Polish commemoration of the liberation of the concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau

Could it ever be imagined that in a short span of less than 10 years, more than 11 million people have been locked up just to be exterminated?

Jews, Roma, communists, mentally disabled, non-Trinitarian Christians, but also Catholic priests and nuns and members of the nation’s underground resistance against the German occupation, political activists, a.o. were tattooed, hosed down, sheared of their hair and were apprehended to do forced labour in shifts of 12 hours, to be experimented on whilst most withered away before ending up in the crematoria.

A still image from the ‘Chronic of liberation on KL Auschwitz’ film made by Soviet army cameramen showing an aerial view of the Auschwitz II-Birkenau in Brzezinka, Poland, in January 1945

Last Monday elderly Holocaust survivors gathered, for what could be the last time for them, to remember days of horror, but also that incredible day when 75 years ago they saw Soviet troops coming to the gates of their torture camp in Oswiecim, southern Poland, the concentration and death camp where Nazi Germany killed more than 1.1 million people, most of them Jews.

Israel held a high-profile Holocaust forum marking the liberation anniversary in Jerusalem on Thursday, seen as rivalling the event in Poland.

While senior figures such as US Vice President Mike Pence, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin were in Jerusalem, none of them seemed it appropriate to come to Poland.

The main guests of the commemoration were the 200 invited Holocaust survivors, who – disregarding the usual protocol – were able to occupy the front row at the commemoration event, ahead of the 61 foreign delegations, including more than thirty heads of state and government, as well as members of royal families.

 

Polish President Andrzej Duda at 75th birthday of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau

The event in Poland was opened by Polish President Andrzej Duda, who was not invited to speak at the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, declared:

“We are paying our respects to the six million Jews murdered in Auschwitz and elsewhere.”

Israel has said it didn’t offer Duda a speaking role because his country was not among World War II’s liberating nations. It said the German president was also being allowed to speak to take responsibility for the perpetrators.

Duda stressed the need to preserve Auschwitz’s memory so that

“the Holocaust, the extermination of the people in world history would never be repeated,”

and pledged on behalf of Poland to preserve the memory of what had happened during the Second World War.

The KL Auschwitz I camp in Oswiecim, Poland, pictured in 1945 after liberation by the Soviet Army. Auschwitz today is seen as an emblem of evil, a site of historical remembrance and a vast cemetery. It is a place where Jews make pilgrimages to pay tribute to ancestors whose ashes and bones remain part of the earth.

At the Polish commemoration several survivors could bring memories of those days when they tried to survive and to stay a human being, keeping up with hope.

75th Anniversary of Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp Liberation

The Polish-born Israeli poet Batsheva Dagan, who had to sort out the belongings of those killed in Auschwitz, remembered she was holding Hungarian clothes, and even found a picture of one of her teachers from Lódz among the belongings of her fellow prisoners.

The inside of the wooden barrack at KL Auschwitz II-Birkenau in Brzezinka, Poland, pictured in 1945. As the war progressed Birkenau was created for the mass killing of Jews and others who were transported there from across Europe

A Jewish historian from Poland, Marian Turski, and Stanislaw Zalewski, a Polish political prisoner who also survived Auschwitz, tried to those gathered at the gates of their hell, which today endures as the leading symbol of the terror of the Holocaust, to give a picture of what they endured in that place and how they tried not to become like animals.

Speeches of the survivors were followed by Roland S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), who talked on behalf of the organization.

The years going by fast, have brought a lot of extra documents and witnesses. It’s also clear that the volume of testimony has grown enormously in recent decades: the USC Shoah Foundation’s collection, for instance, now includes tens of thousands of video testimonies from Holocaust survivors and witnesses. So there’s a lot of material to go through, to try to put together some of these puzzle pieces and create a whole picture of the Holocaust.

But we should place everything in context and have a clear picture of what could bring our world so far to let such horror to happen. Only by knowing the history of what happened before and what were the effects of the aftermath of World War I and by keeping the remembrance as part of the necessity to keep this in the collective memory, we shall be able to safeguard our society so that such an inhuman event would not happen again.

+

Preceding

Black page 70 years Release – commemoration Auschwitz

++

Additional reading

  1. Seventy-five years ago on January 27
  2. the Soup will not be eaten as hot as it is served
  3. 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz
  4. The price of freedom
Posted in B4Peace, History, News and Politics, Visuals (Video, Photo, Cartoon), Warning, Welfare and Health, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2019 was #4 a Year of much deceit in Belgium and the rest of Europe

Belgium has had already its Black Sunday long before a bleak period came over the United States by fear mongering having succeeded and getting a bugaboo a victory.

Lots of people were caught in the nets of influencers like Bella Hadid, Kylie Jenner and Meghan Markle, not noticing how they were bombarded with advertisements by them. But several of the active influencers brought also dangerous diet plans on the market. We can wonder if they themselves are aware of their impact on food and drugs that others want to use or not want to use because of what they read?

On Facebook there were so many rumours and fake news stories going viral, it sometimes became very difficult for people to know what was real and what was fake. Because of many falsities sent out in the Belgian air, more people got sidetracked from thinking reasonable.  2019 was the year in which the Belgian radicalized at the polls. Elsewhere, too, there was a lot of contradiction, anger, and indignation.

Strangely enough certain politicians agreed with a lot of revellers that portraying Jews with hooknoses en black curls at carnival or Mardi Gras should be acceptable. Lots of people could not understand that a carnival float at a parade in Belgium could cause such commotion. There was an outrage for displaying giant caricatures of Jews sitting on bags of money.

**

The reaction on social media and in the press were very alarming. People even saying

The destroyers of civilisation don’t like exposure…

or

The truth hurts !

and

“They (meaning the Jews) better go to their own country”

or

Jews are not european, if they’re offended by this then they should go and live in israel.

Aalst Carnival before the event of 2019, was recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). After the condemnation by several Jewish organizations the “recurrence of racist and anti-Semitic representations” were at last found to be incompatible with UNESCO’s principles.

That the town’s mayor Christoph D’Haese did not see any harm in such presentation of Jews, shows clearly how even educated politicians do not recognise any more, important signals.

“Citizens of Aalst are done with the preposterous insults,”

D’Haese said in a statement to the press in December.

“Therefore we take the most honorable way out and we no longer seek UNESCO recognition for Aalst Carnival.”

Promising that there shall be more laughter in 2020 even more parading in caricature suits of Jews.

“The caricatures, like those of Der Stürmer, of Jews with a crooked nose and suitcases, are typical of the Nazism of 1939,”

Hans Knoop, as spokesperson for Belgium’s Forum of Jewish Organisations said.

Any person having some historical background training could see that this was not so innocent as some want us to believe. The carnival float featured the same imagery used to portray Jews in Nazi Germany. He and luckily also a few politicians from the left dared to say

“This was without any doubt anti-Semitic.”

and did not forget how in a previous year, some participants had worn SS uniforms, and several, last year, sang Nationalist Fascist songs. Also in 2019 in several places in the country neo-nazis had their parties going on, with Hitler saulte and so on. Sometimes we get the impression the Blackshirts are back in Belgium and lots of so-called Christian politicians are turning their eye.

It was not only in the town of Aalst, 25km (15 miles) from the European Parliament, that by grinning figures of Orthodox Jews standing on large piles of money were featured mockery was brought on another religion than Catholicism. What we could see and hear in Belgium the last twelve months was

“typical of Nazism of 1939”.

For sure, it was not only the highlighting of the “crooked noses” and “suitcases of money” used to portray the Jewish people. All the commotion around the carnival parades and about the economic and political debates of the situation in Flanders.

The Jewish community expressed itself with declaring

“At best, it is a disgraceful lack of discernment, especially given the rising context of anti-Semitism in our country and the world, at worst the reproduction of anti-Semitic caricatures worthy of the Nazi era.”

Before the election in M, lots of politicians spread all sorts of false things by which many started to believe those false sayings. Like by the Brexit poll, people like Farage and Johnson telling lots of lies, here in Belgium their friends and/or associates managed to spread similar lines, and got lots of people believing them. Falsehood or mendacity were king and queen for 2019.

Asked about the anti-Semitic nature of the float, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said:

“We stand firmly against all forms of anti-Semitism”.

We Europeans should remember what happened in Russia in the 19th century and in Germany and the rest of Europe in the first part of the 20th century. We may see lots of people taking this lightly, or laughing it away, but as it has been proved not to be a laughing matter.

“We do not have the luxury of taking this lightly… because we have the sad privilege of having experience how this ends,”

Margaritis Schinas said.

“In the last century, we saw it once and we know how this film ends – and nobody wants to see this film replayed.”

Though, to my great regret, I am not the only one who sees lots of similarities with the 1930ies and 40ies. I have knowledge of several of my religious friends to have chosen to leave this country because they were bullied not only openly on the street, but also because them getting all sorts of things in their letterbox.
Me too, got my portion of hate mails, by so-called Christians. Today it seems not done to have another opinion than the mainstream. All have to follow one line, and by preference the one that excludes people from other nations, colour or religion.

The problem for the 2019 election was that the majority of the politicians were not honest and tried to get as much voters as they could by taking ideas from as well as the extreme right as from, that what they call, extreme left. A good thing was that a lot of parties took over the ideas for social betterment from the Workers’ Party of Belgium PvdA (Partij van de Arbeid or Parti du Travail de Belgique, PTB; stylized as PVDA+/PTB-GO!) the only political party in Belgium that operates as a single Belgian party, in contrast to all other major Belgian political parties, which are either Flemish, Francophone or Walloon, or local. By taking over the demand of a minimum wage of 14€ per hour and a minimum pension of 1500€ per month, the right wing parties succeeded to take away voters from the left. Mainly they did further with false promises and by getting people believing their lies about immigrants and Muslims.

All those lies are now taking care that after so many months, we still have no government, and can find our country in a real mess, with a lot of people afraid to show their own nature, or to speak openly about their belief.

The “Aalst Carnaval” 2019 float’s appearance coincides with what many perceive to be a rising tide of anti-Semitism sweeping across Europe. Throughout the year there were incidents in Flanders and in France. In France and its northern border towns, several Jewish cemeteries have been desecrated in the previous as well as in the beginning of this year, while Germany has recorded a 60 per cent rise in violent attacks on Jewish people.

We are afraid it is not any more the UK Labour Party taking a soft stance on the subject. All over the continent and in particular East Europe there is an alarmingly growing popularity for extreme nationalism.

