Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Photographs unravel Turkey's ethnic tapestry (IHT)


SAMSUN, Turkey: They were suspected to be missionaries. Then fugitives. But when the motley band of Turkish intellectuals finally arrived in this Black Sea city last month, people seemed to understand that they really only wanted to tell stories.

The group - a Kurdish feminist, an Armenian writer, and an academic and a photographer, both Turkish - were presenting a book of photographs of people from Turkey.
The book counted 44 different ethnicities and sects across Turkey, and captured them in pictures dancing, eating, praying, laughing and playing music. If it sounds innocuous, it was not. Turkey, a country that has had four military coups in its 85-year history, has a very specific line on cultural diversity: Anyone who lives in Turkey is a Turk. Period.
Attila Durak, a New York trained photographer, compiled the book, traveling around Turkey for seven consecutive summers, living with families and taking their portraits.
And there is morreee

Day Opening - March 11



Gaudi House.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The life and death of farmer Hans

The life and death of farmer Hans by Freek Staps

The credit crunch has many victims. Some have lost their homes, other their jobs. And some, like Dutch immigrant Jelle Hans Reitsma in California, have even lost their lives.

On the last Friday before Christmas, 41-year-old Roxanne Reitsma woke up with a start. It was only 4.20 a.m. but her husband Jelle Hans was not lying next to her.
In normal times, this wouldn't have worried her. Jelle Hans Reitsma (37) was in the habit of getting up before dawn to inspect his 18,000 cows or to check on the dozens of workers who keep his farm in Corcoran, California, running day and night.

And there is morree

Tibet; 50 years under Chinese rule

After a half century of repressive Chinese occupation, Tibetans all over Tibet are rising up to demand their freedom and human rights.
But China has sent extra security troops yesterday to Tibet to guard 'its international borders'. Today it will be 50 years since the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetans, fled to India following a failed uprising against Chinese rule. China wants to prevent the anniversary from being used for what it calls "sabotage activities". The 10th of March marks also the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising of 1959, when more than 86,000 Tibetans were slaughtered by Chinese troops. More info herrreee

Day Opening - March 10



Buena Vista Social Club. I love them!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Some notes on arrest warrant issued against Omar Hassan al-Bashir

Formally the arrest warrant issued against Omar Hassan al-Bashir is the next step in the legal process against the Sudanese president, who was indicted by the International Criminal Court prosecutor in July 2008 for war crimes and crimes against humanity. But in reality, the first arrest warrant against a serving head of state, issued on Wednesday by the ICC in The Hague, is a political move.

Within twenty-four hours the concensus on the arrest warrant was shattered. In Sudan, Bashir, who refuses "to kneel to colonialism", immediately ordered overseas aid organisations to leave the country. This threatens an even greater catastrophe than the current one of some 300,000 dead and nearly three million displaced. This leaves Bashir indifferent. There is no way back for him.

There are signs of international polarisation as well. The African Union and Arab League want the UN Security Council to suspend the arrest warrant. The African and Arab worlds already consider the ICC an instrument of a one-sided western legal system. China supports this because the arrest warrant is likely to delay peace in Sudan. China has huge oil interests in the country and takes a more hands-on approach to peace in Africa's largest country than for instance the European Union.

But this does not make it improper to ask whether the arrest warrant could have an adverse effect. There are currently more scenarios that point to a further worsening of the political and humanitarian situation in Sudan and even the whole region. "A gamble with unknown consequences and very high risks," according to the British writer and anthropologist Alex de Waal, director of the non-governmental organisation Justice Africa.

The arrest warrant certainly illustrates the tension between principles and politics. Sometimes a fundamental truth leads to peace, as happened in South Africa after apartheid. In Sudan, the straight and principled path looks impassable. The political consequence could be that trying Bashir is pointless and that the arrest warrant will merely feed resentment against the west.

The opposite argument is also valid. Bashir does not recognise international law, but the arrest warrant does increase the pressure on (and isolation of) Bashir. Accomplices and counterparts elsewhere in the world now know they too can be indicted and run the risk of being accused of crimes against humanity. So the arrest warrant can send a preventative signal.

This does however demand that the case is brought to a conclusion. If this fundamental first case against a serving head of state does not reach a verdict, it will not be beneficial to the status of the ICC as the guardian of universal standards or for the international consensus that the horrific violence in Sudan must come to an end.

And what about Turkish local elections...

