Europese Unie moet bij de gevangenneming van de Catalaanse politici haar ware gezicht tonen

Carles Puigdemont – Foto: Salvatore Di Nolfi

De heer Carles Puigdemont mocht na het Catalaanse referendum rekenen op enige steun van Vlaamse nationalisten en andere separatistische politici in heel Europa, maar zijn oproep aan de Europese Unie om te bemiddelen in Catalonië, werd op dovemansoren gericht. Geen enkele Europese regeringsleider ging ermee akkoord hem te ontmoeten. Dat was al geen goed voorteken en gaf kansen om de geloofwaardigheid van de goede intenties van de Europese politici in twijfel te trekken.

Men zou verwachten dat de parlementsleden van de Europese Unie borg stonden voor een vrij democratisch systeem waar verscheidene politieke opinies kunnen geuit worden en waar mensen de vrijheid moeten hebben om hun stem te mogen uitbrengen over het reilen en zeilen van hun eigen regio.

Door haar onwil om samen te werken aan een confederale staat en een zeer agressieve houding aan te nemen tegen de Cataloniërs, duwde de Spaanse regering de Catalanen meer en meer in een hoek zodat zij meer en meer gingen inzien dat samenleven met de Spanjaarden een hopeloze zaak zou worden, doordat zij nooit zouden erkend worden en steeds in de verdrukking blijven. Na de arrestatie van Puigdemont in Duitsland, opperden meer Catalanen, die zich eerst ook als Spanjaarden uitten, dat zij nu helemaal geen zin meer hadden om nog Spanjaard te zijn.

Al veel te lang zwegen EU-politici, maar nu de Spaanse regering er in geslaagd is om Carles Puigdemont in Duitsland te laten arresteren wordt het hoog tijd dat de EU haar ware gezicht gaat tonen.

In een column op zondag in de Duitse krant Süddeutsche Zeitung, zei Thomas Urban dat de heer Puigdemont erin geslaagd was om het Catalaanse conflict te “internationaliseren” en dat dit “niet in het belang van Madrid kan zijn.” Hij voerde aan dat de harde lijn van Madrid dreigde de pro-onafhankelijkheidsbeweging te herenigen, slechts enkele dagen nadat de gekibbel-separatisten het niet eens konden worden over een nieuwe leider.

Met de arrestatie van de heer Puigdemont in Duitsland, richt de aandacht zich nu tot rechters in Europese landen die de Spaanse aanhoudingsbevelen zullen herzien, onder meer in België, Schotland en Zwitserland. De landen waar de separatisten voor toevlucht hebben gekozen, zijn belangrijk, omdat Europese landen verschillende criminele codes hebben. Sommigen zullen de aanklachten van Spaanse openbare aanklagers tegen de Catalaanse politici, met name rebellie, niet erkennen. Indien zij dat toch zouden doen houdt dat in dat zij er de voorkeur aan geven dat een land het recht op politieke uiting kan en mag onderdrukken.

De aanhouding in Duitsland zou ook een uitdaging kunnen vormen voor Angela Merkel, die deze maand haar vierde termijn als kanselier opende aan het roer van een coalitieregering na maandenlange gespannen onderhandelingen. Vooral omdat tot nu toe de leden van het Europese parlement veel te zwijgzaam zijn geweest en dat velen niet gewezen hebben op de vrijheid van meningsuiting alsook op het recht van elk volk in de unie om zich uit te spreken over haar eigen regio’s.

De Europese Unie zal dit maal nog meer moeten opletten om niet door een ergere crisis dan die van Griekenland zich te laten meesleuren in een ongeloofwaardigheidsscenario voor haar Europese ingezetenen, die nu al de indruk hebben dat vele politici ver van het gewone volk staan en geen voeling meer hebben met de werkelijkheid.

Spanje en de Europese Unie zal moeten erkennen dat de bevolking van Catalonië het recht heeft op zelfbeschikking en dat het ook de middelen heeft om een land te worden. De EU en andere wereldmachten moeten dit zien en ondersteunen door in te gaan tegen Spanje en het tot de orde te roepen betreft de mensenrechten.

IMG_20171012_214743

Spaans Politiegeweld tegen vreedzame betogers en mensen die hun stem wensten uitte spreken betreft Catalonia

 

Lees: European Union having to show its true face by the arrest of Puigdemont and imprisonment of Catalonian politicians

Advertisements
Posted in B4Peace, Nieuws en politiek, Wereld om ons heen | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

European Union having to show its true face by the arrest of Puigdemont and imprisonment of Catalonian politicians

European politicians shall have to show its true face to the Europeans who look for a democratic and free Europe.

Spain’s Supreme Court prefers to neglect the democratic Catalonian votes, which were already expressed in difficult times, the Spanish government doing everything to block it.

In total, Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena indicted 25 former officials and pro-independence leaders on charges including misuse of public funds and disobedience. He also ordered the main group to pay back €2.1 million to cover the cost of last year’s referendum, which Madrid declared illegal, and court costs.

Spain is doing everything to loose its credibility to be a democratic country and brings the European Union in danger, because lots of Europeans shall loose trust in it when nothing is done against the imprisonment of the Catalonian politicians.

Carles Puigdemont, center, the former Catalan president, in Helsinki, Finland, this month. – Credit Mauri Ratilainen/EPA, via Shutterstock

On his way back from Finland to Belgium former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, when he crossed the border from Denmark, has been arrested by police in Germany, from where he risks being extradited to Spain to face charges of sedition and rebellion and faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

In the previous months we have already seen how Spain boycotted the referendum and tried to make it impossible for Catalonians to bring out their vote. The Spanish governement clearly went in against democratic rules of freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, and of freedom of political colour.

In the previous months Puigdemont was always prepared to be there at the disposal of Belgian justice. Puigdemont had evaded capture in Finland and slipped out of the country after it became clear Finnish authorities intended to act on the warrant activated by a Spanish Supreme Court judge to launch an extradition process to Spain.

A spokesman for Spanish state prosecutors said: “Following the arrest of Carles Puigdemont, Spain’s State Prosecution is in contact with Germany’s State Prosecution Service and Eurojust to make sure they have all the documentation they need.”

Today, Monday March 26, Mr Puigdemont is expected to have to appear before a judge who will ask him if he agrees to be extradited to Spain.

Albert Rivera, leader of the pro-union Ciudadanos party, who has been a vocal critic of the ousted president and his independence allies, tweeted:

“Coup leader Puigdemont’s escape has been brought to an end.

“There should be no impunity for someone who tries to destroy a European democracy, flout democratic laws, fracture co-existence and misuse public funds to do so.

“The justice system has done its job.”

But it was never the intention to destroy the European democracy. The opposite the Catalonian politicians wanted to give the people of the regions affected the right to express their vote. Already in October last year, when the referendum was held, we were witnesses how Spain tried to silence the voice of many Spanish and Catalan people showing the world a horrific violence by the Spanish police against the Catalans.

Puigdemont’s arrest follows the imprisonment of a number of other senior Catalan politicians, including the former vice president Oriol Junqueras and the former minister of the interior Joaquim Form who have been in prison since the second of November on a charge of rebellion.

Via Catalana Barcelona Plaça Catalunya 67.jpg

Maria Carme Forcadell i Lluís, former President of the Parliament of Catalonia, as well as a Catalan high school teacher, known for her Catalan independence activism.

It may have been no surprise when the former speaker of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell, was also imprisoned on the same charge.  Once more showing that Spain wants all those who uttered their voice for Catalonia should be silenced.

The Prime Minister of Spain since 2011, Mariano Rajoy refuses to acknowledge the election results and the tyrannical behaviour of Spain towards Catalonia continues. Strangely enough not enough European parliamentary members reacted against the violence and undemocratic attitude of Rajoy.

Jordi Sánchez (cropped).jpg

Jordi Sànchez i Picanyol Catalan political activist, who has been president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) since May 2015

Two senior figures in the broader independence movement, Jordi Sànchez (Picanyol) of the Asamebla Nacional Catalana and Jordi Cuixart of the cultural organisation Òmnium Cultural have been in jail since October last year. Amnesty International has described the imprisonment of Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart as excessive and disproportionate. Both have been charged with rebellion and sedition. this happening in our contemporary European Union should make us as citizens of the Union very worried, because it may be a sign that the MP’s of the EU have an other agenda than the well-being of the inhabitants of the European Union.

The presidents of Òmnium Cultural and ANC, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez, on top of a vehicle during the protests in front of the Catalan economy department on 20 September 2017 in Barcelona.

Catalonia has been in political turmoil since its leaders formally declared independence in October and the central government ousted them, assuming direct control of the wealthy autonomous region. As we all can imagine Spain being afraid to loose a wealthy area.

