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#1 ara baliozian

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Posted 09 March 2001 - 07:23 AM

NOTES & COMMENTS
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Only writers who consider themselves immortal can afford to write for posterity.
I feel privileged if what I write today is read tomorrow, even if it is forgotten the day after.

A power structure that has all the answers will view questions as subversive.

A woman raising her skirt or a man dropping his pants will attract a bigger audience these days
than a writer spilling out his guts.

If a bigot is not yet a killer, it may be because history has not yet given him
a chance to act out his convictions.

It is impossible to agree or compromise with someone who contradicts your ideas with his emotions.
Ideas and emotions, very much like polar bears and tigers, donít mix.

The gradual disintegration of a fascist personality in a democratic environment:
what "a virgin subject pregnant with possibilities!"

Those of my critics who attack my words but ignore catastrophic policies
remind me of the hunter who ignored the charging rhino
and concentrated all his efforts on killing a mosquito.

In a democracy, abuse of power is probable; under fascism, inevitable.

You cannot speak of dialogue, compromise, and consensus with a skinhead who threatens to silence you whenever you refuse to accept his prejudices and share his bigotry.

I donít need to know the truth to recognize a lie, in the same way that I donít need to have seen the light to say that, for the blind leading the blind, walking by a ditch can be a risky business.

If you ignore your critic today, you may have to face your killer tomorrow.

Doctors are exposed to cancer, divorce lawyers to adultery, policemen to crime, and Armenian writers to readers eager to share their superior brand of wisdom, expertise (on any given subject), and understanding of human affairs in general and Armenian history, culture, and politics in particular.

We live as though our problems were insoluble; but we argue as though all of us had a minimum of two solutions for every one of our problems.

Some people are so outrageously wrong that they donít have to be corrected; sooner or later life, facts, the reality principle will speak to them much louder than any logical argument or appeal to common sense.

To err is human but to forgive (among Armenians) unheard of.

We have survived our leadership: that to me is an irrefutable argument for Godís existence.

#2 MJ

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Posted 09 March 2001 - 07:50 AM

Ara, your energy and productivity are amazing. Keep up at it, please! Your thoughts are very provoking.

#3 MJ

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Posted 04 April 2001 - 03:55 PM

FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
******************************************
A writerís function is to explore the human psyche
(beginning with his own)
and to expose its frailties.
As for singing its many virtues:
for everyone who dares to speak the truth,
there will be hundreds willing to parrot seductive cliches
in exchange of 30 pieces of silver or even copper.

Every time a man speaks the truth
he makes a thousand enemies;
thatís because for every bitter truth
there are a thousand sweet lies
and as many dupes who hate to give up their illusions.

An Armenian may tolerate himself more readily
if he thinks of himself as a man of principle
who loves God and Country,
rather than as a fanatic
who uses his chauvinism as a license
with which to hate anyone
who dares to disagree with him,
which may well be half of his fellow countrymen.

In the realm of ideas,
if all of us were to agree,
99% of us would be redundant.

People donít speak of sweet truths and soft facts
but of harsh truths and hard facts.
Which may explain why some of my tender-hearted readers
wish to silence, starve, and even shoot me:
thatís their way of expressing a preference for sweet truths and soft facts.

The U.S. and Canada are two
of the most advanced democracies in the world today;
and yet, accusations of demagoguery and police-state tactics are daily occurrences in their media.
Thatís because (a) they have a free press, and
(b) they can tell the difference between democracy and fascism.
What we have are chauvinist pundits and party organs edited by yes-men.

A good idea never dies,
but a bad idea has a longer lifespan.

To learn from mistakes it is necessary
(a) to survive them, and
(b) to admit them. The trouble with us is that
when we survive them, we refuse to admit them.

We were talking about bosses, commissars, and skinheads,
when my interlocutor (a scientist) said:
"If you want to understand these characters,
observe jungle animals.
A single page of zoology can be more illuminating
than ten volumes of psychology."

Those who believe in an afterlife
will never be in a position to say, "I was wrong!"

From the struggle of Armenians
versus the rest of the world,
Armenians have emerged the losers;
and from the struggle of Armenians for solidarity
versus Armenians for tribalism,
Armenians for tribalism
have emerged the victors;
and these two phenomena may be seen as cause and effect -
in other words:
we are losers
because we are tribal.

There is a type of Armenian whose spirit of contradiction
is so highly developed that he will blindly contradict you
even when it means uttering words worthy of a certified moron;
and the only reason he will do so is that
he has been successful in convincing himself that,
even at his dumbest,
he is smarter than anyone around.

