Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day Opening - May 31


The Pieta
Michelangelo is probably the best artist ever. It’s not as if I’ve been to all the top art museums in the world but this I can say: Michelangelo’s work is absolutely awe-inspiring in person. No other artist can lay claim to that type of excellence.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Moustaches











There is something about the moustache that is so intriguing. Men seem to be digging the 1970’s biker cop look lately, growing their semi-ironic facial hair in hilarious manners.
Whether you are a fan of the Turk, Frenchman, the Stromboli, the beans for breakfast or the 70s porn star facial ‘do', there is a ‘stache for everyone to enjoy.
Have a look at some moustache madness!

Transnational Middle-East Observer: Armenian nationalists support Hezbollah in Lebanon

Transnational Middle-East Observer: Armenian nationalists support Hezbollah in Lebanon

Statement #19

The Dutch are international at home but nationalistic abroad.

Day Opening - May 30


Taj Mahal

Friday, May 29, 2009

MHP and their abused kids; promoting violence in Europe



The previous post is about the in my opinion ‘institutionalized’ racist and intolerant Turkish MHP party in Turkey. Their ‘sub group’ the Grey Wolves did a pretty good job in helping the Turkish Army of the extra-juridical killings of more that (assumptions) 30.000 Kurdish people over the last 25 years. Not even noted the more than 1 million people of Kurdish origin who were replaced over the years.
Their party program is extreme and ultra nationalistic but ignore the existence of different race and religion within the borders of modern Turkey. Kurds must be assimilated, Greeks banned and Armenians prosecuted. Next to that the MHP has ant-Semitic tendencies. In fact you can say that the MHP is a modern facistoide party which know the loopholes in Western law. A law where freedom of expression is guaranteed but where the MHP in Turkey is so against. In this atmosphere the MPH is only on tournée in West Europe to provoke tensions between their followers and the Kurdish (and the tiny Armenian) population of West Europe.
The last time the Grey Wolfs of the MHP clashed with their fellow Turks was in May 2007, in Anvers, Belgium.

Transnational Middle-East Observer: No ban on Turkish ultranationalist event in Holland

Transnational Middle-East Observer: No ban on Turkish ultranationalist event in Holland

Day Opening - May 29


Detour Istanbul Opening - The best home videos are here

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Think #2

China:
Old CW: world's export factory hit hard by demand slump
New CW: consumers at home fill the gap

USA:
Country that created the crisis looks set to recover first.
There is no justice!

EU:
Reluctant to clean up toxic debth bequeathed by USA.
Forecast: Longer recession than the 'Yanks...

Turkish image


Turkey's general problem is the country's less than positive image.
According to the Anholt nation brand index 2007, Turkey came 34th out of 40 countries ranked for their appeal to citizens, behind Russia, Mexico and Egypt.
Candidate country Croatia on the other hand is seen fairly positively by EU citizens and its membership bid encounters little opposition.
''In many ways, Turkey's brand image today in the West is in the same shape as if Atatürk had never lived," says the independent British government advisor Simon Anholt. And that must be a blow for the current and de facto all previous Turkish governments. Instead of blaming each other all the time, it is almost a neccesity to create a common goal, which favors Turkish image. It's still a populair touristic spot, but most of the people come over for an all-in holiday near the coast, ignoring the heritage of Anatolia.
Turkey did a little better in 2008; it ranks 36 out of 50 and that is far below its 'standing'.
Turkey's image is far too wild!
Regarding tourists from the Netherlands; 11 million (out of 16) plans a holiday abroad for at least week. The most populair destinations are:
1. France 1.550.000
2. Spain 900.000
3. Italy 750.000
4. Germany 750.000
5. Greece 475.000
6. Austria 375.000
7. USA 350.000
(no Turkey?!)

Day Opening - May 28


Open air festival Izmir, Turkey (decor doesn't look Islamitic, or..)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Iran - the Silent Holocaust

By Azam Kamguian
What I am going to talk about is Islam; contemporary Islam in Iran. I will describe some episodes of Islamic carnage and pass you briefly through what happened and still is happening in Iran.


The final decades of the 20th century witnessed another Holocaust - an Islamic one, in which millions have been and continue to be shot, decapitated and stoned to death; in which people have been slaughtered and displaced by Islamic states, political Islamic movements and Islamic terrorists in Iran, the Sudan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Central Asia, and now in America.