Dutch Minister calls for integrity in local government

Dutch Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst believes local officials and politicians should be better instructed in what is acceptable behaviour for public servants. On the Dutch political television programme, Buitenhof, she said too many local politicians had displayed a lack of integrity recently.
She was referring to incidents including the scandal surrounding the mayor of Den Helder, Stefan Hulman. He was found to have been receiving allowances for two homes, and it also transpired that he had submitted a huge number of dubious expenses claims.
Ms ter Horst says this sort of behaviour brings local government into disrepute.
While in Turkey, local corruption is not a scandal but accepted as 'normal',

Day Opening - March 9



Unknown Chinese opera actress.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The arrival

Soft, warm sun rays awake the world from her winter sleep, accompanied by birds who hesitatingly sing their first notes this year. And already the day is over, all of a sudden the windows cry dense tears.

In like a lion and out like a lamb, march ends this Sunday with a promising memory of upcoming spring. How delightful.

Ape, mankind


My favorite philosopher F. Nietzsche asked once; 'what do you really see if you see a monkey?'. 'Something when you look in the mirror or...something you are ashamed of'. He, we all were babies once...

Statement #9

The True Cost of Global Obsession is thousands of lives yearly; miners digging for gold.

Day Opening - March 8



Daria Pavlenko .

Saturday, March 7, 2009

New(s) from the USA: God Hates You

Never been confronted with such a blatant hate group as that of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), headed by Fred Phelps and based in Topeka, Kansas.
On their websites GodHatesFags.com and GodHatesAmerica.com, they express condemnation of LGBT, Roman Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Sweden, Ireland, Canada, The Netherlands, and other groups. Their core opinion, based on its Biblical interpretation, is that nearly every tragedy in the world is God's punishment for homosexuality. You must be a lunatic to think like this.
Today they will demonstrate and try to disrupt (!) the memorial ceremony to be held for the victims of the Turkish Airlines jet that crashed near Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on 25 February killing nine people and injuring 80. The gathering at a hangar will be attended by victims, relatives and a large number of dignitaries. And I really hope that if they disrupt indeed, all will be jailed for a long time. In the USA, this group has been disrupting military funerals with anti-gay protests on the grounds that the soldiers died fighting for a land that tolerates homosexuality. And the plane crash of last week is God's punishment of the Netherlands. Sick!!!













Day Opening - March 7



"Butterfly" by Qi Baishi.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The McGangbang


...

The only one who makes sense



What a pity, THY’s stars have fallen
A short time ago I wrote about how proud I was of Turkish Airlines, or THY. Hundreds thousands of people thought the same way.

Day Opening - March 6



Penelope Cruz Mango Spring Ad 2009.

(If I grow up I want to be like her ;) )

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day opening - March 5


'I want to be like here'
Photo by Belgin Zeytin.

This picture is a masterpiece, in my opinion! Hans

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Results of investigation Turkish Airline plane crash

Last week the Turkey Airline Pilots Association (TALPA) Secretary-General Savas Sen said that a large Boeing 757 had landed at Schiphol Airport two minutes earlier. Sen said that plane most likely created "wake turbulence" that hampered the Turkish aircrafts landing. Which is of course nonsense; if this was the case than we had in Amsterdam at least every day a plane crash. But it looks like that a Turkish Airline can not make a crash, so that silly blame game already started.
This morning FlightGlobal already pointed out that everything looks in the direction of the pilots and failure of a faulty altimeter.
Here the results of a report to Boeing:

-no evidence of fuel shortage, birdstrike, icing, windshear, wake turbulence, or engine, system or control malfunction
-the first officer was initially flying the aircraft and was inexperienced in airline operations
-autopilot and autothrottle were in use
-the aircraft was initially high and fast on the approach and at about 2,000ft above ground the throttles were pulled to idle
-the authrottle went to "retard" mode and the throttles then stayed at idle for about 100 seconds during which time the speed fell to 40kt below reference speed
-the aircraft descended through the glideslope with the captain talking the first officer through the before landing checklist
-the stick shaker activated at about 400ft above ground and the first officer increased power
-the captain took control and as the first officer released the throttles they moved to idle due to being in "retard" mode
-after six seconds the throttles were advanced but as the engines responded the aircraft hit the ground in a slightly nose-high attitude
-throughout the episode the left-hand radio altimeter read negative seven feet altitude, but the right-hand radalt worked correctly.

I sincerely hope that no stories of 'they' want to put us in a bad light etc.' will appear in Turkish newspapers and on Turkish TV.

Boeing will warn crews about fundamentals like flying the aircraft, monitoring airspeed, monitoring altitude, and will give advice about radalt issues.

Statement #8

It's life, not death, that has no limits...

(from Love in the time of Cholera - El amor en los tiempos del cólera -, by Gabriel García Márquez)

Day opening - March 4


A cloud split...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Solution for the Palestinian/Israelian conflict...


