Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kicking alive

Still alive, since the bombing in Egypt took place in Cairo and not in El Quseir where we were.

This El Quseir was a dusty shit hole with too many street dogs and lazy men sitting around. My sister and I didn't dare to walk in, but what we've seen of it wasn't up for much. Cracked, dirty houses (from the outside) and trash laying all over the place. The vegetables from the market had feeble leaves, the banana's were half rotten and there were no women to be found on the streets.

Getting things done in Egypt turned out to be a real problem. And I know problem after some of my trips!

It started already in the airport where Achmed from the travel agency got angry with me for buying my visa at the bank for 15 dollars and not with him for $25.

The hotel was fair enough but 8 kilometres away from everything, so we were forced to stay at one spot. Taking a taxi? "That will cost you ten dollars per person one way, madam."

Although temperatures were between 20 and 25 degrees Celcius, the wind made things a bit chilly and the whole reason why we went to Egypt in the first place almost impossible: diving.

After some difficulties, we got things done and overall I've had a good break from my long days studying. But it wasn't easy. Anyway, it gave me enough reason to write.

To be continued...

Ria Oomen-Ruijten, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Turkey, receives threats from Armenians

Not nice, not wise, and none of their business!

The European Parliament's rapporteur on Turkey, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, has said Armenian lobbyists have threatened to destroy her career because she has refused to refer to the World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as "genocide."

The Dutch Christian Democrat, whose report on Turkey was approved with a record 65 votes against only four votes in opposition and one abstention in the Committee on Foreign Affairs on Feb. 12, said the Armenians have told her that they will do their best to prevent her re-election to the European Parliament.

Oomen-Ruijten, one of the most senior members of the European Parliament, has been hailed for her balanced reports on Turkey in recent years. Despite enormous pressure from the Armenian lobby, Oomen-Ruijten has so far refused to refer to the 1915 events as "genocide." Her predecessor as the rapporteur on Turkey, Camiel Eurlings, who was also a Dutch Christian Democrat, was heavily criticized for being too pro-Armenian and for authoring biased reports on Turkey. Oomen-Ruijten, who is expected to run for a European Parliament seat again in June, will defend her report in a plenary session on March 11. The report is expected to win the approval of the European Parliament without any major changes.

Continue reading herrreee

Statement #7

Medicine and religion share at least one trait, both can be seen as response to the prospects of death.

Day Opening - February 28



"Dance of Cranes" by Haruyo Morita.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Religions and afterlife


Judaism: Jewish texts have little to say about a possible afterlife, placing more the spotlight on the proper behavior in this life, not the one to come.

Christianity: The vast majority of Christians believe in heaven and hell...and that your ‘end’ depends on your deeds and faith during life.

Islam: Similar to Christians, Muslims believe in the day of judgement in the afterlife, when the dead will be divided between paradise and damnation.

Buddhism: Though specific beliefs vary by sect, Buddhists hold fast to the doctrine of reincarnation, ending only in the final liberation known as Nirvana.

Hinduism: Like Buddhism, Hindus believe in reincarnation and karma, with the status of your next life depending on your acts in this one.

Taoism: Life and death are flip sides of the Tao, and death is a transformation from being to non-being, with no heaven or hell.

Gaining after life:
In the Asian cultures and religions, afterlife is related with your life-on-earth and your well-doings.
In Christianity, martyrdom can only gained through pacifistic means and practices.
In Islam, however – since there is still a lot of confusion and denial about how to interpret the Q’ran - after life can be reached through Jihad, as divers sects points out: killing infidels. Islam and Confucianism are the only religions/philosophies which legitimates war.

Spotted in the UK


...

Day Opening - February 27



"Artist`s Garden at Giverny 1900" by Claude Monet.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

For Non Entrecard users only...

The last three months Internations is part of the big Entrecard family. It’s fun but time-consuming, but as long as I have the time to go three hours a day over 300 web sites (and sleep 3 hours less) I don’t mind. As I earlier wrote, this blog is listed under Expats. So, during these 3 months I discovered all kind of interesting co-Expat blogs. Many yanks/gringos/Brrrrittons, but at least I understand their English and I hope they my Denglish and other co-bloggers their Grenglish, Tenglish, and sophisticated high-attractive Amercanismes.
Anyway, on the side bar of this screen, every day a new picture pops up with beneath the Entrecard symbol. If you click on the picture, you will be directed to another site, and we of Internations earn One point with it...so do so...ola..)
I approve only sites which are interested, and I guess blog-owners only choose Internations to advertise here with their blood-and-tears earned entrecard points because they find this site nice. So it goes both ways.
Especially I want to do some free PR, the first time in 30 years (thank you) for some sites worth mentioned. Here we go:
Martin in Bulgaria
Cher in Prague
PG in Prague
Matt in Japan
And an anti-politics blog of the USA.
And many more...!!
Worth reading!

