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Melantrys’ Page » the world

Archive for the ‘the world’ Category

Missing: End of the World

Friday, December 21st, 2012

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Public announcement:

The End of the World was expected to make a worldwide appearance today but so far has not been seen anywhere.

Any person who has information on the whereabouts of the End of the World, please contact your local police station, religious figurehead or soothsayer.

Thank you.

End of public announcement.

In other news, sightings of several unidentified horsemen have been reported from various places around the world.
In Dublin one of them, wearing a black robe and riding a stunning white stallion, has been said to have approached a number of passersby, inquiring if anyone had noticed any blood red suns, black water or rains of frogs recently. Witnesses say he was looking rather bemused - as far as they could tell underneath the robe.
This correlates with other reports of the sightings of these mystery riders. Without actually being really identifiable these four men invariably leave the impression of being somewhat lost and mildly confused.

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)

After a long abstinence a social message…

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

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Did you give money to a charity helping in Pakistan yet?
No? I think you should, then.

Hardly anyone is, and when I then see the islamophobic mob on a rightwing German blog celebrating this and stating that giving money to their blog owner or Geert Wilders (a Dutch far right politician whom they adore) would be a far better investment, then I get really, really….. I don’t think “angry” is quite the right word…..

If you’re German, here’s a list of respectable charities.

Give a Euro, a Dollar, a Pound.

I gave.

Thank you.

Look, I’m sure this came with a warranty.

Monday, April 12th, 2010

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In September 2009 a US American woman, Torry H., adopted a Russian child, Artyom S.

According to H. and her mother Artyom - or Justin, as he was now being called - had been showing antisocial and dangerous behaviour, ranging from hitting, kicking and spitting to uttering threats, compiling a “hit list” and even recently having started a fire in the house.

So this weekend the seven-year-old boy was put on a one-way flight to Moscow by Torry’s mother, apparently carrying nothing but a backpack containing sweets, cookies, crayons and a note from his adoptive mother with him.

The note said: “This child is mentally unstable. He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues. I was lied to and misled by the Russian orphanage workers and director regarding his mental stability and other issues … After giving my best to this child, I am sorry to say that for the safety of my family, friends, and myself, I no longer wish to parent this child.”

“A man” was paid $200 to pick the boy up at the airport and discard him drop him off at the Russian Education and Science Ministry.

(The adoptive grandmother) said it wasn’t child abandonment because a stewardess was watching Artyom on the flight and a reputable person picked him up in Russia.

According to Russian authorities, the boy accuses his adoptive mother of being “bad”, not loving him and having pulled his hair.

I am having several problems with this.

No matter which version is true, or whether both are, we are talking about a seven-year-old child here.

He was taken away from his natural mother by Russian authorities.
There is no information available on why that happened, but I’d say it is safe to assume the kid is carrying baggage from whatever must’ve taken place there before the authorities stepped in.

Then he spent about a year in an orphanage. Nothing six-year-old children really benefit from.

Then he is taken into a strange country.
A certainly frightening experience for such a young child.
He may have exhibited all those traits that the adoptive mother and grandmother describe.
Hell, if you adopt a child, you should be prepared for problems.
If they turn out to be severe surely no one will blame you if you seek help from a psychologist. That’s what they’re for after all.
Well, whatever happened in the US, after a good half year they just decide to discard him like some faulty kitchen appliance.
I don’t even want to try and imagine what that must do to the mind of a child.

Actually, none of us need much imagination here, just click the link in the second news quote, they have a photo there of the boy.
And then look at his face.

And Nancy H. has the gall to bandy words and reject the term “child abandonment”?
What does one call putting a child on a plane with the intent to deliver him onto the doorstep of the Russian Education and Science Ministry?
It doesn’t matter that a flight attendant and then a paid courier were with him at all times.
The child was abandoned at a fucking ministry in Moscow.

A global post

Monday, April 21st, 2008

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Zimbabwe

I have been closely following this year’s elections in Zimbabwe, southern Africa.
It was an all-in-one election: on March 29th the people of Zimbabwe went out to vote on the president, the House of Assembly and the senate.

