Wednesday, September 28, 2011

this and that

Sunday, September 25, 2011
They fascinate me and I see them everywhere.
AVANIM (Stones) an Israeli film
whose unstated but clearly implied moral is:
Rabbis may be as much of a threat to the survival of Israel
as Palestinians.
Search for the enemy within and you will find him.
They may talk of God
but the means they employ belong to the Devil.
This is as true of rabbis as it is of imams and popes.
They may praise rebirth and resurrection
but what they promote is death of the spirit.
What could be easier than deceiving children?
And are not adults children is disguise?
Do we ever give up – are we capable of giving up --
childhood illusions?
Are we not our own most gullible dupes?
When asked if Cary Grant was homosexual or bisexual,
one of his wives (he had five of them) is reported to have replied:
“I was too busy f***ing him to ask.”
There should be a Nobel Prize for the best remark of the year.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Most of my life I kept my thoughts to myself
out of fear of offending men in positions of power.
I was a coward but refused to admit it.
I behaved like a fool and thought I was wise.
Nothing comes more easily than to preach heroism
and to promote cowardice
in the name of tradition, law and order,
respect for authority, and countless other
fictional considerations.
If you are a fool
do not attempt to share your wisdom
with better men than yourself.
Are you wise or brave enough to admit
you are a fool?
To the rich, money is the quintessence of all wisdom.
Between the virtues of the rich
and the vices of the poor,
which would you choose?
The criticism of idiots
is more of a testimonial than an indictment.
More important than education itself is
who does the educating.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
To know perfection
we must first experience the degradation
of life on earth.
Heaven will not be heaven for me
if I can’t play the Beethoven Sonatas like Schnabel
and Bach like Glen Gould.
Anonymity will make a hero out of a zero.
Promises are one thing, delivery another.
The two might as well be strangers to one another.
Whenever I see an odar
joining one of our discussion forums on the internet
I would like to post the following message:
"Welcome to this forum, dear friend.
Please remember to ignore the hooligans among us.
They represent no one but themselves."
It must be obvious by now that
one doesn’t have to be a Turk in order to behave like one.
Nothing comes easier to an Ottomanized Armenian
than to behave like a Turk with the certainty that
he is discharging his duty as a patriotic Armenian.
The same applies to Sovietized Armenians.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Once, when after a loud argument,
Socrates’ wife poured a pail of dirty water on his head,
he said: “It generally rains after thunder.”
More recently, while massaging his wife’s neck,
Louis Althusser (1918-1990) strangled her,
he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Women disappoint men
because they find men disappointing.
The difference between dialogue and Armenian arguments is that
the aim of the first is synthesis or consensus,
the aim of the second is verbal assassination.
Gide: “Le plus grand bonheur, après que d’aimer,
c’est de confesser son amour.”
Valery: “Combien de gens meurent dans les accidents,
pour ne pas lacher leur parapluis!”

