as i see it (cont.) - Pt. II
Posted 08 March 2002 - 10:07 PM
In a recently published book
about the children of Nazi leaders titled
MY FATHER’S KEEPER, Stephan Lebert writes:
"What does it mean for this country called Germany
that those responsible for the Third Reich,
and their fellow travellers and accomplices,
to have had children and grandchildren
to whom they have handed on their aggressions,
their cowardice, their capacity for atrocity,
their secrecy and their mechanisms of repression?"
Similar questions could be asked
of the present-day Turkish leadership,
and with some variations, of our own.
What does it mean for our leaders
to have had children and grandchildren
to whom they have handed on their intransigence,
their ignorance of international diplomacy,
their dogmatism and their inability to admit error
and to engage in dialogue,
their secrecy and their intolerance of dissent and criticism?
What have they learned from the Genocide beside lamentation?
And if a genocide cannot teach them anything, what can?
Posted 10 March 2002 - 10:37 AM
Originally posted by sen_vahan:
To Ara Baliozian/ How about the Armenians of Raffi, Paronyan, Otyan, Massikyan,...? The faith of all these writers was very similar to the faith of their nation. Yes, we are all close-minded, as many outsiders say, but so are these writers. No? Who knows today Raffi, Paronyan, Otyan,... except Armenians(some of us do not even know them)? Maybe they were thinking about the Armenians and Armenia too much? What was the subject for Raffi, for example?Armenia, its history. Being perhaps very intelligent he was writing only about the Armenians and Armenia. I am not sure that some non-Armenian would like them. And I do not know ANY non-Armenian who reads Raffi or Otyan. Really, who cares about them, about that "narrow-minded" intelligents caring only about own nation. And the problem is that they did it without any great love to the nation, to its spirit(or maybe they did?). That is why I am thinking that they as well as many modern Armenians like only the "idea of Armenia" but not the people. And I am asking you what one should expect from young people being educated on Raffi, Otyan, Massikyan? Many generations in Armenia were educated in such a way , so what? Can we say that at least one of the writers mentioned by you might be considered as "all-Armenian" (although they were writing only about Armenians), as Russians consider for example Pushkin?
are valuable because they make a contribution to our understanding.
the fact that very few people read them means nothing.
Very few people have read Karl Marx,
and yet he changed the political map of the world. / ara
Posted 10 March 2002 - 10:37 AM
"As for the 200,000 Artsakhis
who once called Mountainous Karabagh home,
only 100,000 sill live in liberated Artsakh today.
Those who escaped did not do it out of fear of Azeris,
but out of fear of their crazed fellow Artsakhis….
Armed with religious bigotry and raw animal instinct
that has no conscience, no mind, no intellect,
no spiritual consciousness or simple common sense,
these are people at their most primitive animal state.
They can kill with their bare hands,
wash their hands in a brook,
eat khorovadz and have sex afterwards."
I am quoting from a book titled
SAVAGE CHIC: A FOOL’S CHRONICLE OF THE CAUCASUS
by Kardash Onnig (133 pages, Privately printed:
P.O.Box 145, Stanfordville, NY 12581).
Born in the Middle East, now living in New York,
Kardash Onnig is an artist who in 2001
spent five months in Artsakh as an artist-in-residence.
SAVAGE CHIC is a diary, a travelogue, a meditation on what it means to be
an Armenian ("Armenians and Armenian culture continue to evolve…
a traditionalist Armenian is a dead Armenian").
SAVAGE CHIC IS an honest book by an honest Armenian.
When was the last time I wrote such a phrase
(an honest book by an honest Armenian)?
I don't remember.
My guess is, this is the first time.
I urge everyone to read it.
I would like to quote entire pages but that would be unfair to the author
and his editor (Ishkhan Jinbashian).
Allow me to conclude with another brief quotation
which speaks volumes:
"I have served children in America,
I have served them in Artsakh,
and I will serve them in Azerbaijan,
with equal love and equal care, as I have loved my own son."
Posted 11 March 2002 - 12:33 AM
They helped us in our understanding of what? What can the close-minded Armenian understand with the help of narrow-minded national intelligents? All those intelligents were the product of Armenianism (sorry for the plagiarism) and the only thing they wrote about (I am again emphasizing it) was Armenia/ns. I guess here is the reason why a non-Armenian doesn't read them.