In Iran, I lived through thousands of days when Islam shed blood. Since 1979, a hundred thousand men, women and children have been executed in the name of Allah. Days when the soldiers of Allah attacked bookstores and publishing houses and burned books. Days of armed attacks on universities, killing students all over the country. Weeks and months of bloody attacks on workers' strikes and demonstrations. Years of assassination of opponents inside and outside Iran. Years of suppression and brutal murder of atheists, freethinkers, socialists, trade union leaders and activists, Marxists, Bahais, women who resisted the misery of hijab and the rule of sexual apartheid, and many others who were none of these, who were arrested in the streets and then executed simply because of their innocent non-Islamic appearance. And to the hundred thousand murdered in Iran must be added the millions who have died in Algeria, the Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere. A silent holocaust about which the civilised world does nothing.


I, along with thousands of political prisoners, was tortured by order of the representative of Allah and Sharia; tortured, while the verses of the Koran about nonbelievers were played in the torture chambers. The voice reading the Koran was mixed with our cries of pain from lashes and other brutal forms of torture. They raped women political prisoners for the sake of Allah and in expectation of his reward. They prayed before raping them.


From that time, love, happiness, smiling, any free human interaction was forbidden. Islam took over completely. This is what happened to my generation. But it was not limited only to my generation, It had bloody consequences for our parents’ generation and for the next generation.


You can read the speech delivered by Azam Kamguian at the session on Humanism and Islam at the IHEU World Congress 2002 herrreeeeeee

Crossing the 100.000 visits barrier

We crossed this Sunday the 100.000 barrier. Within 14 months more than 100.000 visits on Internations, not unique visitors! The rotating counters shows how many unique guests Internations had since July 2007. Unique visitor means, unique in the time period of 24 hrs. If you log in on Internations 10 times a day than the unique visitors hit counters, counts it for one. The free counter which shows now 100.000+, counts each visit. It gives only an idea how often the site is been visited, not how popular it is. I self find www.alexa.com the most reliable site to see how your site/blog is doing in the virtual world. Go check it for yourself.
All who visited and are still visiting Internations, thanks!

Day Opening - May 27


The Khaju Bridge (Pol-e-Khajoo) in Isfahan, Iran, was built in the 17th century by Shah Abbas II. The bridge also serves as a dam, with sluice gates under the archways. When the gates are closed, the water level behind the bridge is raised to irrigate gardens alongside the Zayandeh River. (later more about Iran)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dogs and sunglasses


I don't see our dog Sarah P. wearing these 'doggles' sunglasses. I think she knew that she would be looking like a 'dork'. When it's sunny she just lay down and goes to sleep, nothing more or less. Or I have to take her for a ride; she loves to hang out the window while I'm driving madam through Istanbul...and I can tell you, she gets a lot of attention...no need for doggles!
Maybe she can run for doggie-parliament, you don't have to see that mutch being a politician.

Day Opening - May 26


Basilica San Marco - Venice.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The St. Petersburg Declaration - Serendipity

This declaration might be of interest for many of you. I found it by accident, call it serendipity.

It's the St. Petersburg Declaration.

We are secular Muslims, and secular persons of Muslim societies.

We are believers, doubters, and unbelievers, brought together by a great struggle, not between the West and Islam, but between the free and the unfree.

We affirm the inviolable freedom of the individual conscience. We believe in the equality of all human persons.

We insist upon the separation of religion from state and the observance of universal human rights.

We find traditions of liberty, rationality, and tolerance in the rich histories of pre-Islamic and Islamic societies. These values do not belong to the West or the East; they are the common moral heritage of humankind.

We see no colonialism, racism, or so-called "Islamaphobia" in submitting Islamic practices to criticism or condemnation when they violate human reason or rights.

We call on the governments of the world to

-reject Sharia law, fatwa courts, clerical rule, and state-sanctioned religion in all their forms;

- oppose all penalties for blasphemy and apostasy, in accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights;

-eliminate practices, such as female circumcision, honor killing, forced veiling, and forced marriage, that further the oppression of women;

- protect sexual and gender minorities from persecution and violence;

- reform sectarian education that teaches intolerance and bigotry towards non-Muslims;

-and foster an open public sphere in which all matters may be discussed without coercion or intimidation.

We demand the release of Islam from its captivity to the totalitarian ambitions of power-hungry men and the rigid strictures of orthodoxy.

We enjoin academics and thinkers everywhere to embark on a fearless examination of the origins and sources of Islam, and to promulgate the ideals of free scientific and spiritual inquiry through cross-cultural translation, publishing, and the mass media.

We say to Muslim believers: there is a noble future for Islam as a personal faith, not a political doctrine;

to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Baha'is, and all members of non-Muslim faith communities: we stand with you as free and equal citizens;

and to nonbelievers: we defend your unqualified liberty to question and dissent.

Before any of us is a member of the Umma, the Body of Christ, or the Chosen People, we are all members of the community of conscience, the people who must choose for themselves.

