Banning women from the ballot: discrimination or part of democracy?

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Breeches - choice horseback riding pants

Like every discipline of sports activity, horseback riding also calls for particular outfits. It doesn't suggest that without proper gear of the rider, the horse is not going to canter, nevertheless the tradition, level of comfort, aesthetics carry out a crucial role in every disciplines. Especially horse riding, namely a discipline from distant past, has built specific qualities throughout the years. Breeches are most certainly among them.

Equestrian breeches, ease and comfort, and custom
Equestrian breeches are unique horseback riding apparel. Due to the fact they don't include seams on the inner side of the leg, namely in the area in which the rider’s leg meets the seat, they give comfort and ease and flexibility of actions. This kind of strategy for sewing shields the skin from chafing, allows the rider to properly seat the horse and ride for a long time not having unfavorable outcomes. Breeches may be firmer or puffed throughout the thighs and legs, like cavalry breeches.

At the moment, the most popular are firmer types of breeches, even so, there is still a considerable group of folks preferring the cavalry product, for example saloons or jodhpurs, having straight or slightly extending legs. The last type became common in the Nineteenth century Britain owing to Jodhpur maharajah taking part in polo in such gear.

What makes breeches exclusive?

Breeches are seen as high waist and grip - short or long. A grip is an additional support which has a layer of suede, leather or silicon that goes to the knees or down the entire leg. This ensures much better adhesiveness in the seat, on the other hand, the model of the breeches is dependent on the rider’s preferences.

Full grip breeches possess this extra strengthening on the inside of the trousers on the entire length of the spot that the rider’s body suits the seat - on the buttocks to thighs and legs. This specific style is particularly used by dressage riders, who prefer to ride at a trot or canter. Due to restricted slippage and fine adhesiveness, they make it better to remain in the seat.

Knee grip breeches have the strengthening on the inner part of the knees. This type is specially used by jumping riders because it guarantees versatility of movements even at the cost of a minimal hold. It performs at a trot and canter in half-seat.

Components for breeches
In order for breeches to become as sturdy as it can be, they must be crafted from high quality materials. Fabric is decided on for a given time of year, that makes it appropriately breathable, isolating, quick-dry, and simple to clear. The fabric must be slightly elastic and keep its composition even with a number of laundries.

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Does Egypt national soccer team dops during African soccer Competitions ???

Egypt Football doping ????

I might be doing something biasing, but it seems to me like there is something the Egyptian national soccer team is hiding from us.
How would you explain the fact that the Egyptian team never wins or qualify for competitions organized by the FIFA, but dominates all competitions organized by the CAF (African Football Federation)? This has been going on for years, they are on the eve of winning their 7th ACN (African Cup of Nations), and 3rd in the row against the same teams they can’t win during world cup qualifiers; something is really wrong.
Lately, a local African newspaper had an article implying that some football experts in Algeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, and other countries conducted a research in order to clarify this issue; they all came to the conclusion that Egypt national soccer team is doping during the ACN competitions. This team refuses any doping controls during the ACN (doping controls done by the CAF are not compulsory). Some Egyptian players refused to participate in the current CAN because they were scared to ruin their carriers when returning to their European clubs (drugs tests are compulsory in Europe).
It’s very strange CAF doesn’t force teams to do drugs tests before, during and after the competition. I guest, one way to know the truth is to test at least 3 to 4 Egyptian players after the final of the African nation cup, the tests should be done by the FIFA, not by CAF, and the tests samples shouldn’t go through Egypt, where the CAF headquarters is located, but directly to FIFA headquarters in Europe.

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Te Gek

Een gek?

Hoe vaak kan een land zijn onschuld verliezen? In de commentaren na de bloedige daad van Karst T. , die met zijn zelfmoordactie heeft geprobeerd Nederland voorgoed te ontwrichten, klonk de ontgoocheling door over het verlies van een illusie, de plotselinge teloorgang van onbevangenheid. Koninginnedag was immers de dag waarop we „samen feestvieren”, een dag van „harmonie en saamhorigheid”?
Er werd een beeld geschetst van een wreed verstoorde idylle; heel het land was onbezorgd één geweest, en toen was daar die gek in zijn Suzuki Swift. Niemand refereerde meer aan de angst die in de uren voor de persconferentie bijna tastbaar was geweest: stel dat de dader een moslim is? De conclusie van de expert die aanschoof bij het NOS Journaal liet niets aan duidelijkheid te wensen over: wanneer het zou gaan om een door een bepaalde groep georganiseerde actie, dan was „het hek van de dam”. Wat hij daarmee bedoelde, legde hij niet uit – we kunnen er ons iets bij voorstellen. Er zou in Nederland niet gereageerd zijn zoals de Engelsen reageerden op de aanslagen in Londen in 2004. Het land zou redeloos en reddeloos zijn geweest.
Die angst spreekt boekdelen – net als de opluchting waarmee vervolgens werd geconcludeerd dat het om een gek ging, een ‘loner’ die geïsoleerd zijn actie had voorbereid. „Tegen een loner kun je je nooit 100 procent wapenen”, verklaarde Uri Rosenthal, voorzitter van het Instituut voor Veiligheids- en Crisismanagement tegen de Volkskrant. Wanneer iemand het plotseling in zijn hoofd krijgt om op Koninginnedag in te rijden op de koninklijke bus en niet maalt over hoeveel slachtoffers hij daarbij maakt, dan kun je dat heel moeilijk voorkomen.
Er werd gedaan of het om een natuurverschijnsel ging – je hebt natuurlijk altijd gekken, etcetera. Niemand die de vraag stelde: als je altijd gekken hebt, waarom gebeurde het afgelopen donderdag dan voor het eerst in de Nederlandse geschiedenis? Waarom raakt een Nederlandse gek vandaag de dag in de ban van het idee om zijn verlossing te zoeken in een aanslag op het koningshuis, met alleen een Suzuki Swift als wapen? Er werd verwezen naar een eerdere zaak, die van de gestoorde vrouw die een aantal jaren geleden in Den Haag Jozias van Aartsen probeerde te scheppen. Dat liep toen met een sisser af, maar ook toen had de vraag gesteld moeten worden: waarom wil een gestoorde een aanslag op een bekende figuur plegen? Vroeger dachten gekken dat ze Napoleon waren, nu willen ze in het nieuws komen met een spectaculaire aanslag.
Het is nog te vroeg om iets zinnigs over de motieven van Karst T. te zeggen, maar het lijkt me onzinnig om hem als een geval apart te beschouwen. De schaarse informatie die over hem bekend is, plaatst hem stevig in het gezelschap van Volkert van der G. en Mohammed B. Alle drie waren eenlingen, bij alle drie verraadt de aard van hun daad een kwaadaardig narcisme, waarbij persoonlijke frustraties verhaald worden op zeer zichtbare, opvallende persoonlijkheden. Natuurlijk hebben ze ook een verhaal. In het geval van Mohammed B. was er zelfs een hapklare ideologie, waaraan hij zich tot aan de uitspraak in zijn proces krampachtig vasthield. Maar vrienden van Theo van Gogh concludeerden tijdens dat proces dat het niet om een gestaalde jihadstrijder ging, maar om een ‘loser’. In geen enkel ander Europees land heeft zich een dergelijke moord voorgedaan.
Juist omdat er zo weinig bekend is over Karst T., is het patroon duidelijk zichtbaar: de eenling die het gevoel heeft te worden gekleineerd of zelfs weggevaagd en die door zelfvernietiging eeuwige roem zoekt. In een eerste profielschets van deze eenmansterrorist in de Volkskrant staat een heel voorzichtige verwijzing naar vermeende extreemrechtse overtuigingen: „Volgens een andere bewoner ging T. af en toe alternatief gekleed. Hij droeg dan opgerolde broekspijpen met hoge zwarte schoenen (…) Het korte haar had hij aan de zijkanten geheel afgeschoren. Soms droeg hij een kuifje.”
Karst T. kan in zijn vrije tijd een rechtse skinhead zijn geweest, maar net zo goed een stoere, alternatieve homo. Of allebei. Het is een kwestie van tijd voordat het allemaal bekend wordt.  En zodra het bekend wordt, zal het vingerwijzen beginnen. Als de profielschets klopt, dan zullen er mensen zijn die blij zijn eens terug te kunnen wijzen: de auto kwam van rechts! Maar dat zal dan alleen nog maar sterker aantonen hoe fel de polarisatie is, hoezeer ons land sociaal en politiek uit zijn voegen hangt, hoe groot de rancune is, hoe fel de verbetenheid.  Want drie opzichtige aanslagen in zeven jaar, die met elkaar lijken te wedijveren in hoogmoed en kilheid, zeggen wel degelijk iets over een samenleving. Karst T. mag een gestoorde of een ontspoorde zijn, zijn krankzinnige daad komt niet uit de lucht vallen.  In geen enkel ander Europees land lijkt de relatie tussen individu en gemeenschap zo verstoord. In geen enkel ander Europees land wordt persoonlijke frustratie zo vanzelfsprekend op de samenleving afgereageerd. Zeven jaar na de moord op Pim Fortuyn is Nederland wanhopig instabiel.