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Thursday, September 22, 2011
It never ceases to amaze me
the greed with which we cling to the illusion
of our own importance no matter how often
we are exposed as irrelevant.
Our genocide?
The West wouldn’t allow it.
The recognition of our genocide?
If we write enough books,
produce enough eyewitness accounts,
and organize enough demonstrations,
the West may finally see the light.
Historic lands?
All of America is someone else’s historic land,
so what?
Perhaps truth or reality itself is a territory
beyond our comprehension,
and God Himself is the negation of the “I”
and everything connected with it.
If Calderon is right and “life is a dream,”
it may not even be our dream but someone else’s.
In my younger days our elder statesmen
would seek me out and give me advice – all of it useless.
History may become more comprehensible
if you think of serial killers as failed political leaders.
What if I am wrong?
I will be dead wrong on the day I assert infallibility.
Friday, September 23, 2011
If you search long enough for something
you are sure to find a substitute.
The more I deal with Turks
the more I like my fellow Armenians;
and the more I deal with Armenians
the better I understand Turks.
A writer is someone who has developed the art of speaking
even when he has nothing to say.
My mother believed what she read in the papers
except what I wrote.
Spengler: “The less one needs others,
the more powerful one is.”
My ambition in life when young:
To come to terms with death.
My ambition now:
to die in order to have the final answer
which may or may not exist.
There are no questions and answers in reality –
both begin and end in the convolutions of our brains.
We are told space must have an end.
We are also told space is being created
with the speed of light.
It follows, no matter how fast we travel
we will never see what’s on the other side of space.
Love means being always on the verge of tears.
Love feels as though your insides
were being surgically removed
without anaesthesia.
If you have not experienced love,
you don’t know bliss.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Almost everyone I have been reading about recently
has been analyzed. I have never been near an analyst
and I doubt very much if I ever will find myself
in the same room with one.
What could he tell me that I don’t already know?
And what could I tell him?
Where would I begin?
I am misunderstood and spat upon by hoodlums?
Who hasn’t been?
Homer, it is said, was kicked out of seven villages,
all of which, after he died, claimed to be his birthplace.
To this day no one knows where he was born or,
for that matter, buried.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Sunday, September 18, 2011
My ideas are subversive and dangerous?
What about the ideas in the Bible?
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
“Without vision the people perish.”
“Thou shalt not bear false witness.”
“Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
The trouble with our censorship is that
its ultimate aim is to violate
not only my human right
but also God’s divine right of free speech.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Divisions don’t bother me as much as
the lies that are spoken in their defense.
Liars don’t bother me as much as
their efforts to make you believe that
they believe in their own lies
and they expect you to do likewise.
I may consider making an effort to agree
with our bosses, bishops, and benefactors
on the day they make an effort
to agree with one another.
My answer to those who tell me
if I do this that and the other
I may be more popular:
My obscurity is too well established
to be vulnerable to any kind of
promotional or advertising campaign.
I have committed so many blunders
that I don’t deserve to live.
The only thing that keeps me going
is the fact that almost everyone I know
has committed worse blunders
yet nothing could be further from their thoughts
than suicide.
Instead of voicing your suspicions
redouble your vigilance.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
He who violates my human right of free speech
is in no position to determine his degree of guilt or innocence.
If it were up to fascists to judge themselves,
they would be unanimous in pronouncing their victims guilty.
The sons and daughters of well-known Armenian writers
that I have met or heard from
prefer solitude to the proximity of their fellow Armenians.
That may be because they know something
most Armenians don’t -- namely: to survive
in our environment one must either lie
or be penalized for his honesty.
I repeat myself?
That may be because I am a bad writer
and you are a worse reader
for reading a writer who is not worth reading.
All problems and solutions begin and end
in the convolutions of our breains – which of course
does not apply to the brainless.
Love is the mightiest creative force of all
because it sees somebody in nobody
and meaning in the meanigless.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Gerald Durrell’s memoir MY FAMILY
AND OTHER ANIMALS (1956) contains
a hilarious portrait of Gostan Zarian.
Gerald Durrell: not to be confused
with his better-known brother Lawrence
who also wrote extensively on Zarian.
A headline reads:
“Syria blames terrorists for country’s violence.”
The trick here is and it has always been,
to portray yourself as a victim even as you victimize.
In detective stories I am more interested in the dialogue
than the plot.
If only there were writers
who specialized in rewriting difficult texts –
Hegel rewritten by Chekhov.
Dupes hate critics.
They view criticism as enemy action.
Poetry, it has been said,
is when two words meet for the first time – as in
“fearful symmetry” (Blake) and “beeloud glade” (Yeats).
His handwriting is so bad that
his “morale” looks like “merde.”
I am a failure because my readers know better.
If only I could choose a different audience…

