Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, doing the naked lunch

Wouldn't you?

My foot hurts. The tendon where the repair took place last November is like a Polish sausage, squeezing the nerves to where I don't feel much in my foot anywhere, which is bringing my foot into line with how I have felt for several decades.

That's no excuse for not posting, of course, because there is a weekly period after lunch on Tuesday when I should be able to share my ludicrous thoughts with more than 6 billion people, most of whom don't even read the language I write.

I have often used the metaphor of cave paintings to describe what I do. Mrs. Faustroll thinks this is an expression of my suicidal pessimism, but I don't think it is.

I am going to die without ever accomplishing anything — as most of us are. Why? Because politics is poopadoodle, and real people don't have the resources to play with other people's lives.

We are all here by accident with equal opportunity to become collateral damage while the muck-muck settle their petty grievances and defend this shit they do in the liberal media. Irony is not lost on my laundry.

As I have said and written repeatedly since I could do so: I believe nothing. I believe in nothing. Belief is a wall between you and what you are a part of.

How many are we? Why does it matter? Matter is just a selfish form of energy. Does the world compute to you?

I don't compete. What would I compete for? Who would I compete against?

That is what I find so funny.

That anyone would think I have answers to any of the questions I ask. I only write about the questions that I don't see anyone asking.

People are not normally strange. Strange people are assholes, and you should watch out for them. They are not your friends, no matter what promises they make.

And, of course, I am still committed to bringing on the bomb, because I've paid for it, and surely more people deserve to experience the blessed relief of the big one than a bunch of Japs. What other solution does anyone have?

Day Opening - June 30

Read along!

Monday, June 28, 2010

No Bavaria Babes, No Pletterpets but incompetent referees


At the World Cup in South Africa, yet another Dutch brewer has clashed with FIFA and the authorities. Internationally renowned brewer Heineken intended to organise a publicity march towards a football stadium in Cape Town for hundreds of Dutch football fans donning an orange helmet. Faced with FIFA’s threat to call in the police, the brewer bowed to pressure and cancelled the controversial stunt.
Heineken’s orange helmet, the Pletterpet, is shaped like a South African miner’s helmet except it features a number of tiny flags and a not so small tooter which lucky fans can use hands-free. Heineken, one of the sponsors of the Dutch team, has made the helmet the centre-piece of a massive publicity campaign.
As usual, FIFA has agreed with the local authorities to ban all publicity in and around stadiums—except for FIFA sponsors. US brewer Budweiser is one such sponsor. The ban also affects other branches, such as car and shoe brands.
Okay, last week Dutch brewer Bavaria was the first to clash with FIFA. Mindful of the mostly male crowd, the brewer had clad its 'babes' in an orange mini-dress. But what about the FIFA appointed referees, which really disturbs the world champion ship?

Day Opening - June 28

Elkep Evi Cave House - Urgup, Cappadoccia, TURKEY

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The History of Palestine/Israel (1)

by Dr. Harry Mandelbaum


At the beginning of the 20th century, there were practically no Arabs in the Holy Land. Historically, a "Palestinian" people never existed. The English name "Palestinian", to describe the local Arab population, was invented AFTER the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. These Arabs do not even have a native name to describe themselves in their own Arabic language. The Arabs who now claim to be natives of the Holy Land have migrated to Palestine and invaded the land after 1917, from neighboring Arab countries. There is only one possible solution to the "Palestinians" desire for a homeland - let them return to where they came from - to where they lived earlier for hundreds or thousands of years - to their real homeland in their original Arab countries.


Unknown to most of the world population, the origin of the "Palestinian" Arabs' claim to the Holy Land spans a period of a meager 30 years - a drop in the bucket compared to the thousands of years of the region's rich history.

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were practically no Muslim Arabs in the Holy Land. By contrast, the Jews, despite 2000 years of persecution and forced conversions by various conquerors, have throughout most of history been the majority population there. In Jerusalem Jews were always the largest demographic group [1][2], except for periods when conquerors specifically threw them out and prevented them from returning.

When General Allenby, the commander of the British military forces, conquered Palestine in 1917/1918, only a few thousand Muslim Arabs resided in the Holy Land. Most of the Arabs were Christians, and most of the Muslims in the area either came from Turkey under the Ottoman Empire, or were the descendants of Jews and Christians who were forcefully converted to Islam by the Muslim conquerors. These Muslims were not of Arab origin.
More herrreeeeeee

Day Opening - June 27

Dolomites, lakes, North Italy

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Turkey’s Two-Faced Aid For Gaza - Forbes

It looks like that Gaza is only an interesting topic for Turkish internal politics. In fact, it looks like that Turkey doesn't give a dime about the suffering of the people in Gaza, under siege by Hamas:

From Forbes:

From the fury with which Turkey’s leaders are demanding carte blanche access for aid to Gaza, you might suppose the Turkish government had exhausted every available route for pouring its own bounty into the Palestinian enclave. Think again. While Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan whips up passions about Israel stopping a blockade-busting “aid” flotilla, his own government has racked up a record as one of the cheapskates of Gaza relief.
United Nations records show that if Gaza has been lean on aid from Turkey in recent years, it’s not because Turkish relief donations have been blocked by the Israelis. It’s because Turkey, relative to its size as a rising economic power, and despite its claims of regional leadership, has been surprisingly stingy about sending aid via the already existing channels of the UN. Apparently, Turkey‘s leaders are glad to enlist the U.N. full force for punishing Israel and stripping Israel’s defenses against the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists who control neighboring Gaza. But the Turks are far less interested in the U.N. when it comes to handing over Turkish goods and cash for U.N. aid efforts.
The chief U.N. agency in Gaza is the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA. Love or hate it–and I am no fan–UNRWA, according to its website, is “the main provider of basic services–education, health, relief and social services–to 4.7 million registered Palestine refugees in the Middle East.” Many of those Palestinians live in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank. But Gaza is the core of this operation. UNRWA‘s headquarters are in Gaza, where 1.1 million Palestinians–the bulk of Gaza’s population–are registered on UNRWA’s refugee rolls and eligible for its services.
More herreeeee

