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, December 22, 2009

Muslims At Home in Europe. Soros Says So. It was always my idea, too.

I do not claim exclusivity for the name "At Home in Europe". In 1993, some time before George Soros engaged into bringing democracy and moral integrity into Central and Eastern Europe, I embraced, together with my colleagues and friends from France, Germany and Great-Britain, in the small create!europe network, that challenging slogan. We were all working at urban neighbourhood emancipation through local integrated projects. Most of us, including me, still are.
George Soros became famous, when he speculated successfully against the British Pound (£) in 1992, forcing it out of the European currency "slang". Much of the money he got out of this disastrous (for Europe) move, was invested, later on, into a series of private initiatives for democracy and civil society in countries like Bosnia, Hungary, Serbia and the Ukraine. Showing, how you can throw bad money to good causes.
The New York based George Soros institute OSI (Open Society Institute) issues a report about Muslims in Europe, focussing on 11 European cities. It is produced by the OSI At Home in Europe Project , and covers:
the experiences of Muslim communities in select neighborhoods in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Antwerp, Berlin and Hamburg, Copenhagen, Leicester and Waltham Forest–London, Marseille and Paris, and Stockholm.
This report is as much about "being At home in Europe" for ALL its inhabitants, as we imagined it then. Going aganst the popular US and European Muslim-bashing trend, it delves into the kitchen table realities in some neighbourhoods, and depicts a completely different image of daily life, challenges and results than that which the scaremongers to make us believe.
The house is as the people who inhabit it. There is no mythical everlasting cultural "Heimat", defined by the soil upon which it stands.
In order to be at home in Europe, Muslim immigrants, each in function of his/her background (for coming from Morocco or from Turkey, from the province or from the city, makes quite a difference), creates his own form of integration, which is a new, mixed way of life. Like immigrants in the US did successfully in the nineteenth and twentieth century.
Does that mean, that there are no problems? That is another myth about us, "Gutmenschen", i.e., people who try to attack in fact the facts of ethnic cohabitation. Of course, there are huge problems, for the immigrants themselves as well as for the original inhabitants of the area.
The report shows, that, with good will from both sides and much help from the local authority, those problems can be solved, and, astonishingly, even turned into advantages!
How this last, seemingly improbable, magic trick can be made in the course of time, is explained (among others) in my professional website E-Urban, about urban area-oriented policies in Europe.
This is a summary of the report's contents:

Muslims in Europe: A Report on 11 EU Cities

Date: December 2009, Source: OSI

The Open Society Institute Muslims in Europe report series constitutes the comparative analysis of data from 11 cities in seven European countries. It points out common trends and offers recommendations at the local, national, and international levels, including to the European Union and to international organizations. While not representative of the situation of all Muslims in these cities, this report does capture a snapshot of the experiences of Muslim communities in select neighborhoods in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Antwerp, Berlin and Hamburg, Copenhagen, Leicester and Waltham Forest–London, Marseille and Paris, and Stockholm.

This body of work comes in response to major trends with regards to Muslims living in Europe: whether citizens or migrants, native born or newly-arrived, Muslims are a growing and varied population that presents Europe with one of its greatest challenges, namely how to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all in a climate of rapidly expanding diversity.

The following overview report includes:

  • Executive Summary
  • Policy Context
  • Cohesion, Belonging, Discrimination and Interactions
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Neighborhood and Housing
  • Health Care
  • Policing and Security
  • Civic and Political Participation
  • Media
  • Recommendations

The publication is available for download below, in its entirety or by chapter.

(For downloading, go to the OSI At Home in Europe Project).

From the conclusions of the report:

“The OSI research suggests that religious discrimination against Muslims remains a critical barrier to full and equal participation in society.The findings of this report are consistent with other research and suggest that levels of religious discrimination directed towards Muslims are widespread and have increased in the past five years. 

European-born Muslims, particularly women, were more likely to perceive higher levels of religious discrimination than Muslims born abroad. European-born Muslim men identify the police as a key source of unfair treatment and discrimination. For Muslims, the persistence of discrimination and prejudice affects their sense of national belonging."
(Hat tip to Dagmar and Mario, Germany).