Now, with Spain renewing its efforts to have the former Catalan officials arrested and returned home for prosecution, Europe may be about to become more embroiled in the conflict.

Whether Spain’s newly aggressive posture would weaken the independence movement or strengthen it was not immediately clear, but Spain is pushing it so far that the independence movement can grow faster and that many Catalan people who previously also felt Spanish now feel Spain has betrayed them and does not want to recognise them and as such start throwing away or not wanting any-more, their Spanish citizenship.

In Catalonia, the effect of Mr. Puigdemont’s arrest was immediate. Protesters took to the streets of Barcelona and clashed with the authorities. Riot police officers in Barcelona shoved and struck protesters with batons to keep an angry crowd from advancing on the office of the Spanish government’s representative. Police vans showed stains of yellow paint reportedly thrown by protesters.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain did not respond immediately to Mr. Puigdemont’s arrest, but Albert Rivera, leader of the anti-secession party Ciudadanos, welcomed it (as can be seen above).

Roger Torrent, the pro-independence speaker of the Catalan Parliament, went on Twitter on Sunday to urge fellow Catalans to form “a common front” to defend individual and collective rights.

On March 7th 2018 the High Commissioner of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reminded Spanish authorities that

pre-trial detention should be considered a measure of last resort

referring to Catalan politicians and activists arrested after the independence referendum.

But now it is high time for the European Union to raise her voice and for ticking Spain on its fingers. If the Union does not take urgent directions to have those politicians liberated, it shall loose more credit by the general European citizens all over West Europe, which shall bring the Union in a far worse crisis than the one we had a few years ago with Greece.

It is not the moment for the Union to loose its credibility to be a democratic Union with the right of free political thoughts or free expression.

A female Conservative Christian writer rightly calls for reaction, by writing:

If you believe in Democracy, you will support the Catalans who have been oppressed for centuries by terrible governments who abuse their people and use their resources and money for their own benefit.

Spain continues to hold illegally many political prisoners who held office in Catalan’s parliament and refuse to release them.

Catalonia contributes 22% of Spain’s taxes because of this Spain knows its already failing economy would plummet if Catalonia becomes its own country. {Carlos Puigdemont Arrested Near German Border}

At first the Catalonians would have been happy to be a federal state in the Spanish confederate, but now Spain has done everything to ruin that dream and to force the Catalonians even more to total independence.

In conclusion, the people of Catalonia have the self-determination and the resources to become a country and the EU and other world powers must see this and back them against Spain.

The world needs to see what is going on and see the atrocities committed against this peaceful people and stand up for human rights. We as individuals must bring the heinous behavior of the Spanish government and Rajoy to the rest of the world. As they say, “Knowledge is Power” and “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword.” {Carlos Puigdemont Arrested Near German Border}

+

Preceding articles

2014 Human Rights

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

A busy 2017 #1 Referenda

++

Additional reading

  1. A stain of shame for the European Union
  2. Fight against nationalism main struggle for feminists today
  3. After display of unity back to disunity
  4. A genuine European Union to ensure welfare, security and democracy

+++

Related

  1. The red and yellow Madrid, in Spain
  2. State of Independence XII
  3. Fugitive Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont asks Spain to restore his government
  4. 3Novices:Barcelona rallies for arrested Carles Puigdemont
  5. Why??
  6. Catalonia’s Carles Puigdemont Arrested in Germany
  7. Carles Puigdemont Arrested Near German Border > Carlos Puigdemont Arrested Near German Border
  8. Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont Arrested in Germany
  9. Catalan Ex-Leader Carles Puigdemont Detained in Germany
  10. Carles Puigdemont detained in Germany
  11. Carles Puigdemont Arrested Near German Border > Carles Puigdemont Arrested Near German Border
  12. (BERLIN, Germany.) Latest: Catalonia’s ex-leader Carles Puigdemont has been detained by German police acting on a European arrest warrant and of course directed by EU members influence to stop him re-entering Belgium from Denmark: But he will be extradited back to Spain claiming charges of sedition for trying to support Catalan independence #AceNewsDesk reports
  13. Defending democracy
  14. Protests erupt as German police detain former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont
  15. German police arrest ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont on Danish border 
  16. Is Germany supporting the Spain that loved Hitler via Franco?
  17. Protests break out after Catalonia ex-leader Carles Puigdemont detained
  18. Crowds clash with riot police in Barcelona as ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont detained in Germany
  19. Der frühere katalanische Regionalpräsident Carles Puigdemont ist in Deutschland festgenommen worden
  20. Concentracións e cortes nas estradas de toda Catalunya como protesta contra a detención de Puigdemont
  21. Por qué Alemaña?
  22. Atrápame si puedes
  23. A Plataforma Galiza con Catalunya convoca mobilizacións en apoio
  24. Alemanys que parleu català
Posted in News and Politics, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Academic intolerance for dissenting views is reaching new highs

In the United States of America we see a growing trend of limiting the freedom of expression. Not only in that world-power we may find that viewpoint diversity in the academy is alarmingly low, and that we can notice the next generation of academics being likely to be even less tolerant of opposing views.

A few years ago those professors or teachers who dared open their mouth and resist the dictatorial system, were put aside or could hear they could go on retirement. As such all those who wanted to breed new inspiration minds trying to bring our world in a next phase, got silenced.

Normally the more educated a person is, the more tolerant of other opinions that person is likely to be, but now several governments do not like it to spread tolerance or to have a multicultural environment. Several politicians love it to be popular by the mainstream and to push for a national awareness.

The present politicians do not regret that there is a present trend showing less ideological tolerance and are pleased to find that many students want to have them as leader, not disputing their ideas.

Today’s students are also more accepting of authoritarian views, especially when it comes to responding to ideas and views with which they don’t agree,

said Samuel Abrams, a political science professor at Sarah Lawrence College who is known for his research on lopsided political views in various academic disciplines.

Though diversity of thought has become more common in Rocky Mountain-area colleges – down to 1.5-1 liberal-to-conservative faculty in 2014, from 2-to-1 in 1989 – the New England institutions have become a one-party state on the level of Russia:

In 1989, the number of liberals compared with conservatives on college campuses was about 2 to 1 nationwide; that figure was almost 5 to 1 for New England schools. By 2014, the national figure was 6 to 1; for those teaching in New England, the figure was 28 to 1.

Even the professoriate in the far west — the liberal “left coast” — saw the ratio of liberal to conservative professors jump only to 6 to 1, from about 3 to 1, during that time. Those teaching in other regions, from the Plains to the Southeast, saw far smaller changes, to 3 to 1, up from 1 to 1, on average.

Already when the 45th president of the States was not chosen yet, we could see that several politicians wanted to have more grip on those who had the responsibility to form the next generation. The would be politicians wanted to find a public that would go with them and would be an easy prey.

The political rise of Donald Trump and his rougher-edged approach to conservatism pushed not only all those around him into a closet. Free speech on campus and within academic disciplines got more limited.

Abrams said his research found there are now eight liberal professors in higher education for every conservative, and students are increasingly less exposed to different lines of thinking. that should worry us, because the university should be the fertile ground for research and different thoughts, even opposing ideas.

When students and professors have no free space to go out of the lines and to try out things or to dispute present ongoings, no ground is made for new trees  for making new doors.

According to Abrams mainstream Americans consider themselves to be fairly centrist, a concept that is foreign to faculty. They don’t just lean left:

“They are strongly left, strongly progressive, and this [is] completely off from what the average American does.”

Though strangely enough those “leftists” do not seem to come out of their cocoon of conservatism and do not seem to have a protest voice like we are used of left wing people.  What we can notice is that censor is high on the agenda at the moment. Several are afraid to bump in walls or to put their foot in the big hole prepared by the populist politicians.

According Mark Lilla, a professor of humanities at Columbia University, the fixation on diversity in their schools and in the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life. He writes

At a very young age our children are being encouraged to talk about their individual identities, even before they have them. By the time they reach college many assume that diversity discourse exhausts political discourse, and have shockingly little to say about such perennial questions as class, war, the economy and the common good.

Also when I look around me, here in Europe I do not hear, nor see, youngsters debating what goes on or taking a stand against populists.

In large part this is because of high school history curriculums, which anachronistically project the identity politics of today back onto the past, creating a distorted picture of the major forces and individuals that shaped our country. (The achievements of women’s rights movements, for instance, were real and important, but you cannot understand them if you do not first understand the founding fathers’ achievement in establishing a system of government based on the guarantee of rights.)

When young people arrive at college they are encouraged to keep this focus on themselves by student groups, faculty members and also administrators whose full-time job is to deal with — and heighten the significance of — “diversity issues.”