Don't live next to each other but live above or below the other...

or...materializing architectural form from the legal interstices of the Oslo Accords.
By Victor Ramos; The Continuous Enclave: Strategies in Bypass Urbanism.

But a Qassam racket or any other rocket will have now more impact than before...
Indeed, this is architectural speculation.
More herreee

Day Opening - March 3


De Panne, the Netherlands.
Photo by Hans Nieman

Monday, March 2, 2009

Wilder's populistic party leads the polls in the Netherlands

According to a recent opinion poll, if parliamentary elections were held today, the Freedom Party (PVV) headed by populist leader Geert Wilders would become the largest party in the Netherlands. It would win 27 seats in parliament, as opposed to the nine it currently has. The Christian Democrats - the largest party in the governing coalition - would win only 26 seats. Mr Wilders' popularity has been rising ever since an Amsterdam appeals court decided to try him for anti-Muslim comments six weeks ago. He has since received even more exposure following Great Britain's refusal of permission to enter the country.
Is the social-left and social-right in denial?

Investigation a la Turca


'By mobile phone'

Day Opening - March 2



""Dinner for Two" by Christa Kieffer.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Statement #8

Globalisation means; global integration of the movement of goods, capital and jobs. Deglobalisation will have a dire impact on migrants.

BFF

My little darling has a best friend. He and his buddy are very close together for just only four weeks.

Sometimes I’m a little bit jealous, because when my little darling cries. His best friend is the only one who can cheer him up!

They are real buddies.

If we are going for a walk or just taking a nap. His best friend is always on his side.
They play a lot with each other. Sometimes Arjun throws him away and most of all he just drops it.

His best friend never complains.

After four weeks of friendship, my little darling has to say farewell to his BFF.
Not because the friendship is over…..NO NO NO NO.. because his friend is quite knocked up.

No sorrow. There always a new best and better friend on the block.

This one is translucent and collapsible. The old “one” was blue and tiny.
This new friend has “size” 3 to 6 months. The old “one” 0 to 3 months.

Yes, my little darling and his soother are best buddies for life!

Creative men



Since we were 8 kilometres away from everything, we had to stay in our hotel. Not really a problem since we came here for relaxing and diving.

Everything was well organised and looked tip top. Breakfast and dinner were included, they had a free towel service and we had spacious, clean rooms. A nice bathroom, two clean beds and even a double view. On the right side was the swimming pool and the sea, on the left side the desert.

With towels, pillows and other stuff from our room the cleaning guys created things. An elephant or two swans around a hart formed lake, a cute shape of a nighty, every day they left us a little surprise.

Quite some creative guys, those Egyptian cleaners. Of course it made us wonder if they nose around the rest of our stuff. But it's better not to think about this and remind them as the artistic-with-towel guys...

Funny detail: they can't do anything alone or in a couple. Everything had to be done by at least four men. The gardens, serving, the reception, getting a towel. Even a bit of spilled water was cleaned by five men!

Migrant women in the Netherlands by Eric Beauchemin

In the wake of the Second World War, the Netherlands began inviting tens of thousands of foreigners to help rebuild the country's economy. Eventually they brought their wives and children over to this corner of northwestern Europe. Migrant women received little attention from successive Dutch governments who thought that the migrants would eventually return home. But that didn't happen.
In recent years, the issue of immigration has become a political hot potato in Holland. Right-wing politicians and some sections of Dutch society have become increasingly critical of migrants, particularly those of Turkish and Moroccan origin. The migrants are accused of not wanting to integrate in Dutch society.
continue reading herreeee

Day Opening - March 1



" Magnolia on Gold Velvet Cloth" by Martin Johnson Heade.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kicking alive

Still alive, since the bombing in Egypt took place in Cairo and not in El Quseir where we were.

This El Quseir was a dusty shit hole with too many street dogs and lazy men sitting around. My sister and I didn't dare to walk in, but what we've seen of it wasn't up for much. Cracked, dirty houses (from the outside) and trash laying all over the place. The vegetables from the market had feeble leaves, the banana's were half rotten and there were no women to be found on the streets.

Getting things done in Egypt turned out to be a real problem. And I know problem after some of my trips!

It started already in the airport where Achmed from the travel agency got angry with me for buying my visa at the bank for 15 dollars and not with him for $25.

The hotel was fair enough but 8 kilometres away from everything, so we were forced to stay at one spot. Taking a taxi? "That will cost you ten dollars per person one way, madam."

Although temperatures were between 20 and 25 degrees Celcius, the wind made things a bit chilly and the whole reason why we went to Egypt in the first place almost impossible: diving.

After some difficulties, we got things done and overall I've had a good break from my long days studying. But it wasn't easy. Anyway, it gave me enough reason to write.

