Saturday, July 31, 2010


July 29, 2010
You say it was Armenians who slaughtered Turks.
How so, if
(one) we were tiny islands in a vast Turkish sea;
(two) we were not allowed to bear arms; and
(three) we now live on foreign soil and you live in your homeland which was ours long before it was yours.
Armenians are guilty of slaughtering Turks?
There are literally thousands of articles published in the international press that speak of Armenian massacres and deportations in Turkey during World War I some of which have been compiled and published as books. Now then, show me a single article published outside Turkey in which it is stated that it was Armenians who massacred and deported Turks.
I understand and even sympathize with your loyalty to your tribe, but I suggest a man is judged more by his loyalty to principles of justice and fair play and less by his loyalty to a regime.
Speaking of man and criteria of judgment, I am reminded of the old Turkish saying: “Among ten men nine are sure to be women.”
And speaking of loyalty: I would add that loyalty to a regime is at the root of all fascism.
And now let us consider the following scenario: A united Armenia (miracles happen) declares war against a divided, weakened, and demoralized Turkey (after all, even mighty empires fall and vanish from the annals of history) and commits crimes against humanity by slaughtering and deporting innocent Turkish civilians. I assure you there will be honest Armenians (and I like to believe I would be among them) who will denounce the perpetrators in the same way that there are today many honest Turks who have raised their voices against Turkish denialists: you see, we are more alike than you think, with one difference: there are many more of you, which also means more criminals, more fanatics, more liars, and more dupes of propaganda.
On a number of occasions I have been asked by Turkish friends: “If we tried to exterminate Armenians, how come there are so many of you around the world?”
To which I can only say: millions of Jews are alive today all over the world as well as in Israel. Does that mean the Holocaust is a lie?
Another question: Suppose the Ottoman Empire were an Armenian Empire and suppose Turks were a minority in it. And suppose after six long centuries of Armenian oppression some Turks decided to rise against their oppressors: Would you call them freedom fighters, heroic revolutionaries, or terrorists?
You say the Ottoman Empire did not oppress its minorities. Then explain why even the Turks rose against the Sultan? And if you say Talaat was not a fascist guilty of genocide, then explain why he ran away to Berlin?
A final note on truth and propaganda:
Where there are conflicting interests, truth may be difficult to establish, unlike propaganda which is easily identified and defined because it supports one set of interests against another – in addition to flattering the collective ego.
Who needs flattery?
My answer: Maybe the “nine women” mentioned in the Turkish saying quoted above, but surely not the “tenth man.”
July 30, 2010
You say, “For 600 years Armenians and Turks lived in peace. But suddenly, for no apparent reason, and a time when Turkey was fighting for its own very survival, you decided to side with our enemies and engaged in acts of terrorism within Turkey, thus giving Turks no choice but to take decisive action against you, which is what any state would have done.”
What you say contains a number of misconceptions, distortions, and fallacies.
Our revolutionaries were a handful of young idealists.
They did not represent the people.
None of them was democratically elected.
The deportations and atrocities undertaken by the Turkish state
did not target them but innocent law-abiding civilians.
As for Armenian soldiers who fought with the Russians:
again, they did so with no support whatever
from the Armenian people within Turkey.
Besides, no one is accusing the Turks
of killing Armenian soldiers on the battlefield.
Now, about the myth (a euphemism for the Big Lie)
of Armeno-Turkish coexistence:
throughout history all oppressors invariably adopt
a paternalist stance towards the oppressed.
They see themselves not as oppressors or masters
but as benefactors and protectors of their subjects;
and they are outraged at any show of discontent or dissent
which they view as ingratitude.
They are convinced the order established by them
has been ordained by the Almighty
and anyone who refuses to accept that self-evident truth
deserves to die.
To tyrants, exploiters, and imperialists,
all revolt is incomprehensible and unjustified.
However, the real issue here is not the psychology of oppressors
but why did the Turks target defenseless and law-abiding Armenians?
The obvious answer is,
they adopted a racist stance towards them.
When the American ambassador pointed out to Talaat
that he was targeting friendly Armenians,
Talaat said: “After what we have done to them,
all Armenians will be our enemies.”
Talaat understood and admitted
what you refuse to understand and admit,
perhaps because you continue to think and feel as oppressors.
You think the order established by your military victory
should be seen as a final verdict without appeal
because ordained by Allah.
You are completely blind to the fact that
your military victory was also a moral catastrophe.
And if you say, atrocities and deportations
are inevitable consequences of war,
yes, I agree. No one denies that either.
If Armenians see you as Asiatic barbarians
it is less for what you have done to them
and more for denying its reality.
July 31, 2010
You say,
“In our place you would have done the same thing.”
To which I can only say, and in our place
you would be reacting the same way.
Which means, we may be members of different tribes
but the same race – namely, the human race.
It also means we share more things in common
than we like to think. And yet,
we pretend otherwise
and we expect others to believe us
perhaps because we don't have as high an opinion of them
as we have of ourselves.
This pretense is baseless
because we might as well be transparent.
We both have a highly developed critical sense
when we deal with others, especially those we label as enemies,
and lack objectivity when it comes to ourselves.
You think the world needs you
more than it needs us, and we think
in the long run justice and truth are bound to prevail.
You cannot fool all the people all the time.
We both believe God or truth to be on our side,
thus reducing the mystery of existence to a game.
But life is not a game.
Not only today's victor may be tomorrow's loser
but also because victory on one level
may be defeat on another.
A criminal who believes he is innocent
because he is a law-abiding citizen
will commit the same crime again and again
until he is caught, arrested, tried, and found guilty.
A state that thinks only in terms of power and influence over others
is a dehumanized state. That is to say,
a state that has committed moral suicide.
Such a state doesn't have to be killed in order to die
because it is already dead.
I say this with grief in my heart
because it applies to the rest of the world as well,
including ourselves.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


