
    released from prison for the occasion)
    the ratio would be closer to 400 to 1.
    I say this because no one,
    not even the most loyal and fanatic Turkish nationalist
    would dare to suggest that unarmed civilians –
    women, children, and old men –
    could be thought of by any stretch of the imagination
    as posing a threat to the terrirotial integrity of the nation
    or the stability of the regime,
    which was the rationale for the Genocide
    as well as the context in which
    the 40 to 1 ratio was stated.
    Correct me if I am wrong.
    #
    Wednesday, June 15, 2011
    *****************************
    THEM AND US
    *********************************************
    We may never succeed in convincing Turks
    that they are guilty of genocide.
    We may, however, have better luck
    in convincing them that
    there is no such thing as a Turk
    and that many so-called Turks
    have Armenian blood.
    One reason this aspect of their identity
    has been ignored or not emphasized enough is that
    it is repellent to both them and us
    who like to proceed on the false assumption that
    explanations are good
    only when they flatter our collective ego.
    *
    The discovery of DNA is the most convincing argument
    against nationalism.
    *
    All talk of pure blood is impure nonsense.
    *
    Translation is a difficult art to master
    because every culture creates its own semantic atmosphere
    in which words carry their own baggage.
    #

  4. #34
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    Thursday, June 16, 2011
    *****************************
    FASCIST PHOBIAS
    *********************************************
    Genocide: they relished the action
    but are afraid of the word.
    *
    If you think we are different, think again.
    We trusted Talaat, Stalin, and Hitler
    but we silence anyone
    who dares to question our judgment.
    *
    My most faithful readers are readers
    who find me unreasonable, unbearable, and unreadable.
    *
    We are all entitled to make two big mistakes,
    the first of which is being born.
    #
    Friday, June 17, 2011
    *****************************
    ON FAITH
    *********************************************
    A Turkish Kemalist writer
    has published a book of nearly 900 pages
    (copiousy footnoted and annotated)
    in which he proves to his satisfaction
    that the Armenian Genocide is a pack of lies,
    it never happened.
    Which at least proves one thing:
    one can prove anything
    by quoting passages from carefully selected sources.
    *
    There are lines in the Bible
    that justify war, massacre, and genocide.
    Eery jihadist and terrorist is convinced
    God to be on his side.
    Any Catholic theologian could easily produce
    a tome of a thousand pages proving
    all other religions to be heresies
    and inventions of the Devil.
    *
    This may suggest that faith
    is the most dangerous obstacle
    to reason, common sense and decency,
    and to subscribe to a belief system,
    any belief system,
    is the first step to becoming a dupe,
    and worse, to applying for membership
    in a criminal gang.
    *
    To trust the judgment of another –
    as Germans did under Hitler,
    as Russians did under Stalin,
    and as Turks did under Kemal --
    is to abdicate one’s humanity.
    #
    Saturday, June 18, 2011
    *****************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    *********************************************
    Truth is a lie you believe in.
    *
    This morning on the radio
    I heard a politician use the word “dichotomy”
    and I remembered Mark Twain’s definition
    of cauliflower:
    “A cabbage with a college education.”
    *
    We mourn our victims
    and we brag about our survival:
    am I the only one who see a contradiction here?
    *
    The disrepute of our political parties is such
    that smart partisans pretend to be non-partisan –
    like wolves in sheep’s clothing.
    *
    Never say I have a dream
    when what you have is a nightmare in the making.
    *
    We use our brain to demolish our adversaries
    and our gut to justify ourselves.
    *
    Why is it that dogs that kill
    are invariably described by their owners as "friendly,"
    and serial killers are described
    as "nice" by their neighbors?
    *
    Being an Armenian writer
    amounts to being a shoemaker in a country
    where everyone prefers to go barefoot.
    #

