19 May 2007

1703) I've Been Accused Of Being paid by Tashnaks, Ramgavars, CIA, Vatican, Turkey, Israel, Canada . . (71 Posts By Ara Baliozian)

PARA/NOIA
**********************

At one time or another I have been accused of being in the pay of Tashnaks, Ramgavars, the CIA, the Vatican, Turkey, Israel, Canada, and the devil knows who else . . .

all because I expressed views that my accusers didn’t like.
I must be a wealthy man with all that money pouring in from all four corners of the globe. And if what they say is right – "If you know how much money you have, you can’t be very wealthy!" – I must be very wealthy indeed! . .



Three Assertions
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1. A decent man is my brother even if he happens to be a Turk. A bloodsucker is my enemy even if he happens to be an Armenian. As for charlatans and their dupes: they might as well be interchangeable units and as such a race apart.

2. I believe American policy-makers are fundamentally decent and able men who, unlike the Pope of Rome, commit occasional blunders. Even so, they try to do their best in an imperfect world at the mercy of despots, sultans, mullahs, ayatollahs and assorted rascals with the ethics of compulsive liars and the bloodthirsty instincts of serial killers. Theirs is not an easy task, as anyone who has ever tried to do the right thing in a crooked environment knows. In a world where Socrates was poisoned, Christ crucified, and Gandhi assassinated, what chance does a decent mortal have?

3. The only thing my fellow Armenians and I agree on is that our feelings are mutual. I don't care much about them and they don't give a damn about me. So much so that if they choose to go to the devil ? and so far they appear to have decided to do exactly that ? I will not stand in their way?not because I don't want to stand in their way but because Armenians who have made up their minds are unteachable as well as unreachable.



1. When on Sept. 11 Palestinians danced with joy at what had happened in New York and Washington, they did so not because they hated America but because they were misled to believe they did by their ignorant mullahs. There is some degree of ignorance in all anti-Americanism. I speak from experience. I too was anti-American most of my life.

2. It is the easiest thing in the world to hate America by concentrating on its negative aspects and ignoring the positives; and one doesn't have to look hard to find the negatives because America will point them out long before its enemies do.

3. For a while it was fashionable to hate America in the name of an ideology, such as Communism or Nazism, all of which have been exposed as morally and politically bankrupt and have been discarded on the garbage dump of history. But nothing evil ever dies. Stalinism and Hitlerism have now been replaced with Muslim fundamentalism or jihadism. What could be more absurd than a Christian hating America in the name of Islam?

4. It has been said that there are more Jews in New York than in Israel. But I think that’s a myth. It has also been said that there are 6 million Irish in Ireland but 60 million in America. But I suspect that’s another myth. There are also millions of Arabs, Armenians and Turks, and they all live side by side in peace. They may write the occasional angry letters to the editor or engage in debate on radio or TV but that’s as far as things go. This is an important positive aspect about America that anti-Americans choose to ignore and because they ignore it they condemn themselves to misunderstand America.

5. United States of America could also be called United Races. Colors, and Creeds of the World. America represents the world and mankind as a whole more than any other nation on earth. To hate America is to hate mankind.

6. To those who say "We don't hate Americans, only America’s foreign policy," I say: "What if its foreign policy enjoys 90% popular support? Does that mean you hate only 90% of Americans and love only the balance?"



1. There are people who take care of number one and to hell with the tribe. Others take care of the tribe and to hell with the nation.

There are also people who take care of the nation because they know in doing so they will take of the tribes within that nation and themselves. You may now draw your own conclusions.

2. One of the advantages of being an Armenian writer is that no one overestimates you. On the contrary, they go out of their way to underestimate and even insult you; they even reduce you to dust and like dust you have no choice but to rise.

3. Both the strong and the weak believe God is on their side; but the strong can prove it, whereas the weak can only hope and pray….

4. Both the rich and the poor believe God is on their side but the poor believe it because they have been brainwashed to believe it by religious leaders who are hirelings of the rich.

5. To be an Armenian means to talk tough and to kick ass: to talk tough about the Turks and to kick Armenian ass.



Later The Same Day
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1. When I was young I never agreed with my elders, but what they said remained with me and one day, many years later, I discovered how spectacularly wrong I had been. I would like to write letters to them and apologize but most of them are dead and the rest I have lost track.

2. America is bad, bad, bad, we are reminded; but is the rest of the world better? The rest of the world does not claim to be the best, we are told. No, that’s right. The rest of the world doesn't say that. What the rest of the world says is, God is on our side. Justice is on our side. Truth is on our side. And moral superiority is on our side too….

3. If you agree with me once or twice a year, that should be good enough for both of us. Remember the right and forget or discard the wrong. Only God is always right, but so far He has refused to take side.

4. Turks slaughter with yataghans, Armenians with words. Turks slaughter Armenians, Armenians slaughter Armenians.

5. I don't judge my friends. I don't even judge my friends’ friends – even when they happen to be carcinogenic agents.



1. No matter how expensive the wine, its destiny is to become urine. No matter how noble the ideology, the destiny of its Party line is to become a downward spiral. No matter how admirable the -ism, its destiny is to degenerate from charlatanism to gangsterism.

2. Only those who think of themselves as indestructible attempt to destroy an idea and they are invariably destroyed by the idea.

3. I say what I think not because I am paid a regular salary or hope to enhance my power and prestige, but because I have had enough of lies and charlatans and I have no affection for bloodsuckers and gravediggers.

4. Foreign scholars have praised our art, architecture, and music, even our mountains, rivers, and valleys. But, as far as I know, none of them has ever said anything remotely kind about our statesmanship. When Avedik Issahakian said: "We have been cursed with natural disasters, bloodthirsty neighbors, and brainless leaders," he was saying something very similar.

5. I see my countrymen as a tiny fraction of mankind, and I am on the side of the exploited and oppressed. Between a hungry man and a fat-bellied slob, my sympathies will always be with the hungry even if he happens to be a Turk and the fat one a bishop. When General Antranik declared: "I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed," he meant something very similar too.



1. A BRIEF HISTORY OF SOVIET LITERATURE
The best were silenced.
The worst prospered.
2.A BRIEF HISTORY OF ARMENIAN LITERATURE
Those who spoke the truth starved.
Those who kissed ass were allowed to survive…but only barely.

3. We don't have an exchange of views. What we have is an exchange of egos.

4. Arguing with an Armenian is like arguing with a bishop or a commissar: afterwards you feel slightly excommunicated and executed.

5. Dario Fo (winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature) writes: "People who are up to their necks in shit walk with their heads held high." When, O when will we produce writers capable of writing such lines?

6. In the Ottoman Empire the Turks looked down at merchants. We in the Diaspora worship them – even when they happen to be merchants of death.

7. It’s not easy dealing with Armenians, but it helps if you are deaf to their insults and blind to their defects.


1. I once met an Armenian lawyer from Istanbul who berated me for my lack of patriotism but he did so in Turkish.

2. Political correctness might as well be synonymous with semantic fascism. If a man exposes himself as a racist by using a single politically incorrect word, I say, by all means, let him. At least that way we will know where we stand. It will save time and cut through unnecessary verbal crap.

3. I welcome criticism. I find it stimulating even when it is wrong; especially when it is wrong. What I can't stand is a dog taking me for a lamp-post and pissing on me, and calling it criticism hoping the difference will escape me.

4. Sometimes I am criticized for never admitting error. What utter nonsense! On more than one occasion I have identified myself as walking blunder. I am an Armenian writer.

5. In a market economy and an environment controlled by business, where even the Vatican has investments in contraceptives, I consider being unmarketable one of the cardinal virtues.

6. We call Armenian anyone who identifies himself as one. That’s a big mistake. Ottomanized bastards are not Armenians; they don't even qualify as human beings.

7. I have no use for humility. Most humble people are phonies. Some of them are even proud of their humility. Self disgust, yes, I respect that. In my book, an ounce of self-disgust is worth a ton of humility.

8. Among Armenians everyone thinks he can tell a writer what to think and how to write. You should write this and you should write that, I am told. You shouldn't write this and you shouldn't write that. They should all over me and expect me to be grateful to them.

9. Some readers expect me to be polite, tolerant, civilized. They drown me in shit and demand style. You want manners? Read Emily Post and quit bothering me.



1. Ottoman anti-Armenianism,
Nazi anti-Semitism,
Muslim anti-Americanism:
subtle minds may see differences in kind and degree here, but I don't.

2. When Dick Gregory titled his autobiography NIGGER he may have been echoing Zola’s "J’accuse." If I ever write mine I may title it SON OF A WHORE.

3. The most impregnable castles are those that are built with dogmas.

4. The function of a book is to read reality. To see beauty in ugliness is not reading but embroidering.

5. A culture that produces commissars has not advanced a single step from barbarism.

6. Armenians may sometimes agree on Turks but they agree on nothing else. Whatever national solidarity we have we owe it to the Turks. Our murderers have become are our benefactors.

7. I see nothing wrong in being wrong. But I see something horribly wrong in being always right.

8. I could be the happiest man on earth were it not for the delusion that it is reasonable to reason with my fellow Armenians.

