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as i see it - Pt. IV


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#321 ara baliozian

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Posted 04 June 2005 - 11:36 AM

Saturday, June 04, 2005
***********************************
When asked why he writes, a writer is quoted as having replied: "So that idiots may have something to think about in twenty years."
*
The problem with most Armenian writers is that they want to achieve popularity long before they are murdered by a foreign tyrant or starved by their fellow Armenians.
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Am I right or wrong? I am not sure. But I know this: if I am wrong, my voice will be drowned by a chorus of loud-mouth chauvinists, charlatans, partisans and panchoonies, none of whom will ever dare to question the authority of any one of our bosses, bishops, and benefactors.
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If all Turks vanished from the face of the earth tomorrow, Armenians wouldn't miss them because an Armenian friend wouldn't be much different from a Turkish enemy.
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Charles Péguy: "Out of ignorance and a sense of duty most decent people are liable to turn into criminals."
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You can't talk ethics with a bishop: he thinks he has a monopoly on the subject. You can't talk sharing power with a boss: he thinks he is the best-qualified man for the job.
You can't talk money with a benefactor: he won't listen to anyone who makes less than he does.
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Scottish proverb: "The devil's boots don't creak."
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All persecuted minorities and victims tend to view freedom as the freedom to persecute and victimize.
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La Rochefoucauld: "No man is clever enough to know all the evil he does."
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"I paint with my prick," Renoir is quoted as having said.
Some of my readers think with theirs.
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#322 ara baliozian

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 10:56 AM

IN THE NAME OF LITERATURE
***************************************
If what I say has been said before by many other Armenian writers (among them Khorenatsi, Yeghishe, Raffi, Baronian, Odian, Voskanian, Shahnour, Zarian, Massikian), it follows that whenever I am muzzled, it is not I who is being muzzled, but Armenian literature.
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Any reader who is interested to know what these writers (mentioned above) and many others (Armenian as well as odar) have said about us and is too lazy or unable to read them in the original, I suggest he consult my DICTIONARY OF ARMENIAN QUOTATIONS, which happens to be out of print but may be obtained through the American and Canadian interlibrary loan system, which is free of charge.
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If I speak in the name of our writers, it follows, our censors and editors (but I repeat myself) act in the name of commissars of culture whose aim has been and continues to be not culture but its systematic perversion. And as if that weren't enough, these butchers portray themselves as the defenders of the faith and the saviors of the nation. Because butchers never go about their bloody business in the name of the Devil, but in the name of Allah, and since they control the press, the schools, and the pulpits of the nation, they have no trouble in shaping the judgment of dupes.
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Where everyone speaks in the name of God, Capital, and Ideology, the question we should ask is who speaks in the name of literature? The answer is and must be the same people who spoke in the name of Soviet literature under Stalin, German literature under Hitler, and Italian literature under Mussolini. That is to say, the very same people who silenced (sometimes permanently) Charents, Bakounts, Zabel Yessayan, Mahari, Mandelstam, Solzhenitsyn, Akhmatova, Thomas Mann, Gramsci and many others.
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Talaat and Stalin are not dead. They live, and the massacre continues…
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#323 ara baliozian

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 11:42 AM

Monday, June 06, 2005
*************************************
PARALLELS
************************
If we are special and unique, it follows we are also morally superior and therefore beyond criticism. Beyond criticism means we have no use for critics and dissent might as well be anathema, treason, and betrayal. Which is where I come in or from the general to the specific.
*
My life has been a succession of blunders. It all began when I was born as an Armenian. It’s been downhill ever since. For a long time I couldn’t see this, but it is as clear as daylight now. This is not a confession but an admission of facts based on objectively assessed data. And now from the specific back to the general, and from the present to the past.
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Our historians, schoolteachers and propaganda are unanimous in telling us that our troubles began with the birth of the nation on the crossroads of bloodthirsty barbarians on the warpath. Things have been going downhill ever since. Overrun, conquered, and ruled by Romans, Persians, Byzantine Greeks (some of whom were Armenians), Arabs, Turks, and Russians, our history has been a succession of defeats, subservience to scum, massacre (by ditto), dispersion, exile, alienation, and assimilation (or “white massacre”).
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Moral of the story: Sorry, I see none. If you do, please go ahead, enlighten us and in the process make me that rarest of all oxymorons: a happy Armenian.
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#324 ara baliozian

