There are many positive sides to mingling through migration and it must be understood that those that think border crossings are meant only for transporting goods but not allowing it for people and ideas are all wrong.
International conference on migration and development in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
December 16, 2013
On 5th and 6th of December 2013, international conference on migration and developmentDeveloping developers: Migrants as development actors – A new way forwardincluding international partnership fair Bridging the gap have been organized in the City Museum Ljubljana. The conference was attended by experts as speakers – both from governmental and from non-governmental sector – in the field of migration policy and development cooperation from Austria, Belgium, Ghana, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. The conference have been opened by the speeches of Michael Fanizadeh, VIDC – Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation, Austria (project coordinators) and Slovenian actors: Dragoljuba Ben?ina, Directorate for Global Issues and Multilateral Political Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Slovenia; Marjan Hu?, SLOGA – Slovenian Global Action and Max Zimani, Zavod Global.
At the following panel, Gibril Faal, active in organizations Afford – African Foundation for Development and AEP – Africa-Europe Platform, United Kingdom spoken of migrants as development actors, Charito Basa, founder and activist of non-government organisation FWC – Filipino Women’s Council, Italy presented the engagement of the organization and the hard way immigrants generally have to go through, Angela Odai from the diaspora Support Unit, Ghana presented functioning of that government organization that provides assistance to the Ghanaian diaspora around the world .
In the afternoon hours, common partnership fair followed, bringing together participant of the conference and those of the Regional seminar on global learning, organized by SLOGA.
The second day of the conference, Nadja Schuster, VIDC – Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation, Austria and Galya Terzieva, Society Development Institute, Slovakia presented the European Manifesto on Migration and Development, a strategic document that contains recommendations for improving the understanding of the concept of development cooperation and migration as a key element in this concept. Comments to the Manifesto have been contributed by Arthur Yenga, AEP – Africa -Europe Platform, Belgium. At the workshops which followed, participants could contribute comments and opinions to refine the Manifesto, which later was adopted, but now its promotion and attempt to force in all European countries is planned and desirable.
Diaspora-Engagement: Best Practice Beispiele in der kommunalen und nationalen Entwicklungspolitik, Rathaus Wien, 11. Februar 2014
Mr. Georg Pfeiffer, the Representaive of the European Parliament in Austria – Wipplingerstraße 35, 1010 Vienna, with officials of the European Commission and the Austrian Society for Europa-Politics in Austria, arranged for an activity to strengthen interest in Austria for the May 25th elections.
This time the elections are important indeed – this because of the European Parliament’s moves to create a European Presidency – or some other form of real union. Specially now, with the events in the Ukraine calling for a united EU position, these election must help create this united front through a clear united leadership.
The main Austrian political parties are setting up their lists and the top candidate of each of these lists becomes a potential candidate for the leadership in Brussels.
Thus, at the start up of 2 PM today, at the parking-lot of the Vienna Stadium, were present Mr. Reinhold Lopatka, the Club Chief (the Fraction Head) in the Austrian Parliament of the Austrian People’s Party (OEVP), Mr. Andreas Schieder, the Club Chief of the Austrian Socialist Party (SPOE), Ms. Eva Glawischnic-Pieszczek – the National Spokesperson and Club Chief of the Green Party, and Mr. Anton Fink – a candidate for the new NEOS Party.
There were present European integration Ministers Ambassadors – Ivana Cucukic, Renee Wagner, Deazen Ivanis, Cedrick Mayer, and Fadi Merza as well the 2012 Beauty Queen of Austria – Miss Amina Dagi. Also, present were former Austrian Ambassadors to European Capitals – in particular Retired Austrian Ambassador to the EU 1999-2007, starting out with the Austrian Mission to the UN 1968-1973 then part of the negotiations when Austria joined the European Commission and later in the Integrations section of the Austrian Foreign and European Ministry, Dr. Gregor Woschnagg. As well present were Journalists and writers.
THE FOLLOW UP:
Vielen Dank, dass du gestern trotz Regens beim Lauftreff dabei warst.
Am 06.04.2014 werden wir im Prater übrigens unseren 2. Lauftreff veranstalten.
The First training run was: APA/OTS-Reminder II: www.ots.at/presseaussendung/OTS_20140321_OTS0054/reminder-einladung-zum-laufen-fuer-europa
It seems safe to say that “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” the magnum opus of the French economist Thomas Piketty, will be the most important economics book of the year — and maybe of the decade. Mr. Piketty, arguably the world’s leading expert on income and wealth inequality, does more than document the growing concentration of income in the hands of a small economic elite. He also makes a powerful case that we’re on the way back to “patrimonial capitalism,” in which the commanding heights of the economy are dominated not just by wealth, but also by inherited wealth, in which birth matters more than effort and talent.
To be sure, Mr. Piketty concedes that we aren’t there yet. So far, the rise of America’s 1 percent has mainly been driven by executive salaries and bonuses rather than income from investments, let alone inherited wealth. But six of the 10 wealthiest Americans are already heirs rather than self-made entrepreneurs, and the children of today’s economic elite start from a position of immense privilege. As Mr. Piketty notes, “the risk of a drift toward oligarchy is real and gives little reason for optimism.”
Indeed. And if you want to feel even less optimistic, consider what many U.S. politicians are up to. America’s nascent oligarchy may not yet be fully formed — but one of our two main political parties already seems committed to defending the oligarchy’s interests.
Despite the frantic efforts of some Republicans to pretend otherwise, most people realize that today’s G.O.P. favors the interests of the rich over those of ordinary families.I suspect, however, that fewer people realize the extent to which the party favors returns on wealth over wages and salaries. And the dominance of income from capital, which can be inherited, over wages — the dominance of wealth over work — is what patrimonial capitalism is all about.
To see what I’m talking about, start with actual policies and policy proposals. It’s generally understood that George W. Bush did all he could to cut taxes on the very affluent, that the middle-class cuts he included were essentially political loss leaders. It’s less well understood that the biggest breaks went not to people paid high salaries but to coupon-clippers and heirs to large estates. True, the top tax bracket on earned income fell from 39.6 to 35 percent. But the top rate on dividends fell from 39.6 percent (because they were taxed as ordinary income) to 15 percent — and the estate tax was completely eliminated.
Some of these cuts were reversed under President Obama, but the point is that the great tax-cut push of the Bush years was mainly about reducing taxes on unearned income. And when Republicans retook one house of Congress, they promptly came up with a plan — Representative Paul Ryan’s “road map” — calling for the elimination of taxes on interest, dividends, capital gains and estates. Under this plan, someone living solely off inherited wealth would have owed no federal taxes at all.
This tilt of policy toward the interests of wealth has been mirrored by a tilt in rhetoric; Republicans often seem so intent on exalting “job creators” that they forget to mention American workers.
In 2012 Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, famously commemorated Labor Day with a Twitter post honoring business owners. More recently, Mr. Cantor reportedly reminded colleagues at a G.O.P. retreat that most Americans work for other people, which is at least one reason attempts to make a big issue out of Mr. Obama’s supposed denigration of businesspeople fell flat. (Another reason was that Mr. Obama did no such thing.)
In fact, not only don’t most Americans own businesses, but business income, and income from capital in general, is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few people. In 1979 the top 1 percent of households accounted for 17 percent of business income; by 2007 the same group was getting 43 percent of business income, and 75 percent of capital gains. Yet this small elite gets all of the G.O.P.’s love, and most of its policy attention.
Why is this happening? Well, bear in mind that both Koch brothers are numbered among the 10 wealthiest Americans, and so are four Walmart heirs. Great wealth buys great political influence — and not just through campaign contributions. Many conservatives live inside an intellectual bubble of think tanks and captive media that is ultimately financed by a handful of megadonors. Not surprisingly, those inside the bubble tend to assume, instinctively, that what is good for oligarchs is good for America.
As I’ve already suggested, the results can sometimes seem comical. The important point to remember, however, is that the people inside the bubble have a lot of power, which they wield on behalf of their patrons. And the drift toward oligarchy continues.
