Friday, December 28, 2007

Bhutto assassination conspiracy

With Pakistan in chaos for months and the recent murder, I knew I had to bite the bullet and write something about it. Not that what I say about it matters or makes any difference. I'm no Pakistani, neither do I know the politics asside from what the news tells me. And maybe it sounds crazy if I say Bhutto wasn't killed by terrorists, but I have a feeling the authorities are using Al Qaida and the Taliban as a scapegoat.

There's no reason why it shouldn't be either of them. In fact, they'd throw acid in the face of people like Bhutto because she appeared publically without bhurka. Her political activism and ex-presidency is seen by those types and a threat to the male dominated societies they strive to impose. But they're simply not the only enemy Bhutto had, and not even the most powerful one.

I prefer to blame General Musharraf. From everything the man's done so far, this seems like an act of desperation. People like Bhutto had been gnawing at his ankles with moderate success: he lost his post as commander-in-chief. The country's lawyers abandoned him, leaving him with just his obvious lackeys in the courts to perpetuate his fake democracy. The man who he stole the presidency from is coming back with a vengeance. And like Adolph Hitler, he's picked a fight with the wrong neighbour (Osama bin Laden) while he was already embattled and allied a Musolini comparison (Bush).
After 9/11 he pretty much hoped to win legitimacy for his usurped position as president by scoring brownie points when he joined the "War on Terror" hype by handing over a bunch of 'sand ******s' persecuted on thrumped-up charges. The poor sods now live in Gitmo without there having been any investigation into the past. Those that have returned are suspected for what they may or may not have done to deserve such treatment. But having shown his colours, he was marked by the Taliban and their allies in the indominable mountains in north Pakistan as an enemy of Islam. In a pathetic show of force, Musharraf's army was soundly defeated during an attempt to evict the dug-in islamists and the concessions he had to pay the warlords more than made up for the losses they led, and humiliated Pakistan in the face of the world. And yet the propaganda value of the defeat made the truce between Musharraf and the warlords only a military one, it spread word of the strength of the warlords to influentianable southern provinces accelerating dissent.
Bush's pressure on Musharraf and unilateral strikes by the US reinforced the message that Musharraf was not the man who would defend Pakistan. And led to the situation seen throughout the year. Conservatives fortifying mosques and Taliban allies taking over whole cities. Musharraf's retaliations have distanced him from his people who now seek his removal even while extremists are bearing down on the whole state. Bhutto was the only 'ally' he could make who was of any use against the extremists as she could calm the people who listened to her, but Musharraf was clearly going to lose influence as he couldn't lead Bhutto on.

It's just a theory, but I believe he sacrificed her as a martyr to plead for solidarity from her supporters and point at the dangers of Islamic extremism in an attempt to secure the elections in January and rally Pakistan around him, using the ever present threat of terrorism the way it's been used in America and how Communism was used in the same way by Hitler and McCarthy. In this way Bhutto is clearly worth more to Musharraf as he will not have to fear an electoral victory from her anymore and if succesful it takes away a huge number of dissenters.
What does seem to contradict it is that the assassin was a suicide bomber. Governments like Musharraf's usually don't inspire the kind of fanaticism it takes to drive a man to murder himself along with his target. At the same time, Musharraf's government does have much greater reach and legal assistance for such a plot that the Taliban and her allies. The cover-up is pretty obvious already: blame terrorists for her death as misdirection and hastily eliminate the evidence. The fact that the killer blew himself up clearly doesn't allow an interrogation.

Rather than risking a three-way civil war between democrats, government and islamists, Musharraf now only faces civil war between islamists and the government. Interesting how the death of one woman can mean such a huge difference. Is this the new JFK conspiracy of the century?

Runts with firecrackers

There's a couple of things that never fail to piss me off. Like George Bush, flag-waving idiots or irresponsible snotbags with firework. I suppose it's a world wide problem, but every year I have to put up with some lardbags in the neighbourhood who light their fireworks long before it's New Year. Everytime I get startled by a loud explosion, I hope with a passion that moron just blew his hand off. I seriously feel like curb-stomping any idiot I catch with lighting a rod or a rocket.

Just as I was reading the news about how the country was increasing police surveilance around the holiday season to catch these misfits, a Big One went off somewhere in the neighbourhood accompanied by the hysterical screams of an adult and little girl, accusing some pinheads who must have thought it was fun throwing their rubbish at people to watch them react. I also heard police sirens a little later. These sons of dogs will probably be forced into a week of community service. A little kid might now be handicapped for the rest of his life.

