Yervant


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“He who is conceited cheats himself.”

A quote from my grandfather Yervant, a truly magnificent spirit in all his splendor. He came to this country in 1920 to study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the first ever Armenian-Syrian to do so, but was unable to stay due to troubles at home. I dedicate my pursuit of life’s wonder to him, from whom I have inherited this deeply embedded ambition.

THIS THURSDAY: KRIKOS performing live at Bullitt Bar Downtown Orlando 10 PM 4.23.15


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[NEW MUSIC] KRIKOS – Afraid To Be King (prod. KRIKOS)


KRIKOS presents you with the second single off his upcoming debut album, #RiseoftheEasternSon, produced entirely by KRIKOS for #ColoursoftheCulture. Listen below!

The complete album will be released next week. Stay chuned!

HASA!


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I’ll never forget the day this album dropped. I was in another dimension. I was inspired.

This album performed well. Its critics are caught in a web of infinite skepticism.

I bought this album and Yeezus on the same day. I believe these are probably the two greatest artists of our time. If you pay attention, I have been influenced by them in all of my work.

The political undertones in this work, like all of Jay-Z’s works, are omnipresent. The cover itself, inspired by greco-roman mythology, the inner-booklet, as well as the content, from beginning to end, captures the stark reality of an American hustler. The whole time I felt I was watching a Spike Lee movie.

Jay-Z is hated for his business approach. I think he is an artistic genius. His genius is beyond the minds of his critics, be they musicians or not. He addresses conspiracy theorists in a line from “Heaven”:

Conspiracy theorists screaming illuminati,

They can’t believe this much skill is in a human body,

6’2, how the fuck he fit in a new bugatti,

Aw fuck it you got me,

Question religion question it all,

Question existence until them questions are solved,

Meanwhile this heretic, I be out in Marrakesh,

Morocco, smoking hashish with my fellowship,

Y’all dwell on devil shit, I’m in diablo, yellow-shit,

Color of jello shit, hello bitch,

It’s me again, fresh in my easter clothes feeling like Jesus.

For all the so-called purists & the conspiracy theorists, this is a clear message. Jay-Z isn’t here to make you comfortable. He is here to make a living, express himself & expose what he sees as American hypocrisy. With references to Malcolm, Martin Luther King Jr., Wall Street, Jewish affluence and more, this album in no way falls short of being consistent with the tradition of hip-hop as a conscious movement.

Despite ongoing trends & exploitations of the culture, for the most part, there remains a largely alive movement of conscious listeners and artists who remain true to the craft and the messages upon which it was built.

It cannot be understated the impact which 200 years of slavery has had on the African-American culture. This recent interview with Azealia Banks on Hot 97 really captures the emotions of the African-American community. Whether or not you agree with her views or self-expression, I do believe it is important for Americans especially, to hear this perspective. It is true, that Abraham Lincoln emancipated the slaves in the 19th century. But that was the end of a tactic; not of a system. The system which we would like to believe no longer exists today is strong and more alive than ever. Words alone, especially my own, cannot do justice.

Today, hip-hop is saturated with a blend of either ultra-conscious underground or ultra-materialistic mainstream. The medium is there, if you look for it. The majority, which represents the American population, remains held hostage to either the purists within the underground community or the bigots who have largely extended their grasp over the popular media-mainstream, exponentially since the deaths of major hip-hop icons Notorious B.I.G. & Tupac.

I am all for new music & innovation. But I tend not to look for it from many of the artists who the mass-media spoon-feeds us on the daily. I like sticking to my real hip-hop.

Analyzing Political Undertones in Pop Culture Through Art


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There is generally speaking a list of artistic works that, despite their aesthetic greatness, are either historically misrepresentative & inaccurate or merely biased in context and coverage.

Some do justice, some don’t. Perception all depends on which angle you look at the subject. I wish for justice for all, but we must recognize, expose & bring to justice those distinct forces which cause & instigate violent political crime.

Munich, Waltz with Bashir, & Exodus, viewed as biased & racist. Black & Arab culture, disenfranchised, used, exploited, hung & dried.

A more accurate depiction of reality in the Middle East in Palestinian film Paradise Now.

Another, more realistic representation of the ME in a scene from Syriana, which features George Clooney & Matt Damon.

How Hollywood & all of western media distorts reality through film & other mediums of mass mainstream expression.

