3090) Why Ara Is Not A Celebrated Personality Amongst Armenians? / Interview: Writer Ara Baliozian / Ara Baliozian Reads The Armenians

“A writer’s two best assets: the sensitivity of an open wound and the hide of a rhino,” writes Ara Baliozian on his blog, which houses his daily thoughts on topics ranging from religion, to money, politics, literature and of course Armenian matters. An author and translator, Baliozian’s writing has received a fare share of criticism from Armenian readers, but that doesn’t stop him from dishing out criticism and commentary. . .

Baliozian, born in Greece and educated in Venice, now lives in Kitchener, Canada and has published dozens of books, including “Armenians: Their History and Culture” and “In the New World” and translated many others. He now mostly posts his works on various Armenian internet discussion boards, but took the time out to answer some pertinent questions.

Q: My first question is simple, but perhaps it does not have a quite so simple answer: Why do you write?

A: I write because writing has become a habit and habits, as you know, are easier to keep than to give up.

Q: What is the best advice you can give to an Armenian writer like me?

A: Be honest with yourself and your readers. Do not accept anything on anyone’s authority. In our environment, the higher they rise, the bigger the lies.

Q: Many writers of your generation, whether they’re Armenian or not haven’t adapted to the web as easily as you have. How and when did you start using the Internet to share your writings? What made you do it?

A: I owe my use of the Internet to my good friend Noubar Poladian, who would visit me from Toronto (a distance of 60 miles) regularly in order to teach me how to use the computer even when I said I had no interest in abandoning my old typewriter.

Q: What sort of writing rituals do you have, if any? Is there a specific time of day you write or a place?

A: I write very early in the morning when everyone is asleep and it’s dark outside. I write no more than a single page. I may make notes during the day, most of which I reject in the morning.

Q: What are your thoughts on the protocols between Armenia and Turkey and how do you feel about those in the diaspora who are campaigning against the protocols? If you don’t agree with the protocols, what is the alternative? And what do you feel is the best way for the diaspora to express their concerns?

A: I am all for friendship with our enemies on the grounds that we may get more concessions from them as friends rather than enemies. May I say that I do not take the protocols seriously. But they are a beginning,which is better than no beginning at all. The Homeland and the Diaspora have different priorities. it would be selfish of us to assert our priorities are superior or more urgent than the Homeland’s. Live and let live. Let the Homeland take care of its own. The Turks already know that Armenia does not represent the Diaspora. As for our own concerns: I think the Turks know about them too. If it’s their intention to divide us, let us not fall in their trap.

Q: What kinds of concessions?

A: We could begin by asking the Turks to allow us to take care of our antiquities in Ani, Van, and elsewhere. About territorial concessions: it seems to me if we move in the direction of some kind of Union or freedom of movement within a United States of the Middle East or the Caucasus, the borders of historic Armenia and Azerbaijan may become an irrelevance.

Q: You’ve had your fair share of criticism from many Armenians who disagree with your writings and opinions and have even gone so far as to insult you on many occasions. How do you deal with this and what is it about what you write that upsets Armenians?

A: As a rule, I am insulted by brainwashed readers who have been exposed to countless sermons and speeches but not a single writer. What upsets them is the fact that I refuse to recycle chauvinist propaganda. Things like the Battle of Avarair (which even some of our own historians say it never happened), first nation to convert to Christianity (the real question is: have we ever been good Christians?), first nation to be targeted for Genocide? (why brag about that?) We are smart? In politics we do not even qualify as retards.

Q: You recently wrote on your blog: “I believe the Genocide to be a result of two colossal blunders committed by nationalist fanatics and fools on both sides. It goes without saying that to massacre innocent civilians is a far more serious crime than stupidity or ignorance.Ignorance may be the most innocent of all transgressions but in life it is the most severely punished. If there are inflexible laws in life, this surely must be one of them. And speaking of inflexible laws, here is another: If you refuse to learn from your blunders, you condemn yourself to repeat them. What have we learned from our genocide? What else but to say we are at the mercy of inevitable historic conditions or forces beyond our control? Same mistake, same propaganda, same Big Lie fabricated and recycled by men who are too lazy or stupid to think for themselves.”

Can you explain this a little further - what have been the biggest blunders of the Armenian culture as a whole? How do you feel we can make progress?

A: Our big mistake — or rather the mistake of our revolutionaries — was trusting the verbal commitments of the Great Powers. The idea that their support made us invulnerable. In international diplomacy verbal commitments, even treaties, are worthless if you don’t have the power to implement them.

