Monday, April 24th

You Better Recognize The Armenian Genocide!

As I was driving home from work down Wilshire Boulevard, I saw a car bedecked in orange, blue, and red with young men standing out of the sunroof waving the Armenian flag. I gave them an enthusiastic honk or two and a hearty thumbs-up. I, of course, having been born and raised in Watertown, MA, knew what they were doing- but do you?

April 24 is the date of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide, which occurred from 1915-1917 in Turkey. The government of Turkey officially carried out a policy of extermination of the Armenians. Men, women, and children were driven from their homes and over 1.5 million Armenians were brutally raped, maimed and killed. The Turkish government did their best to make sure no pictures or media reports got out about this, but a few brave souls made it out alive to tell the tale. Hitler used the Genocide as a model for his plan against the Jews, saying "After all, who remembers the Armenians?"

What is even more fucked up than the fact that this atrocity occurred is that very few people are even aware that it happened. There are many governments who do not use the term "genocide" to desribe what happened, which include America, Israel (yes, Israel does not recognize), and other countries with close military and/or economic ties with Turkey, who denies that it happened at all. There are a lot of intellectuals who are "Genocide deniers" as well, but noone cares as much about them as they do about "Holocaust deniers," who can be put in jail in some European countries for daring to do so.

Personally, I have seen evidence. I have met Genocide survivors. I believe- no, I KNOW that it actually happened. I suggest that you do some research and see the truth for yourself.

santo26 on 04.24.06 @ 10:30 PM PST [link] [1 Comment]

Friday, April 14th

A Funky Good Friday To Y'All

Music: Skavoovie and the Epitones

I went to Holy Thursday Mass yesterday. What a beautiful Mass.

The movie studio where I am temping is closed for Good Friday so I got to sleep seriously in for the first time in a few weeks. Then I got a call from the Projectionist Union business manager and I am doing my first gig with them tomorrow morning and will get paid at the price that I was quoted, which means I will get paid more for 6 hours of work being a projectionist then I would working for 3 days temping.

After I was Confirmed when I was 15, I did not go to Church until last November when a voice in my head told me to go. In the six months since then, my life has improved dramatically and in ways that I never could have imagined.

Like Richard Nixon once said, "greatness comes not when things go always good for you, but the greatness comes and you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes, because only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain."

santo26 on 04.14.06 @ 03:46 PM PST [link] [No Comments]

Monday, April 10th

The Power of Positive Thinking

In the past week I have managed to land two jobs. During the day, I am temping at a major movie studio, and by night I am a projectionist at a funky old cinema. I also helped coordinate a free lunch for the homeless which we put on at the church I have been going to on Saturday.
And to think less than two months ago I was working the graveyard shift at a drugstore in the middle of nowhere. Talk about the power of positive thinking.

santo26 on 04.10.06 @ 10:37 PM PST [link] [No Comments]

Thursday, April 6th

Looking Back, Looking Forward

It has been an interesting day. I re-read all the posts on the Athenaverse since the rebooting in the fall of 2004. All of the posts have made since I have lived in California, which I knew already but it was fascinating to read these mental snapshots of what I was thinking or feeling, and have shared with the world. I even found a lost comment someone from my past made over a year ago that I never saw until today. If people want to find me, they know where I am- right here.

After all this positive thinking I have been doing, I allowed a little chink in my armor and all the negativity and paranoia seeped right back in. The difference was that this time I was able to pick up on what I was doing, and was able to get myself back in harmony. I closed myself off temporarily with my negative thinking. Not this time.

I got a job today, bills will be paid, another chapter in my life will begin tomorrow. So why did I let myself worry? Exactly.

santo26 on 04.06.06 @ 02:18 AM PST [link] [No Comments]

Tuesday, April 4th

Iraq:The Anti-Marshall Plan

I'm not sure if it is merely a coincidence or not, but I have updated the Athenaeum every Tuesday for 5 weeks in a row. I plan to make this a habit, dear readers, and hopefully you will see more posts on non-Tuesdays.

In my previous Iraq post, I mentioned that pulling out of Iraq now would be tantamount to isolationism and a refusal on America's part to "share the wealth." I promised our eagle-eyed reader, the Right Rev. Josiah A. Perkins in the comments section that I would clarify this position.

When I wrote that, I was thinking of the differences between World Wars I and II. In World War I, America helped to defeat Germany. Afterwards, Germany was forced as part of the Treaty of Versailles to not only accept responsibility for starting the war but to pay reparations to the Allied countries. Many reputable historians point out that these humiliating terms and the financial constraints placed upon Germany led ultimately to the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.

After World War II, instead of forcing Germany and Italy to pay reparations, the American government came up with the Marshall Plan, whereby the US gave money and aid to help rebuild the countries in Europe not under Soviet influence or control. Many reputable historians point out that the aid distributed under the Marshall Plan spurred the economic growth of Europe and was the beginning of the European Union as we know it today.

During Operation Desert Storm, the US led an international coalition to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait. In the aftermath there were popular uprisings by Shiite and Kurdish groups in Iraq against the rule of Saddam Hussein. They received no support from the coalition and these revolts were crushed. At the time, Bush, Sr., his National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, or then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney did not think it was a good idea to remove Saddam due to the human, financial, and political costs to the US. Since Saddam was still in power, Iraq did not get very much in the way of international aid and assistance.

When Bush, Jr. invaded Iraq in 2003, Saddam was arrested and a new government was formed. The earlier predictions of Bush the Elder, Scowcroft, and Cheney have come to pass. What is different this time is that there is an effort to rebuild the infrastructure that was blown up this time. It might take a long time, but Iraq is putting itself back together. Many Americans, inculding Sen. John Kerry, think that the money we spent blowing up Iraq would be better used to rebuild fire stations in America. At the time the Marshall Plan was implemented, many Americans were none too pleased to see their tax dollars spent on rebuilding Germany.

While the steps leading up to the invasion in 2003 can be endlessly debated, the fact remains that the United States government has committed itself to helping the government of Iraq. Many of the critics who want America to leave Iraq immediately seem to base their opinion on an aversion to war in general. I don't like war nor the prospect of it, but what will happen if we just up and leave? The people of Iraq will have self-determination free from American influence, but what if that ends in genocide, or al-Qaeda running the government? The people I am thinking of are the average Joes of Iraq, the millions of people who voted on the Constitutional referendum and in parliamentary elections. More Iraqis voted on the Constitutional referendum then the number of Americans who cast a ballot in the 2004 Presidential elections. I am willing to bet that these people want to live normal lives; they don't want American troops in their streets nor do they want tyrants or religious fanatics running the government. Is there a more viable option than cutting and running?

It seems like cutting and running would play right into the hands of America's critics in the Arab world. Since World War II, the American government has had a problem with waging open full-on war due to low public support. Maybe this is due to the fact that the horrible images of war can be transmitted into people's homes. The American government is faced with a non-traditional enemy in al-Qaeda, who has committed terrorist attacks against American embassies abroad in Kenya and Tanzania, a Navy ship (the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen), and on 9/11. If we leave Iraq and Afghanistan, will these attacks simply cease? I do not think so. America is in quite a bind here: are we going blow up a country and leave, or are we going to see this commitment we made through to the end?

santo26 on 04.04.06 @ 07:23 PM PST [link] [No Comments]

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