Bas Heijns

The Integration problems in Western Europe

Almost all European countries have tremendous problems with integrating their citizens from exotic origins.

How can we, with all the knowledge we possess, all the wise strategic ways we use to solve the most difficult enigma‘s of our time not have a suitable solution to resolve this very little problem?

While reflecting on this problem myself, I came up with three fundamental problems most western countries have, and some of the greatest mistakes these countries make, leading them to some unsolved bottlenecks we now face.

 

o   We tend to want to ignore constitutional laws when dealing with aliens in western countries, we tend to want to understand their cultures (even when the alien is born here in the west), we do our best to tell them; “look, we understand quite well that your mischief’s are tolerated there where you originally came from, we get that!” we do our best to understand their resiliencies to integrate.

 -Take for example a city like Utrecht where I live; here we create a municipality locket in mosques to make it easy for aliens to come to report their eventual problems or consult.

-In Amsterdam, there are theaters that reserved some sits only for Muslim women, because their religion forbids them to sit near men in general.

-In hospitals almost all over the Netherlands and else where, immigrant men refuse male physicians to treat their spouses even for injuries on their hands or toes, something I find very striking.

We tend to want to understand all these flaws and let go.

 

o   My second point of concern is; when governments try to take into consideration the origins of aliens, authorities in fact are talking about the origins of Moroccans, Algerian and/or Turks. I have in principle nothing against people originating from the above-cited countries, but in countries with a variety of minorities like those in Western Europe, it seems to me that there is a problem of ignorance here.

Some say the reason this is done is because these immigrants are the biggest minorities in those countries!!! So when you make the law taking into account some factors of the Moroccan society for example, I, who originate from Cameroon, would have to live with that!! I would even have to be happy with it, because we are talking here about advantages of the multicultural society. So, what happens in 2050 when some other minority communities grow to one million or more citizens? Will these countries make new laws to adapt to the new situation, and if so, where is the limit?

 

o   The third point is the fact that by treating aliens differently, you risk alienating the own western youth by making the society think that they don’t have those kinds of problems. Take a problem like home and civil education of kids; every debate we have had in the Netherlands about bad educated children has been about the ways aliens educate their kids, which in fact is a big problem in immigrant communities we have to acknowledge, and so doing, we try to find suitable solutions to solve them. The question we also ought to be asking though is; do autochthonous children have educational problems as well? Do some autochthonous parents have difficulties finding to right ways to educate their kids? How big is this group of bad educated kids? The answer is; absolutely, the group is big enough to worry about.

 

I am not naïve; I fully understand how complex these integration problems are. I am an alien myself, I left my country at the age of 20, came to live here fully aware of the realities. We all leave our countries for some reason(s), we either don’t like our living conditions, we flee, we want to improve our economical situation and many other reasons not mentioned. One way or another, we go to somewhere we believe it’s better. I live here in the Netherlands for quite a while now. Nobody can separate me from my Cameroonian culture, in fact I feel completely free to take part in any types of cultural activity I wish and which are within the laws we are all abiding by. But to be fully functional in this society I believe it’s wrong to impose my cultural convictions to the society.

My experience is that when you are fully integrated to a society with other cultural believes; this society in return begins to show some interest in your own cultural convictions; when you resist, it resists you as well.

The authorities in Europe just have to tell the aliens; these are our laws, period! There is no problem practicing our cultural convictions at home or with other aliens who share the same convictions like we do, but I find it a little bit pretentious to impose it to the society we want to belong to.

Governments who create room for these types of practices only enlarge the integration problems, because the less we are integrated, the less our chances to be part of the society, the less our jobs chances are in the society, the less our socio-economical situation gets and the more we ruin and damage our own lives. Don’t forget what the Yiddish proverb says: "Show a dog a finger, and he wants the whole hand."

Ed'son ---

Ontwikkelingshulp van deze tijden

Wij christenen hebben de opdracht van God gekregen om onze naaste te helpen, ongeacht zijn afkomst en hoe hij eruit ziet.  In hoeverre volgen wij de voorbeelden die in de bijbel zijn genoemd? Toen onze here Jezus mensen hielp, koos hij voor effectieve methoden die ook tastbare resultaten hadden. Is het niet goed als we dit heilige boek als gids gebruiken in spannende momenten zoals we die nu kennen?

Al jaren helpen goedwillige mensen uit westerse landen, ´arme´ mensen in ontwikkeling landen. Soms helpt dat voor de korte termijn en soms ook niet.
Landen, organisaties en kerken pompen gebruikte en nieuwe spullen in arme landen in de vorm van ontwikkelingshulp. Na al die jaren is volgens mij de tijd gekomen om een soort evaluatie te houden met de ´helpers´. En de vraag die we ons moeten stellen is: “Heeft het effect gehad? En is dit effect positief of negatief geweest?”

Ik zou zonder twijfel een simpel en direct antwoord op deze vragen kunnen geven: het heeft níet gewerkt; het effect hiervan is alleen maar negatief geweest. Een bewijs daarvan is dat de ´geholpen´ mensen vandaag de dag nog steeds hulp nodig hebben. Voedselpakketten, oude computers, geld en oude kleren sturen naar ontwikkelingslanden of mensen die zich daar bevinden lijkt allemaal prima, maar wat is het lange termijn effect daarvan? Zou het niet fijn zijn als de mensen in dergelijke landen zelf hun kleren leren maken, en zelf onafhankelijk leren worden?

Ik zal een voorbeeld nemen hier dichtbij huis om mijn punt te maken. Er zijn hier kerken die een aantal hele goede mensen hebben die de vluchtelingen in hun hart dragen en daardoor bereid zijn alles te doen om die mensen te helpen.  Soms worden kinderen of volwassen jongeren uit gebroken gezinnen weggehaald, of jongens en meisjes uit AZC’s of uit de illegaliteit en nemen ze hen in huis. Voor de duidelijkheid: ik ben ervan overtuigd dat de mensen dit met hun beste bedoelingen doen en echt willen helpen.

Waar ik een probleem zie is de situatie waarin een kind van haar /zijn ouders weggehaald wordt omdat de ouders niet verantwoordelijk genoeg zijn, of de middelen niet hebben (sommige van die gezinnen hebben al een verblijfsvergunning). Help je een gezin door een kind van zijn of haar ouders weg te halen? Dat doe je niet, want je helpt alleen een dergelijk kind en zijn ouders afhankelijk te zijn en te blijven voor een onbepaald tijd.

Mijn oplossing is: als je écht een gebroken gezin wilt helpen, vorm een groep van vrouwen en mannen vanuit je kerk, neem de óuder(s) van die gebroken gezinnen aan de hand, ondersteun hem of haar en help ze hun eigen gezinnen te runnen, want ieder kind heeft zijn, indien daar sprake van is, eigen ouder(s), zijn eigen gezin nodig. Leer de ouders verantwoordelijkheid, onafhankelijkheid en structuur aan te brengen in het opvoeden van hun eigen gezinnen. Zo help je, door één iemand te steunen, meerdere.

Ik maak me echt zorgen over deze ontwikkeling en geloof dat de kerken met hun goede bedoelingen ook moeten denken aan de gevolgen van hun acties en misschien moeten ze zelf het initiatief nemen door te laten zien hoe het anders en effectiever kan. Anders zul je deze zelfde ouders én kinderen na tien jaren alsnog onder je hoede moeten nemen.