There report is based on more than 2.000 interviews of inhabitants of the eleven European cities.
"Too many Europeans believe, that the religious identity would somehow hinder the  integration [of Muslims], allthough a majority of the Muslims who have been interviewed, identify to a high degree with the city and with the country in which they live. The role of the City is essential, as well in the struggle against discrimination, as well as in the opening of roads to the integration of foreigners",
said Nazia Hussain (London), who managed the project "At Home in Europe".

A useful antidote against the "Atlas der Wut" (Map of Rage) that Mr. Ulfkotte distilled recently from another US source...

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Minaret Moment 8/12 [EN]

I know, how difficult it is, to reply to self-conscious US opinionmakers when Europe is at stake.
Yesterday, the liberal New York Times published an opinion, called Europe's Minaret Moment, by somebody called Ross Douthat. He has read Christopher Caldwell, and thinks that he knows Europe. Comparing the genesis of the US to Europe's birth, he observes, that "a more perfect union" is far away from the manipulation by European "élites" to get a clean and workable constitution for the European Union. He couldn't be more right, when he chastises the European elites' disinterest in the difficulties that non-elite Europeans suffer at the actual economic season.

If the more perfect union promised by the Lisbon Treaty is the European elite’s greatest triumph, the failure to successfully integrate millions of Muslim immigrants represents its greatest failure. And the two are intertwined: they’re both the fruits of the high-handed, often undemocratic approach to politics that Europe’s leaders have cultivated in their quest for unity.
Oh, how much you are right, Mister Right! I am sure, not any member of the European elite has seen the problems coming. Nor any member of the non-elite. We choose to treat the problem NOT as you treated the Indians, relegating them to reserves and poisoning them with alcohol and diseases. We choose to help them integrate into our societies. Most of the Muslims did. A tiny minority doesn't. Like some Muslims in the USA, if I am well informed. Your easy condemnation of an Europe that is just defining itself, doesn't help at all.
Sometimes I think that people like you and Mark Steyn (America Alone) are just loading upon Europe, what you feel to be missing in the US. Historically, your propositions are completely erroneous.

On what it takes, to get a more perfect union
For: Pardon me, Mr. Bouthat, how many years were spoiled, before John Adams was able to convince Americans, that a "more perfect union" were attainable, only if Americans accepted to live together with "foreigners"?
Bouthat attacks an European elite, who imposed a peaceful Europe upon a population who would love to get rid of an immigant group, (Muslims), who seem to want independence and, finally, domination.
I am not convinced at all. I believe, that muslim immigrants in Europe will become "European", while safeguarding their own specificities. That is difficult for the people who have to live next to them, and I agree, that much more has to be done for those last mentioned. The European elites are aware of that. Much money and energy is invested.

European elites are not as stupid as you think...
Is it enough? Is it efficient? No! But it is much more, than American "elites" did for Polish, Italian and Greek immigrants a century ago. Nevertheless, those populations integrated fully into the US society. Accidents on the road, like the Swiss Minaret ban, seem to block any solution to the European immigration problem. But European unity and peace are prevalent upon short term issues like the Swiss Minaret ban initiative. One, like me, may have a minority opinion on Muslim integration in Europe, without being a member of the "European elites". That is democracy, Mr. Bouthat!
More or less like the US solved their problem with the "unintegrated" blacks in the sixties, the European Union will go forward, tentatively, with its programs for integration. And it will succeed. In the end. Each racial clash has its solution.

Europe-bashing does not help
Bouthat's opinion joins a conservative trend that makes the European Union responsible for a sort of giving ib to terrorists. I see no reason for that. Switzerland is not a member of the EU. The OECD, of which the US is a member-state, will surely condemn an eventual Swiss minaret ban. The US are not only indebted to the Founding Fathers of 1787, but also to the winners of the Civil War of 1865. No slavery, no second-class citizens!
Anti-Islamic surges will take their toll. Roma and other minorities will suffer discrimination. But I guess that the people's commitment to liberty and equality, will take the upper hand, when it comes to decide about liberty and democracy. If political elites work to create the right conditions for that, they are doing what should be expected from them.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

London must allow Wilders' racist Agitation?

