Dehumanization and Extermination

Part of my latest anthropology class assignment is to write about genocide and the process of it. When I first received the assignment, I was super confused. I thought genocide was just when someone was an extremely racist person and decided to kill everyone that they hated. I didn’t know that there was a process to it, as in a PLAN was actually made for the wiping out of huge groups of people. As I learned more and more about different genocides over time, I learned that they have all followed the same pattern, and that fact scared me.
These kinds of topics always got me really angry. In fact, any type of action where innocent people are killed or hurt always angered me. I just wanted world peace. Was that too much to ask for?
So I did a whole lot of research today about genocide and the process behind it. It turns out there are 8 stages to genocide: classification, symbolism, dehumanization, organization, polarization, preparation, extermination, and denial. I am not going to go into a huge amount of detail with each other because it will just stir up anger in me again that I am not ready for. I have an organic chemistry test tomorrow that I still need to prepare for.
But right now I am not interested in organic chemistry right now, because I am now super intrigued by this topic.
I read about the different genocides that have happened over history. Of course, the first one to come up was the Holocaust led by Adolf Hitler. In the past (like during my senior year in my room at like midnight during winter break. Random, I know), I had already sat and watched a 3-hour documentary about the event. After watching it, I had rage that you would never believe. I watched the concentration camps and what were inside. I imagined myself inside those people’s shoes and my stomach felt like it was turning inside out. Imagine the fear that those people felt. I imagined how some of those people had already accepted their fate. And it’s interesting to know that over 6 million (at the top end, 11 million) people had their lives taken away by this event. By this hatred. And what really angered me was at the end of the documentary, how people denied that this event even happened right next to them. American soldiers forced people out of neighboring places (who all said that they had no idea, though the smell of dead bodies was unavoidable) to come and see what their country was doing. Many people got sick, others started crying, and others still could not believe it. Even now, I still cannot wrap my head around it. How can people not realize that over 6 million people were being burned, buried alive, poisoned, stretched, shot, tortured, forced into labor, gassed, etc. right next door to where they resided??

The only times that I have ever been filled with that much rage was when I watched a 2-hour 9/11 documentary while doing my hair. I watched as there were people jumping out of the fiery buildings of the Twin Towers. The most shivering part was when you heard the loud crash when the person fell. They showed how the person went through the ceilings of the buildings and through the ground due to the speed. When they hit the ground, there was nothing left of them but the blood and shattered body parts. I was so enraged at the fact that people had to make a choice of how they wanted to die. I watched different people’s perspectives on that day: the people in Times Square, the people miles away in apartment complexes, the people inside the Twin Towers, the firefighters, and I also read the messages sent from the airplanes before the crash. Another chill went through me when I learned that there were no survivors from all four planes that day.

Another time was when I watched a 2-hour documentary last semester for my Children’s Literature class. That one talked about the racism prevalent during the 50s-60s in America, and it showcased all the main civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Additionally, it showcased a man who was a homosexual during the time, and who was just as prevalent and active as the main two, but due to his sexuality he did not receive as much recognition. This was the first time that I was hearing about the fight for equal rights for same-sex marriage. I was soo surprised by this fact, because it was not until last summer in June did same-sex marriage become legal in all states. So their fight went on for just as long, if not longer, than the fight for equal rights of all races.

Over winter break, my mother and I watched the movie Selma, which was also another movie that stirred up so much anger in me. I had watched it over the summer by myself, and right after watching it, I was hit with so much anger… so much hatred… I did not know what to do with myself at that moment. After watching the movie, I researched more about what happened during the time, and I realized that all the events that were mentioned in the film were true. I thought they were just a way for the film director to increase the severity of the event. The movie started out with the 4 little girls being killed in the Birmingham bombing. I read about the result of that. They found out who the person was, and they put him on trial. They showed him pictures of the girls he had bombed, and he actually became sick and threw up in the courtroom. It was that reaction that made me realize that at the time, he may not have noticed them as children… and people. He dehumanized them.

Now, after doing this research, I have answered my long-standing question as to how people could mindlessly mass murder so many people at once without a single blink of the eye.

They dehumanize them. They call them “vermins” and “cockroaches” that need to be taken out. This is why these killings are not named “murders”, but “exterminations” because the murderers do not see them as human.

I then read about other genocides, and I learned about the genocide that happened in Cambodia during the 90’s, which brought up a new emotion out of me. This was a genocide that happened recently, one that killed over a million people, and apparently this is one that the United States knew about…

What?

You mean to tell me that people knew about this one, but no one wanted to help the people? The children? How could we be so heartless?

Something that gets me extremely emotional is the fact that people who were weak children, the old, mentally disabled, or ill were immediately killed without a second thought. Since they would slow down the movement of the extremists and they were seen as “no help”, they were immediately gone.