We are helpless (I mean young people) in that sense, because all our writers and philosophers could and can do is critisizing and sour-cream patriotism. Unfortunately, none tried " to change the political map ".
Of course, we are all close-minded, losers, stupid but look at our intellectuals!
Posted 11 March 2002 - 09:22 AM
If I want to read about deep ideas and noble sentiments
I consult the Scriptures or Plato.
All I ask from an Armenian writer is honesty.
We have too many brilliant intellects
(most of them self-assessed, of course)
but not enough honest men.
Honest men like Kardash Onnig.
After witnessing a confrontation
between a couple of sloppy garbage collectors
and a fastidious old lady in Yerevan,
Kardash Onnig quotes one of the men saying:
"The Turks should have put an end to this Armenian race
when they had the chance."
[SAVAGE CHIC: A FOOL’S DIARY OF THE CAUCASUS, page 22.)
Now, we have all had similar feelings at one time or another,
but how many of us has had the courage to say so?
In the U.S. you have the heroes of September 11
and you also have the bloodsuckers of Enron.
It is the same with us.
With one difference.
Our bloodsuckers continue to be in charge of our destiny.
The only way bloodsuckers can survive and prosper
is by pretending to be more patriotic than the rest of us.
If you mention bloodsuckers in the presence of bloodsuckers,
you can be sure of one thing:
they will accuse you of anti-Armenianism.
Posted 11 March 2002 - 09:22 AM
A man with a big mouth
doesn't need a rope to hang himself
or a shovel to dig his own grave.
To qualify as a chauvinist in the eyes of a chauvinist
not only must you kiss the establishment’s ass but his own.
If you think A
and I think C,
the truth may be in the neighborhood of B
or somewhere beyond Z.
You say you are free
but all I see when I look at you
is the invisible ring in your nose and the harness on your back.
I don't know what’s it like teaching in a kindergarten
but it can't be much different from writing for Armenians.
All children are children but not all adults are adults.
When wolves and jackals rise to the top,
vegetarians have no choice but to avoid them.
Hence, our high rate of assimilation.
Whenever a phony is silenced,
two more take his place.
And I remember one of our elder statesmen’s advice:
"Never explain. Never argue. F*** them!"
To which I remember to have retorted:
You mean I should follow the example of our bosses and bishops?"
Posted 11 March 2002 - 09:23 AM
KARDASH ONNIG’S "SAVAGE CHIC"
"One day Rafig [a war hero] and I took eleven kids, ages six to sixteen,
to a picnic. Rafig told the children the story of how he caught an Azeri
with a mouth full of gold teeth (he always looked for the ones with
plenty of gold teeth), tied the guy down, pulled all his teeth out, gave
him a shovel to dig a deep hole while blood poured out of his mouth, then
smashed his head with the shovel, cracking it open, and buried him in the
hole. The kids all listened with fascination."
"…an Armenian-American professor set out to walk from Lachin to Shushi, a
distance that would take two hours to cross by car. Along the way he was
invited to the home of a villager. In conversation the villager, having
gotten quite drunk, began to tell of his heroic war days. And the two got
into some argument about an issue. The Artsakhi got so physically abusive
that the American was forced to take out his mace and spray it on his
face. At that point the villager, blind with rage, asked his wife to get
him a knife and he stuck it into the guest’s stomach and killed him."
"Among the guests are 100 or so Diasporans from the United States, the
Middle East and Europe. One after the other, pompous Armenian and
Artsakhi academicians give speeches like orators, and if you listen to
what they are saying it is total bullshit, propaganda and
self-justification, naked lies."
Posted 12 March 2002 - 09:53 PM
Again and again we hear the cliché:
"We know what our problems are.
What we now need is solutions."
When a dishonest man delivers that line,
what he really needs is a solution
that will not expose his charlatanism.
When a chauvinist mouths that cliché,
what he really wants is a solution
that will allow him to continue thinking, feeling, and speaking
like a loud-mouth racist ignoramus.
When a partisan repeats that line,
the only solution that he will find acceptable is
to be told that every Armenian should join his party,
drop his pants, and bend over.