February 2009, British Government did the right thing. They did not allow Geert Wilders to come on British soil in order to spread his venomous ideas under the umbrella of the anti-European UKIP party.

Blocking an elected representative from a befriended country is indeed exceptional. But in my view, British Government set an example of integrity, ashaming Dutch Parliament, that allows a no-membership "party" to agitate on racial issues. Most parties in Holland, exception made for the left liberal D66 group as well as for the "Green-Left", are stuck like rabbits in the headlights of a Mercedes, not knowing what to do about this utterly un-Dutch Wilders movement.

Wilders is jubilating

The London Immigration Court, in condemning yesterday the UK Government decision concerning Wilders' dangerous upsetting of public order, put itself on the accommodating Chamberlain (1938) line. I hope that the UK Government will oppose that decision and continue in a more Churchillian line, blocking continental follies and preserving democracy and humanism in Europe as a whole.

But, for the moment, Wilders is jubilating. "Esther", editor of "Islam in Europe", gives Wilders full steam, in citing The Guardian:

The far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders intends to travel to London next week after an immigration tribunal ruling overturned a ban on visiting Britain.

The Home Office said it was disappointed after the tribunal rejected its claim that his presence could "inflame community tensions and lead to inter-faith violence".

The Freedom party leader immediately announced his intention to meet Ukip's Lord Pearson of Rannoch to discuss a showing of his anti-Islamic film Fitna later this month in the House of Lords.

Judge CMG Ockelton, who chaired the tribunal, said that Wilders's opinions were expressed strongly and in a way that was bound to cause offence but that the right of freedom of expression was important in a democratic society.

"Substantial evidence of actual harm would be needed before it would be proper for a government to prevent the expression and discussion of matters that might form the opinions of legislators, policy makers and voters," he said.

The ruling said there had been no evidence of public order problems or damage to community relations as a result of a previous visit by Wilders to Britain.

"It was more important to allow free speech than to take restrictive action speculatively," said Ockelton.

The judgment goes further, saying that even if there were evidence that Wilders posed a threat to public order it would still not have been necessary to ban him because the police would have been able to ensure no disorder took place and remove him if there was trouble.

The decision to ban Wilders was taken under regulations introduced in 2006 which allow the exclusion of those who represent "a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society".

Wilders, who faces trial in the Netherlands for discrimination and inciting hatred, was turned back at Heathrow in February when the then home secretary, Jacqui Smith, banned him from entering Britain. He had been coming for a screening in the Lords of his film which calls the Qur'an a "fascist book". Smith said his presence had the potential to "threaten community harmony and therefore public safety".

Wilders said the ruling was a victory for freedom of expression and claimed Smith's decision had been politically motivated.

The politician was represented in the case by a British Muslim barrister, Arfan Khan, and the costs of just under £10,000 were funded by the Birkenhead Society, which "encourages free speech" and marks British Empire Memorial Day.

The Home Office said it would decide whether to appeal in due course.

The problem is Dutch, and, more specifically, political, not juridical

The weak and accommodating stand of the Dutch parliamentarian majority does not help at all. In January 2010 an Amsterdam high court, on its own initiative, will decide, if Wilders' actions are "hate-mongering" or not. This is a task, Parliament itself should have undertaken. The Social-Democrats, labeled by Wilders as "Sharia-Socialists", should have taken him to court immediately. For Wilders stated unambiguously in his "Fitna" movie, that in his view, the Sharia is fascist.

But no mainstream political party in Holland dares to move. With the Christian Democrat main Government Party it is still worse: It keeps open the possibility of governing with the undemocratic Wilders club.

The debilitating consequences of letting an odd maverick steal the elections

Wilders participated in the June European elections. Only to send a delegation to Strasbourg and Brussels, that has no mission at all. He stole a third of the Dutch representation in the EP, weakening the impact of his country on crucial European issues, crucial for the Netherlands, too, only to cash the money that he cannot have from membership fees, as his "party" has no members except himself.