Endorsed by:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Magdi Allam
Mithal Al-Alusi
Shaker Al-Nabulsi
Nonie Darwish
Afshin Ellian
Tawfik Hamid
Shahriar Kabir
Hasan Mahmud
Wafa Sultan
Amir Taher
iIbn Warraq
Manda Zand Ervin
Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi

Day Opening - May 25


The borough of Delfshaven, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, asked Schildersbedrijf N&F Hijnen to come up with a plan for a block of derelict buildings, which will eventually be demolished. The agreement with the neighbourhood is that the block will remain blue as long as there isn't a new plan for the area. Voıla...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Think #1


Flag waving is a national sport in Turkey - in the Netherlands the police will catch and fine you when you dare to hang your Dutch flag out on ordinairy days - are therefore Turks happy in the Netherlands?

Why the deep state targets Christians by Orhan Cengiz

Below an article by a friend: ORHAN KEMAL CENGİZ

Orhan is a newspaper columnist and founder member of Amnesty InternationalTurkey. He has worked as a lawyer and human rights defender on behalf of victims across the political spectrum in Turkey for 15 years. Now he has been threatened and intimidated because of his legal work on behalf of three men killed at Christian publishing house.
He has been granted a bodyguard but the threats against him have not been investigated.
At the moment he act on behalf of the relatives of the three men killed.

Background;
On 18 April 2007, two Turkish nationals and a German were murdered at the Zirve Christian publishing house in Malatya. The three had their hands and feet bound together and their throats cut. They were all staff at the publishing house. The Zirve staff had received death threats in the months before the murders.

Here some excerpts of his latest article, Why the deep state targets Christians

by

ORHAN KEMAL CENGİZ


(Father Andrea Santoro, a Catholic priest, was killed in Trabzon in 2006. No one realized then that this was the beginning of a pattern. The militant nationalist who killed Santoro was just 17 years old. The Santoro case was completed with lightning speed.
The youngster was sentenced, but nothing was revealed. Then, in 2007, Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian and a liberal journalist, was shot dead in front his newspaper, Agos, by another militant nationalist, who was again a 17-year-old boy from Trabzon. Three months after Dink's murder, three missionaries were brutally killed in Malatya. After the Malatya massacre there were many other attacks and murder attempts targeting Christians once again.)

( As a lawyer closely watching the Hrant Dink and Malatya massacre cases (and being directly involved in the latter), I can say that all signs point to the Ergenekon gang.)

(But if these two incidents, the murder and the massacre, were planned and orchestrated by the Ergenekon gang, what could the purpose or motivation behind them be? Without having an insight into the mental framework of Ergenekon, we can not possibly answer this question. Today we have such strong propaganda against the Ergenekon case (in order to whitewash its suspects) that it is almost impossible not to lose the sense of direction. The case is presented as if it were just a fabrication by the government in order to silence its political opponents. This is absolutely not the case.)

(Kemal Kerinçsiz, an ultranationalist lawyer who was suing liberal intellectuals for “insulting Turkishness” and who provoked public opinion against Hrant Dink, has also brought cases against missionaries before the domestic courts. Ergün Poyraz, who is apparently responsible for Ergenekon's propaganda war and who wrote many books about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül, accusing them having non-Muslim roots, has also published a hate-mongering book titled “Six Months Amongst Missionaries.” This latter book became the bible of the war against Protestants in Turkey. We now know from the Ergenekon file that Mr. Poyraz was actively using the archives of the gendarmerie.
The Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) also used to publish regular paranoid reports about missionary activities)

(When it comes to the question of what the purpose of all these attacks and propaganda against Christians is, my conclusion would be as follows: Like its predecessor the İTC, Ergenekon also wants to “purify” Anatolia. With all these murders they were trying to send the message to the members of Christian communities in Turkey that they are not welcome in this country. On the other hand Ergenekon wants to give the impression to Turkey and the outside world that as soon as an Islamic-oriented government came to power, massacres against Christians started. Finally, with these and remaining unsuccessful murder attempts, they aim at creating obstacles to Turkey's EU path.
Why were they specifically trying to create paranoia about missionary activity? I think this was aimed at making conservative Muslims more nationalist.)

Read the full article herrreeeee

Day Opening - May 24


Budapest was essentially built in the third part of the 19th century and the early 20th century. The end of this peaceful period lasted until 1914, was characterized by the Art Nouveau style in architecture. This imported style had a Hungarian master, who was acclaimed in Europe as well: Ödön Lechner (1845-1914), "the Hungarian Gaudi" but he dressed up modern functionalism with his characteristic decorative forms, using Eastern, especially Indian motives. His disciples once ask him why he designed the roof of one of his buildings (the Postal Savings Bank) to be so decorative, when people cannot even see it from the street. His famous, witty response was: "Birds can see it, though..."
And I can tell you, it's amazing!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

EU voters don't have Turkey on their minds



Many people in Turkey believe that whether Turkey, as a Muslim country, should be allowed to join the EU is a hot issue or maybe the hottest issue in the upcoming EU elections in June. It's not. It's not even in the top-twenty most important issues for the EU-voters.

