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

AT HOME IN EUROPE [EU] (at EURACTIV)
- In Europa Zu Hause [DE]
- L'Europe Chez Soi [FR]
- At Home in Europe [EN]
- In Europa Thuis [NL]

Monday, September 06, 2010

Major pro-Israel giver funds ‘Jihad Watch’ and Wilders' hate-trip to New York

Geller, Wilders, celebrating in LA, 2009
My God, when even the Jerusalem Post is questioning the funding and the motives of the planned 9-11 meeting against the Islamic Center's new premises in Lower Manhattan, why should I refrain then, from mentioning again the scandal of Mr. Geert Wilders' participation in it?

The JP says (September 4) in nits article Major pro-Israel-giver funds ‘Jihad Watch’:
Jihad Watch, the group that is organizing a rally against the planned Islamic center timed for the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 2001 attacks, is funded by Freedom Center, a conservative group based in Los Angeles.

An investigative report appearing on the online version of Politico on Saturday says that it has confirmed that the 'lion's share' of the $920,000 funneled through Freedom Center to Jihad Watch over the last three years originated with Joyce Chernick.
The JP mentions a flurry of US Jewish lobbying- and anti-Islamic groups that have been funded by Chernick and the "Freedom Center".
A number of these groups, including the Investigative Project, the ADL and the ZOA, have positioned themselves as opposed to the Islamic center. Other Jewish groups, led by the Reform movement, have been outspoken in supporting the center.

Jihad Watch, founded by Robert Spencer, has in recent months taken on board Pamela Geller, the New York-based blogger who launched efforts to stop the center's building.
Jihad Watch and Wilders claim that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf would be a "radical" and "being funded" by Islamic fundamentalists.
The funding smear was exposed as utterly ridiculous, when it was revealed that the main Saudi investor in the Center is a major shareholder of hate-mongering Fox News as well. Look at: Amerikaanse Wilders-vrienden schieten in eigen voet! [NL] (comment in Dutch, video in English).

Even if you are a (Sufi!) Muslim who loves your country and its institutions, it seems near to impossible to escape the lies and accusations coming from people like Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller:
Rauf has spoken overseas on behalf of the U.S. State Department, under the Obama and Bush administrations, and has described the United States as a nation whose freedoms benefit Muslims.
He also eulogized Daniel Pearl, the Jewish journalist murdered in 2002 by Pakistani Islamists, by saying that such victims demand a response from Muslims that they, too, are Jews.
But the mere fact that Rauf is a Muslim, is enough for the agitators to depict him as a very dangerous foe of the USA. ("The so-called moderate Muslims are the most dangerous" - Ajaan Hirsi Ali)
We understand very well, that Geert Wilders shares those ideas. They are his daily mantra in Holland and Europe. He is going to say things about President Obama at Ground Zero on 9-11, that even Spencer and Geller do not dare to say. That might be the very reason why they pay with money from innocent Jewish contributors for his flight to New York.
The Jerusalem Post concludes with this remark:
The Islamic center's opponents, led by Jihad Watch, have demanded an accounting of the proposed center's donors, although Rauf has of yet barely raised funds for the center.
And YES: Where does the MONEY come from? It will be somewhat difficult for Geert Wilders to support just this one demand. Wilders himself hides in Holland the sources of the funding of his organization, of which he is the one and only member. A political party organized like a mafia: At least, that would be unthinkable under US Law.

But, alas, our hysterical anti-Islam agitators are not afraid of living in paradoxes and incompatibilities.
For they are not held to account by the men and women we elected to protect our state of law.

Which is at this point of time one of the main roots of European and American troubles.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wertheim: Modern-day Racism: A Mixture That Calls for Some Clarification | Informed Comment

In front of the tsunami of discrimination and hate-mongering against foreigners and their families, that invades Europe here and now, too few are the voices of intellectuals and scientists, who master the courage to say what they know is the truth: Modern-day hate-mongering is following the same road as recent waves of hate, discrimination, pogroms, ethnic cleansing and mass-extermination rode, just before they burst into collective aggression, war and death. 

In Germany, recently, a team of sociologists, historians and media-experts scrupulously researched the stunning parallels between the genesis of European antisemitism after the emancipation of Jews thanks to the French Revolution during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and modern anti-Islamism. I published an authorized summary of it in HUIBSLOG: Antisemitismus und Islamophobie – Neue Feindbilder, alte Muster [DE] in June 2010. In French (and mostly translated into English), similar studies by Olivier Roy: La sainte ignorance. Le temps de la religion sans culture. (2008).


University Of Michigan Professor (History) Juan Cole publishes a Blog (Informed Comment) since 2002. He is a fine expert of the Muslim world, its history and its diversity. Two of his most recent books are here:

Engaging the Muslim World (2009) sets a possible course for the new Obama administration, doing away with the neocon-inspired Bush "war against evil states".

Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East (2007) develops a historic parallel between Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Egypt in 1797-99 and the 2003 Bush war against Iraq.

Cole generates a daily stream of posts that deal with the real developments "on the ground" in the Middle East and Asia and intervenes into US debates, learned and less learned, that develop around those issues.

Now and then, Cole publishes a "guest editorial" by another expert. Amsterdam-based retired journalist and writer Anne-Ruth Wertheim develops her father²)'s analysis of the different types of racism here, inspired by the rise of Mr. Wilders' political career, based on discrimination and hate-mongering. Wilders' ideas are racist, in her view. She explains, what mixture of racisme we have to to do with, here.
²) (Prof. Wertheim, Amsterdam University, one of my teachers there during the Sixties)

Ruth Wertheim is announced as follows at Informed Comment (IC):
Anne-Ruth Wertheim is a journalist and the author of various books including De gans eet het brood van de eenden op, mijn kindertijd in een Jappenkamp op Java (The Goose Snatches the Bread from the Ducks, My Childhood in a Japanese Prison Camp on Java, 1994). An Indonesian translation of the book was published in March 2008.She works with the concepts of exploitation/colonial racism (contempt or condescension) and cultural/competition racism (envy and distrust).
Wertheim: Modern-day Racism: A Mixture That Calls for Some Clarification | Informed Comment:
Posted on August 30, 2010

Anne-Ruth Wertheim writes a guest editorial for Informed Comment:

Propagators of modern-day racism, which is often called Islamophobia in an effort to take off the edge, claim that all they are doing is warning people about what they see as the danger of Islam, and that it has nothing to do with racism. But it is a misconception to think that racism only pertains to the physical features people are born with. Throughout history, cultural characteristics that people develop in the course of their lives have also been grounds for maligning and excluding certain groups. The competition racism that mercantile minorities all across the globe have been, and still are, confronted with, as well as the anti-Semitism in pre-WWII Europe, were imbued with cultural prejudices, and never failed to include the item of religion.

Nonetheless it is understandable that people feel confused. Modern-day racism is a mixture of two types of racism, exploitation or colonial racism and cultural or competition racism. Thus, while focusing primarily on a cultural aspect of the group, such as Islam, their religion, there still exists a focus on the group’s physical features. I will try to explain this in my article.

I was born in Indonesia when it was still a Dutch colony. I lived in a beautiful house with my parents and my little brother and sister. Like any child, I looked at the world as something that was just there. There were always Indonesian servants around who were quick to pick up anything I dropped. They would take my dirty clothes and give them back clean and neatly ironed. At breakfast every morning, my mother would sit at the table and talk to Kokki about what she would cook that day, Kokki squatting on the ground as they spoke. And when I was allowed to go along shopping, I would see Chinese proprietors bossing around Indonesians who swept the floors.

My view of the world consisted of three layers, with us white Dutchmen on top, the Indonesians at the bottom, and the Chinese in between.