This rather, light film depicts the similarities, and differences, between the Arab & Israeli people. But recognition of Israel implies two things: treachery to the Arab cause; abandoning the human rights of the Palestinian nation.

Is it unfair for the international community to suggest that the Jews are fine without a state called Israel? The difference between the need for an Armenian state, for example, versus a Jewish one, is that the former is completely ethnic-based while the latter is a hybrid of religion, culture and language. This makes it difficult to place importance on the need for a Jewish state while ignoring Palestinian self-determination.

Individuals like Helen Thomas get blacklisted for making comments such as those in the video below:

If there is a moral arc of the universe, it bends in favor of the Westerner & the lighter-skinned.

A Request for President Obama & the Democrats


Obama Says No Negotiations Until Debt Ceiling, Funding Settled

Recognize the Armenian Genocide. Grant amnesty to refugees. International repercussions, implications and issues of national boundary.

Recognize the Palestinian Genocide & end the occupation. Grant right of return. Allow Jews to remain. Encourage initiative to fight anti-semitism globally.

Relinquish ties with State of Israel.

Relinquish ties with Saudi Arabia.

Rehabilitate relationship with Iran. Establish fair oil agreement as alternative to Gulf oil. Weaken monarchism & fundamentalism in the region thereby ushering in necessary reform/change to status quo.

Expose the forces of the right-wing ideologues in all countries, as hypocritical exclusivists, war-mongers & fascists with ties to terrorism & corruption in religious institutions.

Issue significantly high tax on 1%; pump credit into lower and middle classes to create opportunities for self-investment. A limit, thereby granting opportunity and preventing abuse. The propaganda against mixed economics is extreme and irrational. I would argue that the conservative agenda, which is to horde resources, is actually politically communist, if measured along the lines of ‘control’ by the state.

Grant all American minorities, especially African-Americans, re-enfranchisement into the socio-economic scene through affirmative action. Stretch this form of amnesty to other minorities, including Latino-Americans, Armenian-Americans, etc — the voices that are disenfranchised from representation and accessibility to sustenance.

Grant amnesty and normalization of status for all immigrants in the US.

Review all criminal cases which have falsely incarcerated or have exaggerated sentences for criminals, especially minorities, which have been profiled, type-casted, and have been victims of racism, police brutality and government abuse.

Reform the justice and security enforcement systems of the US, beginning by addressing a lack of representation based on racial affiliation.

Pass laws which prohibit the broadcasting of overtly incorrect material which slanders various entities and incites violent hatred. This includes Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, etc, all who have profited off racism, hate and the encouragement of religious fascism.

Legalize marijuana. Completely. Government regulations are encouraged, as long as it does not disturb market and free-flow.

Reestablish the legitimacy of the United Nations by reaffirming its authority on global affairs. This requires rehabilitation of relationship with China, Russia, India, Iran, Brazil & South America.

Encourage mixed-economics in foreign countries that guarantee individual rights without compromising cultural values and traditions.

End apartheid globally.

Expose ties between Republican Party and foreign criminals; terrorists; dictators. End funneling of money to criminal entities.

All of these actions, manifested into legislation, would immensely improve America’s status domestically and internationally.

Jay-Z interview w/ Charlie Rose


Guess Who?


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They rushed him. Threw a black bag over his head. His cigarette was left burning on the brick plaza floor.

Hours later his eyes open. The abducted gentleman has regained consciousness.

He can barely make out what he sees.

It looks like three men, all dressed in black garb.

One of them men was clearly saying something. Loud. He was shouting in a foreign language. It wasn’t something he could recognize.

The man continued shouting, as if making demands.

“He will not understand you better if you raise your voice,” one the others suddenly said in english, while chuckling.

At that moment the three men exited the room. There were no windows. The steel door slammed shut. The abducted gentleman was left alone. The bruises on his face and his fatigue knocked him back into a trance.

It wasn’t long after until one of the men returned. This time he was dressed normally. Formally, actually, in suit and tie. The abducted man was awake, and quickly realized the man before him looked nothing as he did before.

“Where am I?” shouted the abducted man?

“Speak when you are spoken to,” ordered the captive’s watcher. “Now tell me. It seems you are an avid writer and journalist on the internet.”

At this point, the abducted man, chained to his chair, began to realize what exactly might be going on. Still, he had no idea in whose hands he was in, why and where.

“Now you see. You can walk out of here and healthy man. As if nothing ever happened, under one condition.”

“Who are you?”

“SILENCE!”

