The Salon II

Friday, March 31, 2006

Suspicious lack of diplomacy

The current, and long-standing, Prime Minister of the Asian nation of Cambodia, Hun Sen, is a former leader of the Khmer Rouge, albeit not the Polpot variety... more like the liberating variety, but very militant and authoritarian Khmer Rouge nevertheless. So one can expect some rough edges with him, especially considering how he has managed to maintain himself in power. But this was beyond... just read on:
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Cambodian PM denounces UN envoy

"Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen has launched a scathing attack on a UN envoy who criticised the government's record on human rights.

Yash Ghai said on Tuesday that Cambodia's government was not committed to human rights, and power had been too centralised around 'one individual'.

Hun Sen said Mr Ghai was 'deranged' and should be sacked by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan."
But wait, it gets better:
"Mr Ghai said donor countries, on whom Cambodia relies for half its budget, should "put pressure on the government to use this opportunity to put laws and institutions in place".

The comments brought a furious reaction from Hun Sen.

"Kofi Annan should remove him. He knows nothing [about Cambodia], and came to talk like this. I will never meet with you [Yash Ghai]," he said.

"You don't even know about your own poor country, Kenya, in which over 50% of people live in poverty. You are lucky that this time a deputy prime minister met you. That won't happen next time." "
Now just who on earth does Lord Hun Sen think he is? First of all, he has just propped-up all my suspicions about his alleged human rights abuses - not that I wasn't already. By having such a pathetic outburst, he does nothing less than giving the UN more reasons to probe his nefarious practices.

But, as a proud African, what got to me even more, are the unnecessarily insulting references to Mr Ghai's country of origin, Kenya, and in my opinion Africa. Lord Hun Sen displays such a level of arrogance, and disdain towards Mr Ghai, that he sees it as beneath him to meet with an envoy of the UN Secretary General, simply because he dares to point out that the Cambodian regime is engaging in reprehensible practices of human rights abuses. And he finds nothing better to oppose to this, but to mock the guy's country of origin? I mean what has the world gone to? Hun Sen needs to go shove it, and clean up his act. And to use his own words, he should look at the problems - HE is creating - in his own country. The guy has done lost his mind!

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

One more in the camp of equity

Jamaica has apparently joined the nations that have gotten the message of the need to make use of all the citizens of their nations, in all capacities, regardless of their genitalia:
BBC NEWS | Americas | Jamaica awaits first woman leader: "Jamaica is to swear in its first female Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller.

Leaders from around the world are gathering in the Jamaican capital, Kingston, for Thursday's inauguration.

Ms Simpson Miller, 60, takes over from the incumbent Prime Minister, PJ Patterson, who has been in power for the past 14 years.

She has said Jamaica should stop worrying about her gender and concentrate on the island's problems, particularly the high crime rate."
I really wish I lived at a time when I would not need to write about "the first woman" doing this or that (or for that matter the first Black, Latino, Asian, Gay, Lesbian, etc). I wish I lived in a time when people would have learned from History, the powerful destructive nature of hate and discrimination. I do not live in such a time, although I long for it. I do not believe in equality of men and women, because there are definitely things that make us different - genitalia, hormone functions and physical strength being the first that come to mind. I also believe, for example, that women are by far - and by biology - better equipped to care for children than men.

But that said, I strongly believe in men and women's equal worth, their equal intellectual abilities, and their equal inherent rights to live a good life. I wish I lived in a world where women can contribute to society to the best of their abilities, provide for themselves if need be, or if they choose to; a world where women could be paid fairly and equally for the out-of-home work they choose to perform, and rewarded for the in-home work they undertake; a world where they can prosper, and where all their decisions are not questionned simply because they are a woman. I am VERY far from being a feminist man - with no intentions of getting any closer, but that would be my ideal world, because it just feels more just.

Until we reach that world, I will root for every woman that fights the system to put themselves into positions of power traditionally held by men. So you go Ms. Simpson Miller!!!!

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Kadima, from Palestine

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israeli poll deepens Palestinian gloom

"... Ehud Olmert, wants to abandon Jewish settlements in the centre of the occupied West Bank.

But Israel would consolidate its hold on the main settlement blocs. It would also hold on to occupied East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley.

Palestinians would be confined to areas in the middle of the territory.

It would mean a continuation of occupation and a continuation of conflict - and that would be as bad for the Israelis as for us
Mustafa Barghouti

They say they would be stripped of some of their best land and water resources.

They would not have the capital they want, and they would have no control over their borders and their routes to the outside world.

They argue that they would never be able to create a viable state out of the land that Mr Olmert would leave them.

A leading independent Palestinian political figure, Mustafa Barghouti, has said of the plan: 'It would mean a continuation of occupation and a continuation of conflict - and that would be as bad for the Israelis as for us.'"
No comment.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Israel elections

Haaretz | Israel News | Big parties tense as polls minutes from closing:

By Haaretz Staff

The three largest parties, Kadima, Labor, and Likud, were under mounting pressure Tuesday evening, fearing that the lowest voter turnout in Israeli electoral history may sap their strength in the next Knesset.

A low turnout is expected to work in favor of smaller, ideology-driven parties, especially those of the right. It may also enable such issue-based factions as the
Pensioners party to enter the Knesset for the first time.
The Salon II supports Kadima and/or Labor in this race, because they seem the only ones interested in some sort of a genuine compromise with the Palestinians. This conflict - and the slanted US attitude in the face of it - is the basis of many world conflicts today. It is about time that we deal with it realistically, and fairly. I will say no more... for now.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Tymoshenko : the return

This is what happens when promising, people-backed, democratic revolutionnaries cannot deliver on their promises; or maybe what happens when these revolutionnaries make promises they simply cannot deliver on, realistically; or maybe what happens when the human nature takes over from human ideals... you be the judge:
Aljazeera.Net | Tymoshenko eyes coalition deal: "Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Ukranian prime minister, has scored a triumph in parliamentary elections with her own bloc coming second and placing her in a position to form a coalition government.

Viktor Yanukovich's pro-Russian Regions party won the most seats, but Tymoshenko emerged as a rejuvenated political figure, saying that 'Orange Revolution' liberals could close ranks to keep the pro-Russian party in opposition.

