Sunday, May 31, 2009
Michelangelo is probably the best artist ever. It’s not as if I’ve been to all the top art museums in the world but this I can say: Michelangelo’s work is absolutely awe-inspiring in person. No other artist can lay claim to that type of excellence.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Whether you are a fan of the Turk, Frenchman, the Stromboli, the beans for breakfast or the 70s porn star facial ‘do', there is a ‘stache for everyone to enjoy.
Have a look at some moustache madness!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Their party program is extreme and ultra nationalistic but ignore the existence of different race and religion within the borders of modern Turkey. Kurds must be assimilated, Greeks banned and Armenians prosecuted. Next to that the MHP has ant-Semitic tendencies. In fact you can say that the MHP is a modern facistoide party which know the loopholes in Western law. A law where freedom of expression is guaranteed but where the MHP in Turkey is so against. In this atmosphere the MPH is only on tournée in West Europe to provoke tensions between their followers and the Kurdish (and the tiny Armenian) population of West Europe.
The last time the Grey Wolfs of the MHP clashed with their fellow Turks was in May 2007, in Anvers, Belgium.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Old CW: world's export factory hit hard by demand slump
New CW: consumers at home fill the gap
Country that created the crisis looks set to recover first.
There is no justice!
Reluctant to clean up toxic debth bequeathed by USA.
Forecast: Longer recession than the 'Yanks...
According to the Anholt nation brand index 2007, Turkey came 34th out of 40 countries ranked for their appeal to citizens, behind Russia, Mexico and Egypt.
Candidate country Croatia on the other hand is seen fairly positively by EU citizens and its membership bid encounters little opposition.
''In many ways, Turkey's brand image today in the West is in the same shape as if Atatürk had never lived," says the independent British government advisor Simon Anholt. And that must be a blow for the current and de facto all previous Turkish governments. Instead of blaming each other all the time, it is almost a neccesity to create a common goal, which favors Turkish image. It's still a populair touristic spot, but most of the people come over for an all-in holiday near the coast, ignoring the heritage of Anatolia.
Turkey did a little better in 2008; it ranks 36 out of 50 and that is far below its 'standing'.
2. Spain 900.000
3. Italy 750.000
4. Germany 750.000
5. Greece 475.000
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I, along with thousands of political prisoners, was tortured by order of the representative of Allah and Sharia; tortured, while the verses of the Koran about nonbelievers were played in the torture chambers. The voice reading the Koran was mixed with our cries of pain from lashes and other brutal forms of torture. They raped women political prisoners for the sake of Allah and in expectation of his reward. They prayed before raping them.
All who visited and are still visiting Internations, thanks!
The Khaju Bridge (Pol-e-Khajoo) in Isfahan, Iran, was built in the 17th century by Shah Abbas II. The bridge also serves as a dam, with sluice gates under the archways. When the gates are closed, the water level behind the bridge is raised to irrigate gardens alongside the Zayandeh River. (later more about Iran)
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I don't see our dog Sarah P. wearing these 'doggles' sunglasses. I think she knew that she would be looking like a 'dork'. When it's sunny she just lay down and goes to sleep, nothing more or less. Or I have to take her for a ride; she loves to hang out the window while I'm driving madam through Istanbul...and I can tell you, she gets a lot of attention...no need for doggles!
Maybe she can run for doggie-parliament, you don't have to see that mutch being a politician.
Monday, May 25, 2009
It's the St. Petersburg Declaration.
We are secular Muslims, and secular persons of Muslim societies.
We are believers, doubters, and unbelievers, brought together by a great struggle, not between the West and Islam, but between the free and the unfree.
We affirm the inviolable freedom of the individual conscience. We believe in the equality of all human persons.
We insist upon the separation of religion from state and the observance of universal human rights.
We find traditions of liberty, rationality, and tolerance in the rich histories of pre-Islamic and Islamic societies. These values do not belong to the West or the East; they are the common moral heritage of humankind.
We see no colonialism, racism, or so-called "Islamaphobia" in submitting Islamic practices to criticism or condemnation when they violate human reason or rights.
