Monthly Archives: February 2010

Armenian Genocide

It’s interesting what information is available for us to learn and what is put behind closed doors from our knowledge. Tonight I was watching 60 Minutes and they had a piece on the Armenian genocide that took place in Turkey during 1915. Over 1,000,000 were killed and the massacre was cited by Hitler as an inspiration. To this day, the Turkish government refuses to admit that such an event ever took place, which causes hostile feelings in the Armenian community. When President Obama was campaigning, he promised he would bring global attention to the Armenian genocide. During his official visit to Turkey he never mentioned a word about the 1915 tragedy. There are so many things wrong with this situation, it’s difficult to find a place to start. First of all, genocide. WRONG. Second of all, making false promises, as in the case of Barrack Obama. WRONG. Lastly, failing to stand up for what is markedly wrong (another Obama reference). WRONG. It has been proven that this mass killing has taken place, by both physical evidence and personal testimonials. Even today,  in the Syrian desert there is a mass grave where you can unearth bones in a matter of minutes with your bare hands. Still though, the Turkish government refuses that they had any wrong doing or caused any harm to the Armenian people. Like many things that I don’t understand, I can’t see why the Turkish government won’t admit the event took place. The modern Turkish government and the pre-war Turkish government had different ideals and have obviously evolved since the beginning of the century. By admitting their participation, they would be giving the Armenian people peace of mind, ending hostile feelings between two countries and owning up to their faults. I think it’s a great idea…but I’m not an ambassador either.

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Setting the Record Straight

A few months ago, I had an awful, horrific case of mononucleosis. Pretty much everything that could possibly go wrong did. I ended up having pharyngitis, hepatitis (viral!), spleenomegaly, and other exceedingly long medical terms. On top of everything, I was hospitalized in the intensive care unit. There was one thing that really irritated me about this whole saga. First of all, everyone associates mono as “the kissing disease” and I had numerous doctors asking me who I’d been kissing and whether or not they were showing symptoms. What they failed to acknowledge is that there are other ways to come down with mono. There is no evidence to support that I contracted mono through kissing anyone, in fact, said individual was the picture of health throughout my hospital stay. I’m not a whore that goes around kissing multiple guys either.  Clearly, I contracted mono simply by running myself ragged: too many late nights and lack of a proper diet. It’s frustrating that people don’t understand the complexities of how illness are contracted and just assume. One of my roommates has cold sores that she has always had since a young age. The other day, she came back and told us how one of her coworkers  said “Well, you know you can only get those a certain way” implying that my roommate had engaged in oral sex. Obviously, this isn’t the case and there are other ways to get cold sores and mono. There’s a great phrase that comes to mind in this scenario, “when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.” There is truth to this. I didn’t get mono through being promiscuous, and my roommate didn’t get cold sores from oral sex. People need to study up before they make such broad assumptions.

Paradoxical?

Today I went to the hairdresser with my mom and sister as they got beautified for our upcoming vacation. We were at the salon during the same time as another woman, her mother, and her young son. Throughout the time she was there, the woman complained about being poor and having no money, as did her elderly mother. After they were done having their hair treated, they went to the thrift shop located in the salon and proceeded to spend $111 on various articles of clothing. When it was time for this odd troupe to leave, the elderly woman asked the hairdresser how much she owed her, which came out to be $55. The elderly woman then told the hairdresser that she would have to wait until the beginning of the month before she could schedule another appointment because she needed to wait for her social security check to arrive. What I can’t understand is WHY you would complain about being poor but still justify spending $55 a month on your hair! If I were so poor that I was living pay check to pay check, I highly doubt that I would be spending money on clothes or haircuts ( I already spend zero dollars on hair cuts as is.) Sometimes I’m certain that I will NEVER be able to understand people, let alone their irrational spending. To me, this whole situation was paradoxical, which is defined as “any person, thing, or situation exhibiting an apparently contradictory nature.” To me, spending money when you don’t have it is extremely contradictory, but I’ll let these people learn from their own mistakes. Like my dad says, worry about your own problems first, and once you’ve figured yours out, you can then move on to other people’s.

Frustration

Being frustrated is frustrating. Obviously. Last night, I had a great idea to try to fix something that’s been bothering me for a while, which turned out to be a huge fail, ending with me becoming even more frustrated than I was previously. Unlike depression, frustration is something that is very difficult to fix, as you need the cooperation of another source. Usually, I am the type of person who gets frustrated at myself for not taking action and avoiding doing things that need to be done. What I’m finding to be more frustrating than that is when you do take action, and your attempts to smooth over the issue are shut down by your target. This must all sound really vague, but it’s the truth. If you’re frustrated with your sister and don’t get her cooperation when you to try to discuss things with her – you’re still frustrated. If you’re frustrated about an inanimate object or a certain situation, chances are that you really are frustrated with yourself and sometimes cooperating with yourself is the hardest thing to overcome. I am hellbent on solving my problems, no matter how awkward or hard it might be to do. Being stubborn has its own incentives and rewards.

