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Aygül Özkan’s next Big Thing

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So sorry, prime minister.

So sorry, prime minister.

After Aygül Özkan’s initative for the removal of crucifixes from Lower Saxonian classrooms (that would be basically five or six classrooms in the south of  Oldenburg Land) has failed, her latest initiative, one for culturally sensitive language in the press, has failed, too. Lower Saxony’s prime minister David McAllister said today that he hadn’t been informed about the contents of the “media charter”, and that his state chancellery, not Özkan’s ministry of social affairs, was in charge of Lower Saxony’s media policies. “There is no way that a government could instruct journalists how they have to report.”

Özkan was appointed minister of social affairs by former Lower Saxonian prime minister Christian Wulff, shortly before Wulff himself chose to become Germany’s top empty shirt & tie, probably after learning that his state’s financial situation was fairly rotten.

Now poor Özkan is in the lion’s den. McAllister, the new boss, is a bad guy.

But Taide has learned from usually well-informed circles that Özkan is already preparing her next big thing. She plans to have all Lower Saxonians (who are, after all, very Hanoverian) collectively apologize to prime minister McAllister, son of a Scottish father, for the Battle of Culloden. Besides, a minute of silence shall be obeyed on 16th April next year.


Der Spiegel ist im Krieg

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Nein, sowas aber auch, SPIEGEL! Da lief auf dem Liveticker der BBC doch glatt die ERSTE Strophe unserer Nationalhymne – “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles”! Und ein aufmerksamer SPIEGEL-Online-Leser hat’s gemerkt! Das war wirklich wichtig.

Aber im Krieg sind wir doch, oder? Haben wir nicht gestern England besiegt? Hast du doch selbst gesagt, oder?

Spiegel Online: "Besiegtes Land"

Spiegel Online: "Besiegtes Land"

Darf ich Ihnen, also demjenigen, der diesen glorreichen Untertitel über die Story setzte, mal etwas sagen? Also, entweder sind Sie noch nicht so ganz damit fertig, dass der Blitzkrieg am Ende doch nicht so recht gefunzt hat, oder Sie verwechseln die zwei Hälften des Spielfelds in Bloemfontein mit Merry Old England – die Lions haben ja auf beiden Hälften je zwei Brandbomben Tore gefangen, nicht?

Im letzteren Fall vermute ich, dass Sie entweder ein Trottel sind, oder aber für einen solchen gehalten werden möchten.

Was ich für den ersteren Fall vermute, das schreib’ ich lieber nicht.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Tai De

Written by taide

June 28, 2010 at 10:50 am

Bishop Käßmann: Emo-Bomb on Afghanistan

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“Nothing is good in Afghanistan.”

The statement is from the Germany’s leading protestant bishop, Margot Käßmann, made in her New Year’s Sermon on January 1 this year, and I believe the words she has chosen show what is bad with the Evangelical church here.

Words are central media in a protestant church. In some of the churches Käßmann is heading, words weigh more heavily than the sacraments. There is no excuse for saying that “nothing is good” in whichever country.  Not even if your country has stationed liberating or occupying forces there.

That was bad enough. Eight days earlier, in an interview with the Berliner Zeitung, she criticized the forces that ended Germany’s Third Reich for not having strategies before the war: “Why didn’t they strengthen the opposition? Why didn’t they bomb the railtracks that lead to Auschwitz?” (Warum gab es vorher keine Strategien? Warum wurde die Opposition in Deutschland nicht gestärkt? Warum wurden die Gleise, die nach Auschwitz führten, nicht bombardiert?).

Appeasement hadn’t impressed Hitler, the interviewing reporter suggested.

“Still, war releases a potential of violence I see no justification for. There is injustice, destruction, rape in its tow line. I have seen soldiers recently who can’t cope with their experiences.” Yes, Mrs Käßmann, sure. That’s what our troops are there for, in Afghanistan. j

And there was no storm of protest among the sheep.

This is no longer a church. It’s a sect. I’m off then.

Robert Enke, One of the Last Defenders

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Once in a while, I’m teasing a friend from Portugal. Portugal is the country where the evening news start with soccer results, and more soccer results, and lots of backgrounders, and comments from coaches and managers, and outfield players, and of course the last defenders. And may be after tons of information of that kind, the Portuguese will be informed about a big tax reform, rates of unemployment, or the death of their president (if their president passed away).

I won’t tease my Portuguese friend again. Maybe the Portuguese are a bit dumber than us, but we will soon catch up with them.

Robert Enke was a German football goalkeeper. He played at Barcelona, Benfica Lisbon, and Fenerbahce Istanbul, and until Tuesday, at Hannover 96. He was also one of the German national soccer team’s goalkeepers.

He was 32 years old when he died. He used a train and its drivers to get killed. In the media accounts, he “apparently threw himself in front of a train”. Or maybe he just stood there and waited for the train to hit him.

Bishop Margot Käßmann, recently elected to lead Germany’s Lutherans (“church must be where the citizens are. This is true for the sunday services, but also for radio and television”) led an initial memorial service in Hannover.

Enke and his wife had suffered a stroke from fate when they lost their daughter at an age of only two, and Enke had suffered from depressions for several years.

Now, everyone is very sad, which brings a line from the incomparable British Queen to my mind, after the death of Princess Diana, and H.M.’s immanent beheading for not showing her feelings (or so it appeared):

“Millions of others who never met her, but felt they knew her, will remember her. I for one believe there are lessons to be drawn from her life and from the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death.”

Can there be a more subtle way to criticize a howling mob?

Robert Enke was probably an admirable man. Even more so, as he was ambitious, but not showy. He played a constructive role in public life, without the annoying attitude of a popstar. And he did his job as a last defender as long as he could. That he didn’t seek help when he needed it is a tragedy, but no exceptional tragedy.