To be continued...

Ria Oomen-Ruijten, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Turkey, receives threats from Armenians

Not nice, not wise, and none of their business!

The European Parliament's rapporteur on Turkey, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, has said Armenian lobbyists have threatened to destroy her career because she has refused to refer to the World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as "genocide."

The Dutch Christian Democrat, whose report on Turkey was approved with a record 65 votes against only four votes in opposition and one abstention in the Committee on Foreign Affairs on Feb. 12, said the Armenians have told her that they will do their best to prevent her re-election to the European Parliament.

Oomen-Ruijten, one of the most senior members of the European Parliament, has been hailed for her balanced reports on Turkey in recent years. Despite enormous pressure from the Armenian lobby, Oomen-Ruijten has so far refused to refer to the 1915 events as "genocide." Her predecessor as the rapporteur on Turkey, Camiel Eurlings, who was also a Dutch Christian Democrat, was heavily criticized for being too pro-Armenian and for authoring biased reports on Turkey. Oomen-Ruijten, who is expected to run for a European Parliament seat again in June, will defend her report in a plenary session on March 11. The report is expected to win the approval of the European Parliament without any major changes.

Continue reading herrreee

Statement #7

Medicine and religion share at least one trait, both can be seen as response to the prospects of death.

Day Opening - February 28



"Dance of Cranes" by Haruyo Morita.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Religions and afterlife


Judaism: Jewish texts have little to say about a possible afterlife, placing more the spotlight on the proper behavior in this life, not the one to come.

Christianity: The vast majority of Christians believe in heaven and hell...and that your ‘end’ depends on your deeds and faith during life.

Islam: Similar to Christians, Muslims believe in the day of judgement in the afterlife, when the dead will be divided between paradise and damnation.

Buddhism: Though specific beliefs vary by sect, Buddhists hold fast to the doctrine of reincarnation, ending only in the final liberation known as Nirvana.

Hinduism: Like Buddhism, Hindus believe in reincarnation and karma, with the status of your next life depending on your acts in this one.

Taoism: Life and death are flip sides of the Tao, and death is a transformation from being to non-being, with no heaven or hell.

Gaining after life:
In the Asian cultures and religions, afterlife is related with your life-on-earth and your well-doings.
In Christianity, martyrdom can only gained through pacifistic means and practices.
In Islam, however – since there is still a lot of confusion and denial about how to interpret the Q’ran - after life can be reached through Jihad, as divers sects points out: killing infidels. Islam and Confucianism are the only religions/philosophies which legitimates war.

Spotted in the UK


...

Day Opening - February 27



"Artist`s Garden at Giverny 1900" by Claude Monet.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

For Non Entrecard users only...

The last three months Internations is part of the big Entrecard family. It’s fun but time-consuming, but as long as I have the time to go three hours a day over 300 web sites (and sleep 3 hours less) I don’t mind. As I earlier wrote, this blog is listed under Expats. So, during these 3 months I discovered all kind of interesting co-Expat blogs. Many yanks/gringos/Brrrrittons, but at least I understand their English and I hope they my Denglish and other co-bloggers their Grenglish, Tenglish, and sophisticated high-attractive Amercanismes.
Anyway, on the side bar of this screen, every day a new picture pops up with beneath the Entrecard symbol. If you click on the picture, you will be directed to another site, and we of Internations earn One point with it...so do so...ola..)
I approve only sites which are interested, and I guess blog-owners only choose Internations to advertise here with their blood-and-tears earned entrecard points because they find this site nice. So it goes both ways.
Especially I want to do some free PR, the first time in 30 years (thank you) for some sites worth mentioned. Here we go:
Martin in Bulgaria
Cher in Prague
PG in Prague
Matt in Japan
And an anti-politics blog of the USA.
And many more...!!
Worth reading!

There are more such as Rachel her photo blog from Argentina, Mova in Indonesia, Saudi Deist and Denford from Harare in Zimbabwe; they all are already on Internations their blog roll, not necessary to do some more PR here...
Click on them as well; read them, every day for the next 3 months.
The world is more fun if you broaden your vision over the borders of Turkey and beyond.
And don’t forget to come back here and click around; the more page views, the more we earn and the more we are motivated to make you happy for unsolved mysteries, independent points of view regarding politics, beautiful art, poetry, photography, twitter news and more so on. In the end you don’t need your expensive newspapers anymore, but only us..))!!
Voila!

Statement #6

'Natural selection is a powerful force driving evolution' >Darwin<
or
'Natural selection's fingerprints can be detected in the human genome. But many mutations have spread thanks thanks to pure chance; a process known as genetic drift' >contemporary science<

At the moment I have my breakfast: two steaks with mushrooms, potatoes and garlic sauce; how genetic manipulated am I?.)

