Saturday, January 10, 2009

Day Opening - January 10

Inside the main building of the Hotel des Invalides. Visitors are hurrying towards the dome to pay a visit to Napoleon's grave.
Olivier Ffrench (Paris, France)

Friday, January 9, 2009

News from Zimbabwe

Palestinian and Israeli rights groups honoured

A Dutch foundation commemorating the resistance movement of the Second World War has been giving this award since 1987 to acknowledge outstanding work for democracy and against dictatorship, racism and discrimination.
Al-Haq is an independent Palestinian group which attempts to document the stories of victims and eyewitnesses of human rights abuses.
The Ramallah-based organisation was founded in 1979 by a group of Palestinian lawyers. Using field workers in the Palestinian territories, the group documents human rights abuses by recording statements of victims and eyewitesses. Al-Haq is advocating the incorporation of international human rights rules into Palestine law.
B'Tselem informs Israelis about the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian Territories. A broad grouping of academics, lawyers, journalists and parliamentarians set up the group in Jerusalem in 1989. A major aim is to have alleged abuses by the Israeli military or by the Israeli government investigated. B'Tselem was instrumental in starting a case over Israel's 700-mile long "security barrier" at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
Both groups will be presented with the medal at an official ceremony in Amsterdam in March this year.

Earlier winners of the Geuzenpenning include the Anne Frank Foundation, former Czech president Václav Havel and Colombian politician and former hostage Ingrid Betancourt.
Geuzen was the Dutch word used to name those who fought in the 16th century against Spain for the independence of the Netherlands. The name was also used in the Second World War by a Dutch resistance group which fought the Nazis. The word originally meant 'beggars', while penning, in Dutch, means medal.
The design of the Geuzen Medal is inspired by a similar medal worn by the 16th Dutch resistance group, showing a handshake as a symbol of loyalty. The motto reads "Even if we are reduced to beggars".

Day Opening - January 9

Eiffel Tower during sunset. Picture taken along the Seine, near the Place de la Concorde.
Conception Pierre Bideau.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

And they had lunch...

Bush Sr, Obama, Bush Jr., Clinton, J. Carter

The Netherlands undertakes diplomatic initiative on Israel and Gaza

The Netherlands, backed by Denmark, has undertaken a diplomatic initiative to expedite a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza. The Netherlands and Denmark are proposing a European mission to closely monitor the border between Egypt and Gaza.
Dutch Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen and his Danish counterpart Per Stig Møller have written to the EU presidency to announce their initiative.

‘An early, permanent ceasefire will be possible only if Israel believes that Hamas will not again arm itself with rockets. It will then be possible to reopen Gaza’s borders for humanitarian and economic assistance, which are so urgently needed,’ Mr Verhagen explained. ‘That means supervising the border with Egypt to make it watertight. The Netherlands is willing to examine how it can contribute to an international supervisory force.’

On Monday and Tuesday, Mr Verhagen had telephone talks with his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He also urged the Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki to use his influence on Hamas to stop further bloodshed.

Minister Verhagen is shocked by the reports of many casualties following a military operation that hit a school in Gaza, and he has expressed his deepest sympathy with the bereaved. ‘I regret the many civilian casualties on the Palestinian side, just as I regret the civilian casualties on the Israeli side,’ he said. ‘The Netherlands expects Israel to live up to its commitment to do everything possible to prevent further civilian casualties.’

Day Opening - January 8

Winter, the Netherlands.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day Opening - January 7

By Goya.
The table represents the Sagrada Familia, that is, the Virgin Mary with Child Jesus and St. Joseph carrying his rod florida under the glory of heaven in a yellow-orange glow (color customarily represented supernatural) where some argue about angels on Escorza clouds where God rests. Sobre él se aprecia al Espíritu Santo representado por una paloma del Espíritu Santo. About him there is the Holy Spirit represented by a dove of the Holy Spirit. Junto a la Sagrada Familia aparecen san Joaquín y santa Ana contemplando la escena, formando la «Triple generación» las figuras más ancianas que completan la escena. Next to the Sagrada Familia appear San Joaquin and Santa Ana contemplating the scene, forming the "Triple generation figures older who complete the scene.

El cuadro muestra la iluminación del Barroco tardío. The table shows the illumination of the late Baroque. El dibujo muestra modelos que se darán en otros cuadros de Goya, como las cabezas de Dios Padre y San Joaquín, que podemos identificar en los cuadros que se han visto bajo la Celestina y su hija (Fundación March) y bajo el Bautismo de Cristo . The picture shows models that will occur in other paintings of Goya, as the heads of God the Father and San Joaquin, we can identify the pictures that have been under the Celestina and her daughter (March Foundation) and under the baptism of Christ.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dutch Minister: No Islamic oaths for police forces

In response to questions from a right-wing and fundamentalist religious party, the SGP, Dutch Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst has written that police officers are not allowed to give oaths in the name of Allah. Until March last year, two police forces did offer the possibility of giving an Islamic oath, but Ms Ter Horst says the practice was against the rules and has been stopped.

Likewise, people who work for the government at national level are not offered the opportunity of giving an Islamic oath. Civil servants may choose between using the sentence "So help me God," in their oath or leaving it out.

The ministry of defence and local governments are allowed to write their own oaths. As a result, they do permit them to be taken in the name of Allah.

