Category Archives: Politics

A German lullaby

An article from Ovi magazine by Thanos Kalamidas

And it did happen again and this time in Germany, with more victims – fifteen, the news say, including the boy that held the gun. The question remains, who put this gun in his hand and who triggered it! The answer is unknown and we are all waiting for the specialists and profilers to tell us what is going on; in the meantime nobody has given any answer to what happened in Finland a few months ago and in the States before that. The only fact is that young people are armed and are ready to shoot-to-kill in the places that should represent the dreams and the hopes of everybody, and they are doing that against the people who share their dreams and hopes.

A few months ago I wrote an article about what happened in Finland and hours after the hit in Germany, with the news bombing us with more information all the time, the only thing I can sense is that the main reasoning remains the same: there is a generation growing-up lacking an identity. Please don’t think that I make the mistake to compare generations, this generation is just different because they live in a different reality from my generation, for example – and again I’m saying that without judging – it is just different without that meaning that it is better or worst.

Germany goes through a huge crisis, perhaps the worst since the period between the two world wars. Unemployment has reached the same levels with the period Hitler was storming German politics with …solutions and the gap between the rich and poor is like a canyon nowadays. Something we actually often miss, the collapse of the Wall didn’t mean the end of problems, actually it was just the beginning and covering it under the happiness of unification didn’t mean that the problems disappeared, they just built up. The new Germany, the Germany of the 21st century, is facing a serious identity crisis balancing between the divided Germany of the Cold War, the Germany of WWII, the Germany of the industrial miracle of the ’60s and ’70s and the Germany of the two speeds at the end of the 20th century. In the middle is a new generation that tries to understand what is bad and what is good.

Using the words bad and good I’m not referring to anything metaphysical, but the confusing reality of the end of the 20th century for this generation. Think of it, from one day to the other the Wall collapses, actually the way it happened was painless and harmless yet a shock for all of us who had created endless myths about the mighty Soviet Bear; and the West Germans faced their own brothers but not exactly brothers to be the poor relatives nobody wants home for the party. At the same time, the stories and the propaganda of the evil Soviet regime becomes gigantic, turning the people to the other side, exactly the opposite. Neo-Nazi parties and groups are illegal in Germany but that doesn’t stop them increasing in numbers and members and the hate incidents become more dramatic every day. Oddly, the evil and bad guys compared to the other evil and bad guys don’t look so bad anymore and a young generation that sees dreams and hopes disappear in a world where only the few can make money – money nowadays is the only way to succeed – stand unable to react, numb and confused.

Finally, population movements and immigration became the nightmare, this generation feels like it is descended and neglected by a world that just doesn’t have time for them. And then you get a boy confused and most likely influenced from some fanatics with a gun. How did he find the gun? This is something for the police to find out and for the state to take the necessary measures and I said the same when the same happened in Finland without ignoring the fact that if somebody wants to find a gun they will find it legally or illegally. The point is that we must find the way to give to these kids their missing identity and the responsibility is collective. We all have our share. The problem is the same like it was a few years ago with the hooliganism it has just evolved and the need for a solution and action has become more urgent.

When you read on the news that fifteen people died, when you read analysis and statistics, when you deal with profiles and police investigation remember that the gunman was a seventeen year-old boy! Remember that he was an ordinary boy with good reports from the school and that he loved tennis. Remember that this boy was just like any seventeen year-old boy and instead of trying to blame him try to understand what led him and most importantly who armed his hand. Don’t try to analyze what was his relationship with his mother because he killed eight girls it was pour confidence and it has nothing to do with all the televised circumstantial psychologists, it was a seventeen year-old boy full of anger of a society that was deaf to his agony and try to think who triggered this frustration and transformed it onto murder.

Tibet, hell on Earth!

The Dalai Lama has launched a fierce attack on Chinese rule in his Tibetan homeland, describing its people’s lives as “hell on Earth”. Five decades of Chinese rule had caused “untold suffering”, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader said, accusing Beijing of creating a climate of fear. He also repeated his demand for Tibet’s “legitimate and meaningful autonomy”.

The same time a Chinese high official announced that China will never be a …democracy as the westerns understand it! So what type of democracy they are planning? My name is dictatorship but I call myself democracy?


