Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day Opening - August 31

The coming weeks I will upload pictures made by Brian, http://www.istanbulblogger.com/ as day Opening, this is no 2.
Picture made in Ortakoy, Istanbul: typical Turkish faces

Monday, August 30, 2010

Turkey - Victory Day

Victory Day - Maslak (business centre) - August 30, By Brian Underwood, Istanbulblogger.com
Look at Dutch ING their Lion next to the huge Flag of Turkey!

Immigration Provocateur in Germany Crosses the Line

Thilo Sarrazin, infamous for his controversial comments on Muslims and immigration, has unleashed a storm of criticism after positing the existence of a Jewish gene. Chancellor Merkel has had enough and many have called for him to be thrown off the board of the German Central Bank.

Angela Merkel is mad. In a Sunday evening interview on German public television, the German chancellor was visibly irate when asked about the recent comments on integration and immigration by Thilo Sarrazin, a member of the board at the German Central Bank.
"The statements from Mr. Sarrazin are completely unacceptable," she said. "They are exclusionary in a way that shows contempt for entire groups within our society. For me, the worst part is that by confronting the issue the way he does, he makes a discussion of that issue much more difficult."
Merkel was referring to a new book by Sarrazin, excerpts of which appeared in the German press last week. In the book, Sarrazin claims that Muslim immigrants are soon going to outnumber Germany's "autochthonous" (indigenous) population because of their higher birth rates. He also suggested that, because immigrants haven't proven to be as successful in school in Germany, the country is not only shrinking, but it is becoming less intelligent. He also said that Muslims were not interested in integration and hinted that they would prefer to work illegally off the books than to pay taxes.
more herreeeeee

Day Opening - August 30

Mt. Sinabung Volcano, Sumatra, Indonesia, erupts 28 August 2010, after 400 years of dormancy

The Istanbulian: Even Cheerleading Is Censored By Erdogan

The Istanbulian: Even Cheerleading Is Censored By Erdogan

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tired of the salon socialist and the Islamists in Turkey

This was a long and hot and humid summer and it looks like the heat will continue the next days. Too bad for the people who are fasting but next year will be worse as Ramadan starts on the 1th of August. Not only is my body working on a lower speed level so are my brains. A couple of weeks ago I met with Okan K., a Turkish filmmaker and Claire Berlinski, an American writer and journalist, both living in Istanbul. We met since we all disagree with the current policies of the Erdogan dominated government and the upcoming referendum on the 12th o September. In our opinion; a big fraud. We agreed that I will take the lead and write a column in Dutch so that it later can be translated into English, Turkish and German. We support the NO vote. My first assessment was that it would take me not more than 1 week to write that column. Wrong, 6 weeks are passed. And I am not ready yet. I was almost ready last Thursday when I deleted it by accident. Hope to finalize my previous article this long weekend – Monday is a national holiday here.

In the meantime, the fight between the salon socialists (CHP) and the Islamists (AKP) carries on. Nobody knows what and nobody knows the details of the referendum. But we know now finally some facts. Hope to inform you this week that the article is published in several newspapers in Europe and of course: Turkey.

Day Opening - August 28

Prague, the Old Town and Cathedral.

Friday, August 27, 2010

How to Win the Clash of Civilizations

Excellent piece by AYAAN HIRSI ALI in the Wall Street Journal

What do the controversies around the proposed mosque near Ground Zero, the eviction of American missionaries from Morocco earlier this year, the minaret ban in Switzerland last year, and the recent burka ban in France have in common? All four are framed in the Western media as issues of religious tolerance. But that is not their essence. Fundamentally, they are all symptoms of what the late Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington called the "Clash of Civilizations," particularly the clash between Islam and the West.

Huntington's argument is worth summarizing briefly for those who now only remember his striking title. The essential building block of the post-Cold War world, he wrote, are seven or eight historical civilizations of which the Western, the Muslim and the Confucian are the most important.
The balance of power among these civilizations, he argued, is shifting. The West is declining in relative power, Islam is exploding demographically, and Asian civilizations—especially China—are economically ascendant. Huntington also said that a civilization-based world order is emerging in which states that share cultural affinities will cooperate with each other and group themselves around the leading states of their civilization.

The West's universalist pretensions are increasingly bringing it into conflict with the other civilizations, most seriously with Islam and China. Thus the survival of the West depends on Americans, Europeans and other Westerners reaffirming their shared civilization as unique—and uniting to defend it against challenges from non-Western civilizations.

more herrreeeeee

Day Opening - August 27

Caddo Lake, Texas

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Being Dutch and Iranian

There is grave concern about Dutch-Iranian woman, Zahra Bahrami, who may face the death penalty in Iran. The Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen has asked the Dutch embassy in Tehran to try to get access to Ms Bahrami. The daughter of Zahra Bahrami in the Netherlands asks the government for support and says her “mother is panicking because she fears being sentenced to death.” She is due to appear in court on Saturday before judge Abolghassem Salavati, who carries the nickname “judge of death”. Amnesty International has only been aware of the case since a week. The family had kept quiet up to now fearing publicity could harm her case.
Ms Bahrami has been accused of possession of drugs as well as subversive activities. She was arrested in December after the clamp down on anti-government demonstrations. The 45-year-old woman has lived in the Netherlands for a number of years, and was in Iran to visit one of her children. The point is here: she dance for a living. Possession of drugs and subversive activities are just point blank stupid.
In he meantime, the relations between Turkey and Iran become cozier with the day...

