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Melantrys’ Page » history

Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Germany is a lot poorer now than it used to be

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

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Yesterday Loriot (born as Bernhard Victor Christoph-Carl von Bülow almost 88 years ago) - to my mind Germany’s best humorist of all time - died.
It should not come as such a big surprise considering his age, but I guess some things you kind of never expect to happen.

I can’t remember a time when I did not know his works.

Here’s a sketch that even non-Germans should be able to understand:

And here’s one for Lelly (replaced with a mutilated version of the actual sketch as the good video I linked to first got deleted by the Youtube user):

The neverending story

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

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In his post Benghazi Now!!!!! my blogging friend PH writes about the escalating violence in Libya.
He wishes his post to be spread to embarrass the western governments.

Well, I doubt they’ll need our help for that.

Such a short time since the conference here in Germany at which they all announced that they should also consider ethical factors in their dealings with foreign leaders.
This month it was, to be precise.

And today?
Gaddafi celebrated himself on state tv with pictures from a pro government rally in Tripoli a few days ago. What has been happening elsewhere, like in Benghazi, has only been available on Youtube. The foreign press has been forced to leave the country.

Now the internet has been cut.

Still, some people manage to upload cell phone videos or give accounts of what’s going on to foreign tv stations via telephone. This of course means that no news from Libya can be independently verified, but the accounts - sadly - seem to be genuine enough.
In one word: slaughter.

So.

Does our chancellor condemn Gaddafi and demand that he stop the violence? No, if course not. Ever since he has distanced himself from terrorism we can finally get at his oil again he’s been our friend.
The same pathetic wishy-washy statements we got while protesters were being attacked in Egypt.
Let’s not say anything that might offend Gaddafi, after all we’ll still want the oil if he manages to kill and frighten off all the protesters.

So, PH, there’s nothing more we can do to make those western politicians look any worse than they are already managing on their own.

Meanwhile things also appear to be rather tense in Bahrain. Since the camp of the protesters in Pearl Roundabout has been removed by force, protesters seem to have chosen a hospital as their rallying point. Al Jazeera has been talking to overwhelmed doctors in that hospital in the capital city Manama. There has also been footage of doctors breaking down under the continuing strain of treating so many people.

It remains to be seen what the latest news that the military was ordered off the streets will mean.

Edit: Riot police seems to have been ordered off from guarding Pearl Roundabout as well. The last few police officers were chased off by protesters “armed” with flowers. The roundabout has been reclaimed by the protesters.

“The new weapon of choice is the broom”…

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

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… someone is being quoted on Twitter as having said to his cousin.

Apparently some are choosing brushes and paint though.

The Egyptians are incredible.

First they cleaned up their country figuratively, now they’re doing it literally.

Bless them, and let us hope the other people in other countries struggling for freedom and peace will score wins just as amazing.

Mabrook!

Friday, February 11th, 2011

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I can’t post as fast as things are happening.

So while I was away at work, Mubarak decided to go on a hurried and unexpected vacation in Sharm el Sheikh. ;)

He handed the power to the military and actually stepped down.

I will refuse to worry at the moment about the possibility of the military establishing a military regime instead of handing the country over to the people and a democratic process in due time.

*raises a glass of sherry in toast*

Well done, people of Egypt and good luck with all the work that’s still ahead of you.

You are incredible!

Unprecedented stupidity or deliberate provocation?

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

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Either Mubarak is totally far gone and playing with the fairies in some happy place, or today has been really, really well-planned.

First high ranking military people announce on Tahrir Square that the protesters’ demands will be met and a news station gets “leaked” info on Mubarak’s speech which will allegedly announce his resignation.
Then the speech is broadcast an hour late and contains…. well, tons of Blah, for one thing. Praise for himself, of all things. Assurances that “his children” have been heard and that the deaths will not have been in vain. Also repeated hints at “outside forces”, which reminds one strongly of the misinformations that have been spread via state tv of Hamas, Israel, the US, whoever paying for and directing the revolution.

He will delegate some authorities to Suleiman (yeah, right, as if he is any better than him) - but not step down - and will not run for elections in September.
Dude, did you even hear half of what your people are asking??

The people are angry now, so very angry. Everyone was so sure he’d step down and then this.

I fear this is a ploy to make them so angry they’ll become violent, so the government will have a “valid” reason to crack down on the revolution with all “necessary force”.

It doesn’t help dissipate that fear that only this morning I read an article in The Guardian about the military being involved in abducting and severly torturing protesters, with people being unaccounted for and being suspected to still be in the hands of the military.

Revolution, now?

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

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Bear with me, dear friends, as I fear this will become a post filled with disjointed ramblings.

As a comment on current events it is certainly long overdue, but now, just like as when it all started, I am still at a loss for proper words.

So, the people have taken to the streets in various countries in the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunesia, over Egypt, Jemen, Jordan and Syria to Saudi Arabia. (Although I suppose it remains to be seen whether the 40 women protesters and the 200 and something online activists are going to stay isolated incidents or will be the start of something big in Saudi Arabia.)

And suddenly our politicians realize….. “My gosh, we have been actively supporting dictatorships all those years! How could that happen?! Let’s make sure we’ll find a way to combine our egotism and laziness with ethics and human rights - where possible. What’cha saying, Mr Representative from Saudi Arabia? No, no, of course we’re not talking about your country, hahaha, nothing wrong with the way you guys are handling things over there, eh?”

