Tuesday, June 30, 2009

big lies

Sunday, June 27, 2009
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BARE-FACED BIG LIES
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“God's chosen people.”
“Superior race.”
“The Cradle of Civilization.”
Do you know who popularized the idea of Armenia being the cradle of civilization? A hard-up odar alcoholic academic who got himself a fat check from an Armenian foundation and hoped to get another.
“God's chosen people”?
Chosen for what, may I ask? To be scattered, insulted, abused, and periodically slaughtered by, among others, the self-assessed “superior race” of Aryans?
*
Flattery, especially self-flattery, needs no proof. And if you tell a dumb person he is smart, he will not ask you to prove it.
“It is written”?
All that means is that some megalomaniacal idiot confused his illusions with the voice of God. It happens all the time. The inspired loud-mouth charismatic charlatan is a routine occurrence in history and its latest manifestation is the televangelist in the “Land of Liberty,” where one of the bloodiest civil wars in the history of mankind was fought in defense of slavery.
*
What I find incomprehensible is not that some readers disagree with what I say but that they don't disagree with the state and direction of our collective existence. They are eager to question the words of a scribbler but not the actions and policies of those who are in charge of our communities and the nation. Figure that one out, if you can.
#
Monday, June 29, 2009
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ONE DAMN THING AFTER ANOTHER
******************************************************
In their efforts to advance a new thesis, some odar academics – those we like to quote – have made such extravagant claims on our behalf that even some Armenian scholars (among them Sirarpie der Nersessian) have rejected them as unjustified, unverified, and erroneous.
*
Our bruised egos are so hungry for flattery that sometimes we take a disguised insult as a compliment. Case in point: “It takes seven Jews to fool an Armenian.” Translated into ordinary parlance, this simply means: “If you think Jews are bad, I've got news for you: Armenians are seven times worse!”
*
There is a big difference between being God's children and being the dupes of charlatans who speak in the name of God.
*
If history is “an unending dialogue between the present and the past” (E.H. Carr, WHAT IS HISTORY?), what has been our contribution to this dialogue beside victims?
*
Everything that I say today stands in direct contradiction to an early conviction which was instilled in me by individuals with a narrow and dogmatic agenda that distorted reality and perverted my judgment.
*
We like to brag about our genius for survival. The irony here is that those who did the actual surviving did not brag about it. I know because I grew up surrounded by them.
*
The sad truth is, those who do the most harm to their fellow men are the least aware of it.
*
If there is a god, he must be a thirsty one.
#
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
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REFLECTIONS
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Man is at his most creative in his invention of lies.
*
The biggest lies are half-truths.
*
If you speak against those who speak in the name of God,
they will accuse you of speaking in the name of the Devil.
*
To be brainwashed means not to question the honesty and wisdom of your abusers.
*
A nationalist historian writes about his nation and its enemies.
A historian writes about the past and the conflicting interests of nations.
*
Nothing offends me more than being insulted by a fool who has been brainwashed to believe he is smart.
*
If you don't have an agenda, everyone with an agenda will be against you.
*
Self-esteem is not a reliable index of worth, in the same way that dogmatism is not an index of certainty.
*
It is a universally shared human weakness to prefer flattery to criticism, but it is a dangerous addiction to prefer lies to truth.
*
To those who accuse me of having a very low opinion of my fellow Armenians, I can only say, nobody really gives a damn what I or anyone else thinks. What matters, what really matters, is whether or not I can tell the difference between fact and fiction.
#

