Sunday, 18 June 2017

Adnan Khashoggi


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


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. 

Yes, sinking.

Helmut Kohl Strasse / Platz / Flughafen ?


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

Six Days – Fifty Years


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.

Terrorism Hysteria


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.

Mrs. May’s Small-Talk


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.