Using Copyright to Censor, from Turkey to Svoboda to Ban’s UN & Reuters.
By Matthew Russell Lee, The Inner City Press (ICP) at the UN in New York.
UNITED NATIONS, March 20 — Turkey has now blocked Twitter citing a prosecutor’s decision, drawing ire in the US from Press Secretary Jay Carney and State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in order to get his leaked phone calls removed from Google’s YouTube has reportedly “copyrighted” his calls.
On the Guardian website on March 21, where the video had been was a notice that “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim.”
The New York Times reported that late on March 20, YouTube copies of the video were taken down “for violating the copyright of the Svoboda party spokesman, who seems to be working to erase the evidence from the Internet through legal means.”
On March 21, Dujarric from Kyiv told Inner City Press neither he nor, he assuumed, Ban had seen the Svoboda beat-down video. This seems noteworthy, given its prominence in Ukraine. Now we can add: perhaps Ban and Dujarric didn’t see it due to the same censorship by copyright that has for now banned an anti Press complaint to them from Google’s Search.
And as to Twitter, Dujarric in his previous post in charge of UN Media Accreditation grilled Inner City Press about a tweet mentioning World War Two – the basis for example of France’s veto power in the Security Council, which it parlayed into essentially permanent ownership of the top post in UN Peacekeeping, now though Herve Ladsous (coverage of whom Dujarric tried to dictate, or advise, Inner City Press about.)
Dujarric’s now bipolar tweeting has intersected with a recently revived anonymous trolling campaign whichoriginated in the UN Correspondents Association, in support of the Sri Lankan government, alleging that any coverage of the abuse of Tamils must be funded by the now defunct Tamil Tigers.
These outright attempts to censor are echoed, more genteelly, even as part of the UN press briefings these days. When Dujarric took eight questions on March 20 on Ban’s essentially failed trip to Moscow, fully half went to representatives of UNCA’s 15 member executive committee, including state media from Turkey, France and the United States. Other questions — by Twitter — were not answered, except those from explicitly pro-UN sources. These are the UN’s circles.
Of this abuse of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry told Inner City Press about the Reuters case:
“Unfortunately, it is all too easy for a copyright holder (assuming that the person that sent this notice actually held copyright in the email) to abuse the DMCA to take down content and stifle legitimate speech. As countries outside the US consider adopting DMCA-like procedures, they must make sure they include strong protections for free speech, such as significant penalties for takedown abuse.”
In this case, copyright is being (mis) claimed for an email from Reuters’ Louis Charbonneau to the UN’s chief Media Accreditation official Stephane Dujarric — since March 10 Ban Ki-moon’s new spokesperson — seeking to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN.
If this remains precedent, what else could come down?
Why not an email from Iran, for example, to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency? Why not a sanctions filing by a country? Here is Reuters logic, accepted if only automatically by Google:
The copyrighted material is a private email I wrote in April 2012 and for which I never gave permission to be published. It has been published on a blog and appears in on the first page of search results for my name and the firm I work for, Reuters. It can be seen here: www.innercitypress.com/reutersLC3unmalu.pdf
But this is true of ANY leaked document: it can be said that the entity or person exposed “never gave permission [for it] to be published.” Does that mean Google can or should block search access to it?
Can a complaint to a Media Accreditation official against a competitor legitimately be considered “private”? In any event, the DMCA is not about protecting privacy.
Iran or North Korea could say a filing or status report they make with the IAEA is “private” and was not intended to be published. Would Google, receiving a DMCA filing, block access to the information on, say, Reuters.com?
Charbonneau’s bad-faith argument says his complaint to the UN was “published on a blog.” Is THAT what Reuters claims makes it different that publication in some other media?
The fact that Google accepts or didn’t check, to remain in the DMCA Safe Harbor, the filing makes it even worse. The request to take-down wasn’t made to InnerCityPress.com or its server — it would have been rejected. But banning a page from Search has the same censoring effect.
The US has a regime to protect freedom of the press, and against prior restraint. But this is a loophole, exploited cynically by Reuters. What if a media conducted a long investigation of a mayor, fueled by a leaked email. When the story was published, could the Mayor make a Reuters-like filing with Google and get it blocked?
Here is the text of Charbonneau’s communication to the UN’s top Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit official Stephane Dujarric and MALU’s manager, to which he claimed “copyright” and for now has banned from Google’s Search:
Hi Isabelle and Stephane,
I just wanted to pass on for the record that I was just confronted by Matt Lee in the DHL auditorium in very hostile fashion a short while ago (there were several witnesses, including Giampaolo). He’s obviously gotten wind that there’s a movement afoot to expel him from the UNCA executive committee, though he doesn’t know the details yet. But he was going out of his way to be as intimidating and aggressive as possible towards me, told me I “disgust” him, etc.
In all my 20+ years of reporting I’ve never been approached like that by a follow journalist in any press corps, no matter how stressful things got. He’s become someone who’s making it very hard for me and others in the UN press to do our jobs. His harassment of fellow reporters is reaching a new fever pitch.
I just thought you should know this.
Bureau Chief. United Nations
Reuters News Thomson Reuters reuters. com
This email was sent to you by Thomson Reuters, the global news and information company.
by Mahesh – 12/27/2013 - calls for the removal of a letter from the head of his bureau at the United Nations, pursuing a copyright infringement on the part of the competition.
Try to make out a small competitor from the UN press room and then, when these publish proof of intrigue, invokes the copyright to release a letter from compromising the network.
MOLESTA-AGENCYInner City Press is a small non-profit agency covering the work of the United Nations for years, with an original cut, which become distasteful to many. Unlike other matching its founder master sent never tires of asking account of inconsistencies and contradictions and often refers to unpleasant situations involving colleagues and their reportage, too often twisted to obvious political contingencies.
THE LAST CAVITY –In this case the clutch is born when Matthew Lee, Inner City Press ever since he founded and made famous in the 90 ‘s, challenged the screening of “Lies Agreed Upon” in the auditorium of the United Nations, a filmaccio of propaganda in which the Sri Lankan regime tries to deny the now tested massacres (and destroyed by International Crisis Group). In the piece, in which denounced the incident, Lee also announced that the screening was organized by the President of the United Nations Correspondents (UNCA), Italian Giampaolo Pioli, skipping the normal consultation procedure for this kind of events. Pioli then, was also accused of being in a conflict of interest, given that he rented an apartment in New York an apartment to the Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Sri Lanka, named Palitha Kohona and is suspected of war crimes.
TRY WITH THE COPYRIGHT-So he comes to the letter with which Louis Charbonneau, Reuters bureau chief at the United Nations, wrote to the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit (MALU) calling for the ouster of Lee, which the UN being there for years as his colleagues, but we see that this was not done. Lee, however, comes into possession of the letter and publish it, and then writes to Google millantando Charbonneau the copyright on the letter and asking for removal pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That is a bit like if a company request the removal of a compromising document from a journalistic investigation, in the name of copyright, a claim clearly absurd and disingenuous.
HARASSMENT AND THREATS -In the letter published, Charbonneau complained about the aggressive behavior of Lee and cited among the witnesses to cases where Lee had been “aggressive” towards him even Pioli. Lee with that piece has gained throughout a hail of protests from Sri Lanka and an investigation by the UNCA, along with death threats and other well-known amenities the refugees away from the clutches of the regime, but it is still there. Behold then the brilliant idea of Charbonneau, improperly used copyright law to censor the objectionable publications to a colleague and competitor. Pity that Lee has already resisted successfully in similar cases, in 2008 was the same Google to remove your site from being indexed in the news in its search engines, it is unclear what impetus behind, only to regret it soon after that even Fox News had cried scandal.
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about sanctions. I know that in his opening remarks, the Secretary-General talked about provocative actions and counter-reactions and obviously there have been, the US announced sanctions on a slew of individuals and one bank, and another bank, SMP, has been cut off from the Visa and Mastercard system. Russia has its own sanctions. Was this discussed, was this discussed while he was in Moscow? Does the Secretary-General think that sanctions should be done through the UN? And will he meet with representatives of the Svoboda party while he’s there, if they were to request it?
