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Monthly Archives: March 2010
“A woman from Carthage, who is employed at a Bank in town, and has a daughter working with my neice , has an mentally handicapped adult son. The son can manage alone but not out in the job world.”
“He called his mother at work last Friday and said that she must come home because he had a troll locked in the closet. It had come to the door and he had grabbed its arm and contained it.”
“She said that she would come as soon as she got off in two hours. When she arrived she found that he her son] had a table, chairs, etc. pushed up against his closet door. Then she heard a knocking. The midget Jehova Witness midget said he had quit knocking for a while knowing it would do no good until someone else came.” Continue reading
NO WONDER !!!
No wonder some Muslims think the USA is incorrigible in the 21st Century! Most of the people or victims most badly affected by the U.S. President’s anti-Supreme Court behavior regarding inmate rights have, often affected Muslims. Moreover, most Palestinians who are adversely affected by Obama’s winking at Israeli crimes are also Muslim.
Finally, Chomsky had also clarified his points by pointing at similar incorrigible behavior and bad trends in the case of the USA’s policy on Iran, which the US Legislative and Executive branches are promoting. Such behavior appears to be consistently adverse to most American peoples interests and their beliefs—as well as contrary to the interests and beliefs of the majority of people on the planet Earth.
Chomsky noted that this example of White House’ and Capital Hill ‘s incorrigibility and isolation of Iran appears to be incorrigible behavior, too. Both Congress and President have made consistent efforts over the past decade to isolate Iran in response to the uranium enrichment practices under the Tehran leadership.
Recently, however, the President of Brazil Lula rejected calls by Washington to play along with its calls for a trade boycott of Iran. Chomsky noted, “Well, in this case, Lula’s position happens to be that of most of the world. You can think it’s right or wrong or whatever, but just as a matter of fact, for example, it’s the position of the former non-aligned countries, the majority of countries of the world and the large majority of their populations. They have repeatedly and vigorously supported Iran’s right to enriched uranium for peaceful purposes, reiterating that it’s a signer of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which does grant that right. So they’re not part of the world.”
With such a skewed global perspective by the federal Executive and Legislative branches of the USA, I begin to think my homeland (the USA) is incorrigible in many of its policies. Chomsky expanded my definition of the USA a bit with further comments on American attitude towards USA foreign policy on Iran. Chomsky noted, “Another group that’s not part of the world is the population of the United States. The last polls that I’ve seen, a couple of years ago, in those polls a considerable majority of Americans agreed that Iran has a right to develop nuclear energy, but of course not nuclear weapons. And in fact, as the poll demonstrated, the opinions of Americans on this issue were almost identical with opinions of Iranians on a whole range of issues. And, in fact, when the poll was presented in Washington at a press conference, the presenter pointed out that if people were able to make policy, could be that these tensions and conflicts would be resolved.”
Hence, at this point in the 21st Century, not only does the world find many USA practices and behaviors to be totally incorrigible–but Americans, too, think the Executive and Legislative branches foreign polices are incorrigible.
In that case, why all this fuss about one Muslim cleric calling America incorrigible?
Well, many Americans—who argued against the attack and subduing of the country of Iraq back in 2002 and 2003–were jeered by FOX NEWS and scorned by the Bush-Cheney Administration as “Sadam’s Cool-Aid Drinkers”. The reference to “cool-aid” naturally referred to the Jim Jone’s self-suicide cool-aid of the 1970s cult. The implication was that we were brainwashed.
Who has actually been brainwashed, America?
Now, after EIGHT HORRIBLE YEARS of the illegal-Bush-Cheney-Administration long behind us, the effects of the Bush-Cheney Cool-Aid is continuing to destroy BOTH America and Iraq. Before I go over some details about the status-quo in Iraq and the USA, let me point out that educational problems, health-care underdevelopment, loss of American home ownership, and the insane foreign policies of America are due partially to 40 or more years of FREE MARKET cool-aid and massive MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX Cool-Aid Drinking. In other words, this horrific cool-aid drinking binge has brainwashed nearly 3 entire generations of American policy leaders.
Now, however, real change and cool-collective analysis must come to dominate. This is the only way to mark the 7th Anniversary of our suicidal war and suicidal economics lived through by millions and millions of Americans and Iraqis daily. In short, this is a nightmare, we need to wake-up from.
TODAY in Iraq –What is Your future?
In Baghdad, Yanar Mohammed, president of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, stated that the Green Zone has left a world-of-out of control–with“[p]rivatization, no security for the working class, much investment for multinational companies.”
