2978) “We May Think Of Turks As Backward Asiatic Slobs,” Shahan Shahnour . . .

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“We may think of Turks as backward Asiatic slobs,” Shahan Shahnour warns us somewhere, “but make no mistake about it: when it comes to Armenians, they can be very, very calculating and methodical.”
If the intention of the Protocols was to pit the Diaspora against the Homeland, it was must be declared a brilliant coup -- judging by the Diaspora's venomous opposition to the regime in Yerevan.
The Turks are now imposing punitive taxation on their media barons critical of the regime. It seems they respect a free press as much as we do.
I will never forget the conversation I once had with the publisher of a bilingual (English-Armenian) weekly in Los Angeles. He began by informing me that he had received a call from the secretary of a national benefactor.
“What did he want?” I asked, smelling a rat.. . .
“He demanded why I go on publishing you,” was his reply.
“And you said?”
“I said I edit only the Armenian section, someone else handles the English section.”
“Did he buy that?”
I guess he didn't because shortly thereafter I was fired with no explanation, severance pay, or even a thank you note for my decade -long pro bono weekly contributions of book reviews, commentaries, and translations.

“Deal may end Turkish-Armenian friction,” reads the headline of a commentary on the Protocols by a British pundit. So far however it has succeeded only in increasing Diaspora-Homeland friction.
According to a British diplomat, also quoted in today's paper: “Africans as a whole are not only not averse to cutting off their nose to spite their face; they regard such an operation as a triumph of cosmetic surgery.”
My first thought: That makes two of us.
If you can't explain the inexplicable, what's the use of writing?
Every morning on waking up sometimes I fail to remind myself that the sun does not rise to hear me crowing.

“A dog starved at his master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.” (William Blake)
To understand history means to see the connecting tissue that binds two apparently unrelated occurrences. Naregatsi's lamentations and a thousand years of subservience. Abovian's suicide and the Genocide. Tolstoy's excommunication and the Russian revolution. The persecution of dissenters and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Perhaps one reason we don't behead our “kings” is that they know how to flatter our vanity. Example: We are a young nation and the oldest civilization.
If on occasion I insult my fellow Armenians it may be because so far flattery has not worked for us.
If they massacred us because they hated us, does that justify our own hatred for them? What if hatred is toxic to our understanding of our enemies, or for that matter of our friends, and ultimately of ourselves and reality?
I never say anything about others that I am not prepared to say about myself. It is through my own failings that I recognize them in others.

Someone voices an opinion, another develops it, a third sees an idea in it, and a fourth formulates a general theory. That's how human thought is advanced. But where there is intolerance, there will be censorship, and where there is censorship, progress will be arrested, creativity aborted, and man moronized.
I too am a survivor – not of Turkish atrocities but of moronized fellow countrymen.
All men are created equal, but some men are in a better position to say one thing, do the opposite, and get away with murder.
Like most men I was educated to be a dupe, but unlike most men I continued to be one even in my advanced years. When an Armenian writer from Beirut once told me he had given up writing because several of his masterpieces had burned during the civil war in Beirut, I believed him. But when I mentioned this to another writer from Beirut, I was told that's a favorite cliché of Beirutsi intellectuals – to blame the non-existence of their works on the war.
What we need is an Armenian Human Rights Commission that will expose our dismal human rights record. We are either for human rights or against it. If we are against it, we must be for Levantine charlatanism, Soviet brutality, and Asiatic barbarism.
We have a veritable alphabet soup of organizations and bureaucracies run by Levantine wheeler-dealers in the Diaspora and former commissars in the Homeland. What we don't have and need badly is a Human Rights Commission.
Bureaucrats are bureaucrats regardless of nationality. Unchecked by watchdog agencies, they will grab as much power as they can. But what I find even more repellent than power-hungry bureaucrats is the silence of our academics and intellectuals. Mart bidi ch'ellank.
I wonder, do Turks have a Human Rights Commission? If they don't, in what way are we different from them? If they do, is it conceivable that they are more civilized than we are? Something to think about.