Saturday, June 27, 2009

memoirs

Thursday, June 24, 2009
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MEMOIRS
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Because I was born in Greece to Armenian parents in a multicultural ghetto of refugees from the Ottoman Empire whose common medium was Turkish, I learned three languages without any effort on my part. I never asked anyone about the meaning of words or their definitions: I just knew. Something similar happens in the realm of ideas dealing with religion, ethics, and justice. I accepted them as facts rather than as prejudices, misconceptions, assumptions, fallacies, theories, or hypotheses. As a result, ideas that I encountered later in life – ideas like atheism, agnosticism, the brotherhood of all men, democracy, and passive resistance – appeared at first as alien, sometimes even as incomprehensible. Which is why intolerance comes naturally to all of us. It is tolerance that must be taught and learned, and more often than not, it is neither taught nor learned.
*
In my twenties I tried to teach myself Japanese and Zulu, among other languages. Today I remember only one word in Zulu -- “kitab” (book), and I remember it because it is the same word in Turkish.
*
And now allow me to tell you my favorite Nasreddin Hodja story:
It is said that in his youth the Hodja made a fortune as a smuggler. Everyone knew this but but no one knew what was it that he was smuggling, not even the border guards who would search him and his donkey thoroughly every time he crossed the border, which he did frequently. Many years later when one of the border guards met the Hodja and asked him what was was it that he was smuggling, the Hodja replied, “Donkeys.”
*
Speaking of smugglers: When an American customs officer asked Oscar Wilde if he had anything to declare, Wilde is said to have replied: “Only my genius” -- no doubt one of the most dangerous commodities known to man.
#
Friday, June 25, 2009
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ACADEMICS
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If the overwhelming majority of our academics stay away from Armenian studies, it may be because they have no desire to submit their intelligence to someone who may not have enough of its himself – namely, bosses, bishops, benefactors and their flunkies. As for the very few who get involved in Armenian studies, they invariably end up recycling the propaganda line that says, we did nothing wrong and the rest of the world did nothing right. To say otherwise would amount to biting the hand that feeds them.
If history is the propaganda of the victor, these academic charlatans seem to be saying, we will make ours the consolation of the loser.
*
What have we learned from history?
Only this: power means above all the power to cover up blunders and to misrepresent defeats as moral victories.
*
Because 2500 years ago Herodotus introduced his HISTORIES with the warning that he intends to speak of the great deeds and achievements of both "Greeks and barbarians," he was torn to shreds by Greek critics (among them Plutarch) as a lover of barbarians.
*
“If you are nice to them, they will be nice to you.” This is a rule that works with gentlemen but not with bastards -- and the world is full of them – and I don't mean gentlemen. And the trouble with bastards is that you can never be nice enough to them. Lower your pants and they will resent you for not bending over.
*
Three things to remember: (one) a fruitful failure is better than a sterile success; (two) “Thou shalt not” does not always work; and (three) Sooner or later a prejudice will bite your ass.
*
What I write may best be described as a digression in a footnote of a book that I will never write.
#
Saturday, June 26, 2009
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INTELLECTUALS AND ACADEMICS
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An intellectual is someone who dedicates his life to ideas.
An academic is someone who dedicates his life to his career.
Once upon a time we had intellectuals but no academics.
Today we have no intellectuals but over a thousand academics.
Which may explain why in literature even the Turks are ahead of us.
*
Likewise we have many nationalist historians but not a single historian.
A nationalism historian is one who places the interests of the nation above the interests of mankind. In other words, he makes of history a branch of political propaganda.
*
In the following two quotations, a 19th-century German philosopher and a 20th-century British historian reflect on historians.
Arthur Schopenhauer: “Clio, the muse of history, is as thoroughly infected with lies as a street whore with syphilis.”
A.J.P. Taylor: “Human blunders, usually, do more to shape history than human wickedness.”
*
There is an old saying: “Historia magistra vitae” (The past is our great teacher).
There is another, even older, saying: “Omnis homo mendax” (All men are liars).
*
I have two kinds of hostile readers: those who say they don't understand me, and those who understand me too well. As for the brainwashed: they are like parrots, disposed to understand only other parrots.
#