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 11:37 AM

Tuesday, June 07, 2005
***********************************
Our political parties should make a joint declaration to the effect that in so far as they have failed to unite and strengthen the nation, they have been a liability rather than an asset.
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Had Goliath been an Armenian, his defeat would have been called a moral victory in our textbooks, and David’s version of the story anti-Armenian propaganda.
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Since most of our revolutionary leaders survived the massacres, we must assume they had a Plan B for themselves but not for the two million.
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An Armenian is that paradoxical creature who hates no one except fellow Armenians who do not share his hatred of Turks.
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An Armenian loves freedom but hates free speech.
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There are two kinds of dupes: dupes who believe in someone else’s lies, and dupes who believe in their own lies.
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I don’t need to know the truth to recognize a lie, in the same way that I don’t need to have seen the light to say that, for the blind leading the blind, walking by a ditch can be a risky business.
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#325 ara baliozian

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 11:07 AM

Wednesday, June 08, 2005
***********************************
I grew up in a ghetto among survivors and as far as I remember the possibility of Turkish acknowledgment of the Genocide wasn't even mentioned, perhaps because the idea of being dependent on Turkish goodwill, compassion, or justice was so alien, not to say repellent, that it was dismissed as absurd long before it surfaced.
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Stressing one side of the story at the expense of the other may end up doing more harm than good by raising questions about our objectivity. I would go further and say that even if there is no other side to the story, we should pretend that there is. To say that Turks are Asiatic barbarians is not a valid argument in the eyes of those who have dealt with both Armenians and Turks and have perceived little or no difference in their conduct. On the other hand, to say that the Genocide was a result of collective insanity amounts to providing them with a good reason to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.
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Leonardo da Vince, himself the designer of weapons of mass destruction, once called war "pazzia bestialissima" (the most beastly madness), which may suggest that collective insanity is not a rare but a routine occurrence in history. Which may also suggest that Turks are no different than any other nation, including the most civilized, progressive, and democratic.
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Having said this, I will not be surprised if I am accused of being on the side of denialists. But then, as an Armenian writer I have been exposed to so much ego-driven verbal bowel movements that I can take nothing an Armenian says seriously.
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#326 ara baliozian

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 12:34 PM

Thursday, June 09, 2005
********************************
VARIATIONS ON A FAMILIAR THEME
************************************************
Since the most abominable crimes have been justified in the name of God and Country, whenever common sense and decency stand in direct contradiction with the message of sermonizers and speechifiers, I go with common sense. But try to explain this to a charlatan who has been brainwashed to believe he is morally superior.
*
In the end crooks are caught because when they get away with something, they invariably come back to get away with more…and more…until they are exposed. Something similar happens to charlatanism and many other human aberrations: if not exposed at an early stage, they get progressively worse until they legitimize torture, war and massacre.
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How can murder and massacre be morally superior? Why is it that the very same people who oppose abortion support war? How can love of God and Country legitimize hate of fellow men, including fellow countrymen? I don’t know, but if you want these questions answered, ask any one of our dime-a-dozen charlatans.
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You read a critic to know what’s wrong with you, not what’s right. You already know what’s right and if you are an Armenian, even that which is wrong is right, which may explain why we silence and starve our critics.
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Whenever I say Armenian writers have been misunderstood and rejected, sometimes even silenced and starved, I am informed by our defenders of the faith, “So have all writers throughout history.” True. But whereas some Soviet dissidents enjoyed international support, our own dissidents didn’t even enjoy our support. I remember one of our elder statesmen saying: “Parajanov? The man is a syphilitic homosexual and a black marketeer. They should lock him up and throw away the key!”
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#327 ara baliozian