This is happening in a country that already has 4 million homeless refugees. Anyone can see that whole-scale privatization of government-built structures and institutions in the midst of a civil war or in the midst of an ongoing major refugee crises is insane! Mrs. Mohammed is on the mark when she criticizes the go-ahead green-zone model of liaise-faire political economics being produced in Iraq over the last few years. Meanwhile, instead of integrating women into both the political and economic process, women’s rights have been constitutionally undermined specifically over the last two years, according to the head of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq.
Worse still, apparently the Iraqi government is taking out more loans from the World Bank at a time when Iraq’s oil revenue is growing rapidly.
LET ME TEACH YOU SOME HISTORY!
Recall how Mexico and Venezuela were encouraged to take out bank loans during their petroleum booms of the 1970s??? That led to a grave dislocation of the economies and severely skewed the rdistribution of resources in both Mexico and Venezuela. Worse still, 4 decades have since passed and these huge international debts are still not paid off by either country—while the people in each land have suffered while they have had to often undergo draconian liaise-faire government cut-backs [over this same decades].
Does the Green-Zone or the Iragi regime really want to turn Iraq into a permanent economic basket case—even though with all its petroleum, it should be an engine of development for the region? Here is an accurate description of what happens when liaise-faire takes over oil economies found in most any economic textbook as a case study:
“The macroeconomic policies of the 1970s left Mexico’s economy highly vulnerable to external conditions. These turned sharply against Mexico in the early 1980s, and caused the worst recession since the 1930s. By mid-1981, Mexico was beset by falling oil prices, higher world interest rates, rising inflation, a chronically overvalued peso, and a deteriorating balance of payments that spurred massive capital flight. This disequilibrium, along with the virtual disappearance of Mexico’s international reserves–by the end of 1982 they were insufficient to cover three weeks’ imports–forced the government to devalue the peso three times during 1982. The devaluation further fueled inflation and prevented short-term recovery. The devaluations depressed real wages and increased the private sector’s burden in servicing its dollar-denominated debt. Interest payments on long-term debt alone were equal to 28 percent of export revenue. Cut off from additional credit, the government declared an involuntary moratorium on debt payments in August 1982, and the following month it announced the nationalization of Mexico’s private banking system.”
Venezuelan’s historical development as [either] a democracy or as a military regime has also been [almost always] tied to it’s privatization and petroleum debt related practices.
“Between 1926 and 1980 oil profits permitted a sustained, broad social and economic improvement, with increases in real wages for workers and increasing profits for businesses, all of which strengthened democracy. Starting in 1980, the situation changed and produced a collapse of the oil model, the ramifications of which are shown by the economic crisis of 1983, the popular revolt of 1989, and the coups d’etat of 1992, resulting in the election of presidents Caldera and Chávez. The traditional political parties lost power and new social actors appeared: the radical left, the unorganized civil society, the political right, and the military that controlled the state apparatus.”
Roberto Briceno-Leon argues that in Venezuela “oil profits have played a role in the formation of society: creation of social classes by the government, economic autonomy of the state, dependence on imported products, exaggerated growth of public employment, state domination in all areas of the economy, and the overall subsidizing of society.”
In other words, how Iraq uses its petroleum wealth, i.e. either to create more or less debt in the long term, will be the biggest issue in the country’s development.
Will IRAQ follow the steps of underdevelopment in Latin America, i.e. Mexico? Will it turn out as bankrupt as the Iranian government? Or will it manage the economy like the Scandinavian land of Norway has done?
I will bet anyone that the Norwegian semi-planned economy would be the best option—and not the neoliberal nor neo-con choices now-focusing on versions of liaise-faire market capitalism in Iraq.
Currently, Yanar Mohammed appears to be on target in her description of the current run-amok-liaise-faire “ economic agenda in Iraq, the privatization, the heavy privatization, that’s happened in Iraq in the last two years, where tens of thousands of workers have been laid off, with no work to go to, with no social insurance to support them, while in the same time there is an economic agenda of supporting foreign investment in a way where there is protection for foreign investment, but there is no labor law, no unemployment insurance for people. And in the same time, we are being surprised by the Ministry of Finance telling the Iraqis that we need to have a loan from the World Bank, which will put the Iraq policies under such pressure, and it is a surprise to everybody because the revenues of oil are so high that we do not really need a loan from the World Bank. So, economically, it’s a rollercoaster here in Iraq—privatization, no security for the working class, much investment for multinational countries, and, in the same time, a democracy which has brought forward groups which are transformations of the first political forces that started off with militias, but now they are politicians and they are sitting in the Green Zone.”