For the U.K. not only UKip and Labour are guilty of anti-Semitism. Three Conservative election candidates were also investigated over allegations of anti-Semitism. Sally-Ann Hart, Richard Short and Lee Anderson are facing claims relating to their social media use. In a way that is the advantage of Social Media that certain people do not keep it privately, but have everyone looking at their profile and postings. That way people can easily come to know the true writer behind a real or fake profile.

A Conservative Party spokeswoman said

“We are committed to stamping out the scourge of anti-Semitism in our society and supporting our Jewish community.

Jewish multi-billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who has given away £32bn, has been the topic of numerous fake news stories and conspiracy theories, many of which are anti-Semitic. He has become a bogeyman for the hard right.

Concerning the Islamophobia in the Tory Party, Boris Johnson has previously apologised for the “hurt and offence”.

For the Netherlands, Belgium and France several politicians are even willing to go so far, like Mr. De Winter did, by going to make fake video’s, putting shop boards in Arabic as if the streets are taken over by such billboards. With their fake news and lots of lies, show beasts like Tom Van Grieken, the populist parties have risen again out of the darkness of black Sunday.

For official cyphers we can only say they are way from the reality because lots of Jews and Jeshuaists just not dare to go to the police or to the national equality body in Belgium (Unia, formerly the Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities) which has a mandate to receive and handle complaints from members of the public pertaining to discrimination on many grounds. In 2018, it recorded 101 cases related to anti-Semitism, a significant increase compared with 2017, when it dealt with 56 cases relating to anti-Semitism. In 2018, the national equality body received significantly more complaints in relation to anti-Semitic verbal aggression and threats (8 complaints in 2017, and 20 in 2018), anti-Semitic incidents related to the internet (22 and 52, respectively), incidents related to Holocaust denial (21 and 31, respectively), and vandalism (7 and 10, respectively). The number of complaints in other categories (for example, letters or articles, media, violence) remained relatively stable compared with 2017.

Antisemitisme.be is the main civil society organisation that since 2001, has counted the sum of anti-Semitic acts committed throughout Belgium. The acts are recorded via a dedicated telephone Hotline 0498 913 913, as well as via info@antisemitisme.be and through daily contacts with the Center for Equal Opportunities and Fight against Racism, the public body responsible for combating racism and discrimination in Belgium, the Executive Office of Community Surveillance (Bureau exécutif de surveillance communautaire) and the Coordination Committee of the Jewish Municipalities of Antwerp (Coordinatie Komité van de Joodse Gemeenten van Antwerpen), with the support of the Israelite Central Consistory of Belgium (Consistoire Central Israélite de Belgique).

Jews and Jeshuaist were welcoming other people but not many did seem to know more about them or want to have contact with them.

Early in 2019, after yet another desecration of Jewish tombs and damage to shop windows of Jewish affairs, the Jeshuaist community with several Jewish groups in France and Belgium made a plea to stop the anti-Semitism and the Islamophobia.

In a few years time (from 2015-2019 the number of registered Jews in Belgium went down from 28000 to 2500).

For 2019 no official data is given yet, but a further increase is being noted. Because so many want to be silent or leave without notice some Jews and Jeshuaist made a public call to be not afraid to show Jewishness and wanted to see more menorahs at the windows, so other people could see their are more people who are connected with them and their religion. The very wellknown Chabad organisation did a lot of efforts to get their members being better known. All across Europe in big cities menorahs were lighted as a sign of hope and light in the darkness.

Joodse Gemeenschap’s embleem voor de Centraal Israëlitisch Consistorie van België – Emblem for the Jewish Central Consistory of Belgium

On December 26 a crowd gathered also in Tuxedo to celebrate the lighting of the 5th night of Chanukah with a celebration sponsored by Chabad. The shamash was lit by Tuxedo Town Supervisor Ken English. Rabbi Pesach Burston led a menorah meditation and memorial honoring the many victims, like they did in Antwerp in memory of the victims of Jersey City, upstate Monsey, New York, New Jersey and Poway. There were public  candlelights at the Antwerp Opera and in the België lei.

Nobody seemingly having objection against heathen symbols or pagan symbols being carried or placed in the parliament, many came to object Michael Freilich, the only Orthodox Jewish lawmaker in the Belgium Federal Parliament, lighting candles there on Hanukkah. Him lightening the menorah near a nativity scene has provoked angry reactions, including from members of his own party. He walked through the corridors to go to his own office where he lights the menorah in a smaller room were people also could see a Christmas tree and nativity scene, which for certain Christians celebrates the birth of Jesus, in the background.

**

Most negative reactions came from the rightwing parties Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) and N-VA (New Flemish Alliance), but also from Groen (Green). Pieter Boudry, another party representative of the N-VA, who wrote

“No religious clothes and symbols for politicians and civil servants.”

Freilich told the media that he did not pray while lighting the candles in the video, meaning the action was an expression of his tradition and not an act of worship, though one can wounder what an act of worship would have done harm. It might be called strange when nobody protests for the many Christmas trees which are an abomination in the eyes of real lovers of God (like Jews, Jeshuaists, real or non-Trinitarian Christians and Muslims). Freilich has good reason to reply

“If we allow Christmas trees and a nativity scene, the menorah is as similar a cultural Jewish heritage item and should not be banned.”

It is good to hear the political party CD&V, which stand for Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams (Christian Democratic and Flemish) and is a member of the European People’s Party (EPP) and Centrist Democrat International (CDI), agrees with this reasoning despite the objections of some of its members.

Pinar Akbas, wrote on Twitter

“Secularism is for everyone or for none at all.”

but seems to forget that all those Catholic symbols are allowed, though no symbols of other religions.

It all shows how the politicians in Belgium use different weighing measures and are clearly influenced and fearing by what a lot of people might think when they go against the Catholic mainstream (which realy has become a minority, the active Muslims being the biggest religious group in Belgium).

Michael Freilich lights Hanukkah candles in the Belgian Federal Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 19, 2019. (Michael Freilich)

In  several countries of Europe rabbis expressed the hope that until humanity redirects our path to love, respect and support, their community would at least do what they can to make them feel secure in the place that offers spiritual security, their Temple or Synagogue, and pleaded

“May 2020 open the door to a safer world, a better human race.”

In January 2020 it is 5 years ago the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie (I am Charlie) was trending as thousands posted messages honoured the victims in Paris. Many involved then complain not much is chained for the better, but lots is changed for the worse, having more censur now. For that (good) reason the message on the cover of the latest issue of the magazine Charlie Hebdo reads: “New censorship… new dictatorship.”

Twitter post by @VincentCespedes: [...] Souvent, je me demande ce qu’aurait pensé #Charb de ce fiasco d’après-attentats. Humaniste, communiste, on chantait l’« Internationale » à son enterrement... Qu’aurait-il dit de ces milliers de Français qui n’ont versé aucune larme, n’ont exprimé aucune compassion ? 👇

Image Copyright @VincentCespedes @VincentCespedes

Philosopher Vincent Cespedes wondered what Charb (Stéphane Charbonnier who was 47 when he died), would have made of the “fiasco” of the aftermath of the attacks. No lessons had been learned and divisions were deeper, he complained on the remembrance day.

Today, French comedians seem torn between insisting on the importance of being able to joke about whatever topics they wish and worrying about the consequences of doing so.

Today we can ask how many are willing to raise their voice against any sort of racism and who would like to call a halt to all those who keep spreading fals or fake news for getting people standing up against each other, be them religious or non-religious. 2019 Seemed more a year of

“Time not to speak about religious or politiacal ideas”.

Not many wanted to express what they realy believed or how they felt, though many did mention they were fed up with politics – and therfore did not want to talk about it.

Reporters Sans Frontières RSF Reporters Without Borders

Alongside its partners from civil society and gathering different types of stakeholder (States, online service providers, media organization and civil society) an indipendant organisation “Reporters sans frontières” RSF (Reporters without borders) became leading the creation of a new entity: The International Forum on Information & Democracy, in the hope to gather states, civil society, media and digital platforms to discuss through regulation and self-regulation solutions to ensure democratic safeguards in the digital era. For 2019 their impression is not a positive one, having noted the enormous increase of pressure to people and to journalists willing to write about the injustice done to others.

+

Preceding

Protest against Tzahal concert in Antwerp

Ambassador Gutman and the relationship between the inhabitants of Belgium

Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #3 Of the earth or of God

2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritualy

2014 European elections

Censor looming around the UK corner?

Yellow wave over Belgium

Not many coming out with their community name

2014 Religion

Being Charlie 4

Being Charlie 6

Being Charlie 8

French Muslims under attack

At the closing hours of 2016 #2 Low but also highlights

2015-2016 Religion

The fight against anti-Semitism is also a fight for a democratic, value-based Europe

Luca Jahier, EESC President on the present intolerance

Social media, sympathy & shocks

2019 was #1 a Year of Raising fire and voices

2019 was #2 a Year of much deceit

2019 was #3 a Year of much deceit in the News World

++

Additional reading

  1. Certain people trying to stem freedom of speech
  2. 25 Orthodox rabbis issued a statement on Christianity
  3. The American clouds of Anti-Semitism
  4. Donald Trump after declining numbers of people victimised for their religion managed to increase the numbers again
  5. Speaking up and Celebration of Purim
  6. Seeds from the world creating division and separation from God
  7. What to do in the Face of Global Anti-semitism
  8. Apocalyptic Extremism: No Longer a Laughing Matter
  9. The Rise of Anti-Seminism
  10. If you’re going to be a hater, make sure you’ve done your homework.
  11. Incidents of hate have become commonplace in the U.S.A. anno 2017
  12. Dr. Miller looking at Jews in France
  13. Anti-Semitic pressure driving Jews out of Europe
  14. Growing anti-Semitism possible sign of certain times
  15. Jews In France Ponder Whether To Stay Or To Leave
  16. Quiz questions, views, left- and right-wing anti-Semitism
  17. Many members of Jewish community wondering if they are still welcome in Poland
  18. French rabbis of the suburbs confront anti-Semitism
  19. a Call to stop the growing anti-Semitism
  20. Numbers 10:10 Make Your Rejoicing Heard
  21. The danger of having less than 25 000 Jews in Belgium
  22. Historian Deborah Lipstadt Assesses the New Anti-Semitism
  23. Anti-Semitism in Austria 2018 study results
  24. Trump’s rhetoric is infusing a culture of Anti-Semitism
  25. Month of freedom and liberty with Independence Day or Deceived day
  26. A Quarter of Europeans are Still Antisemites
  27. Negative attitudes toward Jews in Europe
  28. To see more menorahs in the windows
Posted in B4Peace, Christendom, Crisis, Culture, Dagboek = Diary, Economy, History, News and Politics, Poverty, Religion, Visuals (Video, Photo, Cartoon), Warning, Welfare and Health, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

2019 was #3 a Year of much deceit in the News World

From the New World came the most amount of fancy stories in the year 2019. One can wonder how many people In the U.S.A. really believed all the nonsense or false stories Donald Trump produced from his mouth and from his department.