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 11:45 AM

Friday, June 10, 2005
************************************
OF POLITICIANS, LAWYERS, AND LAYMEN
****************************************************
The problem with Turks is that they believe what they are told by their politicians. Our problem? Ditto.
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Turks as well as Armenians trust their own politicians even though it is a universally acknowledge fact that politicians and honesty are incompatible, not to say, mutually exclusive concepts.
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Truth is not the province of politicians, power or propaganda is. In that sense politicians are like defense lawyers whose job consists in emphasizing the evidence in their favor and ignoring or denigrating the evidence presented by the prosecution. As for justice: they leave it up to the judge and jury.
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Politicians operate like lawyers too, future historians and the people being their judge and jury – provided of course historians are not nationalist hacks and hirelings of the regime, and the people are not brainwashed dupes.
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History it has been said is the propaganda of the victor. What has not been said is that it can also be the consolation of the loser. The victor feels the need to explain and justify his strength and its abuses (or crimes against humanity); and the loser feels a corresponding need to explain and justify his weakness and incompetence, which he can do only by asserting moral superiority.
*
As an Armenian I have been called all kinds of nasty names by my fellow Armenians. Which may suggest that not all Armenians are alike. And, if our propagandists are to be believed, there are Armenians (like myself) who are scumbags, and there are Armenians (like themselves) who are noble specimens of humanity. It follows Armenian politicians are as white as the driven snow, and anyone who disagrees with them is an enemy of the people. It is therefore the patriotic duty of all decent Armenians to insult, silence, and whenever possible, to starve all critics and dissidents, or anyone else who refuses to parrot the propaganda line of our bosses and their dupes.
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Sometimes I am accused of making wild generalizations and ignoring the diversity of individuals and groups. The only time I generalize is when I speak of our past and future. That’s because as a nation we have only one history and one destiny. We cannot divide our history into chapters that apply only to a fraction of the nation. If we did that, we would cease being a nation and become a collection of tribes, each with its own specific collective experience, ethos, character, and culture.
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To commit an injustice in the name of justice, and to lie in the name of truth may be contradictions but they are also routine occurrences. They happen every day. Hence the old saying, “Don’t believe everything you read in the papers.”
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We are neither politicians nor lawyers. We are laymen. And if we want to understand reality we must learn to think against ourselves. To trust our politicians means to be willing to kill or die in the name of a Big Lie.
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#328 ara baliozian

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 11:31 AM

Saturday, June 11, 2005
*************************************
ON FANATICS
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You can't argue with a fanatic, especially if you are yourself a fanatic. We tried it with the Turks a hundred years ago and it didn't work. And we have been trying it ever since with the same results. We say they are fanatics and they return the compliment. Who is right?
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Has an Armenian ever admitted to being a fanatic? An Armenian is brought up to believe whatever he says and does is motivated by love, justice, truth, and moderation. Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth or anywhere else for that matter.
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I first learned the meaning of tolerance and moderation, not to say good manners, when I heard an Englishman say, "You may be right," when I was dead wrong. If an Armenian thinks you are wrong, he will call you names, he will rub your nose in it, and if he has the power, he will muzzle you, all in the name of justice, moderation, truth, objectivity, patriotism, Christian compassion, and a whole bunch of other good things.
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Because the Zartarian brothers thought Shahnour was wrong in his interpretation of one of their father's short stories, they beat the hell out of him in public. You want more examples of Armenian fanaticism? Visit any Armenian discussion forum, or even better, read a history of Armenian literature.
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Because Raffi was critical of our merchant class, a wealthy merchant hired the services of a Kurdish assassin. And because I have adopted a critical stance I have become an enemy of the people and a non-person.
This sort of thing happens all the time, everywhere, of course. Our failings are human failings. They are universal failings. Does that mean we should ignore them? Cover them up? Even better, legitimize them by accepting them as inevitable facts of life? Isn't this what we have done? And because I say this is wrong, am I an enemy?
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I am an enemy in the eyes of Armenians who think of themselves as beyond criticism. No sane man with the minimum of common sense and decency would ever dare to think of himself as beyond criticism, except an Armenian who has brainwashed himself to believe he is a role model with leadership qualities. There you have it: a definition of an Armenian fanatic.
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I speak from experience. I too was a fanatic once upon a time. Perhaps I still am. If I haven't silenced anyone it may be because I don't have the power. If I have never gone as far as hiring an assassin it may be because hitmen are luxuries beyond my means. Think whatever you like of me, so long as you don't think of me as that loathsome of all creatures: a role model with leadership qualities.
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#329 ara baliozian

