Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Promised Land (by Frederike Geerdink) - or Turkey's own Gaza

It’s almost comical here in the Republic of Turkey: PM Erdogan accuse Turkish writers, politicians and columnists of being paid by the Israeli government, or worse: being a spy! Everybody who doesn’t agrees with his ongoing hate campaign against Israel, is an agent of Israel… I can only conclude that everybody who cannot face the reality, creates conspiracy theories. Burak Berdil wrote an excellent article about it.

Enfin, the saga regarding  the flotilla continues here in Turkey. And now, by accident through Twitter, I found an article by a Dutch journalist in Turkey, Frederike Geerdink, called: the Promised land, refugees in Turkey. (I rather call it ‘Turkey’s own Gaza). It’s an excellent piece how miserable life for refugees is in Turkey. And I am curious what refugees of Palestine thinks about the flotilla. And FYI, this article is written in December 2009. Now, read and judge:

Turkey is trying to bring its laws on refugees into line with Europe’s. In the meantime, refugees and asylum seekers who reach safety in Turkey live in a legal and social wasteland.


(published December 2009) By Frederike Geerdink

Several Turkish newspapers called it a disgrace last spring, when in Didim, a town on Turkey’s west coast, 65 people were forced to camp in the garden of a government building. These people were refugees from Palestine, Eritrea, Somalia and Iraq. And the pictures didn’t lie: there were children among them. And even though the authorities gave blankets and mattresses, the children were cold at night, wrote the papers with chocolate-thick letters. And, they added, the fact that the government didn’t offer these people a roof over their heads was a disgrace.


As if this was an exception to the rule. The Turkish authorities never provide shelter for refugees, and showed their humanitarian side only by handing out blankets and mattresses. The really exceptional aspect of the situation in Didim was that the deplorable situation of refugees in Turkey hardly ever becomes so visible. Usually refugees stay in a hovel in a dilapidated part of Istanbul, or with whole families in old, dark and smelly buildings in remote Anatolian cities.


Sometimes, they make it into the papers because they are found dead, for example in the sea between Turkey and Greece, (the refugees in Didim were also on the way to Greece when their boat broke down). Or in a field somewhere, dumped by a truck driver who discovered he was no longer transporting living people but dead ones. Or in the mountainous area between Iran and Turkey – where they are sometimes found frozen to death by shepherds reaching meadows high in the mountains where the snow has just melted.
More herrrrreeeee

Day Opening - June 17


Argentinians gather along 9 de Julio Avenue in Buenos Aires to attend the bicentenary parade in Buenos Aires on May 25, 2010. (DANIEL GARCIA)

Arash's World: The Eternal Fixation and the Gaping Gap between Desire and Realization

Arash's World: The Eternal Fixation and the Gaping Gap between Desire and Realization

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What is easier: banning the Dutch Dress or the Burqa?

That the FIFA are a bunch of tyrannical leaders, we know that. But that they, The international football association is launching an inquiry and filed a lawsuit against Bavaria and the Bavaria Babes, seemingly for wearing orange dresses only is shameless. It looks like that banning the Dutch Dress is easier than banning the burqa…


Next to that, the women were already questioned for two hours and claim they put under considerable pressure by the South African authorities. One of the three women, Barbara Castelein, says they were treated roughly and threatened with six-month prison sentences, which apparently caused panic and crying fits. Officially Dutch diplomats have not been informed about the reason for arresting the women, but it is clear that the action was aimed at protecting the interests of Budweiser beer, the official sponsor of the World Cup.

Bavaria has been very careful and very clever, the logo is nowhere on the dress and technically, therefore does not contravene FIFA's regulations.
A Bavaria spokesman: "it is an absolute scandal that FIFA arrested girls for wearing an orange dress without any advertising on it whatsoever". In my opinion Bavaria bosses are "laughing fit to bust". The Director Peer Swinkels says, "we could not hope to better, everybody is talking about our dress and name isn't even on it".

Budweiser and Heineken, you are losing this battle! We stand behind our BavariaBabes all the way to the finals!

Day Opening - June 16

Argentinians gather along 9 de Julio Avenue in Buenos Aires as an actress representing Argentina scatters confetti in Buenos Aires on May 25,  2010 for the  bicentennial. (DANIEL GARCIA)
Click on picture to enlarge.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bavaria Babes arrested after Dutch-Denmark soccer match!



A group of 36 women were arrested in Johannesburg on Monday because they were dressed in the wrong skirts. They were 3 Dutch and 33 from a temporary work agency! We call them the Bavaria Babes!

FIFA officials discovered them in the Soccer City stadium and reported them to police after the Holland-Denmark duel. The girls wore orange miniskirts, so-called Dutch Dresses, supplied by Bavaria brewery, a competitor of FIFA's official sponsor Budweiser. The officials acted against the Bavaria girls on the basis of the contract with Budweiser, which stipulates that other beer brands are not allowed to advertise in the World Championship stadiums. Although the labels of Bavaria were 1 by 2 cm...
Bavaria initially denied any involvement, claiming that the 36 women belonged to a student group who purchased the skirts and paid their own expenses, including the trip to South Africa, and that we call lying for a good cause....
But Bavaria's Managing Director Peer Swinkels told reporters that he was appalled the Dutch Dress girls were arrested. "There is not even a brand name on those skirts, so what are we doing wrong? Since when are there clothing conventions during football matches?" Also lying, understandable...more PR!
Mr Swinkels admitted that Bavaria had footed the bill for the Dutch Dress campaign. Barbara Castelein, a spokeswoman for the so-called Oranje Babes said they were shocked by FIFA's rough-shod handling of the case. "We were forcibly manhandled, some girls were covered in bruises. All of a sudden the action lost its innocence." They were held in police cells for four hours. Ms Castelein says the group was having second thoughts about a follow-up to the dress action.
FIFA must be ashamed of themselves. At first they thought that the women had to undress them...wow..that would be a PR stunt!
Also Heineken, official sponsor of the Dutch national team, kept their mouth shut. The girls are simple cheerleading.

Day Opening - June 15


















Dutch soft power?
Here an interesting article about the Netherlands / WK team.
Holland won yesterday its first match with 2 against 0 for Denmark.

Monday, June 14, 2010

3 Years' Sentence for Threat against Armenian Weekly

The Turkish citizen, Yasin Yıldız, received a three-year prison sentence for threatening the Armenian Agos newspaper via e-mail after the killing of Agos chief editor Dink. He was handed down another three months in jail for insult. This is the fifth positive decision for Agos. And that is good news. In the meantime, the case against the murder(s) of Dink still lingers on, 3 years after dato.
From Bianet. herreeee more...

Day Opening - June 14

Iran today

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Turkey's president tweets against Youtube, Google bans



Maybe it's time to ban Twitter too in Turkey...

"Turkey's president used his Twitter account Thursday to slam the country's ban on YouTube and some Google services.

In separate tweets sent out late Thursday, Abdullah Gül said he did not approve of the bans and had instructed officials to look into legal ways to reopen access.

Courts have blocked access to YouTube since 2008 over videos deemed to be insulting to Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Last week, Turkey extended the ban to some Google pages that use the same Internet Protocol addresses as YouTube.

