31 May 2010

3098) Exclusive Interview With Ara Baliozian: " I Would Identify Myself As Someone Who Does His Utmost To Be An Honest Witness"

Armenian papers used to publish his commentaries/book reviews, but they have been turning down his works lately. Most of his notes are highly criticized by Armenians in general and they do anything and everything to silence him and even managed to bar him from many sites.

He always says if he is wrong, correct him, but do not silence him.

Here are few more lines from Ara:

Can an Armenian and a Turk engage in dialogue?
Not if either one or both are brainwashed.
*
Can two Armenians engage in dialogue?
I have to see it to believe it.
*
Dialogue is possible only between two enlightened people. To a brainwashed Armenian, an enlightened Armenian might as well be a Turk. I speak from experience


I believe being criticized is one of the best rewards a writer gets.

Ara is a terrific writer and I have been addicted to reading his work we receive every day of the year for our site.

I remember it was several years ago. Ara did not sent any his posts for a day or two, then for a week, then for a month that we were really concerned about him.

Lara had to ask Murat to visit him in Canada to see if he is OK.

We were all relieved that he happened to be on a trip to Italy for a holiday Murat found out from a lady at his house.

I just wanted to get to know him better by interviewing him and he kindly accepted, even provided his recent photos for this post.

Seda Goulizar
Editor
http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com/


Seda: What was the first piece you ever wrote?

Ara: In Venice in 1954 -- a school composition. it was derivative and not worth discussing or, for that matter, remembering On the other hand, my first book, titled THE ARMENIANS, came out in Toronto in 1975. It was a comissioned work that I wrote in 3 months. 90% of it is recycled propaganda, and 10% unreadable nonsense. It has sold more copies than any other book I have written since -- including translations of such classics as Zarian, Zohrab, and Zabel Yessayan.



Seda: Where do you get most of your ideas and what is your favorite thing you've written?

Ara: I get my ideas from my own personal experiences and encounters and the books I read. My favorite book is FRAGMENTED DREAMS, which is out of print. it was used as a textbook in schools but was banned when parents protested on the grounds that it was not suitable for tender minds -- in other words, it did not contain chauvinist propaganda.

Seda: What do you think makes good writing and how do you make it interesting not boring?

Ara: Good writing is first and foremost readable, and it is brief enough not to bore the reader.

Seda: Why do you seem to prefer the solitude of logic and truth, versus the applause by duplicity and acting nicely in the herd ?

Ara: I prefer to please God (and I don't believe in God) than men (most of whom are programmed to prefer flattery to truth).

Seda: If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Ara: Socrates -- a man after my own heart -- a man who is everything I am not.
My second choice would be J.S. Bach.


Seda: How would you describe yourself to someone who has not read any of your books or writings?

Ara: I would identify myself as someone who does his utmost to be an honest witness.

Seda: What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?

Ara: A concert pianist.

Seda: Can you share a little of your current work -maybe a new book with us please?

Ara: I have given up writing books -- or rather, publishers find me unmarketable. I remember once many years ago a New York literary agent told me: "You write literature, and literature doesn't sell.

Seda: Have you ever written anything that you thought would be controversial and found it wasn't?

Ara: When dealing with prejudiced readers -- and we have so many of them -- anything that deviates from their line of thinking, will be thought of as controversial.

After saying as much I would like to add that not all readers are prejudiced or narrow minded. I have a surprising number of readers who agree with me...with some reservations, of course.


Seda: Who is your target audience?

Ara: Myself when I was young, foolish, and brainwashed.

Seda: What else do you want your readers to know? Consider here your likes and dislikes, your interests and hobbies, your favorite ways to unwind — whatever comes to mind.

Ara: Only one thing: the skill to entertain thoughts that are not their own.

Seda: Give us three "Good to Know" facts about you. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details that would enliven your tell-tale.

Ara: I hate to work for money; and I have had a dozen jobs (in department stores, factories, insurance head office, among others) that I have quit in anger or was fired from by disgruntled bosses when I failed to say "Yes, sir!"

I hate to dance (have danced only once in my life).

The only time I can manage to be friendly with people I don't know is when I am drunk.
.

2 comments:

ssaya said...

Should I wait until Ara gets drunk? Or Should I also get drunk to be "good company in harmony"?

I wish a long healthy and merry life, physically and emotionally!

Fikret Semin said...

Ara Baliozian to me is a great intellectual whose writings help bridge the gap between Turks and Armenians, he somehow reminds me of Hrant Dink. I wish him a long, fruitful life.
Fikret Semin

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