Fox News and other conservative media outlets make great sport of mocking the “campus craziness” that surrounds such issues, and more often than not they are right to. Which only plays into the hands of populist demagogues who want to delegitimize learning in the eyes of those who have never set foot on a campus. How to explain to the average voter the supposed moral urgency of giving college students the right to choose the designated gender pronouns to be used when addressing them? How not to laugh along with those voters at the story of a University of Michigan prankster who wrote in “His Majesty”?

It is not the political left that deserves blame for initiating the focus on racial (and other) groups. While Lilla said he considers the U.S.

“an extraordinary success story”

In terms of diversity, he argued that that brand of liberalism cost the left the election and resulted in its “repugnant” outcome. The ‘over correctness’ of certain politicians make it not easy to know which words can be used and how people may be addressed. Our society is guilty of various “-isms” (racism, sexism, etc.) which undermines it and which comes in a stadium to be tackled, because lots of people start feeling fed up with it.

Today not much time is given to reason and the youngsters get a strange example of fidelity and respectfulness. At the same time students and faculty seem not to like and cannot deal with disagreement, with any challenge to their worldview, with anything that makes them uncomfortable.

Those still teaching today must make sure that there is room for thought and discussion. Though they might be bounded by chains of money savings they should keep up research and make sure their pupils are taught critical thinking.

Our communities should continue to advocate publicly for evidence-based decision making and to build diverse and inclusive academic communities, which promote open minded research and sharing of knowledge.

Academics may not give up to promote freedom of speech and thought. They also may not give up to keep on keepin’ on: doing science, teaching independent thinking, and with using their voice to protect the things that need protection.

Privilege

+

Preceding

Citizen University and the difference between Citizenship and Activism

Inequality, Injustice, Sustainability and the Free World Charter

Multiculturalism Search for truth and stimulator to find innovation and to create

++

Additional reading

  1. Daring to speak in multicultural environment
  2. Looking at an American nightmare
  3. Mark Lilla and the crisis of liberalism

+++

Related

  1. Freedom of Expression and the Flight from Reason
  2. King’s College London deplatforms its own lecturer—scheduled to talk on free speech!
  3. Professors Warn Academic Intolerance for Dissenting Views is Reaching New Highs
  4. Why I’m moving to Ireland
  5. JC’s (un)motivated reasoning
  6. Pennsylvania Student Recounts Red Guard-like Run-In with Professor
  7. What are we “accidentally” teaching our kids?
  8. The long game against an anti-science, anti-education government
  9. Is the Price Tag of Security Simply an “Accepted” Way to Censor Free Speech?
  10. Education Backward
Posted in B4Peace, Dagboek = Diary, Education, History, News and Politics, Upbringing and Education | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Whose university is it anyway?

Ron Srigley, Los Angeles Review of Books, 22 February 2018

Administrators control the modern university. The faculty have ‘fallen,’ to use Benjamin Ginsberg’s term. It’s an ‘all-administrative’ institution now. Spending on administrators and administration exceeds spending on faculty, administrators out-number faculty by a long shot, and administrative salaries and benefit packages, particularly those of presidents and other senior managers, have skyrocketed over the last 10 years. Even more telling perhaps, students themselves increasingly resemble administrators more than professors in their ambitions and needs.

Trinity Library, Dublin

Safety, comfort, security, quality services, first-class accommodations, guaranteed high grades, institutional brand, better job placements, the market value of the credential — these are the things one hears students demanding these days, not truth, justice, and intelligence. The traditional language of ‘professors’ and ‘students’ still exists, though ‘service provider’ and ‘consumer’ are making serious bids to replace them. The principles of collegial governance and joint decision-making are still on the books, but they are no longer what the institution is about or how it works.

The revolution is over and the administrators have won. But the persistence of traditional structures and language has led some to think that the fight over the institution is now just beginning. This is a mistake. As with most revolutions, open conflict occurs only after real power has already changed hands. In France, for instance, the bourgeoisie were able to seize control of the regime because in a sense they already had it. The same is true of the modern university. Administrators have been slowly taking control of the institution for decades. The recent proliferation of books, essays, and manifestoes critiquing this takeover creates the impression that the battle is now on. But that is an illusion, and most writers know it. All the voices of protest, many of them beautiful and insightful, all of them noble, are either cries of the vanquished or merely a dogged determination to take the losing case to court.

Ask about virtually any problem in the university today and the solution proposed will inevitably be administrative. Why? Because we think administrators, not professors, guarantee the quality of the product and the achievement of institutional goals. But how is that possible in an academic environment in which knowledge and understanding are the true goals? Without putting too fine a point on it, it’s because they aren’t the true goals any longer. With the exception of certain key science and technology programs in which content proficiency is paramount, administrative efficiency and administrative mindedness are the true goals of the institution. Liberal arts and science programs are quietly being transmogrified through pressure from technology and technological modes of education so that their ‘content’ is increasingly merely an occasion for the delivery of what the university truly desires — well-adjusted, administratively minded people to populate the administrative world we’ve created for them. The latent assumption in all this is that what is truly important is not what students know or how intelligent they are, but how well and how often they perform and how finely we measure it.

If you think I exaggerate, consider the deliverables universities are forever touting to students today: ‘collaboration,’ ‘communication,’ ‘critical analysis,’ ‘impact.’ All abstract nouns indicating things you can do or have, but not a word about what you know or who you are. No promise to teach you history or politics or biology or to make you wise or thoughtful or prudent. Just skills training to equip you to perform optimally in a competitive, innovative world.

Read the full article in the LA Review of Books.

+++

Related articles

  1. The System is Actively Working To Defend Itself…
  2. Putting organizational complexity in its place
Posted in Education, News and Politics, Thoughts of others, Upbringing and Education | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Multiculturalism Search for truth and stimulator to find innovation and to create

A few decades ago mankind had its higher institutions to stimulate people to do research and to create new things.

In 1963, the Robbins inquiry into British higher education, which set the framework for the expansion of universities over the next few decades, argued that learning was a good in itself.

‘The search for truth is an essential function of the institutions of higher education’,

it observed,

‘and the process of education is itself most vital when it partakes in the nature of discovery.’

Governments wanted everybody to be able to go to higher education and offered universities as a tool for everybody. To do that they lowered the standards all over Europe and tried to come to a general system where many could be offered some basic knowledge and sufficient material to start looking for a job.

Higher education came to matter for the people because it had to be the opening for a job and had to help produce economic growth, which in turn had to contribute to national prosperity. The value of education, in other words, became in first instance economic; universities having to be good because they should be  profitable for the individual, for corporations and for the nation.

Previously universities where used to have a field of interest and to create a background for research and innovation. At the university there was to be a relationship between the professor and the student, each stimulating each other to go for deep research and innovation, helping to further the society, more than helping the self.

Kenan Malik, Roy Porter, Steve Jones & Georgina Ferry at the Cheltenham FestivalThough the politicians had an other view on those institutions which became considered more a tool of our society to control others and to create consumers. The lecturer and broadcaster Kenan Malik also sees a a transformation in education that is rooted in three trends:

the growing view of universities as businesses, of students as consumers and of knowledge as a commodity. But there is a fundamental difference between being a student and being a consumer, and between acquiring knowledge and buying a commodity.

Politicians did not like so much the thought of diversity and as such all institutions had to become of the same breed. Multiculturalism as a political process had to be opposed, overlooking the demand that we must recognise, affirm and institutionalise cultural differences in the public sphere. For many when they look at and talk about diversity, it is meant that their world is a messy place, full of clashes and conflicts. Often they do not see the value of such diversity and conflict zones. They forget that such clashes and conflicts are the stuff of political and cultural engagement. Diversity is important, not necessarily in and of itself, but because it allows us to expand our horizons, to compare and contrast different values, beliefs and lifestyles, make judgments upon them, and decide which may be better and which may be worse. Having different opinions on different matters and allowing them to exist one next to the other allows us to engage in political dialogue and debate that can help create a more universal language of citizenship and helps to create new paths. Though Malik warns

But it is precisely such dialogue and debate, and the making of such judgements, that multiculturalism as a political process all too often attempts to suppress in the name of ‘tolerance’ and ‘respect’. The very thing that’s valuable about diversity – the clashes and conflicts that it brings about – is what multiculturalists most fear.

When we look at Europe and its institutions, it looks like they wanted to create a monotone soup. It looks like they wanted to created a general educational front where only one similar version and vision is allowed.

this brings us to another irony about multiculturalism: multiculturalists insist that society is diverse, but somehow fail to see the diversity of minority communities. On the multicultural map, diversity magically ends at the edges of minority communities. Multiculturalists tend to treat minority communities as if each was a distinct, singular, homogenous, authentic whole, each composed of people all speaking with a single voice, each defined primarily by a singular view of culture and faith. In so doing, they all too often ignore conflicts within those communities. All the dissent and diversity gets washed out. As a result, the most progressive voices often gets silenced as not being truly of that community or truly authentic, while the most conservative voices get celebrated as community leaders, the authentic voices of minority groups.

