Friday, July 31, 2009

A forced but enjoyable break.

It was December 2004 when I met an on line friend here in Istanbul where he was one of the key speakers on a symposium about New Media and Society. He worked for the BBC for more than 20 years and was now located in the Netherlands but his lectures brought him all over the world. We decided to meet and I showed him Istanbul and we had some wonderful chats. And then he introduced me to the world of blogging. He created Internations Musings since he knew that my company in the USA was called Internations. He created a template and that was it. It took me 1 year to get really excited and 2 years to see the numerous possibilities blogging has to offer. Since that day in December 2004, 2.425 entries are posted, whereof +/- 400 by guest writers and co bloggers. More than 2.000 posts…that can be a complete book if edited well, I was thinking last week.
Now some discouraging facts: 120,000 blogs are being created everyday and every second 1.4 blogs are being created. Of these 3000-7000 are fake blogs, splogs, that are simply created to generate ad revenue. 1.5 million new posts appear every day that means 17 posts per second. But an encouraging fact is that more and more people creating blogs means more and more people are finding a channel to communicate. Even if less than 1% of these bloggers actually blog, I think it can make a very big difference in how the world thinks and how opinions are formed. Whether it is corporate PR or social activism blogging renders voice to those who want to reach out but till now had no tool to do so.
That bloggers from one blogger ‘community’ hardly communicate with bloggers from another community, is disappointing, but still, small bridges are built and connections are made. For instance Internations communicate amids Turkish, Greek, American, Dutch, African, British etc bloggers, religious bloggers, Mom’s bloggers, political bloggers and social bloggers and I think Internations is not an exception. There could be similar one-to-many and many-to-many interactions happening around the blogosphere.

Back to last week. I was checking Internations Googles PageRanks, which is steady 4, Alexa’s ranking is around 95.000 (out of more than 1 billion sites and blogs) and was ready to give myself some break. The following morning, Sunday, I woke up early. Had some breakfast and suddenly PENG, out of the blue a panic attack, which kept me in bed for 6 days. Therefore, last week not postings of me.

Day Opening - July 31

A way to dress yourself.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day Opening - July 27

"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance- it is illusion of knowledge"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

United with Iran

Human rights groups and Iran activists are organizing a massive "Global Day of Action" todat Saturday, hoping to rally people in more than 105 cities in support of Iran's democracy movement.
The rallies are to take place from Kabul to Kansas City, from Tokyo to San Francisco and include a march in Washington, from the local office of the United Nations to the national Mall, said Hadi Ghaemi, spokesman for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
You can find the locations herrrreeee and for the location in Istanbul go herrreeee just started at 11.30.
Below an article about religious cleansing in Iran by Jamsheed K. Choksy, professor of Iranian studies and former director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program at Indiana University and Member of the USA National Council on the Humanities and Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom and member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Every aspect of a non-Muslim is unclean," proclaimed Iran's late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. He explained that non-Muslims rank between "feces" and "the sweat of a camel that has consumed impure food." Other prominent ayatollahs, including Ahmad Jannati, the current chairman of the Guardian Council, have made similar utterances.
Thus Iran's Zoroastrians, Jews, Mandeans, Christians, and Bahais are subordinated and indeed treated as a fifth column by the revolutionary Islamic Republic. No matter that most of these religious groups were established in Iran before Islam arrived there; none are accepted by Iran's Shiite rulers as fully Iranian. With the recent controversial presidential election, the scapegoating of non-Muslims as agents of the United States, Israel, Britain, and the deposed monarchy reached new heights. Seven Bahai leaders and two Christian converts are in prison and will soon be put on trial for their lives, while other non-Muslims are suffering intensified government repression.
Non-Muslim communities collectively have diminished to no more than 2 percent of Iran's 71 million people. Forty years ago, under the Shah, a visitor would have seen a relatively tolerant society. Iran now appears to be in the final stages of religious cleansing. Pervasive discrimination, intimidation, and harassment have prompted non-Muslims to flee in disproportionately high numbers.
Like political dissidents, these religious minorities are a moderating force against Iranian Shiite extremism. Also, their mere presence ensures a modicum of ideological diversity and pluralism in the face of the regime's brutal insistence on conformity. But unlike the dissidents, the religious minorities have attracted little international concern, and their plight is poorly understood.

Teach your children well

İnstead of teaching your children social skills to discover the world, some dumbo's in the USA think that by teaching your kids how to shoot on a young age, they will be ready for the big world later. Be not surprised then when a boy of 4 shoot his sister of 2, into the hospital: A two-year-old girl is in a critical condition after being shot by her four-year-old brother at their home in Las Vegas, police say. Here the story.