The outcome was a double humiliation for Viktor Yushchenko, the president, who defeated Yanukovich in a presidential poll re-run after December's 2004 street protests, and later fell out with Tymoshenko, his former Orange Revolution comrade."
So Yushchenko is being punished for not delivering on his promises, and he is paying for his falling out with Ms Tymoshenko, a move that made his entire movement weaker. Personal issues, "control-freakness", power-mongering, or whatever it was between these two, it put them in a position to falter on a very promising program for the renaissance of Ukraine. The success of the Orange Revolution was one of the strongest campaigns in support of the argument that democracy and representative/participative government are actually closer to an ideal for humans than dictaorship, corruption and politicking - at the time, represented by Yanukovich and Russia. For minor differences - or so it seems - Yushchenko and Tymoshenko jeopardize the chances of that coalition to succeed. Now that they are - possibly - given a second chance, I hope they will get it right, this time around.

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Malian-Russian girl stabbed

There was a time that West Africans saw Russia - well the USSR - as the Godsent cheaper and friendlier alternative to the West, for higher education. In fact about 1/3 of the political class in Mali is Soviet-educated. They often talk about their experience in Russia as a positive experience, of higher learning, and social interaction. Some of them even have Russian conjoints. For a long time, one of the biggest Moscow University was named after Patrice Lumumba, the great Congolese leader... Things seem to have changed:
BBC NEWS | Europe | Mixed-race girl stabbed in Russia

"A nine-year-old girl of mixed Russian and Malian parentage has been seriously injured in a stabbing in St Petersburg.

Prosecutors said they were considering 'xenophobia' as the motive for the attack, in which nothing was stolen.

The attack in the hallway of a block of flats on Saturday evening is the latest assault in the city on foreigners and members of ethnic minorities."
One of my best friends is a Armenian-Russian girl, Lena, and she has been a model of sensitivity, respect and consideration for Black and other people. Maybe because of the Armenian thing, that may have made her subject to discrimination there. But many other "Slavic Russians" I know, do not appear to be racist. I therefore have a hard time understanding this new rise of racist xenophobia in Russia. What are the triggers? White supremacy? Fear for jobs, like here in the US, with Latinos? What is it makes these bigots tick?

I still wonder...

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Is Lukashenko done?

BBC NEWS | Europe | Belarus protests spark clashes

"Clashes have broken out between police and protesters in the Belarus capital Minsk during a large opposition rally over a disputed election results.

One opposition leader, Aleksander Kozulin, was reportedly detained but there was confusion over the arrest of another, Alexander Milinkevich.

Several thousand people defied police attempts to prevent the rally, moving instead to a nearby park.

Blasts were heard as a group marched on a jail where other protesters are held.

'The more the authorities conduct repression, the closer they bring themselves to their end,' Mr Milinkevich earlier told a crowd of protesters who gathered in Yanka Kupala park."

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Climate change side effects

Call it global warming, climate change, major @#$%^*-up, there is something that we are not doing right on this planet. And until proven otherwise to me, the most likely culprits are greenhouse gases, and we know which countries produce the most of those. And some countries are already paying for it:
Pacific Islands: PINA and Pacific: "The Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Maatia Toafa says resettlement of the people of Tuvalu to neighbouring island countries is really the last option on their mind.

Mr Toafa told PACNEWS his government will look at all viable options before making a decision but it hopes that Tuvaluans will not be forced out of their motherland.

“It is a complex procedure to follow. This would be the last resort for Tuvalu to look at resettlement to Fiji or the other Pacific Islands neighbours as well,” he said

“I hope that it won’t happen. We would try our very best,” he said."
Just because Tuvalu is probably the smallest country member of the UN (or at least one of them, and definitely the most recent member), doesn't mean they do not count on the world scene. And they are not the only Island nation at risk here. Why it is that the wealthy on this planet are not willing to consider any possible issue that do not fit their svheming plans, I wonder...

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Some news from the Balkans

DTT-NET.COM Blair says Kosovo, Montenegro status will not affect Bosnia, Macedonia: "(Sarajevo/London, DTT-NET.COM)-UK Prime minister said that solutions on the status of Kosovo and Montenegro will have no implications on the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia.

Tony Blair told Bosnian daily Dnevni Avaz that resolving the key issues of this year related to the future of Kosovo and Montenegro status solution will have to help stability in the Western Balkans region.

“Kosovo and Montenegro are the main issues of this year… the way this two issues will be resolved will have no implications on (Bosnia) Dayton and (Macedonia) Ohrid agreements” Blair was quoted in a interview to the daily.

The UK PM said that Kosovo final status will have to promote regional stability and multi-ethnicity reconfirming the position of London that independence is a serious option to be considered.

“The independence is, of course one and some would say the only option” he said on Kosovo.

On Montenegro Blair said that EU is trying to make the upcoming independence referendum in Montenegro in accordance with “ international recognised standards”."

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Racism and Sports

After Samuel Eto'o in Spain, another group of Africans are facing racial slurs, and racial attacks in sports fields:
BBC SPORT | Cricket | International Teams | Australia | ICC inquiry condemns racist fans: "The International Cricket Council have promised a crackdown to stamp out racist abuse at grounds in Australia.

It follows taunts directed at South African players during the recent VB Series tournament in Australia.

India's solicitor general Goolam Vahanvati was appointed by the ICC to conduct an inquiry.

In his report, he concluded: 'It was premeditated, co-ordinated and calculated to get after the players. It is a serious matter.'"
This is not acceptable, and it is seriously getting on my nerves. I am starting to rethink some of my views on free speech. The only reason why I still believe in full free-speech, is because I do not trust the government when it comes to regulating/legislating speech. But the fact that in the XXIst century, we can stiil hear such utter stupidities occuring... Who the hell do these people think they are? Do they think that they are made out of Zeus' thigh? Because i they were, they were made so high up, that they stink!

And let no one even start with me that I am saying this because they are Africans. In fact some of those heckled were lily white. Any white person that has not done anything to warrant insult should not be insulted either, period. And that goes for people of any races. The fact that there are some white racists, and that White people have a troubled past as a group, and particularly against my race (if there should be such a thing as race), does not allow me to prejudge any white person. People need to wake the @#$%&^ up!!! This is the kind of burden that the oppressed - and/or formerly oppressed - should not have to carry, and am tired, I mean dead tired of carrying it. And those that are Blacks of slave descent are probably even more tired than I am. Enough is enough!!!!!

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Francophone, Francophile...