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Thursday, September 15, 2011
It is narcissism and nothing else
that allows a political leader to think
he is the best thing that happened to his nation…
until he is driven to exile,
or arrested, condemned to death, or assassinated.
There is probably more narcissism in politics
than in any other line of work.
It is narcissism and nothing else
that allows Turks to believe
our genocide is a fiction of our imagination.
Likewise it is narcissism of the most primitive kind
that allows us to think
we are smart and progressive
when the historic evidence proves otherwise.
It is narcissism and nothing else
that allows the very rich to behave like swine
and to believe they are la crème de la crème.
The astonishing ease with which both men and women
confuse an ephemeral infatuation with eternal love.
The rule is and must be
anything that flatters are vanity
should be dismissed as a lie.
Friday, September 16, 2011
The headline of a commentary in my morning paper reads:
“Canada’s self-image needs a reality check.”
There follows a list of misconceptions and fallacies
that have become common currency in Canada,
a country with a long democratic tradition and a free press.
You may now imagine the number of our own misconceptions
that have been consistently covered up
by our controlled press and authoritarians power structures.
The headline of another commentary on the same page reads:
“Is it time to rethink think tanks?”
Can we do that?
Do we have them?
There are 4500 active think tanks in the world,
we are informed here.
My question is:
Is any one of them Armenian?
In the section dealing with local news,
another headline reads:
“Region’s suicide rate still high.”
Do you know – does anyone know -- our own suicide rate?
Does anyone care to know?
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Gandhi was a double dissident –
critical of British colonialism
as well as many facets of Indian life.
In a new biography we are told:
“This made him a rather more balanced nationalist
than the many who remarked on the victimhood of their race
or argued for the superiority of their own culture.”
See Jad Adams, GANDHI:
(New York, Pegasus, 2011, page 56).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

correct me

Sunday, September 11, 2011
All children believe in what adults tell them
especially in matters dealing with God and Country.
The world conspires to make us dupes;
and by the time we realize what happened
we have either killed or died as soldiers, terrorists,
and believers in false gods and big lies.
We are not smart – we never were
in things that really matter.
For 600 years we dropped our pants and exposed ourselves
to the Turks.
Tell me, my friend,
how smart is that?
The more we try to control events,
the deeper the realization of our powerlessness.
The source of all wisdom is within your subconscious,
very much like the Kingdom of God.
Strinberg: “Ever since childhood,
I have looked for God and found the Devil.”
Perhaps because they are one and the same.
Either that or our perception of reality is so defective
that we confuse one with the other.
The astonishing ease with which blessings become curses.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Imperial powers prefer to deal with corrupt regimes
because the corrupt are more easily manipulated.
This is as true of America as it is of Russia.
Remember that next time you speak of our big brothers.
Freedom in a democratic context
means much more than free elections.
It means freedom from want,
freedom of expression,
freedom of assembly, movement, and faith.
Have we ever been free?
Do we know what freedom is?
Freedom to grow a fat belly – is that
the beginning and end of all freedom for us?
During the day they speechify
on freedom and patriotism,
on God and Country,
but at night they engage in wheeling-and-dealing.
Hence their favorite slogan, “Do as I say…”
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
On man’s inhumanity to man:
If you have ever asked yourself,
How can one human being do such a thing
to another human being?
My tentative answer is:
Some human beings cease to be human
when they join a party or group
that subscribes to a belief system.
They oppressed us with fire and sword.
We oppress ourselves with ignorance and intolerance.
The result is the same.
The massacre continues.
Even people who act in the name of the Devil say
“God is with us.”
To fanatics moderation is treason.
So is reason to the unthinking.
Freedom of speech allows the fanatic
to expose himself as a fool.
We should have a commandment
or a constitutional amendment to protect free speech
instead of a tacit consensus to violate it.
Memo to my anonymous critics:
Democracy and intolerance of dissent
are mutually exclusive concepts.
If I am wrong I can be corrected.
But if those in power are wrong
the damage can be as incalculable as another genocide.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
In theory we are all against the massacre
of unarmed and innocent civilians,
but give us a chance and we will gladly even the score
and call it justice.
This is only a guess, of course,
based on how mean we can be in disagreement.
To how many of my critics I could say:
“Don’t stop, please! Keep writing.
You are a living proof of everything
I have been saying about Armenians –
narrow-minded, rude, intolerant, ignorant, dogmatic,
self-satisfied, loud-mouth…”
God is not in the business of explaining the incomprehensible.
We must either find a meaning in our genocide
or dismiss it as incomprehensible.
By making of it a collective obsession
we accomplish nothing but reinforce our image
as perennial victims and losers.
As for justice: let’s leave that to belly-slitting lawyers –
we can afford them.
It was only after observing the ease with which
we are Americanized that I was able to identify
our Ottomanized and Sovietized brothers.
A peculiarity of dupes is that
they tend to take themselves and their views very seriously.
Let’s make one thing clear once and for all.
They did not divide and rule us.
We divided ourselves.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

