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Zanzibari depressions

by jandsm Sun Nov 27th, 2005 at 12:55:19 PM EST

from the front page. Powerful first hand testimony. Jerome

I am writing an article right now for the Afrika Post - a German quarterly on African affairs, in which I am supposed to comment on the recent elections on the islands of Zanzibar. I am taking a break, because it is too painful to continue at the moment. This may sound strange, but writing on the Tanzanian election 2005 means to think again of the Tanzanian election of 2000 - an event that ruined my life for a long time. It is - strangely - easier to write a diary about it. So, I give it a shot and I promise it'll be interesting and informative.

In 2000/2001 I was on an exchange programme of my University in Hannover with the University of Dar es Salaam. One month after I arrived in Dar, the elections took place.

Read more... (11 comments, 2461 words in story)

100 questions for Angela Merkel

by jandsm Fri Nov 25th, 2005 at 02:27:59 PM EST

One of the funniest features of Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung are Moritz von Uslar's "100 questions to..." interviews. The aim is to get 100 answers in the shortest possible period of time from a celbrity. The questions are always a surprise. He interviewed Hillary Clinton, and many others. The interviews are usually highly amusing, sometimes they escalate to a point when the celebrity just leaves, screaming wildly.

In 2000, Moritz von Uslar played the 100 questions game with Angela Merkel, then just 1 year in office as party leader of the CDU. The SZ re-published the interview on today. Because it is amusing, I translated it for you. At least, I tried my best...

It reveals a lot about this strange person that is set to become one of Europe's dominant political figures in the next years.

Read more... (1 comment, 1969 words in story)

New EU report on racism and xenophobia

by jandsm Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 12:22:39 PM EST

The EU's official European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia EUMC published its annual report on the state of racism in the EU today.

The results are not good at all. A complete overview about the report can be found [here]

The full report (.pdf --> p. 81) gives an overview on the numbers of racist and xenophobic attacks in the EU:

  1. Great Britain: 52.694
  2. Germany: 6.474
  3. France: 1.565 (incl. 970 anti-semitic)
  4. Denmark: 24

For the other member states, no new numbers are available. Still I regard these numbers as an indicator how serious we should take this issue - just as Jêrome pointed out in his earlier diary.

Additionally, I thing this is a great example how many good things the EU bureaucracy can do.

Comments >> (15 comments)

Bush and Blair discussed bombing al-Jazeera

by jandsm Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 03:33:18 AM EST

According to an offical memo, leaked to the british tabloid Daily Mirror, U.S. president George Bush and British Prime minister Tony Blair, discussed bombing al-Jazeera headquarters in Doha:

PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a "Top Secret" No 10 memo reveals.

But he was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair, who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash.

A source said last night: "The memo is explosive and hugely damaging to Bush.

Falk AdSolution

"He made clear he wanted to bomb al-Jazeera in Qatar and elsewhere. Blair replied that would cause a big problem.

"There's no doubt what Bush wanted to do - and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it."

A Government official suggested that the Bush threat had been "humorous, not serious".

But another source declared: "Bush was deadly serious, as was Blair. That much is absolutely clear from the language used by both men."

Read more... (40 comments, 676 words in story)

The Survivor

by jandsm Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 10:54:56 AM EST

Today, Angela Merkel was sworn in as Germany's first female chancellor. Thus, she became the most powerful woman in German speaking Europe since Maria Theresa of Austria

Here is how H.A. Schult painted her, according to the FAZ

Now help us god!
This is a diary to share thoughts on this strange but historic day

Comments >> (2 comments)

Good bye, Gerhard Schröder

by jandsm Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 04:18:14 AM EST

From the front page ~ whataboutbob

Gerhard Schröder is about to leave his office as Germany's 7th post-war chancellor. Time for a farwell I have fought against his re-election proudly, but I have to admit I will miss him. Next wednesday, if Angela Merkel gets a majority on tuesday in parliament [not so sure, yet (in German)], will be the first day since 1990 that I will not have been governed by Mr Schröder who was also my Prime Minister in Lower Saxone.

Today again, he managed to make me laugh out loud and wholeheartly: every outgoing chancellor gets a huge military ceremony (Zapfenstrech) when he/she leaves the office. Soldiers will march and the Bundeswehr - Band will play some traditional military music and the national anthem.

Yet, every chancellor is allowed to add 3 songs to the programme and Schröder's selection says a lot about him ans his chancellorship:

  • Frank Sinatras "My Way"
  • Gershwins "Summertime"
  • Berthold Brechts: "Mack the knife"

Read more... (34 comments, 1035 words in story)

Lazy Sunday Diary

by jandsm Sun Nov 20th, 2005 at 08:41:42 AM EST

From the diaries by Jérôme. Go below for glühwein recipes...

Politically and analytically, this diary is intended to be a waste of cyberspace: I just wanted to open up a room for all those things you always wanted to talk about, but are completely news unrelated.

Read more... (13 comments, 797 words in story)

Countdown Germany: Day -34

by jandsm Mon Aug 15th, 2005 at 03:23:34 AM EST

As Saturday concluded correctly, it was a very slow news day. This in itself is actually news: just one month away from the federal election, there is no debate on the issues the campaigns should be about, i.e. unemployment, economic strategies, civil rights... Yet all we got are a series of gaffes and intimidations. Can there be a clearer signal for the crisis of Germany's ruling political elite?

