Saturday, December 31, 2011


Thursday, December 29, 2011
On more than one occasion
I have heard it said that we Armenians
are not yet ready for democracy.
What does that really mean?
Our leaders prefer to behave as our masters
rather than our servants?
Given the choice, who wouldn’t?
We have been so systematically and thoroughly moronized
by Turks, Russians, and our own
Ottomanized and Sovietized leadership that
by the time we learn to think for ourselves
we might as well be on the verge
of senility, dementia, or Alzheimer’s,
and probably all three at once.
If any one of our “Dear Leaders”
were to drop dead today,
who would shed a single tear?
What is the difference between North Koreans and us
when it comes to brainwashing?
They don’t have a choice.
We do.
We live in democracies
and we know what freedom and human rights are.
They don’t.
Tunisians and Libyans are ready for democracy,
and we who are smart, progressive and westernized are not?
When we say Armenians are not yet ready for democracy,
is that we speaking or our moronized, mangled, tortured,
and degraded, political awareness?
Friday, December 30, 2011
Our most important ideas,
the ones that shape our worldview,
are not ours but those of the establishment
within which we were born and raised.
These ideas have been systematically and carefully divested
of all doubts and inherent contradictions.
They are like skeletons – unthinking, cold, dehumanized.
It is this corrupt and degenerate abstractions
that are at the root of all prejudices and intolerance.
So that when we speak of ways of thinking,
what we really mean is ways of non-thinking.
It follows, the irrational element in our thoughts
far outweigh the rational.
We don’t shape our ideas.
They shape us.
And because they are irrational,
they distort and pervert our reason.
When we disagree with one another,
we should teach ourselves and our children to say
not “I am right and you are wrong,”
but “Very probably we are both wrong.”
Saturday, December 31, 2011
Overheard: “The war is over
but there is no peace.”
We have declared our independence
but we are not free.
I repeat myself?
Our propaganda repeats itself too.
So does my counter-propaganda.
What is the difference between propaganda
and counter-propaganda?
Propaganda is a lie that flatters.
Counter-propaganda is the truth that hurts.
Flattery pays.
That’s why our bosses and bishops are millionaires
and our intellectuals are dependent
on the charity of swine.
Their sultans and commissars are dead.
Long live ours!
As for corruption: we have so much of it
that we could export it,
if it were an exportable product, like Arab oil.
According to a pundit in my morning paper,
until very recently Muslim countries seemed
remarkably impervious to democracy.
Thank God we are not Muslims;
we have only been muslimized and sovietized.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Sunday, December 25, 2011
The victims of politicians
outnumber the victims of criminals.
There are two gods:
the god of priests and the other one.
We know a great deal about the first,
nothing about the other.
Turks are brainwashed to believe
they are noble specimens of humanity
to the same degree
that we are brainwashed to believe
we are smart.
Why should we be surprised
if the encounter of these two big lies
resulted in massacres?
I should like to read an interview
with a political or religious leader
that begins with the question:
“Let’s cut the crap, shall we?”
“What the hell happened to you?”
would be my first question
to one of our bosses, bishops, and benefactors.
Violence works but only at first.
Lies convince but only dupes.
Monday, December 26, 2011
Sometimes I am misunderstood
not because I am difficult to understand
but because the brainwashing has been
too systematic, thorough, and successful.
To speak of the “Red” Genocide
in order to cover up the “White” one,
or to speak of past violations of human rights
in order to cover up present ones:
what could be more horribly cynical?
Or rather: what could be
more quintessentially Armenian?
Animals defend their territory.
Men do too. But men also defend
their prestige, pride, vanity,
prejudices and ignorance.
Speaking with a forked tongue
comes naturally to most lawyers, politicians,
statesmen, religious leaders, businessmen, and so on.
And the higher their position in the hierarchy
the more transparent their double-talk.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
There are two kinds of actions:
planned and spontaneous.
The Tunisian fruit vendor’s self-immolation
was spontaneous;
the actions of our revoltuionaries
at the turn of the last century in the Ottoman Empire
were planned.
The first was a success beyond anyone’s imagination;
the second resulted in one of the greatest disasters
in the history of mankind.
History is unpredictable.
God laughs at man’s plans and calculations.
The selfless act has a much better chance to succeed,
and sometimes to succeed beyond anyone’s imagination,
than the cold-blooded, carefully planned and calculated act.
Marx thought he had discovered the way history works
and he created the nightmare of communist regimes.
When Jesus said “the kingdom of God is within you,”
he should have added,
“so is the empire of the Devil.”
“Existence is a vicious abstraction,”
Bertrand Russell tells us; which means
our actions will inevitably end
in an existential labyrinth of consequences
whose end result will be totally unpredictable.
Elsewhere Russell writes:
“Since men tend to value present pleasures
more than pleasures in the future,
the wise man will exercise prudence and self-restraint.”
He should have added, “by which time the wise man
may be too old to get it up.”
Moral: No matter what you decide to do,
you may regret it.
Bouazisi did not live long enough
to witness his final victory.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Anyone who is committed to an ideology or religion
will have his own version of the past.
Believers are natural-born revisionists.
All political parties,
regardless of nationality and ideology,
have a tendency to promise more than they can deliver;
sometimes they even promise heaven and deliver hell.
It is only natural for those who are part of the problem
to pretend not to see the solution.
Never insult an Armenian writer:
being one is insult enough.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Thursday, December 22, 2011
Love has inspired many songs
but we owe our wars, revolutions, and massacres
-- that is to say history – to hatred.