Rabbis, imams, sultans and their Christian counterparts in the West: They may believe they speak in the name of God but they speak in the name of a figment of their imagination in which they are, if not God, than one with the Almighty. What makes them powerful is their connection with the collective unconscious, and the unconscious is the source of all evil.
You begin to think for yourself only on the day you begin to see the Big Lie that is at the root of all propaganda lines.
Call a military defeat a moral victory and you've got yourself a win-win proposition; which may suggest that, in addition to being the first nation to convert to Christianity, we may also qualify as the first nation to be taken in by the "massals" of spin doctors.
We have been careless in our choice of enemies and even more careless in our choice of friends who can be even more dangerous than enemies. Our leaders did not massacre us, true, they only made us more vulnerable to massacres.
There has been so much oppression, injustice, and slavery in the world that one is tempted to conclude God may not always be on the side of equality, liberty, and fraternity.

The Jews worshiped Jehovah,
the Greeks Jupiter,
the Russians Jugashvili,
and the Yanks the Almighty –
and I don't mean the Good Lord.
If you see progress here,
I must be blind.
The Turks are a nasty folk,
and so am I
because I refuse to be bamboozled.
Sartre was an atheist.
He believed in freedom
but supported Stalin, Mao, and Castro,
not exactly friends of freedom.
Sartre's master was Heidegger
whose master was Hitler.
In the Ottoman Empire
we were brainwashed
to be loyal subjects of the Sultan.
In the Soviet Union
we were brainwashed to be good comrades
and to kill and die for the Union,
but mostly to die.
We are now being brainwashed
by the brainwashed
to believe we are in good hands.
Now then, go ahead and say
you see a light at the end of the tunnel,
because speaking for myself,
I don't even see a tunnel --
probably because I am blind.

Because history is the propaganda of the victor, we have made of it the consolation of the loser. Our revolutionaries assert they were not terrorists, they were freedom fighters. Americans are familiar with that line and they don't buy it. That's why when it comes to Genocide recognition they side with the Turks. They have other reasons. Imperial powers have neither friends nor enemies, only interests, and American interests are not on our side. We are of no use to them – except in time of elections when they are more than willing to tell us what we want to hear and we are more than willing to believe them. Being dupes comes naturally to us. It might as well be a habit, an addiction, a gorilla on our collective back impossible to shake off. Americans know this. So do our own leaders, whose lies are as bare-faced as those of Yanks running for office.
The average book on Turkish atrocities is another atrocity. In our efforts to paint them all black and ourselves all white, we succeed only in exposing our propaganda and damaging our credibility.
I am reading a new book on the Genocide in which our deportations during World War I are compared to the Japanese deportations in America during World War II. There are “loaded” comparisons as surely as there are loaded questions and as such they should be inadmissible, and those who make them ought to know better. It would be fairer to compare the treatment of Blacks and Indians in America with the treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
So far no book by an Armenian comes close to explaining why a writer of Siamanto's stature hated life in America so much that he preferred to return to Istanbul knowing full well that he could be butchered. Which he was. Or why an intellectual like Roupen Sevag, a medical doctor by profession and another victim of the Genocide, defended the Turks to his German fiancée when she was critical of them and wanted to convince him to move to Europe.
Speaking of Oshagan, Zarian writes somewhere that when writers like him speak of Homeland they don't mean Armenia but Istanbul. Several decades before the massacres, Raffi warned the Ottoman Empire was no place for Armenians. And notwithstanding Zarian's own repeated warnings that Soviet Armenia was no place for Armenians, American-educated Totovents and Sorbonne-educated Zabel Yessayan returned to Armenia only to perish in Stalin's Gulags. If our ablest intellectuals behave like dupes, why should we be surprised that there are still Armenians who trust our wheeler-dealers who try to brainwash us into believing we are in good hands and we have nothing to worry about?

Our leaders must be celebrating.
They now have another reason to divide the nation.
Why do they oppose the findings of an independent commission?
Words on a piece of paper, agreements, treaties: they can't change reality. They have been ignored in the past, many times, and they can be ignored again. They are binding only if we allow them to bind us, and no one has the power to do that.
Who takes politicians and academics seriously?
A so-called impartial commission does not scare me. It is here today, heard tomorrow, forgotten the day after.
Relax! The sky isn't falling.
Nothing can be more naïve than to confuse the verbal commitments of diplomats with accomplished facts.
If, say, ten or a hundred years from now, an independent commission were to decide there is no God, do you think believers will give up their faith? They didn't under Lenin, Stalin, Mao and their kind.
And speaking of God: the Scriptures tell us, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” And yet our leaders keep dividing us. If they can ignore the Word of the Almighty, why can't they ignore the empty verbiage of a commission? If only they had been more skeptical a hundred years ago and ignored the verbal support of the West! There would have been no Genocide and no Genocide commission deciding whether the Genocide was in fact a genocide.
The daily quotation of my morning paper today is by Aldous Huxley and it reads: “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
Go ahead, say it ain't so!