Malik writes

Education is not a product but a relationship between student and teacher, and a process by which knowledge transforms the individual. When someone buys a car or an insurance policy, he or she is purchasing a prepackaged, ready-made commodity to satisfy a specific need. Education is about creating critical thinkers whose skill is precisely the ability to challenge ideas that are prepackaged or ready-made.

Question today is in what way are the majority of universities still the hub of independent research and creativity. In which way are they not controlled and guided by funding from the industry, so that certain ideas may not be challenged?

Once students become consumers, they come to look upon ideas, not as ways of understanding the world, but as possessions they can trade for a better job or greater social prestige.

The titles which have now a lesser value, make it that people can not do much with their Bachelor and one Master, making them to need more than one Master, which sometimes have the ridiculous name Master after Master. The levelling up (or better ‘down) to have equivalent degrees all over Europe did not secure equivalent good education and created not a guaranty for a job at all. Therefore today people are looking even more if a certain institute can provide for interesting jobs. But whether or not a University provides a good education or not cannot be measured simply in terms of whether its students end up in a good job.

What a student-as-a-consumer will not want are all the things that truly define a good education – difficult questions, deep reflection or challenging lecturers. These will be seen not as means to greater understanding but as obstacles to attaining a good degree.

writes Kenan Malik in the Observer column 18 March 2018, under the headline ‘Let’s not give up on the idea that a good education is a search for truth‘.

The last few decades when I was teaching I saw how the subject matter had to be made easier and how the schools and education boards wanted to see higher marks whilst the press pushed for comparison tables creating a false picture of what would be the good schools. Lots of people looking more at the high ciphers instead of the real quality of the education given at a certain school or institution. Everything seemed to turn around evaluation-results and the amount of students that got from one degree into the other without to many problems. This made that many schools came to think that their purpose is not to impart knowledge and encourage thinking but to show children how to pass exams or to get them through the system.

Malik knows

too many children whose curiosity and love of learning has been expunged by a system whose sole aim is to teach how to wheedle that extra mark at GCSEs.

Having been interested what was behind something or how things evolved as well how other ways could be developed I always stimulated my pupils to dig deeper and to try out innovations. In my eyes we as teachers had to create the new generation who could stand on their own legs and in turn also could create new things, even if it required to go in a totally different direction than ours.

To me what the new generation pupils had to bring should not have to be put in social and capital gain. Not every subject offered at a high school or university had to offer the student a finished job.

The idea that there is more to education than value for money, or that ‘self-betterment’ can be understood in more than monetary terms, may seem hopelessly romantic in our rigidly utilitarian age. Not every social gain, however, can be measured in terms of numbers or cash.

Any decent society needs to encourage critical thinking about ideas, beliefs and values, thinking upon which no price tag can be placed. A society that will only think when it is profitable to do so is one that has lost its mind.

We do not need everybody to think the same.

Clashes and conflicts over ideas and values and beliefs are often valuable and necessary for social change.

In attempting to minimise such clashes in the name of ‘tolerance’ or ‘respect’, multicultural policies do not in practice get rid of conflicts but rather transform political and ideological struggles into cultural and communal clashes. Political struggles unite across ethnic or cultural divisions; cultural struggles inevitably fragment. Political conflicts are often useful because they repose social problems in a way that asks:

‘How can we change society to overcome that problem?’

To view racism politically, for instance, we need to ask,

‘What are its social roots and what structural changes are required to combat it?’

We might disagree on the answer, but the debate itself is a useful one. Another way of putting this is that political conflicts are the kinds of conflicts necessary for social transformation.

There has been too much attention to avoid diversity and to create political equality which only becomes possible with the creation of a ring-fenced public sphere, which everyone can enter as political equals, whatever their cultural, economic or ethnic backgrounds. Malik agrees that

The creation of such a sphere is one of the great advances of modernity. The demand for the public recognition for individual or cultural differences is, on the other hand, a demand to erase the distinction between the public and the private spheres, and hence to undermine the possibility of real equality.

In case we want to have a booming creative educational front we should make sure that we give place to a truly plural society in which citizens have freedom to pursue their different values or practices in private but also in public. To get an opening for a free development and renewal we should take care that in the public sphere all shall be treated as political equals whatever their racial, cultural, sexual or faith differences.

Today, however, pluralism has come to mean the very opposite. The right to practice a particular religion, speak a particular language, follow a particular cultural practice is seen not as an individual freedom to be defended in the name of liberty but a public good to be enforced through the state. At the same time the rights of individuals to do, speak or even think as they please, their right to challenge or criticise others’ ideas or values or beliefs, are increasingly curtailed by the state in the name of ‘tolerance’ and ‘respect’ and to ensure that different groups are not ‘offended’.

warns Malik.

The notion of equality has, in this process, has also become transformed, from meaning the right to be treated the same despite one’s differences of culture, ethnicity or faith to meaning the right to be treated differently because of them. It is an odious shift. It’s time we challenged the new reactionary views of both pluralism and equality.

Politicians should try to have the public understand that multiculturalism can be for the good of a society, enriching it and creating grounds for new developments and cross-pollination.

Posted in Culture, Dagboek = Diary, Education, History, Upbringing and Education | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Right of the parents or children to fall under religious rules

In Belgium politicians and organisations are still under consideration about circumcision, because some members believe that freedom of religion prevails, since circumcision is common among Jews and Muslims. Others believe that circumcision in men is unacceptable, as is the case with women today.

Icelandic and Belgian parliament to consider circumcision ban – Getty Images

In February legislators in Iceland have proposed a ban on circumcision of boys and some politicians want it also in Belgium. In practice of course, a ban on male circumcisions essentially outlaws Judaism and we also should know in several cases there are also medical reasons. Anticipating opposition from advocates for religious freedom, the legislation “insists the ‘rights of the child’ always exceed the ‘right of the parents to give their children guidance when it comes to religion’.”

Describing circumcision as a “violation” of young boys’ rights, the bill states the only time it should be considered is for “health reasons”.

In Iceland they think to give children the opportunity to decide for themselves once they reached the age of consent, but they forget that at that time it is a more painful business then when a baby.  Although the bill fails to make clear how old this would be, the age of sexual consent in Iceland is 15.

The Danish Medical Association said it had considered suggesting a legal ban on the procedure for children under the age of 18, because it believed circumcision should be “an informed, personal choice” that young men make for themselves.

When parents have their sons circumcised, it robs boys of the ability to make decisions about their own bodies, and choose their cultural and religious beliefs for themselves,

the organisation said.

Lise Møller, chair of the Doctors’ Association Ethics Board, said it was wrong to deny an individual the right to choose whether or not they wanted to be circumcised.

“To be circumcised should be an informed, personal choice,”

she said.

“It is most consistent with the individual’s right to self-determination that parents not be allowed to make this decision, but that it is left up to the individual when he has come of age.”

The doctors know it is difficult to predict the consequences of a ban but by making a religious matter unlawful they push it in the corner, so that it becomes more dangerous for the young boys. Now it are official rabbis who know what they do and can do such act properly. But when it becomes done in secret there is no control.

The Danish Health and Medicines Authority estimates that somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 circumcisions are performed in Denmark each year, primarily on Jewish and Muslim boys.

The majority of those procedures occur outside of the public health system and are done as part of a religious ceremony in the child’s home, or in a private clinic. But the people who do the circumcision are trained to do that in a proper as painless possible way.

According to a major 2007 study by the World Health Organization, roughly 30 per cent of the global male population is circumcised.

Lots of people look at female and male circumcision as a similar abuse.  Though they are totally different. They consider it a a mutilation, but would they consider taking away the tonsils as a mutilation also? There are also many contra indications against a tonsillectomy, though in many countries it is still a common practice to remove the tonsils by little children. and what about ear-piercing ?

Ahmad Seddeeq, the imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland, called the ban

“a contravention to the religious rights of freedom” that criminalizes a centuries-old tradition.

The risks of circumcision are very much exaggerated and many forget advantages of cleanliness. The health benefits of circumcision, like helping to prevent urinary tract infections in infants, outweigh the risks.

Clinical trials conducted in Africa have demonstrated that adult circumcision can play a role in preventing HIV, genital herpes and certain strains of human papilloma virus, or HPV, the CDC reported.

Also concerning animal rights in the Netherlands and Belgium activists were hard at work trying to outlaw kosher and halal meats, and got a ban on such killing of animals, which makes it very difficult for Jews to get enough kosher meat.

All those actions fit in the effort to have certain people not staying in our regions, having them to leave because it has become impossible to live according religious laws.

One can question who is behind the ban and what are their real intentions. We can not be conscious enough of the possible aim to silence certain religious groups or to get them out of the country because they shall not be able to live according to their religious laws.

