Since February 2009 , this blog and Huib's 3 other Euroblogs are together at:

- In Europa Zu Hause [DE]
- L'Europe Chez Soi [FR]
- At Home in Europe [EN]
- In Europa Thuis [NL]

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

European English Bookshop on HUIBSLOG

HUIBSLOG and the dedicated Blogs, like this one: At Home in Europe, are about reflexion. Going back and forth between the news and its backgrounds. Looking for integrity in reasoning and in research. This cannot be done without BOOKS.
Nothing beats a monograph. Prefer the original to the translation. Read, study and think for yourself. Avoid compilations with many authors. Trust your language skills. Get to the Original as close as you can!
English reading suggestions and an overview of English book reviews in Huibslog are on the Books in English Page.

For our European English readers, we have preferred as our partner. Why? Simple: Delivery costs are so much lower in Europe!
At NO extra cost for you, every purchase by way of the Online-shopping links in HUIBSLOG, helps it to survive.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Ethnic cleansing made the violence fall in Iraq

Why was the "Iraq Surge" a "success"?
Juan Cole explains it once again:

A crucial element in the fall of violence from the catastrophic levels of summer,2006, was the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad of its Sunnis. I wrote in mid-July:

"As best I can piece it together, what actually seems to have happened was that the escalation troops began by disarming the Sunni Arabs in Baghdad. Once these Sunnis were left helpless, the Shiite militias came in at night and ethnically cleansed them. Shaab district near Adhamiya had been a mixed neighborhood. It ended up with almost no Sunnis. Baghdad in the course of 2007 went from 65% Shiite to at least 75% Shiite and maybe more. My thesis would be that the US inadvertently allowed the chasing of hundreds of thousands of Sunni Arabs out of Baghdad (and many of them had to go all the way to Syria for refuge). Rates of violence declined once the ethnic cleansing was far advanced, just because there were fewer mixed neighborhoods. Newsrack was among the first to make this argument, though I was tracking the ethnic cleansing at my blog throughout 2007. See also Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post on this issue.". . .

As Think Progress pointed out,the Washington Post illustrated Karen DeYoung's important article with a clear ethnic map showing the ethnic cleansing:

The point is not that there are no Sunni enclaves left in Baghdad, only that there are many fewer such enclaves, and that many formerly mixed neighborhoods are now entirely Shiite. In fact, this ethnic cleansing is among the major reason that the some 4 million Iraqis displaced internally and externally by Bush's war refuse to return. They have nothing to return to. The mixed or Sunni neighborhoods from which the Sunnis among them escaped no longer exist. A fourth of the Iraqi refugees in Jordan have, moreover, had a child kidnapped. Even if the child was returned, the family is not going to risk returning.
The Americans built walls in the city, isolating neighbourhoods, with Israeli help. Now, the Sunni exode is worrying the US, and it prepares to crush the Shia. Starting with the Sadr movement. But Sadr hides his fighters among the population. A clash with mainstream Shia politicians and - paramilitary bands is looming.

In my earlier post, I also quoted this:

"As Think Progress quoted CNN correspondent Michael Ware:
' The sectarian cleansing of Baghdad has been — albeit tragic — one of the key elements to the drop in sectarian violence in the capital. […] It’s a very simple concept: Baghdad has been divided; segregated into Sunni and Shia enclaves. The days of mixed neighborhoods are gone. […] If anyone is telling you that the cleansing of Baghdad has not contributed to the fall in violence, then they either simply do not understand Baghdad or they are lying to you.'

McCain and ideologues such as Fred Kagan must deny or ignore the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad and other areas, and ignore the millions of Iraqis now living abroad or in other provinces, many of them in dire straits, because their Rambo complex forces them to insist that an extra 30,000 US troops, inserted for 16 months, made all the difference.

McCain's Rambo foreign policy sets him on a course of confrontation with Russia, which he has not forgiven for its aid to Vietnam in the old days, and with Shiite Iran, which his party's propaganda continues to confuse with Sunni radicalism of al-Qaeda.

