Saturday, April 19, 2008

Genocides..Will They Ever Cease?

The Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, the Cambodian Genocide, the Rwandan Genocide, and now Darfur. These are just a few of the genocides that have occured throughout mankind's savage history. Millions and millions slaughtered in horrendous conditions that were simply unheard of. Society says, it is the past and we must move on. However, when society does not acknowledge and punish those reponsible for causing these genocides, than they are allowing the pathway of genocide to be opened once again. Society ignored Rwanda's Genocide. Now, they are ignoring the Darfur Genocide. Ignoring, and turning heads during such painful times isn't a new phenomenon.

April 24, 2008 will mark the 93rd year of the Armenian Genocide. It not only marks the 93rd year of the occurence, but 93 years of denial as well. April 24, 1915, Armenian intellects, scholars, musicians, public officials were gathered and slaughtered by the Ottoman Turks. It was an orchestrated event sponsored by the government leaders. They were knowns as the Pasha brothers; Talaat, Enver and Djemal. It was their ultimate goal to wipe out the Christian minority in the predominant Muslim territory. Thus the attmpt of the annihilation of a race began.

Families were forced to leave everything behind. From the start, most body abled men were separated from their families. Sadly, many of them were slaughtered from the beginning. They were beheaded. Their heads placed on pole sticks and placed into pyramid formations. The women raped, captured and forced to live as slave brides within Turkish homes, and forced to abandon their helpless children. Pregnant women were immediately targetted having swords gushed into their stomaches. Rivers full of blood and dead bodies were travelling alongside the marchers. No one dared to look sideways. Many, finding cliffs nearby, would simply commit suicide rather than endure death by the swords of the Ottomans Turks. "Many took their own and their children’s lives by flinging themselves from cliffs and into rivers rather than prolonging their humiliation and suffering." Genocide Some were forced to swim through the bloody rivers, only being able to choose one of their children to carry. Mothers were forced to choose which child was to live leaving the other behind for the vultures.

Stories have been passed down from generation to generation. A father chose to take the lives of his three daughers, instead of seeing either of them get raped by the Ottoman Turks. Husbands were forced to see their wives raped. Husbands were forced to see their pregnant wives being stepped on. These stories will never end, even when the last genocide survivor passes away.

In the end, as many as 1.5 million Armenians perished. The government agenda was to wipe out the Armenian population from the Ottoman Empire. They failed. While they may have taken away 1.5 of my people in an attempt to eliminate my race, I am still here today.

What angers me the most is that neither Turkey, nor the United States has recognized the Genocide. The Genocide that was the first of the 20th Century has been overlooked. Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jew coined the term genocide in 1943. "In fact, when Mr. Lemkin coined the term genocide the Armenian events were one of the two archetypes he used in his work." Lemkin The other was the Holocaust. Turkey and the United States for several decades have said that it is not genocide, but simply war casualties or random murders. What is peculiar is that most of these individuals that were killed, were killed in areas where there was no sign of war.

In the midst of all the denial, of all the ignorance, of all the heads turning away, one mand stood up pleading for help. The US ambassador to the Ottoman Empire was present during this horrendous time in history. He demanded, pleaded for action but recieved nothing. He stated, "When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact." Morgenthau It happened while the entire world watched. Rwanda happened while the entire world watched. Darfur is happening while the entire world is watching.

If society does not pay attention to history then they are bound to repeat it. And we all can see that now. Every year passes and every year the Armenian community sees the United States denying the existance of the genocide. US has military bases in Turkey and thus would not dare jeapordize their relatioship over a humanitarian issue. So once again, I will hear America saying that they are sorry for the loss of the Armenian community by the tragic events that occured during the war not even mentioning the word Genocide, or systematic killings once. France, Germany and many other countries have recognized the Armenian Genocide. It's time for the country who is advocating democracy around the world to do so as well. A colleague's blog Gov4Sale says it best, "The fact that the U.S government refuses to accept and label what had happened as “Genocide” just to protect its interest with the Turkish government is hypocritical, being the super power that it has labeled itself and the protector of Democracy and humanity." Essentially it needs to be recognized in order for us to advance as a democratic world.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

To Buy a House, or Not to Buy a House

With the recent housing crises, my family ironically decided to buy a house. For those of us who were unable to buy extremely inflated homes a couple of years ago, this was the perfect time. Think about it, with so many houses under foreclosure, a need for buyers is crucial. A couple of years ago, several families would fight over a single house, now one family can have the choice of several houses. It is ultimately the buyer's market. With house cut down by as several hundred thousand dollars, it would be simply uncanny to not get your hands one of them. And this is what my family did last month.