De beste manier om deze mensen te helpen is om ze anders te beschouwen; beschouw ze niet als ‘zielig’ of ‘asielzoeker’, beschouw ze als gewone mensen die je wilt helpen op zo´n manier dat ze onafhankelijk leren te zijn.

Weet je nog het oude spreekwoord “als iemand jou om een vis vraagt, leer hem vissen”?

Ed'son---

The dilemma with “Free Time”

It occurs to us all sometimes that we work so hard that we only wish one thing; spend the rest of our time doing nothing.
A couple of months ago I was searching for a company in which I would carry out my thesis research. At first I had multiple opportunities, many companies required my services, I was very proud and flattered, didn't see why I should hurry; I saw myself as one of the privilege. One element I did not consider was the worsening of economical landscape. Companies began tightening their belts, and job opportunities became rare. I am now at home day-in - day-out, hopping for some opportunities to come my way again.
Free time just like anything else, becomes too much when you get a lot of it. I feel idle, I everyday do my best to feel this vault the best I can. I call companies, email people and merge myself with the Internet hoping to get a glance of the end of the tunnel. One aspect I can't get out of my sight is that one day, the light will shine.

Ed'son---

A day at a company

 

Today, I had an appointment for a thesis graduation project position at this Company in Utrecht. I came ten minutes late to the Appointment, something even I find strange for someone aiming for a future job position, but believe me or not, these things always happen to me. Mostly I do my best to be at least on time for these types of appointments, but it always goes wrong.

I finally got there anywhere, we got a nice discussion with both employees of this company who were in charge of conducting the consultation, among the things they had a problem with are the fact that I came late, which I explained why, and the fact that I wasn't wearing a jacket and tie, which I explained by telling them that the cloths I was wearing were the best I had in my closet at this moment, I promised them however that as soon as I got a paying job, I would appear daily dressed in a corporate manner.

All in all, it was a nice experience talking to and with them. They gave me an opportunity to do an assessment the following days, and then will follow another discussion session with the person responsible for the thesis research project, then finally if everything goes well, a final appointment with a psychologist of the company.

As you can see, it's a tough route to march on, but I have nothing to lose, I will be giving my best to get this chance.

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An issue that has been the subject of some heated discussion in the Netherlands over recent weeks is how to, or whether to, engage in public debate with the far right political parties like the Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders and Pride of the Netherland (TON) of Rita Verdonk. For those who may...

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Invasion of privacy or safe travel?

In the heat of such a discussion, it is always good to remember the fundamental rights citizens have. The failed attack on a passenger flight over Detroit has aroused debate on the use of body scans at airports. The suspected bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, passed through airport...

Should Balkenende step down over Iraq?

The Balkenende government seems to have narrowly averted a full-blown crisis by admitting that “in hindsight” it could have done better in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The admission did not come easily, following a day of tense deliberations between government parties. The special...

Debating with the extreme right parties in the Europe & the Netherlands

An issue that has been the subject of some heated discussion in the Netherlands over recent weeks is how to, or whether to, engage in public debate with the far right political parties like the Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders and Pride of the Netherland (TON) of Rita Verdonk. For those who may...

Will development aid really change because of Moyo risin'?

Dambisa Moyo during Wednesday's debate in Amsterdam.  Photo WFA Published: 9 October 2009 16:57 | Changed: 9 October 2009 20:07 Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo, who advocates scrapping aid to Africa, creates a sensation wherever she goes. Her critics say...

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En dus verwijten Nederlanders elkaar geen rekening te houden met anderen Wat een grap!!! Door Paul Schnabel Zelfs tijdens een recessie maken Nederlanders zich vooral druk om het asociale gedrag van anderen. Zelfkritiek is er niet. Daar zijn we veel te bijzonder voor. .article_related_box...

Corruption Is Why We Win

Philip Kisob Philip Kisob Managing Director at Hudson Partners Inc. retrieved from LinkedIn |Cameroon Network Group I have been guilty recently of getting all indignant about corruption and how it’s at the root of all evil. This I believe is why Africa is suffering from under-development and...

FLUSHING PAUL BIYA’S SHIT

09.13.2005 I have always wondered what a man like Paul Biya, France’s Cameroun puppet, who enjoys spending so much of his time in Switzerland and other parts of Europe thinks about after he takes a shit and flushes, confidently knowing that his shit will actually go down. I wonder what he thinks...

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by Ed'son de Pary During a political debate in the Netherlands, right-wing politicians couldn’t help it pointing at foreigners as origin of all the flaws’ in this country. Political leaders like Marc Rutte (VVD), Geert Wilders (PVV) or Rita Verdonk (TON) said foreigners who do not want to...

Komt een negerin bij de dokter

Vrijdag 15 mei 2009 door Stine Jensen Parkeergarage in de Bijlmermeer Foto Rob Huibers In literair opzicht stelt 'Alleen maar nette mensen' weinig voor en is de bekroning ervan met de Gouden Uil een belediging voor  literatuurliefhebbers, vindt Stine Jensen. Robert Vuijsje is ineens...
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Quotes of the Day

Was Bakassi Sold or Just a Gift to Cameroun?

Was Bakassi Sold or Just a Gift to Cameroun?

I am neither from Cross-River nor Akwa-Ibom states but as a Nigerian which I am shall always remain eternally grateful to Olusegun Obasanjo and Bola Ajibola, a duo of two Yoruba who as an act magnanimity either sold or presented our own Bakassi peninsular as a gift to Cameroun. As I write this piece, I express my bitterness on this very matter because in history no elder statesman for any reason will display such an unpatriotic willingness to part with the territory of his or her country. This team, which also comprised of Chief Richard Akinjide has since seen the man (Richard Akinjide) regretting the action of Obasanjo pointing it out as one of the wrongs done by this man (Obasanjo) to his nation.



Suffice it then that the people of Bakassi were either not considered important to Nigeria as a nation or there were just certain things known to Obasanjo and Ajibola outside the knowledge of Nigerians, all of these things are still shrouded in mystery. Surely our leaders are incapable of protecting us.



The focus of this article is that very aspect of the foreign policy of Obasanjo pertaining to Bakassi peninsular. Bakassi can be likened to Obasanjo as June 12 is to Babangida. June 12 however became more prominent because the Bakassi are minorities with almost nobody to advocate or fight their cause in the political entity called Nigeria. It remains the biggest injustice Obasanjo perpetuated on Nigeria. Obasanjo swore to the oath of allegiance to protect the territory of Federal Republic of Nigeria thereby upholding the constitution of the country but he would readily and weakly fail in this. Obasanjo and Bola Ajibola provided the platform under which the territory of our nation was given out to France and Cameroun, an act only as good as condemnably obnoxious because it led to the denial of Nigerian citizens. The whole drama was set out to please Britain, France and Cameroun by Obasanjo and Ajibola for the reasons not yet disclosed to Nigerians.




HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The nature of the claims by both Nigeria and Cameroun is what is known international relations as irredentism being “an act of advocating or agitating for the reunion to one’s country territory (ies) which is (are) naturally or culturally relocated to it, and which has (ve) been lost to a foreign country. The Bakassi peninsular is an area of some 1000km mangrove swamp and half submerged islands known as the Bight of Bonny (previously known as Bight of Biafra). The Bakassi is located in Cross-River state of Nigeria and its indigenes are Efiks who are by occupation fishermen.



It is important to understand here that the colonial powers are to blame for this crisis because of the injustices they visited on Africans of which Bakassi is not an exception. It is also unnecessary to point out here that colonial powers sat down in Berlin and arbitrarily demarcated drew maps of Africa in 1884 and 1885 leaving African countries with no rhymes in ethnic character and complete meaningless boundaries. This situation has therefore led to wars on some occasions and international legal disputes, which almost remain impossible to solve.



The Nigeria-Cameroun dispute can be traced to the so called July 23 and September 10 1884 treaty which Queen Victoria of Great Britain entered with the king and chiefs of old Calabar province with King Honesty vii and Edward Hyde Hewett representing Bakassi and Britain respectively. Other kings and chiefs in the region also signed acknowledging the protection of their territories from external aggression by Britain. Expectedly, the British were granted the rights of trade over the administration of justice and taxation.