One of those slick films shown at the convention on Thursday commemorating the victims of 9/11 actually asserted that "it began in 1979" with the taking of US embassy personnel hostage in Tehran. The film then skipped over to the Sunni radicals. I can't understand what the Iranian hostage crisis has to do with 9/11. This conflating of all Muslim movements, in which McCain frequently engages, is just another Big Lie. Iranians were upset by 9/11 and sympathetic to the US, holding candlelight vigils. President Khatami spoke heartwarmingly against the terrorism that had struck the US, explaining that Iran had also suffered grievously from terrorism.
I guess, that, whatever McCain says, the Iraqis will NOT accept a (semi-) permanent American military presence in their country. Much trouble ahead.
Where is the European solution to this danger at our borders?

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Akte Islam bans Fjordman as a "CIA-agent" and finds refuge with local Islam-bashers

Akte Islam Fjordman
Originally uploaded by huibriethof
This statement comes from "Akte Islam", November 2007. The German 'Pax-Europa' movement, founded by Secret-Services freak Dr. Udo Ulfkotte in 2006 in order to promote European values, like tolerance, Enlightenent and judeo-christian heritage, limits it's action to vulgar Muslim-bashing.

After the flopping of a pan-European anti-Eurabia manifestation on September 11 in Brussels, with Danish-English SIOE and the Vlaams Belang, Ulfkotte bans right-wing extremists and CIA-inspired people like Spencer and Bat Ye'or and their stooges (notably the so-called 'Fjordman') from collaborating with his ailing Pax Europa movement.

Yesterday, Ulfkotte fusioned his Pax Europa club with the German 'Association of Citizen Movements', in order to get "observer status" with the EU, the European Council and, as if that weren't enough, with the UN too.

We wish the new couple a happy honeymoon and we are eagerly expecting the inevitable clash between President Ulfkotte and CEO Schwend.
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Friday, May 09, 2008

Lebanon: The Clash, so long announced and feared.

Juan Cole follows hour after hour developments in Lebanon. The armed clash, involving Hizbollah and the Lebanese Army, the one the US and so many others longed for, and the same one that so many others (including me) hoped could be avoided, happens these days.

... 2006: young Lebanese visit Beirut neighborhood where their apartment stood, after Israeli bombings ....

An informed observer is cited on Cole's Informed Comment Blog (9.5.08):

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Holland: Wilders exposed as a lier; former Minister Verdonk starts populist campaign

Dutch populist politician and producer of the anti-Islam film 'Fitna', Wilders (above), intended to tear off and burn pages of the Koran. Or, at least, show such acts in his propaganda movie. I cannot but justify the countermeasures of Dutch Government, intended to control the damage that would have been done by such a provocation, as it sought international support and condemnation of Wilders' provocations, encouraging Dutch Muslims to appeal to their countries of origin to react calmly. "We are Holland, too", they said. And, generally, it worked. There is no general Muslim upheaval.

The government, and first of all its major participant the christian-democratic party CDA, had it's day on the first of April in the The Hague Parliament, when it exposed, documents at hand, Wilders' blackmail. Wilders had sought to turn public condemnation against the Government, stating (with the help of US-based Ajaan Hirsi Ali), that they had "exaggerated" his intentions, and "capitulated" to world Islam, while his movie was so innocent.

Why the Dutch damage-control was needed and successful - with regrettable exceptions...

In recent days, it became clear, that the severely wounding of three Dutch servicemen in the Afghan province of Uruzgan by roadside bombs, was not (only) caused by American poppy-destruction actions in the region (without the Dutch knowing about it - a scandal in itself), but has to be considered as a revenge of the Taliban against the publication of the Wilders film. A Taliban website claimed so.

At first, Dutch public opinion tended to disbelieve the very impopular Government, but after a second look into the recordings of the parliamentary debate and after having seen Wilders' very infantile reactions, as well as realizing the damage that has been done to the country and to the values it stands for, Wilders is losing rapidly ground. A yesterday poll shows a virtual loss within two days of two of the eleven parliamentary seats of Wilders ' PVV party.

Wilders has nothing against Muslims - if they accept to behave as "Untermenschen"...

Like the German anti-Islam activist Udo Ulfkotte, Wilders claims, that he is only against the Koran (Q'uran) and the Sharia Law, but that he is no racist, for he is not against Muslims as persons. But Muslims should not be allowed to live in Holland, for their religion is incompatible with Dutch values. In so far as it it not possible to make them leave, they should be put under strict supervision and be denied the right to free speech, to having their own organizations, mosques and habeas corpus rights.