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

pride

Sunday, June 20, 2009
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TOURIST PRIDE
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“I am proud of my Armenian identity,” I am reminded by readers once in a while by way of questioning my own loyalty to the Homeland. We live in a world where everyone is brainwashed to be proud of his ethnic identity, even when we vote with our feet and choose to live on foreign soil and consider our homeland as “a nice place to visit.”
*
JERMAG CHART
************************************
Only the na├»ve and the blind believe because the Turks are not massacring us today we are not being exterminated. Who is doing the extermination? To put it differently: Who is at the source of our alienation? Who else but Turks, of course! What else is Armenianism if not Turcocentrism? Michael Arlen (Kouyoumdjian) saw this clearly when he warned his son to stay away from Armenians because “they dwell too much on Armenian problems...distant repellent events...They are sweet people, but you can't let them too close. They end up boring you to death.”
*
ROOSTERS
*****************************
The nice thing about our brand of politics is that when we do something right, no matter how insignificant, we behave like roosters who believe if it weren't for their vocalizing the sun wouldn't rise. But when we do something wrong, no matter how catastrophic, we blame it on others. A win-win situation if there ever was one.
#
Monday, June 21, 2009
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X
******************************************************
Supporting a corrupt regime has nothing to do with patriotism and everything to do with treason, betrayal, and cowardice. And the problem with political corruption is that as a rule it gets worse rather than better. It gets worse until it becomes unbearable. Which is what's happening in Iran today. And which is bound to happen in our own homeland sooner or later. And if our brothers and sisters in the Homeland never rise against the regime, we shall have no choice but to conclude that subservience has become such an integral part of our character as a nation that we no longer even take notice of it.
*
If I am for revolution in Iran, why am I against our revolutionaries in the Ottoman Empire? Two reasons: (one) they had a Plan B only for themselves, and (two) they relied on others.
If you are David confronting Goliath, you'd better make damn sure (one) you are one of God's Chosen; (two) you are technologically more advanced than your adversary; and (three) you have developed the necessary skill to use your new equipment.
*
The American, French, and Russian revolutions succeeded because the revolutionaries had the support of the majority. The majority of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, in addition to being a very tiny minority, lacked political awareness. I know because my father was one of them, and most of the Armenians in the ghetto where I grew up were refugees, spoke Turkish among themselves, and were illiterates who signed their name with an X.
#
Tuesday, June 22, 2009
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FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
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It's an old trick familiar to all religious leaders: whenever they want to do the devil's work, they speak in the name of god.
*
It took a world war to prove Hitler wrong; and it took the collapse of the Soviet Empire to prove Stalin wrong. It is the fate of an immovable object to meet an irresistible force.
*
“There is corruption everywhere.” That's the kind of talk the corrupt love to hear; and they will call anyone who repeats that line a true patriot.
*
A suicidal man should not brag about surviving still another attempted suicide.
*
If it can happen to someone else, it can happen to me. Even if I am god's chosen, I am not the only one.
*
Every Armenian should carry a sign with the warning: "Contradict me and make an enemy for life!"
*
Two Armenians were having a quiet conversation. It can happen.
#
Wednesday, June 23, 2009
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WHAT ABOUT US?
******************************************************
“There is a lot that we don't know,” a friend tells me speaking of our past.
And whose fault is that, may I ask?
Ours or theirs for failing to share what they know?
We will never know everything.
Nobody ever does.
Does that mean we should withhold judgment or submit our intelligence to those who may not have enough of it themselves?
Who benefits from our ignorance?
*
Most of my readers don't like me. That's because I hold a mirror up to them and they don't like what they see. They blame the mirror and they blame me for holding it up to them. They never blame themselves. That's the beauty of the blame-game. It allows you to paint yourself all white and the opposition all black.
*
A regime with enemies will have enemies even among its own people.
A regime that speaks of exterminating the enemy will invariably start by killing its own people. Isn't that what's happening in Iran today?
And what about us?
#