MY COUNTRY TIS’ ITEE: My Dear Homeland
Now, turning back a half-world away to the United States of [North]America, we find another country continuing to follow the faux-pas of the liaise-faire approach to military and industrial development since WWII. The U.S. is celebrating the largest deficit in history and spending over 60% of its government budget for present, past and future wars. On this 7th Anniversary of the War on Iraq, led by the good ol’ USA regime, Capitol Hill is also finally trying decide whether Americans deserve health care or not. [No other developed country’s national government in the whole- world asks such a crazy question of its own commitment to its own citizens.]
In a short interview concerning the massive 7th Anniversary Protest March on the US Capital Building in Washington, D.C., Cindy Sheehan has noted, “[W]e still believe that the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan for the multinational corporations using our US military were wrong under the Bush administration, they’re still wrong under the Obama administration. For the last, you know, thirteen, fourteen months, the antiwar movement has been giving President Obama a free pass. And while that’s been happening, people are still dying, people are still being displaced, people are still being tortured and detained. And, you know, like the woman from Iraq said, it’s to steal the resources and wealth from these countries and put them in the hands of the multinationals.”
I should explain that “Cindy Sheehan is the founder of the group Peace of the Action. That’s P-e-a-c-e. She has just set up a camp near the Washington Monument called Camp OUT NOW, calling on President Obama to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Sheehan’s own son was killed in Iraq as a soldier early on.
Sheehan says, “[E]nough is enough, and we need to go into the face of this military-industrial empire again and say, you have to do it on our timeline, the people’s timelines. Get our troops out of these countries. Let the people control their wealth, control their resources. Put them back to work. And maybe we can start to rebuild this country, where education is being gutted, healthcare is, you know, in extreme crisis, we don’t have jobs, you know, we’re losing our homes. And our economy is collapsing also. So we’re hoping not just to build a camp, but to rebuild this movement to have some kind of say in foreign policy.”
Meanwhile, one good example of the need for the federal government to take over where the states and cities fail to help U.S. citizens [in this case: American children] occurred this week in Arizona—a state that already receives more federal funding per capita than most states. According to Democracy Now and The New York Times, “Arizona has become the first state to eliminate its Children’s Health Insurance Program, leaving tens of thousands without coverage. On Thursday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a new budget canceling the program, which covered around 47,000 low-income children. The move will coincide with cuts to Medicaid coverage for childless adults, dropping an additional 310,000 people from the rolls.”
WAKE UP, AMERICA!!! Stop the mediocrity of the country—its economy, etc.– and push for proper federal leadership in our many crises.
Stop letting the leaders in Washington steal our great resources and help America, by saying, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, AMERICA. GO OUT AND MARCH!”
I am tired of the green-zone-like-cool-aid that has been drunk in AMERICA far too long. Aren’t you?
“Another child abuse scandal is in the German press. Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper says that up to 100 pupils at a school in Hesse may have been victims between 1971 and 1985. Odenwaldschule is an elitist, private school with famous alumni like the writer, Klaus Mann.” The charges at the Odenwald School come in the midst of a major set of scandals raising the same charges against priests at catholic schools and institutions across Germany.
The claims at the Odenwald School in Hessen, Germany comes after the school was recognized many times over the decades as a model school. The school has had very innovative programs based around shared housing and a family atmosphere in a rural setting. However, the dark side of this world included ganging up on weaklings and sexual abuse of youth by adults and students there over the decades. This Odenwald School was even investigated in the 1990s, but the state of Hessen investigators had claimed that the charges were baseless.
A similar pattern of lack of oversight by the state occurred in Catholic schools and in Catholic school settings dating back to the 1950s—not only in Germany but in Austria, Switzerland and other neighboring lands.
In the cases of the Catholic Church and its European schools and monasteries, one “senior church official acknowledged [last] Friday that a German archdiocese made ‘serious mistakes’ in handling an abuse case while the pope served as its archbishop.” Likewise, the Odenwald School’s “Deputy Principal, Uwe Koltzsch, can not rule out current abuse: ‘I can’t exclude it – how could I? I can only speak about my actions, and hope that children today are brought up to deal with these things more freely. To talk about these things with their parents or with others. But I can’t say there has been no abuse after 1985.’”