Our second big mistake is to ascribe our present misfortunes (exodus from the Homeland, and assimilation in the Diaspora — also known as White Genocide — to social, political, and cultural conditions beyond our control…that is to say to assume a passive stance, instead of assuming an active role by getting organized, enhancing our solidarity, ending internecine conflicts and divisions.

Q: Do you have any regrets, either professionally or personally?

A: One of my greatest regrets is that I waited until I was 30 before dedicating my full time to writing.

I should have done it sooner.

Q: Who are your heroes in life?

A: Plato, Gandhi, Thoreau…to mention only three among many others.

Q: If you can pinpoint anyone, who would you say are the best role models/leaders within the Armenian community that Armenians can learn a lot from? Or if you think none exist, can you explain why?

A: We can learn a great deal from our writers — Naregatsi, Raffi, Baronian, Odian, Zohrab, Zarian, Massikian… I don’t know anyone alive today who can come close to them, alas!

Q: Why do you think it is so difficult for Armenians to have a fair and reasoned civil conversation without confrontation, bias or judgment?

A: The brainwashed tend to be dogmatic, that is to say, intolerant, and the intolerant cannot engage in dialogue; they prefer to sermonize and speechify.

Q: When you’re not writing, what do you do in your spare time?

Nothing gives me more pleasure than playing Bach on a pipe organ.

Q: As someone who decided he wanted to be a writer, you could have easily not

written about issues concerning Armenians. Why did you decide to?

A: I began by writing and publishing fiction, for which I was awarded several Canadian literary prizes and government grants — until I realized that the aim of fiction is entertaining the bourgeoisie. To understand and explain reality: that is what I want to do now…and I enjoy it better than writing love stories or, in Sartre’s words, about “the mutual torments of love.”

Q: What are your favorite books?

A: In Armenian: Zarian’s TRAVELLER & HIS ROAD.
In Russian: Turgenev’s FATHERS AND SONS.
In English: Toynbee’s RECONSIDERATIONS.
In French: Sartre’s LES MOTS.
In Greek: ZORBA THE GREEK by Kazantsakis.

Q: What are your favorite Armenian foods?

A: I am a vegetarian.

By Liana Aghajanian / October 13th, 2009

Ara Baliozian Reads The Armenians, Yo’

By Christopher Atamian
April 18, 2009

Ara Baliozian

"Lying is done with words and also ­silence."

-Adrienne Rich

The poetic genre known as the aphorism goes back at least to Hippocrates, in 5th-century B.C.E. Greece. The word aphorism derives from the Greek aphorismos and denotes an original and easily remembered thought, expression, or witticism. Popular aphorists of the past include Pascal, La Rochefoucauld, and Erasmus. Armenians have a practitioner of this rarefied art as well, and he goes by the name of Ara Baliozian.

The author of some 20 books of prose, poetry, and plays, as well as translations of Armenian writers such as Zabel Yessayan and Kostan Zarian, Baliozian was born in Athens, attended the now-­defunct College Moorat-Raphael in Venice, and currently resides in Kitchener, Ontario. His newest work, a slim volume (56 pages) titled Pertinentes Impertinences, is a series of reflections and aphorisms in French translated from English by Denis Donikian, Mireille ­Besnilian, and Dalita Roger, and published last year by Arvesd Aysor in Yerevan.

Baliozian writes about a wide range of topics and people, though he seems particularly at home when perhaps justifiably lambasting Armenian politicians and leaders. Baliozian takes no prisoners - intellectual or otherwise. This hasn't necessarily made him the most popular writer in the Armenian diaspora, though an increasing number of people now read his work with passion and a deep-seated sense of appreciation for his daring to say what so many others think. Whether Baliozian's views represent those of an enlightened minority or of a silent majority, his work should be read by every Armenian, especially when they are young and in their formative stages, as a means of opening their minds to different ideas and ways of thinking about their culture.

In a sense, Baliozian is heir to the Armenian writers before him who dared to analyze and constructively criticize Armenian society. The Armenian mind that Baliozian deconstructs so ably is a direct descendant of the mentality that Hagop Oshagan describes in novels such as Mnatsortats and Haji Murad and that Constantinopolitan writers such as Krikor Zohrab wrote about before the Catastrophe of 1915. "If you want to understand Armenians," Baliozian writes, "don't read their nationalist historians; read instead a history of Armenian literature. The only reason we don't burn writers the way Indians burn widows is that we prefer to ignore them, which amounts to burying them alive." Baliozian on the sacred cows of Armenian culture: "Because I refuse to share their obsession with massacres and money, they call me negative. One way to be positive in their eyes is to adopt ‘Yes, sir!' as a mantra.'" (Both quoted from baliozian.blogspot.com. All quotes that follow are from Pertinentes Impertinences.)