Day Opening - February 26



"Blue Muse"
by Charles Dwyer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Turkish Airlines tops European 'Crash list'

Turkish Airlines had not an accident in six years before today’s crash. The last time that one of the airline’s planes crashed was in January 2003 when an Avro RJ100 crashed during a domestic flight from Istanbul to Diyarbakir. 75 of the 80 passengers were killed.
But Turkish Airlines had a number of accidents in the previous years. The airline got a bad reputation with regard to safety. The website Airsafe.com keeps track of all modern-day civil aviation accidents worldwide and figures from the site indicate that Turkish Airlines has one of the highest accident rates in Europe. Scroll all the way down.
According the site (after quick investigations by Dutch newspapers), Turkish Airlines tops the Crash list in Europe and belongs to the top-5 worldwide.
Airsafe.com looks after each airline company their accidents and compares it with the total of deaths by crash related to the total amount of flights. Not one European airliner comes above the score of 1.0, but Turkish Airlines ranks 3.58. And this number was that of yesterday. BA has a score of 0.22, KLM of 0.88. So you are more likely to crash with a Turkish Airlines flight.
Next time, perception or not, the better service of Turkish airlines or not, KLM will be my carrier, at least for the time being.

Amsterdam Schiphol, Turkish Airline plane crashed - update


A Turkish Airlines passenger plane from Istanbul with 135 people on board has crashed near Amsterdam's Schiphol airport this morning. It was a TYA flight departed this morning 07.55am from Istanbul.
The Boeing 737, which appears to have only just missed the landing runway, has broken into three parts, but is said not to be on fire. I just got the news through twitter.
There are confirmed reports of 9 dead, including the 3 crew members in the cockpit.
Weird was that a couple of minutes after the crash, people started to make phone calls.
I prefer Turkish Airlines over Royal Dutch KLM, and will continue doing so...
As far as I know, no close connections of me in this flight, but you never know.
Update: 9 dead, 50 injured of 25 severely injured.
It was annoying to see, until the very last moment, that the Turkish authorities was denying that there were casualities. This is also a traumatic experience of the survivors.
Update; yes, a friend, his wife and daughter were on the plane, but safe.
Update: 84 injured, 6 critical
Update: Turkish daily Hurriyet and Turkish government take their fight over the dead bodies to another level: accusing each other for misinformation. Guess what: f'ck you idiots!
Livestream here, in Dutch.

The ruling of the ECJ in favor of Turkish business people


Below you will find an article called: '70 million Turkish businessmen' rejoice.

Last week the European Court of Justice ruled in favor of two Turkish truck drivers; EU countries have no right to implement new rulings against Turkish 'service providers' when entering the EU based upon an agreement between Turkey and then the EEC, the forerunner of the EU in 1970.

There are four points which are not mentioned:

1) Restrictions made prior to the 1970 agreement are still there.

2) The EU asked Turkey to sign a non-participation agreement so that third-parties (individuals of other countries - read: Iran, Iraq, Syria etc. - ) can not use the same reasons as Turks to enter one of the EU countries through Turkey. Turkey refused to do so, and therefore the EU afraid of an influx of refugees keep the borders tight with Turkey.

3) I never experienced that an application for visa of a Turkish business person was denied.
4) Every time when a Turkish citizen wants to leave the country, he/she has to pay 15 YTL at the airport (was 50 USD until 2 years ago). When Turkish business people can show their government that their business abroad is sustainable, they have to pay only once this taxs, but it still difficult to proof for it, especially Small and Medium size companies. Most Turks experience this as needless control, and harrasment.


'70 million Turkish businessmen' rejoice

By our correspondent Bernard Bouwman

The global financial crisis has hit Turkey hard. Just as in the United States and Europe, job losses are the order of the day. But in spite of it all, the Turks still have something to celebrate. For the European Court of Justice has ruled in favour of two Turkish plaintiffs who were sick of having to move heaven and earth in order to obtain a visa to travel to an EU country.
The press is jubilant and the business community has immediately called for assurances that this verdict not be allowed to disappear into the back of a drawer. As they see it, the Turkish government should immediately enter into negotiations with the EU's member states to ensure that the verdict has tangible consequences.
Continue reading herrreee


Day Opening - February 25



"Tablado Flamenco" by Fabian Perez.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Update

I didn’t rant about Turkish politics lately but will start with it again soon. There is so much going on at the moment in Turkey; the childish clash between a PM who obvious misuse his political power and a media mogul who turns his media outlets into propaganda tools, growing nationalism, anti-Semitism, the movie ‘Mustafa’ which upset many people (I watched it yesterday and soon will give here my opinion) the ongoing EU-Turkey disaster, and so on.
At the moment my priorities are somewhere else, but will be back soon...
I have plans to commercialise this blog, but have to get in touch with all the co-bloggers here, which will takes several weeks.
At the meanwhile, the grow of this site continues with around 350 unique visitors every day, around 450 visits and around 500 page views each day.
Also, from now on you can follow me on Twitter.