July 25, 2010
An Armenian will disagree with you even when he agrees. His aim is not dialogue but monologue; not being smart but to appear to be smarter than you; not consensus but oneupmanship.
It is not that the world is moving at a faster rate than we are, the situation is much worse. We are moving backwards. Compare the first half of the last century with the present. In the first half we had Oshagan, Zarian, General Antranik, Karekin Nejdeh, Roupen Der Minassian, Nikol Aghbalian, and many others. Today we have nothing but Turcocentric ghazetajis and brainless, faceless empty suit.
To those who say our problems are the world's problems, I say: Name a single nation that has been at the mercy of brutal foreign oppressors for as long as we have been.
If at times I am merciless in my criticism, it’s because life has been even more merciless to us collectively. Compared to how tough life has been, I don’t even qualify as a marshmallow.
July 26, 2010
They recycle propaganda and call it free speech.
No dupe can ever be free.
The greatest enemy of liars is not the truth but reality.
Instead of speaking about Greeks, Kurds, Arabs, and Turks, we should teach ourselves to speak of human beings. That way we may learn to emphasize that which we share.
Shakespeare (THE WINTER’S TALE): “I would there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty; for there is nothing the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting, drinking.”
On more than one occasion I have been taken to task (a euphemism for “I have been verbally abused”) for not being as brilliant as Hagop Baronian. If that were a crime, I deserve to be hanged.
Giambattista Vico:
“Crowded city life produces men who are unbelievers, who regard money as the measure of all things, and who lack moral qualities, particularly modesty…. Emancipated from ethics generally, they live by mutual spying and deceit.”
If you can’t contradict the idea, insult the man.
An Armenian who is about to lose an argument turns into a Turk.
July 27, 2010
In his youth Koestler was taken in by Soviet propaganda and became a member of the Communist Party. But after Stalin's show trials and purges of the 1930s he published DARKNESS AT NOON, one of the most anti-Soviet books in world literature.
Stalin's countless crimes have had no effect on our chic Bolsheviks however. To them Stalin is no more than McCarthy's counterpart.
Nabokov, the offspring of multimillionaire Russian aristocrats, hated the Communists to such a degree that he even supported the war in Vietnam.
As a petit-bourgeois, Sartre hated the French bourgeoisie, including De Gaulle, so much that he sided with Stalin, Mao, and Castro.
Thomas Mann wanted to save Germany from the Nazis but he succeeded only in making enemies of his fellow Germans who looked up to Hitler for guidance and accused him (Mann) of treason.
Hitler and Mussolini counted among their early admirers many great men in politics and literature, among them Shaw, Churchill, Knut Hamsun, and Heidegger.
Even men with 20/20 vision have their blind spots; and sometimes to know more is to understand less.
In an environment where Abovian was driven to suicide and Zarian was silenced,
what chance does a minor scribbler have?
Why do I go on?
Call it art for art's sake,
A waste of time.
July 28, 2010
Instead of writing MADAME BOVARY
he should have written MONSIEUR FLAUBERT.
The result would have been
a much more authentic and believable work.
He knew everything there is to know about Flaubert,
little or nothing about the Bovarys
and what he knew about them
was based on hearsay, projection, research, and imagination
and as such, inadmissible evidence.
This is a mistake we all make:
we prefer to speak about things
we know little or nothing about,
and more often than we rely on hearsay.
Consider ideologies, religions, gods, and prophets.
What are holy scriptures if not hearsay?
What is the infallibility of prophets, popes, imams, and rabbis
if not pure fiction and collective illusion?
What are wars and massacres
if not hysterical or psychotic outbursts?
Leave it to historians to see meaning in them,
with the result that one man's meaning or truth
is another's nonsense and lie,
not to say the seed of another war and massacre,
followed by more sound and fury signifying nothing.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