Hatred plays a much more important role in life than love
or any other factor you care to mention,
including indifference and boredom.
Boredom and indifference may be said to be ahistorical
only in the sense that they allow hatred to shape reality.
Boredom and indifference victimize no one,
they only allow victimizers a free hand.
A man of power believes history to be on his side.
But history does not takes sides.
Even a solitary, unarmed and anonymous street fruit-vendor
has the power to topple brutal regimes like dominoes.
It is all a matter of time,
and in cosmic terms, a fraction of a second.
Only Almighty God is secure in His place
and He doesn’t even have to exist in order to rule.
Friday, December 23, 2011
The average Armenian is an idiot
who has been brainwashed to believe he is smart.
If you can’t see this clearly
it may be because you have been systematically moronized.
And if you think I am different
I will be more than happy to quote Flaubert:
The average Armenian “c’est moi.”
I have collected so many grievances against my fellow men
that I am beginning to suspect Alzheimer’s may well be
a blessing in disguise.
If it weren’t for past grievances
not only Armenian would live in peace with Turk
but also with fellow Armenian.
Maybe that’s what mankind needs:
a drug that will kill bad memories
without damaging any other vital organ.
Armenia is the site of the Garden of Eden
with one difference:
in the original Garden humans outnumbered reptiles….
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Authority will never sanction anything
that may question its legitimacy.
One could even say authority and intolerance
might as well be one and the same.
To speak of the tolerance
of a boss, bishops, or benefactor is
like speaking of the shadow of a black hat
in a dark room.
Cesare Pavese: “One does not kill oneself for love or a woman,
but because love – any love – reveals us
in our nakedness, our misery, our vulnerability, our nothingness.”
It is to be noted that Pavese, an Italian novelist,
fell in love with an American actress,
was rejected, and killed himself.
Imperialism may be justified on the grounds that
if we don’t do it to them they will do it to us;
and as everyone must know by now,
in politics and world affairs in general
it is not always the best man that wins.
History provides us with many examples
of this aberration,
beginning with Turks versus Armenians,
or for that matter, the rest of the world versus Armenians.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Thursday, December 08, 2011
A good line once read is never forgotten.
It is my ambition in life to produce such a line.
Call me a megalomaniac.
In our environment agreement means
sharing the same bias.
When a man sees the light
he assume everyone else is blind.
I once met a born again
who thought I was a dead man walking.
Because I did not worship his God
he thught I worshipped the Devil.
Whenever I see the photo of an Armenian writer
in the company of a boss or bishop,
I can't help thinking,
"There goes the neighborhood."
To those who say I repeat myself:
Only if you insist on reading me –
for which many thanks!
Friday, December 09, 2011
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
I am informed this morning on the radio,
is the most widely translated document in the world;
also (my guess) the most ignored.
Has it been translated into Armenian, I wonder.
I am not casting aspersions;
only sharing my ignorance and need for answers.
Bias is universal.
Resistance to bias
a slowly and painfully acquired asset.
All nationalists are brought up to believe
they are all white and their enemies all black.
When in fact they are not even gray but brown --
the color of @#$%.
Crude, you say.
So is life.
We have no choice but to deal with it
on its own terms.
My parents survived the Turks.
I am now busy trying to survive my fellow Armenians.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
What we need is a revolution
and I don’t believe in revolutions.
At best we may get reforms
but if the past is an index
we have no reason for optimism.
Subtract the brown-nosers, the yes-men,
the hirelings, the brainwashed, the dupes,
the alienated and assimilated,
we may be closer to the 50%
rather than the 99%.
We are no longer at the mercy of our enemies
but of a far more invincible and insidious adversary:
our own leadership.
Our Wall Street is in the convolutions of our cortex.
The only way to describe our situation is to say that
we are committing slow-motion suicide
by self-inflicted ten thousand cuts.
In that sense one could even say that
Turks were more merciful than
our own bosses, bishops, and benefactors.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Thursday, December 01, 2011
What can you possibly know about a country
if you have never tried to make a living there?
What can you possibly know about the human condition
if you have at no time been dependent
on the charity of swine?
For 25 years I had to produce pseudo-Saroyanesque trash
in order to make minimum wage.
The reason why I write as I do today is that
I have declared my financial independence
and, with it, to write as I please
without fear of retaliation.
I may not be a “good” Armenian
as defined by our Ottomanized, Sovietized, and Americanized
wheeler-dealers but I like to believe
I fully qualify as a born-again human being.
Friday, December 02, 2011
A lie is like a deadly virus.
Left unattended it will poison and kill its speaker
as well as his dupes,
families as well as communities,
tribes as well as nations,
empires as well as civilizations.
Saturday, December 03, 2011
After listening to the patriotic spiel
of a fellow passenger on a train,
Tolstoy is quoted as having said:
“As long as there are men like you
we will have wars and massacres.”
Likewise, as long as there are organized religions
we will have prejudice, intolerance,
and crimes against humanity.
The true enemies of God
are men who speak in His name.
Tolerance means not only to be open to new ideas,
including ideas that contradict our own,
but also to welcome and cherish them.
If we admit there is some truth in all belief systems,
we must also admit that truth is not in a single god
but in all gods; or, in Gandhi’s words:
“If God is Truth even atheists are believers
because they believe in God’s non-existence.”
God is either on no one’s side or on everybody’s side.
To say, like the Nazis, “God is with us,”
is not theology but pathology.
(For more on this subject,
see Toynbee’s STUDY OF HISTORY, volume x.)