Anyway. Today:

  • Stoiber wants a duel - and reveals his true strategy
  • Legal Experts want to challenge the election in court anyway
  • History Monday: the 44th birthday of the Berlin wall
  • Movie review

Read more... (9 comments, 790 words in story)

Countdown Germany: Day -36

by jandsm Sat Aug 13th, 2005 at 04:42:56 AM EST

Today, the chancellor Gerhard Schröder starts the Social Democrats campaign for the still uncertain election on September 18, 2005. The chancellor, accompanied by the party chairman, Franz Müntefehring comes to Hanover today for the central opening event of the campaign. 1 km away from this epicenter of German politics, I am sitting eating breakfast and, looking through the window, have to tell you that the chancellor at least lost is luck with the weather. It is a cloudy and gray stereotypical lower-saxon winter-day out there. I intend to understand this as a metaphor.

Just a few things today:

  • Federal Election Commission on the legality of the Linkspartei
  • Stoiber still in trouble
  • Holger Pfahls goes to jail in Germany's biggest 'corruption' scandal - or maybe not.
  • What really matters today

Read more... (6 comments, 954 words in story)

Countdown Germany: Day -37

by jandsm Fri Aug 12th, 2005 at 03:35:24 AM EST

German politics is still largely in the summer break, leaving the giant infrastructure of national media with very few things to report about. Thus, when anything happens it gets ten times the normal amount of coverage. Every year the Germans speculate who will fill the so-called "Sommerloch" (summer hole). This year, Edmund Stoiber filled a big part of it, by questioning the German Unification, embarrassing his party, infuriating a part of Germany inhabited by more voters than Bavaria - with only 3 sentences.

Ambrose Bierce nailed it nearly a hundred years ago:

Politician: An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When we wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive." Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Today's stories:

  • Retiring Age: 70?
  • The South-North Divide
  • New Polls: The right stays ahead
  • The pope at the horizon
  • Fun

Read more... (5 comments, 1165 words in story)

Countdown Germany: Day -38

by jandsm Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 04:04:56 AM EST

Promoted by Colman. Our very own German election news service. Excellent!

Germany is little more than a month away from new elections. The nation is gripped by..... well, a debate why the weather this summer is so bad and how happy anyone is about the start of the Bundesliga session.

This close to the federal, one would to expect more excitement, but so far, it isn't happening. But things may change from now on: campaigns are kicking off next week. The chancellor starts this saturday in Hanover, which happens to be my hometown. Angela Merkel, who managed to lose that all important aura of inevitability, will present her "team of competence" (Kompetenzteam) next week - or what is left of it (more below)

Thus, I want to kick of a daily news round-up in the German elections. Today in the news:

  • Or may be not: Supreme Court won't decide fast
  • Bavaria: Stoiber versus the East
  • Wishful thinking: CDU/CSU aims at 45 percent
  • Germany's exploding deficit
  • Tasteless sausages
  • Funny stuff.

Read more... (12 comments, 1076 words in story)

Germany's changing political landscape

by jandsm Mon Aug 8th, 2005 at 08:45:08 AM EST

Promoted by Colman: this diary, and the comments in it, are too good to miss.

The Federal Republic is currently expecting a massive shake up of her political system. As many of you are probably aware, national elections are expected for September 18, 2005.

This in itself is unusual. The current 15th Bundestag - the German parliament - was elected for four years in 2002. Under the German constitution, called Grundgesetz ("Basic Law"), parliament cannot be disolved by the chancellor like i.e. the British parliament can dissolved by the Brititsh prime minister at any time of poltical convenience.

The constitution provides for the possibility of new elections, in article 68, but only under very specific and limited circumstances. The chancellor has to lose a vote of confidence in parliament. Then the president can chose to dissolve paliament.

Much of the debate in Germany was focused on the constutionality of the presidents decision to accept a faked vote of no confidence and the chancellors wisdom to go for new elections when he was at 25 percent in the polls. Still Germany's supreme court in Karlsruhe could stop the proceedings, most likely triggering a constitutional reform.

These debates miss the point. Regardless the question whether Germany will vote in September, we are seeing the manisfestation of a change in the German political sphere. I will argue below the break, why I believe these are much more important for the rest of Europe than currently expected.

Read more... (42 comments, 2398 words in story)

European Network of Genocide Scholars

by jandsm Tue Jun 14th, 2005 at 06:35:45 AM EST

I noticed some people on this blog care a lot about Dafur and other cases of genocide and human rights abuses. Some were also looking for more information on the issue in general.

I am a member of the European Network of Genocide Scholars (ENOGS). Together with a friend I set up the new website of this organization in which many European and international renowend experts on genocide studies take part.  

In case you are interested, please visit enogs.com.

For those of you who are new to the topic I especially recommend the Bibliography, compiled by Adam Jones of Yale University.

Of course, everyone interested to join the network is very warmly welcomed.

Comments >> (4 comments)
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News and Views

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by Oui - Feb 28, 186 comments

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