Saturday, June 20, 2009

rich/poor

Thursday, June 17, 2009
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WHEN THE RICH FIGHT
IT IS THE POOR WHO DIE
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When the fat cats on Wall Street made a mess of the world economy, they gave themselves a fat bonus, as the poor lost their jobs, their savings, and their pensions. Worse was to follow. The top dogs in Washington bailed out the fat cats with the money of the very same victims who had been skinned alive. It's always the same story.
*
To identify a people – any people – with the regime – any regime – amounts to identifying the victim with his victimizer.
*
We either parrot the words of cunning manipulators or we learn to think for ourselves.
*
If you think slavery in a democratic America was a mistake that has been corrected, consider the legitimacy of the Vietnam and Iraq wars. All men are created equal? If true both Bush Jr. and Chaney would be among the dead now.
Closer to home: after leading the people to genocide our own “best and brightest” blame it on the rest of mankind, as if mankind had suddenly changed the rules of the game on us; and what is even more unbelievable, they are believed. Speaking for myself: I have trouble deciding which is more reprehensible: the massacres or the cold-blooded and calculated deception.
*
A smart Armenian is one who says, “I don't want to be like my people. I want to learn from my mistakes.”
*
In our case, “Know thine enemy” and “Know thyself” might as well be synonymous statements.
*
In this morning's paper I read: “...much of the world remained an unwelcome place for many...” You may now guess who the “many” are and who are responsible for driving them out.
*
To paraphrase Saroyan: “Empires may rise and fall but bloodsuckers hang in forever.”
#
Friday, June 18, 2009
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THE WAGES OF SIN
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Hannah Arendt: “If we do not know our own history, we are doomed to live it as though it were our fate.”
*
At the beginning we were divided by deep valleys, high mountains, and long winters. What divides us today? Nothing but habit. Habit compounded by ignorance. Habit so deeply entrenched that it might as well be in our DNA. If two Armenians on a desert island don't build three churches (the third being the one they stay aware from) they will feel as though they had a monkey on their back.
*
One reason solidarity has eluded us so far is that we pretend to be ignorant of the consequences of tribalism. It is not easy to convince a tribal people to become a nation by submitting their will to a centralized authority. But the alternative – that is, allowing geography or habit to shape our destiny – is infinitely harder. We know now that the alternative has been defeat by a smaller but better organized tribe, followed by centuries of degrading subservience, mass deportations, and massacres (both “red” and “white” -- that is, alienation and assimilation). Knowing this we continue to stay divided and to waste valuable energy, resources, and emotional investment on genocide recognition, a cause that so far, and after almost a century, has failed to resurrect a single victim or to annex a single square inch of historic Armenia.
*
It is said of masochists that if they fail to find a sadist, they become their own sadist. That, it seems, is the alternative we have chosen – to wallow in self-pity and to beg others to support our cause, as if others supported us when we needed them most. As if others support anyone that is not in their own interest.
*
There are two kinds of failings or sins: those we commit knowingly and the others. But sooner or later we are punished for both. And the wages of sin is death.
#
Saturday, June 19, 2009
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QUESTIONS IN SEARCH OF AN ANSWER
******************************************************
Chekhov: “If I cannot answer the most important questions, am I not fooling the reader?”
Why do things exist?
What is the meaning of life?
Why did Socrates say, “The only thing I know is that I don't know”?
If “a house divided against itself cannot stand,” are our dividers with us or against us?
If our house collapses, who must be held responsible?
If not our dividers, who?
Who benefits from our divisions?
What is the meaning of our genocide?
If the Turks are bloodthirsty barbarians, why is it that it took us six hundred years to figure that out?
How smart are we if we believe in the propaganda of our dividers?
Why is it that for every Armenian who says one thing there will be another who will say the exact opposite?
Why is it that a fully grown adult feels the need to repeat what he was taught as a child by his schoolteachers and parish priest?
Why is it that “the cradle of civilization” has become the grave of common sense and decency?
Why did Zarian say “Armenians survive by cannibalizing one another?”
Why is it that we have many poets but not a single philosopher?
Why is it that Armenian stories end with the words “Three golden apples fell from heaven”?
Is that why we suffer from an advanced case of collective concussion?
#

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

etc.