November 21, Donald Trump called himself the great man who opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texas

” that will bring high paying jobs back to America.”

In reality, the plant he toured has been manufacturing Apple’s Mac Pro computers for nearly six years. The tech giant considered shifting operations to China earlier this year but decided to stay put after receiving federal tariff exemptions.

The current president of the U.S.A. want the people to believe it was never so good in America. According to him never before were so many jobs created. In Belgium and some other countries we also can find other right wing populist politicians who want to have their nation to believe they’ve created the most jobs since years. In several of those countries many of those jobs are flexi-jobs or work for just a few hours, for which the employer does not have to pay so much tax, but gets the worker to find more jobs to be able to have a reasonable income to survive. such created jobs increased poverty and as such are a poison for the community.

In a Facebook ad that started running Nov. 14, the day after the first public hearing of the impeachment inquiry, President Donald Trump declared:

“Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and the rest of the corrupt Democrats made a promise to their crazy left-wing base that they would impeach me even BEFORE I took office.”

You can imagine how many journalists wanted to unruffle such a story. Several researchers, detectives and newspapers could find no evidence of the two California House members — Speaker Pelosi and impeachment inquiry leader Schiff — and other Democrats pledge to impeach Trump even before his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, joined by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., right, arrive for a news conference on Capitol Hill, Oct. 2, 2019 (AP)

PolitiFact writes about the matter

In December 2016, five Democratic senators, including 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, announced they would introduce a bill to require Trump to divest assets that could pose a conflict of interest in his role as president. They said the legislation would symbolically make violations of federal conflict-of-interest rules “a high crime or misdemeanor under the impeachment clause of the U.S. Constitution.”

But those are only examples of Democrats raising the possibility of impeachment — far short of promising to do it. And Pelosi and Schiff were not involved. {No evidence for Trump’s claim that Pelosi, Schiff promised to impeach him before he took office}

Disinformation has been the key-word and winning act for 2019.

“President Trump is changing Washington, creating 6 million new jobs, 500,000 new manufacturing jobs, cutting illegal immigration in half, obliterating ISIS, their caliphate destroyed, their terrorist leader dead,”

for example was one of the many advertisements sent into the American households living room by their little  or big television screen. Several times the ad narrator went on to attack Democrats for impeachment inquiry proceedings as well as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Donald Trump and other right wing politicians invested a lot in advertising and giving false information on social media. On such popular media, like Facebook and Twitter, people share millions of photos and videos every day. Facebook and Instagram got most photographs published and shared. Facebook admits that it is creating some of the most compelling and creative visuals on its platform, it receives also content that is manipulated, often for benign reasons, like making a video sharper or audio more clear. But there are people who engage in media manipulation in order to mislead.

Manipulations can be made through simple technology like Photoshop or through sophisticated tools that use artificial intelligence or “deep learning” techniques to create videos that distort reality – usually called “deepfakes.” While these videos are still rare on the internet, they present a significant challenge for the internet industry and society as their use increases.

The last few years there was so much fake news published and shared that across the world, Facebook by political pressure had to be driving conversations with more than 50 global experts with technical, policy, media, legal, civic and academic backgrounds to inform their policy development and improve the science of detecting manipulated media.

In this century lying has become the first known informational vehicle. Lots of people also show they have no ethics any more. Gross of those leading countries want to have full control. The control of the truth, the propaganda and the attempts to influence the opinion of the population goes beyond mere social networks and the term coined by the “fake news” in recent years. A real problem that has been in the containment plans of governments since the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal in 2016. And, now, it is linked between the plans of the Government of Pedro Sánchez.

As we kick off 2020, big tech companies are undoubtedly feeling the pressure of an election year and the responsibilities their platforms have in the dissemination of information. Even the microblogging service Tumblr, that still boasts hundreds of millions of monthly visitors, has plans to engage with its community, where it had uncovered a Russian disinformation campaign in 2018.

On Monday the 6th of January 2020, Tumblr announced a new digital literacy initiative in order to

“help empower its community and the next young generation of internet citizens recognize suspicious online activity and behavior.”

Perhaps we may think there still could be serious people behind those platforms who know money is not everything and know that they too can play an important role in bringing truth and in educating people. Tumblr wants its new initiative to act like a guide on how to achieve a positive and healthy relationship with social media and a resource that will help their users spread the word, according to Tumblr’s Director of Social Impact and Public Policy Victoria McCullough in a statement to the press.

“When discussing these kinds of themes, we wanted to be very authentic to Tumblr’s communities and the ways they interact with each other.”

Facebook took also matters in own hands to avoid being brought in front of court by having spread disinformation or having manipulated certain events. The new “manipulated media” policy of Facebook meant to curb the spread of deepfakes and misinformation on its gargantuan platform. And while the narrowness of the ban has already raised questions about its likely effectiveness, another perhaps more pressing problem has come to the fore: Politicians get a particular exception to the rule.

Tom-van-grieken-1410248556.jpg

Tom Jozef Irène Van Grieken, who was respectively active in the NJSV and the far-right Flemish nationalist student political group in Belgium NSV, eventually becoming National President of the NSV and current Leader of Vlaams Belang

Known media bad actors like Donald Trump, but also very smart manipulators who look not to be actors, like the show beast Tom Van Grieken ( the Belgian politician who has served as Leader of Vlaams Belang since March 2014), will be able to continue to post edited and manipulated media as long as said media is not in the form of a paid post and Facebook deems it somehow newsworthy. Similarly manipulated content, under the new policy, would be removed by Facebook were it not posted by a politician.

The extremist racist right wing party Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest, previously Vlaams Blok) and some other like-minded parties in Europe provided a huge income for Facebook in 2019, so they would not stop or turn-down such a goldmine.

House of commons (2018,p60) claimed that among the relationships in society, people are likely to build connection and willing to share common hobbies and opinions, which leads to the incredible fast spread of misinformation. Not only social factors, technology also makes this problem worse. The online digital environment makes the circulation of the content much easier and leads to a broader circulation of information ignoring its accuracy and intention.

The fake News on media platform has caused confusion about the basic facts of current events and people recognized that they have taken part in the process of sharing fake news online(Jang, S. M. & Kim, J. K., 2018) The most widespread use of social media to spread fake news has occurred in elections, because the platform allows candidates to influence the views of the majority with minimal cost. Making use of unrelated photographs and fraudulent captions, the politicians can change the result of the election.” (Campan, A., Cuzzocrea, A. & Truta, T.M., 2017)
(Jack,C.,2019,p3) {The role of social media in spreading fake news}

People on Facebook and Twitter too often forget that there are bad actors who want to bring fights in the world and want to set up people against each other. The ridiculous thing is when several social media followers like and share  certain sayings without seriously looking in to it. It was unbelievable what I sometimes could find shared on Facebook as if the saying or video was bringing the truth. Such sharing and the added comments could only help to escalate the situation and whipping people up into a frenzy with false yet sensational headlines and posts as their speciality.

We can only hope in 2020 people shall be more careful and verify information before sharing it.

In the meantime, when people are spending lots of time going from one Facebookposting to another, Tayyip Erdoğan and Donald Trump keep sharing interests (regards to a.o. a Trump Tower in Istanbul + entities close to the Turkish government have gotten in the habit of spending heavily at Trump properties in the U.S. Most notably, the American Turkish Council and the Turkey-U.S. Business Council have held multiple events at the Trump Hotel in D.C.) and keep mocking the world with their sick games, refugee kids and families.

With certain events one can only wonder how it is really. Could it not be considered “not a coincidence” that after President Trump acquiesced in President Erdogan’s request/demand that U.S. forces clear out, Turkish forces could come to bombard the Kurdish forces in Northern Syria?

The president of the U.S.A. seems not to mind what happened next after the withdrawal of American troops, to the allies in the fight against ISIS, betraying them so that he can protect his financial interests.

Trump’s entire foreign policy has been about Trump from the start. Special counsel Robert Mueller found that Russia sought to help Trump get elected, and Trump’s campaign welcomed the help. Going against Mueller now Trump is playing at being a double foreign agent—pushing the prime minister of Australia, among others, to gather information to discredit the Mueller investigation.
Meanwhile, even as Trump spews conspiracy theories about the Biden family, his own children are openly profiting from foreign deals. Eric and Don Jr. have projects in the works in Ireland, India, Indonesia, Uruguay, Turkey and the Philippines.

It shows in what a dirty world we have come.

+

Preceding

At the closing hours of 2016 #2 Low but also highlights

2016 in review Politics #1 Year of dissonance

A busy 2017 #3 Fake, gossip and real news

2019 was #1 a Year of Raising fire and voices

2019 was #2 a Year of much deceit in the U.S.A.

To protect our democratic system #1 Danger of fake and malicious social media accounts

To protect our democratic system #2 Online platforms

To protect our democratic system #3 To ensure the integrity of electoral processes

America’s hidden agenda and detention of children

Disinformation evolving threat

Defeating populism in the EU by education of the young people

To be continued

++

Additional reading

  1. Mountains of information, disinformation and breaking away
  2. Fake News Goes Back to the Garden of Eden says Pope Francis I
  3. We should all be writing
  4. The written, the spoken, and the audible a part of the soul and a blessing to humanity but also the trigger to those who love Crusades and the Inquisition
  5. Americans their stars, pretension, God, Allah and end of times signs #2 War on God’s Plan, Name and title
  6. Americans their stars, pretension, God, Allah and end of times signs #3 Cyberwars and prophesy
  7. Shall the American again being put to the test
  8. Do Governments and Nations Lie?
Posted in Dagboek = Diary, Economy, History, News and Politics, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

2019 was #2 a Year of much deceit in the U.S.A.

Since a few years some world leaders seem to have their hands on one stomach. They are really of the same kind, so their unity or similar speech should not surprise us.
Only problem is that so many people are carried away by their eloquence or ability to overwhelm others with their voice and attitude. Probably they had a lot of practice in their childhood were they developed their skills to keep others under control and to implement their will.
Nobody wants to be inferior to such personalities that have succeeded in becoming president of a great nation and who are convinced that they are the best world leader.