9. One must be smart to be wealthy but one must be a damn fool to say "I've got it made!"

10. Some men may create masterpieces but some women are born masterpieces.



The Theory And Practice Of Racism
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1. Some Armenians love Turkish music. That’s all right. Nothing wrong in that. None whatever. To each his own. Live and let live. What I find slightly suspicious however is when this type of Armenian has no interest in any other kind of music, including Armenian music. He may even think Turkish music is Armenian music.

2. Being Armenian is an abnormal condition. Being an Armenian writer is compounding the felony.

3. There are two kinds of Arabs: those who say they love America and those who say they hate it. I believe those who say they hate it.

4. I have met many Armenians from the Middle East and with one exception they all hate America and Israel. Sometimes they are careful to say they don't hate all Jews and all Americas only Zionists and the foreign policies of the American government. But that’s only to camouflage their racism. Because, come to think of it, I have never heard any one of them say anything remotely unkind about Hitler. I am not saying they love Hitler. No, no! They may even hate him -- but not because he tried to exterminate the Jews but because he failed to do so. Some go further and say, the holocaust is a Zionist conspiracy whose ultimate goal is to take over the world.



On Nationalism Or The Wages Of Prejudice
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Political scientists have called nationalism "an infantile disease" and so it is. Nationalism may satisfy our vanity but it also makes of us prejudiced observers. One reason Hitler lost the war is that he drove his Jewish scientists, among them Einstein, into exile because he considered them inferior to his German scientists. As a result, the Jewish scientists established themselves in the United States where they were successful in developing the first atom bomb.

Prejudice and objective judgment are mutually exclusive concepts. When we say we are proud Armenians, we voice a prejudice and not an objective assessment. Scientists know something political leaders don’t: namely, the validity of a theory recognizes no national barriers. If we are going to learn from our history, we must approach our past with scientific objectivity. Then and only then we may be in a position to admit blunders and to learn from them. Otherwise we will be like the blind leading the blind, and to paraphrase still another biblical dictum, the wages of prejudice shall be death.

Nationalism is a dead end and its inevitable end is death – the death of the nation.

Business prostitutes the artist to the same degree that ideology prostitutes the historian. It follows that, a historian who enjoys the support of a political party or a regime with a clearly defined agenda has adopted charlatanism as his credo. And this applies to Turkish as well as Armenian historians.


Reflections On History
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Our version of Ottoman history is as important or relevant in the eyes of the world as the Afro-American or American- Indian version of American history.
World history is an endless catalogue of unsettled scores: our score against the Turks is only one of them.

There are no contradictions between Toynbee’s and Dadrian’s versions of our genocide, only differences in interpretation, context, perspective, and emphasis. By emphasizing our own perspective and ignoring all others we may end up damaging our case and reinforcing Turkish arguments.

When it comes to a choice between our self-interest and the unsettled scores of, say, the Untouchables of India or the Tutsis (or is it the Hutus?) of Africa, we will invariably choose our self-interest. To think that other nations, being morally superior, will behave in a more altruistic manner when it comes to choosing between their own self-interest and siding with us against the Turks, is another symptom of our tendency to engage in egocentric illusions.


Politics 101
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"A bourgeois is a bourgeois regardless of national origin," stated Lenin.
And so it is!
The same could be said of lust for power.
Politics is the pursuit of power.
Literature is the pursuit of truth.
The two have been and are destined to be in constant conflict.
The Turks exterminated an entire generation of our ablest intellectuals in 1915.
Two decades later the Soviets did the same thing in Armenia.
And if you think our own political leadership has been more tolerant,
consider the manner in which some of our ablest men in the diaspora were silenced – among them Shahan Shahnour, Gostan Zarian, and Baruir Massikian.
Our inability to solve our central problem (tribalism) has no other explanation.
In the battle between power and truth,
truth is bound to be the perennial loser,
and with it, the integrity and ultimately the survival of our nation.



Summing Up
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When it comes to understanding and solving our problems, we have two schools of thought: those who put all the blame on others (Turks, the West, Soviets, etc.), and those who ascribe them [our problems] to our own failings (intolerance, tribalism, lack of vision, incompetence, corruption, authoritarianism, misguided patriotism, etc.)
The unspoken slogan of the first school is: "We are in good hands."
The unspoken slogan of the second school is: "Throw the rascals out!"
You may now guess which of these two schools is favored by our lobotomized leadership.


To A Proud Armenian
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Scratch a proud armenian
and expose the chauvinist.
Scratch a chauvinist
and expose the commissar.
Scratch a commissar
and expose the killer.

Signed
yours truly,
a humble armenian
who no matter how hard he tries
he cannot be proud of the fact that
for nearly a millennium
we were oppressed, brutalized, and ottomanized by the turks;
our boys shed their blood for their sultans
and our girls serviced their elite as concubines;

no matter how hard I try
I cannot be proud of the fact that
we were the first nation to suffer a genocide in the 20th century;
neither can I be proud that we suffered
successive waves of purges in the USSR
(and, in both instances,
with the full cooperation of Armenian traitors).

no matter how hard I try
I cannot be proud of the fact that
as our benedefecators lose thousands of dollars
in a matter of seconds in Las Vegas
and throw million-dollar banquets
in honor of this or that rascal
thousands of girls in the homeland
engage in prostitution to feed their families;
and how can I be proud of the fact that
instead of working together
our political organization work against one another
and we remain as divided today
as we were in the middle ages
under the Mamigonians, Bagratunism, Ardzrunies
and the devil know how many other
two-bit warlords with dynastic ambitions….

Scratch a proud of armenian
and expose an ignoramus
infatuated with his own ignorance.


The Rest Is Silence
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For many years I couldn’t understand Armenians who avoided their fellow Armenians; Armenians who in the presence of fellow Armenians pretended to be odars; Armenians who stayed away from Armenian community centers and churches as if these were serpent pits.
But now in my old age I find myself in the same position.
To hear Armenian spoken in a supermarket is no longer a pleasant surprise. Neither is answering the phone and hearing someone identify himself as an Armenian. More and more often now I find myself blocking e-mail messages from fellow Armenians who use their phony patriotism to verbally abuse and insult anyone who refuses to echo their sentiments and thoughts; Armenians who demand to be judged by their opinion of themselves; Armenians who are so thoroughly Ottomanized that they confuse Armenianism with Ottomanism; in short, Armenians who remind me of Zarian’s dictum, "An Armenian’s tongue can be sharper than a Turk’s yataghan."


East / West
****************************
During World War I, Arnold J. Toynbee worked for the British Government and published several books in defense of the British, the West, and the Armenians, and critical of the Turks whom he called "murderous." After World War I, however, he changed his mind and became pro-Turkish and anti-West. In a book titled THE WORLD AND THE WEST (if memory serves) he said: "It is the West that hit the East again and again, and not the other way around." (Again I am quoting from memory.) But the truth of the matter is, long before Alexander the Great hit the East, the Persians invaded Greece and the reason they failed to invade the rest of Europe is that the Greeks arrested their advance. (The Greeks explained their success by saying they fought as free citizens in defense of democracy, unlike the Persians who fought because they were ordered to by a despot.)
Speaking of the East hitting the West: the Arabs reached Spain via North Africa; and, after the conquest of Constantinople, the Turks colonized Greece and Eastern Europe; but again, their advance was thwarted on land and sea by the combined forces of several Western states.
Homo sapiens is the same all over and to say the East is less aggressive than the West amounts to continental racism. Given the chance, the East will tear the West to shreds. To put it differently: if we were to place Saddam Hussein in the White, the chances are mankind will not be better off.


From My Diary
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I remember to have read somewhere: "By saying NO sometimes we prepare the ground for a bigger YES."
It has been said that there are two kinds of socialism: the socialism of ideologues and the socialism of pickpockets…and the tragedy of the human condition is such that sooner or later the pickpockets are destined to triumph over the ideologues: from Jesus Christ to American televangelists, and from Marx to Brezhnev….

MEMO: Always remember to be a truth-seeker not a point-maker.

"If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you wrong us, shall we not revenge?" demands Shakespeare’s Shylock. The best answer to this question is provided by an old Arab proverb: "If you wait long enough at your window you will see your enemy’s funeral pass by."

The whole world knows that the official designation of Armenians in Turkey is "Christian Turks" – the whole world except, it seems, some Armenians in Turkey. Why am I surprised? I spent the first twenty years of my life in Greece and I didn’t know that the Greeks called us "Turkish gypsies" – with some justification, may I add: the Armenian ghetto near Athens looked like a gypsy encampment. It is only very recently that I read about this in an English-language reference work on ethnic slurs. It’s the old story of the husband being the last man to discover that his wife is being unfaithful to him.

To how many of my critics (make it, kibitzers) I could say: "Obviously you and I have nothing further to say to each other. Please ignore my things and I promise to ignore yours."


Men see women as sex objects because in homo sapiens instinct speaks louder than reason. On the day reason conquers instinct mankind will enter a new Golden Age, wars and revolutions will become obsolete, all contradictions will be resolved rationally, and the lion shall lie down with the lamb…and if the carnivores of this world cannot survive on salad greens, I for one will not mourn their extinction.


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Tribalism in action: In a single day I once received four reactions to one of my essays: in the first I was dismissed as a "moron"; in the second as a "racist"; in the third I was described as "an honest observer who is not afraid to speak his mind"; and in the fourth as "the most intelligent Armenian alive today."
A painful discovery: To make a Turkish friend these days is almost as easy as to make an Armenian enemy.

