Friday, July 30, 2010

The Palestinian victims no one talks about

By Khaled Abu Toamed

When was the last time the United Nations Security Council met to condemn an Arab government for its mistreatment of Palestinians?
How come groups and individuals on university campuses in the United States and Canada that call themselves “pro-Palestinian” remain silent when Jordan revokes the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians?
The plight of Palestinians living in Arab countries in general, and Lebanon in particular, is one that is often ignored by the mainstream media in West.

How come they turn a blind eye to the fact that Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and many more Arab countries continue to impose severe travel restrictions on Palestinians?
And where do these groups and individuals stand regarding the current debate in Lebanon about whether to grant Palestinians long-denied basic rights, including employment, social security and medical care?
Or have they not heard about this debate at all? Probably not, since the case has failed to draw the attention of most Middle East correspondents and commentators.
A news story on the Palestinians that does not include an anti-Israel angle rarely makes it to the front pages of Western newspapers.
The demolition of an Arab-owned illegal building in Jerusalem is, for most of these correspondents, much more important than the fact that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Lebanon continue to suffer from a series of humiliating restrictions.

Not only are Palestinians living in Lebanon denied the right to own property, but they also do not qualify for health care, and are banned by law from working in a large number of jobs.
Can someone imagine what would be the reaction in the international community if Israel tomorrow passed a law that prohibited its Arab citizens from working as taxi drivers, journalists, physicians, cooks, waiters, engineers and lawyers? Or if the Israeli Ministry of Education issued a directive prohibiting Arab children from enrolling in universities and schools?

But who said that the Lebanese authorities have not done anything to “improve” the situation? In fact, the Palestinians living in that country should be grateful to the Lebanese government. Until 2005, the
law prohibited Palestinians from working in 72 professions. Now the list of jobs has been reduced to 50.
Still, Palestinians are not allowed to work as physicians, journalists, pharmacists or lawyers in Lebanon.

Ironically, it is much easier for a Palestinian to acquire American and Canadian citizenship than a passport of an Arab country. In the past, Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were even entitled to Israeli citizenship if they married an Israeli citizen, or were reunited with their families inside the country.
Lebanese politicians are now debating new legislation that would grant “civil rights” to Palestinians for the first time in 62 years. The new bill includes the right to own property, social security payments and medical care.
Many Lebanese are said to be opposed to the legislation out of fear that it would pave the way for the integration of Palestinians into their society and would constitute a burden to the economy.
The heated debate has prompted parliament to postpone a vote on the bill until next month.

Nadim Khoury, director of Human Rights Watch in Beirut, said, “Lebanon has marginalized Palestinian refugees for too long and the parliament should seize this opportunity to turn the page and end discrimination against Palestinians.”
Rami Khouri, a prominent Lebanese journalist, wrote in his country’s Daily Star that “all Arab countries mistreat millions of Arab, Asian and African foreign guest workers, who often are treated little better than chattel or indentured laborers…The mistreatment, abysmal living conditions and limited work, social security and property rights of the Palestinians [in Lebanon] are a lingering moral black mark.”
Foreign journalists often justify their failure to report on the suffering of Palestinians in the Arab world by citing “security concerns” and difficulty in obtaining an entry visa into an Arab country.
But these are weak and unacceptable excuses given the fact that most of them could still write about these issues from their safe offices and homes in New York, London and Paris. Isn’t that what most of them are anyway doing when they are write about the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip?

Day Opening - July 30

Exotic, by Alfredo Coral

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Letters to My Torturer

Prominent Iranian journalist and political activist, Houshang Asadi was used to being arrested. This time, however, was different. Little did he know in 1983 he would spend the next six years being brutally, mindlessly tortured by the very people he supported. Brother Hamid, Asadi's torturer, stopped at nothing to extract his 'confessions'. Asadi was a spy for Russia, for Britain, for anyone or anything. Hamid became an ambassador, Asadi a fugitive, haunted by nightmares and persisting pain. His feet lashed till lame, blindfolded, he was grilled until he could no longer phrase a simple question himself. Through these letters, Asadi recounts how his accidental friendship with a previous fellow prisoner, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, finally saved his life - and confronts his torturer one last time.

Day Opening - July 29

Parma, Italy

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The happiest countries on earth - By Forbes

Quantifying happiness isn't an easy task. Researchers at the Gallup World Poll went about it by surveying thousands of respondents in 155 countries, between 2005 and 2009, in order to measure two types of well-being.
First they asked subjects to reflect on their overall satisfaction with their lives, and ranked their answers using a "life evaluation" score from 1 to 10. Then they asked questions about how each subject had felt the previous day. Those answers allowed researchers to score their "daily experiences"--things like whether they felt well-rested, respected, free of pain and intellectually engaged. Subjects that reported high scores were considered "thriving." The percentage of thriving individuals in each country determined our rankings. Click here for the full story and table.