Sunday, June 13, 2009
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ON KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
******************************************************
Socrates: “Know thyself.”
The Koran: “He who knows himself, knows God.”
The Bible: “The Kingdom of God is within you.”
Three synonymous statement.
Three different ways of saying the same thing.
*
“The Kingdom of God is within you,” and “Our Father Who art in heaven”:
I see a contradiction here. Which may suggest that the Bible cannot be the word of God. God does not contradict Himself. Neither does He speak with a forked tongue. Men do.
*
Men contradict one another because they don't understand; they can only hope to move in the direction of greater understanding.
*
I do not have a quarrel with God, only with men who speak in His name after which they legitimize crimes against humanity.
*
God does not issue licenses authorizing men to speak in His name. Licenses are issued by men to other men against other men.
*
Faith can be an asset as well as a liability. It is an asset when it leads to a greater understand and compassion for our fellow men. It is a liability when it makes us self-righteous, dogmatic and intolerant.
*
Diogenes Laertius: “When Thales was asked what was difficult, he said 'to know one's self.' And what was easy, 'To advise another.'”
To advise another: in modern parlance, to sermonize and speechify.
*
Sartre: “We believe that we believe, but we don't believe.”
*
If I bore you, I apologize. If I challenge you, I consider my mission accomplished.
#
Monday, June 14, 2009
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ODDS AND ENDS
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If I am for honesty it is not because I love truth (which I will never know) but because I hate all those who deceived me when I was young, gullible, and could not yet think for myself.
*
Am I a failure if so far the world has failed to provide me with a friendly audience?
*
A good speechifier knows what the people want to hear and he doesn't mind submitting his intelligence to the rabble.
*
Sometimes our first impressions are more accurate because they are based one a wider and therefore more balanced set of data. Afterwards we can be easily swayed by words.
*
To attack and insult someone from a position of self-assessed infallibility is to openly declare oneself to be unteachable, unreasonable, and unspeakable.
*
Long live fools and fanatics! If it weren't for them, I would run out of inspiration.
*
We like to say there are always two sides to every story after which we readily give in to the temptation of believing our side.
#
Tuesday, June 15, 2009
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ETCETERA
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The temptation to contradict is one that no Armenian can resist. It is a mental aberration and a pathological condition that only a radical shift in our educational system may cure. To begin with, we should teach our children that far from being smart, we may well be the dumbest people on earth. One reason: for more than a thousand years we have been the slaves of some of the most backward and brutal people on earth, Stalin's USSR being the latest. How can I forget the fact that during the Soviet era I would receive letters and phone calls from Armenian-Americans (I called them chic Bolsheviks) trying to convince me that the Russians were our Big Brothers (literally rather than in the Orwellian sense of these words), Solzhenitsyn was a traitor, the Nobel Prize committee a Jewish conspiracy, Paradjanov a syphilitic black marketeer and pederast, and Zarian a hireling of the CIA. I have myself been accused of being an agent of every secret organization on the planet, including the KGB, the CIA, the Mossad, and the Gray Wolves, whoever the hell they are.
*
In our environment, fanaticism, ignorance, stupidity, and malice speak louder than their counterparts. As for actions: they speak louder than words only when they are directed against defenseless fellow Armenians, the more defenseless the better.
*
If that's what I think about Armenians, why do I bother writing for them?
I go on writing for them because I refuse to believe that only brown-nosers and propagandists qualify as writers, and because I believe no one is beyond redemption. I speak from experience. Once upon a time I too shared all their prejudices, blind spots, and arrogance. If I can see the light, so can anyone else. If this is an illusion, may I never lose it.
*
Michel Sardou: “God? I believe him when I need him. Like the rest of mankind. And if he fails to respond, I appeal to another.”
#
Wednesday, June 16, 2009
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OUR FAVORITE MANTRA
******************************************************
A reader writes: “They massacred us because they hated us.”
That's racist talk and that's nonsense.
Not all Turks hated us. Some even risked their lives to save some of us, in the same way that today some of them are willing to risk their freedom to support our cause. No doubt Talaat and his gang of cut-throats were racist, but then, who wasn't? Even Americans of “all men are created equal” fame were racists. They didn't massacre all their minorities, true, only some of them. They were smarter than Turks. They divided and exploited them mercilessly. Where would America be today without its cheap labor? Empires are raised by brute force but maintained by divide-and-rule manipulation.
We are better at dividing ourselves – or rather, allowing others to divide us -- than dividing our enemies. This may explain why almost all talk of Armenians by Armenians ends with the mantra, “Mart bidi ch'ellank.” And because I explain and expand on this mantra, I am silenced. We want flattery, not criticism no matter how objective and honest. But flattery does not solve problems, it covers them up. Flattery does not build character, honesty does.
#

Saturday, June 13, 2009

sin

Thursday, June 11, 2009
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ORIGINAL SIN
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We begin by saying yes to our parents, then to our schoolteachers and parish priest (or rabbi or mullah) after which we consider it our duty to say yes sir! to empty suits and bearded fornicators. And now think of the millions of innocent victims who perished just because some loud-mouth damn fool spoke in the name of a non-existent being or a misguided ideology or a phony orthodoxy. And if you think this sort of aberration belongs to the past, think again. I have seen it happen in my own lifetime and I see it happen again and again whenever I read the headlines in newspapers or watch the news on television. And why? Because we all think my speechifier or sermonizer knows better, his god is a better god, his ideas are better ideas...all of which combined makes us morally superior and we can do no wrong and anyone who says otherwise is a liar who deserves to be silenced and sometimes silenced permanently.
The very same people who taught us to believe tasting the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge was the Original Sin have brainwashed us to believe to gorge ourselves on the fruit from the Tree of Ignorance is our patriotic duty. If you have a better explanation, I am all ears.
#
Friday, June 11, 2009
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IT WAS WORSE THAN A CRIME,
IT WAS A BLUNDER
****************************************
There is a tendency in all of us to avoid confrontation especially when the opposition is more powerful. We call it playing it safe or being cautious. And yet, we look up to those rare heroic individuals who stand up for what is right even if it means losing their freedom and sometimes even their life. Think of Socrates versus the Athenian establishment, think of Jesus, Galileo, Gandhi, and Solzhenitsyn.
And now, let us consider the case of our revolutionaries in the Ottoman Empire. The reason they rose against the Empire was that they believed the Great Powers of the West to be on their side and with such allies they could not lose. But lost they did and it was not they who paid a heavy price but the people. Socrates and the others mentioned above relied on no one but themselves and suffered the consequences. Most of our revolutionaries survived to publish long-winded memoirs, to rewrite history, and to cover up their blunder. I don't find that heroic but cowardly and contemptible.
We all make mistakes, of course, but some of us are honest enough to admit them, sometimes even to apologize.
#
Saturday, June 12, 2009
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WHEN THE BLIND LEAD THE BLIND
****************************************
Baudelaire on the idea of superiority: “a satanic idea, if ever there was one.”
I have said many nasty things about self-assessed moral superiority, but I have never gone as far as calling it satanic. It takes the daring of a genius to see things as they are. The rest of us might as well be blind to reality.
*
Give a nobody authority or make him feel superior and he will speak in the name of god or historic necessity or greater wisdom and go on the warpath against infidels or inferiors or anyone else who stands between him and more power. Megalomania is a hungry monster that is never satiated. Even the popes of Rome, whose job was to preach love of the enemy, went to war.
But then, where would authority be without dupes? To believe in someone else and to ignore “the kingdom of god” which is within us, might as well be the source of all crimes against humanity.
*
Flaubert: “To be stupid, selfish and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.”
#