There are more such as Rachel her photo blog from Argentina, Mova in Indonesia, Saudi Deist and Denford from Harare in Zimbabwe; they all are already on Internations their blog roll, not necessary to do some more PR here...
Click on them as well; read them, every day for the next 3 months.
The world is more fun if you broaden your vision over the borders of Turkey and beyond.
And don’t forget to come back here and click around; the more page views, the more we earn and the more we are motivated to make you happy for unsolved mysteries, independent points of view regarding politics, beautiful art, poetry, photography, twitter news and more so on. In the end you don’t need your expensive newspapers anymore, but only us..))!!
Voila!

Statement #6

'Natural selection is a powerful force driving evolution' >Darwin<
or
'Natural selection's fingerprints can be detected in the human genome. But many mutations have spread thanks thanks to pure chance; a process known as genetic drift' >contemporary science<

At the moment I have my breakfast: two steaks with mushrooms, potatoes and garlic sauce; how genetic manipulated am I?.)

Day Opening - February 26



"Blue Muse"
by Charles Dwyer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Turkish Airlines tops European 'Crash list'

Turkish Airlines had not an accident in six years before today’s crash. The last time that one of the airline’s planes crashed was in January 2003 when an Avro RJ100 crashed during a domestic flight from Istanbul to Diyarbakir. 75 of the 80 passengers were killed.
But Turkish Airlines had a number of accidents in the previous years. The airline got a bad reputation with regard to safety. The website Airsafe.com keeps track of all modern-day civil aviation accidents worldwide and figures from the site indicate that Turkish Airlines has one of the highest accident rates in Europe. Scroll all the way down.
According the site (after quick investigations by Dutch newspapers), Turkish Airlines tops the Crash list in Europe and belongs to the top-5 worldwide.
Airsafe.com looks after each airline company their accidents and compares it with the total of deaths by crash related to the total amount of flights. Not one European airliner comes above the score of 1.0, but Turkish Airlines ranks 3.58. And this number was that of yesterday. BA has a score of 0.22, KLM of 0.88. So you are more likely to crash with a Turkish Airlines flight.
Next time, perception or not, the better service of Turkish airlines or not, KLM will be my carrier, at least for the time being.

Amsterdam Schiphol, Turkish Airline plane crashed - update


A Turkish Airlines passenger plane from Istanbul with 135 people on board has crashed near Amsterdam's Schiphol airport this morning. It was a TYA flight departed this morning 07.55am from Istanbul.
The Boeing 737, which appears to have only just missed the landing runway, has broken into three parts, but is said not to be on fire. I just got the news through twitter.
There are confirmed reports of 9 dead, including the 3 crew members in the cockpit.
Weird was that a couple of minutes after the crash, people started to make phone calls.
I prefer Turkish Airlines over Royal Dutch KLM, and will continue doing so...
As far as I know, no close connections of me in this flight, but you never know.
Update: 9 dead, 50 injured of 25 severely injured.
It was annoying to see, until the very last moment, that the Turkish authorities was denying that there were casualities. This is also a traumatic experience of the survivors.
Update; yes, a friend, his wife and daughter were on the plane, but safe.
Update: 84 injured, 6 critical
Update: Turkish daily Hurriyet and Turkish government take their fight over the dead bodies to another level: accusing each other for misinformation. Guess what: f'ck you idiots!
Livestream here, in Dutch.

The ruling of the ECJ in favor of Turkish business people


Below you will find an article called: '70 million Turkish businessmen' rejoice.

Last week the European Court of Justice ruled in favor of two Turkish truck drivers; EU countries have no right to implement new rulings against Turkish 'service providers' when entering the EU based upon an agreement between Turkey and then the EEC, the forerunner of the EU in 1970.

There are four points which are not mentioned:

1) Restrictions made prior to the 1970 agreement are still there.

2) The EU asked Turkey to sign a non-participation agreement so that third-parties (individuals of other countries - read: Iran, Iraq, Syria etc. - ) can not use the same reasons as Turks to enter one of the EU countries through Turkey. Turkey refused to do so, and therefore the EU afraid of an influx of refugees keep the borders tight with Turkey.

