Deutschlandfunk, Deutschlandradio

culture, news

januari 21, 2022

Deutschlandradio, website.

There is much to experience here such as this:

“Faces of Europe”, these are people who represent historical, political and social processes in their country. Our reporters uncover their stories and gain insight into their daily lives. What happens between Amsterdam and Athens? What is discussed in Poland? What is Portugal thinking about? And what do other Europeans do better? One hour of listening experience, every Saturday, from 11.05 am.

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No Frills

culture, Lifestyle

januari 21, 2022

Olaf Scholz (SPD) won thanks to the votes of older women

Chantal Louis is an editor at the German women’s magazine EMMA. The magazine is somewhere in between Linda and Opzij. Politics, women’s emancipation. Below is an excerpt from her column on the German elections. The truth is, Germany is ageing, just like all of Europe. As a population ages, there are proportionately more women than men because, on average, men die earlier because of their lifestyle – although women emancipate themselves and therefore also start to die relatively earlier. While emancipating, they lose their lead in life expectancy over men. However, the average life expectancy is still rising considerably across the gender, so don’t panic. But: More women and especially more OLDER women. And they do not want wild energy transition adventures, but they do want a safe climate future for their (grand) children. Care and security. Then you must have a skipper like Olaf Scholz. Say, the kind of person to whom you ask when you have to go to the toilet very quickly: Will you hold my purse for a while? One such person is Scholz. Now Chantal Louis:

Source/image: artikel/olaf-gewann-frauenherzen-338955

The media has been silent about the gender gap in the recent German elections, but that gap was decisive: for the losses of the Christian Democratic CDU and the gains of the Social Democratic SPD. The gender gap is widest in the liberal FDP: party leader Lindner recruited only half as many young women as young men.
Let’s start with Christian Lindner’s revealing Freudian mistake. He triumphantly announced on election night that his FDP is “the strongest party among first-time voters”! If you look at the figures of the Wahlen research group, you will discover that this is not entirely true. Almost one in four young voters (24%) between the ages of 18 and 29 voted for Lindner’s Liberals.
However, we are only talking about male voters here.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of young women (26%) chose the young woman: Annalena Baerbock. And that while Baerbock (just like her two competitors CDU and SPD) omitted the theme of women. Also on election night, Annalena mainly shouted “Climate Coalition!”, but nothing about women came out of her lips. The young voters, for whom the fight against climate change is undoubtedly central, obviously did not blame her.
And the older voters, as usual, voted for the Greens a little more often than the voters. As in the previous general election, the gap between green and male voters was three percent (women: 17%, men: 14%).
And now for the loser of the evening: Armin Laschet (CDU) not only lost almost nine percent of the vote, but also the women’s bonus that Angela Merkel had given the CDU. This bonus for women had been a bit startling. Because since the early 1970s—in other words, since the beginning of the women’s movement—the SPD, not the CDU, had a permanent claim to favor with female voters. For more than three decades they hoped in vain that the Social Democrats would bring a more progressive women’s policy.
Then Chancellor Merkel came in 2005 and for the first time even the majority of young voters voted for her CDU.
Now the women’s bonus is gone. In 2017, eight percent more women than men voted for the Federal Chancellor’s Party. In 2021, that will be just one percent. And that across all female age groups. Even the older women over 60, always a regular CDU following, voted for the Laschet party hardly more often than the men of the same age. In this age group, one in three (34%) voted CDU, in 2017 that was almost one in two (46%).
And finally to the winner of the evening: Olaf Scholz (SPD). Not only did he grab over 1.6 million votes from CDU voters, but also the women’s bonus — at least some of that. Three percent more women (27%) than men (24%) voted for the self-proclaimed feminist Scholz – who, however, was not really noticed as such during the election campaign. Nevertheless, in 2017 fewer women than men voted for his predecessor Schulz. Scholz, on the other hand, won — with the exception of the young voters — among women in every age group. Most among people over 60: here a third voted for the SPD (35%). Every fourth (23%) in 2017.
Left and AfD stay. The left was elected equally – or as little – by men and women. The AfD continues with its traditional male surplus, but lost more in men than in women by 2021. 8 percent of voters voted for the right-wing populists (2017: 9 percent) and 12 percent of voters (2017: 16 percent). For the women, the fear of political Islam may have played a role, for the men, the self-confident chairwoman Weidel played a role in the departure of the men.”

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conquer a woman

culture, Uncategorized

januari 21, 2022

Afghan women. Image: Amber Clay from Pixabay

For twenty years the West, a coalition of Western countries, has tried to make Afghanistan a modern, civilized country and that seems to have failed so far: The Americans are withdrawing their troops and with them the European countries as well. NATO’s ISAF mission ends.

