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But ...seriously!
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-06-22 10:08:02
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The European leaders are insisting to make, or push, the Irish people to sign the Lisbon Treaty; a treaty they rejected in a referendum a few months ago. According to analysts, one reason for rejecting the treaty was a fear of immigrants invading the country, due to plans for a further EU expansion. Both the Irish people and the Government rejected this strongly. The Irish vote is the biggest remaining obstacle in the path of the Lisbon Treaty, not only because the treaty needs the European absolute consensus, but because the Irish negative vote influences states with doubts.

The immigrant issue and the growing European xenophobia hit Northern Ireland in the most dramatic way this week, with a hundred Romanian immigrants fleeing their houses in South Belfast, looking for refugee in a church when locals threatened their lives. Well locals they say, because rumor has it that it was a loyalist’s paramilitary group that was behind all of it. The irony is that the very same week the same loyalists’ paramilitary group decommissioned weapons as part of the general peace process in Northern Ireland.

This is sad, but it’s not the saddest of all the latest events on the European continent and in the European Union. Analysts are still trying to understand how come the winners of the last Euro-parliament elections are the representatives of the darkest side of European history: parties that come from the darkest moments of the last century, with the National Front in the UK, the True Finns in Finland, and the extreme right in Holland.  This doesn’t only embarrass the countries, but the whole European idea and the ideals it represents. By talking about security and faith, the winners used the system to win points in a Europe in crisis, and so… xenophobia and racism won.

Of course the real crisis, the one that takes unpredictable dimensions, is the one unveiling in Iran. Thousands of people are demonstrating in the streets of Teheran, with the state reacting in the only way dictators know how to react; with violence and the shutdown of information.

However, as China has learned, shutting down information in the era of internet and mobile telephones is something very difficult to achieve. Videos reach the west this way, showing the worst possible state brutality and unbelievable violence.
You might wonder if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad still wants to be the president, but then again… For him to resign would demand a certain dignity and a conscious… something this puppet and his masters seem to lack.

Another one lacking dignity, and whose words everybody was scared of, was Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, when he first visited the White House, suddenly occupied by a “Young, handsome and sun-tanned” President. The visit finished well, obviously thanks to the Prime Minister’s advisors, who kept his mouth shut.

But since we are talking about dignity, another person who definitely lacks dignity is a Swedish citizen, Frederik Colting, who dared to write and try to publish a sequel to the classic novel “The Catcher in the Rye”. Fortunately, where the Swedish justice system failed the American system won. A judge in the US has temporarily halted the publication, opening the door for further pursuit of the case. Salinger has every right to talk about copyright issues and it is our obligation to protect a book, which is the symbol and monument to contemporary literature and culture.

And yes there is the other side that combines all of the above; showing in the most offensive and the same time funny way the xenophobic, racist often prejudice, all the time gossiping and watching through the keyhole side of society…. and that’s Bruno, the new Sacha Baron Cohen’s character, who starts his career on the big screens this week all around the world.

The talented comedian has once more provoked our most secretly hidden instincts to look at ourselves, and he uses celebrities as the mirror.

A mirror that obviously South Africans are afraid to look into, since a recent survey proved that one in four men had raped someone. Nearly half of them admitted having attacked more than one victim, mainly while in their teens and mostly in gang rapes, and that because the rapes were considered a form of male bonding. After the xenophobia problems in South Africa, this came as a shock a nation that deserves its chances to a quiet future after a long and dramatic past.

In the future for bonding they can try football!

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Emanuel Paparella2009-06-22 13:57:21
"By talking about security and faith, the winners used the system to win points in a Europe in crisis, and so… xenophobia and racism won."

I am afraid that is not quite so, Thanos. They won not because they exercised their right to free speech (which includes that of publicly talking about one's faith in the public square, if one so wishes), but because some 57% of the electorate abstained from voting because they deemed it inconsequential and useless. When good men don't vote in a democracy, the bad men win by default. It is as simple as that, but the rationalizations and intellectual convolutions trying to explain away that simple fact, go on. The Iranian people who showed up at the polls with some 80% presence and then decided to defend that violated vote in the street, have something to teach the West in that respect.

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