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    Sunday, April 26, 2009
    ********************************************
    ELEGY
    ************************************************
    An American chief executive officer – young, handsome, healthy, fabulously wealthy – has committed suicide. One down, ninety-nine to go.
    *
    Two American governors, Spitzer and Blogojevich, were caught red-handed. One resigned, the other impeached. But to me, the greater scandal is the fact that several of Obama's financial advisers are former Wall Street chief executive officers. If it takes one to catch one, how come no one has been caught yet? Bernie Madoff? If he is in jail today it's because he confessed. And then there are the senators who deny the reality of the Genocide not because they are convinced that to be the truth but because they are being handsomely compensated by Turkish lobbyists.
    *
    The rich are swine. Even as I curse my fate, I thank God for making me poor.
    *
    What is the penalty for being wrong? If nothing, anyone can say anything he wants.
    *
    To be easily satisfied with one’s own arguments is an unmistakable symptom of advanced cretinism.
    #
    Monday, April 27, 2009
    ********************************************
    LIVE AND LEARN
    ************************************************
    When it comes to learning about oneself, friends are useless, enemies more valuable.
    *
    Repeating oneself and being consistently negative are not mortal sins; being dishonest is.
    *
    A hundred years ago our political leaders were naïve daydreamers. Today they are – or rather they think they are – pragmatic operators. I have trouble deciding which is worse: being at the mercy of fools, or idiots who think they are smart?
    *
    Let others speak of the American dream, we can speak only of the Armenian nightmare.
    *
    What kind of loving Father is He that needs to be constantly reminded to “give us this day our daily bread,” after which He lets millions die of malnutrition and starvation.
    *
    You begin to learn only after you unlearn what you have been taught. Likewise, you begin to write only after you give up all literary ambitions.
    *
    I am grateful to readers who don't think highly of me. The temptation to believe sycophants can be overwhelming.
    *
    When experts disagree, prejudice casts the deciding vote.
    *
    Because the prodigal son returned, the fatted calf was butchered. Good news for the guilty son, bad news for the innocent calf. Why couldn't they have a vegetarian feast?
    #
    Tuesday, April 28, 2009
    ********************************************
    FEEDBACK
    **************************************
    Do not bother reading what follows because I have said it before, and many others have said it before me.
    *
    Some readers tell me I make them laugh. Others say I depress them. I suggest it's not me they are talking about but our reality.
    *
    I wish I were a comedian. The ability to make people laugh at themselves I consider one of the rarest of all gifts.
    *
    We all have our share of failings, limitations, and blind spots. In religious parlance, we are all sinners, including saints. That's Naregatsi's message, in case you are not willing to take my word for it. With one difference. Some of us pretend otherwise, and they happen to be the worst, and it's their awareness of their condition that makes them compensate by assuming a holier-than-thou stance.
    *
    To my critics I say, criticize, if you must, the incompetence of our political leaders, the values of our merchants, the dogmas of our bishops, and the double-talk of our superpatriotic bloodsuckers. Do not shoot our critics, who like piano players in western saloons, are doing their best.
    *
    AMERICANISMS
    **********************************
    “What's your racket?”
    “I am not a crook.”
    “Do bears xxxx in the forest?”
    “Does the Pope speak Latin?”
    And the other day in a movie:
    “Does the Pope xxxx in the forest?”
    #
    Wednesday, April 29, 2009
    ********************************************
    SKELETONS IN THE CUPBOARD
    **************************************
    *********************************************
    FIRST NATION?
    *********************
    Love our enemies?
    We can't even stop hating one another.
    *
    EITHER / OR?
    ****************************
    “Do you think of yourself as a success or a failure?”
    Very much like the overwhelming majority of my fellow men, I think of myself as a working stiff.
    *
    MIRACLES
    *************************
    There are two kinds of miracles:
    (one) useless – like walking on water; and
    (two) dangerous – like promoting alcoholism by turning water into wine.
    *
    MEMOIRS
    *********************
    One reason I went into writing is that I hate working for nonentities who expect you to behave like a lesser nonentity – and all for minimum wage. I know now that writing for Armenians is no different – minus the minimum wage, of course.
    *
    WINNERS AND LOSERS
    ***********************************
    “Just because you are a loser, it doesn't follow so is the nation. Stop projecting!”
    I think of myself as someone who speaks of reality in an environment dominated by propagandists who speak of fantasy, which allows them to see moral victory in military defeat, and a Higher Truth in a Big Lie.
    #

