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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 23 June

by Fran Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:52:34 PM EST

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by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:21:41 PM EST
France 24 | Sarkozy tackles financial crisis, burqa in landmark speech | France 24
French President Nicolas Sarkozy addressed hot potato issues such as the financial crisis and the Islamic burqa during an extraordinary speech to both houses of parliament at the Château de Versailles, the first such address in 150 years.

REUTERS - President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Monday that burqas, garments that cover women from head to toe and hide their faces, had no place in France as they were a sign of the subjugation of women.


During a solemn speech to parliament on a wide range of issues, Sarkozy backed an initiative launched by legislators last week who expressed concern over an increase in the use of burqas in France.


"The issue of the burqa is not a religious issue, it is a question of freedom and of women's dignity," Sarkozy told a joint session of both houses of parliament, held at the Palace of Versailles.


"The burqa is not a religious sign, it is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission of women. I want to say solemnly that it will not be welcome on our territory," he said to strong applause.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:25:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran:
"The burqa is not a religious sign, it is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission of women. I want to say solemnly that it will not be welcome on our territory," he said to strong applause.

Since when does the state have the authority to determine what the clothing of private individuals is a "sign" of?  (I am talking about in a free country.)

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 02:38:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Really?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:03:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course.  What do you find unserious about it?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:08:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
do you disagree that the burqa is a sign of subjugation?
do you wilfully ignore France's history of the State legitimacy being built, over the past 2 centuries, largely against religions?
Or do you disagree with the legitimacy of a State to impose common rules of behavior upon its citizens?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:23:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris: do you disagree that the burqa is a sign of subjugation?

based on my limited knowledge of the burqa and cultures in which it is worn, i do have the strong impression that it is a sign of subjugation.  but it is not for me nor for the state to take that my subjective impression, my subjective interpretation, as the basis for allowing or prohibiting people from wearing it.

Jerome a Paris: do you wilfully ignore France's history of the State legitimacy being built, over the past 2 centuries, largely against religions?

what you mean by "willfully ignore"?  i am basically but not sufficiently well informed about France's antagonistic historical relationship with organized religion.  what is its connection here, as you see it?

Jerome a Paris: Or do you disagree with the legitimacy of a State to impose common rules of behavior upon its citizens?

no, i do not disagree with that.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:56:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
do you wilfully ignore France's history of the State legitimacy being built, over the past 2 centuries, largely against religions

In my case yes and no. I know that history quite well, yet IMO it is the partisans of these sorts of policies who are willfully ignoring it.  In one case we have an embattled secular state limiting the use of symbols by a powerful lobby dedicated to imposing a regression to the past, with massive support. In the current one we have an arrogant majority made up of a combination of blind 'secularists', racists, and raw opportunists who seek to mobilize the state against an embattled majority who already suffers from marginalization and racism. And yes there are the legitimate arguments about the meaning of the burqa that afew brings up, just as there were legitimate arguments about religious freedom that could be brought to bear against the Third Republic laws of the past. However, for me what is decisve in this case is the ugliness of a historically hegemonic majority imposing its will on an oppressed minority. It is not a continuation of the French secular tradition but rather akin to white communities in the US outlawing specifically black or hispanic cultural markers.

by MarekNYC on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 06:07:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The women who wear the burqas or the community that forces them to?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:04:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about both?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:32:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there any other way? "blind" = "consistent" Or who do you makes exceptions for?

Why is everybody all the time trying to impose the American model on France, and calls any attempt to do differently, or any suggestion that there can be different ways to do things, "anti-Americanism" or "intolerance" or "arrogant"?

Amazing.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:06:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First of all, what 'french model' As I said above this has nothing to do with the historical French secular model, but rather a wholly new invention that dates back to the eighties, a period of a sharp rise in anti-arab sentiment. Before you get all huffy about us Americans not understanding your history and traditions, do us the favour of understanding them yourself.

Now to the extent of imposing values and models, well to an extent, yes. But I'm a little surprised at your outrage at that. The majority of your output is devoted to just that - touting the superiority of the continental socio-economic model over the 'Anglo-Saxon' one. Are we Americans supposed to get all angry every single time you do that? More importantly, do you really think that 'well that's the American way' is a convincing counter-argument?

by MarekNYC on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:23:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the subtext of all this is not the situation of Arabs in France, it is the message that the French model of integration has failed, and France must come to the light, ie the US communatarian model.

I'm not claiming the French model is better than the US one, just that it works better than is said in the English-language press, and that it is overwhelmingly supported in France.

And yes, I'm trying to push back against the US model being imposed on us on every single area of policy. I'm not trying to push the French model on anybody (well, maybe on some topics in Europe, but that's the extent of it) and I'm not making any commentary on the US model of integration, which I think also works, just differently. Why can't you return the courtesy?

Basically, any articl that talks about "Muslims" in France instead of "Arabs" and "Africans" has an agenda and yes I will fight that back.

That does not excuse racism in France, not racist or fearmongering policies, but I think I've been reasonably consistent in writing agaisnt these. So excuse me when I write that ,despite these trends, the French model is not broken and should be defended, in general if not in all its current political specifics.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 06:01:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not only do I agree with Jerome's view on this subject, but would relate it to a precedent exchange I had with InWales (sorry no link, I'm between two meetings) on the differences betwenn community and collectivity...

Whether it's a Burqa or a hooded T-Shirt, those who wear it, tend to say, that they feel "better", shielded from the "hostile" outside world !

The point in France is that the outside world wouldn't be as "hostile" if each individual would participate fully instead of re-creating it's own community (the "civitas" thing). Voting laws or correcting older ones is for the people as a whole!
Ok, it's no perfect, but the path seems to us better then to allow a galaxy of villages in a close knitted community.

It's not about religions mostly (even if I agree that I'm not so sure about Sarko's discourse :-) ), it's not either about a clothing style or fashion, it's about not needing any of those "gimmicks" to shield or slow down, integration in the french society... And that works with french kids as well as freshly arrived immigrants.

I do believe that this subject IS a rift in EU. The discussions already takes places in urbanism between the tenants of the "Cluster of villages" and the tenants of the "Polis"... It's insidious as the technical parts seems identical, but the end isn't...!
The "greening" of our politics as of our landscapes, brings "ready to use" models from northern europe that won't fit in our southern societies, with the danger then of rejecting everything instead of adapting what's appropriate.

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 06:45:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
seek to mobilize the state against an embattled majority

you mean minority, surely?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 at 12:50:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are there communities of Orthodox Jews in France and, if so, do they habitually dress in as distinctive a style as do those in the USA?  If yes to both, how does that compare to the response to the burqa?  If no, how should the French State respond to the arrival of such communities?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 08:12:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are... In the Marais district mostly, and a few individuals. There are private schools there!
While in some streets many men wear the kippa, the full regalia of the orthodoxy is getting scarce (twenty years ago they were in a greater number).

The fact that the old jew district was in immediate neighborhood of the gay one must have had some influence maybe ? :-)

To be a bit more serious, there was some shooting in the "rue des rosiers" and a bombing at the Copernic synagogue twenty years ago. Even the orthodox went into low profile since. And many have migrated to Israel...

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 09:44:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the information.  Is there now an insufficient basis for a comparison of the response of the French State between Jewish and Muslim communities, or any other for that matter, that refuse to assimilate and insist on distinctive dress and appearance?  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 10:24:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's also a vibrant Jewish community in Strasbourg - but what was most distinctive about them, as seen by me as a kid, was their funny haircuts.

But again, we're not talking about forbidding any dress in the street altogether.

Note that there is not significant net immigration to Israel of French Jews

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 02:45:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as the frumka doesn't catch on in France...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 09:03:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are those haircuts banned in public schools?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 09:35:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't remember ever seeing any in the public schools in Strasbourg.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 05:31:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it a self-segregating community, then?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 05:40:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How is a government demanding a woman dress a certain way any different than a religion demanding a woman dress a certain way?  Both are imposing their values on her without recognizing that she's quite capable of deciding for herself how to dress, thank you very much.  

Fer cryin' out loud...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:27:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
poemless:
How is a government demanding a woman dress a certain way any different than a religion demanding a woman dress a certain way?

Because, in a democracy, a full public debate can be held about it?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:31:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So it is okay for the majority to decide for an individual what to wear and why?

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--
by tzt (tzt) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:36:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's more than I said. I said, at least a full public debate can be held in democracy, which is not the case with religious or conservative family values.

I didn't say I was happy with the majority dictating to the minority on rules of dress.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:41:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's already happening. When's the last time you tried to walk around the local town in the nude ?

Hell, if there's a single anthropological universal, it might very well be that.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:30:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope.

Nudity is a very buddha kind of thing. It extends from the pacific to Europe and the US, but it is lacking in most  non-buddha, non-Chrst ,-non_allah, no-single major-entity above the semi-gods (in crhistian faith called saints) culture...

I wonder why that would be? well I guess I now have to go and reread Levi-Strauss again :)

Specially toa pply the reading to nude beaches, interesting topic.

On the topic at hand, everybody knows my point of view around here.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 08:08:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most nudist beaches do have a code about what to wear, i.e. nothing, don't they ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 08:13:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely. That is why they have their special place.

I have the gut opinon that it is like a sacred place (I have never been done ethnology on a nude beach so I do not know, but I would love to), and it is structured like a non-monotesitic religion. Since I seem to remember that the concept of being nude is strongly linked with monoteistic (or one god above the others) religion I would bet that most people in nude beaches either are agnostic or follow other spirittual structures, and therefore they use it as a sacred place.

In any case, I do not know enough about that, I should read a bit on religion structre/space structure/and human body covering or bodies tabus...and relearn some  antrhopology 201 :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 09:15:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
kcurie:
structured like a non-monotesitic religion
Which means...?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 09:17:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the word in spanish is.. cumbaya. Loose gatherings, fractioned space but with the important  "vamos, todos juntos".

Some crhristian congregations, those on the left and on "god is love" who work with kids use them too. I have always wondered how they manage and why they do it.

It is difficult to translate to english , but I guess in spanish you get my point. In catalan I call it the "esplai" structure. Do you know what a "esplai" is?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esplai

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esplai

It is similar to scouts, but completely different :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 09:26:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kumbaya - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Kumbaya" (also spelled Kum Ba Yah) is a spiritual song from the 1930s. It enjoyed newfound popularity during the folk revival of the 1960s and became a standard campfire song in Scouting and other nature-appreciative organizations.

The song was originally associated with human and spiritual unity, closeness and compassion, and it still is, but more recently it is also cited or alluded to in satirical, sarcastic or even cynical ways that suggest blind or false moralizing, hypocrisy, or naively optimistic views of the world and human nature.[1]

You can use it in English, too...

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 09:44:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nudist certainly don't segregate themselves away from society and live in ethnic enclaves where they create alternative power structures and loyalties, undermining societal solidarity and cohesion.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 05:49:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If tomorrow my country banned all abortions and handed me the consolation prize that at least a public debate had been held about it, I'd still think they were wrong to do so.  And if tomorrow my government told me I could not wear an article of clothing on the grounds that they thought it was submissive and therefore it made them uncomfortable, I'd IGNORE THEM and raise all hell.  

Look, you seem to have your minds made up about this, and I certainly have mine made up, so a "debate" here isn't going to accomplish much, at least on my end.  I will go to my grave lamenting every time a government or religion uses the female body is used for ammunition in patriarchal power struggles.  Like just leaving the house doesn't present enough opportunities to be judged on our appearance.  Like women born into an oppressive culture don't have enough to worry about.  Now they have to choose who they please, her family or her government.  Makes me perfectly sick, to be honest.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:53:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are completely wrong about the "minds made up". I find this an extremely complicated issue and I'm not sure what I think. I was simply replying to what I found sweeping statements on your part about the government (the state, the lawmakers) being no different from religion (and below, about how free some women may be to make their own choice).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:57:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the country in question happens to be France, which is the land of the French. If you do not feel like adapting to French customs, well, as France IS a free country, no one will hinder you from leaving it.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 05:16:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And if you are french, wearing a burqa, and do not agree with Sarkozy's version of frenchness? Should you then aim to get Sarkozy to leave on the basis of the tie being a phallic symbol?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:35:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
the land of the French

Who are the French? A people of different historical roots (Celtic, Latin, Germanic) which has assimilated and continues to assimilate many varying strands of immigration. What's in question here is a ragged edge in the assimilation process.

The argument is about whether the state should intervene by setting rules. I think it may do so. But just saying "this is the land of the French" is not only substantially meaningless, it also happens to be the National Front line. :)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:10:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh here we go again, I guess it was just a matter of time.

There is no such thing as a French person and anyone who thinks there actually is such a thing is himself an unreconstructed nazi.

Sigh.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 06:06:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't you do better than that? ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 06:48:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a rule I never discuss these issues with leftists, because it always boils down either to silly definitions ("what is an XYZ, really? How many generations do you have to live in country X to be a real Swede/Frenchman/whatever?"), or mudslinging.  

Bleh.

But if you want to consider it from a social economic perspective... Societal equality requires the welfare state. The welfare state requires solidarity. There is no strong solidarity without homogenity, or at least the feeling that we are all in this together. If some group puts itself apart, the whole thing breaks down and the neolibs win.

Imagine there is an enclave populated entirely by foreigners, let's say Arabs. Chances are that this city will not be a net contributor of funds to society. How is this different from just incorporating an entire Arab city in say Syria in the social benefit system? Well, there isn't. And as we don't send money to the Arab city in Syria, why should we do it back here? Well, we shouldn't. So we should stop. But basing the welfare state on ethnicity in that way would be racist, so we'd just rather dismantle the entire welfare state instead.

We should be very happy that the forces in Europe that oppose multiculturalism and etc generally do it just because they oppose multiculturalism, and not like in the US where the Republicans used the race card to get the Southern Democrats to vote against their own economic interest, an issue Paul Krugman writes about in his excellent book The Conscience of a Liberal.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 05:48:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Imagine there is an enclave populated entirely by foreigners, let's say Arabs. Chances are that this city will not be a net contributor of funds to society. How is this different from just incorporating an entire Arab city in say Syria in the social benefit system? Well, there isn't. And as we don't send money to the Arab city in Syria, why should we do it back here? Well, we shouldn't. So we should stop. But basing the welfare state on ethnicity in that way would be racist, so we'd just rather dismantle the entire welfare state instead.

Well, that's how the standard right-wing argument goes, certainly.

First question: why is the enclave not a net contributor to society?

Second question: why don't we send the money to Syria?

Third question: doesn't all this just depend on the story you tell yourself about who belongs in the in-group you believe is deserving of social welfare? Seems to me that right-wingers choose to tell themselves a story that restricts deserving to a small sub-group, at the extreme restricting it to small, lucky groups of the racially and/or religiously select.  The homogeneity argument is an excuse for your choice of story.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 05:59:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll point out, again, that this is the same argument that is used to explain why Europe must never be more than a free-trade zone.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:00:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
But if you want to consider it from a social economic perspective... Societal equality requires the welfare state. The welfare state requires solidarity. There is no strong solidarity without homogenity, or at least the feeling that we are all in this together. If some group puts itself apart, the whole thing breaks down and the neolibs win.
Now you have to demonstrate that the reason there are "heavily ethnic enclaves", "segregated neighbourhoods" or "ghettos" because the people in it voluntarily segregate themselves. It is a lot more complex than that.

While I do agree with you and Jerome on the social value of assimilation, something valuable is lost in the process and it should be possible to integrate without erasing cultural differences.

Starvid:

Imagine there is an enclave populated entirely by foreigners, let's say Arabs. Chances are that this city will not be a net contributor of funds to society
And you claim this is somehow an argument for excluding them from the welfare state? Try this one instead...
Imagine there is an enclave populated entirely by poor people. Chances are that this city will not be a net contributor of funds to society...


A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 05:59:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, your second example is often used by a certain class of right-winger to explain why welfare is a bad idea. The poor don't deserve support, because if you were deserving God, gods or chance would have made you rich.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:01:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the first argument is used to argue for something which is really based on the second one... because poor whites can support breaking solidarity for the Arabs while they probably would not support that as heartily is if where specifically about the poor.

In other words, the race card allows to define deserving poor and undeserving poor, and make the poor fight between themselves rather than against their common economic foe.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:15:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Define "integrate". What does it mean to be assimilated or integrated? Seems to me that it means simply that their obvious behaviour is within the "norms" of society so there's two ways to integrate a group - alter the norms to accommodate them or require them to change their behaviour to fit existing norms. In real life both happen.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:05:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I cannot give a precise definition but I'd say "assimilation" is integration plus abandonment of one's old culture.

Integration just has to do with the ability/willingness to function/be accepted more or less fully in mainstream society.

Other people than just immigrants can fail to be "integrated" - they fall through the cracks, they feel alienated, etc...

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:09:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Integrate means that there remain subsocieties defined by culture, whereas assimilate means there's no such things ; after assimilation the resulting culture is a compromise between the mainstream culture and the assimilated ones...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:22:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
linca:
after assimilation the resulting culture is a compromise between the mainstream culture and the assimilated ones...
Except when the mainstream culture accepts no compromise and erases the assimilated one. Which is an all too frequent occurrence for you to completely ignore its possibility.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:26:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"xcept when the mainstream culture accepts no compromise and erases the assimilated one."

We are no longer talking about France there, then.
This is a country where, on the last "what is your favourite dish" study, couscous came out on top (despite a rather rich and diverse local cooking tradition), displacing gratin dauphinois.