In following a 2.000 posts long public discussion thread at the NL. Nu website about Wilders' debate with Government and the other parties, that started in the evening of April 1st and continued through Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 3rd, I observed this change of perception, from pro-Wilders to anti-Wilders, at the end of the thread.

Wilders weakened - Verdonk carries the struggle forward...

With Wilders considerably weakened, a new phenomenon appeared in the evening of April 3. Former Minister of Immigration, Ms Rita Verdonk, whose harsh anti-immigration- and anti-Muslim policies were disavowed by the newly elected parliament in September 2007, held a well-designed roadshow in an Amsterdam establishment. "Iron Rita", who was instrumental in chasing her "friend" Ajaan Hirsi Ali from Holland to the US in 2006, was excluded from the (conservative) Liberal Party and she runs a one woman show since that moment.
Verdonk rallies her sponsors (Amsterdam, April 3, 2008)

Like Wilders' movement, she has no members or caucuses. People may express their opinions, but Rita decides. The Dutch legislation on party-financing is rather outdated, and that helps Wilders and Verdonk to get themselves money through corporate and other undisclosed institutional donations. Wilders got, at least indirectly, support from Pfizer and from sponsors at the American Enterprise Institute. Verdonk gets her money from the same group of real estate owners and -speculants as the late Pim Fortuyn did.

There is some money-laundering involved, but the main reason for the tycoons to spend some money on her, is, that she guarantees the existing gigantic tax-cuts on loan-repayments for housing that exist in Holland. The European Union is working to harmonize those regulations between the memeber states, which would certainly mean, that prospective buyers of real estate will have less money to spend in the near future.

Verdonk's Xenophobia is larger than Wilders'...

Verdonk's political programme, or the trunks of it, that are known at this moment, is potentially broader than Wilders'. Broader in the sense, that it is more consequently xenophobe. Not only against muslims and immigrants, but also against Europe and any non-Dutch influence.

A poll, held today, gives her 22% of the vote. As parliamentary elections are not expected before 2011, this is of a limited interest. What is more interesting, is the question, if her consumerist/populist approach, will durably seduce such a large part of the voters. A one (wo)man party that steps out of the firm Dutch traditions of consultation, compromise and grassroots democracy, would, if it keeps so much support and sympathy as it gets at this moment, become a major cultural change in Dutch traditions.
Her "movement" is called "Proud of Holland", which touches a sympathetic string in the mind of this blogger. The Dutch have many things, values and people to be proud of, but they tend to be so only in private, while publicly disavowing their country, language and culture. One of our characteristics is our well-developed flexibility and adaptability. That is how we made so much profit in trade, in publishing books that are banned in other countries and in providing prohibited drugs to those who are in need of them.

An undutch proudness...

The Verdonkian proudness doesn't seem to imply those national and typical qualities. Under Verdonk, we, Dutchmen, would also be obliged to hide our proudness of non-Dutch heroes and values from our continent, Europe. Verdonk's proudness has a distinct provincial flavour.

In my opinion, the cultural paradox of "Trots op Nederland", will make itself felt very soon. For instance, she intends to suppress the twelve Dutch Provinces (regions). But our Frisians, who love their own language and traditions, will likely not ne very fond of letting go their own Province, that guarantees many aspects of their distint identity, they are so proud of...

Verdonk's action has to be considered as another blow to the construction of a viable European Union and the values it stands for.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Watch Wilders' Fitna movie here and be ashamed with me

I wasn't ready yet with reproducing the intelligent comments by Green-Left Leader Femke Halsema about Wilders' manipulation of the media, the Parliament and public opinion about his little anti-Islamic movie on HUIBSLOG [NL], when an alert of the Dutch daily "De Volkskrant" announced, that he had published it on "LiveLeak" today.

I have the "YouTube" version here, that features an English translation of the (sparse) comments in Dutch:

Now I understand, why Mr. Wilders was not very keen on publishing his little movie. It is not shocking at all. We all know, that 9/11 was horrible and that terrorism is despicable. Not only fundamentalist Islamists do it, Christian fundis do the same, als well as anarchists, libertarians, hindus and shintoists. Not all of them: Far from that! Only a tiny minority. The whole movie has nothing to do with the way the overwhelming majority of today's Muslims are in their religion.