A few moments passed as the two men gazed at each other in the cold steel vault without a blink.

“We want you to stop writing about specific issues related to our interests, specifically about politics in the Middle East.”

“Are you a terrorist? This is against my rights. Are you an American?”

“We would like for you to end your activism regarding the rights of the Palestinians as it is threatening American & British interests in the region. If you do not comply, we will do everything in our efforts to completely disenfranchise you from society; deem you an maniac; broadcast your image across all US media as a terrorist & dangerous criminal. All of course, if you do not abide by our simple request.”

“What of the Arabs? What of the rights of the Palestinians? The world can be at peace without its occupation.”

“Sir, we have endured trials for centuries. We were persecuted, disenfranchised and murdered by the millions. We have no home. We are hated everywhere. We have America & Russia by the balls. We have the muslim world by the neck. Stop your propaganda.”

The End.

Secularizing the Conversation on the Occupation of Palestine


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Secularizing the conversation on the Palestinian genocide, actually threatens the pro-Israeli argument. It has to. Israel, by nature, is a religious entity — despite efforts by any spokesperson to suggest otherwise.

Secularizing the conversation on the conflict between Palestinian nationalism & international occupation, deems Israel a theocratic apartheid-state.

Secularization, by nature, requires religious & cultural diversity, egalitarianism and in contrast, rejects elitism, exclusivism & bigotry.

Palestinians outnumber the populations of Israelis by almost 4 million. Arabs outnumber the Jews. And yet, the State of Israel, which represents the minority population, protected by self-righteous Western colonialists, remains probably the only Middle Eastern country that is part of the 1st world, with flee-flowing goods, access to technology, industry and mobility within the international economic community. The majority, the Palestinian nation, made up largely of Arabs, Armenians, Jews, Muslims & Christians, are left largely disenfranchised from the entire conversation, deeming the State of Israel an apartheid-entity, comparable to South Africa.

Can America, Israel, or any one of the countries in the international community which claim — self-righteously — to be a ‘full-fledged’ democracies put their money where their mouth is? Because I wonder: how can a democracy exist within the confines of a nation-state if it is constantly trading & doing business with corrupt non-democratic states, like Saudi Arabia, Israel, China, Russia & Qatar?

The self-righteous attitude which gives the US (& Europe) the audacity to criticize foreign countries for their “non-democratic values” serves as the premise for imperialism & economic inequality in the world. America’s entire economy thrives off Chinese pseudo-communism. How can we claim to be the democratic police of the world?

In the 21st century we continue to falsely imprison our own citizens, kill & permit racism towards our own people — how can we make this bold claim?

The Republican Party’s unrelenting support for Israel has strangled US foreign policy largely up until the election of President Obama who has to some degree casted a grey cloud over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The rise of ISIS has prompted further inquiry into the role played by US allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar & Israel in the spread of fundamentalism in the region, which has been exporting itself to the West since the 1970s for the most part. Monarchy is Saudi Arabia is comparable to Israeli-apartheid in Palestine. The Gulf country is largely responsible for rise in pseudo-Islamic terrorism. It is one of the few countries that continues to maintain a behind-the-doors type of agreement with Israel and major world powers, “oil-for-weapons”, as it is called.

It happens to be that jihadis work well with Israel because like Israelis they are paid agents working to serve the cause of colonialism and distortion of reality by associating attacks with religion. In fact terrorists of “Islamist” and “Zionist” persuasion slander both religions. Neither religion, in essence, would endorse irrational violence. The bond between jihadis and Zionists in close, exemplified in the Faisal-Weissman agreement, a formal document which recognizes the Jewish right to existence in mandatory Palestine under a new state called Israel. The extreme version of the Jewish narrative for a return to ancient Israel sits well with many of the Middle East’s despotic monarchs and tyrannical governments — often propped up by Western governments themselves.

Secularizing the conversation on the conflict also means that I will place a noticeable effort to avoid referring to the political entity as Israel but rather as the modern, 21st century colonial-outpost of the West & broader imperial global elite. I will refer to groups like Hezbollah as military organizations, and I will make the distinction clear between Hezbollah, an organized nationalistic, military-resistance initiative  versus pseudo-Islamic terrorist networks working for foreign agents such as ISIS, al-Qaeda & al-Nusra. These will be referred to as such so as to prevent the slandering of Islam as well as the legitimization of arbitrary colonialism disguised as “international security initiatives”.