White House meeting on Wednesday 13 November 2019, between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and American President Donald Trump to resolve an issue that has badly strained relations between the two NATO allies.

The gentlemen Putin, Trump, Erdogan, Farage, Johnson are one-of-a-kind who know to twist the tongue like its suits them as a second nature. They also may call each other “very good friends”. One or the other may be angered for something the other did, like Putin being cross with America not taking sites of Assad, and Erdogan being angered at the U.S. for supporting the Kurdish forces it views as a threat and for refusing to extradite a Muslim cleric Turkey accuses of fomenting a 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan. But that are just forgivable differences. It was not like that with a lot of people who were given a particular job in ministerial departments but afterwards showed their disagreement with their boss and 45th president of the United States. In any case that president does as if he is of his proud record-setting turnover rate in his Administration.

On September 18, 2019, a reporter asked Trump about the lack of stability in his administration, particularly in DHS. He replied:

“We have acting people. The reason they are acting is because I’m seeing how I like them, and I’m liking a lot of them very, very much. There are people who have done a bad job, and I let them go. If you call that turmoil, I don’t call that turmoil. I say that is being smart. That’s what we do.” {Remarks by President Trump During Visit to the Border Wall | San Diego, CA}

The president also said he likes the word “acting,”

because it gives me great flexibility. {Remarks by President Trump During Visit to the Border Wall | San Diego, CA}

and that flexibility he used a lot. For him his acting and reacting is always in the interest of his own country. Concerning his intrusion and interference with foreign policy and foreign affairs he proudly announces every time.

We are doing it the right way. We’re doing it the smart way. It’s very easy to go in. We could go in in one instant. Just one phone call, we could go in. And we’ll see — and that might happen. That might happen. But we will — we will see what we will see.

In better times. Pres. George W. Bush naming John R. Bolton (left) to the post of U.S. ambassador to the UN, Washington, D.C., August 1, 2005; Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is at right.

For the people he fired, he often blame others not being able to work with them. One of his big excuses is to say others advised him to use those people, but he from set one was critical about them. Take John Bolton for example

I was critical of John Bolton for getting us involved with a lot of other people in the Middle East. We’ve spent seven and a half trillion dollars in the Middle East. And you ought to ask a lot of people about that.

lot of people disagreed with his ideas. And a lot of people were very critical that I brought him on in the first place, because of the fact that he was so in favor of going into the Middle East. And he got stuck in quicksand. We became policemen for the Middle East and it’s ridiculous. {Remarks by President Trump During Visit to the Border Wall | San Diego, CA}

Afterwards Trump is very handy to say

I’ve always felt that. I always felt it. From day one …

and in giving himself an excuse he repeats himself a hundred times.

Were a.o. to leave: Reince Priebus and Michael Flynn whose tenures may be considered by the shortest in the office’s history, with Michael Dubke and Anthony Scaramucci. Steve Bannon, who was asked for his immediate resignation on August 18 and went back to Breitbart News. John Bolton resigned amid disagreements within the Trump administration on Korea, Iran and Afghanistan policy. that working with First Lady Melania Trump was also not so easy got Mira Ricardel to know after reported disputes with her and with Defense Secretary James Mattis. Witnesses in the impeachment inquiry should have been warned by previous remarks of the dictator. Presidential advisor Fiona Hill with Tim Morrison could close their books, like Madeleine Westerhout who shared details of Trump family matters and Oval Office operations with reporters.

In a period full of lies and intrigues, on February 27, 2018, Hicks told a Congressional committee that Hope Hicks had told “white lies” on Trump’s behalf. The next day Hicks announced her intention to resign, effective March 29.
Those who attempted to disuade the president to do something he had in mind could follow the investment banker Gary Cohn who was against imposing import tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Trump wants the American people to believe his interest goes to the American economy and the Americans their jobs and well being. Therefore America needs armed interventions outside of America. Matters about climate change are deconstructive for economy and therefore global warming and the need to do something against it, is considered a joke, a lie from Europe and from scientists who know nothing about it. Strangely enough Trump has had a wall of grass bales built on the edge of his Irish golf course. This seemed to have happened to stop seawater crawling higher and higher. In the building application, Trumps golf company referred explicitly to scientific studies on global warming and rising sea levels.

According to the White House the American economy has come roaring back to life under President Trump. The stock market has hit record high after record high, helping more Americans build wealth and secure their futures, though when we see pictures from many places in different cities and in rural areas, we do get another picture. The government is proud to announce that through needed tax cuts and reform, the Administration will bring jobs back to their country. We hear of expanding apprenticeship programs, reforming job training programs, and bringing businesses and educators together to ensure high-quality classroom instruction and on-the-job training, but in real life there is not so much of it to see.

After many debacles at the end of 2019 the White House could proudly announced

As a result of President Donald J. Trump’s leadership, the United States reached a historic and enforceable phase one agreement with China that achieves progress on a number of critical fronts.

This historic agreement is a tremendous victory for the American economy – especially American farmers, manufacturers, and innovators.

The president saying

“We have agreed to a very large Phase One Deal with China. They have agreed to many structural changes and massive purchases of Agricultural Product, Energy, and Manufactured Goods, plus much more.”

All the time in 2019 we heard a lot of superlatives and had to believe everything in the United States was going super and Mr. Trump did everything to save the world. Though more than once, we in Europe kept our heart still, fearing worse things or even war could come unto us in the near future, by the lunatic actions of this incredible president, who still has so many sympathisers, because he can twist them around his finger easily.

Already in 2016 Mr. Trump was already buffetted by accusations of misconduct, but several adding cases of misconduct, fraud, threats and bribery did not seem to dare or harm him. Instead he took a more victorious body attitude.

It took until Monday the 16th of December 2019 for the House judiciary committee to release its report explaining that the charges it has levelled against President Donald Trump were serious enoug to start impeachement procedures. Justifications for deciding to charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress were laid out by Representative Jerry Nadler, chairman of the committee.
The report notes that unlike past presidents,

“Trump declined to attend any hearings, question any witnesses, or recommend that the Committee call additional witnesses in his defense.”

The verdict prompted Donald Trump to once again label the impeachment process a “sham” and a “hoax.” He retweeted dozens of posts from various accounts that sought to criticize democratic efforts to impeach him. He tweeted as @real Donald Trump

The Impeachment Hoax is the greatest con job in the history of American politics! The Fake News Media, and their partner, the Democrat Party, are working overtime to make life for the United Republican Party, and all it stands for, as difficult as possible!

The decision followed nearly three months of public and private hearings into whether Trump pressured Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden for Trump’s political gain. Trump is accused of withholding $391 million in military aide unless Zelensky agreed to help him. Trump also allegedly sought Zelensky’s help investigating the unfounded claim that Ukraine — not Russia — meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.

“One investigation was designed to help him gain an advantage in the 2020 election. The other was intended to help President Trump conceal the truth about the 2016 election,”

the report says.

In the previous decades other presidents had to leave office for less bad cases than can be counted on the curriculum vitae of this 45th president, who manages to make a mockery of him and his country.

Behind doors it is a wellknown fact that this “man of Trump” has exercised more than once the powers of his office to obtain an improper personal benefit while injuring and ignoring the national interest.

The report also said:

“… When the President weakens a partner who advances American security interests, the President weakens America.

“As to election integrity, American democracy above all rests upon elections that are free and fair. When the President demands that a foreign government announce investigations targeting his domestic political rival, he corrupts our elections. To the Founders, this kind of corruption was especially pernicious, and plainly merited impeachment.”

U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy testifies before a Senate subcomittee on elections and rules in an effort to link fellow U.S. Sen. William Benton to communism.

With all the lies this 45th president sent into the air, American democracy has only be in a similar danger in the Joseph Raymond McCarthy years when it was also a Republican who brought terror and false information over the American citizens. As Trump, that Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin in the beginning of 1950 could become the most visible public face of a period in the United States in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist subversion. In those horrible years for actors and teachers he managed with some others and the American Leage of Actors to spread lies about activities of several Jews and people who gained some public attention. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was the devil in the cubard at that time. Not just actors, but screenwriters, directors, musicians, and other American entertainment professionals were barred from work by the studios,finding them on the Hollywood blacklist.

It took also a long time before his smear tactics led him to be censured by the U.S. Senate.

Instead of keeping the 50 states of the United States of America, the current president seems to have created more distrust and division in the nation than ever before. Certainly him being a master in manipulating people and spreading lies about people of other faith and from other countries. His smearing and mocking not only made himself an object of derision, but made him to be the first professional scoffer who got the most important seat in North America.

+

To be continued

Preceding

  1. Russian government has the power to shut down any sort of organisation they do not like
  2. 2014 European elections
  3. 2014 Politics all over the world
  4. Fitting the bill in the North and in the East
  5. Refugee crisis, terrorist attacks and created fear
  6. Coming closer to the end of 2015 and the end for Donald Trump as presidential candidate
  7. Summary for the year 2015 #1 Threat and fear
  8. In 2016 I asked already: Are United States of America citizens going to show their senses
  9. When so desperate to hold onto power
  10. 2016 in review Politics #1 Year of dissonance
  11. 2016 in review Politics #2 Persons of the year
  12. 2016 review Human rights
  13. A busy 2017 #2 From hero to zero
  14. A busy 2017 #3 Fake, gossip and real news
  15. A view in the past and a blusterer making me afraid to spend words on him
  16. Does he really not know #1 Lies and money laundering
  17. Does he really not know #2 Casinos and inner circles
  18. American social perception, classes and fear mongering
  19. To protect our democratic system #1 Danger of fake and malicious social media accounts
  20. Donald Trump his America
  21. Time to get out of the gridlock
  22. Being Charlie 10
  23. Americans wrongly informed about situation in Europe
  24. First sayings around the Brexit
  25. Brexit: Why Cameron’s campaign lost
  26. Nigel Farage called Donald Trump’s victory ‘bigger than Brexit’
  27. The man outranking the others having the trump card
  28. Trump’s main effort to crack down on “illegal immigration”
  29. Trump the second silencing parliament
  30. An European alliance or a populist alliance
  31. 2019 was #1 a Year of Raising fire and voices

