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Melantrys’ Page » politics

Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Trip to Damascus - Prologue

Friday, July 13th, 2007

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I can’t say that Syria was ever on top of the list of countries that I wished to visit. We had our own “democratic republic” just around the corner in the still rather recent past, no need to visit a similar country far away and support the regime through tourism.
But what I did wish to do was to combine this year’s holiday with meeting Caesar of Pentra and that turned out to be a surprisingly difficult task.
Non-Arab countries were out of the question for a meeting (we had briefly considered going to Turkey) as there are two different types of Iraqi passports and he had the sucky one…
Jordan was out of the question because Jordan doesn’t allow Iraqis in who have entered Syria at a certain border checkpoint. Guess at which one Caesar had entered Syria…
The silly little man (*remembers her threat to keep calling him that until he changes his silly profile text on his blog to something better*) suggested going to Beirut, but I strongly disagreed with that notion.
What did this leave us with?
Iran? Strange that he didn’t suggest that. ;)
Iraq? No comment.
So - as we say - if the prophet doesn’t come to the mountain, the mountain has to come to the prophet.

That decision made, the next complication arose. A cashier colleague of mine was suffering from cateracts. Has been for years already, naturally.
One day she came to work and went up to the office, all hush-hush. When she returned she announced that there would be a lock-down on holidays.
I was like, “What, when, why?”
“From the 13th on.”
“Which month??!”
“June. I set dates for a laser operation on my cateracts. I’ll be off sick for five weeks or so.”
*stare of disbelief*
*innocent wide-eyed look of shock* “Oh! Was that when you were going on holiday?
Of course it was. And she knew. It wasn’t as if I had been talking about much else those days…
“Did you already book?”
No. How lucky for all of us…. bitch…
She then went on to claim that she had had no say about the dates and had to be thankful that she got any anyway. “And to be honest my eyes are more important to me than your holiday.” (Well, rather the latter than the former I’d say… No, I swear I am not being spiteful. If you knew the woman in question you’d agree with me.)

The boss confirmed that sickness came before vacation, but had been under the impression that she had been clueless about her operations clashing with my holiday dates. Hah!
Soooooooo… I was informed to either scratch my vacation or move it. If I moved it to an earlier date he felt he could do without the both of us for one week but absolutely not for longer.

I conferred with Caesar about this new complication. As moving the holiday to a later date would have meant moving it to late August, he said I’d have to come earlier then.
Which didn’t make things any easier of course, as I had to rush preparations now. Unlike Jordan Syria does not issue visas at the airport/border. Au contraire, if you dare enter without one, they put you on the next flight back home.

So I hastily filled out their rather long and nosy application form, answered the question if I had ever been to occupied Palestine in the apparently required negative, and confirmed with my signature that I had no plans of seeking work in Syria either with or without payment. I also duely noted that any visa in my passport from an Israeli border crossing would render a Syrian visa null and void.
Well, as you all know, I got my visa, and I’ve never been to Israel or any part of Palestine in the past.

So I went to the travel agency and booked my flight and some insurances (including a lost luggage one…) and got special commendations for being one of the rare few persons who fly to countries with strict entry requirements and find out beforehand what I need to get to be let in and get it. The lady I talked with said it wasn’t uncommon for people to wander into their agency and try to book a flight to Syria for next week without having a visa or - in some cases - even a passport….

Meanwhile Caesar arranged for some lodgings for me.

Finally my holiday could start!

(All about me leaving the country (sort of) over at one of my sister’s numerous blogs.
Unfortunately the photos died with the un-nerdy blog move of my sis to the nasty Kitten blog, plus the bit of text around the pics is so far down the page under all the other old posts, so I’ll refrain from including the new url here.
Melantrys, September 8th, 2009)

Modern crusade weapons

Sunday, March 4th, 2007

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I read something on Omar’s blog today (post mainly in German), caught myself IM’ing all and sundry about it and thought “What are you doing there? You’ve got a blog yourself. Publish something!”

For all of you who - like me - never considered pig’s trotters as food (Anyone for a nice knuckle sandwich? ;) ) but are loath to simply always throw everything away, here’s a real novel idea for a different use: as a modern weapon for our Christian values.

How (and probably why) so, you ask? Aha! Norway is showing us the way.

