Friday, July 11, 2003
Commissars are not uniquely Soviet phenomena.
Every other Armenian I meet in the Diaspora these days
harbors the ambitions of a commissar who given the power
would be as ruthless in his dealings with dissidents as Stalin.
In the same way that we speak of
“Red” and “White” massacres
(massacres in the Ottoman Empire
and assimilation in the Diaspora)
we could also speak of “Red” and “White” purges:
Stalinist purges in the Homeland
and the expulsion and alienation by our political parties
of actual and potential members of the party
in the Diaspora.
Speaking for myself:
I consider membership in one of our political parties
as an unmistakable symptom
of political HIV and moral syphilis.
We live in a complex world
in which even the bad guys
think of themselves as good guys.
Question: What does it take to be a good guy
even if you happen to be a murderer of innocent civilians?
Answer: The conviction that you are acting in the name
of an abstraction which may well be
a figment of your febrile imagination –
Allah, historic imperative, patriotism, justice,
the dictatorship of the proletariat….
Our planet, it has been said, is an insane asylum
in which one man’s god is another’s devil.
If a fanatic were to agree with a moderate
he would be a moderate.
Even underdogs have underdogs.
So that to some underdogs,
other underdogs are top dogs.
As an Armenian writer I become aware of this
whenever an Oriental rug merchant
or a fascist hooligan decides
to share his wisdom with me,
which in our context means
issuing directive on how to live
and what to think and write.
We are educated to believe
killing the enemy in the name of God and Country
is a good thing.
What we are not told is that so is our enemy.
The nobler the idea or ideology,
the more crooks it will attract.
Crooks spend so much time honing their act
of projecting an honest image that
they end up appearing more honest than truly honest men.
The fascist mind comes in two parts:
the ideological and the criminal;
and the function of the ideological
is to camouflage the criminal.
Raffi: “Even those among us
who have taken it upon themselves
to educate the people are nothing but
Ruben Ter-Minassian: “Our cultural achievements
and intellectual abilities may be superior to those of our neighbors,
but without solidarity we are bound to be defeated,
victimized, and exterminated.”
The words of an honest man don’t need definitions;
but the commas of a crook
should be carefully examined under a microscope.
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