Day Opening - July 25

Winter somewhere in France

Friday, July 24, 2009

Society is not a commercial enterprise

The Dutch anti-immigration Party for Freedom (PVV) member of parliament Sietse Fritsma has requested a cost-benefit analysis of the presence of non-Western immigrants or 'allochtonen' in the Netherlands from all twelve Dutch ministries.
For example they wants to know how much taxes these immigrants pay, how often they go the doctor's and what percentage of police interventions is related to these non-Western immigrants. Ethnic minorities and immigration in the Netherlands centres around the word 'allochtoon'. The term literally means 'from another country' in Greek. In the Netherlands and in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, it is used to refer to non-Western immigrants and their descendants. Technically a person is an allochtoon if one of his or her parents was born abroad. In political and public debates, however, the word is used to refer to those who are of non-Western ethnicity, especially Moroccan, Turkish, Surinames or from the Dutch Antilles. Japanese, Indonesians and immigrants of Latin America are considered as 'Western İmmigrants'. Sandra on this blog is descent of Surinam and therefore considered as 'allochtoon' but Surinam is a Latin American country...

The liberal-conservative Dutch newspaper NRC came up with the follow editorial with which I agree:

Geert Wilders'Party for Freedom (PVV) is after all also in favour of an immigration stop for Turks and Moroccans, quota for asylum seekers and a ban on additional Islamic schools and mosques.
The PVV also wants to enshrine the 'dominance' of Christian/Judaic/humanist culture in the Dutch constitution. In parliament, the party has often shown hostility towards non-Western immigrants whom it constantly qualifies as profiteers and a nuisance. In that respect, the PVV is not much different from the Front National or the Vlaams Belang in Belgium, anti-immigrant parties of which there are many in Europe. At most, the astonishing series of detailed questions the PVV has addressed to the various ministries reinforces the impression that the party wants to stigmatise entire population groups solely on the basis of their ethnic origins. This is a result not of the questions themselves, nor of the information that might result from them. Much is known already about the relative overrepresentation of Dutch immigrants in social poverty, among school drop-outs, in unemployment, crime and health care. The information is important and it belongs in the public domain. It is important for future polices.

There is nothing wrong with a cost-benefit analysis of migration policies. For instance, we could ask what the cost is of tracking down illegal aliens and what the benefit would be of a more liberal immigration policy? The latter doesn't exclude selective criteria, discouraging human trafficking, a better functioning of the labour markets or spreading wealth.
The fact that the PVV is looking to stigmatise is supported by the political acts of its representatives in parliament. This barrage of questions is part of a political agenda in which different groups in society are played against each other, based on their ethnicity. And that is the real problem.
The answers to the PVV's questions will undoubtedly serve to intensify that confrontation. It is worth protesting this every time it happens. Costs and benefits play only a marginal role in a democratic society where everyone is equal. Discrimination is illegal in the Netherlands, whether it is based on religion, personal beliefs, political orientation, race or gender. There is nothing in the constitution that says citizenship is dependant on a positive balance sheet per individual.
It wouldn't be very hard to find other groups whose cost to society outweighs their benefit. But a state of law is not a commercial enterprise. A modern society is also based on solidarity, where the burden is shared, the weaker elements are cared for and freedom is guaranteed for all.

Day Opening - July 24

How do I look?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What happens with Cyprus Cultural Heritage

Under numerous rulers, the population of Cyprus retained a continuity in its cultural identity, assimilating foreign influences and making them part of the ancient Greek culture of the island (the first written documents shows the Assyrians ruled the island around – 1.000 BC).

During the thousands of years of its history there has never been a radical discontinuity in the cultural identity of its population, and its heritage has been enriched around a common cultural theme. The July 20, 1974 invasion by Turkey of Northern part of Cyprus has a consequence extensive destruction: works of art, symbols of worship, deeds and gestures that have repeated themselves for thousands of years, everything that constitutes the culture and heritage of Cyprus have become and still are objects for demolition - they are being destroyed, pillages, wiped out. The philosophers of ancient Greece have abandoned the school books, ancient Greek scripts etc. every witness to one of the oldest civilization of Cyprus is fading away in the Northern part. No wonder that one Turkish friend once told me that Greece never existed before the independence war of 1822: Byzantium’s were not Greeks according him. A correction: The language of the Byzantium’s was ancient Greek and their religion Orthodox Greek. And before that they were called Hellenic.
Several years after the legal invasion of North Cyprus (which became in legal terms: an occupation) a journalist wrote an article in The Times of 19.08.80: ‘’As a journalist I have travelled widely and freely on both sides of the partition line. In Turkish Cyprus there was large scale damage to churches in the immediate aftermath of the 1974 intervention. That was perhaps understandahle. More recently, historic churches, have been seized, stripped and whitewashed and converted into mosques’’ and ‘’United Nations military documents from 1978 of, circulated to officers in the United Nations peace - keeping force in Cyprus, discloses: looting is being systematically carried out on a massive scale by the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot authorities in the north of the island; numerous graveyards of 50 or more tombs had been reduced to pieces or rubble; antique smuggling in the Northern area has reached enourmous dimensions and that measures should be taken to protect the destruction of the antiques but none of that all happened.
In May of this year, the President of the Republic of Cyprus (South) Demetris Christofias said that Turkey is responsible to a great extent for the destruction of the cultural heritage in the Turkish northern part of Cyprus. He said Turkey is greatly responsible for the destruction of the island’s heritage, stressing that the cultural heritage belongs not only to the Greek Cypriots but also to the Turkish Cypriots and the whole of humanity. A large part of Cyprus’ cultural heritage, some of which has been listed by UNESCO, continues to be under Turkish rule but many archaeological sites in Northern Cyprus have been abandoned, neglected or destroyed.
I’ve been several time to this unhappy island and drove by car through the North and crossed over to the South. While driving through the Northern part you see everywhere the mass scale destruction: ancient old monasteries are vandalized and used as playground; Greek Orthodox churches are places to dry your laundry,…churches turned into mosques etc.. The Turkish Cypriots we met are so different than the Turkish settlers which were moved there by Denktash and his gang after 1974. While the Cypriots of the North are warm and welcoming those in the South have a different approach. And regarding the Turkish settlers; they might be the core of the problem.
What takes place constitutes a challenge for the European and universal principles and there is urgent need for reaction to the gradual but systematic wiping out of the cultural heritage of Cyprus, which has a universal character.