Like all developed EU-members, Holland should make democratic rules for the internal organization and the financing of parties allowed to participate in the vote. Minister of the Interior Guusje Ter Horst has done nothing, so far. Wilders is getting money from neo conservative sources in the US. He could upset the whole European process, like the Irish tycoon Decan X did last year, provoking an Irish "No" to the Lisbon Treaty. I am sad at the idea, that Holland could be mobilized against the European construction, like Chechia, Poland, and other American-sponsored entities are.

To conclude: Of Course, the final solution of the Dutch identity crisis is not with a London Court. Dutch democratic, anti-authoritarian, traditions should be mobilized against the populist danger.

But, who dares to face the challenge in the Low Countries?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bulgaria: A political earthquake not to be neglected by Europe

For the third time since 1989, Bulgarian voters have inflicted a massive "no" to their political class.
The GERB party (a Bulgarian language shortcut for "Citizens for an European Development of Bulgaria") got 116 of the available 240 seats in the one-cameral parliament of Sofia. Their nearly 40% of the more than 60% vote, propelled the vociferous major of the capital Sofia, Boiko Borissof, into the seat of prime minister.
(Borissov, the virtually nominated prime minister, said on July 9, 2009: I have a program of support to the legal officers who are charged with corruption cases, we are going to invest massively into infrastructure and in European cooperation ... [Photo: Sofia Echo, Krassimir Yuskesseliev])

At the European elections of last month it was already impossible to deny, that Borissovs party was going to carry the national elections, scheduled for July 5.
The high level of participation in the election helped to justify the GERB victory, in spite of frequent vote-buying, an ethnic Turkish vote and "election tourism" on an unprecented scale.

In 1990, Bulgarian voters chased the historic Todor Zhivkov gerontocracy. In 2001, they invested their hopes in the former king Simeon. Every time, they were disappointed. Will the Borissov landslide of 2009 be their ultimate revenge?