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 11:07 AM

Sunday, June 12, 2005
********************************
WHAT IF?
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When, on his first official visit to Ankara, Raffi Hovannisian raised the question of the Genocide, the Turks reacted by saying, “This man hates us – we can’t deal with him.” And sure enough, our president agreed with them and dismissed Raffi from his post.
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There are Armenians to day who say they don’t hate Turks, they only ask for justice. But I for one find it extremely difficult to believe that it is possible to accuse someone of rape, plunder, and murder, and not hate him.
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Do we hate Turks? An irrelevant question. If the Turks think we hate them, it is up to us to find a way of convincing them otherwise. How? -- you may well ask. We could begin by accusing them not of murder one (premeditated) but two (manslaughter). There is a big difference.
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If all talk of genocide is taboo in Turkey, all talk of their side of the story is taboo among us. But if we say we don’t hate them, we are obliged to treat them not as dehumanized killing machines but as fellow human beings who were as much dupes of their own incompetent and corrupt leadership as we were.
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They behaved like dupes when their leaders spread the word that the giaours (Greeks, Russians, the Great Powers, and Armenians) were out to exterminate them and that many innocent Turkish civilians were being massacred in the Balkans, in Van, and a number of villages near the Russo-Turkish border.
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It is common knowledge that in time of war rumors of false atrocities provoke real atrocities. Politicians are fully aware of this and they exploit it whenever they want to unleash the dogs of war. During World War I rumors of German atrocities in Belgium and, more recently, during the Gulf War, rumors of Iraqi atrocities in Kuwait (later proved to be fabrications) made headlines in the international media.
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What if isolated, false, and exaggerated rumors of Christian atrocities together with the prospect of annihilation drove the Turks to commit counter-atrocities?
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An explanation is not a justification. I do not justify atrocities; but neither do I cover up or ignore or justify the lies of propaganda. Our leaders promised to lead us to the Promised Land. Instead they led us to the slaughterhouse. What if the two million were double victims? What if our own leadership bears part of the responsibility?
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#330 phantom22

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 01:16 PM

Ara,

What do you expect from a people who collectively do not think for themselves?

A people whose perceptions arise from being:

ETCHMIADZININ PECHIN DAGE

Edited by phantom22, 12 June 2005 - 03:05 PM.


#331 ara baliozian

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 11:39 AM

Monday, June 13, 2005
***********************************
DIARY
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A former Arab jihadist in a radio interview this morning: “Our leaders sent teenage boys on suicide missions but they send their own sons to be educated in America.”
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Last night on 60 MINUTES something very similar was said about Mourad Topalian, an Armenian political leader. Accused of aiding and abetting Armenian terrorists in the United States and elsewhere in Europe, he was arrested, tried, found guilty, and sent to prison for 35 months.
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When conventional wisdom and propaganda line are one and the same, it is safe to assume they are both extensions of Big Lies.
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There is a type of Armenian who thinks being civil is a symptom of weakness; and if he is morally superior he is allowed to go down into the gutter with impunity.
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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 – carcinogenic agents for short.
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I have no illusions about my fellow men. I have fewer illusions about my fellow Armenians. A good man is hard to find; a good Armenian is even harder. If I come across one once a year I feel privileged indeed. I have been writing now for 25 years and I can count my friends on the fingers of a one-armed leper; but my enemies are legion. Is it because I am a nasty sonofabitch? -- as my detractors like to say. Or is it because honesty is as popular among us today as it was among Greeks in the time of Diogenes?
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#332 ara baliozian

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 11:40 AM

QUOTE (phantom22 @ Jun 12 2005, 07:16 PM)
Ara,

What do you expect from a people who collectively do not think for themselves?