In the Norwegian city of Bergen the Muslim community will be without a mosque for a time as the old one will close at the end of this month, while the building of the new one is apparently behind schedule.
Labour Party politician Jerad Abdelmajid suggested that the city’s Muslims should hold their Friday prayers in Torgallmenningen, Bergen’s central square, from then on.
Now, that might indeed prove a nuisance if it is a big community, but I suppose that the new mosque had been promised to be finished on time, and would say that it is the Muslim community’s right to express their unhappiness about this problem by peaceful means. (I distinctly remember people saying that “they” should learn peaceful protest instead of setting flags on fire and becoming violent after some of the Muslim over-reactions to the cartoon scandal… And what better way of peaceful protest than public prayer?)

But of course in a civilized country «Muslims having their Friday prayers with their butts in the air in the city center is no solution» (Vidar Kleppe, leader of the “Demokratene”, an extreme populist party) and in turn calls for a civilized response.

City council representative «Kenneth Rasmussen told newspaper Dagbladet’s web site that Bergen residents should hang up pig’s feet and play pig squeals over loudspeakers to scare off Muslims, and claimed these tactics worked when he was a soldier for the United Nations in Somalia and Lebanon in the 1990s.» (quotes and general info taken from The Aftenposten)

As an aside, this throws a very interesting light on what United Nations soldiers are doing over there in foreign countries. (Or on what Mr Rasmussen was smoking while being there.)

The Iraqi Konfused Kid summed the reason for a (real or imagined?) success of this tactic up pretty well in a chat I had with him today:

Konfused Kid: That’s oversimplification surely
Konfused Kid: They weren’t probably scared of the pig’s feet
Konfused Kid: but of the crazy squealing dude with the gun

Who wouldn’t be…?
Just close your eyes and picture the scene, if you will…. Armed persons (United Nations soldiers or no) running at you, waving pig’s feet and squealing (Hey, that reminds me of Braveheart)….
Or an army vehicle hung with pig’s feet driving down your street, playing squeals from a speaker…

On a more humorous note, here’s the start of our conversation on this topic:

Melantrys: *waves a pig’s foot at you and squeals*
Melantrys: So what’s your instinctive reaction to this?
Konfused Kid: huh?
Melantrys: Er, seriously, in Norway some politicians consider this a way to “fight” Muslims praying in the middle of the street
Konfused Kid: Death to the infidels!

P.S.: Make sure to watch the video on Omar’s post as well….

Better late than never - some thoughts on cartoons, violence and I Told You So’s

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

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1. Freedom of press is a precious thing, and a thing that - as people have been pointing out over and over again - some people do not seem to understand. Even if the Danish government was furious at the Jyllands-Posten there’d be nothing they could do about it; they cannnot tell them what to print and what not to print.
On the other hand freedom of press also means responsibility. The press should know when to well leave alone.

Picking a time of heightened stress to show that they are not afraid of printing something that was haram to Muslims was a bad choice. Picking cartoons that were not only haram through depicting Mohammed, but also including some that were racist in the extreme was a studied insult, no matter how Rose now tries to explain the obvious interpretations away.

I find it very interesting as well that it was reported that the Jyllands-Posten had declined printing cartoons on Jesus because religious feelings might have been offended, rationalising that decision by saying that those cartoons had just been sent in to them without a request from their side, unlike with the Mohammed cartoons which they had asked people to send in. This was presented as the official Jyllands-Posten statement.
Today the news suddenly is that they did print those Jesus cartoons, and no-one had made a fuss over it.
Excuse me, so what is the truth now?

What I don’t understand either is how someone can apologize for printing offensive cartoons, then state a few days later that he was very disappointed about the other Danish newspapers not printing the cartoons as well. But that question is rendered mute, seeing how he defends the printing today - from a safe hidy-hole, I might point out. Yes, Rose is off on a holiday to some place unknown.

As for Italian politician Calderoli wearing a t-shirt with a Mohammed cartoon on tv, there is not really much to say about that. Pouring oil onto the flames to not let them go out fits into his political position. Thankfully public pressure was strong enough to make him resign. 100 points to Italy!

2. Now to the other side.

I’m pretty much an atheist myself, but I do know that religious belief is something… well… sacred. People might be willing to discuss politics, but religion is where it stops for a lot of them. Because it is not about politics. It is not about taste. It is not about ethics, even. It is about faith. And if you’re really faithful a mockery of your religion hurts you to the core. The moderate voices I have read and heard still mostly say one thing: It was wrong to print those cartoons. They are not only mocking my religion, they are implying that I and all of my fellow believers are terrorists.

