Monday, April 27, 2009

Marion Grace Wooley: "I can't go into detail,people are allways reading"

Marion Grace Wooley, a british expat, lives and works in Kigali since 2007 with her two cats Sula and Ishueri. She writes in her last post: BBC Local Off-Air in Rwanda about the BBC local program that was taking off the air. She expresses the confusion in Kigali. People are talking about Paul Rusesabagina, one of the strongest critics of the current regime in Kigali. She also expresses her own fear to talk about the taboo-subject: Crimes committed by the RPF. In that context she writes down this terrible line which you can only find in countries where secret services are allways on the look out to track down potential political opponents: "But it is a very thin tightrope and stuff I can't go into detail in on a blog - as recently reminded, people are always reading." She is witnessing the fact that tensions are rising due the current debate surrounding upcoming elections in 2010, the suspension of budgetsupport by the Netherlands and Sweden and Paul Rusesabagina's clear message reaching ever larger audiences, as reported in the article "Rusesabagina: ‘Rwanda back to ethnic servitude system’" by Olivier Nyirubugara on his website Paul Rusesabagina was invited as Keynote speaker by the ruling Dutch Labour Party last saturday at the annual "Afrikadag". Olivier Nyirubugara, a dutch based journalist with a special focus on the Great Lakes Region, has a lot of unique content, to paraphrase Marion Grace Wooley's words: I can't go into detail, go visit his website and continue reading.

Marion Grace Wooley also writes for a blog called Kigaliwriters together with Daddy Ruhorahoza: a film maker (see his personal blog), Gatete Thierry Kevin: (Association Rwandaise Pour la Defence des Droits) de l'Homme, and jr Snitch. This blog is not open to the public, considering who these kigali writers are, this blog must be a gold mine of juicy details.

Chris Blattman writes on his influential blog "The Rwandan government has suspended BBC radio service. Kagame's descent into classic autocracy continues..."

Jean Manirarora, a Rwandan living in the US, commented on the article "Rwanda Rising:A New Model of Economic Development" in which he referred to a recent report, entitled “Rwanda Today: When Foreign Aid Hurts More Than It Helps” which is an economic analysis of the situation in Rwanda today prepared by the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundatio.

Our softspot

As Jean-Louis Kayitenkore writes on his blog: Rick Warren has suggested Paul Kagame to be included in the next top 100 most important and influential people in the world with the words
"President Paul Kagame, 51, of Rwanda ,is the face of emerging African leadership. His reconciliation strategy, management model,
empowerment of women in leadership,and insistence on self-reliance,are transforming a failed state into one with a bright future."

Rick Warren has been considered by many to be the new leader of Evangelical politics in the US. He has earned this position in no small part by using the Rwandan narrative, summarized above, to tap in to the softspot many evangelicals, many Americans and many world citizens have for Israel. It won't be necessary for me today to point out the weaknesses in the theological or philosophical foundation for this softspot, because Rick Warren's narrative is falling apart at the speed of light.

It is now confirmed by a UN report that Paul Kagame was behind Laurent Nkunda. Spain is investigating the claims, backed by solid proof, that his RPF army has committed crimes against humanity and acts of genocide inside Rwanda and the Congo. It is very likely that Paul Kagame himself ordered the assasination of former Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi.

Rick Warren and Paul Kagame's success have a common denominator: they used our softspot to their personal advantage. Our softspot: common guilt in western Europe and sentimentality in the US concerning the holocaust. In the case of Rick Warren all this is off course covered with a "biblical sauce". The holocaust is a wound in our history that continues to impact human lives up to today. Political traditions from different directions are influenced by this painfull and shamefull period in history. Follow European politics today and you will notice how much impact this common memory continues to have on current affairs. How it complicates and influences many political discussions at home and abroad. The same holds true for US public policy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Reverse piracy:: toxic Euro and American electronic waste dumping in Africa

by Greenpeace, and Ann Garrison

Now we finally know where "conflict minerals" coltan and cassiterite, essential to the electronics industries go, after being smuggled out of D.R. Congo, to Rwanda, and from there, to who knows where.   No one really knows because coltan and cassiterite refiners, and electronics manufacturers, all assure us that they never buy conflict minerals, even though most of the world's coltan reserves, and much of its casssiterite reserves, lie in conflict torn D.R. Congo's North Kivu Province.  