As the husband of the daughter of a Moroccan man and a Laotian woman, I do spend quite some time within immigrants. They are quite assimilated, yet far from having had their identity erased.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 04:16:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but that's actual France, as opposed to the one Sarko (and especially the people he's trying to appeal to with this nonsense) would like to see ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 05:12:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do spend quite some time within immigrants

I'm hoping you meant to say "with immigrants" ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 05:25:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"among immigrants"?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 05:40:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Er, yes, or rather I guess I was going to say "immigrant groups" and rather messed it up.
Among would have been the right word ;-)

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 02:58:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
linca:
Integrate means that there remain subsocieties defined by culture
Is a "subsociety defined by culture" the same as a "subculture", or different?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:27:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, definitely different. A subsociety will have some - strong - amount of social segregation in the form of specific friendly interactions, a preponderance of marriage within the subsociety, etc. The geek subculture exists but is definitely not a subsociety according to this, for example. One reason to be against large inequalities is to prevent too extensive class based subsocieties (which definitely exist in France and should be fought against...)

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:44:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
linca:
A subsociety will have some - strong - amount of social segregation in the form of specific friendly interactions, a preponderance of marriage within the subsociety, etc. The geek subculture exists but is definitely not a subsociety according to this, for example.
That's a matter of degree, not of quality. The stronger the cultural differences the less likely "friendly interaction" or "marriage" are.

I bet there is a "conservative catholic" subculture in France which mostly only interacts friendly and intermarries with itself.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:48:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, by that definition "academics" form a subsociety, as do "secondary school teachers".

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:52:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. And ?

And also, the problems of a subsociety for the wider demos comes not only from the fact that the subsociety exists, but also how it defines itself : Is it collectively attempting to define itself, segregate itself, and consciously improve its lot in society as opposed to the other subgroups ?

For example, typically in France, academics are defined by "having a PhD", which is more or less attemptable by everybody, although being from academic parents help ; so the maintaining of a subsociety is not conscious. Secondary school teachers in France is one of the group most adamant about not forming subsocieties, indeed.

Compare to what counts in France as the haute bourgeoisie, which consciously creates a segregated education system for it kids, enforces marriage within the class through social disapproval, and is able to get members of the class in the Elysée.

Compare to a mythical muslim subsociety which would only vote for communautarian parties, which would send the kids to private muslim schools, and whose women would be practically unable to communicate with the outside society because of the burqa.

Obvious reasons mean that Sarko denounces the mythical later subsociety rather than the earlier one...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 07:03:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and it greatly interacts with the class based subsociety. That's to be fought against, too. And the conservative catholic aspect of the subclass is diminishing rapidly (In yesterday's cabinet changes, the minister considered to represent those conservative catholics, Christine Boutin, lost her position...)

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:52:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interacts or overlaps?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:57:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There may be, but I suspect it's rather leaky. People will leave it through marriage and in other ways.

Has all of this ever been researched properly? It would make a wonderful study.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:52:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that's true of all such subgroups. They all leak. Some manage to recruit as well.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:53:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
I suspect it's rather leaky
That's the point I was making with "subsociety is a matter of degree, not of quality".

All subcultures are leaky, however you care to define them.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:54:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant leaky as in 'I'd guess overall numbers are diminishing', not just 'has permeable edges.'

And not all subcultures are equally significant politically. No one much cares what fringe religions like paganism do or what geeks believe, because pagans have no influence on policy, and geeks only care if they change the source code.

But Islam could have an influence and Catholicism very much does have an influence - especially in the UK, where it gave us Plastic Tony.

So perhaps the issue isn't about freedom of expression as much as freedom of political influence.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 07:02:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In that frame, the "leaky" conservative christian subculture is freaking out that the "muslim" subculture might acquire political clout. Which might be behind the speech which motivated this discussion in the first place.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 07:05:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's quite a simplification.

Sarko's motivation is that he wants to get the far right voters to support him ; that includes the conservative christians, but quite a lot of the racist supporters are just racist and want a racially defined French society.

But he knows he won't be criticised on the burqa subject because quite a bit of the left sees the burqa as the instrument of a fundamentalist muslim subsociety and thus don't like it.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 07:12:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A simplification it may be, but not very different from

your own

Compare to what counts in France as the haute bourgeoisie, which consciously creates a segregated education system for it kids, enforces marriage within the class through social disapproval, and is able to get members of the class in the Elysée.

Compare to a mythical muslim subsociety which would only vote for communautarian parties, which would send the kids to private muslim schools, and whose women would be practically unable to communicate with the outside society because of the burqa.

Obvious reasons mean that Sarko denounces the mythical later subsociety rather than the earlier one...



A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 07:23:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Part of the haute bourgeoisie is catholic, but a fair bit of it definitely isn't... And quite a lot of the catholics aren't from the haute bourgeoisie.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 07:42:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly.

But from the other side, there's also the implication that as long as Muslims play the game by not challenging existing symbol systems head-on, they can be 'assimilated' and allowed to fit into the usual round of social aspiration and imitation - which is the true state religion, even if the state likes to pretend that it's purely secular and doesn't do any overt ritual or social management.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 07:13:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]

the usual round of social aspiration and imitation - which is the true state religion, even if the state likes to pretend that it's purely secular and doesn't do any overt ritual or social management.

I would not call it State religion, but State ideology. And I would say that in France the State does not pretend anything of the sort: the ritual and social management are definitely part of the acknowledged fabric of French society.

Again, this goes back to a point that I made earlier in this thread: that active State interventionism is something conscious, acknowledged and supported by large majorities in the country.

And that's why many on the left will support some form of action against burqas (not forbidding them in the street, because that's just impossible and silly, but forbidding them in regulated places like schools and hospitals, with the full symbolic impact of such limited measures) even though they are fully aware of his racist mongering. That's France.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 09:27:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
I would not call it State religion, but State ideology
I have an ideology, you have a religion, he has a delusion.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 09:41:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FarEasterner, what was the warning (2 rating) for?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 10:23:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Has all of this ever been researched properly? It would make a wonderful study.
The fact is, we're all handwaving and blowing hot air our of our bodily orifices in this thread...

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:55:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's quite a bit of sociological research on all this, some of which informs parts of some of my comments...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 07:04:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or at least there's a refusal to see any subsocieties defined by culture, which is really the important thing.

Sort of like Blair's classless society.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:32:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Subcultures exist - that is a fact.

Whether they are recognised by the state is a different matter. All states recognise some subcultures (even France, even if it pretends not to) but no state recognises every subculture.

Political parties are examples of the subcultures that France recognises. But not every political party might be allowed - an explicitly Islamic political party might run up against institutional (and cultural) opposition.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:39:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
poemless:
she's quite capable of deciding for herself how to dress

In the case where it's religion telling her how to dress, or patriarchal family values backed up by religion, how true is that statement?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:38:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you suggesting a woman is incapable of deciding what is best for herself simply because of her family or religion?  Decision making is a mental faculty.  Have you just suggested Muslim women lack mental faculties?  Ok, I am stepping away from the keyboard.  I'm uninviting myself from this scary party.  Have fun.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:57:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
poemless:
scary party

You are sometimes very silly.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:58:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Are you suggesting a woman is incapable of deciding what is best for herself simply because of her family or religion?  

not incapable - npt allowed, and transgressions can be paid with their lives? What are you arguing about, exactly?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 05:01:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris: not incapable - not allowed,

That is a presumption of guilt in the general case.  Girls, women and their families should be presumed innocent (of coercing or submitting to such coercion) until proven guilty in a given particular case.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 07:33:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
just like banks should not be regulated until they have actually created systemic risk. Why limit their freedom to innovate and create wealth in the meantime?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 06:09:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WTF? There is now an assumption that everyone wearing hijab or a burqa is coerced? You're right, your clients have melted your brain.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 06:13:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How do you turn " more than none" into "all"?
Fancy trick, that!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 06:28:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You appear to argue they should all have their freedom to choose what to wear should be limited because they might have it compromised by people around them.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 06:40:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whereas having it compromised by the state is okay.

Because the only "community" the French state recognizes is itself - no subcommunity is allowed.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 06:51:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup. Which makes the French just as deluded as the British or the Americans or whatever, and just as unable to recognise it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 06:53:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As Wittgestein said "the limits of my language mean the limits of my world".

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 06:56:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it makes us as deluded, yes, but not unable to recognise it. We do recognise it, and have made it a conscious, explicit choice, and we're not happy when others are trying to impose their own deluded choices on us when we're reasonably happy with our own, by telling us we're deluded and failing and worse.

Can't you see the difference? I'm not making any comment about other countries' choices, just supporting those made in France.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 07:35:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:I'm not making any comment about other countries' choices, just supporting those made in France.

i am probably misunderstanding your point here.  but there is absolutely nothing wrong with commenting on the policies of other countries, especially important ones like France, when one feels that they are deeply unjust.  otherwise, only citizens of that country would be allowed to criticize it.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 08:21:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and that fact is overwhelmingly supported in France.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 07:35:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know France is not America.  But I can guarantee you that France will continue to experience much greater difficulties integrating their Muslim population than America experiences so long as they carry on with these childish games about how people dress.  

In Philadelphia, for just one example, you will see women in burqas in all parts of the city, on buses and subways and in the markets, and it causes absolutely zero problems for anyone.  It would be a law respecting religion (unconstitutional) to tell someone that they can dress as they see fit as part of their religion.  

Anyone who feels that they are being coerced by their spouse or family into dressing a certain way has recourse under the law.  

I fail to see the point of aggressive secularism from organs of the state.  

by BooMan on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 08:40:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anyone who feels that they are being coerced by their spouse or family into dressing a certain way has recourse under the law.

Easy to say, hard to put in practice. It can be very hard to go against one's family and social group. (points to the problems the US recently had with the Mormon polygamists).

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 08:52:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the Mormons abandoned polygamy as a condition of Utah becoming a state.  There remain a few communities where the practice lives on, but it has been more than a century since it was accepted by the Mormon church.

As for the problem of parents coercing their children into doing things they do not want to do, that is a problem in all countries, cultures, and religions.  I wish I could have a year of Sunday mornings back from all the times I was dragged to church as a child.  I don't think we should pass a law making it illegal to force your child to attend religious services.  

It is better to err on the side of giving families the freedom to settle such issues internally.  If a child is being compelled to wear a burqa against her will, they should be able to appeal to the same authorities that protect them from physical abuse.  If they are too scared to do that, it's unfortunate, but no different from the child that won't report regular beatings.  You ought to keep the laws as free as is possible.  

by BooMan on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 01:45:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think we should pass a law making illegal to force your child to attend religious services.
I actually think we should. A child under 18 is incapable of choosing a religion for itself among the many available. This is no different to the idea that we prevent children from buying alcohol or cigarettes for themselves. Once the children are 18, they can do whatever they like, and if that means going to church every sunday to hear a sermon, so be it.

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 01:59:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem there is that once a child has 18 years of religion they've been thoroughly conditioned not to consider change an option.

Some people may be able to break the conditioning. Some will rebel. But both options are only available in pluralistic cultures which can model different behaviours and belief systems.

In all honesty I'd suggest the opposite would be more effective - children should be brought up in a secular culture, and then only allowed to choose religion after 18.

The fact that this would deprive all religions of most of their followers highlight how essential indoctrination and coercion are to religious experience.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:48:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
children should be brought up in a secular culture, and then only allowed to choose religion after 18.
I thought that's what I said too. Stupid double negatives in English...

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 05:05:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, yes you did - TBG PBT syndrome. (Posting before tea.)
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 06:17:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Serious question:

would yo do the same for soccer games? For soccer teams? Which culture-generated identity items you would not allow adn which ones you would? Maybe there is a criteria I am missing. Make-up? Short pants? friends gathering? Language use? Book reading? TV/tale surroudned structures? Narrative self-structures (from games to "personal talks with your child"? religious gathering? Rithual gathering (as sports)? Which one out, wich one in

Can a crrteria be generated to force parents not to do any of these? We can force them to do something.. and society does it constantly, my question is about forcing not to do something. You can force parents to make their children look for the doctor but what is the criteria to prevent them to look for other alternative/non-legal/foreign/chaman structures? You cannot even force parents not to kill or beat their chidlren, only prosecute afterwards...and beating and killing does not construct the identity narrative directly, something which the three main religious and the secular all consider a good thing.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 08:21:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The criterion would be to make as many options as available as possible.

There's a difference between giving children hundreds of options and leaving them to find something that works for them, and giving them the One True and Holy Option and telling that if they try something different they will die, burn in agony for eternity, and so on.

Would I like to see tribal and caste identities being diluted in a similar way? Personally, I would - not necessarily into insignificance, but certainly to the point where they can't be used as an excuse for exclusion and physical or emotional violence. (I'm including class within caste.)

Tribal and caste identities seem to cause a lot of problems while offering very little that's useful or positive.

Of course this means making diversity an indoctrinated value. But since it probably isn't possible to avoid indoctrination altogether, I wouldn't see that as a completely bad thing.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 08:31:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok.. in essence you are actually defending soemthing we already do ,which is force parents to do something.

So we should force parents to take their children to different religious gatherings, to different soccer teams.. and so on and so on.

It is forcing diversity.. more or less like my idea of forcing parents to send kids overseas (with state support). Something I have long ago advocated.

Of course you can not force parents not to attend mass regularly on a catholic church with their kids, but you can indeed force them to go to a synagogue, to a mosque and to a flying spageutti monster gathering or to a star-trek/BSG gathering.

The only problem of course is that diversity indoctrination is going to be a tough sell.. but if we can make kids and parents go to school...everything is possible.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 09:22:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are asking what justification the State (assuming it is legitimate...) has for decreeing certain rules of conduct that should be obeyed by members of society.

In the case of short pants, it is not necessary for the State to intervene, as whether kids (or adults) wear short pants does not have the potential to interfere with the State's existing functions. In the case of religious dress, the potential for widespread social/religious radicalization is clear and present, and by implication, this poses a direct threat to the French State's explicitly secular role.

To put this another way, if the burqa was not associated with religion, and in particular, was not associated with foreign religious alternatives to the French State's functions (ie the Sharia in particular and also Middle Eastern customs which clash with European ideals), then it would pose no threat and be perfectly acceptable and benign.

However, the burqa is associated with Sharia and incompatible Middle Eastern social models, and therefore is an unacceptable encroachment on the French State's role and functions. As such, the State is justified in outlawing the burqa, not because of the dress itself, but solely because of the religious role it plays and the danger if it spreads.

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 09:36:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The burqa is not Middle Eastern.  It is from Afghanistan, which is in South/Central Asia.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 10:21:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The BBC has a nice set of drawings showing the different headgears

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman
by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 11:27:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Afghanistan is not in the common definition of the Middle East today, that is true. But it is in the Greater Middle East, and when the Middle East was the Near East and it stretched into northern southern Central Europe (this is before that became East Europe), Afghanistan was in the middle of the Middle East, situated between the Near East and the far East. Today it is between the Middle East and the Far East, thus perhaps placing it in the Middle-Middle East (not to be confused with the middle of the Middle East).

It is all very eurocentric anyway.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:46:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was invaded by Alexander the Great, thus it is in the Middle East.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 07:29:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No... The burqa isn't a religious problem (it is of course, but not in the way you describe it). The same feeling applies for hoods and masks (Venice).

  • You don't see well the face (from police/security to socialization)... Another common example would be the full helmet for bikers, try to ask your way with such a helmet and you'll see people backing a few steps as if in fear of being mugged. Get the deLuxe version of the helmet with the lower part that opens easily and the same people will answer and get nearer... (simple test I do everyday)!

  • It's not ethnic... Whatever exotic people will have peculiar dress that won't even move a brow of french people (again because the face can be seen).

  • It's not religious in the sense that it's not against islam peculiarly... Even our nuns have lost their peculiar clothes in public activity. Those left are in convents and not in society. The kids hood are just as frowned upon as full burqa.

The scarves in various fashion is not felt the same way as the full veil, as hats, caps, vs hoods...!

Again, this is a misunderstanding between those who tags those garments as religious and those who don't ! Islam is pretty well lived in France and is not segregated (I must insist). While class, and where you live is still selective !

And by the way, the "car burqa" (the tinted windows of a car) has been unlawful for quite a while... :-)

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 11:09:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree. How can you claim that the head coverings are not religious? The purpose is precisely to separate and mark the woman as someone who belongs to a particular religious tradition which is stricter than the general community (this is also true for nuns etc). It is not simply a useful cloth to protect the hair, or a fashion accessory. It is there to give guarantees of modesty and chastity which are important in strict Islamic cultures, and to keep women in the social place that the religion assigns to them.

BTW, I am not claiming that Muslims as a whole are not well integrated in France or that Islam must disappear, I am arguing that the minority which imposes strict rules on their women are in contradiction with the values of the fifth French Republic, and this is why there necessarily is a clash.

The State must uphold and preserve the republican values which are described in the French constitution (in the same way, the American State must preserve the American constitution, which is different, etc). If a community diverges strongly from these values (and in fact the radical Islamic interpretation not only strongly clashes with these values, but offers a completely different and well developed civilisation), then the (French) State has no choice but must take action to impose the (French) constitutional values on this community.

It is really a question of which comes first in France, the State or the religion?