Spokesman Stephane Dujarric: There was a — I will share with you as soon as I get it — the list of party leaders that attended the meeting with the Secretary-General. So we will see who exactly was there and, you know, I’m not going to get into detailed reactions to sanctions and counter-sanctions and so forth. But what I will say is that, you know, everybody needs to kind of focus on finding a peaceful, diplomatic solution and lowering the tensions.
Inner City Press: Has he or you seen the video of the Svoboda party MPs beating up the television executive?
Spokesman Stephane Dujarric: I have not and I doubt that he has.
But more than 24 hours later, the “list of party members” who met with Ban was still not provided or shared, nor was an explanation provided. What should one infer from that?
… … ….
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s race to Russia for relevance didn’t work as he’d hoped. Just after his meetings with Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov, Lavrov went to the Duma for the next step on Crimea.
Then Ban’s spokesperson did a call-in Q&A to the UN press briefing room in New York where only questions pointing one way were selected and allowed. Thus, there were no questions to Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric about the new unilateral sanctions, or the trade embargo allegations.
On March 19 after US Ambassador Samantha Power said Russia’s Vitaly Churkin was creative like Tolstoy or Chekhov, Churkin asked for a right of reply or additional statement at the end of the March 19 UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine.
Churkin said that from these two literary references, Power has stooped to tabloids, and that this should change if the US expected Russian cooperation. The reference, it seemed, was to Syria and Iran, and other UN issues.
One wanted to explore this at the stakeout, but neither Power nor Churkin spoke there. In fact, no one did: even Ukraine’s Yuriy Sergeyev left, down the long hallways with his leather coat and spokesperson. One wondered why.
Araud exchanged a few words with those media he answers to while on the stairs, then left. The UK’s Mark Lyall Grant spoke longer, but still left. Why didn’t Simonovic at least come and answer questions? Perhaps he will, later in the week.
When Security Council session began at 3 pm on March 19, Russia was listed as the tenth speaker, after other Council members including not only the US but France. (The order, however, would soon change: Argentina and Russia switched spots.)
Speaking first, Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson recounted dates and events, such as the US and European Union sanctions of Marcy 17. Inner City Press asked UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric if there was any UN comment on or view of such unilateral sanctions. There was no comment.
UN human rights deputy Ivan Simonovic spoke next, saying that attacks on ethnic Russians have been neither widespread nor systematic. Simonovic did not mention the widely publicized assault on a national TV executive by Svoboda Party MPs.
Ukraine’s Yuriy Sergeyev mocked the referendum, saying that those who didn’t vote were visited at home.
France’s Gerard Araud said that if there are fascists in this story, it is not where they’re said to be — but he did not address the Svoboda Party and its attack on the TV executive. Nor has he addressed the analogy to the referendum France pushed to split Mayotte from Comoros, nor France’s ongoing sale of Mistral warships to Russia.
After Nigeria spoke, Argentina’s listed place was taken by Russia, in what has been confirmed to Inner City Press as an exchange. Russia’s Vitaly Churkin zeroed in on Simonovic not mentioning the Svoboda MPs’ assault, nor evidence that the same snipers should police and protesters in Kyiv.
US Ambassador Samantha Power called this an assault on Simonovic’s report, and said Churkin had been as imaginative as Tolstoy or Chekhov, echoing an earlier US State Department Top Ten list. So what is the US, one wag mused, John Updike or Thomas Pynchon? It was a session meant for words.
Now that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon races to Russia for relevance, the news was handed out selectively by UN Moscow three hours before Ban’s new spokesperson, after a request, confirmed it.
It’s worth remembering Moscow’s anger at who called Ban’s tune on Kosovo. What will be different now? After Russia, Ban will head to Kyiv to meet Yatsenyuk and the UN human rights monitors.
“Will you confirm what BBC says UN Moscow told it, that the Secretary General is traveling to Russia tomorrow to meet President Putin and FM Lavrov — and is so, can you explain why and how this UN news was distributed in that way first, and not through your office, to all correspondents at once? The latter part of the question is on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access as well.”
Forty five minutes later, after a mass e-mail, Dujarric replied:
“Matthew, The official announcement was just made. The UN office in moscow did not announce anything before we did. I did see some leaked reports this morning from various sources but nothing is official until it’s announced by this office.”
But it wasn’t a “leaked report” — BBC said that UN Moscow had CONFIRMED it. We’ll have more on this. For now it’s worth reviewing Ban Ki-moon’s response to Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008…
The day after the Crimea referendum, the US White House announced new sanctions and Russia said Ukraine should adopt a federal constitution.
Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric for Ban’s or the UN’s comment on either, if Ban thinks sanctions should ideally be imposed through the UN and not unilaterally, and if this might lead to a tit for tat.
Dujarric said Ban’s focus is on encouraging the parties to “not add tensions;” on Russia’s federal constitution proposal he said the UN is “not going to get into judging every step.” Video here.
With Serry gone from Crimea and Simonovic called unbalanced by Russia, what is the UN’s role? Is it UNrelevant?
The territory of Eastern Europe on which the present state of Ukraine is located was first mentioned in history in the 9th century as Kievan Rus which is in effect the cultural birthplace of Russia of today – one could say that it parallels to the West Bank of the Palestinians that was the birthplace of the historic Israeli kingdom. I am sure that lots of people will disagree with this. But it is true nevertheless and we say it is of no practical importance today.
From above, it can be concluded that real first steps of a modern Ukrainian statehood came when the Ukraine per se got set up around WWII as an enlarged soviet republic by Stalin’s Soviets - The Ukr.SSR, Before that – in 1918 there were attempts at creating several Ukrainian States but they got suppressed swallowed up. To the Ukrainian SSR Stalin added later Hotin and South Bessarabia (AkermanRegion) taken from Bessarabia, the Chernivtsi region that was part of Bukowina and the whole Eastern Galicia that was annexed from Poland. That Ukrainian SSR became in 1991 the Independent State of Ukraine by brake-up of the USSR in 1991. The UN membership was extended to them naturally
on basis of the latest Soviet geography.
The Akerman region makes Ukraina a Danube Conference state denying Moldova outlet to the sea. This area includes the Gagauz people. They proclaimed the Gaugazia State.
Moldova was given the Tiraspol area East of the Dniester instead.
This enclave refused to become Moldova after the breaking up of the Soviet Union.
After a war with the the Russian Tank division stationed there which were victors, they formed a breakaway illegal state that named itself Transnistria (Trans-Dniester River) – that included de facto the twin town of Tiraspol – Bender. Bender is on the west bank – the Moldova side of the Dniester.
Moldova it thus next hub of breakaway States – but now without bordering Russia it stands to reason that they will just freeze this reality.
Crimea was passed by Nikita Krushchev from the larger Soviet Union part that is now the Russian Federation to Ukraina SSR only in 1954. Crimea was now claimed by Russia and it stands to reason that even in honest voting there would have been a pro-Russian majority. The West can claim that in a civilized world one should go about secessions the way Scotland is doing it and it takes years in peace – not days at gun point.
HUMAN RIGHTS TALK ON THE UKRAINE IN VIENNA March 25th 2014: Ukraine quo vadis?
The question is what effect will the current developments in the Ukraine have on Human Rights in the Ukraine and what ought to be the stand of the EU? The reality being that the coming to power of Stepan Bandera Nationalists might in effect decrease Human Rights in Ukraine by feeding Xenophobia to people that had good reason to want their freedom from the Russian bear but are yet blinded by the Nationalist feelings that the rebellion has brought to the forefront. With much of the EU falling also into a re-Nationalization trap, the Ukrainians might not even realize the dangers in being mislead – something making Maidan very much like the Egyptian Tahrir – a path to further loss in Human Rights and a step back from true democracy that includes minorities and differing points of view.Vienna these days is the place where serious debate can be witnessed on these problems and where denial of the dangers of Nationalism is radiating from pro-Maidan Ukrainian representatives.