An exception from most people in my country, my first language is French - although I speak fluently 2 of the 4 official Congolese languages. I also went to school from 2nd grade to 12th, in the French School system (yes, the French have International "French Schools" all over the world), and sometimes it feels like I know France better than the French (how rrogant of me, I know). BUt one of the side effects of all this, is that I have a tendency to be very defensive of the French language. Call me crazy! But the personal attachment I have developed with the language, and its right to stand as an international language (along with Swahili and Mandinka, in my opinion), is something I just cannot help. That is why I understood Pres. Jacques Chirac when he caused this mini-havoc:
BBC NEWS | Europe | Chirac upset by English address: "French President Jacques Chirac showed his temper at the EU summit when a French business leader addressed delegates in English.

He stormed out of a session when Ernest-Antoine Seilliere said he chose English 'because that is the accepted business language of Europe today'.

Mr Chirac told reporters on Friday he was 'deeply shocked' that a Frenchman chose to address the summit in English."
Now I write in English because I live in the USA, and my audience is majoritarily anglophone. But i also write article in French, because it is important that one culture don't get the impression that it can simply steamroll all the others, because they have bigger means of distribution. If to make that point I realize that I have to write everything bilingually, I might just do that. Chirac is somewhat of an overgrown drama-king, but I feel him...

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

France raises marriage age limit

Am I alone to think that it was about darn time?
BBC NEWS | Europe | France raises marriage age limit: "The French parliament has raised the age at which a woman can get married - from 15 to 18 - as part of a package to combat domestic violence.

The law, which aims to prevent forced marriages, makes the age limit the same as that for men.

Tougher penalties for marital rape and assault will now be extended to partners and ex-partners in general.

MPs also backed measures to counter sex tourism, child pornography and female circumcision.

It will also become an offence to confiscate travel or identity documents to prevent a partner leaving.

The law on theft is also being amended: until now it has been impossible to bring theft charges against one spouse stealing from another. "

Read more!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Euska Herria...

We all woke up to this news all over the news channels (I just picked SABC to promote African media): | Basque separatist group declares ceasefire:

"March 22, 2006, 14:30

Basque separatist group ETA today declared a permanent ceasefire in its struggle for independence from Spain with effect from Friday, Basque newspaper Gara said on its Web site. ETA, classed as a terrorist group, previously declared a full ceasefire in September 1998. The group rescinded the ceasefire in December 1999.

ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna, or Basque Country and Freedom) is fighting for an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southwestern France. The group has killed nearly 850 people since 1968, typically using car bombs or shootings. The number of ETA killings has fallen from 23 in 2000 to three in 2003 and there have been none since then.

Spain, the United States and the European Union have listed ETA as a terrorist organisation. Jose Maria Aznar, the former Spanish prime minister, who survived an ETA attack while he was opposition leader in 1995, made eliminating the group a priority. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, his Socialist successor, and his government have taken a softer line on ETA and have publicly fostered hopes of a truce."
Well it was about time, although with ETA, we have all learned to have a great deal of healthy caution. As some analysts were stating, ETA never did get out of the mud they were put in, whe they were - unjustly - accused for the Madrid train bombing. They have therefore had to recognize that their cause would not be served militarily, and that the political process would yield much stronger results. Aside from that, there has been some doubts over the actual strength of the Basque people's support of ETA, since they earned a great deal of autonomy from the Spanish government. By deciding to give the democratic process a fair chance, ETA has probably made its best strategic decision a in a long time.

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The issue of homemade alcohol | Indian country liquor kills farmer, then mourners

"March 20, 2006, 13:45

Ten villagers attending the cremation of a man poisoned by home-made alcohol in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh have died after toasting him with smuggled brew. Officials say 16 others are in a critical condition at a local hospital.

The villagers from the northeast of the state capital Hyderabad reportedly consumed alcohol believed to have been illegally brought in from the neighbouring state of Orissa. The alcohol sells for as little as 18 cents a bottle, one-third of the price of commercially produced liquor.

The drink is made from industrial spirit, to which boot-leggers add a cocktail of ingredients which could include vegetables, battery acid and pieces of old rubber tyres. The deadly mix is then boiled and distilled. It kills hundreds of poor Indians every year. - Reuters"
This is a problem that we encounter in Africa too, when the production of homemade alcohols are sometimes... creative at best, but often dangerous, due to some unorthodox ingredients.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A clash of civilizations?

New round of protests and strikes set in France | International Herald Tribune

"French students and unions have stepped up pressure on the government, calling for a day of demonstrations and strikes March 28 to fight a hotly contested new labor law that makes it easier for companies to fire young employees.

Students also planned to march in Paris again Tuesday, continuing the protests that began Feb. 7 and have grown into a national movement, tipping the embattled government into crisis.

President Jacques Chirac repeated calls Monday for dialogue between the government and opponents of the law, which he said could be 'improved.' Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin met with business leaders, unemployed youths and students in an effort to find a way out of the impasse that threatens his political career.

'He is ready to go further than this,' a spokesman for Villepin said Monday, hinting there was room for negotiation. 'If there are proposals from the unions, he is ready to study them.'

The battle over what amounts to an incremental change in the country's social contract is emblematic of the overwhelming challenge facing many Western European countries as they try to loosen rigid labor laws and trim costly benefits that have built up in the social- welfare systems that emerged after World War II.

Governments recognize the need for fundamental"
One could wonder why I used that title for this commentary. Well that is because I see this problem as a clash between European and American civilizations. The all business, laissez-faire, and anti-union attitude of the United States, versus the union-friendly, worker-friendly and social-welfare based Europe.

People like Prime Minister De Villepin and Interior Minister Sarkozy, have started to live up to their conservative labels economically, as much as they do socially. In France, this is pretty new. Although one could generally look to the right - I mean extreme right, not Chirac... or do I?... - for the racists and bigots and xenophobes, it was not always clear cut in economic terms, despite all the rhetoric, and the little nationlization/denationalization of companies dance that always occur when there was a change at the helm. And it does send a bit of a chill accross Europe, and their workers. This is to some a degree, a direct attempt at changing the very fabric of European society... something that Europeans always abhore, whether it is from "those damn Muslim immigrants", or "those arrogant American bastards". Apparently change is coming. But is it really what it's cracked up to be? Living in the USA, I am still wondering...

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A clash about civilization...

