Sunday, February 15, 2009

The voice!

Since December 2008 I’m a mother. It´s a new wonderful experience. Every day I make mistakes and every day I get the chance to do it better.

A couple a weeks ago my little darling was growing inside of me. Instead of him, a little voice is growing inside of me now. And that voice is becoming louder and louder!

That voice is helping me to understand my little baby. It helps me to figure out what my little darling wants.
If he says `oegageheoooooaa` it means that he needs attention. Crying means that he wants to have a clean diaper and `giigigoguugouu` means he wants to play with Nelly the red Hippo.
`Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh` means he wants to eat.

In the middle of the night `the voice` is helping me to get out of my bed so easily to feed. Even before my little darling is awake!

That little that mine mother instinct? Sometimes I’m surprised that I was `you-can-do-everything anywhere at every moment- Sandra`.

Wow, it’s true I’m a real mother now. Yes !

Yes , I’m wearing track suits because they are comfortable.
Yes, I have sleepless nights.
Yes, I have bags under my eyes.
Yes, my freedom is gone... but this.... this is where my heart is.

Back from being away

Sorry people for not writing for a while. Being busy and a lack of inspiration to write made things a bit silent from my side. But inspiration has come back and the busyness continuous with a better overview, so writing stories for you people can start again.

With a one week trip to Egypt coming up, the first stories will come tomorrow and after my trip.

I'm looking forward to it!


Winner World Press Photo 2008

Following eviction, detective Robert Kole must ensure residents have moved out of their home in Cleveland, Ohio, 26 March 2008. Photo: Anthony Suau.
The international World Press Photo jury in Amsterdam on Friday selected a picture by US photographer Anthony Suau as photo of the year 2008.

Jury members said the strength of the picture of an armed sheriff moving through an American home after an eviction due to a mortgage foreclosure was in its opposites - it looks like a classic war photograph, but is simply the eviction of people from a house. The black and white photograph was part of Time magazine's Tough Times in Cleveland report on the effects of the credit crunch.
Dutch NRC Handelsblad photographer Roger Cremers won the first prize in the category 'Arts and entertainment stories' for his pictures of Auschwitz tourism.
All winners, click here...

Russia & Turkey Strengthening Ties

I usually stay out of commenting on the politics of my host country - it seems only polite, and perhaps there's a bit of pragmatism, too. And being in Turkey, well... The politics here are more complex that most give them credit for being. I count among my friends here quite a few who are very well educated, politically astute and aware and some who have taken part in various parties or movements and even they tell me "its complicated". So after all these months I still refer to myself as in the "gathering information" phase, likely to persist for several more years (decades, whatever).

All that said, I saw one announcement that caught my eye... Russia and Turkey are becoming closer - article from Today's Zaman reposted at Global Research.

Its interesting to me because as we watch the game being played between Russia and the West, this could turn out to be a very big thing.

As mentioned before, the West has long sought a strategy of surrounding and isolating Russia, militarily, economically and politically, going back to Napolean. In the Cold War, tensions ran high and the rhetoric of fear became very dangerous to all. And now, with the West ramping up in Afghanistan and seeking control of pipeline corridors in Central Asia, the Balkans, Pakistan and producers in the Middle East, the concept of "security" is becoming synonymous with "domination of energy delivery".

Its no secret that a big part of Russia's resurgence is based upon its energy resources and delivery capabilities. The West, through direct military interventions and NGO "economic partnerships" is seeking to marginalize Russia's growing regional influence, and thus preserve its own global hegemony.

If this partnership with Turkey plays out to be truly meaningful, it could have a profound influence in the East/West balance of power, and will capitalize on other recent wins for the Russian side in the FSRs. Whether or not you beleive that to be a good thing is another story - perhaps it comes down to whether you believe the world is better served by having a single power in the West (EU/US), or balanced powers between East and West.

I'm intersted in how Turks percieve this development. It seems the Turkish military has been traditionally more aligned with the U.S./West. What are the internal impacts of the government forging deeper alliances with Russia? What do you see as the primary motivations? What are the regional / global impacts? Talk to me...