Only the abysmally naïve confuse realism with pessimism.

When a man speaks, it is easy to guess whether he is parroting his schoolmasters’ sentiments or expressing his own thoughts.

Don’t talk to me about dedicated partisans with ethics. Power does not corrupt; rather, it is the corrupt who lust for power. Trying to talk to them is like trying to cross a Brazilian river teeming with ravenous piranhas. If you reach the other shore weighing half as much, you should thank God and count your blessings.

It is only when you try to change the status quo that you acquire a better understanding of the powerful forces that hold it together.

To how many Armenians I could say: "As long as there are people like you in this world, we will have wars and massacres."

It is not the best who brag about their identity, but the worst.

When I think of the kind of people who succeed these days, failure appears as a more interesting alternative.


********************************
As I have said before and it bears repeating:
we may be unique but our problems are not. In a biography of George Orwell I read:
"His refusal to be any party’s dog made a political pariah of him and a near pauper."
Somewhere Plekhanov writes: "Bourgeois scientists make sure that their theories are not dangerous to God or to capital." Something similar could be said of our academics: they always make sure that their views are not in any way critical of the dominant minority (their sources of income and prestige); but when it comes to outsiders or minor scribblers: they can be as venomous as Turkish cobras. And what is even more astonishing is that they think their readers or the average Armenian is too stupid to see this.

History tells us intolerance is as old as mankind
and it has claimed millions of victims;
common sense tells us you cannot appease intolerance, only expose it;
and common decency tells us, to silence those who expose intolerance
is to promote criminal conduct.

What I find most offensive about us (I am not as familiar with other ethnic groups and if they are all alike I suspect they too have their critics and dissidents) is the disparity between our rhetoric and our actions. We pretend to be smart but we behave like political morons, constantly dividing and subdividing ourselves as if the ego of our petty little sultans were more important than the survival of the nation.


********************************
As long as we have patriotic Armenians willing to contribute to the welfare of the nation, we have nothing to worry about. But as long as these same Armenians express indifference or even contempt towards all forms of criticism and dissent we have a great deal to worry about, namely: intolerance, violations of fundamental human rights, and fascism.

Writing for Armenians and being exposed to their verbal venom has made me realize that we all harbor a killer and, in the words of Shahan Shahnour, "our greatest enemy is not the Turk but us."

In times of peace and prosperity we tend to forget that the world is a very scary place. Nothing would give me more pleasure than to love my neighbor but for all I know he could be a serial killer. And nothing would give me more pleasure than to love my fellow Armenians but for all I know they could be my future executioners.

Socrates tells us a man who is aware of his ignorance is wiser than a man who is not, and that false knowledge is the source of all evil. In our case false knowledge consists in thinking that we know better because we are better.

A friend writes: "I still hope and wish as you do that perhaps, some day, there will emerge some kind of leadership not based on money but an ethical, moral, and basically pragmatic political know-how." To which I can only say, Amen!

Nothing can reveal a man’s character as drastically as money, power, and anonymity.
Anonymity or the use of aliases, it seems to me, is for criminals, but I also believe by making us more transparent, it eliminates a considerable amount of misleading chitchat and mumbo jumbo.



Premonition
*************************
Whenever I speak of "good Turks," I am asked: "Is there such a thing?"
May I confess that I have never met a good Turk because I have never met any Turk, period. But I have heard of them from survivors of the massacres, among them my own father.
And at this point, may I be allowed to raise the following question: Why is it that whenever I confront an Armenian who considers himself a good Armenian and a morally superior human being on the grounds that, unlike Turks, he has massacred no one, I have this uncanny feeling that if I were to disagree with him, he would gladly massacre me if he could? And this premonition leads me to raise another question: Is there such a thing as a self-assessed good Armenian who does not harbor a bloodthirsty Turk in his soul?



To Be An Armenian
******************************
To be an authentic Armenian, I have been informed by several readers and self-assessed superpatriots, it is necessary (a) to be Christian and (b) to hate Turks.

I see a contradiction here.

Our religion teaches us to forgive and love our enemies.

Has anyone ever met an Armenian willing to forgive those who disagree with him? (Last time this happened to me, I was called the son of a whore.)

In the Lord’s Prayer we are taught to say: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
Does massacre qualify as a trespass?

Yes, if we adopt Our Lord Jesus Christ as our role model. After being publicly insulted, humiliated, tortured, and crucified, He said: "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do." Has any Armenian ever said that about any Turk? If it were up to our sermonizers and speechifiers, they would massacre not only the guilty but also deface Turkey off the map. My guess is, they would even massacre fellow Armenians who refused to join them in their jihad. Because, as you may have guessed by now, hatred is not a disconnected or isolated act but a disposition of the soul. If one makes hatred of the Turks the central motif of one’s being, one will end up hating one’s own brothers, sisters, and ultimately oneself.



Criticism And Propaganda
***************************************
Propaganda has been defined as a fraction of the truth. Propaganda does not necessarily mean a lie, neither does it mean the whole truth.

Criticism may be defined as reality check, or exposing the unspoken fraction of propaganda.
Examples:

Propaganda: Armenians are smart.
Criticism: Some Armenians are smart (more in the market place than in politics; and more in alien environments than in their own).

Propaganda: There are a million Armenians in Canada ant eh U.S.
Criticism: The majority of these Armenians are either alienated or assimilated.
Partisan propaganda consists in stressing the assets and successes of one side and the liabilities and failures of the opposition.

The same applies to nationalist propaganda (be it Armenian or Turkish).
Propaganda flatters the collective ego.

Criticism tells us only fools believe in their assessment of themselves.
If propaganda stresses the positive, criticism stresses the negative not simply for the sake of stressing the negative but in order that something may be done about it.

To say that where there are two sides (groups, parties, tribes or nations) one side speaks the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and the other side lies, is to know nothing about human nature and to understand even less about politics and history.



Men And Wolves
***************************
More often than not, two adults disagree only because when they were children they were exposed to different schoolteachers; and schoolteachers disagree because they are employed by two different bureaucracies; and where there is a bureaucracy there will also be a power structure whose most important aims are (a) to maintain its power, and (b) whenever possible, to increase it. It follows that, in such an environment, truth and objective judgment become irrelevant, not to say, dangerous concepts.
That may explain why every nationalist historian is also a revisionist; and why Japanese textbooks don’t mention Japanese atrocities against Chinese civilians; and Chinese textbooks don’t mention Chinese atrocities against their own civilians. That is also why Armenian and Turkish historians accuse one another of massacres and ethnic cleansing; and finally that’s why whenever I express views that don’t echo the views of a schoolteacher I am described as a foreign agent, an idiot, and the son of a whore.
Whether we like it or not, we are all dupes of schoolteachers, revisionists, and nationalist propaganda whose ultimate goal is to promote the idea that man is wolf to another man (homo homini lupus), which contradicts the central message of all religions, including our own, which is, all men are brothers.



Verbal Crap
*************************
To say that the Turks are bloodthirsty savages is to recycle partisan propaganda and I have no interest in recycling anyone’s propaganda. The question I would like to see answered is: Why is it that Arnold J. Toynbee, one of the greatest historians of our time, who knew all about the genocide having written the first book on the subject, changed his mind and said Armenians had been wrong in making territorial demands on the Turks and that the genocide – which he at no time denied – had been an inevitable, if not justifiable, reaction to this Armenian blunder.

Likewise, to say that the Jews deserve to be hated because they are intrinsically evil (having crucified Christ or committed some other real or imaginary transgression) is to recycle Nazi propaganda and I have no interest in doing that either. What I want to understand is, why is it that Jean-Paul Sartre, the foremost French philosopher of the 20th century, wrote a book on the subject in which he asserted envy to be the root of anti-Semitism. Whenever a Frenchman or any other non-Jew fails in life, he said, he finds in Jews a convenient scapegoat.

And finally, to say that right and wrong are as clearly discernible as black and white and anyone who doesn’t agree with me – even when he happens to be an eminent historian or philosopher – is a pervert, an eccentric, or an idiot – is to recycle philistine nonsense and to wallow in someone else’s propaganda, that is to say, verbal crap.



A Question And Its Obvious Answer
****************************************************
It is the easiest thing in the world for two Armenians to get together and to agree that the Turks are guilty of genocide. Likewise, it is the easiest thing in the world for two Turks to get together and to agree that the Armenians are dead wrong. Both Turks and Armenians have been doing this for such a long time that it has become second nature.

It should be easier to convince both Turks and Armenians that, as human being, they are fallible as well as prejudiced observers and that their testimony is worthless if not judged by an impartial jury – but a jury not of their peers (which would never agree on anything) but a jury of non-Armenians and non-Turks.
Why is it that so far both Armenians and Turks (or, for that matter, Israelis and Palestinians, Hutus and Tutsis, Pakistanis and Indians, Japanese and Koreans, among many others) have agreed only on not resorting to this kind of arbitration?

The answer is and must be: Because all men, regardless of national origin, are committed more to their own lies than to someone else’s truth – one of the biggest lies being: Truth and God are on our side, we are without prejudice, and we have at no time committed a blunder or massacred innocent women and children.