Both leaders of the Iraq war effort - Bush and Blair - spoke to the public recently, in activities around the 3rd anniversary of the war. While Bush was clumsily stating that after 9/11, the US realized that killers could destroy innocent life (I thought that was the definition of a killer), Tony Blair was making arguments of a higher range:
BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics | Iraq war allies remain in step: "One of the most interesting things in Tony Blair's speech on foreign policy was his disclosure that government advisers had told him never to use the phrase 'Islamic extremism'.

It was advice he resolutely rejected as he laid out his beliefs that such extremism - and especially its ideas - should be 'taken on'.

The phrase in the speech Mr Blair would probably like remembered most is: 'This is not a clash between civilisations. It is a clash about civilisation.'

It is a clever phrase because it gets round the awkwardness of those who use the 'clash of civilisations' approach. They fall into the trap of taking sides between East and West, Christian and Muslim, secular and religious. Mr Blair is trying to run up a flag around which moderates of all faiths and no faith can rally."
Now, I agree with the analyst, that it is a very clever way t go around the notion of East vs. West. And I also agree to some degree with Tony Blair - who I respect and admire, but disagree emphatically with on the war - that these radical islamist views have to be taken on, dead on. My problem is more with the supremacist tendencies that lurk in on that statement: A clash about civilization.

The problem here, is this tendency that Western leaders to infer that the only right way to be, is like them. Yes they pay lip service to the notions that, for instance, Iraqi democracy will not look like the United States. But the pattern of actions and operations on the ground in Iraq, and in stated policies, all work on the premise that the West should be THE model to adopt by all. When the Lula, Chavez, Castro, Morales and Bachelet of this world want to have a slightly different approach, the US... freezes in apprehension. In addition, the people in the West cannot comprehend why everybody would not want to be like them. They do not realize that their countries' track records in staying true to their words when there was no particular economic interest at play, is abismal. They do not realize the deep wounds that their colonial past, and their divide and conquer policies have left, and the utter distrust that creates. And finally, they subconsciously take the arrogant attitude that Western culture is the only one worth being proud of, because - and this was actually said to me here in the US - it is the only tru Civilisation ever to have really existed. Forget Egypt, rabia and Abyssinia. Forget the three times millenary civilization of China.

This is not just a clash about civilization, because one would have to define what one sees as being "civilization". It is a similar issue as with the term "discovery". The Portuguese did not "discover" the Kongo kingdom, at least not in a globalized sense. They encountered the Kongo people, the Zulus or the East Indians, who were there, minding their own business. They were not lost animal species, to be studied and classified. If they were I could understand that it was a species unknown, in lands unknown to humanity as a whole. But these were human beings just like these Europeans, in lands that had been known to humans for quite a while, so discovery? I don't think so.

Just words, you tell me? Well yes. But see, in Congo we say that "the tongue has the same destructive power as the spear". Words, used carelessly, can start a war, and used carefully, can end one. Westerners have yet to get the fact that the pain, frustration and resentment is very real in poorer countries, and that it is often justified. It is this lack of awareness, in the people's - and sometimes the leaders' - minds that make it possible for them to be flabbergasted when some yahoos decide to take that resentment to an insane - and reprehensible - next step, and bomb civilians.

If people were more careful about holding their politicians accountable for such statements Bush's "crusade", "axis of evil", "africa is a beautiful country", etc, maybe we would be going somewhere in terrorism reduction. I mean does that not make sense?

Just wondering...

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Contra el racismo : Integracion (es)

Este articuo de "Contra el racismo" nos trata de explicar un poco mejor, las dificultades que los Europeos piensan tener con su poblacion de inmigrantes.
Contra el racismo y un poco mas | Integracion:

"Integracion, por asi decirlo la ultima moda en Francia y en Europa, por exagerar un poco diria que no se pasa un dia en que no escucho hablar de esto, integracion por aqui integracion por alla.
Pero que es la integracion?
Muchos se equivocan y llaman integracion a muchas cosas que no tienen nada que ver con esta y esta integracion a veces entona con desculturalizacion.
Estoy deacuerdo con la integracion, pero muchas veces escucho cosas que no tienen que ver con esta y me doy cuenta que la integracion se convirtio en una buena escusa para hacer pasar una cierta intolerancia.
En una ocacion una periodista de origen magrebi, se escandalizaba por el hecho de que algunos extrangeros tenian que cambiarse el nombre para poder encontrar trabajo y la respuesta que alguien le dio era que debian hacerlo, si estaban en Francia era hora de 'integrarse' y colocarle a sus hijos nombres franceses.
No veo por que uno deba cambiarse el nombre o colocarle a sus hijos nombres franceses para poder estar verdaderamente integrado. Yo personalmente no lo haria, no comparto esto y es mas hacerlo seria mas bien jugar el juego de aquellos que no han comprendido que es la integracion. Solo esto demuestra que aquellos que hablan de integracion, no saben lo que es y que no estan verdaderamente dispuestos a lograrla.

LA INTEGRACION NO ES DEJAR SU CULTURA Y TOMAR AQUELLA DEL PAIS. Esto es muy importante pero muchos no lo han entendido.

Tambien critican la forma de vestirse de algunos extrangeros, como las "mamas" africanas o el "voile" de las musulmanas. Pero, que les importa como se visten, cual es el problema, cada cual se viste como le de la gana, eso no afecta a nadie, solo a aquellos que quieren joder y criticar a los demas y que seguramente no tienen nada mas que hacer. Personalmente me gusta esa diversidad, ver gente vestida a la africana, a lo indu, a lo europeo, es mas simpatico que ver todo el mundo vestido de una manera uniforme y eso no tiene nada que ver con la integracion eso se llama irrespeto.
Otro problema es el que los inmigrantes solo se relacionan entre ellos . Pero me pregunto, a cuantos de aquellos que dicen esto le gustaria relacionarse con extrangeros y es mas cuantos depues de relacionarse con estos mantendrian una verdadera amistad. No creo que muchos, por que precisamente existen individuos que construyen las amistades mas fuertes y se sienten mejor con personas que tiene su misma cultura y codigos, cosa que no es criticable y es comprensible, es apenas normal que mismo si se tienen relaciones con personas de otras culturas un individuo guarde lazos fuertes con su comunidad de origen.
Cuando un europeo se va a vivir al exterior tambien busca la compañia de otras personas de su misma nacionalidad, mismo si se relaciona con los autoctonos es normal que busque personas que tengan su misma cultura. Muchos temen que los extrangeros al quedarse entre ellos se den las condiciones para la aparicion de ghuettos, mas no es asi, por que un ghuetto se crea apartir de una comunidad discriminada y excluida, si los extrangeros tuvieran las mismas oportunidades para encontrar trabajo y vivienda no tendria por que darse eso, mismo si se relacionan mas etre ellos, apartir del momento en que se tengan las mismas posibilidades, tanto en el trabajo, como en la educacion y la vivienda la fusion entre comunidades e individuos de difrentes origenes se dara cada vez mas.

