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#1 ara baliozian

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Posted 17 April 2001 - 10:15 AM

KISS OF DEATH
************************
In the biography of a contemporary American writer (Saul Bellow)
I am not surprised to read that almost every year following the publication of his first book, he was awarded a literary prize or grant by such American cultural foundations as the Ford, Guggenheim, Rockefeller and Pulitzer.
As a Canadian citizen I too have been awarded a series of grants and awards from Canadian sources, but I havenít had much luck with Armenian foundations,
one of which (The Gulbenkian in Lisbon) is said to have more money than the wealthiest American foundation, including those mentioned above.
One possible explanation: I have no political connections, institutional affiliations, and "khnamiyakan gaber," (literally, "in-law ties, i.e. friendly insiders or influential relatives).
To those who say, "Armenian foundations are not friendly to you because you are anti-Armenian," I say, Bellow has called the United States "a moronic inferno," so what?
Besides, I donít consider myself anti-Armenian but anti-charlatan and anti-philistine.
The real explanation may well be that those who staff our foundations are philistine charlatans and mediocrities whose number one concern is not to be exposed for what they really are. If true, to be awarded a grant or a prize by them should be as welcome to me or to any writer as a kiss of death.

#2 MJ

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Posted 17 April 2001 - 01:28 PM

Ara,

Just as a side note, the Gulbenkian fund is operated by non-Armenians for very long time, now.

#3 ara baliozian

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Posted 18 April 2001 - 06:31 AM

Martin:
i have corresponded with several Armenians in the Gulvenkian foundation; one of them, (now dead) even wanted me to translate his works into english! the other's name was Keshishian.../ ara

#4 MJ

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Posted 18 April 2001 - 06:52 AM

Ara,

I know. But these two guys were/are a small voice in the chairmanship of the endowment. Additionally, the foundation itself is not oriented towards Armenian issues. True they have financed some Armenian endowers in the past, such as the partial financing of the construction of the Hall of Chamber Music in Yerevan, or collection of a special Gulbenkian fund of rare books in Yerevan University. But these things have been outside the mainframe direction of the endowment.

#5 ara baliozian

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Posted 18 April 2001 - 11:10 PM

if i am not mistaken
there is an armenian department there and
8% of their income is devoted to armenians!-- including scholarship, books,etc. / ara

#6 MJ

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Posted 18 April 2001 - 11:21 PM

That's interesting. Is there any report on how they materialize that 8% ?

#7 ara baliozian

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Posted 18 April 2001 - 11:29 PM

that's all i remember;
there may well be more details somewhere...

#8 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 05:12 AM

ara baliozian
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posted June 06, 2001 06:46 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THREE KINDS OF LIES
********************************
Plato explains somewhere that there are three kinds of lies:
the garden variety fib (the kind that Washington junior refused to speak after vandalizing one of senior’s favorite fruit trees);
propaganda (or lies spoken by the State for the "good" of the people);
and the lie in the soul (when the liar believes in his own lies).
The third kind, Plato tells us, is the most dangerous of all.
It follows that, such things as sincerity, commitment, and faith
can be worthless, even dangerous, commodities if their source is a lie
a false god, a twisted ideology, a demagogue,
or, for that matter, the individual or collective self
(by individual self I mean the ego,
and by collective, any fraction of mankind,
such as political party, social class, or nation).
It also follows that, when someone uses the expression
"I sincerely believe in this!"
he may not be enhancing the validity of his credo
but simply admitting to being a gullible fool.
--------------------