++

Find also to read

  1. Powerful Russia rising from the ashes
  2. Entering a new period of ‘Cold War’
  3. Mountains of information, disinformation and breaking away
  4. Max Lucado: I Had a Dream That Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Reached a Truce
  5. Leaders in disguise
  6. Looking at an American nightmare
  7. The twist of politics and expression
  8. Tribes Redux
  9. Prince of Wales warning that the world is in danger of “forgetting the lessons of the past”
  10. Darkest just before dawn
  11. Nice attack, terror everywhere and coup attempt in Turkey
  12. Signs of the times – “A new deal with Russia?”
  13. Signs of the times – “Turkey and Russia”
  14. Seeds from the world creating division and separation from God
  15. Apocalyptic Extremism: No Longer a Laughing Matter
  16. American Christianity no longer resembles its Founder
  17. Americans their stars, pretension, God, Allah and end of times signs #1 Abrahamic religions
  18. Americans their stars, pretension, God, Allah and end of times signs #2 War on God’s Plan, Name and title
  19. Christian fundamentalists feeding Into the Toxic Partisanship and driving countries into the Dark Ages… #1
  20. Christian fundamentalists feeding Into the Toxic Partisanship and driving countries into the Dark Ages… #2
  21. Blinded crying blue murder having being made afraid by a bugaboo
  22. The clean sweeper of the whole caboodle
  23. Trump brand of migrant demonization #1
  24. What Steve Bannon really wants
  25. Dear Mr. President – A Response to the “Shithole Countries” Comment
  26. Jews the next scapegoat for Donald Trump
  27. The American clouds of Anti-Semitism
  28. Trump’s rhetoric is infusing a culture of Anti-Semitism
  29. Trump Dragging the Jews and Israel into the scrum, using both as one more weapon in his racist rants.
  30. This fighting world, Zionism and Israel #1
  31. Islamophobia Must be Fought and Defeated
  32. Trump has been buffetted by accusations of misconduct
  33. Russian involvement in US elections
  34. The clean sweeper of the whole caboodle
  35. Fearmongering succeeded and got the bugaboo a victory
  36. Voted against their system
  37. What to do in the Face of Global Anti-semitism
  38. The Rise of Anti-Seminism
  39. Belgium showing signs of pre-Nazi Germany making certain people afraid to show up in public
  40. If you’re going to be a hater, make sure you’ve done your homework.
  41. The Weight of History
  42. Incidents of hate have become commonplace in the U.S.A. anno 2017
  43. The one that exploded the great American story that lay beneath it
  44. He Becomes a Fool Through His Endless Desire – The staggering scale of Daonald Trump’s midterm dishonesty
  45. Trouble is coming to Bashan (Golan)
  46. Yup – We’ve reached the Mad King phase of the Trump Presidency
  47. Shall the American again being put to the test
  48. Ecclesiastic scene undergoing rapid upheaval
  49. Swallowing up Crimea, who is next
  50. Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican
  51. Putin’s Handy use of the Russian Orthodox Church
  52. UK and EU and their Brexit deals
  53. A man from the North wanting to have control in Belgium
  54. Delay in publications because attack from outside
  55. Francis Fukuyama and ‘The End of History?’
  56. How to Go Forward without Fear
  57. Today’s thought “Turning over the page” (December 31)
  58. Today’s thought “Allowed to have dominion over the universe” (January 02)
  59. Today’s thought “Plea for Vindication or for Protection against Oppressors” (January 07)
  60. Are people likely to turn less to a divine power for help when they have a big government?
Posted in B4Peace, Crisis, Dagboek = Diary, Economy, Environment and Ecology, History, News and Politics, Poverty, Religion, Warning, Welfare and Health, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

2019 was #1 a Year of Raising fire and voices

It looks like it were only a few days which were given us to prove once more how mankind is a hero in putting its head in sand. Worst of all, was to see how millions of animals did not find a way out to escape the blazing fire, that managed to put to ash far more that the double surface of Belgium in Australia. Crimson skies, night darkness in the middle of the day, showed the world how man could be so frail not able to still the all devastating fire from the bush coming very close to town, the wave of fire having no pardon for anything standing erect.

The first big fire requesting our attention was the burned Amazon rainforest in Brazil’s Mato Grosso state. Every year, farmers in the Amazon clear out areas so their cattle can graze. But this year’s fires were way up over last year, and that has raised concern about what it means for the health of the planet.

The Easy Fire, one of many wildfires burning across California, in October, is seen outside the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.
In November firefighters tried to containthe Maria Fire in the hills near Ventura, California.

In Europe, it were also youngsters who showed that they too could have such fire burning in them like we had in 1968. Last year the youth showed their ardour. They gave a strong voice for those who can not speak, plants and animals, and tried to put the nose of the politicians in the ‘shit’ or ‘mud’ they had created throughout the last decades. In a certain way their zest made me glad, to see those youngsters not minding coming on the streets week after week, to try to bring the politicians to their senses, showing the world we cannot go on like this, destroying our planet. The marches of the truants after a while got the grandparents joining their grandchildren demanding the politicians to take the global warming serious and to get out their lazy seats and chatter boxes in the end to do something to give our next generations a better world to live instead of that what is coming up on us like another natural disaster.

The 16 year old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg didn’t mince words as she spoke to world leaders during the 25° UN Climate Change Conference. She accused them of not doing enough to mitigate climate change:

“For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away?”

At that conference it seemed unbelievable that within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance, signed in 2016, lots of the debaters and negotiators did not mind to work more against each other than with each other. The leader of one of the biggest polluting nations laughed it all away and considered himself at the most smartest person in the world, to break his contract with the rest of the world. Trump later mocked Thunberg on Twitter, and said all those protesting youngsters, instead of staying away from the schoolbenches shouting bullocks, would better go to attend school and get their brains in order. Lots of politicians, followed Trump in his sayings and said those youngsters would be better go to school. But these children have good reason to respond, asking those politicians what the use would be, to go to school and learn all those exciting and necesary things, when later nobody would be interested listening to what they would have to say, like no politician listens to the many scientists who warn how it now is already five over twelve, we seriously have something to do against global warming.

On October 25 actress Jane Fonda was taken away in ziptie handcuffs during a climate crisis protest at the US Capitol in Washington.

“We have to behave like our house is on fire, because it is,”

Fonda said, referencing a phrase often said by teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg

In the United States of America the man in charge of those states intentionally showed how he should be the man the whole world has to listen to and how he can decide how and when fires and fights can lighten the world.
In late December 2018 after the White House and Congress were at an impasse over money for a border wall, came the longest government shutdown in American history. Because of the record-long government shutdown, Trump’s speech came a week later than originally planned.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was able to have a lot of Democratic congresswomen with here at the US Capitol. Though the record number of women elected to Congress were key to Democrats reclaiming the majority in the House, they did not succeed in getting the impeachment of that dangerous man in charge of their country. He laughed their effort away calling it “the greatest hoax.”
With trump and circumstance on June 18 US President Donald Trump officially launched his re-election campaign with a rally in Orlando. His speech made clear that he plans to run on the same formula that narrowly delivered him the presidency in 2016. That same month Trump briefly stepped over into North Korean territory, becoming the first sitting US leader to set foot in that nation.
At last, in December, the House voted to impeach US President Donald Trump, almost entirely along party lines to charge this 45th president of the United States with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The voice of that president of the so-called United States was able to disunite his country even more and created fertile ground for more racism.
US Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley — lawmakers referred to on Capitol Hill as “the squad” were told they would better leave the United States and go back to the country were monkeys belong.
A day after President Donald Trump openly encouraged the four Democrats to leave the country, on July 15 they made clear in their news conference in Washington that they’re there to stay. “I encourage the American people and all of us in this room and beyond, to not take the bait,” Pressley said. “This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern and consequence to the American people.

The 21 year old Patrick Crusius opening fire in Wal-Mart, killing 22 people and wounding 24 was just one of the many cases against Hispanics. Only one day later after his attack, another shooting, this time in Dayton, Ohio, brought an end to his own sister and eight other people. This time it was not with a racist motive but just being fascinated by mass shootings, which seem to be common use in the land of the free.
On March 9, the world could see how members of the ShieldWall Network, a white nationalist group, were proud to burn a swastika and cross outside Atkins, Arkansas.

For me two of the main words for 2019 are “Intolerance” and “Populism”. Europe was not saved from the fire against immigrants or people who behaved or looked different from others. That the world becomes less forbearing was validated by the many incidents in nearly all countries of the European Union and several other nations. Endorsement was provided by lots of bloodstained incidents. In several Eastern European countries the populist leaders managed to have their population join hands against all that are not like them.
People of other religious thought than Catholicism got spotted, the same as gay people got attacked and transgender people debased and some literally mortified. Brenton Tarrant at the Linwood Mosque in Christchurch smeared the blood all over, to make it clear there should be no place for Muslims in the ‘white man’s world’. Showing his action by livestreaming on social media he killed 51 people and wounded 41 people seriously, as if it were little pegs in a shooting gallery. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. His so-called manifesto, which was disseminated online ahead of the shooting, was filled with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim ideas. It directed users to a Facebook page that hosted the live stream of the attack.

A wave of suicide bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka, on April 23, killing more than 250 people.

Melania Geymonat and her partner, Chris, are bloodied after they were beaten in a homophobic attack on a London bus. The Metropolitan Police said four males, aged between 15 and 18, were arrested on suspicion of robbery and causing grievous bodily harm. They were later charged with an aggravated hate crime under the Public Order Act. London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, condemned the incident, saying it was a “disgusting, misogynistic attack.” In August, the teenage suspects pleaded not guilty to a charge of causing harassment by using threatening or abusive words or behaviour.

In Africa Al-Shabaab kept trying to pull the strings. Kenyan security forces battled the Somali extremists at regular intervals. After armed men launched a deadly attack, that killed at least 21 people, at a hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya, on January 15, Kenyan security forces retook control of the compound.

2016 June 23 is a day imprinted in the minds of many Europeans as the black pest. 51,9% of the British voted for leaving the European Union. All the hassle and debate on how to arrange the Brexit created a disaster for the future of Great-Britain, probably causing in a few years the split of that union. On the 23rd of March 1 million people came on the street to give a voice to heir disgust how politicians were fooling them and playing with the future of their nation. May 24 British Prime Minister Theresa May said she deeply regretted not being able to deliver Brexit, the issue that brought her to power in 2016 and consumed her premiership. Boris Johnson receiving the seat got it as far, showing the world he will be able to make an end to it on January 31, 2020. Though he might forget it still is “The Never ending Story of Brexit”.

