Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Khadafi: the dictator


Khadafy, the Libyan dictator, raise his voice.
In February, he was elected head of the African Union and he has transformed this organization into the main foe of the International Criminal Court, guaranteeing to protect Gen. Omar Bashir from its arrest warrant over his alleged crimes in Darfur. He wants that the USA and Europe pay 7.3 trillion € to African countries. As compensation money for the colonization of parts of Africa by European countries.
Africa is using this rhetoric for a long time, mainly by some dictators who enriched them selves.
That 7.3 € trillion will not be the problem, the problem will be that people like Khadafi lacks self reflection: it were the Arabs, Mongols, Seljuk Turks etc we were the colonisators bringing slavery to Europe.

Day Opening - September 23


The Burj, Dubai.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Question (3)

A paradox: how should liberal, tolerant Europeans protect their values, even as they protect the rights of the less liberal minorities in their midst?

Arabs bear brunt of gene disorders

According the National, Dubai's newspaper, Arabs suffer from one of the highest rates of genetic disease in the world, according to a research institute. Some 906 genetic disorders have been identified in Arabs and their descendants, reports the Centre for Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS), and about 200 of those are prevalent among Arabs in the GCC alone.

Several common diseases in the UAE, Oman and Bahrain have reached epidemic levels – more than 100 cases per 100,000. They include thalassaemia (a blood disorder), diabetes, breast cancer and Down’s syndrome. Less common genetic disorders in the Emirates include muscular dystrophy and kidney disease.
About 63 per cent of the genetic conditions in Arab populations are due mostly to marriage between close relatives such as first cousins, clinically known as consanguinity.
Such marriages, deeply ingrained in Arab culture, are on the rise in the UAE, where the rate is the fifth-highest in the Arab world. In Dubai, 40 per cent of marriages are between relatives, according to the latest statistics. In Al Ain that figure reaches 54 per cent, and in Abu Dhabi 32 per cent. Across the Arab world, Sudan and Mauritania have the highest rates, amounting to two-thirds of all marriages. However, consanguinity is on the decline in, for example, Egypt and Tunisia.

More about the I-net bans in Turkey

With a decision from June this year the Beyoğlu (Istanbul) Public Prosecutor's Office now blocked access to MySpace and Last FM, two of the world's biggest sites for socializing and music-sharing. Both artists and internet users voiced their disapproval of the decision.

The decision to block the two internet portals and also the Turkish site AkıllıTv.com ('Smart TV) was taken by the Public Prosecutor's Office of Beyoğlu, a centrally located district of Istanbul. It was not authorized by the Supreme Council Telecommunication.
The decision was dated 26 June, however, the Beyoğlu public prosecutor's office did not explain why access to the websites was blocked with a delay of almost 3 months on 20 September. According to the prosecutor's office, the decision was a result of a court case filed by the Association of Interconnected Ownership Right Phonogram Producers (MÜYAP).
Users who wanted to access the sites in the past days had to read the following announcement: "Access has been blocked to this site due to a court decision. Access is denied by decision no. 2009/45 of the Turkish Republic Beyoğlu Public Prosecutor's Office, dated 26.06.2009."

The Turkish website "sansuresansur.org" ('censor to censorship') prompted internet users on their website not to accept the bans without a word of protest. Musician Aylin Aslım wrote the following on her facebook site:
"Blocking access to myspace.com is serious injustice to independent musicians in Turkey. We do not want to be forced to return to music channels and record companies with their filthy politics. We want our music to be available freely to everybody who wants to listen to it".

On the day the blockage was effected, MÜYAP published a news item on its website entitled "Turkey on rank 7 in Europe concerning blockages". The news starts as below:
"In comparison with other European countries internet users in Turkey spend more time in the internet and access a larger number of web pages".

Mehmet Tez from Milliyet daily newspaper commented the blockage on his own web page hafifmusik.org ('light music'): "Well done! A great success. Turkey is proud of you".
Myspace is one of the world's biggest sites of socializing and music sharing. Many artists communicate with their fans in their personalized section of myspace and share their music releases for free.

Last FM is a web based radio site where the members can create their own program by using their personal archives. Other users can also listen to those personalized programs. Users are being charged if they exceed a certain limit. Some record companies and artists share their music on this site.

Akıllı TV is one of Turkey's interactive video-sharing sites. There is also a TV channel with the same name.

Access to youtube.com has been blocked for 16 months now on the grounds of "contents contrary to Atatürk". After the ban of youtube.com other sites like blogspot.com and dailymotion.com were censored as well. Access to geocities.com is still blocked. (BÇ/VK)
Source: Bianet.org

Muslim men in Holland miss family after breaking fast (by Freek Schravesande)

Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that marks the end of the Ramadan fast, is all about nice food, presents and visiting family. But not everyone breaking their fast in the Netherlands can be with their families.

Mercator Square in Amsterdam was bustling with activity on Sunday. Men in neat suits were talking animatedly on their cell phones, families were ringing the doorbells of apartments, groups of girls in high spirits were heading downtown. But Mustafa Birgul (40) sat on a bench by himself, waiting for a call from a friend. On the first day of the three-day celebrations after the Islamic month of fasting he missed his family more than ever.
"These are the hardest days of the year," Birgul said. "My wife, family and three children live in Turkey. I wish I was able to visit them this Eid but as long as I don't have a residence permit, the immigration services won't let me go back." In retrospect, Birgul might have preferred to stay in Turkey altogether. "It was the right choice economically: I have a tailoring business. But what else have I got here? Nothing really. I work and I walk around. I would feel much stronger if my family were with me. I miss my seven-year-old daughter most."

