Tuesday, November 30, 2010

After Wikileaks: Iran agrees to talks on nuclear plans: EU

Iran agreed Today to a new round of talks in Geneva on December 6 and 7 with world powers on its controversial nuclear programme, an EU foreign affairs spokesman said.
Iran chief negotiator Said Jalili will meet for talks with EU chief diplomat Catherine Ashton, who will lead the international delegation, the spokesman said. "We've now received a response from the Iranian authorities in which they have said that Dr. Jalili has accepted Catherine Ashton's proposal to meet in Geneva," the spokesman said. "Talks between Catherine Ashton and Dr. Jalili will now take place on Monday and Tuesday next week in Geneva."
Ashton would lead the so-called "3+3" or "5+1" group of nations negotiating with Iran made up of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the United States, Russia, China, France, and Britain) and Germany.
The talks will be the first between Iran and six world powers since October 2009.
Disagreement over the agenda has held up the talks. The world powers want the talks to focus on Iran's uranium enrichment programme but Tehran wants a wider discussion that includes regional security issues.
The United States, Europe and Israel fear that Iran wants to use nuclear technology to build a bomb, but Tehran insists that its programme is a peaceful drive to produce civilian energy.
And Turkey is out of the picture.

Arash's World: The Important but Difficult Task of Letting Go and Buddhist Non-Attachment

Arash's World: The Important but Difficult Task of Letting Go and Buddhist Non-Attachment

Day Opening - November 30

Escape of an turtle

Monday, November 29, 2010

Is Switzerland the Black sheep of Europe?

Switzerland was slammed as the "black sheep" of Europe today after voters endorsed a far-right push to automatically expel foreign residents convicted of certain crimes. Austrian website news.at headlined an article saying: "Switzerland is now the black sheep -- majority for tougher rules against foreigers." The headline was a reference to the signature poster campaign mounted by the far-right Swiss People's Party (SVP) in its push for the expulsion, depicting white sheep kicking a black sheep out of the Swiss flag. On Sunday, 52.9 percent voted in favour of automatic expulsions and 47.1 percent were against, with the country's German-speaking majority largely backing the proposal. Only six of the 26 cantons rejected the initiative.
The vote came exactly a year after Switzerland shocked the world by agreeing to ban the construction of new minarets, which was another proposal backed by the SVP.
Switzerland's biggest circulating tabloid Blick headlined the news "Get out" (Raus in German).
Newspapers across Europe criticised the Swiss decision, with Belgian newspaper Le Soir saying that "Switzerland has once against chosen the radical road."
With the vote, "the Swiss have once again slapped the EU in the face," as the expulsion is "absolutely incompatible with the bilateral accord of free movement of people which links Switzerland to EU," said the newspaper.
The vote could "put all bilateral accords in question," it added.
Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung headlined their article "Switzerland violates international law."
"Switzerland sends -- like a year ago with the ban on minarets -- a signal to the world that it doesn't care what others think of it," said the newspaper. "The signal from the Swiss calls for a response... The European Union should not tolerate a country, with which it is tightly linked, to position itself so wantonly apart from this community. "Switzerland has violated one of the seven bilateral accords with the EU. And theoretically, it is also bringing six others into question," added the journal.
"Austria's Die Presse said Switzerland demonstrated a sort of "schizophrenia."" On the one hand, murderers, rapists and foreign drug dealers must be expelled. On the other hand, despots, dictators, mafia or businessmen crooks, whose money have often dodgy origins, are always welcomed with a 'Gruezi.'," it noted, referring to the Swiss German greeting.
Even much of the mainstream broadsheets within Switzerland deplored their compatriots' decision.
Le Temps headlined their editorial "Anguish," criticising the SVP for imposing their agenda "with disregard for universal rights."
Le Matin said the far-right campaign was successful as the party had become a "real war machine, with a perfect propaganda service, incomparable financial means, dedicated politicians and simplistic but terribly efficient messages."
The TagesAnzeiger noted "Switzerland will not make new friends with this 'yes' -- other than with the populist right circles of Europe.
"Up to now that included the Italian Northern League, and Holland's Geert Wilders as examples. Yesterday's decision reminds us that even in the Swiss idyllic utopia, we can find their supporters," it noted.
Italy's main broadsheet Corriere della Sera quoted a Northern League politician Mario Borghesio praising the Swiss decision as "an example of judicial civility."
The question remains: 'how many countries expel foreign criminals from their soil? Fort example thhe USA have a 3-strike-out law! İs that against universal rights?