Filling the gap

An article from the Ovi magazine

And his name is …Joe Biden and it was like hell for all of us who don’t live in the States, not very familiar with the name and the background to find out who Biden, Mr. Joe Biden is. The US Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama announced his pick for a vice-president in the face of a 65-year-old veteran senator and expert on foreign policy making at least me …smile!

First of all, it looks like there is a new tradition in American presidential election; you pick your running mate after checking his medical file. I mean George W. Bush’s running mate Dick Cheney was touring with Bush and a group of doctors. You will probably point that nowadays 65 is not old and in the case of Obama-Biden we have experience joining forces with young passion. I totally agree with you and I really hope it is true.

But then why do I worry if experience can mean conservatism and youth passion …compromise? And please don’t argue that I’m saying all that because I was wishing Hillary for the place because I think that near the end Hillary made so many often unbelievable mistakes that it would worry me if Barack even thought the chance.

Then I read the man’s bio at least the one that was in the media and I noticed that it was extremely emphasized his experience in foreign affairs, after all, the man chairs the Foreign Relations Committee and well done and I’m really happy for him actually and I have often pointed it, the biggest problems the new US administration will have to deal with from the very beginning will have to do with foreign policy and it doesn’t matter who is going to win, Democrat or Republican; and an experience in foreign affairs vice president is good, really good, just too good to be true. Because Joe Biden is part of the status quo Barack wants to clean, so much part of it so in the beginning just like Hillary he fully supported both the invasion in Iraq and the occupation …sorry, I mean the help for security reasons.

I don’t know why but this expert on foreign affairs somehow comes weird to me, I mean George W. Bush or Dick Cheney aren’t exactly the masters of foreign policy. George W. Bush when he was still a candidate he thought that Pakistan is neighbouring Colombia and that Coventry is a city in USA. Dick Cheney with all his dividing Europe gave lessons of diplomacy, the two of them wrote the book all the mistakes a state can do to screw diplomacy and make enemies between allies. You would never from the very beginning call them experts of foreign policy.

And then there was another thing on the media that stroke me, the son of a car salesman expected to appeal to the blue collar workers. So Obama is admitting two things which oddly are the same things that McCain keeps accusing him, inexperience in foreign policy and being a white collar! I’m not going to add that he’s white because that will be the total cynicism.

Of course, it is too early to judge how this thing will work and of course it is unfair to say anything about Sen. Joe Biden before we hear him and we will have the chance pretty soon but again I have to remember an open letter a lot of US personalities signed and published a couple of weeks ago reminding Barack Obama that he should not change his fight for change in the name of the presidential seat. In that letter all these people tried to remind him that USA is in a deadlock in many, perhaps too many ways and only change can bring hope, something that is missing lately from the average US houses. Hope without guns but with dignity in their every day life, hope without cooperative financial scandals and greedy lobbies. Hope that will bring back faith to the system and not more homeless and unemployed in the streets.

I hope Mr. Joe Biden is aware of all that and not enter the campaign to fill the missing gap and most of all I hope that Barack Obama remembers his own words. Last and not least I’m waiting to see Hillary’s reaction in the Democrats convention that starts soon. From the beginning of her end I had the feeling that the former first lady hadn’t finished yet!

Musharraf’s end game

An article from the Ovi magazine

The first one has gone and it was about time. Pakistan’s dictator Pervez Musharraf resigned under the pressure of facing charges. Obviously he proved to have a bit of brain and just like Pinochet a few years ago he chose to leave power graciously with all the necessary compromises rather than in handcuffs.

I’m sure there was a drama in the White House when they found out and an even bigger one in CIA headquarters, but this is it, life is hard for the …allies!!! But was Musharraf an ally or just an opportunist that based his survival into the hands of Washington? I think the Pakistan desk in Washington has a lot to answer to both the president of USA and the conspiracy bosses in Langley, most likely they overestimated his power and they also underestimated his will to survive, perhaps his desperate will to survive.