Now, normal people will say all that, and not do anything else.
Or they will file a lawsuit against the newspaper(s).
Or they will protest in the streets.
Or they will boykott Denmark, which is a bit over the top (as the government can’t influence the newspapers) but still a peaceful means of expressing how they feel about the whole thing.

But unfortunately religion always breeds fanatics.
I don’t have to mention what happened; I am sure everyone was following the news.

Do I condone what happened? Christ, no.

But what I am saying is that the extent to which a certain type of Islamists will go to avenge a wrong done to them is well known. It is also well known (or should be) that in these times of people more often than not saying/thinking Islam = 9/11 = Al Quaida etc tempers on the receiving end of those generalizations are very frayed.

So, yes, I believe that Jyllands-Posten was well aware what was likely to happen and did this on purpose.
I wish they hadn’t succeeded, but unfortunately they did. Fanatism never sparks reasoning.

3. Which brings us back to the other side again.

I am online with AOL. I suppose they provide this service worldwide, but in case they don’t - or you don’t use AOL ;) - I’ll point out that in addition to supplying a news service they also offer a pinboard on which users can discuss current news.

I try to avoid it, but sometimes I just can’t help noticing the opinions uttered there.

In the wake of the cartoon sparked violence a verbal counterviolence has been voiced there that more often than not makes me sick.
People demanding that no more mosques be built on German soil.
People demanding that we show them their place and don’t allow Islam to take over Germany (and other western countries) and install the Sharia.
One person ranting in sentences so bad that they didn’t make any real sense talked about Negroes, although it was unclear to this reader whether they were mentioned together with the Muslims or in contrast to them.
People demanding that we wake up to the reality of Islam being a danger and a religion of violence.

People have been waiting for this. Tempers and opinions on both sides are running high.

I am reminded of the aftermath of 9/11 when colleagues of my sister seriously expected that Germany would be attacked by Turkey.

I have been reading a lot of hate and suspicion filled comments in the blogsphere as well.

4. I have also been reading Christian and Muslim posts and comments speaking up for the Muslim side.

There’s one thing that I failed to read about so far now though:

Christian fanatism and violence.

People talked about the printing of the cartoons being wrong.
People talked about the media hardly covering the non-violent protests in the Muslim world and concentrating on the “better stories” instead.
People brought up the Inquisition, pointing out that fanatism is a thing of most religions.

Exactly. But aren’t you forgetting something here? People rightfully brought up the counter-argument to this that the Inquition happened a long time ago, and that the Muslims should live in the modern world.

Yo, people, don’t dig in the Middle Ages!

We have Christian fanatics terrorizing abortion doctors with midnight phone calls and death threats in these enlightened times of western civilization!
Over the course of the last 30 years they have been setting fire to and bombing abortion clinics, occasionally killing people within the buildings.
They have been intimidating and harrassing the patients.
They have been injuring and killing abortion doctors.
All in the name of Christianity.

Well, when I say “we” I mostly mean Americans.

Some facts about this topic can be found here.

So what would be the “logical” conclusion of that? That in contrast to the peaceful message they claim their religion to have Christians are a dangerously violent group of people who are frothing at the mouth, whose attempt at forcing their way onto the world has to be stopped in its tracks by all means.



Now that is food for thought, hm?

To lighten up the mood of this post, here’s a righteous little piece of jihad I found on an Iraqi blog:

I wake up, go to the fridge, do a sleepy-eyed makeshift inspection, and voila, there in the treacherous corner of the first drawer….what the?
An almost depleted package of Danish butter Lurpak…
Blood and sugar pressures went to the devil immediately…this is outrage! This is blasphemous, how can a Danish product survive in our god-abiding, Muslim household…La, and a thousand La…I took out the cursed vile from the refrigerator and reclaimed the appliance in the name of Islam.
I whipped out a knife, and with an ear-piercing ‘Allahu Akbar’ that startled my half-deaf grandma I charged, cutting up the cursed butter into slices, frantically, I spread that on bread and added the nice aftertouch of strawberry blood - munching up the dreaded work of Satan quickly into oblivion, my mission to eradicate the evil conspiracy off the face of the planet was a resounding success!


hijab or not hijab

Sunday, November 13th, 2005

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Without a doubt the Muslim headscarf - or hijab - has been used as a symbol of oppression and inequality through the ages. Fundamental Islamistic states have forced their women to hide their hair and often their faces as well from the outside world, whether those women wanted to be “protected” that way or not. This was and is wrong. Every person has to have the right to wear - or in fact, not wear - what he or she pleases.