1885 ANGLO-GERMAN TREATY

In 1885, Britain entered in another treaty in which she ceded all the regions she had earlier recognized as the jurisdiction of Obong (King of Calabar) to Germany, an act that greatly contravened the earlier 1884 treaty. This resulted in controversy as the chiefs of the territories totally rejected and committed themselves to the new treaty still binding on them.




JULY-AUGUST 1886 TREATY

This particular treaty between Britain and Germany sought to rectify the anomalies created by the imprecise demarcations of the boundary. This failed to make the achievement of much that was expected and much of problem having to do with these were carried over.




1906 TREATY

Again in 1906, both Britain and Germany agreed to make certain boundary adjustments when it was discovered that certain anomalies still existed, mutual agreement or understanding were to be utilized if the need arose.




THE MARCH AND APRIL 12, 1913 ANGLO-GERMAN TREATY

This agreement turned out to be the last of the agreements between Britain and Germany yet the most contentious because the Bakassi indigenes protested against this. Britain and Germany had redefined maritime boundary in such a way that Akpayafe River and the entire Bakassi peninsular had been placed under the German authority. Bakassi indigenes again sent representatives to London office in which the traditional rulers of Calabar argued that Britain could not have given out Bakassi because Britain did not own it. Britain did not own Bakassi by conquest but by free and peaceful protection treaty. The British in their imperial and arrogant reasoning rejected and ignored this. This treaty was never ratified neither did Germany take control of the province until the outbreak of the World War II in 1914. As a matter of fact, the treaty was never completed.



International Relations observes have pointed out that the lack of ratification of the Anglo-German treaty fuelled the Bakassi peninsular crisis which enabled both Nigeria and Cameroun to continually lay claims to the ownership of the peninsular, this also made possible the various declarations made by both countries.




DECLARATIONS BY BOTH COUNTRIES

THE NGOH/COKER DECLARATION OF 1971

In 1971, experts from Nigeria and Cameroun reportedly marked the maritime boundary between Nigeria and Cameroun, these two countries met in Lagos Nigeria but in its infamy denied Nigeria the legitimate right of ownership and control of Calabar River channel and transferred it to Cameroun. This was later rejected by Nigeria because Calabar channel had remained under the territorial and sovereignty of Nigeria from time to time immemorial. The Nigerian government on quickly realizing that this was suicidal to the territorial integrity of the country took series of steps to reverse the declaration. Cameroun backed by France would stick to its gun leaving no stone unturned.




THE MAROUR DECLARATION OF 1975

Exactly four years after the Ngoh/Coker Declaration of 1971, Nigeria and Cameroun entered into another round of negotiation aimed at resolving the palaver, by this time Nigeria had hoped to correct the adverse effects of the 1971 declaration, which she was suffering. Gen. Gowon the then Head of state failed to internationally score a point against Ahmadou Ahidjo of Cameroun who had the full backing of France. Before Gowon who personally represented Nigeria would meet with Ahidjo, Ahidjo had obliterated the identity of Nigerian settlements while replacing them with Camerounian indigenous names, a situation that killed Nigeria’s claims to the peninsular and diplomatically put Cameroun ahead of Nigeria.



Gen Murtala Mohammed who emerged as the president in 1975 rejected the agreement entered by Gowon, thus the Nigerian government blatantly refused to ratify Marour Declaration, declaring that the agreement was flawed and prone to shortcomings. In 1977 Obasanjo repeated the action of Murtala stating that all the accords regarding the Bakassi peninsular were biased and lacked the way forward for the determination of the true ownership of the territory.




SPORADIC CONFLICTS

Cameroun resorted to the employment of violence in seeking to affirm its claim of ownership of the region as advised by France; this was however aimed at attracting the sympathy of the international community. This caused Nigeria to lose a lot of lives and properties in this territory.



(i) The first of these cases was in 1981 when the world woke up to hear of the killings of six Nigerian soldiers by Camerounian gendarmes in the Bakassi peninsular

(ii) February 6, 1996, the most violent of such hostilities took place. An account has it that fighting broke out when some Camerounian gendarmes stationed at Atabong east portion of the peninsular seized the catch of a Nigerian fisherman off the coast and ordered hi to return to Ibaka in Akwa-Ibom state of Nigeria. A Nigerian Army officer who witnessed the act regarded it as an affront and beckoned on the fisherman to return to Atabong west for debriefing. The gendarmes then opened fire on both the Nigerian soldier and the fisherman wounding the Army officer seriously. The gendarmes who were in patrol boat returned to base within minutes opened fire again on Nigerian positions.

(iii) In May 1996, 13 Nigeria soldiers who ran into the ambush of Camerounian gendarmes along the creeks of Bekoro and Gidigo escaped death while some of them were seriously wounded. Still the Nigerian military did not take an action either for fear of possible intervention of France or “Big Brother” role.

(iv) Again in May 1997, the Nigerians who lived on the northern side of the Bakassi peninsular reported how Camerounian gendarmes who also took over their villages afflicted and tortured them.

(v) July 1997, Camerounian gendarmes captured some 300 Nigerians living in the territory and detained them in their underground prisons in Manaje under inhuman conditions. Still the Nigerian Military led by Obasanjo was not spurred to action to defend its citizens or what at best was their own.

(vi) In 2007, reports had it that some armed men in the peninsular driven in gunboat opened fire killing six Camerounian soldiers. While the Camerounian government insistently claimed that Nigerian soldiers were responsible for the killing, the Nigerian government would deny this shifting the blame to the Niger-Delta militants who also denied the allegation. Cameroun in their typical manner, the following day opened fire on Nigerian soldiers killing an undisclosed number of them. He Nigerian Military took it with strange silence



It is pertinent to add here that while Cameroun troubled Nigeria in the Bakassi region, Nigeria did not consider it appropriate to take any action or at least a drastic measure aimed at addressing the sad situation whether militarily or otherwise outside the failing treaties she continued to enter into. Any nation which values the lives of her citizens would have asked and gotten solution quite earlier. We trust that nations like USA, Britain, Russia, France, Iraq, China, Argentina, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Pakistan, India, Libya, Pakistan, Israel, Egypt, Morocco etc would have chosen the battlefield rather than losing part of their territory as did Nigeria.



Between July 2 and March 11, 1998 hearing of the dispute at the International Court of Justice commenced and in October 202, the ICJ gave its infamous ruling in favour of Cameroun. He ICJ in its ruling erroneously maintained that colonial imperialism took precedence over the inalienable rights of ownership of land by Nigerian inhabitants, the court further ruled that all lands and territories comprising of Nigeria are specified in the constitution of Federal Republic Nigeria. ICJ did not bother to conduct plebiscite in Bakassi to determine the opinion of the people.



According to Chief Richard Akinjide Nigeria lost to Cameroun because:



“France was against Nigeria, and at that time, the president of ICJ was a French. Also, Britain was against Nigeria because Britain knew that if Nigeria won, the illegal transfer of Bakassi in 1913 through the Anglo-German treaty would expose Britain for breach of trust. Therefore, you have two powerful members of the ICJ opposing Nigeria. All the laws and the facts (both in international and municipal laws) were in favour of Nigeria, and we canvassed that. We have some of the best brains in international and municipal laws, and they were assembled at the ICJ for the case. But they still ruled against us” (Haste to Hand Over Bakassi was not only a Blunder but also Indecent Nigerian Tribune, Sunday 25, November 2007)



Consider my candid personal opinion that Nigeria (Obasanjo and Ajibola) erred by accepting to appear before the ICJ as the same Nigerian government erroneously, misguidedly and naively believed that the ICJ will be impartial just because we do not learn from history in this country. The ICJ is owned by UNO, UNO by USA, Britain, France, Germany and the ICJ is the instrument of power as well as political and economic conquest of poor countries of Africa and Asia.



The United States was dragged before the ICJ by Nicaragua twenty-six years ago. Nicaragua won the case against USA but the judgment has not been implemented till today by the USA. In the maritime problem between Norway and the United Kingdom, which was referred to the ICJ, the judgment remains unimplemented till this day. In another case between France and the United Kingdom, the judgment, till now have never been implemented. So, why did Obasanjo resort to indecent haste in implementing the Bakassi judgment? Only time will tell us.