Tuesday the US Helsinki Commission held a briefing about CYPRUS’ RELIGIOUS CULTURAL HERITAGE IN PERIL. You can see more details here and here.
Note: several years ago the Turkish Cypriot Minister of Defence and Foreign Affairs wrote the following letter (which facts seems later to be half true)
Note: I was looking for a picture for this entry but google images directed me to sites which are all banned by the Turkish government...
Note: had problems with lay out, --- means break...

Day Opening - July 23

Just a girl, travelling in Europe.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

So Bus, So Obama

Everybody miss Bush. You could blame him for everything and the world was simple; he was good, living in the only right country and the rest, who was not with him was bad. Yes, I miss those times. Now Obama is 6 months in office you would expect that he had a better approval rate than Bush Jr. when he was mid 2001, 6 months President. Forget it; both score(d) the same approval rate; 57%.
Therefor ''I am simple a little in love' as the text in this cartoon suggest...
Photoshopping done by:
The WestisTheVeryBest

Day Opening - July 22


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Life as an expat in Turkey (II)

Last week I wrote an entry about being an expat in Turkey. If I read it back, I miss some parts of my life in Turkey since 2002. I wrote only about expats and expatriates as friends, but if I look at the diversity of Turkish friends I can count on, that’s enormous. Colleague’s of 2002, 03, 04, 05 became friends until to this very day in July 2009. I worked three times for a Turkish company, and was treated well, with some positive discrimination on the side line which I had to eliminate quickly. That there are different work ethics in Turkey than in Europe is a fact. Turks are in general the hardest working people I met, but because the system is based upon an education of memorizing and answering questions only, you will find yourself often in an awkward position; people will but are often not empowered to solve solutions on their own. And I have some kind of ‘anarcho-syndicalist’ work approach, which means: everything comes from the bottom.
Four years ago I stopped working for Turkish bosses and nowadays I only work with them. I cannot always say that the Dutch are such a wonderful people to work for and with since they have often an attitude: ‘we know everything better’, especially abroad, and want maximum service for minimum wages…
My favorites are still the British and Italians and in fact the Turks as well as they are opening more up these days.
I think I had luck in many ways as I see how many foreigners are struggling and this article, why elderly British are leaving, makes it more than sad.

Statement #21

Tolerance for intolerance is not tolerance at all.

Day Opening - July 21

A street in Eguisheim, France.

Monday, July 20, 2009

About Eurabia and dispelling its myths

Ms. Bat Ye’or (which is Hebrew for “daughter of the Nile.'') was born in Cairo but her family was expelled from Egypt and stripped of their Egyptian nationality in 1957 because they were Jewish.
The family settled in Britain as stateless refugees. Bat Ye’or became a historian. She raised a family of three children before she began writing. Her first book, published 35 years ago, was a history of the Jews in Egypt. Later she wrote a history of the Egyptian Copts [Orthodox Christians, the true natives of Egypt]. Later still she began to study the situation of non-Muslims under Muslim rule.
Jews and Christians living under Muslim rule are called dhimmis in Arabic. They are treated slightly better than other non-Muslims (who are persecuted) because Islamic law tolerates a situation whereby dhimmis may practice their religion. However, the condition for this tolerance (a favour that is not always granted) is that the dhimmis are often be systematically humiliated for their rejection of Islam. Dhimmis have the status as second-class citizens and have to pay special taxes. Even under the 'liberal' Ottoman rule.