A people whose perceptions arise from being:

ETCHMIADZININ PECHIN DAGE



less and less, alas! / ara

#333 ara baliozian

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 11:12 AM

Wednesday, June 15, 2005
************************************
STRANGE BIRDS
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Whenever in my salad days I read a book favorable to Armenians, I thought of it as still another proof of the irrefutable fact that we are loveable. This illusion was unmasked when I discovered that favorable books have been written about all nations and tribes, including Turks, Kurds, Zulus, Gypsies, and Pygmies.
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It is a sign of abysmal insecurity to see ourselves as our friends see us and to ignore the testimony of many others who may be less favorably disposed. For every Armenophile there are probably two or more writers (among them Armenians) who have made it abundantly clear that we are as good (or as bad) as the rest of mankind and worse than some. I have myself compiled a dictionary of quotations by Armenian as well odar writers who have been extremely critical of us. If you think this is a result of the controversy between Armenophile and Turcophile writers, consider the case of Byzantine emperors of Armenian descent none of whom was particularly fond of Armenians.
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Here is Emperor Maurice (582-602) in a letter to the King of Persia: "Armenians are troublemakers of the worse kind. I am going to collect and drive them to Thrace. I don't care what happens to them there. If they kill, they will kill my enemies. If they die, they will die as enemies. In either case, I will live in peace. But if I allow them to go on living within the Empire, I shall have no peace."
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If you think the case of Emperor Maurice is an aberration, consider our superpatriotic Armenians who believe Armenians to be loveable (beginning with themselves, of course). If you ever dare to disagree with this type of Armenian you will acquire an enemy for life who will hate you unto death.
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After dealing with a good number of our superpatriots, I have reached the conclusion that their sole ambition in life is to reduce their fellow Armenians into a bunch of brown-nosing parrots. Strange birds, these Armenians.
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#334 ara baliozian

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 11:47 AM

Thursday, June 16, 2005
********************************
ON BRAINWASHING AND RELATED ATROCITIES
***********************************************************
Brainwashing provides two benefits to leaders and all power structures in general: (one) it creates a class of individuals willing to carry out orders without questioning them; and (two) it legitimizes a non-critical approach to life and politics. Hence the tendency of our partisans and superpatriots to silence intellectuals and to view dialogue and dissent as anti-Armenian.
*
As an Armenian, I don’t believe everything an Armenian tells me, not because I am smart and I can see through him; rather, the exact contrary: because I was naďve, credulous, and foolish, especially when dealing with our “betters” – namely, bosses, bishops, benefactors, and their dupes and hirelings.
*
I remember once many years ago when I defended the integrity of a fellow Armenian on the grounds that he was a bishop, I heard one of our elder statesmen say: “They are the worse crooks!” I thought he was exaggerating (as some Armenians tend to do) to make a point. I know better now.
*
If as an Armenian I don’t believe everything an Armenian tells me, how can we expect odars or, for that matter, enemies to believe us even when we say the sun rises in the east or 2+2=4?
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To those who say one may deceive isolated individuals or groups now and then, here and there, but not an entire people, may I remind them of the Fascists who were successful in brainwashing their people (Spaniards, Italians, Germans) and Communists entire continents.
*
All power structures rely on their educational system to divide mankind into friends and enemies. Even Christians and Muslims who believe in love and compassion divide mankind into believers and heretics or infidels, after which they have no trouble in brainwashing their dupes to believe that murdering innocent civilians is their patriotic and religious duty.
*
P.S.
Gentle reader, if you say, “I am not brainwashed because no one can brainwash me,” remember that only one class of individuals is in a position to make such an assertion: the brainless.
#

#335 ara baliozian

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 11:18 AM

Friday, June 17, 2005
***********************************
If you think today as you thought five years ago, and if you believe in the next five years you will not change your mind, it may be because you happen to be brain dead. Either that or you are convinced you already know everything you need to know and what you know is the truth, and anyone who dares to disagree with you must be either an ignoramus or a liar.
*
Once upon a time I wrote as an Armenian. I now do my utmost to write as a human being. What really matters about an idea is not its nationality but its universality. If I reject Armenian nationalism it’s because I reject all nationalism. We contradict ourselves when we say yes to Armenian nationalism and no to Turkish nationalism; and it makes little sense to say Armenian propaganda deals with facts and Turkish propaganda deals with fabrications.
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When it comes to the study of history, there are an infinite number of facts and there is no merit in cataloguing them. Facts acquire a meaning only when selected and interpreted. Facts matter but what matters even more are the criteria of selection and interpretation.
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None of us will ever know everything there is to know about the past, which is why historiography is not a science but an art.
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As Armenians the challenge we confront today is not gaining the trust of our fellow Armenians but of our adversaries. We succeed only in compromising our commitment to justice by calling anyone who disagrees with us an ignoramus and a liar, or, for that matter, an Asiatic barbarian, even if deep down we believe Turks to be liars, ignoramuses, rapists, and cold-blooded murderers of two million innocent civilians.
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#336 ara baliozian