Day Opening - February 15

By Belgin Zeytin (aliasjones girl friend)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

PM Erdogan opened the Pandora box again/his obsession with Israel

After the soufflé-incident in Davos, where he attacked the Israelian President, The PM of Turkey, in his rush for more nationalistic votes, opened the attack on Israel again. Instead of condemning the growing anti-Jewish sentiments in the Turkish societies, he attacked now the Israeli voters by calling them negligent for voting for right-wing parties. He simple forgot to see what the Turkish political landscape is built upon: Conservative Islamist rule the country, and in the opposition an ultra-nationalist MHP and an archaistic CHP which doesn’t have anything to do with its ‘revolutionair’ social image, rather with an arch conservative reactionary party. At the same time, a retired Israeli General asked the Turkish PM to look in the mirror by saying: Turkey was not in a position to criticize Israel's actions in the Palestinian territories when it stations troops in northern Cyprus, and accused Turkey of repressing its Kurdish minority and massacring Armenians during World War I.
I am not surprised at all by these words. The Israelis government, for the sake of good relations with Turkey looked at the other direction when Turkey was critiziced for its minority policies, its foreign policies and its history. Erdogan is doing more harm to Turkey in diplomatic sense than any previous Turkish PM.
But Erdogan declared himself not a diplomat, but a politician. He simple forget that politicians sets the tone for diplomacy.
As a reader of the daily Haaretz pointed out, Turkey is in a dodgy situation. This time I don’t think that the EU and or the IMF, and what about the USA, will be so uncomplaining with the current Turkish style of governing.
Here the note of a reader of Haaretz:
The Turkish leader joined the critics of Israel. Impertinent because he should keep his mouth shut. His country has laws forbidding mentioning of the crimes perpetrated against the Armenians. If Israel would adopt the Turkish model, a third of all lecturers in the faculties of social sciences and humanities in Israeli universities would be imprisoned, as well as a huge portion of Haaretz journalists. We will remind Erdogan of Leyla Zana and the short speech she made when elected to the Turkish parliament. She ended her speech in I take this oath for the brotherhood between the Turkish people and the Kurdish people. Her crime was that she said that terrible sentence, in Kurdish. According to Turkish law speaking that language is a crime. She lost her parliamentary immunity and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. When she wrote something from inside jail a further two years were added to her sentence. Tell this to the Arab members of the Israeli parliament.

For Valentine's Day...

Ahh... The Day of Love...
(This beautiful photo courtesy of Belgin Zeytin Photography, an excellent photographer, available for hire in Istanbul for stunning portraits and other commercial work. See her portfolio here...)

I suppose this is the day when we make that special someone feel truly and uniquely special, and that is certainly a good thing.

But why stop there?

Rumi talks about Love as so endless that we can give it to everybody and still have infinite supplies to shower on those around us. He speaks of Love as "the sacred liquid", and questions why we pass it around in cups rather than swim in it together. He dares us not to simply wade in it, but to dive "deeper, and deeper still".

Beautiful metaphors.

So, while we carry on with the tradition of a special day for those closest to us, maybe we can find a way to:

- Reach out to someone who made need a little Love, and make them feel special, too. And...

- Spend a few minutes running through memories of all the people we've met in our lives and with whom we've shared some interaction... some connection, and send Loving thoughts their way. And...

- Spend a few minutes passing Loving thoughts to those we've never met and whose paths we'll never cross. Chances are at least a few of them could use the positive energy.

Love... So endless... Let's not be stingy with it.

Imagine somebody on the far end of the world spontaneously feeling the warmth of a hug, the feeling that someone truly does care about them, giving them what they need to make it through a perhaps difficult day. That's a good thing.

Love... Everbody... (at least) Today.

~ Alias

Day Opening - February 14

"I have no riches but my thoughts. Yet these are wealth enough for me."
Sara Teasdale (1884 - 1933)

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Dutch are coming...