Her 2005 book “Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis” describes a transformation process.
You can easily put Bat Ye-or with people Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, David G. Littman, the Dutch and Flemish Arabists Hans Jansen (University of Utrecht) and Urbain Vermeulen (universities of Leuven and Ghent), among others.
Bat Ye’or convincingly argues (in general but not on all points) that the transformation of Europe into Eurabia is the result of a deliberate strategy that was foolishly set in motion by French Gaullists who wanted to create a European-Arab counterweight to the United States. Today the European Union is continuing this policy, which aims to create a united Mediterranean continent based on a symbiosis between the Northern and the Southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. In her Eurabia book she meticulously describes how this strategy has been implemented during the past 35 years and how the promotion of Muslim immigration to Europe constitutes part of this plan.
Ever since she was forced to leave Egypt Bat Ye’or has lived in Europe. She does not intend to leave. She feels old and tired, but she urges young people to continue resisting dhimmi status. “We should not ask the moderate Muslims to save us. We have to change the present situation ourselves. That is our duty to our children and our ancestors.”

She points out that after the Eastern enlargement of the EU, the Arab countries were worried that less European funds would be available for the Maghreb countries. They made Europe promise that EU funds to the Southern shores of the Mediterranean would not diminish, but also that immigration from Arab countries would not be stopped in favour of immigration from Eastern Europe. This is the real reason why the Polish plumbers are not welcome while people from the Maghreb still continue to flock to Europe.
“Immigration,” Bat Ye’or says, “is part of the whole strategy, which is an ambition to create a new civilizational concept based on multiculturalism, on the dissolution of people’s typical characteristics.” To Bat Ye’or the Danish cartoon affair is “a revolt to assert Western values of freedom of opinion, speech, and religion.”
Not only the European Union is imposing the ideology of multiculturalism, but also the United Nations. David Littman is an expert on the “creeping Islamism at the UN.” Littman, a representative for the Association for World Education (AWE) to the UN in Geneva, was recently testifying before the UN but was censored when he quoted moderate Muslims condemning Jihadist bombings. According to the 56 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Countries (OIC) even the use of “the prefix ‘Islamic’ before ‘terrorism’ is sacrilege'' which is of course absurd.
But they try through the channels of the UN to curtail freedom of thought, opinion and expression with accusations of “blasphemy,” “islamophobia,” “defamation of Islam,” or “sacrilege.”
This all fine with me, but I'm not so scared. Yes, there are fundamental problems because of overimmigration but lets have a look at an excerpt of an article in Newsweek of 10 days ago:

But all this obscures a simple fact: the rise of a Eurabia is predicated on limited and dubious evidence. A much-cited 2004 study from the U.S. National Intelligence Council outlines a number of possible scenarios. Its most aggressive is that the number of Muslims in Europe could increase from roughly 20 million today—about 5 percent of the population—to 38 million by 2025. But that projection turns out to be attributed to "diplomatic and media reporting as well as government, academic, and other sources." In other words, it's all speculation based on speculation—and even if it's accurate, it would still mean the number of Muslims will represent just 8 percent of the European population, estimated by the EU to be 470 million in 2025.

For the complete article more herreeee

Day Opening - July 20

Maybe again..but this is the most realistic picture made about the Eiffel tower in Paris!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Vote Ultra Orthodox Christian

The Dutch Ultra Orthodox Christian Party SGP opposes feminism, and concludes, on Biblical grounds, that men and women are of equal value but not equal. Men and women, so the party claims, have different places in society. This belief led to restricting party membership to men until 2006, when this restriction became subject to controversy and was eventually removed. Sunday is a day of rest. By this: Greetings!

Cinema is evil in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a country where movie theatres had been banned for almost three decades.
The recently announced Jeddah Film Festival for the end of July, presenting aspiring Saudi film makers and actors with a rare opportunity to mingle with more experienced peers from other countries, has been canceled, dealing a blow to reformist hopes of an easing of clerical control over culture that had been raised by the low-key return of cinemas in December 2008.
Many religious conservatives in the kingdom believe films from more 'liberal' Arab countries such as Egypt could violate religious taboos. Some also view cinema and acting, as a form of dissembling, as inconsistent with Islam.
And now the question: is Islam a religion or an extreme ideology....
Mecca and Medina are the holy places for Muslims. And they are in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These places are the most holy for Muslims. Saudi Arabia is a benchmark for Islam, or isn't?
What can we expect from these places their natives?
And compare Saudia Arabia now with Vatican will see the difference.

Day Opening - July 19

"White Flag"
By: Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O'Malley Armstrong or Dido

I know you think that I shouldn't still love you,

Or tell you that.

But if I didn't say it, well I'd still have felt

it where's the sense in that?