So what is important to the people who fill in the EU Profiler? (see below) Firstly, the promotion of sustainable energy, even if it means higher energy prices. Here there seems to be quite a degree of unanimity in Europe, because the issue scores highly in nearly every country.
On other topics, opinion is divided. For example, on the desirability of health care privatisation. In the Netherlands this is barely matter for debate, but in Sweden, Italy, Poland and Austria it heads the list.

Another hot issue is terrorism. To the pan-European Euro-sceptic party Libertas, it's evidently a crucial topic. And indeed, the acceptability of restricting civil rights (related to terrorism) turns out to be among the top three priority issues of many visitors to the EU Profiler. For the Czechs, it's actually the most important issue.

But why is the 'Turkey EU accession talks, a big favourite among populist parties like Geert Wilders' Freedom Party in the Netherlands, not important for EU voters in general?

One of the makers of the EU Profiler, Amsterdam political scientist André Krouwel, is not surprised that political parties should have different priorities from the electorate."Well, surprise surprise: the elite thinks that other things are important than the masses. What else is new in politics? Mr Wilders, for example, has been in parliament for twelve years so he's clearly part of the political elite. He's trying to frame an issue that for a certain group of voters - say ten, twenty per cent - is very important. But overall, that is not the most salient issue''.

On the other hand immigration - another favourite Freedom Party topic - actually does matter to the electorate.
Particularly in the Netherlands and Hungary, the statement that immigrants should be obliged to accept European values is ranked highly in terms of importance. And now Mr Krouwel thinks the politicians need to shift their attention to issues voters actually care about; "Immigration and the environment are what they should talk about, absolutely. They shouldn't talk about institutions and whether there should be one or two foreign ministers for the European Union, or a president, or whatever treaty.''

Turkey as a possible EU country and the immigration issue are of course close related. But it looks like that many EU voters are more worried about the enormous problems the latest enlargement wave caused (influx of Polish, Romanian and Bulgarians undeducated migrant workers) and therefore not have Turkey in their mind since they sincerely believe that Turkey will never be an EU member.

Personally I think Turkey could be an asset for the EU, but Turkey lost, after the official start of the negotations, its appetite for the EU and lost clearly momentum. While only around 57% of the Turkish population support Turkey's EU accession process, more than 65% of the Europeans are against. Will a forced marriage be beneficial for both?

For more details go to the multilingual EU Profiler website (also in Turkish) and play around.

Le Grande Dame de blogging, Maria Amelia Lopez, died on the age of 97

From her blog:


A Spanish grandmother who became an Internet sensation after dubbing herself the "world's oldest blogger" has died aged 97.
Maria Amelia Lopez, who died Wednesday, began blogging from her home in Galicia two years ago, winning a raft of fans with her eclectic mix of commentary and nostalgia infused with a sharp wit.
She was introduced to the Internet when her grandson set up the blog as a gift to mark her 95th birthday.It proved a great escape, Lopez later writing: "On December 23rd 2006, my grandson gave me a present, this blog when I was 95 years old ... and my life changed ... now, I can communicate and interact with the world."

She wrote and video blogged about her experiences opposing Franco's regime, modern politics -- covering topics ranging from the Basque separatist threat to Iran's nuclear ambitions -- and poignantly discussed what it was like to grow old.

Her fame even saw Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero drop in for a chat. Visit Maria Amelia Lopez's blogIn one of her last postings in February she said: "When I'm on the Internet, I forget about my illness. The distraction is good for you -- being able to communicate with people. It wakes up the brain, and gives you great strength."

Her family have left one final post, thanking readers for their support."[There were] 880 days when her blog made her happy... the support she needed to enjoy her last days of life," they wrote."When somebody leaves after 97 years, living with joy from the beginning to the end, we can't be sad."Wherever you are, grandmother, you will read these comments, all of them without doubt. She will laugh at some, will learn with others, she might get annoyed at the specific 'language' used in some ... but she will be happy reading all of them."

Other wise bloggers:

Blog van Maria Amelia Lopez, 97, Spanje (†).

Blog van Mortart, 84, Amerika.

Twitter van Ivy Bean, 104, Engeland.

Blog van Olive Riley, 108, Australië (†).

Blog van Donald Crowdis, 95, Canada.