“It would not be the first time in the long tradition of the Jewish people. Throughout history, more than one oppressive regime has tried to suppress our people and eradicate Judaism by prohibiting our religious practices.”

expressed the presidents of the umbrella groups of Jewish communities in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland for very good reason. Iceland, they added, does not have an organized Jewish community today.

“Banning Brit Milah will be an effective deterrent and will guarantee that no Jewish community will be established,”

they wrote.

Albert Guigui, Chief Rabbi of Brussels and Permanent Representative of the Conference of European Rabbis to the European Institutions, concurred that a circumcision ban would be an infringement on religious liberty.

“Prohibiting circumcision in a given country amounts to that very country publicly declaring that no Jewish community is welcome on its territory any longer,”

he said.

A statement released by the Council of European Bishops’ Conference, said that the proposed ban could legitimize xenophobia in Iceland and across Europe:

“This law would render a xenophobic image of Iceland in a religiously and culturally diverse world. Should this proposal go through it also risks inspiring similar initiatives in other European countries and beyond.”

“In a climate of growing anti-Semitism and Islamophobia this could encourage such tendencies elsewhere, increasing the pressure on often already vulnerable communities,”

the statement read.

+

Preceding articles

Exceptionalism and Restricting Laws

Not true or True Catholicism and True Islam

Populism endangering democracy

++

Additional reading

  1. Do not forget the important sign of belief
  2. Today’s thought “Period of uncleanness and offerings” (March 1)
  3. Not trying to make the heathen live like Jews #2
  4. Do those who want to follow Christ to be Jews

+++

Related articles

  1. Circumcision? Why circumcision?
  2. Circumcision and sensation
  3. Circumcision doesn’t make you a man!
  4. Re: circumcision
  5. To cut or not to cut? 
  6. Male Circumscision – is it Child Abuse?
  7. Is Male Circumcision A Violation Of Human Rights?
  8. Male circumcision – can it really be equated to FGM?
  9. Circumcision Sucks: The Uncut Version
  10. The Pros and Cons of Circumcision by Master Public Health
  11. Circumcision Health Benefits
  12. HIV prevention, hygiene; Why male circumcision is the way to go
  13. The Benefits of Newborn Circumcision: Deciding Whether or Not to Circumcise Your Infant After Birth
  14. Circumcision Southport: The best way to give your Baby Son a Lifelong Protection
  15. Why Circumcision
  16. What is a circumcision and why does Iceland want to ban it?
  17. Newshour: Iceland circumcision
  18. 500 Icelandic physicians back bill to outlaw circumcision
  19. Iceland – Jewish Community Survival Threatened As Iceland Set To Ban Jewish Circumcision
  20. Iceland’s proposed ban on male circumcision: Ending religious tolerance
  21. Iceland says bill banning circumcision, a potential first for Europe, is not ‘against religion’
  22. Iceland: Jews Scream “Anti-Semitism” in Response to Ban on Infant Genital Mutilation
  23. Iceland law to outlaw male circumcision sparks row over religious freedom
  24. Iceland’s mooted circumcision ban sparks religious outrage
  25. Iceland’s proposed ban on male circumcision upsets Jews, Muslims
  26. Bill Banning Circumcision in Iceland Alarms Religious Groups
  27. Iceland Bans Circumcision, Chabad Sends Rabbi to Reykjavik (Last Capital In Europe To Get One)
  28. Christians, Jews and Muslims speak out against Iceland’s proposed circumcision ban
  29. Iceland’s mooted circumcision ban sparks religious outrage
  30. Anti-Defamation League Threatens Iceland Because Of Circumcision Ban
  31. Gender Self Identity in Dundee, Circumcision in Iceland and Harassing Prayer | Quantum 121
  32. Bill Banning Circumcision in Iceland Alarms Religious Groups
  33. Denmark Doctors Declare Circumcision Of Healthy Boys ‘Ethically Unacceptable’
  34. And yet they bitch about female circumcision…
  35. From Abortion to Circumcision, Democracy Won’t Save Minorities from the Majority, by Ryan McMaken
  36. Pence Seen Clutching Western Wall As Pain Of Recent Circumcision Overwhelms
  37. Did the Jerusalem Council Change God’s Law?
  38. Co-sleeping, Vaccines, Circumcision, Formula…and every other Mom Shame.
  39. More unethical neonatal circumcision research in Africa?
  40. Circumcision and faith ….. ….part 2 Abraham and Genesis 17
  41. Men’s Rights: A Movement For Pathetic Patriarchy (Update)
  42. Circumcision Palaver
  43. Be wary of the “circumcision”
  44. Trio
  45. Indian-origin family banned from flying baby girl to India for circumcision
  46. Why is the number of male circumcisions declining in Australia?
  47. Dr Balvinder Mehat, ‘no-consent’ circumcision doctor, will not be prosecuted
  48. Will Canada ban circumcision? Not likely, observers say
  49. Not So Cut-And-Dry: The Circumcision Controversy Continues
  50. The Value of Circumcision
Posted in Food, News and Politics, Religion, Welfare and Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Populism endangering democracy

These days we see all over the civilised world a similar problem of politicians trying to please the majority of their populace. Trying to gain votes several politicians do not take it so properly with he protection of human rights. They should know that a democracy which does not respect human rights is not a democracy. Several persons who claim to come up for the rights of people are more trying to limit the rights of several people, like parents. (see about how Darya Safai wants to limit them in the choice of religion and their freedom of clothing.)

Certain criminals or Mafioso do not mind using the political parties for themselves to strengthen their power, like Berlusconi in Italy. Their greed to power and such politicians no interest for the safety of the people and their environment weakens the credibility of politicians and undermines the democracy its survival.

Democracies’ weaknesses in the face of corruption and criminal activities have to be addressed. More and more become disgusted by those corrupt politicians who only think of making their wallet better filled with more money, wherever it may come from. Much of the deregulation associated with the supposedly liberal economy is deliberately encouraged for the benefit of certain groups, sometimes criminal organisations, such as terrorist groups that have taken advantage of the VAT fraud system. People are looking at the EU institutions and wonder why they have not done more or why thy do not take more serious measures against all forms of corruption which we continually see growing like nothing is in its way. Lots of people do find that our governments and the EU have not responded adequately. Populists therefore build on citizens’ justified mistrust towards government.

All interested in the indemnification of democracy should be aware we may not stay silent any-more at the sideline, seeing how certain industries show no respect to the environment and do all what they can to earn as much money as they can, without any respect for nature.  The ones eager to have all power and control over everything are the enemies of democracy. We have seen them standing up in China, Russia, Turkey and the United States of America. The dictators have come in power there already and we can not tell if they are aware of their dangerous games or do they just do it out of stupidity … history will tell. But in the meantime Europe may be caught up in a trade war with the United States of America. We can only hope the politicians shall be strong enough to resist it and shall not give in to allow genetically manipulated and hormone manipulated food to enter in our food-chain. We should not allow democracy’s enemies to exploit the weaknesses of our governments to interfere with public perceptions and capture people’s support. While it is not easy to find a solution, according to Ana Gomes we cannot remain idle. It takes courage to address the faults of our political systems, but it has to be done.

Public attitudes about the political system broadly and the national government specifically vary considerably around the world, though many are critical. Opinions are closely related to the status of the economy and domestic politics. Publics who have experienced high economic growth and are happy with their country’s economy are more confident in their national government. Similarly, people who support the governing party or parties in their country tend to give more positive evaluations of their democracy than those who support either the opposition or no political party at all.

With a Pew Research across 36 countries asked the question of the way democracy is working, a global median of 46% say they are very or somewhat satisfied with the way their democracy is working, compared with 52% who are not too or not at all satisfied.

In North America, 70% of Canadians say they think their political system is working well, but Americans are divided. Just under half in the U.S. (46%) are happy with their democracy and 51% are unhappy. In the U.S., 68% of people who identify with the Republican Party say they are satisfied with their democracy, while just 40% of Americans who do not identify with the Republican Party say the same.

People who are satisfied with how democracy works in their country also tend to say they trust the national government to do what is right for the country. Given that, the global distribution of trust in national governments is very similar to attitudes about the political system more broadly.But we can see a development more people coming to distrust politics. In Belgium, having coming to vote this year for the local authorities people share less interest for going to the ballot box. And next year they shall have to go again to the ballot box, but than for Europe. Last month the European Parliament voted to decrease the number of MEPs from 751 to 705, after the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union on the currently planned schedule. 2019 will see the debut of new centrist parties from Spain (Ciudadanos), Poland (Nowoczesna) which ALDE hopes will boost their performance.