So he spent part of the holiday on the phone with his family and was waiting to go for a drink with a friend.

Birgul is not the only one who is alone during Eid. Around the Mercator Square area many coffee houses, cafés, cannabis-selling coffee shops, cafeterias and international call shops were full of Moroccans and Turks, mostly men, for whom it appeared to be an evening like any other.
In the Canan coffee house three groups of men were playing cards. The owner Haydar Sastim (41) had put some sweet treats on the counter and strangers shook hands. "But apart from that, it is business as usual," Sastim said.
Like Birgul, he phoned his wife in Turkey, but he failed to get hold of her because the lines were busy. Millions of Turks all over Europe, especially in Germany, were trying to reach their families at the same time.
Sastim wished his wife were with him. He has been trying to get her into the country for a while now. "I got furious at the courts. My wife is not a criminal and I run my own business, I told them. But, alas, we are not really free here in the Netherlands, are we?", said Sastim, who has lived in the Netherlands for over 20 years.

Life has been hard on him, he says. "The business has declined since they introduced paid parking until midnight here. The economy is depressed. And I miss my wife, along with the mountains, the sea, the park, the food. That's why I am considering moving back to Turkey, for good."
There were some Muslims who chose to be alone for part of the holiday. At the FEBO fast food place Cuneyit Karakest (24) and a friend were eating a hamburger. "We have been surrounded by family since four in the morning. First we did the prayer with the men, while the women stayed home to prepare the food. Then we all ate together: olives, goat's cheese, tea, salads. And all these relatives came over."
When he was younger Karakest chose to run downtown with friends soon after breakfast. "A lot of young people still do that. But it ís a holy day. Plus, we are getting older."
But he still escaped for a minute to get what he missed most during Ramadan. "Fast food."
(Today is the last day of Bayram)

Day Opening - September 22


Tea House of Castle Zeist, the Netherlands.

Monday, September 21, 2009

EC droppers

Besides all those bans lately in Turkey, also blogger.com is difficult to reach and access to internations is not always easy, sometimes impossible.
For EC droppers, sometimes I skip blogs with the doman name blogspot; it takes simple too much time to load a page, up to 5 minutes.
Hope everything will change soon!

Still smoking?


Gruesome images await British smokers these days as a new series of graphic pictures is set to appear on cigarette packages. Canadian smokers have seen similar images for years and it has had a dramatic impact on smoking. 15 different shocking pictures of cigarette damaged bodies will appear. The images replace the strongly written text warnings that have been on U.K. cigarette packs.
Will it helps?


Day Opening - September 21


The beauty of an eagle

More ban's in Turkey

Bt Arda Kutsal:

Access to MySpace and Last.fm is banned by Turkish court. We are currently not fully informed about the reason of the ban, but it may be due to music copyright violations. And again, this ban may be a consequence of a case filed by Turkish Union of Music Producers (MÜYAP) in order to protect music rights.
Turkish internet users can still reach both sites via
OpenDNS. Also, you can reach last.fm by changing language settings to English, since the ban on last.fm is over the address lastfm.com.tr and only users with Turkish language selection are redirected.
Just to remind, YouTube is banned in Turkey for over a year and the case hasn’t been able to be resolved between both parties since then.
We believe the “web site bans” have a big negative effect on Turkish economy while Turkey has 7th largest and most engaged online audience in Europe with its 27 million Internet users. As comScore stated in the
report published in May 2009, internet users in Turkey spend more time online and consume more pages than users in other European countries.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

(Darbe) Coup

Below you will find a link to a documentary of two friends, Elef Savas and Brian Felsen, made 10 years ago about the coups in Turkey.

As one person it so nicely stated: 'Turkish political struggle is cannabalistic', 'there are fundamentalists and fascists'.

Many well known Turkish people are interviewed in the 160 minutes long documentary.

Although made ten years ago, it will give you a good insight how some forces in Turkey are working. Elif her blog, in Turkish, is on this blog its blogroll. She lives for 15 years in the USA.

Click here to watch the movie.
Enjoy!

Day Opening - September 20 - Happy Bayram


Wishing all the Muslims a Happy Bayram - iyi bayramlar!
(on the picture: Turkish Delight)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Question (2)

(two Israelian girls in the army)

The official doctrine of the Turkish army (TSK) is; there is still an internal as an external threat as well. If so, why is there not a compulsory military service for Turkish women? Do they, the TSK, consider them, women, as ‘internal threat!?

Viagra for Jihadists


...
source: TheWestisTheVeryBest

Arash's World: The Buddhist Concepts of Right Thought and Right Speech and the Perception of Others

Arash's World: The Buddhist Concepts of Right Thought and Right Speech and the Perception of Others

Day Opening - September 19


Keukenhof, the Netherlands
Tulips, tulips and tulips...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Armenians and those Bloody Turks!

