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#1 ara baliozian

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 05:50 AM

SAROYAN & ARMENIANS
***********************************
After stating that we are a nation of losers but also survivors, in a famous and much-quoted passage Saroyan went on challenging the world to exterminate us implying it couldn’t be done.
He himself never made an effort to understand and explain what is it exactly that makes us perennial losers.
I wonder why.
Did he think if he were to isolate and expose the reasons he would make more enemies than friends?
Did he think the function of literature was to describe reality as opposed to trying to changing it?
Finally, did he think history was made by forces beyond our control and no amount of effort on our part could change the line of our destiny?

#2 THOTH

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 08:16 AM

Ara, sorry but I feel the need to reply to this post of yours here as well as in Diaspora - so here it is again:

I don't think that he was implying in any way that we are/were losers as a people (in the way that you imply and often voice) even if we have indeed "lost" our lands and even if our history is in fact perhaps not even a footnote in the overall rememberence of such on the grand world scale. He - IMO - was only stating fact - in the grand scheme of things Armenians are perhaps an insignificant people. Yes we have had culture and wonderful/noteworthy artistic achievements and a land (more or less) of our own. But in being a small people (in numbers and power [is this the only measuring stick for greatness?])we were overun and conquered and our (place in) history was overtaken/overshadowed by those who established themselves (politically and overarching culturally) over where we once were - larger powers - beginning with the Greeks and Persians. We persevered - but history concentrates on the large empires etc and the milestone achievements (even if "stolen") and "big" (world changing/affecting) events etc from them. Thus our art and culture - though noteworthy - doesn't make the cut - and is largely forgotten. Then of course - with the genocide - we are no longer even present where we once were - and our very structures and monuments are lost. But Saroyan understands that these things (and the recognition of others) are not what makes us special as a people. It is our inate talent, our love of and care for our families, our kind/peaceful nature, our goodness and fortitude and other qualities that Armenians possess that really matter. His statement is an afirmation of our (internal) greatness - through all of this we are still Armenian and are still special. And we will achieve no matter where we are and regardless of the challenges. I think you have misinterpreted his message (fashioned it into your own message perhaps). Though we have lost wars, property, been abused and trodden on by others - in no way are we losers - these are temporal things which are not truly what is important. Though I can agree with your observations concerning the failures of Armenians politically - I cannot accept that you call us losers. And Saroyan most certainly did not.

As an added note I think that those obsessed with taking back lands etc should read and reflect on Saroyan's message a bit.

#3 Boghos

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 09:16 AM

quote:
Originally posted by THOTH:


But Saroyan understands that these things (and the recognition of others) are not what makes us special as a people. It is our inate talent, our love of and care for our families, our kind/peaceful nature, our goodness and fortitude and other qualities that Armenians possess that really matter. His statement is an afirmation of our (internal) greatness - through all of this we are still Armenian and are still special. And we will achieve no matter where we are and regardless of the challenges.




Dear Winston,

I have always appreciated your well balanced views. However I think that if there is one stereotype perpetuated in the diaspora is this of the high achiever, kind, educated, family oriented peace-loving Armenian.

In talking about a people, and more so a people that have been scattered all over, a people that possesses its own culture but by the virtue of migrations has also absorved tremendous influences from local cultures, is extremely difficult. If not impossible.

Another approach is simply to say that we are no better or worse than anybody. There is no reason to be proud of being Armenian (this is such a typical American and small people thing, "Proudly made in the USA", "I am proud to be a Rotarian"), but of course there is no reason to be ashamed.

For reasons that can be better explored under another heading, Armenians need to feel that they belong to a special race, etc. Hence the stories about Armenians inventing this and that, famous Armenians etc. Perhaps this arises from the fact that for so long we were a second class minority with an unproportionally large contribution to the Ottoman Empire. Envied, mistreated. We always had to reassure ourselves. As I said we can come back to this topic later.

My point is that this unmerited sense of being special, actually causes a lot of damage, because it limits the fighting spirit. We become accomodated, and also it risks verging on racism.