USA declared war and used Atomic bomb on Japan because Pearl Harbor, its supposed possession was invaded by Japan. Britain went to war in 1982 with Argentina over the ownership of Falkland Island in an undeclared war. Israel continues to enjoy the possession of Palestinian territories backed by the USA shunning every of the resolutions the UN has issued against her. Ethiopia, Eritrea, India, Pakistan, Morocco, Spain are some of the countries with similar problems. Yet these countries exist today. France advised Cameroun to report to the ICJ because the president of that court was a French citizen and Nigeria (led by Obasanjo) in her typical manner failed to make a quick and firm diplomatic calculation. Any leader seeking for genuine judgment would having learnt of the citizenship of the president of the court would have protested against this and appeal for the leadership of the court by another national. Ordinarily, the people of the Nigeria Delta in Nigeria understood and used it against Ibrahim Gambari and it worked out.



Cameroun was also able to achieve this result with the deployment of warships by France to the region in February 1994. Cameroun and France were obviously ready to employ force if the need had arisen while Nigeria was all out to give out Abuja if only peace could be maintained. We all know that in this country our leaders lack the faintest idea of what the ordinary citizens are facing in this country, it was therefore very convenient for Obasanjo and Ajibola to majestically sit in their palaces and make policies detrimental to the ordinary citizens of this nation. Ajibola would just not choose to remain quiet and let the National Assembly clear the mess himself and Obasanjo his mentor caused us instead he would occasionally visit the press and warn the National Assembly on the dangers of not ratifying the cessation of the territory to Cameroun just to quickly cover up the mess. History will surely remember them both.



The ICJ has ridiculously ruled that the territory of Bakassi belongs to Cameroun but the indigenes Nigerians because the court realized that while the citizens were of paramount importance to Nigeria, Cameroun and France were only interested in the oil believed to abound in the region.



We thank our National Assembly for standing firmly on the side of the Nigerian masses to refusing to ratify the cessation of the territory to France and Cameroun. Our African leaders have always been ready, hasty and desperate to please the western world because of their personal gains and this must surely meet ultimate resistance. Bravo to our National Assembly





Emeka Esogbue hails from Ibusa, Delta State, Nigeria. He is is a History and International Relations graduate with lots of tremendous published and unpublished works. In this work, he has faults the judgment of the ICJ on Bakassi peninsular describing it as biased and tilted against the favour of Nigeria, aided by USA, France, Britain.


emekaesogbue@yahoo.com

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How to deal with sexual abuse by clergy

They should be convicted

Sexual abuse of young children is a crime. But few Catholic priests who committed it will be standing trial anytime soon.

Most of the recently revealed abuse scandals took place decades ago. In many Western countries, including the Netherlands, they have exceeded the statute of limitations for such crimes.

To prevent this from happening in the future, the Dutch minister of justice has argued the statute should be suspended for sexual abuse, meaning perpetrators could be prosecuted indefinitely. As is already the case for crimes that carry a possible life sentence, such as murder. However, since the constitution does not allow for retroactive changing of the law, this proposed legislative shift would only apply to future cases.

The question remains how to deal with the clerics now accused of abuse. A prominent Labour politician, and Catholic, has suggested the institution of a “truth commission” charged with looking into scandals in the Netherlands. The Catholic Church has already set up a committee to hold a “completely independent” investigation.

What do you think is the best way forward? Should the public prosecution still find a way to go after the priests or should other measures be taken inside or outside the Church? Will suspending the statute of limitation for future crimes of the same nature make a difference?

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Who should pay for unhealthy lifestyles?

Who should pay for unhealthy lifestyles?

Thursday 17 December 2009 by NRC Handelsblad
Who should pay for unhealthy lifestyles?

Americans know it as the Pottery Barn Rule: you break it, you own it. But when it comes to health insurance, everybody foots the bill for those who are the least careful with their bodies, in the Netherlands anyway.

A question recently raised by the chairman of the Dutch association of medical insurers, whether people who smoke, drink and overeat until they are ill are entitled to the benefits of collective heath insurance has led to strong debate.

One of the arguments for a ‘Pottery Barn’ system is people may be more motivated to improve their lifestyle if it costs them, financially.
But medical specialist, physicial Frank Visseren amongst them, have now come out against penalising people for unhealthy lifestyles. His argument? It just doesn’t work. According to Visseren, people are far more motivated to quit smoking, moderate their drinking or diet and exercise when they feel they can draw on support from medical staff and friends – rather than be punished for failing to meet standards they might feel are out of reach.

What do you think? Are you sick of paying for the medical treatment of people who have only themselves to blame for their condition? Or do you think we should all share in the burden of people suffering, even if they have brought it upon themselves?

Re: Who should pay for unhealthy lifestyles?

I certainly believe that every individual should be directly responsible for their lifestyles. If you live healthy, you shouldn't be responsible for the hospital-bills of people who think that everything is possible, someone has to pay the bills.
I believe in a country which has a strong social structure and culture, but it has to be sustainable, otherwise, we would only be passing the bills to our kids and theirs. So individuals with unhealthy lifestyle should bear the costs themselves period.

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Father’s day | Mother’s Flaws

Father’s day | Mother’s Flaws

The first thing we all have always been proud about in western institutions is the taboo about taboos. We can openly discuss every societal theme, under the cover of freedom of speech and democracy.

There are some themes though which are still struggling with taboos: talking about women flaws, having any discussion about Jewish people (or Israel), and the Islam.

Today I want to bring my personal contribution to braking one those taboos by opening a societal discussion. Let’s take the first cited taboo, for size purposes:

I have always been so astonished about the silence of the society when it comes to criticizing women. It’s almost impossible to tell a woman that she misses some knowledge about bringing up a child, or to tell her that she is a bad mother. It’s difficult to tell a lady that she has put up some weight. It’s almost impossible to start a discussion about who is best fit to keep a child after divorce.

Yesterday, this guy was nominated “Father Of The Year 2009” in the Netherlands. He divorced his wife, normal phenomena in our society. He wanted just one thing, which is to be able to see his son from time to time. This guy was prevented by all means to see his own child. In the meantime, his wife brainwashed the child during his childhood about all types of false obscenities about his father, with as result that the child began hating and being afraid of his father.
Every time something like this happens in the society, it generates all types of discussions and debates on radio’s and TV’s except one: does a woman have the right to take away a child from his or her father? Can one parent decide to translate her grunge after divorce to the eternal pain of her children (ripping their father from their lives)? Nobody has ever asked this question in the media, and I wonder why.

I would like first to say I am not a sexist or any one of those other names.
I just think there are some things one ought to pay attention on. There are in the Netherlands alone more than 500.000 children who never knew their fathers simply because their mothers for some reason didn’t want them to. That’s crazy. Keep aside criminal fathers, crazy fathers, rapist, pedophiles etc. which we all agree ought to be held far far away from any children, normal responsible fathers are being prevented from seeing their children for some reason the mothers should have had.
We have witnessed recently some parents that shot-dead their whole families, we also saw parents that kidnapped their own children. These are all things that wouldn’t contribute for any welfare of a child. In each of these cases, the mothers were invited in TV studios, they let some tears flow, everybody sympathized, and the men (fathers) were the devils again. Nobody dares to ask the responsibility of the mothers in the dispute.
Do you really think a mother should have the right to prevent healthy fathers to see their children, whatever be the reason of their divorce, which has nothing to do with the kids?

Re: Father’s day | Mother’s Flaws

Hey Edson,
Ik ben het voor een groot deel eens met jouw opinie dat moeders kinderen niet bij de vaders vandaan moeten houden! Wat de reden ook is van de vrouw, als de man niet schuldig is bevonden aan een strafbaar feit, zoals in joiuw collum beschreven, zal de moeder de vader de kans moeten geven een relatie op te bouwen met zijn kinderen. Vanuit mijn vakgebied, de pedagogiek, is hier menig woord over geschreven. Bijna alle pedagogen zijn het er wel over eens dat een goed contact tussen de vader en zijn kind(eren) een positieve invloed heeft op de ontwikkeling van de kinderen. Moeders zijn hierbij een sleutel. Zij kunnen de relatie dusdanig manipuleren dat de kidneren een haat ontwikkelen ten opzichte van de vader. Hierover wordt in een scheidingsprocedure wel degelijk aandacht aan besteed.Natuurlijk zijn er ook ouders, moeders die hier geen oor voor hebben en daarmee het leven van hun kind onnodig belasten met rare gedachten over de vader in kwestie. Het kan ook een onvermogen van de moeder zijn, daar ze zeer waarschijnlijk erg gekwetst is en de frustraties niet op een adequate manier weet te uiten. Allemaal niet goed te praten natuurlijk! Ik wilde je alleen even zeggen dat in deze westerse maatschappij, als de Nederlandse wel degelijk aandacht besteed wordt aan de houding van de moeder ten opzichte van de vader in therapiën en dergelijke.
Greez,
Annelies

Re: Father’s day | Mother’s Flaws

In je afsluitende stelling spreek je in termen van 'recht hebben op'.