Constantly hearing the news about the housing crises, gave my family a sense of hope. We realized that, with the amount of houses being confiscated, the banks needed to sell them at a cheaper market. The banks would rather sell the house up to 50 percent of its originalmarket price than pay the property of the full price themselves.

So what was one of the factors that contributed to the housing crises?Sub-prime mortgage. These are "housing loans made at higher-than-normal and adjustable interest rates to borrowers with little or poor credit history or an income that wouldn't typically qualify them for a mortgage--lie at the center of the crisis." Foreclosure People with little or bad credit were tricked by lenders into buying houses with low adjustable interest rates and even no money down. Ironically, these family were unaware that property taxes were going to rise, the APR was going to rise and for some families, their mortgages were going to double. It's been estimated that more than "3 million houses will be foreclosed by the end of 2008." Foreclosure

The housing crash not only effects the families who are having a hard time paying their bills, but a ripple effect is also present. With people not buying houses, construction was down. With people not buying homes, real estates and loan lenders had no jobs. Thus the economy as a whole was effected. Personally, I believe that the government needs to take more action to prevent further foreclosures. The prices of some of these simple homes are more than half a million just because of the housing surge a couple of years ago. Now, they are not even worth 400,000.

"The catastrophic damage could be so widespread that the crisis could reach $600 billion in losses to home owners, Wall Street investors, mortgage companies and banks." Crisis THis is not good for anyone. When real estate goes down, the ripple effect begins. The housing surge was motivated by money hungry corporations, and now they are suffering. And now, families who did not fall under trap have the upper hand.

My family had decided to buy a house a couple of years ago in Hollywood. Everywhere we turned they were asking 500,00-800,000 for a measly 800 square footage home. It was ridiculous. Lenders were promising no down payment, low rates and so forth. But thankfully we did not fall into that trap. We waited and waited, and recently purchased a house in North Hollywood, about 1700 square foot, and the price was unbelievable. So the housing crisis has benefited families like mine who had waited for the perfect time to buy a house. Politosaurus Rex states, "Because the economy is doing so poorly and inflation is on the rise, less families are purchasing homes." While this statement is true, I feel as though, families who want to buy a house now, who were unable to afford the inflated prices would benefit the most. Prices are reasonable now and my family felt it was time to buy one.

But, the condition should not have gotten this far where 600,000 dollars homes are being sold for ridiculous amounts. The government should have adjusted the interest rates for many of these "on the edge of foreclosure" houses. Foreclosure is the worst ultimatum for both lenders and families. So the best solution is to actually prevent that from happening in the first place.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Farewell Grandpa

On April 1st at 2:20am my grandfather passed away. His blood pressure and heart rate fell drastically and his heart could no longer fight the battle. It has been a very tough week for my family and my uncle's family. My grandfather had two children; my mother and uncle. My uncle has two boys and my mother has two girls. We're a very small family and thus he would always ask us, "If we die who will come to our viewing?" On April 10th we had the Viewing at St Johns Church. My grandfather would be proud that the entire church was filled with friends, neighbors, and loved ones. After the viewing we went to our grandmothers house where my grandfather used to reside. A night of sadness and tears was not over. In our tired condition we all had to drive to Las Vegas in the middle of the night because the funeral was going to be there the next day at 12:00pm.