My experience is that the most balanced views on nationality come from the well educated classes in Armenian. And the reason is very simple, Armenians only exist there, the rest are just a few waves of Armenian forced or voluntary tourists that will disappear into oblivion.
Just a reflection.

#4 THOTH

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 10:25 AM

Boghos,

All peoples are shaped by their environment - physically/genetically, culturally and otherwise. Armenians have been among the earliest peoples with exposure to complex culture (and this has an imprint I beleive). Armenians have also survived under adversity for Millenia (making us tough and contributing to "natural selection"). Armenians have been sedentary and reletively peaceful (non-expansionist) compared to others (and have valued education, craftmenship, trade and the arts). etc These are just observations. Armenian achievement - based on numbers/percentages etc speaks for itself - IMO. Yes - I think Armenians are special people - for a number of reasons. Of course, as a group, and as individuals perhaps, we all have our flaws/shortcommings. Ara is quite adept at pointing these out so I will leave him to take the lead here. And I understand your concerns regarding racism and complacency relating to belief in our specialness...

Its funny, on Diaspora, the more vociferous ("time to invade Turkey" types) have labled me a pessimist - one who is opposed to the idea of Armenians being particularly special and/or achieving or being great as a people/nation - etc. So perhaps it depends on context. What can I say - I calls em as I sees em...and of course these are just my observations - I could be entirely incorrect and missing some/much. OK. So does Saroyan think we are losers?

#5 Boghos

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 10:45 AM

You know it is very difficult to say whether Saroyan thinks we are losers or not just by interpreting from one of his writings.

We are a small people and we have to live with the consequences of that.

Now as to being an old people, blah, blah. I am sorry this is a bogus argument, similar to Americans love of European things and tradition, it is not based on an empuyrical evidence. Men originated in Africa, where is Africa now ?

As to the peaceful nature of Armenians, I suggest you get better acquainted with our history. It doesn´t make us worse or better than anybody. We are not. We are just different, and not that much.

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 11:05 PM

I think in fact that Armenians are eternal losers. But not the definition of losers the we really think of.

Leonard de Vinci, had the concpetion of the eternal loser, and he tought he was affected of this kind of desease. Everything you do, you will always lose, you force yourself, even knowing that probably you will lose. I think this "loser" definition is not the one passed on by Ara.

What makes Armenians so specials, and yes I think they are special, is that losing again and again, they became a very productif peoples.

Saroyan, "loser" concept was not just what is proposed by Ara I think, it was more like the fact that yes Armenians will lose and again again, but always be able to restrart from the beggining without losing fate.

Jean-Pierre Alem wrote about this in the collection Que sais-je ?, reference "L'Arménie" he say that it could not be understood how Armenians with all what happened to them, losing everytime were abble to take control of themselves so quikly.

He goes as this in his intrudction that is also the conclusion of the little work.

"There is no people in the world which, by his destiny or his current situation, can be compared with the Armenians"

Que sais-je ?, L'Arménie, Jean-Pierre Alem, Les Univérsitaires de France

Another one that i reposted so many time, this quote found from a national Geographic that really revived me, the national geographic review that I found in the Garbage a part about the Armenians.

"Many times as I traced the journey of Armenia, I was to wonder if worse trouble had ever afflicted any other people, or whether any other people persecuted down the centuries had persevered more nobly. Armenians have gone forth into the world and multiplied. Peaceful, hardworking, intelligent, religious, family oriented, they have become a great, though little known, success story."

By Robert Paul Jordan, assistant editor, National Geographic. June 1978

I have olso read some French works quoting some French archival material that I found surprising, the fact that in Ottoman time since before the Armenians were seen as eternal losers, always losing what they got, always something happens to them in order that they do not achieve their inspiration(individual and collectif)

The Republic of 1918, how it was destroyed, the achievement, it's like we can predict that Armenians will lose, like we could have predicted Armenians would lose Karabagh after the Broke of Soviet-Union, everytime something happens, it's kind of a bad dream traced on our gene(It's just a symbol).

