16 September 2006

1013) Faith: A Blessing Or A Curse?

If two enemies fight and both believe god is on their side, both will win: the victory of one will be military, the victory of the other, moral. Faith may not move mountains but it can change defeat to victory.

If god is on your side, you can’t be wrong because god can’t be wrong.

If invisible god is the only reality, visible reality is an illusion.

Faith and science are not mutually exclusive concepts, but religions and religions are.

Authentic men of faith believe god is incomprehensible; the phonies use the scriptures as if they were god’s political and moral agenda.

Tolerance teaches us to respect all religions, faiths, and gods. Intolerance tells us, “My god is god, and your god is the devil.”

Speaking of himself, a man of faith will say, “I believe therefore I am right.” Speaking of heretics and infidels (that is, the majority of mankind): “He believes therefore he is wrong.”

If I knew how to pray I would say, “O God, save me from all men of god.”

What happened on 9/11 was a clear-cut case of terrorism, no one denies that. And yet, the Bush Administration did not want it investigated. What happened to us in 1915 was also a clear-cut case of genocide, and yet, anyone who dares to disagree with our official version of the story is reviled as a pro-Turkish revisionist and a traitor to the Cause.

Since 9/11 we have learned a great deal about the failures and incompetence of successive administrations in Washington, all of which treated acts of Muslim terrorism that preceded 9/11 as isolated incidents that did not require radical shifts in policy. In the words of a witness to the 9/11 Commission, “the terrorists were not just lucky once, but again and again.” In short, 9/11 could have been prevented if all the warning signs had not been ignored or covered up.

1915 was also preceded by a series of massacres at the turn of the century except that in our case the number of victims far exceeded the number of American victims, and our position within the Ottoman Empire was far more vulnerable to punitive reprisals.

1915 may be said to have been a perfect storm in which Turkish tyranny and Armenian incompetence and utter lack of foresight combined to produce what Toynbee called “one of the two greatest tragedies of the 20th Century,” the other being the Holocaust of Jews during World War II. But unlike our own historians and pundits, Toynbee refused to treat the Genocide as theology even at the cost of being called a Turcophile heretic and a denialist.

It is the height of cynicism to think that the only lesson we can learn from 1915 is to spew anti-Turkish venom and to pretend that the conduct of our political leadership has been and continues to be blameless.

We were vulnerable to genocide in the years preceding 1915 as we are vulnerable today to two genocides even if only of the “white” variant – assimilation in the Diaspora and exodus from the Homeland. And what’s being done? The answer to this question seems to be, playing the blame game by voicing the convenient formula “historic and social conditions beyond our control.” It follows, we are in good hands and our establishment types, who happen to be paragons of competence and integrity, are doing everything that needs to be done. To which I can only say, “Give me a break!”

By carefully editing the transmission of news and editing facts, those in power can misrepresent bad news to good news, and the most abject defeat to the most glorious victory.

Confronted by a tiny Roman legion, our most celebrated emperor, Dikran (or Tigranes) II is said to have run away. And yet, we continue to call him "the Great" instead of "the Coward."

Confronted by a mighty Persian horde and a wall of Indian elephants, Vartan Mamikonian is said to have scored our most glorious moral victory, meaning military defeat.

More about the Battle of Avarair: my Mekhitarist teacher of history, who happened to be a highly respected medievalist and the author of several learned volumes, once said that this particular battle was pure invention, it never happened.

G.B. Shaw's dictum, "All professions are conspiracies against the laity," fits nationalist historians like a glove.

I once asked one of our historians what he thought of Shaw, and he replied, "He was a fool."

It is said to Yeghishe (the historian of Avarair) that he was a propagandist of the Mamikonian dynasty. Which may suggest that, when history is not the propaganda of the victor, it is the consolation of the loser.

Speaking of the Mamikonians: I am told one of our bosses once bragged that his family tree could be traced all the way back to the Mamikonians. I wonder if this clown was aware of the fact that the Mamikonians were of Chinese descent.

The only way to acquire an objective account of our past is to avoid our historians.

If I repeat myself it may be because there is no other way to refute lies that have acquired the status of mantras in our tribal consciousness. And if you tell me, under pretense of exposing lies, I am demolishing whatever pride we may have as Armenians, I say, this so-called pride has created dupes at the mercy of tribal charlatans who have proceeded to divide, alienate, and destroy the nation. Pride that is based on lies is an ephemeral illusion. It doesn't work. It hasn't worked for us. It is now time that we give truth a chance.

The blunders of youth are the heaviest burden of old age
Those who speak of “social and political conditions beyond our control,” do so to justify their past failures and present inadequacies.

After 600 years of life in the Ottoman Empire, subservience comes naturally to us, and subservience means loyalty to the master even if he happens to be an alien tyrant; and to be loyal to an alien master means to betray your own people. Hence Raffi’s dictum: “Treason and betrayal are in our blood.”

You can hide your thoughts all you like, you can even say the opposite of what you feel, but you cannot hide your body language and style. In life, as in the boxing ring, you can run away but you can’t hide.

I don’t trust people who make a comfortable living because they will do and say anything in defense of their comfort.

Leaders are the curse of mankind. This is a rule with very few exceptions.

Ara Baliozian


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