1 Denmark Europe

2 Finland Europe 

3 Norway Europe 

4 Sweden Europe 

4 Netherlands Europe 

6 Costa Rica Americas 

6 New Zealand Asia 

8 Australia Asia 

8 Israel Asia 

8 Canada Americas 

8 Switzerland Europe 

12 Panama Americas 

12 Brazil Americas 

14 Austria Europe 

14 United States Americas 

103 Turkey Asia

Art to pay your medical bills - USA

Freelance artists in the United States can get their medical expenses reimbursed in exchange for pictures. A New York hospital (Woodhull) lis conducting an experiment that's receving a lot of interest from artists, who can barely hold their heads above water financially.
A couple of months ago, US President Barack Obama finally signed a new healthcare law. But freelance artists often can't afford the cost of health insurance.
Photographer Indira Wiegand suffers from asthma. An inhaler costs her 200 dollars, and she can't afford it. Now she takes photos of newborn babies for the hospital, in exhange for which the hospital pays her medical expenses. This some kind of barter agreement. Nothing bad with that.

Day Opening - July 27 - Forgotten Jobs in Turkey (7)

The shoe maker old style.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The War goes on: Israeli warplanes strike Gaza tunnels

Israeli planes fired missiles at two smuggling tunnels near the Gaza Strip border with Egypt early Monday, causing damage but no casualties, officials from the Hamas-run security forces said.
The Israeli army had no immediate comment. Israel has frequently targeted the tunnels in retaliation for rocket fire from the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.
The impoverished territory of 1.5 million people has largely relied on the vast network of tunnels on the border since Israel and Egypt sealed Gaza off to all but vital aid in 2006 after militants captured an Israeli soldier.
The Israeli blockade was tightened after the Islamist movement Hamas seized power in June 2007.
Most of the tunnels are used to bring in basic goods like food, household appliances and livestock but Hamas and other militant groups reportedly use their own tunnels to bring in arms and money.
Gaza-based militants fired four rockets into southern Israel over the weekend, a military spokesman said on Sunday.
In December 2008, Israel launched a devastating assault on Gaza in a bid to halt near daily rocket fire from the besieged Palestinian territory.
After a year of quiet following the assault, Gaza militants have recently stepped up the cross-border rocket fire.

Mind Games by Dimitris Varos

Mind Games by Dimitris Varos

I am a waterfall in the desert.
A rain from a cloudless sky.
A well known but unborn child.
An insistence experience
that you never had.

I play mind games with your brain.
When you strike the keys and remember the sea
I come as indefinable memory.
When you look at your watch
and the time has passed
you feel me like a fleeting hallucination.

I play mind games with your brain.
I’m nesting behind your eyes.
I’m ranging through your dreams.
You are finding me in all of your desires.
In all of those are absent from you.

I play mind games with your brain.
I stand in the places that you cannot reach.
I exist where you cannot touch upon.
But I am what you always waiting for
I m what holds your life on.

I play mind games with your brain.
But I swear this is not a fun.
I feel unbearable loneliness.
Because I do not have a body
And you, that you have, refuse me yours.

Day Opening - July 26 - Forgotten Jobs of Turkey (6)

Forgotten jobs of Turkey - the tin smith

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A fatwa on coffee?

Sometimes the fatwa's borders real stupidity, retardness.

Is a Muslim allowed to enjoy a cup of the world’s most expensive coffee? The chairman of the Indonesian Board of Ulamas (Muslim scholars) is debating this issue with two of the largest Muslim organisations in Indonesia. Khamami Zada from Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), thinks the board should be dealing with more important matters than coffee beans that have been extracted from civet dung.

Luwak coffee is made from beans that have been eaten by a luwak – a kind of civet- and then passed through its intestines and defecated. It sounds pretty disgusting, but in actual fact Luwak coffee is said to taste quite special. The civet is very choosy when selecting the beans. He only eats the ripest and tastiest. The beans cost several hundreds of euros per kilo, because they are rare. Many people don’t like the idea of the beans having passed through the intestines of an animal. Many Muslims consider the coffee unclean.

Khamami Zada doesn’t agree with issuing a fatwa against coffee. "It is a problem concerning Islamic law and Muslims should be aware of the legal situation. But I believe issuing a fatwa against Luwak coffee is not an urgent matter.” There are only a few consumers who drink the coffee anyway.
According to Mr Zada, there are much more urgent issues that need dealing with at the moment. For example, the problem of corruption and the ‘legal mafia’, the illegal collaboration between criminals and members of official organisations. Khamami Zada: "If only the Board of Ulamas issued a fatwa against the ‘legal mafia’ and corrupt organisations. That would be much more beneficial for the Indonesian people, than worrying about Luwak coffee.”
Other problems that need attending to are terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism. It would be a good idea if the board would issue a fatwa against this, says Khamami Zada. "This would have an effect on everybody. Not only on the Muslim community, but also all the other people who are affected by fundamentalism and terrorism." Exactly!

Day Opening - July 25 - Forgotten Jobs of Turkey (5)

Forgotten jobs of Turkey - saddle fixer

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Street interview in Istanbul - Turkey - Part 1

Street Interviews in Turkey - Part 1 from NiMBUS PRODUCTIONS on Vimeo.

Pig pics removed from clinic just in case of...

A story that illustrates what a hot potato multicultural relations can be in the Netherlands is about a painting. An artist whose work was being exhibited at a health centre in the town of Leerdam was asked to remove three pictures of pigs after a complaint that Muslims might take offence at being confronted with images of “unclean animals”. The move led to a storm of protest and even hate mail for painter Sylvia Bosch, who has been left “shocked by the overwhelming commotion”.
Ironically, the original complaint was lodged by a non-Muslim patient at the centre who took no umbrage at the paintings but was worried that Muslims might. A spokesperson for Muslim group SMN who says that despite the good intentions, it wasn’t a smart thing to do. “It isn’t wise to think and feel on behalf of other people. And certainly not for the health centre to take action on this basis.”
The artist, Sylvia Bosch, is astounded. “One week earlier, I had an e-mail from the clinic saying that they were getting nice reactions. After a single complaint, they had to be taken away immediately.”