This is Saroyan main idea, this is what I think all the point, in the National Geographic review that I have Saroyan before Robert Paul Jordan trip to Armenia tell him that what he will see never he will forget, and to remember that he said this, with the allusion again of the "eternal losers" as we are.

And this is even more clarified when at the end he say were ever two Armenians met they will build a new Armenia, destroy what ever you want, they have seen more, they have seen more then just this, they will still rebuild it without losing fate.

This is what conception of the eternal loser that Saroyan has, the kind of eternal loser theories that Leonard de Vinci had, when he was never satisfied, and never others were satisfied of his works, always strating again and again, again and again.

I think that Aznavour has exacly the same eternal loser conception, his song about the genocide, his poem, his interviews, he always talk about the fact, of being Armenian is never lose fate, and continue, since we have seen always worst.

#7 Boghos

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 11:24 PM

Armenians being special is just a politically correct or romantic way of saying that we are better.

If we can break free from this self inflicted delusion we will no doubt benefit.

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 12:56 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Boghos:
Armenians being special is just a politically correct or romantic way of saying that we are better.

If we can break free from this self inflicted delusion we will no doubt benefit.



Maturity brewing ...

#9 Boghos

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 01:39 PM

quote:
Originally posted by circassian:


Maturity brewing ...



Some people mature more rapidly than others. I have made, in a very simple way, the case for Armenians. In the case of Turks it gets much more complex: there is paranoia, the difficult burden of a murderous past. Not counting the extreme human rights abuses in the present.

People are different. And these differences should be recognized as a way to improve.

I fully expected you to jump in. But my dear Circassian, do not fool yourself, this is no opportunity to create havoc among Armenians. We can withstand discussions on our shortfallings without any problem. Just read Baliozian, it is a fact that if he were a Turk writing for Turks in Turkey he would already be in jail.

I would much rather live in a state of selfdelusion which is just mildly bothersome and counterproductive, rather than belong to a nation that perpetrated unspeakable crimes against innocent people, and does everything it can to deny it and instead blame the victim. We may nit be special but we are different.

#10 MJ

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 02:05 PM

In the past, somewhere in the forum, I had pasted the following essay of Albert Camus. I think it fits very well into this discussion, so I am posting it here, again.
_____________________________________________

The Myth Of Sisyphus


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The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.
If one believes Homer, Sisyphus was the wisest and most prudent of mortals. According to another tradition, however, he was disposed to practice the profession of highwayman. I see no contradiction in this. Opinions differ as to the reasons why he became the futile laborer of the underworld. To begin with, he is accused of a certain levity in regard to the gods. He stole their secrets. Egina, the daughter of Esopus, was carried off by Jupiter. The father was shocked by that disappearance and complained to Sisyphus. He, who knew of the abduction, offered to tell about it on condition that Esopus would give water to the citadel of Corinth. To the celestial thunderbolts he preferred the benediction of water. He was punished for this in the underworld. Homer tells us also that Sisyphus had put Death in chains. Pluto could not endure the sight of his deserted, silent empire. He dispatched the god of war, who liberated Death from the hands of her conqueror.

It is said that Sisyphus, being near to death, rashly wanted to test his wife's love. He ordered her to cast his unburied body into the middle of the public square. Sisyphus woke up in the underworld. And there, annoyed by an obedience so contrary to human love, he obtained from Pluto permission to return to earth in order to chastise his wife. But when he had seen again the face of this world, enjoyed water and sun, warm stones and the sea, he no longer wanted to go back to the infernal darkness. Recalls, signs of anger, warnings were of no avail. Many years more he lived facing the curve of the gulf, the sparkling sea, and the smiles of earth. A decree of the gods was necessary. Mercury came and seized the impudent man by the collar and, snatching him from his joys, lead him forcibly back to the underworld, where his rock was ready for him.