Hong Kong, 22 years after the handover from Britain to China, brought some other fire, having youngsters clearly showing their discontent with the grip of China on this tiny busy annexed part of China. Hong Kong’s government attempts to rebuild its global reputation amid its disastrous handling of the city’s epochal protest struggle, could not find a stronghold or ways to accept what China was doing with the ex-British colony and how it did not keep to the agreements of only a few years ago.
Starting with protesting a controversial extradition bill, from June onward the protests of the youngsters did not stop. Critics feared the bill would allow citizens to be sent across the border into mainland China. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam withdrew the bill on September 4, but she refused to give ground on protesters’ four other demands, which include greater democracy for the city and an independent commission into police conduct.

Another fire which many shall not forget was in Paris. On April 15 smoke and flames rose from the 850-year old Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, destroying its iconic spire and roof.

A massive black spot was seen on Jupiter in September. It is actually a moon shadow. Jupiter’s moon Io was eclipsing the sun at the time. NASA said the spot measured 2,200 miles wide — roughly the distance between New York City and Las Vegas.
Figuratively that black spot can stand for the many black spots which threaten mother earth.

++

Find also to read

Today’s thought “Allowed to have dominion over the universe” (January 02)

Posted in Crisis, Environment and Ecology, History, News and Politics, Reflection - Consideration or Contemplation, Upbringing and Education, Warning, Welfare and Health, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Reducing effects of environmental disasters

We may not forget that reducing the greenhouse gas emissions shall not only have an impact at global warming of 1.5, 2, 4 and 6°C but shall have implications for food, water security, energy security, flooding, infrastructure, ecosystems, health, and human migration.
The increase in global mean surface temperature (GMST), which reached 0.87°C in 2006–2015 relative to 1850–1900, has increased the frequency and magnitude of impacts (high confidence), strengthening evidence of how an increase in GMST of 1.5°C or more could impact natural and human systems (1.5°C versus 2°C).

We can not ignore that global warming results in more ice water melting and bringing an increase in the frequency and duration of marine heatwaves. Further, there is substantial evidence that human-induced global warming has led to an increase in the frequency, intensity and/or amount of heavy precipitation events at the global scale, as well as an increased risk of heavy rain- and thunderstorms plus extreme drought and destructing fires in the Mediterranean region. Trends in intensity and frequency of some climate and weather extremes have been detected over time spans during which about 0.5°C of global warming occurred.

Robust global differences in temperature means and extremes are expected if global warming reaches 1.5°C versus 2°C above the pre-industrial levels. For oceans, regional surface temperature means and extremes are projected to be higher at 2°C compared to 1.5°C of global warming. Temperature means and extremes are also projected to be higher at 2°C compared to 1.5°C in most land regions, with increases being 2–3 times greater than the increase in GMST projected for some regions. Robust increases in temperature means and extremes are also projected at 1.5°C compared to present-day values. There are decreases in the occurrence of cold extremes, but substantial increases in their temperature, in particular in regions with snow or ice cover.

Having the seawater rising shall be chasing away many coastal residents and island residents from their submerged lands.

Climate-related hazards are posing additional difficulties to these countries and to the humanitarian organizations that work to save and protect the millions of people in need. The University of Exeter estimates that a rise in global temperatures of 4°C would affect the lives of more than 1.8 billion people, causing devastating effects due to flash floods, droughts and higher exposure to natural disasters. This shall have an economic impact on the states but also on the local people themselves who shall undergo much more pressure financially to keep their head above water.

Poverty shall increase.

A daily income of less than $2 per person is the internationally recognized threshold for extreme poverty. According to the World Bank, roughly 1 in 10 people worldwide live below this threshold, and 85% of them are concentrated in the top 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Depending on future socio-economic conditions, limiting global warming to 1.5°C, compared to 2°C, may reduce the proportion of the world population exposed to a climate change-induced increase in water stress by up to 50%, although there is considerable variability between regions. Regions with particularly large benefits could include the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Socio-economic drivers, however, are expected to have a greater influence on these risks than the changes in climate. The global terrestrial land area projected to be affected by ecosystem transformations (13%, interquartile range 8–20%) at 2°C is approximately halved at 1.5°C global warming to 4% (interquartile range 2–7%). Above 1.5°C, an expansion of desert terrain and vegetation would occur in the Mediterranean biome, causing changes unparalleled in the last 10,000 years.

Risks of water scarcity shall make it more difficult to have regular crops of rice, potatoes and the necessary vegetables for human and animal consumption.
Recent studies confirm that observed climate change has already affected crop suitability in many areas, resulting in changes in the production levels of the main agricultural crops. These impacts are evident in many areas of the world, ranging from Asia (C. Chen et al., 2014; Sun et al., 2015; He and Zhou, 2016) to America (Cho and McCarl, 2017) and Europe (Ramirez-Cabral et al., 2016), and they particularly affect the typical local crops cultivated in specific climate conditions (e.g., Mediterranean crops like olive and grapevine, Moriondo et al., 2013a, b).
Temperature and precipitation trends have reduced crop production and yields, with the most negative impacts being on wheat and maize (Lobell et al., 2011), whilst the effects on rice and soybean yields are less clear and may be positive or negative (Kim et al., 2013; van Oort and Zwart, 2018). Warming has resulted in positive effects on crop yield in some high-latitude areas (Jaggard et al., 2007; Supit et al., 2010; Gregory and Marshall, 2012; C. Chen et al., 2014; Sun et al., 2015; He and Zhou, 2016; Daliakopoulos et al., 2017), and may make it possible to have more than one harvest per year (B. Chen et al., 2014; Sun et al., 2015). Climate variability has been found to explain more than 60% of the of maize, rice, wheat and soybean yield variations in the main global breadbaskets areas (Ray et al., 2015), with the percentage varying according to crop type and scale (Moore and Lobell, 2015; Kent et al., 2017). Climate trends also explain changes in the length of the growing season, with greater modifications found in the northern high-latitude areas (Qian et al., 2010; Mueller et al., 2015).
Trends in actual crop yields indicate that reductions as a result of climate change remain more common than crop yield increases, despite increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations (Porter et al., 2014).

Taken together, the findings of studies on the effects of changes in temperature, precipitation, CO2 concentration and extreme weather events indicate that a global warming of 2°C is projected to result in a greater reduction in global crop yields and global nutrition than global warming of 1.5°C.

Food prices shall increase. A loss of 7–10% of rangeland livestock globally is projected for approximately 2°C of warming, with considerable economic consequences for many communities and regions.

At approximately 1.5°C of global warming (2030), climate change is expected to be a poverty multiplier that makes poor people poorer and increases the poverty head count (Hallegatte et al., 2016; Hallegatte and Rozenberg, 2017). Poor people might be heavily affected by climate change even when impacts on the rest of population are limited. Climate change alone could force more than 3 million to 16 million people into extreme poverty, mostly through impacts on agriculture and food prices (Hallegatte et al., 2016; Hallegatte and Rozenberg, 2017). Unmitigated warming could reshape the global economy later in the century by reducing average global incomes and widening global income inequality (Burke et al., 2015b). The most severe impacts are projected for urban areas and some rural regions in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

The risks of declining ocean productivity, shifts of species to higher latitudes, damage to ecosystems (e.g., coral reefs, and mangroves, seagrass and other wetland ecosystems), loss of fisheries productivity (at low latitudes), and changes to ocean chemistry (e.g., acidification, hypoxia and dead zones) are projected to be substantially lower when global warming is limited to 1.5°C .

1 in 10 people worldwide live in extreme poverty.
Image: PovcalNet Sources: World Bank, Washington, DC, World Development Indicators; World Economic Outlook; Global Economic Prospects; Economist Intelligence Unit.

 

The only way to reduce the effect of environmental disasters is to be prepared before a disaster happens.

Being prepared for a catastrophic event is not just a matter of supporting people in emergency circumstances. Anticipation rather than reaction needs to become the approach for most humanitarian donors worldwide in order to save lives and leave no one behind.

Strengthening the emphasis on local communities can break the never-ending circle of humanitarian operations. The future of crisis-affected communities ultimately lies within themselves. Building a network of local advocacy practitioners might be a good starting point.

It is important that we try to call a halt to overconsumption which plays a major role in climate change and in the abuse of human resources and child labour. We also have to be aware that population migration and scarcity of resources like food and energy shall give rise to new conflicts. (The estimated number of climate refugees by 2050 is 250 million people.)
Encouraging better use of natural resources, stopping massive deforestation as well as making agriculture greener and more efficient should be one of the priorities.

Together we can try to consume less and to use our sources better. For sure we do not have to think electric cars would be a good solution. Electricity has to be available and atomic waste is dangerously very polluting for hundreds of years.
Furthermore, we have to move away from fossil fuels looking for better alternatives like wind, biomass and geothermal. We may not forget that renewable energy from solar cells shall present also a lot of avoidable (dangerous and polluting) waste.

Hydrogen force may be too a good solution to think about. It can definitely help reduce CO2 emissions and thus fight global warming.
In order to reduce the CO2 emissions from buildings – caused by heating, air conditioning, hot water or lighting – it is necessary both to build new low energy buildings, and to renovate the existing constructions and looking for heatpumps and other systems to provide cold and warmth in the residency.

Adopting responsible consumption habits is crucial, be it regarding food (particularly meat), clothing, cosmetics or cleaning products. Last but not least, recycling is an absolute necessity for dealing with waste.

We may not forget that reducing the greenhouse gas emissions shall not only have an impact at global warming of 1.5, 2, 4 and 6°C but shall have implications for food, water security, energy security, flooding, infrastructure, ecosystems, health, and human migration.
The increase in global mean surface temperature (GMST), which reached 0.87°C in 2006–2015 relative to 1850–1900, has increased the frequency and magnitude of impacts (high confidence), strengthening evidence of how an increase in GMST of 1.5°C or more could impact natural and human systems (1.5°C versus 2°C).

We can not ignore that global warming results in more ice water melting and bringing an increase in the frequency and duration of marine heatwaves. Further, there is substantial evidence that human-induced global warming has led to an increase in the frequency, intensity and/or amount of heavy precipitation events at the global scale, as well as an increased risk of heavy rain- and thunderstorms plus extreme drought and destructing fires in the Mediterranean region. Trends in intensity and frequency of some climate and weather extremes have been detected over time spans during which about 0.5°C of global warming occurred.

