Wednesday, 28 June 2017
They all want a piece of the action: Three months before the elections, German chancellor Merkel has indicated that after the September elections, she would allow a free vote (that is, CDU/CSU members of Parliament would not be bound by party discipline) on the issue of gay marriage. Not to be outdone her SPD opponent, Martin Schultz, is forcing a vote this week. If you look at their faces, you will understand: she is calm and calculating, whereas the rather unattractive Mr. Schultz is after a quickie.
Homosexual marriage excites mainly heterosexuals. The number of people who will take advantage of the new law is not expected to be very high. Doubtlessly, there is no reason why the state should interfere in the bonding arrangements its citizens wish to get into. Only, the matter of personal freedom is serious and deserves a serious and honourable discussion in parliament and should not be treated as a quickie to produce immediate satisfaction.
On the other hand, sometimes quickies result in nice babies.
Why has Merkel decided to “allow” gay marriage? All the other political parties have been calling for it for quite some time and more importantly, opinion polls – which Mrs. Merkel, regularly is guided by – show that Germany’s population is supportive of equal marriage rights.
The suggestion, that ex-Chancellor Kohl and his second wife have made it clear to Merkel that same-sex marriage cannot be worse than some heterosexual bonds, is being doggedly denied.
Saturday, 24 June 2017
German political correctness can be useful if one gets paid by the word. In the past, the German for
teachers and pupils, used
to be “Lehrer und Schüler.” Now it is: “Lehrerinnen und Lehrer und Schülerinnen
und Schüler.” Alternatively, one could also write the
non-words “Lehrer*innen und Schüler*innen.”
A few days ago, at a lecture in Berlin, a young male lecturer, describing his own efforts to find certain source material, used the suffix that turns a word from masculine to feminine and said “wenn, man als Forscherin…”. This is ridiculous. Later he spoke of a group of five researchers and said “alle 5 Forscherinnen.“ Does that mean that all five researchers were females, or was he just being pc?
History will tell which of the superlatives that are being heaped on Helmut Kohl are deserving. However, if Kohl’s widow will have it her own way, we may be short of some vital information: It appears that she has in her possession letters, papers and documents from the duration Kohl was head of state. This should be illegal.
Politicians should not have title, possession or control of ANY papers created during their time in office, other than their personal correspondence. They should all be the property of the state. The police should be sent with a search warrant and confiscate all the files that Kohl’s widow apparently now has.
Kohl died an embittered man, who since the scandal surrounding his involvement with the illegal funding of his CDU party, felt that he had been betrayed by virtually everybody. His death has brought to the surface – what was no secret – that Kohl’s 34-years-younger widow, who he married right after he was hospitalised with head (brain?) damage due to a fall, totally isolated him from the outside world, including from his sons (and grandchildren) from his first marriage.
If Kohl was suffering from dementia (the press is rather kind to him regarding this), his wife’s handling of his affairs may be even more problematic. She has, for instance, decreed that there should be no German state funeral and has arranged an EU ceremony – in which she tried to prevent Mrs. Merkel from speaking – instead.
When a head of state dies (or a former head of state), his state funeral is not a matter for the family to have a say in – it is a state ritual and not a family affair. Widows can have whatever arrangements in their churches. State funerals are a matter for the state.
PS: There may be a juicy legal side issue if Kohl’s affair with the woman he eventually married, had begun during the time that she was a subordinate of his.
Sunday, 18 June 2017
Adnan Khashoggi, the famous Saudi arms dealer, is dead. He was not only renowned for the deals he brokered but also for his glamourous life style, women, yachts and all, had been one of the world’s richest men in the 1970s and -80s. According to press reports „He freely admitted his penchant for prostitutes and was said to have entertained 11 ‘pleasure wives’ on his countless yachts and at numerous holiday homes.”
In the press release announcing Khashoggi’s death, his family informs:"He lived his last days […] with the same elegance, strength and dignity that characterised his remarkable life. […] He was a pioneer who achieved global recognition in a golden age through his extraordinary business achievements and renowned generosity. Our father understood the art of bringing people together better than anyone.”
Not to speak of the strange suggestion that there was any dignity in a life of an arms dealer entertaining prostitutes, I just love the description of an arms dealer as someone “bringing people together”.
Backpfeiffe and Schadenfreude are the two words that came to mind when the outcome of the UK elections became clear. Schadenfreude is of course a term also used in English, whereas Backpfeiffe, is a juicier term than the English slap-in-the-face. That arrogant Theresa (the previous famous Theresa , “Mother” Theresa, was also an annoyingly arrogant person) got what she deserved: she wanted to be crowned by the British people and instead she got the boot. Not enough of it, but enough to give those of us who enjoy it, some schadenfreude.
We should not forget that the rather unattractive Labour leader Corbyn is a Brexiter too. Instead of a volte-face, the UK has done its utmost to continue on the course of sinking the island.
His corpse is hardly cold and already German politicians are competing in suggestions as to how he should be commemorated. Streets and squares should be named after him; No one has suggested an airport as yet but Mrs. Grütters, Minister of Culture, suggested setting up a government funded foundation that will carry his name.
This arrangement whereby politicians name roads,and various publicly funded assets after their deceased colleagues is very popular in Israel, where even C-List local politicians get streets named after them. The current prime minister Netanyahu, even arranged for his deceased father, to get a motorway junction named after him.
Why do politicians, senior as they may be, deserve eternal commemoration? If their achievements are worth remembering, history books will see to it.
I much prefer the British tradition: There are no Margaret Thatcher hospitals, roads or airports. There are not even Winston Churchill ones.
Monday, 5 June 2017
I remember the 5th of June of 50 years ago. I remember the build-up of worry and existential fear during the waiting period preceding Israel’s pre-emptive strike. I remember the immense relief, produced by the quick victory, and I also remember the feeling of exhilaration brought about by the booty: Jerusalem, Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. I don’t think anyone considered Gaza as booty.
But, I also remember that it was very quickly clear to some that the occupation would morally destroy us: It has.
Can Israel change the sick and self-destructive course on which it has embarked 50 years ago? It does not look promising.
The risk of terrorism in Europe is low. Hysteria is high:
The average number of people killed in terrorist attacks in the UK in the period 2000-2015 was – 6. There are peak years, such as we have this year, and before that in 2005, and the one before in 1998, but most years are quiet.
The average number of people killed by bees and wasps per annum – 5.
The average annual number of people murdered in the UK – 520.
The average annual number of people who die in road accidents in the UK – 1800.
If you want extra measures, how about dealing with these unnecessary deaths, instead of building up xenophobia.
There has been “far too much tolerance of extremism” in the UK, Theresa May has announced after the latest terrorist incident in London. So, whose fault is it that there is too much tolerance of extremism in the UK? Who is in charge? Who has been in charge for the last seven years?
Surprise, surprise, … before she was made prime minister, between the years 2010 and 2016, Mrs. May was Home Secretary, in charge of the police and of MI5, the internal secret service. In these years, she cut the number of policemen by almost 47,000.
A bit of searching reveals that Mrs. May, as Home Secretary, had two years ago, in March 2015, announced the launch of a package of new anti-terror measures. At the time, she warned of a ‘clash of civilizations’ between the West and Islamic extremists, adding that there is ‘increasing evidence’ that a small but significant number of people living in Britain ‘reject our values’.
Warning of extremism seems to be part of that woman’s small-talk. But, it turns out that she is not only nasty but also incompetent.
To please the jingoistic press that she depends on, May now announced that she would step up the fight against Islamist terrorism yet again and confirmed that she approves of shoot-to-kill, replacing the previous policy of shoot-to-incapacitate.