This misuse of the hijab is what remains in people’s heads most strongly though. Even I have to admit that I have a certain feeling of… reservation towards this symbol.

But we should not forget that it is also a religious symbol.

Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish state, wanted the Turkish women to have equality. One way of achieving this was for him to forbid the hijab, declaring Turkey to be a secular state.
Today there’s a move by some of Turkey’s politicians to try and reverse this, but they will face some major difficulties.

This November the European Court for Human Rights in Straßburg/Strasbourgh rejected the suit of a 32-year-old medical student who had been forced to leave her studies at a university in Istanbul.
The court argued that the ban of the hijab was not against the basic rights to education and religious freedom.
In their decision the judges referred to the protection of democracy and pluralism and the equality of the sexes. Yet they admitted that the plaintiff had been barred from showing her religiousness and from taking part in lectures.
Somehow contrary to that they still judged the ban to be constitutional. It would keep the Turkish state from favouring one religion and would therefore ensure freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.
As the ban would forbid people to publicly display their belief, people of a different faith and non-believers would be protected from repressions by the state or religious fundamentalists.

(In 1999 already the young woman went to Vienna, Austria, to continue her studies…)

For a few years now politicians in Germany have been advancing the idea that teachers should be forbidden to wear hijabs at state schools and universities.
Turkey was always named as a glorious Muslim example. “See, if they are forbidding it, it can’t really be a religious symbol, or a Muslim country would never do that!”

School rules and lesson plans being decided by the counties rather than by the state, the decision about the hijab was left to the respective counties as well.
Some politicians advanced the idea to not make any general decision at all but to decide in each case. Basically not such a bad idea, but how exactly does one find out whether that new teacher wants to wear a hijab because of religious reasons or because of being a fundamentalist?? If she is the latter she will very likely be clever enough not to say so.

If I am not mistaken (either Google doesn’t know everything, or I’m asking the wrong questions ;) ) five counties so far have passed a law to forbid the hijab, among them Baden-Württemberg, Niedersachsen, the Saarland and Hessen. My own county Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW) has just set the process in motion, endeavouring to become number six.
I find it very interesting that they manage to forbid the hijab while not even explicitely naming it. The reason for that is said to be that this way the law sounds more like something that international courts would approve of.
Here’s the bit they want to put into the school laws (there’s two different words for male and female teachers in German, and I want to keep that in, so excuse the awkward translation):
The new passage will forbid female and male teachers the use of symbols that endanger “the political, religious or ideological peace at school” through “giving the impression that a female or male teacher will take a stand against the dignity of man, equality (…), the right to freedom or the free democratic basic order”. Only in the attached formal explanation they actually state that what they mean is: No hijab for female teachers in NRW.
If no miracle happens in the meantime this will be the law from the beginning of the schoolyear 2006/07 on.
The choice of vague words has been well thought through. They are meant to forbid the hijab, while at the same time allowing the wearing of the Christian cross or the Jewish kippa, as for many the hijab is - so the additional law text states - a symbol of the inferior status of the woman in society and family or a demonstration of a fundamentalistic theocracy. The Christian-occidental tradition though is a fixed part of the regional constitution.

Apart from kippa and cross the hijab-free counties still allow the habit of the nuns, some even defining the habit as work clothes.

An FDP politician stated that the point was not the evaluation of religions but the self assertion of our order of values against the Islamic fundamentalism.

A Die Grüne politician quoted Johannes Rau (SPD; “The illegal use of a symbol should not impair its legal use.”) and added “How do I recognize a fundamentalistic male teacher anyway?”

I will conclude my fact finding - again - with a little passage I found on the web, on the main page of the Institut für soziale Dreigliederung to be correct:
The issue here is not the question whether one approves of the hijab or not. The decisive factor is that one cannot forbid the hijab without betraying freedom oneself. And the question arises whether one is much better then than those who work for enforcing the hijab in Islamic countries.

Well, like in the good ol’ school essays, time for my own words here at the end.

Like I said in my opening paragraphs I myself am having mixed feelings about the hijab. We do have a problem here with Muslims taking the ancient “traditions” too far, be that by keeping their women from learning German (or to read and write, for that matter), forcing them to wear hijab in public and keeping up the time honoured values of family honour by killing their daughters and sisters who dare go against that.
There I do agree with the - also time honoured - cry of: If they want to live here, they have to accept our social and democratic values. Period.