From one day to the next my view of the world turned upside down when I was seven. World War II was raging in the Pacific and the Japanese occupied the Dutch East Indies. They set up a cruel regime that was to last for three and a half years and sent us and everyone else who was white to internment camps. We hardly had anything to eat, not much of anything else either, and were kept in line with a show of physical force. Our camp was guarded by Indonesian soldiers who were beaten just as hard by the Japanese as we were, though they were fed a lot better.

Now the Japanese were on top and we were at the bottom with the Indonesians in between.

Halfway through the war, the Japanese, who were allies of Nazi Germany, started to follow its example and separate Jews from non-Jews. My father, who was at an internment camp for men, was Jewish, but my mother, who was with me and my brother and sister at the women’s camp, was not. So we three children were half-Jewish and the Japanese threatened to separate us by force from our mother. To keep that from happening, my mother decided to register as Jewish herself and all four of us went to the Jewish camp together.*

After the war our family returned to the Netherlands and I discovered that my father’s Jewish family had been almost entirely killed and my Jewish grandparents had committed suicide the day the Dutch capitulated to the German army.

Shortly before and during the war, both of my parents were gradually convinced of the legitimacy of the Indonesian people’s struggle for independence. As outsiders among other Dutch people, who still felt and thought in a very colonial way, our family had to endure a lot of aggression, which of course had great impact on me as a high school student.

So by that time I had experienced quite a bit of racism and violence and all kinds of images were tangled up in my mind. It was not until much later that I started to untangle the chaos of images. One of the people I learned from was my father, a sociologist of Southeast Asia, W. F. Wertheim. He drew a distinction between two types of racism:

1. Exploitation or colonial racism towards colonized peoples and blacks during slavery and Apartheid. They were considered stupid and lazy and unable to govern themselves, but good enough to do the heavy labour for the ruling white minority.

2. Competition or cultural racism towards mercantile minorities all across the globe who compete with the established majorities. The Chinese in Indonesia and Jews in pre-WWII Europe were considered sly and cunning and accused of wanting to rule the world.

Continuing in my father’s footsteps, I discovered a shift here in Europe and thus also in the Netherlands. The first guest workers from Turkey and Morocco were confronted with the familiar old-style colonial racism and they were looked down upon. As is witnessed by the numerous references in modern-day racism to the alleged inabilities of immigrants, this tendency to look down on these people is still very much in evidence. But now that their children and grandchildren are better able to compete, the racism is starting to exhibit more elements of competition racism and to focus more on their cultural features. It is turning against Muslims and in essence all non-Western immigrants.

So, at the moment, a shift can be observed from the colonial, exploitation type of racism that focuses on physical features to the cultural type of racism that focuses on cultural features such as religion. Being somewhere in the middle of this shift we now have to do with a mixture which combines elements from both types of racism.

This modern-day mixture is nicely illustrated by the language the extreme right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders uses, slyly intertwining looking down on people with inspiring fear of them.**


In this chart I show exactly where the differences lie between the two types of racism. To start with, they apply to totally different groups. This is directly linked to the kind of work they do and their economic position. In this connection, there is also a difference in the prejudices that are put into circulation. In colonial racism, the prejudices have to do with contempt and disdain and focus mainly on physical features, and in cultural racism they evoke fear and mainly focus on cultural features. The intentions behind the prejudices are completely in line with what they are supposed to justify, in one case exploitation, in the other exclusion.

When I write and talk about these two types of racism, something that always strikes me is how much more familiar the exploitation type of racism is to people than the competition type. Racism that pertains to groups that are forced to do the heavy work and are considered to be stupid and lazy, is widely known, and the human damage caused by colonial and post-colonial procedures is recognized manifold. But the other type of racism that pertains groups that are competitive and for that reason accused of being dangerous and striving for total domination, is amazingly unknown. Nevertheless this last type has also caused and still causes much damage in the world – ranging from pogroms on Chinese mercantile minorities everywhere in Asia, to the expulsion of the Indian- and Pakistani mercantile minority from Uganda, to what happened to the Jews in Europe.

It is also interesting to see what makes people believe in prejudices that they nonetheless prefer to keep to themselves. No one is about to admit how much they like feeling superior to another group. And in our competition-ridden society, envy and jealousy are frowned upon; anyone who has less than someone else has only himself to blame. This capitalistic ideology was aptly stated recently by Dutch right-wing politician Mark Rutte when he sardonically referred to a higher tax for the rich as jealousy tax. So it is no wonder people would rather not admit their envy towards the competitiveness of immigrants and prefer to be carried away by cheerleaders for the fear of Islam.

Lastly, the violence – be it extremely diverse – that accompanies each type of racism. In the case of exploitation racism, only a few rebellious individuals are publicly punished to keep everyone else in their place. The group as a whole, after all, has to remain healthy enough to do the hard work. But the intention of cultural racism is to exterminate an entire group or expel them from the country. History has shown that this kind of mass violence is set in motion once the epithets that really scare people have been uttered long and systematically enough about a specific group. It is not without reason that people who commit these acts of violence so often say that they had no choice, that it was self-defence. And in every case, the outbreak of violence was preceded by a sharper outlining of the group, accompanied by allusions to expulsion, and a stronger emphasis on recognizing members of the group.

With their seemingly purely economic question about the costs of all the non-Western immigrants and their children and their children’s children, the propagators of modern-day racism in the Netherlands recently put a group in the spotlight that everyone can recognize by the colour of their skin. This is going to mean trouble. But there is still time. Time for more and more people to understand the mechanisms that are in motion and opt for a future of peaceful coexistence.

* I tell this story in The Goose Snatches the Bread from the Ducks. My Childhood in a Japanese Prison Camp on the Isle of Java, which can be ordered on DVD or downloaded via this site.

** See This Link to my earlier essay at IC (Wilders' Lethal Words)
----------------------
Anne-Ruth Wertheim beloofde me vandaag een Nederlandse vertaling, die onmiddellijk zal worden opgenomen.
(Update 1/9/10:  NL versie is gepubliceerd in Huibslog: Anne-Ruth Wertheim: Hedendaags racisme, een mengvorm die verheldering verlangt [NL] en in De Lage Landen, plus Krapuul: Nuttig essay van Anne-Ruth Wertheim: Wilders’ koloniaal- en concurrentie-racisme)
Eerdere versies van bovenstaand artikel van Ruth Wertheim verschenen op Republiek Allochtonië en Weblog Anja Meulenbelt.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Worst imaginable scenario in Holland: The right negotiates an anti-social minority government , dependent on Wilders' votes

SP party cartoon: Wilders calls the shots...
I have been wrong. Wilders' one-man PVV "party", a mafioso construction controlling 24 out of 150 parliamentarians in the Dutch administrative capital The Hague is not excluded, no, it it calling the shots, for the moment.

Election-winner VVD (conservatives, 31/150) and election-loser CDA (Christian-Democrats, 21/150) agreed with the false-blond populist (PVV, 24/150) on August 9, 2010, to negotiate a coalition government program, to be implemented by a VVD-CDA team of Ministers, with the support of Wilders' acolytes, who will not participate personally in that Government. If nobody from the participating parties disagrees, that would provide a tiny second-chamber majority of 76/150, but a minority in the first chamber, the senate, where it would master a minority of 35/75.

The right is hoping for a landslide at the regional (provincial) elections in March, 2011, for the provincial parliaments who nominate the senate members.

The VVD and CDA agree on a 18 billion euro spending-cut program, without compensation by way of charging the wealthy and the banks who provoked the recent financial crisis. Wilders, who had himself elected on promises of no-cuts on pensions and welfare, agrees however, in so far as his program of apartheid and discrimination of immigrants, as well as his security proposals are honored by the two other parties.

