Tuesday, August 14, 2007

God Is Not Great… or at least not as great as Christopher Hitchens

In his recent book “God is not Great” Christopher Hitchens writes very graphically about things he cannot see. This work is of great value if one considers reading an appendix of errors and omissions more than the actual book.
Those who think that reading heavy books contributes to global warming can always spare the planet by not reading it. The essence of the book is expressed in its title “God is not Great” and that’s what it is all about.

Back in Armenia years ago, I had a great teacher who said that those who say there is no God think they are God themselves. My teacher was a drama critic. His life was turned into hell by the communist regime for nonconformist approach to …mediaeval Armenian theatre.
The communists also believed that God was not great, that the Party was greater than God.

Christopher Hitchens, though, has a definite advantage before God. God never spoke with a refined British accent as Mr. Hitchens does. (Although for some reason in all Biblical movies Jews, Egyptians and Romans do speak exclusively in the Queen’s English.)
Hitchens may not be saying anything new but he sells it with a British accent and that’s all that matters. This reminds me of another man who speaks with an accent. Hungarian accent. He once said, “Because of the raise of fundamentalism in all religions, now, our old friends, atheists get popular again. But unfortunately they cannot say anything helpful or new. Well, because atheists cannot say anything new”. This man is a bishop of a Gnostic Church in Hollywood. (Not a Gnostic from another ‘God is not Great’ book “The DaVinci’s Code”, but a Gnostic in a sense of knowing God is great since 3rd century AD.)
The bishop escaped Hungary in 1940’s after his father, a count, was shot in the head in front of his eyes by the occupying Communists, who now moved to spread the gospel of God is not great into the Eastern Europe.

So on one side of my equation we have an eloquent, wealthy and famous Englishman spreading the gospel of non-God in a country that relies on God and on the other side we have two foreigners who were persecuted in their countries that rejected God. This is like one of those mediaeval puzzles such as if Cod is omnipotent can He create a stone that He cannot move. Looks like some original thinkers thought that God was probably not that great even in the mediaeval times. This midlevel stuff is really weird!

The problem with Hitchens and people like him is that they are not really atheists or so-called militant atheists. The prove is again in the title of his book. Atheists do not think that God is not great; they think that there is no God. And as the bishop said, atheists cannot say anything new because they adhere to a closed argument. There is no God. Period. What else?
But once you say that God is not great you acknowledge God, you believe in God. You just do not trust God. You think, as my teacher said, that you are better and greater than God.
I will not go into lengths to prove my teacher's idea, but I urge you to do it yourself, in a scientific, empirical approach (an approach one wishes Charles Darwin and Al Gore would employ in their religious quest).
Observe people who claim that God is not great and you will notice a common characteristic that manifests throughout all of them. They are proud, superfluous and they think they are better than anyone else.

What these people do not understand about religion is the fact that true religion liberates one from the very concept of God and desperate attempts in trying to figure it out. True religion makes one to be an organic and important part of a whole creation. In its very essence religion is irreligious. By submitting to something that you think is greater than you are, you see yourself in perspective and realize how great you are after all.
When you deny God you inevitably place yourself into a position where you have to be like God, you have to worry like God and you have to be tortured with the idea of God and God’s role in society. Like the communists, you get into a paranoid frenzy and believe that someone’s opinion about mediaeval theatre can be threatening to the well being of society.
You need not to have God as unconsciously as the fundamentalist need to have Him. You depend on God for His not being. You become ardently religious and fundamentally annoyed by yourself and your and others religions which now seem to be the cause of all the confusion in your self-centered universe

Of course, again, it all can be far less torturous and could even pass as an original thought when the center of the universe thinks and sells it with the British accent. Yet, once you find yourself in a prison cell and the accent evaporates in the morning like alcohol in Paris Hilton’s brain, just like Miss Hilton the first book you kind of want to open, even if the urge is instinctive and temporary, is the one that says that God is still great… or at least greater than Christopher Hitchens.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


This Norman Rockwell painting "Lincoln the Railsplitter," which shows a young Abraham Lincoln before he became U.S. president, will be shown in public for the first time in years after being bought by a museum for $1.6 million.

The Butler Institute of American Art bought the painting Nov. 30 in a sale at Christie's Auction House in New York. The previous owner was Texas billionaire and former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot.
The acquisition was announced Sunday. The painting will be unveiled Feb. 16.