We call on the governments of the world to
-reject Sharia law, fatwa courts, clerical rule, and state-sanctioned religion in all their forms;
- oppose all penalties for blasphemy and apostasy, in accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights;
-eliminate practices, such as female circumcision, honor killing, forced veiling, and forced marriage, that further the oppression of women;
- protect sexual and gender minorities from persecution and violence;
- reform sectarian education that teaches intolerance and bigotry towards non-Muslims;
-and foster an open public sphere in which all matters may be discussed without coercion or intimidation.
We demand the release of Islam from its captivity to the totalitarian ambitions of power-hungry men and the rigid strictures of orthodoxy.
We enjoin academics and thinkers everywhere to embark on a fearless examination of the origins and sources of Islam, and to promulgate the ideals of free scientific and spiritual inquiry through cross-cultural translation, publishing, and the mass media.
We say to Muslim believers: there is a noble future for Islam as a personal faith, not a political doctrine;
to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Baha'is, and all members of non-Muslim faith communities: we stand with you as free and equal citizens;
and to nonbelievers: we defend your unqualified liberty to question and dissent.
Before any of us is a member of the Umma, the Body of Christ, or the Chosen People, we are all members of the community of conscience, the people who must choose for themselves.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Manda Zand Ervin
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Orhan is a newspaper columnist and founder member of Amnesty InternationalTurkey. He has worked as a lawyer and human rights defender on behalf of victims across the political spectrum in Turkey for 15 years. Now he has been threatened and intimidated because of his legal work on behalf of three men killed at Christian publishing house.
He has been granted a bodyguard but the threats against him have not been investigated.
At the moment he act on behalf of the relatives of the three men killed.
On 18 April 2007, two Turkish nationals and a German were murdered at the Zirve Christian publishing house in Malatya. The three had their hands and feet bound together and their throats cut. They were all staff at the publishing house. The Zirve staff had received death threats in the months before the murders.
Here some excerpts of his latest article, Why the deep state targets Christians
ORHAN KEMAL CENGİZ
(Father Andrea Santoro, a Catholic priest, was killed in Trabzon in 2006. No one realized then that this was the beginning of a pattern. The militant nationalist who killed Santoro was just 17 years old. The Santoro case was completed with lightning speed.
The youngster was sentenced, but nothing was revealed. Then, in 2007, Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian and a liberal journalist, was shot dead in front his newspaper, Agos, by another militant nationalist, who was again a 17-year-old boy from Trabzon. Three months after Dink's murder, three missionaries were brutally killed in Malatya. After the Malatya massacre there were many other attacks and murder attempts targeting Christians once again.)
( As a lawyer closely watching the Hrant Dink and Malatya massacre cases (and being directly involved in the latter), I can say that all signs point to the Ergenekon gang.)
(But if these two incidents, the murder and the massacre, were planned and orchestrated by the Ergenekon gang, what could the purpose or motivation behind them be? Without having an insight into the mental framework of Ergenekon, we can not possibly answer this question. Today we have such strong propaganda against the Ergenekon case (in order to whitewash its suspects) that it is almost impossible not to lose the sense of direction. The case is presented as if it were just a fabrication by the government in order to silence its political opponents. This is absolutely not the case.)
(Kemal Kerinçsiz, an ultranationalist lawyer who was suing liberal intellectuals for “insulting Turkishness” and who provoked public opinion against Hrant Dink, has also brought cases against missionaries before the domestic courts. Ergün Poyraz, who is apparently responsible for Ergenekon's propaganda war and who wrote many books about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül, accusing them having non-Muslim roots, has also published a hate-mongering book titled “Six Months Amongst Missionaries.” This latter book became the bible of the war against Protestants in Turkey. We now know from the Ergenekon file that Mr. Poyraz was actively using the archives of the gendarmerie.
The Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) also used to publish regular paranoid reports about missionary activities)
(When it comes to the question of what the purpose of all these attacks and propaganda against Christians is, my conclusion would be as follows: Like its predecessor the İTC, Ergenekon also wants to “purify” Anatolia. With all these murders they were trying to send the message to the members of Christian communities in Turkey that they are not welcome in this country. On the other hand Ergenekon wants to give the impression to Turkey and the outside world that as soon as an Islamic-oriented government came to power, massacres against Christians started. Finally, with these and remaining unsuccessful murder attempts, they aim at creating obstacles to Turkey's EU path.
Why were they specifically trying to create paranoia about missionary activity? I think this was aimed at making conservative Muslims more nationalist.)
Read the full article herrreeeee
Budapest was essentially built in the third part of the 19th century and the early 20th century. The end of this peaceful period lasted until 1914, was characterized by the Art Nouveau style in architecture. This imported style had a Hungarian master, who was acclaimed in Europe as well: Ödön Lechner (1845-1914), "the Hungarian Gaudi" but he dressed up modern functionalism with his characteristic decorative forms, using Eastern, especially Indian motives. His disciples once ask him why he designed the roof of one of his buildings (the Postal Savings Bank) to be so decorative, when people cannot even see it from the street. His famous, witty response was: "Birds can see it, though..."
And I can tell you, it's amazing!!!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Many people in Turkey believe that whether Turkey, as a Muslim country, should be allowed to join the EU is a hot issue or maybe the hottest issue in the upcoming EU elections in June. It's not. It's not even in the top-twenty most important issues for the EU-voters.
So what is important to the people who fill in the EU Profiler? (see below) Firstly, the promotion of sustainable energy, even if it means higher energy prices. Here there seems to be quite a degree of unanimity in Europe, because the issue scores highly in nearly every country.
On other topics, opinion is divided. For example, on the desirability of health care privatisation. In the Netherlands this is barely matter for debate, but in Sweden, Italy, Poland and Austria it heads the list.
Another hot issue is terrorism. To the pan-European Euro-sceptic party Libertas, it's evidently a crucial topic. And indeed, the acceptability of restricting civil rights (related to terrorism) turns out to be among the top three priority issues of many visitors to the EU Profiler. For the Czechs, it's actually the most important issue.
But why is the 'Turkey EU accession talks, a big favourite among populist parties like Geert Wilders' Freedom Party in the Netherlands, not important for EU voters in general?
One of the makers of the EU Profiler, Amsterdam political scientist André Krouwel, is not surprised that political parties should have different priorities from the electorate."Well, surprise surprise: the elite thinks that other things are important than the masses. What else is new in politics? Mr Wilders, for example, has been in parliament for twelve years so he's clearly part of the political elite. He's trying to frame an issue that for a certain group of voters - say ten, twenty per cent - is very important. But overall, that is not the most salient issue''.
On the other hand immigration - another favourite Freedom Party topic - actually does matter to the electorate.
Particularly in the Netherlands and Hungary, the statement that immigrants should be obliged to accept European values is ranked highly in terms of importance. And now Mr Krouwel thinks the politicians need to shift their attention to issues voters actually care about; "Immigration and the environment are what they should talk about, absolutely. They shouldn't talk about institutions and whether there should be one or two foreign ministers for the European Union, or a president, or whatever treaty.''
Turkey as a possible EU country and the immigration issue are of course close related. But it looks like that many EU voters are more worried about the enormous problems the latest enlargement wave caused (influx of Polish, Romanian and Bulgarians undeducated migrant workers) and therefore not have Turkey in their mind since they sincerely believe that Turkey will never be an EU member.
Personally I think Turkey could be an asset for the EU, but Turkey lost, after the official start of the negotations, its appetite for the EU and lost clearly momentum. While only around 57% of the Turkish population support Turkey's EU accession process, more than 65% of the Europeans are against. Will a forced marriage be beneficial for both?
For more details go to the multilingual EU Profiler website (also in Turkish) and play around.
A Spanish grandmother who became an Internet sensation after dubbing herself the "world's oldest blogger" has died aged 97.
Maria Amelia Lopez, who died Wednesday, began blogging from her home in Galicia two years ago, winning a raft of fans with her eclectic mix of commentary and nostalgia infused with a sharp wit.