Day Opening - June 26

Monkey business

Friday, June 25, 2010

Statement #39

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
-Einstein

Day Opening - June 25

One day...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bollywood makes satire on Osama bin Laden

India's Bollywood cinema, known for its exuberant song-and-dance sequences and romantic plots, is to explore new territory with a satire on Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

The movie, "Tere bin Laden" (Without you, Laden), is a story set in Pakistan about a young reporter who seeks to migrate to the United States in search of fame and fortune.
The reporter, played by Pakistani actor-singer Ali Zafar, is denied entry and his visa rejected after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
The farce follows a storyline in which the reporter makes a video with a bin Laden look-alike and becomes the centre of a major White House investigation.
"People want new concepts, not commercial films," director-writer Abhishek Sharma said.
Lead actor Zafar told the Press Trust of India news agency that "it is a satire and does not hurt anyone's ideology."
"The idea excited me and the script was hilarious," he said.
The Bollywood industry is struggling to shake off one of its worst box-office runs, and offbeat ideas are increasingly attracting producers who have been disenchanted formulaic love stories. A planned movie on Adolf Hitler has also caused controversy, with the lead actor pulling out of the project after protests from Jewish groups and condemnation from historians.
The small-budget "Tere bin Laden" is set for release next month.
I am just curious how many jihadists in neighboring Pakistan will like this movie.

Jew-Jitsu

....

Day Opening - June 24


Time for a cup of coffee, Amsterdam

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Funny Church Billboards

According to their Facebook page, St Matthew in the City is, “working to be a church Jesus would belong to without embarrassment: Inclusive, welcoming, compassionate and fearless.”

The progressive New Zealand church means it.
Just before Christmas 2009, the Auckland church posted an outdoor advertisement intended to lampoon literalism and get people thinking about the tenets of their faith, challenge stereotypes and and get people talking.
It worked.
The billboard is one of several of the progressive church’s humorous looks at religion. So, religion and humor can get together...

Day Opening - June 23

Where the streets have no name...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Anti-semitism and the Netherlands

Verbal and violent anti-Semitism in the Netherlands is probably greater today than it has been during any other time in the last four centuries except the Nazi occupation. And excessive Dutch tolerance has become an incentive for crime; due to the relatively high crime rate among the Dutch Moroccan community and international Arab anti-Semitic hate propaganda, Jews are above average targets for their racists' behavior. Easily recognizable Jews often try to hide their identity in public.

Immigration of large numbers of Muslims to The Netherlands over the past four decades has created major challenges for the Dutch Jewish community. These include, for instance, increased verbal and physical violence against Jews and the Jewish community, the need for greater security measures, a negative impact on the teaching of the Holocaust in Dutch schools, and changed attitudes on the part of the authorities and third parties toward the needs of the Jewish community.


During a major anti-Israel demonstration in April 2002 in Amsterdam, Israeli flags were burned by marching Muslims. Few Dutchmen if any would have thought then that in 2008, in a variety of Muslim countries, Dutch flags would be burned as a protest against the movie "Fitna" by Wilders.

Now the government is fed up with the growing antisemitism, mainly caused by the Dutch Moroccan youth and proposed a new method to counter aggression towards the Jewish community in the Netherlands: "Jewish decoys". In other words, law enforcers posing as members of the Jewish community in order to catch offenders red handed. A spokesperson for the City of Amsterdam says the method fits with the mayor's "aim to examine unorthodox approaches to stop violence involving discrimination".

In an editorial, a large Dutch newspaper speaks of "abhorrent violence" and a "climate of fear" in which "Jews in at least six Amsterdam neighbourhoods often cannot cross the street wearing a skullcap without being insulted, spat at or even attacked." It calls for the authorities to "take firm action" and argues that if there are problems gathering evidence, then the use of "Jewish decoys" should be considered.

On policy reports that the decoy method is becoming something of a trend: "over the past two years, decoy prostitutes, decoy gays and decoy grannies have all been pressed into service." The police in Gouda are particularly pleased with their decoy granny. A police spokeswoman states proudly "If we receive several reports of street robbery in a certain location, we send out the granny. That soon quietens things down."

There is also a lesson to be drawn for the autochthonous Dutch. If after 400 years of Jewish presence in The Netherlands, so many Dutch have such views about this small community, what is the likelihood that The Netherlands, within a foreseeable future, will integrate their ten percent of non-Western immigrants and their progeny? These people, who arrived at most a few decades ago, are much more remote from Dutch society than the Jews have been for a long time. Other important factors which can impede this integration include the unprecedented incitement of Muslims by Arab satellite television. Furthermore, radicals in the Muslim community are likely to cause frequent friction in The Netherlands. A sad situation.
 
In previous centuries the Jews played important roles in Dutch society. The Portuguese Jews did so in Dutch trade in the 17th century. In the 19th century the textile and diamond industries would not have flourished without the Jews. A number of the largest Dutch companies today were founded entirely or partially by Jews. Jews also played an important role in the inception of the trade unions. Nothing similar exists today.