ara baliozian

#9 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 05:15 AM

ara baliozian
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posted June 06, 2001 06:46 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THREE KINDS OF LIES
********************************
Plato explains somewhere that there are three kinds of lies:
the garden variety fib (the kind that Washington junior refused to speak after vandalizing one of senior’s favorite fruit trees);
propaganda (or lies spoken by the State for the "good" of the people);
and the lie in the soul (when the liar believes in his own lies).
The third kind, Plato tells us, is the most dangerous of all.
It follows that, such things as sincerity, commitment, and faith
can be worthless, even dangerous, commodities if their source is a lie
a false god, a twisted ideology, a demagogue,
or, for that matter, the individual or collective self
(by individual self I mean the ego,
and by collective, any fraction of mankind,
such as political party, social class, or nation).
It also follows that, when someone uses the expression
"I sincerely believe in this!"
he may not be enhancing the validity of his credo
but simply admitting to being a gullible fool.
--------------------

ara baliozian

#10 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 05:16 AM

ara baliozian
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posted June 24, 2001 12:33 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ARMENIANS AND ODARS
*********************************
If you ever say anything remotely critical or negative
about Armenia in the presence of a couple of Armenians,
one of them is sure to mention a corner of the world
in which things are much worse.
Fragrant latrines?
When was the last time you walked past a pissoir in Paris?
Unsanitary hospitals?
Let me tell you what happened to my grandmother in a Canadian hospital.
Corrupt police?
Obviously, you have never been to Mexico City.
Incompetent bureaucracy?
Things are much worse in Moscow.
Assassinations?
The situation in Georgia is twice as bad.
It follows that, before we criticize our homeland,
we should criticize cops in Moscow,
muggers in New York City,
druglords in Colombia,
outhouses in Uzbekistan,
hospitals in Timbuctoo,
jungle tribes in South America,
and the air conditioning system in hell….
It also follows that,
only if perfection is achieved in the rest of the world
may we consider listening to criticism
by malcontents and unpatriotic scum;
only then may we make an effort to improve things.
Until then, the message to our critics is:
Get off our case,
mind your own business,
shut up!
I have heard many Armenians use this line of defense
or rather, counter-attack –
but may I confess, I have never heard an odar say:
"Our failings may be many
but things are much worse in Armenia";
and I doubt very much if I will ever hear
a Kurd or a Bedouin say,
"Our outhouses may not qualify as tourist attractions,
but when was the last time you walked past
a latrine in Yerevan?"
--------------------

ara baliozian

#11 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 05:20 AM

ara baliozian
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posted June 26, 2001 06:59 AM
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Tuesday, June 26, 2001
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
DEMOCRACY VERSUS FASCISM
***************************************
In a democracy the State serves the people and all those in positions of power are called public servants, and as such, are accountable to the people and its representatives.
In an authoritarian, despotic, or fascist environment, the people serve the State even when the State happens to be in the hands of a pathological liar, a serial killer, or a lunatic.
In a democracy the people are educated to value freedom, self-reliance, tolerance, and respect for fundamental human rights. In an authoritarian state the people are indoctrinated to respect authority and, when that doesn’t work, terrorized into subservience.
Armenians who are critical of American democracy and support Middle-Eastern despotism engage in double-talk because they enjoy all kinds of freedoms (including the freedom to criticize the State), none of which would be available in Saddam’s Iraq or Ayatollah’s Iran, or in an environment where children are brainwashed to believe being a suicidal fanatic and engaging in acts of terrorism (by killing innocent women and children) is a spiritual privilege and a heroic deed that will be awarded with eternal bliss.
--------------------

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#12 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 05:21 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted July 13, 2001 06:58 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ON SELF-CRITICISM
********************************
To those who tend to confuse self-criticism with anti-Armenianism, let me say that once upon a time I was myself the kind of Armenian I criticize, and when I say once upon a time I don’t mean thirty or forty years ago but as recently as yesterday. I too was brainwashed to be a chauvinist, that is to say, a propagandist and a liar; and for a long time I thought the aim of recycling chauvinist crap was to make a good impression on odars.
I know better now.
I know that odars are not easy to fool. We can only fool ourselves; and fooling ourselves is the easiest thing on earth because to have had an Armenian education means to have been carefully trained to be a dupe. And if you were to tell me you had an entirely different education, I will say, Rejoice! Because you may consider yourself a member of an extremely tiny and privileged group of whose existence I was not even aware until now.
--------------------