For those of you who don’t know, the president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, ruling for 28 years now, and his Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party have been rigging the last few elections and have been in the habit of killing, beating, torturing and displacing the poor, people of and people supporting the opposition party MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) and white farmers.

A combination of blatant mismanagement, bad timing (raiding farms and killing and displacing farmers during harvest times) and nepotism (giving the farms seized from the hated “colonial white farmers” to his cronies instead of people who know about farming) and a lot of other things I am surely missing, has led the country into ruin.
At the time of the election Zimbabwe had an inflation rate of 100,000% (One hundred thousand percent!); the unemployment rate is at 80%, the most basic food is either unavailable or too expensive for people to buy and the rampant number of HIV infections and an appalling sanitary/hygiene situation have led to the incredible life expectancy of around 34 years for women.

If this country and its people are to survive, Mugabe has to go - the sooner, the better.

Voting proved to be difficult, in some cases impossible. Voters were turned away from polling stations for various reasons, ranging from alleged additional nationalities which would (unlawfully) exclude them from voting to not being on the list for the polling station they’d been going to all their lives. Some of the voters with the latter problem managed to vote at other stations.
The stations themselves were often hidden away from view, as were the posters pointing to them.
If you had managed to find a polling station and were on their list of registered voters, you might still have found yourself in the company of a good many intimidating police officers who were present at polling stations “to assist disabled or illiterate people to cast their votes”.

After two days of suspence and rumours of Mugabe having fled the country to varying destinations, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) started releasing results for the House of Assembly votes in a slow and irregular trickle, strangely enough always with ZANU-PF being one or two seats in the lead.
By April 2nd the official results for the House of Assembly votes were released:
94 seats went to ZANU-PF,
98 seats went to MDC Tsvangirai, and
7 seats went to MDC Mutambara (not a wise choice to split the MDC if you ask me…).


© 2008 by Zapiro

As of today the other results have not been officially released.
Yet Mugabe accuses the MDC and even members of the ZEC (a ZANU-PF controlled institution after all) of vote rigging and has contested part of the House of Assemby votes and the presidential vote.
Not only the people of Zimbabwe wonder how he can contest numbers that nobody knows.


© 2008 by Zapiro

Some ZEC officials have been arrested.
MDC party members and people of the regions that very strongly voted for MDC have been beaten and burned.
Houses have been destroyed, more white farmers threatened.
Do I have to mention that harvests have been destroyed?

For the first time ever the ballots were counted at each polling station right after the elections and the results publicly displayed.
Indepentent observers and MDC members photographed those results and counted voters.
There are variations in the House of Assembly results but all in all the numbers tally - ZANU-PF votes due to “helpful police officers aiding the disabled and illiterate” notwithstanding.

The Independent Results Center webpage of the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) has long since published the results of the presidential vote as well, unofficially declaring Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC the winner with 50.3% of the votes.

The people of Zimbabwe know the results of this year’s elections. Oh, they knew them last time as well, but last time there was no proof. This time there is.
The Zimbabweans are desperate and have had enough.
I am afraid that if Mugabe doesn’t decide to go of his own free will after all, there will be a bloody and probably long civil war. Just what this struggling country needs…

The High Court in Zimbabwe rejected the MDC’s demand for an immediate release of the vote count on April 14th.
By now a recount (read: rigging) in 23 of the 210 constituencies has begun.
Violence, lies (Tsvangirai a puppet of the old colonial masters) and threats have been stepped up.

The last time I saw the inflation rate mentioned it was at 164,800%.

.

South Africa

As in the past during the bouts of violence and oppression following elections in Zimbabwe the South African president Thabo Mbeki stood close to his buddy Mugabe, denying there being any crisis in Zimbabwe, while government spokesman Themba Maseko called the situation dire.

When Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa called for an extraordinary summit of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) in Lusaka, Zambia, on the 13th Mbeki made a short detour to Zimbabwe, amiably joked with Mugabe, and then went on to Lusaka to tell everyone there to wait for election results.

Although he had first said he would, Mugabe did not grace the summit with his presence but sent his foreign minister instead.
Oh, and 27 busses filled with people paid to cheer for him at the summit…

Despite the host’s urging the SADC to take action the SADC let themselves be convinced by Mbeki to do nothing.