John Halal

Day Opening - November 29

Happy Dolphins by Elena Shevkoplyas

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Statement #48

"Only if outward and inner freedom are constantly and consciously pursued is there a possibility of spiritual development and perfection and thus of improving man's outward and inner life."


--Albert Einstein

Ten years of legalised Euthanisia in the Netherlands

Today it is ten years since the Netherlands passed a law legalising euthanasia. This made the Netherlands the first country in the world to establish legal guidelines for ending a human life. But why has almost no other country followed the Dutch example?
The Netherlands likes to see itself as an ethical guide that other countries should follow. In 2001, the Mayor of Amsterdam presided over the first same-sex marriage while the world looked on. Since then, over ten countries have legalised same-sex unions.
One year earlier, the Netherlands became the first country to adopt a law on euthanasia. This was another Dutch breakthrough that attracted the attention of the world, but it did not inspire widespread admiration. Only two other countries have ventured to follow in the Netherlands’ footsteps: Belgium in 2002 and Luxembourg in 2009.

“Euthanasia centres on fundamental medical-ethical issues, so other countries cannot simply transplant the Dutch legislation to their own context,” explains Walburg de Jong of the Voluntary Euthanasia Association.
“The Dutch Euthanasia Act was preceded by 30 years of debate in the Netherlands. That discussion was initiated by the general public and filtered through to the world of politics. Interestingly, the process in Belgium two years later was the other way around. There it was the government that wanted to regulate the issue and so the euthanasia law was imposed from the top down.”

Beyond the Benelux countries, legal arrangements for euthanasia exist in Switzerland and in the US states of Oregon, Washington and Montana. There is a difference, however: in those places a doctor is only allowed to provide the medicines that enable someone to end their life. But taking action to end someone’s life, for example by administering and excessive dose of morphine, is still very much illegal.

Cultural shift

Regulating euthanasia by law requires a huge cultural shift. After all, it is the responsibility of the state to protect its citizens, a role that appears to be at odds with helping them end their own life.
From an international perspective, there are only two situations imaginable in which the state gives its assent for the taking of a human life on professional grounds, says Evert van Leeuwen, Professor of Medical Ethics in Nijmegen. “An executioner is allowed to do so when implementing a death sentence and it is permitted during wartime.” This is why doctors in other countries are not permitted to take a life.
“Here in the Netherlands, we tend to take a different view,” Prof Van Leeuwen says. “Here, a doctor gets to choose between his oath and his patient’s wishes. If his patient wants to die, he is allowed to assist them”. Many countries do allow palliative sedation, in which a doctor administers heavy sedatives and stops treatment.

The easygoing Dutch attitude toward a doctor playing an active role in ending a patient’s life appears to be mainly due to well-known Dutch values such as tolerance, transparency and an almost compulsory urge to regulate. Ethicist Van Leeuwen:
''Deeply engrained tolerance means that the wishes of others are taken seriously. Our openness makes it much easier to talk about someone’s wish to die”.
And the Dutch are also pragmatic; they want to structure and regulate anything they can. On top of which, the church - a fierce opponent of euthanasia - in the Netherlands has little say in people’s private lives.

Instead of emulation, Dutch euthanasia policies have over the past ten years mainly met with criticism:
“After euthanasia and infanticide, the next step in the Netherlands will most likely be a suicide pill for people who are tired of life, even though it will probably take a few years before it’s legal.” (Correspondent Greg Burke, Fox News)
“The Nazi laws and Hitler’s ideas have made a comeback in Dutch euthanasia laws and the debate about how sick children are killed.” (Italian minister Carlo Giovanardi)

These spectres are not borne out by the facts: the number of cases of active euthanasia has been steady at 2,500 for years, slightly lower than before the introduction of current euthanasia laws. The criticisms regarding the killing of children refer to a medical protocol drawn up by neonatologists for the termination of life for newborn babies who are suffering unbearable pain without a prospect of improvement. Professor Van Leeuwen says: “You could ask yourself if it was even necessary”.
The topic continues to being hot and controversial.

Day Opening - November 28

A happy baby.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Let's sing a new song

To read the poem, hop on to Life Rules

And...Mohammed existed

Some sceptical scholars claim that Muhammad did not exist and that Islam is a fabrication made up in later centuries. But Leiden University’s Petra Sijpesteijn has demonstrated from her work on Arabic papyrus manuscripts that their claim is not true.