Injustices like this make me savor every anecdote about fireworks justice I have. Like my schoolmate, a real nazi-rat, who lighted a cracker just as police come around the corner. Too frickin' bad my school was responsible for him, because I really thought he deserved his fine.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Balinese Treat

The news from the Bali conference on climate has been unsurprising to me. I generally shy away from hippie, evil corporations and Bush being a corporate pawn clich├ęs, but it's like he wants us to think in those terms. Like always, Bush's administration moderates its tone when its critics are proven right, but it remains as unwilling to adress the problem. This time the US is unwilling to bind itself to an international agreement (again) that obliges it to interfere with domestic economy and CO2 output. Yeah, it is supported by Japan and Canada in this stance, but when you get down to it, you can scrap those of the list just as soon again since a) Japan has in the past already made such large contributions to cutting CO2 that it's really difficult for them to find anything else that could be cleaner without conflicting with a core value of Japanese: consumerism. And b) Canada is held hostage by a conservative government, so I do what I do best and blame those rather than Blame Canada.

Bush's logic is always free market oriented when it's not really such a strong arguement. He wants to protect the market from cheap Chinese cars so he wouldn't be caught dead telling the auto industry how to make cars. I heard somewhere a Ford cars wouldn't pass even China's enviromental standards. Or he says the US cannot make the change without incredible effort. If so, I'd like to hear him explain why Putin had Russia sign Kyoto. You'd think the older Russian industry would have an even harder time than a country much richer than itself. Of course that is if Putin wasn't just out to score brownie points with left wing critics who care about enviroment and human rights in equal measure.

What truly made Bush the laughing stock was his own little conference in Washington half a year ago. No bald faced liar could have humiliated himself more than that. His administration claimed it was leading on enviromental protection and Europe should follow their example. Sorry, but if the Netherlands followed that example I'd be typing this blog from a refugee camp in the German Alps now since our dykes would have broken like the levees of New Orleans. They then had the arrogance to expect other nations to contribute financial and scientific resources to improve the world. A cynic would say Bush wanted to rummage through the donations bin, pick out contributions he liked, and then throw in a half burned cigar and call it 'his contribution'. The rancid cream on top was a press statement by his lackeys, so they could cart the news teams off to somewhere so nobody would see the insulted and gravely disappointed delegation as it left.

I figure there may be a few climate change sceptics reading who will say "why waste money on something that hasn't been proven?". Okay, so if a 100+ reports on climate change are not proof, let's take a hypothetical situation, hmm? Ask yourself what the enviromentalists (mostly scientists, greens and left wingers) stand to gain from being right, then ask what the critics (corporations, free market proponents and right wingers) stand to gain from being right. I can see no benefit for enviromentalists that are material, and they cannot be driven to press for such sacrifices if there wasn't anything wrong to begin with. The critics however, if right, won't have to make expensive changes to increase their efficiency and cut their polution, so for them it's about the money.
Still nor convinced? Well, let's say the enviromentalists get their way and we make all those suggested changes, but climate change isn't just avoided, but it turns out to have never been a threat. Then we will have invested huge sums of money in biofuels, renewable energy, hydrogen fuel and even fusion power, while water and air pollution is brought back considerably, increasing the health and welbeing of people living in industrialized regions, and forfeited any tiffs over oil trade while economically strangling a few brutal regimes that are only tolerated and sucked-up to because of their fossil fuel reserves. Not a bad way to be proven wrong, is it?
And what about if we do things the way Global Warming sceptics want it and they are proven wrong? Well, I'd hate to see what the world will be like then. I'd also hate to be in any redneck's shoes when he has to explain to refugees from Shanghai, New York or Amsterdam why he didn't want to make a little effort to prevent pollution before it led to global floods and other disasters.

Ironically, Bali is an island in the Indonesian archipelago that is rather small and will probably lose significant amounts of land to the sea if it does not disappear entirely in the event of global flooding. My mom used to buy Balinese Treats at a baker but nowadays it's impossible to get those even at a specialized sweets baker. I estimate that if Bali is all washed up, they'll be even harder to get. We may as well call them sea snacks then, and I reckon if Bali is gone, we'll be having plenty of those here.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Take the NIE for a spin

It seems that once again the White House had the intelligence agencies dig up dirt on their enemies. This time it's Iran's nuclear program. The conclusion is that there is no evidence of a weapons program. Not in years anyway. This sounds contradictory to the things you hear from Bush and his cronies, who speak like there's no question Iran is close to getting the Bomb. Where have I heard these contradictory statements before? Could it be Iraq? Are we going to find out the hard way in Iran there is no WMD program as well?