You have already grasped that Sisyphus is the absurd hero. He is, as much through his passions as through his torture. His scorn of the gods, his hatred of death, and his passion for life won him that unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing. This is the price that must be paid for the passions of this earth. Nothing is told us about Sisyphus in the underworld. Myths are made for the imagination to breathe life into them. As for this myth, one sees merely the whole effort of a body straining to raise the huge stone, to roll it, and push it up a slope a hundred times over; one sees the face screwed up, the cheek tight against the stone, the shoulder bracing the clay-covered mass, the foot wedging it, the fresh start with arms outstretched, the wholly human security of two earth-clotted hands. At the very end of his long effort measured by skyless space and time without depth, the purpose is achieved. Then Sisyphus watches the stone rush down in a few moments toward that lower world whence he will have to push it up again toward the summit. He goes back down to the plain.

It is during that return, that pause, that Sisyphus interests me. A face that toils so close to stones is already stone itself! I see that man going back down with a heavy yet measured step toward the torment of which he will never know the end. That hour like a breathing-space which returns as surely as his suffering, that is the hour of consciousness. At each of those moments when he leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate. He is stronger than his rock.

If this myth is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious. Where would his torture be, indeed, if at every step the hope of succeeding upheld him? The workman of today works everyday in his life at the same tasks, and his fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious. Sisyphus, proletarian of the gods, powerless and rebellious, knows the whole extent of his wretched condition: it is what he thinks of during his descent. The lucidity that was to constitute his torture at the same time crowns his victory. There is no fate that can not be surmounted by scorn.

If the descent is thus sometimes performed in sorrow, it can also take place in joy. This word is not too much. Again I fancy Sisyphus returning toward his rock, and the sorrow was in the beginning. When the images of earth cling too tightly to memory, when the call of happiness becomes too insistent, it happens that melancholy arises in man's heart: this is the rock's victory, this is the rock itself. The boundless grief is too heavy to bear. These are our nights of Gethsemane. But crushing truths perish from being acknowledged. Thus, Edipus at the outset obeys fate without knowing it. But from the moment he knows, his tragedy begins. Yet at the same moment, blind and desperate, he realizes that the only bond linking him to the world is the cool hand of a girl. Then a tremendous remark rings out: "Despite so many ordeals, my advanced age and the nobility of my soul make me conclude that all is well." Sophocles' Edipus, like Dostoevsky's Kirilov, thus gives the recipe for the absurd victory. Ancient wisdom confirms modern heroism.

One does not discover the absurd without being tempted to write a manual of happiness. "What!---by such narrow ways--?" There is but one world, however. Happiness and the absurd are two sons of the same earth. They are inseparable. It would be a mistake to say that happiness necessarily springs from the absurd. discovery. It happens as well that the felling of the absurd springs from happiness. "I conclude that all is well," says Edipus, and that remark is sacred. It echoes in the wild and limited universe of man. It teaches that all is not, has not been, exhausted. It drives out of this world a god who had come into it with dissatisfaction and a preference for futile suffering. It makes of fate a human matter, which must be settled among men.

All Sisyphus' silent joy is contained therein. His fate belongs to him. His rock is a thing Likewise, the absurd man, when he contemplates his torment, silences all the idols. In the universe suddenly restored to its silence, the myriad wondering little voices of the earth rise up. Unconscious, secret calls, invitations from all the faces, they are the necessary reverse and price of victory. There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night. The absurd man says yes and his efforts will henceforth be unceasing. If there is a personal fate, there is no higher destiny, or at least there is, but one which he concludes is inevitable and despicable. For the rest, he knows himself to be the master of his days. At that subtle moment when man glances backward over his life, Sisyphus returning toward his rock, in that slight pivoting he contemplates that series of unrelated actions which become his fate, created by him, combined under his memory's eye and soon sealed by his death. Thus, convinced of the wholly human origin of all that is human, a blind man eager to see who knows that the night has no end, he is still on the go. The rock is still rolling.

I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

---Albert Camus

#11 nairakev

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 03:51 PM

I'm impressed, gentlemen. While passing over this thread, I felt like, crossing "Men's rest room". I'll be honest, it happened to me in reality (some earthly exsitential matters forced me to commit that intrusion). Unfortunately, the restroom was empty. I didn't meet anyone.
Here, I feel like this rest room got only the 'pissoirs'. And certainly, I won't stay here. First, because I don't use "pissoirs", secondly, even if I did, there is one pissoir and a huge queue.