I promise I'm not trying to make your life harder

Or return to where we were

I will go down with this ship

And I won't put my hands up and surrender

There will be no white flag above my door

I'm in love and always will be I know

I left too much mess and destruction to come back again

And I caused nothing but trouble

I understand if you can't talk to me again

And if you live by the rules of "it's over" then

I'm sure that that makes sense

I will go down with this ship

And I won't put my hands up and surrender

There will be no white flag above my door

I'm in love and always will be

And when we meet

Which I'm sure we will

All that was there

Will be there still I'll let it pass

And hold my tongue

And you will think

That I've moved on....

I will go down with this ship

And I won't put my hands up and surrender

There will be no white flag above my door

I'm in love and always will be

There will be no white flag above my door

I'm in love and always will be

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My hero

Marche de Sacco et Vanzetti

Here's to you Nicholas and Bart
Rest forever here in our hearts
The last and final moment is yours
That agony is your triumph!

Maintenant Nicolas et Bart
Au fond de nos coeurs vous dormez
Vous tiez tout seuls dans la mort
Mais par elle vous vaincrez!

Canto aqui Nicola y Bart
Vuestra fin y vuestra prist
Et morit os da libertad
Y un lugar en mi corazon

Once my hero. Always my hero: George Moustaki.

Turkish ads

In general, the Turkish advertisement industry lacks creativity, inspiration and originality. In contrary with the Turkish design industry; both fashion and in-house. Which is pretty developed.
But this adof earlier this year is really a good one! You can now ask yourself the question: ‘do you need Viagra or Cialis when all you need to do to get in the mood is use Yemeksepeti’s food delivery?’
This ad is just fun: look at the hand imprints of flour on the table and the majority of the food pushed to one end of the table to resemble a headboard. A great example of using humor to get attention, love it!

The ad was created by advertising agency TBWA Istanbul, Turkey with creative direction by Ýlkay Gürpinar and Can Pehlivanli. The copy was written by Esin Erol.

Source: trendhunter

Day Opening - July 18

Japanese garden in Autumn

How To Deal With Aggressive Readers On Your Blog !

This is a guest post by Alfredo Vaamonde or Alfred V. (aka Asswass), from Caracas, Venezuela and his website (For publishing world online Polls) and his blog

In the blogging business or hobby (whatever you like to call it), it is inevitable to stumble upon some aggressive readers who want to test your patience or that want to make you look bad in front of your other readers, by writing strong and possibly hurtful comments .
You will also have a lot of readers that don’t follow your same point of view and they will always find a way to let you know that you are wrong and you’re right.

In my case, I’m a patient and tolerable person, but there is definitely going to be someone who will turn you into a monster.

So how do you deal with these aggressive readers?

The Client Is Always Right ?

WRONG!!! The client isn’t always right. You don’t need to take abuse from someone who will not be coming back to your blog.

They Won’t Always Share Your Same Opinion !

Of course that not everybody will share the same opinion as you do and it’s fine.
But if that reader tries to hurt your blog by turning aggressive against you, do not hesitate to stand behind your arguments.

more herreeeeeeee

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Recruiting police officers in Mosques

The Dutch Police Enforcement is now allowed to recruit new police officers in mosques, especially those of foreign descent and women. Why there? Why not in churches? And why in a place where men and women are separated? The Dutch web log TheWestisTheVeryBest placed this picture on their site. The woman saying: ‘’c’com guys, there is more to see here’’

Some views of our terrace

Some Dutch friends came over last weekend for BBQ. Here O. with K. from Amsterdam.
We had our BBQ on our terrace, behind me (I took this pic) the part where we had the eat and drinking...

Earlier that evening; right in frronf of our building the beginning of our garden, which surrounds the whole building and here also our parking area. There are only 4 appartments, so enough space for cars.

Swimming pool next to our building.

Straight view from our terrace: 20 km away you see the hills of Zeraykay and just a little of the Bosphorus.

Right from us some new residential buildings. Very asymetric built, and in between some 'overnight' houses.

View to the centre left/left, a deep valley.

Just accross of our building an overnight house.

Exact view from the centre: the hills are around 25 km away. So a deep and impressive valley with thousands of lights in the evening.

Exactly a view to the left. Older buildings, Sovjet style.
All pictures made by a friend from his Ipod, only the first one made by me...

Day Opening - July 16

A walk into the light.

BadGal Sounds Off: Do you think an 11year old girl should be called a Whore ?

BadGal Sounds Off: Do you think an 11year old girl should be called a Whore ?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Being an expat in Turkey

Travelling is a lot of fun, meeting different people in other cultures too. Change of languages, change of food and change of customs makes life more than challenging, when you’re an expat or expatriate. But it also comes with; saying hello for the first time and goodbye’s for the last time.

Everybody who is dreaming of a life as a traveler, discovering other cultures, discovering places on earth you never heard of before, be aware that you always have to say goodbye to something special, something beautiful or simple goodbye to a person. Or you must be a millionaire who is financial independent. But when you are a millionaire, how independent are you? Are you independent from the money you have? I don’t think so. But that’s a different question.