What was the origin of Islam and what went on at the dawn of Islamic history? In the past, scholars who wanted to research the subject had to rely on the official Islamic version of events which was only written down about 200 years after Muhammad’s death. Only relatively recently has interest grown in more objective but less accessible sources such as coins, inscriptions and texts written on papyrus.
Petra Sijpesteijn, professor of Arabic language and culture at Leiden University, says that this last source is especially important. “The papyri are in fact the only contemporary source for the first 200 years of Islamic history.”

Papyrus manuscripts have been found in their thousands in the sand and at ancient rubbish tips all over the Middle East but especially in Egypt. Dr Sijpesteijn explains that they are often difficult to read because they are partially destroyed, badly written out or in dialect. “But if you can read them, they offer a unique glimpse of ordinary life at the dawn of Islam.”
The study of Arabic papyri is in its infancy. Only a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of available manuscripts have been studied. As far as the work done so far is concerned, the Muslim faithful can set their minds at ease: Dr Sijpesteijn says the texts largely confirm the official Islamic version of events.

Dr Sijpesteijn distances herself from the small group of polemical colleagues, known as the ‘revisionists’, who assert that the Prophet Muhammad probably did not exist. They say the Arabic conquerors were actually a disorganised horde of Bedouins who gained control of half the known world more or less by chance. Islam is said to have been dreamt up 200 years later in Iraq.
“From the papyri, it appears that the Arab conquests were indeed carefully planned and organised and that the Arabs saw themselves as conquerors with a religious mission. They also appear to have held religious views and followed customs which contain important elements of the behaviour and beliefs of later Muslims.

Dr Sijpesteijn says for example that, shortly after Muhammad’s death, there is already mention of a pilgrimage (hajj) and a tax to collect money for the poor (zakat). She has also come across a papyrus text written around 725 which names both the prophet and Islam.
Even so, her discoveries form a potential threat to the image some modern Muslims have of their history. The papyri contradict the belief held by many of today’s Muslims that Muhammad delivered Islam as a sort of ready-made package. “It looks as though Islam in its first centuries developed a form gradually. There was an awful lot of discussion about precisely what it meant to be a Muslim.” And thats still continues!

Day Opening - November 27

Tomorrow can be

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkish-Dutch woman Semra Çelebi: I stopped wearing my headscarf

Turkish woman Semra Çelebi no longer wears her headscarf. She says she doesn't need to in order to be a good Muslim. The decision was not an easy one. Semra recently started a Facebook page called I took off my hijab. (interesting is that women and girls support her but men and boys not, calling her a sinner)
The scarf is still folded up neatly in a cupboard at her parents' house. Semra Çelebi has saved all her old headscarves. They are part of her past but they are not part of her current identity. Semra now lives in Amsterdam, where she feels anonymous and free.

Semra was ten years old when she first started wearing a headscarf. She was following the example of her younger sister, who attended an Islamic primary school. Semra herself went to a Christian school in the Dutch town of Barneveld. Her father, who is from a traditional Turkish family, believes women should wear headscarves. It took a little getting used to for Semra. "I felt ill at ease, because I wasn't sure how my friends would react. I remember them dragging me into the classroom because I wouldn't go in. They just accepted me."

Teatowel

Sometimes she gets negative reactions. One person called her "teatowel". Usually she ignores any comments. Once she was refused a job at a toy company because of the headscarf. They told her "we can't do that to our customers".
Wearing a hijab became more and more a part of her religious identity. After all, God wants women to dress modestly. She defended her decision to wear the headscarf in debates and her quick tongue started to get her noticed.

Identity

However, when Semra started studying law at Utrecht University she started to change her mind. She did internships in Sheffield, New York and Brussels, far away from her home town with its strict rules. After reading a number of books on the subject, Semra decided to stop wearing her headscarf.
"It no longer suited the way I saw my religion. I don't need it to be a good Muslim. It was six months before I actually stopped wearing it. It was very difficult. It is not just a piece of cloth. It is part of my identity and I wore it for 16 years. I was afraid of how people would react."