Sure, I don't trust Ahmadinejad. I didn't trust Saddam either. Both together still sound more reliable than Shrub does. There is something blatant about them that is as transparant as Hitler's ambition to subjugate Jews and lesser people, one only needs to listen to their speeches. There's no doubt Bush believed he was presenting the truth as it is when he talked about 'smoking guns' and Iraq. This guy actually believes what his hawks are telling him. And if there is one group of people who have shown themselves un-reliable, un-patriotic, un-American and un-sanitary then it's war hawks. They'll push for war if the whole world is against them. I don't know how they can lack so much common sense. Must have been the kinds of worms they were fed when they were but chickenhawks.

So, Bush is pretty much set on invading anyway since so far there has been no change in attitude since the NIE. They only send out the spin doctors again to warp the facts they like to support their little adventure. Well I hope they do. If there's anything worse then being sunk into the mud in Iraq, it's being sunk into the mud in both Iraq and Iran! This should give those idiots a 2nd Vietnam. Take notes this time people, because that failed for a reason to!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Hirsi Magan is a South Park carricature

Hirsi Magan (formerly Hirsi Ali) recently made a scathing accusation that the Dutch withdrawal of protection is to silence critics. While I would not put it past some of the Dutch politicians, I can understand they're fed up with Hirsi's criticism. On legal grounds she no longer has a right to protection, but on moral grounds the parliament at least provided her the money to hire guards while she lived in the US (where the Netherlands has no responsibility for her). It was made clear this was only temporarily. Yet when the funding was finally cut she started to blur the lines claiming she didn't know. I knew, and I really couldn't care less about her security.
Some people will say "but the US government isn't obliged to protect her either!". No, but maybe her boss would have arranged some security. After all, isn't he the leader of the neo-con thinktank 'Empire Enterprise Institute'? I thought such a big group would have plenty of funds or security and the need to use them. If I'm mistaken that means fortunately neo-conservatism is dying. But if EEI is just unwilling, that makes me think they want Hirsi Magan as their martyr, since Islamic Fundamentalism have the edge in this department. Time for the Islamophobes to catch up.

It seems Denmark has taken the Trojan Horse by offering her support. Seriously people, if you don't want another Jyland Posten riot, distance yourselves from Hirsi Magan! They say the Dutch government wants her out of the way, because she's become a nuisance to them. I totally agree. We have ourselves a situation here which we are trying to solve. First we get 9/11, but we could handle that. Fortuyn opened the wound. Then America compounds it by started a totally irrelevant war in Iraq and the stupid government did not oppose it. Then they kill Theo van Gogh. And finally, we get the fascist Geert Wilders spreading yet more hate. The last we need is Hirsi Magan in our country.
Yes, I do pity her somewhat. If she hadn't been raised as a Wahibi Muslim, her view of Islam may have been more moderate now. But while she supported the Fatwa on the author of "The Satanic Verses" in her youth, she now makes the equally insulting and threatening statements like "Mohammed is a pedo" and used the reductio ad hitlerum on him as well. Yeah, I know, they're statements by others, but you can bet Hirsi Magan thinks the same way. I do support her right to free speech, but she's just not using it to contribute anything useful. And the former government which fell because of her citizenship handled it all very poorly, especially her own party. But she can't feel bad, Labour is currently doing the same to an equally intolerant Islam critic.

But I simply wouldn't want to see another tax euro paid by me to be spend on her protection. She is putting this country in danger by formenting a split between Dutch and Muslims, and she does it with the same fevor as the Hofstad Groep terrorist gang. We need to root out extremists and take away their supportbase, not make potential recruits for them more suspicious of Dutch society or start persecuting Muslims.
Seriously, Hirsi's criticism sounds like a bad carricature like those on satirical cartoons like South Park or Drawn together. She's like the poo-talking atheists who say Christianity is a dangerous religion and spreads intolerance, and at the same time discuss how to best eliminate Christianity as they puke excrements out of their mouths. She's like the smug fart-smelling enviromentalists who trade in their cars for hybrids to contribute to the enviroment, but alienate and humiliate those who have not switched to cleaner cars. Or like the hippies who accuse the corporations of being all corporaty and organise a useless sit-in and music festival to fight the power.
Islam is Hirsi's Christianity. Atheism is her hybrid car. And her pointless insults are counterproductive like a sit-in about music instead of protesting corporations. Just what is the point to it? Same goes for Jami who founded a comittie for ex-Muslims. Help protect the disenchanted Muslims, don't accuse their fellow brothers of abusing the dissenters when it's the radical groups who do most of the abusing. You're not making yourselfs more popular with sceptical Muslims by calling them cultists and fools. If that's how you're treating the moderates and progressives of the group, you're taking away their incentitive to change, since they're going to be hated anyway. Why not hate back then?
Atheism is an intolerant religion. Replace words like 'zealot', 'inquisition' and 'crusader' with atheist terms, and you'll have a very shameful stereotype that reminds you of Christians at times. But don't feel bad atheists, you'll fit in snugly with all the other Abrahamic cults.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fudge Srebrenica!