This death was the first that hit close to home for my sister, me and my two guy cousins. All of us even though we knew he lived to be 82 years old, were crying like little babies. My mother fainted during the Viewing and the Funeral. My uncle left speechless. But in the midst of all this, my grandfather's death brought us together. Relatives camped out at my uncle's house in Vegas. More than 20 people slept in one house. Sofas were turned into beds and many mattresses were used. A week has almost passed since my father picking up the phone at 6:40 am and my mother immediately figuring out that her beloved father has passed. To this day it seems like a dream. In the end, my grandfather did not allow us to make the decision of pulling the feeding tubes and oxygen. He did not allow us to have that decision hanging on each of our shoulders for the rest of our lives.

We love and miss you grandpa

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Vegetative State--What Should My Family Do?

On Easter Sunday of 2008, my grandfather was rushed to the emergency room. Having been in bed rest for the past 2 months, going to the emergency was a routine event. Every month we would take him to the hospital, have water pumped out from his lungs and bring him back home.

On March 24, my grandparents were to move to Las Vegas to live with my uncle. We went on Sunday to help pack and celebrate Easter. Who knew that this would have been his last. All of a sudden he closed his eyes and would not respond to any of us. My mother became hysteric seeing her father in that condition. We shook him. We yelled out his name. Nothing. Watching 3 men carry my helpless grandfather onto chair was traumatizing.

We all went to the hospital following the emergency car. From 4:00pm to 10:00 pm we had no clue what was going on with our grandfather. We sat in the waiting room expecting the worst. Then around 10:00pm the doctor said we can go and see him one by one. We all had smiles on our faces. Sadly those smiles were going to turn into tears and utter chaos in the following days.

On Monday one day after he was sent to the hospital, my family woke up to go and help my grandmother and uncle move their belongings into the moving van. Everything was set. Everything was packed. Everyone was ready to go except no one went anywhere. My grandmother had to stay with my grandfather. My uncle, who had arrived from Las Vegas to help with the move had no other option but to take their belongings to Vegas since he had given more than 600 dollars for the moving van. So while my grandparents belongings are in Vegas, my grandparents are here.

We were all eager that my grandfather would be released on Monday and my uncle would be able to take him to Vegas. This was surely not the case. Since Monday, my grandfather has not spoken a word nor has opened his eyes. He doesn't respond to us. He can't see us. He has feeding tubes in his nose and is on oxygen support. He is 82 years old and has never smoked nor drank and yet he has had open heart surgery.

For the past 6 days my grandfather has been in a vegetative state according to one doctor. According to another doctor he is in a coma. My family can't decide what to do. Do we still feed him through the tube and transfer him to a nursing home in hopes that he will get better? Or do we pull out the feeding tube and let him die? Just the thought of having to make this decision is traumatizing for both my mother, uncle and my grandmother. They have to decide what to do. Do we put him in a nursing home and make my grandmother stay in LA? Do we simply allow him to starve to death? It's a tough situation.

I remember watching the case of Terry Schiavo's case where there was a conflict between the husband's wishes and that of the parents. The husband wanted her to die and the parents wanted her to live. I guess you could see in my tone that I want my grandfather to live. Do we allow my grandfather to be in pain, having millions of tubes around him or shall we simply pull the plug and let him rest. The decision to take away food from someone you love, and watching him die is just unheard of.

I just came back from the hospital with my family. We sit there around my grandfather and start crying. We sit there touching his feet, touching his hands hoping he would give some sort of feedback. But nothing. My mom wants to shake him, wants to yell him so he can wake up. But there is nothing. He is breathing, he is sneezing, he is coughing, he is yawning but he is not alive. It's always easier to judge other people by saying how can you let someone die, how can you remove the feeding tubes while his heart is still breathing? It is always diferent when it is personal. My mother and uncle and grandmother are going to have a final talk with the doctor to decide my grandfather's death. I still can't believe this is happening to my family, to my grandfather. The same person who at every occasion said, "Everything is wonderful" is now laying helpless in room 510.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Argentina Did it---Can We???

One of the most twisted elections occured last year in Argentina. There wasn't any ballots misssing, there weren't any fights, but for the first time a country saw its former first lady become president. Néstor Carlos Kirchner was the President of Argentina from 2003 to 2007. Who would be better to rule the country after him..his wife of course. Thus in December of 2007, Nestor's wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner became President of Argentina. The final tally came. She was victorious over her running mate by over 22 percent. One of the biggest margins Argentina has ever seen. Argentina, in the year 2007, witnessed their first elected female president, first Gentleman of the house, and the first husband and wife power team. Now, United States is in the same situation. We could have the first female president and first Gentleman of the White House. I know I'm ready for this..are you?