The SGP strives for orthodox protestant political values. Its manifesto is based on the bible. Women are not allowed to be elected to any office within the party. It opposes shops opening on Sundays and even its website is closed on the Sabbath. The SGP has two seats in the lower house of parliament.

Understanding the Gaza catastrophe

Understanding the Gaza catastrophe by Richard Falk, a professor emeritus of international law and practice at Princeton University and the UN's special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories.

Some excerpts:

For 18 months, the entire 1.5 million people of Gaza experienced a punishing blockade imposed by Israel, and a variety of traumatizing challenges to the normality of daily life.

Israel refused exit permits to students with foreign fellowship awards and to Gazan journalists and respected NGO representatives. At the same time, it made it increasingly difficult for journalists to enter, and I myself was expelled from Israel a couple of weeks ago when I tried to enter to carry out my UN job of monitoring respect for human rights in occupied Palestine, that is, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as in Gaza.

As always in relation to the underlying conflict, some facts bearing on this latest crisis are murky and contested, although the American public in particular gets 99 percent of its information filtered through an exceedingly pro-Israeli media lens. Hamas is blamed for the breakdown of the truce by its supposed unwillingness to renew it, and by the alleged increased incidence of rocket attacks.

Respected and conservative Israeli commentators go further. For instance, the prominent historian Benny Morris, writing in The New York Times a few days ago, relates the campaign in Gaza to a deeper set of forebodings in Israel that he compares to the dark mood of the public that preceded the 1967 War when Israelis felt deeply threatened by Arab mobilizations on their borders. Morris insists that despite Israeli prosperity in recent years and the relative security, several factors have led Israel to act boldly in Gaza: the perceived continuing refusal of the Arab world to accept the existence of Israel as an established reality; the inflammatory threats voiced by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, together with Iran's supposed push to acquire nuclear weapons; the fading memory of the Holocaust, combined with growing sympathy in the West with the Palestinian plight; and the radicalization of political movements on Israel's borders in the form of Hezbullah and Hamas.

The people of Gaza are victims of geopolitics at its inhumane worst, producing what Israel itself calls a "total war" against an essentially defenseless society that lacks any defensive military capability whatsoever and is completely vulnerable to Israeli attacks mounted by F-16 bombers and Apache helicopters. Such extreme military asymmetry is more suggestive of a "massacre" than a "war." What this also means is that the flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, as set forth in the Geneva Conventions, is cynically ignored, while the carnage continues and the bodies pile up.

Here the full article.

Note: What Israel is doing, collevtive punishment, is the same as what the Nazi's did in Europe. When they found one person who threatens the Nazi's, helped the Jews, etc. they punished the whole village.

Growing Links Seen Between Hells Angels and Neo-Nazis in Germany

Motorcycle gangs have long kept the police busy with violence and drug trafficking. But now investigators are alarmed by a new threat: Militant neo-Nazis are rising through the ranks of the Hells Angels in Germany.

The man who generally goes by the nickname Maxe wanted to become a model citizen, at least that's what he said after his release from prison. Markus W. made headlines during a World Cup match over 10 years ago when he and other German football hooligans viciously attacked French policeman Daniel Nivel, leaving him severely disabled. For his part in the attack, Maxe served four years in a French prison for causing "grievous bodily harm."
After his early release in 2002, he promised to transform from a right-wing thug to a social worker. He wanted to study social sciences and work with people who "have problems with society." Maxe said he hoped that young people could benefit from his experience: "I can tell you, boys, violence doesn't pay."

And there is morreee

Day Opening - January 6

The Wine Harvest (La Vendimia)Painted: 1786 / 87. By Goya.
Lively shades and their contrast forming a harmonic whole, show us the artist´s true maturity. Scenes from everyday life at the time is the main motif in a series of paintings Goya did between 1786 and 1788.
Curiosity: Background workers enjoy their job!.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Light breaks where no sun shines

Light breaks where no sun shines

by Dylan Thomas

Light breaks where no sun shines;
Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart
Push in their tides;
And, broken ghosts with glow-worms in their heads,
The things of light
File through the flesh where no flesh decks the bones.

A candle in the thighs
Warms youth and seed and burns the seeds of age;
Where no seed stirs,
The fruit of man unwrinkles in the stars,
Bright as a fig;
Where no wax is, the candle shows its hairs.

Dawn breaks behind the eyes;
From poles of skull and toe the windy blood
Slides like a sea;
Nor fenced, nor staked, the gushers of the sky
Spout to the rod
Divining in a smile the oil of tears.

Night in the sockets rounds,
Like some pitch moon, the limit of the globes;
Day lights the bone;
Where no cold is, the skinning gales unpin
The winter's robes;
The film of spring is hanging from the lids.

Light breaks on secret lots,
On tips of thought where thoughts smell in the rain;
When logics dies,
The secret of the soil grows through the eye,
And blood jumps in the sun;
Above the waste allotments the dawn halts.

Day Opening - January 5

Atropos, by Goya

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Recession-Proof Jobs

The global recession was realized in mid 2008, and since hitting, thousands of people have lost their jobs, taken salary cuts or are sitting fearful that their income is in jeopardy. 10 million Americans were unemployed as of October, and that number continues to climb.
Contrary to the beliefs of many, not all industries are suffering; in fact, there are some careers and jobs which will thrive in the new year. “There are still opportunities, the most abundant being in sales, customer support and accounting,” according to Forbes who put together a list of

The Most Recession-Proof Jobs based on data from

New professions added to their Top 25 job rankings were in
Medical Administrative Services, IT Security, Faculty for Higher Education, Product Management and Human Resource Generalist. Jobs on the rise include Technology Executives and Counseling/Social Work (no surprise there with the economy-fueled depression.)
Dropping from the list was Database Administration, Advertising (real world and online), Testing/Quality Assurance and Business Analysis (both research and software implementation). Falling also were Mechanical and Electrical Engineering jobs.