July 22, 2010
In a text on political philosophy I read today of “the inalienable right to resist tyranny and all

illegitimate authority.”
No matter how hard I try I cannot think of a single Armenian authority figure that may be said to have

been democratically elected, and therefore legitimate.
Raffi tells us “treason and betrayal are in our blood.” After long centuries of conditioning, so, it

seems, are tyranny and subservience to tyrants.
Who even dares to speak today of tyranny, subservience, and democracy? We prefer to speak

instead of Turks and massacres, that is to say of past aberrations about which there is little or

nothing we can do, and ignore the present violations of human rights which are within our power to

Dostoevsky: “Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained in us than lying to others.”
This may suggest there is a pathological liar in all of us.
“I paint with my prick,” Renoir is quoted as having said.
Some of my readers think with theirs.
Always be civil to a writer, especially if he happens to be an Armenian. You never know when he may

choose to get even. I for one never read an Armenian I have insulted. An insulted Armenian is like a

sword of Damocles and I already have a forest of yataghans hanging over me.
When confronted with a difficult problem, ostriches bury their heads in the sand, or so we are told.

Men are smarter: they don’t bury their heads, they bury the problem…even if it means burying

themselves in the process.
July 23, 2010
Truth is an invention of liars.
Truth is a work in progress, not a finished product.
The consensus of a million people guarantees nothing. A billion smart men may be taken in as easily

as a single dumb dupe.
Truth may be one but those who speak in its name are many.
Lying comes as naturally to men of power as swimming to fish, flying to birds, and slithering to

I am not here to solve problems but to show their hiding places.
Educating children and brainwashing them might as well be synonymous operations.
To explain the incomprehensible is to lie.
The aim of a religion or an ideology is to assert a monopoly on truth.
Monopoly favors the producer, not the consumer.
The most dangerous liars are those who speak in the name of truth.
Faith allows us to believe in a lie with a clear conscience.
There are as many versions of the past as there are historians.
Subservience to God also means subservience to those who speak in His name.
Subservience is hell.
July 24, 2010
Dead men don't testify.
Permanently silenced voices cannot sing.
No witnesses, no murder.
All career criminals know this.
Turks know it too.
After eliminating a million potential witnesses
and deporting and scattering another million
to the four corners of the world,
they now say, for every Armenian survivor
there are two or more Turkish survivors
willing and eager to testify that
the Genocide is a fiction of our collective imagination
and that it was the Armenians who tried to exterminate Turks.
But that's not the scandal.
The real scandal is that they are believed
by some members of the jury,
and they need only one
for the judge to issue a verdict of not guilty
or to declare a mistrial.
You think Armenians are smart and Turks dumb?
Think again.
We may have truth on our side
but they have the law on theirs.
Who cares about Armenians?
Not even Armenians.
As for our Turcocentric ghazetajis:
they are no better than hirelings
who are paid to vociferate endlessly
about genocide, genocide, genocide
in order to cover up
the incompetence, corruption, and violations of human rights
of their own bosses and paymasters.
The brainwashed may not see this clearly
but those who have retained the ability to think for themselves do.
It is this second scandal
that is at the root of our self-inflicted “white” massacre.
Armenians are smart?
Don't make me laugh!
When Jerry Falwell died,
Christopher Hitchens called him
a “vulgar fraud and crook.”
We too have our share of Falwells
but not a single Hitchens, alas!
What we have instead are gutless brown-nosers
by the dozen and by the hundred.
And that, my friends, is our third scandal!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


