by baldilocks

I’m sorry that I missed Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, April 24th. It’s usually very difficult for me to miss it, since I spend a lot of time in Glendale, CA—a city which has a high percentage of citizens who are of Armenian descent. But I was at home most of the day, caught up in my own life and its issues.

A site which I read often posted a photo which was emblematic of what Turkey was trying to achieve when that country, under the agency of the then-nearly dead Ottoman Empire, attempted to wipe out the Armenians. If you’ve never seen any of this particular genocide’s photographic evidence, consider this fair warning.

Photo.

A granddaughter of Armenian Genocide survivors tries to detect the pattern of how genocides begin.

Perhaps most important to a genocidal plan is neutralizing any possible support for the victims. The Ottoman government maintained a well-coordinated propaganda campaign that vilified the Armenians in the eyes of their Turkish neighbors. In like manner, the Jews were demonized among their neighbors in Nazi Germany.

This sort of thing happens in all mass killings, including those done for reasons other than ethnicity. For example, in Stalinist Russia, several million peasant farmers in the Ukraine were deliberately starved to death in the winter of 1932-33 in what is known as the Holodomor. Soviet propaganda demonized these people, known as “kulaks,” as enemies of the people because they resisted the forced collectivization of agriculture, i.e., the confiscation of their farms. In Rwanda, Hutu propaganda vilified and scapegoated the Tutsis, often through radio, priming the popular mindset for the mass slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis during a 100-day period in 1994. The list of “final solutions” goes on and on.

Information warfare through a centrally controlled media is key to turning neighbor against neighbor. It plays a huge role in caricaturing perceived enemies and growing an us-versus-them mindset. In short, propaganda that psychologically manipulates a population is key to laying the groundwork for extreme social polarization, and ultimately for genocide.

There’s more.

About information: I’ve long postulated that too many people think that the quantity of information is was makes a person intelligent and knowledgeable. I vehemently disagree. It is the ability to analyze information that determines the existence of these personal qualities.

In short, it’s all about the existence and regular calibration of one’s BS detector.

And pride vs. humility, and tribalism vs. reasoning. And the visions of human fallibility vs. the vision of human perfectibility. And…

Sin.  I don’t want to forget that.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on April 2017! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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“How do you even function?”

I get asked that question a lot these days.  After I got back from a week long work trip (my first time out since Rebecca died), some people were shocked that I’d even consider leaving home.  To go to work, travel and in general try to function at a previously normal level is apparently so…not normal?

Viewed one way, Rebecca’s death was the latest in a string of crappy events in my life.  Before that, my wife had a crappy pregnancy, including finding out about a heart defect and having a doctor essentially recommend we abort her based on a crummy medical test.  Even before that, I had a crappy job in Hawaii, my dog died while I was on island, and my master’s degree almost didn’t happen due to the government’s continuing resolution.  Hawaii was not paradise for me.  I had plenty to be depressed about.

But I don’t view my life as a string of unfortunate events.  While I don’t ignore the hard stuff, I certainly don’t let it control me.  I think about what I learned from it and move forward.  More importantly, I look for the good things that happened, and if you look, there is plenty to be happy about.

It worries me that I’m apparently the exception to the rule.  I worry that we’ve become a clinically depressed society, where we simply medicate our problems away or worse, insist that we live our day to day life unable to maintain a consistently positive view on our future.  I worry that our young people get told to seek happiness in free sex, material goods, a college education, or a variety of other fleeting escapes, and then are shocked when they are truly not happy.  I worry that the depression causes people to damage themselves in long term ways.

We had two things that worked quite well to break depression: a strong faith and strong personal connections.  But it isn’t cool to have faith anymore (unless it’s the kind that doesn’t have all those pesky rules), and our Facebook and smart phone culture is breaking down our personal connections.  Those solid connections kept us steady during the storms in our lives.  Now, instead, we drift through life, blown around by whatever the latest whim or fancy is.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  We can turn back to the foundation that made us strong before.  Over this past weekend, I stopped checking my Facebook status and started calling people I hadn’t talked to in months.  You know those conversations you have where both parties don’t want to stop?  I had a bunch of those.  It made me look forward to the future.

Happiness isn’t going to find you.  It’s going to require you to find it.


This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

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The Protest Priest Fr. Stephen Imbarrato of Priest’s for life’s visit to Massachusetts sponsored by Prayers for Life and WQPH was not all protests and processions at planned parenthood in Boston and Fitchburg, there were other events such as a Pro-life Dinner at Anthony’s in Medford where many pro-life folks spoke.

There was the pro-life legal defense fund that does yeoman work in court

There was Linda Santo mother of Audrey Santo whose cause for sainthood is now in motion

It was a tad complicated filming Linda as she like Ted Cruz doesn’t stay in one place while she talks.

There were also individuals such as Francis

and Paul

and priests such as Fr Emmanuel from Nigeria who is studying in Boston (my camera died during the interview but we’d get a chance to talk again two days later in Boston)

There was music from Musicians for life, they would join us in Fitchburg and deserve their own post which will come next

and of course Fr. Imbarrato who spoke at length

Part 2

Part 3

Many pro-life groups throughout New England were represented and tirelessly keep up the fight in this bluest of blue areas, because in the end, life is worth it.

MORE TO COME….

Previously
Eucharistic Procession to Planned Parenthood Fitchburg led by Fr. Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life

Protest Prayers and Procession at Planned Parenthood Boston Led by Fr Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life


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