No countries have publicly dealt with the issues of how one becomes either a “perpetrator” or a “victim” more than has Germany over the past three decades. This has been because of the Nazi-era legacies followed by the Communist Security State in what was once East Germany. However, too little focus has been given in Germany to continued secrecy and bullying in society and how victims still have too little recourse for airing their concerns. I believe these recent—but long-brewing–crimes against children and youth in German schools is the most important issue to be tackled in education. Victims need sanctuaries and a way to move on in their lives.
I believe it is no secret that the number of school shootings, school violence and attacks in German schools over the past decade are the result of years of bullying, mobbing, and possibly sexual abuses permitted for far too long. Children need sanctuaries, but they are finding it hard to locate in German schools and society. The society and schools need to provide and promote more sanctuary options.
It is confusing. The following report was published in THE PROGRESSIVE REPORT yesterday in an email.
“Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) unveiled a sweeping financial regulatory reform bill Monday, designed to make the banking system work better for average Americans and help prevent another financial meltdown. Coming months after the House passed its own reform bill, Dodd’s proposal would create a Financial Stability Oversight Council “to watch for systemic risks” and would “direct the Federal Reserve to supervise the nation’s largest and most interconnected financial institutions, not just banks.” It would also create a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, housed within the Fed, which would have authority to write rules governing all financial entities and have the “authority to examine and enforce regulationsdisincentives and regulations to curb outlandish growth. President Obama hailed it as “a strong foundation to build a safer financial system.” “We cannot wait any longer for real financial reformstrong bill” that “we need,” and urged lawmakers to “move forward quickly.” Eighteen months after the financial meltdown, the industry is emboldened and the White House seems happy to fight on this issue, believing it has public anger at Wall Street on its side. Dodd vowed to have financial reform “adopted this year,” and the Banking Committee plans to mark up the measure next week. But not surprisingly, corporate lobbyists and Senate Republicans have quickly mobilized to weaken the bill, calling its attempts to shield consumers from abusive practices “draconian.”" for banks and credit unions with assets over $10 billion and all mortgage-related businesses.” The bill would also take steps to prevent banks from becoming “too big to fail” by creating that brings accountability to the financial system and makes sure that the American taxpayer is never again asked to bail out the irresponsibility of our largest banks and financial institutions,” Obama said.
However, DEMOCRACY NOW has criticized the bill’s centerpiece for consumers, saying, “Dodd’s proposal gives new power to the Federal Reserve while gutting the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Instead of creating an independent consumer agency, Dodd wants to create a Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection inside the Federal Reserve. House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank recently said that the idea of housing a consumer protection agency inside the Fed is like a “bad joke.” Other parts of Dodd’s bill have received praise from watchdog groups. Wall Street whistleblowers will be given new protections and incentives to report securities violations and an Office of Credit Ratings would be formed to examine credit rating agencies.”
Well, I propose they move this proposed and important Consumer Financial Protection Agency OUT OF the Washington Beltway all together. Either Kansas, Minnesota or Nebraska would be good places due to their better banking practices and close prosimity to renegade South Dakota, Inc.–home to CITIBANK, INC. etc.
Kevin Stoda Continue reading
GERMANY AND SINS OF THE FATHERS
Today, the Bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, soundly criticized the Catholic churches decades-long mishandling of pedophilic priests.
Now, in winter 2010, as many German Catholics [and non-Catholics] are awaiting an official comment or apology from the Vatican on the abuses of generations of priests (carried out in catholic monasteries in Germany). The German-born Pope Benedict XVI has been keeping his and the Church in Rome’s voices silent on the sexual crimes of priests carried out in his own lifetime. Instead, the “Vatican had warned Saturday against attempts to drag the pope into a widening sexual abuse scandal involving priests in the pontiff’s native Germany. Those reports have only been intensified by similar allegations of abuse at church facilities in Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.”
Next, “Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday chose not to comment on ongoing child sex abuse scandals at church institutions across Europe. The pope, who often opts to comment on current events at the close of his public Sunday prayers, ended the prayers this week with no further commentary.” Here in the state of Hessen, where many abuses in local monasteries and private schools had taken place involving what the church now acknowledges were “ sexually immature priests”, I have often heard complaints by radio commentators that the silence from Rome is disturbing.
The German Press Agency has also noted, “On Saturday, the scandal moved closer to the pope himself when the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung linked the pope to a pedophile priest when the pontiff was archbishop of Munich in 1980. The report said the pope, then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, had permitted the priest to move to Munich from another diocese where he had been accused of sexually abusing children.” The agency noted that under Ratzinger’s tenure in office in Munich, that particular “priest was allowed to continue working with young people, and was later charged with sex offences and convicted, the report said. But there was no evidence the archbishop was involved in the decision to let the cleric continue doing youth work, it added.” Since the 1950s some 150 cases of sexual abuse of youth and children by churchmen have been made public in Germany.