Statement #5

Worshipping the ancient Mediterranean god Moloch, and today’s liberal -progressivism, both require sacrificing children on the altar of self-centered materialism.

Day Opening - February 24



"Man Lighting Cigarette" by (my favourite) Fabian Perez.

Monday, February 23, 2009

And now in the Netherlands as well: shoetrowing!


During a talk at the Apollo Hotel in Amsterdam yesterday, Israeli speaker Ron Edelheit was pelted with shoes thrown by members of the audience. Mr Edelheit was a spokesman for the Israeli army during its recent offensive in the Gaza Strip. The shoe-throwers, students from Groningen and Leiden, have been arrested. They are members of the International Socialists (IS).
Outside the hotel, around fifty others protested against Mr Edelheit's visit, in what police said was a peaceful manner.According to the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel, the location for the event was changed at the last moment, after the College Hotel received threats.
Four shoes hit Ron Edelheit, not bad...

Day Opening - February 23


We don't have one, but 4 nukes!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Well... Its Official...

The U.S. is launching raids against Pakistan from within Pakistan, as noted in the TimesOnline.



So much for the official denials on all sides.

U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein sort of let the news slip the other day... I'd like to witness that CIA debriefing.

Just another day, I suppose...

World... Keep on turnin'...

~ Alias

Carnival February 20-24, 2009

Carnival in Paraguay

The origin of Carnival roots in an ancient web of cultural and religious practices that reach far deeper than having a good time and getting drunk.
Carnival as we know it today combines two almost diametrically opposed traditions. One is cultural and originated in pre-Christian times. Based on pagan beliefs and primitive nature religions, these festivities celebrated the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Ancient examples include Roman festivals like Saturnalia and Bacchanalia. While the first one was dedicated to Saturn (the god of crop and harvest), the second honored the Roman god Bacchus. Primarily the god of wine, Bacchus also inspired other pleasurable activities, from music to sexuality to ritual ecstasy and mass madness. In that spirit these festivals ran wild with people eating, drinking, and frolicking, dressed as animals, crop or vines, but also as devils and witches to signify the battle between the evil, dead spirits of winter and the good, budding spirits of spring.
With the advent of Christianity, these pagan and cultural festivities were appropriated into the Christian (mostly Roman Catholic) religious tradition of commemorating the end of the Christmas season.

More than 400 hundreds of years ago, the followers of the Catholic religion in Italy started the tradition of holding a wild costume festival right before the first day of Lent. Because Catholics are not supposed to eat meat during Lent, they called their festival, carnevale — which means “to put away the meat.” As time passed, carnivals in Italy became quite famous; and in fact the practice spread to France, Spain, and all the Catholic countries in Europe. Then as the French, Spanish, and Portuguese began to take control of the Americas and other parts of the world, they brought with them their tradition of celebrating carnival. These days Carnival in Brazil, Mardi Grass in New Orleans and Carnivale in Venice attracts the most attention.

Hoax emails for help; don't let it fool you.


Every had an email like this before?
Would you like to help me out by sending me vast amounts of money, in order to let me escape from my country? If so, I would gladly pay you $15 million with of my inheritance upon me release. You have never seen, or heard of me in your life, but I assure you this is not a joke! I prefer cash, but if that is unattainable, I also accept credit card numbers. I got your e-mail address randomly through a friend of a friend of a friend you said you were nice.
Still reading?
The book “Cry for Help: 36 Scam email messages from Africa”, by Henning Wagenbreth, documents several horror stories experienced by people who had bad enough judgment to fall for such scams.
Wagenbreth adds illustrations to 36 of his favourite e-mail hoaxes, thereby turning them into rather twisted works of art!

Through Trends.

Day Opening - February 21


Doves run fast in Sevilla...
Photo: Belgin Zeytin

Friday, February 20, 2009

Endangered languages Worldmap Unesco


2.500 of world's 6.900 languages are in danger.
Click on this atlas van wereldtalen for details.

Western Imperialism Part 6 / Summary: "The Dangers of War"

"A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."
- Paul Simon, from The Boxer

This is the last of this series on Western Imperialism. I've been told the section has been a bit heavy, and in a way I agree, but only if we're fearful about such things. Otherwise, its simply more or less "the state of the world today", and all of us are affected to a significant extent.