The Linge Polyclinic has stated that the pictures were removed because “all visitors must feel comfortable in the institution”.
A newspaper concludes that “the flood of negative coverage about Islam has left us with a distorted image of the religion” and that “in the resulting state of confusion, we tend to take bizarre decisions”. In my point of view this is some kind of self censorship well known throughout the Middle East and Turkey.

Arash's World: Thanatos, Schadenfreude and the Self-destructive and Dark Side of the Mind

Arash's World: Thanatos, Schadenfreude and the Self-destructive and Dark Side of the Mind

Day Opening - July 24 - Forgotten Jobs of Turkey (4)

Forgotten jobs of Turkey - the broom maker

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Erdogan logics

From Hürriyet:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose fight against smoking was awarded by the World Health Organization (WHO), suggested during the award ceremony that people should eat fruits instead of drinking alcohol. Erdoğan noted that drunk driving was forbidden, besides, people should act sensitively in order not to harm others with their smoking habits.
"Where does alcohol come from? Don't they produce these drinks from fruits? Eat fruits instead of drinking then," Erdoğan said.

Yes, don't drink coffee but eat coffee beans; don't drink tea but eat tea leaves; don't do this and don't do that...exactly Erdogan.

Greece and the Greek Cypriots pushing for a deal on Cyprus

Greece voiced support yesterday for Greek Cypriot proposals to jumpstart talks on reunifying the Mediterranean island after Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots accused their rivals of derailing a UN-backed year-end target date for a deal.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou urged Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots to "seriously study" the new package of proposals put forward last week by Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias, who is also Cyprus president.
"This shows that President Christofias is one step ahead in initiatives to solve the Cyprus problem," Papandreou told reporters after they met at the island's Larnaca airport.
The package put forward by Christofias proposes that the port of Famagusta in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north be opened to direct trade under European Union auspices in exchange for the return of the nearby resort of Varosha to its displaced Greek Cypriot inhabitants, which is fair in my opinion.

Once one of the Mediterranean's leading resorts, Varosha has been a decaying ghost town since Turkish troops fenced it off in 1974 when they invaded the island's northern third following a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at union with Greece.
Christofias also proposes that in UN-brokered talks on reunifying the island the questions of restoring property to the displaced and adjusting the amount of territory under Turkish Cypriot local administration be combined with the issue of immigration control after any deal.
He is also pushing for the key issue of security to be dealt with at a UN-chaired international conference with participation by the European Union, as well as Greece, Turkey and former colonial power Britain, rather than at a meeting of the last three as proposed by the Turkish Cypriots.
"If these measures are accepted it will change the climate and lead to positive results," Christofias said yesterday.
During a visit to the breakaway north on Tuesday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek accused the Greek Cypriots of lacking the necessary political will for a settlement.
"This is not a process that can go on forever," he warned after talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.
"If the Greek Cypriots and their supporters cannot reach a solution by the end of the year, everyone will continue to follow their own paths," he said.
But Christofias countered that it was not his government that was blocking progress in reunification talks but the Turkish Cypriots and their backers in Ankara, which he charged was "hardening its stance".
Christofias and Eroglu are due to meet again today for their latest talks in the UN-backed peace process which was relaunched in December 2008. Eroglu is a hardcore nationalists who rather sees partitition than reunification!

Day Opening - July 22 - Forgotten Jobs of Turkey (2)

Forgotten jobs of Turkey - making pottery the traditional way for 6 generations

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

'Boomerang kids'

A social reportin the Netherlands covers the growing number of young people who return to live with their parents after leaving home. In the 1990s, just 15 percent of young adults returned to the nest. Between 2000 and 2007, a whopping one in five young women moved back in with their parents. Which is pretty normal in Turkey, where most of the young women move in with their parents after completing their studies.

In this Dutch report it says that compared to other European countries, the Dutch welfare state makes it relatively easy to build up a life as an independent young person in the Netherlands. Why then, it asks, do these 'boomerang children' return home?
A sociologist points out that many come back home after the break-up of a relationship. The lack of affordable housing in many big cities compounds the problem. It is also said that many young people move to a different part of the country when they leave home and that homesickness can play a part in deciding to return to their roots.
However maybe 22-year-old Lisanne can fill us in on the real reason. "Before I came home, I told my mother: 'I'll do my own washing and ironing, you don't need to bother with it.' But, she still does it all - washing, cooking, cleaning. It's just like a hotel," she admits. And that's a little different than in countries such as Turkey and Italy where the baby/child is still King or Queen!