When I moved to the USA for the last time, to Miami, I had to say goodbye to friends in Prague and Amsterdam. While I already knew by then that my stay in the USA was not forever. And that I had to make the trip back to Europe at least every 6 months, with thanks to my business visa. But you will estrange from your friends from your family. Yes, for the last 20 years I estrange from my environment over and over again while at the same time smelling and proving other cultures.

Turkey is where I am right now. For seven years, straight in a row. And when I look at the friends I had when I just arrived here and who is still here…maybe a fraction. Some left because being a business expat, it grants you only 3 or maybe 4 years to get attached to a country, the next place is waiting. And the expatriates; volunteer expats? Many of them left. Some being outraged about the countries business policies. Some because there are no business opportunities at all. Others just left Turkey because they were once chased by a mob…

Turkey tends to be a country of hospitability but it looks like that the old habits disappear when there is no money involved. Turkey became pretty xenophobic and estranged from its nomad character. And more and more of my friends left or are ready to leave. That makes life hard: how can I defend a country which has a flaggy deep-skin tolerance to other cultures, religions, habits while it pretends to be the opposite?

A shocking report about Gaza by Israeli soldiers and more

Last week the former Dutch Prime Minister, Dries van Agt (also called the Dutch Jimmy Carter) declared according to this article (Dutch article) that he intends to sail with the boat ‘Free Gaza’ to protest against ‘Israel’s state terrorism’.

Today, the Israelian movement 'Breaking the Silence' an organisation of former Israeli soldiers broke real the silence. In a new report, based on the testimony of 26 Israeli soldiers who took part in the last Gaza war, it says the Israeli army used civilians as human shields, fired white phosphorous grenades and "shot at everything that moved".

Breake the Silence its initial aim was to raise awareness among the Israeli population about the consequences of the occupation of the West Bank. Most of its members have served in the occupied territories during the Second Intifadah (2000-2004).
Founder Yehuda Shaul says Breaking the Silence is not a pacifist group and is not part of the Israeli peace movement. One of its activities is to organise guided tours of Palestinian Hebron, where Israeli settlers live in the town centre under the protection of the Israeli army.
In the past few months Breaking the Silence has been gathering testimony from soldiers about the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza war.
The report and video testimony are available at

Now, when Van Agt declares his sympathy for the Palestinian cause and accuses Israel's 'self defence' as state terrorism, thereby giving support to the dreaded violent Hamas, who reinstated crucifixion as a capital punishment, there also should be a cry of outrage about that...from him. Pardon me: crucifixion?!!!
And are there any Palestine groups who investigate Hamas terror?

Day Opening - July 15

Dancing...the Tango?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

'The children of the revolution will accept the ayatollah's rule no more'

Afshin Ellian was born in Tehran and came to the Netherlands as a political refugee in 1989. He works as a professor of legal philosophy at the University of Leiden and is a columnist for the Dutch NRC Handelsblad, the German Der Spiegel and The Wall Street Journal

Below an Open Lettern to Ayatollah Said Ali Khamenei,

To His Excellency Ayatollah Said Ali Khamenei,

A year before the Iranian Revolution, a member of my family had the great privilege of praying beside you. Later, during the revolution, this anecdote became a source of great pride within our family. This relative of mine had prayed with you and yet he, like myself, was forced to go into hiding soon after the revolution.
Excellency, we had not committed any crime. We merely disagreed with the repressive measures instituted by imam Khomeini - and that had become a punishable offence.
I was not even 18 years old when I was forced to flee my own country. Against all the hopes of those of us who participated in the Islamic revolution, the revolution enacted a system of political violence which created an unprecedented flood of political refugees and led to the murder of thousands by a regime which claimed to liberate them from tyranny. In the 1980s, thousands of Iranians, who fought with you against the shah, were executed, convicted by revolutionary tribunals, without legal representation, with no official charge. Among those killed were two members of my own family. One is buried in a mass grave. In 1988, in the space of a few weeks, thousands of political prisoners were given a summary hearing, slain and thrown into anonymous graves on the orders of imam Khomeini.

Continue readding

Day Opening - July 14

France, 14th of July

Monday, July 13, 2009

Istanbul 2010 - A Bridge too far

Istanbul has a unique chance next year; as one of the European Cultural Capital cities of 2010 it can profile and expose itself to Europe and at the same time boost its accession process with the EU. You will hear, of course, many sceptics since Istanbul is not Turkey and Turkey not Istanbul. But as the Cultural and Commercial city of Turkey it can play an important role by showing the will and nature of the Turkish people; being equal among Europeans. As Istanbul wants to show that it has a multi cultural population, it has to do a little bit more than pay attention to its tiny little minority. It has....(more later)

Day Opening - July 13

Absolutely adorable...or not?!
Showing and walking the cat walk..