The dangers of war extend well beyond the soldiers and body bags, the deaths of innocent civilians, the havoc heaved upon the lives of the survivors on all sides. In fact, most of us reading these pages will never see much of that firsthand, and therefore, consider ourselves largely unaffected. But that's far from the case. Wars affect us all in very significant ways.

To start, nations can not afford wars - the economies are not built to support them. In truth, with every war, nations go deep into debt, and the economic impact is currently being seen around the world. The U.S. has invested TRILLIONS in its war machine this past decade, and it has essentially bankrupted the U.S. economy, and the shock waves are spreading around the globe.

Secondly, war in and of itself is a massive transfer of wealth from average citizens to the Deep Money, those that control the international banking system. Its no secret - and well documented - that the same bankers financed both sides of WWI and WWII and plunged the citizens of dozens of nations into massive debt, to be paid from their labor hours of future generations. Since WWII, wars have generally been waged on poor nations leading to massive reconstruction efforts through IMF / World Bank financing, in exchange for the natural resources of those countries. In short, the only people in the world that wars benefit on a large scale is the banks and the corporations that provide reconstruction and those that buy the resources at deep discounts. Its tragic in this regard, and if we're not careful, it will ultimately lead to our slavery.

--

In this series, we've walked through a series of steps that hopefully shed some light on the events taking place today. Granted, it was a fast and incomplete walk through... Book are written on the subject. And while some disagree with various aspects of it, I'll argue that in whole it makes more sense than presuming the state of the world is just a series of accidental bad policies.

In Part I, I introduced the idea that the Middle East wars we currently see are part of a larger strategy to economically, politically and militarily isolate Russia and China to assure Western (U.S./U.K./Germany/France) hegemony in the world. Whether Russia and China capitulate easily may have everything to do with whether the Third World War is launched.

In Part II, we discussed that Obama has plans to carry out the Bush legacy for imperialism, and that it didn't start with Bush at all. The truth is that it goes back to pre-WWI, and while the tactics have changed over time, the goal was always the same - global hegemony.

In Part III, I pointed you to "A World Without Islam" by ex-CIA executive Graham Fuller, who demystifies Islam as the culprit in the unrest in the world today, and who himself points to Western imperialism as the cause.

In Part IV, we discussed the militarization of the Arctic as a key example of the East-West positioning and resource wars.

In Part V, I demonstrated the Western passion for redrawing the map of the world to suit its interests in power, positioning and resources.

Taken together, they make a pretty compelling case to those with open minds.

Why does this matter to you?

Well, in 2002, the U.S. established a "Nuclear First-Strike Policy" against 7 countries... China, Russia, N. Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya. I'll leave it to you to guess why.

In January of 2008, The Guardian reported that NATO was intending to establish its own Nuclear First Strike policy. Again, you'll have to guess to why, but I doubt anybody senses "imminent threat". I mean... This is the stuff we demonized "the evil Russkies" for over decades.

So... We can't change the momentum until we see things for what they are, and this series was hopefully enough to get some of you on your way to seeing things at least a little differently.

Don't believe me... Do your own research. No telling where it might lead you...

Peace. Love. Freedom.
~ Alias

Statement #4

For better or worse, French-style pragmatic interventionism is gaining the upper hand as other economic models have lost their credibility.

Day Opening - February 20


One morning, on the ferry at the Bosphorus, Istanbul.
Photo: Belgin Zeytin

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Human rights activist Al-Mansouri sentenced to 30 years in Iran

Human rights activist Abdullah al-Mansouri has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, his son told ANP press agency yesterday.

Al-Mansouri was born in Iran and fled to the Netherlands in 1998, where he was an active member of human rights organisation Amnesty International and lived in Maastricht.
He was arrested while travelling to Syria in 2006 and extradited to Iran, where he was charged with terrorism for supporting the Arab minority in Ahvaz. Ahvaz is an oil-rich region near the Persian Gulf which seeks autonomy. Since his arrest, the Dutch government has repeatedly called on Iran to ensure that Al-Mansouri receives a fair and open trial.

Day Opening - February 19


Haydarpasa train station, Istanbul
Photo: Belgin Zeytin

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Statement #3

The world, religion, can offer comfort even when modern medicine falls short.

Western Imperialism Part 5: "Let's Redraw Some Maps"

If you happen to see me on the streets of Istanbul, try this... Stop me and talk to me for a minute - about anything. I'll talk to anybody. Its fun, and part of what makes life special to me. If you make eye contact and don't look away too quickly, I'll probably say "hello" to you just to get things going. This happens quite a bit, and leads to interesting conversations.