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen,
wir möchten Sie hiermit herzlich zum HUMAN RIGHTS TALK: Ukraine quo vadis? einladen, der am Dienstag, den 25. März 2014 um 19:00 Uhr in der Aula des Universitätscampus Altes AKH (1. Hof, Spitalgasse 2-4, 1090 Wien) stattfindet.
Seit Wochen befindet sich die Ukraine im Aufruhr, bei dem ersten HUMAN RIGHTS TALK des Sommersemesters 2014 gehen Richard KÜHNEL (Vertreter der Europäischen Kommission in Österreich), Kateryna MISHCHENKO (Herausgeberin und Übersetzerin aus Kiew dzt. Institut für die Wissenschaft vom Menschen), Susanne SCHOLL (ehem. ORF-Korrespondentin in Moskau) und Hannes TRETTER (Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Menschenrechte) der Frage nach, welche menschenrechtlichen Auswirkungen die derzeitigen politischen Entwicklungen in der Ukraine haben und welche Rolle und Verantwortung die Europäische Union dabei hat. Moderiert wird das Gespräch von Anna Giulia FINK (Nachrichtenmagazin profil).
Das Gespräch findet in deutscher Sprache statt.
Im Anschluss an die Podiumsdiskussion lädt die Forschungsplattform “Human Rights in the European Context“ und das Ludwig Boltzmann Institut zu einem kleinen Umtrunk ein.
BRUSSELS – The Russian government has invited some of Europe’s far-right parties to observe this weekend’s referendum in Crimea.
The leader of France’s National Front party, Marine Le Pen, told press at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday (12 March) that her executive has not yet decided whether to go.
The Austrian Freedom party, a National Front ally, also got an invitation.
Crimeans will go to the polls on Sunday to pick one of two options: “Are you in favour of Crimea becoming a constituent territory of the Russian Federation?” or “Are you in favour of restoring Crimea’s 1992 constitution? [on semi-autonomy inside Ukraine].”With Russian soldiers and paramilitaries in control of streets and public buildings, the vote will effectively be held at gunpoint.
EU leaders have said the referendum is illegal.
The G7 club of wealthy nations, which also includes Canada, Japan, and the US, described it as a “deeply flawed process which would have no moral force.”
The OSCE, a Vienna-based multilateral body, has also declined to send observers because the vote was called in violation of Ukraine’s constitution.
But for her part, Le Pen voiced sympathy for Russia, even if it opts to annex the territory after Sunday’s result.
“Crimea is not like the rest of the country … it is very closely linked to Russia,” she said, adding: “We have to take account of the history of Crimea.”
“From the outset of the crisis we [the National Front] have said that Ukraine should maintain its sovereignty but allow the three main regions to have a lot of autonomy.”
She described the prospect of EU economic sanctions against Russia as “dangerous” and echoed Russian propaganda on the new authorities in Kiev.
“We should have some qualms about the new government because it was not elected … We know that there are neo-Nazis and extremists in this government,” she said.
With Europe’s far-right keen to play up the Ukrainian crisis as an EU foreign policy blunder, Austrian MEP Andreas Moelzer, from the Freedom Party, told Austrian news agency APA also on Wednesday that he is considering Putin’s offer.
“We are among the few who try to understand Russia,” he said.
The Soviet Union made Crimea part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954.
Some 58 percent of its 2 million people are ethnic Russians.
But ethnic Russians became the majority only in World War II, when Stalin deported hundreds of thousands of Armenians, Bulgarians, Jews, Germans, Greeks, and Tatars from the region.
The 800,000 or so Ukrainian speakers who live there now form the majority in nine districts.
The 250,000 or so Tatars in Crimea have appealed for EU, US, and Turkish help to keep them from falling under Putin’s rule.
Lakhdar Brahimi said there were many signs that Syria’s government was planning an election, though that would be counterproductive for talks.
ELECTIONS AT GUN-POINT ARE A FAKE DEMOCRATIC WAY TO HELP DESPOTS ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS. WE THINK THE US TEA-PARTY COULD ALSO TAKE A BREAK BY GOING TO THE CRIM. WE SAY THIS WITHOUT JUDGEMENT OF THE MERITS OF THE ISSUE AT HAND – RATHER BY THINKING ONLY OF THE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE APPROACH OF CALLING FOR DISPUTED ELECTIONS WITHOUT A WIDE RANGE OF OBSERVERS.
THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF INFORMATION ABOUT US-RUSSIA DISCUSSIONS IS AS FOLLOWS:
John Kerry Secretary of State
London, United Kingdom
March 14, 2014
SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody. My pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Lavrov to Winfield House, the American Embassy residence here in London. Obviously, we have a lot to talk about. I look forward to the opportunity to dig into the issues and possibilities that we may be able to find about how to move forward together to resolve some of the differences between us. And we look forward, I know, to a good conversation.
FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: (Via interpreter) Well, I’m also satisfied to have this meeting today. This is a difficult situation we are in. Many events have happened and a lot of time has been lost, so now we have to think what can be done. Thank you.
“Their Mothers, their Fathers” – or maybe even ours - a movie that tries to promote thinking about the triteness of the reality of an evolution of crime as a worm that eats into what looks like civilized normalcy.
These days in New York we host the Carnegie Hall Festival “Vienna City of Dreams” which is a celebration of culture of the last 100 years which is in effect the time-span since the break out of WWI on June 28, 1914, and as a matter of fact includes also WWII.
To above Festival The Calgary, Alberta, CHUMIR FOUNDATION for Ethics in Leadership contributed a three events Symposium – “Vienna’s History and Legacy of the Past 150 Years” – and this morning coincidentally I received the Uri Avnery mailing about the German Film “THEIR MOTHERS, THEIR FATHERS” that is being shown in Israel. We find it all connects – and we start looking into this by bringing here the Uri Avnery article.
Also, these days the Peace Islands Institute, which is connected to a Turkish Cultural Center, had its own events in New York of which one – linked – without mentioning it – to the previous mentioned events – it was a panel on Intergovernmental Relations among Balkan Nations & The EU with the participation of the Ambassadors to the UN from Bulgaria, Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia, chaired by the President of the Federation of Balkan American Associations, that followed a similar earlier event that included Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Croatia but never looked at Slovenia or Austria. Then the same Peace Islands Institute followed on its studies of the three Abrahamic religions with a first inroad into Muslim – Buddhist understanding after quite successful previous activities into ethics of Muslim -Jewish mutual acceptance. These days such are events happening in New York.
March 1, 2014
Their Mothers, Their Fathers
IT IS the summer of 1941. Five youngsters – three young men and two young women – meet in a bar and spend a happy evening, flirting with each other, getting drunk, dancing forbidden foreign dances. They have grown up together in the same neighborhood of Berlin.
It is a happy time. The war started by Adolf Hitler a year and a half before has progressed incredibly well. In this short time Germany has conquered Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and France. The Wehrmacht is invincible. The Führer is a genius, “the greatest military strategist of all times”.
So starts the film that is running now in our cinemas – a unique historical document. It goes on for five breathless hours, and continues to occupy the thoughts and emotions of its viewers for days and weeks.
Basically it is a film made by Germans for Germans. The German title says it all: “Our Mothers, Our Fathers”. The purpose is to answer the questions troubling many of the young Germans of today: Who were our parents and grandparents? What did they do during the terrible war? What did they feel? What was their part in the horrible crimes committed by the Nazis?
These questions are not asked in the film explicitly. But every German viewer is compelled to ask them. There are no clear answers. The film does not probe the depths. Rather, it shows a broad panorama of the German people in wartime, the various sections of society, the different types, from the war criminals, through the passive onlookers, to the victims.
The Holocaust is not the center of events, but it is there all the time, not as a separate event but woven into the fabric of reality.
THE FILM starts in 1941, and therefore cannot answer the question which, to my mind, is the most important one: How could a civilized nation, perhaps the most cultured in the world, elect a government whose program was blatantly criminal?
True, Hitler was never elected by an absolute majority in free elections. But he came very close to it. And he easily found political partners who were ready to help him form a government.