One of my continuing peeves is people blaming Dutch soldiers in Srebrenica for the massacre there. They are free of blame, they're heroes, they hurt nobody. I support these statements based on three simple facts: A) they Serbs killed the Bosnians, there are your murderers. B) Very few people could have endured in the terrible situation Srebrenica was in during the siege and stayed until the chips were down, not even Bosnia's own military which fled before the Dutchbat soldiers did. C) No incidents of friendly fire are reported with Dutch soldiers firing on allies (plenty of reports of Bosnians firing on Dutch troops though).

Really, Bosnians shouldn't whine so much. The fact is, the Dutch were willing to go there and try to stop the chaos, against an enemy who's ruthlesness wasn't even fully understood yet. They picked the worst defendable town and hoped to set a good example. Hopefully other NATO countries would follow. They did not, NATO and the UN abandoned the meagre force in Srebrenica while it was blatantly obvious the Dutch force was not defending, it was just a start. Srebrenica was actually a lost cause from the start with just 400 men. I apoligize to the people of Bosnia if we went into the breach to save your people from a genocidal, rampaging general even though his army had been underestimated. I know now that the people who stand up for a righteous cause get screwed pretty painfully.
And I know Bosnians aren't Christian (or most of them) and you might not have heard of it, but remember the ancient wisdom: "He who is without sin casts the first stone". Bosnians residents tried to gather food from local farming towns. Serbian farming towns. The escorts these gatherers got were armed. The Serbs did not trust them (and who would trust an armed company of men saying they're there to collect your food?). So most of these trips ended up as bloodbaths. Whoever put the Bosnians in the victim role clearly wants to make sense of the Balkan where there are no good or bad guys. This is not like WW2 with two sides: one evil and one not evil. There is a lot of rivalry, defensive nationalism, state nationalism and religious intolerance all over the region which has much to do with conflict dating back to the time of the Habsburg Austrian Empire and the Ottoman Sultanate. This is a region full of loonies that are responsible for mind boggling wars and attrocities.
And who is going to be surprised they ran? There was no fuel, no food, no water. Any sane person would have fled already. High command did little to alleviate the problems, so the soldiers had been deserted by their officers for once. What's worse is that the only fatal attack on Dutch troops came from the Bosnian army, not the Serbians! Seriously, if these are the kind of people you are defending, they next time they need help I say we ignore them even if it was the devil himself bringing his reign on earth starting with Sarajevo.
Do I blame the French and British for not having been able to prevent the Netherlands from falling to the German army resulting in five long years of fear, starvation and murder? I blame only Adolf Hitler and anyone who believed in that sociopathic dogma called National Socialism. Why then are Bosnians blaming Dutch troops why tried to help, but were severely outmatched, just like the Allies back then?

Yes, I know people are going to bring up Colonel Karremans. He might be a flip-flopping coward, but a whole company doesn't have to suffer for that right? I know being a soldier is a big responsibility. But nobody should carry responsibility for the maniacal reign of violence caused by the Serbian forces besides those part of it. I think even a lot of Serbs are not strong enough to bear such a burden.
If it makes up for it, at least the Republika Srpska acknowledges the attrocity in Srebrenica. And it along with Serbia see the warcriminals involved as a liability now, which means there is hope for a coming to terms. Have the Bosnians ever apoligized for the much less important skirmishes between civilians? Minor attrocities would seem easier to come clean about I'd think.

If you ask me, that fudging country is good for only one things: Ion cannon strikes!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On the verge of an Turko-Iraq war?

I hope so. I can't say I like either country on a political level. The only ethnic group in Iraq which I believe you can make deals with are Kurds. Sunnis on average still are the most sympathetic to Saddam Hussein, and a Sunni dominated Iraq would thus be little but a regime change, and hardly democratic to the other groups. Shi'ites may seem like a nice group to support being the victims of Saddam and all. But this is as dangerous as liberating Israel for Jews solely because of Adolf Hitler. The Shi'ites are on good terms with Iran. I'm not an Iran-bashing type, but their theocratic government is no way to model a country. Not Iran, not Iraq. But the Shi'ites seem more inclined to form a theocracy in Iraq.
Ruling these out, you're left with the Kurds, and they are at least as sticky. There are Kurdish minorities all around the region. Not just Iraq and Turkey. I think Iran and Syria would want to have a say in the whole Kurdish problem. The west would lose their allies Turkey and Iraq and gain a fledgling ally in the region. One that would even be very hard to defend against enemies from all sides.