What we see, is a devilish scenario. Wilders remains free, to develop his provocations and to terminate his collaboration with the Right at any moment that suits him. The Dutch welfare state is deconstructed by the thatcherite conservative VVD, while the CDA, I presume, will limit itself to protecting the corporatist structures it planted in Dutch society from the Fifties onwards.

Wilders already gave in on the retirement pension issue. Although he declared, before elections, that maintaining the retirement age at 65 years, was a "breaking point" for him and the PVV, three hours after closure of the ballot boxes in June, he said on television, that he was ready to accept a 67 year limit.

In an artistic move, Wilders created a national and international discussion about the pros and cons of his appearance at the SIOA meeting in New York on September 11 against the Park 51 inter-religious centre, where an Islamic worship room is planned. The public debate shifted as planned, from the barbarous cuts to "freedom of speech" with the US ultra-right.

We got a preview of the way in which an eventual minority rightist government will deal with that kind of provocations, as CDA-leader and acting foreign minister Verhagen timidly asked Mr. Wilders "to please consider the consequences of his deeds" for the international position of the Netherlands and its business interests.

Meanwhile, the not-right political side, kept quiet. Intimidated by Wilders' rhetoric and inapt to mobilize the majority of Dutch citizens who are staunchly against apartheid and discrimination on their doorsteps, they are waiting for a miraculous end to the Fortuyn-Wilders nightmare, hiding away in silence and hoping that somebody else than themselves, will take upon them the dirty task to tell the bare truth about Wilders' gliding to (neo-)fascism.

Yesterday, a relatively minor social-democrat eminence, senate-member Frans Leijnse, also professor at the respected Leyden University, finally crossed the border of silence and wrote an article for a nationwide daily, demonstrating that Wilders' party, the PVV, is to be considered as neo-fascist.

Too little, too late. The hate-poison has spread itself to wide proportions of the public. About Islam, anything goes, actually. People feel themselves abandoned, left alone. Lone rider Wilders has their sympathy. Attacking Wilders equals high treason.

The only solution, I see, is a grassroots campaign in the twelve Dutch regions (provinces) that shows how patient and democratic action creates a better life for all inhabitants of f.i. an urban neighborhood, without discrimination of newcomers. That shows, that the acolytes of Geert Wilders are empty-headed and supremacist. That makes clear, that the democratic left is not your enemy, but your ally.

Such a campaign will have to deal with the outrageous accusations from Wilders and his far-right Israeli and US allies, that the Left is part of a world-wide conspiracy that allies itself with Islamists in order to stay in power. Likewise, it will have to deal with religious fanatics, who reject any accommodation with western society. But why wouldn't it be feasible? It must be the right way to deal with 21st century problems. Common sense will accept credibility of peaceful social solutions. The democratic Left should take their own destiny in their hands and go forward.

There is no way back.
Anymore.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Painful Delivery of a new Dutch Government

Sunday night in Johannesburg, South Africa, one Spanish goal killed the orange coloured Dutch dreams about its Soccer World championship. Frustrating, but not really disastrous. For the Dutch found, like the French in 1998 and the Spanish today, an irrational but very real national, popular unity that includes every marginalised category in their society. This Tuesday night, a million people are expected in Amsterdam to celebrate their national team. A small half of the players are immigrants or sons of immigrants. Some of them, like Boularouch, have even roots in Islamic countries.
The orange national hysteria is a slap in the face of hate-mongerer Wilders. The message of the local, spontaneous manifestations is: "We are all together!" The institutionalised distinctions between people who have "roots" in Judeo-Christian culture and those who have not, that Wilders' PVV party wrote into its election program, are as redundant as can be, at this moment.
Like we predicted here on June 9, election eve, Wilders' party, that got 24 out of 150 seats in the Dutch Parliament, is as of now not a part of coalition negotiations for a new majority Government. The conservative liberal VVD party, who carried the elections with 31/150 seats, just before the Social-Democrats of the PvdA (30/150), could not avoid some days of negotiations with Wilders, just after the elections, with the objective of a right wing Government that needed the support of the big loser of the elections, the Christian-Democrats of the CDA (22/150). Such a combination would have controlled 76 out of 150 seats in the Lower House, but only a minority in the Upper House.
 Even while the fundamentalist protestant SGP party (2/150) offered it's support for such a combination, the new CDA leader, foreign minister Maxime Verhagen (who stands in for long-time MP Balkenende, who dismissed after his defeat), made an unheard-of move when asked to join the negotiations with VVD and PVV. First, he uninvited himself, saying that he preferred to wait for an eventual compromise between VVD and PVV. Then, provoked in a parliamentary debate, he stated clearly, that, in his opinion, a number of core ideas of Wilders were not compatible with the Dutch constitution and the rule of Law.
Verhagen mentioned specifically Wilders' idea of "war against Islam" as "the center of Dutch foreign policy", Wilders' 'kopvoddentax" idea (= making pay a tax by Islamic women who cover their heads) and their propositions for "ethnic registration" of all Dutch citizens.
Wilders, as is his way, avoided a direct debate about those points in Parliament and started "demonizing" the CDA leader, saying that he was playing into the hands of the "treacherous left". Even when VVD-leader Mark Rutte invited Wilders to start direct negotiations with him, Wilders said "no". Thus showing, that he is not really wishing to participate as a minority party in a Government, even if it is right-wing.
A quick and efficient reaction followed from the queen and her main adviser, Mr. Tjeenk Willink. The latter, as "informateur", analysed the situation and convinced everybody but Wilders, that the conservatives had to negotiate with the PvdA and its left-liberal allies of D66 and the Greens. Wilders was furious and demanded that Tjeenk be sent away.
But he was royally ignored and since last week, a VVD-PvdA dual team of "informateurs" is chairing daily meetings of VVD, PvdA and the two smaller parties.
To me, it is unclear, if these negotiations will succeed. An alternative, more centrist, VVD-PvdA-CDA, is explicitly NOT excluded.
Anyhow: Wilders is far from his announced role as PM or vice-PM. Maybe, Wilders has never seriously considered being part of a government at this point of time. Maybe, he is really disappointed. Difficult to know.
At this moment, Wilders is playing the card of "being excluded" by the traditional political caste. He may convince many people with that Calimero tactic. But I see also signs, that people are beginning to get tired of those histrionics. A majority of the Dutch support the effort the make a VVD-PvdA-coalition (Blue-Red-Plus).
Wilders'victory at the elections that got him 23 co-parliamentarians, might also prove a disaster in disguise. At best, his new colleagues are former parliamentary assistants, who never had to fight for a mandate, but who know the parliamentary dealings and wheelings. Most of them, however, are political nitwits, who range from Israeli agents and lobbyists, to religious fanatics of the "rapture" kind.
This whole situation could have been avoided, if more parliamentarians than the D66 and GroenLinks ones, would have spoken out more clearly from the beginning. Many democrats have been (and are still) intimidated by the Wilders speak. They feel (unjustly) responsible for the islamist threats against Wilders. As many among them have no real connections to the people, they tend to believe, that Joe and Johanna are really daily afraid of the Muslims.
It is no wonder, that, in a developed and civilized state as Holland is, the failure of politics is beginning to be compensated by the intervention of Justice (the hate-mongering procedure against Wilders in Amsterdam) and by the highest state councils (Raad Van State President -after the Queen- Tjeenk Willink). But, this odd country has also a very developed civil society. The Dutch are used to mend their own affairs. From ancient times on. Polders were managed by their inhabitants. Church consistories in the same way. Urban neighbourhoods with socio-economic difficulties develop their own solutions.
In the long run, I am sure, nobody will need Wilders' "Israeli" fantasies any more...
Least of all, Israel itself!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dutch PVV MP Raymond de Roon condemns Iran opposition, because ... they are muslims!