Ik vind het betreurenswaardig dat een scheiding tussen twee volwassen mensen in zoveel gevallen uitloopt op een juridisch gevecht waarin de kinderen gevangen zitten.

Ik kan mij heel goed voorstellen dat een scheiding zulke heftige emoties teweeg kan brengen dat verstandig nadenken geen optie lijkt. Wanneer een koppel besluit uit elkaar te gaan na het krijgen van kinderen, dan vervalt hiermee echter ABSOLUUT NIET de verantwoordelijkheid ten aanzien van de kinderen. In alle gevallen dient men het welzijn van het kind als uitgangspunt te nemen.

De ouders zouden, zonder daarbij de eigen emoties de boventoon te laten voeren, in situaties die betrekking hebben op het kind, díe keuze moeten maken die in het belang is van het kind. Dit betekent vaak dat je de kinderen contact moet laten houden met de andere ouder, en je frustraties over je ex buiten de kinderen moet zien te houden.

In mijn ogen is niet in de eerste plaats het afhouden van het contact met de vader, maar eerder het handelen uit angst/boosheid/eigen'belang' slecht voor het welzijn van het kind.

Mijn stelling (wanneer we in termen van 'recht' spreken) zou zijn: "kinderen hebben het recht op ouders die in het belang van hen (het kind) handelen". (In dit geval) moeders bij wet verplichten de kinderen contact te laten hebben met de vader indien hij dat wil, is niet perse in het welzijn van het kind als deze ondertussen door een of beide ouders bestookt wordt met negativiteit over de ander.





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Do non-European citizens have a real chance of integration in the Dutch society?

Do non-European citizens have a real chance of integration in the Dutch society?

Stop fulling yourself dude, there is no chance. These arguments very often are just used for political reason, in real sense they want us all out.

Re: Do non-European citizens have a real chance of integration in the Dutch society?

So what are your arguments for these assertions then?

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Alleen maar nette mensen

Seulement des Gens chics

C’est l’histoire de ce Juif qui ressemble étrangement un néerlandais d’origine marocaine. Robert Vuijsje relie ici l’histoire d’un garçon de Amsterdam que l’on aurait confondu un marocain alors qu’il était Juif. Il relate le fait que la présence des ressortissant étranger non européen soit rejeté dans certains quartier amsterdamien, et le fait que qu’il ait été oblige d’avoir une ‘Négresse’ lettrée pour être accepte dans cette société.
Cet écrivain utilise tous les moyens possibles pour dépeindre une situation qui selon lui ne serait pas juste aux yeux du monde. Pour atteindre son but, il se tape dans la réalité même une copine de peau noire.
Un nombre de faits m’agasse dans ce livre «Alleen maar nette mensen » en français ‘Seulement des gens chics’, traduction libre;
Première du fait que presque tous les néerlandais le félicite pour cet œuvre, et qu’il ait reçu un prix littéraire en Belgique. Les Belges et Néerlandais disent de ce fait qu’ils peuvent apprécier une comédie qui relai des faits, ou qui peuvent engendrer le débat sur des thèmes qui minent notre société. Je vis en Hollande depuis neuf ans déjà et je peux vous dire que ce n’est pas le cas. Ces gens-ci sont très amusés lorsqu’on se moque des autres, pourvu que ce soit les « autres ».
Le deuxième fait est qu’il nomme le noir ‘Nègre’, qui est une expression que je n’aime pas, car me ramenant a la période de la traite négrière. Mais aussi le fait qu’il caractérise la personne noire de tout ce qui peut être négatif, instiguant ainsi tous les préjugés connus ici dans cette partie du monde.
Troisièmement parce que lors d’une émission télévisée pendant laquelle l’auteur parle de son livre, il y ait des femmes noires (Surinamiennes surtout) dans le publique qui se font passer pour de noirs soi-disant moderne qui disent vraiment apprécier ce livre pour le fait que cela leur fait rire, une bonne comédie disent-elles ; quelle idiotie ! Écrit ce genre de livre à propos d’un Juif, néerlandais ou marocain, il n’y aurait pas assez d’espace pour abriter tout le monde.

Ce qui me gêne le plus n’est pas du tout le fait que ce livre concernant les populations noires d’un quartier d’Amsterdam soit écrit et publiée. C’est surtout le contexte dans lequel on le place et la façon avec laquelle la critique du livre est faite. Je suis convaincu du fait qu’un tel livre en Hollande, parlant des Néerlandais de la même façon créera un tôlé . Je suis convaincu qu’un tel livre dans quelque point du monde que ce soit parlant des Juifs de cette façon créera une colère générale des Juifs et non Juifs.
Je suis écœuré du fait que dans ce pays le double standard soit continuellement appliqué pendant les débats publics sur les sujets de société. Si les européens ne sont pas en mesure de débattre les problèmes de société leurs concernant, je ne peux pas accepter qu’ils en discutent les nôtres. Je suis ouvert a débattre qui que ce soit sur quelque problème de société que ce soit, pourvu que ce soit des problèmes de « société », et pas des problèmes de ma « ma société ». Car, je suis convaincu que tout les problèmes de société se trouvent dans toutes les sociétés du monde, ce n’est qu’une question de variante qui les diffères.

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Forum 3

The Integration problems in the West

What’s the problem with integration in Europe? Why can the US which has more immigrants than Europe solve immigration problems where Europe fails? Why is Western Europe often confronted with its aliens compared to the US where the legal aliens and the autochthonous population live next to each other in peace?

Re: The Integration problems in the West

Hi, you do not know me. I came across your blog on Linked In. You are right in all the arguments you cited here about Integration of aliens in our country. The only thing you need to know is that the political reality in the Netherlands is such that the political situation does not allow us or create the possibility to take real hard decisions. We please the immigrants in other to win their votes on the one hand, on the other hand our politicians don't have enough balls to make the right decisions.These factors have created a situation in which rogue politicians like mister Geert Wilders has become very popular, meanwhile he has no real solutions for the problems you are citing. The US give people chances to succeed, but also make it clear to them that their success is related only to their hard work. Some other political parties like the SP and the CDA are afraid to adopt a point of view with strategical reason towards the election.
So, you are right, we are just cowards who don't dare confront our aliens, and also we do our best to keep them under our standard level by practising positive discrimination. Believe me, I am really ashamed of the mess, but that's the way it is now. We are sorry...

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A Real and Usefull God

A Real and Useful God

God has managed the amazing feat of being worshipped and invisible at the same time. Millions of people might describe him as a white-bearded father figure sitting on a throne in the sky, but none could claim to be an eyewitness. Although it doesn't
seem possible to offer a single fact about the Almighty that would hold up in a
court of law, somehow the vast majority of people believe in God--as many as 96
percent, according to some polls. This reveals a huge gap between belief and what we call everyday reality. We need to heal this gap.

What would the facts be like if we had them? They would be as follows. Everything that we experience as material reality is born in an invisible realm beyond space and time, a realm revealed by science to consist of energy and information. This invisible source of all that exists is not an empty void but the womb of creation itself. Something creates and organizes this energy. It turns the chaos of quantum soup into stars, galaxies, rain forests, human beings, and our own thoughts, emotions, memories, and desires. In the pages that lie ahead we will see that it is not only possible to know this source of existence on an abstract level but to become intimate and at one with it. When this happens, our horizons open to new realities. We will have the experience of God.