July 18, 2010
Whenever I understand something I didn't understand before, I am seized by an irresistible urge to share it. I can see why this peculiarity of mine can irritate the hell out of some readers who understand everything.
No one can be as ignorant as the man who is convinced he knows all he needs to know, and what he doesn't know is either irrelevant or not worth knowing.
"I don't trust him.”
"Why not?”
"He is a bad man.”
"Why is he bad?”
"He thinks he is a good Armenian.”
"Can't a good Armenian be a good man?”
"Not if he feels the need to advertise it. A truly honest man does not advertise himself as such even when he is accused of dishonesty. Besides, goodness and honesty are universal concepts. They don't need a national label. To identify someone as a “good German” or a “good Turk” is to imply the rest of them are bad.”
Great nations need big lies; small nations need bigger lies.
In Herman Melville I come across a new word: “sultanism,” meaning the exercise of power with a touch of sadistic pleasure.
A mediocrity will be subservient to any regime or power structure that gives him a regular salary, or a title, or a uniform, or the license to persecute better men than himself. There it is: the root of our sultanism.
July 19, 2010
Racism consists in ascribing the crimes of the few on the entire nation or race. And because I am critical of Armenians (not all of them but a small fraction – see below) I am called a racist by functional illiterates who equate criticism with racism and dissent with treason. It follows, Stalin was right when he silenced dissenters. What's next? Heil Hitler?
Armenians may be divided into three distinct groups: the assimilated (who no longer identify themselves as Armenian), the alienated (who stay away from Armenian affairs, community centers, churches, schools, and demonstrations -- I count myself among them), and the dupes who believe everything they are told because they are brought up to believe thinking for oneself is a capital offense bordering on treason.
The Armenian version of the Jewish incantation “Next year in Jerusalem!” -- “Next year in Los Angeles!”
A reasonable man does not give matches to children with the warning not to start a fire. Likewise, a reasonable God does not give free will to man with the warning not to taste the fruit from the tree of knowledge. It follows, an Almighty and All-knowing God cannot be said to be reasonable; either that or His reason is our unreason.
When two adversaries negotiate, it is advisable that neither side engage in verbal abuse. That's one reason why I am all for friendly relations with Turks.
If an Armenian cannot negotiate with a fellow Armenian or be reasonable with those he disagrees with, what are his chances of reaching a consensus with the Turks?
I have a Turkish friends who believes the Armenian Genocide is a fiction of our collective imagination. And I believe Turks are dupes of their own state propaganda. That doesn't stop us from being friends. There is no rule that says friends must be carbon copies of each other. Neither is there a rule that says today's friend cannot be tomorrow's enemy and vice versa – yesterday's enemy cannot be today's friend. But there is a rule that says you can get more out of a friend than out of an enemy.
July 20, 2010
In an interview with Vasily Grossman's daughter, when asked, “Which of your father's works do you most admire and why?”
She replies: “GOOD WISHES – his account of the two months he spent in Armenia in late 1961. This is his kindest, most good-natured work.”
Further down we are informed that GOOD WISHES will be translated and published next year. (NEW STATESMAN. London, 21 June 2010, page 49.)
In LE POINT (Paris: 24 June 2010, page 85), I read a glowing review of a crime novel by Nairi Nahapetian (identified as an Iranian writer) titled QUI A TUE L'AYATOLLAH KANUNI? [Who Killed Ayatollah Kanuni?]
Here is a good subtitle for a book on the history of Armenian literature:
"From Casting Pearls Before Swine to Sticking Pins into Sacred Cows."
Hugh Trevor-Roper in THE LAST DAYS OF HITLER:
“The competitive servility of a court is always odious;
combined with eloquent humbug, it is nauseating.”
We will grow up as a nation on the day we produce writers capable of writing such a sentence.
“MENDOZA: I am a brigand: I live by robbing the rich.
TANNER: I am a gentleman: I live by robbing the poor.”
“He knows nothing, and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.”
Shaw, MAJOR BARBARA (1907)
July 21, 2010
Think of the human brain as a musical instrument that is perpetually out of tune with reality; and think of faith as an illusion whose aim is to convince us it is in tune.
Hence the popularity of belief systems.
All men of faith will agree with me with only one proviso:
they will say, all faiths are indeed illusions except mine.
In Colette I read the following exchange:
“She pays for things: she doesn't give.”
“American style?”
Since God is incomprehensible (“His ways are not ours”) whatever you say about Him, especially if it makes perfect sense to you, is bound to be wrong.
There must be a special place in hell for people who deceive, exploit, mislead, and sometimes even molest innocent dupes who look up to them for guidance.
It is said that a little learning is a dangerous thing; but having met several Armenian academics, I tend to think a lot of learning can be lethal.
I have heard some Armenians say we should forgive the Turks, but I have never heard an Armenian say we should forgive our fellow Armenians.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