  • #2
    Re: elegy

    Thursday, April 30, 2009
    ********************************************
    ON INTELLECTUALS
    **************************************
    Intellectuals are a nuisance to the rich and parasites to the poor. But their real enemies are neither the poor nor the rich but intellectuals.
    *
    ON TURCOCENTRISM
    **********************************
    The unspoken message of our Turcocentric ghazetajis seems to be, the keys to the Gates of Heaven will be ours only after we do to them what they did to us. These ghazetajis are the true offspring of our revolutionaries in the Ottoman Empire who promised heaven and delivered hell.
    *
    ENEMIES
    **********************
    We are our greatest enemies. I can prove this by saying I have done more harm to myself than all my enemies combined.
    *
    CRITICS
    ************************
    Socrates and Jesus had them, and as everyone knows by now, saints have been the most consistently and universally abused people on earth.
    *
    ON AUTHORITY
    **********************
    Respect for authority is the source of all evil.
    *
    ON REVOLUTION
    **********************************
    Revolutions are less about justice or the distribution of wealth, and more about the distribution of power, and power will be abused regardless of who is at the top. For the slave, it makes no difference if his master is Turk or Armenian.
    #
    Friday, May 1, 2009
    ********************************************
    SIGNS
    **************************************
    Everything is as it should be. I never had it so good. The surest warnings of an impending catastrophe.
    *
    You say I always see the dark side of things. I say someone has to. Paranoiacs have enemies too. And who said pessimists are always wrong?
    *
    You cannot hide your ignorance. It is your most transparent possession.
    *
    When an Armenian defeats another Armenian, it is the nation that loses.
    *
    A lie is like a deadly virus. Left unattended it will poison and kill its promoter as well as his dupes, families as well as communities, tribes as well as nations, empires as well as civilizations.
    *
    In democracies, dissidents like Bernard Shaw and Bertrand Russell were (and still are) universally respected, sometimes even Nobelized. We all know what happened to dissidents in the USSR. I venture to suggest, we Armenians (judging by the number of writers we have betrayed, silenced, starved and driven to suicide) are more like Stalinists than the British.
    #
    Friday, May 1, 2009
    ********************************************
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    **************************************
    We all make mistakes, especially the infallible.
    *
    The brainwashed never question their infallibility.
    *
    The brainwashed cannot speak for themselves, neither can they think, they can only follow orders, or, like monkeys, dance to the tune of an invisible organ-grinder.
    *
    The 5th century AD was our Golden Age, the 20th century our Stone Age.
    *
    When the old fight, it is the young who die.
    When the rich fight, it is the poor who die.
    If it were up to the old and the rich to do the dying,
    we would have no more wars.
    *
    Where there is an Armenian church there will also be a wealthy merchant with a guilty conscience.
    #

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: elegy

      Sunday, May 3, 2009
      ***********************************
      WHAT IS LITERATURE?
      **********************************************
      There is no consensus on the subject. Some say the function of literature is to understand reality. Others, to introduce or enhance moral standards. To educate, explain, and instruct. To fight corruption and injustice. To expose prejudices. To see beauty and eternity in a blade of grass.
      Dissidents believe the function of literature is to question authority. Those in authority disagree: they say writers should behave like a chorus singing hymns to their infallibility, greatness, integrity, vision, and glory.
      It has also been said what literature does is to make "sh*t look like rose jam" (Jean Genet).
      Speaking for myself, I believe the first and most important function of literature is not to bore the reader.
      And speaking of sh*t and rose jam: I am reminded of Saroyan defending his one-dimensional depiction of Armenian characters in his fiction by saying he had only “stylized” them -- probably meaning that he had done to Armenians what Leonardo had done to Mona Lisa, or what Balthus had done to his street scenes: that is to say, introduced something that is not present in reality.
      *
      Monday, May 4, 2009
      ****************************************
      AMERICANS AND GENOCIDE
      *************************************
      Hugo Chavez: “Columbus was the commander of an invasion that resulted in the greatest genocide the world has ever known.”
      Now you know why American presidents promise but they hesitate to deliver. All the Turks have to do is tell them, “Armenians are our Indians.”
      *
      A WOMAN ON WOMEN
      ***********************************
      Colette on feminists: “I would put them all in a harem.”
      *
      CIORAN ON THE FRENCH
      **************************************
      “They prefer an elegant lie to a clumsily expressed truth.”
      *
      ON SACRED COWS
      *********************************
      The only thing they are good for is shish kebab.
      #
      Tuesday, May 5, 2009
      *****************************************
      NOTES AND COMMENTS
      *************************************
      To understand how easy it is to be wrong, all I have to do is review my past, and I don't mean my distant past. I mean yesterday.
      *
      There is more to being Armenian than hating Turks and lamenting our martyrs. Looking backward is useful only if we learn from our blunders. What have we learned so far?
      Life isn't fair?
      Big fish eat small fish?
      Politicians speak with a forked tongue?
      But then, are we fair to one another?
      Are our big fish vegetarian?
      Are our politicians honest?
      Don't make me laugh.
      *
      Truth may well be beyond our reach, but honesty is not.
      #
      Wednesday, May 6, 2009
      *****************************************
      THE INSULTED AND THE INJURED
      **************************************************
      One of the most astonishing things about human nature, Dostoevsky tells us, is that it can get used to anything.
      For a thousand years we were ruled by tribal kings, princes, and nakharars. For six hundred years we were the obedient subjects of sultans and more recently of ruthless commissars. Today we find ourselves at the mercy of empty suits and bearded charlatans who rule by delivering empty verbiage and whose role models are not statesmen or men of faith but “crocodiles” (Chekhov). And whenever someone takes it upon himself to point this out, he is either starved or silenced permanently. And here I could make a long list of names from Abovian (who committed suicide) to Zarian (who for all practical purposes was buried alive).
      Have I said this before? Why shouldn't I say it again, if what I and many others before me have said has so far failed to register on our collective consciousness?
      “I can't write novels like Dostoevsky,” Oshagan is quoted as having said, “because we Armenians don't have Dostoevskian characters.” But what is the history of our nation with all its unspeakable betrayals, degradations, and suffering if not a character straight out of Dostoevsky?
      #