Day Opening - May 23


The Mackingtosh building - Glasgow. Designed by art nouveau architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Istanbul taxi's


I really like the taxi drivers in Istanbul. They are funny, friendly and helpfull...most of the time. I can tell you stories which you don't believe but simple are true. In contrary with the Amsterdam taxi drivers, also called 'the Taliban'. They simple navigate with their TomTom (nice Dutch invention) through the streets and act like bandits.
But there is one thing I really don't like about Istanbul taxi drivers; they don't speak English! I've taken taxi's in most of the European capitals, always they speak at least a second language (mostly English, sometimes French like in Italy and Swisse). In a couple of months Istanbul will be the European Cultural Capital 2010...in my opinion a bridge too far.

Statement #19

“Europe will neither happen in one go, nor as a whole construct: It will happen through concrete achievements, first by creating a de facto solidarity.”
Robert Schuman (one of the EU's fouding fathers)

Day Opening - May 22


...just plain the Netherlands (enjoying the beach)...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Forced marriages in the Netherlands



Finally a city in the Netherlands is trying out a new system which should help prevent teenage girls from being pressured into marriage when they go away on holiday to their family's country of origin. The city of Rotterdam announced that this week.

In fact it's a farce since you can not do must afterwards since these teens have often a double nationality. The system 'to be introduced' makes girls sign a contract stating that they do not want to marry when on holiday. Mostof these children are of Turkish, Morroc and Pakistani origin.

The Dutch police will be notified immediately if the girls fail to return at the end of the summer. In the past, it has always been the school truancy officers who were notified about such incidents; however they were unable to do much about them.

But this contract system, to prevent forced arranged marriages in the United Kingdom, has been successful.

Next to that the city of Rotterdam also plans to educate students about arranged marriages and violence committed in the defence of family honour. Students are given extra lessons so that they know what to do if they are confronted by an arranged marriage.

In the past, most cases of arranged marriage occur within the Moroccan, Turkish and Pakistani communities which makes up to 1 million people on a total population of 16 million. Often girls went send during the summer holidays to the countries of their parents (or even grand parents origin) and never returned back before getting married. After they married in one of these countries they often come back with their brand new husband whom automatically was granted Dutch citizen ship.

In my opinion it's better to make it illegal by law and the parents should be punished.
Picture is made of a group of teenage children ready to take the oath of marriage.

Day Opening - May 21


...does she care...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Madness of capitalisme


To buy or to sell.

Dutch cheese


Ardent wrote a comment on this blog several days ago that she likes Dutch cheese. Here a picture of a Dutch cheese shop which sells more than 300 different kind of Dutch cheese...enjoy.

Day Opening - May 20


After flexible working hours now also flexible parking!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

WASHINGTON POINT: Turkey needs more Ahmet Hakans

WASHINGTON POINT: Turkey needs more Ahmet Hakans

Who cut Van Gogh ear off?



And suddenly there is a discussion: 'who cut van Gogh's ear of'? While experts at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam stick with self mutilation, two German scientists claim that it was Paul Gauguin and not Vincent van Gogh himself who cut off the world famous Dutch painter's ear. In my opinion, what's the relevance of it?

In a new book, Van Goghs Ohr: Paul Gauguin und der Pakt des Schweigens (Van Gogh's ear: Paul Gauguin and the pact of silence), German scientists Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans tell the story of what happened Christmas Eve 1888 in the French city of Arles where van Gogh was residing. After ten years of research (..!) the scientists say they are sure it was painter Paul Gauguin who cut off his friend and colleague's ear after a fight.
According to the official version, the Dutch painter cut off his own ear with a razor after a row with Gauguin in 1888. Van Gogh then walked into a brothel and presented the severed ear to a prostitute called Rachel before going home to sleep.
Van Gogh was living in the "yellow house" in Arles at the time and Gauguin, whom Van Gogh admired, was his guest. Kaufman and Wildegans say the two painters were having an argument about a prostitute called Rachel and about their visions on painting. Gauguin announced he was leaving Arles for good but Van Gogh stopped him on the street.
Kaufman told The Guardian: "Near the brothel, about 300 metres from the yellow house, there was a final encounter between them: Vincent might have attacked him, Gauguin wanted to defend himself and to get rid of this 'madman'. He drew his weapon [a sabre], made some movement in the direction of Vincent and by that cut off his left ear." Kaufmann said it was not clear if it was an accident or intentional.

Kaufman and Wildegans point to a scetch Van Gogh made of the severed ear with the word "ictus", the Latin term for a 'hit' in fencing.
They also cite correspondence between Vincent and his brother, Theo, in which the painter hints at what happened without directly breaking the "pact of silence" he apparently made made with Gauguin.
Kaufmann told the Daily Telegraph: "He writes that it's lucky Gauguin doesn't have a machine gun or other firearms."
Is this 'news'? Two scientists working on this subject for 10 years? What's the scientifical importance of this?