July 15, 2010
Those who assert to have truth on their side (lawyers, politicians, theologians) don't like to mention objectivity in the same context, as if truth and objectivity were mutually exclusive concepts.
When patriotism meets objectivity, patriotism and those who who speak in its name will invariably emerge the victors.
No one cares about us except us, and even we don't care about ourselves – judging by the actions of our leaders -- as opposed to their speeches and sermons.
Last Saturday I was exposed to several televised sermons and speeches by Catholicos Aram of Antelias. He spoke of justice, human rights, and of course, genocide, genocide, genocide... He never even came close to admitting that as one of our dividers, he was himself one of the architects of our second (“white”) genocide. I am not implying his counterpart in Etchmiadzin is better. If anything, he is worse.
Let them speechify and sermonize on truth all they want. I prefer to speak of objectivity. How much objectivity is there in love, war, faith, and massacre?
The most corrupt and incompetent leader will have his loyal supporters, in the same way that the most charismatic and selfless paragon (like Socrates, Jesus, and Gandhi) will have his enemies and killers.
July 16, 2010
An Armenian is an Armenian is an Armenian?
Not quite. Some are oreos: Armenian on the outside, Ottoman on the inside.
All dividers are oreos. They divide knowing full well that a house divided against itself cannot stand. So our history tells us; and so also what the Scriptures assert. And why do they divide?
They divide because their self-righteous Ottoman mindset tells them: “So long as my actions are guided by my principles; so long as I am doing the right thing, why should I care if the nation parishes? So long as my conscience is clear, it means I am doing what must be done.”
Deep inside somewhere, if he is half as smart as he thinks he is, he must know that his conscience is as much an illusion as his so-called principles are phony.
How does he define what it means “doing the right thing?”
The real answer to that question is: “I do the right thing when I defend and protect all my powers and privileges.”
Isn't that what the Turks thought too at the turn of the last century?
“So long as we defend and protect the integrity of the Empire, and with it our God-given powers and privileges, why should we give a damn if a million or more innocent civilians perish? Better them than us!”
Moral I:
It is easy to speak in the name of God, much more difficult to act with His wisdom.
Moral II:
Only dupes believe in the God of imams, rabbis, and popes.
Moral III:
All political principles and religious dogmas whose aim is to legitimize intolerance and divisions must be assumed to be inventions of the Devil.
Moral IV:
Any principle or dogma that contradicts the dictum “All men are brothers,” can't be right.
July 17, 2010
You want to keep them backward and stupid?
Call them progressive and smart.
We make a big mistake when we underestimate
the ruthless cunning of our leadership.
Paternalists are never paternal,
and when they preach humility
they mean subservience for the many
and arrogance for themselves.
To divide a nation is the same
as separating its soul from its body.
All movements generate a lunatic fringe.
In our case, the lunatic fringe has succeeded
and succeeded brilliantly
to paralyze the movement.

All Armenians are my brothers –
but only in the sense that all men are my brothers –
but only in the sense that Cain was Abel’s brother.
Never judge an Armenian as an Armenian
but as a human being. As a rule,
Armenians who insist on being judged as Armenians
use the flag to hide their true colors.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


July 10, 2010
“If the Almighty is Perfect,
why did He create an imperfect world?”
As an imperfect being
living in an imperfect world,
my imperfect answer is:
When you do something for the first time,
even if it as simple a task as hammering a nail to the wall,
something is bound to go wrong.
Maybe the world as we know it
is a first experiment, and He will do better next time.
Dissatisfied with my answer?
I plead extenuating circumstances
on the grounds that it is my first try.
Give me a few years or decades of reflection
and I may do better. In the meantime,
may I offer a first-time historic instance
that ended in disaster:
our Revolution at the turn of the last century
in the Ottoman Empire.
Now an explanation as to why I repeat myself:
my aim in life is to repeat
a handful – no more than three or four – ideas
so often as to make them as undeniable as clichés.
July 11, 2010
According to Alcoholics' Anonymous, once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.
The same applies to belief systems, or, in the words of a theologian: “You may let go of God, but God will never let you go.”
Once a Muslim, always a Muslim.
Once a Christian, always a Christian.
And once a Bolshevik...
How to recognize a Bolshevik when you run into one?
Easy! Whenever Stalin's crimes come up in conversation, he will mention McCarthy, as if to say, “So you think Americans are better?” He forgets that McCarthy killed no one, whereas Stalin's victims number in the millions, among them the best and the brightest.
Belief systems are not easy to discard because they have deep roots in our subconscious – roots that were planted when we were children by men with ulterior motives – men who were more committed to power than to love, truth, and compassion.
A belief system that develops an oligarchy, ritual, tradition, and coercion under the guise of education, is one that has lost its essence and become superstition – less love of God and more fear of God, less progress in understanding the Incomprehensible and more a pact with the Devil. That's the only way to explain the persecution and torture of heretics, suicidal terrorists who kill innocent civilians, priests who sexually abuse children, and bishops who look the other way because they are more concerned with the reputation (that is, the power and prestige) of the Church and less with compassion for the victim.
Am I judging an institution by its aberrations? I don't think so. Rather, I am assessing an institution's true intent by the mindset and character of its leadership.
But what I find even more offensive about organized religions is their claim of monopoly on truth. All men are no longer brothers; and if they are, half of them are Cains.
When Cain slew Abel, he acted on his own, independently of any belief system. Which means, if there is a killer in all of us, the least religion can do is to refrain from legitimizing and encouraging it. But perhaps that's too much to ask?
July 12, 2010
If the caravan were to stop every time a dog barks, it would never reach its destination.
I love reading books on rules. You have to, if you want to break them.
About our benefactors: I don't grudge their money. I grudge their values on the grounds that a jackass is in no position to appreciate the aroma of rose jam.
I have never met a capitalist. But once, in a community center, I observed from a safe distance a specimen who was surrounded by a phalanx of hangers-on. You can tell a lot about a man by the kind of brown-nosers he attracts.
Jesus and Marx agree on nothing except capitalists. Jesus said they will never make it to heaven, and Marx called them bloodsucking pigs who fleece even fleas.
Plato, himself a wealthy man, explains somewhere that crooks will always be wealthier than honest men because they will use honest as well as dishonest means to amass their fortune. Whereas honest men will use only honest means.
July 13, 2010
When you voice an idea to someone who doesn’t have any of his own, he is sure to disagree with you.
More often than not our disagreements are not between two conflicting ideas but between an idea and recycled propaganda.
We blabber so much about Ottoman massacres that we completely ignore our own massacre of ideas.
In his NAKED LUNCH, William Burroughs quotes a doctor saying: “Baboons always attack the weakest party in an altercation. Quite right too. We must never forget our glorious simian heritage.”
A biologist friend once said to me: “You don’t need psychology, philosophy, sociology or anthropology to understand and explain Armenians: all you need is zoology.”
Imagine a sardine in a pool of sharks. And now, imagine an honest member of the Party.
I once met an Armenian who went out of his way to make himself hateful, after which he accused me of hating Armenians.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