However, the symbolic role of the Jews in The Netherlands is enormous. It is doubtful whether The Netherlands can do without them. It cannot be without Jews in the imaginary spheres, whether to reflect about the past and the Holocaust in society, as stereotypes which have become part of the Dutch language, as instruments for various purposes, or as sensors for the future. These roles have by now become embedded in Dutch culture. The Jews' symbolic role in The Netherlands is of great importance for the country.

Day Opening - June 22


That's relaxing...

Will Purple+ be the Dutch future?

The Dutch national elections resulted in a gap between left and right wing parties. Most of the Christian Democrat voters went to either the Liberals or to the Freedom Party (which name is a farce). Most of the Christian Democrat voters who voted for the Freedom party were from the southern provinces.

The queen decided to appoint an informer who had to investigate a coalition between the largest party, the Liberals, and the Freedom Party, which gained most extra seats in the parliament. Unfortunately this information round didn't work out, because the third potential coalition party, the Christian Democrats, refused to form a government together with Wilders (Freedom Party). Too bad, because now Wilders will be back in the opposition, which will result in more irrational babbling about Islamisation of The Netherlands and creating anti-Muslim sentiments among the brainless mass. I was sincerely hoping for a cabinet with Wilder c.s., so the illusion would collapse within a few months, just like what happened to the LPF in 2002 after a huge win. Now Wilders can profit of his free role to scream and shout whatever the ordinary man wants to hear. Let me be clear, it's a choice between two evils for me, but now the game of negotiation between the more settled political parties takes place.

Although... now the focus is on a so called Purple coalition. In the 90s there was also a combination of Liberals, Socialists and also the smaller Liberal Democrats. Now there's an extra party added, the Green Party. This is quite unique, because the Liberals and Greens are traditionally eachother's opposite. Hopefully durability and entrepreneurship will walk hand in hand, because it is really necessary in this world. If Purple Plus will become reality. And the other two partners of the negotiations? Well, the Socialist party, led by the verbally handicapped leader Cohen, and Liberal Democrats, led by prodigal son Alexander Pechtold seems minor. It is the role of the Greens that's decisive for a coalition that could work.

Conclusion? The Dutch political system is complicated, costing lots of time (since WW2 the total time of negiotiating has been about 6,5 years, based on 26 cabinets with an average time of 90 days!) and unstable cabinets.
Could this be a plea for a simplified two party system, like in the Anglo-Saxon countries? In my humble opinion we should give it a shot at least. It'll take two more cabinets to realise a constitutional change, so I'll have to be patient.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day Opening - June 21

Girl Praying Intently at Wailing Wall, Jerusalem Photo by Jenny White/Kamil Pasha

Sunday, June 20, 2010

What About Hamas's Siege of Gaza? (by Khaled Abu Toameh)

This article appeared in Hudson NY, a ThinkTank

As Israeli naval commandos raided the flotilla ship convoy that was on its way to the Gaza Strip, Hamas security officers stormed the offices of five non-governmental organizations, confiscated equipment and documents, and ordered them closed indefinitely.

Ever since it seized control over the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, Hamas has imposed a reign of terror on the local population in general and its critics in particular. Hamas has brought nothing to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip other than death and disaster.
The raid on the NGOs in the Gaza Strip, which received little coverage in the media, is seen by many Palestinians as part of Hamas's ongoing crackdown on political opponents and human rights organizations.
Further, Hamas's recent decision to ban municipal elections in the Gaza Strip is yet another violation of one of the basic rights of its constituents.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested by Hamas's security forces for daring to speak out against the state of tyranny and intimidation in the Gaza Strip. Over the past three years, dozens of Fatah officials and members have either been thrown into prison or killed.
Under Hamas, the Gaza Strip is being transformed into a fundamentalist Islamic entity resembling the regimes of the Ayatollahs in Iran and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

While there is no ignoring the fact that Hamas originally came to power in a free and democratic election in January 2006, this does not give the movement the right to impose a social, intellectual, political and economic blockade on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Instead of searching for ways to improve the living conditions of the 1.5 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, Hamas is busy enforcing strict Islamic rules on the population, such as Hamas policemen, for example, often stopping men and women who are seen together in public to inquire about the nature of their relationship.

Since the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006, more than 3,500 Palestinians have been killed, many of them during Operation Cast Lead which followed the firing of rockets at Israel.
The kidnapping of Schalit and the rocket attacks have made the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip pay a very heavy price.
If Hamas were really serious about ending the blockade on the Gaza Strip and helping the poor people living there, it would have accepted at least shown some pragmatism in dealing with the outside world.
Hamas could have, for instance, accepted the international community's demand to renounce terrorism and honor all previous agreements signed between the Palestinians and Israel. Moreover, it could have allowed representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit Schalit.

Hamas, however, is more interested in clinging to power than in serving its people; and in light of increased calls for lifting the blockade following the flotilla incident at sea, the movement's leaders in Syria and the Gaza Strip are now convinced that they are marching in the right direction.
The flotilla incident came at a time when Hamas appeared to be losing its popularity among Palestinians, largely due to the deteriorating economic situation in the Gaza Strip. It also came at a time when even some of Hamas's supporters were beginning to criticize the movement, especially over its decision to demolish scores of "illegal" houses in the southern Gaza Strip and the execution of criminals and "collaborators" with Israel.