The mystery of Abraham Lincoln was in his ability to unite the most opposing fractions of society while maintaining a divisive position. This ability to transcend the opposites made him a subject of claim from diametrically opposed entities and worldviews. Like Hegel in philosophy, Lincoln was equally claimed by schools of thought that would shoot each other at the encounter, and many, in fact, did.
Lincoln became an inspiration for Republicans and Democrats, evangelical conservatives and liberal-progressives alike. Even ever dull communists and ever angry radical socialists scraped a spark of inspiration from the mounting figure of Lincoln. This inspiration in itslef is encouragable, but after every group had shaped its own statue of Lincoln according to its own manual we've lost the real Lincoln. Lincoln turned into a concept and as every concept began to be manipulated to fit ideologies and socio-political insecurities. And as in the case of everything under the sun, the most insecure and the most unrelated ideologies manipulated Lincoln the most and claimed him the strongest.

In reality, there was and there is only one Lincoln. Many politicians have comapred and continue comparing themselves to Lincoln without understanding that what transformed that poor tall Midwestern fellow into Abraham Lincoln was not his external attributes or his immideate surrounding.
Today many 'Lincoln wannabe' polticians believe that being young and charismatic, going from rags to riches, advocating the rights of opressed, or even coming from Springfield, IL is what makes the real Abraham Lincoln.
This is a 'Victoria's Secret' version of Lincoln.
In fact, being shot in the back of a head for uncompromisingly fighting an unpopular war is what makes the real Abrahm Lincoln.

It is really sad that 150 years after the Civil War, the mindset against which Lincoln fought all his life and by which he was eventually murdered, finalized the process of hijacking his legacy.

Through the ongoing “sissification” and castration of society, we ended up with an image of Lincoln as benign pacifist, kind and loving father who united the nation. We were given a half-portrait of a man and were tought to ignore the fact that before unifying the country, he divided it. He did not unify by his goodness alone, but by a 'terrible swift sword'. He united by burning down cities, by sacrificing men in thousands and by destroying an entire civilization.
We are sold the image of Lincoln the lawyer, but before becoming a lawyer he was a rail-splitter, a ferocious wrestler who upon his arrival to a new town would challenge the strongest man around and beat him unconscious in front of an amazed crowd.
Let us not forget the toughness of the man.
He was neither a pacifist in his personal life nor in his politics; he was a fighter, a warrior. It is only on the background of this wild midwestern force that we can outline and appreciate his kindness and goodness. It is also important to remember that it was not only his innate kindness that made him great but also his strong sense of justice.

Justice is a balance of mercy and severity. In this perspective, there is no doubt that Lincoln was a kind and good willing man. When Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, he claimed that he surrendered to Lincoln’s goodness as much as to Grant’s army. Lincoln’s personal anxieties about the tragic war are legendary and his love for all of his fellow Americans, both, North and South, are beyond dispute. But in order to get a real picture of a man, we have to acknowledge the other side of his personality. The side that was there to kill and bring justice through punishing war. The strength of conviction that would stop in front of nothing, the ability to sacrifice other men’s and ultimately his own life for an ideal.
This is the image that was erased by the scribes and Pharisees of modern American scholarship who turned Lincoln into an anti-war marxist hero in order to suit their frightened worldview.
Through the media they painted an image of Lincoln in watercolors and hang it in their plastic exhibition halls. And as they would glorify this new image they could not even imagine that if they had happened to live in the time of Lincoln (and some did), they would be the first to eternally ban his image from display.
The mindset that glorifies Lincoln today is the one that crucified him yesterday and will deny and accuse him every time he returns.

But somewhere there in the forgotten attic of our national memory hangs another image of Lincoln. It is an image carved with a nail on a rusted iron, an image that can scare one in a fierce battle. It is an image that his friend saw when he compared Lincoln’s look to an Indian chief entering an enemy camp. It is an image that is so deeply engraved into the Southern psyche that many still cannot forget and forgive it for destruction he brought upon them and their families. In short, it is an image that we have to come in terms with, otherwise we are doomed to see it trough the eyes of those who never really understood the man and never appreciated what the man did.




We should preserve the whole image and the whole history regardless of our current views. The revisionist histories are like bad translations; the words are there but the meaning is lost.
The preservation of history is not a partisan issue. It is a moral issue and if thoroughly examined a legal issue. The historic lie is the worst form of lying and carries the most devastating impact on generations to come. Parties and politicians make mistakes. People and nations make mistakes. Facing historic reality and the sins of the past is a great step to redemption and liberation. The denial of history, moreover, its manipulation, disintegrates the psychological sanity of an entire nation. It is a more dangerous process than even those who consciously convey it from the blind spot of their limited political existence can perceive.