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: elegy

        Thursday, May 7, 2009
        *****************************************
        WHAT I KNOW ABOUT
        OUR RULING CLASSES
        **************************************************
        We may not have an aristocracy or an elite, but we have always had a ruling class or classes, even if more often than not they were not our real rulers but “their” puppets – and by “their” I mean our masters and oppressors, that is to say, the enemy.
        We have always had dissidents too, even in our Golden Age (5th century AD), even if their word didn't carry much weight, and whenever not silenced by the likes of Talaat and Stalin, they were alienated by our “puppets” and ignored by the people.
        Consider our situation today: our ruling classes have the power and the money. They control our churches, community centers, schools, and the press. They run bureaucracies. They subsidize the publication of textbooks which legitimize and promote their own version of the past that is as objective and honest as any state-sponsored version of the past taught in, say, Turkish or even American educational institutions.
        What has been the contribution of our dissidents in our context? The same as that of the people – only victims.
        There is an American political saying, “Let the best man win.” In our case the chances are the winner will be “the best man” only for the enemy and the worst for the rest of us. This may explain why our dissidents, very much like the people, have been and continue to be perennial losers.
        #
        Friday, May 8, 2009
        *****************************************
        WHAT IF I AM WRONG?
        **************************************************
        A question that comes up again and again is:
        “What would you have done in their place?”
        One way to answer that question is by saying I am more worried about what I should be doing in my place: Should I join them in covering up their blunders and make a comfortable living, as most of my former friends and academics are doing? Or state honestly what I think, even if it means living in solitary confinement in my self-imposed gulag?
        QUESTION: What if you are wrong?
        ANSWER: There is always that possibility, of course. To say otherwise would be a declaration of infallibility, which, by the way, is what they imply when they blame all our misfortunes on others. Besides, I'd much rather be wrong as an honest man than right as a rascal. But assuming I am wrong: What's the harm done? I can always be corrected, insulted, silenced...and I have been -- insulted and silenced more often than corrected. But when the leadership is wrong the result may well be either a “red” or a “white” massacre, that is, alienation and assimilation in the Diaspora and exodus from the Homeland.
        #
        Saturday, May 9, 2009
        *****************************************
        GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER
        **************************************************
        Sex was a taboo subject in the Ottoman Empire but the Sultan could have as many as a thousand houris in his hourihouse. As for our own mini-sultans: after leading the nation to defeat, oppression, and massacre, they dare to speechify and sermonize on patriotism to the rest of us.
        *
        How do I know my version of the story to be the only true one? I don't. But unless proven otherwise, I shall continue to assert what I understand to be an honest and objective assessment of our situation.
        *
        Am I saying anyone who disagrees with me is dishonest? No! He could also be an ignoramus.
        *
        Another word for lamentation for the sake of lamentation is self-pity, and the aim of self-pity is to invite others to pity us. If you don't believe me, listen to Zohrab: “One should confront the misfortunes of life not with despair and dejection but in the same way that one confronts the sudden arrival of an unwelcome guest – with a smiling face. We Armenians should sing and laugh more often in order to develop that degree of emotional health and intellectual balance without which we can achieve very little in this world. A nation that is given to lamentation will never amount to anything.”
        *
        And here is Zohrab again on propaganda: “My code of ethics: between the real and the imaginary, choose the real; between truth and falsehood, choose truth, at all times, everywhere.”
        #