Some said at the time that it was a uniquely German phenomenon, the expression of the particular German mentality, formed during centuries of history. That theory has been discredited by now. But if so, can it happen in any other country? Can it happen in our own country? Can it happen today? What are the circumstances that make it possible?
The film does not answer these question. It leaves the answers to the viewer.
The young heroes of the film do not ask. They were ten years old when the Nazis came to power, and for them the “Thousand-Year Reich” (as the Nazis called it) was the only reality they knew. It was the natural state of things. That’s where the plot starts.
TWO OF the youngsters were soldiers. One had already seen war and was wearing a medal for valor. His brother had just been called up. The third young man was a Jew. Like the two girls, they are full of youthful exuberance. Everything was looking fine.
The war? Well, it can’t last much longer, can it? The Führer himself has promised that by Christmas the Final Victory will be won. The five young people promise each other to meet again at Christmas. No one has the slightest premonition of the terrible experiences in store for each of them.
While viewing the scene, I could not help thinking about my former class. A few weeks after the Nazis’ assumption of power, I became a pupil in the first class of high school in Hanover. My schoolmates were the same age as the heroes of the film. They would have been called up in 1941, and because it was an elitist school, all of them would probably have become officers.
Half way through the first year in high schooI, my family took me to Palestine. I never met any of my schoolmates again, except one (Rudolf Augstein, the founder of the magazine Der Spiegel, whom I met years after the war and who became my friend again.) What happened to all the others? How many survived the war? How many were maimed? How many had become war criminals?
In the summer of 1941 they were probably as happy as the youngsters in the film, hoping to be home by Christmas.
THE TWO brothers were sent to the Russian front, an unimaginable hell. The film succeeds in showing the realities of war, easily recognizable by anyone who has been a soldier in combat. Only that this combat was a hundredfold worse, and the film shows it brilliantly.
The older brother, a lieutenant, tries to shield the younger one. The bloodbath that goes on for four more years, day after day, hour after hour, changes their character. They become brutalized. Death is all around them, they see horrible war crimes, they are commanded to shoot prisoners, they see Jewish children butchered. In the beginning they still dare to protest feebly, then they keep their doubts to themselves, then they take part in the crimes as a matter of course.
One of the young women volunteers for a frontline military hospital, witnesses the awful agonies of the wounded, denounces a Jewish fellow nurse and immediately feels remorse, and in the end is raped by Soviet soldiers near Berlin, as were almost all German women in the areas conquered by the revenge-thirsty Soviet army.
Israeli viewers might be more interested in the fate of the Jewish boy, who took part in the happy feast at the beginning. His father is a proud German, who cannot imagine Germans doing the bad things threatened by Hitler. He does not dream of leaving his beloved fatherland. But he warns his son about having sexual relations with his Aryan girlfriend. “It’s against the law!”
When the son tries to flee abroad, “aided” by a treacherous Gestapo officer, he is caught, sent to the death camps, succeeds in escaping on the way, joins the Polish partisans (who hate the Jews more than the Nazis) and in the end survives.
Perhaps the most tragic figure is the second girl, a frivolous, carefree singer who sleeps with a senior SS officer to further her career, is sent with her troupe to entertain the troops at the front, sees what is really happening, speaks out about the war, is sent to prison and executed in the last hours of the war.
BUT THE fate of the heroes is only the skeleton of the film. More important are the little moments, the daily life, the portrayal of the various characters of German society.
For example, when a friend visits the apartment where the Jewish family had been living, the blond Aryan woman who was allotted the place complains about the state of the apartment from which the Jews had been fetched and sent to their death: “They didn’t even clean up before they left! That’s how the Jews are, dirty people!”
Everyone lives in constant fear of being denounced. It is a pervading terror, which nobody can escape. Even at the front, with death staring therm in the face, a hint of doubt about the Final Victory uttered by a soldier is immediately silenced by his comrades. “Are you crazy?”
Even worse is the deadening atmosphere of universal agreement. From the highest officer to the lowliest maid, everybody is repeating endlessly the propaganda slogans of the regime. Not out of fear, but because they believe every word of the all-pervading propaganda machine. They hear nothing else.
It is immensely important to understand this. In the totalitarian state, fascist or communist or whatever, only the very few free spirits can withstand the endlessly repeated slogans of the government. Everything else sounds unreal, abnormal, crazy. When the Soviet army was already fighting its way through Poland and nearing Berlin, people were unwavering in their belief in the Final Victory. After all, the Führer says so, and the Führer is never wrong. The very idea is preposterous.
It is this element of the situation that is difficult for many people to grasp. A citizen under a criminal totalitarian regime becomes a child. Propaganda becomes for him reality, the only reality he knows. It is more effective than even the terror.
THIS IS the answer to the question we cannot abstain from asking again and again: How was the Holocaust possible? It was planned by a few, but it was implemented by hundreds of thousands of Germans, from the engine driver of the train to the officials who shuffled the papers. How could they do it?
They could, because it was the natural thing to do. After all, the Jews were out to destroy Germany. The communist hordes were threatening the life of every true Aryan. Germany needed more living space. The Führer has said so.
That’s why the film is so important, not only for the Germans, but for every people, including our own.
People who carelessly play with ultra-nationalist, fascist, racist, or other anti-democratic ideas don’t realize that they are playing with fire. They cannot even imagine what it means to live in a country that tramples on human rights, that despises democracy, that oppresses another people, that demonizes minorities. The film shows what it is like: hell.
THE FILM does not hide that the Jews were the main victims of the Nazi Reich, and nothing comes near their sufferings. But the second victim was the German people, victims of themselves.
Many people insist that after this trauma, Jews cannot behave like a normal people, and that therefore Israel cannot be judged by the standards of normal states. They are traumatized.
This is true for the German people, too. The very need to produce this unusual film proves that the Nazi specter is still haunting the Germans, that they are still traumatized by their past.
When Angela Merkel came this week to see Binyamin Netanyahu, the whole world laughed at the photo of our Prime Minister’s finger inadvertently painting a moustache on the Kanzlerin’s face.
But the relationship between our two traumatized peoples is far from a joke.
THE 90 year young URI AVNERY NEVER ENDED HIGH-SCHOOL BUT HE IS NON-DISPUTABLE ISRAEL’S GREATEST JOURNALIST AND MOST FAMOUS EX-MEMBER OF THE KNESSET (PARLIAMENT). WHO COULD SAY WHAT GERMANY LOST – IF NOT FOR HITLER – HE WOULD HAVE HIMSELF BEEN NOW A SECULAR COMPLETELY ASSIMILATED GERMAN?
On the occasion of the International Year of Family Farming 2014,
the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna, in cooperation with this human world (THW) Film Festival and Topkino,
presented the Ciné-ONU Vienna screening of the documentary“The Moo Man”
(by Andy Heathcote, UK 2013, 98 min, English)
followed by a Q&A session with invited guests, free entry.
Date / Time: 24 February 2014, 18:30 hrs Location: Topkino, Rahlgasse 1, 1060 ViennaParticipants of the panel discussion:
Elisabeth Sötz - Advisor for Environment and Natural Resources, ADA (Austrian Development Agency) Nikolaus Morawitz – Head of EU & International Affairs, Austrian Chamber of Agriculture Frank Hartwich – Industrial Development Officer, UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) Janos Tisovszky – Outgoing Director, United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna (Moderator) ———————————————————————————————————————
as reported for SustainabiliTank by Ms. Irith Jawetz:
“The Moo Man” tells the remarkable story of a maverick farmer and his unruly cows, filmed over four years on the marshes of the Pevensey Levels*. In an attempt to save his family farm, Stephen Hook decides to turn his back on the cost cutting dairies and supermarkets, and instead stay small and keep his close relationship with the herd. However farmer Hook’s plans to save the farm do not always go down well with his 55 spirited cows. The result is a laugh-out-loud, emotional roller-coaster of a journey. “Heart warming, a tearjerker of a movie, about the incredible bonds between man, animal and countryside.”
Mr. Hook describes his cows as “family”. While the average life span of a cow on a farm is 5 to 6 years, his cows live 9 to 10 years. “We do not push them, they are more relaxed” he explains as the reason for their long life.