Day Opening - July 20

A mountain called Zimba, Austria

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The source of integration difficulties

The last couple of years The Netherlands has turned from a tolerant country into a country full of anti-immigrant sentiments. This reaches beyond the actual immigrants, it also affects second generation youngsters, in particular the groups of Turks and Moroccans living in Holland for the greatest part of their lives. Most of the anti-immigrant sentiments are fed by fear, spread by the rightwing political movement and by the media, which found a scapegoat to put the blame on for economic, religious and cultural crises. We can conclude that it's not even against immigrants but against the group of muslims in Holland. The socalled integration problem has rooted somewhere down the 60s of the last century.
In the decade following the end of the Second World War The Netherlands has known a period in which lots of inhabitants moved to other places in the world, like the US, Canada and Australia. Halfway down the 50s the industrial activities in Holland increased enormously, and a shortage of labor force arose. At first the Dutch looked at countries like Italy and Spain to get laborers. The next group, at the beginning of the 60s were the Turks and Moroccans. The initial thought was to have them in Holland for only a couple of years before they would return to their country of origin. With this in mind, no effort was but by either the Dutch government or the immigrants ("guest laborers") to integrate and have them take an active role in Dutch society. The Dutch didn't have programs to teach the language and habits of the country, the immigrants did their jobs and spent their free time together with fellow immigrants and prefered to live close to eachother instead of mingling with the original Dutch inhabitants.
After a while Turkish and Moroccan families were reunited in Holland and started a new life for them and for their children. The government slowly started to acknowlegde the permanent stay of their guest laborers, who meant a lot for the wellfare, but it seemed too late to launch integration programs. The cultural differences were quite large. Though it seemed easier to treat all groups equally, the Dutch started to emphasise the differences, which encouraged the majority of the immigrants to feel shut out of society. Together with this phenomenon, the immigrants themselves held on to their values and habits which they took with them 20 or more years before, when they arrived in Holland. Though in Morocco and Turkey time went on and everything got more modern, the immigrants stuck to their old patterns.
From 2001 things got worse. The second generation (children of the original immigrants) got adolescents or adults. They were brought up by parents that were attached to ancient values, and on the other hand they had to survive in a community with a completely different set of values. Together with the more grim attitude in the Dutch society some of them chose to put their backs to society and, encouraged by fundamentalist imams they became together with rightwing groups the symbol of polarisation.
I expect this problem to persist for a long time. It is too late now to reach the group of people that has developed an aversion for Dutch society, but keeps living in it, by active (compulsory) integration programs. On the other hand, the general opinion is to act repressive ("all criminal muslims should be thrown out of the country"; "burqas should be forbidden"), which works counterproductive. A gentle way of acting seems to be the best way, but it needs understanding and effort from both sides...
It is time to let go of prejudices and put our hands together.
Let actions speak louder than words, but start whispering first.

Day Opening - July 18

Bodrum Castle, Turkey

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dutch Twitter criminal convicted

The first person in the Netherlands to be convicted of Twitter crime has been sentenced to 100 hours’ community service. After the World Cup semi-final against Uruguay, the 18-year-old in question sent out an appeal on Twitter for people to head en masse for a square in The Hague which has become notorious for post-football match rioting. “Gas the plainclothes police,” he tweeted.

“In the context of earlier disturbances, this was an invitation to come and riot on the square,” the judge concluded. However, it seems the public prosecutor still has to get used to dealing with crime in the social networking age. The letters “RT, RT, RT” in one of the messages was intended to represent the sound of gunshots, the prosecutor claimed. Until someone pointed out it’s the abbreviation for “retweet”.
Maybe the district attorney's has to go social media...

Day Opening - July 17

Girl - Poland

Friday, July 16, 2010

Who came first: chicken or egg?

‘It had long been suspected that the egg came first but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first,’ said Dr Colin Freeman, from Sheffield University, who worked with counterparts at Warwick University. What do they mean with 'who came first'...
More herrreeee

Day Opening - July 16

Brand new.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Insanity in the Netherlands

The Muslim Orthodox foundation Al Rayaan (watch the video in English) in the city of Nijmegen the Netherlands gets subsidy for the promotion of ' emancipation and integration' whereas this Moslem group itself supports a strict separation between men and women; men and women who are not direct relatives of each other, should avoid contact with each other. Also the foundation pleads for polygamy. Now, they made again headlines because anti-Semitic cartoons on their web site and obscure texts. In spite of the fact that the orthodox interpretation of the Muslim faith of Al Rayaan is not in line with the progressive objectives of the municipality of Nijmegen, it will not withdraw its yearly subsidy - 3,500 euro per year. Now another story; the evangelical Christian farmer who has JEZUS REDT (Jesus saves) painted in huge white letters on the side of his roof is planning to take his case to the European Court. Why? The latest twist in his court battle to save his religious message to the world (or at least to local motorists) follows a ruling from the Council of State. The highest court in the Netherlands has decided that the local council is within its rights to fine Mr Van Ooijen 15,000 euros if he does not remove the message (it can insult Muslims). The farmer is, however, standing firm: "We'll carry on the fight," he assures, "and go on to the European Court." You can ask yourself how ‘loonely’ or ‘lunatic’ the Left wing parties are in the Netherlands: you preach Hate and you get a warning and get incentives, you preach nothing but only a pacifistic message and you get fined...

Don't call a Greek a Turk...