Baliozian's oeuvre is in point of fact rather subversive. He uses repetition to his advantage and hammers away at his iconoclastic thoughts and ideas in the same way that the Armenian press and powers that be have drilled their own propaganda into Armenian minds and hearts for centuries now. It's a welcome counterbalance. While no one would deny, for example, the terrible suffering that successive Ottoman and Turkish governments have inflicted on Armenians and on the Armenian psyche, Baliozian is quick to confront the type of knee-jerk anti-Turkism that portrays Turks as somehow more cruel or barbaric by nature than others: "Our magazines regularly publish so many anti-Turkish commentaries that if our editors were to define what it means to be Armenian, I would imagine they would define it as hating Turks. And to think that these are the exact same people who criticize me under the pretext that I am a repetitive pessimist." (p. 18)

Baliozian's writing is also an intelligent and sometimes humorous call to introspection and societal self-criticism: "An Armenian-American composer admitted to me one day: ‘I hope that Armenians won't support me. I'd be grateful if they spared me their hostility.'" (p. 49) When analyzing the current Armenian craze for all things Gorky, Baliozian recalls the following: "Speaking of Arshile Gorky, one of our elder statesmen once told me: ‘Not a single Armenian bought a painting from Gorky while he was alive.'?" (p. 49)

The author is at his most incisive when taking on taboos in Armenian intellectual history and commenting on the behavior of certain contemporary leaders: "Our charlatans tell us that our patrons, bishops, and do-gooders know better than we do because they speak in the name of God and Capital. And when God and Capital speak, the scribblers are meant to shut their mouths and listen. Otherwise their mouths must be shut for them, that is to say, cut their tongues cut out, in good old Ottoman fashion." (p. 27)

There is isn't much to criticize about Pertinentes Impertinences apart from the fact that Baliozian, perhaps weary of repeating the same mantras that go unheeded, may indeed at times begin to sound repetitive. Baliozian's observations, however, are about as close as any contemporary Armenian writer comes to getting at the truth of things. And as the commonplace aphorism states, the truth will set you free. A fitting coda to this piece and to Baliozian's work comes from Kingsley Amis, whom the author quotes as saying: "If you don't disturb anybody with what you write, then I think there's no point in writing." (p. 47)

All (re)-translations of Baliozian's writing from French to English were made by Christopher Atamian.

Azad-Hye, Dubai, 14 October 2006: After knowing the work of Ara Baliozian (born in Athens 1936, lives in Canada) and the depth of his writings, a question pops up:

Why this author is not a celebrated personality amongst the Armenians? The answer is not difficult to guess. He has been an ardent critic of the Diasporan institutions, never compromising on his principles and always courageous in telling the truth.

These are virtues rarely applauded in our society, where preserving the national identity is equal to keeping old-fashioned traditions. Hence, it is not strange that someone like Baliozian is not known to the wider public.

Below is an interview with Ara Baliozian, followed by brief biography, list of publications and samples of his most recent reflections and quotations.

You are known for your opposition to the traditional way of leading Armenian public life in the Diaspora. Do Armenians in Canada (or anywhere else) lead a different kind of community life, enjoying the benefits of the democratic countries where they have settled?

My anti-establishment views are not exactly mine alone. They belong to our literature from Khorenatsi (5th century) to Zarian (20th century). As for the Armenian community in Canada or anywhere else: they are run by authoritarian and anti-democratic institutions that belong to our political parties and churches. It is an unfortunate fact that we have not yet been thoroughly de-ottomanized and de-sovietized.

Much of what you say is common and known facts but still when it is phrased bluntly it is not appreciated. How do you explain this? Is it something psychological?
Dupes and brainwashed partisans may refuse to see facts, but not Armenians with the minimum degree of common sense and decency.

How many words do you need to describe a present day Armenian? Do you need to use the same vocabulary that used to describe an Armenian of the 1950s or 1920s?
There are basically two different species: The Ottomanized and Sovietized on the one hand and the born-again human beings.

Is there a magical way of solving the existing problems in Armenia? Has there been real diagnosis of the problems?

No magic is needed. Only an enlightened community.