In Germany, 65% of those who have a positive view of the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) say they trust the national government not much or not at all, compared with just 24% of those who have a negative view of the party. Their country  is taking the lead to bring the undemocratic right-wing parties back in the running again. Holland and France being the two other strong Right-wing supporters. Marine Le Pen hoping to change the name of the Front National in the Rassemblement national in the hope to gain more votes.

From the Pew Survey we may believe that more than half of respondents in each of the nations polled consider representative democracy a ‘very’ or ‘somewhat good’ way to govern their country. In all countries, pro-democracy attitudes coexist however, to varying degrees, with openness to non-democratic forms of governance, including rule by experts, a strong leader or the military. The idea of democracy may vary a lot as well. Many fascists are seriously convinced they offer the best democracy for Europe, where there is no place for other religious groups than Christians and best all white Europeans.

Europeans overwhelmingly support representative democracy as a government model. A majority of Europeans reject rule by experts. Europeans also overwhelmingly reject rule by a strong ruler. A striking outcome of the survey is the people’s desire to be more directly involved in political decisions. Some 70 % of Europeans want major issues to be put to a popular vote in their countries. Populist party supporters are even more supportive of direct democracy – likely one of the reasons some people prefer these parties. Though it is just in such groups that many do not see how a limitation of freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of clothing is just bringing democracy in danger.

Once more we should recognise the signs that democracy is not a guaranty or something untouchable for Europe. We see more countries who do not want to keep the EU agreements but think solely for their own. Nobody wants to take in some refugees or want to come to help the Greece and Italian islands which get overloaded with immigrants.
Regrettably, in too many cases electoral results are not respected or institutions and rules are manipulated to keep leaders in power indefinitely. This prevents citizens from accessing the basic elements of freedom and equality that democracy champions.
Populist and extremist political parties and leaders are successfully exploiting their electorates’ insecurities. Exclusionary rhetoric occupies more space in public discourse than before and can influence the outcome of elections. If the recent rise of populism with
authoritarian tendencies is unopposed, it could undermine democracy from within, using democratic tools. We should be fully aware of that.

Skilfully the right wing politicians use fear-mongering to get the people on their hand. With many lies they blind people and get them to believe what is over and over pushed in their throat by the social media.

Most people are not any more interested in an ideal that seeks to guarantee equality and basic freedoms, or to empower ordinary people, resolve disagreements through peaceful dialogue, respect differences, and to bring about political and social renewal without economic and social disruption. For most people it is the “only one self”, the “I” that should be in the most important place. It is all about how can I protect myself and get the best out of it all.
For many there is no place for Muslims or other religious people, who they consider a threat for their own culture.
For most people only those who are born and breath here in Europe should receive a place in Europe. For the majority it seems that civil and political rights, social and economic rights, democratic governance and rule of law, belongs to the European citizen and not to those who come to invade Europe from Africa and Asia.

Today, not many in West Europe seem to be interested to give non-Europeans the same rights as they have. Not many are willing to be open for other cultures, different traditions of democratic thought associated with the concepts of electoral democracy, liberal democracy, social democracy and participatory democracy. We should acknowledge that there is the concept of democracy which reflects a core value enshrined in article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that the ‘will of the people’ is the basis for the legitimacy and authority of sovereign states. But what now when the majority seems to be willing to restrict the freedom of so many? Normally one would expect a democratic system to reflect a common and universal desire for peace, security and justice. But those populist politicians present to their voters a false democracy which does not reflect the fundamental ethical principles of human equality and the dignity of persons.

Therefore not taking democracy for granted we should alert people of the dangerous road some politicians are trying to take these days.

The main challenges include backsliding and shrinking democratic space (more specifically constitutional amendments; concentration of power in the executive; undermined judicial independence; media restrictions; restrictions on opposition parties and civil society); rising populism and nationalism; spreading of fake news and disinformation; decreasing trust in political parties and elites; state capture and corruption, such as unchecked inflows of money into politics; spill-overs from regional conflicts, such as migration and refugee flows, that fuel populism in Europe.

We must not be chicken-livered, by institutionalising and having too many European politicians gone too far away from their people, many living far away in an other world, making that democracy came to undergo a crisis of political representation, which has to be addressed.

EPRS Policy Roundtable 'Declining commitment to democracy : What's going on around the world ?'

EPRS Policy Roundtable ‘Declining commitment to democracy : What’s going on around the world ?’

On 7 March 2018, the EPRS Members’ Research Service organised a roundtable on the global state of democracy as seen by citizens. Etienne Bassot, Director of the Members’ Research Service, highlighted the importance of the topic, particularly with the approaching elections for the European Parliament.

EPRS Policy Roundtable 'Declining commitment to democracy : What's going on around the world ?'

Ana GOMES, MEP (S&D, PT)

Ana Gomes (S&D, Portugal), said we must learn the lessons of history and address these failures with courage. For example, the failure of our governments to uphold their legal and moral obligations towards those who need protection, such as refugees, has fuelled extremism and radicalisation.

IDEA makes a series of recommendations in this respect. Political parties have to remain responsive to the electorate’s needs during the entire electorate cycle, to address policy challenges without compromising ideology, to communicate political vision, and to outline innovative programmes. They have to be democratic, transparent, based on fair processes, open to pluralism, inclusive – particularly of young people and women, ready to engage with citizens, open to alternative forms of membership, able to restore trust (through anti-corruption measures and internal democracy), and open to alternative means of communication (ICT).

Dissatisfaction with the way democracy works in practice does not necessarily represent a rejection of democratic principles as such. The popularity of direct democracy, as shown in the Pew Survey, clearly illustrates this distinction. This should give us hope.

Even if democratic progress is not linear, democracies are particularly fit to overcome crises, as they are flexible and able to adapt and reinvent themselves. The survey also provides some interesting insights for EU democracy support – a subject on which the EPRS has recently published a briefing.

The EU is at the forefront of efforts to support democracy in third countries in the world. As the Pew Survey shows, people expect democratic systems to deliver, and the state of the economy and the effectiveness of the government are strong drivers of citizens’ trust in democracy. These findings legitimate the approach taken by the EU with regard to democracy support since the Lisbon Treaty, according to which consistency and coherence with other external policy must be assured and strengthened. Economic success and good governance (and EU aid can play an important supportive role) is important for the strength and resilience of democracies. In this respect, EU development aid, as well as the human rights and democracy conditionality enshrined in many of its bilateral relations, can ensure that democratic and economic progress go hand in hand.

But first of all politicians should be more open and come again closer to the public, to their voters. They should come back with their feet on the ground and should play more open card, not staying in their ivory tower.

***


+

 

Preceding article

Pushing people in a corner danger for indoctrination and loss of democratic values / In Dutch Angst voor Islamisering dat juist leidt tot indoctrinatiemogelijkheden

++

Additional reading

  1. Declaration of war against Islam and Christianity
  2. Fight against nationalism main struggle for feminists today
  3. Certain people trying to stem freedom of speech
  4. Three pillars of sustainable development, young people and their rights
  5. Trump brand of migrant demonization #2
  6. Institutional Racism
  7. Darkest just before dawn
  8. It’s Time real lovers of God to Stand and Speak Out!
  9. Rome mobilisation to say no to fascism and racism

+++

Related

  1. Human rights 1
  2. Human Rights 2
  3. Stand up for Humanity – World Human Rights Day
  4. The Struggle for Human Rights
  5. Declaring a “human right” does not make it one (part 1)
  6. A New Perspective on Human Rights
  7. Human Rights Commission CFO gropes, keeps job
  8. Human rights rest only on human advocacy
  9. Your Most Basic Right
  10. Women’s Rights Are Human Rights (though perhaps not in Bulgaria)
  11. Pressure Grows on Labour to Defend Human Rights in Iran.
  12. The ‘Human Rights’ War on Syria
  13. Russia may end cooperation with European Court of Human Rights: RIA
  14. Interview with Shreen Saroor, winner of Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
  15. Limitations on religious rights
  16. International Human Rights Day
  17. Human rights, disAbility and dementia
  18. Human rights abuses against the waria of Indonesia
  19. >New Orleans Won’t Do Business with Human Rights Violators
  20. DPRK white paper on human rights violations in the USA
  21. China Tells the US to Learn from China’s Human Rights
  22. While there is life, there is hope! –  
  23. Stand up for Humanity – World Human Rights Day
  24. Democracy  by David Palethorpe
  25. Democracy
  26. Democracy Abraham Lincoln, who left copious scraps of paper with jotted thoughts instead of a diary, wrote upon one of them
  27. ‘Democracy is an experiment…’
  28. Demokrati – Democracy
  29. Not a Democracy
  30. It Is Not A Democracy
  31. How Democracies Die …
  32. Threats to Democracy
  33. Is Democracy in Decline???
  34. The Role of Education in A Democracy
  35. Why I Hate Democracy..
  36. Democracy Is Experiencing System Failure. We Can Fix It.
  37. Democracy and The Poor
  38. Psychology of Democracy
  39. Thomas L. Friedman: US Democracy Is In Code Red Because Of President Trump
  40. Power, stagnation, and democracy
  41. Undermining democracy
  42. “Everybody now seems to be talking about democracy. As I think of it, democracy isn’t like a Sunday suit to be brought out and worn only for parades.”
  43. Exclusive: Izzard on his NEC bid, Labour democracy, the chicken-coup and more
  44. Shadow Economy, Democracy and the Manipulation of Public Opinion
  45. The Glory of Democracy
  46. Democracy and the Greater Good
  47. Establishment Alarmed as Trump Threatens to Gut US “Democracy Promotion” Racket
  48. The American democracy wasn’t built in a day, but it could be destroyed swiftly and imperceptibly
  49. Trumping Democracy
  50. Trump represents true Democracy
  51. Trump’s Judges: The GOP’s Slow Poison for Democracy, and the Planet
Posted in B4Peace, Crisis, Environment and Ecology, News and Politics, Poll, Religion, Welfare and Health, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

European teenagers to tell Brussels what place there is for culture in Europe

Your Europe, Your Say!