on love

Thursday, September 08, 2011
In a scientific text I read the following:
“The original purpose of the sense of hearing
was to enable an organism to hear the love song of a wooer.”
Further down:
“The higher forms of life,
and possibly the lower ones as well,
would have become extinct a long time ago
if it were not for the pleasures of love –
which are thus more important
than anything that reason is able to produce.”
I think therefore I am?
Hell no!
I love therefore I survive.
Let’s reason together?
Let’s make love.
Why do you think the memoirs of a bordello madam
will sell many more copies
than a treatise on reason by an eminent philosopher?
We are a dysfunctional nation
because we preach love of country
and practice hatred of fellow countrymen.
To our leaders the Homeland is a symbol
with which they identify – and when they speak of love
in a patriotic context, it is they who want to be loved
because they know they are unworthy of anyone’s love.
Bugger the old farts!
Friday, September 09, 2011
Only an Armenian who has not “known” a Turkish woman
or an Armenian woman who has not know a Turkish man
(in the literal as well as Biblical sense of the word)
is capable of harboring anti-Turkish sentiments.
I will go further and say that
there is no such thing as a Turk
or, for that matter, an Armenian.
National identity is an artificially created label
based on propaganda rather than any other factor.
Take a child, any child,
place him in an environment whose educational system
is controlled by individuals who identify themselves as Turks
(or any other nationality you care to mention)
and forever after that child will identify himself as a Turk.
It is a statistically and historically established fact
that when they first set foot on Armenian soil,
Turks (or rather, those who identified themselves as such)
were a minority.
It follows, after 600 years of co-existence and concubinage,
they are now very probably more Armenian than Turkish.
Wars and massacres are declared and committed
not by nations but by politicians and their brainwashed dupes.
All nations have such criminal gangs
and it would be the height of absurdity to assert
Armenians are an exception.
I am not denying the fact that
“Turks” massacred “Armenians.”
What I am saying is that criminals (and their victims)
will use any excuse to justify their actions
and prejudices respectively;
and to ascribe the crimes of a few
on the majority might as well be
a working definition of racism.
After writing these lines
I read the following by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“For what man who is master of himself
does not laugh at a king?”
Likewise, for what man who can think for himself
does not laugh at the likes of Kemal
in whose system of thought
Kurds are Mountain Turks and Armenians Christian Turks,
instead of human beings who happen to be living
in a territory called Turkey today
but was known by another label yesterday
and will be known by still another tomorrow?
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Between power and wisdom,
who will choose wisdom?
Birth is not a beginning
and death is not an end.
We think of them as such
because our perception of reality is limited.
In cosmic time, a lifetime is shorter
than a fraction of a second.
From the TALMUD:
“Who is rich?”
“He that rejoices in his portion.”
“Who is a hero?”
“He who conquers his urge.”
I like all sentences that begin with the words,
“It has been said.”
Lord Byron on Italy:
“They make love a good deal here,
and assassinate a little.”
On women:
“My wife is perfection itself – the best creature breathing.
But mind what I say – don’t marry.”
Camus on love:
“Loving a human being amounts to killing all others.”
“Les seuls paradis sont ceux qu’on a perdus.”