After centuries of knowing God through faith, we are now ready to understand divine intelligence directly. In many ways this new knowledge reinforces what spiritual traditions have already promised. God is invisible and yet performs all miracles. He is the source of every impulse of love. Beauty and truth are both children of this God. In the absence of knowing the infinite source of energy and creativity, life's miseries come into being. Getting close to God through a true knowing heals the fear of death, confirms the existence of the soul, and gives ultimate meaning.

Our whole notion of reality has actually been topsy-turvy. Instead of God being a vast, imaginary projection, he turns out to be the only thing that is real, and the whole universe, despite its immensity and solidity, is a projection of God's nature. Those astonishing events we call miracles give us clues to the workings of this ineffable intelligence. Consider the following story.
In 1924 an old French villager is walking home. With one eye lost in the Great War and the other severely damaged by mustard gas in the trenches, he can barely see. The setting sun is bright, so the old man is completely unaware of the two youths on bicycles who have wheeled around the corner and are barreling down on him.
At the moment of impact an angel appears. He takes the lead bicycle by its two wheels, lifts it a few feet in the air, and sets it down safely on the grass beside the road. The second bicycle stops short, and the youths become tremendously excited. "There are two! There are two!" one of them shouts, meaning that instead of just the old man alone, two figures are standing in the road. The entire village becomes very worked up, claiming afterward that the youths were drunk or else they made up this fantastic tale. As for the old man, when he is asked about it, he says he doesn't understand the question.
Could we ever come to an answer ourselves? As it happens, the old man was a priest, Père Jean Lamy, and the appearance of the angel has come down to us through his own testimony before his death. Lamy, who was saintly and beloved, seems to be credited with many instances where God sent angels or other forms of divine aid. Although reluctant to talk about them, his attitude was matter-of-fact and modest. Because of Lamy's religious vocation, it is easy to dismiss this incident as a story for the devout. Sceptics would not be moved.
Yet I am fascinated simply by whether it could have happened, whether we can open the door and allow helpful angels into our reality, along with miracles, visions, prophecy, and ultimately that great outsider, God himself.
We all know that a person can learn about life without religion. If I took a hundred newborn babies and filmed every moment of their lives from beginning to end, it wouldn't be possible to predict that the believers in God will turn out to be happier, wiser, or more successful than the nonbelievers. Yet the video camera cannot record what is happening below the surface. Someone who has experienced God may be looking on the entire world with wonder and joy. Is this experience real? Is it useful to our lives or just a subjective event, full of meaning to the person having it but otherwise no more practical than a dream?
One bald fact stands at the beginning of any search for God. He leaves no footprints in the material world. From the very beginning of religion in the West, it was obvious that God had some kind of presence, known in Hebrew as Shekhinah. Sometimes this word is simply translated as "light" or radiance. Shekhinah formed the halos around angels and the luminous joy in the face of a saint. It was feminine, even though God, as interpreted in the Judeo-Christian tradition, is masculine. The significant fact about Shekhinah was not its gender, however. Since God is infinite, calling the deity He or She is just a human convention.
(*) Much more important was the notion that if God has a presence, that means he can be experienced.
He can be known. This is a huge point, because in every other way God is understood to be invisible and untouchable. And unless some small part of God touches the material world, he will remain inaccessible forever.
We personify God as a convenient way of making him more like ourselves. He would be a very perverse and cruel human, however, to remain so hidden from us while demanding our love. What could possibly give us confidence in any kind of benevolent spiritual Being when thousands of years of religion have been so stained by bloodshed?
We need a model that is both part of religion yet not bounded by it. The following simple, three-part scheme fits our common-sense view of God. Shaped like a reality sandwich, this scheme can be pictured as follows:
God ---------- TRANSITION ZONE ---------¬Material world

The picture is not new in its top and bottom layers, placing God above the material world and removed from it. God must be separate from us, or else we would be able to see him here, strolling about as he did in the Book of Genesis. There, after the seven days of creation, God walked in the Garden of Eden, enjoying his handiwork in the cool of the evening.
Only the middle element of our diagram, called the transition zone, is new or unusual. A transition zone implies that God and humans meet on common ground. Somewhere miracles take place, along with holy visions, angels, enlightenment, and hearing the voice of God. All of these extraordinary phenomena bridge two worlds: They are real and yet they are not part of a predictable cause-and-effect. To put it another way, if we stubbornly cling to material reality as the only way to know anything, scepticism about God is totally justified. Miracles and angels defy reason, and even though holy visions may be catalogued time after time, the rational mind remains defiant, defending its sure grip on the material plane.

Re: A Real and Useful God

When I saw this passage in his book, I was simply astonished by the depth of his thoughts. Deepak Chopra has a very simple philosophical way of viewing the world. Every time I raid his books, I am almost obliged to be happy with his thoughts on things I practically disagree with. Some time ago, I reed his book
"The seven spiritual laws", I couldn't imagine things could be so simple, I kept asking myself, why no one had thought of these ideas before!! This guy just has a talent to make others agree to disagree.

Nb: You are free to react in Dutch as well!

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Forum 2

Could development assistance be smarter?

For years now, Western countries have contributed billions of currencies to solve the problems in third world countries. Unfortunately enough, the result is not that flattering. So we should ask ourselves these questions: why is it not working despite all this money and diverse ways of doing?
Do we really want to solve the third world problem? How is it possible that people so smart as they are in the West, are not able to come up with an intelligent strategy?
What’s wrong with “Investing in the people of the third world”?

Example: Oxfam Novib is supplying Chad every year with Rice collected from the Western countries; Chad produces more rice than most of the contributing countries. Why doesn’t Novib create a modern rice production company in that country and employ the Chadians partly to do the job while training them to run the company themselves in the future?
Doing this, in the long run, you make these people independent, and your grandchildren won’t need to do what you are doing now with the grand children of the Chadians you are helping now.
This is just one type of many possible solutions that could be implemented with future orientations. How is it possible that I can think this far with my little mind, and the rest of the western society can’t?
Or am I missing something?

Re: Could development assistance be smarter?

Dear Edson,
I have worked couple of years in micro-credit development programs in North Africa where I got contacts with many African organizations working in development and fighting of poverty.
In my opinion, the main problem lies in the corruption in these countries, I believe, and experienced, that only small percentage of what the European contributes goes to the real people who need it. You mentioned about the rice example but check how the distribution system is till it reaches the people who need it.
Instead of blaming the person who help (even if they are not honest about their plan), I think people there and their leaders particularly should look at what they should do to improve their economy based on their own capabilities (personally although I don’t believe in socialism, I think it is good starting ideology for these countries to stop corruption and believe in their power, they can then later switch to more western model, the same as most eastern European and middle eastern countries did).

Re: Re: Could development assistance be smarter?

Dear Rudy,
Interesting what you are proposing, but that’s no way to a consistent solution to 'Aiding' itself, it’s just a means to good governance.
That’s why I say invest instead of sharing food or aid in general, if Novib start a company locally and run it for a couple of years with help of the locals, I doubt that corruption would be a problem.
Take a country like Rwanda which has refused all forms of aid from the West or elsewhere; that country is doing much better now than before, without that free aid, people became conscious of their needs and the ways to get them.
I am not blaming the West of anything, but I doubt the methods used are the way to go. Corruption is a disease in the third world (98 % of Middle East, Africa, Asia and some East European nations included), but the aim of the aid till now has(mostly) been to help the poor, and not the governments. If the poor also get corrupt with that help, then there is something wrong with the aid-system; I prove my point.

Re: Could development assistance be smarter?

Hi Ed'son,

Development assistance can certainly be smarter. However, the main interest of development aid is not to develop the countries purportedly being assisted, but to extend neoliberalism. The West creates jobs for its citizens, as the South develops a dependance syndrome.

How else would you explain why the US offers poor countries food aid made up of seeds that cannot germinate? The maize offered to the hungry is genetically modified and cannot be planted! So the poor have to permanently depend on the donors.

Are you aware that most aid given is conditional. Sometimes poor countries are forced to buy expensive utilities from the rich countries, yet they can be be acquired elsewhere at a cheaper rate.

Sometimes the so called assistance is spent on useless workshops, seminars and the latest versions of SUVs. Are you aware of the obscene amounts money coordinators get per month, yet their local counterparts who actually do the work get a pittance!