In January, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe urged Turkey to abolish or reform a law allowing it to block around 3,700 Internet sites."
Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Day Opening - June 13 - Jerusalem of Gold

Avir harim zalul kayayin


Ve-rei'ah oranim

Nissa be-ru'ah ha'arbayim

Im kol pa'amonim



U-ve-tardemat ilan va-even

Shvuyah ba-halomah

Ha-ir asher badad yoshevet

U-ve-libbah homah



Yerushalayim shel zahav

Ve-shel nehoshet ve-shel or

Ha-lo le-khol shirayikh

Ani kinnor.

Eikhah yavshu borot ha-mayim

Kikkar ha-shuk reikah

Ve-ein poked et Har ha-Bayit

Ba-ir ha-attikah


U-va-me'arot asher ba-selah

Meyallelot ruhot

Ve-ein yored el Yam ha-Melah

Be-derekh Yeriho


Yerushalayim shel zahav

Ve-shel nehoshet ve-shel or

Ha-lo le-khol shirayikh

Ani kinnor.


Akh be-vo'i ha-yom la-shir lakh

Ve-lakh likshor ketarim

Katonti mi-ze'ir bana'ikh

U-me-aharon ha-meshorerim


Ki shemekh zorev et ha-sefatayim

Ke-neshikat saraf

Im eshkakhekh Yerushalayim

Asher kullah zahav


Yerushalayim shel zahav

Ve-shel nehoshet ve-shel or

Ha-lo le-khol shirayikh

Ani kinnor.


Hazarnu el borot ha-mayim

La-shuk ve-la-kikkar

Shofar kore be-Har ha-Bayit

Ba-ir ha-attikah

U-va-me'arot asher ba-selah

Alfey shemashot zorhot

Nashuv nered el Yam ha-Melah

Be-derekh Yeriho


Yerushalayim shel zahav

Ve-shel nehoshet ve-shel or

Ha-lo le-khol shirayikh

Ani kinnor.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Australian billionaires take to the streets for tax protest

Now they know exactly who to kidnap, right?.)
Here the article.

Israel a Country of Right Wing Fanatics? (By Richard in Tel Aviv)

What is a moderate and what is a right-wing fanatic? It seems to be a matter of perception. But what can be sure is that the international media readily portrays Israel as a nation of violent right-wing fanatics that isn't interested in peace and only wants to colonize others; a nation that supposedly elected a right-wing fanatic Prime Minister in their colonial aspirations and perpetual Arab hatred.


I'll often hear from my own friends that suggest I've become right wing over the past few years. I have to laugh at them. For while today, after years of suicide bombings and never ending conflict with the Palestinians, and wars in Gaza and Lebanon; I, like so many once upon a time left wing Israelis have lost faith in the Palestinians as partners and become pessimistic about any chance of real peace with the Muslim world, it doesn't mean I want it any less, or that I think we should continue to settle the territories or have become militant. But watching the media one would assume that Israel is a brutal nation that wants to keep the Palestinians in Gaza in utter poverty as they starve to death (while the Turkish and Iranians are peace loving humanitarian workers fighting to help the poor Palestinians on the street). And of course, they'd have it backwards.

I first arrived to Israel in 1992, and officially immigrated in 1995. Immediately thereafter I began studying in the University of Tel Aviv, where I was present for the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the Prime Minister of Israel and the leader of the Israeli peace movement. It was my political baptizing if you will, an immediate indication that Israel was a country where you had no option but to get involved. And in the elections that were held to replace Rabin I voted for Meretz, the most left-wing party in mainstream Israel politics, and subsequently attended countless protests, supporting the peace process Rabin had started, believing whole heartedly that not only Israel should not retain control over another people, but that those people, the Palestinians held similar values for life and tolerance that I did.
Continue reading herrreeee
(comments are off; this the view of Richard, you can react on his blog)

Day Opening - June 12

Israel

Friday, June 11, 2010

Royal Dutch KLM introduce Denglish

Dutch airline KLM has become a little less Dutch. From now on, safety instructions – you know that tedious ritual before take off – will only be given in English. While Air France continues to talk to its passengers in French and Lufthansa wouldn’t even think of not speaking German, a KLM spokesperson says “It’s an improvement” (in Dutch of course). It gives the stewardesses more time to give more instructions because up to now they were always given in two languages. KLM thinks almost all passengers speak English and if they don’t they can ask the stewardess. Well, let’s hope KLM English doesn’t turn out to be double Dutch or Denglish...

Day Opening - June 11


Palais de Versailles, France

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Elections in the Netherlands

The Netherlands went to the polls yesterday and the election results are the main topic over there: which coalition will be possible?
The message from the voters is confused: the Dutch political landscape has splintered and forming a stable coalition will be an exceptionally difficult task. Perhaps the most dramatic outcome of yesterday's election is the historic loss suffered by the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDA).

The final results are still not in (99.8% is now conted), but the free-market liberal VVD has emerged as the largest party, taking 31 seats. Labour took 30 seats to become the second largest party and Geert Wilders' right-wing, anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV) came third with 24 seats. For the first time in its history, the CDA finished a poor fourth: ''CDA was smashed," and its political leader and caretaker Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende announcing his resignation as party leader and his departure from Dutch politics. CDA "suffered an historic loss, finishing with just 22 seats, representing a humiliating loss of 19 seats. Mr Balkenende described the result as "very, very disappointing".
Balkenende has accepted the voters' "kiss of death," bye bye!
The VVD may have come out in front, but it is the narrowest victory in Dutch history: until now, the winning party had always emerged with more 40 seats, apart from 1994 when Labour won just 37 seats. Unless Mr Rutte manages to form a stable coalition, this could turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory for the VVD.

The winners

Yesterday's big winner was Geert Wilders; the right-wing Freedom Party (PVV) jumped from nine to 24 seats and Wilders told his jubilant supporters, "the political establishment will not be able to ignore us any more," adding, "this is a glorious day for the entire country" and "grab the battering rams, we're going to give them hell". Once a protest party now a movement but not able to govern but good in populism.
The other big winners were the GreenLeft and the D66 liberals and both parties are likely to be asked to join the new coalition government. D66 leader Alexander Pechtold increased his party's share of the vote by seven seats, taking them to 10,  while last year's opinion polls predicted more than 20 seats for the party.
GreenLeft leader Femke Halsema was over the moon with 11 seats saying "We're the only left-wing party that won today". Right on!

The losers

Yesterday's election sent shockwaves through the political establishment and there were some big losers. The Christian Union (centre left) regrets its standpoint on homosexuality lost one seat and will return just five MPs to the lower house.
The Socialist Party lost nine seats, but SP leader Emile Roemer tries to put positive spin on dramatic loss since he was the relatively unknown who had just two months to save his party from disaster and that the party managed to win 16 seats isn't bad at all.

The animal welfare party  and the ultra conservative Christian SGP kept both their two seats.

Botched

Everybody agree that the Dutch political landscape has been shattered; "the voters have botched it," and  "a huge victory for Wilders' Islam-bashers, and a completely splintered political landscape: this is what the Dutch have chosen in the midst of a deep economic crisis".
Its obvious: the Netherlands is divided. Never before has the message from the voters been so confusing. It will be almost impossible to form a stable governing coalition. The only combination that will have a majority in parliament is, "a coalition of the purple parties and GreenLeft". This means a return to the purple coalition - VVD, Labour and D66 - that ruled in the 1990s, with the addition of the GreenLeft. The Dutch media has dubbed this possible combination as the 'Purple Plus' coalition.
Just 74 percent of the electorate bothered to vote and the turnout was an historic low and it is hard to understand the public's apathy and indifference in these trying times.
One possitive point: Holland became more secular!