Do you think a strong Armenia will remember the Armenian Diaspora or it will only care for the tax-payers?

I don’t have much trust in politicians and nations as much as individuals. I expect little or nothing from our politicians, whose ethics are lower than a snake’s belly full of buck shot.

What is the most effective way to support Armenia?
By refusing to support the corrupt.

You are known to express lots of ideas in few sentences, but don’t you think that sometimes details could shed more light on a particular subject?
Since I have published 30 books and written literally thousand of commentaries I find there is an overabundance of detail in my writings.

Young Armenians need to see things more clearly: how they can achieve this?
By reading more of our great writers as opposed our self-appointed pundits and academics who have no interest in our literature, only in our Middle Ages and in the massacres.

Do you think that we should work diplomatically with Arab or Islamic countries to explain them our historical presence in the area and encourage them to recognize the Genocide, or this is something that will automatically follow as the World recognizes the Genocide?

The alternative of being diplomatic is to be undiplomatic – not a viable option. As for Genocide recognition: Nations do whatever is in their own best interest. Ethics is for individuals not, it seems, for tribes, nations and empires. The British have a slogan: “We have neither friends nor enemies. Only interests”.

You have translated a lot of literature work into English. Do you think by translating Armenian works into Arabic we gain the attention of the Arabs? What kind of work should we translate?

The best works, of course. But as I said, don’t expect literary masterpieces to change a politician’s mind.



Ara Baliozian is an Armenian – Canadian author, translator, and critic, born in Athens, Greece, 1936. He received his education at the Mekhitarist College of Mourad Raphaelian in Venice, Italy, where he also studied economics and political science at the University of Ca Foscari. He now lives in Ontario, Canada, where he devotes his full time to writing. He has been published in both Armenian and English. He is also the winner of many prizes and government grants for his literary work, which includes fiction, drama, literary criticism, and translations from Armenian, French and Italian. He now mostly posts his works on different Armenian internet discussion boards.

Ara Baliozian's writings

Memoirs and Fiction
- The Horrible Silence: An Autobiographical Novella (Maral Press, 1982)
- In the New World (Voskedar, 1982)
- The Call of the Crane/The Ambitions of a Pig (Voskedar, 1983)
- The Greek Poetess and Other Writings (Impressions Publishers, 1988)

Historiographical Works
- The Armenians: Their History and Culture (AGBU Ararat Press, 1980)
- The Armenian Genocide & The West (Impressions Publishers, 1984)
- Armenia Observed: An Anthology

Critical Works
- Portrait of a Genius and Other Essays (A/G Press, 1980)
- Views/Reviews/Interviews: Critical Articles, Conversations (A/G Press, 1982)
- Voices of Fear (Impressions Publishers, 1989)
- Perseverance: Ara Baliozian and the Armenian Cause (Impressions Publishers, 1990)
- That Promising Reality: New Visions & Values, The Armenian Revival (Impressions Publishers, 1992)
- Definitions: A Critical Companion to Armenian History and Culture (Impressions Publishers, 1998)
- Unpopular Opinions (Impressions Publishers, 1998)
- Fragmented Dreams: Armenians in Diaspora
- Intimate Talk
- Undiplomatic Observations
- Pages from my Diary: 1986-1995
- Conversations with Nazali Bagdasarian

- Puzant Granian, My Land, My People
- Puzant Granian, Selected Poems / 1936-1982
- Zabel Yessayan, The Gardens of Silihdar & Other Writings (Ashod Press, 1982)
- Gostan Zarian, The Traveller & His Road (Ashod Press, 1981)
- Gostan Zarian, Bancoop & the Bones of the Mammoth (Ashod Press, 1982)
- Gostan Zarian, The Island & A Man (Kar Publishing House, 1983)
- Krikor Zohrab, Zohrab: An Introduction (Kar Publishing House, 1985)

- From Plato to Sartre: Wisdom for Armenians
- Armenian wisdom : A Treasury of Quotations & Proverbs
- Dictionary of Armenian Quotations (Impressions Publishers, 1998)


An elegantly dressed, coiffed, and bejeweled lady on Armenian TV spouting all the predictable clichés, among them: “There is corruption in Armenia, certainly! But then there is corruption everywhere, including Canada.” With one important difference: in Canada, when exposed, the corrupt are fired, sometimes even arrested, tried and jailed. Also, I have never heard a Canadian justify corruption by saying there is corruption everywhere.

“We shouldn’t judge our brothers in the Homeland.
Are we better than they?”