Meanwhile, hitting still closer to home have been the revelations that the Pope’s own brother, Georg Ratzinger, a retired priest and choir director, was known to have slapped quite a number of choir boy singers as choir director in Regensburg over the decades—up through the 1980s and 1990s.
The BERLIN SUNDAYexplains, “The Catholic Church has been on the defensive in Germany since January , when at least 50 cases of sexual abuse from the 1970s and ’80s were reported at the Jesuit high school, Canisius College, in Berlin — with two priests linked as alleged perpetrators. That was the catalyst. Within weeks, dozens of victims came forward with accusations at other Catholic schools and institutions. With up to 200 allegations of abuse, 22 out of Germany’s 27 Roman Catholic dioceses have been affected by the scandal.”
Now, the scandals are moving continental wide. On Vatican Radio, “Spokesman Federico Lombardi defended the response of churches to pedophile priest scandals emerging in Austria, Germany, The Netherlands and elsewhere, saying Roman Catholic leaders had reacted swiftly and decisively. He also sought to put the issue into perspective, saying the sexual abuse of children went far beyond church walls.”
Lombardi has claimed, “[S]exual abuse of children went [has gone] far beyond church walls. . . . For example, he said, data showed that during the period of the scandal[s] in Austria, there had been [only] 17 cases in Church institutions, compared with 510 in other settings.”
As a speaker for the Vatican, Lombardi’s main objective has been to “acknowledged that the Church’s moral responsibility made errors by clergy particularly reprehensible.” At the same time, these sexual abuses are sad realities in all societal institutions. Lombardi seems to not take seriously his and his own church’s moral responsibility to shepherd and lead via example.
“Lombardi’s remarks [in Rome] came as the head of an Austrian monastery lost his job last Tuesday over allegations that he abused a boy while he was a trainee priest. The victim, now 53, told Austrian national radio Oe1 that after years of silence he confronted Bruno Becker, abbot of Sankt Peter monastery in the northern city of Salzburg, last November. The abbot admitted the abuse and offered him 5,000 euros (US$6,790) to take no further action, he said. The money was meant as compensation rather than hush money, Salzburg’s Archbishop Alois Kothgasser told Oe1 radio.”
Meanwhile, unlike the Vatican in 2010, the current German Catholic Archbishop has apologized both in Rome and in Germany for the crimes of various priests over the decades. Moreover, the same Archbishop, Robert Zollitsch called for a special watch-dog commission be set up to counter abuses now and in the future. This is the committee now headed by the same Trier bishop who this evening criticized the Catholic church’s mishandling of the cries of abuse over the decades
To-date, “[t]he tidal wave of scandals involving priests and teachers has engulfed 19 of Germany’s 27 dioceses and are among several to have rocked the Catholic Church lately, notably in Ireland last year . . . .” Now alongside scandals in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, there have been new reports in the Netherlands and more are expected in neighboring countries as a great era of silence in Europe comes hopefully to an end.
Sadly, the culture of predator and victims has been going on for so long in Central Europe that “most of the priests who were allegedly involved [in Germany] are not expected to face criminal charges because the crimes are outside the statute of limitations, though there have been growing calls for a change in the law and for the Church to pay compensation.”
Nonetheless, one article has noted “The Church has promised to shed light on all allegations, even those that are decades old.” Interestingly, “[Pope] Benedict has spoken out several times since the start of his papacy in 2005 to condemn priestly pedophilia, and he has met with abuse victims in the United States and Australia.” Moreover, in “the United States the pope said those found guilty of pedophilia would be removed from the priesthood and the Church.” This is why the Pope’s silence on the abuses of the last half century in Germany and other Central European states is so perplexing to educators, guardians, public officials, victims, and parents across the continent of Europe.
In short, Pope Benedict XVI spoke up too much and too often in 2008 and 2009 and made many bad public decisions, like welcoming the Pius Brothers. In contrast, so far this 2010, it is the papacy’s silence on sexual-crimes and priestly abuses dating to Pope Benedict’s own tenure as Archbishop that have been haunting the Catholic church and Christian educators throughout his homeland and neighboring lands this depressing winter.