My previous evils analysis of Iraq goes to Turkey as well, in a way. Just months ago everybody was protesting the Islamization of Turkey by Gul and Erdogan, especially the Turkish military. In the west, military involvement in politics is viewed with great suspicion, and rightly so. But Turkey's military maintains strong ties to the past and specifically Kemal Ataturk, the first president and a secularist. Since Islamization is distrusted by the west to, the Turkish military would sound like 'the enemy of my enemy'.
But it's more complicated. While Erdogan has proven to be a genocide denier, the military is that by default. The bill recently passed in the USA came under heavy attack by both powers, as well as the White House, which needs Turkey as a whole as an ally. While you could support the military against Islamization, there's nothing in Turkey that you can support against state nationalism. Armenian (and Assyrian) genocide recognition earns you the attention of radical nationalists who solve dissent with murder much like terrorists with Fatwas. Turkish nationalists (and there's a lot of them) will treat much like you're a neo-Nazi in Germany. This stubborn and dangerous nationalism goes through all layers or Turkish society and it can be blamed for the Cyprus question, since Turkey does not acknowledge Greek controlled Cyprus, just Turkish Cyprus which was illegally invaded.

What these nationalists need is a little bit of humble pie. The Germans got it after World War 2 and they don't deny anything. I think the Serbs are also starting to take hints, even in the complex diplomatic web of the Balkan. But countries like Japan or Turkey have a hard time acknowledging their crimes. I can understand that because they may be afraid the actions of the past reflect on them now. Even I think the Indonesian conflicts of the Netherlands are sad, but necessary (I still see Soekarno as a creepy fellow with his own brand of state nationalism which is why islands that did not join his republic willingly were invaded). But it would be better for Turkey to come clean and then we can all relate to eachother on equal terms. It's not like any European Union member is without genocidal incidents or cases of mass murder and unnecessary violence. Well, Norway maybe. But Scandinavians are perfect for a reason.

So yeah, I hope this blows up in Turkey's face and (Kurdish) Iraq retaliates. It will kill two birds in one stone: the state nationalistic Turks and that arrogant George Bush who thought this war was a good idea. A war at this point will be most disruptive for Iraq, just as Dubya's clique was hoping to score points on the Betrayus report. Yeah I know, it's not nice to wish this on Iraqis now that they are so down and the whole region is at a turning point. I wish it was the neo-cons who lived in Iraq. The only IEDs we can expect from them in the US are October surprises, fillibustering, vetos and dirty politics.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Kudos for pussies!

Everybody who believed the Democrats (those guys holding the US congress) would end the war in Iraq swiftly, raise your hands. Feel free to regret your beliefs. Everybody who still believes the Democrats will make a stand against Bush now raise your hands. Then go stand in the corner and start shaming yourself deeply. Just by threatening a veto, Bush succeeded in making the Dems cater to the wishes of some repugnant greedy asshole at national security. They agreed to allow the intelligence agencies to now conduct warrantless tapping on foreign e-mail, phone conversation, pretty much every breach of privacy Bush has made over the years now. If the people in the US want to be spied on, that's fine. We in Europe don't want it. We're not your citizens, keep your despotism to yourselves. We can't oppose it democratically through voting out your sacks of shit that call themselves president of the US of A. We can't even make a convenient legal case against Alberto "torture memo" Gonzales, Donald "oops, I did it again" Rumsfeld, Dick "I shot the hunter" Cheney and the other usual suspects. Even if European countries ask the extradition of one of these criminals, people like Bush, so high and mighty in their little confined worlds of Jesus loving and bible thumping, will never agree because as they see it, USians are so special and grand that they're above all international law. International law is a tool to drag foreigners out of their spider holes, shave their beards, put them on a show trail and have their necks snapped by the noose of a gallow.

