Steve Earle: John Walker's Blues
I had to work saturday (and no, I don't get any money for this internship, why would anyone pay me for actually working full and over time and doing decent content work too?) and it was really kind of interesting actually. The liberal party here in Germany had its international politics meeting (and I kept protocoll for the most part) and they decided for setting as one of their goals to have a European-wide electorate on the European Constitution in 2009. Can't really think of any decision I would agree with anymore than that one, I'll make sure to make a post on my EU-fanship at some point.
Today just an add on to the raging carricature business (I haven't gotten around to read the paper for like 4 days, so I might have missed something major, I'll catch up in the next couple of days (hopefully)). I want to point out two things (and thanks again for Ida's and Heidi's takes on this).
1. Just to put this whole thing in context, yes all these Arabian countries suffer from a lack in what we would call basic human rights (like freedom of speech, male-female equality and a lot of others...), but let's keep in mind that we (meaning the Western world as a whole) not too long ago was not much better in these regards. I read about a Bundesverfassungsgerichtsentscheidung the other day (a decision by the German Supreme Court) saying that women in 1966 were not only required by law to have sex with their husbands but that it also was illegal for them to show 'Gleichgültigkeit und Widerwille' (indifference and averseness) during intercourse. So, when we claim that these people live in the Middle Ages, we should keep in mind that those 'Middle Ages' are not too far removed from us. (This of course serves as an example only, whether it be racial discrimination and killings, the Holocaust, the colonial wars, we are talking about a long list of things that occurred only a short while ago, I only chose the aforementioned example, because it is more or less recent and illustrates the ridicolousness of the whole thing quite well).
2. Even though this is not totally true anymore, as (and this should be seen as just one example) there was a demonstration here in Berlin in front of the Danish embassy with 3000 people taking part in it, but still one should be aware that most of these massive demonstrations are taking place in countries with absolute authocratic if not totalitarian regimes. In Syria for example it is completely inconceivable for 100,000 people to gather for a demonstration if the government did not endorse and support the effort at least partly. Basically what some of this looks like to me, is that these regimes are trying to get rid of some of the pressure that they are facing because of their poor political records (whether it be economical, regarding corruption or democratic reforms) by blaming the Western devil outside of their countries. Usually this would be the US, this time it is Denmark (whose government's, well unfortunate handling of the whole situation certainly didn't help things either). People demonstrating against Denmark and the rest of the devilish West will not prepare a revolution at home.
At last but not least, I would like to make all of you aware of the fact that in the spring of 2003 Iran (with the help of Swiss diplomats) offered the US-government a detailed plan of normalising relations between the two, including the offer to cut support for the Hamas and Hisbollah. The administration rejected that offer, need I say anything else here? How stupid can you be? Axis of stupidity it should be called maybe...
Trucking And Blue-Collar Woes
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