Day Opening - June 10

Lighthouse, Crete, Greece

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Holland is sinking!

New research shows that large areas in the west of the Netherlands are sinking as a result of the settling of layers of peat - in some places by as much as 15 mm per year. Physical geographer Sanneke van Asselen will receive her doctorate from the University of Utrecht next week for the study.

Layers of peat at a depth of 10 metres below the surface in large parts of the provinces of South Holland and Utrecht have caused more than three metres of subsidence over the past 2,000 years.
The speed at which the ground is sinking depends on the thickness of the peat and the weight of the sand and clay layers above it. The process is also accelerated by the lowering of groundwater levels caused by agriculture.
The study shows that the settling of peat increases the risk of flooding and of subsiding dykes. "Taken together with the rise in sea levels, this is dangerous for the Netherlands," notes Ms Van Asselen.
The computer model she has developed enables estimates of future subsidence to be made. Time to buy some extra wooden shoes and sail away?.)

Day Opening - June 9

Into the void by Jeff Pang

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beer war in the Netherlands and South Africa...

Where there’s football, there’s beer. And in the run-up to the World Cup in South Africa, a beer war has broken out among the Dutch brewers. When it comes to battling for football fans’ custom, it seems anything goes – gimmicks, gadgets, girls and slurs against competitors. But why do football and beer go hand in hand?

“It’s quiet on the other side,” goes one of the most popular Dutch football chants. The other side in question is of course the other side of the stadium, where cowed rival fans look on meekly as their team loses to the Dutch – or at least that’s the idea.
But it’s not likely to be so quiet in the Netherlands over the next few weeks. Football means watching TV, drinking beer, shouting and singing. But why beer? Why don’t the football fans go with the trend and crack open a bottle of Prosecco or mix up a mojito like everyone else this summer?

Beer war

Martijn de Rooi, sociologist and journalist, doesn’t have a cut and dried answer.
“It’s a cultural phenomenon. And I wouldn’t like to say why. Perhaps it goes back centuries to when we all drank beer because you couldn’t trust the water. Perhaps it’s also for financial reasons, because wine is more expensive than beer. And certainly among young people it’s looked on as strange if you don’t join in. Then you’re seen as a party-pooper and you’re not part of the group.”
It’s no coincidence then that the brewers wring as much publicity as they can out of football. Dutch brewer Heineken is the official sponsor of the Champions League, while the Belgian brand Jupiler sponsors the Netherlands’ second-highest division, known confusingly as the First Division. And the World Cup in South Africa has US beer giant Budweiser as its sponsor.
Football is war, the legendary Dutch coach Rinus Michels once said. But it’s also a beer war. That’s not surprising, because the Dutch brewers alone expect to sell 15 million litres more beer during the World Cup than in the rest of the summer.

Babes

Each Dutch beer brand fields its own gimmick in an effort to woo the drinkers’ favour. Grolsch has a portable cool box, Heineken has a Dutch take on the South African ‘makarapa’ football supporters’ helmet, and Bavaria has the ‘Dutch Dress’. see picture..
This orange mini dress has already sparked a row with Heineken during the Netherlands’ warm-up match against Mexico. Dozens of students turned up at the match sporting the tight-fitting orange frock. The ‘Bavaria babes’ drew plenty of attention in the stands, and also from the TV cameras. Heineken, as the Dutch team’s official sponsor, was reportedly none too pleased about the extra publicity for a rival brand. Bavaria swore it hadn’t hired the girls in specially, and they’d just worn the dress as a spontaneous student joke.

Publicity stunt

Heineken spokesman Norbert Cappetti says it’s over the top to talk about a beer war:
“There’s never been such a thing. From the start we’ve said that it gave us a good laugh too. We’re behind any form of support for the Dutch team. Whether it’s dresses or Heineken helmets, it doesn’t matter. It was just a publicity stunt.”
However, there’s nothing new about a beer war between Heineken and Bavaria. During the 2006 World cup the Dutch football association sought a stadium ban on Bavaria’s gimmick of trousers with a lion’s tail, because it was harming chief sponsor Heineken. But the courts declined to grant an injunction against lion-tailed trousers.

Guerrilla war

In South Africa too there are also reports of a guerrilla war between Heineken and South African Breweries, SAB. For the past few years Heineken has been producing an increasingly popular premium beer in the country. SAB accuses Heineken of short-changing its customers because it is charging the same price for smaller bottles.
South African wine producers aren’t leaving the field open for the beer brewers either. In the Cape Province, around Stellenbosch for example, hundreds of managers have been trained up to provide World Cup fans with expert wine advice. A well-chilled bottle of FIFA 2010 Dry Rosé to go with Serbia vs. Ghana – why not?

Thank you source RWD!

Day Opening - June 8

Monday, June 7, 2010

Eight Years ago

Today, exactly 8 years ago I was attending the 72th birthday party of my uncle in the Netherlands and I was residing in Miami, the USA. A couple of days later I went for a business trip to Turkey and met Ö. One year later I was married to Ö in Ciragan palace; I still see myself walking through the Atrium hall (see picture) with 3 'butlers' in fronts of us. Today, Ö and I are 7 years married. And 7 years means more to me than 5, or 10 or even 25. For me 7, 14, 21 or 28 are magical numbers. And I never regretted that I made the move from Miami to Istanbul and married Ö.
(for privacy reasons, no personal pics) Tonight we are celebrating.

Pulling out the root of evil

Last week I witnessed the ludricacy and influence of the media up close and personal. Spending some time with Hans (and Özlem; thanks for your hospitality in Istanbul!), some of my feelings and thoughts about justice and objectivity appeared very clear to me. Before that I was only vaguely being aware of them. In that way this column is an addition to the article of Claire Berlinski, published at this site in June 5th.

Being blessed with a kind of naitivity on the subject, being able to think for myself and also having a pacifist state of mind, I tend to condemn the ongoing discussion of who is right and who is wrong. I tend to, but then again that's also being judgmental.

So, let me explain what has been my point of view. I will concentrate on Flotilla-Gate (as I named in my comment earlier on), but please apply it whereever you think it can be applied to. Let's say in every situation with two parties defending their right against the other's wrong.

First of all, the conflict in the Middle East could have been ended a long time ago if the involved parties were open for conversation. Conversation means more than talking, it also is about listening to eachother. It is about listening to eachother without prejudice and judgement blurring the partners of conversation. It could be so easy, just have the visor opened and listen to what the other is experiencing and just place yourself in that situation. Now it seems to be focusing on all bad elements of the opposing party/enemy. The sole result is that parties end up at the same position as where they started from, or even worse, because of frustration about the other 'not listening'. This is obvious on the political level, but on a lower level, say on the level of media and opinion makers, this is also the case. I had long discussions, trying to make clear that the follow up of an incident that took place on a ship, was triggered by the perception of the truth, which means that every individual has his or her own truth. Once you are aware of that, you will be able to step out of the perception, and open up to what others have to say. Hence, a step to a better world is made, because then you are able to accept objectivity and even the opinions of others. Nowadays innocent people are judged, injured of killed of what they seem to represent, only because the offender is holding on to his or her perception of the truth.

Second, being less involved and opinionated than others provides me with the ability to be somehow neutral in this case (although Hans disagrees). Sure, I have my own opinion on what has happened somewhere in front of the shores of Gaza, but rigidly holding on to this believe prevents me of looking at it from different perspectives. Yes, I condemn the acts of violence of both sides, and yes, I strongly condemn the reaction of narrow minded people, wanting to extinct everything reminding of the so-called enemy. But no, I don't take side, unless measurable evidence is presented. But there's the hardest part. Almost every investigation is covered with a veil of subjectivity, either it is direct involvement or indirectly (oil).