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

lessons

Sunday, June 7, 2009
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LESSONS
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In his Anatolian impressions, Lord Kinross (the future biographer of Kemal) mentions meeting some elderly Turks who bragged about teaching us (Armenians) a lesson during World War I that we would never forget. One could say, it is now their turn to learn they can't get away with murder – though if it were up to me, I would be reluctant to teach them anything if only because people who cling to their ignorance will have to learn the hard way, and the longer it takes the harder the lesson is bound to be.
But then, consider the absurdity of our own situation. We are trying to teach the Turks a lesson that the mighty of this world have consistently refused to learn (hence their unpopularity, gradual disintegration and inevitable downfall) even as we go about refusing to learn a more obvious lesson, namely that a house divided against itself cannot stand (hence our status as perennial losers).
#
Monday, June 8, 2009
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ON A NUMBER OF THINGS
****************************************
Intolerance is almost always a byproduct of a misguided idealism or a phony orthodoxy. But I am beginning to suspect that's not our problem. Our problem, our real problem, is mediocrity and its twin, opportunism.
*
We have a thousand voices supporting Genocide recognition but not a single whisper in defense of free speech.
*
Man thrives on good food, good sex, and bad ideas.
*
We speak like parrots, drink like fish, eat like pigs, fight like dragons, live in asphalt jungles, and we call ourselves civilized human beings.
*
If a better world is ever discovered in the universe, we will do to it what we did to America and its Indians.
*
Human nature continues to elude me. No matter how hard I try I cannot understand why millions of people are fascinated by individuals who hit a ball with a modified stick.
#
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
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WITH MALICE TOWARD SOME,
WITH CHARITY FOR ALL
****************************************
My explanations are mine and no one else's. They apply only to my own brand of ignorance. If you agree with me, it may be because we share the same area of darkness. If you disagree with me, it may be because you are already in possession of your own explanations. In which case I can only warn you not to be taken in by flat-earth theories. Don't let appearances deceive you. The most obvious explanation may also be the most misleading. Remember, it is not the sun that revolves around the earth even if the Holy Scriptures (the Word of God) and the Pope of Rome said so and repeated for more than a thousand years. And if I repeat myself, it may be because I cannot reconcile myself to the fact that those who pretend to be wiser are no better than damn fools whose number one concern is not the welfare of the people but their infallibility, which is nothing but a mirage, an illusion, a figment of their imagination, and a Big Lie. We have been and continue to be at the mercy of bunglers who would rather preside over the destruction of the nation than give up even an invisible fraction of their powers and privileges.
#
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
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THE SCUM OF THE EARTH
****************************************
If you lose a friend on account of political differences, it maybe because he wasn't a good friend to begin with. I speak from experience. I have lost several friends because in their view I was on the wrong side of a political issue and their side happened to be infallible. To them I say, “Good riddance!”
*
It is a mistake to identify patriotism with a specific regime. I have nothing against patriotism provided it is willing to expose the swine at the top. As for the kind of patriotism that sings of the eternal snows of Mt. Ararat, I can only say, “Nothing further, your Honor.”
*
Believers in one God (Christians, Muslims, Jews) should develop a consensus if they want to be believed.
*
I consider fascination with royalty a branch of zoology. The first and only thing I think when Prince Charles is mentioned is that he doesn't squeeze his own toothpaste on his toothbrush. The queen? She reminds of an aunt. As for the princesses: I am reminded of an old friend who when asked to name his favorite actor, he mentioned several familiar names. When asked to name his favorite actress, he said, “All of them!”
*
Stendhal: “All my life I have always seen what I imagined rather than reality.” There is an element of wishful thinking in all thinking. Propagandists know this and do their utmost to exploit it, and the more successful they are, the greater the distance between us and reality.
#