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: elegy

          Sunday, May 10, 2009
          *****************************************
          EXPLANATIONS
          **************************************************
          There is a type of liar who after lying repeatedly ends up believing in his own lies.
          That's one way to explain the popularity of sermonizers and speechifiers.
          *
          Avedik Issahakian: “A wealthy man is nothing but a thief who has not yet been caught.” Perhaps because he does his thieving in a land whose legislators are themselves thieves.
          *
          Puzant Granian: “We have many national benefactors but not a single national writer.” That may be because benefactors prefer lies and flattery – that is to say, speechifiers, sermonizers, and brown-nosers.
          *
          Writers like Siamanto and Totovents could not stand life in America and returned to Istanbul under Talaat and to Yerevan under Stalin respectively only to be arrested and slaughtered, probably because they found the prospect of being dependent on the charity of swine worse than death.
          *
          The overwhelming majority of our writers agree in telling us that if we want to get at the roots of our misfortunes we must look within and that the blame-game is a Big Lie. Which means, our Turcocentric ghazetajis are no better than cretins whose sole aim in life is to moronize the people -- not a particularly demanding enterprise when dealing with a nation that has been brutalized by millennial oppression by some of the most ruthless and bloodthirsty regimes in the history of the world.
          #
          Monday, May 11, 2009
          *****************************************
          OF CABBAGES AND KINGS
          **************************************************
          We should treat Turks as friends if only because it is easier to negotiate with friends than with enemies. If so far we have failed to do that it may be because we cannot even treat our brothers as friends. When was the last time an Armenian trusted another Armenian?
          *
          According to Lobo Antunes, a celebrated contemporary Portuguese writer, the only way to write is “to imagine yourself naked, smelling of formaldehyde, flat on your back in a marble tub, waiting for them to cut open your ribs with a huge pair of scissors.”
          A man after my own heart.
          I too believe to write any other way is to recycle propaganda.
          *
          If you play poker with a king and you win his kingdom, don't be surprised if he says, “Off with his head!”
          *
          I envy the rich for being in a position to deliver the line, “Talk to my lawyer!”
          *
          And speaking of the rich: It is said of one of our national benefactors that whenever someone approached him directly with a request for financial support, he would say, “Talk to my people.”
          *
          Self-deception is escape from reality, and those who deceive themselves might as well be open invitations to deceivers.
          #
          Tuesday, May 12, 2009
          *****************************************
          MART BIDI CH'ELLANK
          **************************************************
          Do you want to understand Turks? Think of an Armenian with power.
          *
          The ideal dupe is someone who has been brought up to believe he is smart, he is progressive, and he is beyond criticism. Whereas a really smart person is more like Socrates who knew more than anyone else but who pretended to know nothing.
          *
          If I repeat myself it may be because I hope to have better luck with the next generation. Call me an optimist. In this line of work you have to be a little crazy to carry on.
          *
          What is the difference between literature and trash? The trash gets printed.
          *
          Our brainwashed dupes today are more pro-establishment than our bosses, bishops, and benefactors, in the same way that our oligarchs in the Homeland are more capitalist than Wall Street.
          #
          Wednesday, May 13, 2009
          *****************************************
          MART BIDI CH'ELLANK / II
          **************************************************
          Our struggle, our real struggle, is not against men but against an abstraction that is lighter than a feather but weighs on us like a mountain: our history.
          Millennial oppression has so thoroughly dehumanized us that we can no longer act, we can only react blindly, and whenever we react blindly we do so not only against our own interests but also against reason itself.
          Consider our genocide as a case in point: we didn't have to predict it in order to take evasive action. All we had to do is listen to the countless warnings of foreign observers, missionaries, and our own insiders within the Ottoman administration.
          And consider what's happening today: our literature, our religion, and reason itself are unanimous in warning us that the only way to divide a house is by tearing it down. And yet...(the two saddest words in the English language, it has been said) we continue to waste millions by constructing two schools, two houses of worship, and two community centers when one would be not only sufficient but also the right thing to do.
          We all know what happens to the blind leading the blind, let alone to the blind, deaf, and dumb leading the blind, deaf, and dumb who have somehow managed to convince themselves that not only they are smarter than anyone else but also that God Almighty Himself is on their side.
          #

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: elegy

            Thursday, May 14, 2009
            *****************************************
            MART BIDI CH'ELLANK / III
            **************************************************
            To say, “We don't need critics, we need solutions,” is another way of saying, we don't give a damn about our literature and its central message.
            To self-assessed enlightened readers who like to say, “Why should I waste my time with second-raters when I can read Plato, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky?” I say, our writers may indeed be second-raters compared to the three gentlemen mentioned above, but they have come up with first-rate solutions.
            *
            Naregatsi's solution paraphrased: “If you want to understand the source of your problems, look within, examine your conscience, analyze yourself.” It follows, the blame-game of our Turcocentric ghazetajis and speechifiers is a sham if only because after a century of verbiage and venom, it has failed to resurrect a single victim or annex a single square inch of soil. But even if some day in the near or distant future we are successful in getting an apology, a billion dollars, and our historic lands, problems like corruption and incompetence in high places, and such iniquities as destitution, prostitution, alienation, and assimilation will not go away.
            *
            The solution of writers from Yeghishé (5th century AD) to Charents (20th century) paraphrased: “Where dividers enter, death follows.”
            *
            If I repeat myself it may be because sometimes with the deaf I don't have a choice. If on the other hand, you say “Naregatsi, Yeghishé, and Charents are dead men and their solutions are as defunct as they are. We need new thinking, we need creative brains.” I say, if by new solutions you mean verbal formulas like abracadabra, you will never find them. And if by creative thinking you mean a messiah, you are barking up the wrong tree because no one in his right mind will volunteer to be crucified by brainless dupes.
            #
            Friday, May 15, 2009
            *******************************
            OUTSIDERS
            **************************************************
            What has been the influence of Armenian literature on Armenian history?
            That's an easy question with an obvious answer:
            Nothing, zero, nada, nil, vochinch.
            What has been the influence of Socrates on Greek history?
            Same answer.
            Socrates influenced only other philosophers and no one else. After Socrates, Greek history went into a steady decline never to recover its former glory.
            What has been the influence of Christianity on the West?
            The destruction of classical cultures, the introduction of dogmatism, intolerance, the Dark Ages, twenty centuries of internecine wars and slaughter, the Crusades, persecution of heretics, the Inquisition, and more recently, televangelists and a child-molesting clergy – that is to say, moral bankruptcy.
            Christianity may have influenced artists like Michelangelo, thinkers like St. Thomas Aquinas, composers like J.S. Bach, and poets like Dante, but not kings, politicians, and in general those in charge of human affairs, who went about their business as if Christ had never been born.
            What am I driving at?
            Oh! nothing much. Only this: men are swine who have no use for common sense and decency. Keep that in mind and you will have no more unanswered questions.
            Why do I go on writing?
            Habit. Also to let our charlatans know that there is at least one Armenian who refuses to be their dupe, whatever the hell that's worth...probably no more than a second's insomnia.
            #
            Saturday, May 16, 2009
            *******************************
            A LITANY OF LIES
            **************************************************
            “Because we were a small Christian island in a vast Muslim sea” -- I am now paraphrasing our party line -- “we were set upon and victimized by a wide assortment of imperialist barbarians on the warpath.”
            In other words, we are without blame. It's the fault of our geography and religious faith.
            Rubbish!
            To begin with, in the Middle Ages, Armenians were the most highly paid mercenaries in the region. Some of the most ruthless emperors and generals in the Byzantine Empire were of Armenian descent. We were at no time an “island” since Georgia to the north was also Christian. Furthermore, throughout our historic existence, we have served our masters, be they Christian, pagan, atheist, Muslim, fascist, and Bolshevik, with greater zeal than we have defended our own interests. Or, as Raffi puts it: “Whenever we have been invaded by Persian, Greek, Arab, Seljuk, or Mongol armies, these armies have advanced under the leadership of an Armenian. Armenians have always fought side by side with the enemy against their own people.” Elsewhere, “Where Armenian blood flows, look for an Armenian hatchet.”
            Why these distortions and lies?
            Because everybody does it.
            Americans and Turks may not speak the same language but they share the same grammar – that of power. Where would America be today without its systematic extermination of the natives and the cheap labor of slaves who died by the million while being transported from Africa?
            Here is how Nigoghos Sarafian sums up our past: “Our history is a litany of lamentation, anxiety, horror, and massacre. Also deception and abysmal naiveté mixed with the smoke of incense and the sound of sacred chants.”
            #