Si se esta en un pais libre, cada cual se puede relacionar con quien lo desee, eso no es ningun problema simpre y cuando no discrimine, ni tenga problemas con las otras comunidades.
Una sociedad multicultural no tiene ningun pero, el verdadero problema esta en la mentalidad de aquellos que quieren uniformizar, imponer su cultura y despreciar las otras, una sociedad multicultural es posible siempre y cuando no exista discriminacion. Esto es posible, cada cual se puede vestir como quiera , guardar sus costumbres y su religion, llamarse como quiera y relacionarse con quien lo desee y al mismo tiempo estar integrado, por que la integracion es respetar las otras comunidades, es la igualdad, tener las mismas posibilidades para encontrar un trabajo y una vivienda, solo apartir de alli se puede hablar de integracion, al contario de lo que pasa en paises como Francia donde se le pide al extrangero de integrarse, sin darle las condiciones de hacerlo realmente. La integracion se da de lado y lado no unilateralmente.


LIBERTAD: de pensar libremente sin ser juzgado, libertad de culto, libertad cultural.

IGUALDAD: cada individuo tiene las mismas oportunidades, derechos y deberes

FRATERNIDAD: mientras las anteriores se cumplan esta se puede dar, si no hay libertad e igualdad de donde se puede sacar la fraternidad.

Mientras se den estas condiciones, se podra ver mas mestizaje en las relaciones entre los autoctonos y los inmigrantes, aunque ya se da y no es raro ver personas de diferentes comunidades en grupos de amigos o en pareja, aun queda mucho para hacer para que se puedan dar las condiciones optimas de convivencia.

Si no existiera discriminacion de parte y parte, todas las comunidades podrian convivir juntas y en paz , guardando su cultura, sin querer obligar a las otras a abandonar y a tomar nuevas costumbres. Solo aquellas conductas que van encontra de la integridad de las personas deberian ser prohibidas.

El gran problema de los paises europeos, es querer obligar a las personas a dejar sus costumbres y tomar las suyas. Mientras no exista respeto y los europeos no comprendan esto, no habra verdadaderamente integracion, si no hay un cambio de mentalidad y los inmigrantes siguen siendo considerados como ciudadanos de segunda clase no se llegara a ningun lado y problemas como los que se dieron en las periferias de las ciudades francesas se seguiran dando."
El autor tiene razon, y ni puedo anadir nada. Pero me gustaria oir las respuestas de la gente.

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The issue of Islam and polygamy

It is very rare that 'The Salon II' agree on an issue that other more conservative blogs have shown concern with. In this case it is from Wizbang:
Wizbang: Muslim polygamy in America

"The fact is there are Muslim men with multiple wives living everywhere in America. But unlike the Mormons--most of whom don't practice polygamy anymore--Muslims with multiple wives aren't subject to ridicule, like HBO shows or Jay Leno jokes. And they aren't prosecuted, like Mormon Tom Green was."
Although I do not see the matter of polygamy in such clear-cut terms as my fellow bloggers at Wizbang, I agree that polygamy laws should apply uniformly to all the inhabitants of the land. And I do not believe any marriage should be recognized for anyone under 18 years old anyway, and then only if it is of their own free will that they married. I am sure I will lose my conservative fellow bloggers when I say that this uniform strength of the law should also apply to same-sex marriages, because it goes to prove that the notion of marriage, as a state-supported social institution, should have nothing to do with any religious sanctity.

Where the Wizbang and Debbie Schlussel lost me, is when they started bringing up the Mormons, and the current HBO show, Big Love. I respect the fact that the Mormons may feel offended by a portrayal that they deem unfavorable. But when we talk about freedom of expression and opinion, it means freedom of expression for everybody. If the neo-cons and the right-wing Christians can ridicule me and others for having liberal views, and tell us daily that we are going to hell, and have the king of them all claim to be in the "no spin zone", when he is the most biased silencer in the business... then HBO, SHOWTIME, Comedy Central and others should have the right to tell it like they see it, and let the audience judge.

Now, back to Muslim polygamy. I am Christian, and I spent much of my life (5 and 1/2 years) in Mali, a secular and very moderate muslim country. And there, the law applies differenty depending on what faith you claim, and what type of marriage regimen you choose. It works fairly well there, actually. And although I am unequivocally against polygamy, I was surprised at how well they all worked it out. But that is there. And unless the law is changed, it is not the law here in the US. I personally think it should not be changed, and I certainly would be one of the first on the protest march against legalizing marriages with a 14 year old girl (or boy for that matter).

The real problem here, however, is a state-nurtured fear of Muslims, and mistrust of Islam. Like every religion - including Christianity - there are aspects of Islam that I find preposterous, and very ungodly like. But like not all Christians are crusaders, not all Muslims are Jihadis. Many Christians support women staying in the kitchen, and being submissive to their husbands, and no one on the right wing seems to have a problem with that. We must all understand that there are plenty of flaws to go around with all our religions and traditions, no matter where we are on earth. And the tendency to lump all people - like I did here when talking about the right-wing as a homogenous group - only deepen the already existing divisions, thus rendering any possibility of cohabitation impossible.

Still wondering...

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Monday, March 20, 2006

A UN of religions?

I was wondering what people thought about this:
BBC NEWS | Europe | Rabbi calls for 'UN of religions': "The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger, has called for the creation of a world body with representatives from the major religious groups.

Rabbi Metzger was addressing the International Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace in Seville, Spain.

He called for the formation of a 'United Nations of religious groups'.

The Imam of Gaza, Imad al-Faluji, said politicians lied but religious leaders had a different objective - to work towards a higher good."
I for one am not sure what to think of this. I want the civilizations of the world, and their corollary religions to live in harmony. But I also recognize that many of the liberties that humans have garnered over the centuries have resulted from their abilities to counter the reactionary and liberticide aspects of some World religions. And the only way that was possible, was because all these religions did not get along, so they were isolated. So wouldn't a UN of religions bring about an era when religions of the World could organize to promote very inquistion-time like restrictions on individual liberties? I am just wondering...