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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 09:46:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
martingale:
How can you claim that the head coverings are not religious?
There are large populations of autochtonous, christian Europeans where older women wear headdress. See kcurie's comments upthread about rural Spain 50 years ago (and you can see the same things in the Balkans and in the Mediterranean - I bet you a fair fraction of Bulgarian, Greek, Sicilian rural grandmothers dress in black and cover their heads still today.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:05:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is not proof. Europe has Christian baggage just as other parts (I'll refrain from using the word Middle East ;) have Muslim baggage.

What you need to argue is that covering a woman's head with a scarf etc does not imply values which are promoted by religion. One could start by asking if the head covering were denounced by early religious leaders as pagan, and only accepted grudgingly over time. I am not qualified to make socio-historical remarks of this precision.

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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 09:47:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. Head scarves are common in rural Finland. There is a very simple non-religious explanation: scarves protect the hair, both from disarray in the wind, and from dust etc. Where access to showers, hairdressers etc is limited, the scarf is an important part of the practical wardrobe.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 03:12:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the first somewhat persuasive argument I've read in this thread. What do they call the male scarf in rural Finland?

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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 06:01:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's called a bandage.

Only available at Emergency Treatment centers.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 10:34:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've seen those, they usually come in red and white, yes? A lot of kids these days like to wear them around the arm as a sign of rebellion.



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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 07:42:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Remember?

10 Uses for a Silk Scarf : The List Maven - Lists of Beauty Tips, Fashion Advice and Shopping Suggestions

or this one?

This used to be the hight of fashion. I still have some of these scarves. :-)

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 09:30:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You cannot impose values.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:07:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But you can make values a condition for citizenship. Like you can make ethnicity a condition of citizenship. Or you can decide longstanding residence is the only requirement for citizenship.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:12:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How do you test for values?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:17:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:
How do you test for values?
Ask the French or Americans what the procedure is for acquiring their citizenship.

Anyway, the obvious way is some sort of questionnaire. Adherence to values can be faked, of course.

You can then fall back on behaviours as evidence of values. This naturally leads to "a burqa disqualifies you for French citizenship".

On "which values?", there was a time when France and the US were Enlightened nations but nowadays even France has a Head of State who believes they're "Christian Nations" so the kinds of "values tests" that are applied to people are becoming less palatable to lefties... But still, Sarkozy will have some success in getting French leftists to support his racist policy because they agree on the "secular republican values" principle. Or at least he'll paralyse them into indecision over whether banning the Burqa is civic or racist.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 06:25:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You cannot impose values.
Yet that is what the law does every day in many different areas of society. Although it doesn't function by adjusting the values in people's brains, rather the law functions by ex post facto punishment if a person deviates explicitly from what is listed as acceptable in the law books.

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by martingale on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 09:54:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So the law isn't imposing values, it's punishing behaviour.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 02:13:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The effect is the same. The values of the Republic/Monarchy/etc are policed, which is the only thing that matters to the state.

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by martingale on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 02:34:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Burqa is the standard dress in rural afghan societies (not encessarily in afganhistan). Nothing to do with the Middle East.

In rrual afgan communities it has nothing to do with religion but with gender structures in rural areas (just like in Spain nowadays).

The role of burrqas in the few urban afghan posts is... well highly debatable and I do not know enough about it.

The only place where it is clearly assocaited due to an strange symbolic imaginarium, with religion is in western countries inside non-muslim communities (which would never never in their dreams associate burqa with msulim nor arab).. burqa, for muslims, is a regional and rural symbol (well, more like evocation, like when you heard someone with a different accent and you recognize where it comes from), not a religious one.

A pleasue

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:35:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing is, Europe based muslims are reinterpreting various forms of head covering that were regional and/or rural as religious.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 07:31:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
as a reaction to right-wing racism and fear-mongering?

I have no data on this change of view.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 12:30:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a reaction, as a way for girls to show they are "modest yet feminine", as an identity marker.

Also, don't forget that the "muslim" communities in France, at least those that are going the veil or burqa way, aren't the most knowledgeable about their version of traditional islam, and a fair share of the imams are educated in the more conservative muslim countries.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 02:23:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since Afghanistan has been Islamic for more than 1000 years, I wonder how easy it is to separate rural dress customs from the implied religious requirements?

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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 10:01:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Difficult, but I have first-hand knowledge here from my grsndma.

Despite looking like religious, and having the stamp of religion, it is actually non-religion.
The key point is gender roles which religion acts as a structure which supports the "stability" of the roles.

Same as rural Spain in the 40/50's.

My grand grand ma used cover and soemtimes face-covers even in cities when she was no longer at all religious.. it was a role marker...Not to say that the church in the town would have not protested/commented... but nothing like the non-church social control to enforce the rules

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 12:28:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm talking about those remaining mormon communities which indeed had to be broken up by the feds to prevent child abuse. Individuals going to the justice system didn't work in that case, did it ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:59:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
nice to see ya, booman!

why don't you x-post a diary from the frog pond here too, once in a while?

don't happen to agree with you on this point, but you make it very well.

is it possible there is less parental control in general in the USA?

can you see that perhaps it might be a good thing to create an environment where daughters didn't have to lawyer up in order to enjoy the freedoms we do?

another factor may be geography. america is physically further, so the ties to the 'old country' are more tenuous, reducing the adherence to archaic customs.

i do think america tries to celebrate immigration in its ideal form, (with a bit of schizophrenia on the southern border!), whereas, though we europeans need immigrants about as much as you did back in the 20's and 30's to keep afloat, i somehow can't see any statue of liberty suggested for any of the usual ports of entry here.

sheer speculation, i know... however, the phrase 'melting pot' is not in common use over here either.

(should be!)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 09:34:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no, I can't really see that.

it sounds good to pass laws that expand freedom, but this law doesn't expand freedom, it takes it away.  

you have the president of France saying that there is something wrong with women who choose to cover.  He didn't say there is something wrong with coercing them.  We could all agree on that, and even on laws that punish people for coercing others.  Instead, you would become the coercers and the sanctimonious judges of other people's morality.  

There is something wrong with a secularism that feels the need for coercion.  It violates one of the most basic principles of Enlightenment thinking, which is that there should be no laws made respecting an establishment of religion.  That means that the state should neither support or oppose the exercise of religion, including in matters of dress.  

by BooMan on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 01:57:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But Sarko isn't really bothered by any of this: he's simply playing to the anti-Muslim gallery for votes. Standing up against the darkies because it makes some of his more xenophobic supporters happy.

That means that the state should neither support or oppose the exercise of religion,

Except when it should: human sacrifice isn't generally popular.  Religion is only free up to the point it starts messing with people's rights.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:13:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you know, you can make up new religions with asinine rites and harken back to old religions that no longer exist to find things so extreme that any state would feel compelled to criminalize them.  

As a mental exercise, that's fine and can help clarify unexamined assumptions.  

But none of it is applicable here.  We aren't talking about public urination or human sacrifice or public nudity.

The rights of a supposedly free people are being threatened so that there might be some hypothetical gain for a subcategory of the people being impacted.  

That hypothetical gain already exists and can be strengthened without bans on dress.  

My advice would be to keep the state from exerting any power over people that isn't absolutely necessary.  And guard that jealously.

by BooMan on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:31:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The serious point is that "free" states don't allow the practise of religion to stomp all over people's other rights. Freedom of religion is balanced with the other freedoms - in this case, you could argue, the anti-burqa crowd may be trying to argue that it impinges on other freedoms.

My advice would be to keep the state from exerting any power over people that isn't absolutely necessary

You're confusing necessary and the norm in the US. Why is it necessary that female nipples be covered but not male? Why is it necessary that penises must never be seen? Why is it necessary that polygamy be banned?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:39:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you are arguing that people should be even freer to dress (or not be dressed) anyway they want, then you'll get no argument from me.  I didn't think that was the debate.  

As for polygamy, it's a legacy of biblical injunctions that doubles as good deal for women and their empowerment.   It might not be strictly necessary, but it has its purposes.  

by BooMan on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:51:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BooMan: We aren't talking about public urination or human sacrifice or public nudity.

Precisely.  Whether you agree with its justification or not, public nudity is outlawed for a specific reason: to "protect" the public from so-called "indecency".  Clearly that same reason does not apply to the wearing of burqas.  So the issue of public nudity is really not relevant here.

What is relevant is finding a reason that justifies prohibiting the wearing of burqas.  So far at least three have been brought up, with varying levels of explicitness:

  1.  Because society, formalized by the state, has determined that the burqa is a sign of female subjugation, which is incompatible with the values and principles of the society.

  2.  Because girls and women are regularly coerced to wear the burqa (whether they admit in public, or even to themselves, or not).

  3.  Because the burqa is a religious symbol which should be kept out of public spaces in a secular society.

None of these is sufficient grounds for outlawing the wearing of burqas, in my opinion.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:18:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're wrong: I think the debate is precisely that the burqa is indecent - "not in keeping with accepted standards of what is right or proper in polite society".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:21:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, put that way, you are right.  I was referring to "indecent" in the sense of sexual (pornographic) indecency, whereas I would consider the indecency being imputed to the burqa as sociopolitical indecency, for lack of better terms.  Nevertheless, both are forms of indecency, and I don't see any a priori reason why only sexual indecency should be the grounds for outlawing certain behavior/dress, etc.

Still, somehow I feel there are indecency criteria or an indecency threshold that indecent exposure does satisfy but burqas do not.  I have to think about it more, but I believe that it has something to do with the intent of the behavior (or lack thereof).  If I understand illegal public nudity correctly, it must involve an intention to shock, offend, titillate or "upset" others in some way.  In other words, it involves a form of psychological aggression.  I think there is a key difference with burqas there: while some people may wear burqas in order to offend, shock, upset, etc., I believe that for the vast majority, that is far from the case.  People may be disturbed at the sight of burqas, but that is normally not the intention of the wearer.  Wearing a burqa, I daresay, is not a form of psychological aggression.  And for this reason, even if some people may find it "indecent", that indecency is in their (the viewers') head, not in the intent of the burqa-wearer, and so it is not a form indecency that should be made punishable by the law.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:23:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I happen to find the burqa FAR more indecent than nudity.

It speaks volumes about the contempt and domination in which those women are held by their own community. Nudity, in contrast, does not diminish anyone, only the social stigma associated to it would make it so.
That the indecency be not the intention of the Burqa-wearer only makes it worse: it is the intention of the community that forces them to become Burqa-wearer.

And it is not about religion -unless we are talking about a new religion. Islam was all over the world with not a Burqa in sight apart from Afghanistan until very recently.

It is, however, very much about the subjugation of women.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 04:33:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you have the dynamic completely wrong: first you decide that you want to ban the burqa/hijab because it's indecent and you want to assert the state's power over a minority (keeping them economically isolated in crappy suburbs with aggressive policing not being sufficient to garner votes, apparently) and then you look for justifications for banning it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:39:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My religion proscribe that I do not cover my breasts. I will therefore be wearing a shirt with two holes, and my bare boobies hanging out. Would this be legally problematic somewhere? Do I need a note from my religious leader saying it is religiously required? What if there is no such leader, or I am it? After all, I was the one to whom the god Zxgerica descended, and infused with the knowledge of the 63 supreme commandments, and the 572 recommendations, and I intend to follow them all to the letter. Also, on Wednesdays I must piss on all trash cans in my regular daily path, or no salvation for me. Hope you don't mind...
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:16:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, but you see, the prohibition  on (female) bare boobies is for good practical reasons, not largely irrational ideas of decency. Those reasons will occur to me in a moment. Now, what sort of cake would you like your file to be smuggled into jail in?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:20:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[citation needed] Can you prove that you are the leader of your own religion? Who else can vouch for the truth of you being the leader of your own religion? Has your book of revelations been printed, and cited anywhere in the literature? Do you rent or own a building specifically for the purpose of worship? Have you registered for tax exempt status already?

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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:28:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Prove? No, of course not. That I am the leader is a matter of faith! No one can vouch, I am the high priestess and thus no one is in a position to speak about me, and the truths revealed to me. It is forbidden to print the word of Zxgerica. Worship must take place in open air, no building allowed. The church pays tax because Zxgerica has demanded it. "As the world is in the church so is the church in the world, and taxation shall be abided". Paying tax is one of the 63 supreme commandments. In fact, the church has its own minimal tax scale, and if the government has a lower rate we are forced to push money on it. You have no idea how annoying it is to try to explain this. We keep being accused of bribery!
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:55:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed this is a marvellous religion, which I would be glad to join if I wasn't already sworn to forsake worship. It was a mere youthful indiscretion, to be sure, but one whose consequences... grew... and well, are we not all chained to our past, one way or another? *sigh*.

Unfortunately, I must deny your request to be taken seriously. My hands are tied, you understand, but without sufficient corroboration by other parties, it is very difficult. There are individuals, you see, highly unscrupulous individuals... and you will laugh at this: they pretend to have a religion! I know, I know, how could anyone believe them? Ha, ha. They are of course nothing like you, but you see, your temporary... shall we say lack of documentation... puts you, regrettably, in their company. It happens to the best of us, I could tell you stories... but I digress.

Of course, my door is always open should you come upon a reliable set of references, and I have little doubt that your present predicament cannot last. In my experience, leaders of idiosyncratic religions often pass through a period of tribulation and testing, it's in the nature of the thing, and is usually not fatal. (Well, I say it isn't fatal, but how would I know about the fatal cases, I ask you? Ha, ha.)

I trust therefore that I shall see you soon, with all the paperwork in order, and together we shall be able to put this little contretemps behind us once and for all, with all the contempt it so richly deserves. My secretary will be happy to make an appointment for you.

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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:58:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BooMan:
the state should neither support or oppose the exercise of religion, including in matters of dress

How do you square this with

BooMan:

the Mormons abandoned polygamy as a condition of Utah becoming a state

Is there not American legislation against polygamy? Didn't Utah becoming a state entail the integration of its inhabitants into the sphere of the rule of American law?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:32:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Polygamy is against the law and so far that principle has withstood court challenges.  In the specific case of Utah, I believe it was an agreement that Utah would pass such a law, but I don't think the federal government enacted anything.  
by BooMan on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:46:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My main question was

afew:

Didn't Utah becoming a state entail the integration of its inhabitants into the sphere of the rule of American law?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:48:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sheer speculation, i know... however, the phrase 'melting pot' is not in common use over here either.

minor point 1-the phrenia of  racism in the States is not limited to the souther border at all, and is stirred by the same type of fearful and fearsome people who are ranting  up this law, as well as most all of the wars of history.

"melting pot" isn't used here in France, but it is expected that the soup is made - all shall speak parisian french, all will be bliss if we can only get those people over there to be like these us people.

Notwithstanding the obvious counter-arguments that there are others who are forced to wear collars and habits and the like in order to show subjugation to Rome (or whatever piety demands to create a difference for the public)...these priests of our secular virtue are not fighting to lift the burden of shadow from women. Nor, presuming they were, is there any instance in history that can be pointed to which indicates that banning laws be the way to handle such subjugation.

As the Shakti Gawain quotes goes: In order to cause a shadow to disappear, you must shine light on it.

The sentence before is: You cannot cause a shadow to disappear by trying to fight it, stamp on it, by railing against it, or any other form of emotional or physical resistance.

The sentence before that is: Evil is like a shadow - it has no real substance of its own, it is simply a lack of light.

Sarkozy and his ilk are as much the epitome of an absence of light as those fellow Sujectionists that he thinks he is fighting.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 05:31:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FWIW, the term "melting pot" is now considered politically incorrect in the US.  Some people say "salad bowl."  I think it is a bit of both, in practice.  Soup and salad.  Yum.  Now I am hungry...  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 05:49:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know France is not America.  But I can guarantee you that France will continue to experience much greater difficulties integrating their Muslim population than America experiences so long as they carry on with these childish games about how people dress.  

That's a pretty shallow assessment of the differences, which I suspect have more to do with economic status and background than anything else.

Mind you, I find the aggressive secularism counter-productive, but for different reasons: suppression of religion by force seldom produces the result you want.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 01:58:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
economic status is part of it.  But despite some post-9/11 incidents and scattered acts, Muslims face very few problems here.  They don't face much job or housing discrimination, and they find extremely easy to go into business on their own and attract patrons.  They must put it with unpleasant rhetoric and an unfortunate foreign policy that they feel hard-pressed to openly criticize.  Things are not perfect, and some areas of the country have no Muslims whatsoever, and for a good reason.  But, you never ever hear stories about problems with schools or assimilation.  They practice their religion freely (although they should expect some surveillance) and haven't, as a group, committed any notable violence.  Crime is not an issue.  Neighborhoods are not segregated, although there are enclaves that are very heavily Muslim.  

It's nothing like what goes on in Europe, and the respect they are shown has a lot to do with it.  

by BooMan on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:40:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BooMan:
what goes on in Europe

???

What does go on in Europe?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:45:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Really bad parking outside the church converted to a mosque in the city centre on a Friday afternoon?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:52:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Malta is, of course, part of Europe...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:03:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BooMan:
Neighborhoods are not segregated, although there are enclaves that are very heavily Muslim.  
Apparently in Europe we have segregated neighbourhoods, whereas in the US they have "heavily Muslim enclaves".

When I was in London I spent 4 years in a "heavily Muslim enclave" (my landlord, my next-door neighbours and my hairdresser, greengrocer, newsagent, post office clerk, convenience store owner... for the last 3 years, and one of my three local Councillors, were Pakistani). However it was not a "segregated neighbourhood".

Is this a case of "I have enclaves, you have segregated neighbourhoods, he has ghettos"?

Madrid also has "heavily Muslim enclaves" but I am not aware of "segregated neighbourhoods" either. Does Paris have "segregated neighbourhoods"?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:20:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently in Europe we have segregated neighbourhoods, whereas in the US they have "heavily Muslim enclaves".

Yes, sort of like how in Yurp you have "used cars" while in America we have "pre-owned vehicles".

;)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:16:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BooMan:
It's nothing like what goes on in Europe
When was the last time you lived in Europe? What are your sources?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:21:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]

France will continue to experience much greater difficulties integrating their Muslim population than America experiences

There are very few serious articles about Arabs in France in the US media. It's all about the Muslim menace, or French racism, or economic decline (or all 3, usually), mixed with stunning ignorance of facts on the ground.

Arabs in France are more secular than Christians in the US, they intermarry with other French people, and are getting integrated into the mainstream just like Italians, Poles and Portuguese were over the past 3 generations. They have the problems of low income groups and neighborhoods, plus discrimination that's been fanned by the very same rightwing politicians that use immigration and fearmongerign to push the very economic policies that make things worse for them.

Please consider that anything that's written on Muslims in Europe bears the same relations to reality as articles on "socialism."

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:12:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If France didn't have communist healthcare they wouldn't have any rioting Muslims. Well known fact.

I'm just waiting for a US winger to draw that conclusion ...

It seems to me that, for some reason, many in the US who wouldn't trust their media at all on domestic news think that it becomes impartial when it starts discussing Europe.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:16:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know this sounds tit-for-tat, but I get the same feeling from Europeans on this site when they talk about articles written about America. Hence my sig line.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:48:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably. So poke at it when it happens.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:54:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If France didn't have communist healthcare they wouldn't have any rioting Muslims. Well known fact.

NO ONES DENIES THIS!!

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:22:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"How is a government demanding a woman dress a certain way any different than a religion demanding a woman dress a certain way?"

But in fairness' sake, the government already does put constraints on how we dress. One wouldn't be allowed to run around naked or wear a t-shirt with a nazi swastika, to take two extreme examples. Though I certainly agree with you that debates of this nature often oozes with misogyny, I'm not sure that is the case here. And I'm certainly not sure where I stand on this issue, though "my religion commands me to behave in this manner" is usually an argument that holds little sway with me...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:20:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Though I hasten to add that when it comes to Sarkozy, one wouldn't be wrong to suspect an attempt on his part to appeal to the islamophobe FN voters he won over in the last election, rather than him being genuinely concerned with the situation of French muslims...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:26:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. All the more that he has played the card of religious (Catholic) values since he became president.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:30:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dress is one of the the most circumscribed and defined things in this culture. It's a reliable caste marker, and the pressure to conform to dress codes is so internalised it's almost unconscious.

I find it offensive to try to hijack this as if it's yet another example of patriarchy, and that it's a political issue which only applies to women.

The reality is that in many situations men have to wear clothing which is neither comfortable nor freely chosen.

Try wearing a tie and a stiff-collared shirt for ten or twelve hours and see how free and liberated you feel. Try turning up to a job interview wearing whatever you feel like wearing, and watch how your decision not to play the appropriate dressing up game completely trumps your qualifications and abilities.

Is it different? Not really, no. A tie isn't quite as ridiculous as a burqa, but it's hardly the epitome of sanity, especially in hot weather.

Is it religious? Well, it's certainly ideological and entirely symbolic. It's not as if men wear ties for practical reasons.

Bizarrely, not wanting to wear a burqa is seen as rather westernised, enlightened and rebellious, while not wanting to wear a tie is framed as being adolescent, rather immature, and - most of all - unserious.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:58:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
fully agreed. Not putting on a tie is a not-so-minor transgression, and being able not to do so is a sign of having a lot of money and/or being able not to care about whether people can impose social rules on you.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 05:04:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When the president says that non-tie-wearers are "not welcome" in a given society, please do let me know.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 09:34:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps teen males in hoodies get invited to diplomatic functions all the time.

If so, I must have missed that. Last time I looked Sarkozy was claiming they were all gangsters and criminals, by definition.

Any bets on whether we'll see someone in a hajib having a serious role in government before we see someone in a hoodie?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 10:50:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh?  I'm so confused.  Regardless of what they're wearing, should teenage males really be given a serious role in government?  And are you seriously arguing that the hijab (not hajib, Mr. Obama) is simply too casual to be proper business attire?  Because they can be very sparkly, honest.  And anyway, I thought we were talking about the burqa.  But what's a little conflation between friends....

Seriously, I should not need to explain that there's a bit of a difference between not being invited over for supper and not being "welcome on our territory."

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 12:26:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent past diary from the stormy present, whom it's so nice to see:

Free minds, not hair.

And on terminology: as a rough reference, hijab is a style of dress where the head and neck are covered but the face free; niqab also covers the face but leaves the eyes visible; the burqa features a total head covering with a grille before the eyes. (In all versions, the body is covered down to the ground).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:00:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, that's exactly what you need to explain. Because I'm not seeing such a huge difference between Sarkozy's statements about either.

So far as I can recall, the people who are 'not welcome' haven't been called out en masse as thugs and criminals and haven't been subject to systematic police abuse.

As for a 'serious role in government' - of course, teen males aren't serious, by definition, and therefore not fit for government. Everyone understands this. Which is why Sarkozy and Burlesconi are such perfect models of political seriousness, carefully selected to be the acme of maturity and effectiveness from the populations they represent.

The hijab is perfectly serious business attire, and the burqa is potentially perfectly serious business attire. Teen fashions aren't, and will never be. (Except in very limited contexts like the creative industries, where a certain amount of wackiness is tolerated.)

There's no conflation - you're simply not seeing that extremely rigid kinds of discrimination are so institutionalised they're invisible.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 05:17:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This comment makes even less sense than the earlier one, and your last sentence is just plain insulting.

Of course there's conflation.  On the one hand, we have people who want to be able to dress however they want at work in certain types of jobs and aren't allowed to take off their tortuous ties while at work in certain types of jobs.  On the other hand, we have women who are being told by the president of the country that they may not wear a certain clothing while setting foot on French soil or YE SHALL BE CAST OUT.  This from a man who, as you pointed out, has repeatedly demonized those with the misfortune to lack the proper skin color and bear non-Muslimy names.

But yes, by all means, let's make this about ties, because that's the real discrimination.

Of course there is socio-cultural pressure on all of us to act and dress in certain "acceptable" ways.  Every society has that, and this is not about my ability or inability (thanks for that, though) to see it.  Sarkozy has chosen to throw the coercive weight of the state behind his side.

My sympathies go to those who face competing pressures from two different societies, which they inhabit simultaneously, and which expect opposing behaviors from them.  Politicizing their dilemmas does them no favors.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 10:23:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually if you read the comments you'll see that this is largely about not allowing the burka to be worn in certain jobs.

Just saying.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 10:54:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I read the comments.  But that's very clearly not what he said.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 10:56:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, because he was pandering to the Le Pen vote, just like when he said he would clean the banlieue with a kärcher.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 10:57:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely.  And yet because he's couched his racism in terms of "helping" women, he gets a pass from the left.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 11:09:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He gets a pass from the French left because of secularism and "republican values".

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 11:11:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The veil and the burqa are great wedge issue for Sarko because it allows him to easily grab Le Pen voters while the left can't mount a clear, unified criticism about it as it is divided between multiculturalism fans and laïcards...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 11:24:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oen of the most imporant structural myths of any culture is space distribution, adquisition, and symbolic purpose. As Levi-Struauss demonstrated to the minimal detail, space structure strongly defines the playing field of human behavior (what we calle culture in loose term).

it is fascianting and proves your point that specific spaces and symbolic structures are generated when particualr dress conducts want to be expres in order to satisfy the other big "western"myth, the generation of the "growing and mature" self.

When peopel gather in nude beaches (or theya re created by the government so that only nude people go), when rave parties are structured, when dress code is ubiquous in semi-pubic spaces as discos, you know that dress codes are interanlized and can become conscious caste markers or full identity and space generators.

there is no such a  thing as "free" dressing or "dressing as you want". Not here.

A pleasure


I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 08:38:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is probably worth a diary. Or at least a seed comment for a diary.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 10:59:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree, it's an important "feature", specially as our societies tend to sacralize the body...!

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman
by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 11:12:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It really takes a course.. or a couple of courses... :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 12:40:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
government only requires this of women in a limited number of places which are directly under the authority of the State: in schools, public buildings, hospitals, on your passport picture and so forth. You're free to dress up as you like in the street.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:58:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that depends how you define a free country, you could be defining it as one where the state can't tell you what to wear in which case the answer would obviously be never. On the other hand it could be one where noone can tell you what to wear, in which case the state heere would be just defending its individual citizens rights to wear what they wish without pressure from other citizens.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:19:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ceebs: On the other hand it could be one where noone can tell you what to wear, in which case the state heere would be just defending its individual citizens rights to wear what they wish without pressure from other citizens.

i think that's a different issue.  if Sarkozy had said

I want to say solemnly that people who coerce others [even their own family members] to wear certain types of clothing will not be welcome on our territory.

i would basically be in agreement with him (with some questions as to exception or boundary cases, such as:  Presumably, parents have the right to "coerce" their children into dressing or not dressing in a certain way.  At what age of the child do parents lose that right?  Adulthood/majority?  Adolescence?)

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:18:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is public nudity a sign of anything? How is it interpreted in any "free" country you can think of? And do the elected representatives of the people in that "free" country make laws about it?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:29:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
Is public nudity a sign of anything?

Generally speaking, not that I know of.  (Though I am sure for some people, public nudity is a "sign" of rebellion or resistance to authority; but that is up to them to decide, not others, much less the state.)

Public nudity is outlawed, I believe, on the principle of protecting the public from sexual (in the sense of erotic) "indecency".  I think it would be hard to argue that burqas are "indecent" (at least, not in the same way as public nudity).

I think a case might be made for outlawing burqas on grounds of public safety (as in physical safety) or public security (i.e. against crime).  But that would be a different debate altogether.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:32:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Burqas are indeed about the objectification of the body of women ; it signifies it exists only for the purpose of sexual excitation of men, which is why it must be hidden. There's indeed a very strong sexual sign in the burqa...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:37:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Come on. I am simply bringing up the most obvious, extreme case of the state outlawing a particular mode of (un)dress, which is common to all "free" countries (and even hysterically so in the case of one country that generally takes itself to be a cut freer than the others, witness a famous football halftime incident).

"Free" countries may also (as you point out) outlaw masks or face coverings on security grounds (facial recognition). I'm not saying I approve of all this, just that your point above about the government making decisions about dress isn't right. Though I don't trust Sarkozy's motives, I don't see anything fundamentally reprehensible about him expressing a view on this subject. If it means he will ram legislation through without debate, without seeking consensus, then I will find that extremely reprehensible.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:47:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not against the state outlawing a particular mode of (un)dress in all cases bar none.

But I am against the state doing so based on an interpretation by the state of what the (un)dress in question is a "sign" of.

To me personally, it is of little importance whether it is Sarkozy or anyone else advocating such a policy.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:56:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the French Republic has a long history of actively fighting organised religion in all its forms, so this fits right in, and is heavily supported by the population, including its Arab minorities, I may say.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 06:15:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if ever there was an shining example of the symbol being confused with the reality, this one takes the cake.

i think you're hitting the right notes, afew, but poemless' point is also well taken, if fact i think you're both right, and that's why this issue has been blown up out of all reasonable proportion, and is possibly being used as a political football. we as a species are too hung up on symbols, and too incurious as to why, why should we give them so much power?

just because people have in the past?

as for being objective, i think that what people in the majority consensus believe, a kind of groupthink.

it's a very thorny problem, and as i've said before, i wearily concede that europe need still to err on the side of being too secular, due to its history.

weary, because it is frustrating to be presented a choice wherein both feel passionately they're in the right, and no matter which way the legislation goes, it will leave bad blood in its wake.

these loser/losest dichotomies are a reflection of how far we still have to travel on the road to understanding, with all the real, concrete problems we have in the world, it is absurd to see valuable mental energy consumed on whether wearing a certaina head-dress is so politically destabilising an act, that it needs the state 'deciders' to wrinkle their foreheads to come up with a least worst decision, not an enviable responsibility.

i'm still reeling from poemless' description of how it must feel to be a woman in this stupid (patriarchal) bind, and urge all males here to try and put ourselves for a minute in that woman's shoes. she is being instrumentalised in a way by the state in its quest for secularisation, and she has to force her parental family to accept her 'europeanisation', or risk a fine or arrest.

we say we want to welcome immigrants, and need to, to keep our economies going, this legislation is unpalatable, but to permit burkas is regressive, from our european post-enlightenment value system, giving again more power to the symbol.

full circle...

an eddy of idiocy, in a river of rationality, heading for a world where symbols are seen as that, not confused anything else. they will always be important, because of how we're made, but we need to keep pointing out they are the pointing finger, not the moon, and looking for a deeper unity that predates such external 'designations' as choice of dress.

for example, let's look harder at why certain immigrant religious tenets impose restrictions on young europeans, why cultures have evolved so patriarchally, why the female body is turned into such an explosively, threateningly icon that men feel they cannot stand its distraction, just for a start.

after i had some moroccan massage clients in hawaii, i had to re-examine cultural attitudes a bit, because they told me how comfortable they felt behind the veil, how they felt sorry for the women who had to be exposed to the crude stares and wolf whistle types, while shopping in the supermarket, or walking past a construction site. how it empowered them and became a  boundary on intimacy they felt very grateful for.

it was definitely one of the oddest moments of my massage career, working on the rest of her disrobed body, while never seeing her face. her mother was the same.

not all veiling is a response to patriarchal authoritarianism, and i think we should allow all freedoms we can, yet i am as grateful as they were for their cultural gift, that ours is that we get to see our women, glory in their comeliness, without having to be their blood family.

it's impossible to make both sides happy, which is a sign usually that the real problems are not being fully addressed, namely that our sexual mores appall many immigrant families, used to a culture where women are tucked_just_ in sight, partly out of mind.

could there be a correlation between the amount of violence in cultures that slow down feminism of culture, and desire for peace in countries where women are not put on pedestals, vestalised so much?

as men, is it our own inability to come to grips with our inner feminine side that makes us historically seek to control women?

are we possibly still over-reacting the other way, after many centuries of treating women as chattel ourselves? now women are freer, but does that mean they (and we men) are always more dignified because of it?

i suspect we will meet half way, no veils and burkas except for halloween, and less ignorance and flagrancy in our own youth about the responsibility of being sexual in today's world, where we are more likely to see hundreds of photoshopped womens' bodies selling us everything from soap to cars to chocolate, before we even attain puberty.

another 50 years ought to do it...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 05:21:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you're right that this needs to be discussed at a higher level, because what's being argued about isn't what people think. Our frames  (for want of a better word late at night) need examining, and we need to remember that the political actors involved are not generally speaking honestly.

as men, is it our own inability to come to grips with our inner feminine side that makes us historically seek to control women?

<sigh> It's very often women that do the controlling of women, not men. We're all in the system and influenced by it more than we believe.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 05:34:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:
It's very often women that do the controlling of women, not men.

that's certainly true, and doesn't negate what i said.

often women are as addicted to the status quo as men are, even if it is to their disadvantage. a bit of stockholm syndrome, methinks.

people often prefer a negative known, rather than an unknown. change is scary...

still it's hard to think of any matriarchal societies in recent history who laid major trips on men.

but do women collude_with men to their own undoing?

yes.

do women _enable men to continue with ignorant, sexist behaviour?

yes.

the more we men change, the better off women'll be, and less likely to want to betray their own interests to 'get along'.

our advantage in sheer muscular strength and impulsivity dictates that to get along, we need to become more sensitive, perhaps we will also learn to live longer lives, as women do.  

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 06:53:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems to me that the question is not about what one wears so much as whether one is forced to wear it. For example, here in ultra-conservative Colorado Springs, I know a woman who dresses like this for her job as an engineer. Nobody says anything about it...because she is doing it entirely as a sign of her liberated womanly power and her Afro-American heritage.

by asdf on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 11:00:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a dilemma with the burka - on the one side I belive a woman should be able to decide what she wants to wear, if she really wants to wear a burka fine with me.

But there is also the integration - how do you integrate these women into our society. In my opinion integration needs communications, but how to you communicate with a woman in a burka. I for one could not, being hearing impaired I would not be able to understand her - I need to see the mimik and the lipmovement to understand people.

So I would say, in privat situations let them wear the burka if they want to - but in social situations, at work, maybe there have to be other solutions.

I see also a dilemma for western countries, they are continuesly critised for not integrating other cultures, but how to you integrate a culture if you can not really communicate with these people.

I just don't know and don't have an answer for this situation and I think it is good that it is being discussed.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 01:22:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that boils down pretty much to my own stance as well - and it connects to the discussion above with "dress code". The hardest one for me is the situation on the work floor - personally I'm not too keen on setting up specific (discriminatory) rules, but there do exist certain kinds of work cultures - cue in the "code" how to dress.

The Netherlands already has gone through various cycles of this discussion the past years, starting in 2005.  Geert Wilders (of course) then proposed a full ban for burqas all the time, including public spaces such as streets, public transport, etc etc. Although it was first thought not feasible by law, then Integration minister Rita Verdonk noted in 2006 that a public burqa ban should be possible. However, the cabinet next fell to pieces and nothing so drastic has happened.