Furthermore I would also like to make the point that the Zionism’s greatest source of support doesn’t come from Jews. Firstly, American Jews are largely disenchanted with Israel. Secondly, the Jewish community in Israel is comparatively minute. So where does the immense support for Zionism come from? The elite must garner support from an ignorant mass. Seeing as how religion and extremist ideology are the best tools for collective sedation and rallying.

Christian-Zionism emanates mainly from the US & parts of the European continent. It is resembles ideologies like fascism, Messianism, Bolshevism, nazism, militant-atheism, anarcho-capitalism & Wahhabism. Based on the common denominator of superiority, these groups reflect one another’s violent intolerance.

A question to the ADL. I applaud what you stand for. Can I ask:

Is it not possible to refrain from associating anti-semitic discrimination of any kind with social activism against apartheid? Are the two not mutually exclusive?

Final thoughts:

The world expects Israel’s desperate search for/protection of a homeland after the horrors of the Holocaust to take precedence over the Palestinians’ right to self-determination…and will make their right to existence more important than Palestine’s. Settlement-expansion does not convince anyone of the possibility of an actual two-state solution (completely delegitimized). Furthermore the religious & post-WWII argument for the existence of a Jewish state still does not provide a moral, logical solution to the problem of Palestinian self-determination & human rights. This suggests a failure on the part of the international community to properly address the Jewish question of state-hood. The religious narrative coupled with history shows that the Jews have been well-established themselves in various nations of prominence for centuries, in Russia, the US, France, the UK, Argentina & Brazil. Pre & Post-Holocaust, the Jews enjoyed affluence, equality & prominence. Why the need for an extended colony if it requires a second holocaust of an entire nation, the Palestinians? Furthermore, the triumph of democracy in the twentieth century over fascism & anti-semitism shows that despite isolated incidents, the West remains a safe haven for semites of all backgrounds.

References:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history/2015/02/israelis_and_arabs_contested_history_victims_don_t_have_the_right_to_rewrite.html

The Arab Spring: Legit or Not?


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The question of whether or not the Arab Spring is a legitimate movement against corruption and tyranny requires addressing the following assumptions regarding the culture of the Middle East as well as the nature of democracy as a political philosophy; and the credibility of global power like the US, Europe, Russia & China in policing the world and/or crusading for democracy.

Obviously we cannot throw all uprisings in the Middle East into one category because each country is different culturally and circumstantially. The main scene of protest in the Middle East in what would be called the Arab Spring includes Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria & Bahrain. It wasn’t much before the Arab Spring when the Lebanese people orchestrated a one-million man protest in Beirut which would eventually force the Syrian government to withdraw completely.

Protests also erupted in neighboring countries of influence and significance, namely Iran & Turkey.

Some might argue the Arab spring inspired movements in Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba & Ukraine where extreme forces are already threatening to take grip — amidst uncertainty and the vulnerable state of a country during a transitional phase of government.

As I stated before each of these countries is different. The type of reforms necessary, the culture of the people, the grievances of the people. They are not all the same. What was common among all participants of the Arab Spring was a sense of discontent with the social, political and economic conditions of the Arab people. But what exactly is the cause of the misery of the Arab people? Is it the tyranny of their own governments, or the tyranny of global powers?

Take a look at Syria for example, where the government has been ruled by a close-knit group of Assad-sympathizers. 75% of the Syrian population is Sunni, which has remained largely unrepresented in the political and economic aspects of Syrian life. The Alawites, a minority religious sect of Shiite Islam, have been largely in control of the political process in Syria, operating from the stronghold of Damascus. Despite disparaties between the elite rich and the impoverished lower classes, largely Sunni, the majority of Syrians were content with their state of affairs. The irony is that it was the Alawites who were disenfranchised from Syrian society before the coup which ushered in the presidency of Hafez al-Assad in 1970. The Alawites were regarded as heretics and second class citizens. It was Assad’s rise to prominence which elevated their social status, seen by many Syrians as their way of avenging their history of oppression. The Correction Movement, initiated by the Assad government, aimed to socialize the Syrian economy and redistribute wealth more fairly so as to guarantee universal prosperity. The outcome? While major advancements were made on a national level in terms of infrastructure and self-sustenance, the economy was largely controlled by the Assad government. How was this different from the Sultan-esque elitist economic model that ruled Syria prior to Assad’s Corrective Movement? Similar efforts were attempted in the realm of Socialism in Egypt and Libya for example, by Gamal Abd Nasser & Muammar al-Gaddafi, respectively. All three of this historic figures were regarded as threats to global hegemonies and the tradition of capitalism which had been the foundation of the international political system for centuries. None of their socialist policies brought openness and prosperity to the economy except for those in power, essentially just fortifying the system of stagnation in place before.