Day Opening - August 25

Eiffeltower by night

Building bridges

Monday, August 23, 2010

Turkme or Turkeu!?

No, the title is not a typo.

As you might know, Turkey and the European Union have been in the process of admitting Turkey to enter the union of nowadays 27 countries. This process has been, to say the least, complicated and uncertain to be completed. Is Turkey worth of becoming an EU member or should it be focused on the Middle East?

Decades ago, Turkey showed its interest of becoming a member of the European Union. After starting a Customs Union with the EU things look promising for further cooperation between the two parties. In 2005 the negiotiations commenced. 5 years later, entrance of Turkey looks further away than ever, partly because of the behaviour of Turkish politics, ignoring agreements made earlier and partly because of the attitude of some EU members, with the French government on front, fearing the great influence Turkey will have in the union.

In my opinion Turkey should become EU member, purely based upon economic motives. Turkey provides the EU a great potential of industrial and labor force. With its relatively young population, some demographic problems in Western Europe can be tackled. For example, The Netherlands is about to experience a great lack of personnel in the care branch. The so called 'baby boomers' (people born right after the end of WWII) turn 65 soon, retire and need more care for the upcoming 20 years. Meanwhile the gap that arises can't be filled sufficiently by the local youngsters, so it seems necessary that labor needs to be 'imported' from countries like Turkey.

On the other hand, Turkey provides lots of opportunities to the EU. Although the economic activities are mainly concentrated in the western part of the country, a lot of great spots elsewhere provide investors value for money. Of course it takes guts, but if taken, Turkey can become the jewel of the EU...

So, will Turkey be part of the EU (TurkEU) or of the Middle East(TurkME)? I sincerely hope for the first, perhaps because of my own interest. It'll take lots of effort, based on one thing in particular: trust. Trust in the future, trust in stability, trust in the ability to cooperate.

Day Opening - August 23

Austin City Limits Music Festival

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Is France Lost?

You see a lot of ranting about France in Turkey, especially by people who never ever visit the country but have a big prejudice about the French in general and Sarkozy in particular.
Below a story of a French Muslem who simple notified what's lost in France. It's long but worth reading.
Time to leave — France is lost

by Robert Marchenoir

Alibekov has had just about enough. This 30-year-old conservative blogger, French-born, newlywed, with a good university education, has just decided to turn his back on his home country, where his grandparents hid Jews during the Second World War. He has almost completed his immigration papers for Canada. He is leaving soon. Next step, possibly: the United States.
After university, Alibekov lived and worked for six years in Africa. He returned home a short while ago to the Paris region. What he saw horrified him. Last June, he filed this post on his blog, Bouteille à l’Amer, which he shares with his friend Memento Mouloud. All the facts in the following eyewitness report are genuine, he told me — only the names have been changed:

First of all, let us extend a warm welcome to Abiba. She has just arrived from Cameroon, thanks to a tourist visa her husband got her by bribing some official. Abiba plans to give birth in France. She expects the authorities will be kind enough to grant her legal residency status, because of her child. She will spend one or two years in low-cost hotels, moving from time to time. [The government will pick up the bill.] After that, the happy family will be granted a city council flat by the social services, on the grounds of her being a single mother. They will also provide her with a job, so she can pay part of the rent.
This valuable advice has been passed on to her by her aunt, who has been living in France for five years. Her aunt had received it previously from a cousin, who has been living in France for ten years.
We are headed for the district of Seine-Saint-Denis, in order to attend a funeral in an African family.
[Seine-Saint-Denis is a district adjacent to the northern limit of Paris proper. The first bishop of Paris, Saint Denis, was buried there in the 3rd century. French kings have been buried in the basilica of the town of Saint-Denis since the 7th century. The ill-famed district, also known by its administrative number, “the 93rd”, is nowadays one of the most heavily populated by immigrants.]
We reach high-rise concrete buildings, planted next to some wasteland. I am immediately reminded of The Dormant Beast, by Enki Bilal: an apocalyptic landscape, repulsively filthy, and an out-of-this world population.
Bearded men with moronic looks, dressed as if they were in Islamabad, come out from nowhere, huddling together. I try to catch their eyes, but their gaze remains perfectly alien to me. All I can see in it is some sort of mystical fear, mixed with unfathomable stupidity.
Slouching on a bench next to tuned-up cars with blaring stereos, some youngsters listen to “Raï and B” music (so as to assume a “French” identity, as opposed to an American one). They dutifully proceed to create a tapestry of glistening spit to stamp their feet on.
Next to the front door lies a heap of refuse originating from the local McDonald’s, KFC, and grocery store. Banana peels and peanut shells degrade into a strange form of humus.

A diminutive white lady, followed by her ten years-old son, makes a desperate effort to keep the place bearable: while on her way, she stoops to pick up three discarded bags of French fries, and throws them in the bin where they belong. As soon as she walks into the lobby, a youngster dumps his uneaten shawarma right in front of the glass door.
We proceed towards the Eastern building, staircase B. The corridor is flanked by mail boxes with Arab names, sometimes barely emerging from under fading graffiti.
The stench of urine is suffocating. Tears come instantly to my eyes. It gets worse as we set foot in the elevator. I am advised to stay clear of the steel sides. Once polished, they are now stained with vertical streaks of rust. It seems the elevator’s walls react to urine as swiftly as pH test paper.