But if we are a free and democratic country, offering religious freedom, then we can’t do that with one blind eye.

We can’t allow the habit and crosses because they’re part of our “Christian-occidental tradition”. I am a Christian - although admittedly from the point of view of the Pope the wrong kind of - and all the crosses on the school walls I encountered annoyed the heck out of me.
The habit of a nun defines her as a nun, so in a very broad sense you could maybe argue that this makes the habit her working clothes. But as her “job” is religion that renders the whole thing null and void again. Besides, a lot of nuns active in youth work often do not wear their habit at work. Interesting, hm?
Besides, I’ve always felt that the habit serves exactly the same purpose the hijab does in some places (except for the bride thing of course): A nun is the bride of Jesus (I think. Or was it God? Can somebody tell me?) and every earthly man has to keep his hands off her. So she dresses up in some drab uniform, even hiding her hair from people. Hm, that does sound familiar, doesn’t it?

As for the Jewish kippa being a part of our Christian-occidental tradition… Since when? So, ok, Jesus was a Jew and all the rest, but we are a Christian country, not a Jewish one. And maybe it is just this region (I’m not going to google for population percentages now), but a male teacher with kippa would have surprised me more than a female one with hijab. You see hijabs everywhere!
For any Jew happening across this humble blog I’d like to add that I don’t have any problems with either Jews or teachers wearing the kippa; it’s the principle here that I’m having a serious problem with.

And talking about religious freedom at schools, I’d like to take you back to my youth.
In grade school our main teacher prayed with us once a week before school started. I don’t remember her sending out our two Muslim pupils, or there ever being a word about them having a different faith and these prayers not concerning them. Unfortunately I was caught up too much in my own confusion and misery (and ignorance) to notice whether or not they were in the same awkward position I was.
Because, you see, we always had to cross ourselves.
I didn’t even know how to do that! I am not Catholic; I did not have to!
Only after having a word with my parents - and they with the teacher - did I stop trying to keep up with that crossing thing. But I still felt out of place.

In Germany we teach religion at school. I know that in some places more is offered, but here it’s just Catholic and Protestant religion lessons taking part at the same time. To keep our two Muslims busy it was offered to their parents to let them take part in one of those lessons (one family declined apparently). But was there a choice for the parents who sent their son to religion classes at grade school? No. It was a given that Muslims would attend the Protestant course.

Much later, at the end of the fourth grade, a fellow pupil told me that in Catholic religion class - held by that main teacher lady by the way - they had been told that Protestants were heathens. Furthermore we were also said to be stupid.

Thankfully this is not happening in the local grade school anymore, but back then - and further back - these were not single incidents.

My sister often had to walk back home from her grade school in the place we used to live before 1980 because if the last lesson for the day for some reason did not take place at the Catholic grade school, their dean called the bus company and cancelled the last bus for the day, totally forgetting about the fact that they shared the bus service with the adjoining Protestant grade school. And that was quite a march, or else there would not have been a school bus in the first place…

Lord, throw down some brain!

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

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… as we Germans say.

Today I read an article in the newspaper about the Creationalism/Creationism/Intelligent Design in America.
These Creationalists (or Creationists; no two sources seem to be able to agree on the name…) believe in Genesis.
By careful study of the Bible and doing some maths over the genealogies they arrived at the conclusion that this here world that we’re sitting/standing/lying/lounging on is 6,000 years old.

God created the world in six days indeed, yeah, and if the saurian fossils aren’t just decoration then we were all trundling about on this world together back then, humans and the T.-Rex side by side (no clear opinion on those two possibilities either it seems; the newspaper article mentioned the latter).

Let the faithful believe what they will in their churches you might say, but they don’t intend to keep it in the churches.
They don’t want their own children to learn the “false” Theory of Evolution at school, and get likeminded people to sign their petitions. And they’re sneaky and get not very well educated people to sign as well, by asking questions like “Do you want your child to only learn about the Theory of Evolution, or would you like your school to offer differing theories as well?”
Now, either you believe in Creationalism and don’t need a twisted question like that, or you paid attention at school, and know that the only other “theory” is religion, which has no place in biology classes. Or - unfortunately - you did not pay attention, don’t understand what the question is implying and blissfully say “Why, of course I do. My child should learn everything there is to learn.”
In some places these petitions already bore some fruit. There is the odd school that has substituted Genesis for the Theory of Evolution on their biology syllabus, and in some states like Georgia (thanks to Fizzy for that info weeks ago) biology books must bear the sticker “The Theory of Evolution is just a theory”.
Which seems to allude to a saying of theirs, i.e. “if the Theory of Evolution is just a theory, it obviously isn’t right”.