The Armenian Democide issue is a sensitive one. Both for Armenians as Turks as well! I’m not going to discuss here if those claims are true (above all, this is a matter between Armenians and Turks, not foreigners) but how some ultranationalists perceive ‘the other’. More preciciously (since we already know how Turks (ultra) nationalists are caught in their narrow mindness) how many Armenians looks at Turks in general. And it makes me furious how some Armenians (especially the young ones) have a deep grounded hate for everything what is Turk(ish), which disturbing attitude is as much insane as when I should hold every German responsible for what they did to my country, family and kinsmen! Is my wife, are my friends, my in-laws responsible? No. The state apparatski of Turkey probably. In this I follow the well respected Prof. Dr. Eric Jan Zurcher who in June 2005 was awarded the Medal of High Distinction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey. He simple acknowledge the ‘Armenian genocide’ but that a joint commission would be a disaster and at the same time he said ‘stop portraying Turks as evil’.
Today I came across another good article of ORHAN KEMAL CENGİZ, about whom I wrote last week. Here some excerpts;


I am not a religious person. I am not Kurdish. I am not gay. I am not Christian. I am not Armenian. I am not Roma. But I have spent all my life defending these people's rights.
I am a human rights defender. When I describe myself, I say I am a human rights defender, a lawyer and a writer. It was during my first time in London in 1998 that I realized, no matter what I do, I was a “bloody Turk” for some people. Ironically, I was working for the Kurdish Human Right Project there, and we were taking cases to the European Court of Human Rights, as a result of which I felt deeply threatened by the deep state elements in my country. When I met with the Armenian community in London, I turned into a representative of Turkey. It was the first time my “Turkishness” took precedence over all my qualifications.


The massacres of Armenians were carried out by a certain mindset, by a political movement. Unfortunately, this political movement also created the official Turkish history, one in which there is no place for Armenians. And the state is in complete denial of what happened in Turkey in the past. This denial unfortunately gives strong support to a racist approach toward Turkey and its people.

It is very unfortunate that some Armenians, while believing they are seeking justice, have turned into hopeless racists. They do not want to believe that there are many good people in this country. They do not want to remember that there were also Turks who lost their lives while trying to protect Armenians. They hold tightly on to this image of the “bloody Turk.” Every Turk, every individual living in Turkey, is just a murderer for them.

Read herreeee the article.

Statement #22

It’s easier to proof that something exist than that something doesn’t exist.

Some depressing facts about Turkish Justice

ECHR: 9 out of 10 Cases in Turkey Unjust.

Out of a total of 97,300 cases in the hands of the ECHR 11.4 percent are from Turkey. 1,676 out of 1939 cases from Turkey are concerned with violations of the European Convention. In 50 years only 37 decisions taken by Turkish courts were justified by the ECHR.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) celebrates its 50th year after its foundation in 1959. The ECHR gave an overview about the cases tried before the European court between 1959 and 1 January 2009 and announced a "pride report" for Turkish courts.

50. kuruluş yıldönümünü kutlayan İnsan Hakları Mahkemesi (AİHM), kurulduğu 1959 yılından 1 Ocak 2009 tarihine kadar "süren yargılamalar" ile ilgili durumu aktarırken Türkiye yargısının "gurur karnesi"ni de açıkladı.

The ECHR filed its first decision on 14 November 1960 regarding "Lawless-Ireland". On 18 September 2008 the court decided its 10,000th case. Since 1 January 2009 the court has 97,300 application files to deal with. Half of these cases are concerned with complaints from Turkey, Russia and Romania.

11.4 percent of all ECHR files are from Turkey

Applications from Turkey account for 11.4 percent of all ECHR cases. 47 countries with a total population of 800 million people are members of the European Council. Within this group only Turkey fulfills a ratio of 11,300 complaints out of a population of 70 million people.

More herreee

Day Opening - September 18


Beginner ballerinas

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Clampdown on Import brides to the Netherlands

The Dutch Christian Democrat party, senior partner in the ruling coalition, wants to tighten immigration restrictions on so-called ‘import brides’.
Men with roots in Morocco and Turkey, and increasingly Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, frequently marry women from their country of origin since they are more raised traditionally, who then join them in the Netherlands, causing huge integration problems. Most of these women are barely educated and never went abroad before.
Restrictions on obtaining a residence permit to join a spouse in the Netherlands were already tightened in 2004. Both partners now have to be over 21, and the partner coming to the Netherlands has to have a sustainable independent income of at least 120 percent of the minimum wage.
Moreover, would-be immigrants have to pass a Dutch language and culture test, referred to as the Civic Integration Examination, before actually leaving their own country, or having set foot in the Netherlands. They are required to study Dutch in their own country and take a computerised test by telephone, and answer questions in Dutch on a film depicting Dutch society.
However, Mr Van Geel told de Volkskrant newspaper that the civic integration test abroad has a 95 percent pass rate. Claiming that inner city Dutch neighbourhoods are unable to cope with a flood of ‘import brides’, he says the test should be made more difficult. He also proposes barring entry to marriage migrants who have no professional qualifications. Following the advice of most Dutch political parties from the right to the left with the exeption of Labor.
The USA is more strict than most West European countries regarding integration: only well educated people are able to emigrate to America.

Day Opening - September 17


An Angel Suddenly Slipped Away
150 x 150cm
Mehmet Güleryüz / Turkey

Arash's World: Sophistry, Flattery, Art and Philosophy in a Commercial World

Arash's World: Sophistry, Flattery, Art and Philosophy in a Commercial World

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Europe wealthier than North America


Europe replaced North America as the world’s richest region last year as measured by assets under management, a survey by the Boston Consulting Group said.
North America, defined as the U.S. and Canada, had $29.3 trillion in assets under management, compared with $32.7 trillion in Europe in 2008, according to the survey released Tuesday by the Boston-based firm. Japan’s global wealth is No. 3 with $13.5 trillion.