3) I never experienced that an application for visa of a Turkish business person was denied.
4) Every time when a Turkish citizen wants to leave the country, he/she has to pay 15 YTL at the airport (was 50 USD until 2 years ago). When Turkish business people can show their government that their business abroad is sustainable, they have to pay only once this taxs, but it still difficult to proof for it, especially Small and Medium size companies. Most Turks experience this as needless control, and harrasment.


'70 million Turkish businessmen' rejoice

By our correspondent Bernard Bouwman

The global financial crisis has hit Turkey hard. Just as in the United States and Europe, job losses are the order of the day. But in spite of it all, the Turks still have something to celebrate. For the European Court of Justice has ruled in favour of two Turkish plaintiffs who were sick of having to move heaven and earth in order to obtain a visa to travel to an EU country.
The press is jubilant and the business community has immediately called for assurances that this verdict not be allowed to disappear into the back of a drawer. As they see it, the Turkish government should immediately enter into negotiations with the EU's member states to ensure that the verdict has tangible consequences.
Continue reading herrreee


Day Opening - February 25



"Tablado Flamenco" by Fabian Perez.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Update

I didn’t rant about Turkish politics lately but will start with it again soon. There is so much going on at the moment in Turkey; the childish clash between a PM who obvious misuse his political power and a media mogul who turns his media outlets into propaganda tools, growing nationalism, anti-Semitism, the movie ‘Mustafa’ which upset many people (I watched it yesterday and soon will give here my opinion) the ongoing EU-Turkey disaster, and so on.
At the moment my priorities are somewhere else, but will be back soon...
I have plans to commercialise this blog, but have to get in touch with all the co-bloggers here, which will takes several weeks.
At the meanwhile, the grow of this site continues with around 350 unique visitors every day, around 450 visits and around 500 page views each day.
Also, from now on you can follow me on Twitter.

Statement #5

Worshipping the ancient Mediterranean god Moloch, and today’s liberal -progressivism, both require sacrificing children on the altar of self-centered materialism.

Day Opening - February 24



"Man Lighting Cigarette" by (my favourite) Fabian Perez.

Monday, February 23, 2009

And now in the Netherlands as well: shoetrowing!


During a talk at the Apollo Hotel in Amsterdam yesterday, Israeli speaker Ron Edelheit was pelted with shoes thrown by members of the audience. Mr Edelheit was a spokesman for the Israeli army during its recent offensive in the Gaza Strip. The shoe-throwers, students from Groningen and Leiden, have been arrested. They are members of the International Socialists (IS).
Outside the hotel, around fifty others protested against Mr Edelheit's visit, in what police said was a peaceful manner.According to the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel, the location for the event was changed at the last moment, after the College Hotel received threats.
Four shoes hit Ron Edelheit, not bad...

Day Opening - February 23


We don't have one, but 4 nukes!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Well... Its Official...

The U.S. is launching raids against Pakistan from within Pakistan, as noted in the TimesOnline.



So much for the official denials on all sides.

U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein sort of let the news slip the other day... I'd like to witness that CIA debriefing.

Just another day, I suppose...

World... Keep on turnin'...

~ Alias

Carnival February 20-24, 2009

Carnival in Paraguay

The origin of Carnival roots in an ancient web of cultural and religious practices that reach far deeper than having a good time and getting drunk.
Carnival as we know it today combines two almost diametrically opposed traditions. One is cultural and originated in pre-Christian times. Based on pagan beliefs and primitive nature religions, these festivities celebrated the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Ancient examples include Roman festivals like Saturnalia and Bacchanalia. While the first one was dedicated to Saturn (the god of crop and harvest), the second honored the Roman god Bacchus. Primarily the god of wine, Bacchus also inspired other pleasurable activities, from music to sexuality to ritual ecstasy and mass madness. In that spirit these festivals ran wild with people eating, drinking, and frolicking, dressed as animals, crop or vines, but also as devils and witches to signify the battle between the evil, dead spirits of winter and the good, budding spirits of spring.
With the advent of Christianity, these pagan and cultural festivities were appropriated into the Christian (mostly Roman Catholic) religious tradition of commemorating the end of the Christmas season.

