Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Paedophilia and the Edathy Case

by Katrin Thu Feb 20th, 2014 at 05:22:25 PM EST

Whenever a criminal case is widely reported, there are calls for new laws. These calls are justified with the argument that we must prevent another crime of that sort. Well, we can't. Laws get broken, even if they are ethically sound and well formulated. Even if you alter the law with each case of children being abused in order to produce child porn, you can't prevent all abuse. The proposals often are an emotional response, not a rational one, and I doubt that many people who express an opinion that the law must be altered know what exactly the law is.

Those who do often have an ulterior motive they rather don't talk about. There are ideas around that crime can be prevented with enough surveillance and by the right algorithms. Ultimately that is the rationale of the signature strikes: men who move around in a car with other men in Yemen most likely are terrorists. A man who buys pictures of naked children most likely will buy child porn too. Readers of leftist sites will call for violent protests.  

The most emotional reactions are triggered off by cases or allegations of child abuse and child porn as in the case of Edathy. The discussion of this case mixes so many different concepts that I no longer know what we are talking about, and I have tried to clarify some definitions (and the difference between sexual preference or desire and sexual behaviour) and norms.  

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On Minority Rights and on Beliefs

by Katrin Sat Feb 1st, 2014 at 04:33:31 PM EST

There seems to be some confusion about the term minority rights. It is used for the rights of national or ethnic minorities. In Europe these only exist for recognised minorities, so nation states largely are free to decide on their own if (and to which groups) they want to concede minority rights. Gives a new meaning to the term 'rights'... In the case of national or ethnic minorities there are some collective rights: without some rights to language and culture the group's existence as a group would be at risk. Secondly, the term is used for the protection of persons against discrimination for their race, religion, etc. Important difference: this protection starts with the individual. There is even a third use: the rights of the opposition in a parliamentary system, especially a weak one as currently in Germany, are sometimes formulated in terms of "minority rights". I wonder how much this confusion contributes to the fear minority rights apparently cause. There are widespread fears of a minority having more influence than their size would suggest, and this fantasised influence is damaging society as a whole. It doesn't matter much which minority we are talking about, because enmity of different groups is related anyway.

We tend to think that these fears and prejudices are the playground of the right wing, but this is not true as surveys taken before and after the economic: Islamophobia on the right wing is already high and stagnating, it increases in the middle and in the left.

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A shift of sexual mores

by Katrin Wed Jun 12th, 2013 at 04:51:24 AM EST

Daniel Cohn-Bendit is very much attacked for some quotes on "erotic encounters" with children. This triggered off a discussion in today's newsroom. These encounters must have taken place in Frankfurt in the late 1960s or 70s, around the time of a huge reform of the German penal code regarding sexual offences.

To a contemporary reader it is inconceivable how anyone could express such an attitude. It is as if there wasn't a consensus that children's sexual behaviour is incompatible with that of adults, and that adults must not seek or permit "erotic encounters" (fascinating expression, found it in Wikipedia) with children. How could DCB fail to know that? Simple: the consensus wasn't there then.

A travel in time to 1974, to find out who or what was to be to protected by the laws.

front-paged by afew

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Snap elections in NRW

by Katrin Mon Mar 19th, 2012 at 04:57:29 AM EST

The Social Democrat-Greens minority government in NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia) state of Germany did far better than expected. Now they didn't get their budget through parliament, so there will be snap elections. The opposition's prospects don't look very well and it was very surprising that they didn't let the budget pass. That was suicide for fear of death.

[Friday] morning we discussed the polls in the Salon.

Here's an overview of polls since the last elections.

IM contributed these: Two instant polls:
SPD 37%, CDU 34%, Greens 13%, Pirates 6%, Left 4%, FDP 2%.
(ZDF's politbarometer)
SPD 38%, CDU 34%, Greens 14%, Pirates 5%, Left 4%, FDP 2%

front-paged by afew

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