Therefore I'll keep following the interesting discussions, always keeping in mind that these are based on the perception of truth...
Meanwhile in Holland, even more important than the Mediterrean conflict, are the national elections next Wednesday. The news is totally dominated by it.

What a relief it is that every country considers it's own interests and importance as being the center of the world!

Still I'm looking forward to my next visit to Turkey somewhere at the end of September. You know, the country with its beautiful history, lots of business opportunies and sunny days that bring me heat and inspiration in a positive way.

Day Opening - June 7

It was yesterday D-Day!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Some UN members want to bar gay rights organisation at ECOSOC

A number of UN member states are trying to bar a leading international organisation on gay and lesbian rights from the UN’s influential Economic and Social Council. Countries such as Egypt, Qatar, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia object to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission receiving special “observer” status under which many NGOs operate within the UN. The very same organization where the IHH (organizer of this week flotilla to Gaza) has consultative status although the USA has labelled it in 2008 as a terrorist organisation

The aim of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is to work for economic and social progress for all citizens living in UN member states, with a special focus on human rights and fundamental freedoms.
A large number of NGOs from around the world enjoy observer status at ECOSOC, which allows them to speak at council meetings, present petitions and file alternative reports, which enables these organisations to be actively represented in UN processes.

The US-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has applied for observer status, but this has lead to a negative response from a number of countries from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. “We are very disappointed”, says IGLHRC’s Executive Director Cary Alan Johnson. “Participating in the UN is an extremely important part of the work of organisations like ours. The decision by certain UN members to bar us comes as a big blow for us” Diplomats at the UN and representatives from western countries are also accusing these countries of actively keeping the doors to the UN shut for the IGLHRC and other organisations for lesbian and gay issues. Mr Johnson hopes that the countries which support his case will act against his opponents. “The US delegation at ECOSOC is on our side, as are Romania and the UK. We’re conferring with them to move forward in this process. We haven’t been rejected yet, so we’ll continue our work and see what other possibilities there are”.
To Mr Johnson, it would be quite unthinkable for an organisation like his not to be represented at such a high level within the UN. “The gay and lesbian communities around the world need to be fully represented. Our voice is an integral part of the voices of the world. They need to be heard”.
Unthinkable it may be to Mr Johnson, but what happens if countries like Egypt, Qatar or China do indeed succeed in keeping the IGLHRC out? For Mr Johnson, that could have far reaching effects on the UN: “If our voice is not heard at the UN, the various human rights treaties that governments have signed and the principles of the UN to protect the right of citizens would be ignored”, he says. In this case you have to know that the OIC has als an 'own human right chapter'.
Despite the opposition from certain member states, Mr Johnson thinks his organisation will gain observer status, as he is certain a majority of the UN is supportive of his work.
'We believe that they will accept us. We hope that all states will be supporting the commitments they made to the UN charter, which guarantees non-discrimination This includes discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Ultimately, we believe that the procedural methods that have been used by certain countries to keep our organisation from having a voice at the UN will not prevail”.
It's become obvious that 'Islamitic' countries wants to impose their minority view on the world population.

Source: Rnw.nl

Day Opening - June 6

Palmyra, Syria

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Murky in Turkey

The most interesting article about the 'flotilla affair'. By Claire Berlinski.

Murky in Turkey


What we don’t know about the Mavi Marmara incident: just about everything.
3 June 2010

I live in Istanbul and for obvious reasons have been receiving e-mails and phone calls in the past few days asking what, exactly, is going on in Turkey. The answer is that I’m not sure. This is the only honest answer any journalist can give, unless she has managed to place a listening device in the meeting rooms of the Turkish Cabinet. It’s not, however, the answer all are giving. The events surrounding the bloodletting on the Mavi Marmara have prompted more media coverage, here and abroad, than any news event I can recently recall. Much of it is speculative and polemical nonsense. Journalists proclaim, over and over, that this has become a media war, which would seem to put them in an impressive position on the front lines, though in fact, should the worst come to pass and result in an outright Turkish-Israeli naval war—not impossible to imagine—journalists will, as usual, make no military decisions and will constitute only a tiny fraction of the dead. The media are certainly playing a role in this conflict, but in the end the power is, as it always has been, with those who control the militaries—and they’re saying little.

Here is what we don’t know. We don’t know why the Turkish government allowed the Mavi Marmara to sail. While it’s clear that some indeterminate proportion of the passengers were Islamist thugs, it’s also clear that many of the passengers were naive civilians. (You cannot argue that a one-year-old child is anything but a naive civilian.) We don’t yet know whether there was an active plot, among the thugs, to provoke this confrontation, or whether they decided to attack the Israeli commandos in an access of spontaneous enthusiasm. If the former, we don’t know whether the AKP government was aware of the organizers’ intentions or whether it never seriously considered the possibility. We can speculate, based on known connections between the İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri İnsani Yardım Vakfı, which organized the expedition, and well-known extremist groups, that this was a trap, set deliberately. We can speculate that the Turkish government conceived of the trap or lent it tacit support. But thus far we have no evidence.

Why might the Turkish government have permitted a Turkish boat packed with women, children, stupid people, and Islamic extremists to sail into the world’s most volatile military conflict zone? Why, especially, did they permit this while knowing that the Israeli government had made explicit its intention to stop that boat, by force if necessary? It’s tempting to think that the Turkish government anticipated or desired this outcome, all the more so if one looks at this conflict through a certain prism, to wit: one in which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is an Islamist nut intent upon establishing Turkish hegemony over the Islamic world by becoming the populist champion of the Palestinians, even at the risk of provoking an all-out regional war. I don’t dismiss that possibility.

But in fact, bad decisions can be made in infinitely many human ways. It’s also possible that Erdoğan sincerely believed that the boats had been properly inspected and were free of any weapons, and therefore no serious conflict could occur. It’s possible that he spoke to the organizers of the flotilla and came away with assurances about their intentions; or that he simply thought the Israelis were bluffing; or that his mind was on other things. The latter species of blunder happens all the time. Clearly, President Obama’s mind was on other things—the oil spewing all over the Gulf of Mexico, namely.

Erdoğan no doubt does have much on his mind these days, with the new leader of the CHP posing the first serious challenge to his party since the AKP took power; with Turkish troops dying at the hands of the PKK and making a mockery of his Kurdish opening; with his trip to South America, punctuated by a now-overshadowed diplomatic crisis of its own. It’s possible that Erdoğan’s intentions in permitting the boat to sail were entirely malicious (or designed to distract the Turkish public from these recent events), but it’s also possible—and never a theory to be discounted—that he and his government were simply fatally oblivious and incompetent. Any journalist who claims to know the answer, without possessing evidence of it, is exaggerating his access and overstating his analytic abilities.

Likewise, we have no idea why the Israelis responded as they did. Little about their response makes much sense on the face of it. It seems clear now that the Israelis should have known that a boat with members of the İHH aboard had the potential to turn into a floating riot. But who made the decision to interdict the boat in that fashion, and why? We don’t know. Did the decision-makers fail to consider the possibility that the passengers would attack the commandos? It seems unlikely, but so many things seem likely only in hindsight. The Israelis, too, might well have been thinking that the boat had been properly inspected, and that there was no serious possibility of violence. Perhaps they received private assurances of this from the Turkish government.

