Posted by pancho (188.8.131.52) on December 31, 2001 at 16:19:14:
The argument that you shouldn't stoop to the level of your adversaries is correct, as far as it goes. But, the people who usually use that argument are the ones gouging your eyes out, who cry the loudest should you turn the tables and gouge THEIR eyes out.
Had I been the first to "stoop", you could fault me. But, I tried in every way to work with each and every one of these people. Helen was always a friend and would have been more of one had we had more time. And that's exactly what her brother and Homer Simpson and the rest of the people on her payroll feared and resented.
Jackie Bejan and I were "friends" too..though today she'll tell you she was "fooled" into trusting me. Trust me...you can't fool these people out of a dime. Everything she got was an excellent "deal" and she has gotten great mileage out of plucking the eyes of her other "friends" out by showing off the sculpture so prominently displayed in her house.
Atour and Janey were friends too. Atour supposedly got down on his knees and wept on seeing the Ashurbanipal first. That's why he hates my guts...he wishes to god he could just shut me up and put me to work making tears for him. Janey is in the worst situation because I genuinely believe she wanted this all to come out very differently. She had a sense that the way they were treating me wasn't the best...for all of us, for the sake of setting a precedent also...which this has done...and which I will improve upon by adding an addendumb. But, she went along in order to keep peace in her family and community. I can't blame her at all...I have no personal anger towards any of them...this is strictly business...and I don't mean THAT kind of business either.
Had I "stooped", I would have used the same tactics against them. I didn't. I did what they should have done if they felt they had a valid case...they should have sued me. Any number of people have threatened to do so...but none of them have because they have no case. You can't go into court and say, "I broke the law in getting back at him because he dissed my church"...or because "he doesn't deliver sculptures", or because "he doesn't sculpt "properly". They have to have an actual law that is listed on the books...show that I broke that law...and then, not smear my name and the rest of it, NOT knife me in the gut one dark night...but take me to court, as our civilized ancestor taught us all.
The things I've written about and spoken about, they actually did! I made none of it up. I haven't lied about a one of them, or about anything that happened. They have spread rumors and behaved towards me in ways calculated to make people suspicious and unwilling to trust...and it was that 'trust" we worked so hard to build.
In Detroit a few years back when I first floated the idea of a monument to Hammurabi, three Assyrians wrote their checks for the full amount without having seen the maquette...for the simple reason that I hadn't even started it yet. That brief moment was the greatest victory of all...the REAL aim of this monument business...or one of them. I had built that kind of confidence and trust in people. You try to imagine what it would take in this community to get three people to be willing to part with $6,000.00 each...just on YOUR word. And not a one of them was Chaldean, or lives in Detroit...so well did they understand and begin to appreciate the importance of becoming a little more universal in our approach. That too scared every villager we have.
Narsai and I committed ourselves to finishing the Ashurbanipal NO MATTER WHAT. We both knew how often this community has had its hopes and dreams shattered, and we weren't about to begin something we couldn't finish. It was the trust of our people that was so important to us...and it is precisely what these people have attacked and ruined. I have to offer now, not only to sell my sculpture at half price...which so delights some people that you'd think the next logical step was for Saddam to leave and hand the country over to them...that isn't enough...I also have to pay for the entire casting out of my own pocket...and not expect any payment till the piece arrives...and then, I have to accept whatever payment schedule the person can make. The trust of a few years ago is gone and done with. You can blame me if you want to...but you have to make it stick in a REAL court of law...not this one.
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