What really confused me for a while was looking at the different photos where Hitler is hugging children and laying out on the beach, I then remember that he was a normal human being… in fact he was a normal human being during his reign. Unfortunately, his view on humanity and a certain group of people was severely skewed. While doing my research for this paper, I learned that he was really good friends with a couple who decided to follow his orders. This family had 6 children. I looked at the picture, and those kids looked like the most innocent children on Earth. I just couldn’t believe the parents that they unfortunately had the chance of having.

When it was nearing the end of WWII and Germany was losing, Hitler committed suicide with his wife at the time (who he had married the day before. I personally think it was so he wouldn’t die alone.) and he killed his dog (which I still will never understand.). After that, this man who had a family, decided to poison all 6 of his kids with cyanide after hiring his dentist to inject all of them with a shot of morphine, making them fall unconscious. Afterwards, he and his wife went up to a garden, and committed suicide there.

It’s interesting to know that after these genocides, in many cases the people who performed these acts end up committing suicide. It is as if they realized what they had done. Were they possessed during the action? Were they in a fixed mindset that could not be broken unless taken out of the situation?

I think I am done talking about this topic. Anytime when I dwell on this subject for too long, my stomach goes into knots, my temperature begins to rise, my blood starts to boil, and I start to develop a hatred for a certain group of people (though this is temporary, but unfair to stereotype like that).

I am so passionate about this topic and injustice in general, I’ve always wondered if maybe I could continue studies in this topic here in college. I would love to take another anthropology class dealing with these topics(it also helps that my anthropology TA likes me ­čÖé ).

 

c/o 2020: Our Future

I heard that two girls from my high school had gotten into my college, which I am super proud about!

One of them is my sister’s friend, so we exchanged contacts and talked on the phone. She told me what she was looking for in her future college experience. She asked me alot of questions about my college: what it was like, how did I like it, how were the class, the people, how was the workload, etc.

I told her all i could about the school, but I told her that she really needed to visit in order to really make a decision. So she did.

She came this past Tuesday, and I showed her a few places. It was really only for about 20 minutes because she was already shown around by someone else. She told me that she really loved the campus, but she was already tired from all the walking around. I told her that she would get used to it. Then, she told me that she already made up her mind about which school she wanted to go to, which was this one. I was so excited!

AND she told me how she was a Gates Millenium Scholar, which is literally the best scholarship that someone can get coming into to college. I had applied, but didn’t get it ( I know where I went wrong though). She told me how about 3 other students in her class had gotten it too. I was actually at a loss for words. Never have I heard of students so adamant and so hardworking for school.

During my year, we had only one girl get the Scholarship (one of my  best friends), and I was the only one from my high school at my current college. Also, not many people went out of state either, but from what I hear, many more students are going out of state.

I just couldn’t believe how much things have changed just in two years. These students were passionate and motivated, something that I felt my class needed more of.

Anyways, for all the students in the Class of 2020, keep up the good work! You all are going to do inconceivable things in the future, I can already tell! I am super proud of all the students who actively work hard to create a more promising future for you and your predecessors.

Serendipitous Meetings

When I first came to college, I thought I would never find my right group of friends or the right place for me. I also transferred out of my school after the first semester of college. I just felt so out of place. I felt socially awkward, emotionally unstable, and incapable of forming any sort of relationship deeper than acquaintances with anyone in my class. In fact I had no motivation to do so in the first place.

Last night, I had a training that I needed to attend for work. At first, I did not want to go at all. I was already in my room having the nap of a lifetime since I didn’t sleep very well the night before (I had a lab report to finish along with homework from other classes). When I realized that I still needed to attend this class which, mind you, was on the other side of campus, I was so close to drop the class and take the consequences that came with taking that action.

But I realized that I really needed to take this class, so I got up and began to get ready.

First thing, I missed the bus that would take me to the other side of campus.

Secondly, the next bus wouldn’t come until 30 minutes later, so I would be late.

Thirdly, I smelled rain outside.

So everything in its power was telling me to just stay where I was and sleep all night. I told myself, “No, I need to go.”

So I walked. I walked one of the longest walks that I have walked in a really long time. It was about 30 minutes long.

Surprisingly, it was a very enjoyable one. It was already dark outside, so all I saw were lights from the different buildings I passed. The weather wasn’t too hot or too cold. It was a comfortable warmth. The night was peaceful and quiet. People held quiet chatters around me, others were zipping by on their bikes and skateboards. I watched people deep in study through the library windows as I crossed the quad to the other side of campus. The rain was more of a very gentle spray. It kept me hydrated and protected my skin from peeling and reddening (which my face often did).