July 8, 2010
Faith can move mountains?
What nonsense!
God created mountains to be stationary.
Why would anyone want to challenge His will
by moving them?
You tell idiots
faith can move mountains
and next thing you know
they raise armies,
go on the warpath
liberating distant lands,
converting infidels,
and engaging in plunder and massacre.
If we don't know the meaning of life and death
it may be because God wanted it that way.
Not knowing is not ignorance.
Pretending to know the unknowable:
that's what I call the quintessence of ignorance
compounded by blasphemy.
Tasting the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge
can be a risky business.
But when it comes to learning from history
or repeating it,
men have exhibited a marked preference
for repeating it.
Three of my favorite philosophical statements:
“Of the gods we know nothing” (Socrates).
“We don't know why things exist” (Heidegger).
“We believe that we believe but we don't believe” (Sartre).
“I think therefore I am”?
Countless men have ceased to be
exactly because some moron said:
“I think my belief system to be the only true one
and anyone who does not think as I do
doesn't deserve to live.”
July 9, 2010
Power will listen to truth only if it (truth) can be exploited.
Which amounts to saying,
only in so far as truth may serve a lie.
When I speak of truth, I include God.
And I am not talking in terms of theoretical abstractions here.
I am talking about history; and more particularly
the bloody history of organized religions,
about which Voltaire said:
“Since it was a religious war, there were no survivors.”
A true atheist is not one who denies His existence,
but one who exploits the idea of God to serve the Devil.
You think I have a suspicious mind?
Read James Joyce who saw deception and charlatanism everywhere,
including Freud and Jung, who, said he,
enjoy some degree of popularity
with the “yung [who are] easily freudened.”
But when his (Joyce's) daughter developed a mental illness,
he sought Jung's help who was of no help.
Which may suggest that even those who warn us against deceivers
are themselves vulnerable to deception.
To be taken in by smart operators is bad enough.
What is infinitely worse is to be taken in by idiots.
I speak from experience.
If I ever write an autobiography,
I suspect the longest chapter in it will be
about idiots who deceived me – or rather,
were smart enough to see my vulnerabilities and weaknesses
and I was idiotic enough to make them visible.
July 10, 2010
Experience, it has been said, is not what happens to us,
but what we do with what happens.
So far we have emphasized the Genocide to the point of obsession,
but we have made no effort to deal with it.
As a result, we have only replaced the “red” massacre
with the “white” (alienation and assimilation).
At all times and everywhere, Hegel tells us,
man is given two choices:
to say “Yes, sir!” to his Master,
or to risk his own life (or means of survival) by saying “No!”
To behave either like a sheep or a wolf.
After six centuries of playing the sheep,
some of us – a tiny and non-representative group
of self-appointed revolutionaries -- turned into wolves
by risking the survival of the community,
and what was bound to happen happened.
The sheep were slaughtered and the wolves survived.
The wolves survived and became our new Masters.
Dissent is out!
Saying no is anathema.
In the same way that once upon a time
we were not allowed to say no to the Sultan
(who spoke in the name of Allah),
today we are not allowed to say no to our bosses
(or neo- or crypto-sultans),
or bishops (who speak in the name of God),
or benefactors (who speak in the name of Capital).
Christianity, Hegel tells us, only replaced the human Master
with the Divine Master.
Likewise, Capital (according to Marx
who was greatly influence by Hegel)
replaced the Divine Master with, in modern parlance,
the Almighty Dollar.
The ambition of every charlatan
is to speak in the name of the Almighty
(be it Allah, God, or Capital) and the punish or silence those
who dare to disagree with him.
The more things change,
the more they stay the same.
The choice is yours.
But be warned:
If you choose to play the sheep,
there is no guarantee that you will survive.
But even if you survive,
you will survive not as a man but as a slave.
Not as an Armenian with your own identity
but as a rootless, traditionless, alienated empty suit.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