It is one thing to help the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, but it is another thing to help Hamas. Those who wish to deliver aid to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip can always find better and safer ways to do so - either through Israel or Egypt. But those who only seek confrontation with Israel in the sea are only emboldening Hamas and helping it tighten its grip on the people of Gaza Strip.

This piece is written by: Khaled Abu Toameh

Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.

He studied at Hebrew University and began his career as a reporter by working for a PLO-affiliated newspaper in Jerusalem.
Abu Toameh currently works for the international media, serving as the '€œeyes and ears' of foreign journalists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Abu Toameh's articles have appeared in numerous newspapers around the world, including The Wall Street Journal, US News & World Report and The Sunday Times of London.
Since 2002 he has been writing on Palestinian affairs for The Jerusalem Post and has also been working as a producer and consultant for NBC News since 1989

Day Opening - June 20

Sandstone Symphony, by Marc Adamus

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Holland almost certain of last 16 - without our Bavaria Babes

The Netherlands is almost certain of qualification for the last 16 of the World Cup, after they beat Japan 1-0 in Durban today. The first group match against Denmark was overshadowed in terms of press coverage by the ambush marketing activities of a Dutch beer company (Bavaria and the BavariaBabes) and FIFA's overreaction of it..
Although Arjen Robben had declared himself fit to play, Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk, pressumably on the advice of his medical team, decided to put him on the bench against Japan. His time to shine in the World Cup will hopefully come later in the tournament. So we enjoyed the same starting eleven as our first game.

Japan coach Takeshi Okada was gushing in his praise for the Dutch prior to kickoff: "We will be playing against a wonderful team, which is one of the favourites for the title. We realise this is a sophisticated team but we believe we have a chance to win. We shouldn't feel small even though they have great name players in the team." The first half of the match can be summed up with the 'f' word – frustration! It soon became clear that Mr Okada had told his men to play a defensive game and prevent Ollanda from playing a normal game, in the hope of getting at least a draw. The Dutch had around 70 percent of the possession, and there were some neat passes, but every time they managed to get into the final third, they were crowded out by the Japanese. The few chances that the Japanese created were all from free kicks, but each time the ball floated high and wide over the crossbar and provided no threat to Stekelenburg’s goal.
The longer the first half went on, the more obvious it became that Ollanda needed either Elia or Robben, or both, to provide some width that would help them get behind the Japanese defenders. A Dutch goal would force the Japanese to adopt more positive tactics. From their point of view, the first half went just the way they had hoped it would. For the rest, it was a bore draw.
Fortunately for Ollanda and all the neutrals watching, the breakthrough came eight minutes after the re-start. A cross from the left wasn’t cleared properly by the Japanese, and Robin van Persie found Wesley Sneijder at the edge of the box. Sneijder hit a powerful shot, and the Japanese keeper Eiji Kawashima put two hands out to push the ball away, but misjudged the flight of the the ball and it went beyond him into the net.
Coach Bert van Marwijk made the same two substitutions he had made in the first game, bringing on Elia for Van der Vaart about 20 minutes from the end, then Ibrahim Afellay for goalscorer Wesley Sneijder. The Japanese had a few short spells of pressure in the second half, but Ollanda weathered the storm. In the last minute of normal time, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar came on for Robin van Persie. Ibrahim Afellay could have scored twice in the closing minutes, but on both occasions he was denied by the onrushing Japanese keeper Kawashima.

So Ollanda have six points out of six in two opening matches, and are on the verge of qualification for the last 16. Like the first match against Denmark, this one will not live long in the memory, largely due to Japan’s negative tactics. But we have done enough, and will be much more relaxed in their next game than several of our near-neighbours in Europe who still have a lot of work to do. And we are not yet playing anywhere near their best! Even without Our Babes!
Ollanda Ole!!

Day Opening - June 19

Zurich, Switzerland

Friday, June 18, 2010

Erdogan looks East but Putin looks West

Putin was last week in Istanbul, attending the 3rd Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was there as well. And of course the host, Turkish PM Erdogan. The Turkish PM tried to use his street bully power to convince Putin not to vote in favor of the new resolutions imposed on Iran which the UN security council on that day would vote for. But Putin had other things on his mind; the Islamite threat within Russia and at his borders. And Russia voted along the other 4 permanent members of the UN Security Council together with Bosnia, Nigeria and Mexico. Only Turkey and Brazil, which wants to stand up against the USA - and show their happy independency - voted against. Be aware that Brazil has zero problems with the EU and zero problems with any other Latin American country while Turkey is really swamped in problems with neighboring countries. Brazil wanted to make a statement, that’s all. Turkey did do something different: it voted against its allies.

Back to Russia; there were already signals that Putin, who de facto is the leader of Russia, is looking to cooperate with the USA and the EU, not only for visa-free travel between EU and Russian citizens but also to ‘integrate Russia’s economy and culture with neighbors like the EU and China’ as Newsweek put it in their Cover story of 21 June 2010 so nicely.The USA is ready to push Russia into the WTO, where it wants to be a member of for a long time. Thanks to Obama policies, tides are turned. And Russia in the WTO will be the ultimate thaw!

What does this mean for Turkey, which is longing for other partners than the EU and the USA? There are not many left; China, India, the EU, USA, Russia, Indonesia, Mercasur countries…all are happy with the outcome of Turkey’s zero neighbor policies regarding the Arabs and one Persian country. And with Israel, they, Turkey, created an enemy which can act unpredictable. But Israel has the silent sympathy of most countries which are not ruled by and which interior is destroyed through despots and tyranny like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Pakistan etc.
Erdogan is maybe popular on some streets in the Arab world, he’s losing ground looking for help from the East e.g. Russia and China. And that he got moral support from a country as Pakistan, which lacks history, a soul, a national language and identity, only established because some Muslims didn’t wanted to be ruled by ‘non believers’ the Hindus, is worrisome.
Just buy Newsweek tomorrow...and make your own conclusion; Turkey wants to play chess while it doesn't know the rules of engagement, only of faith.