What do we actually mean by ‘civilization’? Civilization is reflected in how people in a society interact with each other. Which laws, rules, conventions or manners, which traditions apply and what is taboo. They are not eternal but temporary and changeable.

Also with us, but we also find that there are universal values that are worth pursuing and timeless. Like human rights. These rights originated from the spirit of humanism that developed in Europe from the late Middle Ages onwards as a harbinger of the Enlightenment, the idea that people can think and therefore can free themselves from their own ignorance.

Afghan women. Image: Amber Clay from Pixabay

It marked, as Karl Popper wrote, the transition from a tribal society (in which the tribe or clan determines the freedom of movement of the individual) to an open society in which the individual, vested with universal rights, is central. Afghan women – and girls – now rightly fear the repercussions of the Taliban reintroducing Sharia law and curtailing their rights.

In secular Western justice there is often quite a bit to criticize about the procedure – see the sluggishness that Peter R. de Vries brought to light – but in any case that justice is now practiced by both men and women. Religious justice – whether it be Christian, Islamic or Jewish – is a male affair. Something is not right there, very fundamentally. Whatever scripture exegetical asshole you are hanging on to it, I can’t see why half of the world’s population should be barred from practicing justice. Male privileges lead to arbitrariness towards women. Living under arbitrariness is living in fear. Not having to live in fear, without fear, is perhaps the most important aspect of the human condition, the state of being that every person needs for a dignified life.

Afghan children. Image: Amber Clay from Pixabay

However, I do want to make something a discharge for those Taliban men: They rightly see Western, cosmopolitan universalism as an attempt to end their civilization. A cultural imperialism.

Image: Learn Sicilian.

How a civilization can change on its own, illustrates the story of Franca Viola, a Sicilian woman, that I came across by chance. Franca Viola sparked a national scandal in 1960 by reporting her rapist to the judicial authorities. She thereby violated the convention that a raped woman is dishonorable unless she is married after all, which could only be done if her rapist was willing to marry her because a man normally does not marry a dishonored woman. That was the way to ‘conquer’ a woman in 1960s Sicilian Italy. Franca was socially ostracized for her rebellion, but the perpetrator disappeared behind bars. This was inevitable because Italy was already fully immersed in modernity. Franca broke the spell.

The suspect of Franca’s rape is on trial. (Image: Learn Sicilian.)

The Taliban are medieval in their standards and values, but those Middle Ages have disappeared from European civilization not so long ago. I am from 1958. Franca is from 1948. She’s almost like a contemporary of mine. The fact that things are no longer like this is thanks to women raising their voices, but to be the first to raise your voice, that takes courage and we can only hope that Afghan women will also raise their voices because they do not see discrimination by Taliban men accept longer.


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so Brussels.

Cities, culture

januari 21, 2022

Brussels. I had been there a few times for business reasons, but now that Karin and I are taking it easy, an opportunity presented itself to visit the city more extensively. We booked two nights in a nice, simple hotel (Adagio) in a side street of Rue Belliard, Nijverheidsstraat or Rue de l’industrie which is all official in Brussels bilingual in French and Dutch.

The terrace on the Mont des Arts near the Royal Library with near the tower of the town hall on the Grote Markt and on the left behind in the distance the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Koekelberg.

The city is widely regarded as the unofficial capital of Europe, ie the European Union. Unofficially because the EU is not (yet) a country. How did Brussels actually become ‘European capital’? Allowing myself some speculation, I am stepping through history in seven-mile boots. Together with the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Belgium belongs to the founding states of the united Europe and the Benelux, the first small customs union after the war, formed a sort of pilot for the later European Community. Belgium and Luxembourg had already formed a single state with the northern Netherlands (the former Republic) from 1815 until the Belgian revolt and secession of 1830-1839.

Brussels was already a royal city in the Habsburg Empire from the late Middle Ages, but the Belgian King Leopold II (1835-1909) has, from the moment he became king in 1865, as a ‘builder’ quite a household in Brussels and had numerous monumental buildings erected there. which now remind the city of Paris, especially because the streets are all paved with cobblestones or ‘cobblestones’. (Although the triumphal arch in the Cinquantenaire Park is virtually a copy of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.)

Thanks to Leopold II, who reigned from 1865 and died in 1909, Brussels is full of these neoclassical buildings along cobbled avenues that give the city a Parisian appearance.

This nineteenth century eruption of royal building fever meant that when the new European institutions needed housing in the early 1950s, Brussels was a good candidate. What also helped was that Belgium is a harmless small country that is bilingual – even trilingual because German is also spoken. Strasbourg has of course also been pushed, especially by France, but that does not seem to make it as a European capital. And Liège and even Amsterdam were briefly in the picture. But Brussels is on the border of Germanic and Latin Europe, geographically central and easily accessible from both Paris and Berlin.