Support

That was three years ago. And Semra still has to defend her identity, but this time as a Muslim woman without a headscarf. Her father does not approve and she gets negative reactions. But she refuses to give in. Recently she started a Facebook page to support women who decide to stop wearing headscarves.
Within three weeks around 100 people had joined the page. Some girls write that they are afraid to stop wearing their headscarves because of the reactions they will get. One father stopped talking to his daughter for months. Semra says her Facebook page is not intended to encourage Muslims to stop wearing their headscarves.
"The important thing is that you make your own choices. That is not always easy. My choice was about wearing a headscarf, but it could about something else. A colleague told me his girlfriend's father ignored him for five years because he and his girlfriend lived together. That was his decision."

source: rwd.nl

Day Opening - November 25

Sleeping beauty - Kangaroo

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Arabic Nazism & Anti-semitism

New Trends in Arabic Anti-semitism from Henrik Clausen on Vimeo.

Update

More sites are added to the blog roll of Internations including The Last Bear and Francis Hunt’s Attempted Essays. Gauri’s ‘Life Rules’, which is linked to this blog for almost 4 years, became a welcome active contributor of this blog. She already posted several post entries, but was never proper introduced. Gauri is from India and writes part-time for her profession. Again: welcome!


Next post is a video of a presentation the State of Israel give for the UN Human Right Council in Geneva on the 28th of September 2010. The video shows that Nazism is well alive in parts of the Middle East. I warn you for the last 4 minutes of the video: these are so pervert (especially with the Arab commentator) that I thought: ‘how de-human humanity’ can be.

Essays on the Arab Israeli Conflict: When President Obama Uses Israel's Legitimacy as a Bargaining Chip

Essays on the Arab Israeli Conflict: When President Obama Uses Israel's Legitimacy as a Bargaining Chip

Day Opening - November 25

A helping Hand. Who immitates who? Humans or animals?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Back to the Wilderness

Excitement in The Hague today! The Dutch Freedom Party, led by the democratically elected Geert Wilders, had an internal discussion with his colleague MPs about more democratic fundaments of its movement, initiated by one of the enfants terrible Hero (nomen est omen?) Brinkman.

The excitement lasted only a few hours, by the end of the day the stakeholders announced that the members of the fraction decided not to proceed with the democratic initiative. So it's not possible to become (active) member of the party and have influence on decisions and the party policy, it's not possible to attend party congresses (simply because they won't exist) and it's not possible to change the course of the party's objective of being an anti-islam party...

Within the political environment of democracy the piece of Wilderness remains, similar to the dark Middle Ages, where the tirannic king rules, led by devine intervention (i.e. as long as the fear of Muslims remains, Geert has a legitimate basis to rule his private political kingdom).

And how about our democratic Hero? He just smiles and tells the press that he never had the intention to stand down when his plan would be shot off...

Women are doing better than Men

The answer why females are doing better; women talk more clearly than men. Their plain speaking is due to the higher position of the voice box, making it easier for them to articulate. Bart de Boer of Amsterdam University researched the position of the larynx; his findings were published in the Journal of Phonetics last week.

Up until now, it was thought that the low position of voice boxes in men meant they articulated their words better. However, in men the larynx is longer making it more difficult for them to pronounce words. “They have to put more effort into speaking clearly,” says the researcher. Fortunately for them, the position of the voice box makes them sound more impressive. So it doesn’t really matter what they say....

The Nuremberg trials as precessor of the ICC

The International Criminal Court in The Hague would never have been set up if it weren't for the Nuremberg Trials. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief prosecutor at the ICC, feels personally indebted to the tribunal established exactly 65 years ago to try senior Nazi figures. It was the birth of modern international law.

“What makes Nuremberg so important is the idea that the whole world is one society. That international law can enable us to defend human rights. This is the way we combat those responsible for the greatest possible crimes. That new idea guarantees society will continue to exist,” explains Professor Moreno-Ocampo in his office in The Hague.

Since Nuremberg, increasing numbers of people have dedicated their lives to the protection of victims. Putting international rules in place is also very important for the future. “No more indemnity from punishment,” he says.

Sinister

On 20 November 1945, at the start of the Nuremberg Trials, the chief prosecutor for the United States, Robert H. Jackson, stated: “What makes this inquest significant is that those prisoners represent sinister influence that will lurk in the world long after their bodies have returned to dust.”
Mr Jackson described it as an honour to open for the prosecution in the first trial concerning crimes against world peace. However, he also said he was conscious of the great responsibility which came with that honour
It was the first time ever that an international military tribunal had been set up to try people accused of war crimes. Initially, allied leaders, including Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, were decidedly not in favour of an international trial. They were more inclined to sanction the execution without trial of between 50,000 and 100,000 German officers.