This trend for the USA seems to apply for the Western world in general.

Source: Bettermondays.

Day Opening - January 3

Portrait by Ikigrafi design.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Immigrant mayors are thinly spread in Europe

Rotterdam's new mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, illustrates the Netherlands' forward position when it comes to the participation of immigrants in politics.

It is almost impossible to overestimate the symbolic value of Ahmed Aboutaleb's career: born in Morocco, moved to the Netherlands as an adolescent, local councillor in Amsterdam, junior minister and, from January 5, mayor of the country's second biggest city Rotterdam (population 583,000).

For many immigrants the Aboutaleb success story must amount to a modest 'Yes we can'. "His position speaks to the imagination," says Andreas Wüst, political researcher at Mannheim University in Germany. "He has to be an example to many immigrants, and not just in the Netherlands."

Aboutaleb will be the first ethnic minority mayor of a major European city, a position which shows the relative openness of the Netherlands' political system for newcomers. In Holland people with an immigrant background are better represented in elected political and management functions than in most other European states. This may be because mayors in the Netherlands are not elected but appointed and because of the system of proportional representation and party lists.

And there is morrreee

Day Opening - January 2

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The New Year is Rising....

The New Year is Rising...

If You Had the Entire World's Attention for 30 seconds...
What would you say?

What is the message you would send to 6.5 billion people that would make this world a little bit closer to the way you want it to be?

What's the tag line?
What's the case?

30 seconds... We're listening...

These are the words of Sam Brannon, a American friend in Istanbul.

Happy 2009 to everybody!

Interview with Baskin Oran

Baskin Oran, 63, is a political science professor at the University of Ankara. In mid- December, he launched an online campaign together with almost 1,000 Turkish intellectuals to gather signatures for an apology to the Armenians for war crimes committed by the Ottomans during World War I.
'Eroding One of Turkey's Biggest Taboos'
More than 25,000 Turks have added their names to an online statement apologizing for Ottoman war crimes committed during World War I.
SPIEGEL spoke with campaign initiator Baskin Oran.

SPIEGEL: Since the beginning of your online campaign, more than 25,000 Turks have signed a statement apologizing for war crimes committed by the Ottoman Empire during World War I. More than a million Armenians lost their lives in the catastrophic events, which began in 1915. Is this the beginning of a critical examination of the past?
Baskin Oran: The Turks who are now apologizing are not responsible for the sins of 1915. There is no collective crime, but there is a collective conscience. With our campaign, we are eroding one of Turkey's biggest taboos. But still, the campaign is coming decades late.

SPIEGEL: Turkish nationalists say that you are damaging the country's image. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agrees.

Oran: I disagree. I think that our image abroad will actually improve. Beyond that, though, it is the grandchildren of the Armenians who should finally hear an apology -- in a country like Turkey, where there is no "culture of apology."

SPIEGEL: What effect will the campaign have on Turkish-Armenian relations?

Oran: The majority of Armenians welcome our initiative. But there are hardliners who criticize our petition for not specifically using the word "genocide." They are afraid that our apology could foil Armenian demands for reparations. Such people merely see us as lackeys of the Turkish state.

SPIEGEL: What kind of reactions have you received from Turkish citizens.

Oran: Unfortunately, they have mostly been negative. Every day, I personally receive around 200 pieces of hate mail. Many accuse me of having insulted the Turkish people. But one has to bear in mind that every child here learns that Armenians killed Muslims. Our education is to blame for the country's collective amnesia. In eastern Turkey, though, it is true that, in the past, many people did suffer from Armenian revenge attacks.

Interview conducted by Daniel Steinvorth
What I don't understand is: 'why the Turkish PM and Armer Forces slammed this innocent initiative? Is it not the official line in Turkish politics that not politicians but historians/intelectuals must solve the Armenian issue, not politicians?

Day Opening - December 31

Some hours before midnight on New Years Eve in Prague.
Picture made by Fransisca Villa

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I simple don't understand the Arab League

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas caused only the last 4 days more than 320 people their lives. When the truce ended on Christmas day, Hamas started immediately firing rockets into Israel. Of course, Hamas is democratic elected, but what if the PKK in Turkey was a legal party? How many people would vote for them?
PKK and Hamas have only one thing in common: both are branded by international bodies as terrorist organizations. And Hamas, with its extreme Islamist agenda, is in power because some influential tribes and gangs supports them, don't have my sympathy. And it looks like that the Arab League really, as usual divided, don't know what to do. They don't sympathize with Hamas either but at least they can use their influence - as far as they have influence on these kind of organizations - to stop Hamas. They were always as helpless and divided while the seat of this organization is in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, receives enormous amounts of financial aid from the Western world. To do what?
The PR campaign of Hamas, because of the censorship of Hamas, works well. So does their rhetoric.
But what the heck can you expect from Israel if Hamas started again using the population of Gaza as a human shield?
Two articles from a Saudi blogger give some insight. Here is the first post and here the second one. It reflects almost 100% my opinion in this conflict. Saudi Deist is through entrecard the guest blogger of the day on this blog. (see symbol entrecard on the right of this blog)

Day Opening - December 30

The former Art Nouveau booking hall of Prague's Main Railway station, now a cafe,
Art Nouveau buildings in Europe no. 5

Monday, December 29, 2008

Looking for a man? Wear red, say researchers

Red is not only associated with danger but is also a sexual signal to men and, according to the latest research, also to women. In this respect mankind is not so different to other primates, say US psychologists.