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Assumption: democracy is the universal road to justice; democracy is compatible with Arab & Muslim society; democracy is a guaranteer of social equality; that the global police actually exhibit democracy.

Has there ever been a democracy? Is the US a real democracy? The French Revolution was hijacked too. Instead of ushering in what was supposed to be individual rights we went from tyranny of the pride to tyranny of the revenge. The American Revolution ushered in the first real modern attempt at democracy to ensure the rights of individuals socially, economically and politically. But how could the US be a democracy if it for 200 years deprived all African-Americans of basic, necessary human rights? Today immigrants, gays, muslims, arabs, atheists, jews and still African-Americans, are the subject of unequal treatment.

Even in the far east, in Russia for example, the public attempt to collective reform Russian society was another revolution hijacked by yet another pseudo-science: Communism. Communism merely strengthened the hold of elitism by placing control in the hands of a political party and cult of personality versus a family or royal name as had been before.

Thanks to movements by honorable leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. the US has made great strides towards a more democratic society; however the 21st century has revealed that 200 years of human rights abuses have consequences that are still to be seen. I am referring to the corruption of the justice and prison systems as well as police brutality and disparaging inequalities in income. The 21st century also ushered in the Arab Spring. In the case of Tunisia, I would say the movement succeeded. In the case of Egypt, Libya & Syria, it is not the same. Syria has become the battleground for the war against fundamentalism as well as a proxy war against Israeli expansionism. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism as well as failure on the international community to realize the human rights of the Arab World, most importantly Palestine, contributed to the hijacking of what was supposed to be an Arab Spring towards democracy.

But who is to blame? Assad of Syria? Sisi of Egypt? Gaddafi of Libya? The US? The West? Russia & China? Religious fanaticism? Israeli expansionism? Colonialism?

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I am sure all of these forces contributed. But as stated before each country is different. In Syria, the people are not as upset with their government as they are with the international community’s silence of the crimes of colonial entities such as Israel. Perhaps this is why Assad has yet to dissolve his government; perhaps his claim that the Syrian people remain united has some validity. It is true, that neither Syria, Libya nor Egypt have progressed towards democracy economically, politically or socially…but to place the blame entirely on Arab leaders is misguided. Furthermore, it is a way of stereotyping…typecasting all Arab national grievances as similar in motive. The West was keen on insisting that Assad leave early on in the conflict. The tone has changed.

Perhaps the Arab Spring did not die. Perhaps the Arab Spring is still alive; but, despite what the media might suggest; that the revolution has in fact another target — not our own Arab leaders — but the dismantling of the expansionist, colonialist apartheid regime of Israel, which has occupied Palestine and destabilized the Middle East for a half-century now, spurring the rise of terrorism and instability in the region.

As pro-Western Arab allies like the King of Jordan and the new Saudi King Salman scurry to improve their reputations; other Arab nations are more keen are continuing the initiative that was begun by the earliest of Arab independence movements that unfolded in the mid-twentieth century against the colonial powers of France and the UK.

Democracy is certainly the end goal of all nations. But the irony which surrounded America’s non democratic history forces us to realize the possibility (and likely reality) that the Arabs are victims of non-democratic tyranny, largely supported and facilitated by Western governments, in the interests of none other than the apartheid regime of Israel, the supposed only ‘democracy in the Middle East’. How can an apartheid government, a theocracy, serve as a role model for democracy? How can a country which tortures men women and children, razes homes, propagates religious extremism and exclusivity, encourages conformity, suppress individuality and human rights, be considered a beacon of democracy?

The real Arab Spring is a continuation of the more genuine revolutionary initiative of the earlier Arab independence movements of the twentieth century. We cannot allow our dignity and revolutionary spirit to be easily hijacked by extremists and elitists. Let us remember who the occupying and oppressive power really is, and the techniques of mainstream media outlets in distorting reality and history.

The miserable conditions of Arab States cannot be addressed or solved until the cause is exposed and removed. Let us not compromise our dignity, loyalty, community and humility for the sake of the instant gratification of temporary and illusory solutions.