Memo: To My Gentle Readers
************************************
To those who know better:
Why waste your valuable time reading a minor scribbler like me when there are so many literary masterpieces waiting to be read in your nearest public library? I don’t write for you, neither do I care to be read by you. I write only for readers willing to add someone else’s experiences and perspective on their own in order to develop a more balanced view of reality.

To my partisan and chauvinist readers whose secret ambition is to be a commissar of culture in a future fascist Armenia: You remind me of dung beetles to whom a herd of animals defecating is the most welcome sight: which reminds me of the Turkish saying (probably of Armenian origin): "What does a jackass know about rosejam?"



Interchangeable Units
*********************************
After reading a nasty comment by a Turk about one of my recent essays wherein the word genocide may have occurred – and when I say nasty, I mean boiling with hatred and bristling with four-letter words…I mean verbal massacre… -- I was tempted to reply and inform him I am personally acquainted with several Armenians just like him and I would be more than happy to introduce him to them. But remembering de Gaulle’s dictum – "Nothing enhances authority better than silence" – I ignored the bastard. But if he writes again, I may ignore de Gaulle…
Moral I: Nasty Armenians and nasty Turks: they might as well be twins when it comes to style and content.

Moral II: (To paraphrase Lenin): A skinhead is a skinhead regardless of national identity.



Killers
************************
I don’t write for the living but for the dead, and I speak in the name of all those writers who were silenced by commissars: Soviet commissars with a license to kill, diasporan commissars (not all of them members of the ADL or ARF) whose words were "sharper than a Turk’s yataghan" (Zarian), and readers who killed with their apathy: the kind of apathy whose message is: "We don’t need you because we know better," or "We have no use for you because we find you depressing," or again "We wish to be entertained and flattered not criticized and exposed for what we really are: murderers of writers and killers of dreams."



Observations
*****************************
So what if I repeat myself? Who doesn’t? My question is: when was the last time you went up to one of our speechifiers, sermonizers, panchoonies, partisans and charlatans and told him he is recycling the same old crap?

Crap is crap no matter how you slice it. Turkish propaganda is to me as bad as Armenian propaganda. I will go further and say, Armenian propaganda is worse because we have fewer reasons to lie than they. Our lies are the lies of bunglers; their lies are the lies of killers. But what motivates them to lie is the same: fear of truth and fear of exposure.

All eternal conflicts are extensions of lies. Honest men tend to reach an agreement sooner or later. It is charlatans who wallow in eternal conflict and controversy. In crime, cherchez la femme. In controversy, cherchez la merde.



*********************************
To believe in a false god is worse than atheism.

To those who accuse me of anti-Armenianism, I say: I am critical of Armenians only when I compare what we could have been with what we have become.

To those who say I am critical of Armenian institutions, I say: Name a single Armenian institution that enjoys the respect (as opposed to the contempt and hostility) of all other Armenian institutions; or, name a single Armenian institution that enjoys more than 5% community support.

For a brainwashed person, it is impossible to tell the difference between what he really thinks and feels and what he thinks he should feel and think. De-program a brainwashed Armenian chauvinist charlatan and the chances are you will expose a Turkish cobra



Stages
*****************
Stage I: I understand Armenians. I don’t understand Turks.
Stage II: I don’t understand Armenians.
Stage III: I am beginning to understand Armenians and, through them, Turks.



Labels
*********************
Sometimes we tend to forget that to be a good Armenian one must first be a good human being; and to be a good human being one must first be a human being.

What does it take to be a good Armenian?
First and foremost, an undying hatred for all Turks.
But an Armenian hating a Turk is only a label hating another label.

How to create a serial killer?
Easy! Take an ordinary, law-abiding, decent citizen and give him a label, a uniform, and a machine gun. If it weren’t for such law-abiding citizens, we would have had neither Nazi Germany nor Soviet Russia.

Take an ordinary decent Armenian, give him a label (Tashnak, Ramgavar, Communist) and watch him divide, fragment, and ultimately destroy the nation.

Placing labels above humanity is the source of all evil.
Labels suppress our humanity and unleash our animal nature.
Labels dehumanize.
Massacres are committed not by human beings but dehumanized labels.

And now the solution.
Whenever you have to choose between what’s good for the Party and what’s good for the nation, choose the nation; and when you have to choose between what’s good for the nation and what’s good for mankind, choose mankind.



The Line
*********************
It happens all the time. A serial killer is arrested and friends, neighbor and coworkers come forward to say he can’t be the one; the police made a mistake; they knew him; he was so kind and considerate….And, after the trial and conviction (or confession), as he waits on death row, women fall in love with him and propose marriage. I once saw such a woman being interviewed on television. At first I didn’t know who she was and took her for a lawyer or an investigative reporter: she was young, attractive, intelligent, articulate. But gradually it became clear she had fallen in love with a savage serial killer of women and had married him shortly before his execution.

We all have childhood traumas and grievances. Speaking for myself, I could make a long list of them, beginning with the Turks, the Germans, the Greeks, not to say our own political leadership for its incompetence, lies, and cynical re-writing of history from which they emerge as the only good guys in a world of bloodthirsty savages and ruthless manipulators.

All losers have grievances against the world: the Negroes, the Jews, the Gypsies, the Irish, the Untouchables of India, the French against the Germans and vice versa….The Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucasus and Africa may be said to be veritable vipers’ knots of ethnic, tribal and family grievances, feuds and vendettas. And then there are the homosexuals, the lesbians, the perverts, all of whom have been or consider themselves to have been misunderstood and rejected; and let’s not forget the poor and the exploited…. But not all of them become serial killers or terrorists; though some do and always with the support of a few who are probably as unbalanced as they but are also too cowardly or calculating to turn into killers because somewhere along the line they have decided they have a better chance to survive and prosper as law-abiding citizens as opposed to making an exit with a bang.

And this is exactly the line that separates the overwhelming majority of mankind from its lunatic fringe: the awareness that life with grievances is better than death without them.



Blunders
***********************
To ignore reality by adopting a set of moral or political values as infallible has been the source of some of the most catastrophic blunders in the history of mankind.

It is the easiest thing in the world to pronounce pro- and con- views on any given subject – everyone does it. What is infinitely more difficult is to understand the workings of reality.

Instead of asking who is right and who wrong, we should learn to ask: Which action will succeed and which is destined to fail? To stress the importance of a metaphysical system and to ignore reality’s matrix is to choose the easy way out leading to ignorance, fanaticism and hatred.

Two thousand years ago the Jews were wrong to challenge the might of the Roman Empire and to reject Christ. But human nature is such that the greater the blunder the louder the voices defending it. Which is why you will never hear an Orthodox Jew saying the Jews would have been better off as Christians.

What if the Armenian revolutionaries at the turn of the century in the Ottoman Empire had been more skeptical about the verbal commitments of the West? Our revolutionaries will never admit a blunder, of course. What they will do instead is take the easier option of assuming the stance of the morally superior by condemning the double-talk of the West and the savagery of the Turks thus condemning themselves to learn nothing from history.

Obviously, the Americans committed a serious blunder by underestimated the Arabs and the Arabs committed another blunder by underestimating American wrath. Will they learn from their blunders? The destiny of mankind may depend on the right answer to that question.



The Old Blind Horse
**************************
If I say: What I think is right and what a Turk thinks is wrong, and vice versa, if a Turk says, What I think is right and what an Armenian thinks is wrong, then we (both Turks and Armenians) think not as human beings but as nationalists.

If we ask: What motivated the Armenians and the Turks to behave as they did, and if we answer: The Armenians were motivated by love of freedom and respect for fundamental human rights and the Turks by savagery; and if the Turks answer: The Armenians were motivated by disloyalty and treason and the Turks by self-defense, then again we (both Turks and Armenians) think not as human beings but as members of a nation, namely as nationalists, and nationalism, as we know by now, is the source of all conflicts between nations.

Next question: If Armenian political leaders at the turn of the century were motivated by love of freedom and respect for fundamental human rights, why is it that they have no tolerance for free speech and dissent and they have silenced our ablest post-genocide writers?

All political leaders say they are motivated by altruism and justice and everything else that is noble in man, but does anyone believe them? Why should we think that our own politicians are the exception to that rule? Even Martin Luther, who was not a politician but a religious reformer said: "God uses lust to impel men to marriage, ambition to office, avarice to earning, and fear to faith. God led me like an old blind horse."

When an Armenian thinks as an Armenian and a Turk thinks as a Turk they think not as human beings but as dupes of old blind horses.

P.S. Am I denying the reality of the Genocide? No! Only questioning the honesty of all politicians and attempting to explain why is it that two opposing parties (be they Turks and Armenians or for that matter representatives of any other nation, tribe, ideology, and political party and their counterparts) find it extremely difficult, not to say impossible, to develop a consensus.



Six Of One
*************************
1.
Sultan Abdulhamid II and Talaat, bin Laden and the Taliban: I see more than echoes and parallels here: I see the same mentality in action; the same ruthless despotism; the same murderous fanaticism; and the same visceral contempt of infidel dogs. And in the same way that to this day the Turks have their apologists, the Muslim fanatics have theirs: the first driven by a misguided love of the Orient, the second by ignorance and hatred of the West.