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 11:21 AM

Saturday, June 18, 2005
**************************************
Reasonable men defend what in the eyes of other reasonable men is indefensible because they are convinced they base their defense on irrefutable facts. What they may not be aware of is that these facts may have been carefully selected by unconsciously acquired criteria determined by peer pressure, education, environment, culture, religion, self-interest and so on.
*
Throughout history man has hated in the name of love, committed injustices in the name of justice, and professed dedication to truth in the name of a Big Lie. Which is why after centuries and millennia Jews and Christians, Protestants and Catholics, supporters and opponents of capital punishment, abortion, and war, have failed to resolve their differences.
*
There are eminent Catholic theologians today who don't believe in the infallibility of the Pope and, my guess is, they have counterparts in all belief systems.
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If some day man learns to live in peace with his fellow men, it will be because of the courage and integrity of dissidents. But until then these dissidents will be seen as renegades, pariahs, heretics, and enemies.
*
Having said this I will now be accused of being a denialist by Armenians who confuse explaining with justifying, and understanding with condoning.
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#337 phantom22

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 11:34 AM

Ara, you are ahead of your time. You may die in poverty but one day your works will be widely read and acclaimed. In this regard you are not alone. Many now famous authors died without being recognized.

#338 ara baliozian

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 12:09 PM

Thursday, June 16, 2005
********************************
ON BRAINWASHING AND RELATED ATROCITIES
***********************************************************
Brainwashing provides two benefits to leaders and all power structures in general: (one) it creates a class of individuals willing to carry out orders without questioning them; and (two) it legitimizes a non-critical approach to life and politics. Hence the tendency of our partisans and superpatriots to silence intellectuals and to view dialogue and dissent as anti-Armenian.
*
As an Armenian, I don't believe everything an Armenian tells me, not because I am smart and I can see through him; rather, the exact contrary: because I was naďve, credulous, and foolish, especially when dealing with our "betters" - namely, bosses, bishops, benefactors, and their dupes and hirelings.
*
I remember once many years ago when I defended the integrity of a fellow Armenian on the grounds that he was a bishop, I heard one of our elder statesmen say: "They are the worse crooks!" I thought he was exaggerating (as some Armenians tend to do) to make a point. I know better now.
*
If as an Armenian I don't believe everything an Armenian tells me, how can we expect odars or, for that matter enemies, to believe us even when we say the sun rises in the east or 2+2=4?
*
To those who say one may deceive isolated individuals or groups now and then, here and there, but not an entire people, may I remind them of the Fascists who were successful in brainwashing their people (Spaniards, Italians, Germans) and Communists entire continents.
*
All power structures rely on their educational system to divide mankind into friends and enemies. Even Christians and Muslims who believe in love and compassion divide mankind into believers and heretics or infidels, after which they have no trouble in brainwashing their dupes to believe that murdering innocent civilians is their patriotic and religious duty.
*
P.S.
Gentle reader, if you say, "I am not brainwashed because no one can brainwash me," remember that only one class of individuals is in a position to make such an assertion: the brainless.
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Friday, June 17, 2005
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If you think today as you thought five years ago, and if you believe in the next five years you will not change your mind, it may be because you happen to be brain dead. Either that or you are convinced you already know everything you need to know and what you know is the truth, and anyone who dares to disagree with you must be either an ignoramus or a liar.
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Once upon a time I wrote as an Armenian. I now do my utmost to write as a human being. What really matters about an idea is not its nationality but its universality. If I reject Armenian nationalism it's because I reject all nationalism. We contradict ourselves when we say yes to Armenian nationalism and no to Turkish nationalism; and it makes little sense to say Armenian propaganda deals with facts and Turkish propaganda deals with fabrications.
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When it comes to the study of history, there are an infinite number of facts and there is no merit in cataloguing them. Facts acquire a meaning only when selected and interpreted. Facts matter but what matters even more are the criteria of selection and interpretation.
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None of us will ever know everything there is to know about the past, which is why historiography is not a science but an art.
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As Armenians the challenge we confront today is not gaining the trust of our fellow Armenians but of our adversaries. We succeed only in compromising our commitment to justice by calling anyone who disagrees with us an ignoramus and a liar, or, for that matter, an Asiatic barbarian, even if deep down we believe Turks to be liars, ignoramuses, rapists, and cold-blooded murderers of two million innocent civilians.
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Saturday, June 18, 2005
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Reasonable men defend what in the eyes of other reasonable men is indefensible because they are convinced they base their defense on irrefutable facts. What they may not be aware of is that these facts may have been carefully selected by unconsciously acquired criteria determined by peer pressure, education, environment, culture, religion, self-interest and so on.
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Throughout history man has hated in the name of love, committed injustices in the name of justice, and professed dedication to truth in the name of a Big Lie. Which is why after centuries and millennia Jews and Christians, Protestants and Catholics, supporters and opponents of capital punishment, abortion, and war, have failed to resolve their differences.
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There are eminent Catholic theologians today who don't believe in the infallibility of the Pope and, my guess is, they have counterparts in all belief systems.
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If some day man learns to live in peace with his fellow men, it will be because of the courage and integrity of dissidents. But until then these dissidents will be seen as renegades, pariahs, heretics, and enemies.
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Having said this I will now be accused of being a denialist by Armenians who confuse explaining with justifying, and understanding with condoning.
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#339 ara baliozian