Nor could any member of the media possibly know that the Israelis wanted a violent outcome, whether (as it has variously been hypothesized) to establish Israeli deterrence, to distract the world from Israel’s activities in the Persian Gulf, or to provoke Erdoğan into an overreaction that would at last discredit him in the West. None of the journalists offering speculation about Turkish or Israeli positions claim to have even an anonymous source or a secret document in their possession. Their speculations tend to conform with perfect precision to whatever line about Turkey or Israel they’ve endorsed before.

We also don’t know whether the Israelis received intelligence, real or faulty, about the nature of the goods being shipped on the Mavi Marmara. We don’t know whether they were told—by an honest source who believed it or by a corrupt one trying to make mischief—that the boat was another Karine A. We don’t know what really happened before the violence broke out or why the accounts conflict. It’s possible, of course, that they conflict because one or both sides are wicked propagandists, but eyewitness testimony is notoriously confused in the aftermath of traumatic events. We don’t know why the Israelis stopped the boat in international waters or whether they seriously considered disabling it by other means. We certainly don’t know what the Obama administration is doing about all of this, because it is either doing nothing, or doing something so quietly that it very much appears that way.

This much I do know, firsthand: the event is dominating the Turkish media. It’s on every television and radio station. Much of the media, the Islamist press in particular, is disgusting and utterly irresponsible. The Islamist fringe is running headlines that are not, to say the least, calculated to encourage confidence about Turkey’s future. Yeni Şafak, an Islamist rag favored by the prime minister, described the Israelis as “Hitler’s Children.” An AKP Deputy Chairman, Hüseyin Çelik, has speculated (without evidence) that it is “no coincidence” that in the past week, a PKK attack claimed the lives of seven Turkish soldiers in İskenderun. The more reputable Islamist papers, such as Zaman, reported this claim uncritically. Few Turks read English and almost none read Hebrew, so the Turkish public is not exposed to a wide variety of opinion. The Turkish media is not helping matters.

I’ve seen street protests at Taksim, but not elsewhere; the protesters seem to be mainly young men, as to be expected, waving Palestinian flags. Apart from that, the mood is generally calm. People seem more anxious than angry. “We don’t know what’s going on,” said my Muay Thai teacher. “No one knows what’s going on.” Everyone at my gym, which I suppose politically represents a fairly random sample of Istanbul, seemed to agree that they did not want war. Many have voiced to me a suspicion that they are being manipulated.

I have about 500 Turkish Facebook friends, most of whom I’ve never met; we’ve come into contact through our shared interest in causes or hobbies—martial arts, rescuing animals, improving Istanbul’s construction codes. Of these 500, about three have clearly gone mad, posting insane anti-Israel diatribes, full of vulgarities, in capital letters. About 50 have posted something angry about the incident or joined a group devoted to denouncing it. The vast majority have done neither, and some have spoken out strongly against Islamism and anti-Semitism. I’ve spoken to a few people who say they don’t care about the Mavi Marmara. “I didn’t know them, what were they to me?” said one computer programmer. His friend, a chef, agreed: “Why should I care about the Palestinians just because they’re Muslims?” From these comments I can firmly conclude only that Turkey is not monolithic, and that if indeed Erdoğan provoked this crisis deliberately to buttress his popularity, he may well also provoke a backlash if it spins out of his control.

These are modest observations, to be sure, but I’ll conclude with an immodest suggestion: it would be best for this region if journalists contained their observations to what they do, in fact, know. A media war is actually quite different from a real one. Whatever is really happening, however little of it we understand, is obviously minatory and extremely dangerous. The best thing journalists can do under the circumstances is to stop playing with fire unless they have something real to report.

Claire Berlinski, a contributing editor of City Journal, is an American journalist who lives in Istanbul

An open letter to the secular people of Turkey - by Richard from Tel Aviv

Greetings,

My name is Richard. I'm an Israeli living in Tel Aviv. I am writing this letter in the wake of the events of the past few days. And out of concern both for Israel's well being, and your own. While relations between our nations have been strong for many years, since the election of your current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan these relations have increasingly gone downhill. For all its flaws, Israel is a peace loving nation that has always valued its relationship with the Turkish people, and appreciated the warm ties we've had over the years. And as long as religion was kept out of our relationship, things went well.

We share so much, a love for life, life in the Middle East, Turkish Coffee, and a value for freedom.
As you know your Prime Minister is a fervent follower of Islam. His party has strong ties with the religious movement. The same organization that sent the Flotilla to Gaza was exposed as a terrorist organization in 1997 (see paragraph 2 in this article) by your own government before the rise of Mr. Erdoğan, and this same organization has also been said to have funded his election campaign.
continue reading herrrreeeeee
Comments on Richard's blog since this is his view, I partly agree (Israelian government must change for example) so comments allowed here.

Update - IHH, Hamas, Israel and more

As I earlier explained, I will not write anymore about the flotilla which was attacked this week by the IDF (I just wrote an answer to Vedat about IHH, Hamas and UN on the post of 1 June Turkey's 'peace' activists are nothing more or less than Global Jihadists' with some interesting links!) I also will not write about the killing this week of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Turkey or about the suspect murder of one of the family Dink layers. But I will run today 2 stories: one of a blogger friend from Israel ‘An open letter to Turkish citizens’, where I partly agree with and one article written by Claire Berlinski ‘Murky Turkey’ which is the best piece written IMHO about the whole flotilla affair. She lives in Istanbul. Enjoy!

Day Opening - June 5

Sunset at the beach, Brighton, Uk

Friday, June 4, 2010

The imaginary gourmand

I came to the sad realization a couple of weeks ago that I've been dead for more than 40 years. Not mentally or spiritually or economically or politically. None of those ly concepts have ever really reverberated in me like a tuning fork perched on a proctologist's chrome-plated megaphone of psychobabblanalysis.

No. I have been physically dead since 1967, although I never had the common decency to submit to an autopsy to help medical science find ways to prevent other terminal assholes, such as myself, from fouling human civilization for decades while not providing the authorities with any effective method of removing such assholes without violating numerous local, national, and international laws originally designed to prevent living assholes from becoming dead ones.

When I first had imaginary anal sex with my creator — who looks nothing like Mohammad, by the way, and only slightly like the gnarly dude from Nazareth — I wondered why any God would equip men with an inflatable meat puppet that so conveniently penetrated numerous openings in various lifeforms and inanimate objects.

I have yet to understand this basic human disconnect between physical reality and spiritual horse exhaust. If any of my readers have insights into why men have inflatable penises — regardless of race, religion, gender, political affiliation, sexual orientation, situational aesthetics, anal retention, or hat size — and why they are driven to stick in places where they are not wanted, please leave comments so the authorities know how to track you down.

This post is actually about how I recently started raising kittens for food instead of sex. Perhaps I have grown jaded after years of eating chicken and long pig, but I suddenly discovered an incredibly committed culture of rescue addicts who convinced me that it is immoral simply to euthanize abandoned kittens and puppies when they can be adopted by caring and discerning people, such as myself, who like thinking, drinking, and eating meat.

Next week, I'll post pictures of the recently acquired feline livestock and the planned recipe, and when they are ready to serve, I'll tell you how our guests received the dish, along with tips on how to make your kitten dining experience an event to remember.