November 2009. Dutch Parliament in The Hague. A meeting of the Commission for international relations. Discussion about solidarity with the democratic Iranian opposition, that braved a few months ago the brutal suppression by the Iranian Government and its militias.
Mr. Raymond de Roon, MP for Mr. Wilders' PVV party has the floor.

About Raymond De Roon and his affiliations
Mr. De Roon is, up to now, one of the most educated members of what is commonly called the Wilders "gang" or "mafia" (for his party has no members and is led dictatorially by Geert Wilders). He has a fundamentalist Protestant background, was State-Prosecutor at several locations, and, as a student in the Seventies, joined a militia linked to the Gladio Network, that had as its objective to spread terrorism against Governments that were (in the Gladio vision) leaning too much to the left. Until his father forbade it.
Gladio is (or was) a network of former right-wing anti-Nazis and their kinsfolk in Europe, that, supported by NATO and CIA, infiltrated the Brigate Rosse in Italy, the RAF in Germany and the CCC in Belgium. All in the name of anti-Communism. So far, so good.

But Gladio started also to manipulate those terrorist organizations, for instance in 1977, when the Brigate Rosse took hostage and killed the president of the Italian Christian Democrats who was preparing a "historical compromise" with the big Communist Party of Italy for sharing Government responsibility. And more: During the left-leaning Den Uyl Government in Holland, the Dutch air force staged a Gladio-inspired intimidating overfly of the Parliament opening ceremony in The Hague (1975). And worse: It is commonly assumed that terrorist attacks against innocent civilians in Belgium (the Delhaize murders) and in Italy (the Milan and Bologna bombs, 1977) were also the work of De Roon's friends in the Gladio network and its associates.

The young Raymond was no more associated with Gladio at that point. He finished his studies and joined a fundamentalist protestant party in Holland (Wiki), became a party official, but quit his work as a prosecutor and his positions in the religious party in order to become an associate of Geert Wilders.
I say "associate", for, as it must be known by now, Geert Wilders' PVV "party" has no members, except Mr. W. himself. This particularity is not against the actual Dutch Law. It is the responsibility of former Dutch parliaments, that they have not established normal rules of accountability and transparency for parties that intend to participate in elections. Several European authorities have warned the Dutch, that this is not acceptable. Nevertheless, the European Parliament has since 2009, 9 Dutch PVV-members, who are not legitimately elected (Europeanly speaking) and make it their daily work to sabotage the European construction, sending the excess of their remunerations to the Wilders fund.

We return to November 23, in the Dutch Parliament at The Hague. The video is provided by Samerspace, who have made a series of odd PVV-interventions.




0:20 Raymond de Roon (RdR) The Government assumes incorrectly that a mitigated Islam is in existence.
And that there would be a peaceful Islam. Mr. President, there is NO such a thing as a peaceful Islam. Government would be well advised, when they would make that a central issue of their intervention in international fora.
0;45 Thus, not only condemn the suppression of the opposition in Iran, but also condemn the religion, the Islam, that inspires that suppression.
1:01 Another member of Parliament asks Mr. De Roon: But shouldn't we support those opposants?
And Mr. De Roon answers: "But they are also muslims. Yes, we should "facilitate" their actions. But nobody can guarantee, that they are not muslims...
1:47 RdR: Are they really engaged in overthrowing the Islamic Government, or are they only opposed to certain manifestations of it at this moment?"
1:53 RdR: I have seen few people who say: I am a Muslim and I want that in Iran there will be complete freedom.
2:02 Heckler: "You have seen few people, but you have seen them. Conclusion: They exist!"
RdR: That was an understatement. I did not see them!
2:22: (Opponent is outraged and stresses his point, that people, out of their creed (Islam) have risked their lives, that all this has been on TV over the whole world.)
2:47: RdR: Of course, I have seen those outrages of the regime. But I have not heard anybody of them (opposants) say, that they would like to leave Islam, that oppressive political ideology.
3:05: RdR: It is simply an affair of Muslims who are fighting amongst themselves.
3:12: RdR: I support, of course their resistance. But that does not mean, that I am trusting them. Finally, they may have fought for another shape of Islamic suppression. Iran will not be a modern, free, western society in that way.
3:27 (Opponent repeats, that people have been fighting for freedom and liberty to celebrate their religion in the way they want.)
3:44 RdR: I am not opposed to support Iranian people who fight against that despicable regime, but I am not convinced, that they would convert themselves and reject that despicable fascist ideology of Islam, that only gives birth to violence and terror.
I have not translated the interlaced comments from Samerspace.
I hope, you will understand, that Mr. Wilders' enterprise is inspired by hatred and supremacism.
Mr. Raymond De Roon is a staggering example for the loony-ism that Islamophobia generates.
Enjoy and think!
Is this the Europe you want?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Belgium Upside Down

In surrealist-minded Belgium, a stupid error may easily turn into a wise comment.
French TF1 Television channel was going to inform their public, yesterday night, about the actual political turmoil in the neighbouring country. A map was needed, to indicate where Belgium is, and how it is divided in three regions.
Here is the map. Please, find the TWO biggest errors:

You saw it!
The French speaking Walloons are living in the Southern part of Belgium and the Dutch speaking Flanders people live in the North. That is the first error. The second one is less evident for everybody who is not Belgian. The third Belgian region is the Brussels agglomeration. It lies just some Kilometers north of Wallonia and not in the middle of Flanders. An informed French blogger jubilated ironically: ‘This is a final solution to the Belgian mess! French speaking Brussels in the middle of Wallonia, in stead of being surrounded by frustrated Flemish.’ Only the mutual ethnic cleaning between North and South, would be somewhat onerous…
Why is that turning upside-down of the Belgian crisis so funny?
You should know, that the division of the country into regions is language-based. Dutch-speaking Belgians were overlorded by French-speaking elites since Belgian independence (1830, from Holland). A cultural, regional and political upsurge of the Flemish since the end of the 19th century, forced the Brussels and Walloon bourgeois to accept equality of the two main national languages first, and subsequently a series of state-reforms that leaves Belgium as it is now: a country governed by the two main (linguistic) regions, each jealously guarding its prerogatives. Even international trading has become a regional matter!
(Imagine the Chinese, receiving a Belgian economic mission, that is split up between Flemish, Walloons and representatives of the separate Brussels region! This really happened a few years ago. I’m told, that the Chinese are still laughing…)
Most problems about frontiers are about asymmetry. In Belgium, we have an asymmetry between language and soil. If you divide a country along linguistic lines, you have to take into account, that there are areas of mixed language that do not fit into your scheme.
This is, where the capital, Brussels comes in.
Brussels
A long time ago, Brussels was a Flemish city. We are speaking about the early Middle Ages. Then the Bourguignons came in and attached the whole of the Low Countries (the actual Benelux) to their powerful French duchy. Court- and bureaucratic language became French, the Church turned French. Later on, the Spanish Habsburgs were masters of the country, speaking French. Next (beginning 18th century) came the Austrian Habsburgs, guarding the country against the Dutch, the French and the English and fighting many wars on its soil. The last 18th century war, the one against the French Revolution, they lost. The French sansculottes occupied Belgium and Brussels. Napoleon I even made Belgium part of the French ‘nation’, splitting it up into French Départements. The Vienna arrangements of 1815 gave the Austrian Low countries to the new Dutch king. William I did not bother much about language. His latest spouse was a member of the French speaking Belgian nobility. The Belgian revolution of 1830 was made in Brussels by the new higher middle class of traders and industrialists, closely tied to mighty Great-Britain.
That is why the city (or: region) of Brussels became, in majority, a French speaking city. It has in some neighbourhoods still authentically Flemish speaking citizens and in some places, people mix up both languages in a creative potpourri.  There are no Flemish or French neighbourhoods, anybody can live everywhere. So, Brussels could not fit into the linguistic definitions of the ‘State-Reforms’. And it would not, either, for it has a mission of being a capital, as well for the 60% Flemish majority, as for the 40% French speaking minority in Belgium.
If you consider Brussels as an exception, you have to allow that it is a BIG exception. Brussels bilingual region has 1,2 million inhabitants. Greater Brussels (the agglomeration and surroundings) can claim 2 millions out of a total of 11 million Belgians.
The frontiers between the linguistic regions have been fixed in 1962. After half a century, you may assume, that there have been some changes to the linguistical composition of some areas next to the “frontiers”. This is of course more than true for the growing Brussels agglomeration. To cut it short: Some rural communities around Brussels receive an influx of French-speaking inhabitants, and, as the EU develops, also of many Eurocrats, who do not speak French, maybe, but certainly not Dutch, in most cases.
As an immigrant into Brussels since twenty years, I admire the loose way in which common citizens in the city as well as in the rural communities around it, cope with the linguistical problems in day-to-day life. “Les Belges se débrouillent” - the Belgians find a way out. That is the result of many centuries of foreign occupation, I think. The Belgians let their politicians do and find their own solutions among themselves. In that respect, I see no distinction between Walloons, Flemish or ‘Brusseleers’.
The aloofness of my new compatriots has its merits. But it is also responsible for a surrealistically complicated government, that is the playing ground of regional politicians who are unable to swallow the compromises that inevitably have to be made for the survival of the Belgian contraption.
As I told on several occasions before this, the irresponsible politics of Flemish separatists and Walloon regionalists, are suffocating the city of Brussels, which, on its own, provides 20% of the economic strength of the country. The last citizens rebellion of Brussels (against the Burgundian aristocracy) dates from the 1511 carnival. Will 2011 see a repeat of it?
I must confess: I hope so!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Urban Legends abour Muslims are a Disaster for the Dutch international Standing (1)