But, at least we know where a lot of coltan and cassiterite go, in the end.  They go to Ghana, and other parts of Africa, as toxic electronic waste, often disguised as charity, Euro and North American "contributions" of worn-out, broken, no longer fashionable tech garbage.   

This demonstrates how homicidally Europeans still behave in Africa, including even many from nations like the Netherlands, which seems relatively benign, when compared to the U.S. which continues to expand Africom, the U.S. Africa Command, a chain of U.S. military bases commanded byU.S. Army General William "Kip" Ward, in Africa.

The Netherlands joined Sweden in ending foreign aid to Rwandan President Paul Kagame's regime, because of human right violations and war crimes in both Rwanda and neighboring D.R. Congo.  The Netherlands is, nevertheless, on Greenpeace's list of European nations shipping and dumping toxic e-waste "charity" in Ghana. 

Isn't this an international crime more serious than Somali "piracy," a response to nuclear waste dumping on one end of the Somali Coast, and, to European trawlers, fishing out Somali waters, which Somali fishing communities depended on, on Somali's other coast?

Shouldn't the same Netherlands politicans who canceled aid to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, take the lead in stopping the shipment of toxic Euro e-waste to Ghana, and elsewhere in Africa, or any other African nation?   And, shouldn't President Barack Obama either follow, that lead, or take it himself?

Would more offshore oil drilling, on the coasts of the U.S., weaken the oil motive for U.S. wars in Africa and the Middle East?

"Off shore oil rig about twenty minutes past sunset. Catalina Island
off the coast of Southern California, is visable in the background."
Photo and caption---arbyreed.

by Ann Garrison

No, it would not. More drilling here, offshore or on, will only feed the dirty energy infrastructure that the U.S. is now in a state of perpetual war, the War on Terror, to sustain, in the Middle East and Africa---even though more than half the U.S. federal budget is worse than squandered on our military machine, the largest and most lethal in history.

This week I wrote an article, "To drill or not to drill, for oil and gas, on the Outer Continental Shelf?", after the last of four public hearings on the Atlantic, Gulf, Pacific, and Alaskan coasts, on the extension of oil and gas drilling leases into the entire 1.7 billion ocean acres of the Outer Continental Shelf, a surface area as large as the U.S. itself.

I wanted to share this issue now contested in the U.S., on Colored Opinions, and add, for what may include an audience outside the U.S.A., and some African audience, that drilling for oil and gas in the U.S. will neither create illusory "energy independence," nor discourage more foreign wars for oil and natural gas.

I try to point out, whenever I can, that Africa has surpassed the Middle East as a source of U.S. oil imports.

See the Institute for Policies Studies video Resist Africom.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dutch government abuses right to discriminate it's own citizens

Over the last decade thousands of Dutch citizens have been forced to leave the country to gain the right to family life. The website is a witness to this reality. You can read a lot of heartbreaking stories there (some in English)about the way the Dutch government (backed by the Raad van State, highest court in the country) treats its own citizens.

In january the Dutch parliament held a special audience because of an article in a large anti-immigrant newspapers called "De Telegraaf" which stated that those who temporary lived in Belgium to gain the right to family life for their spouse and children were abusing the rights of free movement within the EU. The article "Parliament wants quick end to Belgium-route" and those members of parliament of the political parties CDA, SP, VVD and PVV continued their relentless attack on those citizens who had left the country because of Dutch immigration policy in regard to family-life.

The fact that every EU citizen who has left his country of origin as migrant worker has the right to family life in all !!!!! memberstates, makes it absolutely clear to what the EU interpretation of the fundamental right to family-life is. This interpretation by the EU court in Luxembourg is not accidental. This fundamental right is not based on free movement, as many try to make you believe (Just read for instance the Carpenter and Akrich arrests, these cases make it clear that independent of free movement family-life should be respectedin a specific way). The fact that this right is fundamental but nevertheless not respected in the Netherlands is evidence of the fact that the Dutch government abuses it's right to discriminate against it's own citizens.