She was introduced to the Internet when her grandson set up the blog as a gift to mark her 95th birthday.It proved a great escape, Lopez later writing: "On December 23rd 2006, my grandson gave me a present, this blog when I was 95 years old ... and my life changed ... now, I can communicate and interact with the world."
She wrote and video blogged about her experiences opposing Franco's regime, modern politics -- covering topics ranging from the Basque separatist threat to Iran's nuclear ambitions -- and poignantly discussed what it was like to grow old.
Her fame even saw Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero drop in for a chat. Visit Maria Amelia Lopez's blogIn one of her last postings in February she said: "When I'm on the Internet, I forget about my illness. The distraction is good for you -- being able to communicate with people. It wakes up the brain, and gives you great strength."
Her family have left one final post, thanking readers for their support."[There were] 880 days when her blog made her happy... the support she needed to enjoy her last days of life," they wrote."When somebody leaves after 97 years, living with joy from the beginning to the end, we can't be sad."Wherever you are, grandmother, you will read these comments, all of them without doubt. She will laugh at some, will learn with others, she might get annoyed at the specific 'language' used in some ... but she will be happy reading all of them."
Other wise bloggers:
Blog van Maria Amelia Lopez, 97, Spanje (†).
Blog van Mortart, 84, Amerika.
Twitter van Ivy Bean, 104, Engeland.
Blog van Olive Riley, 108, Australië (†).
Blog van Donald Crowdis, 95, Canada.
Friday, May 22, 2009
I really like the taxi drivers in Istanbul. They are funny, friendly and helpfull...most of the time. I can tell you stories which you don't believe but simple are true. In contrary with the Amsterdam taxi drivers, also called 'the Taliban'. They simple navigate with their TomTom (nice Dutch invention) through the streets and act like bandits.
But there is one thing I really don't like about Istanbul taxi drivers; they don't speak English! I've taken taxi's in most of the European capitals, always they speak at least a second language (mostly English, sometimes French like in Italy and Swisse). In a couple of months Istanbul will be the European Cultural Capital 2010...in my opinion a bridge too far.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
In a new book, Van Goghs Ohr: Paul Gauguin und der Pakt des Schweigens (Van Gogh's ear: Paul Gauguin and the pact of silence), German scientists Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans tell the story of what happened Christmas Eve 1888 in the French city of Arles where van Gogh was residing. After ten years of research (..!) the scientists say they are sure it was painter Paul Gauguin who cut off his friend and colleague's ear after a fight.
According to the official version, the Dutch painter cut off his own ear with a razor after a row with Gauguin in 1888. Van Gogh then walked into a brothel and presented the severed ear to a prostitute called Rachel before going home to sleep.
Van Gogh was living in the "yellow house" in Arles at the time and Gauguin, whom Van Gogh admired, was his guest. Kaufman and Wildegans say the two painters were having an argument about a prostitute called Rachel and about their visions on painting. Gauguin announced he was leaving Arles for good but Van Gogh stopped him on the street.
Kaufman told The Guardian: "Near the brothel, about 300 metres from the yellow house, there was a final encounter between them: Vincent might have attacked him, Gauguin wanted to defend himself and to get rid of this 'madman'. He drew his weapon [a sabre], made some movement in the direction of Vincent and by that cut off his left ear." Kaufmann said it was not clear if it was an accident or intentional.
Kaufman and Wildegans point to a scetch Van Gogh made of the severed ear with the word "ictus", the Latin term for a 'hit' in fencing.
They also cite correspondence between Vincent and his brother, Theo, in which the painter hints at what happened without directly breaking the "pact of silence" he apparently made made with Gauguin.
Kaufmann told the Daily Telegraph: "He writes that it's lucky Gauguin doesn't have a machine gun or other firearms."
Monday, May 18, 2009
We really enjoyed Paris which is now O. Her favorite European city, and the Netherlands was as usual perfect only not the weather! Italy was nice but Milano is for the both of us not Italy most interesting city.