How the Dutch extreme-right wing exploitation of islamophobia is really bad for The Netherlands' international reputation...

Today, three examples of the international echo in English of the actual Dutch obsession with urban legends about Muslims.

1. The US Loonwatch site about Tariq Ramadan.
Ramadan, a Geneva-based Islamic scholar, was engaged by Rotterdam city to teach 'Integration' at the Rotterdam University and to advise the Rotterdam City about how to deal with its immigrants from Islamic countries. Ramadan was controversial at the time of this engagement. The US had banned his entry into the States (2005).

Four years it took the successors of Pim Fortuyn (still an important party in the local council), to find finally a "stick to beat the dog". Tariq Ramadan commented on an Iranian website on Israel. What he said, was not in the least belligerent or out of place. No, the FACT that Ramadan co-operated with an Iranian programme was sufficient. He was sent away by both the local authority and the University.

Tariq Ramadan is a theoretician. Not a civil servant. His family may have ties with the original Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which was an Arabic intellectual movement for modernization of the Islam. The actual fundamentalist Muslim Brothers are in favor of the contrary: Back to the Roots! They are not in favor of Saudi Wahhabism, but (too) often, they link up with it.

The original Muslim Brotherhood took its inspiration from the Enlightenment. The founders were in narrow contact with the European Freemasons. I.e. the people who helped Christianism to become rational and who invented the Separation of State and Religion. Just like the Founders of the United States of America, when they signed the Declaration of Independence.

That is, what I hear, when I listen to Tariq Ramadan. And that is, what I think, should be the message, our Muslim immigrants will have to understand. You can preserve the whole richness of your religion and culture, provided, you become a decent citizen (if you aren't already) of the Western society that is receiving you in its midst.
It can be argued, that Ramadan's message is too intellectual, too abstract, for Moroccan (Berber) farmers from the Rif region, who constitute the bulk of Rotterdam city's Muslim immigrants. That is not Tariq's fault. For their way of thinking and perceiving, there exist other strategies, that may help to calm the problematic relations with the other cultures that are to be found in the City of Rotterdam. The mayor and his aldermen should have thought about that, five years ago.

Like Ajaan Hirsi Ali, ironically, Tariq Ramadan was ousted by the Dutch, to find a refuge in ... the US. While Ajaan was (during the Bush reign) welcomed by the Neocons of the American Enterprise Institute, Ramadan is going to teach at a Catholic University in the Midwest.

The New York Times, today, has an article about President Obama's tranquil way, to engage American Muslims, after their marginalization and the mistrust they are exposed to, due to the Bush demagogy. Engaging Ramadan, is part of it.

It is a shame to the Dutch, that their country, formerly known as a refuge for original thinkers like Spinoza, Descartes, etc., is sending them away now, tarnishing their reputation.

Like Dutch entrepreneurs and tycoons said before (and who are we, to contradict them on this point?): Mr. Wilders and his supporters are doing a big disfavor to the country.
The country they say they love so much more than us, the "cultural relativists" who continue to open up to new and old contributions to our society.

Here is the first one we'd like to show to you:

Posted at loonwatch.com on 16 April 2010: "Tariq Ramadan, “stealth jihadist,” exposed!"

Tariq Ramadan
As you know, Dr. Tariq Ramadan - Muslim scholar, writer, and thinker - has had his visa to enter the country reinstated, and he used this to his advantage: speaking at various engagements across the United States. We here at LoonWatch alerted our fellow citizens of the arrival of the “stealth jihadist,” coining the terminology of Robert Spencer. Yet, we didn’t want to stop just there. We wanted to report on what this man was saying."
Loonwatch.com had a stealth observer at Tariq Ramadan's Chicago annual banquet speech for CAIR.
The man reported that Ramadan concluded his speech with the following dangerous incitement:
His final words were this: Never forget that you Muslims are American. He urged them to speak about Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine, and do so as Americans, not Muslims. Moreover, Muslims need to institutionalize their presence in America: Muslims need institutions, and they must work with all people. The key is confidence and humility: be confident about your position, but be humble at the same time.
Part 2 and 3 will feature the urban legends that are rocking Holland and Wilders' stealthy way of associating with racist persons and websites.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Godless Europeans, are they being punished economically? (Fox news)

Fox News knows best - We, Europeans are a bunch of godless and hapless idiots!
(Thanks to Politblogger.eu - Dietmar Näher, Germany)

No, the following video is not a fake. Fox news is serious about the causes of Europe's economic problems: It is "Secularity" and "abandoning God", that cause our "decline".

This is an illustrationn of the growing cultural gap between (part of) the US and Europe.

Personally, I do not believe in that gap. The fundamental values of the US Constitution are part of the European Enlightenment. Europe is being nurtured by American contributions to our common culture, civilization, economy and philosophy. From more than a hundred years on. A fertile exchange.

The eternal urge, however, to build up an enemy corresponding to one's own image, has been let loose. The Nazis under Hitler built an "East Coast" enemy, the Jewish capitalist. Turning the mirrors at a 180° degree, Fox News constructs an European "pagan" enemy who is disturbing the otherwise paradisaic world of US free market capitalism. We, Europeans, became pagans, and God is punishing us with economic disasters!

I am in favor of developing an European common identity. But not at the price of hate and mistrust of US-American culture. Nor of any other cultural identity. That would be stupid and counter-productive. Neither US-American thinking, nor Islamic thinking can be severed from Europe.