Also, they seem to have made it a hobby to visit museums and drive employees there wild by contradicting everything they say.

Their “teachings” apparently reached and convinced an appalling number of people. Surveys show that 54% of U.S. Americans do not believe that humans ever were anything but human.
54%! of the population of that huge country that thinks it is better than anyone else and can tell the world what to do does not believe in the simplest scientific facts!
I did some research on the net just now, and a lot of blogs and forums popped up on the search term. If they’re anything to go by the surveys are right. There’s bundles of people out there in the U.S. of A. “arguing” Genesis and laughing every counter-argument off or burbling out some pseudo-scientific crap that would make me laugh if the whole topic weren’t so sad.

Now, although I personally do not believe in anything godly anymore I’d be the last person to grudge anyone the “God nudged things along though” view of evolution. Fine by me. Faith is faith, and you can’t mess with that. But this 6,000 years and no relation to the apes thing…… I mean, come on, Bible Belt, wake up to the real world!!!

I’d like to conclude this with a quote I found in another blog, and which I just loved. Apparently one Arthur Naebig wrote in some paper:
“What the argument comes down to is the scientific evidence balanced against no evidence. Scientists collect evidence and attempt to formulate answers to the questions about our world, but admit they may never have all of the answers. Creationalists (Intelligent Designers?) collect no evidence and state that they already have all the answers. A thinking person should have no trouble deciding which group to believe.”

A short lesson in history

Sunday, October 9th, 2005

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During the time of National Socialism here in Germany most people and institutions either agreed or kept their mouth shut out of fear.
Not least of all among these was the Church. Lone priests sympathizing with the resistance pretty much were on their own.
The priest Dr Max Metzger for instance was sentenced to death in 1944 for doing what he felt right while his bishop, Archbishop Gröber, did not just keep silent (as one might understand and even excuse) but wrote a letter to judge Freisler who was responsible for Metzger’s (and many other enemies of Hitler’s) death sentence, complimenting Freisler and distancing himself from the “crime” that Metzger had committed.
Even the pope kept silent when 1000 jews (most of them women and children) were being deported to Auschwitz from practically under his nose in Italy, close to the Vatican.
Resistance only took place when the Church felt the need to protect their own interests (marriage laws, crosses in classrooms, etc).

The same - or almost the same - seems to apply to the then Bishop of Münster.
His father being a member of parliament for the Zentrumspartei (very right wing party) Clemens August Earl von Galen himself always felt close to that particular party.
He strongly criticized the Weimarer Verfassung (Constitution of Weimar) and was known as being both anti-liberal and anti-social.
Even though he denounced “The Myth of the 20th Century” by chief Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg as pagan, racist and anti-Catholic in 1934, he still found a lot to agree on with Adolf Hitler.
Von Galen called the Spanish dictator Franco “the Spanish liberator”, expressed his relief about the attack on the Soviet Union - citing Hitler’s word about the “Jewish-Bolshevistic control” in Moskow - and endorsed the war on Great Britain (”God allowed the sword of retaliation against Great Britain to be placed into our hands. We are the executors of His just will” - Catholic church paper for the Northern Münsterland, March, 9th, 1941).
In 1944 he still considered the German soldiers martyrs who fought against the “godless Bolshevism” and the “Antichrist”. The godless Bolshevism in Spain was “defeated with God’s and Hitler’s help” according to Bishop von Galen.

At no point in time did he publicly denounce the killing of Jews.

The wars he publicly embraced.

What he did was to condemn the National Socialist’s Euthanasia Program. He clearly stated those so called “mercy killings” of the mentally ill, aged and disabled to be murders which - according to the German law - ought to have been punishable by death.
It is even thought that his sermons on that topic were responsible for a momentary pause in the Euthanasia Program.
The only thing that saved him was that Hitler and Goebbels considered the killing of a bishop and thus creating a martyr as a bad thing to do at that point in time. So his prosecution and execution were put off for the time after the “end victory”.

For that he surely deserved praise, especially considering that he fully expected to be killed for it.