History is not a discipline one learns in books. As every human being has his or her biography so does every nation. History is a vibrant memory of the nation. History is a Memory of Our Spirit. Those who rewrite history rewrite memory. Memory is a cornerstone of the psychological balance, whether individual or national. The temple of life is founded on memory. Disintegrating memory is a way to destruction of the temple. The loss of memory is the first step to insanity.

The Civil War was a direct result of this process. The national hysteria erupted because the memory of our nation was confused and finally lapsed. People began to interpret history, to bend it, to manipulate it to their political goals. Lincoln's speech at the Copper Union that gained him the Republican nomination was dedicated to this very issue. In his detailed investigation of the Founding Fathers, Lincoln proved that, although owning slaves themselves, most of the Founding Fathers were in core opposed to the expansion and existence of slavery. This speech had an enormous healing impact because it clarified history for a big segment of a confused nation. It gave the Union men moral clarity and confidence in the cause and tradition of freedom. It proved that they were continuing their fathers' job and that their fathers were not bad as many stated consistently.

The Cooper Union speech came too late to extinguish the fire of National Psychosis. The nation fell into a very dark place and the only way out was the terrible therapy of war. A war that still continues today in different shapes.

Every generation experiences psychosis to some degree. What is important to remember is that a possibility of a complete nervous breakdown known as Civil War is not as remote as it appears. Up to the first shot of the Civil War people rejected it's probability. The war of one hemisphere of the American psyche against the other was unbelievable and was rejected vehemently. It took almost two years for the people in the Union to accept the fact that they were in war against their fellow Americans. The danger of the fierce conflict must not be neglected. The physical confrontation is just a tip of an iceberg. The eruption of the physical Civil War had been brewing since the beginning of the American Republic. Whether it is a physical confrontation or a civil war of thoughts, the impact is devastating. It is a national schizophrenia in which two sides of psyche designed to work in balance work against each other. The frequency and intensity of the National Neurosis is proportional to the degree of historic distortion.

Every totalitarian regime begins with rewriting history. Whoever controls the past, or the psychic foundation of the nation, controls the future. The only way to control the past is through culture. If the mindset that controls culture is not happy with the memory of the nation, it can rewrite it through books, films, media, any form of communication. Media connects us to our past. If the connection is infiltrated with people who do not feel comfortable with the way history progressed, they can simply reshape it. The examples of this are numerous and results are devastating.

History is a Memory of Our Spirit. It has to be transmitted not controlled. Any force over the memory is a violation of the Spirit that shapes time. Reclaiming history, however harsh and unpleasant it might be for the recaller, is a personal responsibility. Knowing history and fighting for history has a therapeutic significance.
When Hitler was outlining the Holocaust, he was warned that a massive termination of Jews may cause a public outrage. Hitler dismissed the warnings by saying, "Who remembers millions of Armenians murdered in 1915?". The Armenian Genocide, executed by the Turkish government only 25 years prior, was forgotten. The Turkish government had done everything possible to silence history, manipulate it and destroy the evidence. A whole generation of Armenians, scattered all over the world as a result, was and is still traumatized by this historic injustice. The denial of history affects everyone involved. Those who are denied justice and those who deny it are equally in danger. Cutting "the mystic cords of memory", as Lincoln put it, cuts us from our tradition, from our source. And the object cut off its source floats chaotically and falls very often on the barren grounds of forgetfulness. The dynamics of the fall is the same whether it's a distorted legacy of one person or of a whole nation. This fall is experienced by many to some degree, and, perhaps, it was experienced most dramatically by Hamlet, the insane prince of Denmark, who lamented before his untimely death that "the chain of times has been broken."

Monday, December 18, 2006


Today, President Lincoln is praised for liberating slaves by continuing an unpopular war contrary to the huge antiwar movement and open riots in the Union.
Today, President Bush is accused of liberating enslaved Muslims throughout the world by continuing an unpopular war contrary to the huge antiwar movement and demonstrations in the Union.

Today, President Lincoln is praised for dismissing accusations of carrying a meaningless war and sacrificing thousands (600) of American lives for liberating people who were not even American citizens and were not even considered human by many in the Union.
Today, President Bush is hated for dismissing accusations of carrying a meaningless war and sacrificing thousands of American lives for liberating people who are not even American citizens.