We spoke with some Turkish friends in Italy and the Netherlands (3 Dutch friends moved with their Turkish wifes back to the Netherlands the last 2 years) and all are more than happy. Yes they miss their family and the beautiful weather but for the rest they really enjoy life in Holland. Which gives O. The idea to look for opportunities there...only I don’t want to move back...) I’m more than happy in Turkey and if I move it will be or Greece or Italy. France and Spain are also options or Argentinia but for the latter I don’t see some real chances...
This morning we picked up Sarah P. Who stayed the last 9 days with the Vet. And she was overjoyed to see us again. Now she is back with us she behaved much more civilized...ha, I think she undergo her stay with at the Vet his clinic as a punishment for her ‘spoiled’ behavior.)
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Instead of counting candles,
Or tallying the years,
Contemplate your blessings,
As your birthday nears.
Consider special people
Who love you,
and who care,
And others who’ve enriched your life
Just by being there.
Think about the memories
Passing years can never mar,
Experiences great and small
That have made you who you are.
Another year is a happy gift,
So cut your cake, and say
,"Instead of counting birthdays,
I count blessings every day!"
A very very happy Birthday to you Hans!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
We had a wonderful night in Paris. Did some sightseeing ''by taxi'" which was fun but one night in Paris is far too short especially if you travel all the way from Milano to Paris on the same day.
Enfin, felt yesterday asleep on the couch and woke up this morning early. Did some shopping, met friends and now at Sandra's who is cooking diner..)
Tomorrow by car to Belgium and Sunday lunch with family and in the afternoon back to Istanbul...but you understand that I eat Dutch cheese like crazy these days...later!
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
"Touched by An Angel" by Maya Angelou.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Today we took the train from Milan to Paris, a wonderful trip of only 7 hrs.
Paris is as usual beautiful on this typical May day in Spring; the cafe's, and there are a lot of them, are open with terraces.
We arrived at our hotel at 4pm and what is in front of the hotel? Kebab D'anatolia...
O. wants to go shopping at the Champs-Élysées...she will discover that you don't shop there unless you can afford to drive a Rolls Royce..)!
We go swalking and sight seeing and eat a lot of French Cheese...later more.
The journalist, Joanie de Rijke (43), was held hostage by the Taliban for six days in November 2008 and was released after a 137,000-dollar ransom was paid.
In a new book, In the hands of the Taliban, De Rijke describes how she was repeatedly raped by Taliban commander Ghazi Gul. Gul was later killed in a bombardment.
De Rijke, who is Dutch but lives in Belgium, was on assignment in Afghanistan for the Belgian weekly P-Magazine. She wanted to talk to the group of Taliban fighters who had ambushed and killed ten French paratroopers in August 2008. But when she made contact with the group, they took her and her Afghan interpreter hostage instead.
The ransom was paid by the magazine and colleagues of De Rijke after both the Dutch and Belgian governments refused to pay.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
We are still in Milano but tomorrow morning we will take the train to Paris, which is a comfortable way of travelling in Europe. From Milano through the Alps in 7 hours in Paris.
Yesterday evening diner was fun but I drank too much wine and had a little head ache this morning. Fortunate, no obligations for me but O. had to attend the annual meeting of her company. So we had breakfast and I eat a lot of Parma ham and cheese!
Late this afternoon we met shortly with a Turkish friend who is married to an Italian and bought our train ticket to Paris where we will stay for one night. It's O. her first visit to France so tomorrow night we will make an 'executive summary tour de Paris' since we will leave the next day for Amsterdam by Thalys.
In fact, this afternoon a meeting was planned for me with an Italian/American company but had to cancel because of a little food poisoning or disrupting of the stomach, but we will meet next week in Istanbul where an exhibition is planned by them together with a well known Istanbulian university.
I also therefore skipped the final diner of tonight. A dressed diner...after last night experience I prefer to have my food in my hotel room so that I will sleep at 11pm sharp. At 6am up and train will leave at 8am...
And no time for internet until Thursday afternoon when we will arrive in Amsterdam for a three day stay...with a trip to Brussels planned on Saturday.
Yep, it's fun travelling in Europe with so many cultures, languages and different foods.