On the twelfth floor, we are faced with a choice: one door is adorned with Koranic verses, the other with photographs of Mecca and the Kaaba. We run into a couple of retired French blue-collar workers of exquisite kindness. Just the type of people the System would describe as loathsome racists and fascists. Does Konaré live nearby? Well, they say, his third wife actually lives just opposite to them on the tenth floor; however, Konaré himself lives in the Western building with his second wife.
Staircase C is already chock-full with twenty-odd people waiting their turn to pay their respects — or to get a free meal. Seventy individuals altogether have gathered at the place, coming from three families only. Some of them learn on the spot that they are relatives, because their father had children with his own cousin, or because some half-brother married his sister before wedding wife number four.

I elbow my way through to the strategic centre of the house, and I sit on the floor. Next to me are two bearded men, wearing boubous and keffiyehs. One is browsing an interactive Koran on his iPhone. The other keeps peppering the crowd with non-stop blessings. The assembly responds in kind every ten seconds.
Women bring in plastic basins full of greasy rice, soaked in mutton juice. We assemble around them by groups of five, and help ourselves with our right hand, chanting “hamdoullah” roughly every minute and a half. Each time a girl comes out of the kitchen to tend the mourners, at least one guy asks whom she is married to. I feel I am in the middle of a group of shepherds anxious to buy a few more goats.
I am informed that each member of this happy crowd lives off the child benefits granted by the state to their multiple wives. Each man owns ten to twelve children. Each wife has her own flat assigned to her, courtesy of the city council. Most Frenchmen think polygamous Africans share their lodgings with their different wives. This is absolutely wrong. The whole point is for each wife to benefit from a certain degree of material autonomy. This, in turn, shows the financial power of the husband. Welfare benefits, of course, pervert this principle, since the husband does not need to work anymore. But the wives still get the money. Let me say this once again: France hands out a city council flat to each wife of a polygamous African living in the country. It is the man, however, who collects the state benefits, of which he gives back a tiny amount to his women.
The goal is to save enough money for a new wedding, which may well involve a bride plucked directly out of Africa — usually a younger one.

People mingle and chatter. Abdallah tells his neighbour that, with the money from the child benefits, he is currently building a house in Bamako for his fourth wife, who is twenty years old.
Moussa is worried. He made the mistake of telling the Préfecture that his wife’s sister was, well, also his wife. Therefore, the police warned Abibatou that she would have to leave the country within a month. She refuses. “What will my folks think of me, back in Africa, if they see me return? They believe I have a good situation in France. If I go back with my hands empty, they will make a fool of me. No way. I’m staying here.” So Abibatou moved to a cousin’s place, and is trying to evade the authorities.
An endless string of such stories is exchanged. Malek, Oumar, Tariq… Their worries about women, money, jealousy between wives, weddings among cousins, children born handicapped due to inbreeding… (they believe it is because of sorcery).

I feel nauseous. This is not France. I cannot believe it. Some of those guys have been settled here since the 1960’s, and they still live within their own closed community, totally impervious to their host country — except when welfare benefits are concerned — ruled by Islamic superstition and by the tribal mores of the remotest African villages.
And I do not mean Africa under the French colonial rule, which was much more liveable. Schools and hospitals, at least, were functional and free. One has to infer that they immigrate in France in order to find Africa as it was before the French empire, which is depicted in horrible terms by corrupt Third-World leaders and by immigrant lobbies such as Indigènes de la République. I am trying hard to figure out what opportunity these immigrants might represent for our country. But faced with reality, I am at a loss to make something out of all that sweet talk about multiculturalism. Theories about “a French breed of Islam” are wishful thinking. Facts are facts, and it is the burden of die-hard immigration lobbyists to explain to us why it would be legitimate to impose such a presence to the French people, without, at the same time, imposing on African immigrants, as their part of the deal, a requirement to abandon upon arrival at the airport their boubous dyed in the worst of what the underdeveloped world has to offer.
From his post, you can guess that Alibekov has had his fair share of “racism” and “Islamophobia” indictments thrown at him. Whenever this occurs, he reaches for a small black box in his right pocket, and lays it on the table in front of him. It’s his own tactical nuclear weapon. He presses the big red button, and…

— My wife is a black Muslim African.

If his adversary still moves, or mumbles, he reaches for his left pocket, and out comes another small black box. He presses the big red button, and…
— I’m a Muslim myself.
— Whaaat?…
Now, I’m sure this is banned by the Geneva convention. Then again, everybody has the right to argue his case.
“I’m a cultural Christian, although I don’t go to church”, Alibekov explained me. “But my in-laws blackmailed me into converting to Islam, otherwise they would keep harassing my wife”.
So he just decided to go through the motions. He does not believe a word of what he said, and his African family does not care: as long as he said the words, he’s a Muslim to them.