More than 400 hundreds of years ago, the followers of the Catholic religion in Italy started the tradition of holding a wild costume festival right before the first day of Lent. Because Catholics are not supposed to eat meat during Lent, they called their festival, carnevale — which means “to put away the meat.” As time passed, carnivals in Italy became quite famous; and in fact the practice spread to France, Spain, and all the Catholic countries in Europe. Then as the French, Spanish, and Portuguese began to take control of the Americas and other parts of the world, they brought with them their tradition of celebrating carnival. These days Carnival in Brazil, Mardi Grass in New Orleans and Carnivale in Venice attracts the most attention.

Hoax emails for help; don't let it fool you.


Every had an email like this before?
Would you like to help me out by sending me vast amounts of money, in order to let me escape from my country? If so, I would gladly pay you $15 million with of my inheritance upon me release. You have never seen, or heard of me in your life, but I assure you this is not a joke! I prefer cash, but if that is unattainable, I also accept credit card numbers. I got your e-mail address randomly through a friend of a friend of a friend you said you were nice.
Still reading?
The book “Cry for Help: 36 Scam email messages from Africa”, by Henning Wagenbreth, documents several horror stories experienced by people who had bad enough judgment to fall for such scams.
Wagenbreth adds illustrations to 36 of his favourite e-mail hoaxes, thereby turning them into rather twisted works of art!

Through Trends.

Day Opening - February 21


Doves run fast in Sevilla...
Photo: Belgin Zeytin

Friday, February 20, 2009

Endangered languages Worldmap Unesco


2.500 of world's 6.900 languages are in danger.
Click on this atlas van wereldtalen for details.

Western Imperialism Part 6 / Summary: "The Dangers of War"

"A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."
- Paul Simon, from The Boxer

This is the last of this series on Western Imperialism. I've been told the section has been a bit heavy, and in a way I agree, but only if we're fearful about such things. Otherwise, its simply more or less "the state of the world today", and all of us are affected to a significant extent.

The dangers of war extend well beyond the soldiers and body bags, the deaths of innocent civilians, the havoc heaved upon the lives of the survivors on all sides. In fact, most of us reading these pages will never see much of that firsthand, and therefore, consider ourselves largely unaffected. But that's far from the case. Wars affect us all in very significant ways.

To start, nations can not afford wars - the economies are not built to support them. In truth, with every war, nations go deep into debt, and the economic impact is currently being seen around the world. The U.S. has invested TRILLIONS in its war machine this past decade, and it has essentially bankrupted the U.S. economy, and the shock waves are spreading around the globe.

Secondly, war in and of itself is a massive transfer of wealth from average citizens to the Deep Money, those that control the international banking system. Its no secret - and well documented - that the same bankers financed both sides of WWI and WWII and plunged the citizens of dozens of nations into massive debt, to be paid from their labor hours of future generations. Since WWII, wars have generally been waged on poor nations leading to massive reconstruction efforts through IMF / World Bank financing, in exchange for the natural resources of those countries. In short, the only people in the world that wars benefit on a large scale is the banks and the corporations that provide reconstruction and those that buy the resources at deep discounts. Its tragic in this regard, and if we're not careful, it will ultimately lead to our slavery.

--

In this series, we've walked through a series of steps that hopefully shed some light on the events taking place today. Granted, it was a fast and incomplete walk through... Book are written on the subject. And while some disagree with various aspects of it, I'll argue that in whole it makes more sense than presuming the state of the world is just a series of accidental bad policies.

In Part I, I introduced the idea that the Middle East wars we currently see are part of a larger strategy to economically, politically and militarily isolate Russia and China to assure Western (U.S./U.K./Germany/France) hegemony in the world. Whether Russia and China capitulate easily may have everything to do with whether the Third World War is launched.

In Part II, we discussed that Obama has plans to carry out the Bush legacy for imperialism, and that it didn't start with Bush at all. The truth is that it goes back to pre-WWI, and while the tactics have changed over time, the goal was always the same - global hegemony.

In Part III, I pointed you to "A World Without Islam" by ex-CIA executive Graham Fuller, who demystifies Islam as the culprit in the unrest in the world today, and who himself points to Western imperialism as the cause.

In Part IV, we discussed the militarization of the Arctic as a key example of the East-West positioning and resource wars.

In Part V, I demonstrated the Western passion for redrawing the map of the world to suit its interests in power, positioning and resources.

Taken together, they make a pretty compelling case to those with open minds.

Why does this matter to you?

Well, in 2002, the U.S. established a "Nuclear First-Strike Policy" against 7 countries... China, Russia, N. Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya. I'll leave it to you to guess why.