The colour red increases the attractiveness of a woman for men. Men find the same woman much more attractive in a red blouse than a blue one and the same goes for a black and white photo of a woman in a frame with a red background than the same photo with a white, grey or green backdrop. The opposite is true for women looking at the same photos.
And the men don’t think the woman with the red background looks kinder, or more honest or more intelligent - it’s about sexual desirability. Men, meanwhile, are not aware of this effect.
These are the findings of a study of mainly white males aged around 20 carried out by psychologists from Rochester University in the US and reported in the November issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Mating season

According to the researchers, the results of the study mean that red is the colour used by women to attract members of the opposite sex in the same way as other female primates.
During the mating season, the area between the sexual organ and the anus of female baboons, chimpanzees and macaques turns dark red, for other apes the vulva is a more subtle shade of red. Although this doesn’t happen to women, they do blush more during ovulation and tend to wear more revealing clothes so that the redness of their skin is more visible.
The findings of the Rochester University study are all the more interesting because earlier research has indicated that the colour red is primarily a stop signal. For example, people perform less well in IQ examinations if the cover of the test paper is red. What happens is that the right frontal cortex of the brain is stimulated by the red colour; this is the area associated with avoidance behaviour.

Associated with romance

According to earlier research, when people are being assessed, they associate red with danger, making mistakes and warnings. Fear of failure then results in poor performance.
But on a more personal level, red symbolises exactly the opposite. Not “go away” but “come hither”. Red has been associated with romance (or sex) throughout history. Red light districts signal sexual availability or women express this themselves by wearing rouge or red lipstick.
Psychologists are currently attempting to find out if red also makes men more attractive to women because amongst some primates, such as the mandrill, the most dominant males clearly display more red. The first results indicate that red is indeed equally attractive to women.

So having a Ferrari, will be good for men looking for a woman.)

Day Opening - December 29

The secession building in Vienna was built in 1897 by Joseph Maria Olbrich for exhibitions of the secession group.
Art Nouveau buildings in Europe no. 4

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Day Opening -December 27

The Casa Batlló, already built in 1877, was remodeled in the locally Barcelona manifestation of Art Nouveau, modernisme, by Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol in 1904–1906
Art Nouveau buildings in Europe no 2

Thursday, December 25, 2008

'My Dream Is to Create a United Religious Nations'

Another great article in Spiegel Online, and yes, Metzger makes sense.

Yona Metzger, the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, talks to SPIEGEL ONLINE about the Abraham as the father of all three monotheistic religions -- Islam, Christianity and Judaism -- and explains how that connection could be a starting point for a dialogue of peace between them.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Chief Rabbi, Jews refer to Abraham as "Our Father Abraham." How difficult is it for you to accept the fact that Christians and Muslims also call Abraham their father?

Metzger: This is not difficult at all. It fits very well with the Jewish religion. A close look at the word "Abraham" reveals that it is constructed from the words "father of many nations." So, if Muslims associate themselves with Abraham's son Ismael, or Christians associate themselves with Abraham's grandson Esau, or we associate ourselves with his other grandson Jacob, then three great monotheistic religions were born from him.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Can you give another example of dialogue?

Metzger: During a recess, in a conference which took place in Europe, one of the heads of the Muslim Courts in Jordan invited me to a cup of coffee in the lobby of the hotel. We sat for about half an hour. I began telling him about some of my problems; I told him about my family, my children, some issues with rabbis and the chief rabbis that are under me and the responsibilities I have. He told me about his problems. At the end he stood up, shook my hand and told me: "Now, after having told me all of your stories, and after I have told you all of my stories, I cannot hate you."

Read the full interview herreee

Pope appeals for Mid-East peace

Pope Benedict XVI has used his traditional Christmas Midnight Mass to call for an end to "hatred and violence" in the Middle East.
Addressing a huge congregation at the Vatican's St Peter's Basilica, he appealed for a new understanding between Israelis and Palestinians. In fact, they, the Popes are doing tthat each year.

Peace Poem

I many times thought Peace had come by Emily Dickinson

I many times thought Peace had come
When Peace was far away --
As Wrecked Men -- deem they sight the Land --
At Centre of the Sea --

And struggle slacker -- but to prove
As hopelessly as I --
How many the fictitious Shores --
Before the Harbor be --

Day Opening - December 25

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gay rights statement divides UN

A Dutch and French joint initiative to get the United Nations to condemn discrimination against gay people has led to divisions within the world body.

The statement, which is non-binding, calls on countries to take all "necessary measures" to make sure people are not treated like criminals because of their sexual orientation. So far 66 of the 192 member countries have signed the treaty but the United States, the Vatican and the Islamic Conference countries have not.
In a speech to the UN on last week, Dutch foreign affairs minister Maxime Verhagen said the statement was "not radical" and reminded member states that the universal declaration of human rights also bans discrimination.