Pakistan was never the perfect ally for the USA and in general the western world, and that has long and old roots. The truth is that the majority of the people are conservative religious Muslims to the limits of the Taleban, after all that was exactly what motivated them half a century ago to force split with India and nearly have a war between them. That’s exactly what separates them from the Indians despite their common battles they gave against the colonials. And the Pakistani were always suspicious towards even their own leaders when they were western educated and trained. Even towards Bhutto they were suspicious; don’t look now that Bhutto became a martyr in the fight against Musharraf’s dictatorship.

The Americans were too keen to find an ally in South East Asia, India despite the fact that it is the real super power in the area was not a trustworthy ally, too confident, too independent and often with one eye on Russia. Pakistan was the only alternative, a local power bordering with Iran and Afghanistan, not far from China, a perfect airplane carrier and the same time the perfect field for all the spy masters. And then along came Musharraf and his military coup.

No strong foundations and in need of support, strong support and he found it in the west, especially in George W. Bush, after all, their time in power started nearly at the same time. After 9-11 George W. Bush needed a good ally in the area and Musharraf looked perfect, so good that he was even invited on the ranch, called our best friend forgetting that the man had no real differences with Saddam.

When the Americans and, to an extent, the Europeans found out that the saying too good to be real worked with Musharraf it was too late. Musharraf had no real control in Pakistan, not that the people have, they are the victims but Musharraf had control only to his surroundings. The Pakistani security forces, strong elements of the state in Pakistan are shared, some of them even support the Taleban after all how can Bin Laden survive for so long if he didn’t have Pakistani help and the Americans due to their best friend Pervez might not like to admit it but the strongest cells of Bin Laden’s network work and settle in Pakistan. Most of them trained and armed from the Pakistani security forces in the same way Bin Laden himself was trained and armed by CIA.

The future of Pakistan now is a mystery, there are too many forces, a lot of them extreme that fight for power there and even Iran’s clerics dictators would like to have a bit of the country with the nuclear bombs and I have no doubts that this very moment they are having big meetings studying their next moves. But then again Musharraf was part of the problem and his presence as the head of the state made things much worse, at least now most of them will have to take off the masks and present their real faces.

Another side effect from the war in Iraq, the Americans moved all their interest to the invasion and occupation there – whatever is the name they might use now – and left the real problem in Afghanistan in the hands of a small NATO army and their hopes in Musharraf! And of course the Taleban are returning strong and with the support of the people this time! So the Americans are the next who definitely lost now with the fall of Musharraf and all their allies involved with the invasion in Iraq or not. If the Americans remember their European allies, the old Europe had often warned that we are losing focus; the war on terror is in the mountains of Afghanistan and not on the oil platforms of Iraq!!!

The only one who won in the end is again Musharraf himself because the last years the only thing in his agenda is how to avoid the court and the jail, how to come out of it gracefully and to my opinion he managed well. The reason I would like to see him in court is not revenge but justice. Because the next Musharraf must know that the will of the people and justice work in Pakistan and one way or another in the end they will have to deal with both of them. But he seems to escape at the moment and the only thing I can hope to see is for others to follow his example, like Zimbabwe’s Mugabe! As far Musharraf, his bosses might offer him a job in USA, you never know for as long he worked in Pakistan he served them well!

Mugabe: Africa’s serial killer

An article from the Ovi magazine

At this minute, supporters of Africa’s Hitler caricature, Robert Mugabe show their power by beating people in cities and villages of Zimbabwe, people who didn’t go to vote or people who showed their support to the opposition, even people who were quiet in the name of their family’s peace.

Just like Hitler’s SS teams, police and paramilitary groups that support the dictator and his murderous gang go through the streets of Harare with batons and sticks beating anybody who they don’t like because it has ended up to that – if they don’t like somebody or what he says he’s the enemy of the devilish state Mugabe has created. The incidents are in their hundreds and I’m really sorry but in the next few weeks and months they will be in the thousands; you see, there is a pattern with serial killers. In the beginning they torture and wound their victims and then gradually they start killing making the cycle one of torture and murder. This is what Mugabe and his followers are, and this is the name that can use alongside monsters and enemies of humanity – they are serial killers.