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Nobody Should Die Because of Sex

SPIEGEL ONLINE | EU vs. US: "Nobody Should Die Because of Sex"

"For World AIDS Day on Thursday, the European Union released a statement that was seemingly critical of US efforts to combat the deadly disease. Too much moralizing and not enough condoms seemed to be the message. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke with Robin Gorna, head of the UK's Global AIDS Policy Team, about how realistic abstinence is, whether the US is helping or hurting, and how close we are to an AIDS cure."
I have said this from times immemorial, but no one listens to me. Well with the whole having a fairly conservative Christian country, the DRC, it is the kind of concepts that are very difficult to convey without appearing to be condoning depravity. But the fact of the matter is, in Congo, is that many fathers who would be reprimanding their 18 year-old about their promiscuity, also have 2 or 3 mistresses in other zip codes. And that attitude of do as I say, and not as I do, is something I have found in many communities here in the United States too. I have recently discovered that much of the puritanism is fairly hypocritical, except when it comes to homosexuality, the only subject on which they seem to grow a "Christian conscience". A humorist once said that White conservative women in the US are against abortion, until their daughter is pregnant of a black boyfriend. Then, I took it like just a funny joke. But it seems closer to the truth than I ever thought. Regardless, this business of promoting abstinence is not realistic, dangerous, and I would even say criminal. Call me crazy if you wish, but in my opinion, it is just as criminal not to yell fire in a movie theater when there is a fire, than it is to do so when there is not fire.

Still wondering...

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Friday, March 17, 2006

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | E Timor sacks one third of army

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | E Timor sacks one third of army: "East Timor has sacked more than a third of its army after soldiers went absent without leave to protest against poor conditions and rules of promotion.

The soldiers said they wanted an end to 'nepotism and injustice' in the force.

They refused to end the month-long stand-off despite an offer by President Xanana Gusmao of a government inquiry.

The dismissal of nearly 600 soldiers is a serious blow to the 1,400-strong force, set up after East Timor gained independence from Indonesia in 1999.

Most of the servicemen involved in the protest were said to be former insurgents whose 25-year fight for independence from Indonesia finally came to an end with the 1999 UN-organised referendum.

'Breeding resentment'

The soldiers have had trouble adapting to peace-time conditions and many feel they have not been given the recognition they deserve for their past sacrifices."

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

What's up with that?

(xported from The Salon I)

So I was roaming through the net today, and I realized that I had failed in my duty to bring out important events that are often overlooked in the media here in the US, about Africa. I had not been informed - and I have myself to blame - that Ms. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, none other than the first, democratically elected, female African leader, and President of Liberia, was going to address a joint session of the US Congress.
BBC NEWS | Africa | Liberian leader wows US congress

"Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has become one of the few women to address a joint sitting of the United States congress.

In a speech which was frequently interrupted by standing ovations, she said US aid was helping to restore peace to Liberia and West Africa.

She promised to make Liberia 'America's success story in Africa.'

Liberia was founded by freed US slaves in 1847 and many Liberians see the US as their 'big brother'.

After her speech, congress promised an extra $50m in aid for Liberia, still recovering from 14 years of civil war."
Now as much as my next statement is a reflection of the extent of the power of neo-colonialism, this is a rare and important event for Africa as a whole. It is an honour rarely bestowed upon a woman in this country, let alone an African head of state. And so, in my awesome naivete, I ran out to go check the news channels, to catch images of the historic moment... ZIP, nothing, zilch. Not even a line in the tickers of CNN, MSNBC, or - yes I even went there - Fox News. Of course the speech - which was very eloquent - was available on parliamentary Cable channel C-SPAN (and you can watch it here), but who but a politics geek like me would watch C-SPAN?

And this is a perfect illustration of how the US TV-media deals with Africa. It is okay to show the starving kids, but when such an event as this one occurs in their own backyard - or actually frontyard, considering that is the Congress - then no one cares, it ceases to be newsworthy. And I had to go to the BBC to even hear about it... well not only there, all the African sources too. But none here. And then one wonders why some people here, think Africa is hopeless. That is all they get to see. And that is a damn shame.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Good ol' Saddam

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Saddam denounces 'comedy' court

Ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has begun his first formal defence at his trial for crimes against humanity by describing the court as a 'comedy'.

Saddam Hussein and seven co-accused are being prosecuted over the deaths of 148 people in the Shia village of Dujail following a 1982 assassination attempt.

Earlier, his half-brother and former spy chief, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, denied any part in the deaths.

Previous trial sessions have been disrupted by defendants' protests.

Saddam Hussein appeared in court wearing a dark suit, without a tie."
Now does agreeing with Saddam - on this particular statement - make me a sympathizer? Because I am not, really, the guy is a primo-B. But it is true, this court has a feel of a gorilla court. A head of state, accused of crimes against humanity, will never be tried freely in his own country; it will be either overly stringent, or overly lenient. The 4 years of trial for Milosevic were every bit worth the wait and the money, if we want to even pretend to create a remotely harmonious society on this blue sphere of ours.

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His Majesty Berlusconi

Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely. For few people is it more true than for Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi. The meda magnate controls all the major media outlets, governs like an absolute monarch, and is uhphased by all the indictments against him for government mismanagement, and corruption: he has become an all-powerful political machine, and does not believe he has to answer to anyone. Hence this type of incidents:
BBC NEWS | Europe | Berlusconi storms out of TV show

"Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has stormed off a TV show after the interviewer asked awkward questions ahead of the April election.

The media magnate refused to answer when state TV journalist Lucia Annunziata asked about his business affairs and the Iraq conflict.

'You can't tell me what to do,' he said as the conversation descended into bickering and he accused her of bias.

'This is my show, I'll decide the questions,' Ms Annunziata retorted.

She told him he was 'not used to taking journalists' questions'.

The prime minister faces his first TV debate with opposition leader Romano Prodi on Tuesday as the race hots up for the 9-10 April election and his coalition lags behind in opinion polls by several points."
It seems Berlusconi had forgotten that he was actually answerable to someone: the people. Another western leader - known as W - is learning that the hard way right now, with the Dubai ports deal (whether or not I think the people's reaction was totally rational in this case). Like Bush's imperial presidency, his friend Berlusconi has led an even more monarchical prime-ministership, and he may be paying the price now. Now, although I have deep respect for Romano prodi, if he could just be a bit more hip and energetic, I would feel a bit more certain that it was Berlusconi's last act... Iam still wondering.

