Monday, 14 March 2011

Not so Gut

Not all Germans are like that like that but so many of the ones I met continue with their adoration of former Defence Secretary Karl Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg who was forced to resign after he was found out as a cheat who had deceived his way to a PhD.

Last weekend, I constantly ran into Germans who explained to me that:

1. Everybody cheats at exams.

2. It’s the professors’ fault for not having caught Guttenberg’s plagiarism.

3. It was deplorable that opposition speakers used such strong language in parliament, as they demanded Guttenberg’s dismissal.

Why do they adore that arrogant, ├╝ber-Catholic aristocrat who thinks that he was born to lead? Why does the man who abused their trust not disgust them? Why do they defend the man who despite all the advantages he was born into had to steal his academic title and who instead of hiding in shame tried to brazenly deny his deeds and then told the country that they he was too busy burying German soldiers who had died in Afghanistan to deal with petty complaints about his PhD.

But above all: How can they tell their sons or daughters that they may not cheat if they are willing to accept a cheat as their leader?

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Shimon Peres: “our hearts are …with the entire settlement in these terrible moments."

Several days ago a family of five was murdered in their home in Itamar, a Jewish Settlement in the Occupied Territories. The people who live in Itamar are orthodox Jews who believe that land that was promised to the Jews by God may not be given up.

Despite international condemnation and despite the fact that most other countries consider Jewish settlements in the territories occupied by Israel in the Six Day War to be illegal, these have mushroomed with the support of Israeli governments over the years and prosper under the protection of the Israeli army and security services. Ideology-driven Orthodox Jews are willing to risk not only their own lives but also the lives of their children. The Israeli government risks the lives of its soldiers to protect them.

Murder is despicable. Murder of innocent children even more so. But settlers’ activities in the Occupied Territories are often also detestable. They very rarely stoop as low as murder but with the backing of the Israeli government they get away with a lot.

In retaliation to the murder in Itamar, the Israeli government has announced that it will allow the building of a further 500 homes in the Occupied Territories.

Will this promote peace or is it a case of "extremists of the world unite"?