  5. #35
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    Sunday, June 19, 2011
    *****************************
    THEM AND US (II)
    *********************************************
    We are brought up to believe
    we are better than Turks,
    in the same way that Turks are brought up
    to believe they are better than Armenians.
    In our treatment of intellectuals, however,
    we might as well be identical twins.
    They massacred our intellectuals
    in time of war; and in our Soviet phase,
    we massacred intellectuals in time of peace.
    *
    Why target intellectuals?
    Because the only way to deceive and mislead the people
    is by silencing intellectuals
    who collectively suffer from a neurotic compulsion
    to speak the truth even if doing so
    may spell their total ruin and destruction.
    *
    Another thing we have learned from Turks
    is to blame others for all our problems
    even if in the process we may run the risk
    of abdicating our humanity.
    I therefore feel justified in maintaining that
    deep down somewhere we (Armenians and Turks) are one and the same –
    a fact that may become a certainty
    when our respective DNAs are compared.
    *
    We either come to terms with this reality
    or we continue to project that which is evil in us
    on the other thus implying
    one should not mess around with perfection –
    an implication that has the double demerit
    of being both absurd and ridiculous.
    #
    Monday, June 20, 2011
    *****************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    *********************************************
    A reasonable Armenian is as rare
    as a Turk who has not beem brainwashed.
    *
    Tolerance: the ability to see some truth even in lies.
    *
    Anyone with the brain of an ape
    and the tongue of a parrot
    can recycle propaganda.
    *
    I don’t believe everything I write
    but I wish I did.
    *
    I wear the insults of anonymous cowards like a badge.
    *
    There are no happy endings in life.
    For everyone who preaches love
    there are ten who preach hatred
    and a hundred who practice it.
    *
    Noobar Janoian: “The opposite of fear is love.”
    *
    Italian saying: "Fratelli, flagelli."
    (Free translation: "The wrath of brothers,
    the wrath of whips.")
    *
    Flaubert: "Stupidity is something immovable,
    you can’t try to attack it without being broken by it."
    #
    Tuesday, June 21, 2011
    *****************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    *********************************************
    When they say it was Armenians who massacred Turks,
    what they really mean is that
    a single Turk killed by Armenians
    matters much more to them
    than a thousand Armenians slaughtered by Turks.
    That’s because they view the slaughter of infidels
    not as a crime against humanity
    but as a patriotic as well as a religious duty.
    *
    When I was a child in Greece we used to say,
    “Do you take me for an American?” – meaning,
    “Do you take me for an idiot?”
    It was only on the day they elected Nixon as president
    that I realized there was more to Yanks
    than Yankee-Doodle-Dandy.
    Likewise, it was on the day they awarded
    the Nobel Prize to Pamuk that I realized
    there was more to Turks than massacres.
    *
    I have said “Yes, sir!”
    and I have said “No, sir!”
    and No, sir! is more fun.
    There may be no money in it, granted,
    but I’d rather be dirt poor and free
    than a slave, a dupe, and a brown-noser
    with a regular income.
    #
    Wednesday, June 22, 2011
    *****************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    *********************************************
    The phoniest line in the world:
    “Your call is important to us.”
    *
    The ugliest words in the English language:
    “Press one…press two…press three…press four…”
    at which point I hang up.
    *
    To cover up his true status
    “Homo ignoramus” classifies himself
    as “Homo sapiens.”
    *
    If some people have no interest in knowing themselves
    it may be because they already know enough to know
    that they are not worth knowing.
    *
    Why is it that some very smart and learned Armenians
    confuse anti-charlatanism with anti-Armenianism?
    Why is it that some very cunning Armenians
    in their defense of their own selfish, narrow interests
    will voice reasons worthy of an inbred moron?
    *
    A problem is like an illness.
    The first step is to diagnose it correctly.
    But if you choose to ignore it,
    you may promote it from a minor nuisance
    to a terminal affliction.
    #

  6. #36
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    Friday, June 24, 2011
    *****************************
    THEM AND US (III)
    *********************************************
    As long as there are Armenians,
    Turks will never be able to convince the world
    they are a progressive and civilized nation
    incapable of behaving like bloodthirsty Asiatic barbarians;
    and as long as there are Kurds,
    democracy and Turks will be perceived as
    mutually exclusive concepts.
    *
    Americans will never use the word “genocide”
    in reference to Armenians so long as Turks tell them:
    “We did to our Armenians
    what you did to your Indians.”
    *
    Tell me your favorite sport
    and I will tell you who you are.
    What’s ping pong to the Chinese,
    hockey is to Canadians,
    baseball is to Yanks,
    massacre is to Turks,
    and the blame-game is to Armenians.
    *
    Silencing dissent is a band-aid solution.
    *
    “An insult unanswered is the parent of many others.”
    *
    Cicero: “Do not hold the delusion that
    your advancement is accomplished
    by crushing others.”
    #
    Saturday, June 25, 2011
    *******************************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    *******************************
    I understand Turks
    because I understand Armenians,
    and I understand both
    because I understand myself.
    As for Armenians and Turks:
    they understand only the misdeeds of the opposition.
    *
    Because they want to forget what I say,
    they tell me I repeat myself.
    *
    When asked what had been
    the most important day in his life,
    Napoleon is said to have replied:
    "The day of my first communion."
    My own first communion was such a forgettable event
    that the only thing I remember about it
    is the above quote (probably apocryphal) by Napoleon.
    #