The biggest drop, started in September 2008, occurred in North America, where wealth plunged 22 percent, according to the survey. The second-biggest decline was Japan, where wealth fell almost 8 percent in local currencies. Latin America, defined by the survey as Mexico, South America and Central America, was the only region where wealth grew, by 3 percent.

A couple of years ago I watched an US TV program where they interviewed residents of NYC with the question if Canada is part of North America. Many people had to think deep and many simple said NO..)!!


Back on earth



Thought last Sunday that I was back to square 1; used for almost one week daily the anti-biotic Alevox, and two injections of Novosef a day, together with painkillers and some medicines for my lunges. I can tell you that this all together is pretty heavy stuff. And I felt pretty high and stoned. But it caused also side effects such as dizziness and wanted to sleep all the time. Made a mistake probably the first week by while using these medicines, I was walking around instead of staying in bed as the doctor prescribed. So started again with both drugs last Sunday for a couple of days and this time I stayed in bed. Didn’t had much energy to do something, but I slept pretty much all day long.
Dutch hospitals and other European health centers are not easy with prescribing drugs, in contrary with here in Turkey and in the USA, as I’m talking from my own experiences. I don’t know which the best is, but too many medicines are not that good for your immune system and liver. Anyway it looks like that I’m back on my feet, so Gung HO!
I didn’t reply for almost 2 weeks to one email. Don’t worry, that will come later. And regarding the flooding, we are living far away from the disaster zone!

Day Opening - September 16


Photo shot at the 'Tea Party' last week in Washington DC.
Racism?!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Did you know that (10)

Forty-five percent of employers have researched job candidates on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, and thirty-five percent have found information that caused them not to hire certain candidates.
Source: Careerbuilder.com survey

Day Opening - September 15


A place in the West of France.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wolves in the Netherlands

I am pretty sure that some Turks in the Netherlands are delighted by the following news and I hoop they don't get strange ideas by it:

The Netherlands has come within range of wolves. According to the Dutch Mammal Society, a number of wolf packs in the German federal state of Hessen are now just 200 kilometers away from the Dutch border. As young wolves can roam up to 50 kilometres per day, it is possible that some of them are straying onto Dutch territory. The society suspects the wolves could be attracted by the abundant wildlife in the De Veluwe nature preserve. Wolves were last seen living in the wild in the Netherlands at the end of the 19th century.

Day Opening - September 13


Astronomical clock, Prague, Czech Republic

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day Opening - September 12


Tired ofter flying? Welcome on board. (click on picture to enlarge)

Friday, September 11, 2009

On Sept. 11, Armenian massacres, butterflies, the caliphate and the EU


A good friend, Orhan Kemal Cengiz, published today his opinion about 9/11, Turkey, Armenia etc.
Orhan is a lawyer and represent the families of the three men, tortured and killed in an attack at a Christian publishing house in April 2007 in Malatya Turkey.
He is a chairman of AI International in Turkey.
Orhan can only 'replace' himself with a bodyguard: 24/7/365
Here som excerpts:

If Turkey can recover its memory, if Turkey maintains peace with its Muslim identity on the one hand and its long history with Christians on the other, I believe this country will hold the key to the 21st century. Maybe I should write many different articles trying to explain what I am trying to tell you now, but let us view this column as an introduction to this vast area.

While the Ottoman Empire was disintegrating, it wasn't only the Christians who were massacred; the Muslim identity of this country was also denied completely. It appears paradoxical, does it not? This is what makes understanding Turkey so difficult. Christians were massacred to purify Anatolia, to create a nation-state. These massacres were carried out by the very people who tried to modernize Turkey. These “modern” people orchestrated massacres to create a nation-state that is based on a Muslim identity but also, in order to “modernize” society and to create a “modern state,” they banned every kind of expression of religious identity in the public sphere and exerted extreme control over every part of religious life. During these massacres, many devoted Muslims disobeyed orders and tried to save non-Muslims, believing this was what their religion ordered them to do.

Today is Sept. 11, the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the twin towers in New York. Today our hearts will be with the innocent Americans whose only mistake was being in those buildings at the time of the attacks. It is not nice to speculate over incidents involving human suffering, incidents that are very tragic. But to prevent them from happening again, we should try to understand what conditions made their occurrence possible.

Read here the article.

Did you know that (9)

A Dutch-Moroccan man accused of circumcising his 5-year-old daughter with a pair of scissors has been acquitted by a court in the Dutch city of Haarlem. The public prosecutor had demanded a 6-year jail sentence and is appealing the acquittal. The father was sentenced to three months in jail for another offence, having physically abused his daughter by biting and hitting her. He was arrested last year after his daughter had told her foster mother that her father had "cut her with a big pair of scissors". When doctors checked the girl, they found that part of her minor labia and the clitoris were missing.

Day Opening - September 11


9/11 Remember.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Halal search machine in the world!


(Halal Swimming)
A new invention made in the Netherlands, the Halaal search machine. Halaal means for Muslims fundamentalists ‘any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law’. It is the opposite of Haraam. Haraam refer to anything that is prohibited by Islam faith and its antonym to Halaal. So…type in the words ‘Homo’, ‘gay’, ‘sex’, ‘alcohol’…and you will know the level of how Haraam (how bad) this is for you. For example: Alcohol gives the following result:
Oops! Your search inquiry has a Haram level of 1 out of 3. This means that the results fetched by ImHalal.com could be haram!