Day Opening - May 19


...learning how to fly...

Monday, May 18, 2009

In the airplane, in Istanbul and looking back



Yes, we’re back since late yesterday evening. And I had the worst flight of my ‘flying career’ of 32 years; we checked in two hours in advance, which is in general real on time, but many people had already checked in, at the counter or on-line. Which means, only middle seats were available. And that seat is not build for me; I can not move my legs and I have a little claustrophobia. So please seat me not as a sandwich between two other people, I simple need an isle seat or better, an exit row. It was nice of THY that they congratulated me while checking in, but no upgrade to ‘business’ class which is almost the same as economy. And in the end, nobody wanted to trade seats with me (one flight attendant asked several Turkish youngsters - yes, they put children on isle seats and even on exit row) but nobody gave up 'their rights' like the petite but oh so stuck up girl next to me. She even didn't make use of the isle seat; didn't strech her legs, not one time to the restroom etc. But I made her stand up 10 times the first 3o minutes since I had to pass her...so I knicked with my fingers every time without looking at her...yep, that was fun.

I experienced this a couple of times before in my 32 years of flying but always people were ready to change or the crew put me business (Delta Airlines, Alitalia, KLM). So the flight was terrible but happy for me that the purser was a little bit more pro-active; she put me next to the flight attendant with some glasses of champage the last 45 minutes of the 4 hr flight.

If I look back, our trip didn’t start well and ended also not well. And of the 8 days we were away, four of them we were travelling and that was a little too much.


We really enjoyed Paris which is now O. Her favorite European city, and the Netherlands was as usual perfect only not the weather! Italy was nice but Milano is for the both of us not Italy most interesting city.

We spoke with some Turkish friends in Italy and the Netherlands (3 Dutch friends moved with their Turkish wifes back to the Netherlands the last 2 years) and all are more than happy. Yes they miss their family and the beautiful weather but for the rest they really enjoy life in Holland. Which gives O. The idea to look for opportunities there...only I don’t want to move back...) I’m more than happy in Turkey and if I move it will be or Greece or Italy. France and Spain are also options or Argentinia but for the latter I don’t see some real chances...

This morning we picked up Sarah P. Who stayed the last 9 days with the Vet. And she was overjoyed to see us again. Now she is back with us she behaved much more civilized...ha, I think she undergo her stay with at the Vet his clinic as a punishment for her ‘spoiled’ behavior.)

Anyway, life is back to normal until our next trip this year. I really need to cross ‘borders’ a couple of times a year! One trip is already sure: next year May O. Has her annual meeting in Madrid so that will be a nice trip the the Spanish capital and probably Barcelona. But India is longing.

Day Opening - May 18



Istanbul.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Hans!




Instead of counting candles,
Or tallying the years,
Contemplate your blessings,
As your birthday nears.

Consider special people
Who love you,
and who care,
And others who’ve enriched your life
Just by being there.

Think about the memories
Passing years can never mar,
Experiences great and small
That have made you who you are.

Another year is a happy gift,
So cut your cake, and say
,"Instead of counting birthdays,
I count blessings every day!"



A very very happy Birthday to you Hans!

With love,
Sandra

Friday, May 15, 2009

In the Netherlands

Arrived yesterday by THALYS from Paris in Amsterdam. Picked up the car and drove to our hotel near de Vinkeveense Plassen.
We had a wonderful night in Paris. Did some sightseeing ''by taxi'" which was fun but one night in Paris is far too short especially if you travel all the way from Milano to Paris on the same day.
Enfin, felt yesterday asleep on the couch and woke up this morning early. Did some shopping, met friends and now at Sandra's who is cooking diner..)
Tomorrow by car to Belgium and Sunday lunch with family and in the afternoon back to Istanbul...but you understand that I eat Dutch cheese like crazy these days...later!

Funny Shoes




Touched by An Angel

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

"Touched by An Angel" by Maya Angelou.

Day Opening - May 15



"Figurative 3" by Teri Hallman.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Paris


Today we took the train from Milan to Paris, a wonderful trip of only 7 hrs.
Paris is as usual beautiful on this typical May day in Spring; the cafe's, and there are a lot of them, are open with terraces.
We arrived at our hotel at 4pm and what is in front of the hotel? Kebab D'anatolia...
O. wants to go shopping at the Champs-Élysées...she will discover that you don't shop there unless you can afford to drive a Rolls Royce..)!
We go swalking and sight seeing and eat a lot of French Cheese...later more.

The ethical code of the Taliban, how to threat a woman

A Dutch journalist says she was raped several times by the Taliban commander who held her hostage in 2008.