  7. #37
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    Sunday, June 26, 2011
    *****************************************
    TWO OBSERVATIONS
    ************************************
    The most convincing evidence of their guilt
    is the fact that they have developed a propaganda machinery,
    an educational system,
    and a legal apparatus denying the charge of genocide.
    Who believes them?
    Not even Turks, except the brainwashed, of course,
    who will believe anything if only because
    they have no choice in the matter.
    *
    If Hitler had won World War II
    there would now be an entire generation of Germans
    committed to the belief that
    he was a great statesman,
    a progressive and civilizing force,
    a man of vision,
    and a warrior equal in stature
    to Alexander the Great, Caesar, and Napoleon.
    In short, he would be to Germans
    what Kemal is to the Turks today.
    #
    Monday, June 27, 2011
    *****************************************
    WAS KEMAL A DENIALIST?
    ************************************
    Not only was he not a denialist,
    he also had some of the perpetrators
    arrested, tried, and executed.
    *
    For more on this subject,
    see THE COURT MARTIAL PROCEEDINGS
    OF THE MILITARY TRIBUNAL 1919-1922,
    compiled by Vahakn Dadrian and Taner Akcam
    (Istanbul: Bilgi University Press, 733 pages, 2010).
    *
    This much said let me add that
    Kemal’s motives may not have been
    love of justice or sympathy for the victims.
    It is reasonable to assume that
    like all men of power
    his main concern was to keep and increase his power
    and the only way he could do that
    was by eliminating his Ittihadist competition.
    #
    Tuesday, June 28, 2011
    *****************************************
    NOTES & COMMENTS
    ************************************
    Never say “I was deceived.”
    Say instead “I allowed myself to be deceived.”
    *
    To need something badly
    is to make oneself vulnerable to deception.
    *
    Nations make mistakes as surely as individuals
    if only because they are ruled by individuals.
    *
    What matters is not how big your mistakes are
    but what you do with them.
    *
    To behave like bloodthirsty barbarians
    and to pretend to be civilized
    is to compound the felony.
    *
    The shortest distance between ignorance and wisdom
    is a painful blunder.
    #
    Wednesday, June 29, 2011
    *****************************************
    DR NOOBAR JANOIAN SPEAKS
    ************************************
    In his TRAVELS IN TIME AND SPACE
    Dr Janoian speaks of a conversation he once had
    with a Vietnamese patient.
    When asked what was it exactly
    that made North Vietnam resist
    and ultimately defeat a military colossus
    like the United States,
    his patient explains that Vietnam
    has always resisted and defeated all occupiers,
    among them the Chinese, the Japanese, and the French.
    The difference between the South and the North,
    he goes on to explain, is that
    the leaders of the North were
    men of principle and ideals,
    unlike their counterparts in the South,
    who were no better than thieves and bandits.
    An honest and dedicated leadership
    inspires solidarity and self-sacrifice in the people, he adds,
    and a corrupt leadership promotes
    divisions, disloyalty, opportunism, and treason.
    *
    We may now have a free and independent homeland,
    the good doctor reflects in the final paragraph of the story,
    but our leaders are less like the leaders of North Vietnam
    and more like the leaders of South Vietnam –
    no better than thieves and bandits.
    #