In January of 2008, The Guardian reported that NATO was intending to establish its own Nuclear First Strike policy. Again, you'll have to guess to why, but I doubt anybody senses "imminent threat". I mean... This is the stuff we demonized "the evil Russkies" for over decades.

So... We can't change the momentum until we see things for what they are, and this series was hopefully enough to get some of you on your way to seeing things at least a little differently.

Don't believe me... Do your own research. No telling where it might lead you...

Peace. Love. Freedom.
~ Alias

Statement #4

For better or worse, French-style pragmatic interventionism is gaining the upper hand as other economic models have lost their credibility.

Day Opening - February 20


One morning, on the ferry at the Bosphorus, Istanbul.
Photo: Belgin Zeytin

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Human rights activist Al-Mansouri sentenced to 30 years in Iran

Human rights activist Abdullah al-Mansouri has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, his son told ANP press agency yesterday.

Al-Mansouri was born in Iran and fled to the Netherlands in 1998, where he was an active member of human rights organisation Amnesty International and lived in Maastricht.
He was arrested while travelling to Syria in 2006 and extradited to Iran, where he was charged with terrorism for supporting the Arab minority in Ahvaz. Ahvaz is an oil-rich region near the Persian Gulf which seeks autonomy. Since his arrest, the Dutch government has repeatedly called on Iran to ensure that Al-Mansouri receives a fair and open trial.

Day Opening - February 19


Haydarpasa train station, Istanbul
Photo: Belgin Zeytin

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Statement #3

The world, religion, can offer comfort even when modern medicine falls short.

Western Imperialism Part 5: "Let's Redraw Some Maps"

If you happen to see me on the streets of Istanbul, try this... Stop me and talk to me for a minute - about anything. I'll talk to anybody. Its fun, and part of what makes life special to me. If you make eye contact and don't look away too quickly, I'll probably say "hello" to you just to get things going. This happens quite a bit, and leads to interesting conversations.

One things I've learned in my time here is that people who refer to themselves as Kurdish LOVE George Bush (and they're going to LOVE Obama, too...). It is, perhaps, the only group of people I've run across in my travels who do. That begs the question... Why? So I ask (knowing the answer by now, of course).

"Uh... for another time", is the general response. "Does it have to do with new maps?", I ask, which leads to a knowing smile from my new friend (everybody is a new friend to me, as far as I'm concerned), indicating that yes, it does have to do with new maps.

I have to give my Kurdish friends ample credit for being up to date on at least this aspect of today's geo-politics, because much of the world has not yet made the connection. The global planners in the U.S. government have, indeed, created complete sets of new maps that give strong clues as to what their intentions are and whose interests they are serving (the U.S./Anglo alliance of oil/military/economic policy).

The map below was prepared by Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters and published in the U.S. Armed Forces Journal in June 2006. With a close inspection you'll notice that countries such as Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Israel, Saudi Arabia and others are scheduled to lose territory while entirely new nations are to be created (including a "Free Kurdistan").

(larger version of the map here)

Now, whatever cheers or jeers this new map may draw from particular portions of the populations involved, it begs that time honored question of "Why?" Why would the U.S. /Anglo governments want to redraw the Middle East map?

Oil and gas resources and pipeline delivery routes.

And to what do they owe the feeling of authority to do so? Military / politcal pre-eminance, including the NATO alliance.

Could all of this talk about terrorism and Pakistan simply be cover for supporting West-backed warlords who ultimately wish to destablize the country and ultimately establish the new state of "Free Baluchistan"? Chances are... Yes. Think Kosovo.

The U.S. government has long kept the Kurdish region of Iraq the most stable, and its where large deposits of oil are being divvied up among the Western oil giants, and in return, the West seems to be willing to promise the Kurdish region of Turkey in the creation of a Kurdish state. Ok... perhaps you're seeing the trend.

For more background, I'll direct you here... Again from Prof. Chossudovsky at Global Research...

The ultimate take-away should be that we need to become a lot more skeptical of what we read and hear from our own governments and media. If the average Kurd on the street knows about this redrawing, the chances are your President or Prime Minister does, too, as does the publisher of your nation's leading daily newspaper.

Its interesting that there's a lot of talk about other things, but no discussion of whether the West should be redrawing borders and promoting chaos through covert operations that will lead to new borders being made so that Western companies can more profitably exploit the resources of other nations. There's no discussion about why this is important to the West, or its long term plan to economically/politically/militarily isolate Russia and China. And there's no discussion about the ethics/morality of sending young people to fight and die under false pretenses for such plans.