The film follows partly the story of his favorite cow, Ida. “Ida is a symbol of what we do” says Mr. Hook. We follow her life until she passes away and the sadness expressed by Mr. Hook is really touching. “She was a lovely cow the queen of the herd, and had a lot of character” Mr. Hook laments .
Farming is a 24/7 job, with no time off. Mr. Hook explains that the work is hard and you basically work for nothing. He milks the cows himself with little help, since he cannot afford to employ people, bottles them and brings them to the customers in his truck. This milk is literally brought from the cow to the consumers directly. However, it is a losing battle because of the high costs. As Mr. Hook explains nobody wants to farm anymore because you work hard for nothing. Family farms close down all over England and Wales.
The discussion after the film focused basically on how the private farms could be helped. They all agreed that farmers need subsidies, that is why the United States had the farm Bill. There is also a big difference between small farms in developed countries and those in developing countries – and that is where three essential facts were put forward to produce the best conditions for successful farming:
1) Stable policy on environment by the respective government;
2) Providing education, skills, and know-how to the farmers;
3) Organization, i.e. lobbying & marketing.
This is where developing countries falter, while developed countries are doing better. In the developed countries, especially in the EU, the farmers are well represented, have a strong lobby and basically do better.
One big problem for the farmers is Climate Change. Since they cannot predict the weather, it is difficult for them to know when to plant what and whether the weather will cooperate.
Sudden floods, drought may ruin the whole crop.
A second problem is urbanization. Young people move to the cities seeking easier and more profitable jobs.
Agri-tourism is a small help. Small farms, especially in the EU open B & B facilities for families, particularly city folks with children, to spend time on the farm. The income helps.
It was all in all an interesting evening, combining an endearing film with lots of emotions, yet also laughter, and a serious discussion afterwards.
Pevensey Levels NNR lies in the heart of a large grazing marsh which is home to many species of wetland bird.
This event – the showing of the movie to the public at large – by a UN Information Service/Center – shows what an outreach of the UN can do even in a developed country – that is not just assuming the role of the UN is just to teach the backward developing countries.
Sent: Sunday, February 21, 2014 12:37 PM Subject: Fwd: FW: KERRY’S BROTHER CAMERON WRITES A LETTER
While we were traveling last week, an Israeli Knesset member accused my brother of anti-Semitism and a group of rabbis said he is waging “war on God.” I wrote this op-ed in response on the plane back; it appears (in Hebrew) in today’s Yediot Ahronot, Israel’s widest circulation paper. Since it discusses our trip, I thought it might interest you:
By Cameron Kerry
Last week at this time, I was in Terezin, Czech Republic, at the 18th Century fortress where the Nazis gathered Jews from Czechoslovakia, Austria,Germany, and other countries for the tragic journey to death camps further east. I joined a group from the Boston synagogue, of which my wife is the lay head, in traveling to Europe to celebrate Torah scrolls miraculously saved from Czech synagogues during World War II and restored 50 years ago. Both of my daughters became a Bat Mitzvah reading from a scroll rescued from the Bohemian town of Blatna, from which 26 Jews were transported to Terezin and none survived.
At Terezin, I walked along the banks of Ohre River and joined other members of our temple in saying Kaddish at the place where the Nazis poured out the cremated remains of some 22,000 inmates who died at Terezin. These presumably included the remains of my paternal great-uncle Otto Lowe, who died at Terezin in 1942. He, along with his sister Jenni, was transported to Terezin in 1942. Jenni was soon sent to die at Treblinka.
These experiences and their deeply personal meaning for my family make it all the more disturbing that some have recently suggested that my brother, John Kerry, had expressed “anti-Semitic undertones” in his pursuit of a framework for negotiations, and some even suggested that he “has declared war on God.” Such charges would be ridiculous if they were not so vile.
My family’s experience with anti-Semitism and oppression runs deep. On another visit to the Czech Republic last fall, I visited the town where my grandfather Frederick Kerry was born Fritz Kohn. A few years before emigrating to America, while serving in the military, my grandfather converted from Judaism to Catholicism because of anti-Semitism in the ranks. In memory — and in honor — of the Kohns, I planted a tree in my grandfather’s town.
This experience is not limited to the side of the family with Jewish roots. My mother – a Bostonian – was living in Paris training to become a nurse when World War II broke out, and she was among the mass of refugees who escaped the city in front of the Nazis. The sister she left with was later interned for helping the resistance in the south of France, where her activities included helping Jewish families get out of the country. My grandparents’ home was occupied by the Nazis and later destroyed by them because it offered an artillery spotting post in battles with Patton’s army.
All this is part of my brother John Kerry’s DNA. His earliest memory is of holding our mother’s hand as, soon after the war, she walked in tears viewing the ruins of that house. With my father serving his country in the State Department, our family took up a posting in Berlin with bombed, burned out, and shot-up buildings still visible across Europe. My brother embraced my own conversion to Judaism when I got married. He has been part of our family mitzvot. He was present when my daughters read from the Blatna scroll and helped to raise the chairs in which they were paraded on the dance floor.
I recall when he came home from his first visit to Israel with friends from the Boston Jewish community, more than thirty years ago as a young Senator: he spoke vividly of flying an Israeli military jet over the country and realizing how it was possible to cross the country in a matter of moments. Today, his determined work on Middle East peace is informed by an abiding sense of the need to secure Israel as a home for the Jewish people. For years since that first visit, he has engaged passionately with a wide variety of leaders in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and across the region to understand the way to peace. He also maintained a 100-percent pro-Israel voting record during his nearly three decades in the U.S. senate.
It is this deep involvement that has led to the conviction that Israel’s long-term security requires a two-state solution — that, in the face of the inexorable forces of security, demographics, and geography, Israel cannot sustain occupation of the West Bank and remain both democratic and Jewish. It is the same conclusion that such resolute defenders of Israel as Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon reached and that Prime Minister Netanyahu is confronting now.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Lieberman, and Ambassador Dermer were courageous in their defense of my brother’s motives. We can all debate the effectiveness of security measures, the delineation of borders, arrangements for East Jerusalem, and other real issues among the parties, but there is no truth and no good that can come by calling into question John Kerry’s good faith toward his own heritage. Israel and the Jewish people deserve better than that.
Vienna’s History and Legacy of the Past 150 Years.
Celebrating the Arts, Learning From Politics, War and Reconciliation.
In memory of the First World War – the 1914 War only 100 years ago.
A Symposium divided into three days – part of a larger 90 events Festival organized by Carnegie Hall.
VIENNA 1860 TO 1914:
CREATIVITY, CULTURE, SCIENCE AND POLITICS.Fin de siècle Vienna was creative, cosmopolitan, and modern, as well as a hothouse of political ferment. How did arts and politics intermingle and influence a city’s and country’s destiny? A panel of leaders in arts and science discusses creativity as well as historic and contemporary examples of the arts as both a political tool and healing mechanism. Participants: Eric Kandel, Andreas Mailath-Pokorny, Christian Meyer, Dominique Meyer, Helga Rabl-Stadler, Franz Welser-Möst; Moderator: Carol Off
HOW DID THE CULTURED, CREATIVE SOCIETY OF
VIENNA LOSE ITS MORAL COMPASS – COMING TO TERMS.
Vienna’s creative, cultured, and open society deteriorated in the years leading to the 1938 Anschluss. Why did it happen and why did Austria take so long to recognize the horrors of the Holocaust? A panel explores a new generation’s constructive efforts at remembrance and reconciliation.
Participants: Martin Eichtinger, Stuart Eizenstat, Clemens Hellsberg, Oliver Rathkolb, Alexandra Starr; Moderator: Morley Safer
A GLOBAL ETHIC, CONTEMPORARY RISKS
AND APPROPRIATE RESPONSES – LESSONS OF HISTORY.With the experience of past conflicts and an examination of contemporary problems and risks, how does an increasingly globalized and interdependent world deal with ongoing issues and tensions? A panel of diplomatic and crisis-response experts debates whether the world is doing enough to avoid moral atrocities and advance ethical behaviour. Participants: Louise Arbour, Robert Hormats, Ferdinand Trauttmansdorff; Moderator: Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal
The Symposium at a glance:
The symposium explores a specific period in history, seeking to inform
current thinking and facilitate participation in a dialogue on current
conditions and foster action on vital ethical choices:
• What makes a community creative, dynamic, productive and
comfort able? What can we do to inspire more of what was best
about that legacy in our communities today?