The best part was I passed the bus pass that I would have gotten off at if I had taken the bus, and the bus had just arrived there when I passed it. I couldn’t believe it. I had beaten the bus! I always thought it would be faster, but I guess not.

I finally got to my class, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone looked like they were in a good mood. The trainer was a good friend of mine. In fact, she was my residential advisor for the year before. I loved her personality, sense of humor, and her energy, so it was a very enjoyable class. On top of that, I met a few people in the class, including a girl who:

  1. Lived in the same county as me
  2. Happened to attend a high school that was about 20 minutes away from me, and it was in the same county,
  3. had the same ethnicity, ancestral background (as in where our parents were from), and same place as my
  4. Studied the same subject as me (Bio)
  5. Was on the same track as me (pre-med)

So when I tell you that meeting this girl at a school as big as mine was literally one in a hundred google bajillion, I’m so serious.

Soo how did I find out about all of this? Well, during the training class, we had to go around a introduce ourselves. So she started, then a few other people went. Once it got to me, I said where I was from. Then she asked where, and I told her, and then she told me where she was from. I was so shocked that I actually couldn’t talk for a second. What were the odds?? I had just come here for this training class. And to think that I was not even going to show up to the class!

We immediately exchanged numbers and said that we would try and catch some lunch sometime.

I was so happy after that class that I was still smiling afterwards (oh and I also passed the test that we had to take after finishing the class. I thought I had failed, but instead I missed half of one question out of 10!).

Needless to say, it was a very nice Thursday night. Last night reminded me how much I wanted to leave this school back during freshman year. Now, I couldn’t even think about leaving this place. I have made so many friends and connections. I know so many people in the faculty that I thought I would never meet and never even know those kinds of people existed to be honest.

What a crazy first two years of college, but I honestly would not change much. Academics maybe could have gone better, but as for the experiences… I would never exchange those for the world.

 

Doctor in the Making

Factoring out academics, I feel like I am on the right track to becoming a doctor.

Of course, I cannot tell this to the people reading my medical school application.

I mean I have a little bit of shadowing experience with an ENT, Head, and Neck Surgeon and that was definitely an experience.

I got into this summer program that is for aspiring medical doctors! I will be shadowing physicians, tour a medical school, take a 3-credit class, receive a stipend along with have housing and meals and transportation paid for. I am super excited because this is a program that I was hoping and praying to be accepted into for over a year now. Now that I got in, I wonder if this was really what I wanted.

There was no doubt in my mind before this moment. What if I am not as into the medical field as I thought? What if I end up wasting a summer? What if I hate the location and the people in the program?

Okay, I don’t think I will hate the people in the program, but I just want to know that I will make some sort of relationship with the people.

This program is only for half my summer, and I already went home for spring break, so I kind of just want to go somewhere else for the summer. I don’t want to stay home, as bad as it sounds. I just don’t feel like I get much done at home. I was home for the entire winter break and didn’t do a single thing. It was glorious, but it was definitely a time when I could have gotten so much done.

I am thinking about staying in my college for the next half of the summer. Hopefully that can happen and it will be glorious. I already know plenty of people staying on campus, and I have already stayed on campus for two consecutive summers (the first time was not by choice, and the second one was a program that I could not pass up. It was more of a branch off of the summer before). So far, I have really liked my time here and I am ready to stay for another summer, though many people say I should just stay home.

Decisions, decisions… and I’m running out of time.

Another Bio Test. Woot.

Friday was also the day that I had my 2nd Bio prelim of the semester.

Lord, what a mess!

I had studied the night before until about 5am, and walked home from the library at about 5:30am. It was a struggle because I had to wake up at 9am. Ugh.

So I went to my orgo class in the morning (I never miss orgo unless I sleep in or an event happened out of my control), and I skipped my next class to study for bio. I studied for bio for about 2.5 hours (basically until the test started). After going through all those powerpoints, I realized just how much I had slept through the lectures.

And I was in the front row! >.<

I couldn’t believe all the information I had missed, but after those powerpoints, I felt soo much more confident for the test.

So the test starts.

And I flip that first page…

I stare at it and wonder why I even studied.

Every single question was super specific. I couldn’t believe it. He asked about subjects that he would skim for maybe 2 minutes out of the 50-minute lecture. Many of the words were familiar, but I couldn’t remember why.

What really sucked was that a friend of mine (Well, more like an acquaintance) was busted for cheating. I knew that he had cheated on the last test, but I thought that he had actually tried to study and understand the subject this time around. I guess not. A TA had caught him and told him to bring his test and walk out of the room. He casually said, “Okay.” Jeez, he should’ve been smarter.