Nor is there any discussion about the inhumanity of the millions of innocent lives taken and destroyed in the countries in which these resource wars take place.

(Free Speech in Europe? Not in Strasbourg as it relates to NATO... see here...)

Yes... A little skepticism and questioning is in order.

Or perhaps even outrage.

Peace & Love,
~ Alias

Day Opening - February 18


'Wedding in Madrid'
Photo: Belgin Zeytin

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Statement #2

Just as Freedom as Speech has a limit, Freedom of Religion has a limit.
There are limits in our society. And that's the way we've set society up.

Western Imperialism Part 4: Militarization of the Arctic

This is a rather interesting story that has barely been mentioned in the mainstream press, but that may have huge implications in the coming year or two... The militarization of the Arctic Circle.

Just as nearly every "hot spot" in the world seems to revolve around oil and gas supplies and pipelines, the Arctic Circle is no different. With Russia, the U.S., Canada (and therefore, London), Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland (and therefore NATO) all having a stake in the area, this has the possibility to be another front in the West vs. Russia global game. And although the article attached is 18 months old, the scenario may soon come to life.

As shipping lanes are beginning to open again in the circle, we can expect a renewed military buildup in the area, and the claims to research and production geography may go from maps on the wall to physical, military presences, and since much of the area is potentially very profitable and contested, it could get serious. Couple that with Moscow's stated warnings against any attacks on Iran (and Israel's apparent increasing plans to do so, backed by the U.S.), the manuevering for pipeline gateways in Central Asia and Pakistan, and there are plenty of pressure points to watch these days.

I'll direct you to this article by Michel Chossudovsky at Global Research. For those who aren't familiar with Chossudovsky, he's a Professor of Economics at the University of Ottowa and produces excellent research on the reasons for, and ramifications of, globalization, focusing in particular on the ties between economics, politics and militarization.

Enjoy!

Peace.
~ Alias

Day Opening - February 17


'I love Istanbul (and I hate it, so this is True Love)
-Istanbul, European Side-
Photo: Belgin Zeytin

Monday, February 16, 2009

Travel butterflies

There is a huge difference between my sister and me according to preparation. She's been packing her bag already for one week, I packed mine on Sunday evening. She was making a fuzz in the kitchen about tomorrow's lunch, I just smile and will prepare some sandwiches tomorrow morning (which is the whole reason she started a fuzz). I've a comfortable backpack that's lighter than my usual backpack I take with me to class, she has a suitcase (on practical wheels though).

It's a bit arrogant maybe, not to worry that much about everything. You would think that one who has travelled a lot would get used to leaving things behind, but I can't sleep two or three nights before I leave. Have those horrible dreams of missing the plane or worry sick just before leaving if I really have everything, didn't forget everything and if my cat will be in good hands while I'm away.

Well, so far I think I'm stacked and packed but I will know for certain when arrived.

Statement #1

'The most obvious cost of inaction in the Middle East is the leaching away of trust. Many Israelis, bombarded by Hizbullah after withdrawing from Lebanon and by Hamas after withdrawing from the Gaza strip, no longer believe in the old formula of land for peace; it has been more like land for war, what they say.'

Over the next couple of weeks, I will put here some statements, this is the first one in a serie of 10.

Western Imperialism Part 3: A World Without Islam: Any Different?

There is a lot of chatter about the evils of Islam... perpetuated in the media, internet chat boards, in bars over beer. There's two ways to look at it (probably more, for sure)... a) that Islam is a religion built on violence and is worthy of attack from Western nations, or b) that Islam, like many/all religions is a societal rallying point for those who are oppressed, or those who wish to wage imperial wars.

About a year ago there was a compelling paper written by Graham Fuller, a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA in charge of long-range strategic forecasting, who proposes that had Islam never existed, the world would be right about where it is today. He cites the conflicts and terrorism that are frequently attributed to Islam are more about oppression and imperialism than anything else.

One highlight... In 2006, Interpol tracked over 400 instances of terrorism in Europe. Only one is attributed to Islamic extremism. Makes you think about all the headlines we see, all the fear-based television video of radical extremists.

I've posted the article on my website in its entirety for those who are interested in a very well-informed perspective on the subject. Highly recommended for those keen on the topic.

Peace & Love,
~ Alias

Day Opening - February 16


'Life is a Path between the Dots'
Photo: by Belgin Zeytin

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The voice!

Since December 2008 I’m a mother. It´s a new wonderful experience. Every day I make mistakes and every day I get the chance to do it better.