Europe is rich enough in itself. It should welcome any possible contribution and ponder it.
Provided, we do so together!

Monday, March 22, 2010

L.A., May 1st: Spencer and Geller Celebrate St. Geert Wilders, a Loony Prophet from Holland

Pamela Geller* (Atlas Shrugs) and Robert Spencer ** (Jihad Watch), are not the kind of people, Geert Wilders likes to show himself off with. In Europe, that is.
On May 1st, in Los Angeles, he will do, what he avoids doing in Europe: Associate openly with 100% racist loonies, suprematists and war-mongerers.



(Wilders and Pamela, Spencer, Los Angeles, May 2009)

Again. For Wilders' outrageous and hollow hate-speech (I have no time to give you a link) against Muslims, Obama and Liberals in May last year in the same LA, has left his US adorators longing for more. They have produced a one-hour long movie "Islam Rising", featuring Geert Wilders as "the Winston Churchill Of Our Times (Pamela)".
In Europe, Wilders is accepting and cashing passively support, money, adoration, celebration and flattery from nazist, revanchist, ultra-zionist and racist personalities and groups, like
  1. the Vlaams Belang (former Dutch-speaking Nazi-associates in Belgium, getting about 20% of the vote in their region),
  2. the French Front National of Mr. Le Pen (ultra-nationalist, anti-arabian revanchists, 17% at the last French elections),
  3. British and Danish white suprematist groups like SIEO,as well as rightist anti-European movements like UKIP in Britain and a similar party in Denmark,
  4. German Nazi-Nostalgics from the NPD, but also "modern" German, Swiss and Austrian racists, who say that they are inspired by the actual Israeli politics, such as the "Politically Incorrect" hate blog and others.
But Wilders NEVER acknowledges their support and, at the same time, NEVER explicitly dissociates himself from those (hidden) anti-semites, either.
He thinks that he can get away with Likud and Israel Beteinu support, for the Dutch feel guilty about the huge number of Jews, carried away 1940-45 from Holland to Auschwitz with the active and passive help from many among them, and they will not dare to discuss Holocaust.
He also thinks, that he can get away with Daniel Pipes, whom he invited as an "expert" to his Dutch hate-mongering trial. In fact, I think, that Wilders is completely dependent on Israeli-US financing of his agitation. That is why, for instance, he announced his solidarity with an ethnic cleansing of Palestinians (muslim AND christian) from Palestine, NOT in Dutch Parliament, but in Copenhague, so as to satisfy his Israeli-American sponsorers, without provoking an upsurge among the Dutch, who oppose of course nearly all such an outrage.




 Enjoy (above) the trailer of the Spencer-Geller movie celebrating the clown Wilders!

*) Pamela Geller, the looniest blogger ever, her site and her evaluation at Loonwatch.com
**) Robert Spencer, his site and his evaluation at Loonwatch.com
-----
Please, join us at the LA information campaign, against anti-semitism, against anti-muslimism and against anti-Holland agitation, at a meeting on May 1st in Los Angeles, time and location to be announced soon!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Clinton and Ashton: US-EU Girl Power Made Netanyahu Climb Down


The three "40+ breakthroughs"
  • Hillary Clinton spent 40+ minutes on the telephone with Israeli PM Binjamin Netanyahu, making it perfectly clear that, this time, the Obama Administration would not accept "No" for an answer to its demands that Israel puts an end to its provocations.
  • In a first show of which impact a united European stand can have on Washington's capacity to effectively change its policies in the Obama way, Catherine Ashton braved Israeli objections and visited Hamas-governed Gaza Strip on a 40+ hours' mission.
  • Combined US and European action made the overconfident rightwing Netanyahu-Lieberman Government give in within another 40+ hours.

Israeli Government gives in and works at damage-control
This morning's Guardian brings a first evaluation: Israel's Binyamin Netanyahu in climbdown over US demands for peace.
The key issue of the clash between the US and Israel was the provocatively announced construction of 1.600 Jewish flats in the contested East Jerusalem area. The Guardian:
He [Netanyahu] did not announce, as the US had demanded, a freeze on the construction of Jewish homes in Ramat Shlomo, in East Jerusalem, the key point at issue.
But diplomats in Washington, Moscow and Jerusalem said Netanyahu had given a private promise that there will be a temporary freeze on any new construction. The work, while not cancelled, is to be postponed for several years.
Substantial negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are still far away. But this could be a turning point. The Guardian points out, that:
Obama and Clinton stand to gain from the Israeli retreat, which will heighten their reputation among the Palestinians and in the Arab world. Obama and Clinton were left looking weak after a similar stand-off with Israel last September when peace talks failed to get under way.
The EU as a whole is in an awkward position concerning the Middle East. They have big security interests at stake, much more important than those of the US.
During the G.W.Bush administrations, a divided Europe had to remain powerless at the side-lines, when its vital interests were put in danger by the 2003 Iraq invasion, by the Bush-supported killing of the remains of the Oslo arrangements, by the ill-inspired Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006 and, last but not least, the Cheney-handcrafted 2008 Georgian disaster (where Israeli "advisers" to the Georgian army played a key role).
A story of exacerbated European divisions
Most of the time, Europe was divided. In 2002/2003, divisions between the Blair-led UK and the other bigger EU powers France and Germany, were even exacerbated, as Blair harangued most fresh Eastern European EU-members and, to a still undisclosed measure, Balkenende's Holland, at the side of the US Neocon Iraq scheme. A lasting European rift was avoided, thanks to the stupidity of US post invasion policies in Iraq, that brought soon striking evidence of the underlying fraud and made it clear, how much the Iraq adventure was and is contrary to every possible European interest.
As part of the big powers' Oslo Quartet, the EU did not weigh much upon the steady dismantling of the two-state solution. As a "useful idiot", the EU furnished and still furnishes, the bulk of the international financial support to the Palestinian Authority, only to see its investments repeatedly destroyed by Israeli bombs (harbour, airport).
And Tony Blair again: As a Quartet appointed facilitator of negotiations in the region, what has he done?

During the 2006 Lebanon invasion, the EU found more of a common stand than before. It helped and helps, thanks to the wisdom of many Lebanese leaders, to maintain a shaky cease-fire at the Northern border of Israel. But proposals by the German Foreign Secretary Fischer, to extend the EU peace operation to areas of conflict between Israel and Palestine, fell on deaf ears.
Another result of the US failures, their pro-Likud stubbornness and their open contempt of the NATO allies, has been, now and then, a revival of outdated particular claims in the Middle East from former European colonizers and mandate-holders. France saw an opportunity, for instance, after the murder of Hariri in Lebanon, to reassert some of its former influence there, as the US hopelessly failed in understanding the particular dynamics of that multicultural society. That did not help to forge a common European stand, either.

Georgia: A turning point in retrospect
But Sarkozy's unique and rapid intervention (as he happened to be president of the EU in 2008) in the Georgian conflict, showed for the first time, that the EU can deal independently with its own interests in the wider region, if it acts quick and undivided.
While Cheney himself was desperately stoking conflict in defeated Tbilissi, France made for the EU an honorable compromise with Moscow that the Bush administration had to bow to.
This was exceptionally possible because of the halfheartedness of the US intrigue in Georgia.
For, in a general way, it is a hard fact, that the EU only can progress in its international security policy, if it is not going against the US and/or Russia's.
A united stand of the EU, even at this moment of the still fledgling Ashton mission, will also influence US and Russian positions, like it seems to me, that has happened now by way of the surprising Gaza initiative of the EU's Ashton.

Let us give the two-girls power a chance!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Obama Health Care Reform is at a Tipping Point. For Europe, too

The historical struggle in Washington about Health Care Reform went mostly under the horizon of the European mainstream press, lastly. 