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is another one of my powerful woman figures. A devoted wife of 32 years. A mother of 2 children. And a politically qualified individual. She served in the Senate, part of provincial legislature, and was one of the key figures who helped her husband get elected. While she may seem delicate on the oustide, her speeches have been compared to that of Eva Peron, the woman who was dubbed the "Spiritual Leader of the Nation" and was known as Evita." She wasn't a candidate to be reckoned with.

Cristina appealed to suburban working class and the poor. Ironically, she did not win the 3 populous cities of Argentina. "She will face an uphill battle in gaining the confidence of voters in larger urban areas, especially middle and upper-class strongholds." Council of the Americas She appealed to the average working families. She lacked the vote of the middle class but that didn't matter because she won. After she won, some scandals did arise. The United States claimed that there were illegal financing to her campaign summing to about a million dollar. As a referendum, Cristina limited the US ambassadors abiliites. Cristina and even her opposition leaders said that the United States was trying to divide up Latin America. Whatever the scandal was, it definitely has not contributed to Cristina's popularity. Majority of the people have very high hopes for her and her administration.

Her husband, Nestor, paved the way by "steering Argentina out of its worst economic crisis in 2001, when it defaulted on $80 billion in loans." Herald Tribune Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez even helped with the loans. The relationship between Argentina and Venezuela has grown immensely and some claim that the US is watching closely. Now the world is watching as to what Cristina is going to do.

Again the issue of whether her husband paved the way or not was stated. Some claimed that if her husband wasn't president she wouldn't stood a chance. But the reality is that she was successfull on her own without her husband. She was elected into office several times. She was dubbed Queen Christina, because of her strong personality. Whatever the reasons are, she is here today. She is the President. It is up to her to advance Argentina and broaden its influences across the globe. It's simply a new adventure to see how much she can do for her country. Having a former president as her husband is a bonus.

This is what I see happening in November. Hillary Clinton becomes the first female President of the United States. Bill Clinton being swarmed in as the First Gentleman. He stands behind the scenes with Hillary running the show. While yes, of course, they will share opinions with each other, but in reality all couples do that. In addition, we must not forget that Bill Clinton was a smart man so I don't see anything wrong with having 2 powerful individuals influencing this country. Some even see Hillary becoming more powerful than her husband. Maybe that's why some people are scared of her. Whether this historic event happens or not, we now know that it HAS happened elsewhere. So, ony time will tell with the US.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Solidarity, Sister! Paying Prostitutes a Little Respect

I've spent the last few days watching anchormen on the local news channels refer to prostitution as the “world's oldest profession” with a sly grin on their faces. Though prostitution, or advertising sex in exchange for foods and goods, has played an essential role in our evolutionary past, I believe we now have the resources to make prostitution completely unnecessary. And thanks to the Spitzer scandal, this issue is back on the front page of newspapers and is at the forefront of everyone's mind.

Everyone is asking the same question: should prostitution be legalized? But a far more important question to ask is what can we do so that women don't resort to desperate measures such as selling their bodies for cash? What alternatives can we create for them? How do we eliminate prostitution from the grounds up?

Many American cities think the best solution is shaming the men who solicit the services of prostitutes. The photos of these male clients are posted not only on websites but printed and dispersed throughout the community. Some towns go a step further and send letters to the relatives of these men, informing them of their crime.

But trying to cut demand seems unreasonable. It's safe to assume that some men will seek sex outside of their established relationships, even if prostitution is eliminated. If they're not paying a few dollars for anonymous sex or thousands for high-class escort services, they will simply have “affairs, lovers.” They'll go on dates, bars and clubs, looking for casual sex. It's also safe to assume that some women will readily accept the “no strings attached” sex. Therefore, trying to curb the demand by men seems foolish. Humiliating these men, like we did to now ex-governor Pitzer, doesn't solve anything. Neither does sending them off to jail. (Unless of course, they use the government's money for their “private needs,” like it is alleged of Pitzer.)