Day Opening - June 4


Aurora, near Iceland

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Will Germany run by two women - Merkel and von der Leyen

German Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen, a popular mother of seven from Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, has emerged as favourite to become the new president, media reported today.
Germany has until June 30 to find a new head of state, whose job is largely ceremonial but who acts as a kind of national moral arbiter, to replace Horst Koehler, who resigned abruptly on Monday.
Von der Leyen, 51, is widely reported to be the top choice among members of Merkel's ruling coalition, which will hold a majority in a special assembly made up of MPs and public figures that will elect the new president.
Other possible candidates include Norbert Lammert, speaker of the lower house of parliament, Christian Wulff, premier of the state of Lower Saxony and Wolfgang Schaeuble, finance minister, newspapers said.
The popular Von der Leyen, a trained doctor who became popular as family minister in Merkel's first term, would not only be Germany's youngest-ever president, she would also be the first female to hold the job.
Koehler's resignation, which was the latest in a string of setbacks to Merkel's second term, came after he appeared to suggest that Germany's overseas military operations were in part commercially motivated.
More concrete indications were expected to emerge following a meeting late today between Merkel and state premiers from her conservative Christian Democrat (CDU/CSU) bloc. And that will be fun; two German tough cookies in charge of Germany politics. Maybe Turkey can follow one day...

Day Opening - June 3

Before dinner

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Barbaric acts of Israeli soldiers, Holocaust victims, anti-Semitism! By Orhan Gengiz

Personally, I don't agree with the word 'barbaric' which Orhan use here for Israelean soldiers. The rest of his article is perfect:
Anti-Semitic and racist messages are pouring into my mailbox. “Turkey should do what Hitler could not achieve,” one message says. “God has always punished perverted societies like Israel,” say another.

One other message says, “Say stop to this murderer and monstrous society which is deprived of dignity and honor,” and the angry remarks continue like that.
Nothing can justify racism. Do not forget, some declared Turkey a “barbaric nation” because of what some soldiers did to Kurds in southeastern Turkey or for what the Ittihadist regime did to Armenians. When you start making these kinds of sweeping generalizations about a nation, you are becoming nothing but a racist yourself.
When Kurds were butchered in the Southeast, I was fighting for justice for the Kurds. I am not a Kurd by ethnicity. During my whole career as a human rights defender, I have always been inspired by a number of Jewish human rights defenders and peace activists. I am deeply impressed with their heroic struggle with their own government. Putting aside all these people and their efforts and stigmatizing a whole nation because of some barbaric acts by some governments and security forces is not only racism but also a great injustice to all these people who fight for justice. You cannot create justice out of this injustice you committed.
Morrreeee herrrreeeeee

The end of Turkey as a secular state

Israel and Turkey were until a couple of years ago, allies. There were strong economic and military ties between the two countries and Israelis used, by their hundreds of thousands, to spend their weekends in Turkish tourist resorts.
Since the AK party was democratically elected in Turkey, in 2002, the country is slowly retreating from the secular heritage and legacy of Atta Turk. Turkey, recently still a candidate to join the European Union and considered to be a bridge between West and East, between Islam and Christianity, between democracy and religious belief and between Israel and Arabs  became instead part of the Middle East conflict siding with Hamas, Hezbollah, IRI and the Sudanese regime. Also, the AK party strongly supports IHH.
This organisation the IHH stands for Insani Yardim Vakfi in Turkish "The Islamic Humanitarian Help Foundation" (in German - International Humanitaire Hilfsorganization) was formed in Turkey in 1992 by a member of the Turkish Refah Party (banned in 1997) and formally registered in Istanbul in 1995, with its main offices in Zagreb and Sarajevo and headquarters in Germany.

The foundation was initially formed to support the Bosnian Muslims against the Christian Serbs in the civil war in Yugoslavia which was largely an ethnic and religious conflict. The Bosnian Muslims had and have long historical ties with Turkey since the Ottoman Empire.
Already in 1996 the IHH was identified by the USA as having connections with extremist groups in Iran and Algeria as part of 15 organizations employing members or otherwise facilitating the activities of terrorist groups operating in Bosnia.
In 12/1997, in a police raid in Istanbul on IHH's offices, police uncovered weapons and explosives. From documents recovered in the search the organization was supporting terror activity in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya.
The Danish Institute for International Studies claimed in a report in 2006 that IHH had connections to Al Qaeda and various organizations that supported the idea of Global Jihad. (see previous post)
Today IHH is operating, in cooperation with other Islamic charities in over 100 countries, many of them in Africa, and is conducting many humanitarian operations among the needy in the Muslim world.
IHH is a member of the Union of Good, an umbrella organization of more than 50 Islamic funds and foundations around the globe, channels money into Hamas institutions in the Palestinian Authority-administered territories and since the Hamas took over Gaza Strip, in summer 2007, IHH support mainly the Hamas institutions and activity in Gaza Strip. IHH, which has become an important factor in global fund-raising for Hamas, transfers significant amounts of money to Hamas institutions in Judea and Samaria, including the Islamic Charitable Society in Hebron and the Al-Tadhamun Charitable Society in Nablus (Hamas' two central "charitable societies," both outlawed by Israel).
The secular regimes in Turkey distanced itself always from IHH Islamic activity but since 2002 and the Islamic regime of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, the relations between the Turkish administration and IHH became very close. The growing rift with Israel even tightened the relations to the degree that a so-called humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza Strip was organized by IHH with the full diplomatic support and backup of the Turkish government. They rejected any suggestion or offer, made by Israel AND Egypt, to transfer the aid and supplys through Israel or any other international recognized organization such as the Red Cross or the UN. We all know about the disaster happening Monday morning.
Today the secular republic of Turkey has ended and islamist play an important role in Turkeys domestical and foreign policy.

Day Opening - June 2


Ataturk

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Turkey's 'peace' activists are nothing more or less than Global Jihadists

Here you can can see Bülent Yildirim, a notorious anti-Semite and promoter of global jihad together with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal earlier this year. Bülent his organization bought the Mavi Marmara earlier this year with the backing of the AKP government of Turkey. While six ships were on their way to Gaza, the Mavi was entered and the 'peace activists' of Bülent Yildirim attacked the IDF with knifes, axes and guns. In the panic 9 people were killed. The AKP with their leader PM Erdogan used peace activists of other countries in general and the IHH as proxy to attack Israel. (click on the Role of) They failed at the UN and the NATO. But they attracted many people from Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Somalia etc. Will Istanbul be a new centre for global Jihad while it’s still called ‘European Capital 2010’. Erdogan has a clear agenda these days and he plays PR chess on a dangerous way. Manipulating the Turkish media, his only goal is to become the new leader of the Arab world which is so divided. Today he infuriated the conflict again with his nationalistic rhetoric that Israel has to be punished. As a Turkish ‘friend’ told me today face-to-face, if Israel is destroyed then only then there will be peace. A poll in Turkey showed that 75% of the people don’t want Jewish people as their neighbors, 55% don’t want Christians as their neighbors and here I stop since anti-Semitism, reliracism, christianphobism etc. are part of the daily life of Turkish politics. I’m done with Turkey and their xenophobia and racism. Ask the Kurds, Turkish Cypriots, Armenians, Greeks, Christians, Jews etc.

Weapons find on the Mavi Marmara


A Turkish 'Peace' activists and weapons find on the Mavi Marmara (one of the 6 ships) which was the scene of yesterday's disaster.

Day Opening - June 1

Monday, May 31, 2010

First comments on the Gaza flotilla disaster by Shmuel Roster (blog)

Follow Rosner's Domain on Twitter!