July 4, 2010
Nations and empires die as surely as individuals.
Scientists tell us the same fate awaits
not only the planet on which we live
but also the universe itself.
I doubt if I or anyone else
can postpone the inevitable final catastrophe
by even a fraction of a second.
Perhaps I write the way I write
not to save anything or anyone or, for that matter, myself,
but to kill time.
The older I grow the more doubts I have
and the more certain I feel
of the essential meaninglessness and absurdity of life.
The idea itself of saving someone strikes me as an empty illusion.
There are those who identify the Messiah as our Savior.
There are also those who assert He,
or rather His followers,
saved no one and nothing;
if anything they made things worse
by legitimizing intolerance, the persecution and torture of dissenters,
and religious wars, among other horrors.
Their intentions may have been good – no one denies that –
but history – including our own -- tells us
“the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
“No one can save another,” the Buddha has said.
Which, if anything, proves that even messianic figures
contradict one another when it comes to
unraveling the mystery of existence,
or when they speak in the name of
the Unknowable and the Incomprehensible.
I believe true knowledge consists less in what we know
and more in what we don't know;
and what we don't know
exceeds what we know to such a degree
that if we had all the answers
what we now think we know would shrink to nothingness.
Why do I write?
Wrong question.
A better question would be,
why mankind has consistently trusted deceivers more than honest men?
July 5, 2010
Propaganda works because it flatters, and flattery is an offer very few people have the strength of character to refuse or reject.
“Fatigue increases suggestibility,” we are told by Pavlov of conditioned-reflex fame. After centuries of subservience and degradation we readily believe in the big lies of our propaganda, among them the illusion that we are smart.
Germans under Hitler behaved like barbarians with the unshakable conviction that they belonged to a superior or master race.
Speaking for myself: in my youth I was so convinced of my high IQ that I refused to learn from those I viewed as my equals or inferiors even when they were far ahead of me in understanding and dealing with reality. Which amounts to saying, those I viewed as my inferiors were in fact my superiors.
Do Yanks trust gold more than God? It depends on whether you are a partisan of fact or fiction. It goes without saying that the average American is convinced Americans are the most religious and idealistic people on earth.
If in crime it's cherchez la femme, in propaganda it's cherchez the truth or fact that it attempts to contradict or cover up.
Propaganda, Aldous Huxley tells us, “cunningly associates the lowest passions with the highest ideals.” It also contradicts the truth with lies.
When Pope Benedict decided to make his anti-Muslim views public, he quoted a Byzantine emperor on Islam's addiction to violence. A bad choice for which he had to apologize, because, to paraphrase a popular American saying, “Violence is as American as cherry pie,” or again, as Christian as Western imperialism.
A better choice on the part of the Pope would have been Islam's promise of a paradise where sex-starved teenagers are allowed to deflowers a harem of virgins.
Christian paradise promises eternal bliss. No mention of sex. This may explain why we have a lower suicide rate in the West. Who in his right mind would kill himself in the name of a poorly defined metaphysical abstraction?
July 6, 2010
Hegel's famous last words:
“No one understood me except one, and even he didn't understand me.”
Who among us can truly claim that he has been understood or,
for that matter, that he understands himself?
Confronted with the impenetrable mystery of life and death, men have constructed countless belief systems all of which claim to have a monopoly on truth.
We disagree on what we think we know and understand.
We disagree even more on things we neither know nor understand. Misunderstanding may be said to be our most abundant commodity.
For a thousand years men believed the earth to be flat and at the center of the universe, in the same way that today we believe the dimension in which we exist is the only dimension because we cannot conceive of any other.
If God exists, He is not and cannot be what we believe Him to be but something as inconceivable and incomprehensible as the line that scientists tell us separates existence from nothingness -- on the grounds that the universe is not infinite.
The paradox is that to have an idea of nothingness we think of existence before we were born, as if nothingness were an extension of being.
What if God exists in a dimension beside which existence as we know it is as nothingness?
Please note that I am not making any assertions, only asking questions, which may well be our only option when dealing with metaphysics -- asking questions without ever giving in to the temptation of making dogmatic assertions. Because, as we should all know by now, the road to hell is paved with dogmatic assertions.
July 7, 2010
Winston Churchill:
“Never hold discussions with the monkey
when the organ grinder is in the room.”
Which is why I ignore cowardly, loud-mouth idiots
who call me an idiot anonymously and from a safe distance.
They are not my targets.
My real targets are the fascist idiots
who brainwashed them to believe
dissent and free speech are unpatriotic.
According to Heidegger,
before we pretend to have the right answers,
we must learn to ask the right questions.
What have we learned from our history so far?
Only this: We are surrounded by ruthless giants,
as opposed to being self-righteous dogmatic midgets
who have learned nothing because they think
they already have all the answers.
Which one of our political parties
may be said to be on the right path?
One way to answer that question
is by quoting Samuel Johnson:
“Sir, there is no settling the point of precedency
between a louse and a flea.”