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Oh (native) Canada

God bless the BBC (when they are impartial). They provide me with a very wide range of news to comment, like this one:
BBC NEWS | Americas | Totem returned to Canadian tribe

"A Canadian tribe has recovered a totem pole that was taken from them in the 1920s and was on display in Sweden.

The nine-metre (30-foot) high artefact is one of most significant treasures of the Haisla nation of British Columbia.

It was erected in 1876 at the mouth of the Kitlope River in north-western Canada to honour a spirit for saving the tribe from a smallpox epidemic."
Well it is about darn time! As a Congolese man, I am still bewildered by the fact that I have to travel to Brussels, and then to Tervuren, to go see much of the artistic, cultural and folkloric wealth of my own country... I mean, right now, Congo does not have the means to actually house much of those, but something tells me that even if we could, and we expressed a desire to have even some of it back, we would have to fight veeeeeery hard...

Go First Nations!

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Pop... politics

Growing up in Africa, I always saw the Eurovision as this very foreign, and fairly frivolous exercise at pop-patriotism. Not that I didn't enjoy watching them, they were awesome. But in the back of my head, I could not help but wonder whether it was not just a futile attempt at trying to keep warring Europeans from getting - militarily - at each other's throats. A catharsis, if you will.

This does not seem to work anymore; in fact quite the opposite:
BBC NEWS | Europe | Serbia-Montenegro in pop song row

"Tensions between Serbia and Montenegro have spilled over into the Eurovision song contest, which has a history of intense national rivalry.

An argument is raging over which band should represent the federation of Serbia and Montenegro in the contest.

A Montenegrin boy band called No Name won a televised competition in Belgrade to choose the best song - but they were booed by the audience, who cried foul."

"Speaking on Sunday, former Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic said the furore had caused "much more excitement last night than the death of [former Yugoslav President] Slobodan Milosevic"."
When something as (well maybe not so) futile as Eurovision, can garter this much passion, shouldn't it be the proof that the Serb-Montenegrin political alliance has run its course? I mean it is but a shred of the original and mighty - if artificial - Yugoslavia; and the fact that some sentimentalists want to cling to that glorious past, should not - IMHO - perclude reality from getting the upper hand: Serbia and Montenegro should become separate countries.

And so should, for that matter, Kosovo separate from Serbia. The day when Milosevic, Mladic and co decided to make an ethnic issue out of former Yugoslavia, and seemingly promoted some level of supremacy and righteousness for the Serbs in the region (mutatis mutandis for the Croat leaders in Croatia, and to a lesser extent the Bosniacs in Bosnia-Herzegovina), they signed they broight doom to the possible peaceful existance of enclaves with a majority of another ethnic group, within another country. This is true for the Republica Serbzca, of Pale in Bosnia, and it should be true for Kosovo. Unless the Serbs - and I mean the people - are willing to recognize the Albanian Kosovars, as inherently Serb, with the same rights, the same consideration and respect, they de facto recognize that Kosova, whose land has been inhabited by these ethnic Albanians for quite a while, does not belong in Serbia, right? I wonder...

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Islamic Calvinism?

You tell me:

BBC NEWS | Business | Turkish toil brings new form of faith

"Kayseri is one of a handful of cities industrialising at an astonishing rate in Anatolia, Turkey's central province and the country's Islamic heartland.

Unlike the big urban centres of Ankara and Istanbul, the population is made up of devout, conservative Muslims. "

"One of the first to use this description was the former mayor of Kayseri, Sukru Karatepe.

A softly-spoken man who taught sociology before entering politics, Karatape noticed striking similarities between the changes in Kayseri and the famous thesis of the German economist Max Weber, who argued that the strong work ethic of the Protestant movement gave birth to modern capitalism. "

""I had read Weber, who'd written about how Calvinists work hard, save money and then reinvest it into business," he says.

"To me, it seemed very similar to what was happening in Kayseri.

"People in Kayseri also don't spend money unnecessarily. They work hard, they pride themselves on saving money. Then they invest it and make more money.

"In fact, in Kayseri, working hard is a form of worship. For them, religion is all about the here and now, not the next life. Making money is a sign of God's approval, and this is also similar to what Weber said about the Calvinists." "
I don't know id it is Calvinism, but it definitelt seems like a logical way to make money, and become financially prosperous, while maintaining one's virtue. That's fine by me, Islamic or otherwise.

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Bush, Iraq policy, evil Iran

Okay, now you all know I have my issues with President Bush, and his foreign policy. But I had been listening to him recently, and he seemed on a more "thoughtful" path, with a bit more consideration for the intelligence of his people in his speeches, and some rationality in the discourse. And then there is this:
Aljazeera.Net | Bush defends Iraq policy, slams Iran

" Bush on Monday delivered the first in a series of planned speeches aimed at convincing Americans he has a strategy for victory, days before the third anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Bush spoke amid a wave of sectarian strife in Iraq that has raised fears of civil war, dampening US hopes for a troop drawdown soon. "

" While blaming Iraq's sectarian violence on the "enemies of freedom" in the country, Bush on Monday also pointed the finger at Iran, saying some of the homemade bombs that are wreaking havoc in Iraq came from its eastern neighbour.

Locked in a test of wills with Iran over its nuclear ambitions, Bush said during his speech that "some of the most powerful IEDs (improvised explosive devices) we are seeing in Iraq today include components that came from Iran". "

Is it just me, or is this a deja-vu from the pre-Iraq war? I mean it was the same arguments, insiduously embedded in every national security/war on terror speech, against Saddam's regime. Not that Iran is not much more poweful, and more aggressive than Saddam was. But I find it eye-opening that the same build-up to war strategy is being employed here.

In light of the above, The Salon II is therefore predicting that, unless there is some major unforseen change in the current stand-off, the US will be fighting Iran by the end of 2007.

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Death of Milosevic

As I did my newsrounds this morning, I had the tremendously puzzling surprise of reading the following:
BBC NEWS | Europe | Milosevic found dead in his cell

Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has died in the detention centre at The Hague tribunal.