Guener Yasemin Balci, author of ARABBOY: A Youth in Germany–or the Short Life of Rashid A., tells about her Childhood in Berlin
Guener Yasemin Balci is author of ARABBOY: Eine Jugend in Deutschland oder Das kurze Leben des Rashid A. ( Frankfurt am Main: S. Fisher Verlag, 2008, pp. 287.) ARABBOY is a controversial book describing the alienation of recent Middle Eastern immigrants to Berlin and Germany. The book offers new insights into the culture of victims and perpetrators, a theme which has marked modern German history.
Early-on, Guener Yasemin Balci was raised in the socially and economically troubled neighborhood in Berlin known as Neukoelln. In her late teens and early 20s, Balci returned again to the neighborhood of Neukoelln, in order to try her hand as a social worker and exponent for neighborhood education and development. In ARABBOY, Balci tells the troubling, shocking, and moving story of a boy named Rashid, of Lebanese-Palestinian descent–and of the Berlin inner city neighborhood that forged and eventually destroyed Rashid’s young life.
Although most of the tale is based on Balci’s own friends, acquaintances and contacts in the poverty-stricken multicultural Neukoelln neighborhood, it is written in novel-form, and Balci candidly admits that the main character, Rashid A., is based on a composite number of actual characters. Several of the supporting characters in ARABBOY are also composites. The title, ARABBOY plays on the SMS-, YouTube-, and internet “handle” that Rashid chose for himself early on. Rashid sees himself as “Arabboy 44”, which means that in his neighborhood, there are certainly many Arab boys about. Likewise, most of Balci’s tale takes place in the midst of Arab gangs and Arab families in Berlin.
Balci, herself, is not Arab. As a child in Neukoelln, she saw herself as “Turkish”. Berlin, itself, is claimed to be the largest Turkish city outside of Asia—with approximately 200,000 Turkish or Turkish-German residents living in and around the German capital city. At home, however, Balci’s parents spoke in German to her and to her older siblings. She has written that until she was much older she didn’t really understand much Turkish and definitely did not know the language of her parents, known as Zaza.
Balci detailed the following in her self-introduction for ARABBOY, “My first years in primary school, I had also thought that we [my family] were Turkish. My parents spoke in a mysterious tongue that we children could not comprehend. Only later was I bold enough to enquire about the language. As I began to ask questions I learned that the language was known as Zaza [spoken by Dimili peoples of Persian ancestry].” That is, in Turkey, during her parents and most of Balci’s own childhood, “Zaza” like Kurdish had been a banned language in militarily-controlled Turkey.
Balci added, “Zaza was one of numerous minority languages that Turkey were banned from speaking through the 1980s. To the Zaza language belongs an entire culture—all of its very own [i.e. separate from the Turkish culture that many Germans have come a bit to know during the recent post-WWII decades]. The Ataturks had sought to destroy these cultures [and the memories of these cultures]. In order to protect us children [from abuse], my parents had decided not to teach us Zaza.” Incidentally, it is claimed by some linguists that the Dimilis migrated first to the Caspian Sea from the Tigris River, i.e. the cradle of civilization, and then later on to Western Turkey over the millennia.
Likely, due to the childhood abuses in Turkey inflicted upon her parents, Balci’s father determined that his own children must try to become as multicultural as possible—even though early on, he and his wife had been interested in returning to and living in Turkey. Balci noted, “ As a child I was often angered by my father’s decision to send me to a Catholic Kindergarten in Berlin. My father was always too friendly and too quick with a good or complimentary word for the Germans. That kindergarten became a place for dread and fear for me. As would happen to me in German public schools and universities, I would be seen immediately as Turkish—although then I hardly spoke a word of Turkish. My mother tongue was German.”
Balci’s parents had been among the first waive of Turkish immigrant labor in the early 1960s. So, unlike many of the Middle Eastern arrivals of later years, not many of her parents generation had seen themselves as political victims or exiles from their homeland. These first generation of settlers had seen themselves (as had the German government) as temporary or “guest workers” who would return to their homeland one day. This is in contrast with many later German refugees–and characters created by Balci in ARABBOY. For example, Rashid A.’s household had come from a Palestinian refugee family from Lebanon via Turkey to Germany in the 1980s.
Balci definitely benefitted from her father’s push to have all his children make as many friends from different cultures as possible. By the time she entered primary school, Balci was doing quite well academically, and, of course, her German skills were much better than in many other Turkish households in Neukoelln. Otherwise, Balci noted, she would have ended up in the so-called “Turkish classes” of her local public schools in Berlin. Balci explained, “[Turkish classes] were seen by her and her peers as a sort of Losers Club. For such a class, a Turkish born teacher was hired—this person, often, could hardly speak any better German than his own students. This teacher also treated his classroom dictatorially and further broke down the self-confidence of many would-be students [and new-Germans].”