The same result while typing the word ‘pig’
But worse if you want to know what ‘Lesbian’ means:
Oops! Your search inquiry has a Haram level of 3 out of 3! I would like to advise you to change your search terms and try again.

Are we getting insane or not?!
So go check this Halaal search engine and tell us your experiences.

Proposal: keep Tourists out in cannabis-selling coffee shops

Don't know how they are going to realize this but the Dutch government wants to maintain its tolerant policy towards cannabis and keep so-called coffee shops open, but they should no longer be tourist attractions, some Dutch ministers wrote in a letter that was leaked to the press on Tuesday....
The ministers of Justice, Home affairs and Health wrote that reducing the number of coffee shops and keeping foreigners out should make it easier to reduce crime and other nuisances the coffee shops are now causing.
A government memorandum on altering the coffee shop policy and other drug-related issues is expected this fall, but the letter already shows where the ministers now stand. They want to implement a members-only system to keep tourists out. Herds of tourist who buy their drugs in border towns near Belgium and Germany have become a pest in several places and neighbouring countries have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Dutch system.

The Netherlands has been tolerant about the use and sale of weed and hash for three decades. Cultivation and wholesale of the drug are prohibited however. This discrepancy has become known as the 'gedoogbeleid' (tolerance policy).
An advisory committee said in July that the policy has gotten out of control in the past 15 years and needs to go back to small, private shops for local users. It advised against legalising soft drugs altogether.
The ministers want municipalities to implement a members-only system, where members can by up to three grammes of hash or weed each with their (Dutch) bank card. This should make it less appealing for tourists to travel to the Netherlands to buy cannabis. But of course, all kind of brokers will pop up! Maybe it's only a sign that the Dutch government wants to silence their critics abroad. The sales and use of weed and hash decreased significantly among Dutch citizens over the past 10 years.

Day Opening - September 10


Red Petals in the Breeze (click on picture to enlarge)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Le Temps de Vivre

Nous prendrons le temps de vivre
D'être libres mon amour
Sans projets et sans habitudes
Nous pourrons rêver notre vie

Viens, je suis là, je n'attends que toi
Tout est possible, tout est permis2

Viens, écoute, les mots qui vibrent
Sur les murs du mois de Mai
Ils te disent la certitude
Que tout peut changer un jour

Nous prendrons le temps de vivre
D'être libres mon amour...

By: George Moustaki

Day Opening - September 9


Waiting for Dinner

Arash's World: An Ancient Greek Sense of Female Beauty: The Platonic Aspirations of an Aesthetic Lover

Arash's World: An Ancient Greek Sense of Female Beauty: The Platonic Aspirations of an Aesthetic Lover

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Netherlands has become less competitive over the past year in the world

The Netherlands has become less competitive over the past year, the World Economic Forum rankings published on Tuesday show. The Netherlands fell from 8th to 10th position, mainly because of worries over the solvency of the banking sector. More difficult access to credit for Dutch businesses is also cited as a problem factor, together with an inefficient government bureaucracy and restrictive labour regulations. Infrastructure in the Netherlands is found to be insufficient, the road network in particular, hampering the transport sector.
The rankings are led by Switzerland, overtaking the United States as the world's most competitive economy. The least competitive country, at place 133 in the list, is Burundi. Last year, Zimbabwe was at the tail end of the list. It is now no. 132.
The WEF competitiveness top 10 for 2009 reads as follows:

1 Switzerland
2 United States
3 Singapore
4 Sweden
5 Denmark
6 Finland
7 Germany
8 Japan
9 Canada
10 Netherlands

Protesting Obama


...))
From this site.

Did you know that ? (8)

There is an USA congressional proposal to charge a $10 travel fee for EU citizens travelling to the USA which would finance an US program to promote travelling to the USA.
If it passes, the EU says, some U.S. travelers to Europe could face retaliation.

Day Opening - September 8


The Spanish Hall in Schloss Ambras, Innbruck.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Turkish health care: in general underrated.

Some of the readers who follow this blog closely know that the last year I was regularly absent due to flu. Recently 5 weeks ago; flu came and went away, but several days later the same. I thought it was the heat, humidity combined with my disturb immune system (read; long emphysema). In April I did a quick check up at a private clinic and everything was okay, tough, they didn’t look at my lunges.
Last Friday I went to a friend who happens to be a medical doctor. The first he said to me was ‘you don’t belong here, you belong in a hospital’. In fact, the 15 meters from my car to his front door was already a torture. Anyway, went to the ER of the Florence Nightingale Hospital here in Istanbul,. Within 5 minutes a bunch of nurses and doctors around me, doing test after test. The last one a computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan. And on that they could diagnose me with a severe double pneumonia and a bacterial infection. A pneumonia which gradually developed to a serious and severe infection. I remember that the American Hospital in Istanbul (only ‘American’ in name) me two years diagnosed me with lung cancer which they later withdrew…and some other bad experiences there in contrary with a German Hospital or even state hospitals!
Anyway, I was impressed by how this ER works and helped me the last 4 days: a quick and good service! Definitely, Turkish healthcare system proved to be reliable and it works quickly.
The last time that I had to go to the ER was when I lived in Miami 8 years ago and was beaten by an insect and my arms became red. I went to one of the best Miami hospitals their ER…and more than 50 people were waiting in a messy waiting room. No thank you! I called my doctor in the Netherlands, who told me what to do. That is not necessary here!