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: elegy

              Originally posted by arabaliozian View Post
              “Because we were a small Christian island in a vast Muslim sea” -- I am now paraphrasing our party line -- “we were set upon and victimized by a wide assortment of imperialist barbarians on the warpath.”
              In other words, we are without blame. It's the fault of our geography and religious faith.
              Rubbish!
              To begin with, in the Middle Ages, Armenians were the most highly paid mercenaries in the region. Some of the most ruthless emperors and generals in the Byzantine Empire were of Armenian descent.........#
              We were the frontlines of Christianity (regardless of good or bad) and we took the brunt of the invading forces and we are the most betrayed……….but there is also truth in what you suggest.

              Such choices..........Die today, or live to die another day. Ha







              From the ancient times in Armenia exited "Azatavrear" cavalry which consisted from elite of Armenian tribes, later from elite of Armenian people. "Azatavrear" cavalry was the main part of Armenian kings court. Later, in medieval "Azatavrear" cavalry or Armenian heavy cavalry was collected from nobles (youngest sons of Armenian lords) and was known as AYRUDZI (man and horse, horseman).

              During peace time Armenian cavalry was divided into number of small groups which took the role of guarding King and his family as well as Armenian lords. Some part of Armenian cavalry was patrolling Armenian borders under the command of Armenian general (sparapet). The Group of Armenian cavalry whose main mission was the protection of Armenian king and his family in ancient period consisted from 6000 heavy armored horsemen, and in medieval period - from 3000 horsemen.

              In war time the number of Armenian cavalry reached from 10,000 up to 20,000 horsemen or even higher. Beside Armenian Heavy cavalry there was Armenian light cavalry, which mainly consisted from horsemen archers.
              V. Chapot wrote: “What they say about Armenia bewilders us. How could this mountain people develop such a cavalry that was able to measure itself against the horsemen of the Medes? One thing which is certain is the fact that Armenia .…..was a source of excellent well bred horses. The people in this country had discovered that horses were not just an economic asset, but could also be used for military purposes.”

              When in 428 Armenia lost its independence Armenian heavy cavalry wasn't disbanded. It was used by Armenia’s neighbor kingdoms and empires, like Byzantine Empire and Sassanid Persia. In Sassanid Persia, the Armenian cavalry was accorded a status similar to the elite "Savaran" of the Persian army. The equipment of the Armenian cavalry was in fact similar to that of the Savaran. Pro-Sassanian Armenian cavalry units fought under Sassanid banners and were allowed to enter the royal capital, Ctesiphon. The Armenians were in fact honored for their services. For example, general Smbat Bagratuni was accorded particular honor and attention by Khosrov II.

              In 619, due to his victory over the Turks who then resided in Central Asia, he was given gifts and the command of a number of the king's royal guards. Khosrov II also raised him to third in rank among the nobles of the court. Moreover, pro-Sassanian Armenians supplied excellent light cavalry and infantry, who were notable for using slings to repel enemy cavalry, and spears for close combat.

              http://www.armenian-history.com/Nyut...vy_cavalry.htm
              B0zkurt Hunter

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: elegy

                Sunday, May 17, 2009
                *******************************
                UNTITLED
                **************************************************
                Einstein didn't believe in God and when he said so publicly he received death threats. This may lead one to suspect that love of God can make a killer out of a law-abiding citizen.
                *
                I was brought up as a devout Catholic and when I first met an atheist I was sure he wasn't what he pretended to be because if he were he would be a dangerous madman, which he wasn't.
                *
                Both Napoleon and Dostoevsky thought belief in God is necessary for the people because if God didn't exist “everything would be permissible” (Dostoevsky) and “the poor would butcher the rich” (Napoleon), which of course is nonsense because Napoleon ruled with the help of a mighty police force, and what sent Dostoevsky to Siberia for five years was not God but the Czar.
                *
                God must exist because something (in this case the universe) cannot come out of nothing. But that doesn't answer the question whether or not God cares to get involved in human affairs, because so far He has behaved like an absentee landlord. What kind of loving Father would allow the rape and murder of an innocent child?
                *
                We are told we cannot understand God because His mind works in mysterious ways. If so, then there isn't much we can do except to say “of the gods we know nothing” (Socrates) and go about our business as if He didn't give a damn.
                *
                Some of my readers may not be aware of the fact that there can be such a thing as an atheist religion. Buddhism, for instance, as popular in the East as Christianity in the West, is an atheist religion. I also suspect there are many Christians out there who are not aware of the fact that a good Christian can also be an atheist (Tolstoy was one).
                #
                Monday, May 18, 2009
                *******************************
                OPPRESSORS
                **************************************************
                We have survived our oppressors only at the cost of becoming our own oppressors.
                *
                “The Kingdom of God is within you,” we are told by the Scriptures. So is the kingdom of knowledge, according to Socrates, and by knowledge he did not mean such things as the capital of Egypt or the distance between Sparta and Troy (which is information) but the ability to tell right from wrong.
                *
                “Let us reason together,” we are also told by the Scriptures. But so far we have consistently preferred to “unreason” against one another. What am I driving at? Nothing much. Only this: the blame-game is for idiots.
                *
                Because I like to quote Socrates and the Scriptures (“A house divided against itself cannot stand,” “Where there is no vision the people perish”) I am told I hate myself. If true, I suppose something similar could be said of Socrates and Jesus. In his APOLOGIA, Plato tells us Socrates almost challenged, not to say provoked, the Athenian jury to condemn him to death. And Jesus knew what Judas was up to but did nothing to stop him. Does that mean their executioners were not idiots?
                #
                Tuesday, May 19, 2009
                *******************************
                DEMOCRACY
                **************************************************
                On the radio, three professors of philosophy arguing about democracy. Where philosophers disagree, lawyers enter; and where lawyers enter, big money casts the deciding vote. Hence boom-and-bust capitalism in America, and kleptocracy in Armenia.
                *
                Spengler on democracy:
                “A small number of superior heads, whose names are very likely not the best known, settle everything, while below them are the great mass of second-rate politicians selected through a provincially-conceived franchise to keep alive the illusion of popular self-determination.”
                *
                I once asked the son of our local mayor if he plans to go into politics. “It's not up to me,” he replied. “It's up to the people on King Street.” (Our King Street is the equivalent of Wall Street in New York.)
                *
                Since I can't hang them, I write about them.
                *
                If you have enough money for bread and books, making more of it is a waste of time.
                *
                To be a man of faith means to reject all evidence to the contrary regardless of its merits.
                *
                In our belief systems we resemble parrots, and in our defense of these belief systems, we behave more like cannibals.
                #
                Wednesday, May 20, 2009
                *******************************
                CONSENSUS
                **************************************************
                We will promote ourselves from tribalism to nationalism, and from nationalism to multiculturalism – because whether we like it or not we not only live in a multicultural world but we are ourselves multicultural – on the day our “betters” adopt the mantra “the principle of solidarity is not negotiable,” which translated into dollars and cents means, consensus is more important than dead-end discord and strife, and consensus does not mean agreement on all points but only agreement to advance in the same direction.
                *
                I have never met an anti-Semite who was not as bad as his distorted image of xxxs.
                *
                I am more than suspicious of all claims of moral superiority, especially of the self-assessed kind, which is always symptomatic of moral inferiority.
                *
                My question is: Why is it that some Armenians who have been fully aware of corrupt practices in the Homeland from day one are heard from only when they are personally stung by them? Don't they know that by keeping silent they actively legitimize the very same system whose victims they now claim to be? What about the countless other victims, who cannot afford lawyers, are in no position to make headlines, and whose sole alternatives are either emigration or prostitution?
                #

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: elegy

                  Thursday, May 21, 2009
                  *******************************
                  IDIOTS
                  **************************************************
                  On child-molesting priests, the official defense of the Catholic Church goes something like this: Sexual molestation of defenseless children is not a crime but a sin that required repentance followed by forgiveness and renewal. The degradation and damage to the child is not taken into consideration because less relevant or real than the sin of the priest. Leave it to theologians and lawyers to explain and justify criminal conduct.
                  *
                  When we speak of the blunders and crimes of the Vatican, one of the first instances that comes to mind is the persecution of Galileo Galilei. It took centuries for the Vatican to admit error. It may take many more centuries for the Church to realize that covering up the “sins” of the clergy was even a bigger crime because it amounted to issuing a license for abuse.
                  *
                  The world will be a better place on the day theologians concentrate their efforts in exposing the shortcomings of their own belief systems as opposed to asserting moral and intellectual superiority with arguments that convince no one but themselves and their dupes.
                  *
                  If the Pope doubts his faith seven times every day, as Italians are fond of saying, let him say so if only because in matters of faith doubt is more civilized than certainty.
                  *
                  And if God is infallible, why did He create an imperfect world in which man's inhumanity to man is a constant and war and massacre are routine occurrences? To those who say wars and massacres are men's doing, not God's, because God has given men free will that allows them to choose between good and evil; I say, the free will argument may apply to the victimizer, not the victim. Given the choice, who would freely choose to be the victim of self-righteous idiots?
                  #
                  Friday, May 22, 2009
                  *******************************
                  WHAT I BELIEVE
                  **************************************************
                  I believe God is not who we think He is, and when we speak in His name, we lie.
                  I believe with Socrates that “of the gods we know nothing.”
                  I believe with Gandhi that God is Truth provided we agree that none of us knows the truth or is in a position to grasp all of Reality, only a fraction of it.
                  I believe the Bible is not “the word of God,” but a search for truth, which is endless.
                  I believe with Tolstoy that “the Kingdom of God” is within us and to look for it in heaven or anywhere else is a waste of time.
                  I believe to speak of God as if He were not the Unknown and the Unknowable is to try to make comprehensible that which is incomprehensible by bringing it down to our own level.
                  I believe when Popes, Imams, and capitalists speak in the name of their conception of God it is impossible to tell to what extent they identify God with their own power and I believe power corrupts everything it touches.
                  I also believe with Socrates, Christ, and Tolstoy that poverty is the surest proof of honesty.
                  #
                  Saturday, May 23, 2009
                  *******************************
                  MAYBE
                  **************************************************
                  If no one in a position of power speaks as I do, it may be because I have nothing to defend but my fundamental human right of free speech.
                  *
                  If you think I am the bearer of bad tidings, it may be because you prefer your illusions to my reality, which may well be another illusion.
                  *
                  During the Soviet era, I remember, one of our elder statesmen wrote me an angry letter in which he said, “How dare you criticize the Homeland. Saroyan never did. You think you are better than Saroyan?” To which I could only say: “Far better men than Saroyan have been critical of the Soviets, including a good number of Soviets.” That may have been good enough to shut him up for a while but not to convince him, because shortly before he died he sent me a venomous missile.
                  *
                  We are not what we think we are. Our identity revolves around this fact and the way we fail to come to terms with it. Which amounts to saying, our identity is as intangible as the shadow of a black hat as reflected in an invisible mirror in a dark room.
                  *
                  To believe a nation's own version of its past amounts to believing a criminal's plea of not guilty.
                  *
                  If a ruthless serial killer were to write his memoirs, you can be sure of one thing: he would portray himself as a victim rather than a victimizer.
                  #


                  http://baliozian.blogspot.com/





                  Thursday, May 21, 2009
                  *******************************
                  IDIOTS
                  **************************************************
                  On child-molesting priests, the official defense of the Catholic Church goes something like this: Sexual molestation of defenseless children is not a crime but a sin that required repentance followed by forgiveness and renewal. The degradation and damage to the child is not taken into consideration because less relevant or real than the sin of the priest. Leave it to theologians and lawyers to explain and justify criminal conduct.
                  *
                  When we speak of the blunders and crimes of the Vatican, one of the first instances that comes to mind is the persecution of Galileo Galilei. It took centuries for the Vatican to admit error. It may take many more centuries for the Church to realize that covering up the “sins” of the clergy was even a bigger crime because it amounted to issuing a license for abuse.
                  *
                  The world will be a better place on the day theologians concentrate their efforts in exposing the shortcomings of their own belief systems as opposed to asserting moral and intellectual superiority with arguments that convince no one but themselves and their dupes.
                  *
                  If the Pope doubts his faith seven times every day, as Italians are fond of saying, let him say so if only because in matters of faith doubt is more civilized than certainty.
                  *
                  And if God is infallible, why did He create an imperfect world in which man's inhumanity to man is a constant and war and massacre are routine occurrences? To those who say wars and massacres are men's doing, not God's, because God has given men free will that allows them to choose between good and evil; I say, the free will argument may apply to the victimizer, not the victim. Given the choice, who would freely choose to be the victim of self-righteous idiots?
                  #
                  Friday, May 22, 2009
                  *******************************
                  WHAT I BELIEVE
                  **************************************************
                  I believe God is not who we think He is, and when we speak in His name, we lie.
                  I believe with Socrates that “of the gods we know nothing.”
                  I believe with Gandhi that God is Truth provided we agree that none of us knows the truth or is in a position to grasp all of Reality, only a fraction of it.
                  I believe the Bible is not “the word of God,” but a search for truth, which is endless.
                  I believe with Tolstoy that “the Kingdom of God” is within us and to look for it in heaven or anywhere else is a waste of time.
                  I believe to speak of God as if He were not the Unknown and the Unknowable is to try to make comprehensible that which is incomprehensible by bringing it down to our own level.
                  I believe when Popes, Imams, and capitalists speak in the name of their conception of God it is impossible to tell to what extent they identify God with their own power and I believe power corrupts everything it touches.
                  I also believe with Socrates, Christ, and Tolstoy that poverty is the surest proof of honesty.
                  #
                  Saturday, May 23, 2009
                  *******************************
                  MAYBE
                  **************************************************
                  If no one in a position of power speaks as I do, it may be because I have nothing to defend but my fundamental human right of free speech.
                  *
                  If you think I am the bearer of bad tidings, it may be because you prefer your illusions to my reality, which may well be another illusion.
                  *
                  During the Soviet era, I remember, one of our elder statesmen wrote me an angry letter in which he said, “How dare you criticize the Homeland. Saroyan never did. You think you are better than Saroyan?” To which I could only say: “Far better men than Saroyan have been critical of the Soviets, including a good number of Soviets.” That may have been good enough to shut him up for a while but not to convince him, because shortly before he died he sent me a venomous missile.
                  *
                  We are not what we think we are. Our identity revolves around this fact and the way we fail to come to terms with it. Which amounts to saying, our identity is as intangible as the shadow of a black hat as reflected in an invisible mirror in a dark room.
                  *
                  To believe a nation's own version of its past amounts to believing a criminal's plea of not guilty.
                  *
                  If a ruthless serial killer were to write his memoirs, you can be sure of one thing: he would portray himself as a victim rather than a victimizer.
                  #


                  http://baliozian.blogspot.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    lies

                    Sunday, May 24, 2009
                    *******************************
                    A LIE EXPOSED
                    **************************************************
                    We have been exposed to the lie that we are smart for such a long time and so often that we now believe it to be a self-evident truth.
                    It isn't!
                    Some of us may be smart in the marketplace, but when it comes to such far more important matters as defending our fundamental human rights, we might as well be just about the dumbest people on earth.
                    *
                    Our leaders are to us what the Pope is to Catholics – infallible. This is what our nationalist historians tell us and this is what, as Orthodox dupes, we believe.
                    *
                    If theology is a branch of science fiction, Armenian history is pure fiction.
                    *
                    For six hundred years we were at the mercy of Turks. The unspoken message of our Turcocentric ghazetajis today is, we still are....
                    *
                    Since I don't have any political ambitions, I refuse to say “Yes, sir!” to idiots.
                    #
                    Monday, May 25, 2009
                    *******************************
                    FREE PRESS
                    **************************************************
                    We don't have a free press. We never had one. But that's not the real scandal. The real scandal is that no one seems to care. No one seems to know that a community without a free press is a blind and deaf community. And I am not talking about the Homeland now. I am talking about the Diaspora.
                    Once, when an editor exposed the corrupt practices of one of our political parties, he was nearly beaten to death. The perpetrators were never caught. Which may suggest that, when it comes to silencing critics, we go about it with professional efficiency and know-how. We expect this sort of thing to happen in the Homeland where a free press is an anomaly. But not in the Diaspora, and definitely not in a democratic environment.
                    How do they get away with it? Easy! The very same people who are in the business of silencing dissent also keep telling us we are smart, we are progressive, we are civilized, we are freedom-loving, when in reality, we are nothing of the kind.
                    “You speak of corruption,” a friend, himself a writer, once said to me. “Do you have any evidence?” That's when he harbored political ambitions. Shortly thereafter he called again to say that his latest commentary had been censored and he was planning to take legal action. Did he? I don't know. But I do know that he quit writing.
                    About a month ago I watched a televised speech by an official from the Homeland (a former member of the Party) in which I heard a great deal of palaver about the importance of preserving our mother tongue, the bane of mixed marriages, the primacy of Etchmiadzin and so on and so forth. But not a single word on human rights. Judging by the prolonged applause, no one seemed to have noticed that.
                    Smart, civilized, progressive, freedom-loving?
                    Don't make me laugh!
                    #
                    Tuesday, May 26, 2009
                    *******************************
                    PROFILES IN COURAGE
                    **************************************************
                    Readers who know little or nothing about Armenian literature call me brave for writing as I do.
                    I am nothing of the kind.
                    Raffi (1835-1888) was brave when he said, “There is more profit in defending the interests of wolves against sheep than the other way around,” and, “The fiercest enemies of critics are those who serve tyrants.” A notorious Kurdish assassin was hired to have him silenced permanently.
                    Zarian (1885-1969) was brave for exposing the moral bankruptcy of the Soviet regime long before Solzhenitsyn did, returned to Yerevan, where, some say, he was murdered.
                    Bakounts (1899-1937) was brave when he described the regime as a “disease,” was arrested, jailed, tortured, and shot.
                    Shahnour (1904-1974) was brave when he said, “An Armenian's indifference for the collective good of the people is a thick, impenetrable shield which dulls and neutralizes his soul. What insufferable rottenness, especially when he is educated.”
                    Aramais Sahakian (b. 1936) was brave when he said “Let us learn to be human by observing animals.”
                    And I could go on and on...
                    Compared to them I am no better than a scarecrow whose words carry as much weight as an ant's fart.
                    As for those who insult me on the Internet, they are no better than faceless, gutless, anonymous scum.
                    #
                    Wednesday, May 27, 2009
                    *****************************************
                    WHAT I DON'T BELIEVE
                    ************************************
                    After saying and repeating “All men are created equal,” Americans look down at the rest of mankind, including the majority of their fellow Americans because they happen to belong to a different race or nationality.
                    If Americans can deceive themselves, why can't we?
                    If all nationalist historians place the demands of propaganda above objectivity, why should we be the only exceptions?
                    Why shouldn't we say and repeat, in our failings we are like everyone else, but in every other respect we are unique, that is to say, superior?
                    Why shouldn't we brag about our small and ephemeral empire under Dikran the Great and call our military defeats moral victories?
                    If reality is against us, why shouldn't we invent a lie and repeat it until it acquires the sheen of a self-evident truth?
                    If we are dupes, why can't we brainwash ourselves into believing we are just about the smartest people on earth and it takes seven xxxs to fool an Armenian?
                    As for our writers who tell us a different story, who cares what a few malcontents think?
                    *
                    I don't believe in small or harmless lies because they may lead to big and dangerous lies.
                    The American belief in their own invincible military might led to the disaster in Vietnam. And their belief in their superior brand of democracy may lead to more tragedies in the Middle East, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
                    *
                    I think of a childhood friend who believed in cigarette commercials, became a chain-smoker, and is now dying of terminal cancer.
                    *
                    A headline in one of our weeklies today reads: “Armenian police vow to end attacks on journalists.” To which I can only say, “If you believe that, you will believe anything!”
                    #

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