A bigot is a bigot because he speaks in the name of something bigger.
A bigot will massacre in the name of the merciful and compassionate Allah
and hate half of his fellow countrymen in the name of Country.

A charlatan and a mediocrity
will be subservient to any regime or power structure
that gives him a regular salary, or a title, or a uniform,
or the license to persecute better men than himself.

--------------------

ara baliozian

#4 MJ

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Posted 04 April 2001 - 04:34 PM

QUESTIONS
***************************************
One of my problems is that
I am asked questions only by individuals
who are in no position to change anything;
and those who are in a position to change things
never ask questions
because even when they donít know the answers
they must pretend not only to know
but also to know better;
and no one,
especially not an extremely minor scribbler like myself,
is in a position to tell them anything.
To those who demand solutions from me, I say:
The solution to all our problems
consists in convincing our dividers that
they are our problem.
Sometimes I am asked:
"Why waste so much time on political morons?"
My answer: Because we are at their mercy.
--------------------



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#5 MJ

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Posted 04 April 2001 - 06:09 PM

CHAMELEONS
****************************
From an angry young man I am on my way to becoming an angrier old man. No one can accuse me of inconsistency. Which reminds me, or, as they say, thereby hangs a tale. I once met an Armenian academic who, during the Soviet era, had been a professor of atheism in a Yerevan university. When the regime collapsed, he emigrated to America, promptly saw the light, became a born again Evangelical minister, and now makes a comfortable living as a teacher of theology.
There is one thing our charlatans will never run out of, and thatís dupes, the kind who believe everything they read in the papers. As for the rest Ė the smart ones who have the ability to recognize a charlatan when they see one: they prefer to keep their distance because they have reached the painful conclusion that they can no longer maintain their self-esteem as human beings by sharing their existence with filth, and who can blame them?
--------------------

ara baliozian

#6 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 06:44 AM

ara baliozian
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posted August 23, 2001 07:02 AM
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REFLECTIONS ON HISTORY
***********************************
Our version of Ottoman history is as important or relevant in the eyes of the world as the Afro-American or American- Indian version of American history.
World history is an endless catalogue of unsettled scores: our score against the Turks is only one of them.

There are no contradictions between Toynbee’s and Dadrian’s versions of our genocide, only differences in interpretation, context, perspective, and emphasis. By emphasizing our own perspective and ignoring all others we may end up damaging our case and reinforcing Turkish arguments.

When it comes to a choice between our self-interest and the unsettled scores of, say, the Untouchables of India or the Tutsis (or is it the Hutus?) of Africa, we will invariably choose our self-interest. To think that other nations, being morally superior, will behave in a more altruistic manner when it comes to choosing between their own self-interest and siding with us against the Turks, is another symptom of our tendency to engage in egocentric illusions.

--------------------

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#7 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 06:46 AM

ara baliozian
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posted June 04, 2001 11:53 AM
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POLITICS 101
****************************
"A bourgeois is a bourgeois regardless of national origin," stated Lenin.
And so it is!
The same could be said of lust for power.
Politics is the pursuit of power.
Literature is the pursuit of truth.
The two have been and are destined to be in constant conflict.
The Turks exterminated an entire generation of our ablest intellectuals in 1915.
Two decades later the Soviets did the same thing in Armenia.
And if you think our own political leadership has been more tolerant,
consider the manner in which some of our ablest men in the diaspora were silenced – among them Shahan Shahnour, Gostan Zarian, and Baruir Massikian.
Our inability to solve our central problem (tribalism) has no other explanation.
In the battle between power and truth,
truth is bound to be the perennial loser,
and with it, the integrity and ultimately the survival of our nation.
--------------------

ara baliozian

#8 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 06:46 AM

ara baliozian
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posted August 14, 2001 06:58 AM
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OUR SITUATION
********************
When members of the ADL tell me the ARF can do nothing right;
when members of the ARF assert they do nothing wrong;
when the ADL-controlled AGBU maintains to be a non-partisan organization;
when the Armenian Assembly feels qualified to represent Armenians of the Diaspora;
and when all the other organizations dismiss that claim as arrogant nonsense,
one may be justified in suspecting that,
when it comes to assessing their own performance and the performance of the opposition, honesty, objectivity and truth fly out the window.
Strike that!
To say they fly out the window is to imply they were there to begin with.
They were never there, and it looks like they are destined to remain unwelcome guests and perennial exiles.
When our partisans treat one another as charlatans and worse,
why should anyone take them seriously?
If they relegate one another to irrelevance,
can’t they see that they too become irrelevant in the eyes of the world?
Can’t they see that in killing one another
they are committing suicide, and worse, much worse:
they are committing genosuicide?
--------------------