Balci noted, “Apparently, this entire ‘Turkish class’ was intended as a program of Turkish immersion, so that the Turkish-German youth could be assisted in eventually becoming resettled back into their parents Turkish homeland some day. However, these [second generation] Turkish kids simply stayed in Germany. When I see these same ‘Turkish class’ students today, I find them selling vegetables in the market or working at doener kebab stands around the city.” Obviously, they had not been prepared to do anything else than that in the German society. In short, the bar had been set too low for them.
It was onto such a situation that the later-comers, Arabs from the Middle East would also find themselves upon their arrival in Neukoelln over recent decades. Many had initially been housed together in big groups, whereby soon Arab ghettos were born. As in many marginalized neighborhoods around the globe, where the stakeholders gain little from the richer and more powerful local and national system of governance, the heroes of the day for Neukoelln boys were often either sports stars, rap stars, or gangsters.
Balci’s family moved out of Neukoelln during the last part of the 1970s—i.e. just before, most of the Germans and many non-Muslim & non-Middle Eastern neighbors moved out of the area. ( However, because it is still one of the more inexpensive parts of modern Berlin, Neukoelln still draws partying crowds from throughout the area.)
Balci wrote: “As my parents, three brothers and sisters, and I left [Neukoelln’s] Rollerberg Quarter in 1978, no one could have predicted all the changes over the coming few years. That is, no one would have predicted the enormous unemployment and the leaving of most all German families. This was accompanied by waves of violence and crime in the following decade. At that time [i.e. 1978], I had many German friends, Turkish friends, Yugoslavian friends, Greeks . . . .—my father had encouraged me to make as many friends and contacts as possible. He explained that it would help me and the entire family to assimilate better. However, not all Turkish families thought this way, nor did all German families. They [i.e. the Germans as well as many Turks] seemed to prefer living amongst themselves in Berlin. Both groups were afraid to lose their culture and sense of identity as to who they and their cultures are [or were]. They wanted to hone their own languages . . . ”, etc.
Balci is very multicultural and multi-talented. Throughout her first novel, Balci played on many different genres in literature and film. It is, therefore, not surprising that along with studying social work, Balci studied literature and has worked in radio and TV in recent years. Therefore, allusions to film and other literary works and authors are loaded into the ARABBOY tale. At first glance, many of the inner city trouble makers seem to march out of Bertoldt Brecht dramas, short stories, or musicals. Brecht had, of course, lived out the last decades of his life in Berlin.
Likewise, ARABBOY makes numerous allusions to documentary fiction and non-fiction. For example, the Berlin world of Christiane F. of WIR KINDER VON BAHNHOF ZOO
fame is quite obvious in both title and characterization of modern Berlin’s underworld of children pornography, youth prostitution, violence and rape. (In English, BOTH the documentary novel and film of same name are known by the title Christiane F., i.e. not WIR KINDER VON BAHNHOF ZOO or WE CHILDREN OF TRAIN STATION ZOO. Yes, this is the same Bahnhof Zoo written and sung about BY U-2.)
Set in the late 1970s, the quasi-non-fictional work WIR KINDER VON BAHNHOF ZOO had been published by STERN magazine journalists, by Kai Hermann and Horst Rieck, on the lives of Berlin inner city drug addicts and prostitutes. The main protagonist had been 14-year-old Christiane F. (now known by her full and real name Vera Christiane Felscherinow). Christiane F., like Rashid A., is a drug addict involved in prostitution. Likewise, whereas Rashid A. was more interested in rap music, the docu-novel with Christiane F. focused on the music of David Bowie, who lived in and produced music Berlin at the time. Continue reading
Tell Congress and the President to make the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act a Top Priority Today!
Tell Congress and the President to make the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act a Top Priority Today!
How many of you have been in a similar position to the family described in this recent email from MOM’S RISING?
I know I have been in a similar situation.
Nearly 17 million U.S. children (almost 1 out of every 4 children) faced hunger at some point last year.
That is a staggering statistic. But for MomsRising member Yvonne, it’s much more personal:
“My sister, the mother of 2 preschoolers, has track marks up and down her arms. Last July both she and her husband lost their jobs. Although they applied for every job they saw, she didn’t find a job until late November–and then only a part-time one. My brother-in-law still hasn’t found one. The track marks? My sister, my wonderful sister, gives plasma several times a week, earning $25 each time, in order to feed her family.”