• What causes a society to become morally destructive? What
constructive measures can we take today, some years and even
generations of leadership later, to learn from past horrors
• Are there signs of trouble around us? What are the prospects of
doing what is needed for an ethical outcome?
The events take place at the Paley Center for Media
I AM WRAPPED IN INTENSIVE CRAVING / I want to live / I want to Smile and Carry Burdens / and would like to fight, love, and hate / and would like to reach out to the sky with my hands / and would like to be free and breeze and shout. I do not want to die / NO! / NO ./ Life is Red / Life is Mine. / Mine and Yours. / Mine.
writes in German – her mother-tongue (and home-life Austrian culture ) – a teen-age girl in Czernowitz – at the time Romania – before her family’s deportation to a place from where only a few returned. Her notes survived miraculously thanks to loyalty of friends.Still a Must-Read for those that ought not to forget. (my translation)
Mr. Bilak was a former hard-line communist leader who paved the way for Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Just a timely reminder following the Syrian’s allegation that the lack of law in his country is not internal/local but external/by occupation – so what in the hell is the Russian meaning when he says intervention from the outside is “Verboten.”
The Event at the UN, the news building about Showcase Sochi and the spotlight on suppression of democracy in Russia by a new Czar-bound Russian Megaloman who reaches out to the Ukraine and to Syria as steps in his dream of reconstituting the Soviet empire are just pathetic. We found the move to kill the Sochi dogs much worse then the keeping of street children away from Rio de Janeiro during Brazil’s days of glory when they hosted the Climate Change Convention meeting. Death is final even for dogs! In Syria it is for humans as well!
And let us not forget why I was at the UN. These are days the UN is trying to come up with a global regime for the post 2015 era – that will be based on Sustainable Development Goals and the meeting yesterday, with lots of participants trying their best to show that without Rule of Law – or more accurate Rule By Law – and Good Governance – there will be no Sustainability. These are things we advocated years ago and our website has on the right side of the Home-page the booklet – The PROMPTBOOK - we wrote for the 2002 Johannesburg Summit – so our readers are familiar with our hopes. Encouraging yesterday was that all speakers except the Syrian and the Russian did indeed address the issues and their questions were not plain national propaganda like these two renegade States showed. The Hungarian Chair of the Open Working Group navigated this very well.
The Olympic Games that open in Sochi, Russia, on Friday are intended to be the fulfillment of President Vladimir Putin’s quest for prestige and power on the world stage. But the reality of Mr. Putin and the Russia he leads conflicts starkly with Olympic ideals and fundamental human rights. There is no way to ignore the dark side — the soul-crushing repression, the cruel new antigay and blasphemy laws and the corrupt legal system in which political dissidents are sentenced to lengthy terms on false charges.
Maria Alyokhina, 25, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, of Pussy Riot, the Russian punk band, are determined that the glossy celebration of the Olympics will not whitewash the reality of Mr. Putin’s Russia, which they know from experience. Charged with “hooliganism,” they were incarcerated for 21 months for performing an anti-Putin song on the altar of a Moscow cathedral that cast the Russian Orthodox Church as a tool of the state.
Such political protest is not tolerated in a nation that is a long way from a democracy. In December, the women were freed under a new amnesty law that was an attempt by Mr. Putin to soften his authoritarian image before the Olympics.
But if he thought releasing the two women from prison would silence them, he miscalculated badly. On Wednesday, they told The Times’s editorial board that their imprisonment, and the international support it rallied to their cause, had emboldened them. They plan to keep criticizing Mr. Putin — they were hilarious on Stephen Colbert’s show the night before — and working for prison and judicial reform. Their resolve and strength of character are inspiring.
There is a lot of work to do, beginning with the cases of eight people who are now on trial, charged with mass disorder at a protest at Bolotnaya Square in Moscow in 2012 on the eve of Mr. Putin’s third inauguration as president. Amnesty International, which sponsored the Pussy Riot visit to New York, where they appeared at a benefit concert on Wednesday, has called for dropping the charges of incitement to riot against the Bolotnaya demonstrators. The Pussy Riot activists dismissed the charges against those demonstrators as baseless and more evidence of “Putin’s way of getting revenge” on his critics.
A Russian prosecutor has demanded prison terms of five and six years for the eight protesters, with the verdict expected a few days before the Olympics end in late February. Ms. Alyokhina and Ms. Tolokonnikova have called for a boycott of the Olympics, or other protests, to pressure the government into freeing the defendants. The most important thing is that the world speak out now, while Mr. Putin is at the center of attention and presumably cares what it thinks.
More broadly, the Russian penal system is in desperate need of reform. The activists described conditions in which prisoners are cowed into “obedient slaves,” forced to work up to 20 hours a day, with food that is little better than refuse. Those who are considered troublemakers can be forced to stand outdoors for hours, regardless of the weather; prohibited from using the bathroom; or beaten.
Their observations are reinforced by the State Department’s 2012 human rights report, which said that limited access to health care, food shortages, abuse by guards and inmates, inadequate sanitation and overcrowding were common in Russian prisons, and that in some the conditions can be life threatening.
The Olympics cannot but put a spotlight on the host country, and despite all efforts to create a more pleasant image of his state, Mr. Putin is facing a growing protest. On Wednesday, more than 200 prominent international authors, including Günter Grass, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and Jonathan Franzen, published a letter denouncing the “chokehold” they said the new antigay and blasphemy laws place on freedom of expression.
Mr. Putin has unconstrained power to put anyone associated with Pussy Riot and thousands of other political activists in prison. But these women and those who share their commitment to freedom and justice are unlikely to be silenced, and they offer Russia a much better future.
MOSCOW — After President Vladimir V. Putin delivered Russia’s successful pitch to host the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi — in English and a smattering of French, no less — he declared it an international validation of the Russia that had emerged from the ruins of the Soviet Union.
“It is, beyond any doubt, a judgment on our country,” he said then, nearly seven years ago.
Now, as the first events begin, the Games have for Mr. Putin and his allies become a self-evident triumph of Russia’s will. The avalanche of criticism that has already fallen, from minor complaints about ill-prepared hotels and stray dogs to grave concerns about the costs, security and human rights, is being brushed away like snowflakes from a winter coat.
“Its realization is already a huge win for our country,” Dmitri N. Kozak, a deputy prime minister and one of Mr. Putin’s longest-standing aides, said in Sochi on Thursday. He went on to use a phrase attributed to Catherine the Great when she intervened to halt the court-martial of a general who had stormed an Ottoman fortress without orders in the 18th century: “Victors are not judged.”
Aleksei A. Navalny, a critic of Mr. Putin, said the money spent on the Sochi Games represented a missed opportunity.James Hill for The New York Times
The Games are a crowning moment for Mr. Putin, a chance to demonstrate anew his mastery of the global levers of power, but perhaps not for the country he governs. With Russia’s natural-resource dependent economy slowing as commodities prices fall, and with foreign investments drying up, the Kremlin has already signaled that it would have to cut spending. The $50 billion or so lavished on Sochi is becoming a political liability.
Lilia Shevtsova, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, argued that the International Olympic Committee awarded the games to Sochi — over Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea — when Mr. Putin was at the zenith of his powers in his second term but when the verdict on his legacy remained an open one. Many had been critical of his authoritarian instincts after he rose to power, including the tightening of news media and political freedoms and the war in Chechnya, but Russia had indisputably recovered from the chaos of the 1990s.
“At that time, Russia was ‘rising from its knees,’ ” Ms. Shevtsova wrote in an essay on the center’s website, “whereas now — in 2014 — Russia has started its downward slide.”