2.
The difference between Western dissidents and critics of the West and Muslim fanatics and terrorists is that the first are driven by love and want to see the West improved, the second are driven by blind hatred and want to see the West destroyed.



Half A Dozen Of The Other
***********************************
If you can put the blame on others, why assume any responsibility for your own blunders?

Where do terrorists and their victims or targets get their version of history? From their political leaders, of course; and as everyone knows by now, the aim of politics is neither truth nor objective judgment but power. Result? Two increasingly divergent views of the past that are driven by prejudice, fear and hatred – two versions that are more akin to lies than to truth.

There is a type of Armenian who in the proximity of his fellow Armenians turns into a Turk.

Anonymous: "After all, none of us is human." Probably a variation of the old saying: "Homo homini lupus" = Man is wolf to other men. (Armenian translation: An Armenian is a Turk to another Armenian). This will come as a surprise only to those who don sheep’s clothing hoping thus not to be recognized for what they really are.

One must admit that the Turkish line of defense looks better and better every day. All they have to do to convince the U.S. that Armenians claims are without merit is to say, "Armenians are a people with a notorious lunatic fringe that engaged in acts of terrorism at the turn of the century in the Ottoman Empire and intermittently since then in Europe, Canada and the United States, and it will do so again unless we accede to all their demands which would amount to Washington ceding New York and several other States to the Indians."

The other day a Canadian intelligence officer stated on TV: "There are seventy terrorist organizations operating within Canada today." I have every reason to suspect the ARF is thought of as one of them. Which is why ARF leaders have been refused entry visas here ever since a handful of ARF boys staged an act of terrorism in Ottawa and the ARF hired a noted Canadian lawyer to defend them; and to this day these boys (now in prison) are declared to be heroes in the ARF press.



Are We Smart?
*************************
The first time I criticized Canada in the presence of Canadians I was told: "If you don't like it here, why don't you go back where you came from?" What the hell happened to free speech? I thought. But gradually I came to realize that what I was doing was not exercising my human right of free speech but practicing one-upmanship. Since I was brainwashed to believe Armenians are smart, I thought I was in a position to teach dumb Canadians one or two things. This is how I assessed the situation. It never even occurred to me to consider how they saw things and more particularly myself. Who was I in their eyes? What were my qualifications? I was no better than a double reject, first from Turkey, then from Greece – a hungry Armenian – a Turkish gypsy – a refugee with a semi-fascist background whose ancestors had made such a mess of things that life had become unbearable; and there I was, exposing their shortcomings as if I had none.

Are Canadians intolerant? If they are, Armenians are even more so. I speak from experience. I now know something I didn't know then. Canada has its share of critics who not only know what they are talking about but they are also amply compensated for their work, What about us? Products of Abdulhamidism and Stalinism, what have we learned from our host countries? When it comes to politics and diplomacy we might as well be functional illiterates whose arrogance is such that they think they can deliver lectures on semantics to university graduates.

Now I know why, when once, many years ago, I said "Armenians are smart" to an alienated fellow Armenian in the United States, he reacted with such rage that he nearly foamed at the mouth.




Are We Smart?/ II

******************************
1.
In the Ottoman Empire we had the brains – or so we claim – but served the dumb Turks. Ditto in the Middle East, in America and in our Diaspora in general. We always had the brains but were never masters of our destiny; and now that we are…but the less said about that the better. What does that tell you? The obvious answer must be: There is more to being smart than assessing oneself as smart and believing it. A jackass can say anything he wants and a dupe will believe anything that flatters his vanity.
2.
What defines our identity more than anything else? Or rather: Where would we be without the Genocide? Why is it that we have allowed our butchers to define our identity? What good can come of this?
3.
St. Paul writes: "If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise." Translated into hard currency, this may also mean: Better a dumb winner than a smart loser. Or: What the hell is the use of being smart if you are the perennial victim of dumb jerks?



Mea Culpa
***********************************
A reader writes: "You have admitted to being fallible but so far you have
provided no specifics."

Which proves only one thing: You have not been reading me.

I have at no time covered up the fact that as an Armenian Catholic I had a quasi-Taliban education (minus Kalishnikovs). I even had a headmaster who could have been bin Laden's twin. I was brought up (make it, brainwashed) to believe all non-Catholics were heretics, misguided fools and hopeless dupes in league with the devil. As an Armenian I was brainwashed to believe the Turks were bloodthirsty savages and the Great Powers (i.e. the West) liars.

We Armenians were la creme de la creme. We were smarter, civilized, morally superior.

I know better now. I know now that we can't be smarter because again and again we have failed to realize that the source of all our defeats, disasters and tragedies is within us, namely, our tribalism and total absence of solidarity. I know now that we use the Turks and the world the way anti-semites use the Jews, as scapegoats, and having done so we deceive ourselves into thinking we are blameless. I maintain we are nothing of the kind. I further maintain we are not better than most and worst than some. I have said this before and I will say it again: I was wrong most of my life, and if I am wrong now, I wish someone would reason with me and convince me that dogmatism is not synonymous with intolerance, divisiveness is a good thing notwithstanding the Biblical dictum: "A house divided against itself cannot stand" and tribalism and fanaticism a la Taliban a source of strength.


And now that I have admitted to having been wrong most of my life, will anything change?

But suppose one of our bosses and bishops were to admit fallibility.

What a wonderful plot for a science-fiction writer!



NOTES / COMMENTS
*****************************
Just because I think against myself it does not follow I am anti-myself; and just because I am critical of Armenians, it does not follow I am anti-Armenian.
***
Speaking of anti-Armenian: I once met a born-again Armenian-American in his seventies who thought Armenians were evil and he hated the Turks not because they had tried to exterminate us but because they had failed to do so. Now, that’s what I call anti-Armenian. And if you think this Armenian was an anomaly, think again and consider the fact that the overwhelming majority of Armenians today prefer to stay away from their fellow Armenians.
***
We preach dialogue but practice monologue. We preach brotherhood but practice Cain-Abelism. Our eleventh silent commandment: Preach positive, practice negative.
***
We are so damn insecure that the possibility of being wrong scares the hell out of us. The Pope may admit errors of judgment but we prefer to emulate far superior role models like Stalin and Suleiman the Magnificent




Inquest
*******************
A couple of months ago a man committed suicide after killing his wife and children in a small town not far from here. There is now an inquest to find out what went wrong and what could be done to prevent such future tragedies.

Such inquests, hearings, and commissions in which witnesses, experts and lawyers testify under oath, are a constant feature of democracies. By contrast, in authoritarian power structures it is assumed those in authority know all they need to know. They know because they base their knowledge on holy scriptures or a specific ideology (which they tend to confuse with theology).

What would have happened if, after the first massacres of 1894, someone had proposed setting up a commission? I can imagine the voice of authority saying: "No need to study anything! We are right and the Turks wrong! That’s all there is to it. We must persevere in our single-minded quest for freedom. God, justice, history and the West are on our side." Those who oppose TARC today repeat that refrain. Instead of saying, "This is a great opportunity for us to expose the mindset of nations that commit genocide," they say: "The Turks were bloodthirsty savages; so are their children and their children’s children! We cannot deal with them because we reject evil in all its disguises."

This type of mentality is clearly outlined in the Old Testament, where God orders His Chosen People to massacre not only their enemies, but also their wives, children and cattle because they are all contaminated with evil.

But I suspect there is another reason why they oppose TARC and that’s the possibility of being themselves exposed as incompetent, blind, and a disgrace to the concept of political leadership.



On Despotism
************************
Why is it that throughout history all forms of authoritarianism and despotism have been more popular than democracy? The answer is rooted in religion, psychology and politics.

Religion: God the all-powerful and the all-knowing Father. The despot assumes the role of God’s representative on earth; or, if he denies the existence of God, he creates a new religion and declares himself its God (Stalin).

Psychology: The family unit whose head and supreme authority is the father. The word "unit" must be emphasized here. No outsider can replace any member of this unit. Which is why anti-semitism is one of the pillars of nationalism and its twin, fascism.

Politics: The existence or the creation of a cunning, ruthless, powerful and evil enemy that will represent the Devil on earth. Remember the Afro-American slogan, "White man is the devil." To Stalinists it was Capitalism. To the Arabs it is Israel and America. To us, Turkey. To maintain this illusion the despot must control the press. All forms of dissent are seen as treason and collaboration with the enemy. On more than one occasion I have myself been identified as an agent of the CIA and the Mossad. My Ramgavar friends think of me as an agent of the ARF, a vice versa: in the eyes of my ARF friends I am a hireling of the Ramgavars. A well-known writer of the Diaspora once told me: "Why bother translating Zarian? The man was a hireling of the Kremlin." When asked for some evidence, he said: "Vahan Tekeyan [a poet of the Diaspora] says so in one of his letters." Which brings up the subject of gullibility.

Despotism without dupes is unthinkable. In order to thrive despotism needs dupes and dupes come in all sizes, shapes and degrees of sophistication: from the most eminent philosophers and novelists (Heidegger, Hamsun) to the suicidal Muslim teen fanatic willing to kill and die in the name of Allah because the mullahs have promised him eternal bliss and a harem of virgins – also a fat check to his family.



