Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day Opening - July 27

women in traditional clothes, festival Kyrgystan

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

KLM starts flying on used cooking oil

Beginning in September, KLM flights between Amsterdam and Paris will run on used cooking oil. (Not of McDonalds but of Dutch Febo) The move is an important new step towards aviation sustainability, the airline announced Wednesday.
“KLM has again shown it is stimulating the development of biokerosene,” said Managing Director Camiel Eurlings. “The route to 100 percent sustainable energy is enormously challenging. We  need to move forward together to attain continuous access to sustainable fuel.”
More than 200 KLM flights will operate on biokerosene, biofuel derived from used frying oil and tested to meet the same technical specifications as traditional kerosene.
The move is part of the airline's efforts to secure a positive recommendation from the Dutch Sustainability Board. It is also an expression of support for World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) research suggesting alternative fuels from biomass are the only replacement for fossil fuels used in the airline industry.

Day Opening - June 22

Ukraine, on the beach

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Paranoia in the Muslim world; Christian minorities "spying for the crusaders"

Christians in Islamic countries often find themselves between a rock and a hard place. They are regarded as accomplices of the West but the West itself tends to ignore them. Western politicians and activists argue about whether there should be another special attention paid to persecuted Christians.
Egyptian woman Maria (surname withheld, since she has already been subjected to threats) fled from Egypt years ago. She says the situation in Egypt is becoming increasingly dangerous for Christians:
"Some people say 'if you're not a Muslim you should go and live in America or Canada or Europe'. But Egypt is the homeland of the Copts. They have no other country, they have been born and raised there since ancient times."

Western crusade
Dutch political scientist Hala Naoum Nehme, who is of Syrian extraction, is not surprised that seven Islamic nations appear in the top ten of countries which persecute Christians. She accuses Dutch politicians and media of systematically looking the other way whenever the topic of Christians in Islamic countries is raised. She believes the situation has deteriorated significantly during the past decade:
"The most recent historic low point was after the 9/11 attacks when US President George W. Bush announced his 'war on terror' on television. A Western crusade against the Muslim world. That's when Christians were once again seen as offspring of the Christian West, as stooges of the West. They were told quite clearly: you are not longer welcome."
In 2001 the Middle East Quarterly predicted that the number of Christians in the Middle East would decrease from 12 million to 5 million by 2025. This was partly to do with low birth rates but mostly the result of emigration. The exodus is likely to be stimulated by the popular uprisings of the Arab Spring which seem to be marginalizing Christians even further.

Double standards

But should we put so much emphasis on the fate of Christian minority? During a debate in Parliament about human rights, Labour Party MP Frans Timmermans had this to say:
"There are other religious minorities too, and I can assure you that concentrating on Christians too much will not improve the situation of those Christians. They will become the target of people who claims that we operate a double standard when it comes to human rights policy. You will have heard Christians themselves saying: be careful you don't put us in the forefront all the time, that just makes us more vulnerable in some situations."

Hala Naoum Nehme says the fear of accusations of double standards is pointless. Christians are already subject to close scrutiny and that's never going to change. And because "the West is the only civilisation in living memory that has stood up for human rights and human rights are a Western invention" it seems to her only reasonable that the West should accept its responsibilities and defend the Christians in the Middle East. "Just as it defends non-Christian minorities like the Kurds and the Palestinians."