ara baliozian

#13 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 05:23 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted August 13, 2001 11:01 AM
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CHARLATANS
***********************
No one likes a charlatan, not even charlatans.
Given a choice between an honest and a dishonest politician or lawyer
(assuming of course they exist in this day and age),
a charlatan will invariably choose the honest one.
The same applies to doctors, plumbers,
salesmen, friends and associates.
The only time charlatans will conspire and cooperate
with one another is when
they want to deceive, mislead and exploit
the naÔve, the innocent and the inexperienced.
I speak as an authority on the subject
because I too was brought up to be a charlatan.
I had an Armenian education.
How to recognize a charlatan?
Easy!
Call an honest man a charlatan
and he will shrug his shoulders,
turn his back,
and ignore you.
But call a charlatan a charlatan
and he will curse the day you were born.
--------------------

ara baliozian

#14 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 05:24 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted August 17, 2001 11:17 AM
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CAVEAT
*******************
When I express my views I don’t mean to say this is how reality is but this is how I see it: this is my experience and perception of it. Opinions, views, words and ideas are not and cannot be doubles of objects in the external world, neither can they be fragments of reality. Reality is one; views many. Two Armenians may subscribe to not just two but twenty-two opinions. It is not unusual for an Armenian to express one view today and its exact opposite tomorrow when involved in another argument. Twenty-two therefore may well be not poetic license but a conservative estimate.
Next time you disagree with me, don’t behave as though it were the end of the world. Instead, try to express your own view as honesty as you can, provided of course you don’t parrot hearsay clichťs and recycle chauvinist crap – that way lies not dialogue but two monologues that are destined never to cross.
--------------------

ara baliozian

#15 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 05:25 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted August 20, 2001 07:11 AM
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VERBAL CRAP
*************************
To say that the Turks are bloodthirsty savages is to recycle partisan propaganda and I have no interest in recycling anyone’s propaganda. The question I would like to see answered is: Why is it that Arnold J. Toynbee, one of the greatest historians of our time, who knew all about the genocide having written the first book on the subject, changed his mind and said Armenians had been wrong in making territorial demands on the Turks and that the genocide – which he at no time denied – had been an inevitable, if not justifiable, reaction to this Armenian blunder.
Likewise, to say that the Jews deserve to be hated because they are intrinsically evil (having crucified Christ or committed some other real or imaginary transgression) is to recycle Nazi propaganda and I have no interest in doing that either. What I want to understand is, why is it that Jean-Paul Sartre, the foremost French philosopher of the 20th century, wrote a book on the subject in which he asserted envy to be the root of anti-Semitism. Whenever a Frenchman or any other non-Jew fails in life, he said, he finds in Jews a convenient scapegoat.
And finally, to say that right and wrong are as clearly discernible as black and white and anyone who doesn’t agree with me – even when he happens to be an eminent historian or philosopher – is a pervert, an eccentric, or an idiot – is to recycle philistine nonsense and to wallow in someone else’s propaganda, that is to say, verbal crap.
--------------------

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#16 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 05:26 AM

ara baliozian
Member
Member # 271
posted August 21, 2001 11:12 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A QUESTION AND ITS OBVIOUS ANSWER
****************************************************
It is the easiest thing in the world for two Armenians to get together and to agree that the Turks are guilty of genocide. Likewise, it is the easiest thing in the world for two Turks to get together and to agree that the Armenians are dead wrong. Both Turks and Armenians have been doing this for such a long time that it has become second nature.
It should be easier to convince both Turks and Armenians that, as human being, they are fallible as well as prejudiced observers and that their testimony is worthless if not judged by an impartial jury – but a jury not of their peers (which would never agree on anything) but a jury of non-Armenians and non-Turks.
Why is it that so far both Armenians and Turks (or, for that matter, Israelis and Palestinians, Hutus and Tutsis, Pakistanis and Indians, Japanese and Koreans, among many others) have agreed only on not resorting to this kind of arbitration?
The answer is and must be: Because all men, regardless of national origin, are committed more to their own lies than to someone else’s truth – one of the biggest lies being: Truth and God are on our side, we are without prejudice, and we have at no time committed a blunder or massacred innocent women and children.
--------------------