You cannot sing sweet nursery rhymes about the goodness of African multiculturalism to Alibekov. He has been there, he has lived for two years in areas where civil war was rife, and he has nice stories of his own to tell you: how he saw a warrior wearing a necklace of penises sliced off the enemy; how he took pictures of some other fighters eating the limbs of people they had just killed; how, in some parts of Africa, thieves are punished by ramming a three-inch nail into the top of their skull..
You also get the sense, through his writings, that he has a real fondness for Africa. But it does not mean he likes France being turned into an African province.
And neither does his African wife.

“She was aghast when she first set foot in France”, says Alibekov. “She told me: why, this is Africa!”
“My wife also asked me, with no irony at all, whether black people were exempted from paying in public transport, when she saw the extent of the fraud taking place in ethnic enclaves.
“Every day, in greater Paris, we stumble upon people we met in Africa. They have just arrived on the back of a one-month tourist visa, and they are determined to stay permanently. I regularly get calls from Africa, telling me that Youssouf, Sissoko, or Yaya will test his luck by handing $4,500 dollars under the table for a visa, and that I will probably see him soon somewhere in the suburbs of Paris. I always do.
“By the way, my African friends who have an education or a job stay at home. The ones we see coming here are cleaning ladies, ‘musicians’, soon-to-be ‘single mothers’, so-called ‘businessmen’ who will end up selling peanuts on the pavement…”
Personal history and political analysis are interweaved in Alibekov’s decision to emigrate.
“Because I live in the Paris area, I have been in constant contact with immigrants. Since the age of twelve, I have been racially insulted fifteen times (‘filthy white’, ‘little Frenchy’, ‘little piggy’.). I was assaulted several times (always by five or seven to one).”

Almost off-handedly, while discussing with a reader in the comment section of his blog, he mentions that “the number of girls [he knew] during his studies who were gang-raped by black youths, is staggering”.
“Despite the evidence of the political disaster since the mid-seventies” he thinks, “dissidents will never be tolerated within the mainstream media. The only possible action is a form of semi-underground lobbying. I recently held a discussion with some friends and colleagues to test their limits. I realise that the law of silence still prevails. To my great astonishment, the psychological barrier is still there. Maybe people just fear being branded as Nazis if they agree with you.”

“The way things are going, whether in the workplace or because of the schizophrenia of the society at large, any country will be better than this one. My university friends who emigrated to the United States or Canada regularly encourage me to join their dream where work is rewarded, and civic virtue is promoted. France is lost. The only future it has in stock for our generation of graduates is spelled in four letters: S-M-I-C [the French acronym for the minimum wage].”
Oh, and by the way: Abiba, the “single mother” from Cameroon, has just disappeared into the woodwork. Nothing to worry about: her one-month tourist visa has now expired. She has only gone into stealth mode.

Day Opening - August 22

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

10 Head of States who managed to win serieus respect (1)

The Love-Abroad-Hated-at-Home: Nicolas Sarkozy.

Scandals and dismals plaque him in France, but give the French president a bigger stage and he shines. As EU chief in 2008, he took the lead on everything from fighting piracy to brokering peace between Russia and Georgia. Next year, Sarko will host both the G8 and G20, with Iran and the recession on his to-do list.

Day Opening - August 20

Ronda, Spain (last Sun beams)
By Gerolamo Romano

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Heroin addicts in the Netherlands

Free heroin approach is successful in the Netherlands. An estimated number of heroin users in the Netherlands dropped from 30,000 in 1983 to 17,700 in 2008. A colour diagram indicates most Dutch heroin addicts are middle-aged. Chillingly, the diagram stops at the age of 59. Ten years ago, a Utrecht city-centre shopping precinct was plagued by the nuisance and petty crime caused by heroin addicts. The city began a trial of supplying the addicts with heroin (rather than methadone) under medical supervision. Not only have the group ceased to cause trouble, but few young people appear to be becoming addicted to the drug. Now, after the approach has been introduced nationwide, heroin addicts have disappeared from the streets of Utrecht and many other Dutch cities. "The addicts are better off because of it. Utrecht is visibly better off because of this project," crows a councillor.
A man in glasses in a clean hospital room is preparing his heroin on a piece of silver foil. Tonny Gijsen was given his first heroin by "hippies" when he was just 13. Now, it's too late for him to kick the habit.
"I've got my life a bit on the rails again," he tells us. "We're a dying breed. Youngsters are more interested in cocaine and speed. If this supply stopped, you'd get a load of bother again on the streets. The dealers would find us again."
Will this solve the problem? As a matter of fact, there is an decrease of using hashies since it was legalized 10 years ago...

Day Opening - August 19

Sail Amsterdam starts today! One of the most impressive shows in the world regarding sailing/boats etc.
Here more.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Dutchman in Morocco

When he was nine his father took him with the rest of the family from the Netherlands to Morocco. At the age of 17, he returned to the Netherlands as an illegal immigrant, and was deported seven years later. The only thing Mohammed wants is to live in the land of his birth – the Netherlands.
"What am I doing here? I’m a Dutchman. Even the people here call me a Dutchman," says the 26-year-old Mohammed Htitich in desperation.
Mohammed works as a builder in a small village close to the Moroccan seaside town Al Hoceima. He works from seven in the morning till five in the evening for ten euros per day. He doesn’t have a house; he sleeps in a room of a house owned by a friend from the Netherlands. Every day Mohammed asks himself what he has done to deserve punishment.
"I think of the Netherlands all the time. When I wake up in the morning I start to cry, just like a woman."
Mohammed was born in 1984, as a late arrival in a Moroccan family in The Hague. At a particular moment, his father decided that he’d had enough of the Netherlands. With a good pension, he left on his 60th birthday together with his wife and went back to Meknes in Morocco. Mohammed was nine years old at the time. As the only minor in the family he had to go with them. But he couldn’t settle in Morocco. He left home and started living rough on the streets. Mohammed continued to dream of the Netherlands, and when he was 17 he decided to come back as an illegal immigrant.