A 77-year born Greek living in Sweden gets € 200,000 euro because a Swedish dairy company used his picture recommending ‘Turkish yoghourt’ on the Swedish market. Minas Karatzoglis decorated for nine years the packing of the Turkish yoghourt of a dairy company from the Swedish Jönköping. The Greek discovered this last spring, already it has not been confessed how. Karatzoglis was according to the director of Lindahls Mejeri (dairy) furiously that he was represented as a Turk and asked for almost 5 millions of euro in ‘damages’. Both parties settled before for a lawsuit was started. Now the dairy company wants recover damage of the company which whom it got the copy rights to use the photograph of the ' Turkish man'. I understand that you want to get paid when they use your portrait, but is this simple a way for the man to get some money or is he really upset being used as a Turk…that sounds a little bit too much for me…

Day Opening - July 15

Cat on your head!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day Opening - July 14

Bastille Day; National Holiday in France. 14th of July.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Genocide in Sudan according ICC

The International Criminal Court added genocide Monday to the list of charges against Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir (big friend of Turkish PM Erdogan and Turkish President GUL), already wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

"There are reasonable grounds to believe that (Omar al-Beshir) acted with specific intent to destroy in part the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups," said a new warrant issued Monday, listing three genocide charges.
The court in March last year issued a warrant for Beshir's arrest on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, its first ever for a sitting head of state.
It did not include three genocide charges on that warrant as requested by prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who appealed its decision.
In February, the ICC's appeals chamber ordered judges to rethink their decision to omit genocide from the warrant, saying they had made an "error in law" by setting the burden of proof too high.
In Today's decision, the court said there were reasonable grounds to believe that villages and towns targeted by government forces "were selected on the basis of their ethnic composition".
"Towns and villages inhabited by other tribes, as well as rebel locations, were bypassed in order to attack towns and villages known to be inhabited by civilians belonging to the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups."
The court also said there were reasonable grounds to believe that "acts of rape, torture and forcible displacement were committed against members of the targeted ethnic groups."
There was evidence that government forces contaminated the wells and water pumps of villages inhabited by these groups, who were also subject to forcible transfer, in furtherance of the genocidal policy."
"One of the reasonable conclusions that can be drawn is that ... the conditions of life inflicted on the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa groups were calculated to bring about the physical destruction of a part of those ethnic groups."
Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accuses Beshir of personally instructing his forces to annihilate the three Darfur ethnic groups.
The prosecutor says 2.7 million people have been uprooted from their homes, of whom 100,000 died of causes related to their displacement, such as starvation.
The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have died since conflict broke out in Darfur in 2003, when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated regime for a greater share of resources and power.

Day Opening - July 12

A view over Barcelona

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Some very good reasons why the Dutch beat today Spain at the World Cup 2010

Sixteen million Dutch people think they know how the Orange team will beat Spain today. Here are a few tips to help national coach Bert van Marwijk in these hectic times.

1. The Swiss method

The Swiss showed us how to beat Spain in the first group match. A combination of massive defence, time wasting and (forcing) a bit of luck resulted in a 1-0 victory. Days after the defeat AD reported: “Spain still doesn’t know how to deal with this kind of demolition football. Midfielder Andrés Iniesta gave plenty of clever passes, but the front line lacked efficiency, finesse and a bit of luck.'

2. Disrupt the midfield

His name has already fallen: Andrés Iniesta. The boss of La Furiá Roja or the red fury, as the Spanish team is known. He is difficult to get away from the ball and is superior in confined space. In the midfield, he constantly seeks combinations with his compadres Xavi, Busquets and Xabi Alonso: this quartet quickly makes you colour-blind. They storm towards the penalty area and put one of their team mates in a position to score with brilliant passes. If you disrupt the midfield, Spain is lost. A nice job for demolition firm Van Bommel & De Jong.

3. Knock out top scorer Villa

Spain depends heavily on top scorer David Villa. He has scored five of the seven Spanish World Cup goals. So knock him out and Spain is left without a striker. And if you can’t score, you can’t win. You don’t need to be called Johan Cruijff to know that.

4. Wes we can!

One the better tips comes from Cruiff, who pointed Spain out as favourite before the competition. Directly after the match against Germany, he said Spain plays like Barcelona: “lots of ball possession, depth in the game and quick to put the pressure on after losing the ball.” To beat Barcelona you have to play like Inter Milan. That became clear in this year’s Champions League. And who is the driving force behind Inter? That is right: our Wesley Sneijder! After all, he has already said he is not afraid of Spain. “We have to make sure we don’t lose the ball in midfield and show some nerve when we have ball possession.”

Wes we can!!

5. Third time lucky

This is the third time the Orange team has made it to the final. The Dutch lost both the other finals - West Germany in 1974 and Argentina in 1978. Let’s hope it’s third time lucky! By the way, Spain has never been world champion. It has never even made it to the final.

6. Advantage of playing at home

In addition the Netherlands lost both finals against the host country. A huge disadvantage. But this time round that is not the case. And more South Africans have Dutch roots than Spanish roots. So the Dutch have the advantage.

7. The Spanish anthem

As soon as the national anthems have played, the Netherlands will be 1-0 ahead. Because as our boys sing the Wilhelmus (the Dutch national anthem) out loud, the Spanish remain silent. The Spanish anthem does not have any words. La Marca Real (the royal march) comes from the 18th century and is Europe’s oldest anthem. The Wilhelmus became the Dutch anthem in 1932. Much younger. And he who has youth, takes the cup!

8. German encouragement

The Germans are poor losers. We know that and we are prepared to forgive them for it. But to say Spain will win the cup is going too far. Straight after Germany’s defeat on Wednesday, coach Joachim Löw said, “Spain will be World Champion.” He says Spain has been the world’s best team for two to three years now. So here is a German who doesn’t think the Netherlands has got a chance. As if we needed more encouragement?