Saturday, June 6, 2009

status

Thursday, June 4, 2009
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ON PROPAGANDA AND RELATED ATROCITIES
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Propagandists and their dupes are less like victimizers and victims and more like co-conspirators.
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For every temptation to believe in a flattering lie there is a counter-urge to confront the truth no matter how unpleasant.
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To suppress a truth does not mean to obliterate it.
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If in crime it's cherchez la femme, in all verbal communication it's cherchez the unsaid or the covered up -- there it is, step one of deconstruction 101.
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I don't understand everything and I don't want to understand everything because I already understand enough; I also understand that there isn't one hell of a lot I can do with what I understand except to become more aware of my own powerlessness.
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Our history makes one point very clear: in time of trouble, when we need them most, our political parties were nowhere to be seen. But in time of peace they are all over the place -- in schools, churches, community centers, and the media, speechifying, sermonizing, editorializing, organizing demonstrations, lobbying, and, above all, rewriting history in their efforts to cover up their blunders and inability to face facts and to come to grips with reality.
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Friday, June 5, 2009
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FAITH AND IMAGINATION
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Since the ancients could not understand the solar system, in their wisdom, they invented or imagined one they could understand.
All systems of thought, all organized religions and ideologies, are efforts to reduce a complex and incomprehensible reality to our own level even if it means perverting it in the process. Hence the celebrated dictum: “Man cannot create a single worm, yet he has created ten thousand gods” -- and, one could add, for every god, ten thousand lies.
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The human brain is a miracle more complex than a thousand computers combined. Its urge to understand and explain is as irresistible as the urge to procreate, and to procreate at all cost, even if it means procreating charlatans and dupes willing to kill and die in the name of a lie.
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God orders Abraham to butcher his son Isaac to prove his loyalty to Him. I challenge anyone to imagine a worst case of abuse of power.
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Is it possible to be honest and to speak of God or in His name? Even when Mother Teresa, that most exemplary of saints, lost her faith, she did not dare to say so openly when she was alive.
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Saturday, June 6, 2009
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STATUS QUO
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Solutions to problems are unwelcome where exposing past blunders is not an option. Our leadership seems to be saying, “We will consider the viability of your solutions provided you do not question our infallibility.” They ignore the obvious fact that had they been infallible we would have no problems.
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“What would you have done in their place?” is one of those loaded questions that is raised again and again. If you say, “I would have done things differently,” they will say, “So you think you are smarter? Easy to say, harder to prove.”
What I prefer to say instead is: “Very probably I would have done what they did, with one difference: I wouldn't spend the rest of my life blaming others and pretending I am infallible even as I go about committing the same blunder over and over again.”
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Our central problem today is a leadership that is incapable of doing what must be done because doing so would expose the past blunders of incompetent narcissists and their dupes who are infatuated with their own image.
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What blunder am I talking about? That of dividing our greatest source of power and refusing to learn the lessons of history.
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It takes two to tango. We have the leadership we deserve. Our tragedy, our real tragedy is centuries of hopeless subservience and the acquisition of layers upon layers of habits that spring from it, namely, our respect for authority even when this authority mimics Ottomanism and Sovietism.
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Man's original sin is not tasting the fruit from the tree of knowledge but saying “Yes, sir!” not only to God (as Abraham did when ordered to cut his son's throat) but also to any impostor who speaks in His name.
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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