The white-haired elder statesman,
the "mi-kich-pogh" Panchoonie,
the apres-moi-le-deluge and
what's-in-it-for-me wheeler-dealer,
the loud-mouth charlatan,
the inbred moron who assesses himself as a genius,
the phony pundit (whose wisdom
is a figment of his imagination --
sometimes even recycled enemy propaganda:
remember our chic Bolsheviks),
the brown-noser,
and the grub-first-then ethics speechifier.
If I speak with some authority on all these types
it's because at one time or another I have been all of them --
all except the white-haired elder statesman --
my hair is black with only a shake of salt in them.
You begin to acquire a moral compass on the day you feel guilty about acts you committed without a single trace of remorse.
If some very smart men profess very stupid belief systems, it may be because the aim of belief systems is not to make sense but to satisfy a need, like hunger. The rest is propaganda.
God is one, but the lies spoken in His name are without number.
To simplify matters for the simple-minded, let us say there are two kinds of people: (one) the brainwashed dupes, and (two) those whose ambition it is to be a human being.
Most Greeks and Turks (probably the overwhelming majority) are neither Greeks nor Turks, only citizens of Greece and Turkey. As for my fellow Armenians, I will speak only for myself: On a clear day I can trace my ancestry all the way back to my father.
History seems to suggest that the most effective way to combat a Big Lie is with bigger lies.

Life is short,
art long, but even longer
is the list of things
that must be said and done.
You say, “Me wrong? Never!”
and I say “How I wish I were wrong.”
I have yet to meet a smart Armenian
who was not self-assessed
and a self-assessed Armenian
who was not a damn fool.
How to succeed as a writer?
I don't know.
But I can tell you how to fail:
Be an Armenian writer.
Michael Arlen succeeded
because he pretended to be an upper-crust Englishman.
Saroyan succeeded because he wrote about characters
that were as imaginary as Winnie the Pooh.
Compare the characters in PAPA, YOU'RE CRAZY
and MAMA, I LOVE YOU with their real counterparts –
himself and his two children
whom he disowned like an enraged grizzly bear.

Christians believe their religion to be the only true one. Muslims, ditto.
Where there is unanimity, “cherchez” the Big Lie.
We brag about being survivors. Imagine a man who survives an accident in which his entire family perishes. Would it even occur to him to brag about his survival?
We are taught to brag by idiots who expect us to see a positive needle in a haystack of negatives.
Zabel Yessayan and Gostan Zarian survived the Turk's yataghan but fell victim to Armenian idiots – the very same idiots who expect us to believe we never had it so good because we are in the best of hands.
The aim of propaganda is to moronize the masses by convincing them not to think for themselves because leaders are the brains of the nation, which amounts to saying the people are brainless.
The French say “Cherchez la femme,” to point out the fact that some very smart men have committed murder because they were infatuated with a worthless slut. Our literature may be said to be a constant battle against our infatuation with empty verbiage. Hence its unpopularity with idiots.

Simenon, the author of over 500 books, believed it is law-abiding citizens who create murderers.
In his ANTI-SEMITE & THE JEW, Sartre asserts that Jews are created by anti-Semites.
Goethe once said that he can't imagine a crime he is not capable of committing. But not even he could have imagined that some day his fellow countrymen would be capable of incinerating millions of innocent civilians.
Speaking of the Armenian massacres, Toynbee tells us, given the right combination of circumstances, we, all of us, are capable of behaving like Turks.
In novels like CRIME & PUNISHMENT and THE POSSESSED (sometimes also translated as THE DEVILS), Dostoevsky identifies himself with characters who commit unspeakable acts to such a degree that he leaves no doubt as to his inner drives.
Long before the writers and thinkers mentioned above, our own Naregatsi described himself as someone a respectable citizen wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole.
Moral: Only self-righteous and self-satisfied idiots assert moral or racial superiority.