  8. #38
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    Thursday, June 30, 2011
    *****************************************
    TWO OBSERVATIONS
    ************************************
    ON LIMITATIONS
    *********************
    We all go through a period in our lives
    when the sky is the limit.
    But sooner or later
    the painful realization sinks in:
    we can’t even reach the ceiling
    of our solitary confinement.
    *
    CRITICS
    *********************
    It makes no difference whether you are
    a failure or a success,
    the number of critics will remain constant.
    What may change is their caliber.
    As a failure you will be trashed by trash.
    As a success you will be trashed
    by a better class of trash.
    #
    Friday, July 01, 2011
    *****************************************
    FREEDOM
    *******************************
    According to Kant,
    freedom “enlarges the usefulness of other faculties.”
    It follows, where there is no freedom of speech,
    powers of perception and understanding of reality
    are damaged.
    *
    To classify ourselves as civilized,
    we compare ourselves to barbarians.
    The question is:
    has a barbarian ever classified him as a barbarian?
    *
    The Turks now have a dissenting school of thought.
    Where is ours?
    What happens on the day barbarians overtake us?
    *
    A hundred years ago
    we were faced with extinction
    not because we rebelled against tyranny
    but because for 600 years we were subservient to scum.
    *
    As for our so-called heroic revolutionaries:
    their remedy was worse than the disease.
    Beheading is not a cure for a headache.
    *
    For 600 years we were at the mercy
    of bloodthirsty barbarians.
    We are now afraid of scarecrows.
    *
    Our reality is a nightmare
    from which we refuse to wake up.
    #
    Saturday, July 02, 2011
    *****************************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    *******************************
    In Turks I see all our failings magnified.
    *
    To the average dupe,
    silencing intellectuals is a concept of such irrelevance
    that it doesn’t even register on his consciousness.
    *
    I am fully aware of the fact that by writing about idiots
    I endow them with a dignity they don’t deserve.
    *
    The unspoken slogan of all fascists and criminals in general:
    “If you can get away with it, do it.”
    *
    “Treason and betrayal are in our blood,” said Raffi.
    So is fascism.
    *
    According to an international watchdog group,
    political parties and the media
    are two of the most corrupt institutions in the world.
    To put it more bluntly:
    our "betters" are the worst scum on earth
    and anyone who defends them
    is either a brown-nosing dupe
    or a brainwashed pervert.
    #

  9. #39
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    comments

    Sunday, July 03, 2011
    *****************************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    *******************************
    ON PATRIOTISM
    ************************
    Love of homeland should never be confused
    with loyalty to a regime,
    or its propaganda, that is to say, lies.
    *
    ON WORDS
    ******************
    As a medium of communication,
    the spoken or written word is better equipped
    to expose lies than to assert truths.
    *
    ON BS
    *********************
    It is only very recently that a friend pointed out to me
    that both belief system and bull sh*t have identical initials.
    *
    ON CONTROVERSIES
    *****************************
    In all controversies there is a natural tendency
    to go to extremes with the inevitable result that
    moderation and objectivity are seen as treason.
    *
    ON METAPHYSICS
    *******************************
    To exist and to imagine non-existence
    is as difficult as to non-exist and to imagine existence.
    *
    ON WOMEN
    ***********************
    Women have played a very important role in my life.
    The reason I don’t write about them is that
    the wounds are too deep.
    *
    ON DEATH
    ************************
    Death is a privilege reserved only for the dying;
    all others are condemned to live.
    *
    ON PHILOSOPHY
    **********************************
    Everyone has a philosophy (in American parlance)
    only when the line that separates philosophy (love of wisdom)
    from philomoronism is either blurred or deleted.
    *
    MORE ON WOMEN
    ****************************
    Freud said he had no answer to the question:
    "What do women want?”
    Shaw said women want the same things as men.
    Neither Freud nor Shaw, or for that matter,
    neither men nor women know what they really want
    and what to do with it when they get it.
    #
    Monday, July 04, 2011
    *****************************************
    ON JUSTICE
    *******************************
    A headline in today’s paper reads:
    “Turkey officially recognizes Libyan rebels.”
    A hundred years ago they massacred their own.
    They now recognize and support someone else’s.
    *
    Has anybody ever said,
    “I plead guilty to the charge of genocide?”
    Talaat was assassinated.
    Stalin died in bed.
    Hitler committed suicide.
    Genghis Khan openly declared:
    “My great pleasure is killing my enemies
    and raping their women.”
    Had they been arrested and tried,
    would they have admitted violating anyone’s human rights?
    In their own eyes they were statesmen of vision
    who deserved universal respect and admiration.
    *
    If you have the power to rewrite history,
    you also have the power to find the guilty innocent
    and the innocent guilty.
    Why should we be surprised if
    after a century of trying
    we have not yet seen a single red cent
    or a single square inch of soil in reparations?
    #
    Tuesday, July 05, 2011
    *****************************************
    THAT WHICH WE SHARE
    *******************************
    To begin with, we share 600 years of coexistence.
    *
    They silence their dissenters.
    So do we.
    *
    They confuse patriotism or love of homeland
    with loyalty to a regime or ideology,
    that is to say, a propaganda line
    adopted by wheeler-dealers whose central concern
    is neither consensus nor the welfare of the people
    but their own powers and privileges.
    Can we really say we are different?
    *
    They deal with controversial issues
    by adopting a dogmatic stance.
    So do we.
    *
    They are tribal.
    So are we.
    Don’t take my word for it.
    Listen to Nikol Aghbalian (1873-1947),
    an eminent statesman, literary scholar, and educator:
    “We Armenians are products of the tribal mentality of Turks
    and Kurds and this tribal mentality remains stubbornly rooted
    even in our leaders and elites.”
    *
    We accuse them of crimes against humanity.
    So do they.
    *
    On a personal level:
    the insults leveled at me by both Armenians and Turks
    have been so similar that they might as well have emanated
    from the same source.
    *
    They rewrite history.
    So do we.
    If you have any lingering doubts on the subject,
    have a casual conversation with a Catholic, Protestant,
    Anteliassagan, Etchmiadznagan, and an atheist.
    *
    They brainwash their children.
    So do we.
    *
    They cover up their crimes.
    We cover up our blunders.
    *
    If the Ottoman Empire had been an Armenian Empire
    and the Turks within it one of the minorities,
    I have every reason to suspect
    we would have done to them what they did to us.
    #
    Wednesday, July 06, 2011
    *****************************************
    OBSERVATIONS
    *******************************
    Our greatest problem:
    our refusal to forget what we have learned
    from our former masters and role models.
    Collective amnesia or Alzheimer’s may well be
    our only salvation.
    *
    We were sheep;
    they were wolves;
    and we didn’t see it coming?
    Figure that one out, if you can.
    *
    Were we blind?
    Can we really say
    our sight has been restored?
    #