Will the third Bulgarian electoral revolution finally bring peace and progress?
In recent years, I had the opportunity to spend some time in the country. My engagement with urban solutions had me relate to a variety of local actors. As I did not know much about the country, like too many ofe to confess the European decision makers who should, I have to confess, that I only have learned about what I do NOT know about Bulgaria. My opinions should be evaluated accordingly. I share, nevertheless, four observations with you, if you'll permit me:
  1. The astounding resistance of Bulgarian identity to foreign dominance,
  2. the dumbing effects of Stalinist and post-Stalinist repression during 45 years,
  3. the economic and strategic trump cards of the country,
  4. and how the European Union could catch the opportunities for itself and for the Bulgarian people.
1. The unfinished Bulgarian Renaissance
In the second half of the 19th century, a seemingly unimportant province of the Ottoman empire woke up. The decline of the Ottoman Empire was certainly of much help. But the emancipation of inhabitants of remote villages, of virtual serfs to absenteist Turkish landowners and of artisans working in the few cities that existed, could not have been imagined without the intervention of an European educated elite of former university students and freemasons. Like the 18th century enlightened intellectuals in France and elsewhere, they concentrated on popular education. It is by force of that drive, that a new Bulgarian nation came into existence on the vague memories of mediaeval culture. It was a very real Renaissance. The Bulgarian Renaissance.
The European big powers of the epoch adopted a double approach. Insofar as the Bulgarian upheaval weakened the Turkish "sick man", they were helpful. But when the Bulgarian independence threatened to offer an entrance to the Mediterranean to the Russian Czars, they blocked.
Bulgarian independence was OK, as long as it did not hinder Austrian plans with Serbia, Bosnia and Macedonia. It should not endanger Greek ambitions in the Northern Aegean either. The Balkan Wars of the early Twentieth century learned a disappointing lesson to upcoming Bulgaria.
That explains why the country choose the wrong side at the start of the two great wars.
Bulgaria was confined from the South by Greece, from the East by Turkey, from the West by Serbia and from the North by Rumania. In spite of all that, the country thrived between the two wars. Its natural resources helped very much to keep international crisis and depression away.
Until about the year 1940, a national entity with half a century of independence, existed. But its existence was fragile: Wrong choices and geopolitical compromises (Yalta, 1944) changed its destination and brought it under Soviet dominance until 1990.
2. The years of emptiness
I spoke with a young woman student, at the start of this year. She won a grade in classical philosophy at Sofia University. I told her, that I was confident, that out of the actual mess of Bulgarian culture, something new and vigourous would develop. But she cut me short. She explained to me, examples at hand, that the nearly half a century cultural desert and all the repression that went with it, killed any hope for creativity and free intellectual life. I was dumbfounded. Who am I, to deny the artistic and cultural disaster that manifests itself daily in Bulgarian television, in the shows of the unexplainable Aziz?
Of course: The classic treasures of Greek and Roman civilization are being preserved. Precious artisanship survives in the valleys of the Balkan mountains. The Rila monasteries receive hundreds of visitors a day. But where is the young generation of artists, writers and thinkers one should expect to havAe established itself after the Big Change of 1990?
I had to admit: It is not there.
How could the energy, the unexploited energy, come back and manifest itself?
The only workable solution, I see, is a new cross-fertilization with Europe. Like hundred, two hundred years ago.
Engish, French and German cultural missions do still exist. French secundary education in a number of cities, has survived the Soviet era. The Borissov program suggests an intensification of those exchanges. Europe has to decide. Leave them alone, let the Americans do their thing, or redevelop and intensify cultural and educational exchange.
It is urgent. Cultural void means negative perception of minority cultures. In the Bulgarian case, that means: suppression of Roma and Turkish identities. Europe should help Bulgarians to get confidence again in their own culture. That is a precondition for respect of others. When you feel safe, you do not envy others.
3. Unexploited economic and strategic opportunities
Bulgaria is a rich country. Without the riches in agriculture and men, Alexander the Great, in the fourth century before Christ, could not have spread Hellenism in the East. He came from the City of his father Philip, Philippople, the actual Plovdiv. At the end of the First century, Trajanus, the Roman emperor, would not have built a road from the Mediterranean to Dacia, if the environment wouldn't have been safe and abundant. Bulgaria is potentially a great crossroad between the East and the West, and: between the North and the South.
The East-West connection is the first to have been reestablished. Turkish trailers circulate by the hundreds between West and East. The EU helps with road construction, but has frozen its subsidies because of Bulgarian maffiose dealings with contracts. The new government wishes to end this and reclaim imediately the lost money.
Iaccompanied by hundreds of Turkish and other trailerst is very important. On the road between Istanbul and Budapest, I am accompanied by hundreds of Turkish and other trailers. We loose many hours in queues and with burocratic rules.
The North-South links are virtually non-existant. It is true, that you can go by modern road from Thessaloniki to Sofia. But what next? A good road that connects northern Greece via the Rhodopes Mountains through central Thrakia with the Balkan throughways ti the danube valley and Rumenia is only vaguely under construction. However, its strategic role is evident: Avoid the Dardanelles and arrive directly in the Ukraine, in the Krim, etc.
Well, if I may give my largely uninformed opinion: We should not consider Bulgaria uniquely as a problem to the EU, but as an opportunity in the first place. An opportunity to get a hold on the difficult situation at the South-Eastern end of the EU ...
4. How to engage the new Bulgarian leadership?
A regional strategy, alas, is not an EU priority. The USA established a giant military base in Blagoevgrad, next to the Greek and Turkish borders. An American university in that city completes the deployment.
But the EU has also its unique qualities. Cofinancing big investments. Giving a hand in education. "The soft dorces will prevail in the end", said a great Dutch poet once.
Bulgaria needs fast trains, reliable motorways, a thriving agriculture. The EU can give that. And more. It is a vision, a global vision, that is not present.
Even if it is reasonable, to keep one's distances with the actual new Bulgarian government, because of it's populism, it should be deemed good policy to encourage the European orientation of Borissov and give him, as long as possible, the benefit of the doubt.
In my experience, local projects that engage local actors, and represent a genuine mutual confidence, will do a great part of the job. That is how the "soft forces" will win.
In the End.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Copenhague: Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders reveals himself as an ethnic cleanser...

Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders was interviewed in Danish television last Sunday.

What he says, boils down to a call for an ethnic cleansing of Europe. Listen to his statements here:

In short: There are too many people from Muslim descent in Europe and they have more children than others. Muslims have been contaminated with "a criminal ideology" (Islam). That is why there are so many criminals among them. They have to be sent away immediately. But that is not enough: Anybody who starts "thinking about Sharia and Jihad" or "Caliphate" should be deported too.

"Muslims want to take over our culture" and "change it fundamentally". That is why we have to start deportations to the countries of origin (of their parents).

Like every ethnic cleanser, Wilders adopts a salami tactic: First isolate a part of the ethnic group and earmark them (and their families) for harsher treatment than foreseen in the Law. And in the Denmark interview, Wilders is already targeting a second, larger category: "those who THINK about jihad and sharia". For Muslims, there is not only no freedom of expression any more, but even no more freedom of thinking. Logical conclusion: As you cannot know what a person thinks, every Muslim (or person from Muslim descent) is a potential danger. That is why he is ranting about "tens of millions" of people to be deported from Europe.

Wilders is no more your daily oddball. He has a large constituency in Holland. And more and more admirers in the US, in Israel and in European countries. He has to be taken seriously. Like we should have done, for instance, with that oddball poet Karadzic around the year 1990, when he prepared the ethnic cleansing and mass murder of non-serbian Bosniaks.

The UN The Hague Inernational Court is at this very moment constructing its case against Karadzic, digging into his agitation from before the Yugoslav Civil War.

If we prefer to avoid ethnic cleansing operations in the future, it is there, in the new International Court, where Wilders belongs.

Who has the guts to indict him?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Afghanistan Conference in The Hague: A Turning Point?

Tomorrow, something new will happen in the windy Dutch government seat at the North Sea. All, I repeat: ALL, possible players in the Afghan drama will come together and talk. Will it be THE turning point, or will it only be a significant step forward?

Obama delivers. A completely new US approach to the world is taking shape. No more imperialist 1000 years' dreams like those in the "American Century" documents of the neoconservatives. A more realistic view takes into account the interests of the Afghan people in all their diversity, and, also, those of the neighbouring countries, as well as those of the world players: the US, Europe, Russia, China, India.

This, in itself, is already a major turning point. But will it materialize into something sensible?

The subject is extremely complicated. Afghanistan is divided in itself along ethnic, cultural and religiuous lines. The Northern neighbours are interested in halting the fundamentalist infiltrations. Pakistan has been considering the country as its backyard, providing a strategic depth against arch enemy India. Iran has a religious (the Shiite Hazaris) and cultural (the large Persian speaking minorities) stake. At the oil and gas producing end, Iran, Turkmenistan and others, as well as Pakistan and India (and China?) at the potential receiving end have an interest in Afghanistan as a necessary transit country. the whole world has an interest in stopping or limiting the poppy (heroine) production. I would like to add the interest the whole world should have in rolling back the safe havens for terrorist fundamentalism.

It is my innermost conviction, that only the Afghan people themselves may find a solution to the problems mentioned above and to others that I did not mention (yet). The Obama-Clinton first measures (reigning in the Pakistan ISI, look for an arrangement with authentic local forces in Afghanistan) and proposals, would possibly create the necessary room for an Afghan awakening taking place.

Many people are critical of the pressure, Obama is putting on Pakistan. I am not. Before 2001, the US were blindly following the Pakistani Secret Service ISI's manipulations in Afghanistan (and Pakistan/Kashmir). Under G.W.Bush this did not change. A decisive key to a solution in Afghanistan, is cutting out the ISI's support to Islamist fundamentalism. It created and maintained in power (with Saudi help) the Afghan Taliban. Facilitated their resurrection after 2002. And let them also develop in Pakistan itself (the Northwest Territories).

Dealing with Pakistan, a country with a huge population, nuclear bombs, and a fierce frustration gainst India, is extremely difficult. Obama's carrot (7,5 billion dollars help) and stick (US intrusions into the Territories, chasing Al Qaeda) is, if I may judge, the only possible way to make things move into the right direction.