Instead he lived to publicly call the Allied Forces in Germany enemies and to be “promoted” to Cardinal, an honour which he only enjoyed for a few days, as he died shortly after that.

More schools than you can shake a stick at bear his name even today.

Cardinal Earl von Galen, our glorious “Lion of Münster”!

And still that was not enough for the Catholic Church.
In 1955 he was suggested for beatification, which - finally? - was approved of in November 2004.

And today he was beatified in a huge ceremony in Rome, before the eyes of thousands of righteous pilgrims.

Now, I can understand that the Church (and not only the Catholic Church but also the Protestant Church) would rather forget the sad little chapter of church history under Hitler, like so many other people would.

And I do understand that the Church would like to have people know that there was resistance (even if it was minimal).
Well, there are those who offered resistance; name and praise them! (Which, to be fair, they did.)

But to beatify a man for opposing Euthanasia, implying - more than subtly - that he opposed National Socialism as such, while in truth he only denounced the bits of National Socialistic ideology which he considered to be pagan, never spoke up for all the Jews who were being killed (in order to prevent worse harm, supporters claim) and publicly welcomed World War 2 is just so plain wrong! Shouldn’t people who get beatified have been…. well… more holy?

a puzzled pagan Protestant


Sunday, October 2nd, 2005

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Originally I wanted to write some more stuff on the elections today. But I’m so damn tired of that crap.
Suffice it to say, now that Dresden 1 has voted as well, the CDU gained one more seat in Parliament. Still Müntefering (SPD) claims that the SPD is the strongest faction. Are rumours that the SPD wants to deny the CDU/CSU the right to be counted as one true? Did Schröder only stand up to Bush on the Iraq issue to now become just like him and manipulate an election? Now that’s a scary thought.

And tomorrow I will have a day off, er, we will be celebrating the German reunion. If the weather is fine and I can kick my sis and bro-in-law into action I might go to that Tag der offenen Tür (literally: day of the open door, dunno the correct translation) at the mosque two villages away that a customer told me I should go to. Bazar, food stalls…… Yes, right, faithful friends. Yummy Turkish food and veganism does not compute. But sis and me can watch bro-in-law eat I suppose. Oh well, we’ll see what the day will bring.

Talking about that customer, lol, she was there to bring back a faulty watch, and told A. and me that she had bought that when the fat lady had been at the till, “I always forget her name.” Me: “Mrs J.” A.: “Or you could just say Şişko (see previous post for spelling and pronunciation).” She laughed even more when I mentioned that I was well aware of what that means….

Bluh (copyright by da Muffin Man). It is late, so good night everyone. Or welterusten, as teh Dutch faction would say.

Some more politics…

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

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This is so funny. Does anyone remember what I wrote about the loss of votes for the CDU/CSU?
Right. I said that Stoiber’s dissing of East Germans sure helped.
Now he is pointing the finger at Mrs Merkel. She has been too cold and emotionless, he says. And that that has been the way she wanted to do the whole election campaign, instead of trying to appeal to people’s emotions.
I’d lay some “blame” on her for not being so good on that tv duel thing. But she’s just not that much of a media type, and for her capabilities she was really good.
Plus, Stoiber’s way of “appealing” to people’s emotions certainly cost them more votes than her “coldness”.
Does he really believe the crap he’s saying, or does he want to deflect any blame that might be laid on him even before the event? What a jerk.

And on a lighter note, Mr Fischer - our still-foreign minister - had never heard the term “Jamaica coalition” being used for a black-green-yellow coalition before election night. So he was musing that the first thing that came to his mind upon hearing that had been a picture of Mrs Merkel (CDU, black) and Mr Westerwelle (FDP, yellow) with dreadlocks, sitting around smoking pot. (*vaguely wonders if he himself (Die Grünen, green) had been rolling it in this vision*)

Latest Hollywood news:

Orlando Bloom listens to Slipknot and Slayer, and is proud of it.
Well…. most likely not.
But his lookalike here sure owns some band garments that he wears while out shopping.
I wonder what he’ll be wearing tomorrow…. If it’s something dreadful like Slayer again, I shall have to spank him.

Politics, work and all the rest

Tuesday, September 20th, 2005

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So we had elections two days ago.

What a waste.