The Netherlands: the making of a new government (1)

The coalition talks between the pro-business liberal VVD, the anti-Islam Freedom Party and the Christian Democrats have failed before they even got started. The mediator Uri Rosenthal has informed Queen Beatrix that this combination seems impossible after Christian Democrat interim leader Maxime Verhagen refused several times to join the negotiations, until the other two parties had reached a general agreement on a number of issues. The Christen Democrats don't want to participate in a government with the PVV.
Its leader, Geert Wilders, gave yesterday the press his usual tirade of superlatives to voice his discontent. The Freedom Party leader, who describes Mr Verhagen’s behaviour as scandalous: “The Christian Democrats have just pulled out the plug.” A phrase that usually refers to a party after a cabinet has collapsed. Remarkably, he is wearing a purple tie, which in the Netherlands is the colour attributed to a cabinet without the Christian Democrats.
Mr Rosenthal is meeting the other party faction leaders today to hear their preferences. The Labour Party leader Cohen prefers the “purple plus” combination which includes the VVD, Labour Party, the democrat party D66 and the Green Left. While VVD leader Mark Rutte would prefer not to go quite so far to the left and wants a “national cabinet”, which includes his party with the Christian Democrats and the Labour Party. If he wants to meet his self-imposed deadline of 1 July, he’d better get his skates on. Ride on!

Day Opening - June 18

Paros, Greece

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Promised Land (by Frederike Geerdink) - or Turkey's own Gaza

It’s almost comical here in the Republic of Turkey: PM Erdogan accuse Turkish writers, politicians and columnists of being paid by the Israeli government, or worse: being a spy! Everybody who doesn’t agrees with his ongoing hate campaign against Israel, is an agent of Israel… I can only conclude that everybody who cannot face the reality, creates conspiracy theories. Burak Berdil wrote an excellent article about it.

Enfin, the saga regarding  the flotilla continues here in Turkey. And now, by accident through Twitter, I found an article by a Dutch journalist in Turkey, Frederike Geerdink, called: the Promised land, refugees in Turkey. (I rather call it ‘Turkey’s own Gaza). It’s an excellent piece how miserable life for refugees is in Turkey. And I am curious what refugees of Palestine thinks about the flotilla. And FYI, this article is written in December 2009. Now, read and judge:

Turkey is trying to bring its laws on refugees into line with Europe’s. In the meantime, refugees and asylum seekers who reach safety in Turkey live in a legal and social wasteland.


(published December 2009) By Frederike Geerdink

Several Turkish newspapers called it a disgrace last spring, when in Didim, a town on Turkey’s west coast, 65 people were forced to camp in the garden of a government building. These people were refugees from Palestine, Eritrea, Somalia and Iraq. And the pictures didn’t lie: there were children among them. And even though the authorities gave blankets and mattresses, the children were cold at night, wrote the papers with chocolate-thick letters. And, they added, the fact that the government didn’t offer these people a roof over their heads was a disgrace.


As if this was an exception to the rule. The Turkish authorities never provide shelter for refugees, and showed their humanitarian side only by handing out blankets and mattresses. The really exceptional aspect of the situation in Didim was that the deplorable situation of refugees in Turkey hardly ever becomes so visible. Usually refugees stay in a hovel in a dilapidated part of Istanbul, or with whole families in old, dark and smelly buildings in remote Anatolian cities.


Sometimes, they make it into the papers because they are found dead, for example in the sea between Turkey and Greece, (the refugees in Didim were also on the way to Greece when their boat broke down). Or in a field somewhere, dumped by a truck driver who discovered he was no longer transporting living people but dead ones. Or in the mountainous area between Iran and Turkey – where they are sometimes found frozen to death by shepherds reaching meadows high in the mountains where the snow has just melted.
More herrrrreeeee

Day Opening - June 17


Argentinians gather along 9 de Julio Avenue in Buenos Aires to attend the bicentenary parade in Buenos Aires on May 25, 2010. (DANIEL GARCIA)

Arash's World: The Eternal Fixation and the Gaping Gap between Desire and Realization

Arash's World: The Eternal Fixation and the Gaping Gap between Desire and Realization

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What is easier: banning the Dutch Dress or the Burqa?

That the FIFA are a bunch of tyrannical leaders, we know that. But that they, The international football association is launching an inquiry and filed a lawsuit against Bavaria and the Bavaria Babes, seemingly for wearing orange dresses only is shameless. It looks like that banning the Dutch Dress is easier than banning the burqa…


Next to that, the women were already questioned for two hours and claim they put under considerable pressure by the South African authorities. One of the three women, Barbara Castelein, says they were treated roughly and threatened with six-month prison sentences, which apparently caused panic and crying fits. Officially Dutch diplomats have not been informed about the reason for arresting the women, but it is clear that the action was aimed at protecting the interests of Budweiser beer, the official sponsor of the World Cup.

Bavaria has been very careful and very clever, the logo is nowhere on the dress and technically, therefore does not contravene FIFA's regulations.
A Bavaria spokesman: "it is an absolute scandal that FIFA arrested girls for wearing an orange dress without any advertising on it whatsoever". In my opinion Bavaria bosses are "laughing fit to bust". The Director Peer Swinkels says, "we could not hope to better, everybody is talking about our dress and name isn't even on it".