The tribunal said he had been found dead in his cell on Saturday morning. The cause of death is not yet clear.
Now I say puzzling, because I am not sure what to think, or how to react. Some primitive vengeful streak in the back of my mind wants me to jump up and down, for a tyrant has finally met his maker. But my more rational side feels a sense of anti-climactic vacuum, as it seems like after all the historical charge behind the indictment of Milosevic in front of a tribunal for crimes against humanity - the first head of state to be so indicted, justice will not get a chance to prevail, in court. For all those that sympathized with Milosevic will always be able to claim (erroneously) that he never had a fair chance, nor a fair trial, and continue to keep him in this posture, as somewhat of a persecuted and heroic martyr, etc, etc. I am simply hoping that his death was a natual one, and not suicide. I am also hoping that this event will not give the Serbian government renewed eagerness to stall the talks on the future of Kosovo, which I care deeply about.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Media, isms, and lethaly poor judgement

(Repost from The Salon I, January 31, 2006)

There are times when I go through the various news sites, and I am simply floored by the unbelievably ludicrous events that occur daily on this blue ball of ours, and actually affect our lives. Between the over the top outrage at Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction", that has made television stations and networks in the USA, excessively weary of the religious right (case and point: The Book of Daniel has just been cancelled), and Hamas declaring it wants an Islamic state in Palestine, to keep homosexuals out (I guess an Islamist party is probably not big on freedoms)... Wow! Why is it that we love to feed our extremism, rather than our abilities to negotiate? And more importantly here, why is it that this human race of ours seems to always be looking for ways to worsen already tense situations?

Case and point:
BBC NEWS Middle East Danes face growing Muslim storm:

"Denmark has advised citizens against travel to Saudi Arabia, amid growing anger across the Muslim world at Danish depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.
A newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet, one of which pictured a bomb hidden in his turban, apologised on Monday for offending Muslims.

A newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet, one of which pictured a bomb hidden in his turban, apologised on Monday for offending Muslims. Islam bans any depiction of the Prophet Muhammad or Allah."

Now, in as volatile a world as we have today, and considering that there is already a daily almost planet-wide clash of religions/ideologies (I am assuming the Danes have TVs, and International news), why would any journalist/newspaper, in their right mind, publish such a potentially incendiary carricature? Aren't there enough points or contention between Islam and the West, for there to be such a monumentous blunder?

Don't get me wrong, I would actually give my life for freedom of expression and opinion, and freedom of the press. But I also believe that professional press organizations should be mindful of the various ramifications of the topics/stories/images they publish. If there is something we have learnt, it is that the West NEEDS to inform itself better about Islam, and its Ummah. Even basic knowledge about Islam could avoid these kind of unnecessary offenses. Unless of course the backlash is exactly what the Jyllands-Posten newspaper was after... but I doubt it.

This brings me to my third point. These potentially inflamatory articles/images are not just a problem for the Muslim world, but may have unintended consequences in Europe itself, and the Western world in general. With the rise of such parties as the "Front National" in France, the National Democratic Party in Germany (NDP... if you replace Democratic by another word that starts with "S", And then you compare their campaign messages and tacticts, I start shivering), or the conservative Christian right-wing here in the USA, there is much cause for concern that isms and phobias in general, and racism and xenophobia in particular, might become an even bigger concern, than backlash from militant Islam. In Russia, numbers of racially motivated killings have doubled in the past 2 years, and all over Europe, xenophobic, racist, and anti-semitic crimes and attacks have become quite frequent. And there seems to be no real will from governments (especially the right-wing ones) to deal with this at all. And within this context, the French parliament had the @#$% to pass a law praising the positive effects of colonialism in the former French Empire. The law will now be repealed, but a staggering 60% of the French people thought it was an appropriate law. And now, to balance it out, Chirac has declared a "Remembrance of Slavery Day", every May 10th, to commemorate a 2001 law that made slavery a crime against humanity, and had angered the Right... it's appropriate, but a bit late.

So in the name of all my fellow formerly colonized African, Caraibean, and Asian people, and the blood of their ancestors, I must say the following. European (and Western) governments have to realize three things: One, they are old and they NEED us "Keffers, niggers, ragheads, sandpeople, beurs, camel-people, savages" to survive. Two, that we are poor and knocking at their door largely as a result of their colonial, post-colonial, Cold-war and neo-colonial policies, and they muss fess up to their responsibilities. And three, if it were not for us, our labour, our lands and our natural resources, they would not even be close to being the powers that they are today (And especially Africans, because if it were not for them, some say, there would be no humans at all).

And to all the Neo-Nazis, Front National, NDP, et al out there, I love you dearly as fellow humans, and I have nothing against you because of your race, and I never have. I have always been a champion for mingling of all humans, tolerance and racial hamony between all people, and that remains my core belief. But get this: you don't want to try us. White people are a minority in this world, and the rest of us has already seen how dangerous a fascist Europe could be... we will not let it happen again. Just so you know.

I am done venting. And I still wonder...

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So, I was mulling around on the recent outrage in the United States over the Dubali ports deals, and... I fell asleep. As I was sleeping, a revelation from above (or wherever it came from) popped in my head so hard, that I woke up.

Conspiracies... what if the stellar Karl Rove team, that are behind the unbelievable 2 terms of the increasingly imperial President Bush, planned this all along? Because I cannot imagine that the very same people that scared Americans to death, and scared them particularly about Arabs and Muslims, would not forsee that people would be scared @#$%less that ports of entry to the US would be left to an Arab-government-owned company to manage... So on that basis, I must ask myself the following: considering how it seems like agreeing with the president may be a liability for many Republicans, what if the Rove team planned all this shebang to give the Republicans an opportunity to show a backbone, and oppose the President, and regain some favor in the mind of the people?

I wonder...

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Monday, March 06, 2006

A few changes

I am a bit ashamed of myself, as I have been so overwhelmed with daily life, and the unbelievably self-destructive nature our world seems to be developping (have you read the news lately?), that I have been kept from fulfilling my blogging duties. I guess it is the real world catching up with me. Additionally, the politicians in Congo seem to use everyday to further prove that many of them are self-serving and immature overgrown schoolboys, and that does not help matters.

But something that I have done, is do some reevaluating. As you can see, the name of the salon has been reduced to its most simple expression. I realized that with my writing on Congo, and my trying to keep up with the situation there, I have been neglecting other things, and other places, that are just as important So we are now going to have 2 salons. The Salon will stay as the Congo blog, with my fellow team members, and the new "The Salon II" (that's here) will be for some international issues.

On a personal note, I will also try to write more, and post more pictures on my personal blog, because it has really been a while. Not that anyone needs to know about my personal thoughts on my surroundings, but it's a good catharsis.

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