Note: I didn't do that much the last days, also because family was over. And there are a lot of unanswered emails...

Day Opening - September 7


A dog watching the sunset.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Freak accident


Freaking true accident...

This tough little 4-year old is lucky to still be around. A freak car accident in Turkey sent this boy airbourne after a car flew down a set of stairs right after clipping the child in the behind.

The pictures don’t do the event justice but the video shows the speed and impact of the car on the Turkish kid. It’s rather amazing that the little boy stands up relatively okay (he’s probably more shocked than anything).

I guess I can say we’re all relieved that something worse didn’t come out of the whole situation.

Did the driver suffer any repercussions (couple of demerit points…maybe)?



Day Opening - September 6


Early Life in Texas.)!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Wikipedia and Wikitrust: together more reliable?

A couple of weeks ago the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, announced that they will hire 1.700 editors. As everybody knows Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia which everybody can edit, even anonymous! The source became therefore less and less trustfully. While many thinks that this online product has the same quality as for example the Britannica, they are wrong; the fact that everybody (after being logged in) can change and adapt the text to their own insights makes it vulnerable for biased opinion makers about sensitive issues on politics, history, social sciences, psychology etc. And each country, community, social groups etc. wants of course the most beautiful language for ‘their issues’.

Now Wikipedia created another feature: An optional one called “WikiTrust” which will color code every word of the encyclopedia based on the reliability of its author and the length of time it has persisted on the page. And that’s a good case. You cannot make your own arguments hiding behind only Wikipedia information or even use your own blog entries as a ‘resource’. The time is over for populist and unfundamental argumentations & argumentations. At least, I hope so.

Question (1)

Will the global recession leads to a new global world order?

Digging into Geert Wilders ancestry

This is funny to read and explains a lot at the same time:

The rumour had been circulating for years: Geert Wilders is an 'Indo' (an Indonesian-European, an ethnic mix that originated when the Dutch colonised Indonesia).

In June a genealogist said he had found several Indonesian ancestors of the populist Dutch politician known for his rabid anti-immigrant and anti-Islam ideas. Now anthropologist Lizzy van Leeuwen describes how his roots can be seen as the driving force behind his outspoken views.
In an article in the left-wing weekly De Groene Amsterdammer Van Leeuwen asks: "Is it possible that the post-colonial and family history have made Wilders what he and his politics are today?" The article is an intellectual attempt to analyse what drives Wilders to say that "all immigration from Islamic countries should be halted" and that "all fundamental problems in the Netherlands are related to immigration". The conclusion reached by Van Leeuwen is that these statements - plus the fact that he dies his hair peroxide blond - are indeed related to his genealogical link to the largest Islamic country. Geert Wilders' increasing popularity made his Party for Freedom the second largest Dutch party in European parliament in June. Known for his anti-establishment and anti-immigration politics, Wilders has been calling himself a 'Dutch freedom fighter'. But given that his mother's roots lay outside of the Netherlands, Van Leeuwen says a sense of 'displacedness' is the recurring, underlying motive in his statements.

The 6-page article reveals that Wilders' grandmother, Johanna Ording-Meijer, came from an old Jewish-Indonesian family and that Wilders lied about this in his 2008 biography. However, Van Leeuwen, an expert on the position of Indo-Dutch people in the post-colonial age, goes beyond the notion that a politician known for judging others on their ethnic roots can himself be traced to foreign ancestors.
Van Leeuwen went into the national archives to find the sad story of Wilders' grandfather on his mother's side. Johan Ording was a regional financial administrator in the Dutch colony who suffered several bankruptcies and was fired while on leave in the Netherlands in 1934. He was reduced to begging when the government refused to give him a pension, but later made it to prison director. Van Leeuwen suggests that Wilders is out to avenge the injustice done to his grandfather.
But more than anything, he was defined by his Indo-roots, she says. Indonesia was a Dutch colony until 1949 and many mixed-race people moved to the Netherlands after the Indonesian independence. Van Leeuwen describes how these people were put in the same 'cultural minority' box with labour immigrants from Turkey and Morocco, whom they felt no connection to at all. More so, they had always felt very patriotic about the Netherlands and harboured strong sentiments against Islam, the dominant religion in their motherland.
Van Leeuwen explains how this group has long been part of extreme-right movements (many supported the Dutch Nazi party NSB in Indonesia in the 1930s) while others belonged to the far-right of the right-wing liberal party VVD. She puts Wilders' statements in the conservative and colonial tradition of this group, which strongly believed in patriotism and "European values".
Van Leeuwen's analysis goes beyond the personal level: "The fact that Wilders obviously operates in a post-colonial political dimension, without it being recognised, says a lot about how the Netherlands dealt with, and still deals with the colonial past. Keep quiet, deny, forget and look the other way have been the motto for decades. Because of that, no one could imagine that what happened in Indonesia 50 years ago could still have its impact on modern-day politics."
And the hair? Van Leeuwen says his died mop is a "political symptom not taken serious enough". She thinks it was a brilliant move to step away from his Indonesian roots and hide his post-colonial revanchism. Although this may also be an example of his "classic Indo identity alienation."
Wilders has not responded to the publication.