Today, President Lincoln is praised for not reacting to accusations of carrying a war for tariffs and economy.
Today, President Bush is accused for not reacting to accusations of carrying a war for oil and economy.

Today, President Lincoln is praised for dismissing claims of being a social tyrant by violating the civil rights and arresting people and newspapermen considered traitorous to the Union cause in order to win the war and protect the Union.
Today, President Bush is accused for dismissing claims of being a social tyrant by violating the civil rights in order to win the war and protect the Union.

Today, President Lincoln is praised for his single-mindedness and determination to get into and complete the war at any cost when it was not even Constitutional for his government to infringe on the Confederate state rights to maintain and expand slavery.
Today, President Bush is accused of single-mindedness and determination to get into and complete the war considered by many as unconstitutional invasion.

Today, President Lincoln is praised for ignoring the most vicious media and public criticism of his policies and ignoring the accusations of his intellectual incapacity and incompetence.
Today, President Bush is accused for ignoring the most vicious media and public criticism of his policies and ignoring the accusations of his intellectual incapacity and incompetence.

Today, President Lincoln is praised for his unyielding faith in Divine Providence and for relying on Divine Guidance in everyday political and personal matters.
Today, President Bush is accused of his unyielding faith in Divine Providence and for relying on Divine Guidance in everyday political and personal matters.

Today, President Lincoln is praised for saying on 9/11 1858 that “Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, every where.”
Today, President Bush is accused for materializing what Lincoln said.


PS. These questions are some of the issues discusses in our movie "The Wounded Warrior".
Once again for all of those who have tried and still are trying to diminish the value of our work, I must state over and over that we are not comparing President Bush to President Lincoln in any individual way.
We simply indicate that there is a vivid parallel between their policies and presidencies and they way the situations were handled by both men.
President Bush continues the controversial legacy of Lincoln and finds himself in the same predicament that Lincoln found himself in as the war prolonged and the faith in the cause died in the hearts of many.
And as the endless debate about the war continues to annoy this country, the wall that everyone avoids to hit still has the following graffiti on it:

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Horses of War and Peace

by Yervand Kochar

Yervand Kochar 'Horrors of War' Yerevan, 1962 Oil on canvas, 290 x 210 cm

The first shot of the Civil War was fired at 4:30 a.m. April 12,1861 when the Confederate artillery bombarded Fort Sumter. Hours later when the fort exhausted its ammunition and surrendered both sides were astonished when they realized that no single person was killed in the heavy bombardment. The only casualty of that day and the first casualty of the war was a horse in the fort.
The Civil War was the last massive war in which cavalry played a decisive role.

The invention of an engine turned an image of a man on horseback to a museum. The horse was gone from the battlefield and with it was gone the poetry of the war. The idea of knighthood so insolubly associated with the horse glittered for the last time at the Civil War.

The attachment of the Civil War Generals to their horses was legendary. U.S. Grant, being an excellent horseman himself, loved and revered horses. Once he had a teamster tied to a tree for six hours for mistreating a horse.
General Robert Lee’s charger “Traveler” carried him throughout the war, following his master’s lengthy maneuvers with unexplainable freshness.
William T. Sherman’s half thoroughbred bay “Sam” was “as calm and steady as his brave master”. In his poem “Sheridan’s Ride” Thomas Read immortalized General Phil Sheridan’s horse “Winchester” who saved the Union Army in the Shenandoah Valley by carrying Sheridan back to his army at Cedar Creek a distance of twenty miles with a speed by far exceeding horse’s nominal physical capacities. General Albert Sidney Johnston’s horse was named “Fire-eater”. “It stood patiently like a veteran when the bullets and shells hurtled about him and his master, but when the command came to charge, he was all fire and vim, like that Sunday in April 1862 the first day of the bloody battle of Shiloh (Antietam)”.
“The horse of the commanding officer was as well known to the rank and file as the general himself, and the soldiers were as affectionately attached to the animal as was the master”.
This harmony of man and horse has been seen throughout history. “The horse inspired such awe in ancient man that he often thought of the horse as the power behind certain natural elements. In India, ancient gods drove chariots across the sky, some chariots carrying the sun. In Christianity, devastation was brought to fight evil by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. A cult object from Trundholm in Denmark represents the power of the sun itself, with a horse pulling the light of day across the sky”. In the Greek mythology “the centaur was a magnificent creature that had a body which was half horse and half man. He was renowned for both extreme physical strength and great wisdom…The centaur may have evolved from people who first saw horses with men on their backs and believed them to be one creature”.
The father of Western philosophy, Plato introduced one of the most powerful images of a man as that of a chariot led by two horses. The horses were called Appetite (bodily desires) and Spirit (passions), the Charioteer was called Reason.
The same Greeks, and the Romans, associated the horse with war, and also the wind, water and thunder.
And indeed, from the time this notion was conceived in Ancient Greece up until the American Civil War, there would be conducted hardly any large or small scale war without a horse as a decisive factor on the battlefield.