Saturday, July 3, 2010


July 1, 2010
Being right has nothing to do with logic, common sense, and evidence. Being right is a state of mind which can be controlled by auto-suggestion. If you want to assert superior knowledge, assume you are right, raise your voice, or pull rank. Once when I disagreed with a bishop, he said: “I have a degree in theology from a university in Rome.” Which is why whenever a coward insults me anonymously and from a safe distance, I say: “You must be a bishop or the son of one.”
Heine's definition of aristocrats: “Asses who talk about horses.”
We don't have aristocrats. What we have are empty suits with money; and in our environment money doesn't just talk, it sings like Pavarotti even when it brays like an ass.
To readers who demand solutions from me, I ask: “How many problems have our Turcocentric ghazetajis solved?” And now consider the number of real problems we could have solved with the money, energy, and manpower wasted on Hai Tahd.
July 2, 2010
Every Armenian is different, granted.
But all Armenians share in common the same history,
the most salient feature of which is
a thousand years of subservience to ruthless and alien tyrants.
In “Rule Britannia” the Brits may sing the words
“An Englishman cannot be a slave,”
but we are in no position to make the same claim.
Subservience – a euphemism for slavery –
comes so naturally to us that
it has become an integral part
of our psyche, character, and worldview.
Our nationalist historians may rewrite history,
but so far none of them has gone as far as suggesting
that we are all reincarnations of David of Sassoun.
It is true that at the turn of the last century
we finally did produce a generation of revolutionaries
who dared to challenge the might of the Ottoman Goliath.
But unlike the American, French, and Russian revolutions
ours wasn't exactly a popular uprising;
and worse, our revolutionaries relied less on themselves
to carry out their mission
and more on the Great Powers of the West.
As a result, in addition to being an abortion,
our revolution may be said to have been
one of the greatest blunders in the history of mankind.
If we were to rely less on our propaganda
and more on historic realty,
we shall have to conclude that
our past is a litany of internecine conflicts,
defeats, blunders, and lies.
Am I saying anything that hasn't been said before?
Listen to Nigoghos Sarafian (1905-1973):
“Our history is a litany of lamentation,
anxiety, horror, and massacre. Also deception
and abysmal naiveté mixed with the smoke of incense
and the sound of sacred chants.”
Raffi (Hagop Melik-Hagopian: 1835-1888):
“We are like sheep without a shepherd.”
Baruir Massikian (1912-1990):
“Instead of books, they want basterma.”
By “books” Massikian means writers
who assume the role of honest witnesses.
As a nation we have no use for honest witnesses.
We prefer vodanavorjis who, in the words of
Leo (Arakel Babakhanian: 1858-1925):
“ birds perched on a branch
and at a safe distance from reality,
they have entertained the moon and the stars
by singing songs about roses and virgins.”
I am all for emphasizing the positive,
but I am against bare-faced lies,
and I am deeply offended whenever I am treated
like a cowardly dupe whose favorite words are “Yes, sir!”
Allow me to conclude with a remark
by President Harry S. Truman:
“There is nothing new in the world
except the history you don't know.”
July 3, 2010
Because I refuse to recycle propaganda,
I am told I am consistently negative.
Charents said our salvation is in our solidarity;
and all I have been saying is,
solidarity, very much like the Kingdom of God,
is within us.
It is an act of will within everyone's reach.
If so far we have failed to achieve solidarity
it may be because we have trusted our fate
into the hands of our bosses, bishops, and benefactors.
To those who say our leaders are essentially good men
who are doing their best
under unfavorable conditions, I ask:
How so? By ignoring the word of the very same God
they profess to believe in, and Who tells us
“a house divided against itself cannot stand”?
Who is being consistently negative here?
Those who promote solidarity
or those who divide the nation?
And why do they divide us?
Does anyone know?
Can anyone enlighten me on that score?
Our divisions are buried in our past?
What past? If you rewrite history
you can justify anything;
and if you don't want to learn from history
you rewrite it.
It's a vicious circle.
Dealing in abstractions is easy.
The question is: What do we do in concrete terms?
I suggest the following:
If you are a Protestant, Catholic, or Anteliassagan,
visit the opposition.
If you are a Tashnak, apply for membership
in the Ramgavar Party and vice versa.
You may discover that all Armenians
regardless of their loyalty to a party or church
are human beings like you
– that is to say, dupes of propaganda.
Sooner or later we all have to discover that
not only all Armenians are brothers,
but also all men, including Turks.