Birthplace of Nazism

The plan for an international trial was put forward by US war secretary Henry Stimson. President Roosevelt's successor Harry Truman welcomed the idea. The tribunal only got started after intensive negotiations with the British, Russians and French. Nuremberg was chosen because it was seen as the birthplace of Nazism. It was the scene of mass Nazi rallies and was where the Nazi regime proclaimed its racist laws which stripped, for example, Jewish people of their civil rights.
All the top Nazi figures were indicted, except for Hitler and Goebbels who had both committed suicide. A total of 177 Nazis were tried at Nuremberg: 12 were given the death sentence, 10 of these were hanged. The other defendants were given sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment. Three defendants were found not guilty.

Tomorrow: Arab NeoNazism and Antisemitisme in the 21th century

Day Opening - November 23

An interesting meeting

Saturday, November 20, 2010

None



Did you smell flowers today?
Or savoured your coffee?
Did you see the sky today?
Or dreamt an old dream?
Did you feel good to be alive today?

-Gauri Gharpure

Azerbaijanie bloggers freed!

Bloggers Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli have been freed by the authorities in Azerbaijan. They were imprisoned at the end of 2009. The two had criticised Azeri President Ilham Aliyev in a satirical film.

The bloggers, sporting donkey costumes, discussed the purchase of a donkey by the president. During an official visit to Germany in 2009, Mr Aliyev had bought a donkey for 40,000 euros.
Shortly after the film was broadcast, Mr Hajizade and Mr Milli were beaten up and eventually jailed. They were charged with ‘hooliganism’ and ‘inflicting bodily harm’. Mr Hajizade was given a two-and-a-half year prison sentence and Mr Milli, two years.
This week, an appeal court granted Mr Hajizade early release: he had served 16 months. On leaving the court, he told onlookers that he would remain in Azerbaijan and continue his blogging activities. “I was not guilty and demand a full pardon,” he said. “Freedom is my right.”
Emin Milli was yesterday today on appeal.

Day Opening - November 20

Bon appetit

Friday, November 19, 2010

UN General Assembly condemns human rights violations in Iran, North Korea and Myanmar

A UN General Assembly committee passed resolutions condemning human rights violations in Iran, North Korea and Myanmar, provoking a furious reaction from their delegations.
A top Iranian official lashed out at Britain as the "United Kingdom of devils," North Korea's representative said his country would not change its much-condemned actions, while Myanmar's ambassador called the vote "seriously flawed."

Opposition from China and other nations failed to stop the resolutions from passing with strong majorities.
"By condemning three of the world’s most egregious human rights abusers and shining a spotlight on deplorable human rights practices in these countries, member states have stayed true to the founding values of the UN," said the United States' UN ambassador Susan Rice.
Iran caused the most contested debate, with the Islamic Republic even trying to stop the vote going ahead.
"Violations continue and continue to worsen," said Canada's UN ambassador John McNee, whose country led the 42 nations that co-sponsored the resolution.
Iran has consistently rejected international appeals over the use of torture and increasing use of public executions, including by stoning and strangulation, McNee said.
"This persistent attitude over time demonstrates a fundamental lack of respect for the United Nations, its human rights treaties and practices," he said.
Mohammed Javed Larijani, head of Iran's High Human Rights Council, told the committee the resolution was "harmful for international peace and coexistence."
He accused accused the United States of being the "mastermind" of the now annual resolution.
"Our crime is that our democracy is not a replica, not an Xerox copy of western democracy. We do not want to be Western democracy," said Larijani.
Larijani highlighted deadly riots in Los Angeles, and protests in France that he said left "Paris was in flames like a war zone" to highlight what he called "misleading" accusations by the West about human rights.
Britain sent an intelligence agent to shoot an Iranian student killed during protests after Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election, he alleged.
The committee passed the resolution by 80 votes to 44, with 57 abstentions.
"Iran’s lobbying against the resolution has spectacularly failed," said Philippe Bolopion, UN specialist for Human Rights Watch.
"This should be a wake-up call to Iran’s government that the international community views it as a serial rights offender," he added
One hundred nations backed the resolution against North Korea, which condemned "torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including inhuman conditions of detention, public executions, extrajudicial and arbitrary detention."
China and other Asian nations were among 18 countries to vote against the resolution sponsored by European Union nations.
North Korea's deputy UN ambassador Pak Tok Hun called the resolution and the EU "confrontational."
"This is a miscalculation to expect any change from us through the forceful adoption of fake resolutions," he told the meeting.
China voted against the motion saying "human right issues should be dealt with through dialogue and cooperation."
China also led opposition to the resolution against the Myanmar junta, which highlighted the plight of political prisoners, the use of torture and inhuman treatment, child soldiers and attacks on civilians.
Despite the release on Saturday of Myanmar opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi, the resolution was backed by 96 nations and opposed by 28 with 60 abstaining.
"Finger pointing does not protect human rights," China's representative told the committee meeting.
Myanmar's ambassador Than Swe called the resolution "seriously flawed."