I don't understand why some Armenians consider the phrase “I don't understand” unArmenian.
Whenever I agree with a writer, I feel as though one of us were redundant. Which is why I find disagreement more stimulating, provided of course it is not an expression of prejudice or oneupmanship.
How Armenian are we when our cuisine and music share more features with contemporary Turkey than with 5th-century Armenia? I don't mention art and literature because it is extremely difficult to speak of the shadow of a black hat in a dark room.
When two people believe God or Truth to be on their side and they contradict each other, it is safe to assume it is not God or Truth that they share but Big Lies and the Devil.
What if God exists but wants to remain anonymous, inaccessible, and incomprehensible?
Isn't it absurd to think that after a burst of creativity God called it quits and retired? It makes more sense to assume that He is creating other universes in other dimensions even as I write these lines? -- if, that is, the principle of consistency (“Unless something very drastic happens, tomorrow will be the same as today”) applies.

Our greatest obstacle to progress is our conviction that we are so damn smart that we can do no wrong.
History speaks louder than propaganda, but not to the deaf.
How smart are we if it took us 600 years to figure them out?
Being smart and being a dupe are mutually exclusive concepts.
No one is smart enough to tell an Armenian something he doesn't already know.
If I were to name my greatest enemy, it would've to be unawareness of my own ignorance.
Reading words, understanding their meaning, and placing the meaning in its historical context are three separate operations and require three different disciplines.
An idea that is against our own interests may not be anti-Armenian in the same way that being a law-abiding citizen and saying yes to authority may not be patriotic.
Ideas and imagination, intention and action, reality and fantasy: there are no sharp dividing lines between them. With a good lawyer one could plead not guilty, even when guilty as hell, make a good enough case to a jury of one's peers, and get away with murder.
There is no such thing as a sterile idea, only sterile minds.
Socrates and Christ have taught me, to say what must be said can be a capital offense.
I can't imagine anything more unpleasant and dangerous than a mind without doubts.

The only thing that so far has changed in our collective existence is the size and nature of our blunders.
To make plans without taking into consideration the unforeseen, the unknown, and the unknowable is to court disaster.
The apologists of the Wall Street bonus scandal call it “an insignificant fraction of the bailout money.” That's what they said about Watergate too -- “a third-rate burglary.”
I once heard an Armenian from the Homeland say, “So what if he [Nixon] lied? They lie to us every day.”
I look forward to the day when capitalism will bite the dust as communism did.
They gave the Nobel Prize to Arafat and Kissinger but not to Tolstoy and Gandhi. And when they awarded the Prize to Thomas Mann they did so not for THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN but for BUDDENBROOKS.
Had Hitler won World War II, he too would have been considered for the Nobel Prize “for pacifying the West after thirty centuries of almost ceaseless internecine conflicts.”
“After Hitler won World War II...” What a novel one could write with such a first line!
Before you dare to disagree with an Armenian, consider the words of an old wise man: “When you fight with a pig, you both get dirty, but only the pig likes it.”

Better a bad haiku than a mediocre sonnet.
In writing the principle that never fails is brevity. Keep it short!
A paragraph may be admirable in its beauty and complexity,
but it is one-liners that stick to one's mind.
“To be or not to be...”
“Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains.”
“A bourgeois is a bourgeois regardless of nationality.”
“An Armenian's tongue is sharper than a Turk's yataghan.”
“Once upon a time we were willing to die for freedom, we are now afraid of free speech.”
To the son of a prostitute who threw a stone at him:
“Be careful, my boy, you may be hitting your father.”
To a bald man who insulted him:
“I congratulate the hairs on your head for abandoning a fool like you.”
On being reprimanded for masturbating in public:
“I wish I could satisfy my hunger as easily.”
In the Middle Ages Armenians ruled empires and they were themselves ruled by Jews (Bagratunis) and the Mamigonians (Chinese). What has nationalism done for us except to divide us further?