I do not see anything else than an opportunistic surge into racism, with the sole intention to frighten the people and to seduce them into accepting a leadership that is undemocratic and beset with violence. If Wilders is not after such an outcome, somebody should make him understand. Not tomorrow, but now.

As we said earlier: A psychiatrist is urgently needed.

As my Dutch friends are saying: "Wilders takes us as his hostages". Our shame about him, shouldn't prevent us from taking decisive action. We are living in a liberal, respectful, democracy, after all.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Christian and Muslim Dreams Of Empire: Turkey and Holland

Thanks to Google Reader, I found this post in the Fistful Of Euros Blog:

Dreams of empire (plus bleg for our Turkish readers)
A Fistful Of Euros by Guy La Roche
Via Dutch weblog Sargasso.
Somebody in Turkey posted the following video to YouTube:

This was picked up by Sargasso and one of their Dutch readers posted the following response:

Totally inane, of course, but I think it is rather amusing.
And now my bleg for our Turkish readers. Is the YouTube video Great Türkic State
a spoof or is there something more serious, as in juvenile fantasies,
behind it?
Unfortunately, I cannot read the comments to the vid, hence
the question.

I know of Turkish nationalism, but I cannot believe this
would extend to… China.

Well, Guy, the 15 comments on Sargasso by Dutch readers (updated up to 08.03.08, 18:06) are as reserved, ironic and humoristic as your comment is. #03 "Bismarck" says (07.03.08, 22:01) [translation]: "When I was 10 years old, I had the same kind of fantasies. I extended our territories and made a forceful power (or powers) occupy all territories available." 26 Minutes later (#04), he points to a similar imperial fantasy on YouTube, this time Serbo-Russian.
For readers who are interested in subconscious and half-conscious Dutch imperial dreams, I submit some explanations to the second YouTube video you show. It was submitted to Sargasso by "Ini" (#08) at 8:17 in the morning of the following day (8.3). I presume, Ini has spent the night at its' conception.
During the first 12 seconds of the 30-seconds video, the orange Dutch appropriation of the world starts with Indonesia (until 1949 a Dutch colony). Australia is next. It was discovered by Dutch sailors, notably Abel Tasman (who gave his name to Tasmania), during the 17th century, before the British took possession of it. The same applies to New Zealand (named after the Dutch province of "Zeeland"). Manhattan (New York) was a Dutch trade post that was given to the British at the peace treaty of 1662 in exchange for Surinam. The Caribbean Dutch isles of Curaçao etc. also figure on the map. South Africa and parts of Madagascar and the Dutch possessions in West Africa: The latter became English during the Napoleonic wars. The former, populated with Dutch banned criminals and some shiploads of poor Dutch orphan girls, plus German refugees and French Protestants, were incorporated into the British Commonwealth at the turn of the former centuries, thanks to the "Boer" wars. At the Berlin conference of 1878, Madagascar, with its Indonesian immigrants, was incorporated into the French sphere of influence.
So far for more or less understandable Dutch claims.
The other 18 seconds of the video make the whole European Union Dutch and fill the rest of the whole world with orange. Why orange? - Because of the colours of the Dutch royal family, who was (amongst others) nominally heriditary of the French County named "Orange" in the Rhone valley, until the French Revolution (1789-1791).
The author of the video doesn't explain him(her)self. I presume, that he/she followed the same fantasy as the young princess Wilhelmina (born 1880) did during the nineties of the 19th century, when she drew a Dutch imperium over most of Northern Europe, and adding all (former) Dutch possessions in the world (see above).
The commenters on Sargasso appreciate the little video. They understand that the Turkish claims to (former) Turk or Turkmene territories are as empty as supposedly English claims to Anglian an Saxonic territories on the continent would be.
I liked most a comment on Sargasso (#15, at 08.03.08, 18h06), that said:
"Toch geeft zo’n filmpje een mooi alternatief voor de opname van Turkije in de EU: De opname van de EU in Turkije!"
[Translation: "A little video like that provides a nice alternative for the incorporation of Turkey into the EU: An incorporation of the EU into Turkey!"]
Because of a (temporary?) problem at the Fistful site, I couldn't insert this text into the comments rubrique over there. I'll insert a reference as soon as technically possible.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

And what about our Germans? Shouldn't they adopt torture too?