For those who don’t know much about German politics: The next elections were only due next year, not now. But our red-green government coalition (SPD & Die Grünen) was having some serious trouble lately passing their reforms because their opposition was very big.
Furthermore in most of the last regional elections the CDU (Christian middle right wing party) had won.
And last but not least, a new left-wing party was forming by merging the PDS (remnant of the East German SED) with a brand new left party (WASG) under Oscar Lafontaine (ex-SPD member).

Fearing a strong enemy in the new left-wing party (Die Linke) in next year’s elections, especially since the SPD had ceased being “the working man’s party” and turned into a slightely more moderate CDU during their almost two terms, the SPD - or rather the chancellor (Gerhard Schröder) - disbanded the parliament and used the first two of the above points as reasons for early elections.
Schröder’s hope possibly was that this way the new left party would not have enough time to really form (picking name, compromising on agenda, etc, etc, etc) and campaign before elections. Another year might have established them as a serious competitor for the left votes.

The public was none too happy with the SPD’s reforms, which hurt the lower income classes. That is something that is historically incompatible with the SPD….
Being re-elected again was far from being a certainty. With a not-yet fully formed new left party the SPD’s chances would be slightly better - or so they thought.

Polls showed they were dead wrong though. Most people thought of voting for the CDU.
Thankfully Stoiber (CSU, Bavarian branch of/coalition with CDU) provided the public with some interesting comments - like his dissing of the East German counties - and Merkel (CDU) was - although being better than expected - the absolute loser of the tv duel between her and Schröder, which shifted the public opinion yet again.

I say thankfully because, even though the SPD is a cheap copy of the CDU these days, the CDU is still worse. If they can rule as they please, people will not be better off, oh no.

So Sunday’s election leaves us with….. nothing, really.

35,2% voted CDU (black)
34,3% voted SPD (red)
9,8% voted FDP (yellow)
8,1% voted Die Grünen (green)
8,7% voted Die Linke (deeper red?)
45,0% black-yellow
42,4% red-green

Both coalition factions are dead against working with the new left party. Both CDU and SPD claim the right, nay, the comission, to have talks with other parties and provide the chancellor.
The way they’re talking now no real majority can form either way.
Furthermore one division has not voted yet for some reason that doesn’t quite make sense to me. So maybe things will change yet again and give the SPD a slight majority after those last people will have cast their vote as well.
Not that this would really change the whole no-win situation.

What will they do now? Disband the parliament yet again and hold new elections???????

And on a lighter political note, Alba, die Wurst, will be slapped around with a large trout for daring to ask if I voted FDP.

Practical poll:

You work at a shop with a flagstone floor. A small puddle of rainwater has formed overnight. What do you do?

a) Leave it. It will dry up eventually.

b) Get a clean floor-cloth and mop it up.

c) Disappear for some mysterious 7 minutes to fetch a bucket of water, a scrubber and a floor-cloth.

I told Mr G. today that the people at central must have gotten it wrong about us having to count the bottles with expiry dates after the 15th of this month and putting them back on the shelves instead of giving ‘em away, as it said 16th on most of ‘em, and it wouldn’t make much sense to put off goods back on the shelves and raise the price. Well, our talk about this was a tad longer, because it went back and forth a little. He was pretty sure we had to count all the off bottles and sell ‘em. While I was voicing my “doesn’t make much sense” opinion he loudly snapped at me to “get this into my head”, only the expression he used was more unfriendly than that…
Still, he decided to give central a call.

Hours later he informed me that the lady there hadn’t been aware of there being bottles with a slightly different expiry date, and that we had to give all of them away. Which surprised me a little, because he of course did not apologize, but actually telling me to give ‘em away sort of meant admitting the fault.

Oh, for those of you who care, I resigned my post as mod on that anime forum. I did not really feel welcome there, and…. well…. it’s not as if I ever gave a rat’s ass about anime anyway. It’s just sad cos in the beginning it was more fun and I felt as a part of things. Oh well, the merging of several forums brought a whole new group of mods and even admins along, who knew all and sundry, except for me, that strange woman Nana seemed to like to have as mod.
And then things changed. If the “rulers” of a board always act like they are so old and wise while many users are childish, they should maybe refrain from hoisting a weird macho up into their midst and publicly insulting a 9-year-old kid, who surely spammed and wrote crap, but there’s just ways and ways of treating children…

Wow, it’s late; I’m off to bed.

Oh, and Drew: If this keeps you up to date concerning Melantrys-related topics, how about keeping me up to date on Drew-related topics with some comments? ;)