Oh, could this be any more pathetic?

Meanwhile, in Tunesia, the police shoots and kills 4 protesters. The good news is, they arrested the chief of police afterwards for it.

Meanwhile, in Egypt, Copts pray in Tahrir Square and not only hold up crosses, but also the Q’ran. “Hand in hand.”

Furthermore, Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey doesn’t appear to have been cowed by his arrest a couple of days ago and today not only analyses the possibilities that have been presenting itself from outside of the protest movement but comes up with ideas of his own as to how they themselves could bring about an efficient transition to democracy.

I wish all those countries all the luck in the world and will leave you with a simple, yet beautiful protest song from Tahrir Square. Apparently this has been recorded last Friday.

(link to video on youtube)

Pentecost Sunday - pt. 4

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

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Let’s take a break from the stones for a moment and take a look at the surroundings.
First we have…

kid at lake
… a typical kid.

We were waiting for him to fall into the lake, but got disappointed.
The youth of today - totally unreliable…

Ok, back to nature though.
I usually know deadnettles with white flowers, so this one (and its myriad cousins growing all around the place) delighted me no end.
As I now know it used to be considered as another deadnettle or lamium but now is seen only as being closely related. In German it is merely called a Goldnessel (gold nettle), but I like the common English name better. It’s so….. totally unrelated, lol.

nettle
Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon)

And here’s Mr I Don’t Have a Macro Lense Yet, But Look at My Massive Zoom Lense taking photos of the same flower - from a bit further away.

paparazzi
paparazzi M.

blue flower
flower growing close to the nettle1

Back to the stones now though.

stone 3
stone 3 as seen from the path to the grave

.

  1. … which actually isn’t a nettle at all, but a member of the mint family. [back]

Pentecost Sunday - pt. 3

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

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I sincerely apologize for not taking note of the exact location of the stones being featured in this photo; I’ll make sure to do that next time I go there.
And go there I must with some other friends to show them what we discovered in the woods….

(The tension just keeps on building up, hm?)

the other side
the other side…

back view of lake from stone 3
view of lake behind the stones from stone 3

stone 2 from stone 3
look back to stone 2

Note the guy pointing a (video?) camera at us in turn.

But let’s stay on solid ground for a moment.
For some reason the grottos that have been carved into the stones are off limits; except for one opening at the lake - which you should only try to reach armed with climbing gear - all entrances have been barred.

I have done some reading on the net, and all sources I have found so far only went on about the relief the church cut into the face of one stone. None mentioned a carving that looks a lot older and which seems to show a person holding some long handled weapon or some such. It is hard to tell because the carving is rather worn.
I promise that next time I will also take a better photo of the carving. For now you will have to make do with this one:

old statue at entrance to grotto
old statue/carving at the left of entrance to grotto

Upwards and onwards! Well, actually downwards towards the lake front.

Carved into a small stone and facing the lake is a grave. (Don’t ask me what they did with its original occupant.)

cave grave
cave grave

These steps are leading onto the stone to the right of the grave:

stairs onto grave
stairs onto grave

And then you can stand atop the grave, gaze out across the lake or the tourists frolicking along the paths around you and wonder why you are standing there on top of an old grave in the first place.

Pentecost Sunday - pt. 2

Friday, July 30th, 2010

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view from stone 1 to front left
view from stone 1 to front left

Did I mention that I am afraid of heights? No? Well, I am….

bridge to altar
bridge to altar on top of stone 2

Looks as if this looney child isn’t though…

altar
altar

And here we have the altar with its Sonnenfenster (lit. sun window). It is said to have been used for sacrifices.
The window seems to be part of a calendar, as on the day of the summer solstice the sun shines directly onto it.

window
sun window

front view of lake from stone 2
view of the lake in front of the stones from stone 2

bridge back
bridge back to stone 1

Did I mention that I am afraid of heights….? :shifty:

Pentecost Sunday - pt. 1

Monday, June 21st, 2010

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It isn’t that I actually have a long story to tell, but the gazillion photos I took on our trip on Pentecost could only be reduced to a still staggering number to go into this post.
So prepare for a multi-multi-part photo post that will hopefully enthral you as much as the place we went to enthrals me.

Also, there will be a humourous intro photo, a mysterious discovery in the woods and animals.

Thrills galore!!!!!

My Dutch friend M. visited me on the Pentecost weekend, and on Sunday we drove over to the Externsteine which I already mentioned once in the distant past.

Being from the flat, flat Netherlands, M. was already feeling like he was in a foreign country once we had reached the outskirts of the Teutoburg Forest mountain range. ;)

Then we parked, got out, shivered in the unforecast cold (evil weather people), took a look at the car we had parked beside and wondered: are there really classes in that?!?

hurl 101
A disturbing thought…

Shaking our heads in confusion, we started walking towards the stones.

Here’s one of the early glimpses:

stones front
“main” stones as seen from the front

And for a easier reference:

legally climbable stones front - numbered
legally climbable stones as seen from the front, numbered

left side of front
a few stragglers on the left of the stones

bridge
bridge from stone 1 to stone 2 as seen from the ground

steps
stairs leading up onto stone 1