November 25th, 2003



I watched Atom Egoyan's Ararat last night. I wasn't overly convinced by it. The film-in-film structure worked well enough, as a structure, but the look of the film being made by the Aznavour character was undeniably cheesy and cheap. This was maybe deliberate, it wasn't really clear enough to my mind. I certainly agree that a film that addresses the Armenian genocide is praiseworthy, but, as the film indicated, it's still a contentious historical issue for many.

A internet search will quickly bring up any number of sites that describe the two camps. Yes, it happened. Oh no, it didn't. It's a fascinating historiographical issue in the creation of 'truth' and non-aligned interpretation is hard to find, at least on the internet where entrenchment over issues is common enough. For the record, I don't deny the genocide and I am fairly happy (although that's not the word to use) to describe it as a holocaust, in as much as it pretty much wiped out an ancient and major civilisation from its homeland. Nevertheless, is it a holocaust or Holocaust? Should you wish to do so, it's easy enough to create a historical argument in which Armenian actions become the instigation for subsequent Turkish ones. Not exactly that they were begging for it, but you get the idea.

There's still the overarching moral principle that ethnic cleansing is evil and when some of the more extreme Turkish revisionists interpreters seek to deny the level of death and violence perpetrated during that time, well, it turns both your stomach and your heart. Obviously, as a general rule, Orthodox Christians are never really the most pro-Turkish of people anyway, mostly due to the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and what is seen (incorrectly, I think) as mass apostacy to Islam. [Archimandrite Patridokoulos later interjects: Remember that the Armenians are not Orthodox in the Eastern Orthodox sense and are correctly described as belonging to the Oriental Orthodox. The Monophysite heresy, condemned by the the Council of Chalcedon... Thanks, Archimandrite, now, back to your cell] Meanwhile, in a Greek restaurant... "That Turkish delight looks nice." "That's Greek delight, sir." "Oh, yes, sorry. How about some Turkish coffee?" "That's Greek coffee, sir." Etc. Orthodox will still often describe all Muslims as Turks. Aside from the genocide of 1915, the Armenian points of historical reference are set quite some time ago. Ah, the battle of Avarayr back in 451... It's always good to see people passionate about their history, although this can mean that two thousand year old battles are still being fought. The need to remember and the need to forget.

Having watched the film, I was trying to remember the particular origins of the Armenian language. It's at times such as this that I need the help of the Professor, but he's heading out to Kentucky anyday now for Thanksgiving. I myself will be celebrating this year with some Californians from my history class.

I had an Armenian girlfriend once, it wasn't a success really. Something to do with my father being so ill at the time, something to do with me not being myself. Always felt like I was trying to successfully play a different role from usual. If only she was less American and more Armenian, I used to think. Not that she wasn't entirely Armenian by blood. In my darkest hours, I used to wonder whether she was actually a woman at all. Sometimes she seemed so bizarrely over-feminine that I speculated that she had fled to England for reorientation. I guess I wasn't thinking too healthily at the time. The relationship itself was never consummated. I broke up with her shortly before my father's death. She was someone who I never felt I got at all close to. It was the last relationship here in Sarmoung. The lack of intimacy, or the sort of intimacy I was after, a believable intimacy. i do find it hard to trust people in relationships as I am somewhere always terrified that they might intend to kill me or subject me to prolonged physical abuse. It wasn't always like this. In the very dark hours, I also wondered whether she might be my previous girlfriend from Japan disguised as an Armenian-American, which would have been a fairly inventive gambit and one requiring immense financial investment on her behalf. Writing these preposterous thoughts now makes me wonder how much that time was profoundly upsetting me. Just trying to keep things together. Only a year ago now.

This is, I will admit, rather a lot of Caucasian subject matter over the last few days, but I'll squeeze in one more: Mark Ames' article on Georgia for the eXile magazine. I've mentioned this magazine before, it's not for everyone, but amidst all the excess and immorality of present day Moscow, there's some great writing from time to time.

It's not even three in the afternoon and the lights need to go on. Never mind global warming, how about continental shift? This is London, not Helsinki!


Well, it's not maybe the proudest of my web achievements, but Sarmoung has garnered a recent mention on very much le blog du jour, Fleshbot. I'd like to point out that I really do not spend my time on the web hunting out pornography, but I'm quite a fan of sister site Gizmodo and had read a few newspaper articles about the new site and how it represented moves to make porn somehow more mainstream on the web. So, in the strict interests of remaining web savvy, I had a look and felt obliged to correct them on a few points regarding kigurumi. About six months ago, I did a large amount of research for a TV company about the whole cosplay/doll scene in Japan. It was never commissioned and I was never paid either. I am innocent, yout honour.