Robust global differences in temperature means and extremes are expected if global warming reaches 1.5°C versus 2°C above the pre-industrial levels. For oceans, regional surface temperature means and extremes are projected to be higher at 2°C compared to 1.5°C of global warming. Temperature means and extremes are also projected to be higher at 2°C compared to 1.5°C in most land regions, with increases being 2–3 times greater than the increase in GMST projected for some regions. Robust increases in temperature means and extremes are also projected at 1.5°C compared to present-day values. There are decreases in the occurrence of cold extremes, but substantial increases in their temperature, in particular in regions with snow or ice cover.

Having the seawater rising shall be chasing away many coastal residents and island residents from their submerged lands.

Climate-related hazards are posing additional difficulties to these countries and to the humanitarian organizations that work to save and protect the millions of people in need. The University of Exeter estimates that a rise in global temperatures of 4°C would affect the lives of more than 1.8 billion people, causing devastating effects due to flash floods, droughts and higher exposure to natural disasters. This shall have an economic impact on the states but also on the local people themselves who shall undergo much more pressure financially to keep their head above water.

Poverty shall increase.

A daily income of less than $2 per person is the internationally recognized threshold for extreme poverty. According to the World Bank, roughly 1 in 10 people worldwide live below this threshold, and 85% of them are concentrated in the top 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Depending on future socio-economic conditions, limiting global warming to 1.5°C, compared to 2°C, may reduce the proportion of the world population exposed to a climate change-induced increase in water stress by up to 50%, although there is considerable variability between regions. Regions with particularly large benefits could include the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Socio-economic drivers, however, are expected to have a greater influence on these risks than the changes in climate. The global terrestrial land area projected to be affected by ecosystem transformations (13%, interquartile range 8–20%) at 2°C is approximately halved at 1.5°C global warming to 4% (interquartile range 2–7%). Above 1.5°C, an expansion of desert terrain and vegetation would occur in the Mediterranean biome, causing changes unparalleled in the last 10,000 years.

Risks of water scarcity shall make it more difficult to have regular crops of rice, potatoes and the necessary vegetables for human and animal consumption.
Recent studies confirm that observed climate change has already affected crop suitability in many areas, resulting in changes in the production levels of the main agricultural crops. These impacts are evident in many areas of the world, ranging from Asia (C. Chen et al., 2014; Sun et al., 2015; He and Zhou, 2016) to America (Cho and McCarl, 2017) and Europe (Ramirez-Cabral et al., 2016), and they particularly affect the typical local crops cultivated in specific climate conditions (e.g., Mediterranean crops like olive and grapevine, Moriondo et al., 2013a, b).
Temperature and precipitation trends have reduced crop production and yields, with the most negative impacts being on wheat and maize (Lobell et al., 2011), whilst the effects on rice and soybean yields are less clear and may be positive or negative (Kim et al., 2013; van Oort and Zwart, 2018). Warming has resulted in positive effects on crop yield in some high-latitude areas (Jaggard et al., 2007; Supit et al., 2010; Gregory and Marshall, 2012; C. Chen et al., 2014; Sun et al., 2015; He and Zhou, 2016; Daliakopoulos et al., 2017), and may make it possible to have more than one harvest per year (B. Chen et al., 2014; Sun et al., 2015). Climate variability has been found to explain more than 60% of the of maize, rice, wheat and soybean yield variations in the main global breadbaskets areas (Ray et al., 2015), with the percentage varying according to crop type and scale (Moore and Lobell, 2015; Kent et al., 2017). Climate trends also explain changes in the length of the growing season, with greater modifications found in the northern high-latitude areas (Qian et al., 2010; Mueller et al., 2015).
Trends in actual crop yields indicate that reductions as a result of climate change remain more common than crop yield increases, despite increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations (Porter et al., 2014).

Taken together, the findings of studies on the effects of changes in temperature, precipitation, CO2 concentration and extreme weather events indicate that a global warming of 2°C is projected to result in a greater reduction in global crop yields and global nutrition than global warming of 1.5°C.

Food prices shall increase. A loss of 7–10% of rangeland livestock globally is projected for approximately 2°C of warming, with considerable economic consequences for many communities and regions.

At approximately 1.5°C of global warming (2030), climate change is expected to be a poverty multiplier that makes poor people poorer and increases the poverty head count (Hallegatte et al., 2016; Hallegatte and Rozenberg, 2017). Poor people might be heavily affected by climate change even when impacts on the rest of population are limited. Climate change alone could force more than 3 million to 16 million people into extreme poverty, mostly through impacts on agriculture and food prices (Hallegatte et al., 2016; Hallegatte and Rozenberg, 2017). Unmitigated warming could reshape the global economy later in the century by reducing average global incomes and widening global income inequality (Burke et al., 2015b). The most severe impacts are projected for urban areas and some rural regions in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

The risks of declining ocean productivity, shifts of species to higher latitudes, damage to ecosystems (e.g., coral reefs, and mangroves, seagrass and other wetland ecosystems), loss of fisheries productivity (at low latitudes), and changes to ocean chemistry (e.g., acidification, hypoxia and dead zones) are projected to be substantially lower when global warming is limited to 1.5°C .

1 in 10 people worldwide live in extreme poverty.
Image: PovcalNet Sources: World Bank, Washington, DC, World Development Indicators; World Economic Outlook; Global Economic Prospects; Economist Intelligence Unit.

 

The only way to reduce the effect of environmental disasters is to be prepared before a disaster happens.

Being prepared for a catastrophic event is not just a matter of supporting people in emergency circumstances. Anticipation rather than reaction needs to become the approach for most humanitarian donors worldwide in order to save lives and leave no one behind.

Strengthening the emphasis on local communities can break the never-ending circle of humanitarian operations. The future of crisis-affected communities ultimately lies within themselves. Building a network of local advocacy practitioners might be a good starting point.

It is important that we try to call a halt to overconsumption which plays a major role in climate change and in the abuse of human resources and child labour. We also have to be aware that population migration and scarcity of resources like food and energy shall give rise to new conflicts. (The estimated number of climate refugees by 2050 is 250 million people.)
Encouraging better use of natural resources, stopping massive deforestation as well as making agriculture greener and more efficient should be one of the priorities.

Together we can try to consume less and to use our sources better. For sure we do not have to think electric cars would be a good solution. Electricity has to be available and atomic waste is dangerously very polluting for hundreds of years.
Furthermore, we have to move away from fossil fuels looking for better alternatives like wind, biomass and geothermal. We may not forget that renewable energy from solar cells shall present also a lot of avoidable (dangerous and polluting) waste.

Hydrogen force may be too a good solution to think about. It can definitely help reduce CO2 emissions and thus fight global warming.
In order to reduce the CO2 emissions from buildings – caused by heating, air conditioning, hot water or lighting – it is necessary both to build new low energy buildings, and to renovate the existing constructions and looking for heatpumps and other systems to provide cold and warmth in the residency.

Adopting responsible consumption habits is crucial, be it regarding food (particularly meat), clothing, cosmetics or cleaning products. Therefore the governements should stimulate re-use of materials and stimulate secondhandshops and thrift stores. Recycling is not only an absolute necessity for dealing with waste, but can contribute to lesser use of grounfdmaterials to produce the products in the first place.

Posted in Environment and Ecology, News and Politics, Poverty, Welfare and Health, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Stepping forward with public commitments for Making different sectors carbon neutral by 2050

Already months we can find youngsters coming on the streets to wake up politicians, opening their eyes for the miserable predicament for our climate and conservation of plants and animals.

This week, leaders from some of the most heavily polluting industries on the planet – shipping, aviation, iron and steel to name a few – stepped forward with public commitments to make each sector carbon neutral by 2050. Others in the private sector committed themselves to advancing universal healthcare, improving air quality, halting deforestation and tackling child labour, all key elements in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

In its third year the SDI Summit is already able to get more business leaders coming to this meeting than any other organized meeting by the World Economic Forum outside the Annual Meeting in Davos. A back-of-the envelope calculation based on the CEOs and chairs that joined the SDI suggested the combined annual turnover of companies they represent was nearly $1 trillion.

Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, was allowed to kick off the proceedings telling how the Netherlands has set very ambitious climate targets. According to him – 49% emissions reductions by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050.

But as well as mitigation efforts such as reducing emissions, Rutte says his government has also focused on adaptation – building resilience to the climate conditions that are becoming unavoidable, such as rising sea levels.

What’s the PM’s advice for other countries? Be clear on the steps you want to achieve, he says, and make sure you educate and bring as many people along with you as possible.

The 18-year-old Indonesian activist Melati Wijsen, a few days after millions of young people swarmed the streets in cities all over the world in an effort to pressure governments to take meaningful action against climate change, spoke about the role of young people in finding solutions to the climate crisis.

“We’re unstoppable,”

she said.

“You saw us on the streets on Friday, millions of us came out. It’s an unstoppable movement that’s demanding change.”

Action such as bans on single-use plastics has taken too long, she adds, and with 2030 just around the corner, we need to speed up the implementation of climate solutions.

**

It is incredible how we still have so many politicians who still keep denying we are facing a terrible situation for plant, animals as well as human beings. It is like they prefer not to see that greenhouse gas emissions are rising.  In preference for creating more jobs in polluting industries they have no ears for scientists’ extreme weather predictions which appear to be coming true. All over the world we find politicians who put economic matters in front of ecological matters. The keep their nose closed for the air in our cities which is becoming dangerous. How long shall it take before they come to see how our earth is crying, having groundwater getting scarce, ocean health and fish stocks declining, whilst they allow forests and natural habitats being destroyed. But the ordinary citizen is also often at fault, polluting their habitat with all the rubbish they produce. Lots of people also do not have an eye for the plastic in our ocean which is out of control. They do close their ears for the many researchers that warn that a “biological annihilation” of wildlife means a human-driven sixth mass extinction event is underway.

Mankind risks flipping itself out of the goldilocks “Holocene” period of predictable warm weather (which has allowed humans to flourish during the last 12,000 years) and into a highly risky “hothouse earth” scenario, with uncontrolled feedback driving faster warming and more droughts and storms.

Global middle class is expanding, and millions of people are being lifted out of poverty. The bad news: wealth inequality within countries, in both the industrialized and developing worlds, is actually worsening. Meanwhile many people (23 million in 2017 alone) are already being displaced by natural catastrophes aggravated by the effects of climate change. While a number of public-private partnerships have been formed to tackle these issues, more must be done to restructure development finance in such a way that makes it more attractive to a wider array of investors. Excluding people from the benefits of economic growth can undermine the sustainability of that growth – and failing to address serious environmental issues, like threats to biodiversity and natural resources, is a formula for disaster.