What is a solution?
It is not a chemical compound or a verbal formula
that if applied to our problems
will usher in a new Golden Age.
A solution is an idea and if you are in need of ideas
read Plato or the Scriptures.
Read political scientists, statesmen, thinkers.
There are thousands of ideas out there.
When it comes to ideas we might as well be millionaires
starving in a supermarket.
The only reason that we pretend to be in need
of solutions or new ideas is that
we have allowed ourselves to be brainwashed by fools and fanatics
whose sole aim in life is the acquisition of power
rather than the welfare of the community and the nation.
Posted 12 March 2002 - 09:54 PM
In the mail today two Armenian weeklies.
In one of them I read an editorial
urging us to read more Armenian poetry.
In the other I read an interview with an Armenian writer
suggesting we organize more literary activities
and lectures by Armenian writers. It seems to me
that’s making too many demands on the community.
All I ask is that we not bury writers when they are alive;
let’s at least have the decency to wait
until they are dead.
Whenever I see the photo of an Armenian writer
in the company of a boss or bishop,
I can't help thinking, "There goes the neighborhood."
The easiest thing in the world
is to locate an expert (and to ignore a thousand others)
who support your views and forever after
to think that you are the alpha and omega of wisdom.
There is a type of loud-mouth arrogant idiot
who will be silenced only by life, that is to say,
the reality principle, that is to say, death.
Words and ideas will have no effect on him.
I believe in Gandhi’s dictum that
"No one is beyond redemption,"
but I am also humble enough to admit that
in the redemption business I happen to be a total failure.
Posted 13 March 2002 - 08:50 PM
After our Golden Age and Silver Age
we must now be at the summit of our Garb Age –
and as Zarian suggests somewhere,
it’s not even garbage picked up from our own streets.
In the Homeland we are at the mercy of neo-commissars;
in the Diaspora, mini-sultans.
It is to be noted that
the only time Onnig Kardash mentions Armenian writers
in his diary (SAVAGE CHIC)
is to say that they either promote racism (Zori Balayan)
or they were murdered by their fellow Armenians (Charents, Baruir Sevag).
Another revealing detail from Kardash’s book:
every Armenian tribe thinks of other tribes as second-class citizens.
Armenians in Yerevan view Karabagh Armenians
as descendants of Albanians,
and Karabagh Armenians have
an equally uncomplimentary view of Yerevantsis;
and both view Armenians from the Diaspora as milch cows.
Why should we be surprised if Greeks call Armenians
Turkish gypsies and most odars cannot tell the difference
between Armenians and Rumanians?
The nastier the person
the more pronounced his need for flattery
or everything that will cover up his nastiness.
Posted 13 March 2002 - 08:51 PM
In her READING CHEKHOV (New York, 2001),
Janet Malcolm devotes several pages
to a short story titled "The Beauties,"
whose central character is a 16-year old Armenian girl
of such dazzling beauty that
the narrator has a near-death experience.
Writes Chekhov (as quoted by Janet Malcolm):
"Whether it was envy of her beauty,
or that I was regretting that the girl was not mine,
and never would be,
or that I was a stranger to her;
or whether I vaguely felt that her rare beauty
was accidental, unnecessary, and, like everything on earth,
of short duration; or whether, perhaps,
my sadness was that peculiar feeling
which is excited in man
by the contemplation of real beauty, God only knows."
In his SAVAGE CHIC, Kardash Onnig
describes a similar experience in the presence
of a 14-year old Armenian girl by the name of Nora:
"Her eyelashes moved up and down like butterflies," he writes,
"her eyebrows met like Frida Kahlo’s
and she had a soft smile and a voice
that could melt even my heart….
She stood there in the middle of the room
with a proud smile…tears filled my eyes [and]
through my tears I saw an angel thanking me."
And I can't help thinking that
whenever a friend of mine returns
after a visit to the Homeland a born again patriot
eager to dedicate his life to the welfare of his people
he is moved neither by the landscape
nor the deplorable conditions of his fellow countrymen
but by an angelic apparition similar to those
experienced by Chekhov and Kardash.
Posted 14 March 2002 - 09:48 PM
Who or what makes history?
We don't know. Nobody does.