Mbeki (left) & Mugabe (right)

.

China

I’ve been wondering for quite some time now why the Olympics are going to happen in China.
There were certain conditions that the Chinese government was supposed to stick to in return for the honours, right?
Like, paying a bit more attention to human rights and freedom of the press.

As nothing seemed to be happening in that direction people started to call for a boykott of the Olympics.
“No, no, we can’t do that,” came the answer from both politicians and Olympic committee members. “The Olympics are a unifying sporting event and should not be politicised!”

Then the Chinese were paying a lot of attention to human rights and to the freedom of the press by sending all reporters out of the region on the anniversary of the occupation of Tibet and stamping out every bit of protest by brutal force, but I somehow doubt that was quite what the international community had had in mind…

So - naturally, in my opinion - more and more people were calling for a boykott of the Olympics.
“No, we still can’t do that, but maybe, possibly, we could skip the party events. But we should really think about this some more before we do that. We definitely can’t boykott the Olympics. See, by letting the Chinese government host such a big international event, we are getting levers in to put pressure on them to change things.”

Um. But the Chinese just did everything they weren’t supposed to do. Isn’t the idea of such levers that if “the evil state” doesn’t comply, there will be consequences?
Where are the consequences? You can’t just make a press statement condemning what they did and let them go on as they please.

Everyone should withdraw from this year’s Olympics. And I don’t just mean politicians attending the event.
The athletes should not show up. Or show up, but do no sports and protest.
Anything but pretending that some stupid global sports event is more important than human rights.

“Ok, very valid reasoning,” you will be saying, “but what is this doing in a post about southern Africa?” Ah, let me enlighten you.

On April 14th a Chinese ship, the “An Yue Jiang”, arrived at the port of Durban, South Africa, carrying a shipment of arms for Zimbabwe.

On April 15th the presence of Chinese soldiers was reported from Mutare, Zimbabwe.

It seems human rights abuses on their own soil aren’t enough to keep them occupied anymore…

.

South Africa - again

As I said, the “An Yue Jiang” arrived at Durban on the 14th.

According to the SA Explosives Unit in Durban “There was a problem with the documents they submitted and we have directed the matter to the Chief Inspector of Explosives in Pretoria, Senior Superintendent van Sittert and it may take days for them to get clearance”

On April 16th Transnet and National ports authority of South Africa cleared the ship to begin the offloading of arms and ammunition.

On April 17th the general secretary of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), Randall Howard, made a public statement, announcing that they did not agree with the South African government’s position and that their members employed at Durban Container Terminal “will not unload this cargo neither will any of our members in the truck driving sector move this cargo by road.” He suggested the ship should return to China. (my source via)

On April 18th the Anglican bishop Rubin Phillips with the backing of the SA Litigation Centre (SALC) went to the Durban High Court which granted an interim order stating that the shipment of the “An Yue Jiang” would be placed under the curatorship of the Sheriff of the Court, meaning that the court would seize the cargo the moment the ship docked.

The world should applaud the SATAWU, the bishop, the SALC and the High Court in Durban for standing up against the official position of their country’s politicians, or - more correctly - the position of Thabo Mbeki.

.

the end

Sadly, the ship is either on its way to Mozambique or Angola now, although it has been registered as a casualty today. Everyone is wondering if it really is in trouble or just pretending - or chancing - to be adrift without fuel in order to force being refuelled.

.

sources

Main source for my information for this article - apart from the news - was the “This is Zimbabwe” blog I am linking to in my blogroll as well.
That’s also where I found the pictures I used in this post. There was no source given for the photo, but the cartoon I put in the first South Africa bit seems to be a Sokwanele creation and people are encouraged to use it as an ecard.
I wrote to Sokwanele, but I suppose they have more important things on their mind right now than weird German bloggers asking about using their stuff.
Until I hear otherwise I will consider this blog post my ecard to you then. ;)

The two cartoons I added in the Zimbabwe bit I was allowed to use with kind permission of Zapiro, or rather of the person who answers his emails. ;)
The cartoons are perfect for describing the situation regarding the vote counts, so I am truly thankful I was granted permission to use them.