Budweiser and Heineken, you are losing this battle! We stand behind our BavariaBabes all the way to the finals!

Day Opening - June 16

Argentinians gather along 9 de Julio Avenue in Buenos Aires as an actress representing Argentina scatters confetti in Buenos Aires on May 25,  2010 for the  bicentennial. (DANIEL GARCIA)
Click on picture to enlarge.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bavaria Babes arrested after Dutch-Denmark soccer match!



A group of 36 women were arrested in Johannesburg on Monday because they were dressed in the wrong skirts. They were 3 Dutch and 33 from a temporary work agency! We call them the Bavaria Babes!

FIFA officials discovered them in the Soccer City stadium and reported them to police after the Holland-Denmark duel. The girls wore orange miniskirts, so-called Dutch Dresses, supplied by Bavaria brewery, a competitor of FIFA's official sponsor Budweiser. The officials acted against the Bavaria girls on the basis of the contract with Budweiser, which stipulates that other beer brands are not allowed to advertise in the World Championship stadiums. Although the labels of Bavaria were 1 by 2 cm...
Bavaria initially denied any involvement, claiming that the 36 women belonged to a student group who purchased the skirts and paid their own expenses, including the trip to South Africa, and that we call lying for a good cause....
But Bavaria's Managing Director Peer Swinkels told reporters that he was appalled the Dutch Dress girls were arrested. "There is not even a brand name on those skirts, so what are we doing wrong? Since when are there clothing conventions during football matches?" Also lying, understandable...more PR!
Mr Swinkels admitted that Bavaria had footed the bill for the Dutch Dress campaign. Barbara Castelein, a spokeswoman for the so-called Oranje Babes said they were shocked by FIFA's rough-shod handling of the case. "We were forcibly manhandled, some girls were covered in bruises. All of a sudden the action lost its innocence." They were held in police cells for four hours. Ms Castelein says the group was having second thoughts about a follow-up to the dress action.
FIFA must be ashamed of themselves. At first they thought that the women had to undress them...wow..that would be a PR stunt!
Also Heineken, official sponsor of the Dutch national team, kept their mouth shut. The girls are simple cheerleading.

Day Opening - June 15


















Dutch soft power?
Here an interesting article about the Netherlands / WK team.
Holland won yesterday its first match with 2 against 0 for Denmark.

Monday, June 14, 2010

3 Years' Sentence for Threat against Armenian Weekly

The Turkish citizen, Yasin Yıldız, received a three-year prison sentence for threatening the Armenian Agos newspaper via e-mail after the killing of Agos chief editor Dink. He was handed down another three months in jail for insult. This is the fifth positive decision for Agos. And that is good news. In the meantime, the case against the murder(s) of Dink still lingers on, 3 years after dato.
From Bianet. herreeee more...

Day Opening - June 14

Iran today

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Turkey's president tweets against Youtube, Google bans



Maybe it's time to ban Twitter too in Turkey...

"Turkey's president used his Twitter account Thursday to slam the country's ban on YouTube and some Google services.

In separate tweets sent out late Thursday, Abdullah Gül said he did not approve of the bans and had instructed officials to look into legal ways to reopen access.

Courts have blocked access to YouTube since 2008 over videos deemed to be insulting to Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Last week, Turkey extended the ban to some Google pages that use the same Internet Protocol addresses as YouTube.

In January, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe urged Turkey to abolish or reform a law allowing it to block around 3,700 Internet sites."
Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Day Opening - June 13 - Jerusalem of Gold

Avir harim zalul kayayin


Ve-rei'ah oranim

Nissa be-ru'ah ha'arbayim

Im kol pa'amonim



U-ve-tardemat ilan va-even

Shvuyah ba-halomah

Ha-ir asher badad yoshevet

U-ve-libbah homah



Yerushalayim shel zahav

Ve-shel nehoshet ve-shel or

Ha-lo le-khol shirayikh

Ani kinnor.

Eikhah yavshu borot ha-mayim

Kikkar ha-shuk reikah

Ve-ein poked et Har ha-Bayit

Ba-ir ha-attikah


U-va-me'arot asher ba-selah

Meyallelot ruhot

Ve-ein yored el Yam ha-Melah

Be-derekh Yeriho


Yerushalayim shel zahav

Ve-shel nehoshet ve-shel or

Ha-lo le-khol shirayikh

Ani kinnor.


Akh be-vo'i ha-yom la-shir lakh

Ve-lakh likshor ketarim

Katonti mi-ze'ir bana'ikh

U-me-aharon ha-meshorerim


Ki shemekh zorev et ha-sefatayim

Ke-neshikat saraf

Im eshkakhekh Yerushalayim

Asher kullah zahav


Yerushalayim shel zahav

Ve-shel nehoshet ve-shel or

Ha-lo le-khol shirayikh

Ani kinnor.


Hazarnu el borot ha-mayim

La-shuk ve-la-kikkar

Shofar kore be-Har ha-Bayit

Ba-ir ha-attikah

U-va-me'arot asher ba-selah

Alfey shemashot zorhot

Nashuv nered el Yam ha-Melah

Be-derekh Yeriho


Yerushalayim shel zahav

Ve-shel nehoshet ve-shel or

Ha-lo le-khol shirayikh

Ani kinnor.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Australian billionaires take to the streets for tax protest

Now they know exactly who to kidnap, right?.)
Here the article.