One things I've learned in my time here is that people who refer to themselves as Kurdish LOVE George Bush (and they're going to LOVE Obama, too...). It is, perhaps, the only group of people I've run across in my travels who do. That begs the question... Why? So I ask (knowing the answer by now, of course).

"Uh... for another time", is the general response. "Does it have to do with new maps?", I ask, which leads to a knowing smile from my new friend (everybody is a new friend to me, as far as I'm concerned), indicating that yes, it does have to do with new maps.

I have to give my Kurdish friends ample credit for being up to date on at least this aspect of today's geo-politics, because much of the world has not yet made the connection. The global planners in the U.S. government have, indeed, created complete sets of new maps that give strong clues as to what their intentions are and whose interests they are serving (the U.S./Anglo alliance of oil/military/economic policy).

The map below was prepared by Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters and published in the U.S. Armed Forces Journal in June 2006. With a close inspection you'll notice that countries such as Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Israel, Saudi Arabia and others are scheduled to lose territory while entirely new nations are to be created (including a "Free Kurdistan").

(larger version of the map here)

Now, whatever cheers or jeers this new map may draw from particular portions of the populations involved, it begs that time honored question of "Why?" Why would the U.S. /Anglo governments want to redraw the Middle East map?

Oil and gas resources and pipeline delivery routes.

And to what do they owe the feeling of authority to do so? Military / politcal pre-eminance, including the NATO alliance.

Could all of this talk about terrorism and Pakistan simply be cover for supporting West-backed warlords who ultimately wish to destablize the country and ultimately establish the new state of "Free Baluchistan"? Chances are... Yes. Think Kosovo.

The U.S. government has long kept the Kurdish region of Iraq the most stable, and its where large deposits of oil are being divvied up among the Western oil giants, and in return, the West seems to be willing to promise the Kurdish region of Turkey in the creation of a Kurdish state. Ok... perhaps you're seeing the trend.

For more background, I'll direct you here... Again from Prof. Chossudovsky at Global Research...

The ultimate take-away should be that we need to become a lot more skeptical of what we read and hear from our own governments and media. If the average Kurd on the street knows about this redrawing, the chances are your President or Prime Minister does, too, as does the publisher of your nation's leading daily newspaper.

Its interesting that there's a lot of talk about other things, but no discussion of whether the West should be redrawing borders and promoting chaos through covert operations that will lead to new borders being made so that Western companies can more profitably exploit the resources of other nations. There's no discussion about why this is important to the West, or its long term plan to economically/politically/militarily isolate Russia and China. And there's no discussion about the ethics/morality of sending young people to fight and die under false pretenses for such plans.

Nor is there any discussion about the inhumanity of the millions of innocent lives taken and destroyed in the countries in which these resource wars take place.

(Free Speech in Europe? Not in Strasbourg as it relates to NATO... see here...)

Yes... A little skepticism and questioning is in order.

Or perhaps even outrage.

Peace & Love,
~ Alias

Day Opening - February 18


'Wedding in Madrid'
Photo: Belgin Zeytin

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Statement #2

Just as Freedom as Speech has a limit, Freedom of Religion has a limit.
There are limits in our society. And that's the way we've set society up.

Western Imperialism Part 4: Militarization of the Arctic

This is a rather interesting story that has barely been mentioned in the mainstream press, but that may have huge implications in the coming year or two... The militarization of the Arctic Circle.

Just as nearly every "hot spot" in the world seems to revolve around oil and gas supplies and pipelines, the Arctic Circle is no different. With Russia, the U.S., Canada (and therefore, London), Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland (and therefore NATO) all having a stake in the area, this has the possibility to be another front in the West vs. Russia global game. And although the article attached is 18 months old, the scenario may soon come to life.

As shipping lanes are beginning to open again in the circle, we can expect a renewed military buildup in the area, and the claims to research and production geography may go from maps on the wall to physical, military presences, and since much of the area is potentially very profitable and contested, it could get serious. Couple that with Moscow's stated warnings against any attacks on Iran (and Israel's apparent increasing plans to do so, backed by the U.S.), the manuevering for pipeline gateways in Central Asia and Pakistan, and there are plenty of pressure points to watch these days.

I'll direct you to this article by Michel Chossudovsky at Global Research. For those who aren't familiar with Chossudovsky, he's a Professor of Economics at the University of Ottowa and produces excellent research on the reasons for, and ramifications of, globalization, focusing in particular on the ties between economics, politics and militarization.

Enjoy!

Peace.
~ Alias

Day Opening - February 17


'I love Istanbul (and I hate it, so this is True Love)
-Istanbul, European Side-
Photo: Belgin Zeytin