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sharia in Europe

There is a discussion going on in several European countries about the influence of Sha’ria law on their societies. Needless to say; not one European thinks that Sharia must be partially implemented or adapted to let me say the British or Dutch law. I just read an article of a Dutch lawyer who denied the far stretching influence of such Sharia courthouses. He describes them as ‘folklore’. But when you read the long article of an British journalist you will be astonished and frightened what some Imams are saying and planning. For example: stoning to death of a girls who have under-age sex. You can all read it here. (a long read)

At the same time, the Dutch quality newspaper NRC published yesterday two opinions about Sharia courthouses in the Netherlands. One is from Maurits Berger, a professor of 'Islam in the West' at Leiden university. He’s a non-Muslim and is pro-sharia courthouses. Here one excerpt:

’There are of course limits to freedom of religion. Stoning, forced marriage of minors, cutting off hands: these are strictly forbidden. But religious courts usually deal mostly with family law. If adults want to submit to religious rules, even if they allow for inequality between men and women, it is their right to do so. After all, the Dutch orthodox Christian party SGP adheres to similar principles: it doesn't allow women to hold political office, for instance.’’

He forgot easily to mention here that women in this ultra conservative Christian party face only one restriction: no holding office. They can vote and are as equal as everybody else. In contrary with Sharia ruling.

But isn’t it strange that the person who is against Sharia courthouses is Nahed Selim, a Dutch Muslima, a writer and of Egyptian origin. Maybe she knows what it means to live under sharia rule. Here and excerpt.

‘’For everything in sharia law is discriminatory against women: marrying a non-Muslim is not allowed, divorce is not allowed unless the husband agrees to it. The man, for his part, can disown his wife whenever he wants. (A sharia court in Malaysia has ruled that a text message saying 'I disown you' suffices.) If he changes his mind within three months, he can take his wife back. He can do this up to three times. Custody always goes to the father: the mother may raise the children, but he always has the final word.’’

You can read both articles here and here and make up your mind. I already did. In favor of Nahed Selim.

Day Opening - July 12


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Turkey is a young Republic, but Erdogan, that's not a reason to act childish

Turkish PM Erdogan first called the Israeli – Hamas war of early this year ‘a genocide war’ committed by the Israelis and now he’s indirect accusing the Chinese of committing genocide against the Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority. The Chinese call it ‘terroristic activities’. Genocide versus Terrorism?!

I opened this morning several newspapers (Dutch, French, German etc.) and all run articles with headlines such as ‘Erdogan calls the ethnic unrest in Xinjiang genocide’ or ‘Erdogan brands Xinjiang killings as 'genocide'. Literally he said: "The event taking place in China is a kind of genocide,” and “we have difficulty understanding how China's leadership... can remain a spectator in the face of these events." In my opinion he banalized the word genocide again. And he used it on an inappropriate way and with the wrong timing; The European Parliament resolution on Srebrenica from January this year, condemning the crimes committed in Srebrenica in 1995, and proclaimed today, July 11, a day of remembrance for the victims of Srebrenica.

Of course this is political fuss coming out of Turkey which seems more to do with internal Turkish politics than genuine care of Uighurs, these views seem more towards a push of pan-Turkism with the republic of Turkey as the head (which in reality is only going to appeal to a small number of nationalists and negative effect of other Turkic countries that would be weary of be swelled under the sphere of Turkey or a return to an Ottoman Empire type of situation).
Also, Erdogan said that Turkey, one of the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, would ask this UN body to discuss ways of ending the violence. The call was immediately rejected by China, one of five permanent members of the council who can veto its actions. "This is completely China's internal affair," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said yesterday in Beijing.
The challenge is now how to understand Turkey, who always cites "internal affairs" to deflect international criticism of its handling of a 25-year Kurdish insurgency in the southeast: 1.000.000+ replaced Kurds and 40.000+ dead. And more difficult to understand is Turkey's lack of interest in what's going on in Iran: the protests, the brutal killings, the death penalty for political opponents etc.

And what about the situation in Turkey where it’s a criminal act as you say that the Armenian claims of genocide committed by the Turks is true? I miss as usual all the logic in the Turkish PM way of thinking. Or was he for too long a subject of military style education?

Day Opening - July 11


Soon pictures of our garden...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Why I cook and women have to stay out the kitchen