The journalist, Joanie de Rijke (43), was held hostage by the Taliban for six days in November 2008 and was released after a 137,000-dollar ransom was paid.

In a new book, In the hands of the Taliban, De Rijke describes how she was repeatedly raped by Taliban commander Ghazi Gul. Gul was later killed in a bombardment.

De Rijke, who is Dutch but lives in Belgium, was on assignment in Afghanistan for the Belgian weekly P-Magazine. She wanted to talk to the group of Taliban fighters who had ambushed and killed ten French paratroopers in August 2008. But when she made contact with the group, they took her and her Afghan interpreter hostage instead.

The ransom was paid by the magazine and colleagues of De Rijke after both the Dutch and Belgian governments refused to pay.

Statement #18

Have The Courage To Live, Anyone Can Die

- Robert Cody

Day Opening - May 13



"Dancing in Barcelona" by Pino.
(Especially for Claudia, Valerie and Martin)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Travelling is just fun in Europe


We are still in Milano but tomorrow morning we will take the train to Paris, which is a comfortable way of travelling in Europe. From Milano through the Alps in 7 hours in Paris.

Yesterday evening diner was fun but I drank too much wine and had a little head ache this morning. Fortunate, no obligations for me but O. had to attend the annual meeting of her company. So we had breakfast and I eat a lot of Parma ham and cheese!

Late this afternoon we met shortly with a Turkish friend who is married to an Italian and bought our train ticket to Paris where we will stay for one night. It's O. her first visit to France so tomorrow night we will make an 'executive summary tour de Paris' since we will leave the next day for Amsterdam by Thalys.

In fact, this afternoon a meeting was planned for me with an Italian/American company but had to cancel because of a little food poisoning or disrupting of the stomach, but we will meet next week in Istanbul where an exhibition is planned by them together with a well known Istanbulian university.
I also therefore skipped the final diner of tonight. A dressed diner...after last night experience I prefer to have my food in my hotel room so that I will sleep at 11pm sharp. At 6am up and train will leave at 8am...
And no time for internet until Thursday afternoon when we will arrive in Amsterdam for a three day stay...with a trip to Brussels planned on Saturday.
Yep, it's fun travelling in Europe with so many cultures, languages and different foods.

What we visited



What we visited yesterday: Duomo et Castelo Sforzesca...later more





Day Opening - May 12


"Her favorite book" by Pino.

Monday, May 11, 2009

More misery and also now more fun

Yesterday, when we missed our flight, they booked us on a flight in the afternoon. But again bad luck; flight was delayed. Arrived in Milano airport at 6p and ın the hotel at 8pm. Why? O. her luggage was lost but found after one hour and in the meanwhile I was robbed of my wallet. Lucky me that my credit cards and pasport was not in there and that O. had all the cash. For the thief; succes with my expired driver license and some other cards you can not use in Italia...and the 30 turkish lira, buy your self an ice cream!
We missed our diner but I really enjoyed some glasses of whiskey and dinner on our hotelroom.
And if you ever want to stay in Starhotel Ritz in Milano, forget it; too expensive for too little. Maybe I'm spoiled by the Turkish super service.
Today was more fun...later.
Now diner with 85 people from 61 different countries in a chique Milanese restaurant.

to EC droppers

I''m sorry, will not be able and absolute not in the mood this week to drop every day back my cards. But when back in Istanbul next week, will start dropping fanatic again. In the meanwhile, will write my stories here. I didn't covered 'yesterday's adventure' completely yet...later.

Day Opening - May 11


"Silent Contemplation" by Pino.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Missed my plane...

This is the second time in my life that I missed a plane. One time 10 year ago, with friends, we missed our flight from Rome to Amsterdam due to a complete traffic chaos in Rome. And many with us were stuck for a couple of hours in Rome.
This morning O. and I were late, but on time for our plane to Milano. But we had to meet on a place since we go through different customs units. And suddenly I panicked, walked in the wrong direction, came back, another bad turn and voila, plane gone. Yes, the last 15 minutes they were 'broadcasting' over and over again my name. Enfin, the supervisor regarding ticketing/reservations put herself on the frontline and without any cost transfered our flight of 8am this morning to 2pm this afternoon. So here I am, in a lounge with all food and drinks you can imagine, relaxing for the first part of our trip to Milano, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and next week Sunday back to Istanbul.
Tonight diner dansant in a castle some 40 km from Milano...will be fun. Just a stupid panick attack this morning.

Day Opening - May 10


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Weather forecast for Washington DC?