Ulfkotte and his works

Ulfkotte.jpgWell, here we are in the land of Udo Ulfkotte. Mr. U.U., before the 11th of September 2001, was convinced, that terrorist actions were mostly due to covert actions of Israel (Gencode "J"). After that date, he changed dramatically his orientation. Europe is victim to an Islamist conspiracy, and left-leaning authorities are their objective or subjective accomplices. Ulfkotte inspires with his so-called "informations" on Islam a whole community of German nationalists and supremacists, who leave their ideas on the comment pages of "Politically Incorrect" and other Hetzblogs.

Although he is under suspicion in Belgium (Antwerp) and in Holland (Amsterdam) of distributing knowingly false informations about immigrants in those cities and the attitude of communal authorities, he continues to publish false information about those EU partners, and declines to correct them, even if evidence is sent to him.

Ulfkotte did not yet give an opinion on the torture issue. Under US pressure, some German authorities let it be known, that they are in favour of, for instance, waterboarding, as a means to deal with presumed terrorists. We are waiting for Ulfkottes verdict. Can we return to Nazi times, and do with captured people everything we want, or is the German Constitution still upright? As soon as "Akte Islam" pubishes its opinion, we 'll keep you informed.

Sarkozy Plan about European guilt: Adoptions galore!

Sarkozy and his Holocaust Adoption Plan

1191208-1355221-thumbnail.jpgI am brooding about a proposal to my French readers, to make 81-91 year old Frenchmen forcibly adopt a Jewish French child who was a victim of the 1941-44 holocaust. In my opinion, that would be much more to the point, than French president Sarkozy's idea to impose such a forced "adoption" non all French children at the age of 11. Our octagenarians were in their twenties and thirties, when they could have done something (more) against the deportation of more than 100.000 Jews from France to the Nazi extermination camps.


It is their shame, allowing for the positive exceptions, that French railwaymen rode without problem the trains of death to their destinations, it is their problem, that the "rafle" of the vélodrôme d'hiver could happen, it is they who should question themselves, how the Drancy concentration camp could function unhampered in the Paris suburbia. That problem is not solved yet. In stead of charging symbolically innocent children (35% of them from immigrant parents) with that guilt, they should do wise, to end their "refoulement", make peace with their conscience and then, yes, only THEN, talk with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in order to demand them to oppose resolutely and without compromise, without subterfuge, and always, genocide and racial discrimination.

Isn't that a better idea than Sarkozy's? I appeal to Mr. Kouchner, for here we are in an evident situation of "devoir d'intervention". The Government, he is a member of, seems to be going to culpabilise French 11-year olds, for something, they are not reponsible for at all. And, in the case of the 35% immigrant children, even their fathers and grandfathers are completely innocent of. This is a form of state-brainwashing, that cannot stand his high humanitarian principles. I do not imply, that the holocaust history should not be taught to French children. Not at all. More attention than now should be given to it. But, please, do it in a historical context, that children of that age can understand!

Other European Countries should Join!

And, thinking about contexts, why should the French Government limit itself to genocides that were perpetrated under foreign leadership? Why, for instance, not force French who are in their fifties and sixties, to adopt, each individually, an Algerian child, that has been a victim of French torture, rape and blind killing during the colonial war from 1954-1962 in that country? An estimated one MILLION Algerians met their death under French intervention. There are a sufficient number of victims in stock for that age-group. And I, for myself, I wouldn't exclude the Jewish victims of Muslim revenge in Oran or in other cities. Nor the poor pieds-noirs who were forced out of the country after the French defeat.

I do not forget the people in their seventies. For them, a Vietnamese child, victim of the French intervention after 1947, that ended so tragically in the defeat of Dien Bien Phu, is the one to adopt immediately.

Summing up: If the principle of Sarkozy's adoption plan is accepted, there is much work to do. Algerian victims and their torturers have to be identified. The same for the Vietnamese.