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#9 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 06:48 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted June 22, 2001 06:49 AM
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FEAR OF REPETITION
*******************************
In an effort to silence me, some of my hostile readers tell me I have become a broken record…which means they keep reading me…how else would they know that I repeat myself? Next question: Why would anyone go on reading "a broken record?"
I am reminded of Nixon and his cronies during the Watergate scandals: they too kept saying and repeating, "The American people have had enough of Watergate!" But the American people and the media had had enough of Watergate only after Nixon was forced to resign and his cronies were arrested, tried, found guilty and imprisoned like common criminals.
ARE WE UNIQUE?
**************************
Uniqueness is the most common feature of all beings and things – from individuals, tribes, nations and races to grains of sand, blades of grass and flakes of snow. To say that since we are unique we are also better is not just nonsense, but dangerous nonsense – and dangerous because it promotes racism, arrogance, and self-satisfied moronism. The paradox here is that those who say they are better are as a rule the worst scum on earth.

ON ARROGANCE
****************************************
Massacres happen because one side underestimates the ruthless determination and savagery of the opposition. Let us expose the guilt of the criminals by all means, but let us not ignore the arrogance of those who overestimated their own invulnerability.
Likewise, assimilation (or white massacre) happens because our dominant minority underestimates the seductive powers of alien cultures and overestimates the irresistible charms of Armenianism.

--------------------

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#10 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 06:50 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted June 29, 2001 06:50 AM
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SYNONYMOUS STATEMENTS
*********************************
Thou shalt not recycle fascist propaganda.
Thou shalt not spread lies.
Thou shalt not believe in liars.
Thou shalt not bear false witness.
Thou shalt not worship idols.
Thou shalt not abdicate you reason and parrot nonsense
as if it were gospel truth.
Thou shalt not make your views dependent on your wishes.
ONE-UPMANSHIP
************************
"I have been to Armenia four times!" a reader writes, thus implying, if I have been there only three times I am a lesser Armenian, and if I have never been there, I don’t even qualify as the scum of the earth.

PARANOIA
********************
Another reader accuses me of being an enemy agent and a hireling of the Canadian government, thus implying Canada harbors hostile or even imperialist ambitions against our beloved homeland. And I imagine the following scenario: this reader and I live in Stalin’s USSR. What would happen next? I would be shot and he would be promoted…until he too would be accused of being a foreign agent. There are no happy endings under fascism.

HYPERBOLE
***********************
"Everyone hates you!" a reader writes. No, not quite. Only those I have criticized. Not every Armenian is a fool, a fanatic, or a fascist.

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#11 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 06:52 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted July 02, 2001 10:53 AM
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A+ FOR EFFORT
***************************
No matter how absurd a notion, you will invariably find a self-appointed Armenian pundit who subscribes to it. I was brought up (make it, brainwashed) to believe Armenians are just about the smartest people on earth. Ever since then my view of my fellow countrymen has been going steadily downhill. We may not be just about the dumbest people on earth, but we are on our way there. We deserve at least A+ for effort. To be dumb is of course no crime; what makes it so is the arrogance that goes with it – an arrogance so outrageous that must be a transparent mask of abysmal insecurity.
FIGURE THAT ONE OUT IF YOU CAN
**************************************
After I told him I don’t like to travel, a fellow Armenian sent me a ticket for a round trip to Washington, DC. And after publishing several essays in which I expressed my loathing of all partisan politics, a Ramgavar boss commissioned me to write biographical sketches of Ramgavar leaders; and when I told him I didn’t even know the names of these leaders, he went around saying: "We offered to support him but he insulted us!"

THREE OBSTACLES
***************************
As an Armenian writer, I confront two major obstacles:
(one) I am Armenian, and (two) I am a writer.
Nothing new in that. I was warned of both when I was a little boy. But no one knew enough to warn me of a third and a far more formidable obstacle, namely, I would be writing for an audience of experts on any given subject.
There are times when I feel as though I were a mentally challenged freshman writing for an audience of hostile professors with degrees on theology,* literary criticism,** and political science.***
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*From the University of Josif Stalin in Moscow.
**From the Ayatollah Khomeini Institute of Higher Learning in Teheran.
***From the University of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.