The rest of the world is watching numb while the leaders of the democratic countries are thinking what they can do to stop the massacre. Too late? I cannot definitely answer that but they had all the time to do something instead of inviting him to summits in Rome. I hope Mr. Solana and Mr. Barroso regret every moment of that. Mugabe won the elections is his argument and I’m sure the result will reach the glorious 88% and over. He couldn’t do it 100%, he cannot be so obvious but 75% is a good number and his followers are living the illusion that they have the support of the people and that nobody can touch them. And why shouldn’t they?

The international community, except some, have done nothing. In an article a few months ago I was wondering why, I cannot understand how even neighbouring countries of Zimbabwe cannot actively do something against Mugabe and often I had to face the argument that he fought racism and sent the British away. This is a very schizophrenic situation, the man who was proud of kicking the colonist British away was proud to take a knighthood from the Queen and, at the very same time, he is a man who asked for equality between black and white people, but now he sees anybody even befriending a white as the enemy. But now the enemy is everywhere for Mugabe, and it matches what I said before about a serial killer pattern.

There is no alternative justice anymore and no negotiations for somebody like Mugabe and his gang, and I’m sorry to say there will be no forgiveness between the Zimbabwe people either and this is what saddens me much more. It might be tomorrow, next month or next year but the fall will come, it always comes to people like Mugabe. But how long will it take for the wounds to heal and how long will it take for the people to forget this is another story and I’m afraid it will not come in one day, one month or one year. Revenge is already in the minds of a lot of Zimbabweans and they are just waiting.

But what will happen when Mugabe will go over this thin line, when he will kill the wrong mother, the wrong father, the wrong child and then the first one will ask for revenge? It really takes only one to unite the others and the all the warning from the opposition will become true and another civil war will inflame this part of Africa. And please remember when your neighbour’s backyard is on fire your house is in danger. That’s how Zimbabwe’s neighbours should feel like. The fire has already started in Zimbabwe and we all know who is responsible and they power this fire with batons and long sticks in the neighbourhoods of Harare every minute.

Robert Mugabe, Africa’s Hitler caricature, must go not only for the present and the future of Zimbabwe but for the present and the future of Africa and Mugabe with his gang must go to an international court to be judged for crimes against humanity not only in the name of the people of Zimbabwe, not only in the name of the people of Africa but in the name of the people of this world!

Torturing Aristotle

An article from the Ovi magazine

Is there any way to identify the meaning of the word ‘torture’? I grew up through a dictatorship and I heard unbelievable stories about torturing and methods of torturing, then after the dictatorship and all the cases came to the courts we saw pictures of the victims and their bodies, we heard detailed descriptions and we saw it in their eyes. I even have a friend who went through that during those dark days.

torture01_400But then I have another friend whose father used to beat his mother and lock him sometimes for a whole a day inside a dark closet. My friend in his early fifties and he still has nightmares of that time and when he left home at sixteen he never returned, he never spoke to his father again and, according to him, the best day of his life was when his mother left his father. Isn’t this torture? What’s the difference or what’s the distance between the two cases? I know I have too many questions but honestly I don’t know the answers. For me is just inhumane!

I have seen with my own eyes what torture means in Sudan and Sierra Leone, I saw torturing in South Africa and I saw victims of torturing in Chile. One night a very good friend of mine, a lecturer in the University of Buenos Aires, who was a political prisoner during the dictatorship, opened her heart after a few drinks and started telling me what she had gone through. In the beginning there were tears but after a bit the tears became sobs and then when she started telling me about the rapes the sobs became silence. Then I was in tears. Her words were torture for me who was just listening, who never went through the same things.

When I was fourteen the dictatorship’s police arrested me as a suspect – you see on top of everything I had long hair something that didn’t go down too well with the ethics of a dictatorship – for two hours I lost every sense of where I was and what was happening to me and the only sensation I had left was the taste of blood in my mouth. My crime? I was walking in a street at the wrong time! I’m serious, that was my crime and straight away I became a suspect, that’s how dictators think and until my family found out and until they come to save me I had two broken bones and a face you could hardly recognize that it was mine. And I was just …fourteen! That’s how dictatorships think!

torture02_400For years a family friend lived in real hell with a husband who never touched her in the sense beating her but living in constant sentimental blackmails that reached her life and the life of her own kids. The worst part was that she could never talk about them, just having to live her hell, full of threats and mental violence. Is that torturing? I don’t know and the longer I’m thinking more and more cases coming to my mind. I can only sense that torturing is not only the visual but there are many kinds even the sentimental or the blackmail, it’s all torture and it’s all inhumane and painful.

