Movses Tokadgian

Tokadgian 1

Professor Makarosyan
ENGL 114B
12 May 2016
The Silenced Voices
The human race is a powerful life form. The non-physical borders that we as a society
have established such as race, religion, ethnicity, and social status can make or break an individual in today’s society. We have not made up these beliefs overnight, we learn and mimic from
our past. The actions of our ancestors can either inform us to be better, or manipulate it for the
worst. Our history and personal backgrounds present us with the knowledge to connect with our
surroundings and make better choices toward our actions.
For project space, my group and I visited the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. This
trip was a very moving and almost depressing experience because of all the hardships we were
exposed to. The museum is made to educate visitors about the different aspects of the holocaust,
but also about all other genocide related atrocities around the world. The museum itself was created in three levels in which you experienced the history from different perspectives. The holocaust exhibit in the lower level was created in a very dark and eerie manner with graphic images
and stories to both inform and give realization to visitors. The 2nd level was a very calm and
neutral area with a spiral ramp that almost gave a sense of reassurance that the victims always
hoped for the best. The final and 3rd level was the Anne Frank exhibit that had a very different
vibe to it all completely. It was very industrial and neutral at first, and then as the

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exhibit progressed the lights got lower and the atmosphere became darker. I was most touched by
the Anne Frank exhibit specifically because of the amount of emotion that was in the atmosphere. It was almost as if we were transported into the “secret annex” and lived with the
Frank family in that horrific era. Toward the end of the exhibit you can find a large wall that was
made entirely up of thousands of t-shirts. Each shirt represented a child that lost their life in the
Holocaust. I feel that the museum has done an impressive job in recreating an informative yet
realistic setting for the recognition of these tragic series of events.
Personally, I felt very connected to this museum. Of course I do not posses a Jewish
background or race, but I have been exposed to similar atrocities in my own ethnic background.
Growing up, my family has always talked about and recognized the Armenian genocide and it’s
inhumane events. Learning about what happened to my own culture and race as a child was really hard knowing that there was so many individuals, children, possibilities that never had the
chance to happen because of another group of people. I always knew and had studied about the
holocaust, but visiting this museum gave me a different and deeper perspective on the issue. Although I have not experienced these events directly, I can still understand the pain and suffering
that was occurring in various countries around the world. Thankfully some force of power had
the ability to put an end to these horrific events. It gets me thinking that my entire life could have
been different, I may not have even been here if it was my own direct line of descendants who
were victims. That is why this subject can never be taken lightly. The museum portrayed a few
other sections where it talked about the crisis’ across the globe. I am certain that various races
and ethnicities have experienced some sort of discriminative act atlas once. It is up

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to us and the generations to come to prevent history from repeating itself. I am thankful and fortunate of the blessings I have today and I believe one day justice will prevail for all things necessary.
In “Borderlands” author Gloria Anzaldua portrays the story of a young girl who struggles
between to races that she has inherited. Her story progresses and goes into more detail of various
types of prejudices and discriminative scenarios. These “borders” can be both physical and nonphysical. For example gender, region, skin tone, weight, etc can be classified as a physical border. Whereas culture, race, religion, and social class are some of the non-physical borders we
posses upon ourselves. "The answer to the problem between the white race and the colored, between males and females, lies in healing the split that originates in the very foundation of our
lives, our culture, our languages, our thoughts.” (Anzaldua 2101) I feel that this related to both
the holocaust and my own personal side because of how much a certain group of people were
targeted for their physical appearance. They were said to be “harmful” and “unwanted”. Such as
Adolf Hitler believed the perfect humans were the ones who had “blonde hair and blue eyes.”
And of course how the Ottoman empire felt that Armenians were unneeded vermin that should
be annihilated. In this modern day society, I would have assumed that equality would not only be
a priority, but people would willingly do so. In an Armenian household, borders such as these are
established from a very young age. The man is always taught to be the breadwinner and the
woman is to take care of the kids and cook. I have been exposed to more drastic borders that
most definitely have an effect on an individual. Growing up, my family was not the wealthiest
group in our generation of relatives. For that, we would always been looked upon differently and

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be treated with pity. These borders were the type to take a toll on an individual’s perspective on
life. Today, I am proud to say my family was able to get back on their feet and it is my goal only
to evolve with success for my parents. Every race, culture, and ethnicity is rich and beautiful in
its own unique way. The fact that thousands, even millions had to sacrifice their lives in order for
equality to commence is appalling. The more immoral fact is that some individuals today take
those sacrifices for granted and continue to discriminate others in any way they please. Borders
are things that we cannot really escape because of how much it shapes and impacts our society. I
believe that in the end we are all human, we bleed the same blood. Adolf Hitler once spoke
“Struggle is the father of all things. It is not by the principles of humanity that man lives or is
able to preserve himself above the animal world, but solely by means of the most brutal
struggle.” We as humans are truly vulnerable to our own safety and well being. We can really go
to any circumstances to secure our own selves, without having any realization of the actions we
are committing. Hitler had a plan to completely wipe out the Jewish race during the holocaust.
Although many lives were lost, he did not win. Similar to these events, the Armenian genocide is
another case in drastic discrimination. I am personally living proof that the Ottoman Empire was
also not able to reach their goal. Visiting the Museum of Tolerance really opened my eyes and
got me thinking deeper about how much our every day actions can impact one another. Each section was beautifully devoted to some aspect of those events, while educating us about other
tragedies across the world. The holocaust was a very devastating time in history that should never be repeated by any means necessary. These borders that have been established from centuries
ago, still strongly impact every single individual today. Nobody deserves to be against discrimi-

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nated against or be caught between acts of prejudice because of their race, culture, or religion.
What some may view as “jokes” another can really take to heart. In all reality, I do not believe
the world will one day be at complete peace with one another. I just hope for the sake of mankind, everyone attempts to accept equality amongst one another. Humans did not always exist, it
is truly up to us to continue evolving.

Works Cited

Anzaldua, Gloria. Borderlands. United States: Aunt Lute Books, 1987
Hitler, Adolf. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/adolfhitle408758.html
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/adolfhitle408758.html
http://www.museumoftolerance.com/site/c.tmL6KfNVLtH/b.9052747/k.BEE4/Home.htm