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ara baliozian

#12 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 06:53 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted July 05, 2001 12:39 PM
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PARA/NOIA
**********************
At one time or another I have been accused of being in the pay of Tashnaks, Ramgavars, the CIA, the Vatican, Turkey, Israel, Canada, and the devil knows who else…all because I expressed views that my accusers didn’t like.
I must be a wealthy man with all that money pouring in from all four corners of the globe. And if what they say is right – "If you know how much money you have, you can’t be very wealthy!" – I must be very wealthy indeed!
A UTOPIAN PROPOSAL
********************************************
I just finished reading a commentary by one of our pundits in which he suggests, among other things, that our institutions should support dissenters, critics, and satirists who may be potential Voltaires and Baronians.
I consider this to be a wonderful idea, but also a thoroughly utopian proposal because it amounts to asking Stalin to support Solzhenitsyn and the Ayatollah Khomeini to read (please note, I am not saying to support) Salman Rushdie. In some other realm that may happen indeed, but not in this one.
In my encounters and conversations with Armenian writers and artists (and I don’t mean dissenters and satirists: do we have them?) the consensus is: they no longer expect institutional support; they will be more than happy if our institutions refrained from raising obstacles in their paths.

SUMMING UP
*************************************
When it comes to understanding and solving our problems, we have two schools of thought: those who put all the blame on others (Turks, the West, Soviets, etc.), and those who ascribe them [our problems] to our own failings (intolerance, tribalism, lack of vision, incompetence, corruption, authoritarianism, misguided patriotism, etc.)
The unspoken slogan of the first school is: "We are in good hands."
The unspoken slogan of the second school is: "Throw the rascals out!"
You may now guess which of these two schools is favored by our lobotomized leadership.

--------------------

ara baliozian

#13 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 06:56 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted July 05, 2001 07:15 AM
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SIMPLIFICATIONS
************************
Between an unjust democracy and a just despotism I will always be on the side of democracy because I can always rely on its checks and balances and free play of conflicting interests to restore a semblance of justice; whereas justice under a despotism (assuming such a thing has ever existed or will ever exist) is bound to be an ephemeral and unpredictable luxury that may vanish without warning at the caprice of a single individual accountable to none.
America is America because it knows how to take care of its own.
Armenia is Armenia because it doesn’t.

I began my career as a shameless chauvinist until I met a poet I had praised. I have committed many major blunders in my life but these two (praising him and going out of my way to meet him) I rank among the top ten. Since then I have discovered Armenian poets to be the least poetic of creatures. I see more poetry in a spider’s web and even in a dung beetle’s ball of dung.

The average Armenian is carefully indoctrinated by our educational system to be a spin doctor and a cover-up artist on the grounds that it is anti-Armenian to exhibit our dirty linen in public. Result: our crooks go about their business unmolested.
The average Armenian knows that if caught shoplifting – even if the item is worth pennies – he may be arrested and punished; but he demands that our crooks remain unexposed.
We are expected to believe that a corrupt boss or bishop has a legal option that is not available to ordinary mortals: he may plead not guilty on grounds of Armenianism. Or, in the words of one of my readers: "A fornicating bishop who embezzles millions is also a man of God."

--------------------

ara baliozian

#14 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 06:58 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted July 11, 2001 06:52 AM
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ON JUSTICE
****************************
At no time in our history we have had an independent judiciary. Which means that the executive branch or those who make and implement policies have done so without any checks and balances. History tells us – and on this point it is as clear as daylight – whenever that happens -- and it invariably happens in authoritarian and totalitarian power structures -- the executive branch corrupts, controls and prostitutes the judiciary branch, with the result that justice as such becomes obsolete and irrelevant especially when it applies to the executive branch. Which is why we are a nation of a thousand Watergates and as many Monica Lewinskys.
All power structures – from the most advanced democracies to the most ruthless fascist states – generate a lunatic fringe, with one significant difference: under fascist power structures, the lunatic fringe has a far better chance to rise to the top and it never fails to do so.

--------------------

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#15 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 06:59 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted August 15, 2001 11:18 AM
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TO A PROUD ARMENIAN
*******************************
Scratch a proud armenian
and expose the chauvinist.
Scratch a chauvinist
and expose the commissar.
Scratch a commissar
and expose the killer.

Signed
yours truly,
a humble armenian
who no matter how hard he tries
he cannot be proud of the fact that
for nearly a millennium
we were oppressed, brutalized, and ottomanized by the turks;
our boys shed their blood for their sultans
and our girls serviced their elite as concubines;

no matter how hard I try
I cannot be proud of the fact that
we were the first nation to suffer a genocide in the 20th century;
neither can I be proud that we suffered
successive waves of purges in the USSR
(and, in both instances,
with the full cooperation of Armenian traitors).

no matter how hard I try
I cannot be proud of the fact that
as our benedefecators lose thousands of dollars
in a matter of seconds in Las Vegas
and throw million-dollar banquets
in honor of this or that rascal
thousands of girls in the homeland
engage in prostitution to feed their families;
and how can I be proud of the fact that
instead of working together
our political organization work against one another
and we remain as divided today
as we were in the middle ages
under the Mamigonians, Bagratunism, Ardzrunies
and the devil know how many other
two-bit warlords with dynastic ambitions….