In the Netherlands, he tried as hard as he could to make a living, which involved taking black market jobs. He went to Delft to live with his Dutch girlfriend, and they had a daughter, Fatima Zahra. But life in his beloved Netherlands was far from easy. His brothers and sisters, who all remain living in the Netherlands, disowned him because he had fathered a child out of wedlock, which is forbidden in the Qu’ran. “They called my daughter Fatima a 'whore daughter'", says Mohammed bitterly.
Also his attempts to gain legal status through a lawyer were unsuccessful. In 2007, he was arrested on the street by the police. He spent a year locked up, first on a detention boat in Rotterdam, then in a prison in Zeist. In December 2008 he was expelled. For the second time in his life, he had to leave the Netherlands under duress. On the aircraft his frustrations got the better of him. He assaulted a stewardess and tried to cut his wrist. In the Netherlands that he had left behind, the incident was reported in the newspapers.

Angry at the Netherlands

Mohammed doesn’t have a good word to say for Morocco, where he has lived for nearly two years. “Here it’s worse than prison,” he says. He’s also angry with his father, with whom he no longer has contact.
"He had the choice of returning to the country of his birth, but what about me?"
But Mohammed is especially angry with the Netherlands.
"I was born in the Netherlands and grew up there. I’ve lived most of my life there. They should treat me justly!"
In the summer the village where Mohammed lives fills up with Dutch people of Moroccan origin, who come to enjoy their vacation and display their wealth. Mohammed has a lot of friends amongst the holidaymakers. Isn’t he jealous when he sees his friends come from the Netherlands with luxury cars and expensive clothes? The bitterness drains from Mohammed’s eyes.
"No, definitely not. I’m not a hater. If I see a Moroccan with a beautiful car, it makes me happy!"

Mohammed still has a glimmer of hope. He plans to apply for a so-called temporary residence permit, in order to come back to the Netherlands legally. But the question is whether his application will be successful.

Day Opening - August 18


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sumela monastery in Turkey celebrates mass after 88 years.

The Greek Orthodox faithful flocked to the cliffside setting of Sumela monastery in northeast Turkey on Sunday after Ankara allowed mass to be celebrated here for the first time in 88 years.
"After 88 years, the tears of the Virgin Mary have stopped flowing," the head of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, said during the service.
The site is of particular importance to Pontian Greeks, whose ancestors fled the region around the Black Sea during fighting after World War I and dispersed in Greece and Russia.
When Turkey fought Greece between 1920-22 during its war of independence, several tens of thousands of Pontian Greeks were massacred, or died as they went into forced exodus.
Greece says 350,000 people died and describes the event as a genocide, though the term is not used by the international community and is rejected by Turkey.
On Sunday, around 500 Pontians were allowed into the fourth-century monastery while around 2,000 others come from Istanbul, Greece, Russia and Georgia, watched the mass on a giant television screen outside.
"For us the Virgin of Sumela is more important than our own mother," said Charalambos Zigas, a 51-year-old mechanic from Greece. "You have to be a Pontian Greek to understand the importance of this mass."
He said that when his grandfather fled the mountainous region for exile in Russia in 1922, he lost his wife and son who were eaten by bears.
Many of the faithful sought out houses that used to belong to their ancestors.
"Everyone here is like me, they came to see the region, find a house... we've even met two people from here who say they're Pontian and we spoke Pontian Greek," said Greek veterinarian Maria Piativou, 42.
Turkey in May sent a letter to the patriarch authorising mass to be celebrated here once a year on August 15.
The gesture appeared aimed at Turkey's own Greek Orthodox minority, thought today to number around 2,000 people, which complains of discrimination.
In a similar gesture to Turkey's Armenian minority, Ankara also authorised mass to be celebrated in September at the museum-church of Akdamar, in the eastern Van province.

Day Opening - August 15

Patagonia, Argentina

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Statement #42

Because Allah doesn’t make any covenant, he isn’t going to change you. Allah will not change the condition of the people until they change it themselves with their own souls. It is a self effort. It has nothing to do with Allah. Allah doesn’t change a man. He would not touch anybody. He is not the God of the Christian faith who will seek the lost.
If you deny the work of the Holy Spirit and if you deny that aspect of the faith and you will rely that it is a self help program, you see, that is denying the whole of Biblical theology.
Who converts you? Faith is the gift of God. It is not of you. We were children of wrath, therefore depravity of man cannot be ignored. The work of the Holy Spirit cannot be overlooked, must not be ignored. Otherwise, there is no difference between Islam and the Christian faith that people claim to have.

A former Sharia jurist on Islam and Christianity

Day Opening - August 13

Golden Mount Athos, Greece.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dutch Schiphol buys terminal 4 of JFK (New York) Airport

Amsterdam's airport Schiphol has become the sole owner of Terminal 4 at New York's JFK airport. This is the first time that a foreign company has taken control of an airport terminal in the United States. Schiphol already owned 40 percent of the terminal's shares. Now, for a further 13 million dollars, it has purchased the remaining 60 percent.