Iran has a number of stakes here in common with the US, Russia and Europe. It would like to stop fundamentalist anti-Shiite Sunni rule in Afghanistan. It has an interest in a pacified Afghanistan as a transit country for its oil and gas to the east. It doesn't like Pakistani, nor American, nor Russian, nor European military too close to its eastern borders.

Summa summarum: There are some chances, that the new realistic configuration that has been put in place by the new US Government, will produce a turning point at The Hague. As I said long before this, a counter-guerilla war in Afghanistan by NATO armies is as hopeless as the British (XIXth century) efforts at a "Great Game" and the Russian ones after 1979 were from the beginning. Poor dead and wounded soldiers from Canada, the UK and othe NATO countries have fallen for a chimera. I do not understand, what the US extra-NATO forces have been doing all the way from 2002 to now. They sabotaged objectively the pacification and community-building efforts of the NATO allies. Like tomorrow's host country the Netherlands in Uruzgan. They did not crush Al Qaeda, nor capture its chief. And I regret their vain casualties, too.

The remnants of the neoconservative movement are complaining. Tonight, on Dutch television, Iranian refugee turned Dutch Professor of ethnic integration, Afshin Ellian, criticized sternly and repeatedly Obama's praise for the greatness of the Iranian civilization. As if respect for the Iranian people, holding out against a world wide boycott since 1979 (30 years!), would be a crime! Should we be taking Ellian for a guide, Ellian, who was for years a Tudeh (Iranian Communist Party) propagandist in a Kabul exile under the Soviets?

Other voices from Iran, also shown on Dutch television, tell another tale. A woman refugee fro.m Iran sais, she was moved by the respect Obama finally showed in the name of the American people, for Iranian culture and civilization. Looking at that woman, I thought: She will be able to deal herself, together with her friends, with retrograde mollahs. That is not our task.

Give people room to make their own communities. In dignity. And in their own way. Our democracy is superb. We developed it all by ourselves. in blolod and with much trial and error. Genuine democracy is not imported by force from elsewhere. it is obtained democratically - by the people themselves.

A reading suggestion about "La démocratie des autres" (Amartya Sen): Democracy and its global Roots (2003).

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Ms. Verdonk accused of theft

Ed Sinke, the former Rotterdam agent of Ms. Rita Verdonk, former Dutch Minister of Immigration, has informed Dutch Justice of possible inappropriate appropriation of funds by his former employer.
Rita Verdonk tried to get 4.000 Euros still in the political account of her movement, but that are not her propriety.
Poor Rita is in dire straights.
But rules are rules.
She should know.
Bye, Rita, you were lovely.
Another racist gone down.
She rests in peace.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dutch hate-mongerer Wilders turned into hero by Rupert Murdoch [EN]

The New York Wall Street Journal (WSJ), owned by Rupert Murdoch, is known for its heroic struggle against anyone who it deems guilty of blasphemy of the free market, the stock exchange, composite investment vehicles and US moral superiority in the world.
It is so busy with its crusade and its inquisition against men and women who make use of their right to free speech on these subjects, that, alas, it neglected recently its core business, that is, if I am not mistaken, to inform the public, specifically the financial world, about the upcoming financial crisis, about the Ponzi schemes and about the fraudulent balances of main financial institutions.
Dutch member of Parliament Geert Wilders at Carnaval
You and I would expect, that the WSJ, like the London Financial Times, would be doing some self-critical introspection at this point of time.
The opinion makers at WSJ, could, for instance, reflect upon the billions of dollars the US are pumping every year into the Saudi Kingdom, enabling it to maintain a barbaric internal police regime and, worse still, financing fundamentalist and retrograde, even terrorist, institutions abroad.