Details are still sketchy as I write this post, so all is subjected to changes. However, here are a couple of things that need to be watched, and understood at this time. I will update this post as we go along.

1.
Obviously, this was not the intended result of Israel's intercepting of the convoy. Did Israel know in advance that the soldiers will be ambushed? If not, that is a problem. Maybe the problem. If they did, how did Israel prepare the forces and what was the plan for taking over the ships?

2.
With all the all-too-familiar outcry about public relations, public opinion, world opinion, Israel's image etc, one has to remember that PR - as important as it might be - is not all in life. Definitely not all in military life. If force had to be used as to prevent the flotilla from going into Gaza - if there was no way around it - than PR becomes a secondary issue and will have to be dealt with later.

3.
Will Netanyahu cancel his US visit and go back to Israel? (he did) I think he shouldn't do such thing, but this will be politically risky. Rabin didn't come back from a visit when the first Intifadah erupted (he was Defense Minister) and was criticized for it. I always thought this criticism wasn't fair - it was Monday morning quarterbacking. But Netanyahu might face the same dilemma and the same result if he doesn't come back - and violent demonstrations make this event the cornerstone marking the beginning of third Intifada. If he comes back and nothing happens he will also be criticized - for being hysterical.

4.
With all due respect to Turkey's protestations, the crisis in Turkey-Israel relations isn't new, and the interests of the two sides didn't change because of this event. If the Turks turn this into a major crisis it is because they were looking for excuses to ignite such crisis.

5.
Remember the Jenin Massacre? Remember reports like this one? "A British forensic expert who has gained access to the West Bank city of Jenin says evidence points to a massacre by Israeli forces". The evidence was bogus, as we all know now. When there's smoke screen, there's rumor. When there's rumor, we know nothing.

6.
Tzipi Livni had offered to help - that's good. She can be one of the most effective speakers at this time, clarifying to international audiences that this wasn't some crazy action by the "radical Netanyahu government". I expect most Israelis - vast majority of Israelis - while unhappy with the result and worried about the possible consequences - to generally agree that letting the flotilla into Gaza was not an option, and that letting peace activists stub Israeli soldiers with knives and hammer them and axe them was also not an option. This brings us back to the first point I was making: Did Israel have enough intelligence? was this the only operational option?

Day Opening - May 31

Air piracy

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Pope and Cyprus

Pope Benedict XVI, often under fire for political missteps on foreign trips, is heading into a potential diplomatic storm when he visits Cyprus this week, a pilgrimage to a divided island that could 'anger' Turkey and the rest of the Muslim world (although for the Muslem world; it's none of their business!!) . Divisions between Greeks and ethnic Turks, splits in the Orthodox Christian community, and concerns over damaged Christian and Muslim houses of worship will be come under scrutiny during Benedict's three-day trip starting Friday.The pope's linking of Islam to violence during a speech in Germany led to outrage in the Muslim world, nearly forcing cancellation of a trip to Turkey in 2006.
Cyprus police say that although they are aware of possible protests by some religious groups against the pope's trip, there have been no credible threats to his safety.
Cyprus was ethnically split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Turkish Cypriots declared an independent republic in the north in 1983, but only Turkey recognizes it and maintains 35,000 troops there.
Officially, the island's division is not on the pope's agenda. Benedict has no plans to visit northern Cyprus, said Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi. He declined to anticipate what the pope might say on the issue.
Innstead, the trip was designed around Cyprus' location as a bridge to the Middle East, a role Turkey likes to play. He will meet with leaders from Catholic churches in the region to draw up proposals for a major meeting of Middle Eastern bishops at the Vatican in October.
Still it will be hard to ignore Cypriot tensions.

Why?
a) the Turkish Embassy to the Holy See said it regrets the pope will not visit the north, insisting he would be welcome there and saying it hopes Benedict won't ignore the Turkish community in his speeches. There is a tiny Catholic community with three churches in the north, the embassy said.
A government official in Ankara said Turkey would be watching the visit closely and may comment if there is indication of political support for the Greek Cypriots or any allusion to the alleged destruction of churches in the north - during a 2006 Vatican audience, the late Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos gave the pope an album of photographs of destroyed churches in the north under the Turkish occupation and of others converted to restaurants, shops or other secular uses. While most of the former Ottoman buıildings in the South are in good shape, something the Turkish government don't like to admit.
b) There are problems between Cypriot Catholics and Orthodox Christians, who are dominant in the south. Some hardline Orthodox clerics, who view the pope as a heretic, say Benedict should stay in Rome to avoid provoking the island's 800,000 Orthodox. Doctrinal, theological and political differences caused the Orthodox and Catholic churches to formally split in the 11th century. Officials from both churches have been engaged in talks in recent years to heal "The Great Schism," but opposition to reconciliation still lingers.

Benedict is to hold an ecumenical prayer service shortly after arriving. He will also meet with the president and diplomatic corps as well as the island's small Maronite and Roman Catholic communities. But none of the Turkish Cypriots are invited.
I don't know if this visit is a smart move.

Day Opening - May 30

The living room, the hall and the bedroom of an house made under Mexican architecture, Mexico DF

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Why the Netherlands will win this years World Cup Soccer

The following article appeared at the site of RWN.nl by Marco Hochgemuth
Next week 'Why the Netherlands will loose the World Cup'.

One in three Dutch people say it’s a dead cert: “Oranje” – as the Dutch football team is known in the Netherlands – is going to win the World Cup in South Africa. The streets are turning red, white and blue (the colours of the national flag) and orange (the colour of the national football team). Five reasons why the World Cup could become the biggest Dutch party of 2010.


1. The Big Four

The Dutch team has the Big Four: Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben and Rafael van der Vaart. No other side in the World Cup has four such technically gifted and prodigiously goal-scoring strikers. The only question is whether manager Bert van Marwijk dares to field them all at once, as Robin van Persie would like.
Van Persie could well prove to be the biggest of the Big Four. After months convalescing from a serious ankle injury, he’s now in top form for the World Cup. It’s tempting to make the comparison with Marco van Basten, who recovered from a serious injury just before Euro 1988 and led the Dutch squad to victory. Then there’s Wesley Sneijder, who captained Inter Milan to become the Italian champions, win the Coppa Italia and take the Champions League trophy. Arjen Robben triumphed with Bayern Munich and was named the best player in the Bundesliga. And Rafael van der Vaart, who Real Madrid dumped at first, came back to establish himself as a regular goal scorer for the team. Just give these four players the chance to do their stuff, and Holland will be flying back with the cup.

2. The Terrible Two

In midfield there are two butchers of the merciless Italian type. Mark van Bommel (Bayern Munich) has a knack for putting his opponents out of action professionally, without exactly keeping to the rules. What’s more, he’s no mean playmaker. And he’ll be side by side with Nigel de Jong (Manchester City) – who may look friendlier than Van Bommel, but he’s just as tough.

3. Manager Bert

After the unsuccessful Louis van Gaal, the inconsistent Dick Advocaat and the unpredictable Marco van Basten, since 2008 the dependable Bert van Marwijk has been in charge of Oranje. Since then the Dutch team hasn’t lost a match. They even won all the World Cup qualifying matches. The stoical Van Marwijk has the gift of holding the team steady in spite of all the player’s egos. He’s no tactical mastermind and is wary of experimenting, but he makes up for it with his experience and talent for teambuilding.