"Human rights apply to all people, in all places and at all times. So they apply to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people too," Verhagen said. "As long as there is a divide between the principle of universality and the practice of everyday life, statements like this are vital."

Homosexuality is illegal in 86 countries around the globe with gays subject to the death penalty in countries like Iran and Yemen.

Verhagen also said he was disappointed in the US position: "It is a pity that a country which takes such a strong stand on human rights does not support this declaration."

Day Opening - December 24

Christmas tree in Prague Old Town Square

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dutch Labor party became tough on Dual citizen ship

Immigrants should give up their original nationality if they become Dutch, Labour party chairwoman Lilianne Ploumen says in a Dutch newspaper..
‘To me loyalty has nothing to do with nationality. But the country of origin must lose its grip. To become Dutch you must, in principle, give up your old nationality,’ Ploumen said.
Earlier this month, the national statistics office CBS said the Netherlands has over a million people with dual nationality. Out of 16 million citizens.

Ploumen’s apparent rejection of dual nationality goes against her party’s stand until now. One Labour junior minister and the new Labour mayor of Rotterdam both have dual nationality.
The number of city council members from Turkey and Morocco, the Muslim countries with the largest populations in the Netherlands, grew by 62 percent, to 223 from 139, according to a Dutch research group. Immigrants from those countries in the 150-seat national parliament rose to seven from five. All have dual citizen ship.

The interview coincides with the publication of a Labour party policy document on integration written by Ploumen entitled Divided Pasts, Shared Futures.
In the document, Ploumen says the Labour party has been too tolerant towards immigrants for too long. ‘The one mistake we must never make again is to swallow criticism of cultures or religions in the name of tolerance,’ the paper quotes her as saying.

Newcomers to the Netherlands must choose to join Dutch society. The job of the government is to defend the state of law, tackle misunderstandings and generate opportunities through high-value education, good social services and an active labour market policy, Ploumen said.

Local politicians who have to deal with actual problems – such as the refusal of some people to shake hands – will have three choices: to tackle the situation according to Dutch standards, to confront or to tolerate.

Honour killings should be tackled according to the law, she said. But the wearing of Muslim headscarves in the classroom is an example of where tolerance should be used. And equality between the sexes is an issue requiring confrontation, the paper quoted her as saying.

The Labour party will vote on the policy document in March.

Blogging burnout

Feels like a blogging burnout...Don't expect too much from me. Will pre write some posts for the next days. That's all.

Day Opening - December 23

Salvador Dali
Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)
1954. Oil on canvas, 194,5 x 124 cm.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. gift of Chester Dale, 1955

When disembarking from the steamship America in Le Harve on March 27, 1953, on his return from New York, Dali announced to the reporters gathered around himself termed as sensational: an exploding Christ, nuclear and hypercubic. He said that it would be the first picture painted with a classical technique and an academic formula but actually composed of cubic elements. To a reporter who asked him why he wanted to depict Christ exploding, he replied, "I don’t know yet. First I have ideas, I explain them later. This picture will be the great metaphysical work of my summer."
It was at the end of spring in 1953 in Port Lligat that Dali began this work, but it is dated 1954, the year which it was finished and then exhibited in the month of December at the Gallery in New York. The painting may be regarded as one of the most significant of his religious oils in the classical style, along with Madonna of Port Lligat, Christ of Saint John of the Cross, and The Last Supper, which is in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.
"Metaphysical , transcendent cubism"is the way that Dali defines his picture, of which he says: "It is based entirely on the Treatise on Cubic Form by Juan de Herrera, Philip II’s architect, builder of the Escorial Palace; it is a treatise inspired by Ars Magna of the Catalonian philosopher and alchemist, Raymond Lulle. The cross is formed by an octahedral hypercube. The number nine is identifiable and becomes especially consubstantial with the body of Christ. The extremely noble figure of Gala is the perfect union of the development of the hypercubic octahedron on the human level of the cube. She is depicted in front of the Bay of Port Lligat. The most noble beings were painted by Velázquez and Zurbarán; I only approach nobility while painting Gala and nobility can only be inspired by the human being."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Update - new sites

First of all, it was good to meet Seda last Friday. Seda, born and raised in Turkey is our co blogger under the name 'sonagre'. She lives in Greece.

Sandra is still recovering after some weeks in the hospital but blessed with a child! She posted her happiness today.

Several new sites are added to the Chain of Internations. Let me introduce some of them:

Saudi Deists. A new blog from Saudi Arabia. Deisme means: believe in God not in Religion.

Another interesting blog is from Walton, an expat in Kazachstan. Probably I will write for his site occasionaly. Kazachstan is an interesting country!

Mova from Indonesia is another blogger which will be added to the Chain. Mova is an Catholilic in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim community.

And last but not least: Nevin, a good sparring partner about Turkish issues. We disagree all the time but agreed to keep the 'lines open'.

Welcome to Internations.

Baby Announcement

This is to inform you,
To keep you updated,
Someone's arrived at our house
To whom we're related.

He screams and he wails
But he still brings us joy,
For the arrival we have
Is a new baby boy!

The name of our little darling is Arjun Anielkumar.
Thanks everyone for your warm wishes!

Arıtman should be expelled from CHP regardings his accusations that President Gul is of Armenian origin...