One understands why. The procedure got stuck, last autumn, in the dark alleyways of US decision-making on the federal level. 
For it is complicated to understand, why a Senate and a House of Representatives, both with a comfortable 50%+ majority of Democrats, cannot agree on a set of arrangements that are, since dozens of years, part of the civilization of most EU countries: Collective insurance, guaranteeing access to health care for every citizen.

Most European countries have adopted a mixed system, where state guarantees and tax measures facilitate commercial insurance companies as well as non-profit co-operatives in providing basic health care to every citizen (and, in many instances: even to non-citizen inhabitants). Paradoxically, Great Britain, champion of privatization, is an exception: It has a completely state-governed NHC system. Even Ms. Margaret Thatcher proved unable to change things there...

What the Obama team is proposing in the United States, is nothing more than a first step into a world, where the 20% not-assured- and the 25% insufficiently protected citizens, will get access to a compulsory (yes!) basic protection against being left behind, when they fall ill. 

The conservative-Democrat and Republican foes of the Reform, are divided as for their motives:
  • loss of profit for private insurance companies (representatives sponsored by insurance comps and medicine producers)
  • too much state (federal) intrusion into private citizen responsibilities (libertarians and their ilk)
  • angst for state constraint on decisions on life and death, on abortion and on church-prohibited matters - imagining local "death committees", repayment of abortion charges, advantages for illegal immigrants and making God-abiding citizens pay for other people's sins while caring AIDS patients, for instance (here we find the fundamental Christian Right together with the Libertarians).
President Obama is not only a fine expert of the American Constitution and its guarantee for all citizens to be able to struggle for happiness, but he is also influenced by the Chicago School of Community Development. This School has adopted the view, that (local) emancipation of people in disadvantaged situations is best served, when their aspirations are coupled with advantages for the men and women in power. The result is a, you could say, rather cynical and resolutely NON ideological approach to empowerment. New coalitions are to be built around every step forward to emancipation and more equality.
That is why, in my opinion, President Obama has spent so much effort and time in building a large and diversified majority for his health care plans, leaving behind, under way, many principles of it, in exchange for support from people of whom he hoped that they would find more (immediate) profit in supporting the laws, than in refuting them.
As the American economy and the American private-public relations are different from the same, when you are dealing with a difficult urban neighborhood, this strategy did not work. Even a provisionally Senate-adopted set of laws, full of "pork"*), could not pass the hurdle of a 60% majority in the Senate.
So, to my relief, Obama changed recently his strategy and decided to use legal means at the disposal of the Presidency and the Democrat majorities in House and Senate. There is nothing revolutionary in that. Former president G. W. Bush made his outrageous tax-cuts for the rich also into law in that way. And he had a smaller majority than Obama.
This Rooseveltian (regulating the cisis-ridden economy during the 30's) and Johnsonian (social system and race equality) Obama-operation, is nearing its completion, these days. It is more than due. Liberal support is withering away, and "tea-party" like demagogy is not only on the move in the US, but also in Europe and in Israel.
In Europe, a Wilders does not hide his contempt for Obama (Copenhague and recently in London), an Ulfkotte spreads his venom on German websites, etc. The Israeli Government humiliated the Obama administration with its continuing colonizing policy.
As of March 15, it seems, when we believe Slate magazine, that the Health Care Bill will be rightly and legally forced on Congress:

March 15, 2010: "I have no intention of not passing this bill," says Speaker Pelosi. She doesn't have the votes, as her own whip, James Clyburn, said yesterday on Meet the Press. But pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak told National Review late Friday, "they've been able to peel one or two of my 12," and he sounds discouraged: "It's almost like some right-to-life members don't want to be bothered." That sounds more like five or six. Fox News calculates Pelosi has 211 of the required 216, with many still undecided, while Nate Silver guesses she'll get "between 216 and 218." Nobody has a clue, but the mood is upbeat. Chance of passage: 55 percent.

Slate's "Whipometer" indicates a small but real opportunity that the bill will pass later this month.
The European Stake
The European stake in this titanic fight is big. If Obama looses, he will be weakened in all possible fields where Europeans need the support of the US for policies that differ from those that were pursued by the Bush-Cheney administration: Iran, Israel-Palestinian peace, world-wide regulation of hedge funds and credit swaps, Afghanistan, engaging Russia, engaging the Muslim world, nuclear disarmament and also climate change policies.

More so, a continuous divergence between the US- and European(-Canadian) social systems, would kill the necessary harmonization and cooperation in the globalized world economic and financial field. Only if, what I cannot bring over myself to imagine, Europe would abandon its "aquis" in the social field, a harmonization the other way around, would set the conditions for a (doomed) Atlantic supremacist "white 21st century".

There is much at stake in Washington for Europe, the next weeks!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Wise Man sets the Course for Europe in the World

Due to my travelling to meet Central and East European friends in order to discuss with them the problems of redeveloping urban neighbourhoods in crisis, I missed the newly elected European Council President Herman van Rompuy's historical intervention at the Bruges European Academy.
Here follows a part of it (in English):
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Herman van Rompuy speaking at the Bruges Europe College, March 6, 2010.

Van Rompuy is very well aware of his powerlessness. He was chosen by the Sarkozies, the Merkels and the Browns just because of his lack of sex-appeal and supposed lack of ambition, over candidates like Holland's J.P.Balkenende or Letlands former president.
One thing is sure, read my lips, the man is terribly UNDERestimated.
Listen to his Jesuit-, finely tuned-, rebuttal of sarkozist and insular British policies.
Even Eurosceptic Tony Barber of the London Financial Times admitted graciously, that the Van Rompuy speech had class and substance, compared to the voidness of the actions and words of baroness Catherine Ashton, EU foreign secretary.
A full analysis of Van Rompuy's words is under review.
Please, download and read the full text of the Van Rompuy opinion at Consilium Presidential Service in Brussels (English).
.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Holocaust education is to encourage reflection, not to encourage a taboo.


Nuremberg U-Bahn station "Walther-Rathenau-Platz, 6 März 2010       Photo: tofoto
T: I: S, (Steinberg Recherche, March 8, 2010.
(All in German)
With thanks to Claudia Karas, the indefatigable Mailerin. And Steinberg, a monument of -often too- Critical Criticism)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/cb/Walther_Rathenau.jpg/220px-Walther_Rathenau.jpg Walther Rathenau was a philosopher, businessman and minister of foreign affairs in the early Weimar Republic. He was also a Jew.He would now be classified as a Liberal Conservative or a right Social Democrat. All the same, many reasons for revanchists, anti-Semites, PI-ler, Mafiosis und Ulfkotte-people to hate him. So much so that he was murdered in 1922 by three so-called Fememörderern with a hand grenade.
He makes the difference between predetermined conclusions  from superficial analogies from history (or the collective memories) on one hand and, on the other hand, the enlightened thinking, not  the based upon stories attached to prejudice, but engaged to comparison with what is now happening. Stating:
Denken heißt Vergleichen In short: To think is to compare
What we get to hear now too often in the debates about the supposedly necessary exclusion of potential terrorists and enemies of the Enlightenment in "our West", are the prejudiced conclusions of "the" History.
But, THE history does not exist. Only stories do exist. Narratives that communicate what people think or thought that woul be important.