"Classic" tradition in Armenian literature : to touch essential issues by self -destruction and atomization of evry misdeed. Armenian authors involved in that tradition, had wrote some masterpeices (fat books), that many of you won't be able to narrate (are you serious about your first attempt of writing?) or interprete. I call them "devine mazochists" who weild a skillful pen.
I don't think without being a true "mazochist", Narekatsi would have been able to outcry his "glory" to the pane.
To a certain degree his songs are funny, but while followed by his sympathisers, once reshaped and moderniszed they start "looping" on ones nerves. I think some would drop their "armeniasm" or would be ready to get lobotomised to avoid hearing this damn self-martyrising patriotic songs.

I don't know if you by ignorance, or worse, by natural pleasure, let yourself be involved in "devine mazochism". All I know, is that ones you got caught by it, you "chante toujours la même chanson".

I'm perplexed, I don't know if I would be able to be a fidele fun of "six" ara baliozian's at the same time? (What a dilema?) Knowing my weakness for gang bang relationships, this time I'd rather abstain from the call of lust. I'll stay truthful visitor to ara baliozian's threads. Common guys! Don't you see how long you have to queue? Ara have occupied first the pissoir in your rest room? (Please, note the absense of 'sarcasm' in this line).
----
P.S.
However, I'm actually impressed by the size of your "BIG DEALs"? You all, make me feel guilty. May be I should review, what I have said above? What do you think, girls?

Thoth:
Chapeau! What a devotion!

Beau gosse:
Hm! I'll talk to you later, vilain

Domino:
I feel the French connection here. Salut, mon chou!

MJ:
Armenian despot! What a sensuality you've got!
It is a real schock, I must admit!

Circassian:
Didn't you know that armenian men are not circumsized? Though you are welcome, but not here, actually!


Ara:
Continue, honey!
It will come. Nice to see you, baby!

#12 MJ

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 04:23 PM

"But crushing truths perish from being acknowledged.-A.C."

Consider it as the first session of my promised shock therapy.

Truly Yours,

Sensual Despot

#13 ThornyRose

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Posted 31 May 2001 - 09:04 PM

quote:
Originally posted by Boghos:


My experience is that the most balanced views on nationality come from the well educated classes in Armenian. And the reason is very simple, Armenians only exist there, the rest are just a few waves of Armenian forced or voluntary tourists that will disappear into oblivion.
Just a reflection.



Boghosinho, one thing I want to ask... This thing about Armenians being in Armenia...
Sovietisation is dreadly for cultures. Some members of my family have gone to their ancestral lands in the Caucasus soon after the Soviet Union fell apart.
For example, in Abkhazia, there are very few Abkhazians who know their language well enough. Most speak Russian. Up to my mother's generation, all members speak their languages fluently over here in Turkey.
In addition to the language stuff, there is also the overall culture. Relatives were shocked to see women working in the fields. Divorce rate is unusually high. Traditions and traditional family structures are not cared for.
In essence, Circassians in Turkey were able to protect their cultures whereas their relatives in their own homeland were not.
Similarly, I have heard like things about the diaspora vs. the Republic of Armenia. It turns out atheism is quite high in the homeland. I also read somewhere this study by an Armenian lady (wish I had kept it) about this boy in the US, fresh out of Armenia, who read the Bible but did not refrain from crime. The comment was that people were trying to look like they were following the church when they did not really believe. Diasporans, on the other hand, as far as I can tell, have retained all aspects of their culture, to which religion is company, at least for the most part.
My relatives, upon returning from their little travels, commented that they were more Circassian than what was left over there.
Perhaps the gap is not as grand with Armenians vis-a-vis diaspora and roots as it is with the younger generation of Circassians. Abkhazians, for instance, were told for decades that they were Georgians and their language was an off-shoot of theirs (and we know nothing could be further from the truth). That might be one factor.
But, the question is, who are the "real" Armenians? Those in the diaspora or those in Armenia? Is there such a thing? Who has the authority to say this, etc.? I assume you already know that I know some of the arguments about "Armenian-ness" and religion and language... I just wonder if I have been able to communicate my question the way I meant it to be..