Perversion
************************
1.
Some of my critics are eager to see me admit fallibility, even though, on more than one occasion I have stated that if I am wrong I hurt no one but myself; but if our partisans are wrong they undermine the integrity of the nation.
2.
The integrity of the nation: this might as well be a remote abstraction whose meaning and importance have not yet penetrated the thick skulls of our bosses and bishops and their dupes who accept their authority as infallible.
3.
Because I promote solidarity and democratic values like freedom of speech and other fundamental human rights, my partisan critics demand that I admit fallibility; and because they not only promote fascist values but also practice divisiveness, they demand that we accept their authority as infallible.
4.
In Arab countries the press is allowed, even encouraged, to criticize Israel and the United States but not its own regime. Our own partisan press operates on similar principles: "Criticize the Turks, the West, the U.S. and the rest of the world as much as you want, but leave the Party alone!" This piece of blatant perversion gives our partisans the illusions of being beyond criticism.



On Prejudice
************************
Prejudice is very probably the most abundant commodity in the world and the least acknowledged.

As an Armenian I see nothing positive in the history of the Ottoman Empire, and yet it lasted six centuries. By contrast the Soviet Empire lasted only six decades and very probably it claimed many more victims. Does that mean the Turks were more competent or compassionate political leaders than the Soviet commissars schooled in Marxism? Is Marx to be blamed for failing to foresee the abuses his system would generate?

As a former brainwashed Catholic and present agnostic, I see nothing positive in the history of the Catholic Church – from its destruction of Greek and Roman monuments, brutal persecution of heretics, warlike Popes, the Inquisition, its alliance with corrupt and oppressive monarchies to its support of fascist regimes in our own days; and yet, it has lasted so far two millennia with millions of adherents throughout the world.

My disapproval of the Catholic Church turns into downright loathing when I view the history of Islam – from its imperialist warlike beginnings to its present tribal rivalries and jihadism.

We are all children of prejudice, which means we all have our blind spots and those who claim to have none are the blindest of all.



Dupes And Other Rascals
*************************************
How does one explain the existence of people who believe everything their own propaganda says but dismiss the propaganda of the opposition as a tissue of lies? Or religious leaders who preach war against heretics and infidels knowing full well that they too are seen as heretics or infidels in the eyes of other religious leaders? And what about Armenians who say "The only good Turk is a dead Turk!" and consider themselves morally superior to Turks who say "The only good Armenian is a dead Armenian"? Or Armenians who say patriotism is a good thing if it is Armenian but a bad thing if it is Turkish? And then there are people who take mullahs and their version of history seriously. But then, in what way are they different from readers (and millions of them too) who until very recently believed everything PRAVDA and IZVESTIA said but didn't even bother reading the NEW YORK TIMES or the WASHINGTON POST? And what is one to make of dedicated patriots who preach confrontation and war so long as they happen elsewhere and at a very safe distance for themselves and their families. And who could be more contemptible than the man who is outraged when you treat him the way he treats you?

1. Who takes chauvinists seriously?
Only chauvinists of the same tribe.
No one appears more ridiculous than a chauvinist to a chauvinist of another tribe.

A Turkish chauvinist and an Armenian chauvinist: whenever they confront each other they will do so with the absolute certainty that the other is either a fool or a liar, and very probably both at once and a dupe to boot.

2. Chauvinists don't reason. They scream; and the louder they scream the deafer they become to the voice of reason.

Men of reason may engage in dialogue; they may even compromise and reach a consensus – which doesn't mean agreement but willingness to work together towards a common goal. But chauvinists are as capable of dialogue as two men screaming at the top of their lungs are capable of finding any merit in the other’s screams.

3. And as long as there are chauvinists, we shall have wars and massacres in the name of truth, and whenever truth is on the other side, in the name of God or Allah.

4. Progress? What could be more oxymoronic (with emphasis on the last three syllables) than chauvinist progress?



So What Else Is New?
********************************
A writer should not write what everyone thinks but what everyone will think. As for our charlatans who recycle chauvinist crap: it is not that I don't believe in what they say; I don't think they believe it themselves. The only reason they go on parroting empty verbiage and abusing anyone who dares to contradict them is that that?s one way of discharging the Turkish venom that all Armenians carry in their blood ? which amounts to saying: they go on preaching Armenianism and practicing Ottomanism with the arrogance of all those who are too stupid to suspect that anyone could be smart enough to see through them; and because objective analysis exposes them as dupes and phonies, honesty is not one of their favorite words, neither is objectivity.

And life goes on: nothing changes, nothing improves, except for the number of the disenfranchised and the alienated.



Questions
***********************
As children we are brainwashed to believe that to believe is better than not to believe. But then, how does one explain the massacre of countless giaours (infidel dogs) in the name of Allah? And if you were to explain that away as a peculiarity of Islam or the bloodthirsty Turk, what about the religious wars and massacres of Christian Europe and Byzantine Empire? -- not to mention the savage persecution and torture of heretics and warlike Popes.

We are also brainwashed to believe that to have ideals is better than to have none. But then, how does one explain the millions of innocent victims of nationalism, fascism and communism?

If we place faith and idealism in a historic context, we have no choice but to conclude that they are both systematically used (abused?) to satisfy man's killer instincts.

Man is a wolf who thinks by following the dictates of a closed system of thought (an organized religion or ideology) he will be as innocent as a lamb even as he butchers his fellow man.

Man is a compulsive liar who even as he does the devil's work he is successful in convincing himself he is an angel because he is an instrument of God's Will.

Homo sapiens? How about homo ignoramus?



Our Problems And Their Solutions
***********************************************
It never fails.
At least once a week a reader writes to let me know that
what we need now is less criticism and more solutions.
Instead of demanding solutions from our leadership,
these readers demand solutions from me
as if I were in charge of our destiny as a nation;
and no matter how often the solutions are formulated
(more honesty, less charlatanism;
more tolerance, less dogmatism;
more solidarity, less tribalism;
more dialogue, less monologue)
they pretend not to have heard them.
They ignore the simple fact that
so long as our leaders portray themselves as infallible
("We have done nothing wrong!
It's not our fault but that of the Turks, the West, the opposition?"
? which happens to be the quintessence of charlatanism),
they will also go on ignoring the root of our problems.
But, as I have said before and it bears repeating,
our real problem is not the absence of solutions but the question:
Will there ever come a time
when dishonest men will accept an honest solution?



Kabul Has Fallen
*************************************
1.There are so many parallels between what's happening in Afghanistan today and what happened in Armenia after World War I: I wonder, why is it that none of our pundits speaks of them?

2.Tribal people condemn themselves to perpetual ignorance and survive only as perennial losers simply because they refuse to learn from the lessons of history.

3.Tribal people brag about their heroes and martyrs, their idealism,courage, and dedication to principles; sometimes even about how smart they are; but they are too ignorant and backward to see that there is no such thing as a tribal principle: only tribal charlatanism.

4.Tribal people know how to hate the enemy, but what they know even better is how to hate their own kind. The Armenian Assembly speaks of reconciliation with the Turks. Will it ever speak of reconciliation with the ARF? Shortly after World War I, the ARF itself spoke of reconciliation with the Turks. What about reconciliation with the Armenian Assembly? So far I have not heard even a whisper in that direction.

5.Like all tribal people, we love to mourn our countless heroes and martyrs but even as we mourn we alienate many more and refuse to see that as far as the nation is concerned, they too (the alienated and assimilated) are casualties ? casualties not of war and massacre, but of our own tribal charlatanism.



Tribalism Observed
********************************
Lawrence of Arabia was infatuated with the Arabs; but in his SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM he analyzes them so objectively that he might as well be speaking of Armenians towards whom he felt no affinity.

The Arabs, he tells us, view the world in "primary colors, or rather [in] black and white." They are dogmatic. They despise doubt. They deal only in certainties, in truth or untruth, belief and unbelief. Their thoughts are "at ease only in extremes." They don't think with their brains but with their instincts. They don't trust institutions, only individuals. He further speaks of their "hardness of belief, almost mathematical in its limitations and repellent in its unsympathetic form." They are "a limited, narrow-minded people. They invented no systems of philosophy." They were easily manipulated by the Turks who "led them by subtle dissension to distrust one another."

This book was published in 1926 and has been translated and read in many languages. Which is why I smile whenever I am urged not to hang our dirty linen in public. To think that there are still "smart" Armenians (self-assessed, of course) who think we don't stand naked in the world.



TALAAT & CO.
***********************
On several occasions readers have pointed out to me that Armenians have many reasons to distrust Jews, one of them being that the Young Turks were Jews from Salonica. According to T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, author of THE SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM: "The shallow and half-polished committee of the Young Turks were descendants of Greeks, Albanians, Circassians, Bulgars, Armenians, Jews – anything but Seljuks or Ottomans." I suppose this may also explain why Armenians have more than one reason to distrust their fellow Armenians in view of the fact that Sultan Abdulhamid II was half-Armenian on his mother’s side. To my anti-Semitic friends I say: Lust for power is thicker, much thicker, than blood. If you want to distrust a category or group, distrust, even loathe and hate, politicians or partisans who are motivated not to serve their fellow men as public servants but to satisfy their lust for power.



On American Foreign Policy
****************************************
The question is often raised: Why does American support corrupt despots? I shall try to answer this question not as a pundit but as a layman who follows the news and the occasional debate on TV and has read a handful of books on the subject.

