Friday, April 24, 2015

Why Printed Books Will Always Matter: The Armenian Genocide

I learned about the Armenian Genocide - or one of its  precursors "The Hamidian Massacres" or "The Adana Massacre" - when I was in third grade.

There was an old abandoned house on the block - one of those older than the homes around it, that had either been a rent house until it became too decrepit to rent out, or whose elderly owner had died with no local heirs to help keep it up or care about its gradual decay. Windows were broken out, and someone had taken the front door, leaving it wide open, airy, well-lit with sunshine... and perfect for neighborhood children to explore.

I don't remember whether I wandered through it with a friend or alone. It was empty except for a half-filled box of trinkets, cracked dishes.... and one very old book.

Even back then, I read everything I could get my hands on. This book was old... I want to say the copyright date was 1909, but it could have been Bliss's ""Turkey and the Armenian Atrocities. A Reign of Terror" published in 1896.  I don't think it was the  one known as the "Blue Book", Viscount Bryce's definitive "Treatment of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915-1916", published in 1916.

I opened it and started reading explicit, bloody accounts of unimaginable torture inflicted on innocent old men, little children, mothers, by Turkish soldiers in the name of their muslim religion. All because the Armenians were Christians.

I didn't take the book, I just stayed there and read for half an hour or so.

I didn't hear anything else about Armenia until I was grown.

Despite the herculean effort that America made through the American Committee for Relief in the Near East, efforts that are credited with literally saving the Armenian people from extinction, and which served as the model for all relief agencies that have been created since, despite that, Armenia was ignored in public school history classes.  The progressive agenda was already busy in our textbooks, deleting events and adding agendas even in the 60s.

Today, a hundred years later, the cultural descendants of the perpetrators deny those events. Events that look horribly identical to massacres happening right now in the same places, inflicted by people who claim the same reasons and use the same tactics and methods. They deny both the old atrocities and the new ones, and they convince some. Our own President is willing to acede to their fiction.

Over time, I've learned much more from that brief encounter with a book I never saw again. It taught me that a written record can be proof to fly in the face of deceit. It taught me to look for accounts printed within a few years of events, because those are the most accurate. It taught me that the printed word can survive even attempts to stamp out knowledge. It taught me that there was a great deal about the world I would have to learn for myself if I wanted to know what things were really like. And it was a powerful object lesson in the truth of that other "old book" that so many deny and try to destroy.

So thank God for that printed copy of that old book. A copy that can't be edited or deleted or removed from a search engine.  I hope we will remember that we still need printed history books, if only to witness the truth to generations to come. Like the Lord God told Isaiah:

"Go now, and write it down on a tablet in their presence, inscribing it in a book, so that for times to come it may be an everlasting witness" Isaiah 30:8

* The Image is a poster used in one of the many fund raising drives the American Committee for Relief in the Near East. Wikipedia says this about their work: "From 1915 to 1930, Near East Relief saved the lives of over a million refugees, including 132,000 orphans who were cared for and educated in Near East Relief orphanages. Near East Relief also mobilized the American people to raise over $116 million for direct relief. Nearly 1,000 U.S. citizens volunteered to travel overseas. Near East Relief workers built hundreds of orphanages, vocational schools, and food distribution centers. Overseas relief workers were responsible for the direct care of orphans and refugees, including the organization of vast feeding and educational programs. Thousands of Americans volunteered throughout the U.S. by donating money or supplies and hosting special events to benefit Near East Relief's work."

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Little Fact About Social Security....

If you invested $360 a month starting at age 20 at 6% compound interest, by the time you are 65, you will have $1,000,000. 

In the same way, if you have paid in $180 a month in FICA tax for your Social Security (which your employer matches for a total of $360), starting at age 20, by the time you are 65, you could draw $1,000 a month for 83 years before the government had paid you a similar amount. 

None of us are going to get back anything like what we would have if our FICA had been invested where Congress couldn't steal it. Don't let any politician get away with claiming otherwise: Congress needs to stop spending our retirement savings that we have been paying in all of our lives.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

How To Make Your Own Artist Charcoal From Grapevine

You might be surprised how easy it is to burn your own vine charcoal to use for drawing. I used wild grape vines, but you can use other non-poisonous vines or small sticks - even thin dowels will work. Experiment with the nontoxic materials available to you locally. While I burned mine in my wood stove, this technique can be used in a camp fire the next time you go camping, or in your charcoal grill.  


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