Oddly 2,500 years ago Aristotle pointed that any confession coming through torturing should not stand in any court, 2,500 years ago and in 1987 the United Nations signed a treaty against torturing to get a confession. In the year 2008 we have Guantanamo!!! We obviously learned nothing! And did they use torture all through history? The states did, the kings and the lords did, the bandits did and criminals did, dictators and warlords, even the churches did. The Inquisition, they made torturing science. In a museum in Spain I saw for the first time an iron maiden, not the rock group, and only the sight of it was enough to scare you so much to confess just anything not going through that.

And there are states that still practice torturing, George W. Bush’s administration has even legalized them in Guantanamo, I’m not joking, the water torture is consider a normal practice to make terrorism suspects to confess. Aristotle didn’t know anything about George W. Bush back then, he only knew about democracy, poor chap! What remains? For me to apologize to my ancient compatriot, if he was still alive most likely he would be victim of torturing as well!

Mugabe must go

An article from the Ovi magazine

Zimbabwe’s opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai announced that his party is pulling out from the elections stating that this election will not be fair and free, yet he automatically hands victory to the Africa’s unbelievable Hitler caricature, Robert Mugabe!

What else could he have done? I have no idea, but others including the UN and South Africa leaders as I have often pointed in the past, could have done many things. Disappointment? No, there was no way out of what was going on in this poor country and her people, with the other option was to go for an election with a predefined result, humiliation and the risk of the lives of his followers. That’s Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, and that’s what has become international responsibility.

International responsibility, instinctly and while I was writing this I was smiling. Think of what happened before the invasion to Iraq. The American president and the British prime minister spent hours and hours telling us that a vicious dictator had to end and it was the responsibility of the whole world to do that. It was international responsibility to save the people of Iraq from the dictator and gone far enough to call the sceptics of this invasion cowards and talk about the old and tired Europe. Should we expect now the same people do something similar? Should we expect this time the United Nations to join? After all it is for a humanitarian cause! Or this little element that missing from Zimbabwe and Iraq had will not let them move their ass? Of course you guessed right, I’m talking about oil!

There is no oil in Zimbabwe; there are no diamonds or uranium! There are beautiful valleys and farms, a lot of farms and most of all there poor people, really poor people and who gives a damn for the poor people but when it comes to oil tycoons, sheiks and caliphs they ready to ignore even the UN! But we should know, it has happened before and it was with Iraq all again. When Iraq invaded Kuwait all the world was ready within hours and at least for me it is a question why they didn’t finished the job but when Turkey invaded Cyprus apparently using exactly the same excuses nobody moved but again Cyprus might be a beautiful island for holidays but it doesn’t have any oil! So we won’t bother with Zimbabwe!

Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is hell on earth with gigantic inflation and the people with opinion either in prison or dead. For Mugabe there is only one reality ‘my way or the graveyard!’ – what’s then the reality for the alliance against evil? If you have oil we can save you if you don’t just …die? By the way George W. Bush has another six months to prove that everything said about Saddam didn’t stop there but it can apply to Mugabe as well. There is no difference between those two even though to my opinion Africa’s caricature Hitler is worst!

The final cut for Morgan Tsvangirai was what happened last weekend in Harare where his party had organized a rally in a central stadium and followers or better accomplices in crimes against humanity of Robert Mugabe gathered with a lot of help from the army, the police and Mugabe’s paramilitary groups; all armed ready for a warm welcome. So it is not anymore a case of democratic dialogue, is not a case of talking is a case of gang of murderers ready to do everything just to keep their seats and it is simple as that. Is just like gangster protecting their territories.

Mugabe must go and it is the turn of the international community to do something about it, increase the pressure and stop inviting Mugabe for dinner like stupidly Barroso did a few weeks ago. Mbeki, the president of South Africa and Ki-moon the General Secretary if the United Nations must increase radically the pressure, Mugabe must go!

Latest news from Zimbabwe: Morgan Tsvangirai has spent a second night in the Dutch embassy while Ki-moon and Mbeki decided to get actively involved with the situation