Israel a Country of Right Wing Fanatics? (By Richard in Tel Aviv)

What is a moderate and what is a right-wing fanatic? It seems to be a matter of perception. But what can be sure is that the international media readily portrays Israel as a nation of violent right-wing fanatics that isn't interested in peace and only wants to colonize others; a nation that supposedly elected a right-wing fanatic Prime Minister in their colonial aspirations and perpetual Arab hatred.


I'll often hear from my own friends that suggest I've become right wing over the past few years. I have to laugh at them. For while today, after years of suicide bombings and never ending conflict with the Palestinians, and wars in Gaza and Lebanon; I, like so many once upon a time left wing Israelis have lost faith in the Palestinians as partners and become pessimistic about any chance of real peace with the Muslim world, it doesn't mean I want it any less, or that I think we should continue to settle the territories or have become militant. But watching the media one would assume that Israel is a brutal nation that wants to keep the Palestinians in Gaza in utter poverty as they starve to death (while the Turkish and Iranians are peace loving humanitarian workers fighting to help the poor Palestinians on the street). And of course, they'd have it backwards.

I first arrived to Israel in 1992, and officially immigrated in 1995. Immediately thereafter I began studying in the University of Tel Aviv, where I was present for the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the Prime Minister of Israel and the leader of the Israeli peace movement. It was my political baptizing if you will, an immediate indication that Israel was a country where you had no option but to get involved. And in the elections that were held to replace Rabin I voted for Meretz, the most left-wing party in mainstream Israel politics, and subsequently attended countless protests, supporting the peace process Rabin had started, believing whole heartedly that not only Israel should not retain control over another people, but that those people, the Palestinians held similar values for life and tolerance that I did.
Continue reading herrreeee
(comments are off; this the view of Richard, you can react on his blog)

Day Opening - June 12

Israel

Friday, June 11, 2010

Royal Dutch KLM introduce Denglish

Dutch airline KLM has become a little less Dutch. From now on, safety instructions – you know that tedious ritual before take off – will only be given in English. While Air France continues to talk to its passengers in French and Lufthansa wouldn’t even think of not speaking German, a KLM spokesperson says “It’s an improvement” (in Dutch of course). It gives the stewardesses more time to give more instructions because up to now they were always given in two languages. KLM thinks almost all passengers speak English and if they don’t they can ask the stewardess. Well, let’s hope KLM English doesn’t turn out to be double Dutch or Denglish...

Day Opening - June 11


Palais de Versailles, France

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Elections in the Netherlands

The Netherlands went to the polls yesterday and the election results are the main topic over there: which coalition will be possible?
The message from the voters is confused: the Dutch political landscape has splintered and forming a stable coalition will be an exceptionally difficult task. Perhaps the most dramatic outcome of yesterday's election is the historic loss suffered by the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDA).

The final results are still not in (99.8% is now conted), but the free-market liberal VVD has emerged as the largest party, taking 31 seats. Labour took 30 seats to become the second largest party and Geert Wilders' right-wing, anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV) came third with 24 seats. For the first time in its history, the CDA finished a poor fourth: ''CDA was smashed," and its political leader and caretaker Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende announcing his resignation as party leader and his departure from Dutch politics. CDA "suffered an historic loss, finishing with just 22 seats, representing a humiliating loss of 19 seats. Mr Balkenende described the result as "very, very disappointing".
Balkenende has accepted the voters' "kiss of death," bye bye!
The VVD may have come out in front, but it is the narrowest victory in Dutch history: until now, the winning party had always emerged with more 40 seats, apart from 1994 when Labour won just 37 seats. Unless Mr Rutte manages to form a stable coalition, this could turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory for the VVD.

The winners

Yesterday's big winner was Geert Wilders; the right-wing Freedom Party (PVV) jumped from nine to 24 seats and Wilders told his jubilant supporters, "the political establishment will not be able to ignore us any more," adding, "this is a glorious day for the entire country" and "grab the battering rams, we're going to give them hell". Once a protest party now a movement but not able to govern but good in populism.
The other big winners were the GreenLeft and the D66 liberals and both parties are likely to be asked to join the new coalition government. D66 leader Alexander Pechtold increased his party's share of the vote by seven seats, taking them to 10,  while last year's opinion polls predicted more than 20 seats for the party.
GreenLeft leader Femke Halsema was over the moon with 11 seats saying "We're the only left-wing party that won today". Right on!

The losers

Yesterday's election sent shockwaves through the political establishment and there were some big losers. The Christian Union (centre left) regrets its standpoint on homosexuality lost one seat and will return just five MPs to the lower house.
The Socialist Party lost nine seats, but SP leader Emile Roemer tries to put positive spin on dramatic loss since he was the relatively unknown who had just two months to save his party from disaster and that the party managed to win 16 seats isn't bad at all.

The animal welfare party  and the ultra conservative Christian SGP kept both their two seats.

Botched

Everybody agree that the Dutch political landscape has been shattered; "the voters have botched it," and  "a huge victory for Wilders' Islam-bashers, and a completely splintered political landscape: this is what the Dutch have chosen in the midst of a deep economic crisis".
Its obvious: the Netherlands is divided. Never before has the message from the voters been so confusing. It will be almost impossible to form a stable governing coalition. The only combination that will have a majority in parliament is, "a coalition of the purple parties and GreenLeft". This means a return to the purple coalition - VVD, Labour and D66 - that ruled in the 1990s, with the addition of the GreenLeft. The Dutch media has dubbed this possible combination as the 'Purple Plus' coalition.
Just 74 percent of the electorate bothered to vote and the turnout was an historic low and it is hard to understand the public's apathy and indifference in these trying times.
One possitive point: Holland became more secular!

