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.


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