Day Opening - September 5


A rainy night in Liverpool (click on picture to enlarge)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Some interesting facts about Sarah Palin (1)

Sarah Michael Palin was born February 30, 1968 in Idaho after being conceived in Satanic Ritual Abuse by the Republican Party. She is the half-milf governor of Alaska, and was the 2008 Republican Party nominee for the office of Vice President in the 2008 United States presidential election. She is best known for being the second sexiest candidate running for Vice President in 2008, and recently surpassed singer Jewel as the top result for the Google search "crazy alaska hottie".
The mother of thirteen (not including numerous aborted fetuses), she is a certified self-rejuvenating virgin who enjoys eating caribou, banning books and saying feminist, empowering statements like "Math is hard!" when you pull the string on the back of her neck. The movie "Cannibal Holocaust" (1980) is based loosely on Palin's courtship with her husband.
Early Life
Palin was born deep beneath Idaho, and when she was young her family moved to Inuit country, far above the arctic circle, to get away from black people and homosexuals. She was reported to be born with her head up her ass and foot in her mouth. Through the dark arts taught to her by her witchdoctor/pastor of her church, she is able to look like a normal person by means of a head which is not really there. Many scientists speculate she is the dumbest person on the planet. This is backed up by her entire existance as the most moronic person alive. The only reason she was elected Governer of Alaska is because the people just felt so darn bad for her.
As a child, Palin had few cronies friends. To amuse herself she took up the hobby of putting lipstick on her family pets, which swiftly became an obsession. To date, she has applied it liberally to pitbulls, pigs, and her children. At one point, she even considered opening a pet-lipstick store.

Palin putting lipstick on a caribou, oh wait, that's not...
Prior to her life in public service, she earned the nickname "bespectacled cunt-brarian" for her young looks, glasses and effective shushing sound (which is generally followed with a subtle "ya know, jeese louuwheeese"). In fact, her glasses apparently give her the extraordinary ability to see the Russia--but evidently not Africa--from anywhere in her home state. She also spent several years as a customer liason for the fortune 500 company "Hooters", working for client satisfaction in one of the local
Source: uncyclopedia

Day Opening - September 3


Long way ahead.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Day Opening - September 2


Constantinople (now Istanbul), Golden Gate Bridge, ca 1900 (click on photo to enlarge)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

From Word file to PDF

I know, I'm a geek, but it's great how you can use the world wide web for almost everything you want.

Today I had to write an official letter which I don't want to be changed. You can lock the words in Word, but a PDF file is like a picture. Added an extra document, even enclosed my signature.

So went on the web in search for a converter and voila! Found doc2pdf. Couldn't keep this for myself.

Now I've to wait if they accept it as an official reply.

Did you know that ? (7)

Yesterday, 31 August 2009, legislation granting lesbians equal birth rights in England and Wales came into effect, meaning both parents can now be named on a child's birth certificate. The legislation was criticised by those who believe it was "damaging the traditional notion of a family".

Day Opening - September 1


Look!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Turkish sensationalism - Journalism

It looks like that I am not the only Dutch in Turkey who is disturbed by the sensationalistic and prejudice Turkish press. No matter if they are Zaman, Hurriyet or Cumhuriyer. They all show some ignorance when it comes to foreign relations. Or do they play the nationalistic card; the faults made when Turks are involved are always caused by foreigners; Turks don’t make any mistakes, so simple is that. Remember the terrible crash of Turkish Airlines in Amsterdam dd. 25.02.09 which killed nine people and around 80 injured? It was the fault of the Dutch, the wind, Boeing etc. In the end, an independent commission reached to the conclusion that it was the fault of the crew, which was not prepared. But the crew was already buried in Turkey with honor and grace. No word in the Turkish press that it was Turkish Airlines its fault, to keep the spirit high I guess.
To the point; most of the Turkish media reported lately a raise in Islamphobia in the Netherlands; 3 Turks were killed and this was the result of racism. The murders were Dutch even before the police ended their investigations. But what was the result of this investigation? They all were murdered by fellow Turks. One, the well known Turkish Dutch owner of a day care is supposedly killed by a Turkish homeless guy. The other two, by Turkish gangs.
Here what a fellow Dutch wrote in Radikal, an excerpt:

In the meantime, I wish those same Turkish newspapers would make it clear to their readers that it was very unfortunate that they had jumped to conclusions. In the future, I hope that each incident in Europe related to Islamophobia and involving Turks will be highlighted in the Turkish media and strongly condemned by politicians in Turkey and abroad. But I also hope that incidents without any demonstrable link with racism or xenophobia are presented as they should. As tragic events that are a part of life that, be it reluctantly, we are obliged to accept.

Here the full article

Day Opening - August 31


London.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Uitmarkt - Amsterdam (annual cultural market)

One of the things I miss of Amsterdam is the annual Uitmarkt (Out Market) which heralds the cultural season of Amsterdam with open-air stages and free shows. Last Friday the 32nd edition started. Amsterdam's theatres open their doors to the public and provide free performances indoor and on some of the city's main squares (on the pictures the Dam Square). The idea is to give teasers of what's to come this winter. This year, again, the main stage is on Dam Square, where a variety of well known performers entertain the crowds. These free-of-charge performances range from mime, cabaret, opera, dance, movies, and literature, pop, jazz to classical music.

This year more than 500 shows are performed throughout weekend in the city center, in addition to numerous stalls providing all kinds of information on cultural life of the capital of the Netherlands. Although already the end of the summer, and often bad weather, last year the event attracted more than a half a million visitors. The city centre of Amsterdam is very compact so easy to stroll through the crowds and having a good time!

I especially loved the outdoor pop music concerts.