In a book of abusive terms I once read that Greeks call Armenians “Turkish gypsies.” That was news to me probably because I seldom ventured outside our ghetto outside Athens – though I was fully aware of the fact that Greeks were not particularly fond of us. Not that they had any reason to be. In their eyes we were unwanted interlopers, D.P.'s (a Canadian abusive term for "displaced people"), who lived crowded in a ghetto that looked like a gypsy encampment.
Speaking of abusive terms: I have met many Armenians from the Homeland and none of them has ever called me “aghber.” If the natives call us “aghber” in the Homeland, why not in the Diaspora?
I suspect they don't call me “aghber” for the same reason that a white man is careful not to use the “n” word while visiting Africa, or refer to the natives as Japs while in Tokyo.
On a number of occasions I have been told when Armenians call their fellow Armenians “aghber,” they mean not “trash” but “brother.” But I happen to know from personal experience that no one can be as abusive to Armenians as a fellow Armenian (see below). If you don't believe me read Naregatsi on Naregatsi. Read Raffi, read Daniel Varoujan on priests, read Baronian, Odian, Massikian, Zarian....
I dare anyone to read Odian's FAMILY, HONOR, MORALITY (Istanbul, 1910) and not think of his fictional characters as dead men walking – not in the sense of inmates on death row but as men so degraded and dehumanized that they might as well be dead. And if you think Armenians today – be they in New York, Los Angeles, or Yerevan – are alive, it may be because we don't have writers of Odian's caliber, only Turcocentric ghazetajis and academics who come alive only when they speak of massacres.
What kind of life is it that is fixated on death?
I shiver to think what would happen to someone like Odian today who would have the courage to speak of Armenians not as they wish to be described but as they are.
Speaking of his tuberculosis, Albert Camus writes: “The illness comes on quickly, but leaves very slowly.” He fails to note that sometimes tuberculosis may even result in death.
Speaking of Armenians being too nice to use abusive terms: I don't mind admitting that on occasion I have myself described some of them as “Ottomanized morons,” “the scum of the earth,” and “inbred morons”-- but always in retaliation of worse insults, whether fairly or unfairly not up to me to decide...remains to be seen...posterity will tell...take your pick!

“[He] looks like an Armenian lace seller than a Turkish general. There is something mouselike about him.”
What does an Armenian lace seller look like? I plead nolo. An Armenian lace seller makes as much sense to me as a Patagonian barber or a Syrian carpenter.
But if you are an American writer writing for an American audience, you can say anything and get away with it.

Oshagan was wrong when he said he could not write like Dostoevsky because Armenians did not have Dostoevksian characters. But Dostoevsky's characters owe more to his imagination than to his fellow countrymen. Even Russian writers like Turgenev and Nabokov found Dostoevsky's characters unRussian. As for Oshagan: since he could not write like Dostoevsky, he chose to write like Proust, whose French characters are even more unArmenian than Raskolnikov and Dimitri Karamazov.
Whenever he saw anything morbid and strange, Turgenev would say, “C'est du Dostoevsky.”
When Chekhov discovered he could make money by writing stories, he gave up medicine – he went on practicing whenever the situation demanded but never charged for his services.
Had Zohrab given up lawyering, he could have been as great a short story writer as Maupassant and Chekhov. There was some money in Armenian literature at the turn of the century in Istanbul but not enough for Zohrab's upper crust lifestyle. To give you an idea how much money there is in Armenian literature today: I am told one of our national benefactors financially supported several writers, among them Shahan Shahnour, by sending them a regular monthly check of $8.00 (eight dollars).
One reason he was great is that he had a great audience. He wrote for kings and queens, and even his queens had cojones. An Armenian writer writes for Levantine philistines in the Diaspora and the offspring of commissars in the Homeland. That's why even Turks are ahead of us in literature.
There is a Turkish saying: “Eshek khoshavdan ne annar?” (What does a jackass know about stewed raisins?”
As for the commissars in the Homeland: they are more like Raskolnikov without a conscience. My guess is, they miss the good old days when they could hunt down and shoot writers like rabbits.

When as a child I first heard the story about the Ottoman Bank takeover by a small band of young revolutionaries in Istanbul, who then negotiated their safe passage to a foreign country, but whose actions provoked the massacre of over 5000 innocent civilians: I admired the daring of our youthful heroes, hated the Turks for their cruelty, and suffered with the blameless victims.
That's when I was a child.
Now that I am no longer a child, I have second thoughts.
What kind of heroism is it when the heroes survive and the people perish?
Our revolutionaries justify this colossal blunder by saying, “We made headlines around the world!”
Maybe. But who gives a damn about headlines in newspapers?
The Genocide that followed made headlines too. And again the ship went down, the people drowned, but our captain survived. And we are now taught to say, Long live the captain!
We are also taught to brag about our will to live; and by “our” they of course mean their cunning to survive.
As for the people: the people exist to serve the nation – meaning the leadership. What we are not taught is that this is another definition of fascism.
In a democracy it's the other way around. The state and the leaders (also known as “public servants”) serve the people.
What do we know about democracy?
I have had an Armenian education and I don't remember anyone mentioning democracy.
To speak of democracy to an Armenian audience amounts to explaining the subtle aroma and flavor of rosejam to a jackass.
“If one has character,” Nietzsche tells us, “one has also one's typical experience that recurs again and again.”
One could also say, “If one has no brain...”

A readiness to speak against one's own interests, or the courage to face and admit openly one's own failings, is the hallmark of an honest man.
By contrast, parading as a holier-than-thou role model is the quintessence of dishonesty.
But the most dangerous form of dishonesty is the assertion that man is fallible in all matters except in his choice of belief systems.
When Gandhi, Einstein, and Thomas Mann were offered the presidency of India, Israel, and East Germany respectively, they said, no thanks. Which reminds me of Plato's dictum that those who seek power are the least qualified to handle it. That to me might as well be the most convincing explanation as to why world history is an endless catalog of lies, disasters, and tragedies.
Our local paper has a literary critic who manages a bookstore. He contributes a regular weekly column devoted to new books and he is unfailingly kind to all the writers he discusses. Who takes him seriously? Only dupes, and there must be quite a few of them because he has been in business for many years.
Closer to home: to defend one's views just because they are one's own, even when the evidence is against them, is another instance of dishonesty. But the most widespread and universal symptom of dishonesty is saying “Yes, sir!” to someone simply because he has more power or money or prestige. Speaking for myself, I don't think those who speak in the name of God and capital (make it, Capital and god) are wiser than the rest of us. If anything, it's the other way around. Which is why I maintain the most egregious case of dishonesty is the assertion by the Catholic Church that in matters of faith the Pope is infallible – an assertion rejected even by some eminent Catholic theologians. Because, if true, all other organized religions, including an important faction of Christians, must be wrong. Which they may well be, but not because they reject the Pope's infallibility.

A writer's two best assets:
the sensitivity of an open wound
and the hide of a rhino.
Money cannot solve our problems.
Money may even exacerbate them.
That's because where money enters,
philistinism is bound to follow.
And where philistinism enters,
mediocrity becomes the dominant mindset.
That's the only reason why
our problems remain unsolved.
As for our so-called “conditions beyond our control”--
they are nothing but convenient cover-up words
for our lack of vision and incompetence.
The biography of a man
duplicates the history of mankind,
with one difference:
what follows the Dark Ages
is not always Enlightenment.
There is so much talk of massacres in our media
that most Armenians are brought up to believe
genocide is the only legitimate violation of human rights.
As for free speech:
no one speaks in its defense because no one cares.

Armenians who oppose the Protocols do so because they are fearful we may lose. Justice, after all, is blind, and the law “is a ass” (Dickens). As a matter of fact, lawyers prefer to speak of evidence and the law rather than justice.
Relying on the evidence of insiders, an Armenian editor once published a critical article about the operation of an Armenian organization headed by a national benefactor,who took him to court; and because the insiders refused to testify against the benefactor (they were either hirelings or recipients of his generosity), the editor not only lost but also had a stroke and went bankrupt. That's justice Armenian style for you.
I have been to court only once in my life – small claims court. My adversary, an incompetent repairman who refused to do what he was paid to do. I took him to court with the absolute certainty that I couldn't lose. But I lost. He lied and the judge believed him and rejected my version of the story on the grounds that I couldn't produce a witness.
Why did I lose? I can think of many reasons. The judge may have been a racist. The repairman, like the judge, had an Anglo-Saxon name. How dare I, an immigrant, question Anglo-Saxon efficiency and integrity?
The judge had had no experience with incompetent or dishonest repairmen – who, after all, would dare to cheat a lawyer or a judge?
The judge's father had been a hard-working repairman who had also been unfairly accused of incompetence...and so on and so forth.
The fact remains that I lost and learned what I should have known all along, namely that, injustice is the price we pay for justice. That's not a contradiction but life, and life, as we all know, is not fair.

George Orwell criticized Dickens for “always pointing to a change of spirit rather than a change of structure.” If Dickens did that, it may be because a change of heart or spirit must precede a change of structure. Before you convert swine, you must introduce them to themselves. In the Soviet Union the structure changed but the heart went from bad to worse.
Dissidents win even when they lose in so far as they keep the tradition of dissent alive.
Both Tevye the Milkman and Bernard Madoff are members of the same tribe. Now then, go ahead and generalize.
It is easy to have all the answers if you ask the wrong questions.
There are two kinds of divisions, (one) dog-eat-dog, and (two) Armenian, and of the two, the second runs deeper.
Honesty and dishonesty are two painfully acquired habits.
If perfection cannot be improvised, it can't be worth achieving. God did not create a perfect world. What's good enough for God, it should be good enough for man.
Power means the power to get away with murder and to have the powerful on your side. Where power enters, justice is orphaned.

In the eyes of God, some wars are just.
Yes, but whose God?
I have been cheated by the poor and I have been cheated by the rich. The difference is that when I was cheated by the rich, they made it look like they were doing me a favor.
What others think of us may be as removed from reality as what we think of ourselves.
I look forward to the day when I will no longer look forward to anything.
Jesus and Torquemada, Marx and Stalin, God and the Devil: Can they be really separated?
There is a type of contradiction that is a symptom not of inconsistency but of ferment.
No one lives long enough to enjoy his immortality.
Our body language is invisible to us.

Speaking of the superficiality of the Byzantine Empire, Zarian remarks somewhere: “Not a single school of philosophy.” By contrast, America may be said to be bursting at the seams with schools of philosophy.
The first time I heard someone say, “Live and let live, that's my philosophy,” I thought he was being funny. It took me a while to realize that he was dead serious. If a cliché can be a philosophy, any moron can parade as a philosopher. Which reminds me of the fact that after the Americans liberated Greece and GIs were seen everywhere in Athens, a new phrase entered the Greek language: “Do you take me for an American?” Meaning, “Do you take me for a moron?”
It must be just about the oldest trick in the world. You want to fool someone? Convince him he is so smart than no one can fool him.
You want to convince an entire race of men to behave like unspeakable barbarians? Convince them into believing they belong to a superior race.
That's why “Life is a bitch,” “Sh*t happens,” and “There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.” That is always why “There are more sorrows on earth than there are stars in heaven.” (Apik Avakian)
Closer to home: Do you need a class of men to behave like neo-Stalinist crypto-commissars? Brainwash a bunch of bullies into thinking they have leadership qualities. That is also why our political leaders are no better than the scum of the earth.

Ara Baliozian

Reader's Comments by Sukru Server Aya

Dear Ara Bey,

This time I give you very short notes, and I know you will understand what I mean.

a. Thank you for your article, I name "Franks and beans" or actually "means". For me not much is new, tastwas like "frankfurters and beans of a cowboy" when your presentation is "frankly with means".

b. Never learn - punitive taxes: Our law applications nowadays in Turkey are resemble the "rules of the whorehouses". Don't ask my friend, it is a full shame!

c. Survivors: With so many survivors, how come they came through when all of them have been verbally killed more than they ever existed?

d. Idiots and Dicta: Religions and their "robed robbers" act in the name of "their own God", not mine or yours! If it was ours, we should have seen some profit!

e. Hemingway on Kemal Ataturk: The phrase is very familiar, but I heard that it was spoken out at Lausanne conference, by some British (may be Lord Curzon or Woodrow Wilson) for Ismet Inonu, who was the head of the delegation and was a thin tiny man.

I do not think that Hemingway ever met Ataturk who never went out of Turkey. Just for the sake of truth, please let me know your source, I can be wrong and I would like to know the truth. Another fact is that I do not remembers "any Armenian lace seller", they were generally Jews only. So, the person who created an Armenian lace seller, was just inventing!

f. JUSTICE and THE LAW: Tell me where you find it to be decent. Nowadays in Armenia and Turkey we have a drought of these life essentials.

Take care friend, you never get tired of talking to them, but doesn2T do much good. Don't worry, same goes true with me as well, this is why we understand each other well. Best regards...

P.S.: Protocols? They cannot bring any results because Diaspora's honey-money collection excuse will have to disappear, with so many jobs lost...

So it has to be a mud slinging conquest to continue for many more years, that neither of us can see it end, despite our talking sense!



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