  10. #40
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    Thursday, July 07, 2011
    *****************************************
    OBSERVATIONS
    *******************************
    Sometimes understanding consists
    in the sudden realization that
    those you trust and respect most
    are the least worthy of your trust and respect.
    *
    More often than not the least trustworthy people
    are those whose honesty you are not even allowed to question.
    It is not that they are as bad as you
    as that they are infinitely different and worse.
    *
    An exposed lie reorganizes the world.
    *
    I respect both Marx and Freud
    as pioneers in their respective fields of inquiry,
    but consider their differences:
    Marx would have accused Freud
    of using a pseudo-science of his own fabrication
    to adjust the individual to an unjust,
    dehumanized and essentially evil social order.
    In his turn, Freud would have accused Marx
    of Jewish messianism and a total inability to predict
    the consequences of his own theories
    which were fated to be far more dangerous,
    lethal, and evil than all the abuses of capitalism.
    And the irony is that both would be right.
    #
    Friday, July 08, 2011
    *****************************************
    DANCING WITH THE DEVIL
    *******************************
    There are dead-end situations in life
    that one ignores at one’s own peril.
    Two cases in point:
    our position in the Ottoman Empire,
    and our present malaise
    (divisions, alienation, intolerance of free speech…
    among other aberrations).
    It is a cowardly illusion to think that
    if a dead end situation is ignored,
    it will go away.
    *
    I can recognize a dead end situation when I see one
    because I have been in one for a good number years –
    since 1975 to be exact, that’s when my firs book,
    titled THE ARMENIANS, appeared.
    My only consolation is that so far
    my failure has harmed no one but myself.
    *
    How to explain the collapse of the Soviet Union?
    Some say it was the Polish Pope.
    Others name Reagan.
    My own preferred candidate is Gorbachev and his glasnost.
    One reason I prefer Gorbachev is that
    I believe empires and power structures in general
    are not killed, they commit suicide.
    Which is what we have been doing –
    death by a thousand self-inflicted cuts.
    #
    Saturday, July 09, 2011
    *****************************************
    OBSERVATIONS
    *******************************
    You want to know what Turks are really like?
    Be an Armenian.
    You want to know what Armenians are really like?
    Be a writer.
    *
    Divisions?
    There are divisions everywhere;
    also sermonizers preaching “All men are brothers.”
    *
    We shout our certainties in public
    but we whisper our doubts
    in the solitary confinement of our souls
    even when there is more truth in them.
    *
    Memo to a reader:
    Either read me with an open mind
    or don't read me at all.
    And remember, the first victim of a closed mind is yourself.
    *
    If wrong, I can always rely on my readers to correct me.
    I can even rely on them to correct me when I am right –
    especially when I am right.
    #