True! We are not. We too are at the mercy of charlatans with their perennial Panchoonie punch line, “Mi kich pogh oughargetsek” (Send us a little money); and because I have been saying this, I have become persona non grata, and in the eyes of our chauvinists, an enemy of the people. Besides, if we don’t judge the corrupt, in a way we judge and condemn the victims at the mercy of bloodsucking parasites.

“The police stop and give you a ticket for traffic violations you didn’t commit.”
This may explain why everyone wants to emigrate except the police, who, according to a recent visitor “are the fattest and ugliest men I have ever seen.”

“It may take two generations for our brothers in the Homeland to abandon their Soviet ways.”

Who benefits from this kind of talk? Surely not the victims. As for their victimizers: it is almost as if they were given a license to carry on with the full protection and consent of the people for another forty or fifty years – a license for which they didn’t even apply.

I have said this before and it bears repeating: our national sport is the blame-game: we blame the “red” massacres on the Turks and on the indifference of the Great Powers; the “white” massacre (exodus from the Homeland and assimilation in the Diaspora) on “social, economic, and political conditions beyond our control”; our tribalism on our climate and geography; and now, our corruption on the Kremlin. During the Soviet era I don’t remember any one of our chic Bolsheviks in the Diaspora complaining about Soviet corruption. On the contrary. We were told we were in the best of hands and we never had it so good.

“Let’s not forget that, as a state, Armenia is only a new-born child.”
And yet, when it suits us, we claim to be one of the oldest civilizations, after which we brag about the fact that at a time when most of Europe lived in huts and caves, we enjoyed a Golden Age.

To those who explain and justify our criminal conduct, may I remind them that evil triumphs only when the majority adopt a passive stance and they justify their cowardice, moral moronism, and absence of vision by engaging in charlatanism.

On reading Yervant Odian’s COUNCILMAN’S WIFE (first serialized at the turn of the last century, later published in book form in 1921) one thing becomes abundantly clear: the Armenian community of Istanbul consisted of morally bankrupt schemers (I am being politically correct now, because “a bunch of degenerates” would be closer to the truth) who spent their lives backbiting and plotting against one another.

What has changed? As far as I can see, only one thing: we no longer have writers like Odian willing to write about what they see and experience. What we have instead are academics and self-appointed pundits who, afraid to deal with the dark side of our collective existence (please note that I am not saying community life) feel more comfortable and safe writing about the past, and if it’s not the Middle Ages, it’s the massacres, as if we were history"– I use the word in its colloquial meaning.

If we need two generations to de-Sovietize ourselves, how many generations do we need to de-Ottomanize ourselves?

Where the corrupt are in charge, honesty will be outlawed. Where the mediocre are in charge, excellence will be suppressed. Which is why to adopt a passive stance towards the corrupt and the mediocre is to condemn the nation to the death of a thousand cuts. As for those who like to brag about our resilience, adaptability, and instinct for survival: I suggest, to drag on a degraded existence is worse than death.

Do I repeat myself? Why not? How many times are our clichés and fallacies repeated? And I don’t mean harmless, infantile, and meaningless clichés, like first nation this and first nation that, but dangerous ones, like the one about two generations mentioned above….

Instead of meritocracy we have mediocracy, and instead of honesty we have charlatanism. A corrupt power structure conducts a genocidal policy towards all honest men as surely as Talaat did towards all innocent women and children. Now then, go ahead and parrot the two generations cliché with a clear conscience, if you can.

We were morally and politically right to rise against the Ottoman Empire. But we were dead wrong in our reliance on the verbal commitments of the Great Powers. Which means that even our so-called heroes behaved like dupes; even our so-called revolutionaries lacked self-reliance. And what could be more cowardly than heroes and revolutionaries who are afraid of free speech?

If you make a study of censorship and its victims (from Socrates to Solzhenitsyn) you may notice that its aim is to silence not charlatans and liars but men of integrity and truth. My final question is: Do you really believe some day in forty or fifty years our charlatans and parasites will see the light and usher in another Golden Age?

Somewhere along the line I decided that I knew not only everything I needed to know but also what others needed to know, and ever since then my life has been a concatenation of blunders, among them my decision to be not just a writer but an Armenian writer. I know now that the certainty of being right is the greatest source of error.

What is history? What else but the clash of two sets of charlatans and their dupes?

Not being a historian I must rely on the testimony of historians, and when these historians contradict one another, common sense tells me to rely on historians who are in a better position to be objective and impartial.
This automatically excludes all nationalist, tribal, and partisan historians.