People should be aware that answers for our climate won’t come from governments, businesses, and academia alone – they should also come from the public.
Delivering on the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement is no easy task.

Taking place during the United Nations General Assembly, the SDI summit engages the most relevant and influential leaders across business, government, civil society, NGOs and academia to collaborate on and address the world’s most pressing problems. But without contributions of people from all over the world, to this important debate, they’ll be speaking only to themselves.

If you’d like to get involved, read more about the five questions below, and head to the WEF submissions page to upload your video, from mobile or desktop. Please take note of their recommendations when shooting video, otherwise they may not be able to feature your submission.

1. What’s the biggest thing we should change in the way we live to create a #sustainableworld?

2. What action should governments take to create a #sustainableworld?

3. How should business change to create a #sustainableworld?

4. How can we work together to create a #sustainableworld?

5. What technology can best help us achieve a #sustainableworld?

You can share your perspective. The Forum is asking participants on the ground at the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit (#sdi19) to also give them their answers to these questions, and they’ll be featuring the best of the responses on weforum.org/sustainableworld, as well as across Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

The complexity of today’s world calls for new ways of working together to tackle global challenges. Driving progress towards meeting the SDGs and tackling climate change aren’t easy tasks, but no global challenge is too daunting to address as long as we work together.

> Record a short video answering one of the 5 questions.

Posted in Environment and Ecology, News and Politics, Welfare and Health, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Communication and Multilingualism

The European Union is only e very tiny part of the world surface.

In that Union loads of languages are spoken and it is very important to come to a harmonious co-existence of 24 official languages. It is one of the most distinctive features of the European project. Multilingualism is not only an expression of the EU countries’ cultural identities but it also helps preserve democracy, transparency and accountability. No legislation can enter into force until it has been translated into all official languages and published in the Official Journal of the EU. Crucially, the provisions relating to the EU language regime can only be changed by a unanimous vote in the Council of the EU. Having to translate all the documents makes those in charge looking for the traps or loopholes in the texts and as such makes it possible to discover certain weaknesses in what seems clear in one or another language.

Official EU languages since 1958

Official EU languages since 1958

Having so many languages spoken in one country or all over the Union, makes people to find a way to communicate with each other. In Belgium for example, having three national languages, Dutch, French and German, all together there can be found 67 different languages spoken by inhabitants. A 2012 poll suggests that a slim majority of Europeans (54 %) can hold a conversation in at least one foreign language. English seems a very usable language for many to have a fluent conversation with each other. But worryingly today, strangely enough, having obligatory education until the age of 18, nearly half of all Europeans (46 %) cannot, and only four in 10 pupils attain the basic level of competence allowing them to have a simple conversation in a foreign language.

The European Parliament is committed to ensuring the highest possible degree of multilingualism in its work.
Based on the 24 official languages that constitute the public face of the EU, the total number of linguistic combinations rises to 552, since each language can be translated into the 23 others. Currently, over 1 000 staff employed in translation and over 500 in interpretation care for the translation and interpretation needs of the 751 Members of the European Parliament. Internally, the EU institutions mostly use just three working languages: English, French and German.

The overall cost for delivering translation and interpretation services in the EU institutions is around €1 billion per year, which represents less than 1 % of the EU budget or just over €2 per citizen.

Degrees of language endangerment

Between 6 000 and 7 000 languages are spoken in the world today. Giving a precise figure is impossible, since the borderline between a language and a dialect is not well defined. Strikingly, 97 % of the world’s population speaks about 4 % of the world’s languages, while only about 3 % speaks the roughly 96 % of remaining languages. Half of the world’s 7.7 billion inhabitants share just six native languages. Some 3 % of the world’s languages (255) belong to Europe. The highest number of living languages – 2 165 – is found in Asia.
Unless current trends change, some 90 % of all languages spoken today may be replaced by other dominant ones by the end of the century. The Unesco Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger reveals that 40 % of languages spoken in the world are endangered (see Figure 2). Worryingly, at least 2 000 of the world’s endangered languages have under 1 000 speakers, and 4 % have disappeared in the past 70 years.

Endangered languages in the EU

Endangered languages in the EU

Following the success of the European Year of Languages (2001), the Council of Europe designated 26 September as the European Day of Languages.

Posted in B4Peace, Culture, Language, News and Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trump the second silencing parliament

Great-Britain has its own Trump, who likes to put the whole country at his hands and the European Union at his feet.

Boris Johnson is fully aware that he does not have the backing of the House of Commons. Like with so many other matters, he tried to ignore it. Because he felt it would not be so easy to fool those chosen people in parliament, he could only think of the best solution, to silencing it.

He very well knows that if the elected representatives are not present, they are powerless. Where there should be a frenzy of action, there will be inactivity. Where there should be furious opposition, there will be incapacity of response. Where there should be fierce democratic debate, there will be silence.

As the one he likes to follow as his example, his great mouth needed an extra tool of bandage, to silence possible opponents. And what other good way to get rid of those who could get with better plans than yours, than making sure they can not speak nor propose anything better.

Knowing very well about the pro-forma position of the queen, he gave her no choice, to fulfil the duty she would be expected to fulfil. Listening to the prime minister and going into his request. As such, the Queen gave her assent for the prorogation.

Not for the first time, in a few months time, Democracy has failed in the United Kingdom.

Johnson has no scruples when it comes to the damage he is doing his utmost to inflict upon British and European citizens, but he’s not the only guilty one. The opposition parties have dragged their heels in setting aside their party political interests.

Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn has taken three years to propose cross-party action (spearheaded, naturally, by himself). Jo Swinson, leader of the centrist Liberal Democrats, has thrown up a tantrum about working with Corbyn. Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Greens, proposed a working group composed entirely of women.

From the continent we have the impression those puppet-players of the U.K. Parliament are seriously not aware of the terrible position they can bring all the businesses and British people in. It seriously looks like they do not understand that Great-Britain and Europe are in crisis. They also seem not to be fully aware that there shall be the economical impact, but also the danger of Scotland, Ireland, Shetland and Wales going to step out of Great-Britain, making an end to that great empire!

The British should realise that 31 October won’t wait for them to stop bickering over who you will or won’t work with or hang around until they get organised.

Luckily we can see British people with more common sens, coming on the streets, showing they do not agree with this coup d’état by Borish Johnson, wo did not receive his position by a democratic election.

The British MPs better should show their seriousness and love for their country, by tackling this crisis with full earnest sincerity Those who have an interest in protecting the British society, economy, security and peace – should better join hands and shut themselves  in a room, for not coming out of it, until they agree on a way to work as a united front against the imposter in Number 10.

The clock is ticking

We are at a historic turning point, two months from a precipice. It is already unbelievable that with this crisis and disastrous no deal Brexit, the Parliament could have a summer recess.

To suspend Parliament from 9 September until 14 October, more than half of the time there is left, seems ridiculous and bringing the country its people and economy in danger.

Have they forgotten the words of Donald Tusk:

“Do not waste this time,”

advising the British politici to followthe last extension of Article 50.

At the moment we are facing a Drowning Street at Downing Street.

Night has fallen over the ongoing protests in London, which gathered at short notice for impassioned speeches from journalists and activists, blocking great swathes of streets in Westminster and Whitehall. The true meaning of “Take Back Control” has finally come to light: take it from the people, take it from their representatives – give it to the government, give it to the elites.

This weekend, there will be mass demonstrations. People may not stay mumbling or staying silent at home. By now they should have come to see how populist rightwing politicians have fooled them and have caught them in the trap of the dictatorial right.

Johnson may succeed in silencing Parliament, but let the British people show their government that he shall not be able to kill the democratic process and will not silence the people!

Posted in B4Peace, Crisis, News and Politics, Reflection - Consideration or Contemplation, Warning, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jerusalem Ballet paying tribute to Franceska Mann

Seventy-six years have passed, but few people have ever heard of Mann, even though she could easily have become a hero and a symbol. Perhaps her story sounds too far-fetched; perhaps it was simply shunted aside by the many other stories of heroism and horror in the Holocaust.

But on September 1, the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, Mann will return to center stage for a few hours. The Jerusalem Ballet will be staging the world premier of “Memento – Franceska Mann’s Last Dance at Auschwitz,” at the Suzanne Dellal Center, in her memory; a second performance will be held at the Jerusalem Theater on September 7.

There are a few versions of what occurred during the final moments in the life of Franceska Mann, a Jewish dancer living in Poland. Given that everyone who witnessed the incident, on October 23, 1943, is no longer alive, we will probably never know what really happened.

Mann, who was 26 at the time, arrived at Auschwitz that day on a transport of 1,800 so-called VIP prisoners from Poland in Germany, who had been lured into thinking they were en route to freedom as part of an exchange for German POWs ostensibly organized by the Allies. The Germans promised that Auschwitz was merely a stop on the way to Switzerland, but the women among the group soon found themselves being led to the gas chambers.

According to one version of events, Mann undressed slowly, using seductive dance movements. First she lifted her skirt. Then she removed her blouse, and leaned against a pole to remove her high heels. The SS soldiers standing across from her didn’t know how to react. Mann exploited their confusion, took off one shoe and threw it hard at one of them, hitting him in the forehead; the soldier began to bleed and collapsed. Mann jumped on him, stole his weapon, and shot him to death. Two other Nazis were wounded by the gunfire.

Zakład fotograficzny: “Van – Dyck”

Another account described a Nazi officer standing in front of Mann and ordering her to strip completely. When she refused to remove her undergarments, he yelled at her. In response, she took off her bra, threw it in his face, and jumped on him. In the chaos that ensued, she managed to grab his pistol and shoot him.

The other women who were about to meet their death were apparently spurred to attack the SS men surrounding them. According to one version, the camp commander, Rudolf Höss, was even summoned to the scene. In any event, the women’s fate was sealed; many were shot to death on the spot and whoever survived was gassed.

The Nazi officer who was by all accounts shot to death in the incident was Josef Schillinger, a butcher in civilian life who had enlisted in the SS in 1939 and was dispatched to Auschwitz. There, he was in charge of the men’s kitchen at Birkenau and later of the Jews who arrived in transports at the train platforms and were sent to the crematoria. Eyewitnesses described Schillinger as a sadist, and he was mentioned in one of the testimonies at the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Israel.

Posted in Ballet + Dance/Dans, History | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment