Against Stupidity...

Vartan Matiossian

A friend and colleague from Yerevan brought to our attention a posting in a blog in Russian on Armenian issues, called "Time to Analyze" (the name of the blog is in English). The post, dated January 14, 2012, is entitled "Armenians Who Reached Presidency Outside the Homeland." It introduces five presidents, four of them from Lebanon (Camille Chamoun, Elias Sarkis and Emile Lahoud) and Syria (Emin Hafez); we are only aware that Lahoud is Armenian by his mother, but we have no information about the ethnic origin of the others. However, before reaching their names, we had to cross an incredibly ridiculous first paragraph:
"Карлос Менем – президент Аргентины в период 1989 по 1999. Родился в армяно-алавитской семье иммигрантов из Сирии. В Аргентине приняли христианство, Карлос Менем был крещен в Армянской Католической Церкви. При правлении Менема армянская община Аргентина стала одной из главных движущих сил мирового армянского лобби. Карлос Менем и по сей день является одним из главных действующих лиц армянского лобби в Аргентине."
To the benefit of our readers who do not master Russian, here is a translation:
“Carlos Menem: President of Argentina between 1989 a 1999. Born in an Armenian-Alawite family of immigrants from Syria. They adopted Christianity in Argentina; Carlos Menem was baptized in the Armenian Catholic Church. During Menem's government, the Armenian community of Argentina was one of the main driving forces of the worldwide Armenian lobby. Carlos Menem is one of  the main protagonists of the Armenian lobby in Argentina till now."
Ironically, the purpose of the blog is the following: "'Time to Analyze' is a project of information and analysis created to educate the Armenian youth in current issues that are relevant for problems of Armenians and Armenia. Our project does not only include analytical, but also historical and informative subjects. We only utilize the most authorized sources in different languages."
Only God knows which "authorized source" was used to write those five sentences, of which only the first is accurate! (Should not we expect something called "analysis of sources" from a blog called "Time to Analyze"?) Yes, Carlos Menem was President of Argentina from 1989-1999, but the rest is a collection of ludicrous inventions. The phrase "no comments" has been created for such cases, indeed. But we cannot avoid the temptation of quoting a phrase cited by Isaac Asimov in his science-fiction novel "The Gods Themselves." It belongs to Swiss poet Friedrich Schiller (the author of "William Tell") and says: "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain." We do not believe that such a struggle is in vain, but we believe that it is everlasting.


  1. Me encanta como chequearon la información.
    Mendez (lo escribí así, ya sabes porque) reboto el reconocimiento del Genocidio Armenio en el Congreso.
    Lo único que hizo fue viajar a Armenia para ver un partido de fútbol con A.Gostanian. Saludos y Felicitaciones

  2. Leo,
    Estuvo 24 horas en Armenia el 29 de junio de 1998, pero te aclaro que no fue a ver un partido de futbol (ver Asbarez, 30 de junio de 1998). No obstante, haces bien en recordar que veto el reconocimiento del Genocidio Armenio.
    Es increible, pero en la version en ingles de Wikipedia, dice: "An Armenian-Alawi Argentine, his parents were born in the town of Yabrud (part of the Ottoman Empire at the time, currently in southwestern Syria, near the border with Lebanon)." Ninguna fuente!