Day Opening - November 19

extreme sports...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Freedom of religion stops where animal suffering begins

Yesterday newspapers showed many pictures of slaughtered animals. These one in Turkey (click here) A Dutch newspaper showed a photo of a decapitated sheep’s head in a wheelbarrow. In the background the carcass is being skinned. Tuesday saw the start of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival of sacrifice, when sheep are slaughtered and the meat shared out among family and friends. But Dutch Party for the Animals leader Marianne Thieme would like to see a ban on ritual slaughter.
Ms Thieme’s bill to outlaw Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter will be debated in the Lower House next week. To win MPs’ support, she will be screening gory videos in parliament showing how conscious animals have their throats cut before being hoisted aloft, struggling as they bleed to death. The Party for the Animals wants livestock to be stunned before they are killed, as they are in non-religious slaughterhouses.
According to Ms Thieme, halal meat is big business in the Netherlands, and in fact a lot of meat on supermarket shelves comes from ritual slaughterhouses, though it isn’t labelled as such. She’s hoping that she’ll be able to win the backing of parties on both left and right. It’s a sensitive issue, she admits, but as far as she’s concerned, “Freedom of religion stops where animal suffering begins.”
Ritual slaughter is inmense cruel.

Holland - Turkey; Fireworks for the wrong reason

Türkiye! Türkiye! An hour before the match, the northern stands of the Holland Amsterdam ArenA were already turning red and white. Not the usual Ajax colours, but the shades of Ay Yıldız, with the moon and star shining on gigantic red flags. The noise was exceptional too, with the Turkish contingent shouting their lungs out, drowning out the bewildered orange army on the southern terraces.

A hellish chorus of boos and hisses engulfed the Holland team as they entered the pitch; the cheers for the Turkish side produced an equal explosion of decibels. An electrically amplified brass band brought some temporary relief, but the din swelled again when the match got underway.
The fans meant business and so did the players. The guests in white dominated the first ten minutes, culminating in a low drive by Burak Yilmaz, deflected just wide by Maarten Stekelenburg’s fingertips. But Holland soon bounced back, creating a flurry of opportunities which all ended in a shrill concert of whistles.

Match interrupted

Then there were loud bangs and red flares. Half a dozen landed on the pitch, prompting Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai to pause the match briefly.
The commotion set off Holland midfielder Wesley Sneijder, who fired a howitzer to test Turkish goalkeeper Volkan Demirel five minutes before the break, followed by a high shot by fresh Barcelona signing Ibrahim Affelay.
The substitutions brought more structure to the Dutch game, interrupted by yet more flares, and more chances. In the 52nd minute, Klaas Jan Huntelaar suddenly emerged in the box to chip in a subtle Hedwiges Maduro cross from the right: 1-0 to Holland.
More fireworks followed, much to the dismay of the Dutch players, the orange army and the ref, who consulted FIFA officials and Turkey's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink. The latter sent his captain to the northern stands to calm the crowd.
The move was the clarion call for a major Turkish offensive on the pitch, with a veritable barrage of shots at goal right until the last minute.

High stakes

1-0 was a result both sides could live with. For a friendly encounter, the stakes had been rather high. The Turks haven't been up to scratch in recent Euro 2012 qualifiers. After two wins and two losses, they currently trail Group A pacesetters Germany by six points and might find it hard to overtake second-place Austria and go through to the European Championship finals. A major defeat against Holland, the World Cup's runners-up, would have further eroded confidence.
It would also have been bad news for their coach Guus Hiddink, a Dutchman returning to his home turf to play the side he successfully led between 1994 and 1998. Faced with growing criticism about his conservative choice of players, Hiddink rejuvenated the Turkey team for Wednesday’s friendly in Amsterdam, picking up young talents like Bundesliga midfielder Mehmet Ekici. And the youngsters did well.
His Holland counterpart, Bert van Marwijk, had taken some risks too, calling up more than half a dozen players who were either injured or had just returned from injury, much to the annoyance of their club managers. Fresh injuries against a physical side like Turkey would certainly have sparked new rows.
In the end, little damage was done, apart from Mathijssen's injury and a hefty FIFA fine for setting off fireworks.