Thirty-three schools from across Europe will come to Brussels this week and tell European institutions just what role they see culture playing in Europe’s future. They will brainstorm, debate and vote on three proposals which European institutions will factor into their policy making.

The schools were selected to participate in this initiative by means of an electronic name picker in Brussels on 6 December. One school from each of the 28 EU Member States and five candidate countries (Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey) will be involved.

Called “Your Europe, Your Say!” (YEYS), the event is organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the voice of civil society at European level, and is the Committee’s flagship event for young people.

Students from secondary schools will leave their familiar classrooms and come to Brussels on 15 and 16 March to share their views and ideas and work together on United in diversity: a younger future for European culture”.  Through this initiative, the EESC is seeking to ensure that the views, experiences and ideas of the younger generation are taken on board in EU policy making.

Further details about YEYS2018 are available on the event’s official page and in last year’s video here.(ks)

Posted in Announcement, Culture, News and Politics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tieners over de rol die is weggelegd voor cultuur in het Europa van morgen

Jouw Europa, jouw mening!

Drieëndertig scholen uit heel Europa komen deze week naar Brussel om de Europese instellingen te vertellen welke rol cultuur volgens hen in de toekomst van Europa kan vervullen. Zij zullen van gedachten wisselen, debatteren en stemmen over drie voorstellen waarmee de Europese instellingen bij de beleidsvorming rekening zullen houden.

https://www.eesc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/styles/medium/public/images/yeys_congrats.jpg?itok=Wq5Q1UFqDe scholen zijn op 6 december in Brussel op willekeurige wijze elektronisch geselecteerd om deel te nemen aan dit initiatief. Uit elk van de 28 lidstaten en elk van de vijf kandidaat-lidstaten (Albanië, de voormalige Joegoslavische Republiek Macedonië, Montenegro, Servië en Turkije) zal één school deelnemen.

Dit evenement heet “Jouw Europa, jouw mening!” Het evenement (YEYS) wordt georganiseerd door de spreekbuis van het maatschappelijk middenveld op Europees niveau – het Europees Economisch en Sociaal Comité (EESC) – en is het EESC-evenement bij uitstek voor jongeren.

Leerlingen van middelbare scholen zullen op 15 en 16 maart hun vertrouwde klaslokalen verruilen voor Brussel, om hun opvattingen en ideeën te delen en samen te werken aan “Verenigd in verscheidenheid: een jongere toekomst voor de Europese cultuur”. Met dit initiatief wil het EESC ervoor zorgen dat de standpunten, ervaringen en ideeën van de jongere generatie in de EU-besluitvorming worden opgenomen.

Nadere details over YEYS2018 zijn te vinden op de officiële website van het evenement en hier, in de video van vorig jaar.(ks)

Posted in Aankondiging, Cultuur, Nieuws en politiek | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pushing people in a corner danger for indoctrination and loss of democratic values

Joodse meisjesschool verbiedt leerkrachten te praten over seksualiteit en evolutieleer: minister beveelt onderzoek

The Benoth Jerusalem school in Breughelstraat in Antwerp is a subsidized Free Israeli school for secondary education. “Here, too, the final objectives have to be respected”, says Minister Crevits. Photo: Victoriano Moreno

Mid February we heard on the news that at the Free Israelite school for secondary education Benoth Jerusalem girl-school, in the Breughelstraat, Antwerp where the teachers’ corps only consists of women, they demanded very strange rules to be agreed with from their teachers.

The “Guidelines” bundle, which applicants get from the management of the Benoth Jerusalem school in Antwerp, demand of the female teachers not to

“talk about sex, procreation, politics, religion, racism, personal matters.”

This is also specified per subject.

In 2012, the school was screened by the Flemish Education Inspectorate. The school then received a ‘limited favourable advice’. Especially in the field of evolution theory, sexual education and scientific subjects, the inspectors at Benoth Jerusalem found important ‘gaps’. In a follow-up audit in 2015, these gaps were eliminated, the inspection team judged. The school regrets

‘the hoopla that detracts from years of efforts’.

This so systematic direct education is the danger that the Iranian-Belgian human rights activist Darya Safai wants to bring onto more children, especially to the Muslim children. Once again the debacle concerning head-covering was hot topic these weeks. The lady who got very traumatised in Iran probably considers the European women also as weak as the women in her native country. For her it is impossible that children and young women (up to 23) are able to decide for themselves what to wear and to choose if they voluntary want to cover their head or not.

Foto: Paul van Welden

Iranian-Belgian human rights activist Darya Safai – Photo Paul van Welden

Strangely many see in this lady a human rights fighter, what she really tries to do in her native region. But over here in the West she tries to limit our human rights. She wants to take away the right for parents to decide which religion they give to their children and wants to take the right away for them to choose what their children should wear.

She wants to take away our Freedom of religion, Freedom of clothing or Freedom of dress, Freedom of thought, Freedom of expression, and Freedom of worship away.

She told, on the Flemish television, parents should have no right to say which religion their kids should follow and expressed also that parents should not have any right to decide which cloths their children have to wear.

(foto: Filip Naudts)

Commandeur in the Silvesterorde Mieke Van Hecke

Ex-top woman of Catholic education Mieke Van Hecke (CD&V) pleaded in Terzake for the right to wear a headscarf at school at agreed the head covering was the only element in which she feels that she failed. She notices how children became the victim of the affair. She could see how Sikhs are the ones to suffer as well, because they can not find any state school or Free school where they are welcome with their head covering.

Darya Safai (N-VA) argues that the choice to wear a headscarf is not made by girls themselves.

“It’s not a free choice, if I see six-year-old girls wearing headscarves, I really wonder how they could decide that for themselves-it’s imposed on you and you live with them.”

For her the covering of the body is a symbol of oppression, brought unto the innocent youngsters by their tyrant parents. For her men with beards are all despots for whom we should be very careful because it are very dangerous people. (So every reader knows now that I am considered a very dangerous person.)

Safai to her defence for calling it a symbol of oppression says

“Men do not wear headscarves, that’s the best proof”

To which Vanhecke replies

“With Jews, only the men wear a yarmulke, and that is not seen as a symbol of oppression,”

Van Hecke argues that not only Muslims are victims of the headscarf debate.

“A ban on headgear not only affects Muslims,”

says Vanhecke.

“In Sint-Truiden there were never any problems, the Sikh boys came to school with a turban, because of the ban they no longer have access to our school.”

The primary schools of Flemish Community education have a ban on the wearing of religious symbols which includes the headscarf of the Sikhs. The Sikhs demand that the school regulations be adjusted and rely on a few judgments of the Council of State. If the ban is not scaled back, there are legal proceedings in summary proceedings or at the Council of State.

Van Hecke rightly thinks girls are also oppressed if they are not allowed to wear the headscarf.

“A religion obliges the headscarf, a society forbids it, that is the same principle.”

“You interfere in a fundamental right of parents to make choices for their children,”

says Van Hecke. And with that statement more people should come to see how we find people being used as a play-toy to get right-wing issues through and create opportunities to limit our freedom, like Safai wants to do.

There has been made a lot of work to open borders of Europe, which would not hinder people to get from one place to an other to find a job or to go on holiday. Europe allowing free-movement of workers enhanced many their job-finding potential. Several governments did make an effort to show equality to everybody wanting to live in their region. Though now there are many who want to restrict such liberty of living in Europe. Furthermore they even want to restrict the right of choosing an other religion than their ‘Christendom‘ by which most of them mean ‘Roman Catholicism‘. Those being so afraid others will come to diminish their faith-group seem not to wonder why it could be possible that so many would turn away from Catholicism. If they and the others also would be strong believers then thy should not be worried that they and/or others would be converted to Islam.