The irony is that the largest political party in the Netherlands, CDA (Balkenende), has elected at the head of it's European parliamentary election list Wim van de Camp, the man who said that "the abuse of the Belgium-route should stop". I would ask him to acknowledge the fact, not just that he has not read EU-jurisprudence of the court in Luxembourg, not just that he distorts the fact that the belgium-route is based on solid interpretation of EU-Law and jurisprudence, but that the Dutch government is in fact abusing it's right to discriminate against it's own citizens in refusing them their fundamental rights and forcing them to leave their country in the first place.

Nederland misbruikt haar recht om eigen burgers te discrimineren

Wim van de Camp, lijsttrekker van het CDA bij de Europese verkiezingen, zei een aantal maanden geleden in een debat over de zogenaamde België-route: "De strekking van de regeling is veel te ruimhartig. Het kan niet zo zijn dat de Nederlandse eisen voor gezinshereniging- en vorming worden omzeild. Er gebeurt al jarenlang niets, daar ben ik best pissig over.”

Daarmee sloot hij zich aan bij het standpunt van PVV, VVD en SP dat de België-route misbruik is van vrij verkeer. Die leugen had een journalist van de Telegraaf rondgestrooid in een artikel. Een krant die niet schroomt om haar lezers onkundig te laten om maar te kunnen blijven inspelen op onderbuikgevoelens tegen migranten.

De jurisprudentie van het Hof in Luxemburg is echter de reden dat ook Nederlanders met een buitenlandse partner die gebruik maken of hebben gemaakt van hun recht op vrij verkeer vallen onder de gunstiger regels die de EU hanteert voor het recht op gezinsleven. De motieven van de migrerende EU-burger en zijn familie-leden zijn daarbij irrelevant.

Het recht op gezinsleven wordt in het kader van de EU-jurisprudentie als fundamenteel recht gezien. Dit aspect speelt tot nu toe geen enkele rol in de discussie zoals deze in Nederland op het punt van gezinshereniging gevoerd wordt. Dit fundamentel recht zorgt er echter voor dat het Nederlandse beleid rond gezinshereniging op drijfzand gebouwd is.

De België-route is het bewijs dat lidstaten hun bevoegdheid misbruiken om hun eigen onderdanen te discrimineren ten opzichte van diegenen die gebruik maken of gemaakt hebben van het recht op vrij verkeer. Elke burger van Nederland die zijn recht moet halen door naar een andere lidstaat te verhuizen is in deze context een aanklacht tegen het "recht" zoals dat steeds door de Nederlandse politiek en het Nederlandse justitiële apparaat met hand en tand verdedigd wordt. Een "recht" dat slechts gebaseerd is op een "gemeen gevoelen" en "consensus" onder de regerende elite in Nederland.

Het is opmerkelijk dat Wim van de Camp nu als lijsttrekker deelneemt aan de verkiezingen voor het Europese parlement, terwijl hij kort geleden nog zo duidelijk blijk gaf geen boodschap te hebben aan fundamentele rechten van EU-burgers zoals deze in wetgeving en jurisprudentie zijn vastgelegd.

Het Burgerschap van de Europese Unie is volop in ontwikkeling en het fundamentele recht op gezinsleven is, naast de politieke participatie van migrerende werknemers, één van de meest centrale elementen daarin. Politieke partijen in Nederland hebben de taak om tijdens verkiezingen duidelijkheid te verschaffen hoe zij denken de burgers te helpen bij de invulling van hun burgerschap ook in de EU. Maar helaas, als variatie op Arend Jan Boekestijn: "het blijft angstig stil"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dutch lead in fight for democratic development in Rwanda

The fight for democracy in Rwanda continues in the Netherlands where the leader of the Rwandan opposition gave a speech at the University of Leiden last week as reported in dutch on the website Superchange. Arend Jan Boekestijn, member of parliament for foreign affairs of the influential conservative liberal party VVD, continues his political crusade against the undemocratic rule of Paul Kagame. He has published articles in important media in The Netherlands: Elsevier, NRC and Volkskrant explaining his objections to budgetsupport and support in general to this dictatorial regime. The last article was published also on the new conservative liberal website "De Dagelijkse Standaard" and is called "The price of a bad conscience" The scientific institute of the Dutch Labour Party PVDA will host a conference on Africa next weekend, in which Paul Rusesabagina will be invited as main speaker. Paul Rusesabagina can be considered as the most effective opponent of the current Rwandan regime. He participated in a conference on the Great Lakes Region a year ago at the peace palace in The Hague. If anyone had told you at the time that Paul Kagame's regime would have lost allmost all it's credibility a year later, people would probably not have believed you. Kagame now practically stands alone. Finally the truth concerning the crimes committed by Kagame's RPF are coming out, as Robert Krueger, US ambassador to Burundi in 1995, predicted in his book "From bloodshed to hope in Burundi". Koffi Olomidi, a famous Congolese singer says "Truth comes by the stairs, lies take the elevator", and that is why 5 million Congolese had to die. I hope the US administration will also thorougly investigate and bring to justice those US soldiers who refused to investigate and were thereby instrumental in covering up RPF crimes inside Rwanda and the Congo.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Do schools kill creativity?

Sir Ken Robinson on TED makes the case for dance
:"every education system in the world has the hierarchy of subjects,at the top mathematics and languages, and at the bottom are the arts. In Arts there is hierarchytoo, art and music are given a higher status in schools then drama and dance. There isn't an education system on the planet that teaches dance everyday to children, the way we teach them mathemathics, why, why not? I think this is rather important, I think math is very important, children dance all the time, we all have bodies, did I miss anything?"

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tom Odom's excentric views on Rwanda

Thomas P. Odom assisted the U.S. ambassador in Rwanda and served as the principal military advisor on Rwanda to the U.S. Department of Defense and National Security Council throughout his time in Rwanda from 1994 to 1996. He served as the U.S. Defense Attache in Zaire from 1993-1994. He wrote a review of Gerard Prunier's new book "Africa's World War", which was used by the editors of the website of The New Times today because it is clearly in defense of the current regime in Kigali. The New Times is a Rwandan newspaper that has a reputation of only publishing articles in favor of the current regime. It started, for example, a smear campaign against Paul Rusesabagina in 2006, as the washington post reported at the time in the article "Smearing a Hero" by Terry George (the director of the movie "Hotel Rwanda").

Thomas P. Odom, a retired Lieutenant Colonel, is one of the staunchest supporters of the current regime in Kigali. He has been active in accusing many of Kagame's critics of spreading consipiracy theories. People like Keith Harmon Snow, Wayne Madsen, Robert Philpot, Cynthia Mckinney and now Gerard Prunier. November third 2008 Tom Odom has written on the forum of smallwarsjournal:
"The only way to disarm the FDLR is to hunt them down until they either die or they give up their leaders and their arms. The realist in me recognizes that is unlikely although I do wish it would happen, and soon."
To which I responded:
"There is an element missing from the solution you offer to the current situation in eastern Congo: a truth and reconciliation committee for Rwanda, which Robert Krueger, former US ambassador to Burundi has been advocating."
To which he replied:
"Ambassador Krueger has many opinions; he was US Ambassador to Burundi for part of the time I was in Rwanda. He sometimes offered opinions on Rwanda that were pure conjecture and bordered on hysteria. I personally heard him accuse the UNAMIR 2 Deputy Force Commander of assisting the RPA in covering up an incident of which Ambassador Krueger had only 3rd hand information through Hutu refugees. He writes of that meeting in his book as do I.

As for a truth commission, perhaps. Rwanda is already using gacaca for all its faults as a form of localized truth commission. But if Ambassador Krueger expects President Kagame to accept such a recommendation perhaps speaking of Kagame as a Svengali or Mephistopholes as Ambassador does in his book on page 109 is not likely to win points for the idea in Kigali.

finally I did not lay out a solution for the Congo; I said that I agreed with the analysis that stated any solution must address the Hutu militias.

I would suggest that if you want to offer an opinion, that you:

a. Not put words in my mouth.

b. introduce yourself with your background here


To which I replied, after the Dutch government decided to suspend budgetsupport to Rwanda:
"So, as a result of Laurent Nkunda's campaign of murder and rape we have gained a great deal of information during the last couple of weeks, let me give two essential pieces of the puzzle:

Former MONUC Force Commander, General (generaal-majoor der mariniers b.d) Patrick Cammaert, was interviewed recently on dutch tv concerning the war in Congo. He said: "The problems have to be solved politicallly. That is true also concerning the genocidal hutus. President Kagame is strongly (involved) in that. The president of Rwanda sees the genocide-hutus as a threat to his country, I don't agree with that, I don't think that those genocide-hutus represent a threat to his country at all. However, that is what he says."

The Dutch government has decided to suspend budgetary support to Rwanda as a result of UN findings concerning the military, logistic and financial backing of the CNDP by the Rwandan administration."

To which he replied:
"Interesting but not really anything new. The proxy war has been going on the eastern Congo in all its forms since 1994. Kagame is quite adept at this game. It should also be noted that so are the Hutu militias. This is not simply a fight for money and exploitable resources. It is a blood fight that will not be talked away regardless of specious comments by MONUC that Hutu militias are not a threat to Kigali. They are not a conventional threat; they are a long term and very serious irregular threat."

This last answer shows clearly that Thomas P. Odom is out of touch not just with those who in his eyes deny the genocide in 1994, but also with the former MONUC commmander Patrick Cammaert.

Instead of launching an attack on Gerard Prunier on a dubious Rwandan website, I would have appreciated it, if this retired lieutenant Colonel had written an article that would have given some credibility and substance to his claim that the FDLR "are not a conventional threat; they are a long term and very serious irregular threat."

Disagreeing with Patrick Cammaert and other MONUC military specialists on this issue is no sin, but has to be explained and further developed and discussed in public to be taken seriously. He owes this as a military professional to those who have been and are working as part of MONUC on a daily basis.

The following might explain Tom Odom's zeal in defending the current regime in Rwanda and his hostility towards the former Senator for Texas and US ambassador to Burundi in 1994 and 1995. Robert Krueger writes on page 106 of his book "From bloodshed to hope in Burundi" that the US Defense Department attaché from the embassy in Kigali (Thomas P. Odom) refused to cooperate in the investigation of a massacre by RPA (Rwandan People's Army led by Paul Kagame) soldiers near the Burundian border. Robert Krueger left with a terrible question in his mind: "what the U.S. military had to hide?". Robert Krueger also writes on page 110 of his book:
"How U.S. military leaders had become so enamored of Paul Kagame I could not fully fathom....I was appalled that these skills had so successfully overshadowed his obvious preference for dictatorship over democracy, and his tolerance, or perhaps appetite, for vengeful ethnic slaugheter, yet he was invited to the United States to be feted at the Pentagon. In time, I was sure that the truth about the RPA would come out. But how many lives would be lost, how much suffering endured, how much fear and despair would be borne in the interim?"

Koenders visiting Kagame tomorrow

Last week Obasanjo thanked Koenders for the pressure the Dutch government had exercised on President Kagame. The decision to cut budgetsupport, according to Obasanjo, has contributed to the decision by the Rwandan government to cooperate with the Kabila government in finding a solution to the conflict in eastern Congo.

What we all know is that this decision would not have been possible if not for Arend-jan Boekestijn's hard work. The PvdA was prepared to support Kagame. Only a majority of CDA, VVD and SP in the dutch parliament made it possible that Koenders had to cut budget support. I hope it is an important lesson for him and a lot of people in the development industry. Apparently that industry is more interested in receiving money for projects then doing the right thing. As Shanda Tonme said in his article "All Rock, No Action", a lot of money is only used in support of undemocratic ruthless dictators, the gang of corrupt businessmen that rules Africa in his words.

I am looking forward to the reports on the meeting between Koenders and Kagame. Let's see how the spindoctor from Kigali will use this event to his advantage.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Give me back my bike

In the Netherlands one of the rare jokes about the German occupation is the fact that the fleeing soldiers took our bikes, so the dutch when they see a German allways think: "Hey, give me back my bike". Today the "breaking new" here is that one former soldier after 65 years is feeling guilty and is looking for the owner of the bike he stole, he has made a donation to the Saint Catharina Parish in Nijkerk.

He sets a good example. Every year hundreds of thousands of bikes get stolen and a lot of those end up in the canals that are so common around here. Which off course have to be fished out every year. I am allways very carefull to not park my bicycle outside at the trainstation, because no matter how good your lock, they can get it open in 2 seconds is what I have learned. I lost two bicycles in my life so far. How many did you lose?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Obama geeft startschot Europese verkiezingen

Zoals Jean Quatremer terecht op zijn weblog schrijft, hoewel de verkiezingen voor het Europese parlement met rasse schreden naderen, wordt er nergens een debat gevoerd. De politieke partijen ontbreekt het aan ideeën. Het blijft doodstil in Europa, terwijl de burger zich vooral bezig houdt met de vraag hoe hij het hoofd boven water moet houden tijdens de recessie.

Maar terwijl Obama in debat is met Turkse studenten in Istanbul bevestigt opnieuw dat hij het fundamenteel oneens is met de Franse President Sarkozy, die Obama's advies om toch het verzet tegen toelating van Turkije tot de EU, direkt van de hand had gewezen.

"President Sarkozy is een goede vriend en een goede bondgenoot. Vrienden zijn het soms oneens zoals hier, het is waar dat de VS geen lid is van de EU, dus kunnen wij inderdaad geen beslissingen nemen, maar dat betekent niet dat wij geen mening hebben". En niet zonder humor vervolgt hij "Het is mij opgevallen dat de Europeanen al vele jaren hun mening met betrekking tot de Amerikaanse politiek ook niet onder stoelen of banken steken. Ook zij waren niet te beroerd om ons te adviseren over datgene wat wij zouden moeten doen, dus lijkt het mij niet ongepast dat dat wederzijds is".
Touché !

Jean Quatremer denkt dat dit meningsverschil van Obama met Sarkozy nadelig uit zal pakken voor de partij van Sarkozy UMP. Hoe ligt dat in Nederland. Ook hier lijkt het CDA met een grote boog om de Europese verkiezingen heen te willen lopen.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dambisa Moyo tool in Kagame's PR strategy

As the article "Rwanda Rising: A New Model of Economic Development" points out, Paul Kagame has surrounded himself with some influential friends that are part of his pr strategy. Dambisa Moyo, writer of the book "dead aid" does not need further introduction, she wrote yesterday on her twitter account:
"Rwanda's President Kagame calls on African nations to work towards ending their dependency upon foreign aid."
Kagame, President of Rwanda, invited Dambisa Moyo to speak on the subject of her book, "aid is not helping the development of Africa", shortly after the Netherlands and Sweden decided to suspend their budgetsupport to Rwanda. The reason for that being a UN report on Rwanda's support of rebels inside the DRC. Catherine Philp, correspondent for the sunday times writes today on Kagame in the article "Yesterday a victim, today an oppressor: how aid funds war in Congo"
"15 years (after the genocide), Mr Kagame finds himself cast more as a perpetrator than victim, with the unveiling of Rwanda's role in the plunder and killing in eastern Congo, a war that has claimed the lives of five times as many people as the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur combined. So why are British taxpayers still supporting him?"
Paul Kagame said at a pressconference yesterday, anticipating the visit of Koenders, dutch minister of development cooperation:
"Good help is help that really helps your country advance, bad help is help with all kinds of conditions and political intimidation behind it"
"Here in Rwanda, it is us who take the decisions on our national security, and nobody else, it's ridiculous that they stopped the budgetsupport even before the final draft of the UN report"
Paul Kagame is an intelligent man and as former head of the Ugandan military intelligence he is an expert in modernday information warfare. He knows that it's not the truth that is decisive. Today the dutch member of parliament for the VVD who made sure Koenders couldn't continue his budgetsupport to Rwanda, Arend-Jan Boekestijn, asked Koenders to make sure that Rwanda does not receive one more penny from the dutch taxpayers, because that money is used by Kagame's dictatorship to suppress the majority of Rwandan's citizens.

Dambisa Moyo's arguments on the lack of effectiveness of development aid become less convincing while she is actively campaigning for Paul Kagame. Does she really not know Kagame has a very different agenda? But even the Nelson Mandela foundation in South Africa invited Paul Kagame as you can see in the video below. It shows to me the complexity of Africa's political reality and that you should not believe all the easy slogans and romantic simplifications that are served up over and over again.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Yes we can

"Turkey's opposition to the Danish prime minister's bid to become the next NATO chief is bad for Ankara's EU membership aspirations", EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said Saturday. And he continued "It does not look good from a European perspective, because freedom of expression is such a fundamental value, and meanwhile Turkey is aiming to become a member of the European Union," he said. "This will surely raise questions amongst EU member states and citizens on how well Turkey has internalised such European values as freedom of expression."

The fact that Olli Rehn is connecting the selectionprocess of the next NATO secretary General to the EU membership aspirations of Turkey is pure blackmail and totally out of line. If respect for fundamtal rights and freedoms of EU-citizens had been part of the selectionprocess for the next NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen should most certainly not have ever been on the shortlist. He has openly refused in a speech August 27th 2008 to implement EU-jurisprudence on free movement, a fundamental right of every EU-citizen.

As a high ranking US diplomat has said several days ago,
"the balance between freedom of expression and respect for diversity is the value which we want to project into the world".
If you look at Anders Fogh Rasmussen's track record, you will quickly come to the understanding that he most certainly is not the man for the job.

Best article"Rasmussen, der Muslim-Schreck" of a European newspaper on this issue by Jörg Lau of Zeitonline. Worsed article "Time for Erdogan to go" on this issue by Marko Attila Hoare.

Arrest warrant against Rose Kabuye not suspended

Rosemary Museminaly, Rwanda's secretary of state apparently misinformed journalists yesterday when she said that the arrest warrant against Rose Kabuye has been suspended.

As "le nouveau obvservateur" reports today, the arrest warrant against Rose Kabuye has not been suspended, but Rose Kabuye has been allowed to leave the country. This decision is taken by the French judiciary as a favor towards this close aid to Rwanda's President Paul Kagame.

Paul Rusesabagina invited to The Hague

Allthough Gerald Caplan probably disapproves, the scientific institute (Evert Vermeer Stichting) of the Dutch governing labour party PvdA has invited Paul Rusesabangina as the main speaker to it's anual "Afrikadag"april 25th in The Hague. Paul Rusesabagina, the man who inspired the Hollowood Academy Award winning film Hotel Rwanda, is active in promoting human rights worldwide, but especially in Rwanda. During the "Afrikadag" he will look back on his experiences during the genocide and will he comment on the human rights situation in Africa today.

Last year at least 400 hundred Rwandans and non-Rwandans gathered in The Hague-based UN Court of Justice to talk of Peace in the Great Lakes Region. Despite a fierce opposition of the government of Rwanda and Tutsi diaspora organisations, the conference took place without any incident.

Erdogan personally opposed to Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Today Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister of Turkey, has declared in London to be "personally opposed" to the candidacy of his Danish colleague, Anders Fogh Rasmussen to become the next secretary general of the NATO: "I doubt his capacities to contribute to world peace".

Iranian-Dutch Professor Afshin Ellian distrusts Turkish citizens

Afshin Ellian writes in this article in Elsevier, an influential dutch weekly, that he thinks the reason why Turkey has a hard time accepting Anders Fogh Rasmussen does not hold, because Anders Fogh Rasmussen defended the European values when he was defending the right to free speech during the cartooncrisis in Denmark.

Afshin Ellian's approach to politics in Western countries in general and to the Netherlands in particular is off course influenced by his views on the current regime in Iran and the experience he had there.

But is Afshin Ellian also prepared to learn from dutch history and experiences here?

Recently he used allmost the same phrase "I distrust you guys" when speaking at a conference organized by the scientific institute of one of the ruling political parties, the ChristenUnie.

Because those who study the history of dutch politics will notice that the democracy we have in the Netherlands today has developed both through influences from outside like the French revolution, the French occupation, Hegel, Marx, the socialist movements, the antirevolutionary movement, the Russian revolution, the emancipation movements. The cold war, national socialism, the German occupation.

Off course we can appreciate the civil liberties we have in the Netherlands today, but the way we got there is not so easy to describe. I wish Afshin Ellian would take into account the complexity of this and would also begin to consider democratic development as a dynamic process in which methods, forces and goals should be distinguished.

And I would also remind him of the fact that those deadly dangerous revolutionary movements that have cost Europe so much throughout the 19th and 20th century have allways been considered fruits of the French revolution by leading Christian dutch politicians Groen van Prinster and Abraham Kuyper. Was that just rhetorics?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


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Evenwicht tussen vrijheid van meningsuiting en diversiteit

Bij het NAVO hoofdkwartier in Brussel heeft een hoge Amerikaanse diplomaat gistermiddag het volgende gezegd volgens Jean Quatremer op zijn blog "Coullisses de Bruxelles":
"There is no concensus yet. There is no decision at this stage", en hij voegde daar het volgende geheimzinnige zinnetje aan toe: "The balance between freedom of expression and respect for diversity is a value that we want to project into the world"