  11. #41
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    Sunday, July 10, 2011
    *****************************************
    POLITICS
    *******************************
    You tell them what they want to hear
    and when things don’t work out as planned,
    you blame it on the opposition
    or factors beyond your control.
    If you promise them heaven
    and you deliver hell,
    you can always blame it on God – if, that is,
    you run out of unpredictable hostile factors;
    or, in the words of Louis XIV:
    “Has God forgotten what I have done for Him?”
    *
    Everyone has his way of judging people and nations.
    I judge them by the manner in which they treat writers.
    History provides us with many precedents,
    the most recent being Talaat’s Turkey
    Stalin’s Soviet Union,
    and our own faceless flunkies
    who operate anonymously
    from behind closed doors.
    *
    Being an Armenian writer
    amounts to being a shoemaker in a country
    where everyone prefers to go barefoot.
    #
    Monday, July 11, 2011
    *****************************************
    DESPAIR
    *******************************
    Edmund Burk:
    “Do not despair,
    but if you do,
    work on in despair.”
    *
    Separating a nation from its myths and propaganda
    is harder than separating Siamese twin –
    an operation that requires a team of expert surgeons.
    I can’t even stand the sight of blood on TV.
    I apologize whenever I step on an ant.
    *
    If I cannot convince Armenians to do
    what’s in their own best interest,
    how can I, or anyone else for that matter,
    convince Turks to do what’s against their own interest?
    *
    To Turks we are no better than “Indians.”
    To our own leadership, we might as well be “white niggers.”
    *
    They control the media, the educational system,
    the church, and the community centers.
    What do I have in my favor?
    Only a touch of common sense – the least common
    of all faculties, it has been said,
    and so it appears to be.
    *
    Our tribal chiefs agree only on one thing:
    to silence dissent.
    *
    A hundred years ago we were slaves.
    We are now slaves of former slaves.
    #
    Tuesday, July 12, 2011
    *****************************************
    PATTERN
    *******************************
    When Hitler lost the war,
    and shortly before he committed suicide,
    he blamed it on his people,
    the very same people he had brainwashed to believe
    they were la crème de la crème.
    *
    Like most Armenian children
    who had an Armenian education
    I too was brought up to believe
    we were just about the smartest people on earth.
    I know now that the very same people
    who brainwashed us to believe that
    have been and continue to be
    the instruments of our destruction.
    This to me is now as clear as daylight
    and as inevitable as night follows day.
    #
    Wednesday, July 13, 2011
    *****************************************
    WHY I LOVE
    BERTRAND RUSSELL
    *******************************
    ON ENVY
    ********************
    “Instead of deriving pleasure from what he has,
    [the envious person] derives pain from what others have.”
    *
    ON MARRIAGE
    *********************
    “Often and often, a marriage hardly differs from prostitution,
    except being harder to escape from.”
    *
    ON SERMONIZERS
    ****************************
    “The human race has not hitherto discovered
    any method of eradicating moral defects;
    preaching and exhortation only add hypocrisy
    to the previous list of vices.”
    #

  12. #42
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    Thursday, July 14, 2011
    *****************************************
    ON KEMAL (III)
    ********************
    In asserting the reality of the Armenian genocide
    I am not relying on Armenian historians and
    eyewitness accounts by foreign diplomats and observers,
    but Kemal’s own treatment of the perpetrators.
    So that when brainwashed Turks call Armenians liars,
    they unknowingly also apply the same label on Kemal,
    who may indeed have been one
    but not in his treatment of the Ittihadist criminals.
    The only other alternative is accusing Kemal
    of gross incompetence, not to say criminal conduct,
    in his persecution, prosecution, and execution
    of high-ranking military and political leaders
    whose actions were based on the firm belief that
    they were following orders and acting
    in the best interest of the nation.
    Because if these gentlemen were innocent,
    as Turkish denialists maintain,
    then it goes without saying that
    Kemal got away with murder.
    #
    Friday, July 15, 2011
    *****************************************
    NOTES / COMMENTS
    ******************************
    Every day something happens to remind me
    that I am not the center of the universe
    and every day I choose to ignore the evidence.
    *
    You may have noticed that
    people are more willing to help you
    if in the process they can also help themselves.
    *
    Originality: to be unpredictable and inevitable at the same time.
    *
    Everybody wants to be rich and famous.
    I have come to terms with my own obscurity and poverty
    because I see no merit in being like everyone else.
    *
    The ambition of all authority figures is
    to appear infallible in the same way that
    the ambition of every scarecrow is to terrorize.
    *
    Freud's grand-daughter is reported to have said:
    "The 20th Century produced two major charlatans:
    Hitler and Freud."
    My first thought:
    Her legal claim on the Freud estate
    and a fraction of his royalties must have been rejected
    by a court of law.
    (In this connection see also Aram Saroyan's memoir
    of his father, LAST RITES).
    #
    Saturday, July 16, 2011
    *****************************************
    RE-READING TOYNBEE
    ********************************************
    ON OUR FAVORITE SPORT:
    THE BLAME-GAME
    **********************************
    “It is always easier both intellectually and morally, to debit one’s ills to the account of some outside agency than to ascribe the responsibility to oneself.”
    *
    ON UNDERSTANDING
    *********************************
    “Comprehension sometimes consists in just a correct understanding of questions that are unanswerable.”
    *
    CONNECTIONS
    ********************************
    “Every human being now alive has links, however tenuous, not only with every one of his contemporaries, but also with every other human being that ever lived.”
    *
    “In this sense human history is one single seamless web, and any dissection of it is an arbitrary misrepresentation of Reality.”
    *
    ON WAR
    *******************
    “It is part of the nature of war, once started, to get out of hand; and many belligerents who have made war ‘justly’ at the start have drifted into commission of injustice before the end of the story.”
    *
    ON REFORM
    ***********************
    “I do not know of any human society in which drastic social reform has not been overdue at every stage of its history.”
    *
    ON IRREVERANCE
    ******************************
    “I am convinced that irreverence, where irreverence is due, is one of the cardinal virtues.”
    *
    ON DEATH
    *****************************
    “Death limits life’s liabilities. This boon that death confers is supremely valuable, and ought therefore to be immensely consoling.”
    #