Some fifty thousand ‘Eurocrats’ work in Brussels and every morning they want to go to the few square kilometers where the European quarter is located. Many do this by car, so in Nijverheidsstraat – and other side streets – traffic is blocked for a large part of the day because the traffic light discharges the traffic in a dosed manner onto the Rue Belliard through which it races continuously.

Tens of thousands of Eurocrats spend all day squirming by car through the narrow streets of Brussels on their way to the car parks beneath one of the many glass-concrete offices, invariably decorated with the flags of the countries of the Union and those of the Union itself.

Here, European Commissioner Frans Timmermans can still do some beneficial missionary work for his ‘Green Deal’ to make the European continent more sustainable and green. Here and there you see something that resembles bicycle paths, but there is still a long way to go here.

We have done everything on foot that is reasonable to do. Climbing and descending is especially tiring: Brussels is a hilly city. This occasionally provides beautiful views.

The European Information Office on Rue Belliard lavishly advertises all the charities the Union pursues

The information office of the European Union exuberantly advertises all the noble goals pursued by the Union.

We visited the Magritte Museum in the huge Museum of Fine Arts. His paintings have a dreamy surrealism that fits so well with Belgium and Brussels in particular. A split country and city. Magritte questions the obvious when it comes to the names we give to objects and concepts. The ordinary suddenly becomes absurd. Name, meaning and the object to which they belong become separated from each other.

Now that we have admired Magritte in his ‘natural Belgian habitat’, a country with linguistic and cultural borders, we understand better his pre-occupation with language, object naming and meaning. He was engaged in communication in a conceptual way.

Rene Magritte’s thoughts on image, understanding, meaning and naming.

In the House of European History you become immersed in the absurdity of war – especially of the First World War, which left deep scars in the collective memory much more than in the Netherlands. An unprecedented mass destruction of people on an industrial scale that is poured out on you from tableaux and from showcases and which leaves you depressed. Impressive, yes.

The House of European History is located a stone’s throw from the European Parliament where an employee of the information office almost drags us in for a half-hour audio tour where we can take a look at the main meeting room.

Here we are shown the lesson Europe has learned from its violent history. The 750 delegates can each speak in their own national language and a large number of simultaneous translators ensure that each delegate can listen in their own national language.

The Comics Museum on Zandstraat is located in a beautiful former Art Deco department store that is elaborately decorated with iron and glass ornaments.

Now we were ready for a little light-heartedness and you can find that in Brussels in the national comics museum on the Zandstraat or Center Belge de la bande dessinée, or musée de la BD for short. BD is comic in French. The former Art Deco department store in which it is housed is worth a visit in itself.

The European Union has chosen a dignified capital in which culture and nature could nevertheless conquer a little more space from the busy car traffic of hasty Eurocrats.

We close with a Brussels love song:

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Portuguese diplomat who saved Jews

culture, European politics

januari 21, 2022

This is the story of the Portuguese diplomat who saved thousands from the Nazis. As the German army marched through France, Aristides de Sousa Mendes faced a choice: obey his government or follow his conscience – and risk it all.

Image: Sandra Dionis
Text: Chanan Tigay

(Smithsonian Magazine) Translated with DeepL.

Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes was serving as consul general in France when the Nazis invaded the country.

It was the second week of June 1940, and Aristides de Sousa Mendes did not leave his room. Sousa Mendes, Consul General of Portugal in Bordeaux, France, lived in a large flat overlooking the Garonne River with his wife and several of their 14 children – all of whom were growing increasingly concerned.
An aristocrat and bon vivant, Sousa Mendes loved his family very much. He loved wine. He loved Portugal, and wrote a book glorifying this “land of dreams and poetry”. He loved to bellow popular French tunes, especially Rina Ketty’s “J’attendrai,” a tender love song that became a hymn to peace in the changing context of war. And Sousa Mendes loved his mistress, who was five months pregnant with his 15th child. He found something to laugh about, family members remember, even in the worst of times. But now, faced with the most devastating decision of his life, he had shut himself off. He refused to leave his room, not even to eat. “The situation here is terrible,” the 54-year-old diplomat wrote to his brother-in-law, “and I’m in bed having a serious nervous breakdown.”
The seeds for the collapse of Sousa Mendes had been sown a month earlier, when Hitler launched his invasion of France and the Low Countries on 10 May 1940. Within weeks, millions of civilians were driven from their homes, desperate to stay ahead of the advancing German army. A Red Cross representative in Paris called it “the biggest civilian refugee problem in French history”. New York Times correspondent Lansing Warren, who was later arrested by the Nazis, telegraphed home: “There’s never been such a thing. In a country already filled with evacuees from the war zones, half the population of Paris is ambushed. region, much of Belgium, and ten to twelve departments of France, somewhere between 6 and 10 million people in total, along the roads in private cars, in lorries, on bicycles and on foot.”

Read more at this link:

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