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ara baliozian
reflections

Thursday, August 04, 2005
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"I am in love and I want to marry him," my daughter tells me.
"Who is the unlucky fellow?" I ask.
"He is a writer, like you," she replies.
"An Armenian writer?"
"That's right."
"Are you out of your mind?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, are you crazy, demented, insane, in need of a shrink?"
"Daddy, he is a good writer, some people have called him a genius."
"Some people? Who, for instance - if I may be so bold as to inquire?"
"Literary critics."
"Armenian literary critics?"
"That's right."
"We don't have them."
"What have you got against writers anyway?"
"We are not talking about writers here. We are talking about Armenian writers, an entirely different kettle of fish."
"Please, daddy, don't be like that."
"I am trying to help you here."
"Help I don't need. Support, I do."
"Support for what? Your funeral?" I ask.
"How can you say that? You don't even know him," she says with tears in her eyes.
"An Armenian writer as my son in law? No way! And cut out the water works. My decision is final!"
"What's wrong with being an Armenian writer, anyway?"
"What's right?"
"I love him, daddy, and that's good enough for me."
"You want to marry a loser, go ahead. But don't ask for my blessing. I want nothing to do with it. And I want nothing to do with you and him either."
"You are not going to disown me, are you?"
"Watch me."
"But I am your only daughter."
"You are nothing of the kind."
"Then who am I?"
"A figment of my imagination."
*
Perhaps the wisest thing I have done as an Armenian writer is to remain a bachelor.
*
With the diplomatic finesse that Armenians exercise when dealing with fellow Armenians, one of my gentle readers once demanded to know: "Why aren't you married? Are you a homosexual?"
#
Friday, August 05, 2005
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AXIOMS
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Judging by the number of religious wars and massacres, man is not made better or wiser by faith.
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One should judge a religion not by its theology but by its history, which also means, by its crimes against humanity.
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"Crime against humanity" is not a religious but a political concept. To a man of faith, a heretic or an infidel does not qualify as a member of the human race.
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Judging a religion by its theology is the same as judging a political party by its propaganda or a nation by its own version of history.
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In theory, religion is meant to civilize; but in practice what it does is legitimize barbarism.
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To acquire a faith is not the same as to see the light.
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All religions should come with the warning: "Faith can be a hazard to your moral health."
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What I said about religions applies to ideologies. It follows all sermonizers and speechifiers speak with a forked tongue when they emphasize theology at the expense of history.
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The aim of all religions and ideologies is to make you say "Yes, sir!"
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There is an old Chinese saying: "Makers of idols do not believe in them." There is also an Italian saying: "Even the Pope doubts his faith seven times every day." Which may suggest that not all sermonizers and speechifiers believe in their own speeches and sermons.
*
Where there are religions and ideologies, there will also be victims and victimizers, that is to say, crimes against humanity.
*
There are just and unjust wars. But according to nationalist historians, their nation has never been guilty of declaring an unjust war. It follows, either all wars are just or all nationalist historians are liars.
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Saturday, August 06, 2005
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Some of my gentle readers keep reminding me that I am a bad Armenian and a worse writer. And yet, I continue to be read by good Armenians with mighty intellects. Figure that one out if you can.
*
To those who know better, I wish they would share their knowledge with dunces like me instead of saying and repeating ad nauseam how bad Turks are and how good we are.
*
If we are survivors, why is it that millions of us did not survive? I should like to read a book by our genocide scholars that emphasizes our failings. We study history to learn, not to lament and blame.
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There is only one way to learn, and that's by analyzing our deficiencies. He who brags (hubris) is punished by wallowing in his own self-pity and ignorance (nemesis).
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If I have learned anything from life is that no one get away with anything. If your enemy doesn't get you, your conscience will.
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We have two options: 20/20 hindsight or the blind leading the blind.
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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Spanish artist: "Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art."
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ٵݻ` ɻ Ƿ۳, س۳