9. The balance bracelets

They have been talked about a lot and shouldn’t be underestimated. The Orange team’s spiritual weapon. The idea came from Wesley Sneijder, who meanwhile has become better known as the Little General. A bracelet which symbolises the deep bond the Dutch team feels. Everyone is wearing one. Dirk Kuijt typifies the value of the amulet, “Even if it only helps 0.1 percent” . Whereas Spain has only got one player who wears a headband - Sergio Ramos.

10. Revenge of 1983

Remember 1983? When Spain knocked the Netherlands out of the race for a place in the European Cup of 1984. After the Netherlands had won against Malta 5-0 in December, there was just one more match in the pool. Four days later, Spain played Malta in Seville. The Spanish needed an 11-goal victory to go through. They won 12-1. Rumour still has it that the game was “fixed”, although Malta quite often lost badly in those days. Nevertheless, we will have revenge!

11. Our own power

The best argument for a historic victory on Sunday is of course: our own power! The Dutch team has been unbeaten in all six matches of the World Cup so far. We have an experienced team, with a long list of successes; the most praised club footballer of the season, Wesley Sneijder, as well as the most spectacular player, Arjen Robben; and a coach that used to be world champion. (World Champion at klaverjassen, a Dutch card game that is, but all the same...)
12. The Orange Lion
The Lion always win from a lost Don Quichotte...more explanation needed?
13. Copycats
The Dutch Ajax School against the Dutch Barcelona school. The originates always win from their copycats.
And we play in Johannesburg, that's named after me..))!

Paul the octopus made the right choice

Day Opening - July 11

Moon, Jupiter, Venus on Palermo, Italy

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The other face of Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, branded a "moderate" by the international community, let his true colors show during a recent meeting with writers and journalists when he stated that he would favor a pan-Arab military offensive against the Jewish state.

The official Palestinian Authority daily newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on Tuesday wrote that when Abbas met recently with media figures at the home of the Palestinian ambassador to Jordan, he recounted that during an Arab League Summit in Libya in March he told his fellow leaders that he still preferred war against Israel, but could not do it alone.

"We are unable to confront Israel militarily, and this point was discussed at the Arab League Summit," said Abbas. "There I turned to the Arab States and I said: 'If you want war, and if all of you will fight Israel, we are in favor. But the Palestinians will not fight alone because they don't have the ability to do it.'"

The Arab states of the Middle East have tried at least three times to militarily destroy Israel, but each time ended up losing territory to the Jewish state.

The "Palestinian crisis" that was birthed after Israel's liberation of Judea and Samaria (the so-called "West Bank") in 1967 is seen by many Israelis as nothing more than a more calculated and patient approach to ultimately removing Israel from the map.

Yasser Arafat admitted as much in 1993 when he told fellow Palestinians in a pre-recorded message played on Arab television as he signed the "Oslo Accords" that his PLO's guerilla tactics and eventual land-for-peace diplomacy was a phased strategy that would lead to the complete replacement of Israel with another Arab Muslim state:
"Do not forget that our Palestine National Council accepted the decision in 1974. It called for the establishment of a national authority on any part of Palestinian land that is liberated or from which the Israelis withdrew... This is the moment of return, the moment of gaining a foothold on the first liberated Palestinian land."
The 1974 decision referenced by Arafat was the PLO's official acceptance of a phased strategy for destroying Israel, as opposed to the more direct strategy of military conquest that had been employed up until the Yom Kippur War a year earlier.

Despite co-founding the PLO with Arafat, Abbas has long been whitewashed by an international community eager to impose its idea of peaceful conflict resolution on the region. That is why Abbas' remarks in Arabic, such as the one above, are regularly ignored by the world media and Western leaders. But Israelis warn that his views, and the influence they have an the Palestinian general public, ensure that a genuine and lasting peace is impossible to achieve.
source; Ryan Jones for Israel Today

Day Opening - July 10

A sleepwalker..?

Friday, July 9, 2010

A really sad story...

The saddest story of the day is about a campsite near a village in Groningen, the Netherlands, which has been a place of refuge for homeless divorcees as yet more sorrow has been added to the tragedies of love. The residents are not allowed to live there anymore...
The local authority has discovered that people have been staying for months on end and that’s in violation of the zoning plan.

The melodrama is that the campsite as a place “where gallons of tears must have been shed” will be gone. The elderly couple who run the site say they hardly have any holidaymakers and the campsite’s transformation into a modern-day heartbreak hotel was a gradual one. “First came one broken-hearted soul. Then came someone else whose partner had thrown them out on the street.” Their efforts to have the place reclassified as social services accommodation have come to nothing and now the residents will have to move on. That’s bad news for one resident whose break-up left him so shattered that he couldn’t even respond to the local council’s offers of housing. “I needed the peace and quiet here at the campsite. Even going into town was more than I could bear.”
And that's sad...

#Statement 41

You can break down temples, synagoges, churches, mosques but you cannot break someone’s heart since God lives there.

Old Persian Suffi quote

Day Opening - July 9


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The reason why Holland will be world champion soccer 2010...

Holland plays the semi-final against U-R-Gay tonight. And we have special forces...)!

Traffic Jam worse in Amsterdam than Istanbul?