ara baliozian

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 10:36 AM

Sunday, June 19, 2005
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CONFESSIONS AND OBSERVATIONS
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Armenians are brought up to believe Turks are nasty folk and Armenians la crčme de la crčme. Then they meet an Armenian like me and they begin to have second thoughts about some Armenians, never about themselves and Turks.
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An Armenian pundit projects the image of someone who understands all men, except his fellow Armenians.
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Between carbon copies of himself and human beings, an Armenian will invariably choose the carbon.
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I am willing to concede that all my observations on Armenians are also confessions.
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An Armenian has two sets of enemies, Turks and Armenians, and of the two, he hates Armenians more.
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Eventually all thinking Armenians will have to ask the question: What if it is not God at whose right hand we sit but the Devil?
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An Armenian would rather shoot the messenger than understand the message.
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When I was young I thought I had all the answers. But even after I realized not only the answers but also the questions were wrong, I went on pretending I had all the answers.
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What if some of my readers hate me because they hate being unmasked even more?
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When Zarian said, “An Armenian’s tongue can be sharper than a Turk’s yataghan,” what he meant was that an Armenian uses words as murder weapons.
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#340 ara baliozian

ara baliozian

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 10:55 AM

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
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THE BIRTH OF DENIAL
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A Turk sees a corpse with a knife in his belly. He assumes the killer to be an Armenian and cries: “The giaours are out to exterminate us.” The rumor spreads like wildfire. Where there is prejudice and hatred, massacre becomes counter-massacre, retaliation, justifiable homicide, self-defense, tribal justice, and denial. All because, very much like Armenians, Turks too believe everything they read in their own papers.
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I have a friend who reads books only to make a list of the misprints. That’s how he gets his kicks. Perversions come in all sizes and shapes.
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American celebrities have stalkers. I have them too even though I am not a celebrity. That’s the problem with being an Armenian writer: you get all the disadvantages and none of the advantages.
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Once upon a time we were subservient to their sultans. We are now subservient to our own mini-sultans. As the French say: “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme shit.”
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Knowledge is like light: once you have seen it, you cannot be thrust back into ignorance.
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Self-assessed good people make bad company because they expect everyone to be as phony as they are.
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It has been scientifically proved that laughter is the best cure for whatever ails you, including constipation, hypertension, cancer, and Armenian venom.
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