Notably the CDA and Labour - the two main parties in the current cabinet -  have since then shifted their stance, calling instead for a general ban of any type of face covering (also hoodies) for schools and public functions. According to the present cabinet, specifically banning a burqa/niqab does not agree to  conventions, including the Dutch constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.  

I believe the general ban is now in effect. From the top of my head is wearing a burqa prohibited by most Dutch universities. While I can see (and generally agree to) the practicalities for regulations in schools and public functions, the current cabinet has also urged public transport companies to adopt face covering regulations, which does leave a foul taste in my mouth.

Of course the Netherlands wouldn't be the Netherlands if the disccusion didn't spawn a new art form by popular cartoonist Peter de Wit - the Burka Babes:


This one makes fun of Wilders "Fitna" movie:
1:JIHAD!!! You're a traitor!!
2:I thought the movie was alright. I had expected more of Geert

by Nomad on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 06:39:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What you describe seems to fit Colman's analysis:

first you decide that you want to ban the burqa/hijab because it's indecent and you want to assert the state's power over a minority (keeping them economically isolated in crappy suburbs with aggressive policing not being sufficient to garner votes, apparently) [Geert Wilders] and then you look for justifications for banning it [shifting stance to banning any type of face covering].


Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 09:18:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Geert Wilders still insist on specifically banning burqas everywhere - including the streets. He is not interested in anything else, and calls the other parties "cowards" for turning it into a general, more practical ban. An element in the discussion came from numerous incidents of hooded people mugging tram and bus drivers. Then there was a student who insisted on doing her university exams wearing a burqa - in a time when cheating by using sms messages was peaking.

There's simply more context to the general ban than just Colman's analysis.

Secondly, adopting a general ban is not un-clever in the face of Wilders growing popularity: it shows Wilders again for what he is - a totalitarian who discriminates against anything that has to do with Islam.

by Nomad on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 10:14:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How is he going to stop women wearing a burqa? Arrest and jail them? That's be a great improvement to their freedom? Send police (shall we call them Morality Police? anti-Morality Police?) out to rip burqas from the poor oppressed, hoping they're wearing something legal underneath?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:05:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the prohibition would be, presumably, only in schools and public buildings. I know that the debate has been red meat about burqas in thestreet in general, but any actual law would not be so broad.

I'm perosnally supporting a ban in government buildings, hospitals and schools but not in the street in general.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:03:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought that ban was already in place? Or is the existing rule narrower than that?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:12:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a ban in schools on the wearing of visible ("ostensible") signs of religion.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:51:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris: the prohibition would be, presumably, only in schools and public buildings.

NouvelObs.com

"Je veux le dire solennellement: la burqa ne sera pas le bienvenue sur le territoire de la République française.

I don't see how that statement will encourage burqa-wearing girls and women:  Those who wear them of their own decision and will have been explicitly told by the head of state (with "strong applause" from the national parliament) that they are "not welcome" in France.  And those who are coerced to wear them are now caught between Papa at home who tells them they better wear them and Papa de la République who tells them they better not.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:31:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You may consider it a quibble , but that sentence says the burqa is not welcome: the words apply to the item of dress, not the person wearing it.

(All the same, let's be clear that in this debate no one is defending Sarko's choice of words or his political motives.)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:43:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And, while we're PNing, please see my note on the meaning of burqa.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:27:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew: You may consider it a quibble , but that sentence says the burqa is not welcome: the words apply to the item of dress, not the person wearing it.

i did note that he was talking about the burqa itself.  and it is not a quibble, but the effect is the same.  i am thinking of two Chinese women (a mother and daughter) who decided this past spring to go view the cherry blossoms at Wuhan University in China wearing homemade kimonos amidst crowds of other Chinese, some of whom then started hurling abuse at them and ran them out of the park.  presumably they themselves were perfectly "welcome" on Chinese territory until they put on the "indecent" clothing which was "not in keeping with accepted standards of what is right or proper in polite society".  that case also supports my notion that intent to upset others is what may differentiate "indecency" that may be prohibited by law from "indecency" that is in the eye (or head) of the beholder and therefore is not acceptable for the state to proscribe (as I claim burqas are a case of).

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 09:02:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure a drunk man peeing in public has any intent to disturb yet he'll be sued for indecency all the same...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 09:54:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More generally, the only part of the French penal code where intent is important in defining a crime or felony is the murder/homicide distinction.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 10:00:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point.  But even if it does not exist in legal codes, it is possible that subconsciously "intent" is the criterion operative in labelling one thing "indecent" enough to outlaw and another thing just "indecent" but legally tolerable.  Having said that, the public urination example you bring up is indeed problematic when trying to characterize "proscribable indecency" through the presence or absence of intent.

Still, resorting to the "I knows it when I sees it" rule for indecency and then invoking it to brand and ban burkas seems unsatisfying and arbitrary to say the least, and potentially dangerous.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 10:50:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's why long debate is needed, and was made in the case of the veil in schools. Debate on forbidding the burqa "everywhere" hasn't been done thoroughly, and Sarko isn't the kind to let debate foster, so his actions on this field are indeed dangerous.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 11:28:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sweden has indeceny laws on paper but those are rarely enforced, except when the occasional streeker aims to get arrested.

What is enforced is sexual harassment laws in public places. The main difference here is that this needs a victim for the harassment.

Actually, in Sweden a burqa is one of the safest ways to dress. After the Gothenbourg riots in 2001 a law was enacted to ban being masked in a riot, thus making sure there is always one crime a masked youth has committed if there is a riot. To not have to use this law in other circumstances, heavy clothing is allowed if needed for temperature reasons (even if there is a riot) and an excemption was also made for religious attire.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:58:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bateson's classic 'Double Bind'.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:54:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
eggs-actly.

see also r. laing's 'knots'.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 07:21:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What also worries me is what will actually happen to those women who are forced by their families to wear the burqa; if the garment is banned, will they then be disallowed to go outside the family home altogether? And what will that accomplish...

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--
by tzt (tzt) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:15:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, decent Frenchmen won't be affronted by their subjugation, which is a good thing, surely?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:17:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If they are, this would constitute imprisonment, for which the parents could be prosecuted...

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:18:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're right that a vital guideline is to consider what may be accomplished by laws or public policy decisions.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 05:45:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
of judging Sarkozy by his words and not by his actions...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 06:16:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm going to design a mini-burqa as a compromise. I think there'll be a good market for it

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:42:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we should also ban the strange dress of all these Orthodox Jews walking around my neighborhood in Paris; the funny hats, the long beards and the huge sideburns. You know why? Because it reminds me of my grandpa who used to beat me when I was a kid.

Why should I have to suffer these memories? I'm writing a letter to Sarko toute de suite.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!

by LEP on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 03:56:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
wow, so many comments on burqa remark by this buffoon.

I also want to say my bit, but first few words on debate I just watched on Indian TV about this question. They invited one prominent Arab and two local ladies. Arab of course denounced Sarkozi, saying it was very provocative especially in the light of Obama's overtures and turmoil in Iran. Ladies quarreled noisily. One was defending Sarkozi, saying that burqa is nowhere mentioned in Quran, it is unislamic and only imposed by men with lethal weapons. Also she said that secular democratic country like France withing its rights to impose any dress code in the same way like Islamic republic of Iran or Saudi Arabia impose dress code for foreign women even if they are not mussalmans. Second lady was against Sarkozy telling that it's totalitarian to demand from all particular dress code under any pretext.

So I have drwan conclusion that French authorities have acted in totalitarian way not dissimilar to Islamic Republic of Iran or Saudi Arabia. For example in India or even in Russia or China there are no restrictions or particular demands for dress people should wear on entering the country. Also there is no discrimination on dress code or peculiar look people adopt for religious beliefs.

It seems that Sarkozy after successful imposition ban for turbans (the decision which enraged Indian Sikhs who are not muslims at all) tries to go further with female dress prescribing how positively French women should look like.

So the big question - is France ready to become "secular Saudi Arabia"? Last time the particular dress code in Europe was imposed by Nazis and Fascist governments.

If French authorites think they are within their rights to impose particular dress code for all visitors entering the country because French journalists in Iran had to wear headscarfes why France cannot impose this ban on burqas for only citizens of these particular Islamic countries? Why Russian or Indian muslim woman should dress in way authorised by French authorities? Why sikhs cannot wear turbans in France if this is prescribed by tenth Sikh Guru?

Whole this unnecessary debate is a really shameful for France.

by FarEasterner on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 01:24:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you sound like the smokers who call non smokers requesting them to follow the rules about not smoking in certain places "totalitarian" and "intolerant."

Sikhs cannot wear turbans in public schools. They can wear them in the street and in private schools, if that's so important to them.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 02:50:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If this absurd law restricting use of traditional dress associated with particular religion is adopted all French tourists in other countries should not be allowed in French or European dress. There should be some particular rules regarding French citizens.
by FarEasterner on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 01:00:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tourists in the Vatican are not allowed to wear shorts or sleeveless shirts inside the Sistine Chapel. Similar rules apply to visitors to Saint Sofia in Istanbul. Women tourists cannot drive a rental car in Saudi Arabia.

And your point is, what exactly?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 01:28:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My point is if you did not get it - if France discriminates indiscriminately against all visitors ('Burqas are not welsome in France') who have deviant dress or look which do not satisfy fascist French politicians then all other countries should adopt similar measures but only concerning French citizens who elected such brainless politicians like Sarkozy.
by FarEasterner on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 01:55:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<snark alert>

Like a beret ban.  Or, we could outlaw speaking with a French accent.  Don't take it personally, mes amis.  If the French want to come to America, they have to respect our way of life and our values.  Speaking with a French accent signifies submissive foreign policy and poor work ethic, which is unAmerican.  We're just dong it to protect the French from themselves, really.  We understand they've been coerced by the terrists and commies to behave this way.  Once they become exactly like us, hard-working bullies who talk like they have a mouth full of bubblegum, they will be happier, and will thank us.  There is no place in America for French accents.  What?  We're a sovereign nation!  We do what we want!  We don't have a problem with the French, per se...  We just have a problem with people who don't want to be exactly like us.  Who wear their ideology on their impeccably well-designed sleeves.  <<shudder>>

</snark alert>

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 02:09:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
don't you own a beret? ;)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 02:19:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure.  But then I'm hardly the poster child for American values...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 02:35:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Im sure you are, just whats sold as American values arent exactly a poster child for national values.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 04:27:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
heartening to get your support. Today many Indian newspapers published editorials harshly criticizing French authorities and Sarkozy in particular.

For just a taste I scanned today's main editorials from conservative Times of India:


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY
It will only stigmatise and marginalise women who wear it.
JEAN-MARIE FARDEAU, Paris director, Human Rights Watcli

A Baffling Move
President Sarkozy's proposal to ban the burqa is ill-advised
For a head of state, French president Nicolas Sarkozy  has displayed a public lack of diplomacy that might  even make his Italian counterpart, the flamboyantly  tactless Silvio Berlusconi, envious. Not content imerely with proposing a complete ban on the burqa in public life - the howls of outrage at that alone would likely have i been heard from the Arc de Triomphe to the Palais Gamier - he has gone one better by launching a startling diatribe against it. "A sign of debasement", "prisoners behind a screen", and "deprived of all identity" were some of the : phrases he threw about. If the intention was to put the wind : up a large percentage of the five million or so Muslims who call France home, doubtless he has succeeded. It is an interesting illustration of where France stands i with regard to the relationship between religion and state, At present, it bans the burqa in educational institutions, as it does other items of personal wear with religious significance such as the Sikh turban or the Jewish skullcap. Turkish secularism, too, takes after the French model. At the other extreme are countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran : where it is mandatory for women to adhere to a certain prescribed manner of dress, from the bur qa in the former to the hijab in the latter. : The crucial differences between secularism as it is understood in France and many other democracies of Western Europe and North America and the version that is practised in India become apparent here. The danger of the former is that a secularism creating too rigid a barrier between religion and public life can be perverted, at times, into a form of extremism itself. It creates an uneasy tension with other core tenets of democracies; individual liberty i and freedom of expression. The Indian version, on the other hand, despite its cynical manipulation by various political groupings, gains from its malleability, based as it is on the principle of inclusion rather than separation. It has proved repeatedly that the rights of the individual and the prerogatives of the state can overlap in this regard without cancelling each other. In some ways, it is an extension of the Middle Path philosophy that is at the heart of Buddhism. It steers clear of the extremes of a theocracy and a state where keeping religion out of the public sphere can take precedence over its citizens' liberties. Sarkozy would do well to remember that the French Revolution championed the rights of the individual.

I hope that the wave of criticism will put brakes on fascist French state, otherwise French should be ready for reprisals elsewhere.

by FarEasterner on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 06:22:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FarEasterner: I expect we are one of many blogs where your wonderful travelogues are much appreciated, and that memorising the etiquette of each is rather a drag.  However, please see here for a guide to rating on ET.

Specifically:

2 is a warning that is used for comments that are unnecessarily aggressive or disruptive in their tone. Such ratings should never be used to indicate that you disagree with the comment.

Thank you.

by Sassafras on Thu Jun 25th, 2009 at 03:34:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually I don't need reminder about rules on this forum where I posted my first letter 3 and a half years ago.

For three and a half years I used my ratings sparingly: I identified apparently Chinese troll who attacked my Tibetan diaries and me personally.

This Chinese troll did not appear since then so I think I was right, not Colman, Migeru and Jerome a Paris who disagreed with me on pretext of "free speach".

Then I used "warning" only to comments by Nomad on Zimbabwe, Jerome a Paris on defence of ban on a burqa and thirdly for afew for very rude personal comment which misinterpreted my comment.

by FarEasterner on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 02:34:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For the record,
  1. that user you believe to be a Chinese registered as German, and commented in a number of threads unrelated to the Dalai Lama while you were away;
  2. your rating for that comment wasn't challenged, in fact seven others rated it 2 or below and both other comments in response (Colman's and Migeru's) were critical.
  3. The demand from you that wasn't met was an immediate ban, and that was what was disagreed with. Had you not left and had that user persisted with similar comments in a debate, he may well have been banned for trolling.

Then I used "warning" only to comments by Nomad on Zimbabwe, Jerome a Paris on defence of ban on a burqa

You disagree with a ban on a burqa (it seems without distinguishing between bans pertaining to specific places and/or professions, which Jérôme seems to be favouring and which would not apply to the tourists you bring up; and general bans, which Sarko seems to have suggested). That in itself makes your warnings ones for disagreement, not misbehaviour.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 06:12:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FarEasterner:
Then I used "warning" only to comments by Nomad on Zimbabwe, Jerome a Paris on defence of ban on a burqa

A point of fact: your rating of Jerome a Paris above is not a warning, it is a troll rating (1).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 06:20:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had put '2' for several Jerome comments which you can see on my rating page. I remember I put "2" for this one also unless someone hijacked my account, used admin rights (if this possible) or it was simply rolled over by mistake (I think sometimes marks slip).
by FarEasterner on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 06:56:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even admins can't change someone's ratings -- only erase them. Maybe your mouse slipped (it happens often, most 3 ratings on ET are born this way).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 07:10:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No one can hijack your account, and no admin rights can change your rating from a 2 to a 1 - even supposing there was any good reason to do so.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 07:11:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In that case, may I refer you to the ETiquette:
Specifically on European Tribune,

    * consider that a lot of people don't communicate with you in their first language. Even after years of study, people can err in the meaning of words, not realise that a mangled-up order of words gives a different meaning, or - very important - try to translate word combinations or concepts from their first language 'too literally' and get something else. Vice versa, if you aren't communicating in your first language, and get a 'strange' reply, the error isn't necessarily on the other side.

    * consider that people come with cultural differences. Some local cultural specialities will have evaded you even if you lived in that locale as an expat for years. Vice versa, if you see someone not comprehending a concept familiar to you, it's not necessarily down to obstuseness or lack of humour, it's better to explain it first.

    * consider that some of these differences are so deep that they touch concepts you think of as basic, concepts you have never even thought can be viewed differently.

In my view, the last point, about the depth of differences, pretty much sums up the situation here about the burqa.  Two sets of essentially decent people whose fundamental ways of seeing the world divide sharply over this issue.  ET is often at its most enlightening when this happens, and our rules of behaviour are the reason why it's one of very few places where these issues can be explored in a civilised manner.

So, I will ask you again. Please do not abuse the ratings system.

by Sassafras on Fri Jun 26th, 2009 at 01:11:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not sure that advocating sets of essentially totalitarian laws under disguise of anti-americanism or nationalism makes people decent.

it's not only turban's ban but this burqa issue became HUGE here in India, so many talk shows, polemic articles and discussions.

maybe for the French supporters of these bans it will be interesting to know that overwhelming majority of Indian polticians, intellectuals, feminists condemned these bans as TOTALITARIAN moves. France quickly turns into fascist state where authorities want to wage war not only on Islam (which is expected) but on all religious minorities.

As Mani Shankar Ayar from the ruling Congress party said yesterday in NDTV's talk show "Left, Right and Centre": "Today they ban burqa, tomorrow they will ban sari".

It's very regretful that propaganda of totalitarian bans did not evoke any response from bloggers here, maybe their countries are not so much different from France.