Schiphol will be able to charge fees to all airline companies wishing to make use of the terminal. In the coming years, the terminal is to be expanded from 16 to 25 gates. The biggest customer will be Delta Air Lines, which is a partner of the Air France-KLM company.
Airline companies try to transport as many passengers from a single airport on one continent to a single airport on another continent. This enables them to carry travellers via their own network, or that of a partner, to the final destination. This is known as the 'hub system'. Jos Nijhuis, Schiphol's CEO, says the purchase will, "Considerably strengthen the position of Amsterdam as European hub for the US. That will lead to extra [flight] traffic to Amsterdam."
Camiel Eurlings, the Dutch caretaker transport minister, commented that, "This is not only financially lucrative, but also strategically important. There are only a few European airports left with global importance. The rest are fading away to the regional level, handling only European flights."
FYI: Royal Dutch KLM is not the owner of Schiphol Airport Amsterdam.

Day Opening - August 12

Backbone rice terrace, China

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The new Prime Minister of the Netherlands

This is Mark Rutte, probably the new PM of the Netherlands in a week of three.
He is the leader of the Liberal party the VVD (which is, contrary withe the USA, conservative) and the guy is still a bachelor...and is only 43...so a good match for Michelle Obama (three years his senior) or the French President's wife...his age.)!

Day Opening - August 11

Penguins? By Alexander Flemming.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The James Bonds of the Netherlands in action.

The Netherlands’ General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) – which focuses mostly on domestic non-military threats to Dutch national security – ran a website for Muslim extremists for close to six months, in a bid to track radical Muslims. The site was a success but had to be closed down a short time ago, when it was discovered that visitors to it were making plans to hack other websites.
The fake site was set up by an IT specialist, who also proposed its construction to the AIVD. A few months after it began, the site boasted 150 active members. Subjects discussed by members included: How can we stay clear of the security services? How can we communicate safely? How fast can we kill our server if we need to?
Things began to go wrong when the site became a breeding ground for ‘The Jihad Hacking Battalion’, which was making plans to crash websites all over the world. When this was discovered, the AIVD decided to fold it up.
This is not the first such example of a fake ‘meeting place’. In the early 1970s the BVD, the AIVD’s predecessor, set up a fake communist party to gain an insight into radical communists in the Netherlands. The party was so successful it even fooled China, which gave it financial support. So beware of the Dutch, especially the Mata Hari's...

Day Opening - August 10

Havana Vieja, Cuba

Monday, August 9, 2010

Abortion by proxy?

While Turkey is still silent about the situation of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani (who was convicted of adultery in Iran and face dead by stoning, now by hanging) the Taliban in Afghanistan  publicly flogged and then executed a pregnant Afghan widow by firing three shots into her head for alleged adultery today: pronto!

Bibi Sanubar, 35, was kept in captivity for three days before she was shot dead in a public trial on Sunday by a local Taliban commander in the Qadis district of the rural western province Badghis.
The Taliban accused Sanubar of having an "illicit affair" that left her pregnant. She was first punished with 200 lashes in public before being shot, dead.
"She was shot in the head in public while she was still pregnant," a police officer said.
A local Taliban commander, Mohammad Yousuf, carried out the execution before the woman's body was dumped in an area under government control.
The execution is a grim reminder of the Taliban's harsh six-year rule, from 1996 to 2001 in Afghanistan. The radical Islamists staged public stonings or lashings of those found to have committed adultery or sex outside marriage.
The then-Taliban government would also chop off the hands and feet of those accused of theft and robbery.
The man who allegedly had an affair with Sanubar was not punished.
And this is where so many people, especially women, in Afghanistan are afraid of when all Western forces have left Afghanistan...

Day Opening - August 9

Monte Sante Marie, Tuscany, Italy

Arash's World: The Negative Aspects and Attitudes of Science versus Religion

Arash's World: The Negative Aspects and Attitudes of Science versus Religion

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Christianity, Islam and Judaism: the differences

As you all know, there are three monotheistic religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. In many aspects these religions are surprisingly similar. There are however, a surprising number of differences as well.

Christianity, as you all know, is a missionary religion. Christianity is a religion that makes universal claims, and most if not all Christians believe that it is their Christian duty to preach the Christian gospel to each and every human being, and to convince literally everybody of the truth of its preaching. Christianity, however, has only limited interest in the legal details of the believers' daily life. Its focus is directed at intention and mentality. It is not a legalistic religion that prescribes and forbids. It lacks precise laws. There is, e.g., no Christian penal or civil code or a Christian law of inheritance.

Judaism, on the contrary, is not a missionary religion. Judaism makes high demands on the daily life of its adherents, it issues hundreds of commands that its followers have to obey. The rabbis, the religious leaders in Judaism, are specialists on Jewish law, and exactly like jurists do in secular law systems, they prescribe or forbid the members of their congregations a multitude of actions. However, it is indifferent to them whether the rest of humanity obeys their instructions. Their mission is not universal, they do not have to convince the rest of humanity that their legalistic interpretation of monotheism is binding for others, too.