Adeviye Gül, the mother of President Abdullah Gül, could be Armenian. She could be Kurd, Georgian, Circassian or similarly.

Instead of accusing European countries of rascist behaviour, Turkey has to look in the mirror before that is broken. Rascism is institutionalised.

Read here the article.

Day Opening - December 22

Salvador Dali
The Oecumenical Council -1960.
Private Collection on Loan to the Dali Museum Cleveland, Ohio

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dutch Prince and the Dutch National Lottery gave to Clinton Foundation

Prince Johan Friso and the Dutch postcode lottery organisation are on the list of donors to the William J. Clinton Foundation which has just been published on the foundation's website.

The publication follows pressure from US president elect Barack Obama who wants to appoint Clinton's wife Hillary as his secretary of state. Obama wants to ensure there are no conflicts of interest between the minister for foreign affairs and her husband's charity work.
The list does not include exact sums of money but says that Johan Friso donated between 100,000 and 250,000 US dollars.

Nor is it clear when Johan Friso donated the cash. The prince, second son of queen Beatrix, has not been part of the official royal household since his marriage to Mabel Wisse Smit. Members of the royal household are not supposed to be involved in politics.

The postcode lottery group has donated 1.5 million dollars each year since 2005. "A person like Bill Clinton opens doors which make more effective action against poverty possible," the lottery group said.

Clinton's foundation was set up in 1997 and has raised some 500 million US dollars since then. The list of donors also includes Saudi Arabia (between 10 and 25 million dollars), the governments of Brunei, Norway and Jamaica and former Formula 1 racing driver Michael Schumacher.

Some interesting facts about France (1)

France or République française as it is officially known, is the largest European scumhole, surpassing Germany for cultural stereotypes and social unrest. Her chief claim to fame is being the first stop for any artist reject or wannabe dictator. Geographically, France is located at the teat of Europe hence the town of Breast at the foremost edge of the coast.

The French are famed for their culinary skills which consist of "baking bread" and "producing hot buns and tarts". There is also the widely adopted pastime of drinking excess coffee so as to be able to stay up late into the night; indeed France is a nation of "midnight alley cats".
The French have also have a great claim to fame by having overpowering unions, which have led to slow industry and the country being in perpetual recession and ruled by crypto-fascist governments since France's defeat in the Second World War.

Day Opening - December 21

Salvadore Dali
Slave Market with the Appartion of the Invisible Bust of Voltaire
1940. Oil on canvas, 46,5 x 65,5 cm.
Collection Mr. and Mrs. A. Reynolds Morse, on loan to Salvador Dali Museum, St.Petersburg, Florida

Dali's double image of theBust of Voltaire by Houdon has been use many times in various works and publications to illustrate the time - space concept. Dali did a guache of this figure as a picture puzzle. Scientific American magazine in the December 1971 issue used a detail from the Slave Market with Disappearing Bust of Voltaire to demonstrate the physical structure of the perception system of sight in which the optical neurons reverse the images. While painting this picture Dali related in Dali de Gala : "I kept reciting without ever stopping the poem of Joan Salvat Papasseit, 'Love and War, the Salt of the Earth.' " Salvat Papasseit was a Catalonian anarchist whom Dali greatly admired. In Barcelona he was accused of having become an extreme rightist because the only thing he did was to apologize for the war at a time when everybody else had become pacifists.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Come to Play

Come to Play - A Poem By Kelly D. Tolman

I read an invitation to dream today.
The words formed a magical display,
that made me think of love and thoughtful hope
I would have cried if I could. But I know,
Just isn’t proper.
“Come sit,” it said, and spin me happy tales.
Stay with me tonight, beside shadows stale.
Learn how dreamers sleep and love, wake and live.
Do not let feelings close too tight, give
the world beauty.
Please don’t think I’m too strange because I love
the way I feel, or feel that I am above
all the usual norms of happiness.
I’m not. My life is still the propermess
it was tomorrow.

Follow the stars if you would like to fly,
Go right ahead, don’t write, don’t say good bye.
The invitation is nice, lie, or spin,
dance or sing. No guilt, no sorrow, no sin.
Leave dark superstitions.

Copyright 2008 Kelly David Tolman

Surviving Athens: Athens riots - A country in fear

Surviving Athens: Athens riots - A country in fear

Day Opening - December 20

Salvador Dali
Impressions of Africa
1938-39. Oil on canvas, 91,5 x 117,5 cm.
Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Friday, December 19, 2008

Belgium Creative Agency Launches Internet Firing Squad

(ontsla means: ontslagen = fired - picture not well taken)

New trend name: 'Crowdsourced Corporate Layoffs'

Belgian creative agency So Nice has put up a website for the sole purpose of firing one of their eight employees (either that or they have created a clever scheme that capitalizes on the shoddy economy). You Choose We Fire features a Brady Bunch-style layout of those on the chopping block. According to the site, one of them has to go, and visitors to the site get to decide who it will be.

I apologize to Hrant

I find this column by Cengiz Candar touchy and straight out of his heart.

I was a friend of Hrant Dink and one of those who felt responsible for his death.
I was not so very close to him and we met rarely. But we were friends. We had built our own memories. We were the two panelists on the last day of an open-to-public workshop titled "From the Balkan Wars to the new Turkish Republic" on March 7 to 10, 2002 at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. It was his first trip abroad. We were together in Paris in 2006. We were together on panels in Istanbul and Trabzon. We sat around the dinner table so many times and shared bread at his Kınalıada house.
And there is morreeee

Day Opening - December 19

Salvador Dali
Metamorphosis of Narcissus
1937-38. Oil on canvas,50,8 x 78,2 cm.
Tate Gallery, London

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Great News: Sandra gave birth to a son!!