There is growing pressure in India on Manmohan Singh's government to condemn and take up these bans with Sarkozy's government and demand their revocation.

by FarEasterner on Sat Jun 27th, 2009 at 05:35:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tony Blair faces calls to appear at public Iraq war inquiry after plan backfires - Times Online

Tony Blair tried to stop the Iraq war inquiry being held in public as new evidence emerged suggesting that he knew Saddam Hussein may not have weapons of mass destruction.

The former Prime Minister lobbied Sir Gus O'Donnell, the head of the Civil Service, fearing that a public appearance at the inquiry, headed by Sir John Chilcott, could turn into a "show trial".

The move appears to have backfired this weekend, as it emerges that part of the inquiry will now be heard in public and Mr Blair is the focus of calls to appear.

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, said this morning that the former Prime Minister cannot appear behind closed doors and must speak under oath. Otherwise "people [will] feel this is just a grand cover-up for, after all, what was the biggest foreign policy mistake this country has made since Suez".

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:26:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Blair was involved in Iraq inquiry talks, minister says - UK Politics, UK - The Independent
Brown seeks to quell row with 'openness' pledge

Gordon Brown is to promise that much of the Iraq inquiry will be held in the open in an attempt to avert a damaging Commons defeat for the Government this Wednesday.

Amid fury on the Labour back benches over Mr Brown's initial decision to stage the inquiry in private, ministers now expect much of the evidence to be given publicly after a change of heart was forced on the Prime Minister.

The Labour rebels' anger was intensified by the disclosure yesterday that Tony Blair, likely to be the key witness, had consulted with the Cabinet Secretary on the form of the inquiry. They want him to give evidence under oath.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:29:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that Brown could dump Blair to the wolves to save himself and Labour? It might even work!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 02:38:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And save us from the lingering chance that Blair might get to be "EU President".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:34:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran:
turn into a "show trial".

and that's bad why?

because that's what stalin did?

this is verbal gamesmanship, nice try.

we want transparency and accountability, not 'show' boards of enquiry, that skulk behind the curtain, redacting evidence because of 'national security'.

stop treating the public like fools.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 05:35:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Berlusconi scandal: commentators dare to mention the other B word - Times Online

One word was on the minds of Italians yesterday: blackmail.

Could the claims emerging daily against Silvio Berlusconi leave him open to the kind of persuasion that makes holding political office impossible? Would he be tempted to cut a deal to suppress them? Even his friends on the Right are starting to wonder.

"The spectre of blackmail hangs over Berlusconi," said La Stampa. Giampiero Mughini, a right-wing commentator, said: "A Prime Minister who is so blackmailable is a problem for the country."

Berlusconi loyalists, including Ignazio La Russa, the Defence Minister, are still publicly blaming the allegations on a labyrinthine plot to undermine him but there are also hints of a move against him by his own side.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:27:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Silvio Berlusconi defiant as escort scandal grows | World news | The Guardian
Italy's PM vows to 'hang tough' as a third woman confirms details about the night he allegedly had sex with an escort

Silvio Berlusconi today promised he would "hang tough" in the face of a growing scandal over the alleged procurement of women for his social events, as a third woman stepped forward to confirm details of the night last November on which he allegedly had sex with a paid escort.

Italy's prime minister has vowed not to allow the furore over his supposed antics with young women deflect him from running the government. But today another woman from the southern city of Bari, Lucia Rossini, confirmed salacious details about a dinner held at Berlusconi's Rome residence on 4 November.

Rossini said Patrizia D'Addario, an alleged escort, remained behind when guests left that evening. Her account backs that given by a fellow guest, model Barbara Montereale, who said that D'Addario claimed the next day that she had had sexual relations with Berlusconi.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:33:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this is appropriate in so many ways

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 02:38:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Italian it is evident he is referring to his sexual prowess. Berlusconismo embraces celodurismo, the guiding principal of the Lega Nord.

Celodurismo, literally "hard bird-ism" or hard-dickism originated with a speech by Umberto Bossi. He incited his followers with the climatic call that the leghisti have always got it hard.

Pride in one's priapism as a political position is not new. Mussolini: vainglorious strutting like an overblown peacock with bulging eyes, nasal rants and well-bosomed squealing claque- so well described by Gadda.

Bossi and Berlusconi are such rivals in hard-dickism that they vowed eternal love to the point both once declared they spend Mondays alone together, no doubt testing who softens first. Berlusconi remarked that he saw more of Umberto than his wife, a fairly empty statement we now know. They may have flacked off after Bossi's ichtus took its toll, sparring alas his tongue. But none the less Berlusconi's mommy's maiden name was Bossi.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:01:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
de Gondi:
sparring alas his tongue. But none the less Berlusconi's mommy's maiden name was Bossi.

that might be 'sparing' or possibly 'spearing' his tongue... sparring i think may be a typo.

are you serious that b's mother was a member of the bossi family?
 i remember that bossi rant about going into attack mode with 'cazzi eretti' the early 90's if i remember, and was gobsmacked at the time.

bossi doesn't seem like the 'latin lover' type, lol.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 05:52:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a typo. To spare his tongue.

Berlusconi liked to say that his reconciliation with Bossi was through his mother whose maiden name was incidently Bossi. In the mid-Nineties, Bossi and Berlusconi went through a few years of vicious antagonism and Rosa Bossi allegedly brought back their alliance "because they had the same surname."

The relation between Silvio and his mother was reciprocal worship to the point they likened themselves to the Virgin Mary and her infant. Rosa was bodily translated into their version of heaven.  

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 01:12:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Blackmail? That guy? Ha! It's obvious the man has absolutely no shame, he could have been renting a luxury apartment in Rome to bin Ladin for the past eight years without feeling even a smidgeon of remorse...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:33:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the party over for Silvio Berlusconi? - Telegraph

For years, millions of hot-blooded Italian men have secretly wished they could gatecrash one of the parties hosted by their ebullient prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, featuring scantily-clad starlets and models, and endless bottles of expensive wine.

But now the bacchanalian gatherings are coming back to haunt Mr Berlusconi. The billionaire businessman, 72, is trying desperately to fend off allegations that an acquaintance paid call girls, wannabe actresses and models to attend the parties. Uncharacteristically, the scandal seems to be getting to him. He is tired, flustered - and worried, because it is threatening to overshadow his hosting of the G8 summit in L'Aquila next month. A national joke is turning into an international humiliation.

Attention is focused on a party that the prime minister held at his Rome palazzo on the evening of November 4 last year - the night of the US presidential election. A couple of days ago, one of the young women who attended the event, former Miss Italy contestant Barbara Montereale, 23, dropped a bombshell by claiming that Mr Berlusconi went to bed with another of the women in attendance, Patrizia D'Addario, 42, who was allegedly promised 2,000 euros (£1,700), and who herself claimed that when she saw the gathered women, she thought: "But this is a harem."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:37:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A national joke is turning into an international humiliation.
Spot on.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 05:20:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran:
November 4 last year - the night of the US presidential election.

heh, he couldn't stand barack getting more attention than him!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 05:54:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Silvio Berlusconi: the parties, the trinkets, the cash - Times Online

He has made no secret of his love of women but the sex scandal surrounding Silvio Berlusconi is now threatening to topple him, as more claims emerge of the systematic recruitment of young women paid to attend private parties at his homes in Rome and Sardinia.

With weeks to go before he hosts the G8 summit the Italian Prime Minister, 72, is facing new allegations, including claims by a Bari escort girl who says that she has recorded footage of herself in the billionaire's bedroom. Now another woman has come forward, this time claiming that she was paid to attend the Prime Minister's private parties after going through a hostess service, allegedly operated by a local businessman.

In an interview with The Times Barbara Montereale said that Mr Berlusconi gave her €10,000 (£8,500) "as a present" after attending one of his parties at Villa Certosa. She also claims to have received an attendance fee of €1,000, paid by his alleged fixer, Giampaolo Tarantini.

Miss Montereale, 23, also claimed that Patrizia D'Addario, the escort girl at the centre of the scandal, told her she had had sex with Mr Berlusconi.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:37:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the best one - bold by me:

Supporters predict Silvio Berlusconi will survive run-off elections - Times Online

Many European leaders "wonder how Berlusconi can still be Prime Minister, even if they do not say so to his face", according to Graham Watson, Liberal Democrat leader in the European Paliament. Part of the answer is that most Italians get their news from television -- and both Mr Berlusconi's channels and RAI, the public network, which he controls, have buried the scandals.

Il Giornale, his own newspaper, has been deployed to discredit any witness against him, portraying the Prime Minister as the victim of a plot involving not only the Left but the international press, Italy's own secret services and "traitors in his entourage". function slideshowPopUp(url) { pictureGalleryPopupPic(url); return false; } Related Links

For Vittorio Sgarbi, a former centre-Right deputy Culture Minister, it is even simpler: men of power need a lot of sex. "If Berlusconi does not gain sexual satisfaction he governs badly."

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:39:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there would seem to be quite a bit of truth to that. I can name quite a few French politicians that have open reputations as sex animals - although they tend to be slightly more discreet about it than Burlesquoni.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 02:48:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would it be your contention that (thanks to sufficient sexual hyperactivity) these French politicians governed well?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:44:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
there would seem to be quite a bit of truth to that

cuz berlusconi's doing such an ace job?

it's just 'droit de seigneur' with aspiring starlets instead of ruddy farm girls.
without his lock on the media, he'd be history by now, that's why italy has such a slow rollout of broadband, can't let the information get to the peeps...

heading for hammamet!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 09:46:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The truth of it isn't the issue. Replace sex with religion. Should religious belief be condoned as acceptable in politicians if that helps them govern? No!

Sex has nothing to do with ideals of government. It simply isn't relevant, and making it relevant as the statement highlighted by Fran attempts to do is not appropriate, unless one wishes to argue that eg the minister's preferred cupsize or whether he's enjoyed buggery in recent days should be an important factor in deciding the laws that govern the country.

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 10:04:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's relevant for security reasons. When the Big Man can't keep it zippered he's easy prey to blackmail and manipulation.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 05:33:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's only relevant if the blackmail would be effective: if someone had tried to blackmail Haughey with his affairs he'd have laughed at them - everyone in the media knew already. It would have been  relevant in the US or UK because it's a big deal there.

Now, if Haughey had been busing loads of starlets out to his Kinsealy mansion or flying them out to his island, that might have been a different matter. Though it would have been a pretty small bus in those days.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 05:37:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They don't have to plain vanilla affairs. Get your mark drunk or drugged enough, scatter a few teenagers around, and you have yourself some solid leverage, even if it's not something the mark would usually do.

Pillow talk has proven expensive too.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hence all Big Men needs neutering.

It is a sacrifice but one I am sure our beloved leaders will make to keep the world safe from terrorists.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 07:49:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
men of power need a lot of sex. "If Berlusconi does not gain sexual satisfaction he governs badly."

LOL  This rationale will justify anything!  We have the example of Bill Clinton.  He had a ton of sex and still governed badly.  Obanka might be useless; at least he's not a clown.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:00:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clinton wasn't actually having sex.  Maybe that explains it?
by paving on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:11:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It depends what you mean by "it".
by Sassafras on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 06:22:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What was he having, tea and crumpets?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 05:51:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is missing in this marvelous run-up is the fact that in Italy most people don't know about it. Berlusconi has appointed all five directors of the five most important TV news programs. The vast mass of ignorant fools that rely on TV for news simply know nothing about it.

It's not being covered by main media. It therefore is not happening. You here know more about it than the average Italian.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:07:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do most Italians get their information only from the mass media? When I lived in NY, the press was just as reticent about Giuliani's affairs (until close to the end), but we all knew about them. Doesn't word of mouth work in Italy? I'm sure most people are just as ignorant about "real" politics as the media wants them to be, but I suspect a story like this is different (I live in Trentino, which means I don't have a clue about the average Italian...)
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:27:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The number of Italians that rely exclusively on TV for news is esteemed to be 15,000,000. That is a sizeable electorate.

I have pointed out these past days that Berlusconi's scandals are not being covered by strategic news media in Italy. There is today yet another parliamentary interrogation over the steadfast refusal to cover the scandal by the major national network RAI 1. Not only is it being ignored, the Berlusconi appointee, Augusto Minzolini, counterattacked in an unprecedented live interview disparaging the scandal as unworthy of coverage.

Minzolini owes his entire career to being a ruthless cistern shark. The term "minzolinismo" was coined to describe a certain type of journalism: To report idle gossip from within the corridors of power without any pretense of verifying it.

Minzolini built a career on entertaining insinuations and unconditional praise for Optimus Poffarbacco. He is utterly allergic to reality just as is his master.

Nor is he the only one elevated to a position where he can grovel insolently in the floodlights. It's just that he's new and has those sexy blue eyes.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 06:30:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
gk:
Do most Italians get their information only from the mass media?

information, what information?

oh the sports scores, now i get it!

italians hone most of their political opinions chatting in bars and barbershops. their box has a colourful enough lining, that most don't see much need to think out of it.

good food and family are the compensations italians use to forget their government is the most expensive, overstaffed, criminal and expensive in europe, (as well as the laughing stock of the entire planet).

the really weird thing is that the more he's attacked, the more italy wants to mother him, gaah.

he's nonnina's's lovable lil rascal, by jiminee, and his sins are forgiven weakly, ain't he a card?

dr feelgood, with his mojo stick, come to save italy from detumescence, lol.

maybe tripoli could be be the new hammamet, then he could get some of that dictator drag going, as well as the harems.

this g8 meeting could be um, interesting, especially as l'aquila just had another aftershock today, not bad enough to knock any structures down, but 4.6. ain't chickenfeed either, especially with recent memories. it was enough to make all the tenters rush out into the open.

could we be about to see the world leaders running round in pyjamas as their world teeters?

i think his publicity ploy using l'aquila is going to backfire bigtime. or as J. might say, 'it couldn't happen to a nicer, or more deserving fella'

besides the people in the area are pissed his stupid plan to build a new cement monstrosity for them to live in is very late in starting, so pissed they met en masse in rome the other day, in front of palazzo chigi.

are there even any hotels posh enough (and still standing) round there, for our glorious globocrats to stay in, or will they helicopter in from rome?

memo to obama, don't start any conversations about bidets, michelle will probably not appreciate ribald man-talk.

just compliment him on his tan, can't go wrong there...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 10:13:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Silvio Berlusconi's parties: Italian prosecutors to question 30 women - Telegraph
Up to 30 young women will be questioned by Italian prosecutors as part of an investigation into the alleged procuring of prostitutes for parties held by the prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, it has been reported.

The women, including Eastern European models, were recruited to attend at least five parties thrown by Mr Berlusconi at his mansion in central Rome and his villa on Sardinia's exclusive Costa Smeralda, La Repubblica newspaper claimed.

A businessman acquaintance of Mr Berlusconi, Giampaolo Tarantini, 35, is under investigation by prosecutors in the Adriatic port of Bari on suspicion of abetting prostitution by recruiting models and call girls for the prime minister's private parties.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:45:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Patently cruel -   De Volkskrant/Presseurop

European customs often seize medicines bound for developing countries on the basis of suspected violation of patent rights. Humanitarian organisations denounce this practice which, they argue, benefits pharmaceutical companies to the detriment of the world's poor.

On 4 December, 2008, a consignment of Losartan Potassium, an active pharmaceutical ingredient used in the production of medicines for arterial hypertension, was seized in the port of Rotterdam. The shipment was on its way from India to Brazil, two countries where no patent on the drug exists. Nonetheless, customs seized the consignment on the basis of a suspected violation of patent rights. After 36 days, it was finally released and sent back to India. The 300,000 Brazilians, for whom the medicine was intended, were forced to do without treatment.

The seizure in Rotterdam is just one of a number of incidents which indicate that the EU may be attempting to block shipments of generic medicines. According to Oxfam Novib, Médecins Sans Frontières and other NGOs, 17 consignments of generics destined for developing countries, were seized in the Netherlands in 2008. Earlier this year, a large Clinton Foundation shipment of anti-HIV drugs en route to Nigeria was also seized, and only last month, a consignment of antibiotics was impounded in Frankfurt.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:29:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia ready for deep nuclear arms cuts: Medvedev - Yahoo! News

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Russia is ready to dramatically cut its nuclear stockpiles in a new arms pact with the United States if Washington meets Russia's concerns over missile defense, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday.

"We are ready to reduce by several times the number of nuclear delivery vehicles compared with the START-1 pact," he told a news conference in Amsterdam.

"As far as warheads are concerned, their numbers should be lower than envisaged by the Moscow 2002 pact," he added.

He was referring to an interim pact called the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) which commits the sides to further cuts in their arsenals to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by 2012.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:29:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Green Coalition Gathers Strength in Europe - NYTimes.com
BRUSSELS -- One of the real victors in this month's elections for the European Parliament is a 64-year-old former radical, an ebullient Franco-German who has turned his efforts to transform society from revolution to ecology.

During the student uprisings of May 1968, the Franco-German, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, was known as Danny the Red, but now he is Danny the Green, and he has directed and ridden the suddenly fashionable political wave of environmentalism into considerable influence.

Behind his articulate, vivid presence and sense of fun, Mr. Cohn-Bendit's Europe Écologie coalition of European Green parties came in third in French voting for the Parliament, winning 16.28 percent of the vote. It was just behind the squabbling Socialists, who had only 16.48 percent, and ahead of a presumptive presidential candidate, François Bayrou of the centrist Democratic Movement, or Modem.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:32:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain's Catholic Church fights Socialists' abortion law reforms -Times Online

The Roman Catholic Church in Spain has started a new offensive in a battle over plans by the ruling Socialists to liberalise the country's strict abortion law.