4. No competition

The Dutch team doesn’t face much opposition. In Group E the Netherlands has drawn against Denmark, Japan and Cameroon, which makes it a cinch. Johan Cruijff wrote, “The draw for the group phase is ideal to the extent that if you do what you have to do the quarter-finals must be possible.” That is when the real competition begins, but every team has got its own problems:

· The Italian team, current world champions, are too old and lack a good striker.

· Brazil has a pretty good team with perhaps the best keeper, Julio Cesar. But they’re stuck with a poorly-performing Kaká. What’s more Brazil’s in the so-called Group of Death, with Portugal, Cote d’Ivoire and North Korea.

· Argentina has a great team, but a bad manager (Diego Maradona, with all due respect).

· Germany’s missing playmaker Michael Ballack due to injury.

· England is missing David Beckham and has to cope with the players having flings with each other’s wives.

· In France, everyone’s fed up with the national team, especially manager Raymond Domenech.

· And European Champion Spain has the statistics stacked against it. Spain has played in the World Cup 12 times, but only got as far as the semi-finals once, 60 years ago.

5. Everyone’s supporting Oranje

‘Orange fever’ in the Netherlands is raging harder than ever. Houses, streets, and even entire neighbourhoods are turning orange. Thirty-four percent of the Dutch think their team is going to bring home the cup. More than 5000 Dutch fans are making the 10,000-kilometre journey to South Africa. And even al-Qaeda seems to be backing the Dutch team. When a Saudi terror suspect said he was planning to stage an attack on the Dutch team, al-Qaeda denied everything, describing the story as “cheap lies”.



NEXT INSTALMENT: Why the Netherlands is going to lose the World Cup

Statement #38

Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing so gentle as real strength.


Saint Francis de Sales

Day Opening - May 29

Good morning!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dutch Doctors organization say no to circumcision

“The circumcision of boys is in the vast majority of cases medically pointless, risky and is moreover a violation of the child’s physical integrity.” This is the new standpoint released by the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG). Between 10,000 and 15,000 boys are circumcised in the Netherlands each year, mostly for religious reasons, and the KNMG “objects to it in principle”.

The association takes the line that if there’s no medical reason for an operation, you shouldn’t do it. “The rule is you don’t cut healthy children,” the KNMG’s chairman said. The operation is far riskier than people think, the association claims, and it’s advising doctors to point out the dangers to parents before wielding the scalpel.
The KNMG isn’t calling for a ban, as with the much more severe practice of female genital cutting, because this would just push the practice underground. And a urologist  stresses that the objections are only against circumcising babies and young boys: “When they’re older people can decide whatever they like.”
And I tend to agree with him.

Day Opening - May 28

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Who are the Young Civilians (organization) in Turkey

Below an article about the Young Civilians in Turkey:

Why is “young civilians”? why do you name yourselves as such?


“Young Civilians” has appeared as our name by a manifest on the Kurd issue declared on 19th May, 2006. Young Civilians is an umbrella group executing the Political Vision Movement which most of us are members. It is the naughty boy inside us. However, civil society experience of the team creating Young Civilians is much older than it. We as a group of youths from various universities pioneered by METU (Middle East Technical University) Communication Society gathered together in Van on 19th May, 2000. We, youths the perception of state and political memorization collapsed by the earthquake of 1999 organized an alternative youth celebration of 19 May (originally a national youth festival day celebrated every year the same day). These gatherings have been carried on in different cities such as Istanbul, Rize, Konya and Ankara every year on 19th May since 2000. By these gatherings in which we brought together intellectuals and youths from very different social segments, we searched for the possibilities of constructing a new, creative and opposing discourse, and a local, honest, democratic position. The name of ‘Young Civilians Are Uncomfortable’ grounds on “Let’s Save the ‘19th May’s from Stadiums,” a manifest declared at a gathering on 19th May, 2003 in a salon of TBMM (the Parliament of Turkey). In summary, we declared at the gathering that ‘these stadium ceremonies existed only in totalitarian countries and they are old-fashion way of ceremony’. Our manifest was in the headlines of many newspapers the next day. we were subjected to scathing criticisms for two weeks afterwards. A newspaper, Cumhuriyet put the headline “Young Army Officers Are Uncomfortable” the next month following to our manifest while one of the five reasons of their discomfort as “Young Civilians are Uncomfortable” comes from a reference to that headline.
More herreeee

Best city to live in

I could not find Istanbul on the list as they only publish the first 50 of the 221 cities but
Amsterdam is the 13th most pleasant city to live in as  the annual league table of cities published by the Mercer advisory agency once again rates Amsterdam number 13 out of a total of  the 221 cities. (scroll down for the first 50) The highest ranking city of East European cities is Prague ranking 70, so Istanbul and Bursa (also included in the survey) must be after place 70 (Turkey falls under the category Europe).

Top of the list is Vienna - once again - followed by Zurich and Geneva (all three boring im my opinion). Vancouver and Auckland tied for fourth place. And once again Baghdad came in 221st place.
Mercer determines the quality of life in each city on the basis of 39 factors in ten categories. The agency looks at the political climate, economic conditions, the social and cultural environment, health and sanitation, schools and education, public services and transport, consumer goods, housing and the natural environment.
A spokesman for Amsterdam's culture alderman Carolien Gehrels says the Dutch capital is satisfied with its rating. "We'd like to be first, of course, but 13th place shows that Amsterdam is a pretty good place to live."

Day Opening - May 26

Argentina celebrated yesterday their 200 years of Independecy

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A mosque near Ground Zero?

In a building damaged by debris from the Sept. 11 airliners that brought down the World Trade Center and soon to become a 13-story mosque, some see the bridging of a cultural divide and an opportunity to serve a burgeoning, peaceful religious population. Others see a painful reminder of the religious extremism that killed their loved ones.

Anything having to do with that day, that place, carries enormous meaning. Now two Islamic organizations have partnered to build something that they say will bring some good from something very bad.

In my opinion, tasteless. And today I received a weekly letter of M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a former US Navy lieutenant commander who wrote down why planning this mosque only already is a provocation. He is an American Muslim voice advocating for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Consitution, liberty and freedom, and the separation of mosque and state. He is leading the fight to shake the hold that the Muslim Brotherhood and their Network of American Islamist organizations and mosques have on organizxed Islam in America. A guy like this we definetely need in Europe!
Here some parts of his article in the New York Post of yesterday:

In the 1960s, my parents left their despotic motherland of Syria for the promise of genuine liberty and religious freedom in America. In the decades since, we have led the construction of a number of mosques in the towns where we lived.

I am an American Muslim dedicated to defeating the ideology that fuels global Islamist terror -- political Islam. And I don't see such a "center" actually fighting terrorism or being a very "positive" addition near Ground Zero, no matter how well intentioned.

To put it bluntly, Ground Zero is the one place in America where Muslims should think less about teaching Islam and "our good side" and more about being American and fulfilling our responsibilities to confront the ideology of our enemies.

This is not about the building of a mosque or a religious facility. It is not about religious freedom. This is about a deep, soulful understanding of what happened to our country on 9/11.

When Americans are attacked, they come together as one, under one flag, under one law against a common enemy that we are not afraid to identify. Religious freedom is central to our nation - and that is why the location of this project is so misguided. Ground Zero is purely about being American. It can never be about being Muslim.
The World Trade Center site represents Ground Zero in America's war against radical Islamists who seek to destroy the American way of life. It is not ground zero of a cultural exchange.

You can read more hereeeee

Day Opening - May 25

Gates of Sorghvliet park, the Netherlands