There are many theories, all of them controversial.
If we say history is the will of God unfolding,
then we must ask:
Can a genocide be an expression of God’s will?
If yes, what kind of God are we dealing with?
If God is love, can He will evil?
If we say great men make history,
then what happens if an Oswald guns down a Kennedy?
Does it mean an anonymous misfit today
has as much power to make (or unmake) history
as the most powerful man on earth?
"When destiny has accomplished its purpose in me,"
Napoleon once said, "a fly may suffice to destroy me."
Tolstoy believed history is the accumulation of many invisible forces.
Pascal said Cleopatra’s character
was not as decisive in the making of history
as the shape of her nose.
(Imagine, if you can, a Caesar or an Antony
being seduced by a Cleopatra
with a Karl Malden schnozzle.)
If Helen had been blind in one eye,
what would have been the shape of Greek history and literature
(minus Homer who was blind in both eyes).
The cover of a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazine
may have aroused more world sympathy for Afghan refugees
than all the Afghan warlords put together.
If some day Karabagh becomes an international diplomatic football
and TIME or NEWSWEEK publishes on its cover
the picture of a 14-year old Azeri refugee
with piercing blue-green eyes,
you can kiss Karabagh goodbye!
Posted 14 March 2002 - 09:49 PM
SAVAGE CHIC. The book was privately printed and no price is mentioned.
Your best bet is to write to
Posted 14 March 2002 - 09:49 PM
( or DZOUR NESDINK, SHIDAG KHOSINK)
"Our revolutionaries didn't have a chance because they formed only tiny
islands in an Ottoman sea."
My question is:
Did we have to suffer a genocide to make that earth-shaking discovery?
"Our political parties have been of no political use to us."
We have been blabbering about Hai Tahd and historic Armenia
for the last hundred years without annexing a single inch of soil.
What are our chances that in the next hundred years
the world will see the light and say:
"Historic Armenia belongs to Armenia!" and the Turks will agree?
If we are smart and Turks are dumb,
why is it that Zohrab (one of the smartest Armenians that every lived)
saved Talaat’s life by risking his own?
If Turks are evil,
why is it that Roupen Sevag said to his German fiancée:
"You don't know Turks. Deep down they are nice folk."
If we didn't have a chance then, do we have one now?
Can we learn from our past blunders without admitting them first?
If we were right and the rest of the world wrong,
do we have the qualifications to reform the world or,
for that matter, the Great Powers and Turkey?
Posted 16 March 2002 - 12:09 PM
nor interest will ever govern nations or parties against
their vanity, their pride, their resentment or revenge, or
their avarice or ambition.
Posted 16 March 2002 - 12:10 PM
Why is it that to most of us,
being right is more important than being fair, or objective, or truthful?
When there are two or more theories or explanations,
man will always choose the one that is more flattering to his vanity
even if it is the least plausible.
History as written by ideologues or nationalists
is another way of preaching to the converted.
Where the ego enters, lies are sure to follow.
On the day man learns to think against himself
we will have a better chance to settle differences
by means of dialogue and compromise
as opposed to wars and massacres.
Posted 16 March 2002 - 12:10 PM
The problem with Genocide historians and historians in general
is that they rely too much on official documents,
diplomatic exchanges, statistics and press reports,
and tend to ignore the complexities and nuances of the real situation --
a situation that was the result of six centuries of coexistence.
In Krikor Zohrab’s and Zabel Yessayan’s realistic fiction
and autobiographical writings, for instance,
the educated Turks and the educated Armenians
might as well be interchangeable,
and the Turks appear to be as deeply concerned
about justice and human rights issues as the Armenians.
By contrast, in Voskanian’s, Baronian’s and Odian’s writings,
Armenians are depicted as arrogant, vain,
greedy, and intolerant quasi-Turks.
The Genocide was provoked and perpetrated by outsiders
and more particularly, by Armenians from Tiflis
and semi-Turks from Salonica
whose grasp of the real situation ignored all nuances and complexities;
and what provoked the Turks was not
Armenian demands for human rights but their territorial ambitions.
In the Zohrab-Chobanian correspondence,
Chobanian’s warnings from Paris go unheeded.