The Spanish Bishops' Conference (CEE) urged all Catholic MPs in the Lower House to vote against a Bill to allow abortion on demand. Bishop Juan Antonio Martínez Camino said: "Strict church doctrine says no true Catholic believer can agree with or support this move."

Bishop Camino said those who participated in abortion would be immediately excommunicated.

Under the proposed reforms, abortion would be available on demand up to the 14th week of gestation. The new legislation would also offer abortion up to 22 weeks if a doctor certified a threat to the mother's health or a risk of foetal malformation.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:38:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Battle for Georgian billions comes to EU capital

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - US public relations firm APCO has begun lobbying EU institutions over the ownership of a Georgian TV station, in a case linking curious events in London, Tbilisi and Minsk.

Inna Gudavadze, the widow of Georgian oligarch Badri Patarkatsishvili, has hired the PR company to help create political pressure around her legal battle to secure her late husband's assets.

Anti-Saakashvili protester in Tbilisi. Imedi used to be the movement's main media outlet

In May, Ms Gudavadze's lawyers met in Brussels with the EU's special representative for Georgia and with senior officials in the European Commission to discuss Imedi TV.

The Patarkatsishvili-owned TV station was taken over by his step-cousin, Joseph Kay, last year on the basis of a contested will, sparking a legal challenge in the Georgian courts.

Imedi used to be the Georgian opposition's main TV outlet. But since the takeover it has stopped broadcasting anti-government material, such as footage of masked men beating up opposition protesters at night.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:40:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in this diary by djhabakkuk ??

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 02:55:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:10:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For an excellent article on who Emmanuel Zelster is, check out the recent piece by Bob Drogin in the LA Times.

When the 52-year-old Patarkatsishvili died at his mansion in southeast England, Zeltser called Joseph Kay, a former business associate and half-cousin of the billionaire, in Florida.

The two Americans flew to London and informed the widow and her lawyers about Zeltser's documents. They demanded access to accounts and companies from the Caribbean to the Caucasus. Kay gained control of a TV station in the Republic of Georgia and then sold it, infuriating the family.

In response, the billionaire's widow, children and mother sued in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to stop the pair from seizing other assets. They called Zeltser's documents "invalid and fraudulent," noting that several "appear to be forgeries" since the magnate was not in New York the day he allegedly signed them.

[...]

Zeltser's lawyers have accused Berezovsky and his British lawyers of orchestrating his arrest to gain control of the estate or to win consulting contracts in Belarus, among other supposed motives. All have denied any wrongdoing, and U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Sullivan noted his "strong disapproval" of Zeltser's legal team last May for making such "unsupported allegations of misconduct."

However, the judge also suspended the family lawsuit against Zeltser pending his release from custody.

[...]

"We have told the Belarusian authorities that it is absolutely essential to release Mr. Zeltser so his health problems can be addressed," Jonathan Moore, the acting U.S. ambassador in Minsk, said in a telephone interview. "His continued incarceration complicates an already difficult bilateral relationship."

Oleg Kravchenko, the senior Belarusian envoy in Washington, insisted that his government has acted responsibly. Zeltser was "given due legal process under our legislation" and "consular access has been provided repeatedly," he said. "This is what we have to do, and this is what we have done."

Zeltser's court-appointed lawyer in Minsk, Dmitry Goryachko, visits him twice a week. The lawyer is barred from bringing newspapers, books or medicine, and a KGB officer monitors every meeting. In a telephone interview hours after a recent visit, Goryachko said Zeltser suffers constant pain and severe mental stress.


by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 06:43:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Europe - Ingushetia leader wounded in attack

The president of the southern Russian republic of Ingushetia, has been left in a critical condition after an attempt on his life.

Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, whose driver was killed in the attack, was taken to hospital after a car bomb was detonated next to his convoy in Nazran on Monday morning.

The brother of the president is reported to be among at least two other people injured in the explosion.

Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's president, condemned the attack as an "act of terror," according to news agencies.

Russia's Itar-Tass news agency said that Yevkurov had been hospitalised in a "very serious condition", with head and chest injuries.

The attack took place at about 8:30am (04:30 GMT) and there were reports that the president would be flown to Moscow for further treatment.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:42:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU parliament sees birth of new right-wing group

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - A new European Parliament group that is pro-free market and anti-EU integration on Thursday (22 June) unveiled its membership list, bringing together 55 MEPs from eight EU states.

Calling itself the "European Conservatives and Reformists Group," the new faction lists "free enterprise," the "sovereign integrity of the nation state" and "probity in the EU institutions" among its principles.

David Cameron (c) at Oxfam meeting - the image-conscious politician risks being labelled a friend of "racists and homophobes"

The British Conservative party dominates membership with 26 MEPs, followed by Poland's Law and Justice with 15 deputies and the Czech Republic's ODS party with nine members.

The other five MEPs come from the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Hungary and Latvia.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:43:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Times: Conservative MEPs link up with Latvian party that honours Waffen SS

The Conservatives have been attacked by their own former MEPs for leaving the main centre right group of 264 MEPs in Strasbourg, causing a rift with the parties of Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel.

They face a loss of influence in the European Parliament as well as criticism for joining up with 15 MEPs from the staunchly Catholic Law and Justice Party from Poland, which, like the Latvian party, has banned gay pride marches.

by Sassafras on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 02:09:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to a nicer bunch of people.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 02:56:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Something like 90 % of Latvian Waffen-SS members were conscripted at gun-point. Though it seems this crazy party mainly cares about the remaining 10 %...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 05:27:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 SPECIAL FOCUS 
 Greenland Independence 

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:22:22 PM EST
Greenland takes step toward independence from Denmark - Telegraph
The Arctic territory of Greenland has begun a new era of self-rule after 300 years under Danish authority, moving closer to independence with a potential oil bonanza below its icecap.

The new status took effect as Greenland celebrated its national day, six months after 75 per cent of voters approved a referendum to hand more power to the local government and take control of the island's vast natural resources.

Festivities began with a flag-raising ceremony, while Denmark's Queen Margrethe and its prime minister, Lars Loekke Rasmussen, attended the event.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:26:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Island marks start of self-rule on national day | France 24
The potentially resource-rich island of Greenland marked its national day, and the beginning of a new era of self-rule, after 300 years under Danish control. 75 percent of voters approved the change in a referendum vote last November.

AFP - The Arctic territory of Greenland started a new era of self-rule Sunday after 300 years under Danish authority, moving closer to independence with a potential oil bonanza below its icecap.
  
The new status took effect as Greenland celebrated its national day, six months after 75 percent of voters approved a referendum to hand more power to the local government and take control of the island's vast natural resources.
  
Festivities were to begin with a flag-raising ceremony, while Denmark's Queen Margrethe and Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen were to mark the event with local leaders.
  
Denmark granted Greenland limited sovereignty when its parliament approved home rule in 1979.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:30:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fondly, Greenland Loosens Danish Rule - NYTimes.com
NUUK, Greenland -- The thing about being from Greenland, said Susan Gudmundsdottir Johnsen, is that many outsiders seem to have no clue where it actually is.

"They say, `Oh, my God, Greenland?' It's like they've never heard of it," said Ms. Johnsen, 36, who was born in Iceland but has lived on this huge, largely frozen northern island for 25 years. "I have to explain: `Here you have a map. Here's Europe. The big white thing is Greenland.' "

But Greenland, with 58,000 people and only two traffic lights, both of them here in the capital, is now securing its place in the world. On Sunday, amid solemn ceremony and giddy celebration, it ushered in a new era of self-governance that sets the stage for eventual independence from Denmark, its ruler since 1721.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:33:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
before Denmark?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 02:57:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, Greenland will join the dollar. Obviously it's part of North America from a geographical viewpoint, and apparently the U.S. tried to buy it from Denmark after WW2. Even Pravda thinks so!   :-)

http://english.pravda.ru/world/americas/22-06-2009/107827-greenland-0

by asdf on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 11:18:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, one of the main uses of their autonomy has been to negotiate an even looser integration with the EU than Denmark has.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:26:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:22:55 PM EST
Spain warms to German model - El País/ Presseurop

Since the beginning of the global economic slowdown, unemployment in Spain has shot up to 17%. The Spanish government could do well to look to Germany, argues El País, where the jobless total is less dramatic.

This is the latest miracle: Germany's economic downslide has been steeper than any other big country in the EU - and yet Germany is not shedding any jobs. As a matter of fact, in the first quarter of 2009, German GDP plunged 6.9% on the same period last year, more than double the drop in Spain (-3%) (according to Eurostat). But from April 2008 to April 2009, German unemployment only inched up from 7.4% of the active population to 7.7%, while nearly doubling in Spain from 10% to 18.1%.

This German miracle admits of various explanations, two of which are the most compelling. One is flexibility: the ability to scale back working hours at companies with shortfalls in incoming orders. 1.5 million workers have now opted for State-supported Kurzarbeit, cutting their workday by a third on average, which has presumably saved almost half a million equivalent full-time jobs. The other is the temporary suspension of employment, putting jobs "on ice", as it were: whilst the company pays 10% of their wages, the State foots by and large the rest of the bill, and employees remain on the payroll - with no other duties than to make the most of their leisure time to retrain and recuperate. It is a sort of Spanish ERE (expediente de regulación de empleo) downsizing plan, but suppler and with far less red tape than in Spain, where it's hard to get the plans approved. The layoffs here in Spain are hardly affecting permanent staff at all: two thirds of the jobs shed last year were temporary positions.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:28:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran:
the company pays 10% of their wages, the State foots by and large the rest of the bill, and employees remain on the payroll - with no other duties than to make the most of their leisure time to retrain and recuperate.

wow, that's really progressive.

EU-wide stat!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 06:05:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran:
The layoffs here in Spain are hardly affecting permanent staff at all: two thirds of the jobs shed last year were temporary positions.
Spain created 40% of the Eurozone's jobs in the boom phase and is producing 50% of the unemployment in the bust phase, all due to temporary employment.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:31:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Haribo benefits from EU sugar subsidies | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 22.06.2009
Recently, Germany became the last European Union country to make public a list of those companies and individuals receiving EU agricultural subsidies. Many were surprised to see Haribo, the gummy bear maker, on the list. 

At Haribo factories in 18 different locations in Europe, including the one in Bonn, Germany, glucose syrup, sugar and fruit flavoring are transformed into chewy frogs, juicy berries, and the classic Haribo gummy bears.

The recipe is a secret, but a representative company admitted that they do use a lot of sugar, the second ingredient in their gummy sweets.

Recently, trucks were coming and going from the Haribo factory in Bonn, bringing ingredients in and sending finished gummies out into the world. One of the trucks making a delivery is from Koelner Zucker, a sugar company based in Cologne, just north of Bonn.

The majority of the sugar Haribo uses comes from Europe. To keep cheap, non-EU sugar from flooding the European market and putting European sugar producers out of business, the EU sets sugar prices and taxes sugar imports. That makes EU sugar more expensive than sugar bought on the world market.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:34:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / France's budget deficit to top 7 percent

France's budget deficit will exceed 7 percent of its GDP in both 2009 and 2010, the country's Budget Minister, Eric Woerth, said on Sunday (21 June).

The announcement highlights the heavy toll being extracted on public finances by the government's stimulus plan and falling tax receipts, with the latest figure a considerable increase on a previous March forecast for a 5.6 percent deficit this year.

France's economy is set to grow again next year but the government's stimulus plan has added to a rising budget deficit

"This deficit is both the cost of the crisis and the price of recovery," said Mr Woerth on French television.

The budget deficit is likely to reach €115 billion this year, plus an additional €20 billion in social security deficit. At the same time, Mr Woerth predicts corporate tax receipts in 2009 will likely be less than half the €50 billion taken in a normal year.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:35:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Telegraph:World Bank cautions against recovery talk

The World Bank today poured cold water on the chances of a robust recovery for the global economy next year, warning instead that the weakness of banks and rising unemployment will cast heavy shadows in 2010.

Although acknowledging that major economies are no longer in free fall, the World Bank is far more cautious than the International Monetary Fund about the strength of a recovery.  

The Bank explained its caution comes "partly because this downturn follows a financial crisis - which tends to be deeper and longer-lasting than normal ones - and partly because today's downturn has affected virtually the entire world."

by Sassafras on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 02:26:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How the Financial Reform Plan Protects the Status Quo : Information Clearing House - ICH

June 22, 2009 "Counterpunch" -- In reaching across the aisle for Republican support - and no doubt future campaign contributions from the financial sector Pres. Obama is morphing into Joe Lieberman. There also is a touch of Boris Yeltsin in his sponsorship of a financial "reform" ominously similar to what advisor Larry Summers backed in Russia - relinquishing government power to a banking elite. The Financial Regulatory Reform proposal promotes Wall Street's "product," debt creation, at the expense of the economy at large, and lets financial chieftains continue to self-regulate the debt industry - and to keep scot-free all their gains from the past decade's worth of fraudulent lending.

Confronting the wreckage of a debt crisis worse than any since the Great Depression, Mr. Obama has achieved what no Republican could have: rescuing the Bush Administration's pro-creditor policies that fostered the Bubble Economy in the first place. "Most of the financial sector lobby community is happy with what has emerged," the Financial Times summarized. A spokesman for the Financial Services Forum, a major Wall Street lobbying organization, called the proposals "careful and balanced."1/ With such endorsements, victims of predatory lending have good reason to worry. The Obama plan is just the opposite from reforming the financial system along lines that progressive Democrats and other critics have urged.

The plan's six most fatal flaws are apparent in its preamble, which lays out a false diagnosis of the financial problem in a way that whitewashes Wall Street (in contrast to Mr. Obama's nice televised populist speech giving verbal criticism to "culture of irresponsibility"). A false diagnosis must lead to wrong-headed cures - rarely by accident. There invariably is a financial beneficiary who gains from blind spots in a legal "reform" package.



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:02:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 05:05:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How dows that correlate with the impact of the recession?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 05:29:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the postcodes correlate either with deprived areas which many people would rather move out of, or with Thatcherite areas of ambitious but precarious materialism.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 05:39:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:23:18 PM EST
 
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:25:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Protesters defy tough warning by Revolutionary Guards | France 24
Defying a warning by Iran's Revolutionary Guards against opposition demonstrations, around 1,000 protesters gathered at a Tehran square Monday, according to witnesses. There are severe media restrictions inside Iran.

Reuters -Iran's hardline Revolutionary Guards on Monday threatened to crack down on street protests after opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi called on supporters to stage more demonstrations over the disputed June 12 election.

"In the current sensitive situation ... the Guards will firmly confront in a revolutionary way rioters and those who violate the law," said a statement on the Guards' website.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:26:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran Admits Discrepancies in 3 Million Votes - NYTimes.com
TEHRAN -- Locked in a bitter contest with Iranians who say the presidential elections were rigged, the authorities have acknowledged that the number of votes cast in 50 cities exceeded the actual number of voters, state television reported Monday following assertions by the country's supreme leader that the ballot was fair.

But the authorities insisted that discrepancies, which could affect three million votes, did not violate Iranian law and the country's influential Guardian Council said it was not clear whether they would decisively change the election result.

The news emerged on the English-language Press TV as a bitter rift among Iran's ruling clerics deepened over the disputed election. The outcome of the vote, awarding a lopsided victory to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has convulsed Tehran in the worst violence in 30 years, with the government trying to link the defiant loser to terrorists and detaining relatives of his powerful backer, a founder of the Islamic republic.

The loser, Mir Hussein Moussavi, the moderate reform candidate who contends that the June 12 election was stolen from him, fired back at his accusers on Sunday night in a posting on his Web site, calling on his own supporters to demonstrate peacefully despite stern warnings from Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that no protests of the vote would be allowed. "Protesting to lies and fraud is your right," Mr. Moussavi said in a challenge to Ayatollah Khamenei's authority.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:32:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Middle East | West 'seeks Iran disintegration'

Western powers are seeking to undermine Iran by spreading "anarchy and vandalism", the foreign ministry says.

A spokesman said foreign media were "mouthpieces" of enemy governments seeking Iran's disintegration.

He spoke as Tehran remained tense but quiet amid heavy security aimed at preventing new protests against the result of Iran's presidential election.

Iran's Guardian Council says it found irregularities in 50 constituencies, but denied that affected the result.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:41:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
M of A - Iran: 'There is very little logic at work'

[-c contacted me yesterday. She is a "perennial lurker" here and "an Iranian ex-pat living in the US". I asked her what she might want to add and the she wrote back the following . The text is unaltered  but for a personal closing paragraph directed to me which I decided to omit - b.]

by -c

I'm not really sure that anyone can add anything of value at this point. We have to wait to and see. Having said that, I will share my thoughts on what is happening now and what bothers me about what I see and hear. Apologies if my thoughts are disjointed; I've tried to lay them out as best I could. Believe it or not, I've also tried to keep it brief -- there are many aspects to what is happening, and I only touch upon one or two that resonated with me.