We didn't hear much lately from Sandra, our co blogger from the Netherlands, due to her pregnancy.
She just gave birth to a son, with the name Arjun Anielkumar; son of Sandra Singh and Aniel Birtanti. Congratulations!!!!!
More news later!

The movie Fitna banned from European parliament

Fitna banned from European parliament

Geert Wilders' anti-Islam film Fitna will not be shown in the European parliament building, which I think is the right decision.

The film, which had an enthusiastic showing in Israel last week, was due to be screened yesterday afternoon but party leaders decided against earlier in the day.
Gerard Batten of Britain's anti European Independence Party had invited Wilders to show the film.
According Wilders was it 'a very sad day for freedom of expression, "It shows once again the bankruptcy of the European parliament."
I miss her the logic since I don't see the necesity to show this terrible made home movie since it's a one-man show movie.
That UK anti European Independent Party is a member of the EU parliament shows that the parliament is mature enough to make the right decisions.

Day Opening - December 18

Salvador Dali
Beach Scene with Telephone
1938. Oil on canvas, 73 x 92 cm.
Tate Gallery, London

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A molotov coctail with a Heineken bottle?

Instead of using an empty Ouzo bottle, Greek protesters are using Good Old Dutch Heineken bottle.
Time for a reprimand... you drink Heineken, but don't throw with the Name...)

Word/name inflation

Turkish PM Erdogan and the pro-Kurdish DTP accuse each other of being "Nazi" or representing Nazism. Who is wrong and who is right? Maybe both are right...
But I know one thing for sure, both don't know what real Nazism means.
As some people are using all the time terms such as 'fascism', 'racism', 'xenophobes' down here in Turkey, in the end I don't take them serious anymore. I call it, using such terms whenever you run out of arguments, Word Inflation.

Dutch threaten UN anti-racism meeting boycott

The Dutch foreign minister is threatening to boycott a UN racism conference if anti-Israel statements are not scrapped from draft texts being drawn up for the meeting.

Maxime Verhagen has told Dutch radio he "will not be involved in anti-Semitism" at the meeting next April in Geneva, Switzerland. Israel already has said it will skip the conference, saying it is turning into an anti-Israel tribunal.

In Tuesday's interview, Verhagen described draft texts for consideration at the meeting as "unusually poor and incoherent."He said the sole intention of countries drafting them appeared to be criticising Israel and condemning the West. Verhagen accuses countries of abusing the conference "as an anti-Semitic witch hunt."

As long as countries such as Iran, Sudan, Libia are leading the world regading human rights, simple boycot this conference.

And choosing Colonel Gaddafi to head a world anti-racism conference is like appointing a pyromaniac to be town fire chief. How can a regime that consistently ranks as one of the most notorious violators of human rights, a government that sentenced to death five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor only because they were foreigners and therefore easy scapegoats be charged with promoting fundamental principles of human dignity and equality?
But all Depends on how you define "anti-Semitism"

Just when you thought you knew all about anti-Semitism – turns out it means Arabs too, at least according to Algeria's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.
When the Algerian diplomat, Idriss Jazairy, argues that anti-Semitism's definition should be expanded to include Arabs, who are a Semitic people, the director of the Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust at Touro College, Anne Bayefsky, shot back. The greatest source of anti-Semitism today operates "under the guise of anti-Zionism and anti-racism activities," epitomized by the U.N. Human Rights Council's disproportionate focus on criticizing Israel, she said.

Day Opening - December 17

Salvador Dali
Archeological Reminiscence of Millet's Angelus
1933-35. Oil on panel, 31,7 x 39,3 cm.
Dali -Museum von St. Petersburg, Florida, gift Reynold Morse

In the works of the Surrealist period, Dali treated those elements of disparate appearance with absolute realism which emphasized the proper character of each one of them, making an exact copy from a document, a photograph, or the actual object, as well as using collage. He increased the effect produced even more through the use of techniques stemming from the precision of Vermeer to the blurred shapes of Carrière. Once he had given an emotional autonomy to his protagonists he established communication between them by depicting them in space - most often in a landscape - thus creating unity in the canvas by the juxtaposition of objects bearing no relation in an environment where they did not belong. This spatial obsession derives from the atmosphere of Cadaqués, where the light, due to the color of the sky and of the sea, seems to suspend the course of time and allows the mind through the eye to glide more easily from one point to another.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A new chapter in the Turkish media?

The European Union is to open the chapter Information Society and Media in Turkey's accessions negotiations with the EU bloc.I am sure that even the Greek Cypriots will not blog this chapter. Turkey will be under intense scrutiny about Freedom of Press, Freedom of Thought (important as well - consider your self in a Turkish court and you are there because some prosecutor filled a complain on behalf of the PM or some Ultra Nationalists and you went to express your self well but you feel that what you want to say can not be said because of some 'Turkish sensitiveness') and Freedom of establishing a press organ. And nobody in the EU bloc wants what happens these days in Turkey regarding the media under their umbrella. The 'media culture' - on the other side - is still in the hands of a few people who - on an indirect way - put a soft pressure on what their journalists can write.It's a sad thing that Turkish Daily News disappeared and became one of Hurriyet's little sisters. The change in headings are so obvious: headings these days in Hurrieyt Daily News are screaming and are not covering the articles, and 'take a walk on the wild side' with facts. Anyway: good luck Turkey! And I sincerely hope this will be a real new chapter in the Turkish media.