In the early stages of the Civil War the Confederate cavalry was superior to the Union’s. “The lack of good highways had forced Southerners to travel by horseback from boyhood, while in the North a generation had been riding in wheeled vehicles”. “The South had been riding before the war, the North had been driven”. However, in the course of the war “the brilliant Confederate Generals such as “Jeb” Stuart, Wade Hampton and Nathan Bedford Forrest were matched by such Union Generals as Philip Sheridan and James Wilson”.
And so the horses became casualties of the war. They witnessed, fought and died with their masters. Yet, there was one difference. Horses were the only impartial creatures of the war. There was neither North nor South for horses. As numerous times in history, once again horses came to help people-anyone, everyone.
It is not in the scope of this article to pay a full tribute to these creatures that so dramatically enhanced man’s evolution in nature. Of all the animals who helped man to rise to his current status, it was the horse that was equally indispensable in agriculture, transportation, warfare, sports, entertainment and many other fields of human endeavor. It was the horse that inspired humans in arts and it was the energy and the presence of the horse that gave a birth to engine and the Industrial Revolution respectively.

These creatures, the earthbound angels, the messengers of progress, wisdom, beauty and might were worshiped by all cultures, ancient and modern alike.
“…Celts believed that after death the soul of a person was transported to the land of the dead on horseback believing them to possess special powers worthy to the task”. In the Hindu ‘Brihadaranyanka Upanishad’ the horse is a symbol of the cosmos.
According to Arthurian legend, once found, the horse with a magical bridle would turn back into a woman, having been previously transformed. This association of a horse with a woman, or a feminine beginning, is certainly not accidental as nothing is accidental in myths and legends.

“C.G. Jung claimed that the horse represents ‘the mother within us’ explaining that the animal has a power, understanding, intuition and magical side that is distinctive from anything else in nature.”

In the bloody war between brothers, in the war were masculine aggression reached the apex of horror and was about to destroy the civilization; it was the cavalry, the horse that brought some glamour.
It was the Feminine Spirit silently following men in their insanity, being their only cure, their unique link to beauty and peace.
It was the Mother, the ancient mirror maja, the eternal Virgin Sophia in the mystical form and reflection of a horse, which once again did not leave her children in the time of confusion. The horse was the only reminder of home and peace, the only redeemer of a suffering soldier, the Mother who will eventually gallop her children lost in the war with their own selves to their Real Home in Freedom!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Day of Jubilee is Come, sure!

Below is an account of Lincoln's visit to a battlefield.

Lincoln never missed an occasion to thank the troops and General Grant at the time where almost everyone universally disapproved of Grant and the army's performance.
Notice also how the troops cheered Lincoln. Lincoln knew and stated on numerous occasions that it was the soldiers and generals who fought the war. His bind with the fighting men was powerful and misunderstood by many civilians and critics. The men who were risking thier lives had an unwavering faith in Lincoln's loyalty and many attempts by the Northern media to cut that 'mystic cord' between the President and his army failed miserably.

Also notice how the black troops cheered Lincoln and saw in him their liberator.
The African-Americans who fought and died for their freedom loved Lincoln. Many African-Americans today who live in freedom do not. The indoctrinated population today thinks of Lincoln as a political opportunist who used African-Americans and the issue of slavery to his ends. Ask yourself why? What happended to that powerful bond of gratitude that won the war?

Think about it but also remember. There is no real freedom without gratitude, there is no real freedom without accepting the sacrifices of others, whether that other is the President of the United States, a Union slodier at Gettysburg or a US Marine in Baghdad.