Baitullah Mehsud, is a jihadist based in South Waziristan, where he heads a group known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban. Mehsud has made a name for himself since late 2007 as one of the militants' most ambitious leaders. Increasingly emboldened, Mehsud claimed credit two weeks ago for a deadly paramilitary assault on a police academy near Lahore and threatened the White House, telling the Associated Press: "Soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world."
In other words, he's predicting some kind of weather forecast with the sky enlightened shown on the picture above, or is he bluffing?
These kind of radicals from a country without any 'ethical history' Pakistan are good for a lot of headaches in Pakistan, India and espacially the USA.
I don't want to create fear, but the reality is; Pakistan can colapse easily like Afghanistan 10 years ago. The difference is that Pakistan has nukes and Afghanistan didn't had.

Amsterdam brothels become art studios in clean-up

Red lights still glow in the small rooms along one of Amsterdam's inner city alleys, but the beds are gone and artists are working on creative installations where prostitutes used to entertain clients.

"Prostitutes and artists can live together, like they did in Paris in the 19th century," says Metje Blaak of the prostitutes' union.
As part of efforts to revitalise its centre and rein in a mushrooming red light district, the city of Amsterdam in cooperation with a housing corporation has acquired some former brothel rooms and rented them out to artists as studios.

Cleaning up

Some customers, however, are yet to catch on to the changes.
"Is Patricia in here?" an old man asks in Spanish after knocking on the window of one newly converted art studio.
"They still don't realise the prostitutes are gone," Dutch artist Niels Vis said after the interruption.
To fight organised crime and clean up Amsterdam's centre, authorities plan to halve the number of brothels and marijuana selling coffee shops, which have been a major pull for tourists to the city, and limit prostitution to certain areas.
Last week, the government said it planned further measures to fight forced prostitution and human trafficking such as a registration requirement for prostitutes and stricter permit rules for brothels, escort agencies and massage salons.
Only one prostitute window is left on the Korsjespoortsteeg alley. "It feels a bit like we pushed the prostitutes out," Vis said.

Better than fashion

But while the prostitutes' union was less enthusiastic about a project in which designers displayed fashion gowns and handbags in former windows, a spokeswoman for the union said that prostitutes and artists are used to living side by side.
"Prostitutes and artists can live together, like they did in Paris in the 19th century," said Metje Blaak, spokeswoman for the Rode Draad union, although she added that she did not want to see artists taking over the district.
Prostitutes and their experiences have often inspired artists, including 19th century French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who used Parisian prostitutes as models for his posters and paintings.

In the mid-1970s, Serbian artist Marina Abramovic exchanged roles with a prostitute in Amsterdam for a few hours and recorded both her experience and the experience of the prostitute for a photo exhibition.
The Red Artists-In-Residency (Red AIR) project provides Dutch and international artists with a space to work on projects exploring the role of art in areas undergoing urban transformation.
Individual projects include turning a former prostitute's room into a public library, displaying photos of modern architecture in the window of another, and creating posters and badges with provocative statements such as 'I Revolt'.

Red AIR plans a final exhibition in the second half of this year and is part of the city's Redlight concept -- a program aimed at diversifying the district, which has also included the fashion and a jewelry design project.

source: Reuters

Day Opening - May 9


...not me and my dog...

Friday, May 8, 2009

The only pig in Kabul - Afghanistan


While Egypt and Iraq simple slaughtered all their pigs, the only pig alive in Afghanistan - pig is a curiosity in Muslim Afghanistan, where pork and pig products are illegal because they are considered irreligious - has been in quarantine since Sunday after visitors expressed alarm 'it could spread the new flu strain'. And there are no direct flights between Kabul and Mexico and there are no pig farms in Afghanistan. So how could it reach this pig...or was it swine flu...insjallah...

The EU, thirty years ago and now - by Jeroen van der Kris

Members of the European parliament applaud Simone Veil after her election as the assembly's first president in 1979. Photo EU

I remember very well the day that I could vote for the new EU parliament in the spring of 1979. A lot of things have changed since then. And a lot of problems are solved. Below an interesting article about the EU 30 years ago and now. Enjoy.


When the members of the European parliament held their first session in Strasbourg in 1979, local restaurants didn't even bother to stay open. Thirty years later, everybody wants to buy them lunch. Five oldtimers talk about how the European parliament has changed in thirty years.

They're down to five now - four Germans and a Frenchman who have been in the European parliament ever since it was first directly elected in 1979. The parliament that Europeans will elect next month is entirely different from the one they encountered thirty years ago. It has more power and it has become much more professional. But it has lost the intimacy of the early days.
In an interview with NRC Handelsblad, German Christian democrats Hans-Gert Pöttering, Karl von Wogau and Ingo Friedrich, social democrat Klaus Hänsch and French communist Francis Wurtz look back on their careers and how the European parliament has developed in thirty years.

And there is more hereeeeee