Shoe hall of fame

As Americans have something with shoes and bailouts, in the Netherlands we throw cakes (one time a smoke bomb)

In 1965, Princess Beatrix became engaged to the German aristocrat Claus von Amsberg, a diplomat working for the German Foreign Office. Their marriage caused a massive protest during the wedding day in Amsterdam on 10 March 1966. Prince Claus had served in the Hitler Youth and the Wehrmacht and was, therefore, associated by a part of the Dutch with German Nazism. Protests included the memorable slogan "Geef mijn fiets terug" (Give me back my bicycle), a reference to the memory of occupying German soldiers confiscating Dutch bicycles. A smoke bomb was thrown at the wedding carriage by a group of Provos causing a violent street battle with the police. As time went on, however, Prince Claus became one of the most popular members of the Dutch monarchy and his 2002 death was widely mourned.

How is George W. Bush feeling these days?

Exactly: as a lame duck.

Interview with Mohammed

I watched this clip and it sounds very innocent. Morroco already decide to boycot Dutch goods. Who follows?
Then read this. (the interview of Adnan who wants to build a Turkic-Islamic state, and the guy who is behind so many I-net bans)

Day Opening - December 16

Salvador Dali
Phantom Cart
1933. Oil on panel, 19 x 24,1 cm.
Collection Edward F. W. James, Sussex
'It is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just s it is not necessary for me to know it myself". Salvador Dali, in "Dali", Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1968.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Athens burns - In pictures

The following are pictures that are doing the rounds on the net

Rioters in Exarhiea

Firefighters putting out Fires in Monastiraki

Riot Police in Exarheia
Protesters on Alaexandras

Transparency International HELLAS blames corruption as cause of riots

Transparency International Hellas has laid the blame for the riots at the feet of the level of corruption that exist in Greece. When it comes to corruption, Greece comes in at the Top 5 in Europe. (not on the good end). In 2008 Greece ranked 57, worse of than South Africa (54) or Botswana (36). I mention these two countries because many in Greece constantly put down African countries.

In its press release Transparency International claims that the youth especially have a belief that laws are not being enforced, that no one takes any responsibility, that the education system is sick. It also states that not only is corruption instilled as an everyday fact of life but that it has also become part of the tradition of life.

I am not trying to justify the rioters, but Governments and those with power have to take responsibility for their actions.
When the lawyer of the policeman who fired the shot, comes out before the coroners inquest and declares that the death was a result of a ricochet,
When the lawyer continues and says that in time we will see if the youth should or should not have been shot,
When the policeman were not placed in immediate custody,
When the lawyer for the policeman says that he had to take on the case pro-bono because the previous lawyer asked for a certain 'sum' to be placed in her bank account to get a favourable hearing,

Well you can see why the family of the deceased youth hired their own doctor to witness the autopsy,
You can also understand why people think that corruption is so widespread, and these inflamatory remarks came out recently, after the bulk of the rioting had been done.

Corruption has become so commonplace that no one is ashamed of asking for a bribe, doctors ask it outright, people ask each other, how much did you pay for your degree. And of course this state of affairs would eventually spill out one way or another.

But of course its the little guy who gets hurt, the villas and the shops of the elite are still fine, the poor shop owners took the brunt, the police took a beating as they were ordered by the government to stand by and watch. And in the end, me and a few other guys in greece - the only taxpayers are left to foot the bill for all this.

Far right threat is often ignored in the Netherlands

A gang of youths harassed a Liberian family to such an extent that they were forced to leave the southern town Waspik.

There is a tendency in the Netherlands which blames Islam for most of the problems the country faces today. Below a more nuanced article about the extreme right groups in the Netherlands. Although they are marginalized, they still have a voice through the populist PVV.
The article is a back ground one, and an opinion. At least we can make the problems the Netherlands face disputable, in contrary with Turkey which became more intolerant against other people their religions, ethnicity or simple roots. Read that here.

The Dutch government’s efforts to monitor radicalism in the Netherlands have been focused primarily on potential Muslim terrorists. But this could favour extreme right-wing organisations whose numbers have gone up significantly during the last few years.

By Sheila Kamerman

Being a Muslim in the Netherlands means always having to be wary. Ordering a halal meal on a transatlantic flight, refusing to shake hands with a woman or growing a beard is enough to arouse suspicion. Could this be a terrorist?
The Dutch government favours a broad approach in its battle against radicalism, says Bob de Graaff, one of the authors of the eighth edition of the annual Racism and Extremism Monitor published by the Anne Frank Foundation and Leiden University on Tuesday. It is not just the small terrorist sleeper cells which are being monitored. A much larger group of Muslims who might possibly turn to radicalism is also under scrutiny.

And there is more herreeee

Day Opening - December 15

Salvador Dali
The Average Fine and Invisible Harp
1932. Oil on panel, 16 x 21 cm.
Private Collection
"At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napaleon. and my ambition has been growing steadily ever since." Salvador Dali, In "The word of Salvador Dali", Macmillan, 1962.