The stalling of the economy, despite the stimulus of Olympic spending, has raised worries about popular unrest directed at the Kremlin and a tightening of political freedoms in response once the Games are over.
Growth last year slowed to 1.3 percent, the lowest in a decade except for during the global recession in 2009, even as other major economies showed signs of recovery. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently called for urgent changes in labor policies, productivity and a government and legal bureaucracy that now stifle development — all long promised but not enacted.
“Structural reforms to improve the business climate are key to raising potential growth and economic resilience,” the organization wrote in its survey of Russia’s economy last month. “As energy prices stagnate and labor and capital become fully utilized, growth is falling behind pre-crisis rates. Making the economy stronger, more balanced, and less dependent on rents from national resource extraction is therefore a key challenge.”
The sheer cost of the Games has suddenly become a liability even in a political system that allows little room for public debate about the wisdom of government spending.
“It is about a lost chance,” said Aleksei A. Navalny, whose Foundation for the Fight Against Corruption recently published an interactive website charting what critics have called excessive waste and corruption in the construction of the Olympic facilities. “It is about what Russia could have done with this money. We could have had a new industrialization along the same lines as the industrialization under Stalin.
Instead, he added, “it’s just one crazy little czar who chose to throw money right and left in some kind of madness.”
Russia is not about to collapse. Nor does Mr. Putin’s rule face any foreseeable challenge, something even a determined critic like Mr. Navalny acknowledged. Mr. Putin’s approval rating, bolstered by lavishly positive coverage on state television, remains as high as when he first came to office.
Hosting the Olympics, however, seems to have lost some of the luster officials expected for Russia’s prestige at home and abroad, much to the frustration of Mr. Putin’s supporters.
The Olympics have refocused international attention on the hard-line policies Mr. Putin’s government has pursued since he returned to the presidency in 2012 after four years as prime minister, and prompted calls for protests and even boycotts.
Julia Kerschbaumsteiner, the Enargy spokesperson Greenpeace welcomed the fact that the European Parliament (the Equivalent of the US House of Representatives) is increasing the European Union suggestions for the post-2015 period with aims for 2030 which are higher then what the European Commission (the equivalent of the US Senate) was suggesting.
As per news from the Austrian OERF:
EU-Parlament fordert verbindliche Klimaziele bis 2030
Das EU-Parlament hat verbindlichere und ehrgeizigere Klimaziele als die von der EU-Kommission vorgeschlagenen verlangt. Die EU-Abgeordneten verabschiedeten heute in Straßburg eine nicht bindende Entschließung, die neben einer Senkung des CO2-Ausstoßes von 40 Prozent einen Anteil von erneuerbaren Energiequellen von 30 Prozent und eine Verbesserung der Energieeffizienz um 40 Prozent bis 2030 fordert.
Die Abgeordneten kritisierten die jüngsten Vorschläge der EU-Kommission als „kurzsichtig und unambitioniert“. Die EU-Kommission hatte den Ausbau der erneuerbaren Energiequellen auf 27 Prozent vorgeschlagen, dabei aber nur ein europäisches Ziel angestrebt. Die EU-Parlamentarier verlangen, dass diese Vorgabe mit Hilfe einzelner nationaler Ziele verwirklicht werden sollte. Dabei sollen die Situation und das Potenzial des jeweiligen EU-Staates berücksichtigt werden.
Die Umweltorganisation Greenpeace begrüßte, dass die „Minimalkompromisse“, die von der EU-Kommission in einem Vorschlag vorgelegt wurden, vom Parlament deutlich überboten wurden. „Die EU-Energiepolitik muss sich nun am Parlament orientieren“, forderte Julia Kerschbaumsteiner, Energiesprecherin von Greenpeace.
Assistant Professor in the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University
Fellow, Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem
In his book, The Jew, the Arab: A History of the Enemy (Stanford UP, 2003), Gil Anidjar examines the absence of the enemy together with the absence of a history of Europe’s relation to both Jew and Arab in the Western philosophical, political and religious canon. The book is an attempt to analyze, in historical and theoretical terms, why these two absences are not reflected upon, what prevents such reflection.
According to ORF – the Austrian Government official information network – the eU headquarters in Brussels are talking seriousli about a CLIMATE POLICY based on CO2 emissions reduction, the introduction of more renewable sources and rules for the Shale-Gas fracking technology.
The figures being proposed now are a binding -40% CO2 by 2030 (based on 1990) which is better then the previously proposed -20% by 2020 – but still far bellow what Germany is propsing. Similarlyfor the introduction of Renewable Sources of Energy where the figure is being moved to 27% but here it is much more flexible – that is not an all Union binding figure – but an open achievement goal to the Member States. Will Germany accept these new figures – this is still an open question – but at least we see here a move to reach an agreement.
Similarly, the introduction of Shale fracking gas is a given conclusion but it will have to happen within a recommended framework as the environmental problems with water quality are now on the common table.
Die EU-Kommission schlägt im Kampf gegen den Klimawandel eine Reduzierung des Kohlendioxidausstoßes in der Europäischen Union bis 2030 um 40 Prozent vor. Bisher waren es 20 Prozent für 2020. Zugleich soll der Anteil von erneuerbaren Energieträgern auf 27 Prozent steigen, wie die Brüsseler Behörde heute bekanntgab.
Während das CO2-Ziel rechtlich verbindlich sein soll, will die Kommission den Mitgliedsstaaten beim Anteil der erneuerbaren Energie mehr Flexibilität einräumen. Beide Klimaziele beziehen sich auf die Werte von 1990.
Die Vorschläge der Brüsseler Behörde dürften auf Widerstand im EU-Parlament und bei einigen EU-Staaten wie Deutschland stoßen, die sich für ambitioniertere Ziele starkgemacht hatten. Bis sich die EU-Institutionen auf ein gemeinsames Paket geeinigt haben, dürften angesichts des langwierigen EU-Gesetzgebungsverfahrens und der unterschiedlichen Positionen noch Jahre vergehen.
Mindeststandards beim Fracking
EU-Staaten, die mit der umstrittenen Fracking-Methode Schiefergas fördern wollen, sollen nach dem Willen der EU-Kommission Mindeststandards zum Schutz von Umwelt und Gesundheit einhalten. „Schiefergas weckt Hoffnungen in manchen Teilen von Europa, aber ist auch ein Grund für Sorgen in der Bevölkerung“, so EU-Umweltkommissar Janez Potocnik in Brüssel. Die EU-Staaten sollten daher Mindeststandards beim Fracking befolgen.
Demnach soll es etwa Folgeabschätzungen und Analysen für Auswirkungen und Risiken für die Umwelt geben. Die EU fordert außerdem, dass vor dem Beginn der Arbeiten die Qualität von Wasser, Luft und Böden getestet wird, um mögliche Verschlechterungen durch das Fracking feststellen zu können. Die Anrainer sollen zudem über die eingesetzten Chemikalien informiert werden.
Die Mitgliedsstaaten bekommen damit aus Brüssel keine rechtlich verbindlichen Vorgaben. Potocnik kündigt aber an, dass die EU-Kommission die Umsetzung überprüfen und in anderthalb Jahren eine Bilanz ziehen will.
Invitation to the debate of “The participation of Civil Society in peace negotiations is indispensable for sustainable peace” on the 20 January 2014.
On behalf of the Austrian Institute for International Affairs – oiip
I would like to invite you to the following Debate:
“The participation of Civil Society in peace negotiations
is indispensable for sustainable peace”
For the motion: Véronique Dudouet, Berghof Foundation, Berlin
Christian Wlaschütz,Independent consultant, Vienna
Against the motion: Jan Pospisil, oiip Stefan Khittel, oiip
Moderation: Otmar Höll, oiip In 2012 peace processes in Colombia and the Philippines were resumed after months of secret negotiations. How is it possible to involve Civil Society in such a process? And why should one do so?
What are the conceivable pitfalls of Civil Society participation and what does its exclusion entail?
Date: Monday, 20 January 2014, 15:00-18:00
Venue: Austrian Institute for International Affairs – oiip,
Berggasse 7, 1090 Vienna