Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wowereit III and the Green Party 2.0

Berlin has a new city government; Klaus Wowereit, the re-elected mayor and a Social Democrat, has now officially a coalition with the CDU, the Christian Democrats, the conservative party, which is not so conservative after all in Berlin. This is the third party he is partnering up with — after the Greens and the Linke, left-wing party — so one could argue that he is hugging them to death.

Whether this will be a big difference remains to be seen. I'm under the impression, so far, that nobody really cares. The CDU had governed the city for some time a couple of years ago, but was busted after a huge banking scandal, so they needed some time to purge the evil-doers, and re-group.

Also, the representatives of the Pirate's Party want to have bicycles instead of official cars, so the seem to become the Green Party 2.0. As long as they don't use the sidewalk, that's fine with me. I guess in four years from now they will be ready to be the forth party to govern with Wowereit.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pirates and Palestine

The Pirates Party, just newly elected to the Berlin parliament, makes more headlines than the parties that actually govern Berlin. Gerwald Claus-Brunner, one of their representatives, wears a Keffiyeh, the traditional Palestinian headscarf. The scarf was made famous by the late Yasser Arafat and was commonly worn at political rallies since the 1960s in Germany (as was the Che-Guevara-bonnet). It boomed during the fight against nuclear power plants, but has fallen somewhat out of fashion lately.

Well, wadddayathink, that still did cause outrage, not so much the wearing-a-Keffiyeh per se, but keeping it on whilst sitting in Parliament. Not only was he chided for disrespecting the House; also Charlotte Knobloch, the former, now retired head of the Jewish Community has complained that he is showing an anti-Jewish attitude.

Brunner, however, says he got the scarf from an Israeli family in Haifa in 1995 where he worked as a contractor. He has pleaded to wear the Keffiyeh until the conflict in the Middle East is resolved. So, I‘m no expert, but my guess is this might take a while. In the meantime, Brunner has decided to wear the Star of David, as a necklace. In addition. Again, I‘m no expert, but that will probably not please Mrs. Knobloch. Anyway, according to Der Tagesspiegel, the President of the parliament has grudgingly accepted the headgear, so all we have to do now is wait for peace in the Middle East.





Wednesday, November 9, 2011

After Emmett Till

I'm following the Herman Cain sex-scandal (or non-scandal) fairly closely, but I still have not made up my mind. Did he or did he not? It is not entirely a he-said-she-said-situation since there are settlements and money has been paid. We don't know, however, what for. It might well be that a small incident was blown out of proportions. But then again, I was not there. It's pretty much like the DSK scandal, and frankly, I would not be very keen on spending a lot of alone time with both men.

Here is the interesting part: Cain is black, and I mean, actual black, not Tiger-Woods-black. He is OJ Simpson black. And at least two of the women are white. So, this is a country were laws forbade interracial marriage in Cain's lifetime, where black men who raped a white woman got the death penalty while white men would walk free for raping a black girl, where black men have been lynched, and black boys have been clubbed to death by Klan member for whistling after a white woman.

Of course it is different today, but nobody can tell me it does not matter any more. Cain is often compared with Clarence Thomas, but Anita Hill was a black woman, so the white establishment did not care. In today's scandal, everybody is walking on eggshells. Mostly, Conservatives and Liberals are closely watching each other whether somebody makes a slip that can be interpreted as racist. Maybe this is the only acceptable way to talk about it nowadays.

So, the whole thing is handled in a "don't mention the war"-fashion, but I yet have to see a white woman coming out for Cain's defense (Ann Coulter does not count; she criticized Timothy McVeigh for not killing enough Jews, so she would say just about anything). Actually, Cain himself knows, otherwise he would not be talking about a "high-tech lynching". In any case, it is interesting to watch.



Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hasta La Victoria

Back in New York, I'm still thinking about some of those movies. The last one I saw was If Not Us, Who, by Andreas Veiel, about the early beginnings of the Baader-Meinhoff-group, or, much rather, about Gudrun Ensslin, her husband Bernward Vesper, and Andreas Baader.

The movie was a feature, but interspersed with documentary bits, mostly about the Vietnam War. So, I remember how important the fight against the war was for the 1960s movement in Germany (and many other countries), but I would imagine that this is news for Americans. Then again, many Germans don't know that Americans protested the Vietnam War.

It was also a flashback to a time when I was younger (although the era when it was frowned upon to have sex was when I was, like, four). When the protests against the Vietnam War began, I was twelve (I remember this because I read about those atrocities in newspapers and I recall thinking; I am only twelve, I should not be reading this), but it it still part of my past. And everybody's. And one more thing, all those young protesters in the movie looked so alive, and the old guys trying to suppress them so ... square. The young ones are the people occupying Wall Street today.


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