Islam represents the third possibility within monotheism: it is both missionary and legalistic, in that it wants to prescribe in detail how humans should behave. It is unavoidable that this third possibility exists, if it would not exist it should be invented at once. But it makes Islam into something that is different from Judaism or Christianity. There is an Islamic law of inheritance. There are Islamic laws on very nearly everything.

It is difficult to say whether the Christian claims to the universality of its message and the rabbinical insistence on a precise and legalistic approach to human behavior are the strength or the weakness of those respective religious traditions. It is simply a fact of life and history that Christianity preaches to everybody, but there is no Christian detailed code of law that regulates all aspects of human behavior. The synagogue, on the other hand, does not try to convert everybody, but unlike Christianity the synagogue dictates rules that are sharply defined and have to be followed by the elect - but only by them. To some, the problem with Islam is that it does both these things at the same time. Like Christianity, Islam is a missionary religion that wants to bring the Islamic message to the ends of the earth, but at the same time Islam dictates, like Judaism, a set of sharply defined rules that have, in principle, to be obeyed not just by the elect, but by everybody.

Islam, so to say, combines the strong qualities of both Christianity and Judaism. Islam is both missionary and it knows a set of laws, embodied in the Sharia. The combination of these two traits calls for trouble, because it encourages Muslims to condemn the behavior of non-Muslims that happen to live with them within the same society. This condemnation may take several forms, one of them being harsh criticism of the secular societies of Europe or North America, of which Muslim immigrants became a part recently. Whereas Rabbis have little interest in the public or private behavior of their non Jewish surroundings, Muslim activists and Muslim preachers in the mosques certainly have such interests. Without hesitation, and publicly, they condemn their non-Muslim surroundings in the name of God himself.

Since Western societies do have a strong tradition of self-criticism, Western societies underestimate the importance and the possible consequences of Muslim criticism that is directed at their way of life. The theory of Islam is not completely clear on the question whether non-Muslims, too, have to obey the rules of Islamic Law, but considerable numbers of Muslim leaders think so. There is, however, only one possibility to make non-Muslims obey these rules, and that is forcing them to do so. Forcing them to do so may not always be necessary since many non-Muslims are strangely eager to please their Muslim neighbors and adapt their opinions and their behavior to what Islam deems to be good. However, it is obvious that only the power of the State can guarantee the general application of the rules of Islam. Consequently many Muslims feel that the State should indeed be made into an instrument that enforces the application of Islamic Law. It goes without saying that no matter how well meant such aspirations may be, they are at variance with the constitutions of all Western countries. The non-separation of state and religion is moreover a guaranteed recipe for misery and backwardness, as we all can see daily in the Third World.

Muslim criticism, however, is not only aimed at the particularities of the contemporary Western way of life. Also the very idea that non-Muslims in the West make their own laws and live without regard for Muslim law is offensive to large numbers of Muslims. Humans should not make their own laws when the Islamic divine laws are so readily available and, moreover, so widely known. Things become even worse, of course, when Muslims themselves show disregard for Islamic law, start to conduct themselves exactly like their European or American neighbors, and behave as if the laws of Islam did not exist. Then the Islamic apostasy laws may be invoked, which may have lethal consequences.

Day Opening - August 8

The city of Interlaken, Switzerland. By Matthie Labatut.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How the world insult the Dutch..)

Turks are so sensitive about their name, heritage etc. that at least 1.000.000 times a day a Turk is insulted...
But below some of the common expressions in the UK and USA with the name Dutch incorporated...I can only laugh about it. Maybe becaıuse I am a Dutch uncle?

"Dutch courage" (booze-induced bravery)

"Double Dutch" (gibberish)

"Dutch cap" (contraceptive diaphragm)

"Dutch wife" (prostitute; sex doll)

"Dutch widow" (prostitute)

"Dutch comfort" (saying that "Things could be worse!")

"Dutch metal" or "Dutch gold" (cheap alloy resembling gold)

"Dutch treat" (social date where the invitee pays for himself/herself)

"Dutch concert" (noise and uproar, as from a drunken crowd)

"Dutch-bottomed" (empty)

Blackberries jammed in Saudi Arabia - will Turkey follow soon?

The popular BlackBerry smartphone is under fire in Saudi Arabia, which is threatening to bring all e-mail and data traffic on BlackBerries to a standstill later this month. The United Arab Emirates plans to do the same in October.
The two countries object to the fact that data transfer to and from Blackberries is so well-encoded that even government intelligence services cannot decipher it. Which will be a reason that Turkey follow soon - the government wire-tap telephone conversations like no ones business.

Also, Saudi Arabia and the UAE claim that terrorists and others could misuse the capability of sending encrypted data - with the PKK in your backyard, another reason for Turkey...
Although both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have approached the manufacturer, Canadian company RIM, with a request to be given access to the data traffic, nothing has changed.

Dutch trendwatcher and communications expert Vincent Everts doesn't expect this will have much effect:
"Blackberries are generally regarded as extremely secure. The US Defense Department, the CIA, the FBI and politicians all use them. It would not be acceptable to a company like this for some small state in the Middle East to get access using these tactics and start monitoring data traffic."