In his efforts to silence me, one of our flunkeys with “leadership qualities” (if you can imagine such an absurdity), once said to me: “Do you really think you are the only writer who has been unfairly treated?” To which I replied: “Of course not. That’s why I speak with the strength of many.”

Since dialogue is anti-Armenian, it follows it is a waste of time to reason with a man you can silence.

Orhan Pamuk was awarded the Nobel Prize for two reasons: (one) in addition to being a good writer, he enjoyed Turkish popular support, and (two) he exposed the lies of Turkish propaganda. You may now guess why so far no Armenian writer has been awarded the Prize.

If we don’t betray them to the authorities, we beat them up or silence them. For Armenians divide themselves only against their enemies…. If you read the biographies of our greatest writers. What am I saying? There are no biographies of Oshagan or Zarian.

If most men disappoint us, it may be because we make too many unreasonable demands on them. On the day we convince ourselves that the average man is very much like ourselves, a bundle of contradictions and a self-centered bastard with the potential of a hero or a saint, we may be more willing to see the potential and to ignore the actual.

As the last but one Pope said when he visited a mosque, both Christians and Muslims believe in the same God who is love, mercy, and compassion. What the good Pope failed to say is that what we believe may well be propaganda.

The true aim of education consists in preparing young minds to oppose injustice even if doing so may be against one’s own self-interest.

Guenter Grass (contemporary German author and winner of the Nobel Prize): “History is a clogged toilet. We flush and flush, but the shit keeps rising.” Why is it that we Armenians are incapable of producing such a sentence?

By ignoring the dark side of our history, we sink deeper into filth. Is it conceivable that we will wake up from this nightmare only on the day we drown?

To pretend that we had nothing to do in shaping our destiny as a nation and by extension our identity, or to pretend the Genocide was engineered by the doubletalk of the West and the savagery of the Turks, is to admit that adopting a passive stance has become an integral part of our identity, and so far we have done nothing to expose this scandal and to combat against it.

The average Armenian thinks all he has to do to discharge his patriotic duty is to make periodic contributions to our Panchoonies.

The average Greek today brags about Socrates but ignores the fact that it was average Greeks like him who condemned him to death. This is true not only of Greeks but also patriots of all nations. Patriotism is unthinkable without propaganda. No one who knows and understands history says, “My country, right or wrong!”

When Jesus said “They know not what they do,” he was talking about the average citizen who is capable of committing the most unspeakable crimes with a clear conscience on the grounds that his conduct is motivated by such selfless and noble principles as obedience to established laws and love of country. Even as he sinks deeper and deeper into filth, he pleads not guilty by reason of unawareness and ignorance.

Suicide is a luxury the very poor can’t afford bcause they are too busy trying to survive.

In a corrupt democracy as soon as you throw one set of rascals out, another set moves in. Very often voting consists in rejecting a barrel of rotten apples for the sake of another.

If you think you know better, sooner or later you will run across someone who knows better.

Only after we reject all role models we may discover our true selves. Role models, even the very best, have the validity of hearsay evidence.

Speaking of his Nazi past, Guenter Grass said, “I was too young to be guilty.” I have every reason to suspect, had Germany won, he would have bragged about his service to the nation.

The only reason I concentrate on our failings is that we are in a position to do something about them. As for the failings of the rest of the world: what's the use of bitching?

Last night on CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation] an interview with a Turkish novelist who was taken to court because in her latest book an Armenian character from San Francisco refers to Turks as “butchers.” The Turks, it seems, are so eager to achieve membership in the European
Union that even a single word in a work of fiction bothers the hell out of them.

In the same way that we are brought up to believe we are a nation of heroes and martyrs, the Turks are brought up to believe they are a nation of empire builders and noble warriors, even if most of their so-called warriors were not Turks but brainwashed and castrated Christians.

Bernard-Henri Levy (contemporary French philosopher): “Israeli writers are better politicians than Israeli politicians because imagination is a necessary ingredient of good politics. By using their imagination, writers are in a better position to understand what it means to be and feel like a Palestinian.”

October 13, 2006

Reach Ara's Earlier Posts Through This Link And When You Finish The Page, Click Older Posts Until You See No More Older Posts Link


ssaya said...

(Anonymus says:)

Salute and best regards of a devoted reader, trying to catch the writer's mistakes in life approach...but cannot find any that is worth responding. Therfore, regards and good luck to the writer, hope he finds more readers who enjoy reading his ironic humor!

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