Like Roupen Sevag, Zohrab was sure in his understanding
of the real situation and the Turkish temperament
(even after the Hamidian massacres of 1894-96 and 1909 massacres
about which he wrote extensively).
When Raffi warned (long before the massacres – Raffi died in 1888)
that the Armenians had no future in the Ottoman Empire,
he too was ignored in the same way that Zarian’s warnings
were dismissed by Charents, Zabel Yessayan and Totovents
(all three victims of Stalin’s purges)
as the ravings of a "bourgeois nationalist,"
which suggests that Armenian intellectuals
are as open to dialogue as our political partisans.
Posted 18 March 2002 - 09:12 AM
ORIENTAL CARPET DEALERS &
God save the nation whose hooligans
are commissars of culture (self-appointed),
Oriental carpet dealers are statesmen (self-assessed),
and grandmothers its main source of wisdom.
What happens to a commissar of culture
after he is successful in exterminating culture?
if he is a Russian, he goes out of business
because the Empire collapses;
if he is an Armenian, he becomes an expert on any given subject
and acquires messianic ambitions.
What happened to Armenian literature
after the generation of Oshagan, Zarian, and Shahnour?
To put it more bluntly:
Why are Armenian writers on the list of endangered species,
perhaps even extinct?
Because to be an Armenian writer means
being dependent on the charity of swine
and being exposed to the verbal abuse of hogs.
Why so many grandmother stories?
I once asked Dr. Leo Hamalian, editor of ARARAT Quarterly.
"Because," he explained, "grandmothers have played a central role
in our consciousness."
That explains the general senility of our present state, I thought.
Some very strange things happen
when man meets computer:
a partisan turns into Napoleon,
a skinhead sermonizes like a bishop,
a peddler pontificates like a national benefactors,
a prince turns into a toad,
and an Armenian into a Turk –
but never the other way around.
Posted 18 March 2002 - 09:13 AM
Even a Turk can love another Turk
who agrees with him,
or flatters his vanity,
or kisses his ass….
We are not as smart as we think we are,
and they are not as dumb….
Neither are we as progressive, civilized, tolerant,
Christian, and lovable as we would like or we pretend to be.
A reader comments:
"Your message hasn't changed during the last twenty years
that I have been reading you;
neither has our situation."
The same could be said of the message
of our bosses, bishops, and benefactors;
or sermonizers, speechifiers, and propagandists.
And what about our Genocide and Hai Tahd?
After hundreds of books,
thousands of articles,
and millions of dollars,
how many minds have we been successful in changing
during the last hundred years?
And what about the law of the jungle after
two thousand years of Christianity?
To recycle propaganda means
to allow others to do your thinking for you;
which also means
to abdicate your responsibility as a human being
and to repudiate one of the most precious possessions
that God or the forces of the universe
have endowed you: your brain.
Posted 18 March 2002 - 09:13 AM
In their efforts to make me feel as a failure
(as if I were unaware of the fact)
some of my gentle readers enjoy reminding me
that I have failed to changed anything
(as if I didn't have eyes with which to observe
the disaster area that is our collective existence) –
notwithstanding the fact that
I have said again and again that
it is not my intention to change anything;
and if some day a miracle happens and things change,
I will not think that it was as a result of my efforts
and the efforts of far better men than myself
beginning with Movses Khorenatsi….
I write not to change things
but to give our bullies something to think about,
to have second thoughts, so to speak,
to hesitate before they make a spectacle of themselves;
and even if they hesitate for a fraction of a second,
I shall consider my mission accomplished.
That may be a very poor substitute for justice, granted;
but it is better than the total triumph of ignorance over knowledge,
and it is less than the unconditional surrender of honesty to
To those who say:
"If a bully wants to make an ass of himself in public,
why obstruct his path?
Why do him that favor?
Let him go ahead and make an ass of himself
and let us enjoy the spectacle by having a good laugh!"
Again, I doubt if I have the power to obstruct anyone’s path.
A bully will be a bully
and he will continue to make an ass of himself in public.
All I may succeed in doing is
introducing a tiny worm of doubt in his mind
(if you will forgive the overstatement);
so that next time he insults, threatens, or brags
he may ask himself:
"What if I am exposed as a coward or an ignoramus or a phony?"
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