Geert Wilders - Let Him In

Geert Wilders - Let Him In
By The Times

Geert Wilders - Let Him In
Denying entry to the UK for a Dutch demagogue is bad politics and precedent.

Geert Wilders, the leader of the right-wing Freedom Party in the Netherlands, is not so much an unlikely as an incredible standard-bearer for liberty. His most prominent political stance is his opposition to what he terms “Islamic invasion”. He is the authentic voice of provincial populism and even xenophobia. He encapsulates the adage of Harold Macmillan that criticism in politics is never inhibited by ignorance.
Mr Wilders' remorseless themes are opposition to immigration and condemnation of Islam. He depicts Islam as monolithic, monocausal and monomaniacal. Its founder is a “terrorist” and a “war criminal”. Mr Wilders compares the Koran to Mein Kampf for its incendiary content, and demands that it be proscribed. With an irony so clumsy that it can be lost only on himself, he declares 2009 “a year to defend free speech”.
and there is morreee

I am worried when religion become more important than law.

Friday Morning Meditation

"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief.
Do justly, now.
Love mercy, now.
Walk humbly, now.
You are not obligated to complete the work,
but neither are you free to abandon it."
- The Talmud

Day Opening - February 13

"Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age."
Anais Nin (1903 - 1977)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day Opening - February 12

"And again: No more gods! no more gods! Man is King, Man is God! - But the great Faith is Love!"
Arthur Rimbaud (1854 - 1891)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Part 2: Western Imperialism... JSFEU

Hmm... How to start this post... Let's see...

Before I started traveling, I was a cog in the wheel in "Corporate America" for 16 years. You know, out there playing hard for the team, bringing in the deals, often adding my .$015 USD to the corporate quarterly earnings per share which was theoretically worth $1 per share price appreciation, though it never seemed to work out quite that way thanks to our inordinate overhead. But its fair to say that executives in most of the companies I worked for had a certain appreciation for my contributions in between their all-out efforts to find somebody who was willing to fire me.

It seems I've always had a problem with authority, and that attitude has a short shelf life in Corporate America, unless you're bringing in the business, and I did my share. If I had tried hard enough I probably could have found somebody to fire me, though I'm not sure exactly what it would have taken. At one company, the one of my longest tenure (5 years), a sharp and public "fuck off" to a Senior Vice President wasn't quite enough, but it was close. He deserved it. Probably 20 others similar stories along the way... yes, a real problem with authority.

Fast forward about about 5 years and I'm in my last job, a 40 person consulting firm where I was the VP of Sales. One day our sociopathic CEO showed up with a smile and asked me, "What can I do to help you on this deal?", which was a total set up for something else. My response was, "You'll do fine to just stop fucking everything up." I quit about a month later to go traveling for a while.

On inauguration day when Obama was in the process of taking the reigns of the world somebody asked me what message I would send to him on that monumental day. My response was, "Just stop fucking everything up." I'd say that's a pretty good message for the leadership of every country... JSFEU. Seriously... I can't for the life of me figure out why we need politicians or government at all.

And how do they FEU? Imperialism, oppression and graft, mostly. And oddly enough, most of the world has some strange Stockholm Syndrome thing working where we've fallen in love with our captors.

How bad is it? Well, William Blum has been tracing the damage of U.S. government's foreign policy for 40 some years... since Vietnam, and he thinks its pretty bad. With few exceptions, and meaningless rhetoric aside, most governments in Europe have walked in tight coordination, if not in lock-step, so for many of the readers of this site, yeah, you're government is pretty dangerous to us all, too.

For those that haven't read Blum, he has somewhat unique way of telling a story - very matter-of-fact with a dose of dry humor. But don't let that fool you into thinking he's a simpleton. His research is used widely by some of the biggest names in the business. I did an interview with Noam Chomsky on my website a couple of years ago - find it here - and he still fields my occasional questions on things, sometimes on the record, usually off. But he's the one that turned me onto Blum, and Chomsky references his research in many of his own books. So... regardless of what you think of Chomsky, Blum carries some gravitas in the foreign policy / investigative journalism arena.