Day Opening - November 18


Autumn mosaic, the Netherlands


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Firesheep


It's been a while since my last post, but this is one I didn't want you to miss.
----

Posts ago I explained a bit about the webbrowser Firefox and its useful add-ons. Add-ons are basically the same as IPone applications. Not only Apple, also individual people develop tools to add to their phone, internet browser etc.. And so did Eric Butler... He created Firesheep, an add-on for Firefox that intercepts passwords. To make people more aware of the dangers of non-secured websites and internet connections. Firefox already stated that they won't remove the application.

It works this way: make a connection with a non-secured wifi-network. Everyone who's Firesheep installed can scan the connection and intercept passwords of others using the same connection. Easy enough and also quite alarming. If you think your Facebook is well secured? Think again before logging onto a public wifi-network.

Butler received worldwide attention with hid add-on. To pass on his message: be aware of the dangers of using insecure websites.

Press freedom, Turkish style

An excellent article by Claire Berlinkis. And...yes, the foreign press in Turkey buys too easily in the AKP islamic spin. Enjoy!

Press Freedom Turkish Style

If Turkish citizens are taking to the streets to denounce Israel, who can blame them, given the AKP’s stranglehold on the media.


In May, a ship full of civilians – but not full of humanitarian aid – sailed from Turkey to join the Free Gaza flotilla. Having warned the Mavi Marmara that it would not be allowed to breach the blockade, Israeli commandos raided the ship. In the clash, nine Turks were killed.
I’ve lived in Istanbul for five years and I’ve spoken to hundreds of Turks about these events. A Turkish documentary filmmaker and I have filmed some of these conversations.
Something will immediately strike the viewer: the Turkish people have no idea what happened.
This is because the most basic facts about and surrounding these events have not been reported in Turkey.
In billing the flotilla as a humanitarian mission, the IHH – the expedition’s Islamist sponsor – exploited the Turks’ Achilles heel: their generosity.
Turks think of themselves as charitable and compassionate, as indeed they are. They genuinely believe, because this is what has been reported here, that the Palestinians are starving.
They know almost nothing about the reasons for the blockade. They believe that the ship was on a humanitarian mission and nothing but a humanitarian mission. They are bewildered that anyone would have interfered with such a noble-minded endeavor.
They do not know the most rudimentary facts about Hamas. As one man said: “These are elected people. It’s not like they took over by force, via a coup.”
Almost no one in Turkey understands any language but Turkish. If this obviously thoughtful man was unaware that indeed, Hamas took over precisely by force, via a coup, it is because he had no way to know. The men and women to whom we spoke were astonished when we told them that Israeli officials had invited the ship to disembark at Ashdod and deliver the aid overland.
But they were not disbelieving – and importantly, when we told them this, it changed their view.
Continue reading hereeeeeee

Evolution

Darwin is not on my mind now. I am thinking abut how each one of us grows as an individual, and importantly, when. Think I am finally, finally growing up. Have you?

I have pondered a lot more on Life Rules... :)

Day Opening - November 7

Penguin song

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wednesday: Turkey against Holland

Wednesday will be a special day for the Turkish community in the Netherlands as Turkey take on Holland in a friendly football match at the Amsterdam ArenA. Thousands of supporters of Turkish descent are expected, adding touches of red to the orange army of Dutch fans.
This friendly encounter might feel like a home game for both teams, says Turkish-born Hayati Kulaksiz, Chairman of FC Ankaraspor in Amsterdam, who moved to the Netherlands 25 years ago.
“The atmosphere will be great and of course we’ll be going to the stadium to see the Dutch play too, not just Turkey. Many Turks here follow Holland matches, either live at the stadium or on their television sets. For us, Holland is our second national team, as it were.”

Dual nationality

Asked whether the inclusion of players of Turkish origin in the Netherlands could strengthen his support for the Dutch team, Mr Kulaksiz won’t be drawn. But he does have an explanation why none have been capped in recent years.
''Turkish talents with dual nationality are careful not to spoil their chances of joining either team, he says. Capped players cannot change allegiance, so once they’ve played for one national team, they won’t be allowed to play for the other.''
“This means Turkish players hold off a decision until there’s some degree of certainty that the national coach will stay in the job for at least a couple of years, because in Turkey, you can never be sure. That’s Turkish mentality, I’m afraid.”