Last week's Time magazine had a very good article on Africa. It questioned why Bono of U2 and Geldof should be the spokesmen for Africa. It wondered whether America can now accept Amy Winehouse to advise them on the credit crisis!

What the poor need now is not development aid but trade and jobs. That will make a difference.

Re: Re: Could development assistance be smarter?

Dear Ali,
Thanks for your reaction. I hope your Dutch is good enough by now, because this article wrote by Marcia Lyuten in NRC makes your point.

https://edsondepary.webnode.com/news/marcia-luyten-op-discussie-ontwikkelingssamenwerking/.

Re: Could development assistance be smarter?

Dear Ed'son,

One of the reasons why organizations (years ago) have chosen their way in supporting, is the good-feeling of their donors. That donors wanted concrete projects, pictures of poor people and 'thanks-letters' from welldressed (from donors money) children.
A little twenty years ago we supported Terres des Hommes in such a way. In those years developmentworkers made realize that kind of organizations to find out another way of supporting.
They then were on the horns of a dilemma. The result: after changing the concrete projects (not anymore identified families or children, but villages or projects - building schools etc) many donors contributed less or got out.
Things 're going better last years, isn't it?
But improvement never finished
In the dutch blog you wrote: don't give them a fish but teach them to fish. May be the development can be found te change the subject.
Financial support is of minor importance I think. Supporting people to extort democracy, having a say in the matter is the major (but nog the only) one ! Nevertheless: if they haven't any food today: give them a lot of fish!

Re: Re: Could development assistance be smarter?

Dear Jan,
Thank you for your reaction.
You see, behind the lines of your reaction, I read you saying that in the aid process, the interest of the donors is more important than that of the receiving parties. That’s why it’s not working.

In fact I am happy there are people out there thinking about others and trying to help the poor. It would have been very sad if it were otherwise.
But as they say it here in Holland;“Je hebt je best gedaan schat, is niet goed genoeg”. If you want to do something, do it right, or don’t do it at all.
You are also right when you say if people are hungry now, give them a lot of fish now, so the question to you is; since people will always be hungry, how long will you be giving them that fish? In this country, I see a lot of people hungry now, but I don’t see anyone giving them any fish. Maybe learning people over there to be hungry a little bit longer is an option to consider.

To this purpose, I saw this discussion in the NRC handelsblad about this issue. In that article, an African guy (I think a Cameroonian [from his name]) called Paul Mbikayi react to an article wrote by a Dutch anthropologist called Marcia Luyten who did some sort of research in Uganda. (See article)/ https://weblogs2.nrc.nl/discussie/2009/03/21/moeten-we-stoppen-met-het-geven-van-ontwikkelingshulp/#comment-121598

Re: Could development assistance be smarter?

Maybe if we really shared something, like a common interest, a common investment... but we just "give" and we just feel better. Obviously that's not the answer.

Re: Could development assistance be smarter?

Interesting topic you want to discuss here…
Do we really want to solve the third world problem? Good question. How tempting and easy it would be to say: yes, of course we want to! We don’t want people to live in terrible circumstances or have people dying of hunger!
While the truth is we don’t really want to solve the problem, in fact, we need the poor people living in sometimes terrible circumstances in order to live as we do in Western countries. Right now, the whole world is trapped in the economic system of capitalism. You can’t escape it. Capitalism is an economic system that creates and widens the gap between the rich and the poor. The poor are part of the system as the rich are. In fact, the rich need the poor to be rich. The system, after all, is all about the stronger group taking benefits of the weaker group in order to grow even stronger.
So, shortly, if we really would want to solve the problem of the poverty in developing countries, there are two solutions:
1. create an alternative economic system which doesn’t need poor people in order to function properly.
2. create opportunities for the “poor” to become “rich” themselves, running the risk they will use these opportunities well, with the result that we as the rich may lose our monopoly, by that our power and may become poor ourselves. After all, like you say, the developing countries have a lot more worthy products in store than have the Western countries. By giving the chance to developing countries to actually develop themselves, we thus run the risk of skyrocketing prices of rice since there will be strong competition in this business and to become marginalized ourselves. (I hope you can follow my way of thinking here)
As for solution 1: well, who knows what will be possible in the future. As for solution 2: we don’t want that, since we don’t want to lose the power and the luxury that comes with the money.
What’s left to do then, is to buy off our guilty conscience caused by buying all Chad’s rice for a shit price, by sending back that what we were not going to eat after all.

In fact, development aid is part of the economic system of capitalism, since it has people working for money in it, and it needs demand and supply. Development aid has all the capitalistic characteristics: it has advertisements (which cause, by the way, children and under-educated person to think that Africa exists out of nothing more than refugee camps and children with belly’s three times as big as their heads), it has supply of the people of Western countries, paying to relieve their conscience and it has the always ongoing demand, fed by its own system. It wouldn’t have any benefit in actually solving all of the problems, just as Samsung doesn’t benefit from making cell phones that actually last your whole life. That kills the industry.

Of course, your plan to train local people to do the business themselves is an excellent idea and you are not the only one who has come up with this master plan. These kinds of projects are executed in a lot of developing countries, not all development projects are just about dropping off food bags from the air. But the question is if these trainings will be enough to in fact build a strong competition, since the power of the economic system is still in Western or Chinese hands. And they gain nothing by giving the developing countries the opportunity to participate in the economic system with the dignity they actually deserve.

Re: Re: Could development assistance be smarter?

Dear Yvon,
Thanks for your reaction.
You took all the words out of my mouth. In fact my immediate impression after reading your reaction is that you fully understand the scope of this problem.
I fully agree with all what you said except for the last paragraph concerning the solution I proposed.

Training locals to partly run newly created businesses at first, and later fully run them themselves, I meant not for them to be competitive in the world markets.
In most countries aid is a regional issue (it’s not true for all of them, some aid programs are national, but not in most of them). So, in some countries 20% of the country needs aid, the rest don’t.
Take countries like China, India, Cameroon, Brazil, and others; these countries are not poor countries, but some villages in those countries need some real help that can’t be provided by the central government for various reasons. Creating a well-run business is such villages could be used to sustain the needs of the locals. These locals could then compete regionally or maybe even nationally. This is enough to make these people and their families’ independent for the rest of their lives of aid. They might even transform these aid programmes to partnerships with some of these organizations to get a win-win situation. Why a partnership? Because being a partner will force some of these western organizations to implement the corporate discipline these businesses might need to sustain themselves.

I am very happy to read your thoughts though because they really translate the question mark in my head, that feeling of powerlessness I have when thinking of these facts. Plainly, the conclusion is that to end poverty and aid in world, western countries have to become poor, that does not really seem realistic.

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Forum 1

Suits & Ties !!!

Why must we always go the job applications in Suit & Tie? Don’t this way of doing say something about HR-policy focussing more on the looks, instead of focussing on capacity and content?

Re: Suits & Ties !!!

I think that if all applicants are wearing the same (they are like clones with their suit and tie), there's nothing HR people can focus on but their skills and knowledge :-)

It is just a formality, a polite way to present yourself. I wonder why everybody questions the suits and there is no controversy about other polite manners like saying "good morning". Why should I say "good morning" instead of "Hi dude" at work??? Do you imagine a "Hi dude" to your boss at PricewaterhouseCoopers??? (and don't forget the "house" part of the name :-)

Anyway, it all depends on the company. If your interview had been held in Google you would have been safe :-) But... there is a BIG BIG difference.

Regards.


Re: Re: Suits & Ties !!!

You are very right Pilar; maybe by saying ‘hey dude’ to my boss, it might take out some of that creativity hiding inside me. It might be difficult to keep the hierarchy intact in such companies though. The funniest thing in such cases is, you might even be better and more responsibly dressed than the people complaining you are not in Suit and Tie at that moment, but just the fact that it’s no suit makes it often a problem. We should however keep the tradition going, it’s nice to be in suit hahaha

Re: Re: Suits & Ties !!!

It's even more surprising when you consider the fact that almost all IT gurus (Steve Jobs [Apple], Zuckerberg [Facebook], Bill Gates [Microsoft], and others) never dressed in complete suit and tie combination, some of them even never put on a suits and ties. We worship these guys for their geniuses and in return claim that the knowledge is only complete when we put on suits and ties.
Very strange and spiritual:)

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