Then, after the French setting an European example, the British will adopt massively Indian, Burmese, Boer, Egyptian, Persian, Pakistanese, Sudanese, Chinese, and I do not know who else as adoptive children. I do not forget my Dutch and Belgian contemporaries: The former will adopt each an Indonesian child, victim of the so-called "Police-Actions" 1946-1949, while the latter will tend to a Congolese child, raped and mutilated in the wars, the Belgians helped to bring about in their former royal colony.

And why not the Spanish (republican -and non-republican- victim children from the thirties civil war), the Italians (Ethiopian children, victims of the Mussolini invasion) and the Portugese (from all former colonies under Salazar)?

And the Germans, what do we do with our dear Germans? The elder generations have mostly died. The younger ones are pro-Israelian and pro-American. They do not want a new holocaust, even the most right-wing among them. The Germans, they are against the Turks, or the Islam, generally. Allowing, again, for the notable exceptions. Our advice to the Germans is in the next post...

Kosovo - a Precedent?

Kosovo - a precedent?

1191208-1355199-thumbnail.jpgI was against the US-NATO war against Serbia when it was fought, in March-May 1999. It is not that I am a friend of Milosevic, far from that. But restoration of the freedom the Kosovar Albanians had under Tito, could have been realised in many other ways. Launching a war of destruction against the Beograd youth who guarded the bridges over the Duna river, against the automobile workers of Kragujevac and bombing the civil airport of the Montenegrin capital, is certainly not my idea of humanitarian intervention. It was more the style of US interventions under the Monroe doctrine in Latin America.

Europe shouldn't have allowed it. Even if you do NOT condemn the way that war was fought, you cannot be happy with its results, from an European point of view. European states should not be dependent on ethnic homogeneity. it is impossible: Ethnicities are mixed among each other in a pattern that reflects centuries of history. A state is judged by its capacity to guarantee and to implement equality of all its citizens before the law and by how it supports cultural freedom for all groups of people who live within its borders.

That is how Europe deals with Hungarians in Slovakia and Rumenia. That is, what Europe demands from Turkey, when we speak of Kurds and Armenians. That is, what Spain allows the Catalans and what Britain allows the Irish in Northern Ireland. That is, why everybody with a sense of civility, opposes a divided Cyprus. And that is, why dividing Belgium into two states, is so disastrous.

After 1999, with the Serb sovereignty over Kosovo confirmed by the security Council of the UN, there were plenty of opportunities left for the EU, to impose a civil construction upon Kosovars as well as Serbs, that would have preserved a federal Serb state with internationally guaranteed minority rights. But the UN rulers of the occupied province, beginning with the maverick Kouchner (now French foreign secretary under Sarkozy), denied the Serbs and the Balkan nations in general, what was already then accepted European standard. In a not so far away future, Dayton (compromises about Bosnia, 1995) and the independence of Kosova (2008), will be seen as fatal errors that may have caused new wars and ethnic cleansings.

Europe and the Belgian Collapse

Belgian Collapse?

my, how wrong I was, when I wrote last November, that the Belgian surrealist magicians were about to solve the national crisis! (Toto le Psycho: "Plan B s'exécute"). There is no plan. Government Ministers are on permanent strike [NL].

Today's Arte television digs into the stubborn Flemish idea of independence. Some marginal Flemish leftist tells them, that it is simply a Flemish employers' illusion. He says they think they will get more profit when the Walloons are out and the obedient catholic Flemish workforce would be alone to confront them. I hadn't thought at that scenario. It is somehow too fantastic, but I am not convinced that it is completely wrong, any more.

Those Flemish entrepreneurs, do they forget, that without Brussels, which is not Flemish, but not Walloon either, their economic power will be more and more illusionary? I cannot believe that. But how could we explain then, this course to a destruction of the Belgian state, which they do not oppose?

I am a Dutch-European Belgian, of Brussels conviction, to paraphrase a Flemish Brussels intellectual, interviewed by Arte, tonight. I cannot tell my new compatriots how to act. I risked a series of suggestions about my city, Brussels, who is to be the orphan of any possible compromise between Flemish and Walloon provincials. In line with my anti-autoritarian tradition, I proposed last week, that the Brussels people themselves create a full-fledged region-community (the
last one multilingual) and leave the other two quarreling regions alone. (Et si les Bruxellois créaient leur communauté à eux?, Toto Le Psycho [FR]). The Dutch version is here. They earned some not unfavourable comment on Medium4You, the Brussels BloggersBlog.