Acceptable or not, the UAE has announced that BlackBerry e-mail, messaging and web-browsing services will be stopped as of 11 October.
Vincent Everts says this is perfectly easy to achieve:
"That's easily done. They control the internet providers so they just have to push a few buttons here and there and none of the BlackBerries would work anymore. That should produce a huge number of protests. I'd be interested to see what happens if they really do it."

On Monday RIM issued the following somewhat cryptic statement: "RIM assures its customers that it is committed to continue delivering highly secure and innovative products that satisfy the needs of both customers and governments". It's not clear whether that means they will give in to the demands or not.

It's not known how many BlackBerries there are in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Estimates vary from 900,000 to more than a million. Clearly, as in other parts of the world, the phone is not just a status symbol, it also offers companies and institutions a reliable and secure means of communication.

Day Opening - August 5

Stuck in SF

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A new Dutch government?

It looks like the Netherlands gets a  minority government (Liberal VVD and Christian Democrats CDA) with the 'support of grace" of the PVV (Party of Freedom - anti-Islamic)
The absence of PVV ministers in this government gives the leader of the PVV, Wilders, a major advantage. He retains the freedom to show his anti -views. Which are for all other parties fundamentally unacceptable, including the CDA and VVD.
But to what extent will the CDA and VVD, especially regarding the anti - Islamic manifestations of the PVV, listen and accept this? And what will have a second edition of the film Fitna for impact on this government since the previous government already had a problem to distance itself from the previous and first one. And more difficult, with all the dangers that the Dutch foreign policy and prestige of The Hague as the legal capital of the world will be damaged by the PVV support to this minority government after the Danish model?

Day Opening - August 4

The naughty groom

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pride of Amsterdam on Unesco World Heritage List

The association Friends of the Amsterdam Inner City is proud that the UN cultural organisation Unesco has added the city’s ring of canals to its World Heritage Site List. The association says it’s the crowning glory after years of struggle to prevent monuments in the capital from being demolished.

In a reaction, the association’s Secretary Walther Schoonenberg criticised the city council, which he says regards the appointment as a kind of Michelin star which will result in larger numbers of tourists visiting the city.
"This is exactly the wrong approach: to give the economy pride of place instead of people. This is so wrong. The strength of the monumental inner city lies in its blend of living, working and recreation. This also the strength of the monuments".

"The inner city’s status as a World Heritage Site on the one hand signifies international recognition, while on the other hand it shows appreciation for the efforts made by many generations of Amsterdam citizens who fought to preserve their city. Amsterdam has about 8,000 monuments, nearly all of them in private hands. The owners can take credit for restoring and maintaining these houses."

"The activists who fought to preserve the city’s monuments in the 1960s and 1970s also played a vital role. Without their struggle we would never have come this far. Amsterdam had a narrow escape in view of the demolition plans proposed by the then city councils. The fight was not won until the 1980s, which culminated in the inner city’s nomination as protected cityscape in 1999. Its nomination as a world heritage site is the final step in this process."

The Friends of the Amsterdam Inner City view its status as a world heritage site as an additional tool to preserve and protect the inner city. "When the pros and cons of demolition and restoration were being weighed, the monument often lost out. In future, there will be even more pressure to preserve the monument. Sometimes that’s all it takes to make the decision go the other way."

Source: Radio National Worldwide

Forgotten Jobs in Turkey (8) - Day opening August 2

Making pie the traditional way.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Morrocan-Dutch in the Netherlands

With all the talk of divisive integration policies, it's pleasant to read a Dutch newspaper with a piece suggesting that people from the Moroccan community feel at home in the Netherlands. Well, at least they apparently feel more at home than Moroccans in Europe as a whole.

The conclusion is based on a survey conducted in Ifrane in Morocco at a forum set up for young Moroccans living abroad; Moroccan citizens sent home about five billion euros in 2009. Therefore not surprising that the Morocco government is keen to keep up ties with its nationals building up lives in other countries.

Moroccans living in the Netherlands also had more faith in institutions, such as schools, the judiciary and the police, than their compatriots living and working in other EU countries. However, one negative point came through in the figures: an overwhelming majority of those questioned believe the Dutch have a very bad image of Moroccans. They suggest this is the reason why less than half feel Dutch despite having dual nationality. And why do they have a bad image? To illustrate the image problem of the Moroccan-Dutch, a sensationalist Dutch newspaper, scandalizes it mass readership with an inside headline: "Dozens of gays blackmailed by Moroccans". Interestingly, others runs exactly the same story but doesn't mention the ethnic background of the three young men who did the blackmailing - all aged around 16. They explain that the youths came into contact with their victims on gay internet chat sites. The men were then invited to meet the youths for sex. When they appeared at the designated spot for the date, the men were shown printouts of the incriminating chat sessions. Sometimes more youths were present and violence was used. The victims were forced to hand over as much as 750 euros. Interestingly again, the sensationalist press fails to mention that the youths passed themselves off as underage boys in the chat sessions. Thus their victims were breaking the law in seeking to have sex with minors. Anyway advice is given to gays to take care on the internet even when their pursuits are lawful. An activist warns them not to give details away that may leave them open to blackmail or other scams.

Street interview in Istanbul - Turkey - Part 6 (About the Mavi Marmara)

Street Interviews in Turkey - Part 6 from NiMBUS PRODUCTIONS on Vimeo.

Day Opening - August 1

Palau de la Musica, Barcelona