Parents to blame

However, indecisive or not, the pool of top-quality players of Turkish descent here in the Netherlands is, unlike that in next-door Germany, simply not that big. But why? It all starts at a young age, explains Mr Kukaksiz, and it sets the Turkish community apart from the Moroccan community, which is roughly equal in size.
“You see Moroccan parents, even 60-year-old grandmothers, escort their children to the football pitch. But Turkish people in Holland register their kids with football clubs and then leave them to their own devices. They can’t be bothered to watch them play or train. They prefer to stay in their coffeehouses. I’ve seen talented players, 18 or 19-year-olds, who have the potential to start a professional career, but I know they won’t succeed, because even great talents need the support from their parents.”

German-Turkish stars

The situation is indeed different in Germany, where players of Turkish origin like Serdar Tasci and Mesut Özil are regularly called up to join Die Mannschaft, the national team.
“Around 80 percent of Turkish immigrants in the Netherlands are from the countryside, but in Germany the majority come from urban areas and have a totally different mentality. They’re less traditional and much more active. That’s the reason.”

Day Opening - November 16; Happy Bayram

Monday, November 15, 2010

Statement #46 - Ahmed Marcouch in the Church of the Remonstrant Brotherhood

''God created us as human beings, not as a believer. Without free will there is no faith.
A belief is by definition a result of free will, a conscious choice. If not, then it is not faith but an automatic and slavish response.
This belief stems from a free will, means that people also may choose not to believe.'' Ahmed Marcouch, MP for Labor in the Dutch parliament when he gave a speech yesterday in Vrijzinng Centrum Vrijburg (Church of the Remonstrant Brotherhood) 

Day Opening - November 15



Flamengo
 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nerd humor

"Erdoganis" and "Talibanis": targeting fun in the Gazastrip

For the few with money in the Gaza Strip, a new water park provided relief from monotony and widespread misery. Hamas, though, has now burned it down -- and sent a message that even the elite must conform to the Islamists' restrictive rules.
All is quiet on this autumn morning at the Crazy Water Park, a couple of kilometers south of Gaza City. There are no children splashing around in the shallow kiddie pools, no men cheering as they shoot off the slides into the deep end of the pool. Wives and mothers are also missing from their usual spots under the umbrellas, where they normally sit, fully dressed, chatting and watching their children and husbands play in the water.
The Gaza Strip's only water park opened last spring but -- thanks to around 30 members of Hamas -- it was shut down in late September. One night at 3 a.m., these men appeared out of nowhere, tied up the park's 10 security guards and got to work with gas canisters and lighters.
continue reading herrrreeeeeee

Day Opening - November 13

Tourists on Glacier Vatnajökull c.1910 - Iceland

Friday, November 12, 2010

How stressed are the Dutch? A lot...)

Will more women working more hours make society more stressed? That was 'the question' in the Dutch parliament yesterday 'how to get more women to work more hours'. Social Affairs and Employment Minister Henk Kamp thinks it is a “cultural problem that most Dutch women are satisfied to work just part-time”. With an aging population, the government wants more women to work full time. Not surprisingly, the smaller Christian parties want more financial advantages for stay-at-home mums, while the liberal parties want financial incentives to get women into the workplace. The left-wing opposition want to avoid a stressful society and want more flexibility in the workplace.
The Netherlands Institute for Social Research says “the Dutch are under too much pressure”. A report by the institute reveals that over half the population between the ages of 25 and 60 regularly feel they are too busy. Women feel more pressure (60 percent) than men (52 percent).
It is no wonder they are so stressed: the Dutch spend more time travelling to and from work than anyone else in Europe. A report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development puts the figure at an average 50 minutes (in Istanbul it can go up to 2 x 2 hrs.)
Logically, it is parents with children under 13 (“rush-hour families”) who feel most of the stress. So what is the answer? Only seven percent of parents say they would work more if crèches were open longer. Forty percent say flexible hours would make a difference to their work-life balance. Others suggest starting work an hour later, working from home one day a week, and longer opening hours for shops and municipal services. But is there a danger that society will just become more stressed by a 24-hour economy?

Day Opening - November 12

Batmen!