Day Opening - June 10

Lighthouse, Crete, Greece

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Holland is sinking!

New research shows that large areas in the west of the Netherlands are sinking as a result of the settling of layers of peat - in some places by as much as 15 mm per year. Physical geographer Sanneke van Asselen will receive her doctorate from the University of Utrecht next week for the study.

Layers of peat at a depth of 10 metres below the surface in large parts of the provinces of South Holland and Utrecht have caused more than three metres of subsidence over the past 2,000 years.
The speed at which the ground is sinking depends on the thickness of the peat and the weight of the sand and clay layers above it. The process is also accelerated by the lowering of groundwater levels caused by agriculture.
The study shows that the settling of peat increases the risk of flooding and of subsiding dykes. "Taken together with the rise in sea levels, this is dangerous for the Netherlands," notes Ms Van Asselen.
The computer model she has developed enables estimates of future subsidence to be made. Time to buy some extra wooden shoes and sail away?.)

Day Opening - June 9

Into the void by Jeff Pang

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beer war in the Netherlands and South Africa...

Where there’s football, there’s beer. And in the run-up to the World Cup in South Africa, a beer war has broken out among the Dutch brewers. When it comes to battling for football fans’ custom, it seems anything goes – gimmicks, gadgets, girls and slurs against competitors. But why do football and beer go hand in hand?

“It’s quiet on the other side,” goes one of the most popular Dutch football chants. The other side in question is of course the other side of the stadium, where cowed rival fans look on meekly as their team loses to the Dutch – or at least that’s the idea.
But it’s not likely to be so quiet in the Netherlands over the next few weeks. Football means watching TV, drinking beer, shouting and singing. But why beer? Why don’t the football fans go with the trend and crack open a bottle of Prosecco or mix up a mojito like everyone else this summer?

Beer war

Martijn de Rooi, sociologist and journalist, doesn’t have a cut and dried answer.
“It’s a cultural phenomenon. And I wouldn’t like to say why. Perhaps it goes back centuries to when we all drank beer because you couldn’t trust the water. Perhaps it’s also for financial reasons, because wine is more expensive than beer. And certainly among young people it’s looked on as strange if you don’t join in. Then you’re seen as a party-pooper and you’re not part of the group.”
It’s no coincidence then that the brewers wring as much publicity as they can out of football. Dutch brewer Heineken is the official sponsor of the Champions League, while the Belgian brand Jupiler sponsors the Netherlands’ second-highest division, known confusingly as the First Division. And the World Cup in South Africa has US beer giant Budweiser as its sponsor.
Football is war, the legendary Dutch coach Rinus Michels once said. But it’s also a beer war. That’s not surprising, because the Dutch brewers alone expect to sell 15 million litres more beer during the World Cup than in the rest of the summer.

Babes

Each Dutch beer brand fields its own gimmick in an effort to woo the drinkers’ favour. Grolsch has a portable cool box, Heineken has a Dutch take on the South African ‘makarapa’ football supporters’ helmet, and Bavaria has the ‘Dutch Dress’. see picture..
This orange mini dress has already sparked a row with Heineken during the Netherlands’ warm-up match against Mexico. Dozens of students turned up at the match sporting the tight-fitting orange frock. The ‘Bavaria babes’ drew plenty of attention in the stands, and also from the TV cameras. Heineken, as the Dutch team’s official sponsor, was reportedly none too pleased about the extra publicity for a rival brand. Bavaria swore it hadn’t hired the girls in specially, and they’d just worn the dress as a spontaneous student joke.

Publicity stunt

Heineken spokesman Norbert Cappetti says it’s over the top to talk about a beer war:
“There’s never been such a thing. From the start we’ve said that it gave us a good laugh too. We’re behind any form of support for the Dutch team. Whether it’s dresses or Heineken helmets, it doesn’t matter. It was just a publicity stunt.”
However, there’s nothing new about a beer war between Heineken and Bavaria. During the 2006 World cup the Dutch football association sought a stadium ban on Bavaria’s gimmick of trousers with a lion’s tail, because it was harming chief sponsor Heineken. But the courts declined to grant an injunction against lion-tailed trousers.

Guerrilla war

In South Africa too there are also reports of a guerrilla war between Heineken and South African Breweries, SAB. For the past few years Heineken has been producing an increasingly popular premium beer in the country. SAB accuses Heineken of short-changing its customers because it is charging the same price for smaller bottles.
South African wine producers aren’t leaving the field open for the beer brewers either. In the Cape Province, around Stellenbosch for example, hundreds of managers have been trained up to provide World Cup fans with expert wine advice. A well-chilled bottle of FIFA 2010 Dry Rosé to go with Serbia vs. Ghana – why not?

Thank you source RWD!

Day Opening - June 8

Monday, June 7, 2010

Eight Years ago

Today, exactly 8 years ago I was attending the 72th birthday party of my uncle in the Netherlands and I was residing in Miami, the USA. A couple of days later I went for a business trip to Turkey and met Ö. One year later I was married to Ö in Ciragan palace; I still see myself walking through the Atrium hall (see picture) with 3 'butlers' in fronts of us. Today, Ö and I are 7 years married. And 7 years means more to me than 5, or 10 or even 25. For me 7, 14, 21 or 28 are magical numbers. And I never regretted that I made the move from Miami to Istanbul and married Ö.
(for privacy reasons, no personal pics) Tonight we are celebrating.