So my question to US citizens is: what are you gonna do about, punk? Just sit there and pretend you'll be fine as long as you act like the rest of the herd? Yeah, I know you voted the democrats already thinking that would help but it doesn't. You're supposed to go out there and protest for your rights! Sounds gay? Okay, let me offer the American solution to this problem. You people have easy access to guns right? Get one, preferably high caliber, good accuracy, long range and with decorative markings so you'll look cool doing your patriotic duty. Then it's up to you to decide on a style. March up to the front gates of the White House, pick an attic in a book depository, wait until the target goes to see an opera and make it an unforgetable curtain call. Then shoot that sonuvab*tch up real good. Don't leave that mothaf*cka with a single part of his body untouched by bullets. I read the musket balls could rip the flesh off of a person, so that's one way to make him suffer. Don't neglect the impact of hollow point bullets though. They can cause unnecessary pain in the victim.

I know that by writing this the NSA will forever ban me from entering the US and they're now going to ask my government to arrest me for terrorism and send me over to Poland in a gimp suit. Next time I update my blog, it will probably be from out of Gitmo, and what I wrote has been 'approved' by some CIA tool. Private e-mails will probably bounce from now on to if send to someone living in America. Pity, I had my eye on a certain girl that I might have asked for an online relationship.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Annoying easily discriminated youth

Tonight I joined a couple of girls from my school to have a night out in Rotterdam. It was fun, but on the way there we ran into some trouble on the train. One of our group is a middle-aged lady, easily considered White Secular Dutch (not to be confused with White Anglo-Saxon Protestant). On the other side of her sits a Temperamental 3rd Generation Morrocan-Dutch girl. As is befitting of the stereotype, this stranger is b****ing about life and has her music player on full volume without earplugs, explaining to her friend how some guy shouldn't be telling her to tune down the volume. The woman from our group comment to this girl how "she really should turn the volume down". This youth is up in arms about it immediately.
She start a whole rant about how this is only said to her because she's Morrocan and it's her choice of music and why nobody will ask a skinhead to turn down his hardcore in the same situation, and that only Morrocans get that kind of comment. So my friend replies how it's simply obscenely loud. The little b**** considers this an insult to a Morrocan's taste of music and how all Dutch songs are crap and not at all worth playing on her music device. It degenerates into her ripping on Dutch culture while accusing my friend of intolerance. G-rated language has at this point long been abandoned. A passenger sitting next to my friend, who has a young boy on his lap, tells the Morrocan girl she has to be more respectful of the country that allows her to life there. The girl, once again letting loose a spluttering of obsceneties that probably scarred the innocent soul of the boy, accuses both of being intollerant of foreigners. So the man explain to her "I am also a foreigner". Which should have been obvious from the man's skin color. Yet this does not convince the girl she isn't the victim of hate. The rest of the way she blows bubble gum in my friend's ear and keeps her music player playing loud, unknown music (which according to her was Morrocan, though I thought Morrocans had better tastes in culture). While this girl hold her tirade, the only one to come to her aid is some politically correct Jojo sitting in the back, hidden in a corner. Every other non-native Dutch person considers the Morrocan girl a nuisance, even that girl's friend.
Asside from this one Morrocan, my friend gets along well with the rest of our class, which is made up of a splattering of diverse ethnicities like Dutch, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Colombian, Nigerian and even Afro-Anglo (for lack of a better word). The only ones we don't really like at school are the loud and obnoxious Morrocans. I'm all for tolerance and respect for other people's culture, but if Morrocans or anyone is going to abuse that good faith whenever somebody disagrees, they can stick their complaints where the sun don't shine.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Poland says: "more votes!" I say: "kiss my ass!"

Poland annoys me. I don't believe in the whole "plumber scare" of Polish taking over jobs, I'm more worried about Italian plumbers. What angers me is that Poland has been taking part in the USA's secret prisoner flights and likely had at least a prison facility run by the CIA. Their government is openly homophobic to the point of being absolutely gullible. Now this country has been hammering about wanting a bigger says in European Union politics. The Polish right seems to want that, or they are going to hold their breaths until they get what they want.
How childish. Under the treaty of Nice Poland already has more sway in the European Council with 27 seats, equal to the number of seats of Spain. Poland has 7.000.000 people less than Spain, yet both have 27. If you do some math, like I just did, from a democratic viewpoint, Spain is being held back greatly and Poland gets just a little more power than what is correct population-wise. Right now, Poland's vote represents only 1407407 per seat in the council while Spain represents 1666666 people per seat. For those who where planning to flame me for disagreeing with Poland I'll be fair, the Dutch vote is even less democratic: 1230769 people represented per seat. You know what is really funny? The Big Four (Germany, France, UK and Italy) are handicapped at 29 seats! Greatly favoring smaller countries like Poland or the Netherlands!
If you would assign seats on the basis of European Union population : total Council seats you'd get something like this:

France: 44
Great Britain: 41
Italy: 41
Spain: 31
Poland: 26
Romania: 15
Netherlands: 11