As Grant and Sherman grappled with the enemy, Lincoln did what he could to sustain the army and to boost civilian morale. On every possible occasion —even on such an unlikely one as the resumption of White House concerts by the Marine Hand—he asked his listeners to give three cheers for "Grant and all the armies under his command." Again and again, he expressed gratitude to the soldiers, to the officers, and especially to "that brave and loyal man," the "modest General at the head of our armies." After his renomination, when the Ohio delegation serenaded him with a brass band, he responded: "What we want, still more than Baltimore conventions or presidential elections, is success under Gen. Grant," and he urged his hearers to bend all their energies to support "the brave officers and soldiers in the field."

He continued to have great faith in Grant, but he was conscious of the swelling chorus of criticism of the general. Many doubted Grant's strategic ability and pointed out that in shifting his base to the James River he was simply repeating what McClellan had done—with far fewer casualties. "Why did he not take his army south of the James at once, and thus save seventy-five thousand men?" asked Senator Grimes, who pronounced Grant's campaign a failure. Even in the President's own household there was distrust of the general. "He is a butcher," Mary Lincoln often said, "and is not fit to he at the head of an army."

The outcry against Grant made the President want to see for himself what was happening with the Army of the Potomac, and on June 20, accompanied by Tad, he made an unheralded visit to Grant's headquarters at City Point. Looking, as Horace Porter, one of Grant's aides, wrote, "very much like a boss undertaker" in his black suit, the President announced as he landed: "I just thought I would jump aboard a boat and come down and see you. I don't expect I can do any good, and in fact I'm afraid I may do harm, but I'll put myself under your orders and if you find me doing anything wrong just send me off right away."
For the next two days he visited with Grant, Meade, Butler, and the troops. Much of the time he rode Grant's large hay horse, Cincinnati. Though he managed the horse well, he was, as Porter remembered, "not a very dashing rider,' and as his trousers gradually worked up above his ankles, he gave "the appearance of a country farmer riding into town wearing his Sunday clothes."

As news of the President's arrival reached the troops, they gave cheers and enthusiastic shouts. When he rode out to see the African-American troops of the Eighteenth Corps,
the soldiers "cheered, laughed, cried, sang hymns of praise, and shouted... 'God bless Master Lincoln!' “God save Father Abraham!' The day of jubilee is come, sure."

Telling frequent anecdotes and showing interest in every detail of army life, the President appeared to have no object in his visit, but his purpose emerged when there was talk of anticipated military maneuvers. Quietly he interposed, "I cannot pretend to advise, but I do sincerely hope that all may be accomplished with as little bloodshed as possible."
Tired and sunburned, Lincoln returned to the White House on June 23, and Gideon Welles remarked that the trip had "done him good, physically, and strengthened him mentally." He took satisfaction in repeating what Grant had told him: "You will never hear of me farther from Richmond than now, till I have taken it.... It may take a long summer day, but I will go in." But Attorney General Bates found the President "perceptibly disappointed at the small measure of our success, in that region."
More than ever Lincoln realized that the war would be long and costly.

(Source "Lincoln" by D.H. Donald)

Proclamation of Thanksgiving

Proclamation of Thanksgiving
Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America's national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders like this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.

The holiday we know today as Thanksgiving was recommended to Lincoln by Sarah Josepha Hale, a prominent magazine editor. Her letters to Lincoln urged him to have the "day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival." The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise."

According to an April 1, 1864 letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln's secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary that he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why Billy Hates Lincoln?

I would like to thank all our friends at the Moorpark Rotary Gettysburg Reenactment event. It was a great day and thanks for letting us to be a part of it.

I am writing here in response to some accusations against my friend Dan Ancell, Abe Lincoln impersonator, as well as our film “The Wounded Warrior” by certain Mr. Billy Bearden from Georgia who obviously neither met Dan Ancell nor saw the film.
Mr. Bearden wrote the letter below in response to an article posted in Moorpark Acorn newspaper in October 27, 2006


His letter is accompanied by another even longer attachment full of ‘facts’ proving how racist Lincoln was.
I usually get a lot of these "facts" and as Mr. Bearden’s fellow Georgian said, frankly, I don't give a damn.
In this case, I feel compelled though to throw a couple words in defense of my friend Dan Ancell, a Lincoln reenactor, who is put down by Mr. Bearden for being, well, a Lincoln reenactor.