Just My Two Cents: Random Thoughts #4

Just My Two Cents: Random Thoughts #4

Day Opening - August 30


A surfing dog! (click on picture to enlarge)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fortis Bank Turkey


I was closely involved regarding PR and advertisement with Fortis Bank Turkey in 2005, which had by then a liaison office only. Fortis bank was a Dutch/Belgium bank. And Fortis Turkey was focused on corporate clients, not consumer banking. Prior to their acquisition of Turkish Disbank in April 2005 I warned them of bad publicity when you do mass communication. When they announced the acquisition, a media frenzy was created; this was the major bank acquisition in Turkish history and Fortis paid 4.5 billion for this small Turkish bank. With the takeover my contacts vanished and I saw that Fortis made a ‘Turkish turn’: spend as much as you can on mass communication and everything will be alright. How wrong. The 30 million € ad and PR campaign didn’t bring the wanted results. And not that much later Fortis bank almost bankrupt. The Dutch part was bailed out and the Belgium part, Turkey is part of that, is going through difficult times. But it looks that they didn’t learn from their previous mistakes:
the Turkish ad for Fortis Bank, see above, which promotes their plastic surgery loans with a typical before and after picture of a young woman with the tagline, “You get the credit, another one pays for it” is tasteless.
This is in my opinion very irresponsible to target young women and tempt them with vanity. Plus, they are going to pay for it eventually, aren’t they?
The ad was created by ad agency Gram İstanbul, İstanbul, Turkey with photography by Murat Suyur.
Fortis didn't learn from their mistakes!

Update

Next week my younger sister and my brother-in-law will visit Turkey for the first time. I'm probably not able to write a post or drop an EC.
Now the holidays are over, hope that our co bloggers of Greece will write more..)! Shall make a wake-up call to them.)!
There is an interesting discussion going on on a previous post about the Cultural Heritage of Turkey/Religion. Just enjoy and participate...

Did you know that (6)

*Sleep is good for you, right? Not anymore ... a recent study indicated that getting more than 6-7 hours of sleep per night significantly increases your risk of death.* [that'shealthyliving.com]

Day Opening - August 29


Mitilini, Lesvos, Greece

Friday, August 28, 2009

Segregation, discrimination, fraud etc. at Dutch Islamic schools in the Netherlands

The Dutch education system is unique in the world. See how it works here. Families can choose where their kids go to primary and elementary school and the government subsidies different types of schools – traditional (called independent non-religious, public), Montessori, Steiner, but also Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim. However, 86 percent of the Muslim schools have misused government funds. Some examples: Fake names on the payroll; entire schools taking trips abroad with school funds – trips to Mecca; school boards fired for incompetence etc. Just a few of the problems the government has found at Islamic Schools in the Netherlands. Also a recent report from the Dutch Ministry of Education says that half of the 42 Islamic primary schools in the Netherlands don't meet the minimum education standard. Everybody takes the same test at the end!

Now earlier this week an Islamic school, As Siddieg, which is believed to impede social integration as children of different religions are encouraged not to mingle will lose part of its funding from the government as it has not done enough to integrate its pupils into society. The school also failed to respect basic values of democracy.
As Siddieq, which runs three schools in Amsterdam's De Baarsjes, Noord and Zeeburg quarters, has been given until 1 March to introduce improvements or risk losing part of the government funding. And the Amsterdam city councilor Lodewijk Asscher, who is in charge of education, also withdrew the municipal subsidy to As Siddieq as he has lost confidence in the school board. Now the governing board of this Islamic school in Amsterdam is taking the local government to court over the loss of its funding, reports (the reduce funding to As-Siddieq school group is € 200.000, five percent of the Amsterdam school’s total subsidies of 4.5 million)! Now, these Orthodox Islamic schools treat Dutch teachers who are not Muslims as inferior beings. They have to have their meals separately and cannot be greeted in the same way as Muslims, says former teacher, Hennie Metsemakers of As Siddieq school in Amsterdam. She was suspended by the school a year and a half ago because she spoke of religions other than Islam in the lessons. "I had drawn a timeline and shown the most important events of a number of beliefs on it." Not only was that forbidden, but she was also ordered to teach the children that Christianity would be abolished in the end, all other religions would disapear and everybody will convert to Islam. Other teachers had already left the As Siddieq school due to the extremely orthodox attitude of its management. The board succeeded in imposing the orthodox signature on all staff members, even though half the team consists of non-Muslim teachers.
Non-Muslim teachers at As Siddieqschool and other schools are treated kindly, but not as full-value colleagues. Metsemakers had gone to work at the school full of integration ideals. "The leadership was attentive and nice, but turned out to have a hidden agenda. In the breaks, we had to eat separately. We were not allowed to be greeted in the same way as Muslim teachers, not with the word salaam, peace, because non-Muslims cannot know what peace is’ and the school wants to teach children that they are not allowed to be friends with non-believers. "Only Muslims can after all be good people."...good to know...

You can ask what for example Catholic schools are doing. I went in the late sixties and early seventies of the last century to a Catholic elementary and high school. I got one hour a week education in religion in general. That’s all. But no wonder that in 10 years time the Dutch educational system dropped from its 2nd position worldwide to the 9th place…

Just My Two Cents: The Reality Of Sarah Palin's Political Future

Just My Two Cents: The Reality Of Sarah Palin's Political Future

Dali and Disney

Together they made Destino.



Enjoy it

Day Opening - August 28


A little bit of Love;
Giraffe and Squirrel