#14 Boghos

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Posted 01 June 2001 - 05:07 AM

quote:
Originally posted by Thorny Rose:



In essence, Circassians in Turkey were able to protect their cultures whereas their relatives in their own homeland were not.
Similarly, I have heard like things about the diaspora vs. the Republic of Armenia. It turns out atheism is quite high in the homeland. I also read somewhere this study by an Armenian lady (wish I had kept it) about this boy in the US, fresh out of Armenia, who read the Bible but did not refrain from crime. The comment was that people were trying to look like they were following the church when they did not really believe. Diasporans, on the other hand, as far as I can tell, have retained all aspects of their culture, to which religion is company, at least for the most part.
...
Perhaps the gap is not as grand with Armenians vis-a-vis diaspora and roots as it is with the younger generation of Circassians. Abkhazians, for instance, were told for decades that they were Georgians and their language was an off-shoot of theirs (and we know nothing could be further from the truth). That might be one factor.
But, the question is, who are the "real" Armenians? Those in the diaspora or those in Armenia? Is there such a thing? Who has the authority to say this, etc.? I assume you already know that I know some of the arguments about "Armenian-ness" and religion and language... I just wonder if I have been able to communicate my question the way I meant it to be..



Dear Filiz,

Culture is not a static phenomenon, it is very dynamic. You cannot fight cultural change, neither should you. Hardly ever can we understand how culture is changing given the complexity and wide ranging nature of these changes.

In the case of Armenia, there was a Soviet Republic and now there is just a republic. It had a very interesting inteligentsia. An Armenian inteligentsia, that despite the very well known, but frequently exaggerated limitations, of life in the USSR, was the soul of the nation. A culture only exists on a recognizable but permanently changing basis only in the country that it originates.

What often happens in the diaspora, and not just the Armenian, is that people are locked in the time of the original immigrants. Let me give you a practical example: Brazil has a very large Japanese immigrant population, a few of them that live in isolated communities in the countryside speak fluent Japanese, but when they go back to Japan they have a tough time being understood in the streets, they also still carry habits that have been long abandoned in Japan.

Such communities have existed and might last a little longer in places where it is more difficult to assimilate, such as the Middle East, but even there. Take Syria for example, Armenian catholics have by nd large assimilated into the Syrian Catholics, most don´t speak Armenian anymore, and some have even Arabicized their surnames.

Furthermore in the case of Armenians there are several waves of migration. The one that I belong to is the one of the Genocide. The one you seem to identify as "more" Armenian. But there have been several others, including the major migration out of Armenian in the last decade. We have not yet had enough time, but we´ll see in the future most of these peoples descendents being assimilated. There is nothing wrong with that. It has happened before, and it will happen again, and again.

Finally, language is a key way of keeping a particular culture in tne constantly developing mode, but it needs to be accompanied by many other structure as well. Now as to religion, my point of view is very clear: Armenia is a country, not a religion, as all other countries it will have its Hare Krishnas, its Moonies, whatever. We have had many more influences over time than most people know or are willing to acknowledge. The reason for that is closed mindedness, ignorance or ultranationalism.

One should not be scared or attached to an idyllic view of his own culture. Just enjoy it.

These are just some scattered thoughts. We can come back to anything you want in more detail (and in a more organized fashion).

#15 THOTH

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Posted 01 June 2001 - 05:20 AM

Boghos,

Some very good points. Good job!

#16 Boghos

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Posted 01 June 2001 - 05:51 AM

Thanks. I hope you got my point in the previous posts.