See, Billy hates Lincoln so very much that anyone who supports and relates to Lincoln in any way is automatically hated and dismissed by him.
This is what Mr. Bearden advised our company to do:
"Hopefully, Mr. Kochar [that's me] will tell the truth to the public in his movie about the Real President Lincoln, not the same 3rd grade Bovine Excrement foisted on our children by public schools and people like Mr. Dan Ancell”.r>
What Billy didn't know was that Mr. Kochar [me] grew up with that above mentioned 3rd grade Bovine Excrement foisted by public schools. My school, though, was not in Georgia or New York. My school was in the former Soviet Union where Mr.Kochar was foisted with the Bovine Excrement that would constantly depict Lincoln as a racist who fought for economic gain and never cared about slavery.
It was not people like Mr. Dan Ancell but rather people sharing Billy's worldview of anti-Americanism that were my teachers at the 3rd grade. In fact, what Billy didn't know was that I was, amazingly, familiar with all of Billy's accusations as taught by my communist teachers who propagated a regime that slaughtered millions of people around the world and aimed at destroying lives of people like Billy in Georgia and Dan Ancell in Los Angeles alike.

When I immigrated to America, I was struck by the similarity between the progressive talking points and ‘facts’ of my communist teachers and the mindset that crippled Billy in Georgia and filled him with so much hatred towards his own country and President.

What struck me even more was the fact that both the communists in the USSR and Lincoln haters in the US have always focused on how imperfect Lincoln and the Union were, yet, never mentioned the fact of the Confederates being the ones who owned slaves and, yes, fought, a war to preserve slavery as a state right.
It was hard to comprehend how Lincoln was depicted as a racist for some dubious out-of-context remarks and the slave owners were depicted as the freedom fighters while fighting to preserve a right for free labor (speaking of economics).

It was also very hard to understand why a 'racist' like Lincoln would be so hated by all the slave owners in the South and slave state communists in the Soviets, and, finally, why the most outspoken racist actor Wilkes Booths would kill another racist- Lincoln.

So, I decided to make a movie about all this to clarify it for once and forever. I included the ‘facts’ of Billy and interviewed people like Billy but I also tried to focus on the positive and the inspiring that came out as a result of that tragic war, just like my friend Dan Ancell who inspires children to read books and have faith in goodness rather than telling them the negative truth about slave owners dragging the North and the South into the fratricide and fighting for a God-awful cause.

As my friend Dan Ancell, I urge you to read the mysterious book of the American History and the story of its great son Abraham Lincoln instead of reading irrelevant footnotes compiled by hateful and self righteous distorters of history; compilations that are so alarmingly similar to the footnotes taught to a generation of people enslaved by communism.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Democratic Convention - "THE CHICAGO SURRENDER"

Here is another interesting fact from 1860's as found in "Lincoln" by D.H. Donald and explored in The Wounded Warrior.
This traces the origins of the split on war that still torments the Democratic Party.

Poor Old Mr. Peace Democracy's Plan for stopping that mad bull, Rebellion.

...Then, in the last days of August [1864], with the assembling of the Democratic National Convention at Chicago, the outlook for Lincoln's reelection suddenly brightened. When he asked the newspaperman Noah Brooks to be his informal observer at the convention, the President predicted the outcome:

"They must nominate a Peace Democrat on a war platform, or a War Democrat on a peace platform; and I personally can't say that I care much which they do."

The Democrats lived up to his expectations. Their platform announced that "after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war,... justice, humanity, liberty and the public welfare demand... a cessation of hostilities," with a view to ending the war "on the basis of the Federal Union of the States." It was not exactly a peace platform, for the Democrats, like the Republicans, were pledged to preserve the Union; but the condemnation of the war and the call for an end of fighting made it easy to brand the platform "the Chicago Surrender." Then the convention nominated General George H. McClellan, the leading War Democrat, for President. The two wings of the Democratic party had struck a bargain: the Peace Democrats, most conspicuously represented by Vallandigham, dictated the platform while their opponents named the presidential candidate. In effect, the Democrats chose to make party harmony their principal goal, even at the risk of defeat in the election.

From all quarters McClellan's friends warned that the platform was a "wet blanket"; "universally condemned," it had probably been "concocted to destroy their candidate." After some delay the general disavowed the peace plank. He could not look in the face of his "gallant comrades of the army and navy, who have survived so many bloody battles, and tell them that their labors and die sacrifice of so many of our slain and wounded brethren had been in vain." But die damage was done. As one of McClellan's admirers said, his letter accepting the nomination of a party on whose platform he could not run amounted to "twaddle and humbug."