I don't know who wrote that story but a Dutch newspaper reports that Dutch capital, Amsterdam has the worst traffic problems in Europe (..)," and adds, "average home to work travel time is a whopping 31.5 minutes". Do they consider Istanbul Europe, probably not. Anyway IBM investigated traffic jams in cities across the globe and ranked Amsterdam 13th, behind major metropolises such as Beijing, Mexico City, Johannesburg, Moscow and New Delhi.

And the situation in Amsterdam would be significantly worse if the bicycle wasn't so popular; some 23 percent of people in the capital go to work on a bike, compared to an average of two percent in other major cities. Interestingly, people in the Dutch capital are pretty laconic about traffic snarl-ups. IBM mobility expert Mark Huitema tells the "Amsterdammers complain the least about traffic problems".
Mr Huitema says the new government must tackle traffic jams in and around the capital and called for better public transport, more opportunities to work from home and improved traffic information. "Reports on the actual traffic situation in Amsterdam are about 30 minutes behind the facts, says the mobility expert.
Okay, this mobility expert has never been to Istanbul were commuting is average 1 hr, twice a day. And if you have bad luck 2 x 2.5 hrs a day. I know a lot of people who make that 4 a 5 hrs a day. Definetely, for IBM Istanbul is not Europe. And the Amsterdam public transportation is one of the finest in the world. I talk from own experiences.

Day Opening - July 6

The Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cros on Akdamar Island in Lake Van, Turkey

Monday, July 5, 2010

#Statement 40

Safeguarding the rights of others is the most noble and beautiful end of a human being.

Kahlil Gibran

Day Opening - July 5

Islands of Greece, on the right, Turkey!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Turkish court upholds ban on YouTube

So, nothing new:

The Ankara court responsible for the YouTube ban has upheld its decision in an appeal brought forth by an association of technology experts, saying the appeal has no merit because the website has not altered its activities.

The Internet Technologies Association, or İNTED, submitted its appeal petition after the court decided to approve a request from the Press Crimes Department to block 44 proxy websites that provide access to YouTube by hiding users’ IP addresses. But when the Ankara 1st Criminal Court of Peace examined İNTED’s appeal petition, Judge Hayri Keskin rejected it and the dossier has since been sent to Ankara’s 13th Criminal Court for further examination.
“According to the additional decision made by our court, the website still continues to break the law, which makes the YouTube attorney and İNTED’s appeals groundless,” the 1st court said recently.

The court wants YouTube officials to remove “unlawful and inappropriate content” from global access although it is already inaccessible from within Turkey. İNTED, however, said fulfilling this requirement would breech jurisdiction limits “with purposes of establishing international law.”

The 1st court originally banned access to YouTube on May 5, 2008, on grounds that the website had broadcast videos including content defaming Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic. The block on the 44 proxies sites was requested after prosecutor Kürşat Kayral, working in the Press Crimes Department of the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office, inquired at the Telecommunication Transmission Directorate, or TİB, whether there were proxy websites that allowed access to banned websites possible. In their reply, TİB confirmed 44 new proxy servers served the purpose.

More than 60,000 pro-Atatürk videos on YouTube

İNTED’S appeal stated that banning access to YouTube punished all citizens. “There are over 60,000 pro-Atatürk videos on YouTube. How beneficial would it be to ban the many because of a contrary few? It is a miracle to have access to this handful of videos for someone who does not know their exact address,” the petition stated
The petition also noted that because the ban on the website had continued for two years, it constituted a serious limitation on freedoms of communication, freedoms of expression, freedoms of entertainment, freedoms of advertisement, freedoms of learning and freedoms of organization for those citizens who want to use YouTube.
“As citizens of Turkish Republic, we are punished without being guilty," the appeal stated. "Our rights to a fair trail are also limited and the ban seriously undermines Turkey’s prestige.”
The appeal said bans should be used for inappropriate or unlawful material only, likening the situation to shutting down an entire library because it contained a prohibited publication. “Shutting down YouTube is as odd as banning the printing press," the appeal noted. "That is why ECHR [the European Court of Human Rights] gave our case priority.”

Day Opening - July 4 - 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!
Fireworks at the Washington Monument

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bad Losers; Brazil - the Netherlands

The right attitude!.)

Neverlands became the Netherlands

The Netherlands on its way to the finals!

FIFA world ranking soccer by country

Latest FIFA ranking by country (april 2010). New one on the 14th of July 2010

1 Brazil 1611 

2 Spain 1565 

3 Portugal 1249 

4 Netherlands 1231 

5 Italy 1184

6 Germany 1082

7 Argentina 1076 

8 England 1068 

9 France 1044 

10 Croatia 1041 

11 Russia 1015 

12 Egypt 967

13 Greece 964 

14 USA 957 

15 Serbia 947 

16 Uruguay 899 

17 Mexico 895 

18 Chile 888 

19 Cameroon 887

20 Australia 886 

21 Nigeria 883 

22 Norway 882 

23 Ukraine 875

24 Switzerland 866 

25 Slovenia 860 

26 Israel 857 

27 Côte d'Ivoire 856 

28 Romania 853 

29 Turkey 830 

30 Algeria 821 

31 Paraguay 820 

32 Ghana 800 

33 Czech Republic 793 

34 Slovakia 777 

35 Colombia 776

36 Denmark 767 

37 Sweden 761 

38 Honduras 734 

39 Bulgaria 711 

40 Costa Rica 710 

41 Republic of Ireland 709 

42 Gabon 700 

43 Scotland 699 

44 Ecuador 694 

45 Japan 682 

46 Latvia 652 

47 Korea Republic 632 

48 Burkina Faso 611 

49 Venezuela 608 

49 Lithuania 608

Day Opening - July 3: Hãop Holanda hãop!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Holland - Brazil.. 2-1 Sambaybye...