Charging and arresting female prostitutes, however, is a much more ridiculous notion. Prostitutes don't pose a danger to society; in fact, they're in one of the most dangerous “professions.” We should be helping them, not arresting them. They're probably more likely to die on the job than any other “professional.” Putting them in jail does nothing but overcrowd our prisons with these harmless women. Instead of raising taxes to build more prisons to house these “small-time criminals,” we should use those funds to create alternatives for the lower-class and poverty-stricken women who look to prostitution in order to make ends meet.

We need to create jobs, raise the minimum wage, create free educational and vocational programs for adults, have a national health-care and daycare system. In other words, we need to eliminate all the problems that force women into prostitution. Prostitution is not an isolated problem; it is the result of a faulty economic and political system.

We need to stop looking at prostitution as a “victim-less” crime. These women, these prostitutes ARE the victims. They're the victims of a system that has given up on them, that chooses to allocate money for wars that don't need to be fought and abstinence-only programs that are proven ineffective instead of on poverty, job training, instead of on them.

Little girls don't grow up wanting to become prostitutes. They don't want to go to work at a time where the rest of the world goes to sleep. They don't want a job that can get them killed. Little girls don't dream about being a part of the sex industry.

But prostitution happens. We already know why. The jobs they have don't pay enough; the jobs they want aren't given to them. Their children need to be fed, clothed, immunized. They need support and don't find it in their familial harms.

But these issues are tangible, treatable. If we fix these roots, they wouldn't branch out to become “prostitution.” So it's not a question of making it legal or not; it's a matter of ethics, of humanity. Let's start caring about these women, yeah? And each other.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Bitches Work Hard for Their Money!

She's a bitch. Get over it.

If a bitch is someone who is intelligent and wise, fights for what she believes in and isn't afraid to speak up, then Hillary Clinton is a bitch. A major one.

I always thought a bitch was someone who was cold-hearted, only thought of herself and had no respect for the opinions of others. I never thought a bitch in terms of someone who makes her own decisions. But appparently, this is the case for Hillary.

Regardless of what you may think of Hillary's presidential potential, it's easy to see that in the media and in our homes, people see her as a bitch.

This is disheartening. The definion of "bitch" has changed with the times; as more women began to seize opportunities for success, "bitch" has come to describe more women.

Bitches are women who decide to work. Bitches are women who put their kids in daycare. Bitches are women who are promoted before their male counterparts. Bitches are women who protest. Bitches are women who demand better pay. Bitches are women who aren't silent. Bitches are women who aren't afraid to bark in outrage. Bitches are women who take the road less traveled. Bitches are women who pave the way for others.

Hillary Clinton is a bitch. A major one.
So why are other "bitches" hesitant in voting for her?

It's unfair to assume that all women want female leaders, but it's important to ask what KIND of women THESE women want.

Should a female president be feminine? Should she be more masculine than her male opponents? Should she be able to cry? Should she not show any emotion?

What do we want from Hillary?

The public seems to have an oddly focused eye on Hillary. While politicians are expected to be under scrutiny, it's not a stretch to claim that Hillary is getting most of this action.

She's criticized for being too "cold." When she is near tears, people either accuse her of "acting" or using it as evidence that a woman can't hold it together, that she's too emotional.

My God, what will happen if she's on her period? Or worse, what if she's suffering from hot flashes?!

Even her wardrobe is criticized. When she wears skirts, the length is never right; it's too long, it's too short. When she wears pants, people claim it's too manly. When some cleavage is shown, people are outraged. Breasts?! She has breasts!?!

Yes, I can confirm that Hillary Clinton has breasts. See ---->

The only thing people seem to agree on is that Hillary is a bitch.

While a colleague Reluctant Republican might state, "Hillary is hard and emotionless and despite all of her efforts to appear feminine and soft she cannot seem to get it right " I believe this is simply dandy.

Tina Fey points out on SNL, "Bitches get the work done!"
I for one will be voting for a bitch for president. What about you?