33 years old Protestant female covering all of her hair according the Biblical instructions: “For if a woman is not veiled, let her also have her hair cut short; but if it is shameful for a woman to wear her hair cut short or to have her head shaved, then let her be veiled.” 1 Co 11:3‭-‬6 CJB

Many also do forget that in certain Christian groups women also wear a head covering when in public or at church.

The ones who want to restrict what people may wear, bring to themselves also many restrictions and bring our democracy in danger. Safai by excluding youngsters from our schools, when they prefer to wear a head-covering, or when their parents want them to go to a school where their faith is respected, pushes them to private schools where there are many more chances to have in-doctrinal teachings. That where so many are afraid for they are creating themselves by their discrimination.

We should be very careful also to keep the youngsters under control by having them in schools which are under state control.

At the moment throughout Europe there have been taken initiatives to protect the youngsters from those who want to bring them under the spell of fundamentalist Islamist doctrines. Though despite a number of high-quality initiatives, not enough is being done to prevent young people from succumbing to the lure of violent extremism.

In the fight against youth radicalisation, Member States and the EU need to involve civil society organisations more effectively as partners who can make a key contribution to social and values-based resilience against extremist ideas,

the EESC said at its December plenary.

Instead of focusing on short-term, punitive security policies driven by “crisis” events, EU policies should invest more in prompt but also long-term and coordinated prevention efforts, the EESC stated in its opinion on Cooperation with civil society to prevent the radicalisation of young people,.

Rapporteur Christian Moos (Various Interests, DE) stressed that young people are especially vulnerable to extremist propaganda, as they do not have a strong sense of identity and often feel excluded by society.

Prevention requires a multi-agency approach involving policy-makers, police and prisons, social workers, schools, the media, businesses and civil society organisations, according to the EESC. We should be very careful when we do not allow head-covering in the State Schools, which should neutrality and should as such be open for all sorts of people from whatever religion. By excluding those people who want to express their believe, we push them in the hands of people who could have other plans with them than we would like to see. Those people having to look for private schools are then the target of Salafist and extremist groups, who by having them in their schools can guide them in any direction they want, without control of the State.

Mr Moos praised the European Commission’s work in the prevention area. Its Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN), gathers frontline and grassroots practitioners and brings together practitioners from around Europe working on the prevention of radicalisation. It also promotes the exchange of best practice and on-the-ground experience, while its High Level Expert Group on Radicalisation is to advise on the further development of EU policies and more structured cooperation between stakeholders and between Member States.

The most effective prevention strategies stop people from getting involved in violent extremism or acts of terrorism in the first place, but in case Safai gets her will the youngsters from devout believers become an easy target of the extremist groups luring them in their private institutions where they easily could be indoctrinated. The grip of our teachers, youth workers, civil society representatives, local authorities representatives and healthcare professionals taken away weakens them more.

Nevertheless we must be aware that these initiatives taken by the EESC and local governments are not enough.

The EESC places special emphasis on formal and non-formal education for active participation in a diverse society and for teaching critical thinking and media literacy. Our youngsters do have to learn that there are different religions and cultures with their own specifics. Trying to do away of those outward appearances shall not help to get people used to it. Just the opposite, it shall increase the misunderstanding and take away the rapprochements possibility.

Fighting xenophobic and populist tendencies through more intercultural awareness and also through a firm understanding of EU values is likewise seen as helpful.

Youth organisations were singled out as providing valuable alternative opportunities for developing a healthy sense of personal identity. The EESC also stressed the role of trade unions and religious communities, as well as that of support services and networks that can help schools and families detect the first signs of radicalisation.

Logo chiro.jpgWikiProject Scouting fleur-de-lis dark.svgBy making the parents to look for other schools than the Gemeenschapsonderwijs (GO!) State Schools there shall be less control and less opportunities that those kids shall come to join free community youth organisations like Chiro or Scouts (Scouting) where those youngsters can be supported in their physical, mental and spiritual development. A widely recognized movement characteristic is the Scout uniform, by intent hiding all differences of social standing in a country and making for equality, with neckerchief and campaign hat or comparable headwear.

Combating youth unemployment and poverty should also be high on the agenda, recommended the EESC, but by the actions of Darya Safai many parents shall be obliged to sent their kids to private schools which shall cost them a lot and bring them even on the bring of poverty. But also their kids having gone to such schools with no guarantee of quality education shall have less possibilities on the job-market and make more chance to come on to the dole, their unemployment benefit costing us much more than giving them a good education where all people come to recognise the differences between the many cultures in this country.

+

Previous articles

Exceptionalism and Restricting Laws

Vatican against Opponents of immigration

Please also read my article:

It’s Time real lovers of God to Stand and Speak Out!

About the same subject in Dutch:

Angst voor Islamisering dat juist leid tot indoctrinatiemogelijkheden

++

Additional reading

  1. Religion, fundamentalism and murder
  2. Inculturation today calling for a different attitude
  3. A stain of shame for the European Union
  4. Allowing dress code according liberty of religion
  5. French showing to the whole world their fear and weakness
  6. Women in France running with naked bosom all right but with covered bosom penalised
  7. Pew Research: How People in Muslim Countries Believe Women Should Dress
  8. Meditating Muslimah on “hijab to be a religious obligation”
  9. You are what you wear
  10. Islamism Rises from Europe’s Secularism
  11. Christians, secularism, morals and values
  12. Secularism in France becoming dangerous for freedom of religion
  13. a must read and see: A Jew and Muslim walking together side by side down USA city streets

+++

Related articles

  1. Poem: The Head Covering Question
  2. Head Coverings – Part 1
  3. Headcovering for women Basis for the Observance of this Precept (summary of a sermon preached some years ago in Newtownabbey FPC as part of a series on Free Presbyterian distinctives.)
  4. Head Covering is about Glorifying God
  5. Hijab: Muslim groups calls for understanding
  6. Belgian Television has achieved a milestone in pro-hijab propaganda: “schools shouldn’t interfear with basic religious rights by banning hijab”
  7. ‘It won’t get better’ – Iranian activist Darya Safai on footballers’ ban for playing Israelis — RT Sport
  8. ‘Humiliating’: Iranian women excluded as Syrian women watch World Cup qualifier in stadium
  9. Western women turn a blind eye to Iranian struggle
  10. Western Feminists Snub an Iranian Heroine
  11. Iranian women protest head-covering law
  12. Hebrew Women + Head Covering
  13. Hebrew Sisters – Understand the Correct Meaning Of A Covering! | Exposing Corruption Under Every Rock
  14. Know Your Reasons–A Head-covering Lutheran:
  15. The other has a face
  16. A dying Western culture is the problem
  17. How God left the Netherlands – or is it the other way around?
  18. Anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rallies grow in Europe
  19. Hijab: Oppression or Freedom?
  20. What does it mean to cover?
  21. What’s the Deal With Head Coverings?
  22. Head Covering as a Form of Protection
  23. Islam, France, Burkini: A chit chat on FB
  24. Covering my Head
  25. Of Old Testament Haircuts and New Testament Head Coverings
  26. Veils & Head Coverings…Thoughts from an American Soldier
  27. Be kind to your sisters, always
  28. Head Coverings: A Matter of the Heart
  29. Christian Head-Covering Tag
  30. Re-Asserting a Feminine Tradition – Crisis Magazine
  31. Hats? or Chapel Veils? Or no head covering at all?
  32. Piety, Modesty, and Covering My Hair – A Perspective
  33. A visual guide to Muslim head coverings
  34. I Tried Wearing a Hijab (sort of)
  35. Jewish group to question French President Macron on fighting anti-Semitism
  36. Beyond the Pretty
  37. Brexit in Islamaphobic Europe
  38. Racism Is not . . .
  39. First contestant to wear head covering on ‘The Voice France’ wows judges
  40. Pro-hijab billboard campaign in Chicago
  41. False Teachings Or Simply Disagreements?
  42. Feminism is the temptation to be like God and man
  43. The Head Cover Challenge
  44. From Abortion to Circumcision, Democracy Won’t Save Minorities from the Majority, by Ryan McMaken
  45. Quebec’s Law on Facial Veils Fuels Fierce Debate
  46. Globe editorial: Quebec hangs onto a troubling rule on head-coverings
  47. 10 Head Wrap Ideas
  48. Iranian Women Remove the Hijab: Is It the End of the World?
  49. ‘Goodbye My Chechnya’ by Diàna Markosian investigates the changes taking place i…
  50. Writing a Story That’s Not Yours
  51. love of law vs law of love
Posted in B4Peace, Culture, Education, News and Politics, Poverty, Upbringing and Education, Welfare and Health, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments