Archive for the ‘We Are Not Enemies’ Category

It looked like a miracle and it sounded like a miracle. We were impressed – that someone (an American!) would care enough to come to our distant region and heal this woman in front of us all.

Others followed. Indeed, we all wanted to follow. In one way or another, we all wanted to follow and probably did so, in our minds, if nothing else. A few of us nervously laughed, noticing the cameras, commenting that at the end they’d want to baptize us and it’d be like the Russian church where you had to be baptized naked as a sign of your pure acceptance of, and openness to, Christ Jesus.

Okay, maybe not tonight, I found myself thinking and that, perhaps, miracles in my life are more likely to occur in private.

Private, that is the way of Faith.

Private and still.

Still, I believe.

Still, steadfast.


Still, if I am to be an example in this world, as the Holy Word says, then why not be radiant? Miraculously obvious? … Okay, I am open!

It was a Friday night. There were thousands of us in the old Dynamo Stadium. We had a myriad of reasons for being there, from the ardent to the curious. Some wore old Orthodox Crosses prominently, some counterfeit heavy metal t-shirts. Old and young, entrepreneurs and prostitutes, all swept up in the search for something to believe in, something bigger than themselves, something to help them through the night, and next week.

There was music and singing on the stage – we only recognized a few words. We swayed and waited. Patiently.

Eventually, the superstar preacher came out with a translator and, as he said, some Holy Ghost fire…

How we wanted to touch the Americanness! … We soaked in every second-hand word. … Charismatic. … Something happened. … We worshipped.


Caught up in a whirlwind of international intrigue and filthy politics,

a hostage seized in a dirty war (like there are any clean wars?),

the defendant gives the show trial the finger, literally.

A desperate act in a desperate time, a desperate place.

Millions of us gasp at the rough-looking young woman,

our suspicions confirmed,

she *is* fascist scum,

we spit curses at our TV screens,

yes, she is a murderer:

she fed rat poison to a pregnant woman and she killed our journalists.

Around the world, other people shake their heads, and sigh, disbelief and dismay.


It’s obvious that it’s true!


What is true?

What I can see! *That* is true to me.

What you see as my lies are true,

and your truth, well, that is lies to me.


If you are hoping for some kind of universal truth, something to give your life meaning, some kind of cause célèbre, no, no: think again, move away from this vehicle, and make sure you walk a straight line.



Indeed, the police woman who confided in me, without speaking a word, looked into my eyes and spoke to my soul. She couldn’t appear more different to Nadiya. For her, International Women’s Day meant applying lipstick once again before patrolling the streets of Yerevan. Special Unit.


Jews obsessed with genealogy.

Jews defining themselves by their ancestors, their spirituality and beliefs rooted in family heritage. … Genealogy as something of a religious experience. … They worship the dusty old books and the computer screens, blood sacrifice: looking for meaning in their lives.

Nazis obsessed with genealogy.

Nazis defining themselves by their ancestors, by what makes them different from their Jewish and Slavic neighbors. … Genealogy as something of a religious experience. They worship the dusty old books, the Nordic primal screams, blood sacrifice: looking for meaning in their lives.

Apparently genealogy is big business, second only to pornography in popularity on the internet. And people are willing to pay the price, economically, socially and morally: to feel that they belong, to hear that they are different and special, to believe that they have a family. Kith and kin. People are willing to kill (themselves and you), for the idea of a connection, and connections of ideas.

“We are not enemies!” the Russian accent assured me. “We Christians, we are what Russia and America has in common the most.”

“We are not enemies!” the Russian accent assured me. “We Jews, we are what Russia and America has in common the most.”