I have seen nothing of that in WSJ. On the contrary. Not unlike Saudi Mollahs, it identifies Satan as exclusively coming from abroad.
WSJ featured heavily, for instance, the lying demagogue Mark Steyn (America Alone), also known as a Canadian humorist. Steyn specialises in Canada- and Europe-bashing. Collective health care, feminism, birth control, so he says, produce countries that are already lost to (Islamic) barbary. America alone, has to do the job. With crackpot wisdom, for instance, about the Istanbul Aya Sofia, that should be unislamized, he reaches a vast audience. Only a pity, that since 1939 the Aya Sofia building has been desacralized by the Turkish Parliament, and is a Museum now, with exhibits that illustrate the Christian as well as the Muslim history of the 5th Century edifice.
Another Europe-basher (when she is not trying to return to Europe) is Ajaan Hirsi Ali, a former Dutch parliamentarian of Somali origin, who is employed by the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington since 2006. She, or Daniel Pipes, could well have been the author of the WSJ-opinion under the heading:
"Silencing Islam's Critics - A Dutch Court Imports Saudi Blasphemy Norms to Europe."
It appeared two days after the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th US president, who stated that in the US there has to be a just place for Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Non-believers. Its conclusion:
The [Amsterdam] court yesterday overruled this decision [i.e: the August 2008 Prosecutor's decision NOT to prosecute Mr. Wilders, HR], arguing that the lawmaker should be prosecuted for "inciting hatred and discrimination" and also "for insulting Muslim worshippers because of comparisons between Islam and Nazism."
This is no small victory for Islamic regimes seeking to export their censorship laws to wherever Muslims reside. But the successful integration of Muslims in Europe will require that
immigrants adapt to Western norms, not vice versa.
Limiting the Dutch debate of Islam to standards acceptable in, say, Saudi Arabia, will only shore up support for Mr. Wilders's argument that Muslim immigration is eroding traditional Dutch liberties.
Well, the point is, that Mr. Wilders is not seriously criticizing Islam as a religion, but that he is all the time targeting all Muslims, representing them as a permanent danger. He summarily rejects any perspective of "working together for a more perfect union", even systematically refusing proposals for dialogue, made to him by Muslim groups.

Mr. Wilders has had all freedom of speech he could wish for. Now he has to bear the consequences of what he has been saying. The Dutch juridical system is not unlike any other in the Western world. On the issue of blasphemy, it is more liberal than the American practice. It is not of "blasphemy" that Wilders is accused, but of hate-mongering ("haatzaaien"). A nation that is committed to a peaceful togetherness of its citizens and to equality between gender, religion and ethnicity, has to protect itself against systematic hate-mongering.
It is as if the WSJ forgets, that US law is imposed upon the Ku Klux Klan racist hate-mongerers, and rightly so. No "freedom of expression" for them. And people who deny the Holocaust, should we give them "freedom of expression"? In France, Mr. Le Pen, also a parliamentarian and party leader, has been condemned more than once for hate-mongering against Jews and against immigrants from Africa. A former French Communist leader, turned Muslim, denied the Holocaust and was condemned in court, in spite of his old age. That is what a civilized society does. In Europe as well as in the US.

So, it is not about blasphemy, but about systematic racist agitation. And it is not about freedom of expression, but about hate-mongering by someone who knows that he is lying. Or, maybe, he doesn't know, but then a psychiatric team has to be called in.

Back to the WSJ and its tendency to find European (Canadian) giving in ("appeasement", "capitulation"), to the Enemy (in an earlier phase, it was: "soft on Communism"), as a main cause for the actual woes in Wall Street.

As always, its explanation comes from inner policy.
Murdoch and his WSJ team cannot (yet) attack openly the new course of president Obama, who pleads for American-European dialogue, with the approval of a large majority in the US. Therefore, it is being done by the way of a bit of misinformation about an event, most Americans do know near to nothing about.

It all boils down to a cowards' intrigue, to sabotage the new American foreign policy, an offense to a Democracy that defends itself (the contrary to "appeasement"!) and to the integrity of Dutch justice. (Which might come handy in, where the The Hague International Courts for genocide and war crimes are concerned, that are boycotted by the US, and that will have a role in prosecuting war criminals from recent conflicts.)

Well, and if the WSJ is so concerned about Saudi "norms" (which it should be), what about an oil boycott against that regime?

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