One can make two things out of stories.
  1. To use them, to support any ideas or theories;
  2. To study them, in order to, in comparison with perceptions of current or historical events, create a better analysis.
The first leads to ideological immobility. It will just be instructions for maintaining the taboo of other interpretations than the predetermined ones.
Teaching about the Holocaust is often understood as a canonization of all this, what is said in the name of Judaism and the actual Israeli Government. But real Holocaust Education not only speaks of the suffering of millions of murdered Jews, but informs just as much about the construction of the will to genocide. Thus, of the tendency of acting by irritation and xenophobia.  
Stories about it are from all ages. The Holocaust story is "just" its translation into the industrial age of former pogroms and primitive ethnic cleansings. The First World War sacrificed millions instead of tens of thousands, as we were used to before, as it was an expression of the new industrial age. 
The second leads to free thinking about the ways, exclusion develops.It may be helpful to understand today's exclusion and their reasons. Good Holocaust education thus helps to understand how ideas about genocide do devlop themselves within a non-violent society..
That is why I think that critical historical studies are of importance. Also for Muslim immigrant children in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. They will understand that the Holocaust story is not about a so-called collective guilt of Germans and Muslims, but see it as awarning, never to follow extremists.
And take seriously the warnings of the day.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Wilders' Money to remain hidden to you and me, but open to CIA?

The European Parliament will have to decide, this week, if it allows American authorities to data-mine your and mine international euro-transfers by way of copying the SWIFT data.
Swift services banks in Europe and elsewhere. For instance, when I send some of my Dutch retirement money to my Belgian account, the ING bank warns me, that this may be monitored by American authorities.
I have no problem with that. If the CIA wants to know, that I live in Brussels and that I buy my shrimps there at Delhaize, good riddance, OK with me.
But the EP has a point, when it says, that American authorities have to have a reason, when they ask for Swift data. Any European nation allows prosecution to scrutinize my financial data, or listen to my private communications, only, when there is a probable link to crime or terrorism. If there is no one, I can trust my bank, that it protects my privacy.
So, why does the CIA not trust my national European secret services?
That is a long, difficult and complicated story.
I will tell you another time. For a considerable part, they may be right. For who believes, for instance, our Italian secret service Mafiosos?
So, please, CIA, NSA, search for bank transfers linked to Al-Qaeda! I couldn't agree more.
And, do not forget to tell us about Mr. Wilders, from Holland, who gets millions of dollars from US accounts for destabilization of European nations.
Pardon me, if I watch the Dutch representatives from he PVV "party" in the EP.
What are they up to?
Will they vote for a going Dutch alone, as their program states? Or will they vote for transparency to the CIA, while Dutch public opinion remains left in the dark?
Hey, Mr. Wilders, your credibility is at stake!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Geert Wilders' difficult choice: Being Immigrant or Exigrant?

Geert Wilders' international actions are made of European-Union bashing, advocating the most right-wing Israeli views and collecting money from rich, but scared, American Jewish elder people in Florida. 

Not counting the -officially- unsolicited money that may be got from "allies" like:
  • the post-fascist Belgian Vlaams Belang movement,
  • the racist German "Politically Incorrect" Website
  • the so-called European, but in reality American, website "Gates Of Vienna"
  • and Daniel PIPES' blog of hatred against Islam, a real Wilders' fan,
  • etc.
I do not like it, when the Judges intrude into freedom of speech. I accept limits to that freedom, but I think that a fair and open discussion between responsible people will be able to solve any misunderstanding that might occur. Not so with Mr. Wilders. He avoids any confrontation with Muslims or with people who favor an open mind to culture. That is, why I have, reluctantly, to admit that the only solution to the Wilders' hate agitation lies in a condemnation in Court of Geert Wilders.
In 1917, my grandfather-in-law, Henk Sneevliet, was condemned in a Dutch-Indonesian Court for "hate-mongering". He was banned to go to Holland, leaving alone his friends from the Indonesian Nationalist Movement, who were inspired by the Russian February Revolution.
In 1933, again, he was in Court in Amsterdam, for having greeted the "Seven Provinces" rebellion of seamen, who were despatched at suppressing an Atjeh rebellion against the Dutch. After some months in jail, he was elected to Parliament under the slogan: "Sneevliet, from jail to Parliament"!
You'll see, why I think that Geert Wilders will be able to profit from his indictment before a Court, as a "victim" of Justice. But I have no choice. As an elected member of Parliament, only the other elected members of Parliament could have stopped him. They did not. Out of fear, out of calculation, they let him do.
Wilders is of mixed Dutch/German-Indonesian descent. One of his grandparents was Jewish. Out of that multicultural mix, he choose to be Jewish. I repect that. But I do not allow somebody to negate altogether his/her roots. The "Indos", of mixed Dutch-Indonesian descent, choose in 1948/9, when it became clear that the Indonesian nationalists under Sukarno would get the upper hand in Djakarta, in majorty to go to Holland. They "integrated" successfully. Only, when during the eighties a virtual ban was proclaimed on foreign immigrants, their brown skin and their black hair got them unawares as "foreigners". Most assumed. Few, like Wilders, hid under, for example, a blond wig.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

How the Wilders Hysteria is Linked to Holland. Who exploits it. And how it can be ended. (4, Solutions)

How will it be overcome, the Wilders agitation and its sisters in many European countries?
My friends say: By understanding the fears of men and women who live in marginalized urban neighborhoods. Elder people, who lost their references, when their children and the local baker left their street. And were replaced by, mostly gentle, Turkish families and their daily providers of vegetables and fruit. For you and me, they say, it is easy and even thrilling, when the local snackbar is replaced by a Japanese Sushi Bar. But imagine, you are old, you have a small pension and little money to spend...
Well, that is how people get scared. The new shop-owners are friendly, no problem. Their vegetables are good. Bur the street becomes a foreign country, with young men claiming their space. As young men have always done. In the fifties, when we were young, we claimed our room as 'rockers', we did so ourselves. In the sixties, we could live with the 'provos' and the 'hippies', for we could understand them, while we did not agree.
But now, our home is enveloped in foreign country. We never asked for being 'integrated' with people who speak Arabic and Turkish. If you like that, take those people with you, in your neighborhoods.
"We want our country back!"
In Holland, from the seventies on, conservative governments left them alone, those people. I know for myself, as I were a Government agent for "urban neighborhood redevelopment". As long as there was no urgent problem, money for integration solutions, was held back. Only when security problems came up, the State got itself involved.
No wonder, that (semi-) criminal groups learnt to profit from that. No wonder, that fundamentalists exploited that situation. Mohammed Boujeri, Van Gogh's murderer, was a product of that dealing and wheeling among authorities and maffiosos.
Restoring the dignity of original habitants as well of that of the newly arrived immigrants, it seems impossible. But it is not!
Mixing the traditions of old immigrants and the richness of the traditions of new immigrants, it is possible! I refer to my experiences in France. In the community of Chatenay-Malabry, in the Île de France region of Paris, an intervention of a theater-group solved the alienation-problem. In the North of France, in the Roubaix-Tourcoing region, a flemish-moroccan jardinage project opened many roads to live together, sing together and ask successfully help from regional authorities.
It is all about understanding people who are on the edge. Make people understand that the Turkish vegetable shop is not something that tramples upon you, but the only solution to have a shop near you.
Have young Moroccans understand, that their fathers' knowledge about trees is essential to the neighborhood. It will show on the central square!
Well, this is how I worked in many parts of Europe. And every time, when we were near to our goal, the project was called off. For there were no more threats to security, for instance.
That is why I like so much my friend Ewoud Butter's posting about the "better party" Wilders' followers should get: A political party that cares as well for the old who suffer under small pensions and isolation within urban relegation. They are left alone. Is that the immigrants' fault? NO! The immigrants are being left alone as well!
That is why I believe, that a better future is possible. Not by giving in to fundamentalism. Not by letting go. But by respecting the practical contribution anyone can give to a common project.
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