Not Without My Veil

Not Without My Veil is a documentary that I recently watched about Muslim women living in Oman.  In this film, several women were featured including a school teacher that had emigrated from the United Kingdom when she was 15, an economist, and a political adviser. These women had differing opinions on the oppression of women in their situation, usually based on their exposure to western culture. For the woman who grew up in England, it was hard to adapt to the social norms that are placed upon women in Oman. The other two women had grown up in Oman and therefore did not feel demoralized by men in their culture.

The women in this film were not only dealing with gender problems but issues of religion as well, thus introducing intersectionality. Not only are they women, but Muslim women at that. The Muslim culture places a heavy emphasis on women wearing a veil, which serves a religious purpose but at the same time makes women feel subservient to their male counterparts and ashamed of their womanly bodies. For the woman who had lived in England prior to emigrating to Oman, it was hard to get used to wearing the veil at all times. Western culture had taught her to walk with her back straight and looking straight ahead in a confident manner which is something that Muslim women in Oman don’t do. In that country, women subscribe to the notion that they are supposed to act womanly and subdued, and confidence does not fit into this definition. When this woman performed such simple acts with her body language, she was looked down upon by both men and women in her community. When she started to wear the veil and act more suppressed, she was accepted by her fellow villagers. Confident body language is not something accepted by the Muslim culture. Although different sects of the religion have different ideals, it is a universal belief that women are to cover their faces with a veil. In the film, there was a quote about Mohammad and how he was allowed to have multiple wives; men are free in Muslim culture. By wearing a veil, women of the religion are limited in their personal expression of style as well as being prohibited by social norms to act confident in the public eye.

I watched this movie with my parents and we all found it very interesting. For me, probably the most interesting part was the difference between the practicing Muslims in the cities and villages compared with the Muslim women
living in the desert. The women in the desert, although constricted more by their clothing, were allowed more social freedoms then the women in the cities. They were responsible for raising goats and set the price for the animals when they were brought to market. These women supervised their husbands as they sold the animals and one woman of the tribe even said that she would easily be able to live without her husband. It was interesting to see the variances in a certain religion, just like you would see in other demographic group. Prior to watching this film, I always assumed that Muslim women lived a horrible, unhappy life. What this film taught me was that the feelings of oppression that these women suffer from directly correlate with their exposure to western culture. For those who have only lived their lives in Muslim countries, they do not know any different and are therefore content with the lifestyle for women in their country. In general, I would say that this film was a good eye-opener for someone coming from western culture like myself.

Stop Being a Hypocrite

Today, I observed a non-traditional student (he’s 35) that I casually know from last semester smoking outside of the Union. It wasn’t his smoking that bothered me, instead it was the fact that he’s a parent. Throughout the class I had with him, he complained loudly about the No Child Left Behind act and other programs that he thought were a disadvantage to children. In this class, we talked extensively about the harms of fast food diets upon kids and he said that it was the lack of income that made parents feed their children poorly; they simply couldn’t afford healthier food. Obviously, I disagree with this wholeheartedly. If parents really wanted to be able to afford proper nutrition for their kids they would make some sacrifices, like giving up smoking. By raising his children in a smoker’s home, he is not giving them the opportunity to decide whether or not they want to breathe in the toxins of cigarettes. For this man, I recommend that he stop being so critical of the government and look into how he could better the lives of his children. If he is so dissatisfied with the national education system, he should put his degree in education to work and home-school his kids. Instead of looking at the problems with the system as a whole,  first start with the things you can fix yourself.

Fiscal Responsibility

I am frugal but not cheap. I don’t take the inexpensive way out of things, nor do I spend irrationally. The same can not be said for the University of Maine though. Today I was walking around campus and observed a University vehicle, driven over a large frost heave at full speed. If the vehicle continues to be driven in such a fashion, it will require a serious amount of work to be repaired. Who pays for that? Surely not the person who is so carelessly driving. The person who is paying for that is me, the student. Whether it be through jacked up tuition rates, lack of financial aid, or increased prices of food in the student union, I am the person who is paying for this individual’s lack of thinking. There are other ways that the University could save money too. For example, this past fall, there was a plaza built and named after the people who donated the money; the Cloke’s. The monument really serves no purpose whatsoever. If the Cloke’s really wanted to do something to benefit our community, they should have given money to have more light posts installed or restore the crumbling classrooms. The University is given money by private donors fairly often, and instead of encouraging them to fund something useful, they go ahead and build a useless structure that nobody benefits from. I wish the University would hire someone with a good head on their shoulders to manage its finances, as it would save me and taxpayers a lot of money. My money isn’t as disposable as the University likes to assume.