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Sunday, September 04, 2011
Overheard: “Corruption in Armenia
is like the weather in America:
everybody talks about it
but nobody does a damn thing."
Life is a game in which after you learn the rules,
the rules are changed.
Zohrab is right:
in life, those who adopt prostitution as a way of life
outnumber the others.
If there is a moral in the Arab spring, it is this:
The status quo may collapse when you least expect it.
I therefore say to our bosses, bishops, and benefactors:
Let that be a lesson to you.
Their lack of awareness is such that
they assume their brand of patriotism
(which is no better than treason)
is superior to selfless intellectual labor.
Our eleventh commandment:
Thou shalt not apply tribal solutions to national problems.
I define a good book as one
that if you haven’t finished it by bed-time
you look forward to next morning
with the impatience and anxiety of a lover.
Automatically contradicting what your adversary says
is not an argument but a symptom of entrenched prejudice.
Monday, September 05, 2011
Armenians are brainwashed to hate Turks.
They learn to hate their fellow Armenians on their own.
I question the validity of all miracles
but I keep hoping for one:
figure that one out if you can.
It is the height of arrogance for a nobody
to strike a modest pose.
Men of power depend on kiss-ass incompetents
much more than on honest critics.
Not being a masochist
I don’t consider the death of a thousand cuts bliss.
A teenager who wins a chess tournament
and another who is forced into prostitution:
guess who is going to make a headline on the front page.
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
After silencing me
they say they need solutions, not criticism.
And they pretend to ignore the obvious fact that
without free speech and dialogue
there can be no solutions.
Don’t let them fool you.
We don’t need solutions.
What we need are honest men
whose number one concern is not number one.
There are two kinds of solutions:
authoritarian and democratic.
Authoritarian solutions are based
on the erroneous assumption that authority,
even when catastrophically wrong,
must be assumed to be right.
Which also means,
anyone who dares to question the validity of this assumption
must be labeled an enemy and
silenced, excommunicated, exiled, starved,
burned at the stake or shot.
This is as true of the Kremlin as it is of the Vatican.
Labels change but human nature remains constant.
We are racists not because we hate Turks
but because we hate our fellow Armenians.
If you say my criticism is motivated by self-hatred,
I could say that your rejection of my criticism
is motivated by self-infatuation.
If love of mankind means
loving greed, intolerance, prejudice, fanaticism,
cruelty, stupidity, and ignorance,
I want no part of it.
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Incompetent leaders can do more harm
than competent enemies.
It is an established fact known to all except dupes
that the criminal rate among political leaders
is higher than among ordinary citizens.
I understand dupes:
I have been one most of my life.
According to Cicero:
“Freedom is participation in power.”
If we are free, ours is the freedom
of ants, birds, and herbivores –
free to be stepped on, shot at, and devoured.
Nothing works as planned.
Turks believed they can convince the world.
They now know they can’t even convince their own
except the dupes who will believe anything.
Subservience to alien tyrants is understandable.
But subservience to our own?

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Thursday, September 01, 2011
“You have only 400 friends?
I have 5000 of them.”
“Maybe so, but I also have 10,000 enemies.”
“That I don’t believe.”
“If you agree with me that offending an Armenian
amounts to making an enemy for life,
do the math! At one time or another
I have offended sermonizers, speechifiers,
panchoonies, commissars, chauvinists,
Turcocentric ghazetajis, bosses, bishops, benefactors
and all their gigolos and gigolettes…
10,000 may indeed be a conservative estimate. Yes?”
Friday, September 02, 2011
On the day we succeed in throwing out the rascals
we shall come face to face with the void.
Mubarak on trial:
How many political leaders would escape the death penalty
if they had to face justice?
Gadhafi urging his supporters to kill the “rats”
even as he behaves like one.
Tell me who your friends are…
even better, tell me who your enemies are
and I will tell you who you are.
An honest politician?
Only morons believe in oxymorons.
All deceivers begin by deceiving themselves.
They are their own first dupes.
I have little sympathy for survivors.
All my sympathy goes to the victims who did not survive.
Castrating rapists is barbaric
except when the victim is someone I love.
Saturday, September 03, 2011
The average dupe does not know who and what he is.
Hence his need to identify himself –
as if a label, any label,
be it ethnic, religious or ideological,
will confer on him a reality he does not possess.
He may be – or rather his DNA may be –
5% Armenian or Turkish and the rest
a Russian salad of many tribes, nations, and races,
but in an Armenian environment
he will identify himself as an Armenian
and in a Turkish environment as a Turk.
He will go further and kill and die
in the name of god and country –
a non-existent or false god
and a country that has belonged
and will eventually belong to others.
Collective existence is a farce.
There are no leaders,
only pretenders to the throne
whose first and most important project
is not to serve the people
but to obstruct the path of the opposition.
Religions and ideologies may preach compassion and justice
but they all end up practicing cannibalism.
This thought occurred to me
after listening to a radio documentary
on female genital mutilation.
I wouldn’t be surprised in the least
if a future study of history
from the beginning to our own days
will be titled “The Age of Cannibalism.”
A Libyan rebel leader on Gadhafi:
“He called us rats, but he is the larger rat.”
Unmask a political leader and expose the rat.