The Real Power of Satire

Thank you Jan Böhmermann! The German comedian is now being threatened with prosecution. That has Turkish President and wannabe sultan, notorious Islamist Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, demanded. Böhmermann had made clear, in sort of poem which was broadcast in his late-night show (largely hidden in an offshoot of Germany’s second public service television broadcaster ZDF and immediately removed from the internet) what is allowed under German law, namely all kinds of satire, and what is not, namely blatant revile, or schmähkritik, in particular of a foreign government representative. So, after all and, in particular, under German law (based on rather obscure §103 of Germany’s legal code), it is not satire to call Erdogan, for instance, homosexual, a pedophile or a zoophile. Probably with a tiny dick. All that is not allowed.

But the real satire is that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who seems to get completely confused of all her recent turns,  has stepped in, in a telephone call with Turkish Prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, and called the poem in a hurry and quite obedient “intentionally transgressing”.

Well, enlightenment has always been transgressing.

12 April 2016 @ 9:10 am.

Last modified April 15, 2016.

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When Angela Merkel Changed Her Mind

In July last year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel shocked the public with a cold-hearted response to a Palestinian refugee girl who expressed (go to 0:30), in perfect German after having lived there for four years, her wish for a normal life including studying in Germany. Merkel noticed too late that her answer (“Das können wir auch nicht schaffen”, or “We can’t make it”) would create nothing else than utter despair. The girl started to cry and Merkel ineptly tried to comfort her. Respective videos of the awkward scene went quickly viral and, for a moment, completely deteriorated Merkel’s reputation.

Only a few months later, Merkel had changed her mind, restored her reputation as superwoman and cordially welcomed unprecedented numbers of refugees in particular from Syria. “We’ll make it” sparked hatred among far-right racist Pegida, in particular in East Germany where Merkel actually came from. It ultimately earned her London Times’ Person of the Year 2015.

Is that realpolitik or does it indicate that politicians may sometimes reflect on what went wrong and how it could be done better?

2 January 2016 @ 6:55 pm.

Last modified January 2, 2016.

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PEGIDA Shows its True Colors

With abhorrence I have followed the reincarnation of racism in Germany this year. Pegida (“Patrioten Europas gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes”, or Europe’s patriots  against Islamization of the Occident) has its origins in East Germany and, in particular, Saxonia, no-go area for all kinds of foreigners and first and foremost Muslims, where Muslims make up just 0.1% of the population. Inflammatory speeches on Monday demonstrations have led to dozens of shelters for refugees set on fire in recent months. Commentary sections of newspapers and social media have been flooded by hate speech, and all kinds of politicians trying to constructively tackle the refugee situation in Germany have meanwhile been aggressively targeted and in cases subjected to death threats.

Pegida’s new hymn sounds homespun reflecting their members’ and followers’ simplistic mind set. It is remarkable that Amazon has announced that it will donate the proceeds of download sales to organizations and charities supporting refugees. Well, the song has meanwhile been offered free of charge by Pegida’s leader Lutz Bachmann.

Rather than demonstrating each Monday in front of Semper’s Opera House, the people of Dresden are well-advised to visiting once more Mozart’s Il Seraglio next year.

31 December 2015 @ 10:01 am.

Last modified December 31, 2015.

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Obama’s Drone War Drives Terrorism

What has been a concern for many years, namely that Obama’s (who infamously had bragged that he was “good at killing people”) largely expanded drone war with its disproportionate number of civil casualties, has been addressed by four former US air force service members in an open letter to President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter, and CIA Director John O. Brennan. The drone war drives terrorism and ultimately serves organizations like ISIS (Daesh).

One whistleblower signatory is well known, Brandon Bryant, who has spoken out some time ago after not being able to carry on his murderous business anymore. He was recently awarded with a Whistleblower Award by Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler (Federation of German Scientists) and the German Section of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms. See their statement here [pdf].

The other whistleblowers having signed former Staff Sergeant Bryant’s open letter are airmen Cian Westmoreland, Stephen Lewis and Michael Haas. They are legally represented by Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project, who has legally represented, among others, NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake.

If so-called western values are time and again emphasized in the fight of terrorism, eventually drone assassinations as largely unsuitable means of targeting certain individuals with unacceptable collateral damage, be it horrendous numbers of civil casualties or resulting in suicide terror operations like that in Paris last week, has to be debated publicly.

As Bryant and his comrades write,

“We cannot sit silently by and witness tragedies like the attacks in Paris, knowing the devastating effects the drone program has overseas and at home.”

19 November 2015 @ 7:40 am.

Last modified November 19, 2015.

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Solidarité – But Not With Hollande

Paris attack

While thoughts are with and prayers for mass murder victims, survivors and surviving loved-ones of the second Islamist terrorist attack on Paris this year, concern must be expressed as regards French president François Hollande’s claim of a “war declaration” by these maniacs. Daesh (or IS, ISIS) is a terror organization, as was, or is, al-Qaeda which have essentially been created by Bush junior, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, when indirectly supporting widespread export of Saudi Wahhabi Salafism. When Bush junior, a Christian fundamentalist “new-born”, has opened Pandora’s box when invading Iraq with his coalition of the willing. Ostensibly spreading Democracy in brazen violation of international law.

French contributions in the current frenzy in Syria/Iraq has comprehensively been compiled here. So, reaction follows action, and so forth.

What Hollande might want to say is that NATO has to step in. But Bush’s global war on terror is not and must not become a world war. That’s what murderous Islamist fundamentalists may desire, an apocalyptic clash of two religions. As regards determined secular France, that’s a misconception anyway.

This war has to end, not perpetuated.

As regards revelations by whistle-blower exiled Ed Snowden years ago, has Orwellian surveillance of each and every citizen ever prevented a terrorist attack of this kind?

15 November 2015 @ 7:10 am.

Last modified November 15, 2015.

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