Let’s hope that the train drivers – one colleague was making another familiar with the section around Hannover when their train struck Robert Enke – will be able continue their work, without a trauma. Very little is said about them.

And let’s hope that Mr Enke’s widow, Teresa Enke, will get what she asked the fans for: a funeral limited to family people and close friends. It’s a natural and legitimate request.

The fans should figure out someone who actually needs their sympathy. A soccer club is no family.

Written by taide

November 14, 2009 at 10:22 am

Asma al-Assad is the Queen Diana of the Orient, Die Zeit says (not)

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Ooooh! Aaah! Wow! Asma al-Assad is so cool! Her Chic even outshines  Michele Obama and Carla Bruni! And she’s so unassuming, she even takes her and her awkward and stiff husband’s (that’s the president of the Syrian Arab Republic) children to the kindergarten herself! And beside her housework, she beguiles us on the national and international stage!

OK. Anyway, Germany’s weekly Die Zeit, a paper which traditionally minded its reputation as a serious news source, it absolutely beguiled. Asma al-Assad belongs to the growing circle of modern Arab first ladies who – skilled and self-confident – know how to act on the international stage (the term “stage” is used for the second time in the article here), and claim their public position at home, too, Die Zeit advises us.

Why does this picture make me think of... [click on the picture]
Why does this picture make me think of…  [click on the picture above]

And what’s the sensation? Syria’s first lady grew up in Britain. Did Die Zeit believe that wearing a burkha and never inching outside her home without her husband is in an Arab woman’s genes?

At least they don’t refer to her as the Lady Di of Arabia. They only quote Paris Match, a gossip magazine (yes, that how a gossip columnist with Die Zeit refers to gossip magazines) as saying so. Or, rather, Queen Diana, Die Zeit says Paris Match says.

Or who says so? Die Zeit doesn’t mention the name of the article’s author.

Or was it really mohdsuak who wrote it? That’s right, the Die Zeit article is also available in English – everything you ever wanted to know about the Queen Diana of the Orient! If the link should get lost, let me know, and I’ll post the English article here in full.

So was the original in article in German or in English? Was it bulkware written by a histrionic intern writing bulk articles for a news agency? Did he or she meet Mme Assad in the real world and conduct an interview with her?

Who knows? And who cares?

Written by taide

September 12, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Lt. William A. Rautenbush, born 1920, KIA 1944

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Verden’s 1990 local almanac includes an article by Dr Peter Clasen, a physician with interest in local history, with further information about Lieutenant Rautenbush – Verdener Heimatkalender, 1990, pages 198 – 203.

Lieutenant William A. Rautenbush set out from Southern England in a P-51 Mustang  early on May 8, 1944, to fly escort for B-17 Flying Fortresses. They flew in formations from somewhere above the North Sea and reached the mainland at the height of 20,000 feet. The groups came from the North West, with Berlin as their destination, and were attacked by German pursuit planes above Verden, Luttum, and Neddenaverbergen. Rautenbush, an experienced pilot, tilted his plane and started chasing the German machines. He apparently expected his adversaries ahead, but one German pursuit plane came from behind and opened fire.

Rautenbush’s plane crashed into a small forest near Hohenaverbergen. Water rose in the crater where the actual hull of his P-51 had hit the ground, and after the war, his remains were recovered and taken to the American military cemetary in the Belgian Ardennes: site D, row 5, grave number 53. In 1983, local residents found more fractions of the hull, the landing gear, and cross-ties, but when finding bits of a leather uniform jacket with a legible name badge, they cancelled their search and put it all back into the crater.

crash site

crash site

Dr Clasen found some additional information. Rautenbush’s army number was -08-803453, and he belonged to the 375th Fighter Squadron. His awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, The Air Medal with Three Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Purple Heart.

He was born on April 11, 1920, lived in a Chicago orphanage until he was eleven, and then lived with foster parents, Mrs and Mr Arthur Ritchie, Greenwood Farms, Route 3, New London, Wisconsin. His stepbrother, Mr Donovan Ritchie, remembered him well, and in 1988, a memorial was inaugurated in 1988, with American military, among them Lt Colonel Horn, participating. Horn’s father had flown a B-17, one of the planes the P-51’s were escorting on the day when Rautenbush lost his life in their defence.

Verden Kills

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It was nice to shut down in Verden’s pubs during the 1980s. There was the Pedro in the Grüne Straße, and Vienna and Litfass in Am Lugenstein. Once a year, there was the Domweih, the biggest annual donnybrook in town. Occasionally, there was trouble with the Brits stationed here back then, mostly because of some NATO mattresses, but it was usually no problem to avoid our friends and allies, and one hour before midnight, military police treated those of them  to pissed to get away with solid ash wood clubs and collected them into Landrovers to cart them back into the barracks.

"sports" bar

Verden, "sports" bar

I haven’t been to our pubs for some twelve years. Ten years ago, an idiot visited the Domweih with a Kalashnikov, about one year later, someone opened fire on a doorman, some two years ago, a twenty-year-old was almost sent to kingdom come by twenty stabs, probably one for every year of his life.

Early in the morning on Tuesday, a thirty-year old patrolman was knived and seriously injured by a 19-year old in a pub next to the railway station. BILD-ZEITUNG means “picture paper”, and they duly deliver a picture of the crime.

I enjoy my life. And I’ll happily stay away from my home town’s night life to live a bit longer. Anyway, even if this town was safe – just to see the faces of certain people there would spoil the party.


From Verdener Nachrichten Online, talking with Jürgen Menzel, police speaker, four days after the knife attack:

Q: Have there been expressions of sympathy from local politics?
A: No.