I finished the test and realized that I had just failed the test. I walked out of the auditorium feeling utterly defeated. Apparently, this was a common feeling amongst my classmates. I overheard conversations like “That was a really hard test” and “I have no idea what the answer was for that question.” And of course I heard a few of those people who understood everything on that test saying “Yea, that was the answer. It wasn’t bad at all.”

I really hate those people.

After that, I just went to go and eat because that was all I could do. After that, I took the longest nap on some couch.

That was honestly the best 2.5-hour nap I’ve had in a really long time.

Atleast the sun was shining outside and it was a gorgeous day. God was reassuring me that everything would still be alright.

Under the Stars

Last Friday night was the first time that my partner and I went out on an actual date.

Wow, it still feels weird saying it.

We went to something called The Observatory where we were able to watch the stars under a clear blue sky and a slightly chilly night. We looked at the moon and the constellation of stars. We looked through a huge telescope that was pointed at Jupiter. It was pretty cool and relaxed.

For the most part, we just talked. We talked about how our relationship had developed during the months before we actually went out. We also talked about how he went about asking me out. It was a very interesting and eye-opening conversation.

We talked about Valentine’s Day and how I had written him a card. He said that his feelings for me had come and gone, but they came back around that time. I guess that was around the same time for me too.

That was when I also talked to him about how hard it was to talk about my emotions for him. I have never had to do that for a guy before. In fact, I try to avoid the conversation altogether by not getting intimate with a guy. That was when  realized that this may have been the reason as to why I avoided eye contact with guys for so long. In fact, I still do it.

It’s a hard habit to break.

So I am still in that phase of the relationship: sharing feelings. I don’t know how I feel about this, because I hate feeling vulnerable to anyone.

We got back to our residence hall, and we just hung out for a while. Then, he told met that I didn’t initiate as much as he did. In fact, I never did. I didn’t realize it until he said it. So I decided that I would make an effort to do so.

I think that is the hardest part for me: initiating. I never knew how. I just let the guy lead, and I thought that was how things were. Nope.

You learn something new each day.

Is She My Mirror?

A friend of mine just told me that he and his girlfriend had just broken up. Of course, I was super sad about this because they had only gone out for about two months. I asked why, and he said that he was super pissed because she never spent enough time with him and invested much in the relationship. I was super confused because he had told me that she broke up with him. So I’m wondering, “Did he want the relationship to end too?” “Who’s at fault here?”

So here I am in the library trying to do my assignment for a class that I am pretty sure I am going to end up dropping (though I really do not want to because I really need the credits, the grade, and the fulfillment of finishing this course). He texted me his conversation between him and his (ex)girlfriend. I thought it was going to be a back-and-forth conversation. Instead, it was all him telling her that she never invested enough into the relationship and how she does not know how to make time for people and how she was incapable of showing any emotion to people.

And honestly, his words scared me alot, because after reading their conversation (more like his rant), I couldn’t help but realize that…

He was basically describing me.

It was something that I had given a good amount of thought to. Now that I am in a relationship, I always question if I am giving enough effort into the relationship. I have found that I am always busy to the point that I only see him about once a day for about an hour. Hell, I rarely even have time for myself. I had already told my partner that I was having a hard time showing emotions to him since I had never done it before. It was something I didn’t think would be so hard. I thought it would just come naturally once you were in a relationship. Boy, was I wrong. You have to work towards that point.

But anyways, back to my friend’s situation…

He told me how she never seemed to set aside any time for him and how she never initiated any plans or dates. I tried to defend her by saying that she was probably super busy (she was a math major and full-on varsity athlete. That’s one hectic schedule). I stressed to him that he needed to be patient with her, and I constantly told him that he needed to talk to her. He just didn’t seem like he wanted to talk about it at all. In fact, it was very one-sided. Alot of what he said about her was his own opinions about her. He called her “socially inept” and “too cold and calculating for his taste” and “too logical”.

I really wish he would stop trying to control things. He wants things to go the way he wants, and if they don’t, he automatically believes that it’s the other person’s fault. He controls everything, and it bothers me alot.

I really want him to give her a chance because she is such a sweet girl, and I know exactly what she is going through, but I don’t think he understands at all. I don’t believe he knows how to understand her.

Which is why I stressed for him to talk to her.

He has also said that she says that she doesn’t know how to keep long-term relationships or invest time in people. I am still a little shaken by this because.. she is literally me.

I was almost begging with him to talk to her and be patient, but there was no way of convincing him. Instead, he told me that he would not talk to her unless she was going to take her back.

And here we are back to the controlling motif.

I want him to understand, because I know exactly how she feels and I wish someone would be patient with me while I tried to navigate a relationship with someone.

Unfortunately, he is not willing to do this.