So Poland already has a better deal than it would technically deserve, especially considering its junior status. And they still want more? Are they nuts? It's an insult to smaller countries and unfair to larger ones! Founding member or recently admitted country alike! Considering the pro-Bush, pro-Iraq war and anti-Gay stance of eastern countries, I feel sick when I think about that I'm being represented by such people. Which is why I wouldn't want the EU to grow more powerful. But Poland crossed the line! An upstart country ignored by history suddenly developing a superiority complex. They're not even making a secret out of their power coup. As quoted from Kaczynski: "We should do everything to push through our proposal or to obtain some other solution that would equally satisfy our ambitions. Either we obtain that, or there will be a veto."
As if that's not immature enough, they now are trying to use the war victims of WW2 as an arguement. "If our population hadn't been affected by that, we'd be larger now!". Yeah, right. If Britain, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Yugoslavia, Greece, Albania and even Italy hadn't resisted the Nazis then, their populations would doubtlessly have been larger to! Not to mention that if the Black Plague (which by the way avoided Poland because it was such a shithole even a disease would avoid it) had never come to Europe, who knows how much bigger our Dutch nation would have been!
I find it disrespectful to abuse the dead for political gain. We are letting the ghosts of fallen people have political sway? The last time we let such pity for a victim cloud our judgement, we ended up with an unstable middle east, a country with a hidden nuclear arsenal, and a major warmonger right where it could cause the most damage. If Poland wants to blackmail or manipulate my feelings of pity, I have for them a hearty "up your ass!".

Monday, June 18, 2007

Discussion in class

As part of my education, I had to host a discussion about an issue. So I chose the Dutch presence in Afghanistan. A current issue with an impact not often considered by society compared to what happens inside the border. We all had to discuss two different statements, so I came up with those.

"We must help the people of Afghanistan build a better future"

As expected, everyone agreed that was ideal but there was a great dose of realism. About half of the participants explained that we can only help out in a few places with limited effect. People argued that Africa did not get the same attention while it needs help just as much. It was argued that other countries contribute towards a stable Africa than Europe or the Netherlands, though I believe some of the countries are more a part of the problem than part of a solution.
There was also support for the ideal that Dutch are more respectful and know how to solve problems with their army, rather than simply enforcing the peace and letting all ills fester, such as poverty and racial hatreds. And that if they had send Turkish troops to Uruzgan, they would have simply destroyed the poppy harvest instead of promoting an alternative.
Despire this "pat yourself on the back" attitude, people also warned that the tolerance of Dutch, our best laid plans and our good intentions don't survive on a battlefield. No plan ever did survive first contact.
Meanwhile some still said that the deaths suffered (which are nil compared to those suffered by the US in Iraq or the Taliban on the other side) aren't worth it. After all, the moment foreign troops leave Afghanistan, the Taliban might just crop up again. And if they are eradicated, there is always another loon who will continue their work, even if Afghans prosper and feel unwilling to support such ideals. Personally I do feel that when you enlist in the army, you are making the choice to risk your life for a payment. And those around you should lament that choice, not the line of work itself. A counterargument to that was that people tend to think too lightly about military service if they are promised adventure, truck driving and honourable bringing peace. I personally believe that in a pacifist country like this, a lot of people see the army as something aggressive and a waste of money for a people that don't seek out conflict. Maybe the recruitment methods of the Royal Army are more effective at changes young people's view of it.

"The Netherlands are being used to pick up America's trash."

Quite a strong sentiment. There was a unnanimous agreement we should not do anything just because Bush said it. The teacher reminded people that America helped liberate Europe and that this explains how previous generations felt like they owed the US. From there comes its reputation as a "righteous" and "free" country. But that in WWII it was Japan, Italy and Germany themselves who had provoked the war, unlike Iraq or Vietnam. Bush is generally considered self-centered, his administration abusing that good reputation in hopes of getting away with inexcuseable faults and crimes, and the neo-cons as "self-righteous".
This was by the way the point at which the two Russian students and one Serbian one entered with glee. They both had very little good to say about America and Bush. And although Russia had Afghanistan, Serbia had Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia and America had Vietnam, of those three America is so far the only one that did not learn anything from their experience and the only one to repeat their mistake in the 21st century.

I can go on and on about what I agree with and which ones are good points. But I only have to draw my conclusions, my opinion was not necessary for the discussion. So I am putting it up here so others can draw their own conclusions. A classroom survey of how Dutch view peace missions and "standing by our allies".

Friday, June 15, 2007

Civil war! I win a €50 bet!

