The Supreme Court of Venezuela granted opposition leader Leopoldo López house arrest – freeing him from the notorious Ramo Verde military prison – this weekend on medical grounds. Following his release, wife Lilian Tintori accused prison officials of torturing López and denying him medical care.
The moment you realise that something is wrong with you is accompanied by the awakening to political hatred.
There were times in German political debate when talk shows spent hours and hours on tin recycling regulations, subsidies for solar power, whether or not a tax rate was to rise 1.2% or to fall 0.78%. The Chancellor Gerhard Schröder called out the evil media, particularly of the media empire Springer, and accused them to launch unfair campaigns against his government. If I remember it correctly that was about the lack of GDP growth (at a level of about 2% that was called recession at the time and is called overheating now).
In other words, we were damn innocent. At least that is how I remember it. Political debate was encouraged and even seen as intellectual.
I don’t want to hide the fray. Schröder botched a welfare reform, called “Hartz IV”, and made everything more beaurocratic and less generous at the same time. Disgruntled voters went to the openly Socialist party DIE LINKE.
Then the contempt started. The secret service Verfassungsschutz surveilled the party, even popular, high-ranking party members. The voters, however, were not bullied by the elites. They were seen as stray kids who would eventually return.
Fast forward to the insolvency of the Greek state and Angela Merkel’s rescue efforts. To cut a long story short, the Greek were not happy about it and the conservatives in Germany were neither. Yet, something changed.
The dissent came from the right. Talks about disentangling both countries’ monetary systems, ‘leaving the EURO’, was willingly conflated with hate against the EU, hating Europe, hate for peace in Europe, wanting war in Europe and much worse.
The only reason you could oppose the wish of the German government with their austerity blackmailing credit transfer ideas for Greece was that, you guess it, you were supposed to be a Nazi.
No other explanation was accepted. The media started a witchhunt against newly founded conservative party AfD. They entertained folks with stories about backbenchers who said stuff if twisted like mad could be put into the mouth of Josef Goebbels.
Mass immigration did not help, either. Stories who tried to smear AfD voters (‘Who are they?’) became legion.
In short we don’t argue about privatisation of government services anymore. All German media is reduced now to telling their audiences who to hate and nothing more.
As Jews we know how important our past is and always has been over the course of more than three thousand years. We learn because we remember. There is a case to be made to remember our roots, grow out of the mistakes of the past and to be nurtured by the successes.
This post is not a pledge to erase history. It is a caveat for times when politics are played rough.
Since the Byzantine captivity we can clearly see how memory can be passed through family and tradition. We shall keep that in mind when we must be silent in public.
Cynics say that history is the lie that survives. Winners write it. But under the deception lies the truth, kept in your families, in your books and your habits. At the moment we watch the onslaught of UNESCO on our heritage and on the truth. And yet truth will survive.
We face a time where dissent becomes increasingly more difficult in the West and that includes not just the present but also the past.
You may opine that abolition was well under way across Europe and North America when Lincoln started his war (before freeing the slaves in his own territory). You may also opine that he was a tyrant and his assassin a freedom fighter reestablishing the democratic republic. But you better don’t say so.
You may opine that the modern day political left shares more with the Nazis than today’s political right. But you better don’t say so.
You may opine that the French Revolution was a dud, a bloodshed for no good, but you keep your lips close.
You may opine that the French contribution to democratic ideas are either plagiarism or at best overrated.
You better don’t say so. But for the dangers of silence say so as soon as you feel you can.
To be clear the G20 was as pointless as expected, the final resolution unspecific and not binding. That is what a sane mind knew already before the summit and sees confirmed after the summit.
But things do last. Shop windows were broken, cars were burnt, tax payer money was wasted, streets laid to waste. These long lasting effects were also known before and the raison d’etre of the event, which could have easily been held somewhere on the countryside where security can be ensured.
It was a show of force. The left could prove that there is an even more obnoxious leftist milieu that makes them look ‘centrist’. Their state organisers could prove that they are in command and present police and weaponry to the public eye. And their street thugs could pretend that they fight against same state by attacking the working-class in uniform, the policemen on the ground.
But there is one more lasting effect. Almost five hundred of these policemen were wounded, not all of their wounds will heal. It was a calculated game and the men and women in uniform who had the least influence on what happened suffer the most.
Let’s pray for their recovery!
“[T]he more generous you are, the more word gets around about this — which in turn motivates more people to leave Africa. Germany cannot possibly take in the huge number of people who are wanting to make their way to Europe.” — Bill Gates. The annual
The Foreign Office (FO) on Sunday lodged a protest with India and urged New Delhi to investigate civilian casualties in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) due to unprovoked ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) a day earlier. Indian troops heavily shelled different areas of AJK from across the LoC on Saturday, leaving at least…
To begin with there are naturally so many ills of the constitution, the Grundgesetz, that I just come down with the most important shortfalls.
It is a Book
That sounds silly, particularly for people who don’t live in the English speaking world, but there is a problem in itself when a constitution is not concise. The reality of the thought out and crisp US American constitution is that everybody read it and is constantly talking about it. Only a people that knows what needs to be defended when it matters will defend it.
It is already Outdated
First it sounded like a good idea to restrict government power by defining exactly what the government can do and would allow for nothing else. However, that did not only lead to the oversized text, but required the writers to know everything about the future. Debates whether the writers had thought of the internet, gay marriage and so on haunt Germans forever more.
It is treated like a Religious Book
Like any religious book the Grundgesetz is never read, always believed to say what the individual basing his argument on it wants it to say and must not be contested, not even amended beyond some petty left-wing policy goals. To leave ‘the ground of the Grundgesetz’ is a phrase uttered whenever somebody is accused of apostasy. The name Grundgesetz replaces the words democracy, human rights and so forth, leaving the populace wildly uninformed. Germans regard their constitution as an embodyment of their values, which are actually the zeitgeist of the day. They see it less as a document to restrict the powers of the government. The saints of that ‘religion’ are called the ‘Fathers of the Grundgesetz’ and nobody can say who they are and why they are always right.
It doesn’t do what it says it does
Church and state are seperated. Problem is that churches are legally organs of the German state and even school indoctination is commanded by the Grundgesetz. The contradictions go on and on, hardly mentioned, hardly discussed. Who would? Nobody reads it! And doesn’t government and media put out ‘legal constitution experts’ to safeguard the people against government overreach? Isn’t that good enough? For Germans it is.
It doesn’t enforce Democratic Principles
The government is elected in a way that the majority party leadership, the government and the leading functions of the parliament are in the hands of the same people. These small circles of power don’t even change much over the course of multiple elections. The Supreme Court is hardly explaining on what legal section they base their judements on. Only G-d knows how they manage to demand law changes to set government payments to the penny.
That is just a quick overview of what is wrong with both the text and the practice.
Disclaimer: Since the government is a tad nervous at the moment, I confirm that the constitution must be respected. Changes are applied by the channels that the constitution itself sets and must not result in the removal of our freedoms.