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