I found one article you might enjoy, and it covers Blum's own open letter to President Obama, and interestingly enough... we have very similar views. He takes you on a quick tour of U.S / Western imperialism around the world today, and does so with a real sense of style. So whether you're looking to be merely entertained or actually want to learn something new, there should be something here for you. Check this out...

I wonder... If we all spent a little more time thinking critically and challenging those in authority, would this world be a little more peaceful? A little more prosperous? I think so, but not everybody does.


Interesting fact of the day... Farm and pack animals were domesticated by walking around eating the scraps of tribes. Today, we either eat them or make them carry our stuff in exchange for food.

Rock on...
~ Alias

Geert Wilders refused entry to UK - a shame

There is a lot to say about Geert Wilders but the following is just as insane and incredible for an European country as it can be. A MP of a close by and friendly fellow EU country is refused entry in the UK. Because one person, Lord Ahmed is threatening? F'ck you Gordon Brown, you acting like a wimp/dhimmi!
Read more here.

Hamas True Face

Hamas likes to be portrayed as Heroes. But who are they?
Amnesty International reported yesterday that Hamas in the Gaza Strip have engaged in a campaign of abductions, deliberate and unlawful killings, torture and death threats against those they accuse of “collaborating” with Israel, as well as opponents and critics.
And I am pondering why only 30% of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip supports Hamas (besides the Turkish PM and his wife...).

World Water Forum Istanbul 2009 - AKP is dragging water to the Sea

The other day, I had a good laugh: ahead of the World Water Forum 2009, which will be held in Istanbul from March 16 - 22, 2009, Veysel Eroğlu, the Turkish Minister for Environment and Forestry, claimed that the tap water in Istanbul was of a better quality than in any other European city.

Pardon me...Istanbul is the only city in Europe where tap water is not drinkable. I'm sure that he was talking about this 'news' for domestic consumers only, but this news reached - of course - other countries as well.

The AKP is dragging water to the sea, as usual. And yesterday, the Turkish minister of Foreign Affairs ask the EU to keep its commitsments. Which one if you ask me? Turkey is not keeping its word, over and over again. For sure, this statement is for Turkish consumers only...nobody cares in the EU anymore what the AKP is saying...

Day Opening - February 11

"I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value."
Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Squatting in he Netherlands: idealisme or anarchy?

Squatting Cafe, Vrankrijkm Amsterdam (temporarely closed down)

Having started as an idealist movement to fight housing shortages in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities from 1978, squatting quickly became a way of life for many people who were looking for a place to live but could not find somewhere along the regular channels. It is estimated that there were some 20,000 squatters the Dutch capital in the early 1980s, most of them living on unemployment benefit. A subculture developed, with squatters' theatres, artist workshops, restaurants and newspapers, similar to Denmark's Christiania village in the capital Copenhagen.
Police actions to evict squatters increasingly led to pitched battles between riot police in combat gear, and firebomb and brick throwing squatters and in the end, deep rifts in the movement.

After eviction riots in 1982, some squatters considered that greater levels of violence directed at the authorities were justifiable, others wanted to retain the alternative and relatively peaceful lifestyle of the original squatter movement. Hard-line squatter groups began intimidating the less radical members, many of whom decided to break all ties with the movement.
After an eviction in March 2008 police say they discovered booby-traps set by squatters inside the occupied building with the intention of hurting or possibly killing policemen. Two months later, squatters pelted the police with bottles; one policewoman was injured. Police reported finds of arms, munition and pepperspray in the occupied buildings.

Currently there are estimated to be between 1,500 and 2,000 squatters in Amsterdam, says the Regioplan agency which is charting developments for the housing minister, Eberhard van der Laan. There are no figures from other cities, where house occupations "are so few that they don't constitute a problem", Regioplan writes. The agency says there are three kinds of them: the "traditional Dutch squatters", the "antiglobalists" who come to the Dutch capital from all over the world, and East-European workers, mostly builders from Poland, who are looking for a cheap place to stay.

Day Opening - February 10

"Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash."
Leonard Cohen (1934 - present)