But there is no new 1830 in view. The Brussels people are not (yet) in a mood to defy their two new egocentric rulers. I do not see, however, another way out.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Late Dutch Revenge for the way, the big Powers made a fool of them in Srebrenica

Why do the Dutch and the Belgians block an SAA?
A Fistful of Euros wonders, why the Dutch dare (together with the Belgians) to block a Serbian Accession Agreement to the EU. The SAA was intended to help the less extremist Serbian factions to accept (grudgingly) Kosovar independence, and to open a fast track to Serbian inclusion into the EU.
Mladic and Karadzic in 1994/95

For both intentions, it is a lame compromise: Even moderate Serbs will not agree, in a foreseeable future, with the breaking of the 1999 UN guarantee of the territorial integrity of Serbia, including Kosovo. They are supported by Russia and by a number of EU members who fear irredentist claims in their own countries. And, less important, but significant, by a growing cabal of extreme right-wing American/European anti-Islam activists. The latter warn against the creation of another "Islamic" state on European soil, like Ariël Sharon of Israel already did in 1999.

On the other side, there is no argument about the necessity and unavoidability of a Serbian membership in the EU. Neither in the most Eurosceptic circles in the EU, nor in Serbia itself. Serbian EU-membership will come, sooner or later. But not now.

The SAA was a wrong signal:
It will not help more moderate nationalists to win today's presidential elections. Perhaps it would even have weakened Tadic and his followers. Serbian frustration over coming European support for an independent Kosova will anyhow have the upper hand over hopes to be in the EU soon.

A commenter, Ivan Nicolic, on A Fistful of Euros, has quite another view:
So, what do we get? We get that the Dutch are blocking democratic Serbia that had nothing to do with Srebrenica, moreover that was fighting against Milosevic, the same person that was giving assistance to those who are accused to be guilty, and yet, asking from Serbia to be responsible for arresting and delivering those two to the Tribunal in Hague, although they are citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Maybe some argument could be found for Mladic, because for some time he was hiding in Serbia, but for Karadzic there is no basis at all to connecting him to Serbia.
Correction: Former JNA General Mladic is a citizen of Serbia, is living publicly in Belgrade and meets there regularly with old comrades from the Yugoslav Army in public places. From time to time, when there is a surge of pressure for his arrest, he goes into hiding in Montenegro.
Nikolic' conclusion on the Dutch move:
And why? Because the Dutch need to wash them selves in their own eyes, not taking into consideration that they could cause even more damage.
Well, I think, that the Dutch accepted the horrible truth about Srebrenica, too late, but nevertheless some five years ago, when the Report on the Srebrenica mission that was commissioned by the Dutch Government, provoked its downfall (April 2002).

Americans and EU-big powers made a fool of the Dutch Srebrenica batallion
Apart from their own failures (politically and military), another, important, circumstance came then finally into the open: The big powers had intentionally left the Dutch Government in the dark about the arrangements they had made with Milosevic and Karadzic/Mladic, about giving up the UN-protected Muslim enclaves (like Srebrenica) to the Serbian Bosnians as a precondition for the ceasefire that was to end the armed phase of the Bosnian conflict later in 1995.

That is why I took the liberty to comment today on the Fistful-site, as follows:
In my opinion, the Dutch Government is taking revenge for the scandalous way, it was kept uninformed of the big countries’ arrangement with Milosevic/Karadzic in the spring of 1995, i.e., to give the latter green light to do away with the (UN-protected) Muslim “enclaves” in Serbian Bosnia, like Srebrenica.
Frustration about the NATO allies, who did not come forward with the promised air support, is still great in the country.
The whole affair has been documented by Frank Westerman (1996,in Dutch), the 2002 Dutch government-commissioned report by the Amsterdam Institute of War-Documentation (English version at the Dutch Government website) and most recently by Florence Hartmann (Paix et Chatiment, November 2007, French), the former porte parole of Carla Del Ponte (TPIY).