I don't want to address the issue of election fraud because, frankly, I don't have a favorite in this race (I had serious problems with both candidates) and I can buy plausible scenarios for both having won. I also don't presume to speak for anyone else with my remarks. The relationship that the people of Iran have with the government is, like most things in this world, more nuanced than people on both sides would like to admit, and if one person says that they know that the majority of people feel a certain way, that person is lying. In any case, it seems as though we might be seeing the end of the protests, so some of what I write is moot. (But I will write it anyway! ;-) )

The problem, in my view, is that there are three groups, all of whom are convinced that they are absolutely right and hold a majority: those who support Mousavi and think the election has been stolen from them, those who support Ahmadinejad and think that foreign elements are trying to steal the election from them, and those who hate the Islamic Republic and want it gone.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:43:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran:
The problem, in my view, is that there are three groups, all of whom are convinced that they are absolutely right and hold a majority: those who support Mousavi and think the election has been stolen from them, those who support Ahmadinejad and think that foreign elements are trying to steal the election from them, and those who hate the Islamic Republic and want it gone.
There's an easy solution, free elections.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:29:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
free elections, but who's got the cojones to run on an anti-theocratic platform, when the local version of god's mercy might entail wires and genitalia?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 07:22:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology - WSJ.com

... the Iranian government appears to be engaging in a practice often called deep packet inspection, which enables authorities to not only block communication but to monitor it to gather information about individuals, as well as alter it for disinformation purposes, according to these experts.

The monitoring capability was provided, at least in part, by a joint venture of Siemens AG, the German conglomerate, and Nokia Corp., the Finnish cellphone company, in the second half of 2008, Ben Roome, a spokesman for the joint venture, confirmed.

The "monitoring center," installed within the government's telecom monopoly, was part of a larger contract with Iran that included mobile-phone networking technology, Mr. Roome said.

"If you sell networks, you also, intrinsically, sell the capability to intercept any communication that runs over them," said Mr. Roome.

<...>

Countries with repressive governments aren't the only ones interested in such technology. Britain has a list of blocked sites, and the German government is considering similar measures. In the U.S., the National Security Agency has such capability, which was employed as part of the Bush administration's "Terrorist Surveillance Program." A White House official wouldn't comment on if or how this is being used under the Obama administration.

The Australian government is experimenting with Web-site filtering to protect its youth from online pornography, an undertaking that has triggered criticism that it amounts to government-backed censorship.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:10:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rape endemic in South Africa | Radio Netherlands Worldwide
One in four men in South Africa admit to rape, according to a new study by the country's Medical Research Council.

Of the 1738 men who were surveyed, 28 percent said they had raped a woman or girl, and three percent said they had raped a man or boy. Almost half of those who carried out rape admitted that they had done so more than once.Professor Rachel Jewkes who conducted the survey says:
 
"We have dominant ideas about masculinity in South Africa which are based on the idea that men should be in control of women and that men are in the superior position hierarchically towards women, and that provides a framework that legitimates men doing whatever they can to women, including forcefully taking sex from women where they're able to actually carry it out."
 
Risk of HIV
The study was carried out in South Africa's Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. It found that three out of four rapists were teenagers when they first attacked. One in 20 men admitted that they had raped a woman or girl in the last year. And worryingly, Professor Jewkes said that the study found that men who are physically violent towards women are twice as likely to be HIV positive.
 
"I think what that points to is this clustering of male violent and anti-social behaviour which are all rooted from an underlying idea of masculinity. It legitimates the men having multiple partners, engaging in transactional sex, engaging in other forms of risky behaviour which are the reasons you see such a high prevalence of HIV in that group."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:31:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yemen Kidnapping: Missionary Activities Prompted Abduction, Investigators Believe - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Officials from the Foreign Ministry in Berlin believe that the Germans kidnapped in Yemen were abducted because of their missionary activities. Local Muslims had threatened one of the group and told him to stop proselytizing -- a warning the German ignored.

The German Christians kidnapped recently in Yemen were probably the victims of an act of revenge, SPIEGEL has learned. According to information obtained from the German Foreign Ministry's crisis task force responsible for the case, a dispute took place in Saada a few months ago related to missionary activities by one of the Germans.

A church in Wolfsburg, Germany, pays tribute to the nurses Rita S. and Anita G., who are believed to have been shot by their kidnappers. The task force has evidence that angry Muslims threatened the German engineer Johannes H. and demanded that he cease his attempts at proselytizing.

Johannes H., who is from the eastern German state of Saxony, described the incident in a personal newsletter he sent to a number of friends in Germany. According to the letter, Johannes H. met a Muslim in a teahouse in the town of Saada and discussed spiritual topics with him. "I also encouraged him to read the Bible," Johannes H. wrote.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:35:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On Track For Baghdad: Deutsche Bahn to Rebuild Iraqi Rail Network - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Germany's rail operator Deutsche Bahn wants to help rebuild Iraq's rail network. CEO Rüdiger Grube aims to draw up an initial agreement with the Iraqi Transport Minister later this week.

 Iraqi train passengers leave a station in Baghdad. Deutsche Bahn, which runs Germany's railway network, has set its sights on rebuilding the Iraqi railways. Deutsche Bahn's Chief Executive Rüdiger Grube is meeting with Iraqi Transport Minister Amir Abdul-Jabar later this week to seal an initial agreement. The company is particulary interested in working to rebuild the country's freight train network and is hoping to operate it later with Iraqi partners.

There are still no details of the value of the investment planned nor the scale of the project.

Until now, talks between Deutsche Bahn and Iraq have remained highly secretive. The company's former boss Hartmut Mehdorn first sent reprepresentative to Iraq a year ago to evaluate the business opportunites in the country.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:41:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AFP: 'Neda' death video steps up pressure on Iran over protests

A video of a blood-drenched young woman, purportedly killed in the Tehran protests, has become an Internet symbol of the demonstrations and heightened pressure on Iran in its battle with foreign media.

International media have taken pictures from the film which has inspired an avalanche of blog and twitter comment, mainly against Iran's hardline government.

After a call spread by Internet to rally at Haft-e Tir square in Tehran to pay tribute to Neda, police on Monday broke up a gathering of about 1,000 people there. <...>

The people who originally posted the video on Youtube and Facebook said Neda was shot by a pro-government militia member.

That information, like the fate and the identity of the young woman in the video, cannot be independently verified however. ...



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 02:00:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just heard about it this morning on the radio and found the clip on YouTube.  One of the most upsetting things I have ever seen.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 02:01:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: My job is too big for one man, says Dalai Lama

In a speech that underscored the pressures he has had to bear during his life serving as both a spiritual and political leader, the Dalai Lama has said there is no need for his successor to perform the two roles.

In a video clip shown to hundreds of monks, nuns and lay people gathered in the mountain town of Dharamsala, the 73-year-old said it was essential that the Tibetan community in exile embraced democracy if it were to keep step with the wider world.

"The Dalai Lamas held temporal and spiritual leadership over the last 400 to 500 years. It may have been quite useful. But that period is over," said the Nobel prize winner. "Today, it is clear to the whole world that democracy is the best system despite its minor negativities. That is why it is important that Tibetans also move with the larger world community."

by Sassafras on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 02:17:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a terrible, terrible crash on the DC Metro during rush hour Monday.

Red Line Collision Kills at Least Six | Washington Post
One Train Rear-Ends Another at Fort Totten, Hurting at Least 70

Two Red Line Metrorail trains collided this evening between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations, killing at least six people and injuring 70 in what authorities called the transit system's deadliest crash ever. The trains struck with such force that part of one vaulted on top of the other.

I have friends and relatives who live near that Metro stop, but fortunately they all seem to be fine.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 09:32:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, good.  Glad to hear y'all are alright.

Pretty amazing pictures out of it.  It had to have been a vicious collision to send one of the cars up top that way.

Per BBC News just now on tv, there may still be people trapped inside.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 11:03:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I really couldn't believe it when I got the first message (I get transportation alerts from the city) saying one train was on top of the other.  And then when I saw the early pictures, I had to pass my iPhone around to four other people who couldn't believe it either.

Per BBC News just now on tv, there may still be people trapped inside.

I was hearing that a few hours ago, around sundown, but wasn't sure whether it was still the case.  I'm still hearing helicopters going overhead quite a bit, could be medics or police.

I can't for the life of me figure out how it would've happened.  There are supposed to be automatic relays to stop trains from getting to close to each other.  And the it looks like the second train was moving really fast:

But even if the signal system failed to stop the train, the operator should have intervened and applied emergency brakes, safety experts familiar with Metro's operations say. The position of the second train after the crash -- the fact that its first car came to rest atop the other train -- indicates that the second train was traveling at high speed. In the section of track where the accident occurred, the maximum speed is supposed to be 58 mph. Metro officials would not say how fast the trains were going because of the ongoing NTSB investigation.

I watched part of the NTSB briefing, and the board member said she didn't know whether it was going to be possible to tell how fast the train was going, because she wasn't sure what kind of equipment was on the trains in question, or whether it survived the crash.  I'm reading that the Red Line is the oldest of the system's lines, and the trains may have more outdated equipment than the newer ones on, say, the Green Line.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 11:44:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How true is it that the train would have to be moving really, really fast?  Something the weight of a train has a lot of momentum at 58mph. DoDo?
by Sassafras on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:30:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it should also depend on the structural design of the front of the car.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 01:37:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds highly unlikely. A competent crash engineer should be able give an answer irrespective of what instruments aboard were or were not functioning.

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 02:58:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Signalling system fault?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:30:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But even with a signal failure, he should been able to look out the front of the car and see it coming, thus at least being able to slow down or stop.  Metro trains can be stopped pretty quickly.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 10:46:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Signal failure + driver failure? This sort of disaster happens when all your failsafes fail. It's the third or fourth thing that goes wrong that gets you.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 10:50:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, sounds like the infamous and still not really solved Moorgate crash.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 01:38:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Moorgate tube crash - Wikipedia

The Moorgate tube crash was a railway disaster on the London Underground, which occurred at 8:46am on 28 February 1975.

A southbound train on the Northern Line (Highbury Branch) crashed into the tunnel end beyond the platform at Moorgate station. Forty-three people were killed at the scene, either from the impact or from suffocation, and several more subsequently died from severe injuries; the greatest loss of life in peacetime on the London Underground, and the second greatest loss of life on the entire London Transport system (the first being the 7 July 2005 London bombings). The cause of the incident was never conclusively determined.[1]



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 01:39:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:23:47 PM EST
Europe faces long road in improving traffic safety | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 22.06.2009
New statistics show a drop in the number of people killed in road traffic accidents across the European Union. But there is still a long way to go towards making EU roads safer for those who travel them. 

Figures released by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) show that 38,000 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in 2008. Although that figure is down 15,400 since 2001, it is still miles away from the 27,000 deaths target which the EU set itself for 2010.

In order to now reach that reduced figure, there would need to be a 17 percent annual reduction in deaths on Europe's highways and byways both in 2009 and 2010. And that is just not realistic, experts say.

In an ETSC press release, the body's Executive Director Antonio Avenoso said the EU should come up with a new program for better road safety in the next decade.

"New targets must be set for 2020 which will mobilise action at a joint European level," he said, adding that "more EU instruments, like structural funds for transport" should be used to further reduce the numbers of deaths and disabilities resulting from accidents on European roads.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:40:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe faces long road in improving traffic safety

    New statistics show a drop in the number of people killed in road traffic accidents across the European Union. But there is still a long way to go towards making EU roads safer for those who travel them.


What? Is the person who wrote this stupid? If fewer people dies, traffic safety has improved, and EU roads are safer! That's pretty much the definition. Whether or not they reached some target is another matter.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 01:55:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[Europe.Is.Doomed™ Alert]

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:27:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]

It's worth watching the entire series.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:42:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:53:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:24:14 PM EST
In Athens, Museum Is an Olympian Feat - NYTimes.com
ATHENS -- On Monday morning, forklifts nosed through a sprawl of antiquities in the second-floor gallery of the New Acropolis Museum here, bearing marble statues and steles. Technicians tugged at bulky black cables, laborers drilled and welded, and a cleaning crew -- many of its members working on hands and knees -- scraped mounds of white plaster off the floor.

"My apologies," said Antonis Samaras, Greece's culture minister, who was overseeing the final preparations for the museum's debut on Saturday. "But it's like the Olympics," he added, referring to the 2004 Athens Games. "Everything will magically come together on opening night."

If it does, Greece will finally, after decades of preparation, procrastination and acrimonious debate, have a large-scale, architecturally ambitious and modern center for the care and display of artifacts from its most important ancient site. The museum, which cost $200 million and sits near the base of the Acropolis with a direct view of the Parthenon, is one of the highest-profile cultural projects undertaken in Europe in this decade.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:28:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And it certainly makes it look like the Museum was architecturally rather ambitious and it looks like it worked.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 03:01:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hear hear, refreshingly un-ugly for a modern building.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 06:11:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's actually very 80s. I'm not sure if it was commissioned then and it's taken this long to get it built, or if the brief called for something conservative, but I think it's already looking rather dated.

Tschumi usually makes more exotic buildings. One of his 80s projects were the Parc de la Villette follies in Paris.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 05:57:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Amsterdam seeks to reclaim 'Gay Capital' crown | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

For decades Amsterdam was known as the world's 'Gay Capital', a place where gay and lesbian couples could kiss in public care-free, and where local couples enjoyed levels of social acceptance and legal equality unimaginable elsewhere. A series of violent attacks on the openly gay have tarnished Amsterdam's crown. The city council has set aside 1.2 million euros to polish it back up.

The most high-profile incident came in 2005, when a prominent American gay man was assaulted on Queen's Day in Amsterdam. Chris Crain, chief editor of the Washington Blade gay magazine, was walking hand-in-hand with his boyfriend when he was spat on by a young man. Within seconds seven men surrounded him, beating and kicking him in the body and face. Mr Crain recounted the incident on his blog.

"For as long as I live, I will never forget the looks on the faces of our attackers. What I saw was more disgust than hate, but it was there, and it was chilling."

The gay community took notice. Pink tourism dollars are shifting to other cities with vibrant gay scenes like Berlin and Barcelona. This week, the Amsterdam city council launched a three-year, 1.2 million euro campaign to turn the tide.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:31:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
San Francisco.
by paving on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 04:21:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"No podemos ver el trabajo de los chinos desde un punto de vista europeo. Allí ganarían 50 euros" · ELPAÍS.com"We cannot see the work of the Chinese [immigrants] from a European point of view. There they'd be making €50" - ElPais.com
Unos 200 empresarios chinos acaban de concentrarse delante de la sede del Departamento de Interior, en Barcelona, para protestar por la operación policial que hace una semana se saldó con el cierre de 72 talleres de confección y la detención de 77 propietarios.About 200 Chinese business owners have just had a rally before the headquarters of the Interior Department [of the Catalan regional government], in Barcelona, to protest against the police operation one week ago which had a balance of 72 closed workshops and the arrest of 77 owners.
......
... Lam ha resaltado que los 450 operarios de los talleres de Mataró "quieren volver al trabajo". Eso, a pesar de que trabajaban en condiciones duras: 12 horas al día por 20 euros, en habitaciones insalubres y con poca luz. "No tenemos que verlo desde un punto de vista europeo, porque en China esa misma gente no pasa de los 50 euros al mes".Lam [a spokesman for the Chinese businessmen] stressed that the 450 workers from the Mataró workshops "want to go back to work". That, despite the fact that they work in harsh conditions: 12 hours a day for €20, in unsanitary rooms with little light. "We must not look at this from a European perspective, because in China people make less than €50 a month".

Some people truly have no shame.

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 08:09:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are free to work for low wages! Why on earth would you curtail their freedom to work for less, if they're consenting? That's so ... insulting to their ability to know if they are exploited or not.

And if they are forced, well, then, they have recourse to the law, right?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 09:30:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 01:24:40 PM EST
Guardian: Wagner's heir vows to lay bare her family's Nazi history

The great-granddaughter of Richard Wagner, Hitler's favourite composer, has vowed to investigate her family's links with the Nazis in a move that could be bitterly opposed by other members of the dynasty.

Katharina Wagner, 31, an opera stage director, feels she has a duty to do what previous generations have avoided. "When I was growing up, I was repeatedly confronted with this topic," she said. "Was my grandmother Hitler's lover? To what extent was my father embroiled with Hitler? No one in the family ever spoke about it. If my sister and I don't ask the questions, who then will?"

by Sassafras on Mon Jun 22nd, 2009 at 02:14:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Midsummer tourists unprepared for largely deserted Helsinki as locals flock to countryside

Helsinki Help guides Kirsi Kalliomäki and Maaria Laurila said that the holiday weekend, and the way that Midsummer is celebrated came as a surprise to many.

"Many have wondered where all the people are", Kalliomäki said. "People have also asked if the holiday is celebrated indoors", she added. Both said that they ended up explaining the celebration of Midsummer to many foreigners. "We have mentioned summer cabins quite a few times", Kalliomäki laughed.



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 04:01:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kodachrome film production to end

...sales have fallen steadily to the point where Kodachrome accounted for less than 1 per cent of the company's total sales of still-picture films.



You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 05:30:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japanese Tea Master Brings Zen to Government

Daisosho Sen Genshitsu, a celebrated Japanese tea master, is introducing Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen and his cabinet members to the world of Japanese tea ceremonies this week.

The entire cabinet will be shocked to learn that popping a Lipton's bag in a mug of cold water and zapping it in the microwave for 2 minutes on high is not the way you do it. Finns know very little about tea drinking. But they are experts in coffee. Consumption is around 11 kilos a head a year - a little over 30 gms a day.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 05:49:31 AM EST
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