A couple a weeks ago my little darling was growing inside of me. Instead of him, a little voice is growing inside of me now. And that voice is becoming louder and louder!

That voice is helping me to understand my little baby. It helps me to figure out what my little darling wants.
If he says `oegageheoooooaa` it means that he needs attention. Crying means that he wants to have a clean diaper and `giigigoguugouu` means he wants to play with Nelly the red Hippo.
`Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh` means he wants to eat.

In the middle of the night `the voice` is helping me to get out of my bed so easily to feed. Even before my little darling is awake!

That little voice.....is that mine mother instinct? Sometimes I’m surprised that I was `you-can-do-everything anywhere at every moment- Sandra`.

Wow, it’s true I’m a real mother now. Yes !

Yes , I’m wearing track suits because they are comfortable.
Yes, I have sleepless nights.
Yes, I have bags under my eyes.
Yes, my freedom is gone... but this.... this is where my heart is.

Back from being away

Sorry people for not writing for a while. Being busy and a lack of inspiration to write made things a bit silent from my side. But inspiration has come back and the busyness continuous with a better overview, so writing stories for you people can start again.

With a one week trip to Egypt coming up, the first stories will come tomorrow and after my trip.

I'm looking forward to it!

Salut.

Winner World Press Photo 2008


Following eviction, detective Robert Kole must ensure residents have moved out of their home in Cleveland, Ohio, 26 March 2008. Photo: Anthony Suau.
The international World Press Photo jury in Amsterdam on Friday selected a picture by US photographer Anthony Suau as photo of the year 2008.

Jury members said the strength of the picture of an armed sheriff moving through an American home after an eviction due to a mortgage foreclosure was in its opposites - it looks like a classic war photograph, but is simply the eviction of people from a house. The black and white photograph was part of Time magazine's Tough Times in Cleveland report on the effects of the credit crunch.
Dutch NRC Handelsblad photographer Roger Cremers won the first prize in the category 'Arts and entertainment stories' for his pictures of Auschwitz tourism.
All winners, click here...

Russia & Turkey Strengthening Ties

I usually stay out of commenting on the politics of my host country - it seems only polite, and perhaps there's a bit of pragmatism, too. And being in Turkey, well... The politics here are more complex that most give them credit for being. I count among my friends here quite a few who are very well educated, politically astute and aware and some who have taken part in various parties or movements and even they tell me "its complicated". So after all these months I still refer to myself as in the "gathering information" phase, likely to persist for several more years (decades, whatever).

All that said, I saw one announcement that caught my eye... Russia and Turkey are becoming closer - article from Today's Zaman reposted at Global Research.

Its interesting to me because as we watch the game being played between Russia and the West, this could turn out to be a very big thing.

As mentioned before, the West has long sought a strategy of surrounding and isolating Russia, militarily, economically and politically, going back to Napolean. In the Cold War, tensions ran high and the rhetoric of fear became very dangerous to all. And now, with the West ramping up in Afghanistan and seeking control of pipeline corridors in Central Asia, the Balkans, Pakistan and producers in the Middle East, the concept of "security" is becoming synonymous with "domination of energy delivery".

Its no secret that a big part of Russia's resurgence is based upon its energy resources and delivery capabilities. The West, through direct military interventions and NGO "economic partnerships" is seeking to marginalize Russia's growing regional influence, and thus preserve its own global hegemony.

If this partnership with Turkey plays out to be truly meaningful, it could have a profound influence in the East/West balance of power, and will capitalize on other recent wins for the Russian side in the FSRs. Whether or not you beleive that to be a good thing is another story - perhaps it comes down to whether you believe the world is better served by having a single power in the West (EU/US), or balanced powers between East and West.

I'm intersted in how Turks percieve this development. It seems the Turkish military has been traditionally more aligned with the U.S./West. What are the internal impacts of the government forging deeper alliances with Russia? What do you see as the primary motivations? What are the regional / global impacts? Talk to me...