Scratch a proud of armenian
and expose an ignoramus
infatuated with his own ignorance.

--------------------

ara baliozian

#16 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 07:02 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted July 31, 2001 06:53 AM
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REFLECTIONS
********************************
There are those who use Armenianism as a license to behave like swine and to demand unconditional love at the same time – all in the name of patriotism, of course.
Lovable people don’t ask for love (they have enough of it); neither do the hateful (they know they don’t deserve it); it is different with the spoiled and the loathsome….

The easiest and surest victim of deception is the deceiver himself.

It is impossible to carry on a civilized conversation with someone who cannot tell the difference between an honest statement and recycled crap.

There are two kinds of Armenians: those who aspire to expose the deceivers and those whose ambition is to become one of them; and the second kind outnumber the first because there is more money in it – also power and prestige.

--------------------

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#17 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 07:45 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted August 29, 2001 12:14 PM
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THE REST IS SILENCE
********************************
For many years I couldn’t understand Armenians who avoided their fellow Armenians; Armenians who in the presence of fellow Armenians pretended to be odars; Armenians who stayed away from Armenian community centers and churches as if these were serpent pits.
But now in my old age I find myself in the same position.
To hear Armenian spoken in a supermarket is no longer a pleasant surprise. Neither is answering the phone and hearing someone identify himself as an Armenian. More and more often now I find myself blocking e-mail messages from fellow Armenians who use their phony patriotism to verbally abuse and insult anyone who refuses to echo their sentiments and thoughts; Armenians who demand to be judged by their opinion of themselves; Armenians who are so thoroughly Ottomanized that they confuse Armenianism with Ottomanism; in short, Armenians who remind me of Zarian’s dictum, "An Armenian’s tongue can be sharper than a Turk’s yataghan."
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#18 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 07:48 AM

ara baliozian
Member
Member # 271
posted July 09, 2001 06:52 AM
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DEFINITIONS
***************************
FREEDOM OF SPEECH:
One way to define it is by saying, even the ablest statesman is not authorized to tell even the worst scribbler what to write and how to write it.
COMMISSAR OF CULTURE:
Anyone, including a functional illiterate skinhead, who feels fully qualified to tell a writer what and how to write.

QUESTIONS / ANSWERS
What have our statesmen contributed to our collective existence?
Commissar of culture.

What have our commissars of culture contributed?
Censorship and propaganda; also lies and death.

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#19 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 07:51 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted August 03, 2001 11:17 AM
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THE FLY AND THE HATCHET
***********************************
"Do not remove a fly from your friend’s forehead
with a hatchet." Chinese proverb

I am read by readers who find me unreadable.
I am hated by Armenians who tell me Armenians are loving people.
I am called a jerk by individuals who consider themselves
noble specimens of humanity.
I am torn to shreds by chauvinists
who tell me I should be more constructive.
I am called the son of a whore by individuals who have assessed themselves as paragons of virtue.
I am told to go to hell by born-again Christians.
If anyone were to ask me now:
"What is the most terrible curse you can think of?"
I would reply: "May your offspring choose Armenian literature as a career!"

--------------------

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#20 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 08:19 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted July 07, 2001 07:04 AM
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EAST / WEST
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During World War I, Arnold J. Toynbee worked for the British Government and published several books in defense of the British, the West, and the Armenians, and critical of the Turks whom he called "murderous." After World War I, however, he changed his mind and became pro-Turkish and anti-West. In a book titled THE WORLD AND THE WEST (if memory serves) he said: "It is the West that hit the East again and again, and not the other way around." (Again I am quoting from memory.) But the truth of the matter is, long before Alexander the Great hit the East, the Persians invaded Greece and the reason they failed to invade the rest of Europe is that the Greeks arrested their advance. (The Greeks explained their success by saying they fought as free citizens in defense of democracy, unlike the Persians who fought because they were ordered to by a despot.)
Speaking of the East hitting the West: the Arabs reached Spain via North Africa; and, after the conquest of Constantinople, the Turks colonized Greece and Eastern Europe; but again, their advance was thwarted on land and sea by the combined forces of several Western states.
Homo sapiens is the same all over and to say the East is less aggressive than the West amounts to continental racism. Given the chance, the East will tear the West to shreds. To put it differently: if we were to place Saddam Hussein in the White, the chances are mankind will not be better off.
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ara baliozian




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