The Dutch, while officially referring to the TPIY procedure, are unofficially saying to the Brits, the French (and the US): “Milosevic died, before he could be brought to confirm the 1994/5 deals with you about Srebrenica at the The Hague Court. Give us Mladic, who you helped to protect for more than 17 years, and who is freely walking around in Belgrade, and we’ll see!”
A slightly different French version of this opinion is on: L'Europe Chez Soi, Toto Le Psycho and HUIBSLOG. The Brussels Medium4You Blog Journal also carries that French version, where it provoked some interesting comments.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Bulgaria: Children's Homes and Local libraries

Children abuse and neglect

Back in Brussels, yesterday night, I set foot in a country, shaken by the reporting (originally by the English BBC, and reissued by the Flemish-language public TV) about one of the Bulgarian "orphanages",where not only poor orphans, but also children with a mental handicap and children from criminal families are being stowed away, subject to abuses and neglect.
The Bulgarian children's home in question happens to be located in the region I visited last week. Like a number of similar ones, it is located in a village or small town. Many children are of Rom (Tzigan)origin.
(Derelict apartment buildings in NE Plovdiv, central Bulgaria - the families of the abanoned children live in houses like those)

I do not know, if the situation was better before the year1989, when In Romania (where the same scandal existed) and in Bulgaria the state-controlled system was replaced by rather rude configurations of capitalism. The Bulgarian "home" in question is located in the southern part, at the feet of the Rhodopes Mountains. Ethnic and cultural minorities live there together.
A small economic upsurge is going on in the region,because of growing tourism and of settling of Western Europeans, who buy properties (very cheaply) there. More and more, the (changing)local population is becoming outraged at those scandalous institutions in their midst. I saw the arrestation of a monitor of one of those homes reported on Bulgarian television. The man was accused of sexual abuse of little Rom girls. I think, that there is some hope, that the combination of foreign and national outrage will help, to do away with the scandal. A Belgian Government delegation is visiting Bulgaria and the homes at this moment. Tonight Bulgarian TV showed the Belgians being received in a model institution, that has nothing in common with the home the reporting was about. (Thanks for the tip to my Plovdiv friends).

What the local libraries could do
Another reason, why I am talking about this, is, that we had to say "no" to an eventual participation of the local libraries system in that Bulgarian region within the network I was speaking of in the preceding Log. The reason for that is possibly as sad as the children's home scandal is. The local library system is so under-equipped, that it should first be helped to put up some very basic infrastructure and training. Only then, could it think of developing the skills and the methods the Network is about. There is not enough staff and they are underpaid. The staff get training in software, but there is virtually no hardware and no internet.

Why is there a link between bad care for marginalized children, located in poor regions, and local libraries? That is what I intend to explain to some local librarians, colleagues of the Bulgarian ones, here in Belgium. It runs like this:

Regenerating communities is done by a transversal approach. Why? It is easy to figure out: If, for instance, you renovate the apartment buildings, after one year they will be again in a bad state, if you do not do something, at the same time,about unemployment, schools, etc. If children are not well fed, if they remain constrained to their beds the whole day long, better schools will not help. Programmes by the local library will help the people concerned, to see these connections. It is not (only) a police or a criminal matter. Ethnic and racial prejudices could block efforts to find solutions. That is why a four-year programme for equipping local cultural centers and their librarians with the tools to do their work, is one of the essential transversal measures to be taken.

My second trip to eastern Europe has left me with at least two huge tasks here in Brussels.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bush and Blair: Bank-Swapping?

Two CNN-alerts:

Tony Blair to join JP Morgan
01/10/08 02:18 AM, EST
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who left Britain's Downing
Street last June, starts work Thursday with one of the best known-banks
on Wall Street.

2. Bush arrives in West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders
01/10/08 03:16 AM, EST
Pushing a "historic opportunity" to work for Middle East peace, President George Bush arrived in the West Bank Thursday to meet with Palestinian leaders, a day after huddling with their Israeli counterparts.

I thought that Blair was Peace-Envoy for the Quartet to Israel and the Palestinians who live in Gaza and on the West Bank,
while Bush is to go in 2009 to some Middle Eastern Investment Bank in Washington, co-owned by the Family Bush.

A new trend among good friends: Bank-Swapping?

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