Day Opening - February 15


'stolen'
By Belgin Zeytin (aliasjones girl friend)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

PM Erdogan opened the Pandora box again/his obsession with Israel

After the soufflé-incident in Davos, where he attacked the Israelian President, The PM of Turkey, in his rush for more nationalistic votes, opened the attack on Israel again. Instead of condemning the growing anti-Jewish sentiments in the Turkish societies, he attacked now the Israeli voters by calling them negligent for voting for right-wing parties. He simple forgot to see what the Turkish political landscape is built upon: Conservative Islamist rule the country, and in the opposition an ultra-nationalist MHP and an archaistic CHP which doesn’t have anything to do with its ‘revolutionair’ social image, rather with an arch conservative reactionary party. At the same time, a retired Israeli General asked the Turkish PM to look in the mirror by saying: Turkey was not in a position to criticize Israel's actions in the Palestinian territories when it stations troops in northern Cyprus, and accused Turkey of repressing its Kurdish minority and massacring Armenians during World War I.
I am not surprised at all by these words. The Israelis government, for the sake of good relations with Turkey looked at the other direction when Turkey was critiziced for its minority policies, its foreign policies and its history. Erdogan is doing more harm to Turkey in diplomatic sense than any previous Turkish PM.
But Erdogan declared himself not a diplomat, but a politician. He simple forget that politicians sets the tone for diplomacy.
As a reader of the daily Haaretz pointed out, Turkey is in a dodgy situation. This time I don’t think that the EU and or the IMF, and what about the USA, will be so uncomplaining with the current Turkish style of governing.
Here the note of a reader of Haaretz:
The Turkish leader joined the critics of Israel. Impertinent because he should keep his mouth shut. His country has laws forbidding mentioning of the crimes perpetrated against the Armenians. If Israel would adopt the Turkish model, a third of all lecturers in the faculties of social sciences and humanities in Israeli universities would be imprisoned, as well as a huge portion of Haaretz journalists. We will remind Erdogan of Leyla Zana and the short speech she made when elected to the Turkish parliament. She ended her speech in I take this oath for the brotherhood between the Turkish people and the Kurdish people. Her crime was that she said that terrible sentence, in Kurdish. According to Turkish law speaking that language is a crime. She lost her parliamentary immunity and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. When she wrote something from inside jail a further two years were added to her sentence. Tell this to the Arab members of the Israeli parliament.

For Valentine's Day...

Ahh... The Day of Love...
(This beautiful photo courtesy of Belgin Zeytin Photography, an excellent photographer, available for hire in Istanbul for stunning portraits and other commercial work. See her portfolio here...)

I suppose this is the day when we make that special someone feel truly and uniquely special, and that is certainly a good thing.

But why stop there?

Rumi talks about Love as so endless that we can give it to everybody and still have infinite supplies to shower on those around us. He speaks of Love as "the sacred liquid", and questions why we pass it around in cups rather than swim in it together. He dares us not to simply wade in it, but to dive "deeper, and deeper still".

Beautiful metaphors.

So, while we carry on with the tradition of a special day for those closest to us, maybe we can find a way to:

- Reach out to someone who made need a little Love, and make them feel special, too. And...

- Spend a few minutes running through memories of all the people we've met in our lives and with whom we've shared some interaction... some connection, and send Loving thoughts their way. And...

- Spend a few minutes passing Loving thoughts to those we've never met and whose paths we'll never cross. Chances are at least a few of them could use the positive energy.

Love... So endless... Let's not be stingy with it.

Imagine somebody on the far end of the world spontaneously feeling the warmth of a hug, the feeling that someone truly does care about them, giving them what they need to make it through a perhaps difficult day. That's a good thing.

Love... Everbody... (at least) Today.

~ Alias

Day Opening - February 14


"I have no riches but my thoughts. Yet these are wealth enough for me."
Sara Teasdale (1884 - 1933)

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Dutch are coming...


...
Phote: geenstijl.nl

Geert Wilders - Let Him In



Geert Wilders - Let Him In
By The Times

Geert Wilders - Let Him In
Denying entry to the UK for a Dutch demagogue is bad politics and precedent.

Geert Wilders, the leader of the right-wing Freedom Party in the Netherlands, is not so much an unlikely as an incredible standard-bearer for liberty. His most prominent political stance is his opposition to what he terms “Islamic invasion”. He is the authentic voice of provincial populism and even xenophobia. He encapsulates the adage of Harold Macmillan that criticism in politics is never inhibited by ignorance.
Mr Wilders' remorseless themes are opposition to immigration and condemnation of Islam. He depicts Islam as monolithic, monocausal and monomaniacal. Its founder is a “terrorist” and a “war criminal”. Mr Wilders compares the Koran to Mein Kampf for its incendiary content, and demands that it be proscribed. With an irony so clumsy that it can be lost only on himself, he declares 2009 “a year to defend free speech”.
and there is morreee

I am worried when religion become more important than law.