  13. #43
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    ideas

    Sunday, July 17, 2011
    *****************************************
    IDEAS
    ********************************************
    There are synonymous ideas as surely
    as there are synonymous words.
    Case in point:
    Saint-Simon: “My self-esteem has always increased
    in direct proportion to the damage
    I was doing to my reputation.”
    Tolstoy: “The higher I rise in the eyes of the world,
    the lower I sink in my own.”
    *
    People with money assume they are wiser
    because if they don’t know or understand something
    they can always hire someone who does.
    *
    I have two kinds of critics:
    those who say I am wrong when I am right,
    and those who tell me I am useless
    and reading me is a waste of time.
    Both agree on one thing:
    I should be more positive by adopting them
    as my role models.
    #
    Monday, July 18, 2011
    *****************************************
    NOTES & COMMENTS
    ********************************************
    LIES
    ***************
    The easiest lies to expose
    are the ones we have ourselves professed in the past.
    *
    MACHO ETIQUETTE
    *****************************
    Hemingway’s last wife writes in a letter that
    whenever she wanted to talk to him about a problem,
    he would say: "I haven’t got time.
    I have to go shit now."
    *
    HONESTY
    **********************
    If you decide to be honest
    be prepared to acquire mortal enemies.
    *
    KNOWLEDGE
    ****************
    Compared to what we don’t know,
    what we know is such a tiny fraction that
    we might as well be blind, deaf and dumb.
    When Socrates said "The only thing I know
    is that I don’t know," he was not being ironic,
    he was stating a fact.
    #
    Tuesday, July 19, 2011
    *****************************************
    HUBRIS & NEMESIS
    ********************************************
    Nemesis has finally caught up
    with Robert Murdoch’s hubris.
    We can now look forward
    to the disintegration of his media empire
    as fervently as the civilized world looked forward
    to the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire
    in the second half of the 19th Century.
    *
    My Turkish readers may not be aware of the fact
    that at one point their diplomats
    offered to apologize for their crimes against humanity
    (i.e. the Genocide) provided
    no further demands were made on them.
    The Armenians rejected the offer
    on the grounds that it would allow the Turks
    to get away with murder.
    *
    If a World War III is ever declared,
    I have every reason to suspect
    the Turks will do to the Kurds
    what they did to the Armenians during World War I.
    That’s the problem with people
    who get away with something.
    They invariably come back to get away with more.
    Which is what happened within Murdoch’s empire:
    first they bribed a lowly cop or bureaucrat
    and when they got away with it,
    they went all the way to the top --
    the head of Scotland Yard and the Prime Minister.
    #
    Wednesday, July 20, 2011
    *****************************************
    COMEUPPANCE
    ********************************************
    If Talaat was innocent,
    why did he run away to Berlin
    where he met the fate of a mad dog?
    *
    As for Kemal: he died as an alcoholic,
    which amounts to saying,
    he condemned himself to death
    by self-administered alcohol poisoning.
    *
    If some Turks hate Armenians
    it’s because “it is characteristic of the human mind
    to hate those he has injured” (Tacitus).
    *
    If “I think therefore I am,”
    it follows
    “If I don’t think therefore I am not”
    or I exist only on a subhuman level,
    which amounts to the same thing.
    #