#17 MJ

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Posted 01 June 2001 - 06:05 AM

Dear Thorny,

I’d like to also give my cut on the issues you have raised. Overall, Sovetization might’ve been threatening for many nationalities on the territory of USSR. However, I would argue that its (negative) effect on Armenians from the cultural point of view has been marginal. Same with the Baltic states and Georgia.
The dominant language of communications in Armenia has been Armenian, the absolute majority of schools have been Armenian, and so on. Armenian culture in Armenia has evolved in a uniquely Armenian way, and the Soviet influence has been marginal outside the scientific arena. Overall, it has been, in my view, a very positive experience for Armenia and Armenians, since the 70 years of peace on the Armenian soil have provided us an unprecedented opportunity to filter foreign influences (to a large degree) out of our culture and consciousness. The existing semi-sovereignty has been the primary vehicle to progress in the arena of Armenian culture. Unfortunately, it has started to contaminate, again.
Armenian literature has evolved at accelerating rates, Armenian music has been cleaned from foreign influences, and has been returned to its genuine roots, and so on.
The divorce and the crime rates have been extremely low (the later is still very low in Armenia).
Yes, many women have worked – especially the younger ones. But it was good.
Indeed atheism has been quite high in homeland. But it is high everywhere in Diaspora, too. Armenians, by in large are atheists, and have always been so, though many in Diaspora (and historically) may attend Church on a regular basis. However, this is more of a social phenomenon rather than having anything to do with faith. If there is validity to one thing that Armenians by in large have faith in, that’s of green color. And the aspects of culture that have been retained by Diaspora, by in large, are those of Ottoman heritage rather than Armenian.
You are right that there are a lot of assertions from different sides on the subject of “who is real Armenian.” In my view this is such garbage. Nobody has the authority to make such determinations, and I couldn’t care less how many Armenian parents one has, or where does he/she come from. That is a wrong question. In my view, the correct question should be “What’s the purpose of being Armenian,” or “Why Armenian?” Is it just for the sake of preservation of a unique “biological species,” or is there a worthier purpose?
The ethnic “Armenianness” has no value to me, whatsoever. “Pure Armenian, Half Armenian,” etc. Who cares? I would easier embrace a Turk who is the friend of Armenia rather than an Armenian who doesn’t care about Armenia.
Our nation is at a juncture of self-determination. Not in terms of assessing “who we are,” but in terms of defining where we are headed and what our purpose as a nation is. In the next 50 years, this issue would be resolved once and forever, I think.

#18 THOTH

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Posted 01 June 2001 - 06:28 AM

MJ - all very good points (as usual)

Boghos - I fully understand your points (I think) - however I believe the record of Armenians (in the Diaspora and in general) speaks for itself. Every people have unique attributes based on their environment and culture and genetics (and each plays upon and helps to determine the others). Armenians (as a group) tend to value education, achievement and (yes) culture. Armenians and their predescessors have been "cultured" for a long time - and this has had an impact on our values and the way we think. I don't think that acknowledging these things is racism - though I understand that many Armenians do take this too far and it can become a racist viewpoint (though I think general nationalism feeds this most directly). I am not racists - nor do i think that Armenians are necessarily "better" than others. I am proud to be an Armenian - for "our" achivements and "our" values - etc. I am also proud of my nation and people - USA/American hodgepodge for similar reasons. Does this mean I discount the achievements, capabilities and situations of others? - no I don't - all peoples/nations have unique aspects and excell or are noteworthy in some way. Likewise - every group has its flaws (etc). I think Armenians enjoy plenty of both (and even though I am part Armenian I am also somewhat of an outsider to this Armenian "thing" so I can see both from a (somewhat) objective perspective I think. Do you see my points?

#19 Boghos

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Posted 01 June 2001 - 06:48 AM

Winston,

Yes, I do. Even though I don´t partake in the underlying argument.

#20 Guest_Fadi_*

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Posted 01 June 2001 - 08:21 AM

LOL... I didn't know that this would go so far, I must say it's the first time that I see any real discussion resulting of Ara post. I must give him the credit for this one LOL

Ah Boghos, is your Girlf Friend special for you ? Is that mean you consider her superior ?




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