1.) I cannot stand women in the kitchen;
2.) I cannot stand humans in the kitchen;
3.) Kitchen is a place to relax; no women allowed;
4.) Women do the dishes/dishwasher, me the cooking;
5.) Women love/do the shopping – it’s one of their born-with talents, me the cooking;
6.) Can you ask a woman to get you Arborio, Porcinis, Enokis, and Reggiano to make them a risotto? No, so then I go with them…
7.) Being the cook gets you a lot of attention, good quality attention;
8.) Being the cook means; you are the master of their physical well being of that evening, the following night and probably the day-after;
9.) Women think that they are the best cooks, what makes them so dangerous and therefore I had to do something;
10.) Women can cater, I can cook;
11.) When was the last time a women cooked you a real meal, a real piece of cuisine? Can you remember? No! When I cook for you will remember it a life time and beyond…
12.) Women cook out of necessity, I cook with pleasure.
13.) Typical women food is the staple dish, the a-la-pasta thing; not recognizable and over cooked food, I cook recognizable haute cuisine;
14.) Women are less inclined to experiment, a good cook, like me, dares to task risks…
15.) Besides being incapable of experimenting, they are useless at following written instructions for so called recipes. They are too quick blinded by series of numbers and symbols that they get confused and start adding more salt, pepper etc. I stick to by myself discovered and developed recipes.
16.) Cooking is multi-tasking, I am good in that (if a women drives and talk on the phone at the same time you bet she will cause an accident – think what will happen in the kitchen)
17.) Women see food as fuel, I am in love with food, that makes a difference in the kitchen…or not?
18.) Cooking means seducing don’t have to explain you what that means.
19.) There is nothing more relaxing after a diner seeing others cleaning the mess in the dining room and kitchen while I sip at my brandy and take a puff of my cigar…
20.) The ultimate reason why I cook? See picture above…

Hope you understand me better now...

Day Opening - July 10

An amazing reflection.
Picture by Joel Laverdure

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pamplona this week: Bull running and the party!

The festival of San Fermin, or the Pamplona bull running as it's more commonly known outside Spain officially begins at midday on 6th July every year with the 'chupinazo' which takes place on the balcony of the Casa Consistorial in Pamplona. .The history of the bullrunning in Pamplona is not clear. There is evidence of the festival from as far back as the 13th century when it seems the events took place in October as this coincided with the festival of San Fermin on October 10th. It seems that the modern day celebration has evolved from this as well as individual commercial and bullfighting fiestas which can be traced back to the 14th century. To this day San Fermin remains a fixed date every year with the first bullrun at 8am on July 7th and the last at the same time on July 14th. You can see the first run below and the first party above!

Also wet t-shirt competition...

Only men are usual.)!

...that's the first 'prick'
Tired of running....
The 'real fight'...and 'they' both look the same...

Rules of the bullrun
1.- To admit anyone under the age of 18 into the course as minors are totally prohibited from running or participating.
2.- To go over the police barriers which the authorities see fit to erect.
3.- To place oneself in the zones and areas of the itinerary which are expressly indicated by the agents of the authorities.
4.- To hide oneself before the release of the bulls in corners, dead angles or doorways of houses or establishments located throughout the length of the course.
5.- To leave open the doors of the houses along the course, the owners or tenants of the said property being responsible for this.
6.- To enter into the route in a state of drunkenness, under the effects of drugs or in any inappropriate state.
7.- To carry objects which may impede the correct running of the Bull Run.
8.- To wear clothes or shoes which are not appropriate for the run.
9.- Call the animals or distract them in any way and for whatever reason in the course or during the rounding up in the Bull Ring.
10.- To stop in the Bull Run or station oneself on the walls or barriers or in the doorways in such a way as to impede the run or the defence of the runners.
11.- To grab onto, harass or mistreat the animals or obstruct their exit enclosure by any action during the amateur bullfight.
12.- To take photographs from the streets, walls or barriers without due authorisation.
13.- Any other action which may impede the normal running of the Bull Run.

UN appoints Dutch man Ad Melkert as new envoy in Iraq

United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has picked Ad Melkert of the Netherlands as his special representative for Iraq. Melkert, a former Dutch Labour, new Left, politician and World Bank executive, is currently the number two at the United Nations Development Program.

In a conference call from New York on Tuesday Melkert told journalists that becoming the UN envoy in the war-torn country "may be my toughest assignment yet."
Melkert (53) will be heading an organisation of circa 1,000 UN employees based in Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq. Melkert himself will be move to Baghdad before the end of the week, terminating his controversial tenure as associate administrator of the UNDP. In that position he came under personal attack from the US ambassador at the UN and members of the US Congress, who accused him of letting UN aid money fall into the hands of the communist regime in North-Korea. An 18-month long investigation could not prove the allegations, but concluded that the UNDP for years had violated internal rules.

Melkert tried to succeed his boss, the Turk Kemal Derviş as UNDP administrator, with his support, but the job went instead to the New Zealand's former prime minister Helen Clark.

In Iraq, Melkert will replace the Swede Staffan de Mistur, who is moving on to become the new World Food Program's deputy executive director. Melkert's appointment is for one year, with the option of extending it after that. The position in Bagdad is still considered very dangerous. An attack on the UN headquarters there killed 22 people including the chief envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello, in 2003.
The gradual departure of US troops from Iraq will "create space for the UN to play a role" in the country, Melkert said Tuesday. He added that he will focus on "supporting the economic development of Iraq", but also be involved in organising elections, helping the return of refugees and boosting dialogue with neighbouring countries.