success

Sunday, May 31, 2009
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FUNNY BUSINESS
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Almost every other day our local paper prints a letter critical of its editorial policy. By contrast, our weeklies pretend not to have a policy, or if they do, it has only two criteria: truth and excellence. I dare you not to see any humor in this.
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At one time or another I have offended Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, dupes, fanatics, nationalists, communists, capitalists, racists, propagandists, lawyers, and chief executive officers, and by my rough estimate, several billion people. Why should I be surprised if so far I have failed to acquire the status of a best-selling author?
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If I repeat myself it may be because no one minds repeating “I love you” to the person s/he loves. Why should you mind if I say and repeat, I hate charlatans, bloodsuckers, and idiots who parade as leaders of men? -- unless of course you are one of them.
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I don't write about labels, I write about human beings and if most of them are Armenian it may be because I know them and myself better than I know the rest of mankind. I have at no time hidden the fact that in my formative years I was as big a dupe of our propaganda as those I now ridicule. You might say therefore that I attack and expose not just fools but also my former self.
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Truth sets you free only in theory. In practice it destroys an important fraction of your self. That is why it is ruthlessly shunned by most.
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Plot for a play: two characters agree to achieve perfection by exposing each other's failings, and they end up destroying themselves.
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Monday, June 1, 2009
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EDUCATION BY INDOCTRINATION
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Education by indoctrination should be a criminal offense. The only reason it isn't is that everybody does it and no one seems to mind.
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There is in all of us an infantile need to believe in lies and when no one deceives us, we deceive ourselves.
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As a child he was taught to speak the truth, and when the Turkish police came and wanted to know where was his uncle's hiding place, he said “In the well,” and he took them there.
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When God asked Cain where was his brother Abel (as if He didn't know), Cain replied, “Am I then my brother's keeper?”
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We are told violence in movies begets violence in life. What about intolerance in organized religions and ideologies? How many violent movies did Cain see? Was Genghis Khan influenced by John Wayne, and Napoleon by Brando?
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The Republicans (most of them White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) are now calling the Hispanic Supreme Court nominee a “racist.” They forget that for more than a hundred years Supreme Court Justices (most of them WASPs) legitimized slavery and racism in America. These WASPs! – they sure know how to take care of their own. That may well be the secret of their success. You may now guess what is the secret of our failure.
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Question to our Turcocentric ghazetajis: “Does it ever occur to you that you may be barking up the wrong tree?”
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Tuesday, June 2, 2009
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SUCCESS
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Give a man the best education money can buy and a position of great responsibility and end up with an assh*le who thinks he deserves a fat bonus just for pulling his dick.
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Some readers disagree with me not because they find my arguments defective but because they think I stand between them and their chances to achieve success.
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There is a saying in Hollywood: “Success is relative, the closer the relative, the greater the success.”
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If we think what we are told to think, are we (brain)dead or alive? And if we are alive, is our life worth living?
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When I hear someone use the word “culture” I immediately assume he means his particular brand of barbarism.
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We say Naregatsi is our Dante and Shakespeare combined, but whereas Italian and English children can quote lines from Dante and Shakespeare, I have yet to hear a single Armenian boy or girl, or adult for that matter, quote a single solitary line by Naregatsi.
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We brag about our culture but we prefer to speak about massacres, as if being massacred were a great achievement.
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When your whole life is a big blunder, you hate like hell anyone who dares to suggest you may have made a mistake.
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Wednesday, June 3, 2009
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DIPLOMACY 101
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The Turks know better what happened if only because they know both sides of the story, unlike us who know only our side. They have a better grasp of world history too if only because they ran an empire for six hundred years. Which means they speak a language that is accessible to other empires. All they have to say to the Americans is, “Armenians are our Indians,” and all Americans have to do is think: “What if in time of war when our very existence may well be in peril our ethnic minorities behave like the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I?” Which may also explain why the Soviets opposed all talk of Genocide recognition.
When our first foreign minister visited Ankara and mentioned the Genocide, the Turks said, “This man hates us. We can't negotiate with him.” Our president agreed and immediately replaced him. He understood that you can't call a man a murderer and a barbarian and expect him to behave like a civilized human being.
Were the Turks murderers and barbarians? Yes, of course. No doubt about that. Even the murder of a single innocent human being is an act of barbarism. But that's in civilian parlance which has nothing to do with the semantics of diplomacy.
If the Turks behaved like bloodthirsty barbarians, so did the rest of mankind before, during, and after our Tragedy. We cannot educate, reform, and persuade mankind into behaving like the civilizations they pretend to be. We can only deal with them in such a way as to defend and protect our interests. So far we have failed to do so perhaps because we are not as smart as we pretend to be.
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