  14. #44
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    Thursday, July 21, 2011
    *****************************************
    TWO QUESTIONS,
    ONE ANSWER
    ********************************************
    Can you name a country
    whose most profitable export has been war?
    *
    Can you name a country
    whose greatest source of wealth has been
    the indiscriminate slaughter of unarmed civilians?
    *
    The trouble with brainwashing people is that
    you may be successful only with your own.
    *
    One reason Kemal has acquired heroic stature in Turkey
    is that his predecessors were infinitely worse.
    *
    Wilkie Collins: “Nothing in this world is hidden forever.”
    *
    Sooner or later all Big Lies are exposed.
    *
    There are no hiding places from the truth.
    #
    Friday, July 22, 2011
    *****************************************
    RIFF-RAFF
    ********************************************
    In my youth I was so abysmally naïve
    that I believed I could count
    on the support, friendship, and understanding
    of the very same individuals
    who were in the business of oppressing the people.
    But then, in what way was I different from Zohrab,
    one of the smartest Armenians that ever lived,
    who thought he could count on Talaat’s friendship?
    *
    Man will always invent an ideology or belief system
    that will justify criminal conduct.
    Which amounts to saying,
    he will find a way to speak in the name of god
    and do the devil’s work.
    #
    Saturday, July 23, 2011
    *****************************************
    RIFF-RAFF / II
    ********************************************
    A headline in my morning paper reads:
    “James Murdoch on hot seat.”
    And why?
    Because he may have lied
    when he testified before a parliamentary committee.
    So what else is new?
    Everybody lies – from muggers to presidents.
    If everybody lies, it follows,
    nobody sees anything wrong in lying to liars.
    That’s why Turks have been lying for a hundred years
    and they will continue to lie to the end of time.
    #

  15. #45
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    Sunday, July 24, 2011
    *****************************************
    ON POWER
    ********************************************
    Power means first and foremost
    the power to justify that which cannot be justified –
    from dividing the community
    to committing genocide.
    *
    Power allows the insane to accuse the sane of insanity.
    *
    My answer to those who question my habit
    of posting critical comments on open forums:
    If I am wrong, they can correct me.
    If they are wrong, they should correct themselves.
    *
    Power means to view disagreement as a capital offense.
    *
    The first and most important measure
    of all powerful men
    is to convince their adversaries that
    the best defense is subservience.
    But I believe Dostoevsky when he said
    even the weakest man
    has unimaginable reserves of power within him.
    *
    There are no new ideas.
    All we can do is to mention the forgotten,
    to emphasize the marginalized,
    and to expose the absurd.
    #
    Monday, July 25, 2011
    *****************************************
    THE LESSONS OF OSLO
    ********************************************
    Life is unpredictable and trying to predict it
    is a waste of time.
    *
    Never underestimate the barbarism of the civilized.
    *
    Sometimes our worst enemy is one of us.
    *
    There is a Turk in all of us –
    and Norwegians are no exception.
    #
    Tuesday, July 26, 2011
    *****************************************
    COMMENTS
    ********************************************
    How to win an argument Turkish style:
    Make yourself so absurd and repellent that
    your adversary will give up in disgust.
    *
    I look forward to the day
    when I will be objective enough to view Armenia
    as a foreign country and my fellow Armenians
    not as my brothers but as foreigners.
    *
    “He doesn’t believe what he says”
    is better than “he believes what he says.”
    I’d much rather deal with a liar
    than with someone willing to kill and die
    in the name of a belief system –
    that is to say, a Big Lie.
    #
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011
    *****************************************
    THE LAW OF THE JUNGLE
    ********************************************
    When asked why he hates Germans,
    a Jew is reported to have replied:
    “I have seven million reasons.”
    We may not have as many reasons,
    but we have another: we are called liars
    because we dare to speak the truth.
    *
    Talaat appears to be the role model of all war criminals.
    First they run away to a foreign country
    (as I write there are thirty of them in Canada alone)
    and when they are identified, arrested, and brought to justice,
    they plead not guilty.
    They see themselves as patriots, not killers.
    Like wolves, they view the slaughter of sheep
    as an inevitable result of evolution.
    #

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