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#17 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 05:27 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted August 31, 2001 07:15 AM
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ON ARMENIAN LITERATURE
*****************************************
Only after the private diaries and correspondence of our writers are published may we know what they really thought of their fellow Armenians. The very few samples that I have read (notably the letters and diaries of Daniel Varoujan, Gostan Zarian, and Hagop Oshagan) present a grim and an almost schizophrenic picture. To survive in the jungle of our communities, these writers had to conform and be subservient. They could attack defenseless, solitary and harmless writers mercilessly (as Oshagan did again and again) but if they ever dared to direct their critical fire on anyone else (as Zarian did) they were swiftly punished, silenced and alienated. As for public support: it has been and continues to be an absent factor in our collective existence. With public support, Armenian literature could have produced such international best-sellers as Arlen, Saroyan, Adamov, Berberova and Troyat; but without public support it is destined to remain, in the words of Baruir Massikian, "a vast cemetery," occasionally visited by an eccentric reader but ignored by the vast philistine majority and the world at large.
--------------------

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#18 MJ

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Posted 01 September 2001 - 07:40 AM

ara baliozian
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Member # 271
posted April 19, 2001 11:57 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2100 AD
****************************
Here is the plot of a sci-fi novel that I may never write.
On 2100 AD extra-terrestrials land on Earth and they speak Armenian.
The explanation for this strange phenomenon is as follows:
they come from a distant planet that is an exact replica of our own
but with a different history.
On that planet (Earth B) Armenia has become the mightiest and the most technologically advanced empire because at one point in their career as a nation Armenians decided to do the right thing.
Dikran the Great named as his minister of war a competent military leader familiar with Roman strategy, strength, and style of combat and was thus successful in defeating and expelling the Romans from the Middle East permanently.
The Mamikonians, Bagratunis, and Ardzrunis decided to place the interests of the nation above their own dynastic ambitions by uniting under a single ruler.
Instead of blinding and assassinating one another, Armenian emperors, usurpers, and generals of the Byzantine Empire decided to cooperate with one another and to adopt a pro-Armenian foreign policy.
Moral: The so-called invisible historic forces beyond human control are figments of our imagination and they are no match for man-made policies by leaders with vision.
A FRIENDLY CRITIC
*******************************
"No one takes short essays seriously," a friend (himself a writer) tells me. "You should write long ones with footnotes and scholarly paraphernalia. That’s where the money is. That’s when your readers will sit up and say, Aha! This fellow is up to something!"
But I don’t see why I should produce twenty pages to say what may be said in two brief paragraphs or sentences. Between the long and the short version, the shortest has a better chance to be read, understood and appreciated if only because it does not make any demands on the reader’s time; and if it bores, it bores only for a few seconds. Schubert wrote miniature songs and Wagner wrote long-winded operas; Chekhov wrote short stories and Tolstoy big baggy novels. So what if I write postage-stamp essays? I am not saying I belong to the Schubert/Chekhov tradition; I am only saying the genre and length don’t matter; the contents do. If what I say is right, it’s bound to penetrate the thickest skull; but if what I say is wrong, even if I say it in an 800-page tome it will still be wrong.
His answer: "Schubert is German and Chekhov Russian. We are Armenian; we are different!"
And I cannot help reflecting: Armenianism has become such a convenient explanation for every conceivable theory and such a patriotic justification for every misconception!

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

ara baliozian




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