America has fought a murderous world war against dictators. The only time it has supported corrupt despots is when the alternative would have been dealing with a hostile Communist-style regime in the manner of Castro. But if America democratized Japan and Germany, why not the Arabs and the Latinos?

If America thrusts democracy on despotic regime, the very same people who now criticize it for supporting despots, would criticize it for interfering in the internal affairs of countries and violating their traditional and cultural values.

Besides, according to a recent widely read study (Francis Fukuyama's THE END OF HISTORY) all totalitarian systems are moving in the direction of democracy on their own, very much like the countries of the USSR, because it is becoming clear that individual freedom is the most reliable and enduring source of strength (a truism that was known to the ancient Greeks 2500 years ago).

For more on the complexities American foreign policy, see Kissinger's Memoirs (in several thick volumes). Please note that Kissinger's mindset is not American but Continental. Two of his role models are Talleyrand (a minister of foreign affairs under Napoleon and Louis XVIII) and Toynbee (the historian who authored several books on Turks and Armenians).

For the complexities of Middle-Eastern affairs, see T.E. Lawrence's SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM. Far from being an adventures story, this is a highly erudite work that bristles with detail.

Even better, compare American foreign policy to that of any empire known to man - from the Roman to the Ottoman and Soviet - or nation of Europe or Asia, from Franco's Spain and Mussolini's Italy, to Hitler's Germany, De Gaulle's France, and Levon Der Bedrossian's Armenia



Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow
********************************************
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict exposes an aspect of our Genocide that so far may have escaped notice.

When Ambassador Morgenthau pointed out to Talaat that not all Armenians were guilty, Talaat is said to have replied: "They may not be guilty today but after what we have done to them we cannot count on their innocence forever," or words to that effect. In other words: If you don't exterminate the whole tribe today, you may end up prolonging the conflict ad infinitum and ad nauseam.

If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues indefinitely, as tribal feuds tend to do in the Middle East, the number of casualties may reach, perhaps even exceed, the number of victims of World War I in the Ottoman Empire. To put it differently: our children and grandchildren would be busy pelting stones and being shot at in Istanbul, Izmir and Van, we would be making headlines in the international press every day (to the annoyance, perhaps even disgust, of the entire world) and an international array of pundits would pontificate and say: "The Armeno-Turkish problem has no solution."



IN CONCLUSION
***********************
Like most oppressed people we are the double victims of two sets of despots: foreign and domestic.

During World War II Armenians fought and killed one another in the name of Stalin and Hitler. If the Armenians on Stalin’s sides had no choice, what about the Armenians on Hitler’s side? Who coerced or brainwashed them? Did they believe in Hitler’s promise to liberate Armenia?

We were victims of genocide because we were oppressed by the Turks.

We were oppressed by the Turks because we were defeated by them.

We were defeated by them because our little despots failed to detribalize and unite the people. And they failed to do that because they were too busy protecting and defending their own little despotic powers and privileges.

We have been and continue to be double victims: victims of the enemy and victims of our own tribal little despots.

Ignorance produces despots and despots rule over the ignorant. Ignorance of history produces political dupes who believe in the most outrageous lies, such as: when Hitler promises, he delivers; when bin Laden says Americans are evil, he speaks the truth; and when mullahs say Jews are bloodsuckers, they can't be wrong.



OSHAGAN
*********************
"No one understands the Turks as well as we do," Oshagan once bragged; and after the Genocide he said: "Our revolutionaries failed because they formed only tiny islands in a Turkish sea."

Please note the antiseptic euphemism here: "Our revolutionaries failed," as opposed to "we suffered a genocide," or "a million and a half innocent Armenians were slaughtered."

That’s the problems with us: we brag. We brag a lot. And when it comes to learning from the lessons of history, we come up with reasons that are no reasons at all but we readily accept them as such.

If we understood the Turks, why is it that Zohrab (a highly sophisticated author, lawyer, diplomat) saved Talaat’s life?

And did we have to be massacred by the million in order to make the earth-shaking discovery that we formed only tiny islands in a hostile sea? Are we to assume our revolutionaries operated on the assumption that the Turks were the islands and we were the sea? How many more centuries did we have to live under the Turks in order to discover that they were a majority and we were a minority? And how many more massacres did we have to witness and experience before it became abundantly clear to our revolutionaries that the Turks were capable of committing genocide?

Zarian once called Oshagan Eshagan (English equivalent: Jack S. Avanakian). But to this day West-Armenians worship Oshagan as the greatest writer of the 20th century and look down at Zarian because he was an East-Armenian. It is to be noted that Oshagan himself was not exactly a fan of East-Armenians. He treated them as creatures from a different tribe. "They are incapable of understand us," he said. And he himself made no effort to understand them, including Zarian. He understood Turks or he said he did. But he did not care to understand his fellow Armenians. There you have it: tribalism in action.



1. Armenian history as written by Armenians is only one side of the story. If our dead could only speak!

2. One must have a mind able to perform contortions of diabolical complexity to believe that Armenians are smart and Turks dumb, and to know that for six centuries they were our masters and we their slaves.

3. They crap on me because they say I am too critical of Armenians, and they don't see crapping on a fellow Armenian as too critical but as fair, just, and patriotic.

4. When a democratically elected leader commits a blunder, his successors correct it; but when a despot makes a blunder he builds more monuments, palaces, and underground bunkers.



1. Those who speak of rules will never agree with those who speak of exceptions.

2. One thing that writing for Armenians has taught me: If you expose a falsehood you make a thousand enemies.

3. To some Armenians to assimilate means to die as an Armenian in order to be reborn as a human being; to others it means committing identity-suicide or self-genocide. Who is right? The jury is out on that one.

4. What is the difference between the Ottoman police at the turn of the century silencing the Sultan?s critics and Armenian editors in the Diaspora today who silence their boss?s critics? What do we accomplish if we replace one Sultan with many mini-ones?

5. What the Middle East needs now is an organized religion that will teach its adherents to kill themselves without killing innocent civilians. If that happens, the Middle East problem will at last have found its solution.

6. Turks seems to be the central concern of our partisan papers. If you don't believe me try the following experiment: next time you get hold of a partisan paper, separate the headlines that refer to Turks and Azeris from those that refer to Armenians and don't be surprised if the first outnumber the second.



JUST A THOUGHT
****************************
When Armenians say Armenians are incapable of committing massacres, I don't believe them. When Turks say Armenians massacred more Turks, then Turks massacred Armenians, I don't believe them either. But when a Russian eyewitness writes that Armenians massacred Turks with the same savagery as the Turks massacred Armenians. I begin to have second thoughts, and one of the first second thoughts I have is that perhaps we are not members of a morally superior race; neither are we unique or different. Perhaps we are the same as everyone else, including Turks.

To those who say Turks rewrite history, I say, so does everyone else and we are no exception.

To those who say Turks are guilty of genocide, I say so are Jews (according to the Old Testament) and Greeks (according to their own historians), and more recently Americans and Germans (ditto). Hindus in India have massacred millions of Muslims and vice versa.

I could go on mentioning Spanish conquistadors, Pakistanis in Bangladesh, Russians in the Caucasus, Zulus and Tutsis in Africa (or is it Hutus?)….

Why am I so eager to prove that our claim of uniqueness is bogus? Because if we are not unique neither are our problems;

and if others can solve their problems, so can we;

and anyone else who says otherwise is a liar and an enemy;

and because I say that I will be called a liar and enemy, of course – which, in case you didn't known, is known in academic circles as the "blah-blah-blah school of criticism."



1. Writing for Armenians is like preaching vegetarianism to an audience of cannibals. If you come out of it alive you should consider yourself the luckiest man on earth.

2. My best allies are the colossal egos of my enemies.

3. We talk too much about God and Country and not enough about honesty. It should be the other way around. Only then may we count on God's cooperation.

4. Among Armenians, if you don't know somebody who knows somebody you might as well resign to your present status as a nobody.

5. If you haven't read the writers who were killed by Talaat and Stalin or silenced by our partisans in the Diaspora, on whose side are you?

6. To how many of my fellow Armenians I could say: Recover your humanity, you have nothing to lose but your Ottomanism.

7. The main purpose of an Armenian political platform is to organize hatred: hatred for the Turks and, above all, hatred for the opposition. The rest is mumbo jumbo.

8. With enough checks and balances even a mediocrity may behave like a statesman. Without checks and balance even the greatest statesman may behave like a serial killer.

9. I think it was Verdi who once observed that sometimes your enemies are a better source of publicity than your friends,



When as a boy I became interested in literature and spent endless hours in the company of books, I was warned against a literary career. "You'll starve!" they said. Not me, I thought. I wasn't going to be one of those mediocre vodanavorjis who deserve to be starved anyway. (Please, remember that I was brought up in an Ottoman environment among survivors of the Genocide most of whom not only spoke in Turkish but also thought and felt in Turkish). I dismissed their warnings as alarmist. I was going to be different. I was going to be better. Nobody ever told me that among Armenians the better you are the harder they starve you.