So now it seems mister Abbas used his presidential powers to declare an emergency situation in hopes of twarting Hamas. To be honest, I don't believe it is an truly altruistic move. This is power politics and Abbas might be more idealistic and balanced, he is disbanding an elected government which, let's be fair, puts Fatah in control of things and has made Hamas, the largest political faction at this time an outcast. From my point of view, Abbas made a coup d'etat.
Which isn't to say he's wrong. It's quite understandable he got fed up with Hamas militia harassing Fatah's own brigades and security forces. Though in this situation there's really no telling which of them drew first blood, and it makes no difference. Both feel slighted long time. Let them fight, I say, I'll be rooting for Fatah and hope at the same time it'll bring some sweeping change for the better, in whatever form.
Though it's obvious Fatah is alone and weak. Hamas has a very determined leadership and fighters who are in high spirits, especially after their recent successes in Gaza. Hamas' political wing isn't necessary for them, but shoot me if they surrender the government to Fatah in exchange for military victory. They made it quite clear they rejected the emergency state and will keep on going like nothing happened until Fatah is completely out of the picture. Hamas has more popular support because Fatah's history of corruption while Hamas instead has contributed to charity in Gaza to win the hearts and minds.
Although Abbas if friendly with Israel, he can't ask them for any support because Palestinians 1: would see it as hudling with the enemy. 2: don't want Israel back in Gaza. 3: Israelis can't be truste. And in turn Israel doesn't want to get involved because 1: they'll lose the credibility of a friendly faction. 2: don't want to go back to Gaza. 3: Palestinians can't be trusted.
But let us stay out of the conflict and watch which one will bite the dust. If it's Fatah, then Hamas takes over and runs itself into the ground, with no aid for Palestine and with Israel having a legitimate casus belli against the unborn state of Palestine, and Gaza's residents soon realizing how lonely it is when your government sponsors terrorism. If (against my expectations) Fatah beats Hamas, that will hopefully eliminate one of the biggest obstacles to a stable peace with Israel from which point on Israel has no further reason to withold on it's own promises and stop being so on edge.
But you know what? I believe Israel gave the PA that Hamas den, Gaza, on purpose so they could wait for a conflict like this to happen and once Hamas wins they will say Palestinians really are such a sick bunch of terrorists, sweep in for the kill and deny Palestinians their indipendence from that point on.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Punish the Gorilla!

I just read that victims of Gorilla Bokito who escaped his island in the Rotterdam Zoo can sue for money. As if that wasn't bad enough, the main victim (who was told not to have such regular contact lest Bokito grew too fond of her) wants more than just money, she wants to see the Zoo punished!
Excuse me for not comforming to the "that has to be terrifying, poor soul!" crowd, but I'm more of a "shit happens" person. Okay, your hand got crushed, you bones broken and there are bite marks all over your body. Count your blessings you didn't attract the attention of one of the Siberian Tigers. What's more, who would have expected Bokito to trudge through the water and jump over the fencing? Gorillas can't swim. That makes his escape an anomaly. A freak accident. It was entirely possible, but improbable. If next hour a UFO crashed on me and my bicycle while I'm off to buy a ham-cheese croisant, do I sue the aliens for what is entirely a freak accident?
Further, people go to the Zoo to enjoy it. Escaping gorillas don't make it enjoyable. But sueing the Zoo is not my definition of making it more enjoyable. How much are these people going to ask? More than what is reasonable? Will employees or the management go to jail for something their gorilla did? They did the best they could to prevent this using means that would normally keep the gorillas confined and the view unobstructed by things that detract like bars and concrete. Just when you think you got it right, your gorilla has to screw you and your Zoo over by escaping!
And it wasn't the first time Bokito escaped, he was not quite a model prisoner even in Berlin. And here I thought Germans knew all about keeping savages locked up... So clearly, the gorilla must pay for the trouble he caused his masters and audience! Put him on meagre rations until the costs saved through this have made up for the damage claims made at the adress of the zoo! And since some animals can perform useful tasks, like elephants and horses, explore the possibilities of having Bokito renovate the island fence and water ditch so that he can't escape again!
Now some might say that's animal cruelty. You're, we have to look for the real culprit. But if not Bokito or the Zoo, who else was involved? The victim! The victim must pay the Zoo and poor, poor Bokito for tempting his fragile mind, seducing him to jump over that fence and start a rampage! A few more broken bones and biting will suffice as corporeal punishment. Or if it's going to be a jail term, let her sit it out on the rock with the gorillas. And I don't mean Alcatraz Island and it's inmates.