Saturday, July 30, 2011


Thursday, July 28, 2011
Unlike fascists in Italy who believed
“Mussolini ha sempre ragione,”
Turks don’t say “Kemal is always right!”
but they think and live as if he were.
He isn’t! -- if only because Kemalism and democracy
are mutually exclusive concepts.
Turks: who are they?
The unvarnished and de-Kemalized answer is:
a bunch of thoroughly mongrelized Mongols
who have been brainwashed to classify themselves as Turks,
in the same way that Armenians and Kurds within Turkey
are classified as “Christian Turks”
and “Mountain Turks” respectively.
I have met many Armenians from Turkey
but none of them has ever identified himself as a Christian Turk;
and I suspect the only time a Kurd identifies himself
as a “Mountain Turk” is when he applies for a job
in the civil service.
I live in Canada and I am a Canadian citizen
but whenever I am asked to identify my nationality,
I say “Armenian” and no one sees anything remotely disloyal
or questionable in that.
When Armenians build a community center in Canada,
they call it an Armenian Community Center.
What do Armenians and Kurds call
their community centers in Turkey?
But perhaps the right question is:
Are they allowed to build such centers?
It seems to me, Kemalist democracy
is more akin to fascism.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Here are three of them in the form of commandments:
Thou shalt not divide and rule.
Thou shalt not silence dissent.
Thou shalt not speechify and sermonize with a forked tongue.
Silencing dissent is a fascist tactic.
Dividing the community is enemy action.
Only deceivers speak with a forked tongue.
To my critics I ask:
Which part of what I have been saying
you don’t understand – or rather,
you pretend not to understand?
Recent developments in the Middle East suggest
the days of all undemocratic regimes are numbered.
That which is whispered today by a single dissident
shall be shouted by a chorus of enraged millions tomorrow.
Because we don’t know our history,
we don’t know when we repeat it.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Nationalist historians, religious leaders, and
a politically controlled educational system conspire
to create not human beings
with the ability to think for themselves,
but dupes who parrot lies
and are willing to kill and die
in the name of God and Country.
And when someone comes along
and exposes this simple fact,
he is labeled an enemy of the people
who fully deserves to be insulted, exiled,
jailed, silenced, or starved.
Some of my critics are convinced that
I am a pro-Turkish and anti-Armenian pornographer.
All because I deal with facts as opposed to fiction,
and I speak of reality
as opposed to recycling propaganda.
Among fanatics moderation is a risky business,
and among crooks honesty is a capital offense.
Sooner or later all belief systems and ideologies
are corrupted by ruthless and power-hungry mediocrities
who tell the people what they want to hear
and do what they want to do
even when what they tell the people is a lie
and even when what they want to do is criminal.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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

Saturday, July 23, 2011


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

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


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

Saturday, July 16, 2011


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

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

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

Saturday, July 9, 2011


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

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


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

Saturday, July 2, 2011

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