On Second Thought
****************************
Do I want to see my fellow Armenians united?
Hell no!
People are seldom united for a good cause or reason.
What is politics if not organized hatred?
At the turn of the century the Turks were united against us.
Today we are united (more or less, of course) against them.
The Germans were united against the Jews;
the Russians against bourgeois decadence;
and the Muslims are united today (more or less, of course, as all tribal
people tend to be when it comes to consensus) against Israel and all its
supporters.

Even when hatred succeeds in destroying the enemy,
it invariably ends up destroying itself.
Call me anything you want but not a frustrated despot
who wants to unite his people against a common enemy.
What I really want instead is to see my fellow Armenians as worthy
citizens of the world who make positive contributions to their respective
communities and the world at large (yes, including Turkey).
Call me a dreamer or a daydreamer or even a utopian mental masturbator!
After being called a son of a whore and a preacher,
anything else is bound to be an improvement.

In one of Russellss autobiographical books, written when he was eighty, I come across the following passage: "In the modern world, if communities are unhappy, it is because they choose to be so. Or, to speak more precisely, because they have ignorances, habits, beliefs, and passions, which are dearer to them than happiness or even life."*

But according to our dime a dozen pundits, there is nothing wrong with our "habits, beliefs, and passions." As for our "ignorances": Impossible! Absurd!! Unheard of!!! We are, after all, a nation of experts on any given subject; so much so that, if you give us five minutes, we will solve any international problem you care to mention - from the Middle East to the United States, and from the Balkans to Patagonia.

As for solving our own problems: we have none, of course. Our problems are not ours but someone else's: Turkish barbarism, the double-talk of the Great Powers, Yankee imperialism, Jewish villainy, and, if you talk to a partisan: the opposition.

Which is where Russell comes in: We are unhappy, he tells us, because we have many problems. We have problems because we choose to have them. We choose to have them because we are infatuated with our own prejudices, fallacies, recycled chauvinist crap, and ignorance. And because we refuse to acknowledge this fact, we guarantee the survival of our problems even if their survival means our own extinction.

*Bertrand Russell, PORTRAITS FROM MEMORY AND OTHER ESSAYS. London: George
Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1956, page 54.



1. When I went into this business I made a commitment to be courteous to all my critics no matter how rude, ignorant, and fanatical. But I now know something I didn't know then: there are so many of them that it is much more practical to ignore the buggers.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. "He who seeking asses found a kingdom." When I first read this line in Milton's PARADISE REGAINED, I thought: So far many asses but not even the shadow of a miserable igloo.

5. To how many of my so-called patriotic readers I could say: "Dear friend, no matter how hard I try I can't take you seriously because your thoughts used to be mine when I was a brainwashed boy of nine."




What's happening today in Argentina happens with us every day with one difference however.
Instead of rioting we either emigrate or join the ranks of the alienated majority.
If you were to ask the rioters in Buenos Aires why they are rioting, they will reply: "The economy, stupid!"

If you were to ask the Armenians who emigrate why they are emigrating, they will give you the same answer. But if you were to ask the alienated Armenians, you will probably get no answer.

That's the way it is with the alienated: they are too alienated to explain the obvious.

And on those very rare occasions when they take it upon themselves to explain (as I have been doing during the last two decades)

they are verbally abused in several languages
- Armenian, English, Turkish, and sometimes even in Arabic.



QUATRAIN
*****************
Of certain men
One could truly say:
"He is worse than a Turk.
He is an Armenian!"



THE JACKASS AND THE RAT
************************************
Once upon a time, or as we say in Armenian, there was once and there was not (gar ou chigar)a jackass and a rat.

Gentle reader, if at this point you identified yourself with either the jackass or the rat, you do not qualify as a gentle reader but as a prejudiced one, that is to say, you are a hostile reader and an enemy.

This parable is not for you.
Nothing I say or write is for you.
Please do not read me any more.
I don't need enemies.

As an Armenian I have enough of them already -- more than my share, as a matter of fact. I need friendly readers. I need friends.

But perhaps I will have better luck
looking for them in the animal kingdom, including jackasses and rats.

May I confess that I don't always like what I write;
but there are things that must be said
and things that write themselves, so to speak,
without any effort on my part --
as though my hand were driven by reality itself.
What I can't understand are Armenians
who hate me but go on reading everything I write
as if I were rearranging reality for them
and they don't like what they see;
and instead of saying "You don't know what you are talking about!"
they insult me, thus confirming everything I say
about Armenian intolerance, tribalism, and Ottomanism.
Some even go down into the gutter hoping I will join them there,
and when I fail to do so,
they become more irrational.
It is as if they were saying:
"If you think I am as bad as a Turk, then, by jingo!
I will behave like one!"
instead of: "I will prove you are wrong
by behaving like a civilized, tolerant Armenian
and a worthy member of the first nation
that accepted Christianity whose central message is
compassion, forgiveness, and love."

Some may think what follows is about love;
others may think otherwise.
I will let the reader decide.
Last night while reading the diary of a contemporary writer
I came across the name of Pierre Lot,
a turn-of-the-century French novelist
familiar to Armenians for his love of Turks and hatred of Armenians.
I remember, when I first heard of this as a boy,
I ascribed it to some kind of incomprehensible human perversity.
How can civilized man and a famous author to boot
love Turks after knowing what they had done to us?
And why did he hate Armenians?
What possible harm had we done him?
I am older now and the years have enhanced
my understanding and tolerance of human eccentricities and predilections.

With a little effort I think I could understand Pierre Lot.
I could even understand the Armenian-American poet
(who shall remain nameless)
who after a short visit to Turkey
wrote me a letter in which he said
he found Turks much more lovable than Armenians.
I now see nothing incomprehensible in that,
as I see nothing incomprehensible in William Saroyan
saying that we Armenians should feel sorry for Turks.
One reason I am now more favorably disposed
towards those who hate Armenians is that
I have witnessed and even experienced on my own skin

Armenian hatred of Armenian.
If Armenians can hate their fellow Armenians,
why not a French writer?
Who knows, maybe there will come a time
when Armenians will learn to love their fellow Armenians
after they learn to love Turks.
But perhaps not even then?.


Ara Baliozian





Disclaimer:
Ara is on holiday at present and above was from Ara's writings in 2001
It may contain some errors due to a software compiler.
Editor




Reader's Comment

Dear Murat Istanbul, 22.05.2007

Now that you have experienced that I am not careful or in control of my English, (which you had interpreted that I had some hidden political ambitions at age 77 ?) let me comment on your last bulletin 1703 of Ara Baliozian.

My dear, since I try not to miss Ara’s satiric lines, I had everything printed which took 18 full pages, in narrow arial, too much to read in one day, especially from the screen, since I assume that there should not be too many persons making prints of the stuff and reading each line or word carefully. Next time, I would suggest that you limit the Ara comments to about 3 – 4 pages so that “nothing is scrapped for being too much”.

Although these are all old posts, they stand fresh and much alive today. I have made some notes, and certainly I would be able to comment on everything, 95% of which I agree with. Yet, I prefer not to do, so that we don’t get tangled in a too long or boring dialogue or panel discussion.

Actually, everything he has commented on, can be nicely chatted about over a much longer period of time with bilateral, arguments, jokes, evidences etc. Other than the “Turcophobia” that has become the “lungs of Armenianism” I see nothing unknown to me, with reasonable explanation of humanist failures!

At least in my community, or even wider gatherings, I have never heard antagonist sayings or prejudices against any race, faith or nation, be it Armenians or others. We are not taught, nor have the need to live by feelings of hatred. It is unbelievable to experience such a widespread psychological disease, of being “anti-anything related to Turks, for such a long period of time and blame others, to find satisfaction of being rightful, clever but victimized on all failures… However, if you study the matter like I did, you find out that hate and victimization is the string that holds the beads of diaspora’s Armenian identity together, and a few unknown brains behind stages, must keep this hate and propaganda game together, showing the compensation carrot jackpot prize, within reach, to keep turning the wheels of profits for lawyers, propagandist panchoonies, etc. With the documents and references (and logics) I have, I can easily prove that several presumptions are wrong. The Turkish side, has never claimed that there is no blood on our hands. I think that any one who reads the Dutch paper “ Algemeen Handelsblad Amsterdam” of 25.5.1920 and Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung of 24.7.1921, and/or a complete list of various American newspapers and their headlines, can easily get an opinion of what really happened, taking a guess of the reciprocal butcheries, which is related to the human’s own character, and not his race or faith! I have been interested in the subject simply because of my individual values as a human, and I would be much pleased if my friend Ara, whom I admire for his free and loud thinking, could sometimes forget his nationality or religion and live today, instead of searching satisfaction in yesterday, which was not our own doings and is too late to change… and yet many persons fail to learn lessons from the suffered calamities, they propagate to prove how smart and right they always are… Actually, I would imagine that there are many things I would like to learn from Ara, and he would be amazed that many things he believed to be true, were untrue. If Ara had read but only Katchaznuni’s, Lalain and Nassibian’s books, even that much could have been enough to show the other side of the coin, which he sometimes mentions, much to the displeasure of the “Ottomanized Armenians”.

I am sending a cc of my letter which just went out to some friends in USA, which is very interesting and true. Since this may hurt some feelings, if you wish, I would suggest that you post only the article of Orhan Tarhan, which I find very eloquent, sincere and true.

Compliments on your team Work, you are fabulously good

Sukru S. Aya

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