We can’t let families like Yvonne’s face this recession alone.
Since I write at times under the name ALONE, I feel especially asked to speak out.
I would bet that even in the best of times 17 million adults in America find themselves looking for work under the conditions described below–even in the best of times. Now that the USA government and economy have failed us even more in the last years, the situation is worse. I imagine that at least 40 million adults have been in a similar position in the last year.
Sarah Francis, of MOM’S RISING, asks us: “Will you help by asking Congress and the President to Will you help by asking Congress and the President to make the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act a top priority today? http://momsrising.democracyinaction.org/o/1768/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=1018 http://momsrising.democracyinaction.org/o/1768/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=1018 ? Continue reading
I am stressed by the continually strict sentences of protestors active with SOA Watch have been receiving under a judge in Georgia. SOA Watch reported their stories in an email to me this week.
I respect non-violent witnesses or activists. I think you should consider protest the strict sentencing handed down by the Judge Faircloth, in Georgia, where Ft. Benning’s infamous torture and dictator training school has been for decades.
You can jail the resisters… but you can’t jail the resistance!
Prisoners of Conscience
The four courageous advocates who took action against the School of the Americas [SOA] this past November are in sites of the U.S. Government.
Nancy Gwin, a peace activist from central New York, reported to Danbury Federal Prison in Connecticut. Gwin will serve 6 months in federal prison for her nonviolent action to protest the School of the Americas. Gwin said the school’s closure would send a powerful message to Latin America. “To say, ‘We are closing this school to make an equal relationship with you,’” she said. “It’s a small step, but it says we’re looking for a new future.”
As Gwin reports, the fate of Michael Walli, remains unclear. Walli also participated in the action with Gwin and told Magistrate Faircloth that if he was released he would not return voluntarily to Columbus for trial this past January 25th. Faircloth issued a bench warrant for Walli’s arrest and this past Tuesday, March 2nd, Federal Marshalls knocked on the door of Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in Washington D.C. to take Walli into custody. After being held in the D.C. jail for three days, Walli was released on his own recognizance by D.C. Federal Judge Facciola. He was asked to return to court on March 12th to decide whether or not he will be transferred to Georgia to appear in front of Magistrate Faircloth. Faircloth is responsible for the harsh 6 month prison sentences of the other three advocates.
Franciscan Catholic Priest, Fr. Louis Vitale, was recently transferred from a county jail in Cordele, Georgia to the federal penitentiary in Atlanta. It is likely that Vitale will continue to be transferred, during his sentence, until he reaches a Federal Prison on the West Coast.
Ken Hayes, an SOA Watch National Council member, has also heard from the federal government and is scheduled to report to prison on March 16th. Hayes, 60, is a long-time peace and justice activist from Austin, Texas and a leader in the local Austin SOA Watch group.
The action of the SOA Watch 4 gives us hope and inspires us to do all we can to close the School of the Americas once and for all.
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Our mailing address is: SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, D.C. 20017, USA
Our telephone: (202) 234 3440 Continue reading
Rep. Kucinich is invoking the War Powers Act, a vote is expected to come soon. Please call the Congressional switchboard 202-224-3121 and tell your Congressional Representative to support H. Con Res. 248
This message is sent on behalf of Carolyn (Rusti) Eisenberg, Steering Committee member and legislative coordinator of Historians Against the War.
This past Thursday, Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich introduced H. Con Res. 248 , a privileged resolution with 16 original cosponsors that will require the House of Representatives to debate whether to continue the war in Afghanistan. Debate on the resolution is expected early this week (week of March 8).
This Resolution would require the President to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2010. While unlikely to pass, significant Congressional support for the Kucinich measure would help build momentum for the budget battles to come. The White House is asking for $33 billion Supplemental to 2010 budget to pay for the increase in troop numbers, along with an additional $159 billion for FY 2011.
As of now, the Kucinich resolution lists as cosponsors John Conyers, Ron Paul, José Serrano, Bob Filner, Lynn Woolsey, Walter Jones, Danny Davis, Barbara Lee, Michael Capuano, Raúl Grijalva, Tammy Baldwin, Tim Johnson, Yvette Clarke, Alan Grayson, and Chellie Pingree.
Because Rep. Kucinich is invoking the War Powers Act, a vote is expected to come soon. Please call the Congressional switchboard 202-224-3121 and tell your Congressional Representative to support H. Con Res. 248. Continue reading