Holland greets Brazil...)


Censocrats @ work in Ankara - D-Day in Turkey?

This article from the BBC gives a good review of the Youtube and Google ban in Turkey. How long does it take to put blogspot (which is Google related) to the blacklist??? When will the allies resurrect against the pencil-licking censocrats and have another D-Day, where D stands for (Re)digitalization...

Last month Turks found they could not access many Google services. YouTube is already banned. The BBC's Jonathan Head looks at this brewing battle between Turkey and one of the giants of the internet.

Sitting in an Istanbul cafe Ozan Tuzun taps away furiously on the keyboard of his laptop, trying to break the invisible walls that surround him.

"I'm going to now to take one of their numbers… I enter it… no that didn't work. Right let's try to get a DNS from Google… no… ok we'll try Ktunnel…"

What Ozan is doing - and it takes him about 10 minutes - is something most of us can do in just seconds.

He wants to watch YouTube. And he's an expert, a technology buff; most people trying the same thing from Turkey would give up.

"It's very frustrating, it makes me feel like I'm living in a third world country," he says.

The ban on YouTube was imposed by a court in Ankara on 5 May 2008, after a series of 17 temporary bans the preceding year.

The grounds by the courts given each time varied, but they followed a number of complaints from Turkish citizens about videos on YouTube deemed insulting to Kemal Ataturk, the country's revered first president.

Crimes against Ataturk

In 2007 the government passed a sweeping law regulating the internet, known as Law No 5651.

It allows a court to block any website where there is "sufficient suspicion" that a crime has occurred.

The eight crimes listed include child pornography, gambling, prostitution, and "crimes against Ataturk". Insulting or denigrating Ataturk was already a crime.

The Turkish government refuses to publish statistics, but campaigners for internet freedom estimate that more than 4,000 websites are currently blocked, making internet censorship in Turkey amongst the heaviest in the world.

"For years I wrote about China and Middle Eastern countries that tried to censor the internet," says Serdar Kuzuoglu, the technology editor for Radikal newspaper, "but I could never imagine that one day I would be writing the same things about my own country."

"The blocking process is very unclear. There are eight categories of crimes which allow the courts to block a site, but it can also come from an individual complaint.

"It's very difficult to find the responsible person."

Read the full article here.

Day Opening - Happy Birthday Canada

Happy Birthday Canada (1 July)

Arash's World: So many Books, So little Time#links

Arash's World: So many Books, So little Time#links

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Black boxes in operation rooms?

What about introducing a black box into operation rooms at hospitals? Everything a surgeon says and does would be registered as would the condition of the patient. If things went wrong, you would be able to find out exactly what happened. The idea has been introduced in a hospital in the southern Dutch city of Breda. It has been welcomed by the Dutch Health Inspectorate and other hospitals are interested too.
A staggering 1750 patients die unnecessarily in hospitals every year. A doctor explains "By discussing operations and births that go wrong, the number of deaths can be reduced."
The inspectorate agrees a black box would be a "useful aid" to improve team performance. But it warns that it should only be used for this purpose and not to investigate cases afterwards. Otherwise doctors might refuse to cooperate for fears that their work would end up on YouTube.
Interestingly the surname of the journalist who wrote the report happens to be Docter. Coincidence, I guess. Or is Big Brother watching you?

Predator set free for unscrupulous hunting

Women trafficker Saban Baran has been released on bail by the Turkish court in Antalya.

Baran was arrested last February in the southern Turkish resort on suspicion of mistreatment and extortion of his old partner Bekir I.
Turkish Prosecutor demands a possible prison sentence of seven to fifteen years due to Baran's mistreatment and extortion.

The Turkish judge put the, in The Netherlands convicted trafficker, at liberty, after an amount of 16,000 euros was paid. Baran can not leave Turkey and must report every fifteen days. The lawsuit against him continues on October 12.

Baran is being suspected in The Netherlands, together with five others, of unscrupulous trade of women. He was therefore sentenced to 7.5 years in prison. The trafficker fled to Turkey last September when the court in Arnhem temporaily suspended his custody so he could see his newborn baby.
The appeal against Baran and the five other defendants in the so-called research Snap begins October 1 with the hearing of all present suspects. The court is expected to hear the public prosecutor's demands on November 19.

Meanwhile, protests from several European Ministers of Justice are heard, in order to warn Turkey not to take these kinds of decisions.

In my humble opinion, I wonder what the judicial representative must have been thinking. Doesn't he have a daughter who goes to clubs, ran by dangerous criminals like Baran, risking deportation to other countries and being abused in order to make money for Baran??? Come on, judge, wake up, if you go on like this, Turkey will become infamous for housing ruthless predators. Which is worse: bomb threats in touristic areas or men abducting innocent girls and women? What must've gone through the judges mind when he hit his hammer on the desk, in the middle of the tourist season.

Happy holidays...

Day Opening - July 1

Ravello, Italy